The corpse like creature standing before him sickened Gabriel; it was an insult to him that he felt deep inside. It was little more than a ghastly refugee of the grave, an abomination never meant to still walk the world. And yet, here it stood reaching out with bare boned fingers that begged to tear into anything within reach. The previous piercing projectiles didn’t seem to prompt any response from the thing. It was almost like it hadn’t even noticed the damage.
Inwardly Gabriel cursed the fact that he hadn’t had the foresight to ask Dr. Foxfire more of the particulars about the dangers she had mentioned as a warning. If bullets didn’t look like they had an effect then what was he going to do? He looked to his ready right hand as it held his waiting hammer reflexively. The marred metal mallet had served him well on countless jobs he knew it wouldn’t let him down. But as another wave of rage ripped through him he struggled to maintain control. He was facing something out of nightmare with only his hammer in one hand and his other ending in claws.
There wasn’t enough time to second guess his decisions anymore, he had to act. The creature was right in front of him now and its eyes were squarely trained on the people behind Gabriel. Anger insisted that he was not about to allow this thing to get past him. Not this cruel mockery of life, it was going to pay dearly for even trying.
A baleful moan began inside the hideous horror that built until it escaped from its opened maw. With jagged remnants of what had once been teeth exposed a shriek exploded upon the air around them. It cast itself outward bringing with it a cascade of terror that rippled all around Gabriel. His fiery temper rattled against it and he howled in response to the perceived offensive gesture. A simple cry was not about to cower him to this thing.
But behind him he could already hear the wailing cries and whimpering sobs. He could even smell a faint scent of something like ammonia, and instantly he understood. This thing made use of fear; it capitalized on it to cripple its victims. And for Gabriel that was the final straw as he allowed his fury to flare until it threatened to color his vision in crimson.
He surrendered a part himself to his primal instincts and found his body responding rapidly. A hammer blow hit solidly to smash the things left shoulder in a crackling crunch as bones shattered in answer. Still the thing drove itself forward with a lurch that longed to reach the promise of prey. His left hand slashed to slice its way across its chest and then jerked to rip its way downward. The semi-rotten flesh failed to resist being separated and fell to the ground with a released stench.
With his assault proving effective Gabriel seized on the rising thrill that drummed itself into life and redoubled his offensive. His hammer drove itself into his foe over and over driving it back in a series of slams. Every step backwards was punctuated with a piercing punch that rent the creature with his claws. Each evisceration delighted his darker desires until he realized the foul foe had fallen before him to become lifeless.
Every part of Gabriel screamed to tear his prey to pieces, to completely repay its challenge against him with nothing less than oblivion. But a subtle chord tugged at him, reminded him that he had sworn to reign himself in, to maintain control. He had to concentrate on that thought at first until he slowly felt his rage subsiding. It took a few minutes at first but as they passed Gabriel could feel his shape shifting to return him back into the familiar form of a metal-armed man.
As Gabriel struggled to slow his breathing back down from it’s previous panting pace that accompanied the shocking surge of adrenaline he looked back to check on the officers. Both had managed to pull themselves together enough to stand once more. Oliver obviously was still trying to mask how shaken he still was by everything while Vedia almost looked unaffected. But as Gabriel turned to approach them he found a waiting muzzle pointed in his direction.
“What precisely was that thing,” Vedia demanded instantly. “That creature doesn’t match your description at all. And furthermore, what manner of game are you playing at monster? Huh, did you plan on luring us out here with some story using your own description to trick up until you could pick us off? Is this some sick plot to slaughter the only defensive forces on Gallu to stop you?”
Each question increased in volume and emphasis until Vedia was near yelling. Her gun barely twitched as she launched herself to implore Gabriel for some kind of explanation. They had just watched him transform into some fur and metal monster man that tore another creature to pieces. If he wasn’t behind what was happening then what was? A part of Vedia coldly calculated every observation she had made up until now. How he had stepped forward to shield them and even faced the foul creature to protect them. Could a monster have done that? Would a vile villain take such an act just to slaughter them later? It didn’t seem likely.
Gabriel’s mind spun as he tried to form some kind of explanation to ease their fears, but nothing came to him. All he could do was raise his empty hands apologetically as he stepped towards them and hope he could show them he meant no harm to them. But as he stepped forward he saw a brief flash and heard Vedia’s gun bark as something slipped into his ribs to burn briefly.
“You shot me,” he said still shocked by the response. He could feel the wound already closing physically but the revelation of distrust still lingered like a phantom pain.