Gabriel – The Prologue

PROLOGUE

1

The moon shone through the singular window, thus illuminating the solitary silhouette of Gabriel Molineux, as he sat reading his comics via its guiding cosmic light. The room was a relatively small one, with little space for anything save Gabriel’s single bed, desk and Television combination, and several bookshelves that lined the walls. Considering these numbered at least four, and yet only one clothes cupboard could be spotted in the tiny space, the rest of his various garments merely littering the floor or shoved in boxes under the bed, it takes not a Sherlock Holmes style figure to find out where both Gabriel’s heart and priorities lay. He was, for a lack of jargon equivalent to the contemporary terminology; a nerd, or, a geek.

He had found that from childhood he had taken little if any pleasure in the company of other children; to him, birthday parties were more a token gesture of good-will on his behalf as opposed to something he’d purposely go out of his way to attend. Unless of course the party was held in a location that young Gabriel found interesting, in that case he would beg and plead with his mother to take him under any circumstances, and, until she met his step-father at least, Gabriel almost always got his own way. He always liked places and things, but never did he care much for people.

But now, to the present, and to the nineteen year-old version of Gabriel that currently occupies a space on his single bed, sat under the moonlight, lost deep in the depths of a Batman comic. Gabriel had, for as long as he could remember back, always had a deep fascination with the idea of vigilantes and superheroes. However, he was not particularly partial to the over the top stories involving alien beings and god-like powers; no-siree, to Gabriel, these fantastical stories were always just that, far too fantastical. There were, to his empirical knowledge, no such thing as alien warlords that could defy our known laws of physics and bend reality to their whim.

Nope, Gabriel was an empiricist, and a realist, and thus his interest was most vested in those heroes amongst the panelled pages that represented some semblance of plausibility. He needed something he grab onto, something tangible. Something he could plausibly rip from the pages and drag into the real world

Of all those heroes that represented reality in a world that had little space for it, Gabriel admired Bruce Wayne/Batman the most. The idea that a mere man, be it one blessed with the superhero of ludicrous capital, could decide to take on the world of evil himself endlessly fascinated Gabriel. The idea that the suit allowed him to become what he was inside on the outside, that Batman was who Bruce Wayne truly was inside, now that idea did not come to Gabriel until his mid-teens. He was too young and innocent to understand the concept of masks, and what they symbolise and represented, until now. Now, he understood.

At this point in his life, he had become deeply absorbed in the idea of duality, and thus this revelation had stuck with him evermore. Deep rooted within his subconscious, growing in the dark like a forgotten fruit. A suit, designed as armour against evil, can elevate you. It can make you something greater than what you currently are, can evolve you even, allow you to transcend your mortal, fleshy self, and become something much, much more.

This idea had stuck with Gabriel right from that moment of shining epiphany until now, this moment right now, as he sits silhouetted in the moonlight, engrossed  in the Gotham city nightlife, following the caped-crusader as he spreads his glorious shadow of justice over the shining lights of debauchery. You can be sure, at this moment, that the idea of suits and transcendence were not far removed from Gabriel’s thoughts. They never were, as a rule. For now, however, all thoughts were removed, and all ideas of grandeur were shattered in one instance.

A storm was coming, and it was about to smash Gabriel’s world apart in one swift crashing movement. Over the years, Gabriel had become so used to such incidents that he had developed an almost preternatural ability to detect them ahead of time. As such, he had already put his comic down, and was already facing its direction, when the door came crashing open with a loud WHACK!

2

Stood, almost filling the doorway, highlighted by the landing lights, is a brand new silhouette, one which more closely resembles that of beast than man. The hulking figure stands at an easy six’six, and, judging by the frame, must weigh in easily at around eighteen stone. The catch, however, is that there is seemingly no excess bulk to this man. No flab hangs from his belly, nothing is wasted. He is eighteen stone and six’six of pure power. His massive dustbin sized hand fumbles around the door frame, frantically hunting for the light bulb. He finds it, and light floods the room.

Now bathed in the beautiful rays of  electronic lighting, Gabriel’s face can be seen clearly, for the first time. He is surprisingly handsome, however, in an unconventional kind of way. His aesthetic features, facially speaking, seem lost between mediterranean and traditional British. His nose is sharp and very British, but his eyes glow with that deep and hypnotic brown traditionally associated with folks of foreign descent, typically Greek, or Italian. His hair is shoulder length, rough, and unkempt. It falls in long, curly ringlets; seemingly an endless spiralling and twirling pattern continuously cascading from head to shoulder. He wears simple clothes, a black T-shirt featuring the legend ‘The Gunslinger’, and black tracksuit bottoms. His eyes are locked on the hulking figure that has entered the room, they fill with fear.

The figure has a rough, everyday labourer’s kinda face. The type you’d see on a thousand building sites countrywide, hounding women and harassing artistic types who happen to stumble by. In fact, you could say he sort of looks akin to a human pitbull. Something lost in evolution, trapped between man and beast. The most human characteristic of all would be the piercing blue eyes, eyes that are now filled with an obvious rage. In the light, his impressive physique is even more so, as the shadow tones and contrast highlight his hard-earned muscle definition. This isn’t ‘gym muscle’ either, this kind of power can only be obtained via years of prolonged and agonising physical labour. He crosses the room in merely three steps; bounding across like a renegade gorilla let loose from the zoo, determined to exact his revenge on those who caged him. Gabriel is taken roughly by the stem of his shirt, and without absolutely any effort whatsoever, wrenched from his bed to his feet, in one swift movement.

