Neo Geisha by Monica L. Patton Genre: Steamy Thriller
Philomene Doucette is a made-to-order assassin, and death never looked so good. Smuggled into Japan to carry out a kill, she finds herself enmeshed in a web of half-truths and shadow agendas. When the carnage exacts a personal toll, Philomene takes it all on--like the beautiful monster she was programmed to be.
"The characters are intriguing and the storyline pulled me in from the first page. The family dynamic, power struggles, and mystery surrounding the disappearance of... the perfect concoction for a page-turner." - Sara Fields, Book Club Moderator, The Phenomenal Women Group
She stood in the opulent foyer with her back against him. The top of her black, very tight,
very short dress was pulled down, exposing her tawny brown skin. She leaned on him for
support as he branded the side of her neck with his lips. One hand caressed her generous
chest while the other, wet with her need, teased the swollen bud atop her sex. She turned
around to taste him. Their tongues wrestled for control as she slowly backed him up
toward the living room. With her mouth still locked onto his, she unbuttoned his pants,
pushed him down on the couch and swiftly mounted him.
His cadence steady, her rhythm sure as passion surged between them. A tiny thread of
sadness crept inward.
That is all she would allow. As she reached up and undid the clasp of her barrette, a
cascade of inky black waves tumbled down and around her shoulders.
From the base of the barrette, she pulled an ornate jewel, unsheathing a needle coated
with a sticky white substance. As her hips increased their tempo, she stroked the top of
his head and peppered him with feathery kisses. He was near to completion when he
called out her name.
Her rhythm faltered. She hated that name.
He opened his eyes. "Sophie?"
She inserted the needle between his top two vertebrae.
He froze with a look of mild surprise on his face. He tried to speak, but his mouth
would not move and, to his horror, neither could he.
"Shh..." she whispered as she placed the tips of her fingers on his lips and
reverently watched him struggle with the encroaching darkness. As he closed his eyes,
she kissed the top of his head, then said a prayer.
She always said a prayer.
Death was sacred, even if she was the one dealing it.
She got up, righted her dress, walked back into the foyer toward the console table
to grab her purse then up the stairs to the door just left of the landing. It was a steel
security door with a digital keypad lock. She reached into her clutch and took out a small
aerosol can. Upon first glance, it looked like hairspray. She sprayed the substance on the
keypad and when it dried, it left a residue on the keys from the oil that had been
deposited from the owner’s fingertips.
Taking out a cell phone, she pulled a cord from its base and inserted that into the
lock. She plugged in the numbers then waited for her modified phone to go through all
possible configurations in less than a minute until triggering the lock. The door opened to
a home office, ordinary in scope except for the almost half-million-dollar security system.
There, for one thing only, she detached the portable hybrid external drive and left the way
she came. She took out her cell phone again and this time used it as such.
Then, finally: [Click.]
"I'm listening," said the voice on the other end. Exact. Male.
"Seven," she replied. Flat. Hollow.
She put her cell phone back in her handbag then reapplied her lipstick in the mirror
above the entryway table.
Red lips reflected back.
The mirror shattered and red ran down her arm. Red dripped onto her very tight, very
short dress and it mattered none as she put on her sunglasses, grabbed the hard drive and
walked out the door.
She drove away in her black SLK convertible. Reaching into the armrest, she brought
out a remote control, pushed its lone button, then threw it in the back seat. A great boom
sounded as she neared the corner. In the rearview mirror, she saw smoke and flames
paint the sky black and red.
Police cars whizzed past her.
Fire trucks followed.
She drove--down the Hudson, through the Catskills and across the Delaware until
the light of dusk stained the horizon. When she saw a tiny, out-of-the-way cottage, she
stopped, and sat motionless in the car, like a robot out of charge
Minutes passed before she slowly looked around and her eyes brightened with the
remembrance of how she came to be there.
She got out of the car and walked toward the front door of the cottage. As she
opened it, she dropped her keys on the floor. Their clattering sound reminded her of spent
shell casings. She pulled her dress off from over her head and threw it down alongside
her keys, then walked toward the back of the cottage, through the open patio doors, and
dove into the pool lying beyond it.
She submerged herself completely, reveling in the cold sting of the water, and
remained there till the air in her lungs burned for release. The butterflies took flight.
Always the butterflies, as she unfolded within herself and pushed out her darker self, who
found no issue with killing.
When she emerged from the water, a young woman stood at the pool's edge with a
towel extended. Blonde. Green-eyed. Knowing. She watched as her bronze mistress, who
was barely older than she, stepped out of the pool and into her waiting arms. She dried
her hair with the towel then wrapped it around her as she hummed a lullaby for only her
mistress to hear. As she led her into the great room, the song quieted the fluttering in her
A tall Asian man stood waiting. Lean. Muscular. Handsome--almost pretty. He
nodded, ever so slightly. The petite blonde released her and disappeared into the
Without a word, he walked into the bedroom and moments later, returned with a
robe. Philomene was motionless as he placed the robe on her. He guided her over to the
couch, sat her down, then sat down beside her.
