Child of the Slum: Chapter 8


Squall narrowed his eyes at the familiar strangers.  Everything goes to hell, people disapear right under their noses, and at the heart of if all, they find these three.  Something told Squall that this was no coincidence.

“Hey, Squall, look who it is,” Zell pointed out.  “It’s those guys from yesterday.  Do you think they know what’s going on?”

“I think it’s pretty obvious that they know exatly what’s going on,” Squall replied.

“Are you saying that these guys are behind it?”

“That would be my guess,” Squall answered.  His eyes locked onto those of the man standing between the other two.  The one with the long black hair.  He looked to be the leader of the three.

Eyes hard, plan set, he charged.

As he made his way across the gaunt silence of the graveyard village, he maintained eye contact with that long haired rogue.  Squall stared him down as each step brought him closer to confrontation.  “You did this!” He accused.

“Look at that Laguna,” the dark skinned man joked.  “The fire in his eyes, the malice in his face, the accusation on his tongue.  I think he recognises you.”

“Do you… know me?” The long haired man asked.

What?  “Do I know you?”.

What kind of stupid question was that?  Of course he didn’t, but what difference did that make?  “No, I’ve never seen you before in my life, unless you count yesterday.  You showed up out of the blue, and now all this has happened,” Squall said, gesturing to the nothingness that surrounded them.  “Don’t you think that’s a little suspicious?”

“Wait,” the long haired man interjected’ “Do you think that we’re somehow involved in this?”

“I think that it’s starting to look that way,” Squall retorted.

“I know it probably looks bad, but you have to trust me.  We came here to stop this!”

“Trust you, right.  That’s a little rich for my taste.  How can I believe you?  How do I know this entire situation isn’t your fault?”

The dark skinned man let loose a laugh. “Laguna, it looks like this kid’s as stubborn as his father.”

Squall’s eyes widened at the remark.

“That’s too bad.  Oh well, at least he gets his looks from his mother.”

Squall couldn’t believe this.  Who were these men?  How did they know who he was?  How could they be sure?  Had they been watching him?  What else did they know?  “You knew my father, and my mother?”

“I lived in this village once,” Laguna explained.  “After I quit the army, I wanted to settle down somewhere and forget all about soldiers and war.  I was tired, sick of the fighting, sick of everything.  Your mother and I, we became good friends.”

Squall narrowed his eyes.  “I don’t remember you.  Are you sure you’ve got the right person?”

“No, you wouldn’t remember.  This would’ve been about twenty years ago.  I moved on when you were only five.  Ellone knew me though.  I was like an uncle ro her.  She’d remember, I’m sure of it.  I know this a lot to take in, but could you take me to see her?”

Squall looked away.  “No… Ellone’s not here anymore.”

The colour ran from Laguna’s face. “No, you can’t mean….”

“A few months ago, my mother disappeared.  She just vanished off the face of the earth.  I don’t know who’s responsible, but I know it had to be someone’s doing.  Whoever it was, Last night, they came back for Ellone, as well as a few others.”

Laguna remained silent for a long while before he finally spoke.  “I was afraid of this.”

“Do you know who’s behind all it all?”

“I wish we did.  I really do.  This isn’t an isolated incident.  People are disappearing all over Galbadia.  The pattern seemed to be leading south, so we were dispatched by the Queen to investigate, to catch whoever it was in the act.”

“And did you?”

“No, we ah… we fell asleep.”

“Same here.  They took Ellone, did Hyne knows what to her while I was in the house; and I slept through the whole thing.  After all the time I’ve spent trying to track down my mother, Ellone was in danger right next to me and I couldn’t hear her.”  Squall turned away from the long haired man.  “She probably cried out for help, and I didn’t even wake up.”

“This is how they operate,” Laguna explained.  “They use some kind of magic to put everyone to sleep.  Everyone, except their victims.”

“Come on,” the dark skinned man interrupted.  “They’re probably long gone by now, but all the same, I don’t want to be overheard, and I’d rather not risk someone sneaking up on us while we’re talking.  If we’re gonna do this, we should do it somewhere safe and secure.  Is there any where we can go to talk privately?”

“My house,” Zell spoke up for the for first time.  “I don’t know who these bastards are, but they’ve taken people that are important to me too.  I wanna hear what you guys have to say, and if I can, I wanna try and get revenge.”

“Okay,” Laguna agreed.  “We’ll go to your house.  Lead the way.

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