Scars Can Be Deeper Than The Skin

Submitted into Contest #75 in response to: Write about someone who doesn’t remember their past — and doesn’t want to.... view prompt


Suspense Fiction Adventure

“What do you mean you don’t care?”

He simply shrugged, lounging comfortably on the sofa. What else did the so-called friend want him to say? That he wanted to remember his past? That he wanted to relearn how he got all his scars, his limp, his glass eye? How he had more electrical burns on his skin than any man should? Almost as if he’d been routinely struck by lightning...


He was good, thank you. 

“Gabriel, you can’t be serious-”

“You know what my name means?”

The asian man pauses, then smiles softly “It means ‘God is my strength’. 

“Gabriel,” the ginger named Gabriel says “was the name of one of God’s messengers. He told Mary she was to have God’s baby son, the Messiah.” Gabriel’s hand makes a sweeping gesture, offering the sharp spy a seat. “An angel...well, I guess he is an archangel, no? When looking deeper into Gabriel’s actions you see how conniving he is. How manipulative.”


“I’m not done,” Gabriel snapped. He cleared his throat, “Anyways, he delivered God’s message in vague words, not helping them interpret these messages. Watching as they step into the hole they had just dug for themselves. In some versions, Gabriel is even called... ‘the angel of death’.”

“Was there a point to this storytime?” The man of 23, opposite of him asks, elbows on his knees as he leans in.  

“Listen…. Olliver, was it?”

 “You called me Ollie”, Ollie supplied.

He cracks the sore muscles at the base of his neck, “Well now you can call me Gabe”.

Ollie readjusts in his seat like he has already done this a million times before. And he probably has. If Ollie were his best friend he probably spent a lot of time in this luxurious apartment. In that exact spot being bathed with morning light like he was now. His feet firmly placed on the neat grey carpet, staring at Gabe with the same brown eyes and dimpled chin.

“You won’t just be forgetting how you got the scars,” Ollie said, reading his mind. “You’ll also be forgetting your love, your allies,“ he swallowed thickly “me.”

Gabe didn’t feel any more inclined to regain his memory. Ollie must've seen this too since a stricken expression crosses his face. Ollie ducks his head, covering his face with his hands...and then...he cried. As if finally mourning a boy who would never exist again. 

It was weird seeing a stranger cry. Especially, when they were crying for you.

When Gabe woke up this morning he knew something was wrong. For one thing, he couldn’t remember anything. Not even his own reflection. Or his name.

He remembered how to speak. How to walk. Even his body remembered some things, like his apparent deep desire for coffee. But he didn’t remember anything about his life, about himself...about how his body was covered with more scars than healthy skin. Or why there were guns hung around his apartment like trophies, each with a blood-stained hilt. Or the certain lack of homeliness to the place. Like it was only a place he dropped his body but never quite lived in. There weren't even any picture frames. The only place with any character was the kitchen. Which was stocked with an inordinate amount of teas and instant coffees.

So when a handsome young man strolled in like he owned the place Gabe assumed that was either his boyfriend, husband, or good friend and was going to help him figure everything out. That or he was the reason for all the scars on his face and body. So Gabe readied a pistol, something his body disturbingly knew how to do on instinct. 

“Who are you?” he had barked.

Ollie had laughed, rolling his eyes...but then his eyes landed on the bandage at his temple and his face whitened. Ollie later explains that there is a group of ex-spies, Syren they call themselves, who devoted themselves to wiping the memories of agents so that they can be freed from their line of work. They always left a bandage with a lipstick kiss on it, it was their mark. 

After that Ollie had told them about the inner war and the maniac threatening to bring down both sides of it, Gabe’s father. He told stories painting Gabe as some big war hero as if given the choice Gabe would want to live that life….he probably did think that. But Gabe didn’t want to live that life. Not at all. 

Even from the beginning Ollie never even thought it was a possibility that Gabe wouldn’t want to regain his memories, to reclaim whatever life he had led. Now here he was, sobbing thickly into his palms, lean body shuddering and spasming with the pure strength of the emotion. 

“Would you like some tea?” Gabe offered awkwardly stretching his muscled arms. 

Oliver snorted wetly, “You hate tea.”

“Then why do I have, like, a million types in my cabinet?”

