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  • Writer's pictureGabriel Rhenals

Blog Post #117: 'Rampage'!

Updated: Dec 11, 2021

In the fall of 1996 when I was in 5th grade, my class was assigned a simple writing journal prompt: As I opened the door, I heard a sound. I looked inside and...

What resulted from this fairly straightforward assignment was a personal undertaking of unprecedented scope and ambition! I ended up filling a solid half of my composition notebook with a sprawling episodic story inspired by some original comic book characters of mine (one of whom is pictured below); all sprung from that rather mundane but encouraging premise. At the time, I was so proud of my effort that I attempted to read the entire story to my class. However, my presentation was cut short due to time constraints.

Part-'90s time capsule, part-proof of pathology, part-inadvertent NRA love letter - here is... Rampage!

Art by Gabriel Rhenals. 1996.

Chapter 1 - Rage Appeared

As I opened the door, I heard a sound. I looked inside and I saw a huge demon. I could tell he wanted to eat my flesh and drink my blood. He was bloodthirsty. He grabbed my hand and ate it off. I knew I would never see my hand again. Now I was one-handed! I raced down the stairs. By the time I got there, he jumped right in front of me. I was about to burst. When suddenly, I turned my head and saw Rampage. It was my comic book character. He started fighting the wicked beast. Rampage took out his gun and shot the huge critter. He was my hero. My comic book hero.

Rampage was my hero. Oh, no! The monster is back on his feet! Rampage’s gun ran out of bullets. He touched his secret crystal around his neck. And he transformed into a mutant. His name was Rage. He looked awesome! Rage took the monster and slammed him into the floor. Then, took him, took out his sword and slashed his head off. He hung it around on his neck. Rage was the deadly hero. I heard a dark voice say, “No!” Rage transformed back into Rampage. I could tell that he was bleeding a ton because of the beastly struggle. Rage was gone. I sort of like the mutant guy. Rampage was a dark soldier.

Rampage shoved me into the car. Violently. I guess that is why they called him Rampage. His car was awesome. It was better than the Mitsubishi Eclipse. It had everything. Rampage drove very fast! He was going 156 miles per hour. He took me to a strange land. He shoved me out of the car. Rampage said it was called R-Dome. It looked awesome. It was probably his secret hideout. It was a huge dome. He parked his car in the back. Rampage ran into the dome and left me outside. I wonder why he left me. I wonder why...

He betrayed me! He betrayed me! After saving my life from a demon. He spared me. And now he betrayed me. I could not believe it. I was lost in his front yard. I started to see pit bulls chasing me. I was freaked out. I started running faster and faster. I could smell the wicked stench of the dogs. I could see foam around their mouths. They were deadly dogs. I wonder if they had rabies? I really didn’t like rabies. I saw a tree with like a thousand thick branches. The tree looked really weird. I climbed up the tree. The dogs looked hungrier than ever. I climbed the thinnest branch and it broke. I could see the dogs scraping the tree. I was hanging by one hand. I was already ½ dead and ½ alive.

As the dogs scraped the bark of the tree, I could feel my life flash before my eyes. I was definitely going to die. I was angry and sad together. I was angry because Rampage left me and I was sad because I thought I would die. As I started crying, I heard the door open and saw Abuse come out. Abuse is the evil guy I created. I thought I would get killed twice. Once by the dogs and once by Abuse. Abuse came and killed the dogs. Abuse reached up and brought me down from the tree. He said, “Want to betray Rampage?!” I said… before I said yes, I thought if I said no I would die so I said…

Chapter 2 - The Little Betrayer

Yes. So what if I betrayed Rampage? Abuse took my hand and said, “Yes!” I felt a little good too. I mean Rampage betrayed me too. I don’t really like Rampage. He was so mean. I really enjoy Abuse. He’s much better. Abuse took me into a chopper. I wonder where we’re going, I thought to myself. Abuse said “Shut up!” He was getting a little mean. I looked out the window and saw… saw… fighter jets. The driver of the plane yelled “Oh, no!” We were being taken down. I screamed in death. Abuse took my hand and shoved it out of the window. He handed me the gun and said “Fire!!!” I shot as hard as I could! I killed a driver in one of the jets. I was turning super mad. Abuse opened the door and shoved me out and said, “I hope you can fly!” I was freaked out. He let go of my hand and…

