Chapter Two: Noir World Disorder
Chapter Two: Noir World Disorder
Prologue: Heaven's A Lie
The nightmare clicked back into place like a bullet into the chamber.
The place was a mess. Everywhere, corpses lay. They were all dead. Their faces had turned old and grey. They were in their graves, and the only cheer of the graveyard was on the air.
I wanted them so set me free. When all of my memories gave me pain, I wanted to give them up. But they weren't leaving me. The more I tried to get away, the more I got entangled in the poisoned webs of the past. It was a gaping hole. It was growing larger and larger.
As I continued to roam the ball room of Balamb Garden, which was a slaughterhouse, I knew that, the core of my thoughts, my conscience, my sub-conscience, everything was about them. The ones that had died.
And as I roamed the room within the nightmare, I thought, maybe I'm dead. Maybe I finally died and my ghosts had set me free.
But I knew they hadn't. I knew one thing; heaven's a lie. A scam the priests had pulled on us when they couldn't get us to stand in a line.
And if I had spent all my time standing in line, they I was waiting to die and let this end.
Ellone was there.
She was holding onto her bloodstained shawl, talking to dead Laguna, Kiros and insane Ward. They were there, together... Representing what I can never have.
I had a chance once. Now it seemed like a novel I had read a long time ago, and then burnt down the paperback and watched it turn to hollywood horror.
A chance to have a family.
”Ellone...” I said, approaching to her. Suddenly, dark faeries embraced her, and hid her from view. When they retreated, she was glaring back at me, the only she-devil left from my past.
Betrayal was feminine. Hyne had given birth to it within the holy garden and taught her the beauty of the lies. The art of deceit.
And now, Ellone was blaming me.
”WHY DID YOU LET THIS HAPPEN TO ME!? HOW CAN YOU LET THIS HAPPEN!? WHY!?”
Her screams became totally morbid, and something that made your eardrums burst as your own blood came out of your ears. I heard my own scream and known that, it was my last scream.
Only it was not.
And I was forced to go on.
Ellone grabbed me by the throat and pressed me down to the ground.
I felt like I was falling...
Part One: A Thin Red Line
When you were waking up, the world would spin as a blur. What once was clear to you within the nightmare walks away, mocking you more as you're left with questions only.
I tried to stop the world from moving so fast. The tornado was taking me with it. The pain was gone, and the tiredness was all over my body. I was just like Lazarhus after he had been brought back from the dead.
The only part we weren't alike was that I was dead.
A face came into my view. It was blurred first, the bloodstained skull of guilt was glaring down on me. I knew I couldn't escape from it. All I could do was to fight... And die in vain.
”Are you okay?” the skull asked me.
Why did they had to come back to me again? A candle came into my view, and the shadows leapt higher and they shook with laughter. Their laughters were the laughters of the one who was taking pleasure from pain, pain from pleasure.
”Can you speak?” the old woman asked me.
I saw the lights, but it only gave me pain that I didn't want to endure. I closed my eyes. I suddenly jumped up, and the world span again so fast that my vision went black and I fell on my knees, my knee caps sending sparkles of pain through my entire body. I wanted to scrape the pain out of my skull to stop my blood pressure pounding against my bullet-holed temples.
She briefly told me that I had fallen to her balcony. I knew it wasn't the whole truth, but I didn't care. All I wanted to do was to get up and get back on my track.
I got dressed and put on the cold clothes which gave pain to my wounds. The rain was falling down outside. The streets were being washed with the blessing of Hyne, raining down.
I gave the common informant a call with the phone in the house that gran owned. To get a list of Evan's hideouts. First one was a motel outside Timber. It was run by his second-hand-man, more of a whiner than him, named Max Eypne. Max was supposed to be the man who knew too little and paid not to think- but it seemed as if he thought a lot.
From what I had seen in my crime-web investigations, Max had been this one man stuck in the Balamb Fish net, and he couldn't get out. He would be grilled for dinner if he tried.
The old woman sat down in front of her TV and switched it on as I was about to walk into the night again.
