Shards Chapter 14
By Frank Verderosa
The next two months were the worst in Tifa's life. She was sick for two weeks, alternating between high fever and chills. Perhaps it was all that running around in the cold, perhaps it was just a result of the traumatic experience, perhaps it was the polluted water that she had taken a swim in, or perhaps it was a combination of all these things. In any case she became deathly ill. Her friends did the best they could for her, wrapping her in blankets on the couch in the Rat's Nest. Feeding her soup from their meager supply. Trying their best to keep her warm and comfortable, but for a while nothing seemed to help. At one point they almost despaired and were going to take her to the hospital. But she didn't want to go, and they decided to give her a little more time. Through it all Tifa lay in bed, not seeming to care, not even attempting to fight. It seemed she had given up, and that worried her friends even more than her physical sickness.
Even after she recovered, she was changed. It was as if all emotion had been drained from her. She never left the Rat's Nest, in spite of all prompting from her friends. She hardly spoke at all now, and didn't go with them on their reconnaissance missions to Shinra complexes. Her friends could understand. Dulane was still out there, he was still looking for her. Any time spent on the surface was risking him finding her. It was as if the Rat's Nest were her only refuge, her only safe place. But still, she couldn't stay down here forever. After all, what kind of life was that? They were all sympathetic, but at the same time they gently urged her to move on, to get over it. No matter how difficult it might be, life went on.
But their pleas fell on deaf ears. Tifa was completely unresponsive to any attempts to snap her out of her lethargy. They knew she needed help, but they didn't know how to provide it. They couldn't afford to send her to a psychiatrist, even if she would have agreed.
And there was a larger problem, one that was rapidly becoming critical. They were running out of gil.
They had never had much to begin with. None of their jobs, when they could get them, were particularly high paying. They had barely been keeping their heads above water before this had happened. But the reality was, no matter how much they cared for Tifa, she was a serious drain on their resources. They couldn't go on like this, they all knew it, but none of them had any idea how to broach the subject to Tifa. They could see she hadn't come near to getting over what had happened, in fact, they were afraid she never might. She didn't want to go back out, she had withdrawn from the real world, and her friends were afraid of what might happen if they tried too hard to draw her back.
But eventually, after two months, they had no choice. There just wasn't enough gil to go around. They had made a few feeble attempts before to draw her out of her shell, but to no avail. But now, whether they liked it or not, they had to do something.
Jessie was the first to broach the subject. It was early evening. They were getting ready to go out and scout another Shinra manufacturing plant. By this time they didn't even bother to ask Tifa is she wanted to come along. They all knew the answer.
"Things have been pretty busy these days at the office," Jessie stated as she slipped on her jacket.
"Oh yeah?" Biggs said noncomittedly.
"Yeah," Jessie continued. "They seem to be doing very well. In fact, one of the secretaries quit unexpectedly, and they really need some extra help."
Tifa was sitting on the couch. All three of them looked at her discretely, but she didn't seem to be paying any attention.
"How would you feel about doing something like that?" Jessie said, looking right at Tifa.
There was a moments silence, then Tifa suddenly turned and looked at her.
"I said, they need some extra help where I work," Jessie said slowly. "One of the secretaries quit. How would you feel about doing something like that?"
Tifa looked puzzled for a moment.
"Working as a secretary?"
"Yes," Jessie nodded.
"I've never done anything like that before," Tifa said slowly.
"It's not difficult," Jessie replied. "The girl who quit mostly just did the filing. Anyone could do it really. I'm sure I could get you in, if you wanted to."
Jessie feel silent. Tifa looked around and noticed all three of them were looking at her.
"I...I don't know," she said hesitantly.
"It'll be good for you," Biggs said tentatively. "You need to get out of here."
Tifa's eyes swiveled toward him.
"You don't want me here?"
"No, it's not that at all," Jessie cut in quickly. "But face it, you can't stay down here forever."
Tifa looked from one to the other. It was obvious they all felt the same way about this. For a long time she said nothing at all.
"I don't know," she said again. "Dulane..."
Her voice faded.
"You know I work over near the garment district," Jessie said. "Dulane doesn't spend much time in that part of the sector. He's not going to find you."
Tifa looked up at her, and for a moment Jessie thought she was going to disagree, but then her head fell. She said nothing.
"You really do need to get out of here," Wedge spoke up for the first time. "We all hate seeing you like this."
Tifa nodded without looking up.
"I'll have to think about it," she said softly.