I flew down. That moment I thought about the hand that I had lost. Then I heard a firecracker pop in my eye. I also saw Rampage in one of the jets. The scene was dark. I thought I was dead but I really wasn’t. I opened my eyes and “Ah!!!” My eye was gone. I was bleeding to death. I just couldn’t stand it. I stood up and I collapsed to the floor. This wrenching pain I absolutely hated. I was bleeding like crazy. When I woke up, I saw…

“Rampage!”, I screamed out. I ran and jumped out of the room. I ran past a mirror and looked at my eye. It was metal-plated. I wanted to kill Rampage, also Abuse. I started to cry when suddenly I saw my eye turn red. I was even madder. I was in a violent mood. I also looked at my hand. It was artificial. I saw my chest. It was marked with a huge “R”. When I started to get angry my muscles got bigger, my veins were popping, my missing eyes got red and my artificial hand got stronger. In my heart, I felt sadness, violence and anger at the same time. Rampage started to chase but I was not fast enough. I yelled, “Betrayer! You’re a damn betrayer!” I should have never made him up.

Chapter 3 - The Secret Crystal Necklace

I was mad. It was bothering me a lot. I was still wondering about the crystal necklace. I could only see an R-shaped symbol. Maybe it stood for Rampage. I have never ever seen such a beautiful necklace. The crystal was sparkling. Wait! Most of these things I did not create. And some were the ones I created. And… and… what was that demon doing in the house? And how did Rage appear? I did not even invent him. I bet it was the crystal necklace that caused all of this. I saw Rampage coming closer. I started to run. I still was thinking about that necklace. Oh, no! There was a dead-end! I was trapped for good. Rampage was sure to catch me. But where did Rampage come from? My imagination or…

The comic books I wrote? Oh, no! I just forgot about… about… Rampage is in big trouble. Abuse is going to kill him. Why did I have to create so many things? Now I hate myself for creating too many enemies for Rampage. Trouble was about to stalk me and Rampage. We were like the only heroes in the universal system. It was chaos! I just had to help Rampage. Wait! Just a second! I was caught in the realm of my own comic books. Face it! I was caught in my own comic books. He caught up with me and I said, “Who in the comic book realm are you?!” No reply. I asked him again. He only mourned in sadness. I felt a little bad too. But I still wondered who he was inside the mask.

What was his problem? He didn’t even know who he was. This was getting weird. He fought demons and turned into this really huge guy; he didn’t know who he was. “It was really, really silly,” I thought to myself. I also thought about that secret necklace he wore. I wondered if he had a family. I asked him. He said “Yes.” He croaked while he said it. I asked where his family was. He said “Abuse killed them.” He also croaked again while he said it. I asked him where he got the necklace and he said “I found it on my father’s grave stone.” I was really scared. I asked him where he came from and he said nothing.

The next day, I woke up and Rampage was ready for destruction. I saw the demon’s head that he killed two days ago and it was lying next to me. I scurried to my feet. I could see Rampage getting a suit ready. Was it for me? He said, “Put it on!” I immediately took off my clothes and put it on. It had the exact same thing that Rampage had. I loved the red cape. He took off his necklace and gave it to me. I had a gun. It was an X-45 automatic in my hand. It was the exact same one Rampage had. He told me we were going to ambush Abuse…

Chapter 4 - Abuse Is Here

I put on the suit and was ready for battle. We hopped into the vehicle and we were ready for action. We drove really fast. Just like last time. We ended up in a huge tower building. I saw a sign that said Abuse Industries. I knew it was Abuse’s secret headquarters. We jumped out of the car. We saw guards at the door. They were wearing these masks on their mouths. I took out my gun and shot about ten bullets. They all hit the number one guard. He didn’t die! I could not believe it. Rampage took me and brought me to the back door. We opened it. It was like a dark dungeon. There were a ton of corpses and blood and even dead people. I saw a thousand skeletons and flesh. Even crushed heads.

I almost fell in a snake pit!!! I… I… almost died. But luckily Rampage caught me. The snake pit was long. How were we going to get across the snake pit? I took out my rope and tied it to a bar. And I flung across. So did Rampage. We fought through the rest of the dungeon. Oh, no! More guards. I jumped at him. But suddenly he took his laser blade and blew me into the snake pit. I fell to the peril of my doom. Suddenly, Rampage stretched out and grabbed me. He took me up. I took out my grenades and fired them at the guards. The guards exploded. I climbed up the long stairway. It was so dark. Something scurried along the way.