”And tonight, Galbadia's war against the one-man-army has gotten back to it's tracks, after the miraclous breakout of Squall Leonhart, from the D-District Prison.
Squall Leonhart, his case which had been put before the court on a full criminal trial, has escaped, his partners-in-crime unknown by now. On a more tragic tale connected to him, Ellone Loire was found dead in a back alley, murdered with, undoubtedly a gunblade.”
The rest came as a distand sound of statics that couldn't get through my eardrums and get registered.
Murdered with a gunblade. Murdered with a gunblade. Murdered with a gunblade!!!
Those four words wouldn't leave me alone. They screamed again and again and again like the never-ending-re-run that has been playing itself in my head.
Then, as they showed a photo of me, the old woman gasped. She had just learned that the man she had just helped was the most wanted criminal in the whole world.
I quickly made my way to the fire exit and started to go down. The panic was rising within me, I had this urge to lose myself within it.
I slipped as I came to the ending of the stairs. I scratched my right temple, and a thin red line came down from it, as the rain turned to snow, a quick-paced snow and swept my wound with it's cold, painful fingers.
The thin red line I had passed was the point of no return. But now was even beyond that.
As I got to the end of the alley and got to the sidewalk, a spotlight came on me.
”Squall Leonhart! Freeze! Put down your weapons and lie down with your hands above your head!!!”
There were three cars ahead of me, and a lot of soldiers. I didn't care. Because Ellone was still screaming in my head, and telling me I was her only hope.
I pointed at a police car and said, ”Firaga!” and it exploded, throwing soldiers toward other cars. I pointed at them this time, and said, ”Tornado!”. The whirlwind tore them apart, and I managed to get myself a clear way to run across.
As I took my first step, the world spun one more time and forced me to fall down. In the whiteness of the dark sidewalks, I saw a sinister smile. It was inviting me to fall down.
I couldn't. I forced myself to take the steps towards the drunk idiot who was trying to get his car door to open. I went over to him and threw him aside, catching the keys. The key slid in and I opened the door, but the key was broken, and it scratched my palm.
Leaving a thin red line in it.
The pain made me pull myself together, and I got in the car, and noticed it had a spare key. Inserting it to the keyhole, my palm was starting to bleed badly. I couldn't care about it.
I knew this was Deling City, but I had to get to Timber first. I got the car started and stomped on the pedal. The car sped away into the darkness.
But the thin red line was an adamantine wire they had strung between both ends of the city exit, which was there to rip my head clean off.
I bent down as the wires cut through the top of the car, and left me with a convertable car which was useless in this weather.
It had tore through steel and adamantine, just like a knife had torn through my remanining life.
And that was all I knew as I sped away into the smiling path of the night.
Part Two: A Man Apart
The city had gotten used to snow storms as I slid through the thin ice like a man apart.
I came in from the winds and the ghostly whispers of the storm, into this cheap motel outside Timber, with the new funeral car I had managed to steal. It was my ideal vehicle, they didn't have to bring one.
The motel was a sad place. It was falling apart faster than I was. After all, I was still standing, but the motel wasn't. The colours had faded away, the neon lamp sign which read 'Sleep Spell' had gone out a long time ago, and never shone until then.
As I took a step to the road, I felt a sharp pain in my temple. My world span and I had to hold on to the car and the sharp edge of the knife not to black out.
Why had I lost my guide? My guide had been dead, leaving me in this noir world disorder, in the room of ultimate chaos, alone to face all the destruction and the corruption within man's soul.
I gathered myself together and got to the door. As I touched Raine's blade and got that knife, I felt Ellone by my side. She was here with me in this last chance I had to find out whom it was.
Because maybe conspircay theories hadn't gone out of style as I had thought they were.
I walked in from the door, playing it boggart, like a thug who had gotten beaten up in a street fight. I had gathered enough conscience to remember hiding the gunblade, but the knife was in my hand.
It had a bar, and everyone looked tired. The hookers looked like they would rather die of starvation than to work tonight, their fake smiles to the fat customers, pretty obvious.