"You can't take too long," Jessie replied. "They have to fill the position. I need to know as soon as possible."
Tifa did not reply. She didn't look at them. Jessie wasn't sure they were getting through to her. She took a deep breath and plunged on. They had to be honest with her sooner or later.
"Tifa, we care a lot about you, but you have to snap out of this, you have to get on with your life. You can't just stay down here for the rest of your life. You can't live like that. And neither can we. The truth is, we're running out of gil."
Biggs looked at Jessie, a little bit surprised, he hadn't expected her to just come right out and say it.
Tifa looked up at them again. Biggs nodded.
"We don't make a lot," Biggs agreed. "I've been trying to work some overtime, but it's scarce. Construction just isn't that good right now. We're going to have a real difficult time if we don't do something. The fact of the matter is, we need your help."
Tifa said nothing, just looked at each one in turn. When she looked at Wedge he nodded his head.
"We want the old Tifa back," he said plaintatively.
Still she did not reply, just looked off into space for a moment.
"Please, Tifa," Jessie said. "It's for the best for all of us."
Tifa drew her knees up on the couch in front of her.
"I..." she began. She stopped for a moment.
Jessie was trying hard to read her expression, but she couldn't tell what her friend was thinking. Tifa's face had been a mask since she had gotten over her illness. It seemed to register neither pain nor pleasure. It seemed to register nothing at all. It was almost as if she was another person entirely. Wedge was right, they all wanted the old Tifa back.
"I have to think," she continued. "Can I think about it. Just for a little while?"
Jessie did not reply at first. She really wanted Tifa to say yes, but she had a feeling they had pushed enough for the moment. What Jessie had said was true, the position would probably be filled very quickly, but they could still wait a day or two.
"Sure," Jessie agreed. "Just don't take too long."
Tifa nodded. Jessie let out a soft sigh and zipped up her jacket. She felt better now that they had gotten this out in the open, even though it might still be far from resolved. She hadn't been sure how Tifa was going to take it, but she took the reaction as a hopeful sign. At least she hadn't out and out refused. Jessie didn't know what they would have done if she had. That would have been a nightmare.
"All right, we all set?" she questioned, looking at the others.
"Yup," Biggs agreed. "We shouldn't be too long," he continued, looking at Tifa. "Probably no more than an hour or two."
"Let's go," Jessie said.
The others filed out the door. Biggs, the last one out, hesitated a moment, giving Tifa a probing look before he left, but she seemed undisturbed by what had happened. Still, he wondered what was going on in her head.
For a long time after her friends left, Tifa just sat there on the couch, her arms wrapped around her knees. She knew they were right. She couldn't stay down here for the rest of her life. She was hiding from the world, and she knew it. She had to get over this somehow. She had told herself that over and over again. A million times, it seemed like.
And yet she couldn't.
Garren was dead. She was trying to hide from that truth, but there was no way to avoid it. He was dead, and it was her fault. How many times could she have stepped aside from the course she had followed, how many times could she have made a different decision? If she hadn't taken Garren's offer to work at the bar, she might not have met Dulane. If she had handled Dulane's advances differently. If she had told him no in no uncertain terms. If she had given in. If she hadn't run away when Garren had slapped her, if she had been there, he might not have gone out and burned Dulane's whorehouse. If she had turned around sooner after escaping from the apartment. If she had thought about him for a moment instead of just thinking about herself. If she had done any of these things Garren might still be alive.
But she hadn't. Garren was dead, just like her parents, just like her hometown, just like everything else she had ever known.
She was waiting for the world to end, but the world just wouldn't cooperate.
And now she was nothing more than a burden to her friends. She hadn't thought about that. She had been so wrapped up in her own problems, she hadn't realized what kind of effect this was having on them. She hadn't really thought about much at all lately. She felt safe in the Rat's Nest, it was her refuge. But even here reality couldn't be avoided. She had caused enough trouble in her life, she had seen enough people she cared about get hurt, she didn't want it to happen to Jessie, Biggs and Wedge too. She didn't want to cause anyone else anymore pain.
She sighed. This had to stop, one way or another.
She unwrapped her arms from around her legs and stood up. She looked around the room slowly. She kept telling herself to snap out of it, to get over it, to take Jessie's offer. Garren was gone, just like Nibelheim, and there was nothing she could do about it.
