Shadow Hearts:
Far from Redemption

By: Dark Harmonixer

Paris, France August 1942

The screams began coming from the German soldiers, but the opposing French military couldn't see anything but the dust and earth before them. "God have mercy!" A French soldier cried and it was both a prayer and a curse at the same time for a German soldier burst out of the haze covered in blood, falling in upon the Frenchmen who stood vigilantly in their trenches. Their eyes instinctively fell to the fallen man in the muck.

And that was when it came.

A monster...

A human, but not a human. Possibly a demon. He was a tall, thin man with long red hair, black robes and intense yellow eyes that glittered in the darkness. The man was different from any ordinary human though for he changed into a great grey wolf before their very eyes and snarled at the soldiers who were trying to do battle with one another. It leapt on the nearest soldier and pinned the screaming man to the ground, tore out his throat and moved on to its next victim. "Fire!" the lieutenant roared.

Guns blazed, but the monster wasn't affected by the rogue bullets. Men continued to drop like flies. The trenches themselves became a mire of men and blood, German uniforms, French, cloth ripped, and torn, and none of it could hardly be discerned anymore. "Fire! Fire! Fire!" The lieutenant shrieked over and over again, and he heard the deafening rat-a-tat-tats as his men obeyed his command. He saw one of his best friends fall before the trench just as another bloody German came hurtling in upon them, eyes open in death.

He went flat, crawling, down, down against the dirt, determined to drag his comrade back to the relative safety of the trench. Bullets, wild and stray, whistled above his head as he inched along.

He was struck. He didn't know by what. He felt the weight, a terrible crushing weight, upon his back. Then the stinging at his nape. A bullet, a bayonet, a knife...he didn't know what. He just felt the stinging sensation. Not even real pain...just the throbbing...and the sting.

He was still breathing. Alive and breathing. And still crawling.

His comrade lay just ahead, at his side. He had to get him back. Sweat dripped into his eyes. No sweat. Blood. His vision was blurring. He refused to die in the mud; he refused to die in battle this way. He inched forward, aware that more and more dust and haze seemed to be clouding his vision from the inside. He looked where his comrade lay and saw his hand. He reached out, catching his friend and, dragging him towards him.

As the body came nearer , he screamed, recoiling away from him in horror. His friend had no head.

Despite the horror the scream faded. His lungs burned. His entire body seemed to be afire, and yet, in seconds , that fire seemed to have given way to an eerie sense of cold. Cold.

Death was cold.

He was dying. It was his life's blood dripping into his eyes. It oozed from a stinging gash in the nape of his neck. What dim light there had been was fading. Just as sound. He could no longer hear the sound of gunfire. Time seemed to stand still and he felt so cold. There was stillness. He didn't think he had blacked out yet. And he didn't think he had died. Yet.

He heard footsteps. Someone walking towards him. He tried to turn. He felt something close beside him. He heard someone talking to him, but the language didn't register in his mind.

He blinked hard. Yes, something was by is side. He blinked again, fighting to remain conscious, yet knowing that he would lose the battle at any minute.

Yes. There was a boot. A man's black boot, planted against the muck and mud and blood of the earth. Black...and the face...red hair...the demon...and then there was no more thought. His world faded into crimson and then...

And then there was nothing but darkness.

Note: I know this is rather confusing and boring in the beginning but I can assure you it gets better from here. I just have to set up this boring crap here. I shall write more when I get the chance. So, what do you think?