Oliver's expression conveys shock but then softens, “You probably kept that for me. You were more of a cold glass of milk kind of person.”

“Then imma make you a cup,” Gabe murmurs, jogging away from someone who was once his friend. 

As he made a cup someone came into his apartment, on instinct (okay, this was freaky) a pistol was aimed at the entryway of the kitchen. A cacophony of voices clashed in the other room and seconds there was the light thumping of someone rushing towards the kitchen. He gripped his pistol harder, knuckles whitening. 

A woman of great beauty came stumbling to a halt, instead of freezing at the sight of a pistol aimed at her head, she laughed.

"Is this your guy's joke? It's not very" her eyes wander to his bandaged head "funny. Not at all-"

Gabe raised an eyebrow, clenching his jaw "Who are you? And does anyone else have a key to the place?

Her forced smile slipped, and her expression went blank before crumpling. She wasn't a very pretty crier.

Olliver smiled tightly from behind her, looking like he didn’t like the woman much but he sympathized with her anyway “Meet Pandora, your girlfriend of a year. Friend of 6 years. And a fellow agent.”

Gabe had to swallow more Tylenol as he heard the woman plead with him, he took the time to admire her. She had russet brown hair that fell in waves around her chiseled face and piercing grey-blue eyes. Her voice was smooth and had a throaty quality that made him wonder if she ever smoked. 

But even her beauty and the Tylenol didn’t keep him from losing his temper. 

What were they even thinking

Why would he want to? His life sounded like hell. Surely they knew, as spies themselves, that there were scars deeper than the skin.

Did they really think that he wanted to remember how he got every single scar? How the burns on his skin came to be? How he got his limp and why a part of his ear was cut off?

“No,” he said firmly, as soon as Pandora explained how it was his duty to regain his memories and fight his father. “I will fight if you like. Do what you want me to do but I will not relive all of that when I was given the mercy of forgetting.”

Pandora opened her mouth and Ollie cut in, “He’s right. It’s cruel of us to take that from him. He can very simply accomplish the mission with a bit of training. He doesn't need his memories. And if he doesn't want to remember us… well, we can try and grow on him. He’s still the same person at heart. Maybe even more innocent. We shouldn’t take that from him.”

Gabe stared at Ollie, eyes wide. “That’s- that’s very cool of you, man.”

Ollie smirked somewhat sadly, “Of course. I’m sorry we were so insistent. We just...” he sighed but didn't finish his sentence.

Pandora didn’t say anything, just glared at the ceiling. Like she wanted to build a staircase to the other world and strangle whatever deity was laughing at her. 

It took weeks of training, of being told of his father's crimes. Of being warned about what kind of psycho he was going to deal with until he was finally sent Briant’s way.

His father was 50 years old, built even bigger than himself, and had beady calculative eyes. 

His father, he was prepped, was a man who manipulated Gabriel into thinking he was a monster.

His father, he was told, tortured him, telling him that it was to make sure that a monster wouldn't be set loose on the world.

Gabriel was his father's- No, Briant's, prize weapon, built to perfection and meant to wreck havoc with a single command word. 

Well… he wasn’t Gabriel anymore, was he? No, he was Gabe. And Gabe didn’t take orders from anyone, goddamit.

True to form, Briant Ludic was smirking confidently as he leaned against the warehouse wall. Gabe simply aimed his pistol, “Briant Ludic, conspirator and double-crosser you are to come quietly or I will have no choice but to use force-”

“Pulling a gun on your own daddy?” Briant smirked, he said the word ‘daddy’ in a way that didn’t bode well with Gabe's breakfast. “You truly are a monster, aren’t you?”

Gabe rolled his eyes, ignoring the chill that swept up and down his spine. Ignoring the sudden desire to burn everything t shreds. “Ooh, name-calling. How fearsome.”

He heard snorting laughter he recognized as Ollie's through the comms he wore. Maybe even a 'burn!' from Pandora. That alone brought a flicker of a smile on his lips.

Briant stiffened, looking alarmed. His features finally showing fear. 

'Monster' must have been the ‘trigger word’. 

Speaking of triggers, he tightened his grip on his “And this is a pistol, jackass.”

January 07, 2021 01:01

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