WRITTEN BY: Me and
I Rise: Chapter 2 - Gallows Pole
Dalton and Gavreel drove along in the old 67' Mustang. The hardtop was cracked and the yellow paint was faded to the point of obscurity. Gavreel was seated shotgun and stared straight down the road. The silence was maddening, yet finally Dalton spoke in an attempt to break the silence.
"Do you remember your time in Hell, Gavreel? I ask because what we are about to do, can send us right back there, one way."
Gavreel's gaze averted to the dashboard of the demon's sports car. Upon it lay a shiny, little red Satan bobble-head that recklessly strayed as the car rode along the southern outskirts of Ohio. Gavreel stared at it, slightly wincing at the memories. Finally he responded. "I would be a fool to forget. I never imagined--"
"That it would be so bad?" Dalton interrupted, "you were there for one single year, sport. I was there for 200 before we ditched Dodge. I need to know for sure that you can do this Gavreel. I can't..." he paused and swallowed hard, "we can't afford to fail." he finished.
Gavreel reached for the bobble-head and placed his hand on top of it to cease it's shaking. Dalton noticed the motion, but continued to drive in silence as Gavreel carefully replayed every single memory he could think of in his time spent in Hell. His sad eyes drew closer to Dalton's as he removed his hand from the figurine. He looked up at him with hope shining in his eyes. "I will not fail." he said, determined.
Dalton continued driving and he let Gavreel's words sink in. They weren't much, but when it came to the truth, Dalton preferred quality over quantity."Then let's get this show on the road then, shall we?."
The car continued to speed along. Still Gavreel stared at the bobble head. He watched it relentlessly shake. His mind drifted to sins past...One year ago...in hell.
The lake that resided inside Zone 5 was quiet and cold. The massive walls that surrounded the small body of water look natural from afar, but were noticeably crafted and shaped to fit the eerie tone of the cave. The cinder blocks were contorted into shapes and angles that warp and wrapped all around and above Gavreel and his pool of ice. Dim torches light up the immense tower to the point past view. Gavreel shivered in the icy waters and the sharp icicles floated all around his pale and cold body. He was alone and scared. Time here was different from time on earth and Heaven. It's slower and more distorted. He had counted every second that has passed in hopes that someone somewhere would rescue him from this place. Anyone. He counted, but no one came to his aid. finally he made another mental tally in his head.
"300 years." he said to himself, and he lowered his head from the towering cylinders. He looked around the cold, frozen water in search of something different, or out of place. Something that might stand out from the last time he checked. Nothing. Everything was still the same as the exact moment he was thrown into the pool after being dragged out of the eighth level. Each layer he would think was the worst until he reached it's successor. This was definitely the worst for Gavreel. He couldn't stand the cold, solid chains on his ankles, nor the feeling that he was truly alone, for even when God left, Gavreel felt that some part of him was left inside himself. Some hope of his return. But not here. Here was where he realized that his Father was truly gone. Gavreel faced the peaking tower above him as he gave up on himself. He shivered endlessly in the cold. Desperate and with no other options left, he tried once again to pray for forgiveness. "I'm sorry Michael! I'll do whatever you want.. just please, take me back! Brother?! ......Brother..." hs voice wandered off.
Gavreel's words caused tears to fall from his eyes as the icy water spawned various, small rings. Soon the entire pool looked as if it were raining from above before it started to bubble and steam before Gavreel's eyes. As Gavreel watched, a dark figure emerges from the cold, murky water with his back turned to Gavreel. His back was scarred and purple and his hair was long, frail, and greasy. Gavreel looked at the creature with a puzzled look on his face. "Michael?" Gavreel asked as he watched the man fully drift out of the water and turn to him.
The creature looked at him with his yellow glowing eyes. His smile exposed his sharp teeth. "No, son. I have many names, but you can call me Dalton."
Gavreel stood tired and motionless. He knew all too well about demons. Especially in his time spent in Hell. He closed his eyes and let out a long sigh.You're here to torture me." he said, "Go ahead. I won't fight back this time. Not anymore.
Dalton smiled a friendly smile. Gavreel looked at him perplexed. Finally Dalton spoke.