I walked through the place as the phone nearby me rang. I stopped. This really didn't fit the picture. The dime-dropper wouldn't know, Saladin was long gone, NTH, JJE, they were all six feet under. Then whom?
I picked it up with my bleeding palm, and asked, ”Hello?”
”Am I speaking to Squall Leonhart?” a woman's voice asked.
”Let's say yes.”
”My name is Lagoon A. Hurry. Go get Max Eypne before C.O.N.C.E.A.L. arrives.”
”Who are you? What's it to you?” I asked.
”I will contact you again” and then, she hung up on me, left me wondering what the hell was going on. I left the stool and stared at it as my blood traveled thorugh the smooth surfaces and dripped onto the cheap, moth-eaten carpet.
But I knew I had to go upstairs.
As I rushed to the stairs, bullets went in from the windows and a massacre started within the Sleep Spell's bar. The place suddenly became a graveyard.
But the dead didn't remain silent at all. As they died, the ghosts I had carried on with me called out to me. The dead wouldn't stay silent. They would keep on talking until you went mad.
They would whisper you from six feet under.
I went to the door upstairs and listened in.
”What? He's here!? How come!? What's it to you!? Shit! GET THE GODDAMN DOOR!”
I didn't kick the door open. I pointed at it and said, ”Firaga!” I didn't care if the thugs didn't stand a chance. I knew I didn't. The bullets tore the air behind me as I went in the room. C.O.N.C.E.A.L. was closing in.
”Max Eypne!” I said, hastily, ”I wanna know where Evan is.”
”I'm not gonna tell!”
”HEY YOU, FREEZE!” came a voice, and one of them said, ”Forget it, OPEN FIRE!”
”Protect!!!” I said, turning to them, to shield myself from the bullets. Gripping Raine tight and revealing it, I rushed to C.O.N.C.E.A.L. agents.
They had no idea what a man apart could do.
It all happened in a flash. I couldn't spot the moves. I didn't feel the moves. It was just the random act of killing, like a video game, or a dark fan fiction of a game. The paranoid feeling of this being controlled.
After they were done, I turned to Max. But he wasn't there. Suddenly, a huge backpack hit my shield and fell down on the moth-eaten carpet with it's fading colours.
It was packed with C-4.
I took a run to the windows as the wind fastened up to match to my speed. It was shaking the windows.
C.O.N.C.E.A.L. had just arrived. They shot behind me, and the bullets only tore down the windows. I got out of the window, and left to a two story fall.
The building behind me exploded. It went off like it had been triggered with explosives all over. The agents inside were spooked. But the explosions brought along screams...
It had been all but silent screams that wouldn't leave me alone. With the fire, the ghosts reached out to me, to grab me and pull me to their infernal chests.
”Float!!!” I said, and managed to slow down my fall, as the concrete and the steel crumbled down to the ground behind me.
I started to make my way to the magic-enhanced funeral car. C.O.N.C.E.A.L. was right after me with cars that had artillery on them. I had to turn to them.
”Firaga!”I screamed and pointed at one. The fireball exploding took it, and it crashed on top of the other as they both exploded. I almost fell, my bloodstained palm left it's trace on the window.
I got inside the car, and got it to working. It actually worked without attempting to malfunction at all.
As the snow hastened up, I looked through the handprint in blood, that has been on the window.
And saw Max Eypne get in his car, and drive away.
I sped behind him, and manic-depressive, paranoid sirens with the blue-red lights started to howl behind me. And the wind rose to join them in the chorus.
Part Three: Dead Wrong
I followed Max into the night.
As I followed him through the snow storm and the darkened, empty roads, thoughts were racing in my head. And the questions I had gathered together were like emptying ammo on me.
C.O.N.C.E.A.L. was in this... But a lot more than the first two deceits. They wanted me dead, and they seemed to have have a reason for it.
Then, I felt the loss of Sis.
She had kept me sane. The only one that had believed I was innocent, and that I couldn'tve killed them... She had made me believe I was innocent. She had been the tiny little light on me which went on and on and on and on...
...Until the shadows gave up and walked away.
