A Hell Of A Job: A Grand Theft Auto Fanfiction
Posted 28 April 2014 - 06:29 PM
But, I think I've found a way of bringing it all together. I haven't written in a while, so wanted to take a shot at something I wouldn't feel as much pressure with, that I could just get a little wild with, improvise, bring together a fairly colorful cast. I'm hoping it'll be a pretty enjoyable ride; one that's perhaps a little rough around the edges, but enjoyable nonetheless.
So, a few content warnings; expect violence, coarse language and some sexual references. And of course, feel free to pick this apart. I take criticism in stride - how else am I supposed to improve?
Chapter One - Kicking Up Dust
Two white lights cut through the darkness that settled over the desert, appearing seemingly out of nowhere as the truck veered out of a dusty gap between two trailers, setting a course straight ahead, the driver locked on to the target. Every so often, the lights would disappear from view, obscured by cacti, parched and dying bushes, the gnarled limbs of Cholla trees, only to reappear a split second later, lifting up from the ground when the truck inevitably hit a bump in the road. The beams threw the silhouette of the truck's target into sharp relief, a figure caught off-guard and shivering in spite of the humidity; a sticky, suffocating heat that could not be more different from the clear, dry mornings followed by unbearable climates at noon once the sun was at its highest. A warm breeze carrying with it the salt smell of the Alamo Sea, the chemical smell of gasoline pumped out into the atmosphere drifted across the desert, failing to disturb the stillness in the same way as the truck already had. Its white headlights still staring straight ahead, the vehicle cut through all of it, its engine stuttering, threatening to stall out at the worst possible moment, the paint work clouded by dust, rusted out in places. Not at all out of the ordinary.
Then, nothing. The white lights disappeared, a low hanging half moon casting dull light across the expanse of the Grand Senora Desert, but it was by no means over. The driver jolted suddenly forward, the truck's brakes worn and slower to react than they once had been, bringing the vehicle to a grinding halt. Usually, as the driver was well aware, the target would not have lasted so long. The moment he had made a break for it, dashing towards the presumably stolen vehicle he had been driving, under any normal circumstances, he would have had two well placed 20 gauge shotgun rounds through the back of his skull. This time, however, things had been different.
Hauling herself out of the truck, Gianna considered this. Her leather boots kicking up dust, right hand still wrapped around the grip of the shotgun, she approached slowly, striding towards the male - who was only a boy, really, barely out of his teens - wondering why she hadn't bothered to kill him already. She didn't have a name or age to place on him. She'd been given a photograph, a brief physical description, the plates on the stolen Cognoscenti he was driving. More importantly, the price someone was willing to pay for the knowledge that this kid would soon be dead had been listed as $9,000. A ridiculous amount in retribution for a stolen car, not that it mattered to her, providing she got paid.
So, why the hesitation? Why hadn't she shot the hell out of him when she had had the chance?
"You wanna know how I tracked you down, kid?" She spoke with a lilt that made it clear she was not originally from San Andreas, but instead hinted at vague Italian-American roots, an upbringing on the east coast. Gianna watched as his body tensed, the same as when elk catch the scent of a predator in the air, radiating a kind of nervous, fearful energy that was responsible for rooting him firmly to the spot. He was not going to run from her again. The shotgun was chest level, now, Gianna poised with one hand wrapped around the grip, the other lightly supporting the barrel. Gun loaded, all it would take was the slightest movement, and she would open fire on him; and even through the darkness, the abyss of two barrels stared him down, threatening him with the promise of death if he chose not to cooperate this time.
"Are you gonna kill me?" He spoke like a lost young boy with the voice of a man, stripped of all machismo, suddenly alone and afraid in an unfamiliar place. She could have laughed. She should have.
