Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to Final Fantasy VII or Vincent Valentine. The name 'Of Transformants and Brevity' comes from a brilliant piece of music created by zyko and placed on the website Overclocked Remix. It is a rearrangement of Vincent's theme 'The Nightmare's Beginning' and I listened to it on loop while writing this. If you're a fan of Final Fantasy music, or just video game music in general, you would be remiss if you didn't check out the website.
Note: There may be a lot of angry people glaring at the their author alert messages and wondering what I'm doing in this fandom, not updating the number of stories I abandoned years ago. Sorry. This was a fluke achieved by two conditions- editor's block, and the aforementioned song that served as the inspiration.
Of Transformants and Brevity
It was a place without definition. A place that might've existed, or might only have been a delusion born of agony. It was deep, like a well without a bottom where one could drift endlessly down into the darkness, waiting for the end of a journey that would never come. It was eternal, a place where time didn't exist and reality was only a faint parallel wavering in and out of meaning somewhere just beyond. He wasn't standing outside of himself, no. This was a place so deep within... deeper than the reaches of sensation or emotion. An inner void.
The concept of consciousness had lost all meaning. It was just a senseless word that occasionally crossed through the dark plain of his mind in the form of a question. There were no answers echoing back, just wordless, muddled confusion where his reasoning skills should've been.
In this place, there was nothing to see. No, that wasn't true at all. There was something, someone there. He could feel them, not in the way you feel a person's touch on your skin but in the way you feel something run beneath your skin, just a sickly knowledge imparted to your body by the painless pierce of a needle. He knew they were there, phantoms teasing at the edges of his fading awareness. He couldn't see them, they were pieces of that parallel reality he had ejected himself from but at times he could hear them. Jumbled blurs of sound filtering through the endless black, taptaptap in a decisive rhythm all around the perimeter of his senses. Just out of reach... a world away from him. The vibration of noises that might form familiar sounds that cut through the void and tried to jerk him back to the surface.
Damned nosey Turk.
And other times the sounds didn't mean anything at all, they just ran together, slurring waves of foreign chants whispering back and forth in a dark incantation. These incantations summoned something terrible out of the nothingness, for they were often accompanied by brief sparks of pain skittering through parts of himself he thought he'd lost. This pain was a hitching flash that burned away the darkness. Like a nightmare unfurling in scattered glimpses, he would snap back and forth between that reality and the haven of his own. Between fire licking paths through a useless body and the cold relief of the black pit where there was no such thing as a body and never had been.
He began to feel his drifting descent slow. The blank purity was being contaminated as that other reality crossed the border and began to seep into the blackness of his haven. Light flickered at the edges of the darkness, a poison green light like the beckoning illumination of hell and the scent of decay tickled his senses. A flood of torment overwhelmed him, cracked through his bones and curled through his blood as an unwelcome intruder claiming territory he no longer wanted. His body, no... Not his body. This pain filled thing, so heavy and unfamiliar...
But the flood was absolute so that it filled every bit of his being, like water it sank inside and choked off the trickle of air in his throat. Air, breathing. A struggling rasp that stuttered out of his lungs against the agony that swept every cell. Every cell revolting, rebelling, shifting. The scream of twisting nuclei from something familiar to something unrecognizable. Monstrous.
Light, that awful light glowing all around him... he wanted his darkness again. He wanted to abandon this body again. He shut his eyes tightly.
Strings of sound echoed once more, and while he could grasp their meaning now, he didn't understand any better. Or perhaps he simply didn't want to.
There was an undeniable presence there attesting to the truth of these words. It was inside him, a malignant entity intertwined flawlessly with his being so that he strained to recall if it had always been this way. In the silence he could hear a voice breathing wicked sentiments wordlessly into the most intimate corners of his mind. Dark chanting again as it spoke in tongues of destruction. Blood. Death. Ultimate ruination.
This voice... his voice...? Part of him...
The wheels of logic were slow to turn, weighted down in the sludge of disorientation as if his gray matter had liquified in the onslaught of pain still snaking through his body. But with a sense, perhaps an instinct he didn't know how to name he could feel it sinking tendrils and planting roots deep inside. Moving within and rearing up, rising with a swift surge like an abrasive caress through his soul. Through his body, every limb quaking, through his flesh so that it trembled and tingled with pinpricks of fire.
It was devouring him.
The grinding of bones as they shifted shape was so loud, like the sound of the entire world howling boundless anguish directly into his ears. Flesh tearing as it crawled across his changing frame, amorphous and almost fluid in comparison to the hard and awkward formations of his body. It hurt. Likened to the feeling of some great and terrible beast rending him apart with claws and teeth only to rearrange him in a way it saw fit. Pulling, burning, twisting from the depths of his gut and out to his epidermis.
His body was contorting itself into a stranger.
But then... who was he? Who had he been? Memories that might've been nightmares played like disjointed melodies against the rising tide of dark within. He had been... weak. He had been a failure. Committed a grievous sin.
And who was he now?
He was a man- no! Now a thing. Before his eyes the hands of a man grew, became warped in a grotesque caricature of what hands were supposed to be. Jagged claws that could only destroy anything they touched, a perversion of nature... the paws of a monster.
The raging voice inside was only growing stronger by the moment. The thoughts, feelings, memories he had barely been able to grasp before became mist in those twisted claws and slipped between his fingers. Who was he? Why was this happening to him? To this body? One by one thoughts fell away into a swelling ocean of madness.
Destroy. Devour. Destroy...
As the creature that was him and yet, wasn't really him at all began to disassemble what tattered bit had remained of his mind, he saw her face. In that moment, he could not remember himself, who he was supposed to be, or what he was supposed to be. But he remembered her. And knew that he deserved this.
The unfamiliar pulse of a heartbeat throughout his body sealed the journey. Ringing in his ears so that it drowned out the animal bellow of mindless rage, it was a rhythmic story of one who had defied both the realms of life and death. Now, he could know the reprieve of neither.
Eternal existence. That was his punishment.
This sort of scene has been done to death by now I'm sure and to tell the truth, this didn't turn out quite the way I first invisioned it. I think I intended it to be something grittier, but I kind of like the distant, disoriented feeling of pulling him slowly from the realm of death. After two years of writing mostly straight-forward, first person perspective this piece was an attempt at exercising a style that I've grown rather rusty out. Hopefully it turned out at least decent.