Here are the first tow chapters on my latest writing project. Enjoy!
Gabriel, Chp. 1
The night air drifted to me. I sucked it in greedily, like the other children of the night around me. A twinge crossed my pale, sharp features,
pulling my mouth into that weird smile I have that lasted a full half a second. Children of the night, I mused, such a bizarre title. We’re children
in our bodies, but old… so old in our minds.
My ‘friends’ would have gaped and stared at me had they seen me then. I hid my facial features under a large, black, wide-brimmed hat, walking with
the goths that infested suburbia. Wearing urban camo pants that had belonged to my father, military boots that were the only things my father bought
for me himself, a large, black duster and a Bauhaus shirt that clung to my skeletal body, I fit right in. Some perhaps saw the razor dangling from a
piercing in my upper ear, or noticed the fine tracery of scars on the back of my left hand. Some of the cuts were fresh, barely scabbed over. Others
in the crowd eyed those nicks with a more avid interest than could be considered healthy. My thin, bare, emaciated arms hung limply by my sides as I
drifted in off the street into the community center.
I didn’t know why I came that night. Maybe the pressure had gotten to me, and I needed a night off from my psychotic father. Maybe I was tired of the
false friends who tried to stop me from doing myself a little harm when they did far worse to themselves. Or maybe, just maybe, I had figured out that
there in the crowd of disillusioned teenagers I wasn’t quite as alone as I thought.
I stepped in and the fresh night air was replaced by the stench of cigarette smoke, cheap booze and bad pot. As tempting as excess was, I decided not
to indulge. Dad would kill me if he found out. I had no friends there. What would happen if…ah, # it, I thought bitterly as I drifted towards one of
the smaller clumps of kids in black. I nodded to them quietly as they spoke and yelled back and forth to each other over the sound of the band warming
up. One soon offered me vodka from a flask. It was foul stuff, but I swallowed a few mouthfuls greedily before handing the bottle back to its owner. I
made sure to use my left hand almost exclusively, showboating the delicate work I had done to myself. The children of the night respected
self-mutilation, I knew. Or thought I knew. Slowly, their circle opened and allowed me just enough space to squeeze between two of them.
The opening band played a cover of “Crush” by Garbage, warming the crowd and sending them swaying listlessly. The sea of black clothes and white skin
undulated softly around me, and I let myself drift with them. The lead singer’s soft, scratchy voice caressed me. I stared at her in awe as I felt
people move up against me. She was gorgeous…to me at least. Leather bondage pants hugged thin legs, with a white dress shirt hastily tucked into them.
The three top buttons of the shirt were undone. Her cleavage drifted tantalizingly across my vision as she swayed forwards, singing into the
microphone and sending raven hair just barely beginning to grow in auburn again across her face. Brown eyes, warm despite her outwards appearance,
swept the rapt audience. Sharp white teeth flared against the darkness as she sung.
Half an hour later, she descended into the audience, shirt sticking to her sweaty torso. I remained where I stood, ignoring nearly everything else
but her. She faded into the crowd quickly, emerging a mere ten feet from my new bunch of ‘friends’. I eyed her appraisingly as she approached…sizing
people up to see whether they were friend or foe was the one thing my father had passed down to me that I just couldn’t leave behind.
She sighed to the people around her and reached for the half-full bottle of vodka, offered without having been asked for. They nodded and commented
on her performance, save me. I figured I had no right to, since I was the newbie. She quickly caught on, and jutted her chin towards me.
“Who’re you?” she yelled over the sterile, cold goth-rock now being played. She eyed me warily, not quite sure what to make of my half-military
appearance. I tipped my hat once, then yelled my name to her. “Heather,” she yelled back. After a few words with her friends, they gestured that they
were heading outside. I followed, for lack of anything better to do.
We stared at each other as she lit her third cigarette of the night with a plain metal Zippo. She had exchanged perhaps three words with me the entire
night. Finally, she broke through the quiet murmurs around her, challenging me directly. “Never seen you before. Where ya from?”
She nodded with approval. “What chu into?”
I shrugged indifferently. This was already better than any conversation I had ever had with Dad.
“Yeah. Nice show.”
The idle chatter continued for awhile, as more and more of her friends drifted back inside. Before too long, it was just us.
I stared at her calmly, resting against a wall. She stared back, evaluating me. Finally, she reached a verdict.
“Listen, I’m playing at the Y next week. Wanna come?”
