The Tribulations of Gideon Cade.




This probably won't be updated for a while as I've hit something of a stumbling block with chapter two, but here's what I have so far. Any constructive criticism is welcome and appreciated.

Chapter 1; A life changing event

Gideon was not always a hero. He had been thoroughly unnotable, in fact, until three months ago.

Around that time, he’d been pretty much carefree, with a job that he didn’t hate too much and good friends. They used to frequent bars, drink freely and laugh. Of course, at that point, he ended up meeting her. It didn’t happen often, but in an instant flash of leaf-green eyes he was hers. He played it cool, walking up behind her as she played pool with a friend of hers and took a shot. The yellow ball she’d aimed at was sunk expertly.
“Very nice,” He said, trying not to sound cheesy, “Do you play often?”
With a quick rearrangement of her short, dark hair she replied, “Not especially. Enough to discern an idiot pool fan from a hopeless admirer.”
This brought a slightly rattled grin to Gideon’s face.
“And which am I?” He asked, tentatively.
“A bit of both.” was the preoccupied reply. Gideon was ready to slink back to his friends with his tail between his legs when the green-eyed girl leaned up from her shot and gave him a wide, mischievous grin. “I’m Chastity.” She grimaced at her full name. “Do me a favour, call me Chas, ok?”

“This place is getting old.” She remarked later, her eyes a pair of emeralds in the smoky bar as she reached for a leather jacket that was also green but much darker, near to black. “Why don’t we go get some fresh air?”
They spent the rest of the night wandering, either into a bar for a quick drink or later, when the bars shut, along the promenade talking. It had been the one moment of Gideon’s life that he could remember in perfect, glorious clarity. She’d joked about her full name.
“Chastity Hall. I mean, it sounds like a nunnery!”
On a whim they’d walked two miles to the nearest beach, just to sit and talk to the sound of the waves. She’d mentioned that her parents were divorced and she lived with her mother, talked of her dreams: to become an archaeologist… or to own a second-hand bookshop, either one. He’d laughed, and told her of his studying English at university. They lay back and compared constellations.

* * *

In the time after they met Chas and Gideon had become much closer in leaps and bounds, finding common ground in the most unlikely places. Chastity always came across as a very outgoing girl, but there was something about her that put Gideon on edge. It wasn’t often, just when he said the wrong thing. Whatever the wrong thing was he could never fathom, but there was some sort of deep sadness to her that he couldn’t touch. Gideon was always careful to be as gentle as possible in those times, but it never seemed to do much good. She always ended up yelling at him, or even worse… storming out of the house with such a cold fury she didn’t say a word. It was those moments where all he could do would be to sit and wait for her call, which would always come the next morning.

It was after one of these times his life fell apart. Five months after the last of such incidents she had bawled him out in a voice charged with incredible vitriol over his mention of bigots, especially racists. The points she’d raised had been more emotionally based than rationally. This was to be expected in such a temper and she’d grabbed her green jacket and left, slamming the door enough to knock over a picture he’d had framed. It had been another one of the whims that they had embarked on that incredible, undying night. Both of them had hopped into a photo booth and had their pictures taken together. They’d split them so that they both got two. Gideon had always kept one in his wallet. The other he’d framed. And it was that other that fell to the carpet, the glass shattering and leaving a glittering constellation of fractured light on the floor. Gideon did as he always did when this happened. He put the kettle on and made a cup of tea, then sat on the couch next to the phone, waited, and eventually fell asleep alone.
The next day, he was not woken by a phone call at nine o’clock. Usually this was the practice. He checked the answering machine, but no one had called. He checked the time was right, which it was.
She must be running late. He joked to himself. However, in the pit of his stomach he was terrified that something had happened. Maybe she didn’t mean to come back this time…

* * *

A month later he received a phone call that was not the one he’d hoped for. In that month he’d been worried sick, jumping at the sound of the phone. Every time he answered he asked “Chas?” only to have the confused call centre member say “No, sorry sir, it’s Angus from British Telecom…” and for the caller to have the line go dead. His friends also had the same problem. Each time: “Nah, Gid, its Dave.” And then all animation would leave Gideon’s voice. Each time it was like talking to a man who was distracted or had lost all interest in anything and just talked in a flat, monotonous voice. He’d not been sleeping since Chastity had left… not well anyway… and the large black rings under his eyes were testament to this fact.
The phone call he received was no different. He picked the phone up on the second bell.
“Chas?” He asked, eager, desperate to hear her voice again. Again he was disappointed.
“I’m sorry, Mr. Cade, but it is not. I’m Officer Kent from the Metropolitan Police Department. I’m, uh…” At this point the voice hesitated. Officer Kent sounded quite young, new on the force maybe. Either way, he was inexperienced in this aspect of police work. “I’ve been asked to contact you because we need your help… identifying a body.”
The phone dropped from Gideon’s trembling hand. He felt sick inside. His legs buckled from underneath him and he landed heavily on the sofa. After a few minutes that lasted an eternity he managed to pick up the phone again.
“…ello? Hello! Mr Cade!” The voice of Officer Kent was very worried all of a sudden. Gideon responded in a voice charged with fear.
“Where do you want me to go?”

