Chapter 3 – Trouble Comes Knocking

Chapter 3 – Trouble Comes Knocking

by December 28, 2014

Chapter 3 - Trouble Comes Knocking

Translated by Hitoshura and Mecorx, Proofread by Crashouch

I looked at my reflection in the mirror and gave my nose a pinch. If my broadly spread nose had been a little bit more pointed, maybe it would have altered my past. Actually, I wonder about that. I don’t think there has been one single time when the shape of my nose was the problem. The problem was the colour of my hair. At one point I dyed it black, but I stopped doing it when a rash broke out on my head because of the cheap dye. For now, I’m putting up with the colour I was born with, a brownish blond. It’s not a colour I’m very fond of. It just makes me think of a spoilt brat who’s had an easy ride in life. That’s how it feels to me. It’s a pain to have to explain all the time that I wasn’t brought up like that. So I think I should have had it dyed it a tough guy colour to begin with. Black was the colour I envisioned on that type of a guy. Black as the night. I think I will dye it again after all. Better remember to get a quality dye this time, though.

I was now 19. It had been two years since I left Midgar. I felt I had a meaner look in my eyes compared to when I lived there. Good, that’s perfect. Get rid of anything that makes me seem like a kid. I psyched myself up and washed my face in the water I had drawn. Then, as I dried my face with the towel draped over my shoulders, I looked around the bleak, tiny room. The bare steel plates on the walls were a stark sight. More than a year after this house was built and the interior decorating had still been neglected. There weren’t any practical issues with it, but no matter how much time passed, it still seemed like temporary accommodation. If I was planning to stay here permanently, then today was the day I ought to get started. If I let a milestone such as a birthday pass me by, I could very well end up putting it off for at least another year. I had the wallpaper and paint I needed prepared by yesterday.

Well, let’s get to it.

Firm as my resolve was, once the steel plates and plywood were hidden by the wallpaper, I didn’t care any more about what happened with the rest of it. But I couldn’t call it quits there. The can for the paint I got for the ceiling was warped and wasn’t properly sealed. I had to use it quick or it wouldn’t be any good. If I wasted this, getting another would be tricky. The paint was this phosphorescent type that had started showing up on the market lately, which I’d gotten from a tight-fisted trader. At first he was asking for 1500 gil, but after I haggled with him, given the poor state the can was in, the seedy bastard sold it to me for 100 gil in the end. It was probably stolen. But, I didn’t care so long as the paint itself was the real deal.

These days, that’s how it is when you’re doing business with others – don’t think about where the merchandise might have come from. At night, phosphorescent paint emits the light it absorbed during the daytime. Considering the energy situation nowadays – there might as well not be any – you’d be a fool to get lazy and waste the paint now. I might be lazy, but I ain’t no fool.

I took my shirt off, and just as I was about to start, there was a thud at the door. I froze and looked at the door. There was another thud from the bottom of the door. The whole of this flimsy house shook.

“Fabio Brown. We know you’re in.”

My body shrunk at the sound of that low voice, calm but with a menacing ring to it. I stuffed the rag I was using as a paint brush into the paint can, held my breath, and put on the shirt I had just taken off. My hands were trembling. I let out a burp.

“We’re gonna bust down the door, yo!” It was a different guy than before. He sounded like he was laughing.

I stayed silent and looked at my boots. I had them specially made last year, using a monster hide I found in the market. Maybe the day’s finally come when I will put these pointed, steel-toed boots to use. However, I had treated them with care, so there was barely a mark on them. I’d rather avoid getting them any more scuffed if I could help it. So that leaves me with fleeing. But through where? I didn’t even need to think about it. If I couldn’t use the door, the window was the only option. The window was next to the sink. It was made to fit the size of the glass pane, so it was pretty small, but not so small that I couldn’t get through it. I quietly moved to the window. Then, I thought to take a dinner knife out of the drawer by the kitchen sink. It had a sharpened blade, about 5 centimetres long, that could also be used for preparing food. If it came down to it, I’d stab them.

“We’ll give ya 30 seconds.”

It seemed they were going to start counting down. The window was fixed in place, so I would have to break it to get outside.

You realise how valuable glass is? No, there’s no other way. But what can I use?

As I wondered if I had something hard to break the glass with, the door came crashing down with a creaking sound.

That’s not what they said. It hasn’t even been 10 seconds yet.

