I apologize again. I got this new job and haven't found the time to do the art again. I will catch up I promise. But I wanted to get this chapter to you guys on time this week. Enjoy! Hmm... Church... Guess who shows up?
"We're here. Bright Falls." Wolf said.
The town was full of people that day. There wasn't particularly good weather. Everything to see was a different shade of gray. But, the people were outside walking around. This gave Wolf a good feeling. It reminded him of a dream of his. People were walking down the sidewalk - happy. They would go window shopping down Mainstreet, lit up with holiday lights.
Wolf was hurt bad. Something about the attack from Corduroy Turtle had jarred his neck. He was to escort Miss Alice Dixon to the zoo and brighten her day, but he would have to search around for a clinic on his way. His spine hurt. His head started throbbing. Little pinching pains shot up the muscles in his shoulders.
Miss Alice Dixon didn't need to know. She had dealt with so much. Wolf preserved her good mood and acted as babysitter, bodyguard, and teacher. After a while, though, it was hard for him not to think about his wounds.
They walked to the center of the town, and they saw no clinic - only a church. There, a lanky man wearing priest robes and glasses introduced himself to them as if he was ready to give a speech or sell something. He came forwards in a friendly manner with his arms stretched wide. He turned his palms up as if he was enjoying sun that, of course, was not there.
"Sir, over here," The priest said. "You seem lost maybe. Are you in need?"
"In need of what exactly?" Wolf said.
"In need of shelter, or perhaps of healing?" The priest said.
"Perhaps..." Wolf hesitated.
"Please, come inside. I may find a way to be of service to you folks." The priest said. "And that symbol on your armor. Clearly you are on a quest for good. Please, come."
"Thank you Father." Wolf said graciously.
"Ah yes, you can call me Reverend. Reverend Anthony." Said the priest.
They walked inside and Wolf convinced Miss Alice Dixon to wander around the church while he and Reverend Anthony talked. Anthony took Wolf into another room and sat down at a table. The room was decorated with plenty of religious symbols, mostly of the Christian variety but of other religions too. Anthony lit some candles.
"So, how may I help." Anthony started.
Wolf unlatched a chin strap and bolt from his helmet. A hiss of steam was released, depressurizing the suit. A few blinking lights flipped on and off going from green to red. When they all turned red it was time to unhook the wired parts around the neck. Once Wolf released the wires from the electrical sockets there was a sound cue to release the breathing apparatus. With a few push button clicks from compartments underneath the helmet Wolf released the tubes from his nose. And out of his mouth came a tube that also acted as a voice amplifier. A few vibrations of that amplifier twanged as it extracted itself out of Wolf's esophagus.
"That's a very elaborate helmet." Anthony suggested.
"The whole suit is like that." Wolf said pulling off the helmet.
Wolf's voice was a bit more sandy now. His face was wrinkled. Blood was coming from what looked like a fresh wound in his jaw. On the back of his neck his flesh separated deep into his muscle.
"I didn't realize you were so old." Anthony smiled.
"Yes," Wolf said. "This suit is what keeps me alive my friend."
"So you are in need of healing." Anthony rubbed his hands together. "Let me take a whack at it."
He held his hands one inch from the wounds, the skin folded out, and created new skin below. The dead skin fell to the floor. Anthony picked up the skin and threw it in the waste basket.
"That was fast." Wolf said. "That's quite a talent."
"Yes, thank you. This is the way I share my talent with the world." Anthony said. "How, may I ask, did you get that wound?"
"An evil old man calling himself Corduroy Turtle hit me hard with a blunt object." Wolf explained. "He rattled my suit in such a way that must have made the metal of my helmet cut into me."
"Corduroy Turtle huh? I'll get the word out at a town meeting to watch out for him. And before you go, can you tell me about that suit of yours? Why do you let this technology hold you to this world?" Anthony asked.
"Sure Reverend." Wolf said taking a deep and painful breath. "I once met a masked man that attacked me without a word of warning, and with full force. I bested him in swordplay, which is perhaps my greatest talent. If your talent is healing, mine is... a sort of tactile telekinesis. The sword I wield weighs nothing. The armor weighs nothing. Just as fast as anyone can punch, I can swing. Just as fast as anyone can run, I can run with armor. It's harder now. I was fast when I fought the masked man, but after he retreated I found that something changed about me. I grew older in a matter of minutes. It's like he was taking my soul as he was fighting me, but didn't get all of it. I was 17 years old at the time. Now I feel like I'm 80. The suit was something that I was able to put together in my travels. It keeps me alive. You'd be surprised how many people are messing with old technology. I was lucky to find the necessary equipment. I was also lucky that none of the equipment weighed me down, so there wasn't as much constraint on how much tech engineers could install into the suit. Anyway, I've been trying to find that man ever since. He took my youth. And with it, took what I thought might be the best years of my life. But, I did always want to be a policeman. The thought of it made me happy, so that's what I became."
"I hope you find him someday." Anthony said. "But what will you do if that happens?"
"I will ask him why he did it. I'll try to get a word out of him." Wolf said. "And as for revenge. I don't know. I've asked myself if I would kill him or not. I can say that I would be a good person, but truthfully I just try not to think about it. Not... Not that I can't think about it. I just don't want to question it. If my reaction is to kill, then so be it. But I'll make that decision in the moment. I think, that way, I can still feel like I'm a good person. I'm curious to see what I will do. I think that will be the true measure of who I am."
"Look, friend..." Anthony said.
"Wolf..." Wolf interrupted.
"Wolf," Anthony corrected. "You're a good man. Don't let someone else define you. Be your own person. Be a policeman if that is who you are. Have the strength to forgive the person that did this to you. Because, you may never see him again. For your sanity. Forgive. Forget. Also, before I forget..."
Anthony pulled out a sheet of paper from a shelf in the room.
"This masked man you speak of. I was reminded of a ghost story I hear every once in a while. There is supposedly a masked man at this location." Anthony gave him the paper. "It's an old lumber mill. These are directions to an address just outside of Bright Falls. It's a bit further into the forest, but it looks like you can handle yourself. Be careful if you go out there alone. I just... I hope this helps."
"Thank you Reverend." Wolf smiled.
Anthony helped wolf reinstall the helmet. The chin strap clicked in. Multiple fans spun and lights flickered. And with a final click the helmet completed the suit. He was whole again.
Finally, Miss Alice Dixon and Wolf went on their way towards the zoo in Bright Falls.