And now she was dead. I totally believed that, whoever I had touched had died. They deserved to die because I had deserved to live.
The only choice left for me to make was the wrong choice. The wrong moves to make, the wrong things to do. The wrong bad guys to kill. The wrong weapon, the wrong move, the wrong position, the wrong time, the wrong place... Everything was wrong.
I was dead wrong.
Max pulled over near the suburbean area of Deling City. He would be safe there- gang related wars and drug abuse was the popular entertainments in this area. Any thug who had been high would jump on me.
I left the car somewhere and got off to it, as the snow fastened up once again, bringing a cold excitement to my cold heart.
I made my way to the streets. Some old man was lying down in an alley, dead. A prostitute came at me and asked if I wanted to have some fun. She looked poor, hungry and awfully, sickeningly young for her job. I gave her whatever Gil I could find and watched her disappear. Beggars were asking for Gil, and a drug dealer was arguing with a hooker on the price of a standart dose of Stealth.
But, believe it or not, the one who tells it can't get worse, is dead wrong.
Cause it felt like going home. The dark side of humanity, the corners in which we were trying to satisfy our deepest needs in despair... And I belonged to the night, to darkness. Because I knew nothing but darkness, and saw nothing but darkness around me.
But I had to move on. There was still a road to walk. No matter how deadly, bloodstained, dark and haunted it might've been, I was still searching for the answers to stick them deep underneath my heart and soul like blackened daggers into my back.
I walked in from the door of this pub, not even bothering to hide my identity, because it was one more or less dead body. And the necropolis we were in was still hungry for bodies.
It was time to let the bodies hit the floor.
But surprisingly, the pub was more empty than the graveyard I had been roaming in circles all my life. As I walked towards the door entitled ”Bar”, I knew there was no other way but to kill or to be killed. The only choice I had had been ripped out of my hands.
The phone nearby me rang all of a sudden, making me jump. But standing there wouldn't make it go silent. I picked it up, within the flashback of NTH, JJE, Saladin and many more.
”Am I speaking to Mr.Leonhart?”
”Take a shot.”
”Lagoon A. You must hurry. C.O.N.C.E.A.L. is on their way.”
”Tell me something I don't know.”
”They're after both you and Max Eypne.”
”Why are you helping me out? I must know.”
”I'm not here to tell you what you think you must know.”
”Then why are you calling me?”
”To tell you no more than what you need to hear for now.” And then she hung up on me. All I knew was that, I was running short of time.
I broke in a run towards the bar door. I lunged in, bashing the door, walking in to the bar... As the screams rose in my head. Screams of the other mobsters slain in bars, dead at the tip of a gunblade.
Max Eypne took out a sawed-off shotgun and aimed at my face.
”Stay back!” he said.
”You think I'm gonna do that?”
”I have a gun.”
”I have a weapon!”
”Dead wrong, Max.” I lunged at him like a rabid bird Chirmera, spitting my posion of hate. I swung Raine and sliced the shotgun right off, as the knife in my hand went right through his collar, leaving a thin red line on the side of his neck. It was hardly a scrape, but it was enough to get him to thinking and obeying.
”Now, answer me, where's Evan!?”
”Look, man I can't tell you that!”
”Don't say that to me. Or I'll cut the answers out of you.”
He fell on his knees and I stood there with the knife in my hand. My hand was shaking, maybe it was because the knife was excited for more blood on it's cutting edge, maybe it was the only little sparkle of flame within my soul.
But I was no hero.
There were no dramatic or epic stories within this apocalypse. Just me, and the knife, and the crook. I had only one option, and choosing that would be choosing the wrong thing. And since it was the only one, it wasn't really the wrong thing to choose.
Call it fate.
”See ya in hell, Max.” I said, as I rose the knife. My palm tightened around the handle in an adrenaline-enhanced grip.
The door of the bar was bashed open by C.O.N.C.E.A.L. agents, as the ninjas came in from the windows.
”Squall Leonhart! Max Eypne! FREEZE! SHOOT TO KILL!!!”
