Mandarin Yellow | Sample Chapter

Prologue

Mandarin Yellow | Chinatwon Washington, D.C.

THE OLD WOMAN padded across the sidewalk, slowly moving away from the restaurant until she reached the curb bordering 7th Street. She paused and glanced around, rubbed her stomach three times in a sweeping circular motion for good luck, burped loudly, and giggled at her private indiscretion. She seemed remarkably content for a dead woman.

It had rained earlier in the evening, pelting the sidewalk and street with a noisy tattoo of weighty drops. But now the rain was gone and all that remained of it was a blanket of damp, heavy air that shrouded the empty sidewalks and street. No pedestrians scurried along the sidewalk, dodging one another as they made their way among the constellate of neighborhood restaurants and bars; no delivery vans, with their rasping horns and squealing brakes, jockeyed for parking spaces; and no cars raced up and down the street, not even the ubiquitous taxicabs that typically darted through Chinatown’s hive of intersecting avenues sniffing out quarry.

Across the street, a few hundred feet south of the woman, a man hunched in an alley and watched and waited with predatory patience. He had come to Chinatown to kill the woman.

The man hummed his favorite Bob Dylan tune, “Blood on the Tracks”, confident in his knowledge that before long he would be able to match the rhythm of his song to the cadence of the woman’s final footsteps.

The woman turned her head left and looked north up the sidewalk. She turned again and looked south, studying the thread of pavement as it narrowed and fell away into the dark.

She hesitated and looked back at the restaurant, then retreated a step toward its revolving door, but abruptly stopped. She turned away again and glanced across 7th Street to the sidewalk on its other side.

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