Old Bridge, New Jersey- Ten At Night.
Little Kayla cringed in a dark bedroom while gazing at cartoon characters smiling and laughing on a flat screen TV. Their happiness on full display. But tears welled down the five year old’s sorrowed face. Her shoulder length hair matted to her wet cheeks as she wept quietly, alone.
Four men argued in Korean outside the bedroom door, forcing her attention. With fear in her heart Kayla recognized their angry voices as the men who’d kidnapped her yesterday, locking her in this room. As their tones grew louder she curled her knees to her face while crying in her blue jeans.
“I want my daddy,” she whimpered in Korean while her eyes peered the dark, empty room before focusing back on the screen. But after a moment a voice whispered her name.
“Kayla?” a voice of a man inside the bedroom.
“Eh?” The little girl snapped upright on the mattress with her mouth open, ready to scream at whoever this man was who appeared in this room, like a ghost. But the man had other plans. “Sssh!” he cried, while sealing Kayla’s mouth with a leather gloved hand, silencing her.
“Mmph!” The child reeled back in terror, pulling herself toward the the tv screen. Her heart raced while the man revealed his face in the dim light.
“Ah?” She stopped moving, staring at him in disbelief. For this man, dressed in all black with black hair, smiled at Kayla. And she recognized him.
“Ko?” she cried, burying her face into his belly with fresh tears of joy. She knew this man, and his name was Ko. A seventeen year old mechanic from South Korea who contracted for her father.
“Sssh! it’s ok,” he whispered to Kayla, hugging her. And she squeezed him tight, no longer afraid.
“Ko?” she whispered.
“How did you get in here?”
“It’s what I do,” he answered.
“Oh, ok.” She shook her head and looked up at him, “Ko?”
“Are we going home now?”
“Hmm.” Ko didn’t answer right away. Instead he rubbed her head, “Yes, we’ll go home.”
She hugged him tight, not believing his presence.
“But Kayla?” he asked.
“I'm going to step out of the room-”
“No! Don’t leave me!” she held him, not letting go.
“Little one, I’m not leaving you. I just have to do something and I need you stay here for one minute, ok?” His words assured her as she loosened her grip, just a little.
“Are-” She shifted her eyes to the lit screen, “-Are you going to kill those men outside the room?”
"Hm." Ko dropped to his knees in front of the little girl. He wiped the tears from her face before answering, “Yes, Kayla, I'm going to kill them all.”
Ko spoke calmly to Kayla, assuring her he’d only be a moment in the next room. But the child locked her grip on his hand.
“You have to let go,” he whispered.
“No!” she cried, grasping his whole left arm.
Ko took a breath, “I see.” He stood up and walked with Kayla in tow holding his hand. When they reached the bedroom door Ko spoke.
“When I knock on this door you close your eyes and you don’t open them until I tell you, ok?”
She nodded her head, “Ok.”
Ko then knocked on the bedroom door while Kayla shut her eyes tight. Two seconds later a square faced goon opened it from the outside and gaped at the barrel of a suppressed nine millimeter pistol Ko stuck in his face.
“Oh-” was the last word the Korean goon muttered before Ko fired into his mouth, blowing the goon’s brains out the back of his skull.
Kayla screeched when the gun popped. She jumped behind Ko, hiding her face in his back.
“You’re ok,” Ko calmed her as he pointed his black nine out of the bedroom at a second man who stumbled backward. Ko shot him twice. One in the head, one in the heart.
“Two more,” he muttered to himself. In less than a second the last two men in the small house exited the kitchen area, guns in hand. But Ko struck them down with two headshots as they entered his sight. In under a minute Ko executed Kayla’s kidnappers with five shots. He never moved from his spot. The child kept her face hidden in his back as the commotion stopped in the small home. Ko holstered his weapon under his jacket and turned to Kayla.
“Are your eyes still closed?”
“No, I peeked. But I'll close them again,” she answered.
“Please do, I'd appreciate it,” he said picking her up, and carrying her over the four dead goons lying in pools of blood on the floor.
Ko rushed Kayla outside to a car hidden in the woodline. The dead kidnapper’s house stood in the middle of nowhere off route one in the small New Jersey town of Old Bridge. An old one family home built during world war two. Sturdy and wood framed. A perfect house for the assassin Ko Lee to burn to the ground, as he fled the scene with Kayla Han.
His dead boss’s five year old daughter.