5 Minute Read: The Meditation Room

R1 Gr 93: Spy Story; A Martial Arts Gym; A Satchel;
Hmmm… I liked my Round 1 Challenge story better!!

The Meditation Room

Help from unexpected quarters aids Devan in his quest to retrieve a stolen item.

Devan bowed. To the dojo, to the honourable Sensei, then finally, catching his opponent’s eye, to McFarlane; the least worthy.

“Hajime!” Sensei barked.

Without breaking eye contact, Devan feigned a backward step, while simultaneously thrusting his left hand forward to impact just below the solar plexus. Performing this correctly in full contact karate was incapacitating, lethal if performed incorrectly. His front leg swept McFarlane’s legs from under him, felling the larger man.

Sensei nodded, a slight lift at the corner of his lips. Devan had passed the test. He stood straight, hands at his sides and bowed again, in reverse order. The moaning heap on the floor, Sensei, and finally backing out, the dojo itself.

After a year of training, he would finally be granted access to the Meditation room. Now he had a job to do.

He was wary of McFarlane. He could easily have taken out the burly goon any number of times, but this mission required subtlety, trust. Devan, a skilled assassin, faked a yellow belt performance on entering this dojo a year ago, and all believed him to be a novice, seeking the glory of training with the infamous Takahashi Black Belt Clan.

McFarlane pulled himself up off the floor, nodded sullenly at Sensei Takahashi and backed out of the dojo, his dark frown never leaving Devan.

“A perfect execution of ‘kizami-zuki’. Worthy of the Clan… Sempai Devan!” Sensei waved his hand dismissing them.

The room emptied silently, as they retired to the gym changing room.

Several came up and slapped congratulations on Devan’s back. Others hung back, suspicion on their faces. McFarlane was not a pushover, and they knew it. Had Devan shown his hand too early? No. These were McFarland’s lackeys, merely taken aback to see the big man bested.

He needed to complete the mission soon. He was out of time. Grabbing a towel, he traced the rivulet of sweat up the side of his face, toward his balding pate. He glanced around, then covertly pressed his ear.

“I’m in, granted access to the Sempai Meditation room,” he murmured.

“Good. Get in, complete the mission and get out.” A dispassionate voice responded. “Card access to the meditation room. Behind the crouching lion, a panel. Within a worn leather satchel.

Devan discarded the towel as he stalked out toward his goal.

A shadow detached from the lockers and followed.


The intelligence was correct. The scroll wasn’t antique, although the satchel containing it might have been. It was a recipe; in the wrong hands, a weapon. Stolen from his employer. Devan was there to retrieve it before it went to the highest bidder. He silently closed the panel and turned, freezing on the spot.

“I know a trained killer when I see one!”

Devan was hoping it wouldn’t come to this. That he would have to face Sensei. Despite what the man had done—was doing, Devan respected him. He moved with leonine precision toward the old man.

“Better you had killed McFarlane in the dojo.” Sensei was barely audible.

Devan paused. Why was he still alive? Why had Sensei not yet struck?

He ran back over Sensei’s words in his mind. No not his words, but how he said them. The tremor in his voice, and as he continued to watch him, a slight tremor in his hands. He was wrong! Sensei was just another pawn. McFarlane was the ringleader.

“This isn’t the first time McFarlane has done this?” Devan said.

“He has never strayed this far.” Sensei replied.

“Why don’t you stop him?”

“I’m an old man. I can no longer challenge him. He pays me to look the other way… I’m an old man,” he repeated. “Be careful. McFarlane knows you are no novice.”

Devan seized the satchel and ran to the door. Checking the corridor, he said, “If he knows you helped me…”

“He can’t harm me now. I’m dying.”

“I’m sorry.” Devan spoke the truth. “Thank you.”

“You are most welcome. You respect the dojo. Others have forgotten how.”

“Goodbye Sensei.” With a slight bow, Devan slipped the satchel onto his shoulder and edged through the door, closing it behind him. He held to the shadows until he reached the main gym.  He glanced round the corner. A voice rang out from the centre of the dojo.

“Devan! You know I can’t let you leave.”

With no other option, he rounded the corner and faced his opponent once more.

McFarlane stood in the center, hands tucked into the belt of his Gi. “You won’t find me such a push over this time.”

“What gave me away?” Devan trying to distract, slunk forwards.

“The roundhouse kick in one lesson? No novice does that.”

Devan took advantage of the moment to lash out with his front leg, hitting McFarlane in the shin. The larger man grimaced but remained unbowed. The two began circling one another, each seeking points of weakness. As Devan moved, he could see where he had entered. There was Sensei, hands behind his back. Sensei nodded and moved his arm slightly revealing a Bo.

The two men circled again, and from McFarlane’s grin knew that Sensei has been spotted. Devan grew worried, McFarlane still thought Sensei was his man; maybe he was.

McFarlane began to bear down on Devan, pushing the smaller man backwards toward Sensei. Devan, sweating, felt a movement behind him. Had he made a mistake?

He felt the weapon pressed gently to the small of his back, his trust rewarded. Grabbing the metal rod, he feigned a thrust forward, ducking under his opponent’s arm and slammed it into his opponent’s head. McFarlane deflated like a bag of wind and collapsed to the floor. Devan had killed before. Having one more death on his conscience would be of no concern but might save Sensei’s life. He struck the final blow. He glanced behind to see a look of sadness cross Sensei’s face. Devan turned resolutely and marched out of the door, clutching the satchel. Mission accomplished.