Jerry "Gabe" Landis caught up to me while I was making myself a snack at the safehouse.
"Hey, Kenny," he said, greeting me with a heavy pat on the shoulder. He's a large, boisterous man, and I'm not sure he realizes his own strength. "Just wanted to patch the whole 'trying to kill you' thing up. Are we cool now that you understand what we're about a bit better?"
I nodded. "Sure. Hey, um...Gabe?'
"I hear you have a daughter...?"
"Oh, Janie? Yeah, she's about ten now. Adorable thing. I'm really hoping we get back soon, actually. I know she's fine with my mother for now, but I'd prefer not to leave her there any longer than I have to."
"If you, um...don't mind my asking, uh...where exactly is her mother?"
His face darkened. "I'd rather not talk about it, but I guess you deserve to know. Last wants you to know as many of our stories as possible, and she's a big part of mine."
"Well, I can ask later--" I started walking off with my sandwich, but he grabbed my shoulder and sat me down at the table.
"Nah, we'll get it out of the way now. Basically...she left us. More accurately, she's dead, but she left us in the process. Irene was my wife of ten years. A few years ago, she got tangled up in some weird religious cult. I thought the whole thing was bull, of course, but it made her happy and I liked seeing her happy. Well, that was my mistake, because it turned out to be one of those crazy suicide cults. She put poison in our supper. I think she put more in than she meant to, because it killed her really quickly. It tasted funny, and that was the only thing that saved me and Janie. I got suspicious of it, Janie spat it out and said it was yucky...I tried, but I couldn't get Irene to the hospital in time."
"Wow. I'm...I'm sorry."
He shrugged. "It's a sob story, yeah. Seeing just what religion can do to you--to the people around you--well, that's what got the Archangel after me. After Janie, too, but she doesn't realize what's going on yet. That's why I'm doing this. For her. So she doesn't have to worry about the bad scary man anymore. So that I don't have to lie and tell her it's all in her imagination."
"Do you think we can do it?"
He gave my shoulder another heavy pat as he stood. "I think that you might be able to, kiddo. I'm really looking forward to working with you."