A young girl watches the night, dressed in white with bare-feet planted firmly on the ground. Cupping the moon in her hands, she wonders if she‘s really watching the past. Would her brother know? Of course he’d know -- her brother knew everything.
And there it was; a small gasp as a star falls from the sky.
“Brother! Brother! Did you see it? A shooting star!”
She turns to him, and Hei thinks he can see the stars in her hair - in her eyes. It’s probably just the reflection of the lake, but he can imagine.
“Did you know that whenever a star falls, God opens up heaven?”
Black paints the skyline and the stars are gone. They’d disappeared with no warning with the moon trailing behind them. Pai had spent that first night crying in her brother's arms, but now she just watches.
“Come inside! Mom’s going to get mad at us if we stay up late again.”
She doesn’t respond, and continues to gaze up on the black void that is now the night. Hei walks up to her to take her by the hand - a sad smile as he wonders how it’d be nice if he could bring the stars back. For he. He takes her by the hand, squeezing it gently.
“Xing, come on-”
The girl’s hand remains lank and Hei worries - this isn’t the first time she’s done this. He turns to look her in the eye and meets nothing, as if her soul had left with the stars.
Xing’s sick, he says. She just needs to rest and she’ll be okay.
Their bodies are on the floor, and Hei’s crying -- the same little boy who had promise himself he’d be the brave older brother that’d never cry. Yet, he doesn’t know if he’s crying for himself or for her. The murderer. The same little girl dressed in white who’d smiled when she saw a shooting star. It’s an accident, he says - yet, he can’t bare to look her in the eyes. Those eyes that weren’t hers: eyes that said nothing, burning red in the darkness.
There’s that glow wrapping around her again, and he hopes to God that he won’t die. Who else would watch be there to watch after her?
“Are you all right?”
Both of them are older now, children wearing the scars of grown men. And there’s still nothing in her eyes, nothing in her voice. Hei shakes his head in response, stumbling on a body as he moves toward her. They’re everywhere in this forest, patches of bodies littering the floor; he’d thrown up the first time he’d seen one, and threw up for a month every time he’d be the one to kill them.
Hei leans over to pull his blade from a body and shakes his head. There’d always be that rush of sadness and feeling in his stomach. Maybe he'd find somewhere private later.
She’s sleeping again in his arms. Pai always sleeps after she uses her power - a part of the contract she’d never signed. There’s a rare smile on his face as he watches her, remembering; he could try and imagine nothing had changed when she was like this.
“Why do you care about her?”
Silence is interrupted by a crude voice. A man in uniform, and one of the few like himself -- human.
“She’s just a monster, you know - all Contractors are. Monsters without regard for feeling or conscience, or even the conception of sin. You won’t get anything out of thing with no emotions.”
In the bottom of tomorrows field report, there’s mention of a human officer with various injuries.
Memories fly by now:
A newspaper headlined with, "REGION OF SOUTH AMERICA DISAPPEARS."
Hei stands amidst a pile of bodies and wonders if it'd ever been so easy to kill. He wonders when the guilt will set in until it doesn't
Images of a green-haired woman beside him, smiling as she spins stories of running away. Away from the war - just the three of them. Hei doesn't say anything.
There's a girl covered in soot as she continues to burn everything, unaware of anything. Hei yells are her to stop, but she's too far gone now. Like Xing.
It's the green-haired woman again, though girl would be more appropriate. She's younger than ever before, smiling as she did before.
"...I missed you, Hei."
He slaps her and there's pain in her eyes.
Two men stare at the figure before them, grown men and thieves shaking like children. Death's entered, they realize- Death in the form of a black-hair and red eyes.
"You- You worked for us, why- Didn't you remember that time we all went out eat? When you met my girlfriend-- Don't you?"
Hei continues to step toward them, a soft glow forming around his body as he raises a gloved hand. There's no reaction to their words- nothing in his eyes, nothing in his voice.
"Contractors are liars. Monsters without regard for feeling or conscience."