I grinned a large, toothy smile, and nodded. It was a sign of respect. It was my first step away from a life led in misery, to one where at least what
I needed was within reach, not a thousand miles away or withheld by those who thought themselves my better. It was my first taste of real freedom, as
I sat there with the girl, listening to the music as it drifted back outside into the cool night. I only caught the chorus of the last song played,
but it stayed with me until the memory became a stale and hollow thing: The singer’s quiet voice washing across me-“Let the night come…let the night
The crowd’s chanted response was the low thrum of, “We are not afraid…” chanted until well after the last notes of the song had left the air.
“Well, Gabriel,” Heather inquired as we sat there, savoring the buzz from the vodka and the cool night air, “do you have a place to crash tonight?”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Means that I regret it every time I go home.”
“My dad’s a #ing Nazi.”
“Let’s see if I can give you an idea: at 18, he was an MP in Vietnam. Six months later, they stuck him with a frontline platoon. After he got out of
the army, SWAT picked him up.”
“#. What about Mom?”
“Died in childbirth.”
“#, man. I’m sorry.”
“Why? There was nothing you could do about it.”
“Heh, yeah. But I’d figure you’d want some sympathy. Can I ask what your house is like?”
“Going home’s a nightmare. It’s like a combination gun store and war museum crammed into our crappy, old one-story.”
“You wanna come home with me tonight?”
I chuckled. Here, a beautiful woman was offering to let me sleep at her house – and probably with me – just because I told her a bit of my life story.
Usually, they just looked at me funny. I don’t think I even thought about my answer. I knew my dad wouldn’t really care if I came home or not. He was
out on another call. #, he’d neglect me either way just like he had my entire life. There’d probably be hell to pay for it, but as long as I didn’t
smell like weed or booze, I’d be fine.
John, Chapter One
Bullet time. The #in’ civvies call it bullet time. There I was, goose stepping in body armor across this street in the #in’ middle of nowhere with a
Benelli in my hands and a CS launcher over my back. Pretty standard call, I guess. Unknown number of barricaded suspects in a suburban house, suspects
not responding, shots fired. My element suited up, and we were there.
Standard call. Hernandez laid everything out in the bus: Buchanan would use the ram on the back door, then we’d breach bang and clear the area. Simple
enough. I ran as second man through the door, with Manny as first and Hernandez himself right behind me. He asked for my advice, of course. The
element never did anything without asking me, from going out for a beer to planning an assault. Guess that they know that I’m the best there is, and
only my age –I’m #in’ pushing fifty five, and I’m in better shape than half the guys on the force- kept me from being an element leader. Know what’s
funny? They say I’ve got so many medals that I could open a ribbon shop on my chest. Two Bronze Stars, one Silver Star, a Distinguished Service Cross,
the Medal of Valor…most of these guys have lived half as long as I have. Guess they’re kind of freaked out, having been to ‘Nam and all.
So we come up to the house, right? It’s this little #box that would’ve blown down in a strong wind. We try to mirror through the windows, nada. So we
sneak ‘round the other side, check the back door. It’s unlocked. So we get ready. I got in first, because its how it’s always been. I kick the door
down, and go in, shotgun up. I roll out, checking left to right and then move forwards into the room. Everyone else moves in, and we split up. I take
point, making the center of the fan.
Yeah, we slice the pie pretty nice, textbook style. So, I’m walking down this hall, right? And it’s wood paneled. So, I spot this bullet hole about
ten feet ahead, right near the entrance to the kitchen. So I radio the boys, and sit tight a few clicks before starting to goose step forwards. I get
a sniff of cordite, and I remember the smell. It’s the smell of one of those Russian POS pistols that Charlie gave out during the war. Suddenly, I’m
in the jungle again, ducking in the bushes outside a village 34 miles north of Da Nang to hide from some gook bitch who’s trying to waste me for some
reason. Sammy had tried talking to her. All she did was scream and yell crazy # back. Now, I didn’t want to wax her. I had a bead on her, but I
figured she wouldn’t hit any of us. Sarge didn’t. He took her down with two rounds from his M-14. I was about to scream at him again for it, but just
as soon as I had left, I was back in the house. My mouth was open, so I shut it. I looked around, to make sure none of the guys saw me. They were off
clearing the rest of the house, so I guess I got lucky.
