Black and White Chapter 1
"How's it going today, Bill?" A middle-aged man asked somewhat softly form behind the safety of his counter.
"Same old, same old..." The younger man answered, indifferently counting the bills and coins in his hand before slipping them under a small opening in a three inch thick bulletproof screen. "That should cover it..."
The two waved a mechanical goodbye, and Bill picked up three brown bags, filled to the rim with food and other essentials. Silently, he stepped out of the homely little shack known as the local grocery store and into the streets. He moved along with his chin pressed down against his chest, avoiding eye contact with the various vermin that inhabited the poverty-stricken pit in which he lived. Instead, he contemplated the lifeless pavement upon which he walked, a thoughtful frown on his face.
The slums of Sector 7 were a good example of how badly man can screw up sometimes. Those who lived there lived out of necessity alone, dreaming and working towards a seemingly impossible goal of one day escaping into high-society. Void of anything natural, it resembled a junkyard more than a village, much like one of those dilapidated towns in t.v. commercials with some celebrity trying to guilt you into sending some money. But this place had yet to see any charity in its long years, and none would argue that it was going to get worse before it got better.
Bill was the most extraordinarily regular guy you could ever meet. With his plain brown hair and eyes to match, he was the sort of person who couldn't help but simply fade into the background. Nothing all that distinguishable about him, it was hard to imagine him doing anything outside of what he already did everyday while finishing his errands. To beat a dead horse, Bill was nothing special.
"Don't say a word, and give me your wallet..."
Bill turned his head towards the voice. In the darkness of an alley, he noticed a scuffle.
"What's wrong with you? Don't you understand english?"
Curiosity overwhelming his usually unadventurous mind, he made a few strides closer in hopes of getting a better look. He saw immediately that there were two men, one of which seemed to be mugging the other.
The assailant looked like he was close to thirty years old, but acted more like some punk teenager. With his bright red mohawk and sleeveless open leather jacket, it was hard to see him as anything but a common street criminal. For Bill, seeing this thug known as Evan commit some sort of crime had become practically a daily occurrence.
The victim was something a little bit different, though. He was a dark man, maybe just a bit bigger than Evan, with uncontrollable black hair that reminded one of a hedgehog. A strong looking specimen, he would have seemed perfectly capable of handling his own problems, if not for the fact that he was bleeding profusely from a good number of holes in his chest and gut. He resembled an already dead carcass, ripe for some predator to come feast upon.
"Man," Evan began with a frustrated groan, opening what he found to be an empty wallet and letting the injured man sag almost discretely to the ground. "I should have figured a bum like you wouldn't have any money...Nothing but a fucking waste of time..." With these words, he gave the man a swift steel-toed kick to the abdomen. The wounded man rolled off his hands and knees upon the impact, moaning in wretched pain as he coughed thick specks of blood onto the cold concrete. The thug only smiled at this.
"T-That's enough, Evan..." Bill mumbled aloud from a distance in a rare moment of courage. "Leave the poor man alone..."
"Stay out of this, freak." He called, turning on his heel to face the wannabe-hero "You shouldn't stick your nose where it doesn't belong..."
"You do this sort of thing all the time..." The smaller man recoiled a bit as Evan pulled a knife from out of his pocket. "...J...Just leave the guy alone."
A broad smirk appeared upon the thug's mouth as he stood within a foot of Bill's face. Trembling rather nervously, Bill was surprised to find himself standing his ground against the intimidating Evan. Bravery wasn't ordinarily one of his attributes. Maybe he was just paralyzed with fear...
Unimpressed by the smaller man's bravado, Evan swung his knife backwards, but as he stabbed forward, he was stunned to find that the knife was no longer in his hand, but instead under his jaw. He didn't even have the chance to scream before he felt the dagger cut deep into his jugular, quickly proceeding to dig past the skin and muscle almost all the way to the bone, before mercilessly slitting his throat. A thin stream of dark red liquid spat out from the laceration, and Evan desperately gripped his hand around the gash in a futile attempt to slow the intense blood loss. He fell to his knees, wheezing useless breaths as his life began to escape him. It was only another minute or so before he was dead.
Overtop the slaughtered man stood he who had only but a few moments ago been Evan's prey. Knife in his hand and his golden eyes shimmering a violent lust for blood, the dark man now looked to be the perfect image of a hunter. It was unsettling how rapidly the tables had turned...
Bill could do nothing but watch as the exhausted man collapsed against a dumpster, clenching his arm tightly against his stomach and inhaling deep breaths as he sunk ever so slowly to the ground. It took a moment for the awe to fade and for Bill to snap out of his shock, realizing the severity of the man's injuries.
Drowned in sympathy, Bill rushed to his side, slinging an arm over his shoulder and acting like a crutch to help the man to his feet. He stumbled with every step, barely conscious as his blood continued to poor down to the uncaring concrete. Behind his golden eyes, there was an eerie sort of emptiness. He knew all too well what was happening to him.
It was dusk. The grass was stained an unhealthy crimson, and the scent of death was heavy on the air. A seemingly never-ending sea of corpses stretched as far as the eye could see, both men and woman alike, each and every one of them a look of horror on their faces. Some awful war had taken place here, and if there had been a winner, they were long since gone. Yet there was still one man, on his own in the middle of it all, meditating uneasily as he stood unopposed in the battlefield, drenched in the blood of a million former comrades.
