”Even though, you can cover up the deaths of six, ” Jiyo Kael said.

”With your help, I think I can. I have an idea, ”he said quietly, ” but itll depend on whether I can bribe a senior Civil Servant. I have something in him that we can use to ask him for help. ”

”Us? ”

Ignoring Jiyo Kaels comment, Edward pushed. ”Our biggest problem here is the six missing staff. How to account for the fact that there are no corpses to be buried, ”he said.

Jiyo Kael let himself a small smile at the repeated, we.

”Go on, ” he said.

”So, heres what we
e going to do. ”

Jiyo Kael listened carefully. The Old Man seemed to have thought of everything, covering every base. He seemed to have fixed everything before they entered the laboratories. He must have admired the Old Mans quick thinking.

Jiyo Kael is uncomfortable about covering up the tragedy, but it is an accident and no one will suffer, except his boss if the newspapers find out what happened here.

Jiyo Kael finally nodded in his agreement, pushing the suddenly cold spot on his neck in the back of his mind.


When Jiyo Kael and Edward got back to the boat, the boatman was sitting on a pile of old sacks, snoring holding his hand to his chest, his loose top loosening with every gust of wind. Jiyo jumped up and assisted Edward in firing the gun. Their loud entry woke the boatman from his slumber and he suddenly woke up.

”Ahhh— ” he muttered, shaken before struggling to his feet. ”Oh, come back, ” he whispered. ”I thought youd stay there all bloody night. ”

Jiyo Kael and Edward smiled at each other. Then finding a place to sit among the crates and lobster pots scattered on the deck, they made themselves as comfortable as they could. The boat headed for mainland Palawan, Philippines, its noisy engine emitting thicker black smoke. Jiyo Kael hopes it will make it all the way to the beach. The sea was more fierce now, the boat was rolling in the waves, and he didn like the prospect of being stuck in it while waiting for the coastguard to rescue them.

”You didn even tell me how it all started? ” Jiyo Kael said, trying to get the picture of them all being shaken in the sea out of his mind. ”The project, ” he added, nodding back to the island.

Edward Wills looked over his shoulder for a moment and gave a sweet smile, as if his PAs question brought back happy memories. ”Well, thats kind of a story, ” he said. ”I was approached by a young woman, a new graduate of the university with her new Ph.D. He has been working on the environmental idea he has had since he was thirteen or so. Really dedicated. Do you know the guy? ”

Jiyo Kael nodded. ”I also met some staff who were great, ” he said.

”He spent a few weeks trying to see me. ”

Jiyo Kael shook his head. ”Don worry about anyone like that right now. ”

”Its your time, Jiyo Kael . Anyway, he had finally passed Mrs. Wills. He is yours

first. ” He grinned. ”A formidable lady indeed. So Mrs. W set him an appointment, and here he was, sitting in front of me, asking for money to develop a crazy scheme of him. He told me that, since my companies produce so much waste, it only makes sense for me to find a way to clean it up. ”

”He had a hard time preparing a presentation, so I felt like I had no choice but to sit through it. The thing is, I knew after the first overhead that it wouldn work, but I still let him go on. I kind of felt sorry for him. , in all the years of hard work he has labored for. ”

”Do you feel sorry for him? ” The doubt in Jiyo Kaels voice brought a twinkling smile to Edwards lips.

”I have a heart, you know Jiyo Kael, ” Edward said.

”Yes. Sorry. So what happened? ”

”I said Ill take a look. Mrs W asked to get the maids details. Then, after she left, dropped her proposal in the drawer marked Rejects. That was, or so I thought. Hell, how big so the wrong of a man. ” Edward stopped, staring at the vast sky, lost in his own thoughts.

Jiyo Kael coughed, raising his eyebrow as Edwards gaze returned to him. ”So? ” he prompted.