I threw myself behind the bar stand, trying to drag Max with me, because he was the key to the door that could hardly be bashed open. Shrukiens flew at me with their black-widowish whistles of decaying friendship.
The game was getting rough within the noir world disorder.
Part Four: Allied Destruction
The bullets were coming at me like a horizontal rain, smashing the glasses to pieces.
Max Eypne had took a shot in his stomach, and he didn't have the strength to run. I was shouting curses and trying to shield myself with my arms.
Within the gunshot's loud silence, I could hear the shadows laughing.
But C.O.N.C.E.A.L. were still at large, at maximum too. They were ruthless as Death, careless as me, and they were into this dirt down to their necks.
”MAX!!!” I screamed, as if he was any different than any mobster I had killed. No story, no life. He was just another dead man. But now, him getting dead wouldn't help me.
It was ironic how allied destruction could become self-destruction.
And why weren't they leaving me alone? In my head, thoughts were exploding with every bullet.
Finding no time to think it over, I put Max Eypne down behind the bar stand and told him to defend himself as best as he could. I took a step towards where all the destruction was taking place like the feasts of my chaotic ghosts.
”SQUALL LEONHART! WE KNOW YOU'RE THERE!” came Glow's voice. My heart boiled with anger, the first feeling I had felt in eight years. He had betrayed me, put me in a trap. And his voice was the scream of a fallen ghost, the ones rested in hell, preparing a parade for me.
I hadn't been broken yet. Though the only strength in me was weak, I hadn't been broken yet. I was still standing. As C.O.N.C.E.A.L. approached me without shooting, the silence was foreboding more betrayal for me.
I had been the one in the crosshair of allied destruction, of all the people in my past who had been putting me underneath the soil, into my coffin. Their lies had blackened my soul.
”Why should I trust you, Glow?”
”Because I'm not here to kill you.”
”Come off it. Prove it.”
”I didn't kill her. I swear to Hyne.”
He had sworn to Hyne. Like Hyne meant anything anymore.
”C'mon, you're not really gonna hope I'll buy that? C.O.N.C.E.A.L. knows everything, you fool agent, everything. And I suggest you stay right where you are.”
”We didn't know about this group.”
”Lagoon A. They're a rebellious group of agents.”
Like I was going to buy that spineless crap. It was a lie.
But now that I looked back to it, I saw nothing but lies in everything. Lies that have been blackening my soul, they all came with their buddies, and the ghostly shadows of the past came along with the ride as well. My dreams and nightmares, my present and past.
”You can't prove that to me, and if you can't prove it, then it's worthless. I SAID STAY BACK!!!” but Glow had came across me, and he was aiming at my head with his machine gun.
”Glow, if you take another step, you better be prepared to kill me.”
”I am. I have waited for this day for years. For the time when the bastard who had been making us run in circles for years die.”
What was he talking about? Dead nonsense, but it wasn't whispered from six feet under, ergo, made no sense. He wasn't the proper one to tell me those.
I lunged at him like a schitzophreniac out of the ward, and Raine entered his chest. I caught the machine gun in mid-air, like I had been waiting to do this little Clint Eastwood stunt all my dead life.
I pulled on the trigger as hard as I could, and let the loud and rapid blasts of the hungry barrel soothe me down. It wasn't prozac I needed. It was seeing someone pay.
They had to pay for the unpaid debts.
I didn't even think as I killed the C.O.N.C.E.A.L. agents and those ninjas, I didn't even feel. They were just obstacles. Any obstacle within the boundaries of ”Squall Leonhart's Path” would die. Or change and be my allied destruction.
I had taken another bullet and fooled again. But now, they had to keep up to my pace or they would be twice as dead.
A ninja came straight at me with a stunt jump. I took the knife and slid it into the ninja's throat, and took it out, leaving a vertical gash across the neck.
I dropped the smoking machine gun and got to Max Eypne.
”I'm dying!” he said, ”I'm dying...”
”You can't die just yet! Not until I had what I wanted to have! You understand that!?”
”I'm dying, man!”
”No, you're not! Cure!”, my attempt wouldn't patch this guy up, but it could keep him alive until I dragged him to somewhere safe.
