I love doing Dallas' monologues. He has this casual way of swearing that's quite amusing.
I think this "translate a little bit every day instead of waiting in vain for the mood to strike and ending up with big fat periods of nothing" method is working very well for me. We'll see if this keeps up.
Cloudy to Rainy
Color Pages and Prologues
Bloody to Fair
Color Pages and Connecting Chapter
Epilogues & Remnants
Construction Site on the Banks of the Hudson River
The island of Manhattan fit snugly in between two rivers.
To the east, there was the East River. To the west, there was the Hudson.
The Hudson was one of the great rivers that practically represented New York. There seemed to be some sort of vast construction project going on along its banks at the moment, for construction vehicles of all sorts were arrayed along the riverside. Perhaps they were there to shore up the river's banks, for several pieces of equipment for digging up the river floor could be seen assembled here and there.
And there, on the banks of the mighty Hudson, was a girl.
Eve Genoard stood beneath the cloudy, light grey sky and tried vainly to keep her calm, though expectation and anxiety ran in equal parts through her heart.
The gunmetal sky fit perfectly with the old construction vehicles littered about the area. The girl's pure white clothes, however, did not blend in quite as well, but she paid it no heed as she stared longingly at the ongoing construction.
If her expensive clothes weren't enough of a clue, even the very way she held herself made it clear at a glance that she came from a wealthy family. As though to drive the point home even further, a worried voice came from behind her.
"Miss Eve! This sea wind can't be good for you," the old butler said, concerned for his mistress.
But the girl only shook her head, and made no attempt to leave.
"I'm sorry, Benjamin... But if it's alright, I just... I just want to stay here a while longer."
The butler fell silent and took a step back, taking up his own quiet vigil, breathing in the salty ocean breeze as he watched over his young charge.
The construction project was merely one of many, a simple administrative procedure made in the course of maintaining the city, but to Eve it was a very personal matter, one that concerned the fate of one of her family.
...Her immortal brother had been buried alive somewhere in the river.
She had come to stand and wait on the river banks because she believed in these words, which anyone else would have dismissed immediately as a preposterous flight of fancy.
She'd followed the only lead she had to the whereabouts of her older brother, who had been reported dead. Then, swept up in a dizzying series of events, she'd come to know the truth, and holding that truth close to her heart, she had persevered.
It had already been a year and six months since she'd learned where her brother had been buried. Those eighteen months had felt like forever to her, but considering that during that time she had managed to start an unscheduled construction project, citing the need to shore up the river banks, at least that time hadn't been wasted.
No matter how rich her family might once have been, there was no way she could have afforded to dig up the Hudson on her own.
So she had instead chosen to fund the city's ongoing river construction project, masking her desire to save her brother behind the pretext of supporting the city.
In exchange for her financial support, she had demanded that the workers dredge the river floor and retrieve everything that came up. That was just one of the many measures she had taken that had led her to today.
Of course, there was the distinct possibility that the steel barrel holding her brother had been carried downriver by the currents, out into the great Atlantic Ocean.
But as long as she had even the smallest hope of saving him, the girl was prepared to bet everything she had on that slim chance.
She would meet him again. She held the dream of that one moment in her breast as she watched the machines work.
Then, on the third day of the great dredging work that preluded the construction proper, one of the workers suddenly dashed up to her, out of breath.
"Uh, y-you're Miss Genoard, right?"
He'd clearly sprinted all the way from the construction site to see her. Eve felt her own heartbeat speed up as she nodded.
"We, we found those barrels! Just like you said!"
There was something more than just surprise in the man's voice and actions, a small hint of fear that suggested he had seen something out of the ordinary.
"You found them!"
"B-b-b-b-but there were, there were, there were people! Inside! Inside them! The barrels! Breathing! Still alive!"
He was obviously shocked to the core. It was hard to make sense of what he was saying, but Eve understood perfectly.
With a little difficulty, she managed to coax the location of the barrels from the worker and immediately set off, heedless of her butler's worried cries.
She had seen with her own eyes what it meant to be immortal.
He'd been underwater for years now, and had he been a normal human she would have been overly optimistic to even expect a whole corpse... but she knew better. If she were to believe the words of the mafioso who had told her everything, her brother would be unharmed.
No, even if he was harmed, even if he had become a pitiful thing of bones and rotting flesh, as long as he was still alive...
She held that hope in her heart as she ran to the warehouse where they stored the dredged objects.
What she saw there was completely different from what she'd expected.
The sight that greeted Eve's eyes was one of a handful of workers lying on the floor, and three steel drums, standing in the center.
All manner of trash had been piled up in the corners of the wide storage area. A little ways away, arrayed haphazardly as though they too were refuse from the river floor, were people.
"What's going on..."