Stepping on the door, which had fallen inwards, a man with a lean figure and blazing red hair entered the room and grinned. He was wearing a suit with a distinctive design. He was one half of a pair of men I’d seen around a lot in the central square. Which meant the low voice I heard first was probably the big guy with the sunglasses and bald head. They were always together. Like a knife and fork.

“Drop the fork, kid. You’re gonna hurt yourself.”

The redhead came closer without showing any sign of caution. Don’t mess with me. I stuck the fork – fork? – out and thrust it at the redhead.

“Oww.” I let out a pathetic whine. My wrist had been hit by the edge of the redhead’s hand, and I had dropped the fork on the floor. While I was thinking of how things might have turned out if I had calmly picked up a knife, the redhead’s knee sunk into my stomach. Out of reflex I slumped forward, holding my stomach.

I was grabbed by the collar of my shirt from behind and pulled back into place. Then he got me in a nelson hold. With my arms raised up, I was forcibly turned to face towards the door. My feet were nearly off the ground. I was just barely standing on the tips of my toes. The redhead was picking up the door off the floor and resting it in the doorway. Which meant that the brute behind me must have been the skinhead.

“Come on now, Fabio,” The redhead moved his face closer as he prodded my chest with his finger. “Whoaa!?”

With that he went quiet, and looked at me with his mouth still agape. Before I even had a chance to wonder what the hell was up with him, the brute behind me started pushing on my neck. I couldn’t breathe. I can’t take it. It hurts.

“Give back what you stole.”

What’s he talking about? Why would I know?

But it was hard to prove that you didn’t know something.

Find the best solution. Make your choice. What’s the answer that’ll get you out of this mess?

“Come on, say something.”

The skinhead eased his grip for a second, before moving the hands he had locked behind my neck up to the back of my head and pushed harder.

“It hurts—“

“Give it back and it’ll stop.”

Muscles moved behind me, and my feet left the ground. I could feel blood gathering at my eyes. Then finally it started flowing out.

“Don’t cry now, man. That’s lame.”

Crying? I was crying?

“Hmph, stupid kid.”

All of a sudden the grip behind me loosened. I collapsed to the ground and, without meaning to, found myself looking like I was begging for the redhead to spare my life. It was humiliating but there wasn’t much else I could do. I was going to have to ride this storm out by grovelling on the floor. Just like two years ago, when the mako swept over the planet.

“Well, they are just things. I can guess why you’d do it. If you promise not to do it ever again, we’ll let you off with a little punishment.”

My body reacted of its own accord to the word “punishment”. With a burp and trembling. I’ll admit it. I might idolise tough guys more than most would, but the reality for me is quite the opposite.

“Sorry ’bout scaring you.” The way the redhead said it sounded like he was taking pity on me.

“That’s exactly what we came here to do,” the skinhead retorted.

C’mon, have a falling out and kill each other. Or if that’s asking too much, then just keep on talking. Give me time. Time to figure something out.

“Hey, Fabio. Eyes up here.”

I had to do what they said. I looked at their faces. These two men I normally saw from a distance were right in front of me. The redhead looked like a delinquent kid who’d grown up without actually growing up. The kind of guys I felt both admiration and hatred for, like the ones who had been in that warehouse in Sector 8. The perfect example of one of them was looking down at me as he smiled at the corners of his mouth. The skinhead was even larger than the redhead. Not just in height, but the sheer mass of him was something else. Even in this dim room he didn’t take off his dark sunglasses. I was sure they lived in a completely different world to me.

“We were throwing around some pretty stern looks before we got here, can’t exactly leave now without doing anything. Gotta do the job properly and show people what’ll happen if you mess with us.”

“Ar-are you going to kill me?” Those were the words my continued search for an answer dug up. And with my voice cracking at that.

“That would be the easiest thing to do. But see, what we’re after is a Shinra that’s beloved, and a little feared at the same time. We don’t want to be hated. Killing you, that’s gonna get some hate coming our way.”

“Do you know who we are?” the skinhead asked.

I gave three quick nods. The Shinra Company’s Turks. The “if you don’t behave, the Turks are going to come for you” Turks. The next generation and heir to the reins of Shinra, commonly known as the Idiot President. This was a moniker resulting from the same kind of lazy naming that lead to calling a black cat Blackie, but that was the name everyone used. The world went to hell not long after he took the position of president. Considering all that, I guess that was only appropriate. Anyway, he had been blown away along with the building, and I didn’t know what happened to the Shinra Company after that. But these two men were still calling themselves the Turks from the Shinra Company. They were using the effect that name had on regular people. The Turks were Shinra’s dark side. Whenever there was a problem that required violence to solve, they’d be there.

