By GQ and Zhak
GQ's note: Inspired by a Japanese horror movie but this isn't necessarily a parody of that movie. However, this is an A.U… somewhat events were based from Advent Children and some events from the game. We're not Aerith-haters or Tifa-bashers whatsoever. If you find anything offensive about the story regarding these girls, just leave and kill yourself. smirks
Disclaimer: We don't own anything except maybe some plots… just some plots. The song Close to You belongs to The Carpenters… and Aerith's Theme belongs to Square. The idea of the story came from the movie "One Missed Call", but the events in this fic do not necessarily follow the exact events and plots in the movie.
Prologue: It Starts…
Reno, Rude and Elena just arrived from a Turk Mission and went back to the Healin Lodge where the President is. "Finally! We can rest!" Elena gasped in relief as she plopped down on the sofa inside the President's room.
Rufus was just seated on his wheelchair, staring blankly at the Turks. "Were you able to retrieve the information?" he asked seriously.
"Here you go, Prez!" Reno gave a piece of paper to the President. "But I think that's useless now because… we accidentally killed the boss already who owns that number." He continued with a sheepish look on his face.
Rufus was silent for a while before crumpling the piece of paper. "Fine. What's the use of this telephone number if the person I'd like to warn about his death is already dead?" he asked with a slight smirk on his face, feeling proud of his Turks.
"It's a slip of the finger, Mister President. I accidentally pulled the trigger when I said, freeze! And the next thing I knew, BANG! He's dead!" Elena said with a victorious look on her face.
Reno pulled out his mobile phone and put it on top of the end table by the couch. "May I use your bathroom, Prez?" he asked.
"Go ahead. Just don't mess things up." Rufus warned.
"Yeah, yeah," Reno went inside the bathroom.
Rude was standing by the President's side while Elena was still chatting about their adventure… and they all froze when they heard some polyphonic ringing tone sounding. Even though the tone sounded like a midi file, the melody was still haunting… it's as if they were listening to it on the piano it was originally played on. It sounded something angelic… and peaceful.
"Whose is that?" Elena asked.
Rufus shook his head. "That's not my tone."
Rude turned to Reno's mobile phone and saw it lighting up. All eyes turned to it. Elena inspected it and saw the caller I.D. "Hmm… just the number. No name." she announced. And she giggled. "The ringing tone isn't Reno. Heehee!"
"The number must not be in his mobile phone's contacts list that's why it's just the number…" Rufus mumbled.
Elena rushed to the bathroom door and started knocking, "Hey, Reno! It's yours!" she called out.
"What, the call?" Reno asked from inside. Turns out he could hear it too. "It's not my ringing tone." He pointed out.
"Well it's ringing." Elena said, crossing her arms.
Reno opened the door and stepped out of the bathroom but he was still zipping up his pants in the process. "Ew! Did you even wash your hands!" she told him.
"Yeah, whatever." Reno replied, but just as when he was about to get his phone, it stopped ringing. He just flipped it open and saw that he had a missed call. "Better check it…" he went to the missed call list and was surprised to see his own mobile phone number there. "What the-…" he stammered.
"Why?" Rufus asked.
"It's my number!" Reno announced.
"Why would you even call yourself?" Elena pointed out in sarcasm.
"I won't call myself even if I was the last bored person in the Planet! I was in the goddamn bathroom, for cryin' out loud!" Reno snapped impatiently.
"Why don't you check the voicemail? Maybe you have a message there." Rude suggested. Reno just shook his head in disbelief before dialing his voicemail number and put his phone against his right ear, listening to the computer-operated voice, "You have one new message dated December 8. Time: 15:57."
Elena was listening beside him and to their awe, they just heard someone singing, "Why do birds suddenly appear everytime you are near? Just like me, they long to be close to you…"
Reno raised an eyebrow. "Is this some kind of a joke!" he demanded. But they continued to listen. The background seemed very quiet, and only the voice of the singer could be heard. It was a young lady with a very gentle and angelic-sounding voice… but it sounded so familiar to both of them.
"That's strange. Your voicemail took that message as fast as a minute… and your phone's been ringing for about a minute… and then the song is like, more than two minutes long?" Elena asked in confusion.
"Maybe that's a prank." Rude pointed out.
