Clash of the Titans
"This Glassy Surface"
Hanson: This Time Around
Don't wander through this glassy surface
Expecting to find more than me
'Cause what am I without a purpose
But a lone mirage to see
A city with a disease.
A city with deep shadows in which a sea of purposeless people hide their meaningless natures behind the guise of the slums' working class. The slums' nighttime working class, that is. The whores, the pimps, the dealers, the pushers—a plethora of worthless, purposeless people who only pretend to be leading lives worth living, never dreaming of liberty because the idea is totally inconceivable to them. They were born without dreams, without destinies, born into the cage of society with their wings already broken. They cannot sing; their voices have been tainted and torn up by screams and roughened by pollution of both the body and soul. They cannot run; to them, there is nowhere to run. Life has not smiled upon them kindly; it has hardened their hearts and stolen the remnants of their pride until they can hardly be called human due to their inhumane acts. They rot in their cages by their own will. They are vessels of darkness, hollows shells molded into the shapes of self-destructive creatures called humans.
And tonight, the girl is among them.
The filthy street is, for the most part, silent as she strides down it, long legs moving with an unusual confidence not native to these parts. Her movements are not provocative or inviting, but neither are they dominating and threatening. She moves with a simple grace that seems exclusive only to her as she passes almost artfully between patches of light and darkness on the battle-ridden street. Jet-black hair with so many fiery highlights that it looks a deep black-red underneath the lamplights hangs down to the small of her back. It hides her face with an eager darkness that rivals the shadows of the slums, barely allowing the soulless onlookers out on "business" a glimpse of her unnaturally pale skin. Her clothes are normal for this part of dilapidated, wartorn Midgar, but are out of place on her for some reason. Black fishnet hose through which the white pallor of her skin can be seen. Black boots with high heels that cover her muscular calves. A slinky, almost transparent dress that is too tight and too short to fit her properly. Her pale shoulders are left almost bare by the low cut neckline of the outfit, but once again, the inky black hair swoops down to cover them as protectively as the arm of a loving husband.
She is a beauty. She is fresh, young, and dressed like any other whore, yet no one approaches her. She does not belong here, though this well of lost souls, these streets of heartless ghosts, welcome her eagerly. She is an outcast among the outcasts, and she knows it as well as all the others do. She is faceless, nameless…purposeless as the rest.
Yet no one knows her here. The cutthroat thief on the rooftop does not know her. The pimp watching her under the streetlight as she passes doesn't know her. The harlot moaning in the dark alleyway with her drunken client does not know her. The murderer disposing of his nightly kill in the dumpster does not know her. The drug dealer in the shadows with his "delivery" does not know her.
All they know is that she does not belong; she is not one of them. For even though she is purposeless like them, even though she is dressed in their garb, she is not yet soulless. Her wings are weak and fragile, but not broken. No cage can contain her even as she wanders meaninglessly over the vast wastelands of her own soul. Her presence in their bottomless well is searching, calculating, a light in the darkness that they cannot understand or look upon. She exudes a peculiar aura of danger that is unmatched by the beastliest of beasts all around her. They are all apprehensive of this titan who wears their skin and clothes. But she makes no threatening moves and just passes them by without a trace of fear, so they go about their nightly business without aim or end, not knowing her and making no attempt to do so.
But the man stalking the girl knows her. He has a purpose, albeit a dark, heartless one, but he has one, and so he terrifies them more than anything. He leaves terror and sickly fear in his wake.
The cutthroat thief slinks back onto his rooftop for fear the man will see him. The pimp under the lamplight fades expertly into the shadows. The harlot shudders and guides her blissfully oblivious client deeper into the alleyway. The murderer contemplates jumping into the dumpster with his lifeless victim, but freezes like a deer caught in a pair of headlights instead. The drug dealer saunters away with his delivery hidden in his jacket coat.
The dark man pays them no heed; his only purpose is the girl, to catch the girl. She is crafty, sneaky. Her clothes are stolen. Her skin is borrowed. He knows she is no human. Already twice he has attempted to recapture her and failed. He won't fail again, but if he does, then he'll dust himself off and try again. He must fulfill his purpose.
The girl is aware of him. He never escapes her detection for an instant. She is afraid of him, but doesn't show it. Instead she feeds the fear to the maw of the echoing, empty void in her, the void that her purpose could have filled, if she had one. But she did have one at one time; this she knows, just simply knows. "How" is not part of the question. Yet the girl feels almost beyond a doubt that though her time to serve the Planet had passed for the time being, it will arise again. She will wait; she can be very patient when needed. It is why she has managed to survive in this unfamiliar yet aching familiar place called Midgar. Yes, her purpose will soon reveal itself to her again, and she will be whole and happy and complete. And if it doesn't…then she will perish, a soulless empty shell like the pitiful caged birds of this ghastly slum with bars of poverty and frozen hearts. She has the deepest sympathy for them all, for the thief, for the pimp, for the harlot, for the murderer, for the dealer. She would help them if she could, but she cannot, not now, not when the stakes are so high…
The girl, who had been keeping a casual, unhurried pace until now, suddenly disappears into a dark, deserted alley and breaks into a run, keeping her footfalls silent with seasoned practice. Her midnight hair streams behind her; the shadows hide her face. She does not know why she runs, but what she does know is that she's moving towards a more congested, busy part of the Midgar slums. She knows that the dark man is following even though she cannot see him.
What she doesn't know is that she's about to meet her soul mate.