🎧 Bedtime Story Podcast #50
Chapter 8 – Ninjas At Work
When the van carrying Martin finally came to a halt, the men inside all waited. It was dark where they were, inside the back of the van there were no windows, only angry Japanese voices which continued to argue about what they were to do with Martin. Two said wait for a ransom. One said put him to work in their factory. Another said it was too risky to keep him, that they would be caught soon enough.
Martin heard the driver get out of the door at the front of the van and shut it behind him. Another passenger, sitting next to the driver up front, did the same.
They walked around to the back of the van, and Martin noticed that they were taking their time.
As the doors opened behind them, Martin and the others were temporarily blinded by the brightness of the light, not only from the sun but from a lamp that was being shone on top of all of them. All of the men recoiled and yelled and complained that it was far too bright for them to see after sitting in the dark, but before they could finish complaining, they were being hit with sticks. They were being hit so hard and so quickly that they were being knocked unconscious, going limp and falling on the floor of the van, falling on top of Martin so that he was being squashed and was having trouble breathing. All Martin could hear was whacks of sticks and shouts of the men being attacked in the van, and soon his world had gone from bright to dark, and the final man’s body fell on top of his head.
“Get them off him!” he heard a familiar voice say. “Drag them off before they squash him!”
As the men’s bodies were dragged away, and the lamp was turned off behind them, Martin’s eyes adjusted to see Kuyasaki, and the thin man from the airport, Takashi, dragging men out of the van, with wooden sticks tied to their waists.
“Hello, Martin,” Kuyasaki said.
“It was you? You were driving the van? You came and captured me?”
“No,” Kuyasaki said, heaving another man out of the van and dumping him on the ground. “No. We saw you had been captured. We followed you after you left to keep an eye on you. Then we ambushed the van and overpowered the driver.”
“Five minutes after you were captured.”
“But I didn’t hear you. How did you do that?”
“You wouldn’t have heard us, that is the whole point of being a ninja. People don’t know you have attacked them until it is too late, and I know these roads better than any van driver. It was an ambush, but I cannot reveal my secrets to you. Not yet, anyway. I heard them talking in the van, I knew they would not hurt you until they had been advised by their superiors.”
Kuyasaki grabbed another limp body and began dragging it out of the van.
“Who do they work for?” Martin said, rubbing his eyes and standing up.
“My brother, Senzi. He left the way of the ninja a long time ago, and he has been trying to harm me in some way ever since.”
“Why did you let me go?”
“You wanted to go.”
“But you could have stopped me.”
“Perhaps, but sometimes children have to learn lessons directly, rather than simply being warned of dangers that they do not even believe to be real. If I had told you that my brother’s men might try to capture you, thinking you were my son, you would not have believed me. You would have probably ran out during the night to get away, and I would not have been able to save you.”
“Have they ever tried to capture your boy?”
“No. But I see their scouts. I knew they were planning something. That is one reason why I train my son so hard, so that he can protect himself when the time comes.”
“Ok,” Martin said. “I’m sorry I left, forget what I said. Let’s train again. I’ll do whatever you want. Let’s train, I don’t care how repetitive it is. Let’s train.”
“Good,” Kuyasaki said, dusting off his hands as Takashi dragged the bodies away. “Good. Let’s do it.”
“Hello Myasako, you’re up early,” Martin’s mother said, the next morning. She came downstairs to see Myasako sitting there at the table, doing nothing.
“I have something to warn you about,” Myasako said.
“I went to Muldridge’s house last night. They are planning something bad for us.”
“What did you say, dear?”
“I went to their house. They are planning bad things, they want revenge for what I did to that bully Arthur.”
“Oh goodness, Myasako,” Martin’s mother said, walking in to the kitchen. “I know you don’t want to go tonight, but surely your father has told you enough about telling fibs?”
“Yes, dear. You know, lies, lies to keep yourself from doing something you don’t want to do. Martin does it sometimes.”
Myasako rose from his chair.
“Mrs Davies, I’m sorry, but you misunderstand me. I actually did go. I broke into their home and heard them speaking.”
She stopped at the fridge and looked at him.
“Three in the morning.”
“How? How did you get there?”
“And you heard what?”
Myasako explained again what he saw and heard.
She looked down at the floor.
“Oh, you sound just like Martin,” she said. “He has all these games and fantasies too. Ok then, Myasako, so what will we do when we get there? What will we do, fight to the death? Ambush them?”
“This is not a game,” Myasako said. “We must not go.”
“Oh come on, dear. He’s not going to do anything. I know you are a young ninja but I highly doubt you can break into a gated estate with security cameras and just wait in the corner while the richest man in town has a conversation with his boy about the terrible things he has planned for us. Your father maybe, but you are only young.”
“Madam, do not go.”
“I’m going,” she said. “It’s the only way I can get Arthur to stop bullying Martin.”
Story written and read by Adam Oakley, Copyright © Adam Oakley