* * *

Gideon had walked into the room with the antiseptic white walls. There was almost nothing else in the room, just a table with a white sheet over it. Gideon approached the table. His footsteps made his brain ache as he came closer to what was under that sheet. His hands trembled, his lip shook and his heart hammered a staccato pulse that seemed to crack his sternum with each beat. He couldn’t breathe properly, the oxygen seemed to form bubbles in his brain that popped with a noise that screamed denial.

His shaking hand touched the sheet, grasped it. Even as he managed to feel the cheap cotton beneath his fingers, his knuckles whitening, Officer Kent spoke up.
“Sir, if you don’t want to do this then we can contact a member of her family… we can spare you this ordeal.” The thought cut through Gideon’s brain that this officer was feeling a deep sympathy for him, not just false concern. It almost made him forget his fear.
“Thank you, but no.” Came the shaky reply. He couldn’t just leave the possibility sitting beneath that clinical white sheet. He had to know if Chastity was… He had to prove this was wrong, some sort of mistake. He pulled the sheet back.

The Elysienne; Magical controller
Silent Sickle; Natural scrapper
And many more.
Aenigma Rebis: "Actually, Ely's more like Jean Grey. Only... smart."



(( *whistles appreciatively* You have a knack for description that I envy. Beautiful analogies! Keep writing, I wanna read more ))



((Well done Mr. Cade, A gripping start to a story.))
*Tips hat*



Oh Criminy dude, you're killin' me!.........I hope you bust through that block soon, you left one heck of a cliffhanger.



Right, first off... thank you three for your positive comments. It's good to know that this is being appreciated, even if just in a small way.

Secondly, I finally finished the second chapter and have got the general gist of the third chapter down, so hopefully it won't take as long to get the next one up. Either way, without further ado or procrastination I present;

Chapter 2: Descent into dreams.

Two bottles of whiskey later and Gideon sat in his living room. The alcoholic haze helped. Helped him forget the perfectly oval, bloodless knife wound between Chastity’s breasts. It helped him forget the terrified expression on her lifeless face. Helped him forget a pair of dead eyes that reflected a harsh strip light.
He remembered that he’d cried for a while. Vomiting up the depths of his pain with his eyes in a torrent of tears. He remembered that, even as he stared at his dead love, he couldn’t sob and his cries stuck beneath his throat or behind his teeth. Choking, too large for his throat to express… only bursting forth after a minute of this isn’t real.
When he finally voiced his sorrow, it took all the energy in his body and his legs fell from under him, every ounce of himself poured into that one utterance of sorrow, a primal howl. His first grieved cry had come from a position on his knees in front of the nightmare on the table, the second from the ground as he rested his head against the cool white tile of the floor. His eyes forced shut and tears running across his cheeks, seeking the quickest route to the floor. He shook and wailed until there were no more tears and all that was left were salt tracks across his cheeks. Officer Kent had helped him up gently and Gideon had leant his entire weight on the young officer, too spent to do anything but stumble as the policeman politely pulled him to a couch in a waiting room somewhere. Later on, the officer came and brought the broken man some coffee. Gideon had given a weak smile and a thank you, even though he detested the stuff, and set it on a table to cool.
Gideon shuddered at the memory of that final evening and curled into bed, falling asleep almost instantly – exhausted from his grief.

* * *

Two weeks later, they’d held the funeral. Chas’ parents had arranged the whole thing and it showed. It was nothing like what Chas would have liked. Her headstone had her full name on it, and the music was entirely too sombre and old. Gideon almost gave a smile as he thought of her little joke: the casket being lowered to “Another One Bites The Dust” by Queen. In silent tribute he’d sang it in his head as the casket had been lowered into the soil around the small town church. There was no wake either. Gideon thought back to the time they’d joked about their funerals.
“There’s got to be a wake, Cade!” She grinned as she sat cross-legged on their sofa. “When you go to a funeral there’s a lot of grief... what better way to get rid of it than an almighty drinking session?”
Gideon hadn’t known whether to cry or laugh out loud as the ceremony ended with the handful of dirt landing on the casket. The sobriety of the situation won him over.
After the ceremony Chas’ mother, Sandra, approached him. A dumpy little woman, he’d always kind of liked her. She had a sort of wet tolerance for anything and even seemed to get on with Gideon well. Well enough at least.
“Um,” She began. She always began with “um.” “Um, Gideon? I don’t mean, uh, mean to pry,” and here she gave a motherly smile which Gideon couldn’t help but love her for, “but I’d like to know… oh, my, this is awkward… when did you last hear from… from Chastity? As you know, she didn’t keep up much contact with me. The last thing I heard was that you and her had had a disagreement.” Her voice died here, she was uncertain about how to continue. Gideon saved her further discomfort by answering quickly.
“Well, Mrs Hall,” He began, never quite having been confident enough to use her first name despite the fact that she’d asked him to time and again, “The last time I talked to her, we did have an argument.” And here, he looked pained. The last thing she should have heard from him were the words he’d never quite been able to say, for fear or ridicule or rejection. But he couldn’t dwell on that now. “We’d been talking about racism or something…” He said, vaguely. Sandra Hall gave a knowing nod at this point.
“Um, her father, you never met him of course, was…” She hesitated, as if unwilling to speak ill of him even though he was out of her life, “was not a nice man. He was a fervent member of the BNP and was violent towards people who disagreed. Chastity didn’t share his beliefs… but she loved her father and didn’t want to disappoint him. I think it was probably a conditioned response to this kind of thing. He… he used to beat her if she said something wrong. Even if she said it just by rote. He said you had to believe in what you say…” She trailed off again, not certain, or not willing to continue.

