Vote For Cold Ghost on Top Web Fiction 

Synopsis: Joel was just a regular ol’ park ranger, minding his own business when Yukihiro, a recently retired assassin for a Tokyo yakuza family, burst through a window and into his life. 

Now, he’s trapped quite figuratively in a web of deceit and danger that goes beyond the usual ‘hilarious misunderstanding’ and driven straight to ‘running away for dear life’. 

Will Joel survive the adventure? Will Yukihiro ever explain what it’s all about or why Triads want him dead? Or will everyone just be eaten alive by bears?


Chapter 12: Break Out!


Chapter 14: Tourniquet


Chapter 13: Linger

It was a rule, that Nathan hated clearing crime scenes. Chasing away reporters and the press, corralling civilians – it was even more of a pain in deep winter, given they had to stay in the bitter cold until everything was done.

He burrowed deeper inside his own coat, and stood over the cold body of one, Jareth Morioka. At least that was what they thought his real name was – his mug shot had a few attached to it, also attached to murder in varying degrees, arms smuggling, drug running and possibly prostitution as well. He looked to be a heavy hitter out of Hawaii, right hand to one of the crime bosses there.

What he was doing in the middle of Ontario, several thousand miles from his home territory and lying face down in the snow, was the question Nathan was hoping to answer.

Didn’t make any sense though – looking at the condition of the body from a distance, either a violent sociopath had gone at it, tooth and nail, or… well, a wild animal had done it. Like a bear had done it.

If there had been a useful thing about Joel, Nathan had actually managed to learn more about the habitat and animals, and he was pretty sure that the bears were still meant to be hibernating if he remembered his stuff correctly. Although apparently female bears woke up to give birth, but they were still technically half asleep during that time. Maybe it was really hungry afterwards? Nathan’s guess would have been on sore…

“Uh, Hart… can I drag you away for a moment?”

Nathan didn’t turn around to face his partner, not straight away. He was still mad at him. Oh, he knew department procedure. He knew he could have never contacted Joel himself and not have jeopardised the rest of the Organised Crime Unit team. He knew James had been in the right and done his level best.

It didn’t mean that he wasn’t pissed at James. Didn’t mean that James hadn’t put the call out to Joel, and Joel wasn’t gone; he had never even made it to the local police office. They had confirmed with staff that he’d been sitting at a booth by the window, ordered a burger and fries and as large a coffee as could be legally sold to him. He paid for his order, but never picked it up when his number got called. Now, he was probably at the mercy of some gangster thug, or his cadaver was rapidly freezing in a snowy grove somewhere.

Fuckin’ James.

Fuckin’ Joel.

“Uh Hart?”

“I heard you the first time James,” Nathan said slowly, turning away from the cordon. “What’s the sitting rep? Has this Ohno guy called in with demands?”

James was pale in the face of Nathan’s anger, but he wasn’t going to talk about it now, not in front of the whole damn department. James shook his head.

“Nah, nothing. He’s not called in, and we’re still trying to figure out how he snuck out of the hospital last night, let alone how he got this far from city limits. Apparently when he took off the EKG… thing, it should have alerted the staff that his heart had stopped beating, or that it couldn’t read his heart beat anymore…”

Nathan sucked in the cold air, and let out a long breath through his nose. It was possible he’d bribed someone then. Or they had been very lax on the ward that night, which boded badly for the hospital as well as their investigation.

“So that throws up more questions than answers. Any word on how he got himself out here? Have we tracked a stolen vehicle?” Nathan sighed. Hope of finding Joel alive in the slightest began to ebb away.

“Don’t know how we got away for sure, we have some leads… but we do know how he got here. An elderly couple, a Mr and Mrs Middleton were commenting on what a lovely sketch we were showing around, and how much it looked like that nice young Asian student they had met on the bus, the one with the hangover,” James replied drily, one eyebrow cocked.

“That nice young hung over student?”

James shrugged: “He does look kind of young… for an assassin, I mean. It’s probably a pretty good cover for him if he’s travelling abroad. The ‘hung over’ part, well, he was probably on a helluva lotta painkillers and just went cold turkey. He wouldn’t be able to get too far on his own, which is why there’s been a suggestion floating around that he had help.”

The answer flashed to Nathan – he was an idiot not have thought of it before: “Shit, the Gaos… They must have been protecting him from rivals. Must have thrown up a smoke screen for him to get this far on his own… Better bring in Gao Zhou for questioning, they’ll probably sing when news of this gets out.”

“Hart… Nathan… That wasn’t the suggestion I was talking about. Violent Crimes have no clue about the Gao connection yet.”

It was around then that that sinking feeling began to settle in Nathan’s gut like a lead weight. He’d spent most of the conversation with his eye sight darting around the crime scene. Now he stared at James, and his partner couldn’t make eye contact back at him.

“Why the fuck have Violent Crimes got anything to say on this case? It’s not theirs,” Nathan hissed, cold steel gripping onto his tone.

“Be reasonable Hart, they took the initial call. They could have sat on the call if they wanted to fuck with us, and I mean, genuinely wanted to put a proverbial spanner in the works,” James snapped, his face red.

“You mean figurative,” Nathan replied, his voice very faint now.

Because he knew the implication that would be going around now, without James saying it aloud. He knew what Violent Crimes would be thinking, what some of his colleagues would start to think, ones that thought he was a bit fast and loose to begin with anyway.

“We are talking about a guy who never even bunked off of school ONCE. Chris’ sakes James, I’m pretty sure he frigging sings to the animals when he goes to work in that cabin of his! He is not some kind of underworld plant!” Nathan blurted – he was trying to sound gruff, but he knew James knew better. He knew James knew he was freaking out.

“Doesn’t matter what we know, or what we think we know, man. Violent Crimes are already setting up to investigate him, they think he might be collaborating with this joker Ohno. They want to put an APB out on him, as a travelling companion,” James said in a solid tone.

“No… Someone needs to tell his family. He’s not crooked, it’s just an idiot schmuck who’s always in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

There was a hacking splutter, a great wet cough. Slowly, Nathan turned back around, looked down at the bloody mess not four feet away from him and swore, tearing off his great winter coat.


“The hell?” James croaked, staring at the bloodied and injured body of Jareth Morioka, as it began to writhe and cough in pain. Blood splattered across the snow as the man began to hack more heavily.

“Get your ass in gear, James, get a medic over here! And report the idiot who pronounced him dead, he’s probably going to kill the guy from frost bite,” Nathan snapped, skidding over beside the man lying prostrate on the snowy ground.

Gently, Nathan wrapped his winter coat about Jareth, and tried to move him as carefully as he could into the recovery position. Not out of any sensitivity or compassion – the guy was a scumbag, and if he’d been found on US soil, Nathan knew his charity would be short-lived, facing a death sentence a few months down the line. Even if Jareth lived through this trauma, he’d get the needle depending on the state managed to extradite his ass.

But Nathan had seen an opportunity. He might not be able to stop the wheels on this investigation by Violent Crimes, but he could certainly further his own department’s investigation.

Jareth Morioka was going to tell them what had gone down here before he succumbed to frost bite or shock. Jareth Morioka was going to sing like a canary. Whether he wanted to, or not.

Chapter 12: Break Out!


Chapter 14: Tourniquet


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Author’s note: This is a work of fiction, and while I have done research in preparation for this novel, I cannot claim to know everything there is to know about U.S. extradition procedures.

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