Edward laughed, shaking slightly. ”She wouldn answer no. She came back, over and over, almost to camp in the office at one point. Pushed poor Mrs. W into disruption. Eventually, I had to get the police to evict her and make sure she wasn let in again. reception in the building. ”

”Then he started showing up in places I went to. Restaurants, theaters, places like that. God knows how he knew where I was. I wouldn be surprised if he didn spend a huge amount of money following me. He did. never said a damn word. Just sat there while watching. Do you know how annoying that is, Jiyo Kael? Someone looks at you like that wherever you go? Stalker! ”

Jiyo Kael shook his head and smiled to himself. He did not see the Old Man in such a situation. Jiyo Kael knew the old man was lying.

”It went on for. . . Oh, maybe six months. Then he changed tactics. ”

Jiyo Kael sees the Old Man come back to his memory, but more than that, is wearing a slightly embarrassed expression.

”You can stop there. What happened? ” Jiyo Kael prompted.

”He threw three trash cans full of smelly garbage on the sunroof of my Mercedes Benz. Then a post with a cardboard notice was attached to it, saying: If you make a lot of dirt and don and clean yourself up, this is what will happen, you bad boy!

”Fuck, ” Jiyo Kael said, turning his head and laughing out loud.

”Fuck really, ” Edward agreed.

”A nut case then. What happened? Did you imprison him? ”

”He was imprisoned but only briefly so that he would not turn my Mercedes into trash. He just wants a job, he will definitely do it. ”

”You got him out of jail? ” Jiyo Kael couldn believe what he heard. ”Just a moment. He broke your Mercedes, stalked you, humiliated you in public, and you put him out of jail, then proceeded with his project. If you and him. . .? ”

Jiyo Kael raised his outstretched fingers.

Edward laughed, quickly falling into a series of wet coughs in the damp air. ”Im a married man, for Gods sake, ” Edward said. ”And yet, a girl like this wouldn have any romantic inclination with an old codger like me. ”

Given how much power the Elder has and his billions in value, Jiyo Kael is seriously skeptical. ”Then why? ” he said.

Edward shrugged. ”I really do not know. Something about him caught my attention, I suppose. His perseverance and belief in his own work. The amount of time he devoted to trying to remove it from the earth. But most of all, the risks hes willing to take. ”

Edward sat down for a moment, then looked up at Jiyo, the skin around his eyes wrinkled.

”I remember myself when I was young and full of fresh energy. I knew I had the answers to all the worlds problems. Damn it Jiyo, he young me again! ”

Jiyo Kael leaned over with new respect. He laughed again. ”For me, youve already fallen for him, that you
e already in-love with him? ”

”No, you don understand. My wife and I haven had a child yet. She would have been the first. Shes more like a child to me than anything. ” Suddenly his face dropped and he looked at the deck, seemingly getting old again. ”And now hes gone, and I can bury the rest of him. ”

”We have no choice if you want to survive here, ” Jiyo Kael said. ”We can have a chance for anyone to know what happened there. ”

Edward nodded sadly. ”I know. ”

Jiyo Kael bit his answer with nothing left even to bury. ”We have no choice, ” he repeated.

”So still, I gathered a small group of top scientists, ” Edward continued, as if his Stalker had not spoken, ”and they looked at his idea. Most of them agreed that it was impossible. The couple said it was a million in one shot. ”

”So you bought the island for a million in one shot. ”

Edward nodded, looking back at Linapacan Island, Palawan with a sad expression.

The clouds darkened and the wind grew stronger. Aside from the boat lights, the night was dark. The gray sea was flowing higher, and as Jiyo Kaels eyes followed Edwards stare, it seemed to him a scene from some drama. All that was missing was the flash of lightning and the successive thunder to add the final touches.

”But damn me, Jiyo Kael, ” the Old Man said quietly. ”He did. He really went ahead and did it. ”

”Get ready, gentlemen, ” the boatman called, slowing the engine as the boat stopped at the dock.

As it bumped and collided with the brickwork, Jiyo Kael gave Edward Wills help climbing the stairs. When he reached the top and stepped on the beach, a small ball of earth that had stuck between the heel and sole of his shoe when he was at The Hole, fell off. It fell to the ground, broke, the six eggs that lay in the middle of it were thrown clear. The tiny eggs rolled towards the side of the dock.

Five eggs fell into the sea, their embryos withering under the attack of salt water. But one rolled into a narrow crack on the beach and clung to it.


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