The Orphan Chapter 20
By Kate Lorraine
In the back corner of the train sat a lady wearing a dirty brown shawl. Her head was covered by it and her body in a lumpy shapeless brown dress. The passengers of the train ignored her as she sat by herself in the shadows, leaning against the wall. The train to Deling went over a bump and jarred Rinoa from her sleep. She awoke and looked down at the filthy floor of the public train. She felt Alexandra pulling the shawl up to cover her head better.
"Why are we going to Deling City?" Rinoa asked.
Alex was silent.
"I might be more cooperative, Alexandra, if you would tell me what we are doing."
Rinoa felt the bitter silence cutting into her. The sorceress, Deling, it was all some sort of horrible plan. The realization did hit her finally that she was going to Deling City, where Ultimecia's base was. It was really too much of a coincidence. The sorceresses were in love with Deling.
"Rinoa," Alex said whimsically. "Do you believe in fate?"
Rinoa was silent. "I don't want to talk about Squall."
Alexandra laughed a little. "I wasn't talking about Squall. Anyway, he doesn't love you Rinoa, he loves me more. You've finally realized that. This is just lovely. Everything is turning out the way I wanted it."
Rinoa felt her fury building up inside her. "Why do you hate me so? Alexandra? Why are you so determined to ruin my life?"
Alexandra stopped laughing. There was a moment of silence. When she spoke next it was in a silent tone of sorrow. "What is hate, Rinoa? Hate is when you love someone who refuses to love you back."
"I don't understand," Rinoa said.
"It doesn't matter. I didn't expect you to. Don't worry about your life Rinoa, soon you won't be here to see me living your life. My powers are building, it is the time of passage."
"Time of passage?"
Alex laughed again. You'll see. You'll see everything in due time. It will be the last sight you ever see.
The train stopped and the bag lady in the corner stepped out into the streets of Deling. Rinoa felt such profound sadness then as she saw the familiar nighttime lights of her hometown. She was once a child who had looked upon these same streets believing that she would grow up to fall in perfect love with the dark stranger who placed his eyes on her. What an idealistic fool she was. In the real world there is no perfect love, no complete understanding, no one to truly hear these words that you speak on the stage on your own. There is just last night after last night, of giving the love that can never be returned.
Rinoa stood there without tears in her eyes. What does it mean to feel the most profound sadness of your lifetime, and not have the eyes to weep through? Her face smiled, Alexandra was happy.
"We are almost there, Rinoa."
Deling sat in his office surveying the last of Patricia's reports. The phone rang and Deling picked it up. The dim light of his reading lamp flickered.
"President Deling, this is Patricia, operation Doom is under way."
Deling rubbed his temples. "You spoke with Gains? He's going to lead his Garden against the other one? Are you sure? Wallace's death really cost us. Failure is not an option."
Patricia crackled her witch like laugh. "Gains is an idiot. He'll do whatever I tell him with a little manipulation. Don't worry, Garden won't live to see the next sunrise."
Deling nodded. "As soon as the two Gardens convene, I want you to drop all the bombs in your inventory on them. I don't care how many civilians die. I want the Balamb meadows burnt to such a crisp that all the bugs twenty feet into the ground will be burnt to ash. Wallace was a fool. He refused to use missiles on those terrorists. I think I can trust you not to let your emotions get in the way of your duties, Patricia."
` Patricia agreed with complete assent.
"Make sure not one of them survives, Patricia. I want that malignant cancer called SeeD eliminated from our world once and for all."
Deling hung up the phone. He sat back and sighed. He lite a cigar and took a deep breath. The end of Garden. It was truly going to be a wonderful world.
"Watch it!" A man yelled as he shoved the pauper aside.
A lady nearby walked up to Caraway who was eating at a nearby cafe.
"Mr Caraway, I think that panhandler is making trouble for the shoppers here. Maybe you can remove him from this public place."
Caraway grunted. He glanced at the old women who looked at least ninety. If it had been anyone younger he would have told them that he was a general not a parasite exterminator. However, he decided to help the senile women out.
Caraway paid for his meal and walked up to the pauper who was standing by himself in a corner.
"Would you come with me please?" Caraway asked. "You are disturbing the shoppers here. Let me take you to a shelter."
There was no reply. Caraway frowned, beginning to regret his act of charity. He reached over and grabbed the man's arm but in the process disturbed the shawl which covered his head. Caraway felt his heart leap to his throat.
It couldn't be. He was hallucinating.
