-San Francisco, Chinatown, present day-
'The more things change, the more things stay the same', so the saying goes. I've found that more often than not, it's the truth and then some. Like the building I was standing in-- my building, as a matter of fact, at least as of eight months ago when I'd bought the lease to 369 Sutter Street. Back in the 1940's, the building had been the home of Charlie Low's famous nightclub 'Forbidden City'. There were a few notable 'Chinese nightclubs' in this part of town, like the Shanghai Club, but it was Forbidden City that usually got all the press. Celebrities were constantly spotted at the club, and there was always a photographer handy to get their picture next to a grinning Charlie Low in the next day's paper.
Like all good things, the Forbidden City came to an end, the building was bought and sold, and a fire gutted it in the 80's. It was rebuilt and up until I came into the picture, it was home to a computer school.
Me? My name is Jun Shang-Da, and I grew up here in Chinatown, where I heard plenty of stories about the glamorous club my great grand-uncle Charlie used to run. So, after I got back from college and turning what was a halfway decent inheritance into a hell of a fine nest egg with what I learned there, I decided it was time to bring the good old days back.
I bought the building, butted heads with designers and architects and even a couple of A-list celebrity party animals and reopened Forbidden City with a fanfare like San Francisco's Chinatown hadn't seen in decades. That was a month ago, and even in the fickle world of nightlife, Forbidden City with its mix of old-style elegance of fine dining and stage entertainment and cutting-edge nightclub ambiance, was still one of the hottest places to party in the city, maybe even the country.
So there I was, taking a break from my usual schmoozing and networking up in the state-of-the-art security office. The place was dark, lit just by the banks of flat computer monitors that kept closed-circuit eyes on every square inch of the inside of the club. Some of the cameras covered the outside of the building, too, just to make sure that all of my happy customers stayed just that, even before and after their visit.
It was while I was watching one of those particular monitors out of the corner of my eye at the same time I was catching up with Jake Lo, my head of security that I saw her. Well, specifically, first I saw the pair of UCSF co-eds that I'd made sure left the bar before they got too smashed to walk straight heading into one of the dark alleys that were one of old Chinatown's less pedestrian-friendly legacies. Then, I saw the big guy in the fake-looking monster mask jump out at them from behind a dumpster.
Then I saw her. She was moving fast, and headed straight at monster man.
"Shit," I muttered as I watched the big guy swing his arm and smash a bunch of bricks right off the wall. Making Jake swear that he wouldn't follow me, I bolted for the back staircase and pretty much jumped down them.
I'd been living in Chinatown long enough to know there were plenty of things that went 'bump' in the night that most people didn't like to admit existed. Plus, I had personal experience with the subject. I had a hunch what monster man might be, but I was hoping I was wrong.
Shouldering open the steel door that let out into the alley in question, I burst through it, looking around frantically and getting myself ready for a fight.
((Open to Lian))