No Such Thing As Heaven

A Wild Arms III Fanfiction By:

Black Waltz 0

A/N: This is a fic that's been wandering around my brain since October of last year, but I've finally gotten everything straightened out to write about it. This is also a ploy to beat my writer's block upside the head, so let's hope that it works too. In essence, this is a Wild Arms 3 serious satire of Stephen King's 'The Shining', retold and redesigned by me. As such, the original concept is Mr. King's works and not my own. That part belongs to him, and the game of WA3 belongs to Media Vision. I own nothing. Nothing! Anywho, please sit down and enjoy.

For meteor9, who deserves more.

xxx

Chapter One, Job Interview.

Duke Cain Begucci was probably the only person on the planet of Filgaia capable of turning a dungeon room into a fully functional office. He was a tall and well dressed man, efficiently groomed in the proper manner of his upper class, though age had withered his frame somewhat and had given him the deficient label of old man, he was still not quite that old, not just yet. Clive felt a little uncomfortable sitting on the opposite side of the duke's polished redwood desk, both his hands relaxed against the cushioned leather arm rests of his chair, though they did want to grip the expensive material, a testament to Clive's desire to not be there at all. The duke was a snide and bad-tempered old man, as his reputation had dictated, and Clive had called him over and over in his mind; Uppity son of a bitch.

The older man was sitting cross-legged over on his side of the desk, his hands laced together while he rested them on the wooden surface by his elbows. He had very dull, bitter brown eyes. These were trained on Clive in concentrated, though not very deep thought. "Are you listening to what I am saying, Mr. Winslett? These are very important matters that we are discussing here. I don't want to see a discrepancy in your understanding to mine."

Clive looked up suddenly in response to the duke's voice, off in his own little world for a few blank moments. He smiled apologetically, though incredibly falsely, like he was putting on some kind of invisible congenial mask. "I am very sorry, sir. I was thinking." This was a very lame excuse for him to throw forward, especially when his one great chance lay in the outcome of this meeting. It would affect him, his family and his career and determined if they would flounder or not. Clive pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose and continued. "Please understand how grateful I am for you allowing me this opportunity. I cannot thank you enough for this gesture."

You uppity son of a bitch… He continued in his mind.

"You had better stop thanking me and thank your old friend Berlitz instead, he is the only reason I am allowing your services instead of a more capable individual. Honestly, I believe there are many who can do a finer job than you." Clive clenched his hands slightly, biting his nails into the gaudy red leather arm rests. "However," The duke pressed, "I do owe Berlitz a favor at this time and he expressed his wishes that you be given this particular position and job. Be thankful you have friends in high places, Mr. Winslett." Before Clive could reply, Cain Begucci changed the subject, taking a handful of paper off his desk and reading over them in-between his hands. "Now about this job. You say you are bringing your wife and child with you as well?"

Clive nodded. "Indeed. I thought it would be an economically sound choice to allow them to stay with me, and you have stated that this may be a better job for more of a family man. I do not think I could manage such a large castle like this without somebody by my side to help and comfort me. I do not mind being the Gunner's Heaven caretaker for the winter months as long as I am not cut off from the rest of my family. Call me a sentimental man, but that is what I believe." He looked down at his wristwatch. It was one-thirty, he was running late. Kaitlyn and Catherine would probably be wondering if he had left yet.

Opening up a large blueprint for the design of the castle, the duke took out a red pen and circled some of the areas down in the basement, running parallel to most of the corridors and in some of the lower cell areas. He began to explain. "The Gunner's Heaven is quite a large attraction to many people over the course of the year. There is a part of each human's mind, no matter what, that revels in the sight of blood, destruction, and conflict. Gunner's Heaven caters to that whim, however we are quite sure to guarantee a fighter's life in the ring. It is only the monsters that suffer loss of life, it has been a good thirty years since a gladiator has fallen in the midst of a battle."

"I understand the, ahem, 'product' you sell to violence voyeurs and sadists, Mr. Begucci." Clive affirmed with distaste, being a generally non-violent man in essence. "My personal opinion has no standing here, despite my next profession, so I will not insult your business. You were probably expecting me to, correct? There has been some monster rights activists around in the past five years, I believe. Perhaps you thought I was one of them?"

"Not so." The duke argued carefully. "Forgive me for blowing my own horn, but I am quite proud of Gunner's Heaven's achievements. My own father could never have done as well I as have. But that is not the issue. Allow me to continue." He pointed to the red circles on the blueprints. "I have chosen to close down my Gunner's Heaven during the winter months for many reasons. Namely, I believe a greater revenue will come to me if I starve my clients for a few months each year, just long enough to make them nearly mad for the fight. Then, when I reopen, I can be assured a much greater, or more zealous number of clients. It is a simple matter of marketing, really, just like drying out one accustomed to the presence of drink." The duke looked up at Clive and smiled with a slow sarcastic grin. "Isn't that right, Mr. Winslett?"