Caught flat-footed by the unexpected sight, she ran up to one of the workers and shook him slowly. She knew that she shouldn't have touched him, but he appeared unharmed so she gave him a gentle nudge... No reaction. He was still breathing, but it looked like he was out cold.
"What happened here?"
She left the man where he lay and slowly stepped toward the barrels in the center of the warehouse.
...Dallas is inside one of those?"
Unconsciously she swallowed hard, her throat suddenly parched as she observed the situation. One of the drums had been knocked on its side, and she couldn't see anything that looked like a person inside. Instead, for some reason, there seemed to be books, chess pieces, and what looked to be playing cards mixed in with the broken cement.
Eve's courage wavered at the eerie sight, but she did not falter, keeping her gaze locked on the barrels as she slowly approached.
She got close enough to just see the inside of one of the upright barrels, and glimpsed something that might have been human hair.
A groan emerged from the drum as she stepped closer.
It was as though that moan was a signal, and Eve covered the remaining distance to the barrel in a flash. She paid no heed to the river muck on her hands and clothes as she gripped the rim, peering inside.
There was a large man huddled inside.
Clumps of mud and marine plantlife were hopelessly entangled in his hair, and most of his clothes had long since rotted away, but the man's skin was only wet, not blemished at all. From time to time he groaned and coughed up dirty water from his mouth and nose.
She'd heard about it, certainly, but actually seeing the proof of a human being surviving such an ordeal was still shocking. If she hadn't known in advance, she would never have believed that he'd been dredged up from the bottom of a river.
She could make out the man's features easily, despite the thick mud.
Eve studied the man's face and was taken aback.
"You're... not Dallas?"
She'd heard that two of her brother's cronies had been buried along with him, so that meant that the man must be one of those two.
There were three drums in the warehouse. The numbers matched up.
But it bothered her, that one of them was already empty.
Quickly, she hurried over to the second upright drum and looked inside. Sure enough, there was a man inside, in as poor shape as the other one, and sure enough, he wasn't her brother, either.
"This... this can't be happening..."
She was unable to hide her shock as she looked at the last, empty drum.
Maybe the workers had already dragged him out, and he was among the people who lay comatose around her.
She whipped around and began searching, not even pausing to catch her breath, but her brother was nowhere to be found.
"Miss Eve! What's going on in here?"
Benjamin had finally made his way after his mistress, and upon arriving found himself unable to hold back his surprise.
The butler's cry reverberated in the vast warehouse... and as though in reply, one of the masses of trash in the corner rustled.
Eve dashed over, heedless of her own safety. She made her way into the forest of girders and car parts, and discovered there a single silhouette, squatting behind a pile of refuse and shivering violently.
However, it was not her brother but instead a young worker, one of the people who had been working on the dredging project.
The man let out a short yelp as he caught sight of Eve, but soon enough realized that the thing that had appeared before him was just a normal girl, and gradually seemed to get a hold of himself.
"Please, calm down... Are you alright? What happened here?"
At first the man could only open and close his mouth silently. At length, though, he appeared to find some measure of comfort in Eve's soothing tones, and slowly began to explain what had happened.
"R-right after one of the guys went to, to call you, Miss... S-some strange people came and dragged out one of the people in the drums... so we tried to stop them but they knocked out everyone in a flash! Just like that! W-what the hell were those guys?! T-there was a woman with 'em too. It, it was like magic, almost, when she took out this long stick thing and it turned into, into, a spear or something, and then she smacked and stabbed people with the blunt end..."
At that point, the man had fled and hid, so he knew nothing of what had occurred afterward.
Eve and the butler listened gravely. Soon, other workers from different parts of the construction site arrived, attracted by the commotion, and the warehouse became a scene of chaos.
The girl slipped out and turned to her butler, sorrow clear on her features.
"I honestly believed that I'd finally be able to meet him, Benjamin."
"...But I'm not giving up. I don't know who kidnapped Dallas... But at least I know that he's really alive!"
The butler knew that his mistress was only putting up a brave front.
But he merely bowed his head, and injected as much false cheer into his voice as he could manage, and agreed.
"Of course, Miss Eve!"
Eve nodded resolutely and stepped forward. It was the first step of her renewed quest to find her missing brother. She had almost no leads about the mysterious group that had kidnapped him, and it was clear that she had her work cut out for her.
But she held her head high, and there was no hesitation or regret in her carriage.
"But... why would they take Dallas? Who could know of him except me and Mister Gandor..."
It flooded in.
It happened in an instant.
It was over just as quickly.
I was taken outside at night and thrown into the river and water rushed in the openings of my barrel.
By the time I was even aware of the cold, the drum was already half filled with water.
By the time I thought to cry out for help, my voice reached only the river.
It was water.
Water took over my entire world, forcing out the air from my lungs, from my stomach, from my throat, from my mouth, little by little by little by little no matter how much I resisted.