“What was that?!” I yelled to Rampage. He said he didn’t know. I ran up the stairs and climbed up into a door. What kind of building was this? It was really weird. In the door, I saw guards’ armor. Then, I put it on. The eye holes were impossible to look through but then I got the hang of it. I took the humongous weapons with me. Including the laser blade. All of this stuff felt a little heavy. I got out of the door. I felt myself falling from 1,000,000,000,000 feet. I was falling like 830 miles per hour. I wondered where I was going to land.

I heard myself land in water. My foot was killing. I saw… saw… piranhas!!! They were chewing on my flesh. I crushed one of them in my hands. Their teeth really chattered on me and on Rampage. I tried to climb the wall but I couldn’t. I guess we had to go underwater. I pulled an oxygen tank out of my suit. But when I turned it on, the piranhas chewed on the tank and wires. I had to hold my breath.

I swam under holding my breath and following Rampage. I was running out of air. This suit was bringing me down. Rampage was fine, I could tell but he also was running out of air. I was finally running out of air!!! The view turned black… When I woke up, I saw Rampage fixing my artificial arm. I wondered what was wrong with it. At least we were on land. When I was ready, I climbed up into a door and we walked to the elevator and got in. Wait!! We were trapped. The elevator was stuck. Well, now it’s going faster and faster. Until BAM!!!

Chapter 5 - The Huge Downpour

The elevator had gotten blown out of the building. We were going a trillion miles per hour down. I opened the door and I jumped to the building. I was hanging off a pole. I could see guards staring out the window. I took out the laser blade and slashed them. They all exploded. I fell but luckily I grabbed onto a different pole. Rampage was on the roof. He pulled down a rope and I climbed it. Now we were both on the roof. We climbed back down a window. But we were late. The guards had surrounded us. And they took us to the dungeon.

Chapter 6 - Behind the Chains

The guards brought us to a chained cell. We were now trapped in Abuse’s tower. What were we going to do? I pulled the chains. I had lost my suit and all my weapons. We were dead. Rampage still had his suit on. He took out his miniature chainsaw and rammed all the chains down. Drats! The door was locked. How were we going to get out? The chainsaw had run out of power. We both heard a voice that was old and dirty. Just like another prisoner. We asked him how he got there. He said, “I didn’t do any… any…” Silence. I saw something moving in his stomach. It was a…

Hand! Ahhh! It was a hand. A demon’s hand. Just like the one Rampage fought some time ago. The hand tried to grab me but I dodged it. It was ugly, boney, spiky and - again - really ugly. I took out my old pocket knife and stabbed it. The hand died and melted to the ground. Where did that alien hand come? The prisoner was dead. We were in big trouble. How were we going to get out? We tried everything but nothing happened. We waited. Suddenly, I heard somebody yell, “Hey, guys!” I looked up and saw…

F… Flare. He was a character I had not drawn for about two years. I don’t know how he could have been in too many comic books. He dropped down a chain and we got out. For now, I knew this building was dangerous. Flare told us to come with him. We found where the guards had put our suits. We put them on. We were going to get the hell out of here. I put the gun in my hand and was ready. We were ready to break out. We saw some guards everything. I was ready to kill.

Chapter 7 - The Escape From the Building of Death

We were heading up the stairs when suddenly I saw a blood-thirsty demon. Flare pushed me out of the way and squashed his head off. He took it and hit another guard with it. I took my gun and fired at a guard. The guard shot back and I dodged it. Rampage got hit and it made a mark on his mask. We all started fighting and killing guards. We fell in a manhole. We landed on a guard. We killed him and we were heading for Abuse’s lair. We got inside and…

We saw Abuse killing a slave. I thought he probably killed the slave for doing something wrong. He fried him and then said, “That is your punishment.” I could smell his stinky stench through the mask. He locked the door behind us automatically. I thought he was going to call the guards but he didn’t. I took a huge leap onto him. But then his head fell off. It was a bomb! We were locked in with a bomb. I tried to destroy the bomb but I couldn’t. We were about to explode. But suddenly we saw a window and rushed out. We landed on the ground. And we ran away.

