Lin Page 10
distance. The space to their left is now yawning and empty -- they are running alongside the Keelung River, the banks of it a barren, wide plateau that might be mistaken for something manmade, like an abandoned airfield. The hills beyond the river are dotted with erratic streetlamps, while the river itself is sunken, mired in a perpetual low tide, barely visible. He once went to the end of the river, where it empties out at Keelung city in a rancid yellow swell of chemicals and pollutants, and stared out east, at a far line of lights in the Pacific that could have been another city in another country but which he knew were simply the lights on trawlers heading in to Taiwan.

He hears the disco club before he sees it -- the subsonic thump thump of the bass piledriving through his chest as if an alien is lurking there. And then the club itself becomes visible just around the bend, a converted

warehouse smothered in neon red and blue, cars lined up in supplication in a dirt lot adjacent. Atop the warehouse, tall cursive letters spell KK. One more K and we'd have a problem, he thinks. A searchlight has been propped up by the front door, and it swings from side to side, carving out 180 degrees each time, illuminating nothing but empty air, clouds of dust from approaching cars, insects buzzing past in brilliant white. The spotlight falls on Annie's car for a moment as it brakes to a lurching halt at the far end of the parking lot, the side closest to the river. He pulls up at the opposite side, alongside a dozen other scooters, the whole line on the verge of collapsing like dominos.

Annie is out of the car and walking at a brisk pace, away from the disco, towards the river. He follows on shaky legs, his knapsack hanging heavy on his sore left shoulder. The air is heavy like cotton; a sure sign that rain is coming. Behind him, a remix of a Western song is playing inside,