But even if she took the job, Dulane would still be out there. As long as she stayed in Midgar he'd always be there, she'd always be looking over her shoulder. As long as she stayed here she would live in fear. Midgar was a big city. Even the sector seven slums was a large area. She could live here her whole life and never run into Dulane again. But she could never know for sure.
And what else could she do. She couldn't leave Midgar, she had no place else to go. She had no gil, no friends or relatives anywhere else. She was afraid to stay, but she was just as afraid to leave.
She picked up the coat Jessie had given her to use, even though she had only worn it the day she had gone back to Garren's apartment. She had held back all this time because she was afraid, but she didn't want to be a burden. Her friends couldn't support her here. She had no right to expect them to. She was being selfish again, but not anymore. She was scared but she also wanted it to end. And the feeling, the feeling of bringing this to a conclusion, no matter what the result, was even stronger than her fear. She didn't care what happened anymore, she just wanted to get it over with.
She made her way slowly through the tunnels. When she finally emerged from the sewer she looked around curiously. The streets around her didn't look any different. It was cold, just as cold as she remembered it being when she was last on the surface. She wondered if it ever got warm in Midgar. She could hardly believe that had been two months ago. That had been in November. Now it was January.
A new year. She hadn't thought about that. New years day had passed unnoticed, just like all the others that had gone by while she was in the Rat's Nest. A new year, a new beginning. At least, for some.
She walked slowly down the street in the gathering twilight. She didn't try to hide, didn't look to see if anyone noticed her. She didn't care.
No, as long as she was in Midgar she would live in fear. As long as Dulane was after her. The only way out was to leave or get rid of Dulane. She knew she had no where to go, and as for getting rid of Dulane, nothing would please her more, but it didn't seem possible. He wasn't going to go away on his own. He had been here all his life. His business was here. He certainly wasn't going to just get up and leave. She could always hope that he got run over with a truck or something, but that didn't seem likely.
She couldn't beat him on her own. She knew she wasn't strong enough. Even if she was capable of beating him somehow, she didn't think she could kill him. In spite of what he had done to Garren, she wasn't sure she could purposely take a life if it came down to it. And that was assuming she even got a chance. She knew from experience he was much stronger than she was. He was a dangerous man, had killed before and obviously wouldn't hesitate to do so again. What chance would she have against him?
Sure, she had her friends. She knew they wouldn't hesitate to help her. But even so, Dulane was an adult, he ran a large criminal organization, he had bodyguards with him all the time. Even with her friends help, what could she really do?
And yet weren't they already in a similar situation? They were trying to fight Shinra, an organization that dwarfed even Dulanes. If they could take that on, why be afraid of Dulane?
Because Shinra was a faceless enemy. Because Shinra didn't know what they were doing. Because Shinra probably had better things to do than chase after some kids with delusions of grandeur.
It wasn't like that with Dulane.
Tifa had been walking the street, not really thinking about where she was going. She looked up and realized she wasn't far from Garren's bar.
She wondered how the others were doing. Dygus, DB, Kantrel. They had been her friends too, in a way. Was the bar even open anymore? Garren had said that he had made arrangements for Kantrel to take over for him before they left, or would have left. She also knew that Kantrel had run the bar while Garren had been away during the Midgar Wutai war.
She walked farther down the road, until the bar came into view. It didn't appear any different. She could see dim light in the windows, and movement inside. It looked like business as usual.
She reached the door and hesitated. This was where Dulane had first seen her. It was possible he was inside right at this very moment. It was possible she could be walking right into his arms. But she didn't care. She just didn't care what happened anymore. Kantrel and Dygus had been Garren's friends too, or at least, as close to Garren as the man let anyone. Surely they would have been hurt by this too, might even offer to help if she opposed Dulane. There must be plenty of people in this town he had hurt. If they could get enough of them together, they might be able to stand up to him.
She pulled open then door and stepped inside.
The bar was crowded, more than three quarters of the tables occupied. The murmur of voices she could just barely make out from outside was quite loud in here. Her gaze quickly scanned over the patrons, most of them ordinary young men in working clothes. She saw no sign of Dulane.
Tifa could see Kantrel behind the bar. DB was flitting through the crowd, a tray balanced on one hand. She glanced over and stared at Tifa for a moment, but then was distracted by a group sitting at a table near her. Tifa saw that Kantrel had noticed her as well. She walked over to the bar.
None of them had seen nor heard from Tifa since Garren had been killed. For all they knew, she might have been dead as well, but if Kantrel was surprised by her appearance, he didn't show it.
He was about to speak when DB suddenly appeared beside them.
