Hey all, just a quick explanation before the story. This is a Far Cry 2 fan fiction I started writing awhile back because I felt like the story had great thematic potential, but it never delved too deeply into some of the bits I found most interesting. So this project is kind of an experiment--I've never wrote a fan fiction before--and, hopefully, an exploration of some of the game's underlying themes. It's incomplete, but I thought I'd throw a sample out there and get some feedback. Anyway, here goes...
“To break a man’s will, to break his spirit, you have to break his mind…Show them what a messy, terrible thing it is to kill a man; then show them that you relish in it…Destroy their preconceptions of what a man is, and you become their personal monster…But let’s never forget, it’s a display. It’s a posture. If you lose yourself in the display, if you succumb to the horror, you become reduced. Not more than a man, but less.”
The sun hung low on the western horizon, red and bloated, partially obscured by the haze of smoke and dust that had choked the air since Mbantuwe’s death and the dissolution of the cease-fire. His bodyguards had found him in his office at the brewery two days ago, hacked to pieces and with a bullet in his head. The UFLL militias that hadn’t collapsed into chaotic infighting had retaliated by rounding up children they claimed to be APR supporters; they chopped their arms off at the elbows and cut the tendons in their necks. Those who resisted were summarily executed.
The APR had responded by razing the countryside. Earlier today, on my way into town, I saw an execution squad line up a row of prisoners against a wall and open fire. There were five gunmen and six prisoners; the odd man out had the bad luck of earning a flaming tire to wear around his neck.
To the east, the sky was black as ink, sullen with heavy thunderheads and the promise of rain. A sudden shining arc of lightning split the skyline, followed by a thrumming crack and a distant rumble. Not far off, I could see the glow of a new fire burning in the dry fields outside of town, smoke and embers curling high on the eastern wind.
“Mister Alencar, she’s awake. She’s…she asked for you, sir.”
I watched the sun dip below the trees before I flicked the stub of my cigarette into the wind, exhaling through my nose. Wincing, I pulled myself up out of the rickety wooden chair and crossed the terrace, one hand braced against my tender ribs. Doctor Obua was waiting in the doorway, leaning heavily against the whitewashed brick as he mopped his forehead with a dirty handkerchief.
“How’s she doing, doc?” The concern in my voice surprised me. I barely knew the woman.
“I managed to stop the bleeding for now, but her condition is grave. The bullet is lodged in her liver. I don’t think she’ll last much longer without surgery.” Obua removed his glasses to rub a hand down his face, over his jaw and around the back of his neck. “There is no anesthesia here. A truck was supposed to bring a shipment of medical supplies in a week ago, but it never came.”
“Can you do it without the drugs?”
“I could, but frankly sir, I don’t think she’ll survive. She needs blood…she’s on the verge of shock. I think the best thing we can do for her at this point is…just try to make her comfortable…ease her passing.”
My hand strayed to the pistol at my hip, almost an instinct, as I considered his words. Ease her passing.
He must have known what I was thinking, because he turned away and started back downstairs, his head hanging wearily between his shoulders. I followed behind him, clenching my fists as I felt my hands begin to shake. Strange time to get nervous.
Michelle Dachss was lying supine on a table at the bottom of the stairs, slick with sweat and cast in the flickering glow of the lantern suspended above her. Obua had cut her shirt away in his haste to tend the wound, and now, despite the heat, her bare skin had prickled, as if chilled. She trembled, drawing shallow breaths through cracked, sunburned lips. Her face was pale, streaked with dirt and ash, and there was blood smeared across her forehead, caked in her dirty, blonde hair.
“Marty?” Her voice was strained, barely a whisper. She tried to sit up when she saw me coming down the stairs, but the doctor stopped her with a hand on her shoulder. “Marty, where am I?”
I patted Obua on the arm, watched him retreat into the back room as I knelt next to the table. “Mosate Selao, in the clinic.” I reached for her hand, found myself surprised by the strength of her grip. “You were bleeding pretty bad, and the jeep needed repairs. I figured this would be the best place to go.”
What little color there was drained from Michelle’s face as she looked up at me. “No…no…we have to get out of here.” She tried to sit up again, gasping in pain as a bloom of black blood spread across her abdominal dressing. “He’ll find us here.”
“You’re not in any condition to go anywhere right now.” I eased her back down, smoothed her hair. “We’ll be alright.”
“Don’t you understand?” She whimpered. “He’ll find us. He knows this place…knows the Underground. It isn’t safe here.”
“Just relax, Michelle, you’ve lost a lot of blood. We don’t need you panicking right now.” I nodded towards the battered AK-47 leaning in the corner near the door. “If Echebbi shows up, I’ll take care of him. He won’t get anywhere close to that medicine, don’t worry.” I winked in an effort to make her smile, maybe calm her nerves.
She shook her head and attempted a smirk, drew an arm up weakly to cover her chest. “Balls of steel, eh Alencar?”
“That’s what Davar said about you, when she recommended you for the job. Said you loved the action, that you’ve got balls of steel.”
“She would know.” I laughed and squeezed her hand. I hadn’t seen Nasreen Davar in nearly three weeks; she was close with the Underground, and I’d helped her out a couple times. We had a fling—nothing special, just a passing moment—and I never saw her again.
“Just don’t let them get you killed.” She coughed, tried to double over to ease the pain. “One of us...still has to get that stuff to Father Maliyah.” One of us...
I pulled the scarf loose from around my neck to wipe the blood from her lips. She closed her eyes and squeezed my hand again. I could see the grit under her nails, the cuts on her knuckles, little things I never would have thought to notice. I became acutely aware of her breasts, half exposed beneath her trembling hand, and the long vertical scar puckered below her navel. I could hear Obua in the back, shuffling about as he scrubbed his instruments, and the steady drum of rain on the corrugated metal roof.
The pistol at my hip suddenly felt heavier.
“Your hands are shaking…” Michelle whispered, opening her eyes to look up at me.
* * *