Part 17 - Black Magic?

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"I HAVE GOT INTERESTING news, I've got okay news, and I've got good news for some."

Gatts waited until he had a coffee in his hands. Skylab and Kev patiently waited, too.

"I've visited all three men, they are all recovering, they seem unharmed and are all in fit states."

"We know there is a 'but' coming?"

"Yes, Skylab, there is. They cannot remember a thing from the moment they said goodbye to their visitor. And yes, it appears they all had the same man visit them. Fair hair, fluent Thai speaker, and very well dressed."

Gatts described his visits to three men in Bangkok hospitals.

"Khun Jak needed medication when I explained he had kidnapped his daughter."

"How terrible for the man, he must hate himself?" said Skylab.

"Khun Cee, he would not believe me and refused to listen to the medical staff. Eventually, he calmed enough to give a statement until everything went blank."

This time Kev went to refresh their coffee pot.

Skylab just sat muttering, "Poor men, poor families."

Gatts carried on, "I'm afraid we have had to put Khun Sila under suicide watch. It is difficult telling a man, he killed his wife and baby."

"I suppose, 'I don't remember', won't help if they are charged with kidnap and murder?" Kev asked.

"Of course not. We have many witnesses who saw exactly what happened." Skylab was regaining her composure.

"Not much about the vehicles they left in. What about the change in the car? Somebody must have seen something?"

Gatts reported, "We are trying to talk to people living near the spots, we are looking at the 7-Eleven CCTV footage. So far nothing I'm afraid."

"There must have been some kind of pre-arranged system for the men to move on. Either they provided another vehicle for the men to drive, or someone else picked them up. The well-dressed man?" queried Kev.

"Probably correct, but the men can't remember a thing!" answered Gatts.

Skylab had been quietly thinking through permutations, "Are we looking for one mastermind, or is there a gang?"

Kev shouted, "But why do they want babies, dead or alive?"

"I've been going through all the child traffickers on file, thankfully most of them are locked up. And none of them ever wanted dead children," Gatts said.

"So, why the dead child?" asked Kev.

"Black magic!" whispered Skylab.

"We must try to see the abbot, rain or no rain," insisted Kev.

The rain was lashing down, water was running down the inside of a cave near Kanchanaburi. It didn't slow Mat in his task; he was pouring over medical encyclopaedias, studying the structure of the human brain. By his side was his grandfather's manual. Stuck to its pages is one of Leonardo da Vinci's sketches of the human skull, as was a translation of 'The Edwin Smith Papyrus', an ancient Egyptian medical treatise written in the 17th century BC, it contained the earliest recorded reference to the brain. The hieroglyph for the brain, occurring eight times in this papyrus, describes the symptoms, diagnosis, and prognosis of two traumatic injuries to the head. The papyrus mentions the sex drive of humans, the deviation from the expected.

The Nazis assumed this to mean homosexuality. Homosexuals would not be a part of the master race, nor would they survive in Mat's world. The last thing he wanted was to be labelled 'queer', 'queer basher' he could live with. To make sure that never happened, he needed a potion. That potion was difficult to make after four failed attempts he knew, but would this one would work?

"I will be straight!" he promised himself.

He had everything he needed chained up in the next cavern. But what 'exact' part of the brain should he take. The donor needed to remain alive during and after the operation.

The gentle throb of the generator provided the power he needed, light, and electricity for the tools required.

But first, Mat needed a break. He returned home, eat, shower and sleep. Fully rested, the operation would be successful.

Debbie who was slumped across the safe suddenly jumped at the sound of his key in the door.

"Debbie, my darling, are you ready to nurse that poor man to health?"

"Lovely to hear you talk to me like that, just like you used to when we first met," said a beaming girl.

"I'm sorry, I've been under pressure. I'm trying to do too much at once."

"Can I ask, what are you trying to achieve?"

"Look, I don't kill those gays for fun, I will cure the world of them soon. But, I need cash to fund my project. That is part two of my dream. I will find the hidden Japanese treasure. Now get some food, then have a rest, you will need all your strength." Debbie looked quizzical but knew better than to question him about the operations. But the mythical treasure was different. She was keen to know more.

"You have mentioned the treasure before, surely it is just paper talk for the tourist's interest? Is it not?"

She set about preparing a meal.

Mat called out to the kitchen, "The Japanese were here during the war, they had a master-plan for Asia domination. That costs money. They hid some of their wealth right here. I know it, I can feel it."

Debbie had read the stories, she didn't believe them. However, one interview with a Japanese veteran caused her confusion. The ex-soldier said, "More than 2,000 tonnes of gold hides in a cave near our old base. We Japanese don't lie!"

Mat returned to studying his manual. He thought, "That's what I missed before! This time I've cracked it!"

It was as if he had scored the winning goal in the world cup final. He ran around the room, punching the air.

"A tattoo, how come I didn't see that before?" Debbie stood in the doorway looking puzzled. "Were you any good at art in school?" asked Mat. "What? Why?"

"Because my dear, you will tattoo me."

Mat stabbed the illustration with his index finger. The man carrying out the incision had a bold tattoo on his hand.

"Why did I not notice that before?"

"What Mat?" Debbie screamed.

"I've seen that picture hundreds of times, but I never thought about his inking."

They returned to the cave quicker than planned.

His first job was to check the fuel. It had been raining, Debbie had not refilled the diesel tanks. It would be a disaster if the generators failed at a critical part of his operation. "Debbie, get a move on. I need you for another simple job, it should have been done yesterday."

He sent Debbie to buy some fuel and other necessary implements. While she was out, Mat pricked the Englishman's thumb. Twenty minutes later he knew the man was clear of AIDS.

"Now we can start."

Mat was beaming.

Can I use black magic to get your vote?

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