There she was, her raven black hair a horrible tangle on top of her head. Her eyes glowed yellow as she looked up at him, her glare ferocious. Around her cheeks he could see blue veins forming a vine like design. It was the sorceress, the sorceress inside his baby girl.
Caraway glanced around. Where was that imbecile Leonhart? Without another word Caraway reached over and pulled the shawl over her head again. He placed his arm around her waist and quickly began walking in the direction of his limo, as fast as he could without attracting attention.
"Please don't hurt him," Rinoa begged Alexandra as Caraway helped her into the limo. Alexandra scooted over and Caraway sat down on the black leather seating beside her.
"To the mansions, now!" he ordered the driver.
To Rinoa's surprise, her arm twitched suddenly. She did it again. Her arm moved across her lap. As the limo started up, Rinoa found that she could move her leg forward and back. Her face, her lips, eyes, they were moving again, reflecting her emotions instead of those of Alexandra's. She felt Alexandra withdraw to a small place inside of her.
"Talk to your father, Rinoa," Alexandra whispered. "Tell him that you love him. It might be the last time you will see him."
Rinoa did not reply. No she thought, I will not give you that satisfaction.
Alexandra chuckled. This is your last chance Rinoa.
Rinoa watched as Caraway turned towards her. Her old father seemed to have gotten a lot older since the last time she saw him. It was hard to hate him now, so hard. He was watching her with a mixture of confusion and worry. She sat there rigidly, knowing that he was probably wondering why those blue veins were retreating from her cheeks, why her eyes were brown again, not yellow.
"Can you hear me Rinoa?" he asked her.
She did not reply.
He sighed. "This is all my fault. I didn't take care of you. What would your mother say if she saw you now? You have every right to hate me. I was never a good father."
There was absolute silence until the limo finally stopped, behind the Caraway mansion. Rinoa had passed the time flexing her hand and allowing her eyes to warm with tears. It was a wonderful feeling, to be able to cry. One does not realize what a relief tears bring until one loses the ability to shed tears. She flexed her hand once more, watching those long fingers curl up at her command. They were hers again, these bloody sorceress's hands.
Her father looked over at her. She closed her large almond shaped eyes and allow the bitter tears to flow down her cheeks. Somehow she never though that this was the way it was going to end. That she would be so sad, at the last sight of him.
"Hurry Rinoa," Alex said.
Rinoa opened her eyes and looked over him. He was watching her, at the tears in her eyes, at her hands which were wringing each other in her lap, her long bruised legs which were peaking out from underneath the rags, her shoes were worn from travel, her necklace encrusted with dirt. She wiped away the tears on her cheeks, with the backs of her hands.
It was then when she suddenly realized that she had lost control of her left hand. It was reaching over to the handle of the door. She couldn't stop it from moving. Her legs were gone as well. She turned her neck toward her father one last time. Her last sight of him. Suddenly he didn't look so evil. He looked sad. Like the father she used to know. The unmoving oak tree that spread its branches over her, protecting her from the rain. He couldn't protect her now although she knew that he wanted to.
Her neck turned around. It was Alexandra's body again. The door opened, one of her legs stepped out. No, she would not leave him this way. She was more desperate now than she had ever been. She concentrated all of her effort into moving her face. With the last of her strength she suddenly jerked her neck around.
"Daddy, I forgive you."
That was all she could say before she disappeared into Alexandra. Alexandra got up from that seat then and began to run away from the parked limo. Her father did not come after her. As her body ran from Caraway's mansion, toward the Presidential Mansion nearby, Alex said to her, gently., "don't cry, Rinoa."
"Shari!" Deling said, gently scolding his daughter as he walked into his daughter's magnificent bedroom.
"No no no! How many times do I have to tell you sweetheart? No raccoons in bed!"
Deling walked over to his tiny blond chubby faced daughter. He sat down on the soft silk blankets of her bed and reached over to take her raccoon from underneath her covers.
"But daddy!" She said as she reluctantly handed the animal over. "He doesn't like his cage, it's cold in there. He's good. He won't poo-poo in my bed."
Deling shook his head as he placed his hands over the soft belly of the struggling raccoon. He bent over and placed the raccoon in his cage and walked back over to his tiny daughter who was pouting miserably.
He laughed, leaned over and kissed her.
"Go to bed Shari, Daddy loves you."
As Deling walked back to his office he felt strange, threatened, almost as though he was being watched. It was stupid. There were guards galore outside of the presidential mansion. Who can get it? Not even the tiniest mouse can sneak past those men.
