Shattered Dreams & Sleeping Pills Chapter 18

What Tomorrow Brings

By Wind Wolf

The phone was ringing; he could hear it from out in the hall. The sound was alien to his ears; nobody cared enough to pay for a conversation with him. There was only one person who ever phoned, and Rude knew that it was considered a terrible inconvenience.

The phone came with the apartment; the last tenant had worked from home. He was rumored to have never ventured outside after a mysterious incident cost him his hand. He disappeared one day, and his body was found ripped to shreds days later. The published report stated that a rabid dog had killed him while he was on his way through Sector Five. That was the information given, but when Rude moved in a week later, local kids told him of the creature that had taken the man's hand, and come back for the rest of him.

The loud ringing continued and Rude, temporarily distracted by his thoughts, fumbled for his key. "Stupid rumors," he muttered to no one in particular. Opening the door, he quickly made his way to the bedroom. "Hello?"

"Took you awhile." The voice was cold, and Rude was slightly surprised to find that it sounded very much like his own.

"I just got back."

"Did you do it?"

He said nothing, thinking back to his conversation with her earlier. Her words haunted him like ghosts of the not-so-distant past. Everything she'd said about him had been true; there was no doubt about that.

"Did you do it?" the voice asked again. The words were more strained this time, Rude could tell he was getting frustrated.

Finally, he shook his head. "She wasn't working tonight."

"What do you mean?"

"She was sick and got the night off. I watched the owner, some of his friends, and her replacement die, but she wasn't there."

"Did you kill them?"

"No, the owner cracked. The bar's probably closing down now. She's gonna be harder to find."

"You know what you have to do. Find her, kill her, and Heidiggar'll make you a Turk."

He hung up. Sure, he thought, only it's not so simple anymore.

He knew where to find her. Hell, he knew her exact address and apartment number! He also knew that she would be working a double shift at the bar the next night because of what happened. It should be easy, he probably should have killed her already, but he couldn't bring himself to do it, not yet. She was the only thing standing between him and his goal, but he hadn't been able to do it.

It was because of the other things he knew, and it was those little facts, both said and unsaid, that made him lie to Tseng just then, and had prevented him from making the kill.

He knew there was a blonde-haired kid in SOLDIER who had promised to protect her, and failed; and that she was in love with him, even though she was too proud to admit it. He knew that despite her new-found friends, she couldn't help but feel terribly lonely; that the five of them had started a rebel group, and were in the process of recruiting new members. Rude also knew that she felt useless among them, even though she hadn't said so. He could tell that that was why she spent her time with the leader's daughter instead of her fellow partners in crime. She had told him about her martial arts lessons with the world famous Zangan. More importantly, he knew that Shinra was responsible for the death of her father and friends, and that they had very nearly gotten her as well. Furthermore, she had accidentally blurted out that Sephiroth was the one she blamed for it all, that he was the reason she was in Midgar. She had refused to say more, but Rude knew what it meant; she had to die because of that mysterious connection to the company's reportedly missing general.

She knew something about him, he decided. Something that Shinra was so afraid would get out that they had sent an assassin to kill her, rather than just a couple regular troopers. They wanted to make sure she was dead, and that it was done right, without risking public knowledge. The fact that he was involved in an important, top secret mission sent shivers down his spine. What would they do to him if he found out what her connection to Sephiroth was? Or if he didn't kill her at all? If it was so important to Shinra that she die, why didn't they just send someone who was already a Turk, and not risk whatever secret she held getting out to someone who wasn't loyal?

This thought brought even more questions to Rude's mind. Was he really loyal to Shinra? Or was he just playing along because he had nothing better to do? Even more strange was why he was thinking about it, period. How could one conversation with a lonely bar hostess make him question everything he had taken as irrefutable?

Dropping his coat on the bed, he left the room only to return shortly with a beer in each hand. He sat down on the edge and kicked his shoes off to a corner of the room. Opening one beer, he placed the other down by the phone and lay back against the wall. It was all too much to think about, so Rude decided that he wouldn't. He didn't need to know any of the details. Tomorrow, he would go to the bar and end this, once and for all.


Okey dokey! Well, that one's finished. A follow-up to chapter 17 that took a little longer than expected. It's my dad's fault, honest! My whole schedule depends on him, so if he's not available to read it and make sure it makes sense, I can't send it in. Lucky he had time before his meeting eh? Uh, yeah, well, send me an email and tell me what you think. I have no homework, so I'm going to start chapter 19, well, now.


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