Shattered Dreams & Sleeping Pills Chapter 23
The Fall of an Angel
The shot came and went like any other shot. The bullet buried itself deep in her flesh and she, too stunned to do anything else, fell to the ground.
When the sound had passed, she lay crumpled on the floor like a broken doll, staring up at the ceiling with large, empty eyes. Slowly, she moved her left hand to the wound. Bringing it back up towards her face, she watched with an unattached gaze as her thumb and fore finger rubbed the blood between them. Finally, she let it fall to the ground, and closed her eyes.
Tseng had come in after the shot, nearly knocking Rude over when he opened the door. He stood half in, half out of the apartment, watching as she died. When her eyes closed, he patted Rude on the back, slipped a key card in his pocket, then left. And that was that.
When it was over, he followed his boss out, the image of a fallen angel firmly imprinted in his mind.
As he walked out into the street, he was startled at how so little had changed. The ruined buildings still loomed over the apathetic crowds; almost daring them to acknowledge the presence of the plate, and the fact that they would never see the sun or night sky. The slums hadn't changed at all, but to Rude, it was all very different.
Tseng had long since disappeared into the crowds on his way back up to the plate, to the comfort of life there. Rude imagined what it would be like. Would the food taste better? Would the air be fresher? Would the rain feel good as it fell from the heavens? Snapping himself back to his current guilt, he continued to trudge along the streets, wondering why he bothered.
In an effort to justify his actions, he reasoned that life, especially down in the slums, was a waste of time. She had been miserable and lonely, unsure of why she was still living, when those she cared about were dead. In her grief, she sought to bring chaos to the world by destroying the people she blamed for it all. Shinra.
But the employees of the world's largest monopoly hadn't destroyed her life. In striking out at them, she would have forced them to strike back at her, starting a vicious cycle of pain and death that would likely never end. In killing her, hadn't he broken the cycle? Saved her from the hurt that hurting others would cause? You could pay any priest and he would say that she was happier dead; that she was with her family and friends. But Rude did not believe in heaven or the after-life. In his mind, death was the end, and no amount of justification could make him change his lack of faith.
Someone had to be told. The thought of her body lying there for a couple days until someone finally noticed sickened him. It wasn't because he thought she deserved better; he didn't believe it mattered anymore. But to ease his own guilt he needed to have her laid to rest.
Changing his course, he crossed the street and stopped when he reached the pay phone. Dialing the number of the free Shinra Help Line, he stood waiting for someone to pick up.
"Shinra Help Line, how may I help you?"
"I need the number of the Weapon Shop in Wall Market."
"Alright, one moment please... Yes, it's 331-7940."
Hanging up on the operator, he jammed a gil into the machine and dialed the number. After several rings, someone finally picked up.
"What d'you want?" a harsh voice asked.
"Is there anyone named Jessie there?"
"Jess? No, why?"
"What about Biggs? Or Wedge?"
"Yeah, there's a Biggs here. What business is it of yours?"
"I need to talk to him."
"Biggs! Get over here!"
As Biggs neared, Rude could hear the man muttering to him about the cost that it took to have a phone and how he had never told him he could use it.
"I just thought you should know that Tifa's dead."
"What?! Who is this?"
"It doesn't matter. Her body's in her apartment on Twelfth Street in Sector Four."
A little shocked at the news and having several doubts about the person on the other end, Biggs struggled to take the information in. "Uh, what building?"
"It's a four story brick building at the end of the street. She's in unit 37."
"How long has she been..."
"Dead? About ten minutes."
"How did you find out?" he asked skeptically.
"I killed her." And with that, he hung up.
She was dead, there was no changing that. Now that it was done though, the only thing to do was forget her. There was no changing the past, just like there was no justification for her murder. When it was all done and over with, the angel fell to allow rise for the devil. And that was that.
Self-misery is really a pain in the butt, you know that? This chapter was awful to write, but, I needed Rude's reaction. *Groan* thank god that's over with.
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