“Now, whooo are we?”

“The Turks… sir.”

“Cut the ‘sir’ bit, kid.”


“Get up.”

I staggered to my feet, as ordered. My legs were still shaking. Just as I thought the redhead had moved suddenly, and I felt an impact on my face and flew into the corner of the room. My back hit the three-legged stool, one of the few pieces of furniture I had, and I fell on the floor along with it. My right eye hurt. He’d punched me in the eye. When I touched it, it was wet. Blood? I quickly looked at my hand and saw that it was the phosphorescent paint.

“Think this is enough?”

“He is getting off a bit lightly – but it’ll do.”

I rolled over on the floor and listened to their conversation with my back facing them. Soon I sensed that they were going outside. All the strength left my entire body. Strange sounds came up from the pit of my stomach, rising like bile. Was I laughing or crying? I couldn’t even tell. I pulled my knees to my chest and curled into a foetal position, and waited like that until my body and mind had settled down. Three minutes. Maybe five. And then—

“What the hell do you want!?” I shouted the words I wish I had said in the first place as I picked myself up.

“Can I ask something?”

The voice startled me. When I looked at the spot where my door had once been, I saw the redhead standing there looking at me.

“Where’s your dad, kid?”

Surprised that the redhead was still there, I couldn’t figure out why he was asking that. On top of that, I couldn’t comprehend how he was acting like nothing had happened, either.

“I’m asking you what’s going on with your dad.”

“He died. Before I was born.” I just wanted him to leave as soon as possible. Might as well just answer honestly.

“You have a photo or somethin’?”


“What was he like? Your mom must have told you about him, right?.”


“So you’ve obviously never met him and you don’t know what he looks like either.”

I nodded. I intended to answer honestly for as long as necessary.

“Then, what about your mom?”

“She died,” I said after a brief hesitation.

“During Meteor?”


The redhead slowly nodded at my answer. “Well, you take care of yourself. Don’t be doin’ anything stupid again, Fabio.”

With that fundamental misunderstanding left unresolved, the redhead left. I rolled onto my bed and went over what had just happened.

I should have done that. If only I had said this. All these choices I hadn’t even thought of went through my mind. It was depressing. The throbbing around my right eye was informing me of the desperate state I had been in. My stomach and my neck hurt. I got off the bed and looked in the mirror. A man who had just been punched was looking back at me.

Hey, that was a bad time for you. But it’s over now. Getting hit by the Turks, now that’s something to boast about. Well, get yourself out there.

I nodded and washed the paint off my face. Then I put the broken door back into place. It was just the nails that held the hinges in place that fell out and caused the whole door to come off. Cheaply made things have their advantages. I finished the repairs without much effort. I didn’t like leaving the paint spilled on the floor or the assorted necessities strewn around, but I was going to leave those for later. I took my jacket off the hook on the wall. A light brown leather jacket. The metal studs on the collar gave off a dull glint. What I liked best was the illustration of a monster on the back of it. A Bomb just about to detonate. It was a one-of-a-kind and cost a fair bit, but I couldn’t resist. I put it on and went to the bed, pulled out the rugged shoulder bag that was hidden under it and put it over my shoulder. Recently, the leather had softened and made it easier to use. Finally, I put on my mountaineer hat. I’d gotten it from a girl recently. Ready for battle.

My house faced out into a circular courtyard garden about 15 metres in diameter. There were six similar houses around the circumference of the courtyard. In the garden were materials someone thought might come in handy – in other words, junk was piled up. The most notable item was a car from about 10 years ago. It was a roomy, old, luxury car that seated five people. The exterior was in tatters now, and of course it didn’t run. The owner said it would run if it just had a battery, but you weren’t going to get your hands on something as valuable as that around here. The owner was a muscular man named Doyle, who was also the one who started building the houses here. We all call him the “Mayor” out of respect. He was probably in his early thirties. Normally he was a cheerful man who moved his thick eyebrows about wildly as he spoke. But behind all that, he was a really lonely guy. Just about two years ago he called some friends over to the house he’d built himself and they started living together. Well, he built the house so that he could call people over. Soon his friends called their friends, and the numbers grew, and it got suffocating in the house. They all got together and agreed to build their own houses. They shared the labour out between themselves, and built their houses next to the Mayor’s, so it enclosed the storage area for the cars and building materials. In the end, this circular courtyard was formed. When I first visited my friend who lived here, there were five houses. I was introduced to the Mayor, who then asked me if I wanted to build a house and live there, since there was some land leftover and it just didn’t look right like that, so I took him up on the offer. I became a resident of this “Doyle Village” to fill in a gap.