He turned to her.
"Not now, Tadakai." Philomene stayed facing forward.
He faced front again. "He affected you."
“I don’t know.” She leaned forward with her head down, elbows propped on her
knees. "He was...kind."
Tadakai did not respond.
"How much time do we have?"
"None. We leave in the morning."
Philomene sat back. "Are we in play then?"
Tadakai walked over to the bar and poured drinks, scotch on the rocks for him,
bourbon straight up for her.
She took a deep breath. "I'm tired."
"Don't." He handed her the drink.
She took a large swig, savoring the slow burn down her throat, then took another
and finished it. Her face warmed but she felt her insides cold.
Tadakai observed Philomene's internal battle, but it was short-lived. In an instant,
the light went out in her eyes. "Come." He stood up and extended his hand. "You should
Philomene put her hand in his without argument. She was tired but sleep would
elude her as it had for the past couple of nights. Death filled her dreams, but whose she
did not know.
Tadakai walked her to her room and stopped at the door.
Philomene stood motionless with her back to him, willing him to cross the
"I'll do one last sweep of the area before I lock down for the night."
Philomene nodded as she turned to face him.
He nodded slightly then made to leave.
He turned to face her.
She hesitated. She wanted to say “Stay,” but Philomene was conditioned not to
want. Not to want, not to hope, not to expect, only to be--what the mission required. She
had wanted to say stay, but all she said was "Goodnight."
Tadakai nodded and left.
Philomene closed the door and stared at nothing. She had been feeling unsettled
of late, which was unusual because most times she did not feel anything at all. She sensed
a presence and wondered if Tadakai had had a change of heart. When she opened the
door, the petite blonde stood with a cup of tea extended.
Philomene ignored the offering. "Can I help you, Sissy?"
"I thought you'd like something to help you relax, Miss Doucette. I know you haven't
been sleeping well."
"You cry out in your sleep." Sissy offered the cup again.
Philomene ignored the offering again, but she stood aside to let her into the room.
She felt that even if she had objected, Sissy would have insisted.
Sissy placed the tea on the nightstand. "Please excuse my familiarity, Miss
Doucette. My only concern is your well-being.”
"Sissy, I wish you would call me Phil. We have known each other for a while
"I don't think it's advisable," Sissy said with a shake of her head.
Philomene said nothing.
"Let me braid your hair up for the night, Miss Doucette. It will be so pretty when I
take it down in the morning."
"It's not necessary."
"Beau likes for you to look pretty," she said, then as an afterthought, she put on a
homegrown Southern smile. "Sit, it will only take a minute."
Philomene sat down on the bed.
Sissy brushed Philomene's hair till all the tangles were out. Afterward, she plaited the
long tresses and all the while, crooned a disconsolate tune. The ministrations relaxed
Make her stop.
The image of her Six-Year-Old Self flickered briefly in Philomene's head.
I don't like that song. She's gonna wake the butterflies.
Philomene stood up abruptly. "Thank you, Sissy, that'll be all."
Sissy smiled but it wasn't genuine or believable.
Philomene watched her leave.
I don't like her, said her Six-Year-Old Self as she corporealized in Philomene's
mind's eye to stand beside her.
With a faraway look in her eyes, Philomene nodded as she drifted back to a
memory best left unremembered.
The bedroom morphed and faded into a dimly lit concrete bunker. The hour was late,
and the same woeful tune Sissy had been singing was playing loudly from a vintage
record player. Six-Year-Old Philomene was being timed as she disassembled and
reassembled an assault rifle. Philomene stumbled over her task and with all mistakes,
Beau poked her with an electric cattle prod, sending 4000 volts into her tiny,
sleep-deprived body. He turned up the music to drown out her screams.
The bedroom reappeared. Philomene's eyes were moist. There was so much she
couldn't remember, only the blood. There was always blood.
Her Six-Year-Old Self took hold of her hand. You remember the song.
As she closed her eyes, Philomene haltingly began to hum.
Her Six-Year-Old Self joined in. It was their song now.
Ms. Patton is the author of Love & Southern Discomfort, an engaging musical about an old-money family, told through the prism of love lost, addiction, mental illness, and a harrowing family secret. Monica toured with the Broadway 2nd National tour of The Book of Mormon since its inception in 2012 (she was the only cast member to be in the company from day one until it closed in 2020.) Ms. Patton has worked with such notables as Jesse Norman, Diahann Carroll, and Freda Payne. She covered Eartha Kitt as the Fairy Godmother in Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella and sang opposite Jon Secada as the Narrator in the National Tour of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.