Crimson Corruption written by Lance Schukies
Dean moves to a third world country to set up an IT business unbeknown to him, he is being shadowed by a corrupt policeman, whose goal is to put Dean in jail in order to extort a huge sum of money from him, this is a cat and mouse game which dean can lose everything.
First 800 words:
Arrival in Manatree – Feb 2012
Walking across the tarmac from the aircraft he first notices the smell. A pungent odour of raw sewage and rotting plants. At 11 pm, on this dark, moonless night, Dean feels himself merging into a surreal and dreamlike state. Lack of sleep isn’t helping. He pinches himself. These new surroundings are disorienting. It is his first visit to Manatree. It is also the first time he has visited a third world country. Listening to the garbled fluency of people talking in a strange language, he begins to feel like an alien.
Most of the people he can see are Manatree locals. There are a few business people like himself, but definitely no tourists from this late night flight. Manatree is not a tourist destination. Tourists do not usually travel to miserable dumps like this to either watch people rot or risk losing their holiday money to the extortionate fees applied by anyone who has even the tiniest bit of power over them. For example, airport porters. There are too many of them. All uniformed, with ID badges pinned to crumpled shirts. Poised and hawklike, only one step back from the incoming passengers waiting for their luggage to spill into view. A few porters begin to crowd around Dean and the other aliens, each hoping to grab one of their bags and claim an outrageous fee. Dean brushes them off with a ‘go away’ glare and, for the more persistent ones, a discouraging wave of his hand. Dean notices a western woman who has red hair, and he is reminded of Vicki, his ex girlfriend of 20 years. He quickly moves his thoughts to his surrounding to avoid the hurt and tears that will surely manifest. “damn 6000 miles, and I can’t get away from her” he says out loud to no one. The nearest porter looks at him and seeing dean talk to himself quickly moves away. He is so busily engaged in warding off porters he fails to notice a man in a gray shirt watching him, Dean pulls his bags from the airport luggage conveyor and looks around.
Nothing about the Manatree International Airport looks familiar to Dean. The main building is old and rundown, built during the 1950s and never expanded. The paint is faded and discolored and, in some areas, peeling from the walls. The darker color beneath tells another story. Dean muses that, more than likely, a painting contractor had cut corners by slapping cheap paint on without preparing the surface. The scene is absurd. International airports are not supposed to look like this…are they? Even the airport staff look different; both from what Dean had expected and from each other. Their uniforms are made from cheap, synthetic fabrics and none look the same. Varying in colour, cut and style, some are even threadbare. Uniformity without uniformity. The scene is an odd one.
A number of armed guards are spread out across the airport, presenting their own contradictory image with unmatched uniforms and mismatched weapons. Some of the guns look aged and rusted. Even bullets lined up along belts look the same ages as the rusting guns. A few of the ammunition belts are complete and others have bits missing. There are gaps in ammunition holders, spaces where some item or tool should be and a general inconsistency in appearance. Dean had not expected to see this run down, private army protecting a government-owned airport. He makes a mental comparison between these men and the Australian airport guards. There is no similarity.
Dean reads a sign secured to a far wall. Written in several languages, he understands only one. ‘To the Quarantine Station.’ Throwing his bags into a trolley, he follows the arrows and heads toward the station to pick up Rover, his faithful ‘bitzer.’ He had been told that the dog would be available for collection after landing. Rover would not be carrying any disease unfamiliar to Manatree. His most recent trip to the veterinary clinic in Sydney had resulted in the dog being given a stringent health check and a few unwelcome injections. Rover, he knows, is a very healthy animal. Dean is not expecting any hold-up. But, in this country there are other kinds of delays. Dean is about to learn that the staff at the Quarantine Station like to collect ‘taxes’ from visiting aliens with accompanying pets.
Again dean didn’t notice the man with the grey shirt who was standing next to the security officers at the luggage carousel, with his grey shirt he could have been mistaken for one of the Airport supervisors. Now with his phone in his hand he could’ve be mistaken for the security guards supervisor. the man wearing the grey shirt didn’t work for anyone in the airport he was there looking for targets like Dean.