Friday, January 20, 2012

On The Way To A Smile -4 [Denzel] FFVII



The adults had left, but around twenty children stayed behind as part of the Sector 7 Search Team.

They heard that the new city was called Edge, and its construction was going well. They also heard that they had set up facilities for orphans there. Still, they were living without depending on adults for help and helping with the construction at the same time. If they went there, the adults would just call them orphans and try to look after them. How embarrassing, adults looking after kids who could take perfect care of themselves! But that attitude didn't last long. The workers in Edge had machines that could surpass their efforts many times over. In the time it took Denzel and his friends to transport one small steel frame, a large scale crane could lift and transport a whole house in one go. Slowly but surely, the number of members on the Team dwindled. One night, Denzel counted and found there were only six of them left, including himself. Sure he wanted to stop them, but he couldn't blame them. They were all hungry and had no real place to go. Not long later, the last girl left, saying she was leaving for Edge.

**

Denzel suddenly began laughing.

"What's so funny?" Reeve said, looking curious.

"I didn't like that girl. All the men said stuff like, 'women will just be dead weight.' But they still wanted to be in the group that a girl was in. The work got harder when we got below ten people. And when she left, too."

Reeve laughed as well.

"But I understand now. In those days, I was able to worry or get angry about such...normal things, I guess."

"You should be grateful to her, then."

"She isn't around anymore."

**

When he woke up, he realized the only two left in the Search Team were him and a young boy called Ricks.

"The way things are going, screws and light bulbs will be the best we can find," Denzel laughed.

"Won't make very much off those," Ricks replied with a grin.

"I'll go buy breakfast. See if there's any work while I'm there."

"Wait a sec, then." Ricks went to where their safe was hidden and opened the lid.

"Hey, Denzel! We've been robbed!"

There wasn't even enough money left in the safe to buy a single slice of bread. They sat in silence for a while. Rick spoke first.

"Guess we'll have to go live in Edge now. They say you get free food there."

"We've lost."

"Yeah. But I'd rather live with adults treating us like babies than starve to death."

Suddenly Denzel remembered what his father had said to him. "We could catch rats and eat those?"

"Rats?"

"Yeah. My dad told me that in the Slums everyone was so poor they had to eat rats. Filthy grey rats. This is the Slums, and we're poor...."

"You serious?"

"Yeah, I'm going to eat a rat. I'll be just like a real kid from the Slums."

Ricks slowly stood up dusted down his shirt and pants. Denzel stood up too and looked around the area.

"We need a lance."

"You need a lance, and you can do this yourself," Ricks scowled. "I've been a 'kid from the Slums' since the day I was born. And I've never eaten a rat."

Denzel realized his mistake and tried to correct it. "...I didn't know."

"And what would you have done if you had? Not be my friend?"

"No, nothing like that!"

"You don't get it, do you? You're just some stuck up brat from the Plate. Rats! Is that what you think of us?"

"Ricks...."

"Remember this. All the rats here are crawling with horrible germs, because of the sewage you dumped down here. There's no one dumb enough to eat something like that," Ricks said as he left.

**

Denzel let out a sigh.

"I didn't follow him. I didn't think he'd forgive me, so..."

"Why not?"

"I was just a kid from the Plate. I was fine around the station and Sector 7 because I was used to them, but I didn't want to go to the other Slums. I wanted to go to Edge, but I thought it was just like the Slums. A poor, dirty place."

"What about Ricks?"

"He's fine. He won't speak to me, though."

"That's good. At least you still have a chance to make up with him."

**

Alone again like he had been so many times before, Denzel took a stick he had sharpened at one end looked for rats. He planned on catching and eating one. Dad, he thought. The people in the Slums don't eat rats after all. But I will. Because I've got no money or a job, and this place is lower than the Slums. I'm a Sector Seven kid from the upper world. I can't grow up in a place like this.

The isolation sapped Denzel's will to live. It was the same situation as when Sector 7 was destroyed, but this time his parents, Arkham, Levy, Gaskin, the Search Team, hell, all the people he'd ever met who had supported him were gone now. Forever.

He felt that he couldn't smile anymore. What did his mother say? There's no point in living if you don't smile. That's right, mum, he thought. A filthy rat covered in horrible germs should save me.

**

"Whoawhoawhoa!!" Johnny had been listening in at the side, unnoticed until he started bellowing, causing Denzel to jump.