He shook his head as tears filled his eyes. Why had they been so stubborn? Why couldn't they have just listened to him? This didn't have to happen, if only they had done what he asked. If only they had given back what they had stolen, then he could have sparred their lives. But of course, they had refused him, and he had been forced to give them what he had promised in his ultimatum.
He had always said that those who gave no mercy should expect none when the time for their judgement came. He felt no different today. True, his heart was heavy, but blood had been on his hands many times before, and he had almost grown accustomed to it. It wasn't going to shake him.
He felt their backs snap under his feet as he walked atop their lifeless bodies. He wasn't being so cruel intentionally, it's just that there was no ground left for him to step on, only torn flesh and cloth. He refused to feel guilty. They were the ones who had done the wrong. After all, thieves were undeserving of his sympathy.
He stopped as he reached the top of a hill, and gazed around at the destruction he had caused. He sighed in discontent as he brushed his black hair aside, trembling at the core. Still his demands had yet to be answered. Still he had received no justice. But what else was there left to do? He didn't know, but he would figure something out soon enough. He just had to...
He couldn't bear to be without her...
Bill stood outside a ratty little building, taking a long drag from a cigarette. The dwelling had absolutely puny dimensions, and is was all just one room. It was a miracle that anybody could live in there. Generic and cold, it took after a shed more than it did an actual house. None the less, Bill had still come to call it his home.
He flicked the cigarette from his mouth, and crushed it under his foot. He didn't smoke habitually. In fact, he had kicked the enslavement to it a few years back. But the days past had brought him much grief, and at the moment he believed the small white 'death-sticks' were the only means of relaxing him. It had been a craving he was unfortunately unable to resist.
He stared at the dark grey ashes on the ground for a minute or so, contemplating the experiences he had over the past couple nights. Only 48 hours had past since he had seen the black haired man bleeding so incessantly in the streets. What a day that had been...
He felt an uncomfortable chill run up his spine, and he immediately reached for another cigarette. The guy had 26 bullet wounds in his body. 26. Bill had counted himself. As if that wasn't enough to kill a man, on his stomach, he had this massive stab wound about a foot long and an inch and a half thick. And to top it all off, he even seemed to have some severe sort of illness that Bill could only assume was a bizarre sort of poisoning. There was no doubt about it, the guy should have most definitely been dead. It was absolutely preposterous to think that anybody could have survived such a thorough assassination. But none the less, there he was in Bill's bed, still gasping for air, and very much alive.
He hadn't noticed until now that he had yet to change clothes since that night. Needless to say, what he was wearing was ruined. Stained by countless red blotches that could probably never be washed off, his pants, coat and shirt were actually what disturbed him the least out of all the annoying little things that he had dealt with recently. It was probably the smell that bothered him the most. He still reeked of dried blood that was not his own. The stench of it inside his nostrils was nauseating, and he simply couldn't stand it anymore. He was sure it would drive him insane if he were not rid of it very soon.
He tilted his head backwards and emptied his lungs of a thick grey puff of smoke. He watched it for a brief moment as it slowly disappeared, lost deep in his own thoughts. He was a little bit frightened, to be honest. What if the monsters who had committed such atrocities came to finish the job? Odds are they wouldn't hesitate to eliminate the man's supporters, i.e: Bill.
"I didn't know you smoked..."
A quaint but gentle voice was all it took to bring him back down to earth. Snapping to attention, he found a young flower to be talking to him. Average height and rather skinny, she was the kind of girl you'd take home to meet your mother; the picture of innocence and as charming as can be. Her clothes accurately reflected her personality: a pretty pink dress and a comfortable red jacket overtop it, with big brown gardening boots that were out of place on her thin legs. Her face, complete with emerald green eyes one could lose themselves in, was, simply put, beautiful, not one blemish to be found on her pale but otherwise perfect skin. Despite it all, the most striking thing about her would have to have been her ever-present smile. Warm, disarming, and above all captivating, it was almost enough to make you fall in love with her on its own.
"I don't...generally..." He said before pulling the cigarette from his mouth and tossing it aside. "Anyway," He began as he made an attempt to steer the conversation elsewhere. "How's it going, Aeris?"
"Fine." She confessed with a cute little shrug, twisting a lock of gleaming chestnut colored hair around her finger. "I've been spending a lot of time in the garden, and I think it's coming along nicely."
"You do have one hell of a green thumb..." He nodded with a polite grin on his lips, loathing the awkward silences he often found himself trapped in while talking to any girl.
"Yeah..." She giggled a little, despite the absence of any real humor to the comment. "Oh, how rude of me." She started anew after a brief pause, looking over her shoulder and pointing a thumb "Have you two met?"
He wasn't all that big a man, kind of scrawny and a little bit short, but he carried himself as though he were much larger. With his stylized (or maybe just messy) blonde hair and sparkling blue eyes that almost seemed to glow outside their own sockets, he was almost too pretty for the 1st class SOLDIER garb he wore. His skin was soft and white, void of any scars or cuts a warrior such as himself should have obtained over the years. He was by no means the type of man you would think of to be a trained killer.
"He's my bodyguard." Aeris continued with a proud little look in her eyes. "His name's Cloud."
Final Fantasy 7 Fanfic