"Depends if you try to run. Depends what you tell me next." It wasn't much like her to pause before taking down a target. Usually, they were nameless, ageless, sometimes even faceless, and had only one purpose; they were a way for Gianna to make some easy money. Others in the trade would claim that they had to keep their targets at a safe enough distance, refusing to consider them real human beings with identities attached, refusing to delve into the intricacies of the lives they were about to end because they were already in a career that was hard on the nerves; to think of their targets as actual human beings was a step too far, even for them, and Gianna always found herself amused by this. Slumped in chairs in the unlit corners of the Yellow Jack inn, nursing a fifth of bourbon, or the ninth bottle in a long line of Pißwassers, leaning in close as if revealing some terrible secret, they confided in her their anxiety over the atrocity they claimed to have committed, and at times, she did not even bother to hold back her laughter. She had never felt the great emotional tug that people referred to as remorse. She'd never been plagued by the demon characterized as guilt.
"Just ... if you're gonna do it, do it quick. Bullet to the brain. Please." Anyone else, and Gianna would have shrugged once before firing off the first round. The plea was, in its way, an invitation, but at times, it was too easy, knowing that the target had already come to terms with their own fate. These were the times when she would string them along, relinquishing her weapon, inviting them to take up the passenger seat of her truck; bewildered, some agreed, others saw a chance and took it, running in the opposite direction, never getting more than a few feet away before the sound of gunfire resonated in the dead air, the body hitting the dirt almost instantly. This time, however, she couldn't bring herself to it. She thought momentarily about the Congnoscenti he had no doubt ditched a short distance from where they were now standing. The kid was a small fry with a large price on his head. Insignificant enough to disappear off the radar.
But there was something else about him that Gianna couldn't quite place. She was wrestling with something that she found difficult to understand.
"Careful what you wish for. Someone out there's willing to pay almost ten grand for your corpse. Guessing it was the owner of that beauty you was tearing up the landscape in," she watched as his stance slowly changed, the fear almost seeming to drain away as his body slackened, falling into a more natural position, his hands sliding into the deep pockets of ill-fitting jeans, his head tilting to one side as if to question her bizarre motives. He would not be afraid of her for long. "Thing is, some city types, they got more money than they know what to do with. Thought you should know, some folks in the trade'll pay almost three times as much for human skin." The words exited her mouth with an almost unnatural ease; a statement of fact, rather than a comment that had been purposefully designed to shock and disturb, and one that she had made more times than even she cared to count. How was he to know whether or not the threat was entirely false? It seemed to work, as his body stiffened, the boy suddenly sensing exactly what she wanted him to know - that he was still entirely at her mercy.
"If you're going to skin me, you'll kill me first, right?"
"Oh, Jesus, would you grow a pair of f*cking balls already? I'm pointing a shotgun at your f*cking face. And you're asking me to kill you?"
"Weren't ... you going to do it anyway?" The question caught her off-guard. Really, she didn't know what her intentions had been when she had started the chase and ended it here. When she had seen the piss-yellow Cognoscenti parked in a space outside the Yellow Jack in and decided to raise her own personal brand of hell inside the bar, scaring the kid out, causing him to jump in the car and take off down the highway, there hadn't been a doubt in her mind that, once she caught up to it, she was going to kill the driver. Then, somewhere between the bar and the open desert, she'd started to reconsider, seemingly for no reason at all. Just another bounty. Just another way to make cash, and fast.
And, Jesus, what was she turning into?
His fear amused her. That was all. She'd seen men almost twice the kid's size reduced to nervous wrecks once that same realization started to dawn; somewhere between midnight and sunrise, light creeping over the horizon to the east, a shot would be fired so far out in the desert that nobody who would care would hear it, nor would they come looking for a body. She'd seen reformed men and women, clutching talismans of their old lives - a pearl necklace, an expensive watch, a black pocket book - reduced to tears and barely able to face the prospect of their own demise. Gianna had hocked the necklace and the watch. The pocket book, she had quickly decided, was of no real use to her, but it contained the names of people she assumed were important, and at the time, she had made a brief note to look them up if she ever got as far as Los Santos. If they were important, they were probably rich, and if there was one thing she was aware of, it was that rich people with secrets were highly vulnerable to blackmail, even if it wasn't exactly her usual form.
"Hadn't really made my mind up, yet."
