A flash of red in striking green eyes, he lights the cigarette that may be his last.  This simple mortal pleasure seems to slow time and stave off the battle at hand.  He breathes in that smoky death.  Humans do have some of the most creative ways to destroy themselves- and definitely the most fun.


A motorcycle starts, so does it all.  That inadvertent beacon of hope, its rider would cringe to think what power she has alerted.  Evil to the core, the apocalypse was good to Maerel.  Her brand of torture and fear were just what the doctor ordered for most of the mortals left to cower in the Afterdays.  The engine reved, it may be the beginning of the end, but all he could do is run.  Only a blur now, he’s almost to the horizon as the still lit cigarette hits the pavement. 


Jet black leather, head to toe, the perfect outfit for this kind of operation.  He could single handedly take out all Maerel’s grunts, and they all knew it, but then She was lost, and he’d rather die.  He had to keep a low profile especially with the full moon.  It gives away every glint of light to the sentinels up ahead, even some that never were.  They are far too paranoid, they know Maerel has barked up the wrong tree with this capture.  Off in the distance, it looks as though some of them are even praying.  It’s too late for that.


At 200 yards they see him.  In an instant the night sky illuminates with muzzle flashes and spotlights; all that can be heard are sirens and desperate cries for backup.  The intervening ground is littered with cars, tanks, and other wreckage from the war, unfortunately for the grunts, these battlefields are all he has known since he found himself here: Even in their base, he is on his home turf.  Each stride looks almost like a leap straight ahead.  With superhuman grace, he moves from one burned our shell to the next, dodging their assault with ease, he can almost feel their fear mounting as he closes the distance unscathed those few passing seconds. 


The mark of a true hero is knowing when to strike: Now.  He jumps straight into the air, pulling a massive weapon from his back.  Painted black for this occasion, it may be the only time a post-modern rocket launcher has ever been subtle.  However, the time for stealth is over.  With his momentum carrying him furiously upward and forward, his jacket rips to shreds from within.  The sentinels on the wall, expert soldiers in their own right, are now certain of the enemy they are facing, the same they had feared since first sighting.


Gabriel’s wings burst forth, shining in all their silver glory under the full moon.  Indestructible, spanning over 20 feet, and controlled by their master with the precision of a surgeon’s blade, these wings are the nightmares of his enemies.  Since the apocalypse, it has been no secret that the army Gabriel supports has always swept battlefields and solidly destroyed their enemies.  A reputation which has always prompted the wise warlord to disperse his army and go into hiding.  Unfortunately Maerel was not known for her wisdom.  Even less fortunate, she skimmed The Art of War one time.  “Seize what he loves, and he will heed you.”  Which brings us to tonight.




Veterans of battle, the sentinels have already begun to scatter when he begins to litter the wall with rockets.  “Their blast radius is impressive” Gabriel remarks to himself “Almost too impressive!”  Still hurtling towards it with impressive speed, the wall is suddenly turned into a raging inferno.  He drops the launcher and spirals into a cocoon like shape as he plunges into the wall of fire. 


A split second later he emerges on the other side and once again spreads his wings, turning to a position perpendicular with the ground.  For a moment, wings blazing brightly, the remainder of his enemies see The Phoenix Within, thought to be just a myth that brigands told each other around the campfire to remind grown men what it was like to lay awake at night, wide-eyed and terrified.  For but a moment, this was Gabriel’s visage, the spirit of rebirth which possessed him tonight.  Then the wind put out the flames, revealing his brilliant wings once more, that task handled, he returns to swift pursuit of the motorcycles still audible in the distance.


He covers this distance in no time, and then swoops low to the ground in order to avoid detection.  They ride in a V pattern, with Maerel and her precious cargo taking point.  He must mix stealth with speed, he’ll only have a moment.  Knowing Maerel’s style, she’d rather everyone lose than risk losing the upper hand when her plans are proven thwarted here. 


The back-leftmost man pulls the short straw.  Before he knows what happens, he has an unknown passenger and is thrown straight into the air.  The bikes are moving so fast, he doesn’t even scream when he lands… not a good sign for him, but it buys our hero some time.


Still keeping in formation his right hand slides to his ankle holstered sidearm.  The back right man senses motion, and turns his head to see a shining angel pointing a pistol at him in the place of his comrade.  A silenced bullet catches him before he can react, ending the threat of detection for a split second more.  As the motorcycle begins to grind pavement for what will undoubtedly be nearly a mile at these speeds, the alarm is loud, but perhaps yet unclear.


In a flash, two more bullets take out her remaining henchmen as he accelerates to her rear tire.  Maerel delays only a second more to turn her head and confirm her suspicions.  She pulls the strap attaching the bundle to her back, and it begins its descent.  With a quick jerk of the wheel, he diverts the bike just enough, and leaps forward and down from his chopper.  He flips to his back, and catches it just in time.  He hits hard twice before opening his wings and skidding to a stop.  Then he passes out.


Seconds later a wretched noise wakes him as the skidding motorcycles come to rest by his side.  His head is pounding, but all he can think about is his narrowly rescued bundle.  Opening it he sees Valentine, sleeping softly like she always does, unaware of the ever present danger.  Sensing her daddy, she opens her blue eyes and smiles.  For a moment, that smile takes away all his pain.  He knows his time is short, he feels blood welling within him.  He radios his allies, “Mark my position, ready for pick up.”  It was not the call they expected.


“How did the mission go?  How’s Valentine?  Gabriel… are you hurt??”


She laughs with a childish innocence, and snuggles her head into his chest before falling asleep again.


“The mission was a complete success.  Over and out”


He smiles as loses consciousness again, glad to have saved the hope and light humanity desperately needs in this, its darkest hour.


~ by songoflove on April 14, 2009.

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