Clive stiffened and smiled falsely again, still trying to remain genial. His voice was a little clipped, knowing that the duke was playing with and prying into his past. "I assume Berlitz has told you about my alcoholism, then? Those days are behind me now. I have not touched a drop of drink for nearly three years and I take pride in that. I am a drunk no longer."

"Berlitz has assured me of this. You dried out at the same time together, I believe. How interesting." Cain laughed a little, but it did not hold any warmth. "I am deviating from my original topic. You must warn me of these things, Mr. Winslett, or else I could go on all day. Now let me see…" He looked up into the air a bit in thought, then dived down into technical matters. "I enjoy my winter months down in the warmth of Southfarm. I own a large townhouse there and I take my wife and children with me, so there is nobody left to perform maintenance and keep my dear Gunner's Heaven in proper order. Ortega, my groundskeeper would happily continue his job throughout the whole year, but he is getting older and there are limits to what he can do these days."

"And this is where I come in." Clive presumed.

"Of course." The duke concurred. "Why else would you be sitting at my desk for?" He laughed again, louder this time, amused at his own wit. Calming down, he pulled back a drawer of his desk and searched though it, finding a packet of cigarettes and then lighting one. Clive wrinkled his nose in distaste. It smelt awful. "During the winter months Gunner's Heaven becomes quite inaccessible to your average traveler. The train services of Sunset Peak close down and it usually takes about a half day to reach the nearest town on foot, and nearly three hours on horseback. Should you accept this job, Mr. Winslett, you must be prepared to be totally isolated for the duration of those three months."

"Which is the reason why I intend to bring my family with me. Catherine and Kaitlyn are both remarkably resourceful people, I am sure the three of us will have a wonderful time with this big castle all to ourselves. We will not get bored throughout the winter. I have my theorems to work on along with some notes. I also intend to teach Kaitlyn how to read, horseback ride, and possibly even fire a gun. You know, all the things that a father must teach their child." Clive's false smile became real for a few warm moments, then disappeared again. "The winter will pass very quickly for us. It will be over before we know it."

"There are things you must be wary of, such as the isolation, the quiet, and the chance of cabin fever." The duke's eyes became distant for a little while. "It can be… most unpleasant…"

"That will not happen if we keep ourselves busy. Everything will be fine." Clive reiterated, intrigued at the unusual look in the duke's eyes. "The importance of my family in this is quite great. Recent… financial troubles are making it difficult for us. Isolation would be paramount presently."

Cain came back to reality rather quickly. "Oh yes." He agreed, "Your family may help you with the caretaking as well. Perhaps your wife and daughter could do the cleaning while you get to the repair work?" He seemed satisfied with his own idea, "Be mindful of this, though. The monsters are housed in the basement and dungeon respectively. I strongly advise you to keep your family away from there, it would not be particularly safe for them."

"Duly noted." Said Clive, remembering some of his previous briefing. "I am to feed the monsters from the monster feed stalls, make sure the lighting is kept at a satisfactory level and make sure Gunner's Heaven does not become dilapidated. Then the rest of my time is up to myself."

"The pantry has been fully stocked with enough food to last you maybe six months at the most, just in case. It helps to take precautions. Our cook will give you a little run-down on the day before you begin. An empathite transistor is located on the second floor with enough power to be used consecutively for twelve hours or so. Please use it sparsely. Keep the rooms clean, and…" Cain lowered his voice a tone, leaning over and almost whispering to Clive, "There is one great holding cell at the back of the dungeon. I want you to make sure that the torches are always burning down there, check four times a day. I cannot stress this matter enough."

"You have a beast in there that fears darkness?" Clive inquired.

"In a sense." The duke sighed, leaning back again. "I hope you now understand matters, Mr. Winslett. Please pack and return with your wife and daughter one month from today. I will be expecting you then, it is our last day open until next year." He pushed forward the blueprints with the red circles on them. "This indicates where torches should be kept burning at all times. Please keep this and memorize their locations. I am the master of Gunner's Heaven. I love it like my own children. I want you to take good care of it. I don't trust you as much as I would like, but I trust Berlitz and his judgment impeccably. Understand that."

Clive stood up, pocketing the document carefully. "I understand." He said, his smile as cheesily false as ever. "It was a pleasure meeting you, Duke Begucci."

Uppity son of a bitch.

Clive was a very good liar.