I took him over my left shoulder to carry him. I still had to get out of this building. Who knew that this place wasn't packed with explosives as every other building?
Destruction and war had wiped out humanity within this continent.
I took Raine and slid it into it's hidden sheath beneath my trenchcoat. I took another machine gun and took two more clips to go along with it. Firearms weren't my favourite type, but when a man had a choice in front of him, he could do anything to keep himself alive.
I got out of the bar door, and dragged Max alongside with me. He had to live. I was telling him all sorts of things to keep him awake. Stories of lust and revenge, of murder and mobster wars... The world that I knew well.
Dragging him as if he was my friend, I managed to get to the door that led to the street. I had managed to keep him alive.
Some real bright light came on us, and for one moment, I thought it was an angel from heaven... Or just Ellone.
”Squall Leonhart! Drop your weapons and surrender!”
G.L.E. had worked up a blockade in that back alley's entrance.
You break it, you take it.
Part Five: The Calling Of Darkness
So I have been pinned down in a dead-end back alley with a half-dead mobster in one hand, and a machine gun in the other.
”Squall Leonhart! This is your final warning! We will shoot to kill if you do not drop Max Eypne!”
”How do I know I can trust you not to shoot me dead if I put him down nice and easy?”
”We do not make deals with criminals!”
”Fine with me!”
Because every way would collide with mine. My way. My house, my rules.
”Firaga!” I said, pointing at a car, and it blasted, throwing a few cops aside. I held on to the machine gun and pulled the trigger. The bullets tore the air faster than the knife that had killed Sis. My only comfort.
”YOU KILLED HER!!!” I managed to scream out, as I pulled the trigger so mercilessly, that they knew they had to die. But killing them from a distance was no different than shooting a dummy. I let go of the machine gun as I started to run at them, Max hanging over my shoulder like the bloodstained shawl of Sis.
The gunblade took one in the throat, and the other in the chest. They died as they came, and there was nothing they could do about it.
I started to run towards a GLE car, because I knew that, fighting a close combat war wouldn't get me anything. Two officers moved in to stop me. I swung the gunblade to my right and the officer stopped it.
That made me lose control.
The kick smashed his helmet open, and he went down, dead. The other one rose his hands to hit me. I smashed my elbow to his face, and then, ripped his head, clean off.
Because who was I if I couldn't hold back basic GLE forces? Whom could I count on but myself? Nobody. No one was there, nobody was listening in. So my empty screams had to echo back at me.
I slowed down my pace as both the car, and the C.O.N.C.E.A.L. black ops ninjas that had suddenly appeared, closed in.
The ninjas were deadly, and I was trying to protect a man who was half as dead as me. Maybe even less than me. Whatever.
I screamed a battle cry as I used Raine like it was my own flesh and blood. They died as they came, just like the rest. They were all the same to me. The ones that had betrayed me.
The rain fastened up again to match our fighting speed. The rain was constant within this search. And it had went on throughout my last search for answers.
Numerous shrukiens entered different sections of my body, one went right through my palm. I didn't scream, I couldn't. I opened the door of the car, and put Max in it.
After killing another black dancer of death, I got into the car and sped away.
My vision was growing blurred. The ghosts had started to rise their voices in a chorus. Their creschendo was burning in my ears and soul. The cut in my palm was killing me.
But I wasn't dead yet.
”Max!” I said, shaking him, ”Max!”
”What?” he asked, as if he was tired of it all. I was tired of it all. How could he not be?
”Where can Evan be?”
”Only one place, that is.” Max said, ”In the manor.”
”Manor? What manor!?”
”The old Surinel Manor. He was meeting there with some... I dunno, an old organisation or something...”
”Look, can I die now? I told you all you needed to hear.”
And then he died.
The pain wasn't sending sparkles to my brain anymore. It was tragically cut short by painkillers. It wasn't what I needed; some pain to keep me wide awake.
The wheel swayed, and the ghosts screamed in my head, the old and dead monsters of the decaying memories rose their own voices to make me hear their cries.
The calling of darkness was too hard to resist.