I can still remember that first taste of water pouring in my nose.
I can't stop shivering. The water flowed down my nose and I fucking tasted it.
It tasted like salt and mud. But even that was over in the blink of an eye.
That taste, that came from my nose and eyes and throat, it changed. It changed into the taste of my own blood.
When that taste reached my lungs I started coughing. I actually coughed up what was left of the air in them along with the river water. When I tried to breathe again, of course there was nothing left but liquid.
That was all I could think. Every time I thought it couldn't get any worse, it started hurting more.
It hurt it hurt it hurt it hurt it it it it it it...
Then it all went black.
The pain I felt all flowed together, and overpowered everything else, even my senses. Everything went black.
It's not the same as going to sleep, or even getting knocked out. You can still tell it's black, see.
All that was left in the dark was the pain.
Aah, I wonder how long it was until I finally passed out.
Shit. Shit, shit.
Why can I remember this stuff so well?
I don't wanna remember shit like that.
How can I think of it all so calmly, dammit?
I wish I could forget it all.
Every time I remember, all the pain and fear I felt comes back too.
I don't want to remember that anymore. Who the hell would? To hell with you, memories.
I need something else. Something else to think of.
Yeah. The first thing I've gotta think about is...
...Where the hell am I?
"Did you know that the person who invented the steel barrel was a woman?" someone says.
Who's that? I don't recognize the voice.
"Her name was Nellie Bly. There's even a song about her, so you might recognize the name. She made an attempt at Jules Verne's 'Around the World in Eighty Days', and completed it in just seventy-two. Impressive, isn't it?"
I look around the room, looking for whoever keeps yapping like a broken radio.
I'm lying down on a bed. I can see a cheap looking lamp hanging from the wooden ceiling.
There's nothing else in the room. No cabinet, no dresser. Only the bare minimum, I think--a chair, a table, a bed. Nothing that'd fetch a decent price.
"And you spent years trapped inside the barrel that she invented. It's up to you whether you take that as an honor or something to curse her for."
Goddammit, who the hell's talking and why can't he shut the fuck up?
Found him. Sitting on a chair like he owns the place. He's turned it backwards, straddling it like a saddle, with his arms folded on the back. He's looking at me.
He's wearing glasses, and his hair's covered by a black bandanna. Nah, scratch that, he's probably bald under that thing. I can see some kinda fancy tattoo running down his temple, stretching around to the back of his head. Freak. Look at those eyes, rolling around behind those glasses like a dead fish.
"I wonder how funny you must have looked. You couldn't even die down there in the river. You probably just kept choking and sobbing and wishing it'd end."
Who the hell do you think you are? Dammit, my body won't listen to me. I wish I could get up and beat the shit out of this joker. Fuck.
"Don't get too excited. I don't see why I should be the recipient of such hatred. I did save you, after all."
Save? Me? He fished me up, then... Wait, really, where the hell am I? This isn't Heaven?
I'm still alive? I don't have to keep dying over and over in that goddamn river anymore?
Hang on. Hold up. Calm down. The celebration can come after I find out who the asshole in front of me is.
Anyway, if I don't need to die anymore... Maybe I'll pay Pops a visit. Maybe he and my brother'll have kicked the bucket by now and the inheritence'll be mine. I guess the house and the land're all that's left of the family fortune anyway. Well, whatever. If I get it all maybe I'll buy Eve a present or something...
...No, there's something I have to do before that.
I'm gonna kill everyone who ever looked down on me.
The Gandor brothers. Those fuckers are the ones who threw me into the river.
The old geezer who ordered me around. Sirrah or Sara or Serred or something.
That bitch, Ennis. She humiliated me more than once.
Whoever it was that drove that car over me... No, wait. I remember. I remember now.
The people driving that car were that retard and his bitch we beat up the day before it all happened.
And more than anything, I have to kill the fucker who's at the root of all my misfortune.
Firo. Firo Prochainezo.
Aah, what a relief.
I didn't forget his name. That little bastard's probably still alive too. Damn, I could've sworn I shot him in the head... Maybe I missed?
Who cares. I'll make sure to kill each and every single person I just remembered.
Yeah, I'm immortal. All I gotta do is be a little careful and I'll have no trouble killing them all. As for the other immortals, the old fart and that Ennis bitch, I'll stick them in barrels too, see how they like it.
First, I think I'll look for that retard couple...
"I don't presume to know what you're thinking, but..."
What? Stop butting in on my fantasies, dammit.
"Aren't you a little curious about what's going on? Do you have any questions? Or are you still groggy?"
Ah, shut up already. The hell would I have to ask to a chump like you?
Oh yeah, where the hell am I? And who the hell are you?
You? Save me? Pfft.
I don't remember you helping me. Like I'd just take your word for it, asshole.