"No one is watching me," he reassured himself as he closed the door to his office. He stood at the large window which covered two walls of his office. Standing there he could see Deling City in its entirety. His Deling City. What a magnificent sight. This was the rainbow city, where magnificent lights and architecture graced the streets. A meeting of the modern and the ancient. Esthar might be the more advanced but Deling would forever be the most beautiful.
It was for this city that he schemed and plotted against Garden. For the safety of the inhabitants of this city. For the safety of his daughter. He smiled then, faintly. Tomorrow afternoon, for the price of a thousand lives, he would have all of that. He would go down in history as the most magnificent ruler of all time. The most sympathetic, the most loved, the most lionhearted. The one that destroyed the band of terrorists which cruelly snatched orphans from cradles to be made into heartless soldiers.
For the good of the future, I apologize to all those that will die on that grassy field tomorrow afternoon. I am sincerely sorry but there is no other way.
It was then when he heard clapping. A single person clapping, from behind him. Deling turned around and gasped. It was the sorceress, the Sorceress Rinoa. She stood there, dressed entirely in black, a skin tight velvet dress that flared out at her ankles. Her black hair was above her head in an intricate design of pearl and jewel. Her sleeves were large and they went down to her waist as she lifter her hands to clap.
A wicked smile was on her face, a yellow tint in here eye. She looked like a giant spider that had crept into his bed.
Deling stared at her in utter shook.
"An impressive speech, Deling" she said, "I've almost begun to feel sorry for you. Almost."
"Who are you?" he asked, choking on his words.
"The one you've been waiting for, William," she said softly, gently, like a mother cooing a child. "Well, I've come, finally. I've come to kill you."
"Ultimecia?" he asked, perplexed.
She smiled showing him her glittering teeth. It reminded him of the fangs of a vampire.
" It's time for you to die, Deling, just like your brother."
Deling suddenly began to hyperventilate."No, it can't be true. No, you are dead. You can't be here." Deling was studdering at complete loss for words. He felt like his knees were about to buckle underneath him. No it wasn't supposed to happen this way. It wasn't part of the plan. Why didn't Leonhart take her to Esthar?
Outside the room, a tiny hand knocked on the great oak door of Deling's office.
"Daddy? Daddy, I'm scared, there's something under my bed. Can I sleep with you?"Shari's voice came high and shrill as she begged her father to open the door.
Deling looked over at Alexandra. "Don't hurt her," he begged. Alexandra smirked, her purple lips curling up into an expression more frightening than anger.
"Shari, pretty Shari." She whispered whimsically.
"Don't!" Deling ordered her.
Alexandra stepped forward and grabbed Deling by his neck. She held him close forcing him to stare into her yellow eyes. She kissed him gently on his oily wrinkled forehead.
"You care so much Deling, it makes you all the more beautiful in my eyes." He was crying, tears flowing from his eyes, down the rough terrain of his cheek. He felt the sorceress against him her smooth skin felt like the scaly hid of a snake. She stroked his balding head with one clawed hand. Her nails were black, like the talons of a vulture. She was giant lizard that had crawled up his leg. The scorpion that was standing upon his neck.
Her fingers tightened around his neck.
"So good and yet so evil. So deliciously evil." She massages his neck with her left hand. Her yellow eyes holding his in one spellbinding trance. He couldn't look away. In her eyes he saw his life before him. He saw his brother, Julia, Shari all in one tiny black hole. She drew back suddenly. Her eyes widened. She looked very young then, very innocent. Her mouth was absolutely serious now as she said her final words to him.
"It's not too late for one last sight."
Deling understood. He turned his head toward the window where he allow the bright lights of Deling enter his eye, one final time. And watching, he died with his eyes open as Alexandra broke his neck. It happened so suddenly he did not feel the pain. All he could do was stare at his empire and know.
It was the most beautiful sight he had ever seen.
Author's note: "it's not too late for one last sight" that's pretty much what the entire chapter was based on. A couple of weeks back I read this poem on Lot's Wife, I forgot who wrote it. Some Russian poet, I believe. In the translate there was the phrase "it's not too late for one last sight." You see Lot was ordered by God to leave his hometown and to go forth and never look back. However, his wife looked back and for that one sight gave up her life. So of course, in this chapter, as Deling takes that one last look, he gives up his life. I'm sorry, I was madly in love with that phrase for weeks. For what sight would you give up your life?
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