"I do love me some good old fashion angel torturin', but right now i'm going to need you to sprout those pretty little wings so we can get the hell out of here. We don't have much time left, so I suggest you flap first and ask questions later tweety bird."
Gavreel returned the reply with a look of confusion. "I don't understand." he replied.
Dalton looked around apprehensively, as if expecting something. "Quickly now." he said, nonchalantly, "We don't have much time." With that, Dalton raised his sharp index finger in the air and in an instant the cuffs chained to Gavreel's feet snapped and fell deep into the water.
Gavreel, still puzzled, looked up at the demon with catlike curiosity."You're helping me escape?"
"Don't be so egocentric dodo," Dalton replied, "I'm helping both of us escape. Now perk up those wings and grab my arms. NOW!" His final word shook the foundation of level nine.
Gavreel didn't question Dalton again or even think about the situation. There was no time and this was his only chance. He wasn't sure why a demon was helping him escape, but at that second it didn't matter. The only thing that truly mattered was getting the hell out of Dodge. He trudged through the water as fast as he could toward the peculiar demon.
"Now or never sunshine." Dalton mocked.
Gavreel dove into the air in a final desperate leap, almost leaving Dalton behind, but managing to grasp his arms mid-flight. The duo raced up into and out of the tower before the top morphed itself into closure. Outside of the tower lay the common room of Hell. A giant dome made of earth surrounded the prairies of brimstone and molten rock. Gavreel's stomach churned at the stench. Gavreel shot a look from behind him. His eyes widened in fear when he saw a pack of demons hot on their heels.
"They know we're trying to escape!" Gavreel shouted.
Dalton flashed him an angry look. "Yeah, that's kind of why I was in a hurry." he said sarcastically, "It turns out demons aren't suppose to help angels escape from Hell."
Dalton held on for dear life while Gavreel's speed increased. "We're not out yet." he murmured to himself
"Oh you don't say?" Dalton said, now angry, "Fly all the way to the top. There should be an upside down well."
"A well?" Gavreel repeated, perplexed.
"Yes genius, a well. Fly in it and close your eyes."
Gavreel sped straight into the dark, smoky sky. He knew from the burning sensation he felt on his feet that they were being chased by something big and angry, but he dare not turn around to see what.
"I see it!" Dalton shouted, "We're almost there. Remember to fly straight through it. Every sensible thought in your head will tell you otherwise, but you must not slow down or stop. You fly in and you fly out. That's how we get out of this hell hole. Pun intended."
As the pair drew close, the well appeared at the very top of the dome. Gav noticed that no light or any indication that there was any opening or exit on the other side was visible.
"It looks closed." Gavreel shouted. By now he was trembling. He wasn't sure he could trust a demon.
"You don't miss anything do ya champ?" Dalton shouted, "It looks closed because it is closed. Last time it was opened, Michael tossed Lucifer down here."
Gavreel flew ever faster, looking back at Dalton he replied, "You're joking. Right, demon? Please tell me you're joking."
Gavreel's eyes filled with worry as they gained momentum.
"I'm sorry dodo," Dalton said, "but this is no joke. If Michael could break through it... so can you. You're an archangel.... If it's at all possible, then you should be able to break on through onto the other side"
"We're going to die." Gavreel muttered.
"Awwww... don't say that. Worse case scenario, we smash into the bottom of the stone well at .. how fast would you say we're going?.... 200 miles per hour? ... 200 miles per hour and then fall back down to hell... where we will be tortured for all eternity. Mozel Tov." Dalton said jokingly.
As they approached the well, both Gav and Dalton shut their eyes. Gav tucked in his wings, letting inertia do the job as they zipped through the long towering well. They crashed through the well bottom with incredible force and out of the ground into what looked like a dessert. Dalton is flung nearby as Gav crashed into a large, green billboard. Gavreel was bloody and broken as he opened his eyes. He was hurt, but he's more happy than he had been in a long time. The sight of the blue sky and the blaring sun gave him strength and the will to carry on. As he stood from the wreckage, he looked at what the sign had said before it was used to break his fall... his rise.
"Welcome to Sin City". Read Gav as he focused his attention to Dalton. He was covered in dirt and was picking pieces of cactus out of his flesh. As Dalton walked beside Gavreel a car quickly drives by on the nearby interstate and honks.