"I can't believe you've got the nerve to show your face around here."
Tifa turned toward her, surprised by the bitter sound of DB's words.
"Dulane killed him because of you," the blonde waitress blurted out.
"That's enough," Kantrel interjected, glaring at DB. She returned the glare, then walked away without another word.
"What happened?" Kantrel said simply. "Last I heard you two were going to get out of here, then all hell broke loose. I thought you were either dead or had left."
Tifa hesitated a moment, glancing over at DB. The girls words had stabbed her like a knife. She took a moment to recover, then slowly gave Kantrel a brief overview of what had happened at Garren's apartment. The bartender nodded when she finished.
"I figured it was something like that," he said slowly.
"Dulane murdered him," Tifa said, nodding, looking at Kantrel hopefully. Perhaps there was something someone could do. "Do you think I should tell the police?"
Kantrel shook his head.
"The police around here are all paid off by Dulane," he replied. "In fact, they're been looking for you. You're wanted for questioning."
Tifa looked at him in surprise. For some reason, it hadn't occurred to her that the police might be after her.
"You don't think they think I had anything to do with it, do you?" she said suddenly. She felt a sick feeling in the pit of her stomach at the thought that the police might somehow blame Garren's death on her.
"No, they don't think you did it," Kantrel replied, reading the expression on her face. "You haven't been implicated. They're probably just trying to locate you for Dulane. Dulane want's you to work for him, he doesn't want you in jail."
Tifa was relieved to hear that.
"So what can we do?" she asked.
"If I were you, I'd do just what you and Garren had planned before this all happened, I'd get the hell out of here as fast as I could."
"But what about Dulane?" she questioned. She knew Kantrel and Garren had grown up together, had known each other all their lives. Didn't he care that Dulane had killed his friend?
"What about him?"
Tifa just looked at him for a moment.
"Garren was your friend and Dulane killed him," she said, a touch of anger in her voice. "Aren't you going to do anything about it?"
Kantrel looked at her for a moment before speaking.
"You've been watching too much TV," he said evenly. "What do you expect me to do, go hunt him down and break his neck with my bare hands? It doesn't work that way in real life. Garren tried to stand up to Dulane and looked what happened to him. I don't want to end up the same way."
Tifa didn't know what to say for a moment.
"So you're just going to let him get away with it?" she questioned.
"Are you telling me you're not going to?" he said. "Are you telling me you've got some wonderful plan on how we can get revenge on Dulane? Cause if so I'm all ears. Don't get me wrong, I'd like nothing more than to see Dulane's guts ripped out of him. So if you've got some idea on how that can be accomplished, I'd just love to hear it."
He rested his elbows on the bar, waiting patiently for an explanation. Tifa just looked at him.
"Well?" he questioned. "Let's hear it."
Tifa shook her head.
"I don't know what to do," she said. "But there's got to be something. He must have hurt other people. If we could get them all to join together somehow..."
"You really have been watching too much TV. This is the slums of Midgar, remember? Nobody here gives a shit. You think you can get these people to join together for anything? There aren't any heros here, including me. All my life I've spent trying to stay out of trouble. I haven't succeeded very well, but I'm still alive. And I plan on staying that way."
Kantrel glanced up, looking casually around the bar. He motioned with his head, and Tifa saw DB on the pay phone in the back of the room, eyeing them darkly.
"And if you want to stay that way too, I suggest you get out of town as fast as you can. DB blames Garren's death on you. She's been a mess ever since it happened. Not that she wasn't a mess before that, but still. Garren took her in, gave a place to work, even tried to straighten her out. She thought the world of the guy. She's bound to let someone know you've been here, someone you don't want to know."
Tifa just stood there. She couldn't believe DB would feel this way.
"I've got no place else to go," she said slowly.
Again Kantrel nodded.
"I feel for ya, kid," he said. "There's not much I can do to help."
He pulled a wallet out of his pocket. Opening it up he peeled out some gil and laid it on the table.
"It's not much. But it's all I can afford to give you. It's enough to get out of here. Forget about us, forget about Garren and Dulane, forget you had ever been to Midgar. If you stay here you're only going to end up dead, or worse."
Tifa stared at the gil. For a long time she didn't move at all, then her hand slowly came out and she took the bills.
"I'll take these, but for some friends of mine who need it more than I do," she said. "I owe it to them."
"Whatever," Kantrel replied, seemingly unconcerned. "I can't force you to go."
