"It shows a sinful world of creation, surrounded by the Serpent of Eternity, the Uroboros, and characterized by the four elements and the sins corresponding to them; the whole circle relates to the centre, the weeping eye of God, i.e., the point where salvation, symbolized by the dove of the Holy Ghost, may be achieved by compassion and love."
Grunting in frustration, Chris jammed his finger on the button of the TV remote a little harder than necessary, switching to another channel of tedious and ridiculously bad daytime TV shows. His entire apartment-couch specifically-smelled of stale alcohol and sweat, but by now he was more than impervious to the stench; it was just another regularity to him, one which could be compared to waking up every morning.
He sighed as yet another repeat of a bad soap opera that he'd already watched twice before came onto the screen, and he threw down his empty beer bottle onto the dirtied carpet at his feet to join his collection of others that had been tossed there previously.
It was times like these, the unwanted hours he was forced to take off work, that had Chris bored senseless, and desperate for something to stop him thinking-something that would occupy his mind so it wouldn't revert into his own personal hell that he couldn't help but torment himself with.
It had been almost two years since the incident. Two years since she had given her life for him-barrelled herself into the tyrant Albert Wesker as he choked Chris' life away by a single hand to his throat. Two years since she had fallen down a cliff face to her death, all in the manner of saving his life.
Chris had learned to fight the memories; when at work, his job would hold them at bay-his mind focused solely on his mission, task at hand, and even paperwork. It was better than dwelling. Anything was. And when he couldn't work, he would body build. Push his body to its limits, as far as he could go. It was a sort-of reprimand: the stronger he could make himself, the more lives he thought he could prevent from being lost, like Jill's was.
And when he could do neither of those things, he numbed himself with alcohol and bad television shows. It was all he could do to blot away the pain. The pain of losing the one woman in his life he had ever given a damn about.
At times, when he was in his in a particularly drunken stupor, he would curse Jill, wherever she was, for leaving him to rot like this. It could hardly be called a life she had saved, or rather, left him with. And other times, when he was much more sober-usually the aftermath-he would curse himself, because he had only himself to blame for his state of living. The rest of the time, however, he didn't care. He simply functioned; it was all he could manage without Jill. She had been his stability, his backbone through the difficult times. She had been with him since the beginning, and he had fallen so deep for her there wasn't any chance of ever getting out of the hole he had dug himself. He had misplaced his shovel long ago, and losing her had cost him a part of himself that no amount of counselling or 'getting on with life' would ever recover.
His sister, Claire, no longer visited him. In fact, she had blatantly refused the last time, saying if he wanted to see her he would have to make the effort and come and visit her, instead. Dimly, he wondered if it were due to the fact that he had become unsociable, even to those closest to him. Or maybe it was the fact that his apartment smelled like the back-end of an old man's bar. Which ever one it was, it meant he hadn't seen his sister in almost a month. The only human company he had been in service with were those he worked with. And he couldn't even remember any of their names.
He was vaguely aware that he was coming apart at the seams, but without Jill life just didn't seem worth it anymore.
The shrill ringing of the phone startled Chris a little, jostling him from opening another bottle of beer. With another grunt, he slammed the bottle down on a side table next to his couch and got up stiffly to answer his phone.
"Hello?" His voice was croaky, hoarse.
"Redfield? Is that you?" Came an annoyingly loud voice through the receiver. Chris flinched at the volume, holding it gingerly from his ear.
"Yeah." His answer was curt. He wasn't in the mood for a conversation of any kind.
"It's Dunham." The voice was brisk, impatient. "I've just got a report in which I think you might want to look at. Now."
Chris frowned. "Hate to remind you, sir, but I'm off duty at the moment,"
"You think I give a shit? I'm sticking my neck out for you here, boy, and I expect you to show up within the next twenty minutes." Abruptly, the line went dead, leaving Chris both confused and annoyed.