"It's a pretty good one, then. The message is dated December 8… that's tomorrow, right?" Elena asked as she held her arm nervously. She already felt goose bumps rising to the surface of her skin.
"Who would play a prank like this anyway? It's my own number… and I hate this song! It's one of those oldies!" Reno snapped before ending the call and putting the phone back inside his pocket.
"What's the song?" Rufus asked curiously.
"Close to You." Elena replied with a confused look on her face.
They all fell silent as they began to ponder about it.
Reno just shrugged. "Oh well never mind. I'll just go to the kitchen to check out some food." He said before leaving.
Elena just bit her lip. She does not really feel so well about the call. "Reno, wait up!" she called out, deciding to follow after him, leaving Rude and Rufus inside the room.
"Stay here and guard me." Rufus instructed. Rude just nodded and went over to the couch to sit down while Rufus proceeded to read a book by the window. The room was quiet and Rude just glanced at his watch and checked the date and looked outside the window. "It's only December 7…" he thought silently.
Not known to Rude, Rufus was also pondering about it. "Strange… is the telecom company having problems?" he thought as he turned the page.
December 8; 14:30…
"Yahoo! The Prez gave us an off…" Reno cheered as he leaned back on the lounge chair in a bar.
Elena twirled the straw in her drink uneasily. Reno eyed her questioningly and raised an eyebrow. "Well, you're not exactly drinking your arse off in joy there, 'Lena. What's bothering you?"
Elena sighed. "Oh… nothing," she said mindlessly. He noticed how her eyes strayed to her wristwatch every now and then. "Why do you keep looking at the time?"
She bit her lower lip and sipped her cocktail to avoid answering. She felt uneasy, the way Reno was staring at her like that, so she cleared her throat and asked, "Hey, where's Rude? He's gone for, like, 7 minutes now."
Reno laughed. "Oh, you know. The cheese sticks gave him indigestion. If you know what I mean," he said, smiling a bit naughtily at her. "But don't think about him now. Let's take advantage of being alone."
Elena forced a smile and a giggle. "Reno!..."
"Now c'mon. Tell me what's bothering you…" he said as he moved his hand to hold her face, but she interrupted him with a, "What time did you receive that prank voice mail message again?"
He paused briefly and shrugged. "I dunno. Don't remember."
Elena sighed again. Reno frowned and drank from his beer bottle. "What's the big deal anyway? It's just a prank."
"I… don't know… it's just… oh never mind," she replied, brightening up a bit. "Yeah, it's just a prank, nothing more! I shouldn't read too much into things!"
"That's good," Reno said. "Geez, Elena, you have a knack for ruining day offs…"
"Sorry." Elena checked her watch again. "Hey, Rude's taking a really long time… maybe you should go see him or something…"
"No need," Reno pointed behind her, where Rude was seen walking out of the lavatories looking very stressed. "Yo, Rude. Feeling any better?"
Rude shook his head. "I'm headin' back. Not feeling well," he told them as he laid a hand on his stomach.
"Gee, Rude, maybe we should head back to the Lodge with you," said Elena with a look of worry on her face, but Rude shook his head again. "The President told us to buy several items for him before we head back," he said.
Reno nodded slowly. "Oh, yeah… I remember. He gave you the shopping list, right, Rude?" The bald man answered by handing him the list and some money. The red-head opened the list and tilted his head. "Don't worry, buddy. We'll take care of this," he said, patting his shoulder.
"I owe you one," said Rude before walking out of the bar.
Elena moved near Reno and looked at the sheet of notebook paper. "Gee… the medicines I understand, but… bathroom items?" she asked as her eyes scanned the list.
"Yeah. Shampoo, conditioner, bath salts, a new scrub… he's got more stuff in here than what a girl would need. That's vanity for you," he said before pocketing the list. "Well, shall we head over to the drug store then?"
Elena checked out her watch before standing up. "Let's."
They took quite some time in the drug store. It was hard finding the brand of shampoo that President Rufus likes, along with a soap that's ¼ moisturizing cream. But the medicine part was fairly easy because they didn't need those rare contra-Geostigma drugs, the President only asked for a few headache-relief tablets and lozenges.
Finally, Reno and Elena were done. Plastic bags in hand, they began walking out on the sidewalks. "Man, that took us long enough. What time is it?" he asked.