Tifa looked over at DB, then slowly around they bar before her eyes rested once more on Kantrel. He was right, no one was going to help, no one was going to stand up against Dulane. And she couldn't blame them. She was scared too, had run herself when she was needed most. If they were all cowards, she wasn't any different. It had been a mistake to come here.
Without another word she turned and walked out of the bar.
A set of headlights outlined Tifa starkly as she walked out into the cold. For a moment she felt panic rise inside her, thinking irrationally that Dulane had found her, but with a screech of tires the car pulled away from the curb and set off down the street. She took a moment to wait for her heartbeat to return to normal, then continued on her way. She returned to the Rat's Nest, but only long enough to drop the gil off. No one was there, and a few minutes later she was back on the street. She didn't have any plan, she didn't have anything in mind. In spite of the gil, she couldn't stay at the Rat's Nest anymore. She couldn't stay cooped up. Now that she had finally gotten out, she was afraid if she went back she would fall back into her melancholy. No, she wasn't going to hide anymore. She was determined for this to end somehow, she just didn't know how. If Dulane had pulled up beside her that very second, she wasn't sure that she would care.
She found herself walking along the river, not far in fact, from the very spot where she had plunged in to escape Dulane. The water, black in the darkness, swirled slowly by, the eddies and currents cutting through it seemingly at random. It hardly smelled at all.
She stopped for a moment to stare at the water below her. When she had dived in to escape from Dulane she had wanted so much to live, but now she wondered why. When she had first come here, when she had first realized that Sephiroth's blow hadn't killed her, she had wondered why Zangan had saved her. In spite of how she had felt about what happened in Nibelheim, or about being in Midgar, she had been happy to be alive. What was it that made someone cling to life so desperately? Could death possibly be all that worse than what she had experienced? When did you reach the point when it just wasn't worth it?
She took a step forward, standing right on the edge of the stone wall that confined the river here.
The water was deep, and the cold would numb her. If she dived in, if she just kept swimming down, she wouldn't fell that much, now would she? At the very least it would solve all her problems, and she wouldn't cause trouble for anyone ever again.
She wasn't sure how long she stood there, staring down at the water, not even really seeing it. But eventually she turned away. In spite of all that had happened to her, she wasn't ready to do something like that. She told herself that she was stronger than that, that doing something like that would be giving up, but she wondered if she was really just being a coward again.
She sighed. She didn't really know what she wanted. She didn't know why she was here, or what she was doing. She didn't want to go back to the Rat's Nest, and she had no place else to go. What was she doing out here, standing in the cold? What was she waiting for?
She looked up. The dark metal roof of the plate over her head hung suspended in the darkness. She wasn't in the sewers anymore ,but she wasn't on the surface either, not really. A whole city lay above her, cutting her off from the sky, pushing down on her like some oppressive weight. No wonder no one was happy here, with that above them.
She looked at it a moment more, then started on her way again, heading toward sector six. She knew what she wanted, she wanted to see the damn stars again.
She made her way back up to the upper plate, following the same trail she'd traveled with Drake. It took her about an hour to get to the top. It didn't matter this time. She wasn't worried about how long she would be. Garren wasn't waiting for her to come back anymore.
Eventually she found herself in the flagstoned plaza, the same one she couldn't find the last time here. This time if she took a walk, she reminded herself to keep track of where she was going. The first thing she did was look up. The stars were still there. She couldn't see many of them. The tall buildings around her cut off much of the view, and the lights that filled the night left only the brightest visible. Nevertheless she could see them, they were still there, twinkling above her, so far away that nothing that happened here could ever touch them. She found that very comforting.
She walked slowly out onto the sidewalk. She still had no idea what she was doing. But she didn't care, and it almost made her feel better not to worry about it. Whatever was going to happen was going to happen. She was going to enjoy herself as much as she could tonight and not think about tomorrow.
The Shinra building seemed to draw her to it, as if it were some voracious black hole. It was so prominent, towering over all the other buildings. It rose up above everything else, a symbol for all that Midgar stood for. She knew there was corruption and vice down below in the slums, everyone did. But did they all realize that it was just as bad up here? Did they have any idea that Shinra, with all it's gleaming metal and gucci suits, was just as corrupt, was no better than those two bit thieves who prowled the streets of the slums below?
The streets weren't that crowded. It was just too cold. A few people passed by her, none of whom gave her a second glance. A woman ahead caught her eye. She was dressed in high heels, dark stockings and a red minidress, even shorter than the one Tifa wore. It barely stuck out below the short fur coat she was wearing. She was strolling casually down the block in Tifa's direction, and even Tifa could tell she was a hooker.
