A/N: I don't know how long this story is going to be, but I have a feeling it's going to be a long one. I already know exactly where it's going to go, however, and I know it's going to be schmoopy to the extreme. Enjoy!
Chapter One: There's One Less Angel in Heaven
If you had not have fallen, then I would not have found you…Angel flying too close to the ground
Sam didn't know if the stranger was talking to him or not; though he doubted it. He was the new kid - quiet, obscure…strangely suspicious of everyone and everything around him.
He continued to stare forward towards the front of the classroom and ignored the hissed whisper from the desk next to him.
He had been enrolled in the William Penn High School in Nanticoke, Pennsylvania while his brother and father hunted a coven of vampires who had been prowling the suburbs. Sam himself had broken his thumb during the last hunt, and had decided to sit this one out. Not that he was particularly sad about that.
"What?" Sam blurted out, a little louder than he had meant to. He was sure, now, from the nickname, that the whispers were indeed directed at him. In the last few years, Sam had undergone a growth spurt of almost epic proportion; now he was less than an inch shy of his brother, who was four years his senior. The name sasquatch, as his brother often called him, though Sam hated it, did fit.
"Oh, so you respond to that."
Sam issued the smaller boy the bitchiest bitch-face he could muster.
"What is it you want?"
"Keep your voice down - teach'll hear us," the boy said, grinning widely. He turned in his seat to face Sam, crossing his legs as he did so. "So…word on the street is, you're like a super-genius."
Sam laughed. "What word? I've been here two days."
"Well…" he began matter-of-factly. "Suzie Two-Shoes over there made no secret of the fact that you got a higher grade than her on that latest assignment. Mr Thompson never gives out A-pluses."
Sam smiled a little smugly at that. "Really?"
Sam turned back to his notes, still smiling a little.
"Yeah…my mom says that if I get another C, she'll cut off my ears, because - and I quote - 'If I'm not going to listen in class I might as well not listen to that God-forsaken music either.'" He rolled his eyes as the bell signalling the end of class rang out and people around them began to pack their things.
"Well," Sam said, standing. "I could always tutor you."
"Really?" He laughed, green eyes sparkling. They walked out into the crowded hall together - for the first time, Sam didn't feel alone in this school. "That'd be sweet!"
They crossed over the river of people in the hallway, Sam following the boy as he made a beeline to one of the lockers.
"My name's Gabriel, by the way," he said, opening his locker very slickly with a spin of the dial and a loud bang to its olive green door. "I know, it's a dumb name. My parents must have been high or something when they named me."
"I'm Sam." He simply stood gawkily, clutching books to his chest.
"Well, Sam…do you have a locker?"
As a reply, he held up his left palm for Gabriel to see. On it, smudged, were the numbers 'zero-five-six.' Sam looked a little sheepish. "I don't really…know where it is, though. I just carry my books with me."
Gabriel simply laughed. "I'll show you where it is later."
Sam smiled gratefully. Gabriel smiled back, before pulling a cherry flavored tootsie pop from the pocket of his jeans. He popped it in his mouth almost lazily. He leaned back against the lockers, closing his eyes and enjoying the bliss of the lollipop.
"…Sometimes I don't know how I get through classes without sugar." There was no reply from Sam, but Gabriel didn't take it as a bad sign – the kid was quiet anyway. "So…when and where are we going to stud…"
He was cut off when he re-opened his eyes. Sam was looking into Gabriel's locker, his expression serious.
Inside the door of the locker, as well as a timetable, were a number of drawings. One was of flames, just flames, eerie in black and white. Another was of a man with what looked like majestic black wings spread out behind him. The third was of a group of people looking out of the drawing, their eyes penetrating and a soulless, solid black.
Gabriel slammed the door of his locker, ashamed of what he had in there. Before the door was closed in front of his face, Sam had seen a single word scrawled under the drawing of the man with the wings – 'sword.'
He laughed nervously, attempting to shrug what Sam had just seen off as nothing. "Dude…my brain…I don't even know what's going on in there sometimes."
The bell for the next class rang shrill and loud through the hallways and people around them began to disperse. Sam had study hall so wasn't in a rush.
"Oh shoot…I have to get to Philosophy." Gabriel pulled a pen from inside his bag. "Arm," he said simply, hardly waiting for Sam to present his arm before he grabbed his wrist and began to write on it.
2010 West Lane
"If you're serious about this tutoring thing, come by here tomorrow night." When he saw Sam looking a little confused, he added: "Just take a left after the swimming pool."
Sam nodded and smiled, leaving his new friend as he got swept up in the flow of people.
Gabriel waited until Sam was out of sight and until the hallway was basically empty before opening his locker - he would rather risk being late for his class than have another person see his drawings. It freaked him out enough that every so often his hand would draw seemingly of its own accord.
When the visions had started a few years ago, Gabriel felt the importance to put them to paper - he had never known they would get so intense and creepy. He had never known they would make him the outcast of the class either.
Back in middle school, Gabriel had been the coolest kid who walked the halls; the class clown. At any one time you could bet on him having at least three girlfriends. But when he started high school, things began to change. He became the 'creepy kid' with all the 'weird drawings.'
Gabriel opened his hand, and saw that someone had slipped a note into it, crumpled. He unfolded it.
It was written in thin, spidery writing, and it made Gabriel smile to look at.
Suddenly, Gabriel was struck by a flash of white light and behind his eyes flew dozens of disjointed pictures. He vaguely heard the metallic clash as he fell back against the lockers.
Sam Wesson - a drone call-centre boy working in the world's smallest cubicle in the world's most boring company. Print, shred, fax, sharpen - repeat as necessary.
"Yeah…okay…have you tried turning it off then on again? Let's try that. Yeah. Off…now on."
Sam Wesson watched a body being carried out on a stretcher…
Sam Wesson swung the iron rod, dissipating the spirit…
Sam Wesson's yellow shirt faded with reality…
When Gabriel came to, the first thing he saw was the blinding fluorescence of the school lights. There was a pounding in his skull like he'd never experienced. He saw people leaning over him – probably the stoner kids who lurked around the halls and never went to any classes.
"Dude…are you okay?"
Gabriel tried to sit up, but his brain was hammering against the inside of his skull like he was suffering the world's worst hangover. He hissed, slouching back against the lockers.
Images still swirled around in his brain: images of the man who shared Sam's name; images of the man called Zachariah…underneath his placid-looking face were others. Other faces more spectacular and at the same time more terrifying.
Gabriel grasped for his bag which was lying a few feet away to his left. Out of it he pulled a notebook full of pencilled drawings. He skipped forward to the first blank double page and began to draw.
He watched in horror as his hand drew itself a picture. It was of a man in a grey suit, but with three sets of massive black wings protruding from his back. His face was that of a lion – as imposing as it was grotesque.
Gabriel looked curiously at the image he had just watched himself draw. He never had any idea what any of it meant – the people with the black eyes; the winged men…it was all meaningless to him. This image scared Gabriel more than his others: the fact that this man – or whatever he was - had something to do with Sam.
What. The hell.
A/N: Sorry about chapter 8 of Morning Watch, those of you who care. I'm working on it, honest.