Autumn 1958 – She Wore Ashes Like the Finest Silk

 

Lee Hong drank a large swallow of the whiskey and almost immediately started coughing. I waited patiently for him to master himself. It took a good two minutes. Calm at last, he turned to me. He scowled. Then he drank from the whiskey bottle once more, an even larger swallow this time.

While he attempted to control his coughing I stepped through the curtain into his store room. It was much larger than I expected, more than three times the size of his shop. Much of what he kept here was not duplicated on his public shelves. Against the far wall was locked cabinets with doors of iron weave. Through the weave I could see jars filled with murky yellow liquids. Floating in the liquids were things that did not look wholesome. Nor did they appear to be quite dead.