* * *

Gideon had taken Chas’ wishes for an “almighty drinking session” to heart, and managed to spend the next few evenings in a drunken stupor, completely inconsolable. His friends had tried to stick by him, but he never seemed to give a smile. His best friend, Adam, had been with him every day of the week. He’d seen Gideon almost openly cry a few times if the conversation came to Chastity. Mainly they’d kept it light, but the pain of Chas’ death was still very fresh.
“I’ll get next week off as well,” Adam said kindly, “so you’ll have some company.”
“Thanks,” Gideon said with a weak smile to ease Adam’s worries, “But I’m not about to do anything stupid like slit my wrists. I’ll be ok. You get back to work. I know they’re hurting for help.”

Adam had given him a friendly nod and left, and that was when Gideon retreated to his room, where he opened the large, heavy book he’d found in a second-hand store. He’d been searching for something like this after one night before the funeral when something in his brain rebelled. He’d decided he wasn’t going to sit and take reality’s crap any longer. He’d heard of Paragon City, heard of the Circle of Thorns. He suspected that an English chapter of that organisation had sacrificed his beautiful Chastity in an infernal ritual. And when you were talking infernal rituals there’s only the source to consider. He’d already stolen Chastity’s preserved corpse, and now he was going to return her to his side. He picked up a stub of chalk and carefully copied a spiral pattern on the wooden floor around Chastity, checking the accuracy closely from the book. He stood back and looked at his handiwork. Chastity lay in the centre of a chalk spiral that radiated from behind her head. Now, all it required was to get their attention.

Gideon pulled a penknife from his pocket and pushed it into his underarm. There had been some ritualistic mumbo-jumbo to say, but Gideon had dispensed with it. Intent was enough, and Gideon’s intent was white-hot.

The blood struck Chastity’s right cheek.

A wind whipped up from nowhere, scattering loose papers and slamming the ancient book shut. The wind began to coalesce in the centre of the room above the body. The air darkened and thickened, gaining texture. The blackness shaded closer to a dark red, but it shimmered like snake skin; sometimes red, sometimes blue or green. And suddenly, without ever quite appearing, a large, grotesque form was squatting above the corpse of Gideon’s love. The creature… the demon, Gideon admitted, stood about eight feet tall, with six spindly spider legs supporting the scaly body. A ridge of bony protrusions could be seen emerging from the spinal column.

The misshapen being fixed him with one mad eye and it gave a sickly grin. The smell of smoke and burned flesh came off it in waves. The demon gurgled, and its long, obscene tongue lolled out, hanging above Chastity’s face.

“Well,” It gave a laugh that sounded like the death rattle of a man choking on his own blood. It made Gideon want to scour the skin from his body just to feel clean, but he was determined to save Chastity from sleep in the earth. “What have we here? A poor bereaved man…” Gideon cut the thing off mid-sentence.

“I want her to be brought back to life.” He stared defiantly at the demon, which gave a shrug.

“Fair does… But there’s got to be balance, you know.” It stared at Gideon with sly, beady eyes. “Tell you what, I’ll take you to see the boss-man. You two can… haggle over price. I think that’s the best thing to do. What do you say, bereaved man?”

Gideon hesitated. Part of him recognised the many sane reasons not to trust a demon, but that part of him had been repressed a while back by his desire to have Chastity back with him. He nodded once, decisively.

“Right you are, chief.” A bony arm lashed out and suddenly Gideon was pushed against the wall by a cruel hand. “Hold still. This is going to hurt like… Well, you know.” Gideon saw a sadistic grin that seemed to be mostly teeth, and then the demon raised a taloned hand.

Grinning maliciously, the demon pushed one finger into, or maybe through, Gideon’s right eye, past it and further into the socket. There was no pain, just an unpleasant tightness, like something that was too large trying to squeeze it’s way into a small space. Gideon grunted in discomfort. He was aware that if this creature actually had its finger in his head, he’d be dead by now. The demon had reached inside somewhere else, reaching for something far more private than just his physicality.

“Sorry, chief,” The demon said offhandedly, “That bit wasn’t the worst. Ah, here’s what we’re looking for!” It gave one final push, then hooked it’s finger inside whatever place it had pushed into. And then Gideon screamed.

The Elysienne; Magical controller
Silent Sickle; Natural scrapper
And many more.
Aenigma Rebis: "Actually, Ely's more like Jean Grey. Only... smart."