The red door of the Mayor’s house slowly opened, and a man cautiously poked his face out. Ratface. He had a short, shabby frame. His rigid-looking hair was grown out on all sides, and just made his head look a lot bigger than the rest of him. He was maybe the same age as me. I’d started seeing him around about a week ago. He was always wearing a dark grey work outfit.

“Hey, you’re alright! That’s a relief.” He looked like he knew what had gone down.

I put my hand on the swollen, painful right half of my face, and sent him the message that it was a bit too early to give it the all-clear just yet.

“Wow, they really did a number on you, didn’t they? The Turks turned up at the door, so I ended up giving them your address without thinking. You seem like you’re used to it, so I figured you’d be fine – sorry ’bout that.”

“Well, I’d say you were right in thinking that.”

For the most part, that was how I really felt inside. I liked the reason he gave for telling them my address. The fruits of my daily image-building.

“If you’re gonna go get them back, I can make you a bomb.”

“A bomb?”

“You know, the bombs they use for blowing up all the crumbling buildings and stuff. I make ’em.”

I told him I’d think about it, but I had no desire to involve myself with the Turks any further. The man gave me a solemn nod and closed the door. I locked my own white door, and knocked on the green door of the neighbouring house.

Then I called out to my friend, “Fabio? It’s Evan, open up.”

My name is Evan Townshend. It’s the name I’ve had since the day I was born.

After a short wait, the door opened slightly. As I lowered my gaze, I saw a face looking up at me from waist-height.

“Hi, Evan.”


Vits Brown. Fabio’s little brother. He looked like a mini carbon copy of his older brother. The brothers lived here on their own, surrounded by green stuff. Their parents had passed away two years ago. Apparently they were crushed along with their house when Sector 7 fell. The brothers were saved thanks to being in the Sector 3 slums. Apparently, there was a house there that had a garden with all these flowers everywhere, and they had both been admiring them. Of course, it wasn’t the flowers they were looking at, but the green leaves.

“Where’s Fabio?”

“He’s gone out. It’s work time now, isn’t it?”

“Oh, yeah, it is.”

“What’s wrong with your eye?”

“Oh, this? I tripped. I was on a chair painting the ceiling and lost my balance.”

“Ooh, there was a real big noise. It woke me up.”

“Sorry ‘bout that.”

“That’s fine. What’s the point in sleeping when it doesn’t hurt with this medicine? I wanted to go somewhere, but Fabio told me I had to stay in while he’s gone. I fell asleep reading a book.”


Obviously it was medicine for Geostigma. Vits’ symptoms consisted a lesion called “Geostigma” that covered his skin from his hairline to above his eyebrows. One had been developing on his back too, apparently. Also, there was this black fluid that seeped from the lesions. The amount varied from day to day, but they say it’s quite painful.

“They’ve made a medicine for Geostigma? I hadn’t heard anything.”

“…” Vits averted his gaze like he’d done something wrong.

“Fabio told you not to talk about it? Even to me?”

“Well, I guess you’re okay. It’s actually this latest medicine they just made. It doesn’t cure it, but it makes it stop hurting. They call them a-nal-ge-sics, right? Fabio got it especially for me, from a doctor.”

His face was full of pride. I get it now. If there was a good reason for me to have to suffer the violence and humiliation, then I was fine with that.

Edge. That was the name people recently started using for this city. Up until two years ago this area was just a wasteland. A barren land that stretched out from the east side of Midgar, a city of steel and iron. Now, it had become a fine city. Construction on several larger buildings had started as well. I didn’t know why they needed so many tall buildings when there was all that empty land around, but that had nothing to do with me. They could do whatever they pleased. Edge was a city of freedom.

I walked down the main street to the central square. This main street, which extends out east from Midgar, was initially used for transporting building materials. Once the sides of the main street were filled with houses they built with the materials that were brought here, the city proceeded to expand outwards in a radial pattern. The landscape was changing with each passing day. If you stood in the same spot every day, you would see the flourishing growth of the city. I’m normally the type of person who is quick to criticize, but I couldn’t help but be speechless at that sight. You could feel the positive energy of the people. Whenever you’re feeling tired, just look at the city.

Next Chapter