A few weeks passed and Gabriel’s wounds had all but healed. His wings had shed their feathers and a pair of black bat like wings now hung down his back. The tops of them just brushed the nape of his neck before folding down and almost touching the floor. His long silver hair hung between them braided tightly.
He had begun to build himself a small shelter. The weather, in this strange and lonely place, was odd. The first night as he had settled down and shut his eyes he had expected it to get darker, but the light only intensified. When he opened his eyes again, he was shocked to find that he could still see the sunset in West however the skyline to the East contained a sunrise. The sky never held a moon and it never grew dark, making it almost impossible to sleep. He was growing all the more irritable in this land of eternal sunshine.The land also experienced onslaughts by vicious thunder storms. His small tree had been felled by the violent wind and rain of one of these storms just a few nights ago . He growled angrily and looked at his hands in disbelief . Most of his shelter was built; aside from a little strengthening it was done. But he had to stop. The fingers on his hands had begun to fuse together . The first, middle, ring and little finger, were lengthening, all now were as thick as his thumb and hand begun to form long thin bonelike claws three on each hand. The change was affecting his abilities and he could not seem to hold onto anything without dropping or crushing it.6:13 PMMorrigan AoifeHe sat next to his little dwelling and laid his head back, closing his eyes in an attempt to rest. He awoke a few moments later as he heard a loud crack next to him. Startled, Gabriel leapt up, his new claws outstretched ready to fight whatever the hell had made the noise. He saw a tall broad built creature lounging idly near to Gabriel’s small shack. When the creature noticed him looking, a wry smile played on his lips.
“Who are you?” Gabriel demanded. The creature smiled again and put his hands up good naturedly as if to say that he wasn’t armed.
“You must be Gabriel.” he said in a deep resonating voice.Gabriel frowned. “I know who I am.” he snarled. “The question is, who the hell are you?”
The creature didn’t drop the smile but cocked his head “My names Dawn.” he said quietly. He looked at the grubby, ripped shirt that Gabriel was wearing.
The name brought with it a spark of recognition, Gabriel’s mind flicked to memories of childhood tales. He now recognized The Lord of the Underworld, Dawn . Gabriel stood his ground and shouted accusingly “You got thrown out for crimes against the crown.”Dawn's smile widened, and he nodded “I did” he said softly. He pulled a packet from his pocket and lit up a cigarette.
Gabriel made a strangled sound as he eyed the packet, smelling the acrid smoke; his craving was stronger than his fear of the daemon that now stood in front of him.
Dawn tossed him the packet, his clumsy claws dropped it then quickly retrieved it from the damp grass. Dawn passed him a lighter and sat down his back against the shack wall.Gabriel looked at him for a moment, sizing him up , and then he sat down too, but not too close to the stranger.
“So what did you get thrown out for?” Gabriel asked. He held a cigarette in his teeth and was attempting to use the lighter to get it lit. It wasn’t working. With Gabriel’s new claws he was considerably uncoordinated.
Dawn looked over at him, then took the lighter from his hands and lit the end of Gabriel’s cigarette.
“Well,” he said, “I committed crimes against the crown.” He didn’t sound unhappy quite the contrary to Gabriel.6:14 PMMorrigan Aoife“What did you do, step on mothers robes?” Gabriel said mockingly. He sounded bitter and he knew it. But Dawn didn’t know him and probably didn’t notice.
So Dawn snorted trying to contain his laughter. Then still laughing, he shut his eyes and put his head back against the shack. He smiled to himself “No it was a bit worse than that.”“Well?” Gabriel said, not really expecting Dawn to reply . Dawn raised one eyebrow and looked over at Gabriel, but the daemon could not be goaded into answering. The lack of response hardly mattered Gabriel though he was content now that cigarette smoke filled his lungs and he handed the packet back to Dawn.
Dawn didn’t take them, instead he shook his head and replied “Keep them, I can always get more.” Then he looked at the golden watch on his wrist and began to stand up. He stopped and crouched down; one hand resting on the shack for support and looked at Gabriel.
“What?” Gabriel snapped, regretting his tone of voice instantly. Dawn frowned.“Well, what’s happening to you isn’t what happened to me or any of the other daemons when they fell to Midway so if it’s okay, I’d like to keep an eye on you.” he straightened and looked down at Gabriel .
“What for?” Gabriel asked standing up and snuffing out the remnants of his cigarette. He fished another out of the packet and put it to his lips .
Dawn smiled. “I don’t think you’re a daemon.” he said as he watched Gabriel struggle with the lighter.
“Then what am I?” Gabriel growled.
Dawn laughed “No idea, but whatever it is, it comes with a foul temper.” Gabriel looked at him in surprise. Aside from his brothers, no one had ever dared to say anything like that to him .
Dawn smiled at him then took the lighter from Gabriel’s hand, and lit his cigarette for him. “You’ll learn to get it lit, if you want it badly enough.” Dawn said handing the lighter back to him. Then he took a step backwards and in a bright red flash and a loud crack he disappeared.
Gabriel looked at the spot where he had been standing for a moment before noticing that the air smelt of sulphur and cigarettes. He wrinkled his nose and went inside his small home.A few days later Dawn returned with a small canvas bag that he passed to Gabriel. Gabriel opened the bag and looked inside, then carefully pulled out the contents; a small pile of clothes. He looked up at Dawn, unsure of what to say.
“Don’t thank me.” Dawn said seeing a slight pink flush on Gabriel’s cheekbones, he pulled a pack of forty cigarettes from his pocket and threw them to Gabriel who caught them, “You’re getting better with those things.” he smirked.
“Thanks.” Gabriel smiled slightly,
“I said, don’t thank me,” Dawn frowned.
Gabriel frowned back. “I was dragged up with manners you know.” he snapped.
Dawn laughed. “I know. I knew your mother well. Always good on manners but low on charm.” he flashed a big toothy grin. “See you around.” Dawn touched a finger to his head, appeared to tip an imaginary hat and vanished.
Gabriel shook his head, Dawn was weird. He looked down at the clothes in his hands, a plain black shirt and a pair of thin cotton black trousers. He went into his small shack and stripped off the mud-streaked clothes he had been wearing. It felt good to get out of his old clothes; during the short time he’d spent on the Midway they had been reduced to little more than dirty rags. When he pulled the clean ones on, the new clothes fit perfectly and he smiled in spite of himself.