Elena glanced at her wristwatch. "Ah… 15:55? No, make that 15:56. Almost 4 in the afternoon," she said before stopping in her tracks.
Reno paused. "What's wrong?" he asked.
She walked a bit on the side. "There's an open manhole in our path. Almost missed it…" she said as she began walking around it.
The red-headed Turk snorted. "It's not as if you'll fall to your death or anything if you do fall in. In fact, it would be sorta funny. Heheh…" he said as he easily walked next to it.
"Oh, shut up, Reno!" she said in fake annoyance. She turned around and saw that he stopped walking. "Hey, what are you standing there for?" she asked.
"I… I don't know… can't move my feet…" he said, staring at the ground.
"Huh?" Elena walked closer to him. "What do you mean?"
"I…" was the last thing Reno said before an invisible force pulled him inside the manhole. He didn't have the time to scream. Elena stood there frozen. She heard a crunch from the manhole.
She stared for a good 5 seconds before she gathered enough wits to realize what had just happened. "RENO!" she yelled as she poked her head into the manhole. Since it was dark inside and she could not see anything from up there, she jumped in the manhole and landed clumsily. It was dry concrete underneath, and it was a long way up to the streets. She fumbled in the blazer of her Turk uniform for a flashlight she always carried around.
She clicked it open. And she screamed. The flashlight fell on the floor, and the light its bulb created beamed on the object of her horror.
Reno had apparently landed head-first. His skull had literally cracked open. Blood was flowing freely from his head, creating a puddle of dark red blood on the ground.
"Oh… my…" Elena stammered hysterically. She began choking when she realized that the fall had instantly killed her fellow Turk. "My… my…"
But she recoiled when Reno began choking. His throat made a funny sound. Elena watched in horror as something round began emerging from his mouth. Popping in between his teeth, the object slid freely out of his mouth and rolled harmlessly towards her, and stopped at her feet.
She fell on her knees and picked the object up. She could barely make out the color in the dim light, but she could tell that it was green. "Ma… teria…" she said in a frantic whisper.
And then she sat there motionlessly, just staring at Reno's corpse. Tearfully, she looked at her fellow Turk, and couldn't believe that she didn't prevent this from happening—it was such a simple accident, but it was so fatal…
Tum tum tum… tum tum tum…
Her eyes widened upon hearing the tune.
Tum tum tum tum tum tum tum tum tum… tum…
The same ringing tone that she heard yesterday from Reno's phone. The beautiful, yet haunting one. The calm polyphonic tune that almost sounds like it came from the piano. Aerith's Theme
But this time, it didn't come from Reno's phone. The sound came from her own pocket.
Horrified, she slowly took her cell phone from her jacket and saw the number of the caller. 03409899765.
Her own number.
The ringing stopped. A message on her phone read: "1 missed call."
Mindlessly, she entered the voice mailbox number on her phone and began dialing. She nervously waited for the automated voice to tell her the message—
"You have 1 new message dated December 9. Time: 16:00."
And then she heard it; the song she heard just yesterday. "Why do birds suddenly appear? Everytime you are near?"
She let the phone drop from her grasp. Shadows were already beginning to block the light from above; a few people had heard her screaming and were peering in curiously. "Miss? Do you need help?"
She sobbed helplessly as a reply. She crawled towards Reno and looked up. "Yes! Help! Please!"
"Just like me, they long to be… close to you…"
December 9; 15:58
She didn't answer. President Rufus and Rude eyed each other before turning back to the Turk seated on a chair in front of them. Rufus sighed. "Are you ready to talk yet?"
Elena pursed her lips together. "Reno's dead…" she choked out.
"Please tell us how it happened," Rufus told her patiently.
She bit her lower lip and sniffed. She still could not find the right words to say what's really on her mind. She has suspicions on what really happened… but they were very unscientific; and she had known the President to be a very scientific person who wouldn't believe a single thing unless there is empirical evidence or data. She just sat still in silence with her eyes wide open as she stared at the President with fear in her eyes.
"I think she needs to talk to a psychiatrist," Rufus was thinking silently, realizing that the female Turk hasn't mentioned anything yet ever since she got out of the manhole, except that she kept on repeating "Reno's dead…" for several instances already. For all he knew, she could have killed Reno and was just acting innocent, trying to think of someone or something else to blame for his death. But he resolved that he would not make a brash decision unless he hears Elena's explanation whether it be true or not… he would be the judge of that. "Elena," he began with a stern tone, still trying to remain calm and patient. He could feel that time is running out, but he does not know why he felt that way.
