The Land of The Thieves - Chapter 10
Episode 4: The call at dawn (1)
It was almost one in the morning. After showering, I changed into my loungewear. Time to rest.
My body was crushed after the fight.
Unfortunately, the annoying ringing sound of the telephone suddenly filled the ceiling. I reflexively grabbed the pillow, covered my ears cursing, tried to ignore it, and went on to sleep.
Not living up to expectations, I snorted in resentment. The caller must have never had etiquette lessons. If the dialing tone went off multiple times, it meant that the person concerned did not want to accept, was busy, sleeping, was not there, or other logical reasons that were acceptable to the common sense of the human race. Whoever was at the front desk of this luxury hotel tonight, the day after tomorrow would receive the most merciless complaint that ever existed.
I threw the pillow, grumbling, realizing two things. One, this damn phone wouldn’t stop if I didn’t pick up. Two, even in the best rooms, even in six-star hotels, the sound of the telephone ringing in the room was always standard, squealing noise. Why didn’t the world-class hospitality manager have the idea of changing the ring tones to jazz beats or listen-friendly ones, or providing customization options with vibrating tones or small beeps? They seemed to be more busy putting yellow ducks in the bathroom, a city tour guidebook full of advertisements, or trash ideas like a mass signed welcome letter. Or it was my fault, why did I not unplug it before going to bed?
“I’m sorry, Sir—”
“Do you know what time it is, Shiong?” Damn, I recognized the voice.
“Eh? It is— “
“It’s past midnight, Shiong. Didn’t I ask to refuse all of the calls to my room!” I exclaimed angrily.
“I’m sorry, Sir. It’s urgent.”
“F*ck! Even if tomorrow the world were to drown in Noah’s flood, I don’t care!” I cursed him, preparing to spill my civilized swear lexicon, but failed. Someone was already knocking at my door.
What else? I turned my head.
“There are some people who insisted on meeting you, Sir. I told them that you needed to rest, but they insisted on going upstairs. I could not hold them, no security officer dared to detain them. I have to tell you, Sir, at least before they arrive.” Shiong hurriedly explained, with the intonation of a dozen years of world-class hospitality training.
All right. I hung up the telephone and headed towards the door only because I wanted to know who came to me at night.
“Good evening, Thomas.”
There were only two people standing at the door. I recognized one of them.
“We have been looking for you for four hours now.” Ram, the person I recognized, smiled tiredly. “Your habit of rarely staying at home, choosing to stay at hotels, makes it difficult for us…”
“Spill it quickly, what do you want?” I had no time for pleasantries.
“It’s connected, Sir.” The person I didn’t recognize whispered, handed over the cell phone.
Ram nodded, accepted the cell phone, then gave it to me. “There’s someone who wants to talk to you, Thomas. The situation is very precarious. “
Who? I hesitated to accept the cell phone.
An old voice, hoarse and quivering, immediately soared my anger again.
“No, don’t hang up yet, Tom.” The man coughed briefly. “I know you still hate me. But I have no choice, son. I have to tell you …
Really don’t hang up the phone just yet, Tommi. I know you don’t care about me anymore, nor will you care if I tell you this old man’s house is under siege, a platoon of police is gathered in the courtyard of the house, it’s just like they’re going to catch terrorists. But your aunt, Tommi, her health has been deteriorating since that news was published in the newspapers. And four hours ago when the officers arrived, checking things, setting up barricades to make sure I didn’t run away, your aunt wasn’t strong anymore. She fell unconscious. Come over, Son. Meet your aunt. Before falling unconscious, she repeatedly asked for you, staring at photo frames when you were little … with our big family.” The man coughed briefly.
“Forgive this old man who is looking for you at night, Son. Hopefully, you don’t hate me more. Good night.” With that the line went dead l
The hallway of the hotel room felt deserted.
“How?” Ram asked after I had only been silent for a minute.
I squeezed my fingers, then returned the cell phone.
“How serious?” I made a sound.
“Which one? Home situation? Or your aunt? ” Ram chuckled with concern.
“Both.” I sighed.
“Bad. Both are bad, Tom, especially the situation at home. You must’ve known, it’s only a matter of time the reporters start arriving, ensuring there is a major arrest. We had better talk in the car, our time is very limited. Once they decide to hold your uncle, everything would be messed up. Are you coming with us? “
I fell silent.
“Come on, Thomas, decide.”
I finally nodded. “Give me a minute to change.”