"Vegas?" Dalton let out a chuckle, "the gateway to Hell is right outside of Las Vegas? Haha.. it's almost too perfect."
"What do we do now?" Gavreel asked. He began pacing about aimlessly; still trying to ponder just how he managed to escape.
"Well. First we get ourselves some clothes." Dalton said. His voice then grew sterner and he placed a long sharp hand on Gavreel's shoulder. "Then we sit down and figure out the arrangements and validations of our little deal. I didn't rescue you out of the goodness of my heart, you know."
Gavreel brushed his hand off and turned away, "of course not, Demon. But what's done is done. I made no such deal with you before and now that i'm free, I have no desire to do such thing now."
Dalton darted forward at him, breathing heavily and frantically. He grabbed his arm in a grip of iron. "You ungrateful little sh*t.... Do you have any idea how far I just stuck my neck out for you?"
Gavreel struggled to get his arm free, but eventually gave up. "You're a disgusting demon." he spat at him. "Why should I care what happens to you?"
"Don't be such a racist." Dalton said. He snorted in anger and began to speak again, "And to answer your question, you should care because it involves your little angel buddies. When the big HW2 ended up in the sky, a few of your dodo friends fell down to earth." he paused and began to whisper..."I can help you find them."
Gavreel's blank expression remained unchanged. He said nothing and with a final pull his arm shook loose.
"For crying out loud... And you would want that because you want to extract your revenge on Michael and the rest of the archangels and the only way you can do that is to have a small army of angels right beside you." Dalton said. "I swear sometimes, talking to you angels can be such a workout. Did God even bother to give you guys a thinking process?"
"We were created to follow orders. Not to think." Gavreel answered.
"Well, you don't say? Fine. I "order" you to find your angel friends and fight back against Michael and the other archangels."
"You can't be serious." Gavreel responded, half-laughing.
"It was worth a try." Dalton muttered.
"Why do you care so much about the affairs in Heaven anyways?" Gavreel began to question.
"Oh you poor oblivious thing." Dalton replied putting his face in his hand. "These "affairs" as you call them, are no longer just Heaven's problems. Not anymore. Last I heard, Michael and Lucifer were arranging some sort of treaty to carve up the earth and the souls that reside here. They're turning the planet into an All You Can Eat Buffet. I'm not too fond of these humans, but i'm not one to root for mass genocide either. I also have a few of my own personal reasons why i'm so sore about the whole thing."
Gavreel opened his mouth to speak, then shut it again. A long moment of silence followed. Crickets chirped behind them. Finally he spoke. "If what you say is true, then no deal is necessary. I'm going to do whatever it takes to stop Michael. Again.. if this is in fact true."
Dalton clapped his hands and smiled again. "Now that's the spirit!" he said cheerfully. "but for legal purposes I can't go on any further without a verbal agreement."
"And what are the terms of this... agreement?" Gavreel questioned apprehensively.
"We find, recruit and or kill the remaining Fallen... No loose ends and all that good stuff.... Then we gather as much ammo as we possibly can and we fight against and hopefully defeat Michael and the all other top dogs in Heaven. And when all is said and done we bring the fight back down to Hell to once and for all get rid of that over dramatic, prissy little diva, Lucifer."
"Fine. But after this is all over we go our separate ways. If I so much as hear of your name, I will come for you. Do I make myself clear?" Gavreel extended his hand out to shake on the offer.
Another moment of silence ensued. Dalton smiled wickedly, trying to mock him. He clutched his hand in a tight grip. "Crystal." he said.
Gavreel's mind snapped back to reality when the dirty old Mustang came to a stop directly in the middle of an abandoned dirt crossroads, both Gav and Dalton peered out in front of them. Directly in front of the car is a lone woman standing casually against a telephone pole. As the wind blew, she gently placed a long strand of her bright red hair behind her right ear. As she made eye contact with the duo, she smiled devilishly and walked in their direction.
"Don't say a single word, ya hear me?" Dalton warned in a whisper. "Let me do all the talking."
Gavreel nodded in agreement as the woman made her way to the driver's window. As she reached the car, her face glowed at the sight of Dalton.