Chapter 8 - The Explosion

We ran away from the building as fast as we could. I could see the building explode. Then, I saw Abuse in a chopper. He rode away. I wondered where he was going. I tried to follow him. But I couldn’t chase him. Flare said, “I know where he is going but we have to be prepared.” I asked him where. He said, “He’s heading for Wolves.” We both followed him. Rampage said, “I have everything,” in a low voice. Why would Abuse leave his troop to die?

Chapter 9 - The Expedition

We all hopped into a chopper. Flare was driving. He headed toward a close-by desert. Suddenly I saw a huge flock of… what were they? Oh, no! Rampage said it was piranha birds. They chewed on the chopper and the gas was spilling out. We started to dive down. We crashed hard. I crawled out. I saw nothing but desert. Suddenly the huge desert worm was diving toward me to eat me. I yelled to Flare and Rampage. They got out and shot it. It slowed down but it kept on going. I took out my lazer blade and slit its eye. It started bleeding like crazy. We started walking east until we reached a forest.

Soon we reached the forest. It was a dark, creepy jungle. I heard a roar of a dangerous beast. There were a bunch of strange animals and demons. What was this? We started walking. It was a hot sweltering jungle. I felt super-hot breezes. I looked around and saw strange eyes. They were all looking at me. I was a little scared. In the sky, there were more piranha birds. Now I knew they were dangerous. I saw a river along the trail. I looked closely and saw red-bellied barracudas. How were we going to get across? I saw the barracudas hop on land. One tried to jump up at me like a missile but I shot it.

I had it! I took out my rope and swung it around another tree. I took my end and tied it to the tree on my side. Then I flung across carefully. For if I let go, I would fall to the peril of my doom. I finally got across. So did the others. We started walking and suddenly I felt my feet in a very mushy substance. It was quicksand! I tugged and I tugged but I was stuck. I didn’t move. I felt a whirlpool below my feet. It felt weird. It was pulling me in. Suddenly Rampage and Flare had jumped in with me. We put on our air masks and went in. We got sucked in. We waited and…

We fell deeply into a cave. Where were we?! What part of the forest? We started walking. I looked down as I walked to make sure I didn’t step into quicksand. Ahead, I saw a huge lake as dark as coffee. Suddenly out of nowhere I saw bats! It was good they did not do any harm. We dove into the lake. As soon as I got in, I felt something hard against my leg. I hope it wasn’t a… a… monster. For a second, I closed my eyes and bit my lip. I was scared. I jumped in. The water started getting deeper. I could not see anything in the water. I only heard owls?! In the day? It was weird.

I went into the water and started swimming. I felt something tug on my leg. And then pull me in. I could feel Rampage’s hands reaching out to get me. But I got lost underwater. I swam up but I was stuck. I was running out of air! Suddenly I felt a giant pull lift me up to the ground! I saw a monster. It looked like the Loch Ness monster. It came close and nudged me in the stomach. I giggled. I hopped onto it. It rushed me under water and through a hole. Where were we going? I wondered. Suddenly it flew up. It was a dragon! We were heading toward an island. Flare said it was the isle of DEATH!!!

Chapter 10 - The Isle of Death

I stared at the island and stared. It looked strange. I could see lots of rocks on the coast. And a huge ancient tower. Flare said that that is where Lord Death dwells. We were getting closer to the island when suddenly we fell off the monster! Soon we swam up to the shore. It looks like the island was deserted. Suddenly two guards appeared and told us to get up. We got up immediately. I took out my gun and shot one of them. The other guard ran away. Rampage was leading the way to the tower. We had to rush through the branches. It was a deep woods. Finally we reached the tower. It was like a million feet tall. It was made out of gold.

We snuck through. There was another door in the back. We had to take that door because there were guards on the other one. We went in. We ended up in a room with huge walls. I heard some rolling with chains. Like a cranking noise. Suddenly the walls were closing in. We all pushed and we pushed but nothing happened. I tried the door but nothing worked. What were we going to do? We were all locked in a trap. The walls were closing in even faster. But suddenly it stopped right when were going to get squished. The other door opened. We went in. It was an elevator. I hated the elevator. After were happened in Abuse’s tower. We were automatically going to the top floor.

Soon we arrived to the top floor...

Written by Gabriel Rhenals.

Art by Gabriel Rhenals. 1996.

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