I own none of this. Lucas Arts does.
Most puns are intended.
A shadow falls on the still waters. In the moonlight, a man faces the endless ocean, only his dark silhouette visible in the half-light.
Nobody here knows him, nobody has seen him. He is a ghost, hiding in the shadows. But this is not a man who likes to hide.
With a drag of his cigarette, Domino Hurley turns back, and walks towards the crumbling city of Rubacava.
Three years ago, he had stood on this very spot. Three years ago, he was a very, very different man.
Three years have aged him twenty years or more. No longer is he fuelled with the jealous rage of youth, and the burning hate that was his love. Now he stands, a broken man: or rather, one who was put back together again.
Two years ago, he was sent through terrible coral-crushers, grinding his bones into a million pieces. But because you can't die when you're dead, he stayed, in a way, dead. Dead, but scattered all over the Sea of Lament.
Even he cannot say how he pulled himself together and picked up the pieces. Perhaps the tide washed them together, or perhaps it was magic. No one knows.
Like in the magazines, thinks Domino, as he walks- slowly, deliberately, as if he has to try, really hard, to walk at all. Real Life Stories. In those thin papered magazines, plastered with bright colours, and the cheap-cheap-cheap price in a starburst. You can be assured that someone, somewhere has gotten a bad deal out of this, but at forty pence, it sure ain't you. And in the trashier newspapers, they had them too. Squashed between a girl's breasts and the latest wild life of some royal you've never heard of.
Their titles so personal, and yet saying so little. I nearly died because of my ex. I lost weight because of my ex. I married my ex, and so did my sister. A promise of escape in large print.
Real Life Stories. As if imagination had failed us all. Turn to tales of extreme.
But here, in the land of the dead, every day was a story. Introduction, climax, but conclusions seemed to be scarce. The only ones who got those were the ones who- through bribery or luck, or influence- managed to find a way through the arches of the temple leading to the most beautiful, unimaginable place in (debatable) existence: the Ninth Underworld.
Domino had been in the Land of the Dead for many years now, but he had only just gotten over the climax. As far as he was concerned, his life had been the prologue, his time in that shoddy office the introduction, and being shredded the first actual climatic thing that had happened. He, however, was aware that many people regarded him as only a sub-character in someone else's story: one Manuel Calavera.
Oh, and how he had searched for that man. Several said he had gotten his happy ending, but no-one was certain, and Domino was sure that was a lie.
The story of Mr. Calavera was told up and down the land, for the man who had freed every soul from the horrific reign of Hector surely was a hero. Women swooned in their kitchens, and men snorted as their wives told stories explaining away mysteries of their idol's unknown past, and yet still could not stop themselves from listening, and, when the women were far away, compared tales themselves.
Domino stops and rests. It is hard for him to walk far when he's tired, but is it the walking that exhausts him, or the anger at the fact that that inferior man is idoled while Domino, brilliant, perfect, once-and-a-half-dead Domino, was nothing in the eyes of most, and a villain in the eyes of the rest? In the few tales that mentioned him, he came off extremely badly. Scandalous lies and exaggerations, of course. And if they could lie about him, they could lie about Manny's whereabouts.
It had been a long journey. From Puerto Zapata, where there was no Calavera, but many rumours, to El Marrow, where the interrogation of several members of the ever strong LSA led nowhere, but to the mausoleum of Hector. It was a shock for Domino to see the decaying and neglected flowers that had once represented so much. He remembered the place in all its glory, blue and pink and purple glory. Funny how the fall of Hector and the fall of Domino had coincided. The fall of a golden age.
He had stared at the flowers, and had no doubt that Manuel Calavera had been there. No other man would have been able to kill the beautiful man who had brought hope to so many, and in so doing kill a beautiful age. Hurley had lay in that field of rotting corpses and cried, cried despite how hardened he had been by his tough death and by being ground to a million pieces, and almost everything else that had happened to him in this cruel, cruel world. How could Manny have taken Hector away from him? He had cried for the end of a life, and for the end of what could have been the beginning of a romance. Too bad he only realised what made the business arrangement between he and Hector so brilliant after one half of the team had died.
He had wondered, as he slipped to his knees in that field, whether he would have ever let himself love his ultimate boss.
The anger, red as blood and just as vital, floods him. Just two years ago that anger would have been so different. He would have screamed, smashed things and plotted, plotted ends for that man he hated so much. Now it barely keeps him walking, keeps him going. For now Hector is dead, there is no other motivation.
He lifts his head, and looks up at the crumbling neon sign that still reads Calavera Café, although it has been may years since it was last used.
It pleases Domino to see it decay like the flowers in the Mausoleum.