"Hey, I USED to think like that back then," Denzel said. "But I was wrong. That's why I'm here now."
"Meh, I guess you're right."

"Because I met the best person you ever could."

"In the worst situation you could be in, though," said Johnny.

**

There were no rats around. He arrived at Sector 5 after wandering and hunting for hours and came to a rundown church. A bike was parked in front of the door. He hadn't seen a model like that before. But what caught his eye more was the cell phone hanging on the handle.

A smile came to Denzel's face. I'll just borrow it for a bit. I hope I can get through to someone. He drew towards the bike and took the cell phone. He imagined a phone ringing in the rubble of Sector 7 as he dialed his home number. Someone would find him, surely someone—

"All services in Sector 7 are currently unavailable."

Denzel had looked for his parents during his work with the Search Team but he couldn't find them. They're crushed under all that rubble, he thought. There’s no way they lived through that.

"All services in Sector 7 are currently unavailable."

Denzel looked up as he pressed the phone to his ear. He could see the east part of the Sector 5 plate. He realized that Levy was laid to rest up on top of that plate. This place is under her grave, he thought. That's why it's so lonely.

"All services in Sector 7 are currently unavailable."

He hung up the phone, fighting the urge to throw it to the ground and smash it to bits. But he didn't and tried one more time. He tried to remember Levy's number, but he never knew it in the first place. Instead, he looked at the phone's received call history and decided to dial the top most number. A ring. Then someone answered.

"Cloud, it's rare for you to call up. Is something wrong?"

Denzel listened to the woman's voice in silence.

"Cloud?" the woman said with suspicion in her voice.

"... No, I'm not."

"... Who is this? This is Cloud's phone, isn't it?"

"I don't know..."

"Who is this?"

"I don't know... I don't know what I should do." His voice trembled while he spoke.

"... Are you crying?"

He felt tears flowing down his face. He tried to wipe them away and closed his eyes when a lance of pain sliced across his forehead. His body stiffened in shock and he dropped the phone, falling to the ground, grasping his forehead. Sticky. It was sticky and wet. No, no, I don't want to die! he wanted to shout to the Planet or God or whoever else might listen and take pity on him. But the pain would not allow it, and he prayed in his heart with all his might. Please don't be black. Please don't be black. Sick with dread, he took his hand away and looked at it.

Pitch black.

**

"I don't what remember what happened afterwards. When I came around I was in a bed. Tifa and Marlene were looking at me. After that... you know the rest, right?"

"Pretty much."

"I'm alive thanks to a lot of people. My parents, Mrs. Levy, Mr. Gaskin, everyone from the Search Team. People who are still around today, people who aren't. Tifa, Cloud, Marlene, and..."

Reeve nodded.

"I want to be a person like that for someone. Next time, it's my turn to protect people."

Reeve was silent.

"Please let me in," Denzel said, leaning forward.

"No! NO, NO, NO!" said Johnny.

"You be quiet!" Denzel said.

"You're still just a kid!"

"That's got nothing to do with it!"

"No," Reeve said. "Actually... the W.R.O. doesn't accept children."

Johnny grinned. "Hah! See!!"

"What! Then why didn't you just say no at the start?"

"I just decided it now. While I was listening to you. Children have things that only children can do. And I want you to do one of those things for me."

"... What do you mean?"

"Call up strength in us adults."

Denzel waited for him to go on. But Reeve stood up as if he had finished speaking.

"Oh, and also...."

Denzel looked at Reeve, his eyes filled with hope that he'd changed his mind.

"Thank you, for looking after my mother."

Reeve took a handkerchief from his back pocket and showed it to Denzel. It was white and floral patterned. No way....

**

After Reeve left, Johnny started clearing up the table. Denzel looked at his handkerchief in silence.

"Hey," Johnny said, stopping his work. "If you wanna fight or something, you can do that any time, can't ya? It's not like you need to join the W.R.O., right? Why are you so worked up on it?"

"Cloud..."

"What about him?"

"He used to be in an army ages ago. That's what made him strong. I want to be strong."

"Time's are changing now, I reckon."

"How?"

"It's the guys who can ease someone else's pain, not the ones running around with guns and swords that are important. In this age it's those guys who'll be admired."

"It's not that I want to be admired or anything," Denzel answered. There were so many people who had supported him. Men and woman, adults and children. All of them inspirations in their own way. "I guess I want to...repay my debt to all of them."


Source : http://www.adventchildren.net/ff7ac/extra/prologue/1-4.php

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