FOUNDATION FILES: SHIFTER (PART 1)

It is time for me to take the reigns on the Foundation stories. Interestingly enough, this was the first item in our Foundation stories that was completed, but we decided that starting out with Khai made more sense, because there was a lot more to digest in that story. This is nor necessarily the last Shifter story, this is just the beginning of his story. Where it goes from here, we shall see. The story starts out, at the funeral of Cillian Whelan, the father of Connor Whelan. Connor, will later adopt the superhero name "Shifter". While I am not wanting to follow the "dead parents" cliche, I did think that this was a good opportunity to showcased the anger that boils beneath the surface of this young man.

Anyway, sit back and enjoy, the latest edition of Supara Saturday. 

“Cillian Whelan was a great man, to be beloved by so many. I have been told on countless occasions just how much of a wonderful human being he was.” Connor looked out over the gathered faces, barely a dry eye among them. With a sigh, he continued on, “It is such a shame I never met that man.

“The man I knew, went only by the name father, and he seemed to cringe every time I called him that. He held me culpable for the death of my mother, blamed me for every other ill in his life, and beat me ruthlessly.” He held up the twisted remains of his right hand. “In a fit of rage one night, he broke my hand. Crushed it in those giant fists of his, and then was too worried about the cops smelling the whiskey on him to take me to the hospital. This useless, malformed remnant is a constant painful reminder of what a fine,upstanding person he was.

“All of you out there, with the tear-filled eyes, never had to hide in your closet as he raged through the house, throwing furniture, and smashing glasses. None of you got the joy of smelling the sour, scent of whiskey as he yelled at you, and beat you bloody with a paddle. Not a single one of you, had to live with him.

“Do any of you know how great it is two be reminded every day, that you are unwanted? To be told, that you were the one that should have died? Do any of you know what it is like to want nothing more in this world then for the sweet release of death at the age of 6?

“So yes, Cillian Whelan may have been a great man. But father... father was a real bastard.”

Connor glared at the coffin, stalked over, and spat on it. “I hope hell is real so you can rot there, you son of a bitch.”

Having said his piece, and without waiting for the service to conclude, Connor stormed away. It was rare that he let his anger boil to the surface like that, but after all the years his father had made it a point to turn Connor's life into a living hell, Connor could think of no single person more deserving of his anger. When he had been given the news that his father had died, he laughed. It was the best news he had heard, for as long as he could remember. For the first time in his life, the shadow his father had cast over his life seemed to lift. For the first time in years, he felt hope.

Now having been in his presence once more, Connor could not shake that seething anger. It boiled inside him, as he pushed his way out the double doors of the church, and into the heavy rain. Within the blink of an eye, he was soaked from head to toe.  Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out a large silver flask, and took a swig, and stared up into the downpour, letting the rain wash his anger away, while the whiskey tried to burn away his memories.

Connor wove through the city streets, a giant grin on his face. The war was over, his father was gone, for the first time in his life, he finally felt good. That silver lining that he always heard people talking about was finally visible. He dodged past people hurrying through the streets, huddled under their umbrellas. They shot him quizzical looks, until they saw the flask in his hand, and then they just shook their heads and moved on faster than before.

Connor took another swig, and nearly choked when a sudden fit of laughter overtook him. As the alcohol burned its way down his throat, he couldn't help but think his father would have a fit knowing he was drinking some “inferior” Tennessee Whiskey, and not a proper Irish. The knowledge that his father would disapprove only served to widen Connor's smile.

And what better way to celebrate, than with a drink.

And another.

And another.

By the time he made it to his apartment building, he was no longer strolling. His gait was clumsy, uneven, and his laughter was frequent, and unprovoked. He made his way up the fire escape, his feet more than once slipping out from beneath him, and sending him back a few steps. His clumsiness lead to a string of cursing, directed at anything except the whiskey that was now coursing through his body.

Reaching the roof, he looked up into the falling rain once more, and tried to take another drink. As the flask touched his lips, he suddenly had flashbacks to the beatings he had suffered at his father's hands. He remembered the sour stench of distillery that filled the air as his father stalked the halls. He remembered all of that, and as his stomach curdled, he lowered the flask.

He looked at his distorted reflection in the shiny metal of the concave side of the flask, and he no longer saw himself. He saw his father. And in that instant, a sort of clarity washed over him, and the rage returned. His fist clenched around the flask as he stalked to the edge of the building. Cocking his hand back, he threw the bottle as hard and as far as he could, taking a small bit of delight as he watched the last of the amber liquid tumble out of the flask.

His momentary delight was short lived, as the follow through from that throw sent him tumbling over the edge of the building. Delight gave way to fear, and he screamed, as he flapped his arms, trying desperately to slow the 10 story drop. Surprisingly, he does slow down just a bit, and as he looks over at his flailing arms, he could swear he sees feathers peeking out of the sleeves of his suit.

His wonder is short lived, as he crashes to the ground, and darkness claims him.

When he finally awoke, the sour stench of vomit filled his nose, and he sat up looking around in shock. He was surprised to still be alive, and as he stood up, he remembered the strange feather hallucination he had right before impact. He looked to the sleeves of his suit, and watched as a single white feather fell out of his sleeve, and floated to the ground.