Tifa stopped to watch the woman, who passed her by without looking at her. The woman's eyes were on the street, the cars passing, shopping for a prospective client. She was pretty, though she had on too much makeup, or at least, that was Tifa's opinion.
Tifa looked down at what she was wearing. Her clothes weren't particularly clean. Her skirt was wrinkled. Her shoes were scuffed, the jacket she worn had a small hole near the back waistline. She hadn't really thought about it, but now that she looked at herself she felt like a bag lady. The hooker might not be wearing the latest fashion, but at least her clothes were clean. She was well fed, and probably had a nice apartment or home to go to at the end of the day. From the look of her she wasn't wanting, wasn't in need. She wasn't even that pretty and she seemed to be doing well enough.
Was it really that bad, what Dulane wanted her to do? Was she just being foolish, letting her morals get in the way? If it was the only way to survive, who could blame her? She didn't have to work for Dulane. There were other people around that did that sort of thing. There must be. Or she could go out on her own. She had no skills, she wasn't going to get a decent job. Sure, she could find someplace to waitress again, but that wasn't going to get her anywhere. She could do that for the rest of her life and live in poverty. Was that what she wanted? Maybe there was no other way.
The woman stopped for a moment to light a cigarette, then continued on her way.
Tifa turned away. She knew she couldn't do anything like that, no matter how desperate she was. Why was she even thinking like that anyway? There was no point in worrying about the future. She didn't have a future. She was going to wander around until Dulane found her. And then he was going to have to kill her, because she wasn't going to go with him.
She continued on her way. It was a cold night, but it actually felt a little warmer up here. With no upper plate to funnel it, the wind didn't blow quite as hard.
Was that really her plan, she thought. Was she just going to wander around until one of Dulane's cronies spotted her and informed the boss? She wasn't sure. She didn't know what she wanted anymore. All she knew was that she was tired. Tired of running, tired of hiding, tired of being scared.
She was quite close to the Shinra building now. It towered up over her head, and if she would have looked up, she would have had to crane her neck to see the top. The closer she got to the building the nicer the area became. Tress lined the sidewalk. There was no graffiti, no trash in the streets. It was a whole different world.
She heard someone laugh nearby. Just ahead, right at the corner in front of her, two men stood by the door of a pub. She wasn't that close, but she was close enough to see the dark blue signature suits of the Turks. She stopped for a moment, surprised. They were facing toward the door, away from her. They entered a moment later, disappearing from view, but not before she noticed one had flaming red hair tied back in a ponytail, and the other had had a shaved head.
Rude. That had been his name. She looked around for a moment. She wasn't very good with directions, but if she was correct in her assessment, she guessed that she wasn't far from the alley where she had met them the first time she had come up here.
Small world, she thought. Here she was, just waiting for Dulane to appear, expecting him to show up at any moment, and who should she run into but the only other people she had ever met here on the upper plate.
Funny, out of all the people she had met here, one of the few who had treated her decently was a member of the Turks, the famed hatchet squad for Shinra itself, none other than the organization she was supposedly fighting against. Kind of blurred the line between enemies and friends.
She was almost tempted to go into the bar herself. She wondered what Rude would think if she told him what had happened. He was a Turk, surely he wasn't afraid of Dulane. If there was anyone here who could stand up to the man, surely it would be them.
For a moment she hesitated, then she lowered her head and sighed.
She was being foolish. She hardly knew Rude. She didn't know that much about the Turks either. But what she did know was that they worked for Shinra, they did what they were told, whatever had to be done, because they were paid very well. Sure, they might go against Dulane, if someone paid them to do it. They certainly weren't going to lift a finger out of the goodness of their heart.
No, if she was going to get out of this, she was going to have to do it herself.
In which case, it was begining to seem more and more likely that she wasn't going to get out of this.
For a long time she stood there motionless. Since she had left the Rat's Nest she had been wandering around with no purpose. She had given up, had no plan in mind. Had been just waiting for Dulane to show up so she could get this all over with. But now...now a desperate plan was starting to form in her mind.
She looked around suddenly. This was a commercial district. The street was lined with shops. Her eyes roved the storefronts until she found what she was looking for. On the opposite streetcorner was a small florist with a sign for a public phone in the window. She hurried across the street, her feet moving for the first time in months with a purpose.
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