He had envisioned the encounter with his father after so many years differently than it had played out. In his dreamed reality, a weeping Peter welcomed him into open arms, lamenting the time spent apart. Declarations of unending love weren’t necessarily expected, but they would’ve been nice. Continuing in the world of expectations, his father would realize he had been hiding from a force that did not pursue him and return home with Kristof.
Perhaps Krystal would want to meet the father Kristof was just beginning to know and their fractured relationship would mend as well. They would live happily ever after – so the fairy tale went.
But, thought Kristof, even if everything went smoothly… His current power of seeing all the angles wouldn’t allow him to believe the fairy tale. Two people with extra-human powers wouldn’t be welcome in a xenophobic society. His super-intelligence would only go so far to hide their existence. And, he continued the thought; my time is limited due to this thing in my head. Even as he thought the word, he could ‘hear’ the vitriol in the ever-encompassing word, thing.
The government would eventually find him and his father and the chase would inevitably progress. He had no doubts that once he lost his super-intelligence, discovery and capture were soon to follow. He suspected they might seek out others like himself, perhaps form a society outside of the purview of the lowly humans.
Lowly humans. The thought raced through his head. He was extra-human after all. Did the rules of humanity even apply to him?
His thoughts were interrupted by a giggle.
“Humanity?” a child’s voice echoed. “A humanity who chased away your father?”
“Who said that?” he demanded.
“A humanity who has persecuted us for being different?”
Kristof looked around, trying to locate the voice.
“A humanity that uses us against each other in a war against ourselves?”
A little girl emerged from the shadow of a near by tree. She wore a pink dress and a knitted pink sweater. Her blond ponytail was secured with a pink ribbon. Her toes wiggled in the soft soil as she stood there staring at Kristof over the stuffed cat she clutched to her chest.
“How did you get all the way out here?” Kristof asked. “Are you all right?” Perhaps he hadn’t completely forsaken humanity.
“Silly!” The little girl giggled. “I’m not here at all!” She skipped around the clearing, kicking at leaves and other debris.
“I’m bringing the soldier-doctor to the cabin.” The girl beamed with pride.
Kristof started to rise. “Why would you lead them to us?”
The girl ignored his question. Instead she looked up to the sky visible through the clearing. “Looks like a chance of reign.”
Kristof relaxed a little and followed her gaze. “Those are strato- and alto-cumulus clouds. Only Cumulonimbus and Nimbostratus clouds produce rain.” He thought about his response for a moment. He must’ve looked through a meteorology book while planning his expedition.
“Not rain, as in fat wet glops mussing up my pretty dress,” she said and spun in a circle, arms outstretched. She stopped her frivolity and stared intently at Kristof. “Reign, as in the boss or a ruler.” She squinted and pantomimed a wink, putting her entire face and head into the motion. “Or a king…”
She looked up and the skies opened up, thunder and lightning raced across the sky. Fat, greasy blobs of precipitation fell, bouncing here and there before pooling. Kristof reached out and felt the moisture on his hands and clothing. The little girl looked to the sky, the rain completely missing her.
“Oopsie!” she cried out. “Not rain,” she shook her head and looked at Kristof as if she were an adult responding to a child using a word incorrectly. “But reign!” The little girl smiled and Kristof held up his hands again.
His hands and clothes were stained red. Blood continued to pour from the skies. Instead of clouds, he saw fields of dead bodies – some smoldering, some mangled beyond recognition. In the distance cities burned – buildings crumbled and he knew humanity had been subjugated.
“See you at the cabin,” she whispered.
Kristof’s eyes snapped open. A warm sunlight filtered through the canopy overhead. He wiped the sleep from his eyes. It took him a moment to realize what had just happened. He felt his arms – no blood, just a chill from the cold Canadian air. At least that’s what Kristof told himself as he stood on shaky legs and started back to his father’s cabin.