On that note, I introduce a living shadow turned solid in the shape of a breathing person, a description only suiting for a man like Gabril. The chill of a first encounter with an angel teases his future like a dancing monkey within a gypsy’s crystal ball. How angelic could she really be, though? She is from Bridge!
Gabril wakes up, maybe from dreaming about cybersex, and a painful ray of shock lightsabers right through his chest. He finds himself under layers of concrete, something like an icy basement, and he can hear drops of water sweating from the thick pipes around his head. He tries to kick but notices he is chained to one of them, swinging from his feet like a topsy-turvy hangman. His arms dangle and his nerves can swear there's an army of invisible ants marching up his hands.
He sleeps for an amount of time known only by the squirmy sewer rats below, this until waking and sleeping in repeated blinks. He whispers, "Where are we?" A good question, really … Where are we, exactly? You could be in a lawn chair on your lawn, I don’t know, but Gabril is busy getting snapped at by rats and amphibious insects cheering for his savory sweat to fall into their mouths ... Mandibles. Most of it freezes before dripping off of his astroturf chin. "Where's my date at, my--?" Oh, now he really sounds faded.
Soon after some distant crackling awakes him, he’s sleeping again, dreaming he's getting high or with a misty projection -- likely both -- somewhere magical with rainbow honey and pixies buzzing around their heads. His only heat comes from the wet crust of the earth surrounding him. When he awakes again he sees someone moving in the dark. He remembers being a child when he would watch out the window at how wild critters would move around in the black. "How can it see?" he wonders as much now as back then.
A massive figure approaches, winds up its arms, and tries to split Gabril across his middle with a baseball bat. CRACK. Sudden inspiration sparks the being, and he changes his aim for Gabril's knee. WUDDAH, WUDDAH, and the hits keep coming. Eventually, the knee dislocates and, upon seeing this, the man seems to suddenly realize he’s not at a homerun derby.
The girl, the muse that has brought him this far, inserts into his mind now. He recalls giddily their conversations over months of FaceTimeing. She told him once about a time she (not asked) told her professor she wasn’t going to take an exam. The fireball then said that he’d be better off balling the paper up so he could attach it to his "retard tie" and gag himself on it. Funny enough, she said something similar to a census surveyor, or maybe a door-to-door evangelist; I don’t quite remember. This fiery attitude is apparently what floats Gabril's boat. He likes his women like his mysterious mobsters.
Our boy finally watches a new hench-guy figure appear, now with no bat. The grim silhouette cuts him down from his chains; his teeth immediately bite the reeking floor; a few roaches come to welcome him with kisses and loving smells. He licks his wounds then notices the ice around his mouth tastes vaguely of piss. His leg has gone numb having given up on signaling any more pain to him, but he lifts himself aglow with new passion.
“Hey man, looket. You pass' the test,” the gangster, now a sharp form, says to him.
“Izat all? I-- Can I jus' go?”
“By all means. I mean, fine for me. Welcome to Bridge, liberal. Don't come here new again.” Whatever that means.
He does the broke-leg shuffle past a netherworld market, through heaps of cattle and mules, sick beggars and rich merchants, getting his first glimpse of the slimy sewer world bustling under the massive city. He goes all the way to a storm drain where he catches a faceful of oily slush. A piece of frozen urine slides off his mustache, and he elects to toss it down to treat one lucky rat. Reaching out of the drain like a hangry clown, he awkwardly pulls himself, trembling in his weakened, frozen core, onto the biggest commercial street in the heart of borough Bridge.
Thank you for reading!