Twelve minutes later, Chris was changed in clean clothes and ready to go. Still some-what drunk, he padded through the hallway of his apartment building, hoping he was presentable enough to be seen out in public. Markus Dunham wasn't a man who 'stuck his neck out', as he put it, for people, so Chris wondered what it could possibly be that Dunham wanted him to see.
The BSAA building was fairly busy; after all, it was midday and there were people bustling everywhere. No one appeared to be staring at Chris any longer than they normally would at a man who's arms were the size of small spruces as he lumbered through the halls, so Chris deducted he mustn't look as drunk as he thought.
With a sharp and quick rap to Dunham's office door, Chris let himself inside, closing the pinewood door behind him. Dunham-a large, greying man in his forties-was sitting at his desk, a large folder in his hands.
"Good, you're early. I hate waiting." As on the phone, his voice was impatient.
"You wanted to show me something, sir?" Chris asked. Dunham nodded.
"Yes. Have a seat, will you?" He gestured to the chair positioned in front of his desk. Chris sat. "This information is classified, as I'm sure you already know,"-Chris resisted the urge to roll his eyes, he knew the drill-"so it doesn't leave this room. Alright?" Chris settled for a nod.
"Good. So, about an hour ago, we received information that the Alpha team that was dispensed to that report in Africa about the bio weapons that are apparently there haven't been heard from in the last seven hours. Not a word. No one can get hold of them at all-any of them."
Chris frowned as he listened; he didn't see why this was something he wanted to hear, but kept listening.
"That's where you come in. I need you over there with them; find out what happened. I'll have an agent there from the African government who'll assist you." Chris couldn't help but feel as though the details were too vague, that there was something Dunham was leaving out.
"Why are you sending me, sir?" He was quizzical. It sounded like a routine job that a search crew should be doing, not him. Dunham sighed, fiddling with the folder in his hands.
"I could get in a lot of trouble for this. I shouldn't even be telling you at all, but, these are the data files faxed over from when Alpha were last contacted; they found a whole load of files in an abandoned warehouse apparently. I… well, I think you should take a look." He pushed the folder onto the desk and forward towards Chris, who took it carefully. He began leafing through the contents: pages printed with detailed files on different test projects.
Nothing caught his interest at first; it all seemed like babble to him. Files upon files of writing about villages, and the villagers of Africa-side effects of words he couldn't pronounce. As he skimmed, one file caught his eyes. A name. He recognized a name. His hand stopped, froze midst shuffling. He felt his mouth go dry, throat constrict. In bold words, it read:
Test Subject: Valentine, Jill
Eye color: blue
Subject has been in a medically induced stasis for an extended period. All vital signs including heart rate, respiration, blood pressure, and temperature are within normal values.
A pigmentation abnormality has been observed. Effect of abnormality is limited to cranial hair follicles.
In addition, slight skin whitening (etiolation) has been observed.
Subject is of highest priority; Uroboros and P30 testing is currently being conducted. Tests are proving successful so far.
Chris' fingers traced the outline of the page as he stared, disbelieving.
"You're our best agent, Chris. And I believe that there's something more going on over there than what reports say."
"And this is just a ruse to get me over there, huh?" Chris questioned quietly, fingers still on the paper. He felt numb; not the same numbness he usually got after a punch in the mouth from too much alcohol, but a different numbness. Shock.
"Oh, I assure you, that's real. I wouldn't have shown it to you otherwise. What kind of man do you take me for? I thought you should see it; make the decision for yourself. I know how you took her… death."
Chris was silent for a moment, deliberating, fingers still tracing over the words as though he were trying to etch every detail into his mind.
"When do I leave?"
Suddenly, there was light filtering through his dark, shadowy overcast. There was a chance she was alive.
I've made certain altercations to this story because there are a few tiny plot holes I've discovered in Resident Evil 5, so I have patched them over with my own work. This will be ChrisxJill in future chapters, and hinting throughout. I will perhaps change the rating in later chapters.
Disclaimer: I do not own anything.
Ad Undas: Latin translation - To Hell