Friday, December 28, 2012

9/22/12 - (Green Man) The Gospel of Thomas - Pt. 2

"And Jesus told this story to them," the Green Man begins, pretending to read from the Apocrypha in a Bible that doesn't include it: "He said, once there was a man who was truly evil. He coveted everything he saw and heard of, and would not rest until those things were his. He wanted gold, and women, and fine food, and untold pleasures. He would do anything he had to in order to get them, even if it meant murder."

Thomas hitches a breath at that, his eyes closed and a smile on his face. He appears to be enjoying the story, and not questioning its odd-sounding cadence. For this, the Green Man allows himself a wry smile. 

"And there was a man who was truly good," he continues: "He saw the evil this other man did, and raised his fists to stop him. He chased him from city to city, and town to town, sometimes with allies, and sometimes by himself. Every place he saw this man he warned others, and raised the alarm against him. He would do anything he had to in order to stop this man, and bring him to account.

"After a time, the evil man was vanquished, and sent away to pay for his crimes. Not long thereafter, the good man was married to a good woman, and they settled down and had a child. And as the child grew, the good man taught him to be good as well, and became amazed at some of the things this child could do..."

* * *

It's Spring, early in the 1970's, and the Samuels' Glenview estate is playing host to a small group of families, almost all of whom have young children. 

The kids are out playing in the wide field behind the mansion, trying to best one another at tag, or hide and seek. Some of them are very good at running, tagging, and evading, and some of those who hide are almost impossible to be found.

Meanwhile, back up at the house, young and fit men and women talk over beers and lemonade, waiting for the family's butler to bring out the long-promised burgers and hot dogs. Their host keeps having to make jokes about 'bugs,' but everyone's being pretty well-humored about that. 

Besides, there's plenty to talk about. 

"I'm telling you, Joe, he frightens me, sometimes," one of the men is saying to their host as they watch a young boy hide from the others. They stopped playing hide and seek some time ago, but he appears to be enjoying the fact that they haven't found him, yet.

(Indeed, the only reason they can see him is because the host is using a pair of high-tech, owl-like goggles to do so.)

"Why would you say that, Hal?" Joseph Samuels asks, sipping at his beer and adjusting his goggles: "You've always had a few tricks up your sleeve. Why should he be any different?"

"He's ten times better than I ever was then. Heck, he's better than I am now. Every once in a while I throw him something, while we're out on patrol, just to see how he does? He nails it every time."

"Maybe he's just had a really good teacher?" Joseph smiles, taking the goggles off and putting a hand on the man's shoulder: "You should do yourself some credit, Hal."

"I don't think that can account for this," his friend says, leaning down to take a lawn dart from the ground: "Trust me?"

"Of course."

Hal tests the dart's weight, gives it a few swings, and judges the wind and distance. And then he throws it right at his son's head, with such speed and force that it would doubtlessly kill the boy before he even hears it coming.

The young man catches it from the air almost absentmindedly, without even having to turn around. A second later he looks at what he's caught, and turns to see where it came from, waving at his father as he does.

"Sorry, son!" Hal laughs: "Good catch, though!"

"Thanks, dad!" the boy laughs back, green eyes shining in the sun.

"I see what you mean," Joseph says, putting his beer down: "That's..."

"Frightening," Hal says: "And all too familiar."

"Yes. You don't think...?"

"I don't know what to think right now," Hal says, looking over at his wife as she talks with the other parents, laughing at tales of their kids' antics, both in and out of costume: "But I know he's past the point where I can teach him anything. I was hoping maybe I could talk you into giving him some additional training?"

"Sure," Joseph says: "He and Matthew and Martha get along great, I know. You don't mind if I train him like I do them, though, do you?"

"How's that?"


Hal smiles: "Well, we're not the most devout people on the face of the Earth, Joe. But I figure, you got one amazing young man following you out into the city, late at night. You gotta be doing something right."

"I can't take all the credit," Joseph winks, gesturing up to the sky: "But while I'm doing that, could I talk you into having a look at my talon shooters? They keep sticking on me, and I can't get them to stop."

"I'd be glad to," Hal says, extending a hand: "You got yourself a deal, sir."

"Then it's settled," Joseph says, shaking the man's hand: "Bring him around once a week, maybe on Wednesdays after school? I'll see what we can do about figuring out what he's working with."

Halfway across the field, ensconced in his hiding place, the young man has no idea what he's been volunteered for. He's paying more attention to his friend Mathew's sister, Martha, who's giving the boys quite a run for their money when it comes to tag.

He's only eight years old (same age she is) and certain chemical processes haven't quite made themselves evident, yet. But watching her move, and hearing her talk and laugh, and seeing her smile, some small spark lights in his chest, right under his heart. 

And he thinks "someday," not knowing what that really means, yet. 

* * *

"With the bargain struck, the good man's son was apprenticed. For a time, the son was happy, for he was trained well by this man, and the man's children and he became fast friends. 

"But then the evil man escaped from his punishment, and came back to the city where the good man lived. And seeing what the good man enjoyed, and the life he led, he endeavored to take it from him, one piece at a time. For he still coveted all that he saw, and would not stop until all things he desired were his..."