Well, I walked into the kitchen, and found the bastard facedown. Definite slab meat. Single shot, through the temple. I called it in, and met up with
the rest of th’ element at the front entrance. We walked out, waved the blue shirts in, and kitted down. I was sweating from that close call. Doesn’t
happen often, honest. The flashbacks aren’t a big deal. No one’s ever gotten hurt on the job because of them. But sometimes the guys get freaked
out…they say I’m all cold because of my time on patrol. But I’m fine. If I could get through Hue and all that okay, I can do my job. It’s not about
me… it’s about all the civvies who get stuck in #ed up #. I’m one of those people they use to get them out and wax the bad guy. Hey, they say the ends
justify the means. I’m the means. I’ve #ing plowed my way to hell and back for my buddies and my country. I’ve done what it takes.
Gabriel, Chp. 2
The world seemed kind of blurry in that moment. I lay there, stroking Heather’s fine, soft black hair as sunlight started to drift in from the rising
sun. We were in her basement, lying beneath a pair on quilts on a foam mattress. I had just woken up, to find her resting her head in the soft part of
my shoulder, hair spilling across my naked chest. Beyond her straight, silky hair I could see her breasts heave comfortably as she slept. I smiled to
myself, biting back the rush I was feeling. I had finally gotten laid, and with a beautiful woman to boot. I craned my neck down, and gently kissed
her on the top of the head. It was quite possibly the best day of my life.
About forty five minutes later, she woke up. Her eyelids parted, and she looked up at me with faint amusement. Stretching, she looped her arms
around my neck and dragged herself up forwards me, kissing me on the lips before resting her chin on a rib.
“Good morning to you too, Heather.”
“Have a good time last night?”
“Of course. Why wouldn’t I have?”
“Dunno. You just seemed kinda depressed.”
“Yeah, sometimes I get like that.”
I reached over, and rooted around for my watch in the crumpled pile of our clothes. Fishing it out, I checked the time. 11 AM… well, late enough in
the day to warrant not going home. I tossed it back into the heap.
“So, what are we going to do with the rest of the morning?” I asked. Well, not asked. Solicited. But hey… you can’t feed a starving man French bread
and expect him not to ask for more. At any rate, she smiled, and clambered on top of me again.
As we lay there, sweaty and tangled, she turned to me.
“Last night, before we #ed, you complained about your father. Were you serious?”
“Yeah. The high and mighty Officer John Siddons, hero four times over and psychotic bastard.”
“Yeah. Decorated like a #in’ Christmas tree,” I spat.
“Doesn’t sound so bad to me.”
“I don’t recall him neglecting you from day one. I don’t remember you having to go to kindergarten hungry because Dad never fed you. I don’t remember
him not caring about you when another kid broke your arm in two places in gradeschool because he was too busy working. I don’t remember scaring you
#less at night because he’d be having an ‘episode’ and firing off guns at # that’s been dead for two decades. And, last but not least, I don’t
remember him burning YOUR stories for turning down his offer to join the Corps.”
“Gabriel…did he really…?”
“Yeah. Last year, dad said that one of his friends could get me into the Marines, maybe make things a little easier for me –since he knows that I’m
just ACHING to follow his footsteps and become #ed in the head before I’m twenty. I turned it down, and I didn’t think he cared. When I came home two
days later after school, I found him staring at the fireplace. I just shrugged and went to my room. I found it in shambles, and when I went to yell at
him about it, he just kept staring at the fire. He just said that he saved me from myself, and that I’d be better off. I didn’t know what he was
talking about until I saw one of my copybooks going up in smoke.”
Heather curled up to me. She didn’t say anything, but I could feel a tear fall onto my skin. I heard her mutter a bit, so I hugged her. We spent most
of the afternoon just talking. By the end, we knew each better than ourselves. She was manic depressive, with a history of borderline behavior. She
showed me the scars on her hips and legs, ones that put mine to shame. We lay down there until nightfall.
“Gabriel, I’m going home with you tonight.”
“No, ‘cause I don’t think Dad will like you. He’s very…ummm…conservative, meaning he doesn’t like anything or anyone outside of what he considers
“Gabriel, I’m going to your house tonight, whether you like it or not.”
I held her hand in mine and squeezed it.
“Fine, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.”
John, Chp. 2
So, I got home at half past four that morning. I came in, turned on the lights, and made myself dinner before cleaning # up. Naw, not that kind of #.