"Probably, I was going to kill you. Or ... at least hurt you some. Which I still might do." To the east, the sun had already started to rise, slowly, pale yellow light cracking the dark sky hanging above the mountains.
"But ... you haven't decided if you're going to do that yet. Right?" She nodded, resigning herself to the mundane conversation she was sure they were about to have.
"If you'd shown up two weeks ago, you'd be rotting in a shallow grave right now. Lucky for you, a lot can change in just two weeks." It wasn't as though Gianna had ever been the type of woman to dream of heading to Los Santos, to carve out a better existence for herself. She thought of it more as a fortunate accident. She'd boarded a few Dashound buses, hopping from state to state, then one or two trains before finding herself in San Andreas. By then, she hadn't had the drive to go much further than the Alamo Sea, squatting at the motel, first, doing whatever needed doing to get by until eventually, she'd handed over a thousand bucks or so to an overweight, balding man, sweating grease in dirty overalls in exchange for a run-down trailer on the outskirts of town. She'd always suspected that shed been charged a little too much for the trailer, and a month later she returned to the man she'd bought it from, noting that he seemed to have gained an extra fifty pounds and demanded a partial refund.
The shotgun had ensured a full refund, however.
"What was different, a couple weeks back?" There was no real need to tell him, because it was not simply an event that had changed her. It was not one singular incident that had caused her to decide not to kill this kid the moment she saw him.
"A couple weeks back, I hadn't been introduced to ... hm, ah, forget it. You don't need to know who I'm talking about." In the half light, Gianna was watching as the kid's face changed again, unsure of if she was lying, just trying to lure him into a false sense of security. There was still time for that, of course, but different scenarios presented themselves to her, one after the other; she didn't want to play the decoy, the lure. Gianna didn't want to be the one attracting the gunfire while everyone else carried out the real task at hand, and even though she had only spent two hours in a room with four strangers, she was already confident that they wouldn't be the ones to do it, either.
Not that she was going to tell the kid he was bait. A sponge to soak up hundreds of bullets.
"Then, what do I need to know? If, you know, you've decided you aren't gonna kill me after all."
"I already told you, I still haven't made my mind up about that," only now did she start to notice the thin layer of sweat on his forehead, his neck, reflecting the early morning sun. She knew it had nothing to do with the sticky desert heat. In a moment of brief silence, a still moment that seemed without even breeze, she listened as he took several ragged breaths, struggling, somehow, his throat constricted. At least he was still on edge. "Look, there's ... this guy, okay? And then there's three other guys and another chick, and there's me. And this guy, he says, he can make us all rich as a motherf*cker. I'm talking, for life, okay. But first we have to do something for him so he can make us ... f*cking rich."
"What ... do you have to do for him?"
"Jesus. What is with you and these questions? I don't know what we have to do. I didn't ask. But it ain't going to be pretty, and we need," quicker than the kid could blink, Gianna turned her eyes skyward, just for a split second, thinking. There was no way she was about to tell him the truth, the real reason for her planned proposal. "Someone who can drive. I mean, the way you handled that Cogno ..." She watched as he nodded, clearly on board with this plan. She hadn't expected anything else, really, when it was a question of whether he wanted to join their little team (throwing in the promise of a financial reward hadn't been a mistake) or dig his own grave before she made him lay in it. "So you're in?"
"You make it sound like I have a choice."
"Well, you do. I mean, I got nine grand coming to me if I kill you. I don't give a f*ck if you choose to live or die, you know?" She knew that his mind was already made up; living was the choice of any sane man or woman, when faced with the prospect of living or dying, and little knowledge of what else was to come. She expected him to follow her because now he found himself caught, and he had nowhere else to turn. Gianna cocked her head towards the stopped truck. "If you've made up your mind, then jump in." This was all it took. Without even questioning her, the male heaved his shoulders in a shrug and now that she could see him clearly, Gianna noted that it was impossible to tell his size through excess fabric. He began to shuffle towards the truck, clearly still unsure, but resigned to having to trust her, at least a little. What she was going to do with him now, of course, was something that hadn't crossed Gianna's mind until that moment.