"What time is it, Rude?" Rufus asked, thinking that if the girl wouldn't talk, he would just do something else like send her to a psychiatrist, since he felt like he did not want to waste his time on Elena when he had so much more to do, although he did feel concerned about his employee's condition. He had only two Turks left… two employees from ShinRa. Losing another one would make it difficult for him.
"It's 3:59, sir." Rude replied.
Elena's eyes widened, remembering the time when she received the call. "What's the date today?" she demanded as she instantly got up and rushed to Rude and the President.
"It's the 9th of December, Elena." Rufus pointed out.
She felt her hairs rising and she swallowed hard as she kept her eyes on Rude's sunglasses. There was a young lady with long wavy brown hair being reflected from the glass… and she was standing just behind Elena. Elena instantly turned around, but there was no one there.
"What is it, Elena?" Rufus asked.
"There was someone here." She said.
"What?" he asked in confusion.
"There was someone standing here! A…a lady… I… I saw her reflection on Rude's sunglasses!" she explained with a worried look on her face.
Rufus could see the extreme fear in Elena's eyes but he did not say anything else. He just motioned for Rude come closer so that he could say something private to him as Elena walked towards the window. "Maybe she jumped out of the window while I wasn't looking…" she stated with a deranged look on her face. She opened the windows and looked outside, scanning the whole area for any sign of a lady with long wavy brown hair.
"Go call the psychiatrist." Rufus commanded in a low serious tone. Rude nodded, "Yes sir," he said flatly before leaving the room.
Rufus turned to the wall clock and saw the time. "4:00" He turned to Elena again and said, "Elena, let's talk," he told her sternly.
Elena turned around to face him, but she gasped when she saw the lady standing behind Rufus. She took a step backward and leaned against the windowsill as she stared wide-eyed at the lady.
The lady's face was covered with her long wavy brown hair but she seemed to smile at her… and then her mobile phone began to ring with the same tone she heard on Reno's tone and her own phone yesterday. She got her phone from her pocket and saw that her own number is calling her again… and she saw the time: 4:00:15…
"Aren't you going to answer that?" Rufus asked curiously, although he could recognize that the ringing tone was also the tone he heard from Reno's phone the day before he died.
Elena threw the phone away from herself as she screeched and backed away further, touching the ledge of the window. She knew she was going to die… just like Reno… it became clear to her. But she needed to do something so she turned to Rufus and began, although she was shaking hard, "President Rufus, my own number is calling me… and… it happened to Reno but it was his own number too… and do you remember the voice message? And the time and date of call? It was… it was…" she trailed off when she felt a pair of hands grab her head. She froze when she heard a young lady's voice singing in her ear, "On the day that you were born the angels go together and decided to create a dream come true… so they sprinkled moondust in your hair; of gold and starlight in your eyes of blue…" although her song is not the ringing tone that was still ringing. Elena opened her mouth to say something… "Aerith!"
Rufus's eyes widened when he heard the name, but before he could react further, he just gaped in awe as he watched Elena fall backwards outside the window.
He froze, his emotions mixed with unexplained terror and confusion, but he just kept still.
The ringing stopped.
Pulling himself together, he carefully wheeled himself towards the window and peeked outside. The blanket that was covering his head slid off as he gazed at Elena's dead body on the ground, lying on the hard pavement. Her neck looked broken and blood was leaking from her mouth. Her eyes were staring into death's emptiness.
"President Rufus," Rude arrived. He stared curiously at the President and wondered why he was looking outside the window without the blanket covering his head and his face.
Rufus slowly turned to Rude with a cold look on his face before turning his gaze to Elena's mobile phone that was just lying on the floor. Rude approached the President and looked outside the window… "What the-…" he reacted in shock.
Rufus just stared horridly at the mobile phone on the floor. He still could not get over the fact that Elena mentioned a certain name before she fell out the window. He just swallowed hard, "Aerith…" he thought silently before telling Rude, "Get me my mobile phone. I have to call someone…" he instructed with a stern tone.
So how did you find the prologue? Oo'