3

They stand face to face, both on their feet, staring directly into one another’s eyes. It is at this exact moment, that it becomes incredibly apparent to even the least cognitively developed amongst men that this is a mis-match of epic proportions. If the hulking figure, at six’six and eighteen stone, could be compared to a rampaging gorilla, then the animal kingdom equivalent of Gabriel would be closer to a Flamingo. Whilst he stands at a respectable height of five’ten, he unfortunately could not weigh more than nine and a half stone soaking wet and fully clothed, even if equipped with steel capped work boots. Work boots, incidentally, that this Hulking Figure is wearing now.

The boy is slim, incredibly so, and the two standing together is akin to an old-school 30’s monster movie, with Gabriel playing the role of the poor human victim, and the hulking figure playing the role of the otherworldly killing machine. This is the equivalent of Mike Tyson fighting a paraplegic Grandmother who had only recently recovered from a serious stroke. If this was a sanctioned fight, the bookies would be cancelling all bets. Ding-ding, it’s all over,  ladies and gentlemen, time to get the last taxi home.. Nothing left to see here.

The figure pulls Gabriel close to his face, and Gabriel is powerless to do anything but rise with the motion of his arms, and join him face to face.

‘I know it was you, boy. Admit it now, or this is going to get nasty’ the figure practically snarls in his face.

‘I haven’t got a fucking clue what you’re on about’ Gabriel replies, defiantly.  I really don’t, he thinks, I haven’t done anything this time. However, the renegade defiance loses its sting slightly when coupled with his trembling voice. He is obviously afraid, and the figure is not slow to pick up on this.

‘Look boy, you don’t stand a chance, so quit the tough man act. Just fucking tell me, or you know how this’l pan out’ for a moment he looks genuinely rational, as though he is imploring Gabriel to make this easy, and simply bend to his will without the need for physical altercation.

Apparently however, Gabriel isn’t listening. Despite being given a relatively easy ‘out’. A chance to escape with his face intact, even if it came at the cost of his dignity and honesty. What good are virtues without a face, eh? Regardless of this logic doing a lightning fast zoom through his thought tracks, Gabriel still decides to stand and be defiant. Forever flying in the face of reason. Fuck this guy, he thinks, I’m not taking this anymore.

‘Fuck you’, he says. Two little words. Two syllables. One outcome.

4

The fist flies from Gabriel’s left, like a sledgehammer thrusting out of the deep darkness, a guiding missile of pain, aiming directly for Gabriel’s cheek. The impact is like a comet striking a small moon. The fist connects with the Zygomatic bone and as the two connect, there is a large crunch. The Zygomatic does not shatter instantly, merely splinters and breaks gently, like a wish-bone split after Christmas. The shock wave heads up from Gabriel’s cheek to his temple, sending a deep ringing vibration through his entire head. His damn teeth chatter with the impact, and stars begin to swim in front of his vision, dancing in the grey beyond that stands where the lit bedroom used to, seemingly seconds ago.

His jaw and cheek already shattered from the impact, the Huking Figure sees no reason to hold onto Gabriel any longer. He lets go, and grants Gabriel the liberty of standing on his own legs, under his own power. Oh fuck, thinks Gabriel, I’m going down. He’s not wrong. Like a drunk turned out of a lonely bar at three A.M on some lonely street, Gabriel takes a couple of steps and collapses to the floor. His ears continue to ring, the pain in his jaw indescribable.

The Hulking figure stares down at the fallen victim, allowing absolutely no sympathy to cross his cold, beastlike features. He crouches down, and gets in Gabriel’s face again;

‘This is another lesson for you boy. I am your fucking father, you will respect me. Understand. I may not have impregnated your mother, but I’ve done a lot more than the fucker who did. Get it?’, spit flies, whether intentionally or unintentionally is anybody’s guess, directly into Gabriel’s face. Fuck you, asshole, he thinks, desperately, you think just because you’re bigger than me, you can push me around forever? One day…one day things will be different, even the biggest among us can be felled. Unfortunately, due to his jaw damage, any attempts to articulate these thoughts proves difficult at best.

‘ ‘uck ‘o’ he mutters, through his shattered jaw, ‘ p’ick.’ His Step-father laughs in his face; a cruel and cold laugh, not quite refined enough for that of a megalomaniacal villain from literature. Rather, this is the simple and cold laugh one might assume a Bear might give, before devouring the innocent Salmon before it.

He stands up, and goes to leave the room, stopping at the doorway to turn around before leaving. Gabriel, clearly in a bad way, is attempting to claw his way back up to the bed. Blood streams from his nose and mouth, but he seems not to care. With all his strength and remaining consciousness, he crawls back onto his bed. His step-father laughs once more;
‘Pathetic’, says he, before turning out the light and leaving Gabriel alone, sprawled out on his bed, again silhouetted in the moonlight. His chest heaves in rapid movements, his hand stretches with longing across his bedside bed, towards his inhaler. Finally, he grasps it, and brings it to his lips. He takes several deep breaths, and lies back on the bed. He stares out the window, directly into the moonlight. His eyes are empty, devoid of emotion or apathy. a single tear forms in the corners of his eyes, and rolls slowly down his cheek.