"And you're definitely not gonna kill me. Right?" He wrenched open the truck's door, hearing as it creaked and wailed. Nothing about the vehicle was glamorous in the slightest, from the rusted, scratched slate gray paint job to the passenger side window, with spidery cracks radiating out from a hole about an inch in diameter in the middle of the dust-clouded glass; in the sunlight, a shovel was visible in the bed of the truck, alongside what looked to be a black tarpaulin, roughly folded in half and half again, creating a square. Gianna watched him carefully, still holding tightly on to the shotgun. The kid new how to hotwire a car. If it came to it, she'd need to shoot the tires out. He settled in the passenger seat, however, glancing nervously at the hole in the glass, his face, now clearly visible, drained of all color.
"That was there when I bought it," she slid into the driver's seat with a fluid ease, throwing her weapon onto the seat behind her. "And no. Guess I won't kill you. Just don't ... touch anything, or, change stations. You know what? Don't even talk to me until we get there. I can still bury your corpse somewhere in the Grand Senora. Don't think I won't," Whether or not Gianna would regret her decision wasn't something she wanted to consider as she started the truck, waiting for the engine to kick in instead of spluttering feebly at the suggestion of movement. She looked briefly across at the kid, swamped in clothes that were too large for him, his hands hidden by the sleeves of his sweater. He was unexceptional, really; a kid without a high school diploma, looking for an easy way to make cash, and possibly turn a few heads at the same time. She hadn't met many of his type, her usual victims being professionals in some capacity, but she was a runaway herself, and had spent enough time around other lost, confused youngsters with nothing to run from and nowhere to run to.
She heaved a brief, uncharacteristic sigh as the truck finally lurched into motion, but kept her eyes on the road; already, truckers were starting to pull away from rest stops, hulking eighteen-wheelers starting to block out the view ahead, ten foot tall advertisements for Logger Light and Cluckin' Bell. The dull hum of the radio filled the truck with songs that were thirty or forty years old, or even older than that, and Gianna momentarily wrestled an urge to change stations herself which was quelled only by a detail that came to her quickly, causing her to straighten in her seat like the memory of tracks that hadn't quite been covered completely. She chanced another quick glance at the male seated next to her before bringing up this one missing detail, irrelevant as it was, but somehow, it seemed essential.
"By the way," her eyes fixed ahead on the road, the sun rising clear and blindingly bright, the sky changing from hazy lilac into a brighter, paler blue, she was almost daring him to defy her. " I don't think I caught your name."
Posted 01 July 2014 - 11:27 PM
Normally I'll break down the writing into two parts, one for story, and one for form, but all I can say really is that you've put a lot of effort into this, and obviously gone through it with a fine tooth comb, as there's not much wrong with it in the form of presentation. Your writing is spot on, from what I can tell. I'll dive into the story itself.
Gianna comes off more real, as opposed to most GTA FanFiction I read, purely because she's second-guessing her own initiative. Character shows when there's choices to be made, and so far Gianna has done the opposite of what we'd assume her to do. So from here, what will we see? Will she grow a conscience, will she shoot the kid? Will she fall in love with the kid? I think what bugs me is that we don't see any significant reason for the change. Like, one day she woke up and decided to choose another value over money for murder? I'd like to know why she's not shotgunning this very clever description of what most GTA: Online players are -cowardly, sweating, people who don't care much- and I liked that. I'd like to see more of this, but at the same time, I'd like to see you write something original.
To lazily quote a famous GTAForums, user. The GTA Fiction horse has been beaten, stabbed, set on fire, hung, drawn, quartered, mashed, mushed, slapped, blended, shot up, immolated, and re-hashed so many times. What could you do originally? You have obvious skill when it comes to writing--So what could you do away from the confines of GTA V, creatively?
I'd give more of an insight but I'd need more writing as this is an opener.
Posted 14 July 2014 - 12:42 AM
Can here because of your writing skills. I too would like to see more Moral choices in game development. Fan base for sure. I'll check back in and see what developes.
Posted 15 July 2014 - 10:56 PM
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