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Dr Archeville

Unbalanced: Razorwing's Oct 2010 Vignette

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October 29, 3:00 AM: Lantern Hill Cemetery

A dark figure stood silently at the gates of Lantern Hill Cemetery, mustering the courage to pass through the wrought iron arch. He wasn't hesitant because of the shambling dead and spectral beings that had so recently infested Freedom City this last month, he paused because of his intentions. Reports of deceased loved ones appearing before their friends and family had caught his attention and he couldn't pass up the opportunity to speak with his mother and father. Steeling himself and taking a deep breath, he exhaled and put one foot forward and crossed the threshold.

A chill wind swept across the hillside, scattering dead leaves and bringing with it an earthen scent. The young man scanned the area with his mask's active infrared lenses for any movement. He was unsure whether any restless dead roamed the hill, and he wasn't going to take any chances. He saw no movement save for the windblown grass.

He had only been here twice before. James Gerber was a SWAT officer and ceremonially interred in the aftermath of the Terminus Invasion, although Kristian had no recollection of it. There was no body in the grave, however. James died in his guise as Razorwing and the body was never found. He was nearly six years old the second and last time he came to this place. His mother, Cynthia Schwartz-Gerber, had struggled with a rare and aggressive cancer for Kristian's entire life, and he was brought to her burial as a ward of the state. This he did remember, though he pushed the awful memory away from his mind as quickly as it came to him. He had trouble finding the way to his mother's headstone, having been so young at the time. It seemed like a lifetime ago, in another world when he was a different person.

His reverie was broken by a small ball of light hovering waist level some hundred feet away at the crest of a hill, eerily back lighting a row of headstones. Kristian couldn't make out the source of the light, but it seemed to beckon him. Careful not to tread upon any graves as he made his way off the paved walkway, he proceeded unhurried up the hill towards the glow.

As he approached the light, Kamisorihane shrieked it's displeasure when a purple flame flared from the light, casting dancing shadows all around the young hero.

"You bring a fell presence to these hallowed grounds, Kristian Gerber!" a powerful voice echoed within his head. Squinting against the harsh glow, Kris could make out a ghostly silhouette. "You are not welcome here!"

He had heard the legend of Lantern Jack, though he thought them to be nothing more than wives tales. Apparently, he was wrong. He wanted to explain his presence, but he couldn't seem to find the words. "I... I'm not here to cause any trouble," was all he could say.

The violet light dimmed, no longer assaulting Kris' eyes and calming Kamisorihane. Kris could make out the details of the wraith before him now. He wore colonial-era garb and a tricorner hat sitting atop his translucent head. "We shall see," the eidolon replied as the light from the mystic lantern changed to a cerulean hue. Lantern Jack studied the black-clad hero for a moment and nodded slightly. The flame changed color again, this time to an emerald light. "Explain yourself, Kristian Gerber."

Kris didn't understand how the wraith knew his real name, but it seemed that now wasn't the time to ponder it. "I'm here to speak with my parents," was his only reply. It was the truth, and it was all the ghostly guardian of Lantern Hill needed. He brought the lantern to the headstone they stood beside, illuminating the text: Cynthia Schwartz-Gerber. 1960-2009.

"Thank you."

Lantern Jack nodded solemnly and faded from sight, leaving Kris alone at the grave of his mother. He stood there for what seemed like an eternity, unsure of what he could do to summon his mother's spirit. Standing there silently wasn't doing anything, apparently, so he knelt at the grave and removed the mask of his armored jumpsuit. He could feel his heart pounding in his chest and warmth come to his eyes, threatening to spill tears down his pale face. He took a few moments to calm himself before he spoke in a low, soft voice. It had been so long since he spoke as Kristian Gerber instead of Razorwing that his own voice sounded alien to his ears.

"Mom. I... I don't even know what to say. I don't even know what I'm doing here. I just wanted to see you again." He removed the glove from his left hand and touched the cold stone of the grave marker. He uttered another foreign phrase, something he hadn't said since he was just a child. "And I wanted to see dad. I never met him, you know? I thought..."" his words hung in the air for a moment before he continued.

"I just wanted to talk to you both. I want to let you know that I'm OK. I wanted to let you know everything that's happened in my life. I wanted..." A sob wracked his body and tears streamed down his checks, falling from his chin into the soil of his mother's place of rest. "I want you to know that I wish you were here. Both of you. I want you to know who I am, and I want to hear you say that you're proud of me."

Minutes passed and still his parent's didn't appear in front of him. Maybe he was saying the wrong things. "Or admonish me. Tell me to stop being Razorwing and live a normal life. Anything. I just want to hear your voice so bad, mom. I want to tell you I love you and I miss you. So much." Another bout of sobs came over him, and this time they didn't stop. "Please. Please," he pleaded to his mother, "Please, just show up."

He laid his forehead against the cold stone and continued his mantra, barely a whisper. It was nearly dawn before his grief turned to anger. They weren't coming, but why? What had he done that they would deny their crying child sloace as he begged for their love. He arched his back and roared into the night air, his pained cry carried all over Freedom City on an icy breeze...

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