All "Noir" references are copyrighted by ADV, Ryoe Tsukimura, Bee Train and Victor Entertainment. This is an amateur, non-commercial story, which is not produced, approved of, or in any way sponsored by the holders of the trademarks/copyrights from which this work is derived, nor is it intended to infringe on the rights of these holders. And so it goes.
This story was inspired by The Entry Plug. Blame him.
The pre-morning air was damp and slightly chilly. Dawn was still a few short hours away, and Paris slumbered in peace, oblivious to the violence that had raced across its rooftops a few hours earlier. Dew lined the surface of every object it could touch—the cars, the streets, the buildings, the grass, and the dozens of bodies that littered the empty streets.
Four long panel trucks slowly maneuvered through the narrow byways. The vehicles bounced against the uneven pavement, rumbling their discontent at the rough treatment. One by one they sputtered to a halt, taking up strategic positions in alleys and cul-de-sacs. Doors flew open and men in gray caps and coveralls bounded out.
“What a mess,” one man muttered as he struggled with a pair of surgical gloves that were just a bit too small for his meaty hands. His uniform had the same problem, wrapping itself as best it could around his compact, stocky frame, and his hat was only barely containing a wild patch of black hair that danced back and forth as he moved. He looked over at the entrance to the lonely little cemetery and sighed.
“Look at the bright side,” his partner said as he poured a dollop of Old Spice onto a surgical mask. He stood in marked contrast to the other man, his own uniform unable to fully contain a set of lanky arms and legs. He took a deep breath, and wrapped the mask around his mouth and nose.
“What’s that?” the shorter fellow asked.
“We didn’t get roof duty this time.” He handed the aftershave to his partner, who doused his own mask before donning it. Each man then slid a leather satchel over his shoulder before walking over to the main entrance.
“Yeah. You got a point. I hate heights.” The ancient metal gate screeched in protest as they moved it aside and walked into the cemetery. “Hey, Pierre.”
“What’d you get in the pool this time?” As they moved down the main row, one man kept his gaze fixed on the left side of the graves, his partner on the right.
“Twenty-two. How about you?” Pierre paused and pointed over to a small grouping of stones. A pair of legs poked around from behind them.
“Six? Geez, Denis. Tough luck this time.” Pierre reached into his bag and retrieved a long black bag. Denis rolled the body over and muscled the stiffened limbs into the proper position. The only visible sign of violence to be seen was a small black bullet hole in the forehead. “Hey, he spill any brains out back?”
“Nope. Bullet didn’t exit.” There was a touch of admiration in Denis’ voice. “Bet you it was the girl who shot him.”
“How can you tell?” Pierre zipped the bag up; the two men took positions at opposite ends and quickly hauled the body back to the truck.
“Haven’t you noticed? The Corsican with the legs, she’s sloppy and haphazard on placement, especially when she’s flustered. The younger one, though—nine times out of ten, it’s one shot, perfectly placed. She’s really something.” They threw the body bag into the truck and shut the doors behind them. “That’s one.”
“I doubt we’re only going to find five more,” Pierre joked as they returned to the cemetery. “This was one of the big tests.” He motioned over to a small collection of stones; a stiff, extended arm could just be seen amid the mound of grass. “I heard Chloe was here too.”
“Really?” Denis smirked behind his mask as they maneuvered the corpse into the body bag. “Hey, I heard a rumor about a new program they want us to follow, all for Chloe’s sake. We’re supposed to pull out any of those freaky knives she uses if we see ‘em.”
“Are you kidding?” Pierre grunted as they hauled the bag back to the truck. “Tell me you’re kidding.”
“Nope. Should be a memo about it any day now. I heard they’re going to call it ‘Le Grand Recycle’.” The two men returned to the cemetery and strolled up and down the walks in search of more bodies. “I wonder how much it costs to make those things. They look like custom jobs.”
“I don’t know. I’m sure they’ve got someone on staff who does it, so you’re just looking at materials and time. Over there.” Pierre pointed over to a small wooded area. Three bodies lay sprawled on the wet grass. “I don’t think Chloe was here, at least. These are all from gunshots.”
“I’m not complaining. Wish they had a wheelbarrow or something around here we could borrow.” Denis winced all through the three trips, grumbling about his back, his knees, and anything else he could think of…it all ached so far as he was concerned. “Hey, Pierre. Who do you have down for True Noir?”
The other man snorted. “Who do you think? No way am I betting on that Corsican. It’s bad luck to wager on Corsicans, everyone knows that. They end up cheating you every single time. Chloe will probably stop her with a knife to the heart before it’s all done. We got them all?”
Denis looked around; other than the huge patches of pressed-down grass and occasional bloodstains, the cemetery appeared to have all its dead accounted for and in the ground. “We’ll give it a final sweep, but I think that’s it. We got lucky this time. That one a few weeks back was murder. I was afraid we’d bust an axel with that load.”
“Yeah.” Pierre removed his mask and took a deep breath, savoring the damn Paris morning air. He accepted a cigarette and light from his friend. “So. You didn’t tell me who you picked in the lottery.”
Denis smiled weakly and shrugged. “I went with the Corsican and Kirika.”
“Fool and his money…”
“What can I say? I’ve got a weakness for great legs. That’s everything. Let’s head out.” The two men clambered into their truck and pulled away. The first edges of dawn stretched into the sky, bringing the light of day into the tiny, empty Paris cemetery and the lonely cobblestone streets beyond.