The Divorcee is a Wicked Black Belly Chapter 23: An Ning and the drone
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An Ma and Richard left early the next morning. Richard spent the entire night pestering An Ning. He would let her sleep for a bit then fiercely love her again until faint light crept into the room and he woke her up to say goodbye.
An Ning trudged outside to see her dad. An Ma was dressed in a shirt and jeans, the first time she had ever seen her father dressed so casually. Looking at him, she felt tears suddenly clogged her throat. She couldn't speak so she walked over and tightly hugged him. An Ma rumpled her hair affectionately.
"Take care of yourself," he said, wiping the tears silently flowing down her cheeks with his hands. "I'll be back soon with your mother."
An Ning nodded tearfully. She never realized until today how dangerous this journey was going to be for both men. The enemy was hidden deep, easily spying on them but they can't see who they were. They could only walk tentatively in the dark and react to an attack, putting them at a great disadvantage.
Richard kissed her passionately when it was his turn. He put his hands on her stomach then got down on his knees to kiss her protruding belly softly. Then they were both gone and the house suddenly felt empty and silent without them.
An Ning looked around vaguely, feeling lost and lonely. She wandered into the kitchen and found Sarai who tried to tempt her appetite with fluffy pancakes topped with fresh strawberries dipped in cream. An Ning actually felt better after the sweet rush and decided to go across the street and checked on Matt.
She showered, dressed, opened the door then stopped when she saw the man standing outside. He was very tall and sinewy and wearing fatigues with all sorts of weapons hanging from the pockets. An Ning stared at him in surprise.
"Who are you?"
"Gan. Your security. Didn't Richard tell you?"
"He did but I wasn't really interested. Can I see your ID?"
The man lifted a quizzical eyebrow but pulled out a wallet nonetheless and showed her a driver's license."
"I assume this is legit?" she asked, flipping the ID in her hand.
"What do you think?"
"Just across the street. My office is there."
"After you then," Gara said.
"You're going with me?"
"That's what security does, you know."
"Where are you staying?"
"In the pool house."
"Oh. Okay then, let's go."
Sam was lying asleep on the sofa when she unlocked the door and came in. Matt had pulled together two chairs to sleep on. He was sleeping deeply and didn't even waken when she pulled at his trouser leg, intending to tell him to go home because he looked rather uncomfortable sleeping there.
An Ning tiptoed to the conference room where the drone lay on the table. Matt and Sam had clearly cleaned up the coffee stain left on its hair and face. They also reattached both its eyes, which lay close and dead on their sockets. The mouth was close but when she examined the teeth, the tongue was still missing. She looked around and found it wrapped in foil on top of a small table by the window.
An Ning took it out of the foil and went back to the drone. She pried open its mouth and pressed a small button lying almost hidden in the upper gums. There was a drilling sound and the stub that used to be the tongue slowly moved forward and backward.
An Ning took the other end of the tongue and fitted it on the stub. There was a sudden suction sound, a hiss, and the tongue merged with the stub like it had never been severed. She took a small step backward when the drone opened its eyes and sat up. It turned its head, the red eyes staring at An Ning with a still and malevolent look.
"You're beautiful, do you know that?" An Ning murmured, coming closer. "It took me a while to figure out what you are but I will definitely keep you. You like that, don't you?"
The drone sat unmoving even when she went around its side and pressed a lever. There was a whirring sound then the wings came off, bouncing with a soft thump on the floor. The wings were the foldable type that can be clipped to the side when not in use. They were surprisingly thin and very light and the design on the skin looked strangely beautiful yet dreadful.
An Ning was folding a wing when something snagged her finger. She merely pulled her finger out and didn't even glance at it instead putting the folded wing away on top of a drawer. The drone suddenly tried to rotate it's head but something seemed to be keeping it from moving.
An Ning tipped its head back and examined the throat and ears. She frowned. There seemed to be a break on the wirings connecting the two parts. A fold of skin had embedded itself in between, causing a friction that prevented the smooth movement of the neck.
An Ning was trying to find something she could use to pull the skin out when she noticed a growing red dot on the mouth of the creature. It was blood and it came from a wound on her finger which had been pierced by something.
An Ning examined the wound. The skin on one fingertip was peeled off, showing the trickle of blood on the torn tissue. It was starting to hurt, too, and staining the carpet below.
"Fuck!" An Ning muttered angrily. She reached for a tissue and tried to the staunch the flow but changed her mind and decided to rinse the wound by putting it under the tap water instead. She went outside, intending to go to the pantry, when she met Matt who was coming out of the room where Sam and the rest of the staff worked.
Sam was surprised to see her but his expression immediately changed as he dragged An Ning inside the room.
"You have to see this," he said urgently.
Sam was inside, watching a huge monitor TV while biting her nails in panic.
An Ning looked at the monitor where a huge collage of a dodo bird was playing.
"What is this?" she asked Matt.
"I think we're being attacked," he said. "I can't read the algorithm. It's too complicated."
An Ning looked at the images again and frowned.
"No use guessing who's the culprit, right?"
"I think they intend to crash our computers then completely wipe out the data we have on the drone," Sam said.
"How far are we on the data?"
"And how many hours do we have before the breach?"
Matt swallowed. "Ten minutes."
An Ning muttered angrily under her breath. She again looked at the monitor. Suddenly, her brow cleared. She walked over to one of the keyboards and typed three letters then stepped back and waited.
The images on the monitor continued to play but this time at a faster speed. It played faster and faster until the image of the dodo transformed into a giant egg, which trembled and cracked. The yoke spilled outside the shattered shell then blew up, splattering all over the monitor in a filthy mess. The theme song from the Woody Wood Pecker cartoon sang in a mocking tone and the monitor went back to normal, showing the 3D image of the demon drone.
"That seems to be it," An Ning nodded in satisfaction.
Matt and Sam looked at her like she had just sprouted horns.
"What did you do?" Matt asked, completely and utterly flabbergasted.
"It was a puzzle. You give the wrong answer and you have less than a minute to save yourself. I just flipped the finger back at them though. The Woody Wood Pecker theme song was my way of saying fuck off, asshole."
Sam and Matt continued to stare at her in utter stupefaction.
"What?" An Ning asked, completely unnerved by the way they're staring at her.
Before they could answer, a noise from the doorway caught their attention. The giant demon drone stood there, blocking the door. It stared at the three people in the room and uttered something unintelligeble that could almost be considered a grunt.
It stopped before An Ning and sniffed her arm.
It was An Ning's turn to stand there stupefied. But that was the least strange of all. The one that made their mouths really wide open in astonishment was when the creature knelt on one knee like a knight and called An Ning master.
"E..eh?" Were the last gracious words she uttered before collapsing on a heap on the ground.
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