* * *

When he comes to, he's in darkness, and his head feels horrible. There's a bag on his head, and he's been tied to what feels like a chair.  

"You are awake," a voice announces through the darkness, crisp and stern. There's a rough rustle around his head, and then the bag that was covering it is up and away, leaving him under bright lights in a seemingly empty room.

There's a man standing in front of him: tall, lithe, and captivating. He wears a long, green greatcoat over tight, black clothing, and every inch of what's under it seems to be banded with sheathes, scabbards, and pouches. His hair is long and black, his beard short and pointed, and his smile is as evil as a poisoned apple. 

But it's the eyes that captivate him. They are the same bright green as his own.

"Do you know who I am?" the man asks.

"You're the Green Man," his captive replies, testing his bonds and finding them too tight to break in one movement: "The Bright Bowman fought you, before. He put you in jail."

The Green Man snorts: "The Bright Bowman. Now there's an ironic moniker for you. Not so bright now, is he?"

The young man uses the taunt to cover his movements as he tenses against his bonds, seeking a weak point. Unfortunately, he finds none. 

"And you may kindly dispense with the pretense, young man," the villain sneers: "I know who you are, and what you do, and who you do it with. I even know of the connection between the two of you. That's why I took you from the streets on your way to your rich friend's house."

He scowls, trying to remember how that could have happened. There's a dull pain in the small of his neck, probably where a knockout dart hit him. The headache is consistent with high-quality tranquilizers. 

But how could the dart have hit him...?

"You normally catch those right out of the air, don't you?" the Green Man says, holding up the dart in question: "Anything anyone throws at you, from any angle, you sense coming towards you. I've seen you dance between raindrops, boy. You have a true gift, there. 

"But while you never get hit by anything, I never miss. And it seems that my power trumps yours in that respect. For now, at least. You're only ten, after all. Who knows how you'll be when you're older-"

"What do you want?" the young man says, thinking of how to get out of this one: "If this is about getting revenge on my father-"

"This is about the truth," the Green Man says, leaning in closer: "You're not his son. You're mine."

The boy blinks: "You... that's a lie. That's a lie!"

"Is it?" the Green Man asks, leaning back up again: "Were you there when the deed happened? Do you know for certain that your father is your father?"

"That can't be!"

"Where did you get those eyes from?" the man pushes, turning to talk away: "Where did that talent come from? Why do you find yourself wanting all that you see, and calculating how to take it?"

The last bit rattles the boy's defenses. How could this man know that secret? That dark shame that he's carried with him for so long, and not been able to tell anyone about -- not even Mr. Samuels, who said he'd be willing to listen to anything he wanted to tell him if he needed him to...

"No, it's simple, boy," the man says, stopping in his tracks: "I wanted your mother, so I took her. I wanted a son, so I saw to it that you were created. And now that you're old enough, I'm taking you back."

"My mother wouldn't..." the boy stammers, trying to get the idea of it out of his head.

"Your mother had no idea," the villain smiles, turning around to regard his captive: "At least, that's what she probably tells herself about that night. I was disguised, and she wasn't quite herself. 

 "And as for my procreative prowess, well... like I said, I never miss."

Green Man pulls one of his knives from his chest and flings it across the room, right over the boy's head. It slices through a stray clump of hair and cuts it right off. The boy watches helplessly as the hair falls to the ground, taking his ability to resist what the man's saying with it. 

"You are my son," the villain says, putting his hands on the boy's shoulders and looking him in the eyes: "I am your father. From this day forward, we will work together. I will give you the training and the skills that they cannot. I will teach you to harness your talents. I will teach you to respect your desires, and not deny them. I will make you free in ways you cannot even imagine, now. And when I am gone, you will take up my name and continue on. Do you understand me?"

"I can't do it," the boy says, his eyes full of tears: "I can't... I won't do it. I WON'T!"

"You will," the Green Man says, smiling: "And in return, I won't kill your mother and the man you thought was your father."

The boy gasps, and the villain holds up a small device: "High explosive pellets in their head and neck while they slept. Microscopic, non metallic. No one will ever know they're there, but if I should happen to press the button, they'll go up like fireworks. And I know you know that I've used that before..."

The boy closes his eyes and weeps. Maybe this is the reaction the Green Man wanted, and maybe it isn't. Either way he claps a hand on the boy's shoulder, and puts the device away.

"You think about what I've said, and what I'm offering. I know you in ways your so-called father can never hope to, and I can show you a path that's clear, and free from compromise. 

"You were made to be like me, my son. Please accept this gift for what it is."

The boy opens his eyes, sits up straight, and spits at the man's face. He does not miss. 

"You'll sleep sitting up, tonight," the Green Man says, heading for the door while wiping the spittle from his face: "Tomorrow, you may earn a bed. Maybe even a room. I hope you will, anyway."

And then the room's lights are off, and the door is slammed shut and locked, and the only noises that come are a young boy's sobs. 

(SPYGOD is listening to the Green Man (Roy Harper) and having a Green Man IPA )

No comments:

Post a Comment