"What a splendid day today has been." she hissed. "First I get promoted to Crossroads Demon and then The One That Got Away falls directly in my lap. Oh and he brought a snack too." she cast a glance over to Gavreel with a wicked smile.
The Demon winked to Gav and he turned his view away from her.
"Listen Betty," Dalton said, pointing his index finger at her, "I didn't just "fall in you lap" and I sure as hell didn't come here to fight. I need your help." he paused and cast a glance over to Gavreel. "We need your help."
The Demon raised her eyebrows as she chuckled softly.
"You can't be serious." she hissed. She stopped suddenly in the middle of her sentence and smiled slyly. "Actually.... I believe it. You, Dalton are a real piece of work. You only look out for yourself and whoever gets caught in the crossfire is just collateral damage to you. And then you have the nerve to ask your collateral damage for help? There is something really wrong with you, you know that?"
"Flattery will get you nowhere, my lady. Look... I know we have had some bumps in the road, but--"
"Bumps in the road?" the Demon lashed out at him, shouting in anger, "You used me to escape Hell and then decided to flee with some fallen angel instead of yours truly. Now to me that sounds like a little bit more than just a few "bumps in the road!"
The Demon noticed Gavreel again and quickly backs away from the car, as if he were the cross itself.
"It's him isn't it?!! The angel???! You brought the damn angel with you?!" she cried.
Dalton buried his face in his hands, "Look. I didn't come here for this. He's only here for looks I promise. But before I left you in Hell, I dropped something by mistake."
"The Gallows Pole." she finished.
Without another word, The Demon pulled out a medium ranged dagger from her pocket. It was shiny and crested with small, unreadable, ancient numbers and words. She held it out in front of her as Gavreel opened his door and walks gently out of the car and in her direction.
"Gav, get back in the car!" Dalton shouted like a concerned parent.
Gavreel ignored Dalton as he fearlessly circled The Demon like two animals facing their prey.
"Listen to me Demon," Gavreel warned, "I am an Archangel. Do you have any idea how powerful I am? Do you have any idea how many demon deaths I have under my belt? I have no clue what kind of weapon you have in your hands, but I promise you it won't do anything but anger me."
"It kills angels Gav..." Dalton said, now annoyed that he hadn't followed his advice.
Dalton burst as he placed his palm on his face. Gavreel, now cautious raises his hands in the air as The Demon placed the dagger underneath his throat.
"You have anything you need to say or get off your chest before I put you back down in the dirt, Angel?" She hissed.
"Yes." Gavreel's lips curled into a smile. "What kind of demon name is Betty?"
Dalton rolled his eyes and Betty shook her head in anger.
"Look sweaty pie," Dalton said, Gavreel here is an archangel. Yes, you heard that right. The Gallows Pole is certain to work on normal dodos, but i'm not 100% certain it will kill or even harm our little friend here. You can cut him to see, but if it doesn't work I can't guarantee that he won't tear you a new one. We have ourselves a dilemma here, obviously. So how about you put the shiny knife down so we can talk about--"
Before Dalton could finish his sentence, Gavreel quickly extended his hand and caught the weapon while throwing a powerful blow. Blood dripped across her forehead and she slumped to the ground limply, now unconscious.
"Good grief..." Dalton sighed.
Ten minutes had passed and Dalton was driving as Gavreel patiently studied the crested dagger in his hands. The Demon was unconscious in the backseat as the car swiftly drives along the interstate.
"So..... About that Gallows Pole." Dalton said nonchalantly
Gavreel looked away. "You were planning to use it on me after we escaped Hell."
"And they say you angels are dumb as bricks." Dalton smiled to himself, amused with his joke.
Gav faced Dalton, waiting for a decent excuse.
"Ok... Listen." Dalton said, "I wasn't sure just how Deep End you were going to be. Hell can drive people to the brink. It can break them. I was planning to only use it for my own safety. Just in case you were a little Coo Coo Ca Choo. You understand right?"
"It doesn't work on me. But I can use it against the other Fallen if I need to." Gavreel reassured him.
"That was the plan."
As Gavreel placed the dagger inside his trench coat pocket he faced forward again. He noticed the bouncing bobble head and tore it right off the dashboard and proceeded by throwing it out of the window.
"Sure it was."