My home is my castle, no matter how much my freak son disagrees. He can’t stand the fact that I love the Corps, and I make sure everyone knows it.
God, you should see my house! It’s one story, with wood walls. It was my dad’s house, too. I got it when he…well… um…
Well, when you step in, there’s the old welcome mat we’ve had since I was five. I loved the house- it always seemed just so…homely. Well, once you
get in the door, on either side of the hall are the den and the kitchen. The den has wood paneling and the only TV in the house. On the walls I have
all my buddies’ photos. It’s sort of a memorial to those of us who didn’t make it back. Above the ‘set I put up my father’s old M1 Garand that he
carried with him to D-Day. My GOD! It thrills me to know that I have the blood of a hero running through my veins. See, my daddy, he was there. He ran
off his #in’ Higgins boat, rifle going. Half the people in the lander got killed before they stood. He was shot, too. He tore the breaching charges
off the body of his best friend, and ran ashore with fifty pounds of gear on him. In the water he lost three fingers to the Nazis- pow, right across
here, a machinegun bullet took ‘em all right off after the first joint-, and by the time he had hit the seawall he had taken two more hits. Two rounds
had hit him in the shoulder, shattering all the bones in there. Bleedin’ bad, he blew the wall and waited for the medic. He had done his job. Hell,
they had to amputate his arm, but he came home a hero. I hope to hell I have those kinds of balls one day.
Well, the kitchen’s nothing special. After that, there’s my room and my son’s. All along the hallway, I put up the medals the men of my family have
earned. My uncle’s Navy Cross, my Bronze Stars, my dad’s Medal of Honor, all of it. My family’s been military for six generations, now. We know our
duty. I even gave up my dream of being a cop- as soon as I got out of high school, I tried to get onto the force. My dad punched me one good for that,
I’ll tell you. He said that there were good men dying in some godforsaken parts of the world, and that it was job to help them out. I compromised: I
became an MP. Yep, military police. Most people hated me, but hey- I was happy. I wasn’t getting my ass shot off (yet), the grub was good, and the
work was honest. Well, it was until the attack on the embassy.
During Tet, I was one of the MPs at the embassy. When we got relieved by a platoon of dogfaces, I sorta fit right in. They were a few men short, so I
joined their unit for a little while. A little while happened to be a year or so, but hey. I was with them during the jungle patrols, I was with them
Yeah. The army is where I made all my friends. My son doesn’t have many. He never brings anyone home. Hell, I don’t even think he’s had a girlfriend
yet. Christ, why won’t he listen to me and enlist? He’s a bright kid, and he could probably make lieutenant in four years, five tops. I keep trying to
get him in, but he just won’t listen. His head’s all full of the bull# the media pumps him full of. He wants to be a writer. #, man. A writer can’t
put food on the table. A Marine can. Hell, I’d settle if he went into the air force. At least then he’d be able to support himself. I can’t do it
Now, Gabe’s room is something else. Now, it doesn’t look like much. It’s got a CD player with headphones, his bed, a dresser, and a bookshelf. But on
the other hand, I’ve gone through it. I don’t so much mind the stack of porn beneath his bed (at least I know he straight), it’s the other # you
wouldn’t be able to see if you didn’t look. On the inside of his closet are all kinds of #ed up posters. And once I even tried to listen to his music.
It’s all dark and depressing and #. Now, he doesn’t dress like those crazy kids…whaddya call ‘em… goths, yeah, that’s it. He just wears normal
clothes, and maybe some of my stuff that’s still in good shape. But beneath stacks of his clothes, I find the books. The books. They’re all about
vampires. Sometimes, I worry about Gabe. Never know what that #’s doing to his head.
Like, perfect example. The posters on the inside of closet. Bands like “the Cure”. What the # is that? The cure to being a fag? Jesus. It’s all about
death and darkness. Now, that bothers me. I’ve seen more death in my life than any ten men should. It’s not something beautiful at all. But all those
skulls and all that blood…makes my head get all #ed up. And those scary looking #s on the posters- dressed all in black and #. I don’t want my son to
end up like that and kill himself or something. God knows it’s easy enough- I have twelve firearms beneath this roof. What’s worse is that I found him
writing about it. Oh, I burnt it all. I hoped it would make him better, but hey…shows what I know. Now, I don’t know where he is. He’s still not home,
and it’s four in the morning. Damnation, I’m gonna kick his ass for this…
[Edited on 23-11-2003 by DeusEx]