"Dallas Genoard. Twenty-two. An altogether ordinary good-for-nothing, though a record does exist that claims you once won a neighborhood pool tournament... Hmm. Not quite what I was expecting, that."
Fine. You can die too.
Just shut the hell up and die. Who the hell are you, anyway.
Dammit, I can't open my mouth. I can't even give this sorry idiot a piece of my mind.
"Come, now. Don't look at me like that. You're going to make me wet my pants. It almost looks like you don't want to thank me for saving you. Hmph. Maybe I should have brought the other two."
The other two? What other two? Oh, right, they threw in someone else along with me but I'll be damned if I can remember their names.
Whatever. It doesn't matter.
What's important right now is taking care of this blabbering jerk and getting out of this boring room. Ah, damn it, my body won't move.
"Oh, right. I injected you with a paralytic agent so you won't be able to move just yet. Don't stress yourself."
I'll kill you. Just you wait.
"I thought I told you not to glare at me. Listen up, this is business. I've got a proposal for you that can make you money."
I decide to hear the baldy out a little longer.
"It's a simple trade. You cooperate with us, and you get a considerable sum of cash, more than such a role would warrant."
Cash, eh. Cash is always good.
But I don't like that part about "more than such a role would warrant." Gimme a number, dumbass.
"Of course, if you refuse, someone gets to go barrel diving in the Hudson again."
...Yeah, you are one dumb motherfucker. You think I'll be scared of you if you come at me like that?
Fine, I'll pretend to go along with this bullshit, and then I'll take the money and be out of here before you know what's going on.
"Naturally, that someone would be your little sister, Eve Genoard."
"Haha! If only you could see the look on your face! To be honest, I was a bit worried when we went investigating your past. I had my doubts that a hostage ploy would work on trash like you, you see! But look! You can stab your allies in the back without a second thought, but the moment your sister's mentioned... Oh, the look on your face! Yes, yes. The glare you're giving me doesn't even compare to the one you gave me before. It's not just hatred. There's fear mixed in there as well, fear that you'll lose something precious to you."
Shit, shit, shit!
What the hell! What the fuck, man! Seriously! This has nothing to do with Eve, you sick fuck!
Dammit! Why the hell am I so nervous?! It's none of my business what happens to Eve! That's what I told myself when I left, wasn't it?!
...Fine. Okay. I admit it. There, you satisfied? Huh?!
I really care about Eve, okay? I don't want her to die!
But if you know that much about me, then you probably know that if you even touch a single fucking hair on her head, you get a red carpet reservation right at the top of my shit list, right? I'll, I'll, I'll kill you, no matter what it takes! Even if I have to erase everyone else from that list! No, I'll go beg 'em on my hands and knees if I have to if it means you die!
"Familial bonds, hmm? Must be nice. To be honest, I envy that sort of thing."
The hell do I care what you think?!
"That's right, I forgot the introduction. Hey, Adelle! Tell everyone to get in here."
The door in the corner opens at the freak's call and a bunch of people walk in. The hell, all of 'em look like chumps.
And even among these clowns, there's one girl, maybe a little younger than me, who really looks dumb, and she keeps flinching like a fucking idiot while she talks.
"Uh, umm... Tim, are you sure that this person's okay? He's glaring at me."
"Don't worry, Adelle. That just means our hostage plan's working."
Yeah, so the freak's name is Tim. Got it. Memorized it. Now you're dead, motherfucker.
"Anyway... Don't worry. We're not exactly keeping watch over Eve or anything."
"But if you cross us or refuse to cooperate, then Adelle here is going to take a little trip to kill your sister."
This dumb sheep? Are you fucking with me? Do I look that stupid to you?
I glare at her and she nods timidly at me, murmuring, "Nice to meet you." What, is she a freak too?
Dammit, what's up with these people?
Why're you doing this to me? What did I ever do to deserve this?!
No, never mind. It's true I did a lot of shit that'd get me on peoples' bad sides. But so what. I'll pay it all back someday.
It's just... this has nothing to do with Eve!
God damn it, I'll kill you all! And don't think it'll be quick! I'll make you die cursing the day you ever threatened Eve! It'll be too late to say sorry then, you dumb fucks!
"I suppose I should make a proper introduction. I'm Tim. I guess you could say I'm the leader of this motley crowd."
Who the hell asked for your name? Not me, retard.
"Who... the hell... are, you... fuckers?"
I can finally speak. It feels like my throat's getting torn to shreds but I manage to get the question out, and that asshole Tim replies so promptly it pisses me off.
"We're the Larvae(1)."
"We're a band of crazy misfits who serve Huey Laforet."
Chapter 0 End
(1): Restless spirits of the dead from Roman mythology who terrorized the living. Also known as lemures, which is also the name of another one of Huey's organizations.