As a young child I remember being sick. I suffered from a severe fever that simply wouldn’t go away. One morning I woke outside on a hilltop, watching the sky bolts dance above me as the rain and mist came down, cooling and calming me. When the torrential rains came down they seemed to fall all around me but left me comfortable where I lay.
My mother found me after dawn and, in a panic, gathered me up to her chest. She felt that I was sickly-hot. I felt the fever rising once more. So did she. Nothing seemed to work until she laid me in a stream coming off the mountains. I was quite comfortable there. I didn’t learn until later that my eyes had turned from brown to silver.
Mother didn’t know what to do when the storm came over the mountain that afternoon. Finally she left me to seek shelter. I felt exhilarated as the bolts crashed all about me, lifting me into the air as the thunder rent the air like a torn garment. I felt the screaming winds caress my skin. I flew about the skies as if I were a surf board being skillfully guided among the waves and curls of a storm-tossed bay. When I looked down I saw a short oval surf-board beneath my feet, fashioned of light and electricity. As I bent my knees and came to rest it hovered just above the growth fighting for its bare existence on the mountainside.
We kept my changes secret. I had no fear of the tremendous Rocky Mountain storms that boomed across the range, though I spent long hours checking the fence lines and moving cattle.
At first my flight abilities panicked the cattle. However, they soon became used to my coming and going, hovering several feet in the air.
My security came to an end when the semi tractor-trailers laden with equipment and folk for the Christmas carnival was caught up in a snow cyclone out of nowhere that tossed them off the road and down a blind ravine.
We could hear them over the radio, begging for help as the temperature plummeted. The killing storm out of Alberta had shut down any air support and the incredible winds scalded the interstate bald of traffic.
I hauled twenty seven people out of those semis, two-by-two, one under each arm, over the mountain passes and valleys to our ranch, some twelve miles to the north.
According to the idiot that owned the carnival, all advertising is good advertising. The “miracle sky lift” made the local TV news, then due to the bad fortune of a slow news day complicated by its being a humanitarian story, it became syndicated.
I had no privacy.
At thirteen I was all set to blast the bejeesus out of every nosy newsman in the county, but dad’s lawyer came through with another idea.
I sold my story to the networks.
There had been a big hoo-raw about mutants with super-human powers over the past twenty years or so, and idiots did their best to make money off of it. The fire and brimstone preachers that polluted the Texas airwaves were almost the worst of them. The Humanity First group was where the Klan went to die. I got shot at more than once. Being a ranch kid, I didn’t hesitate to shoot back. I learned that a gesture with two fingers pushed out a lightning bolt that went just where I pointed it, but I was kind of tired afterwards.
Then came the time I took the pickup into town for groceries. They laid in wait for me and blew the hell out of the pickup with a rocket propelled grenade--an anti-tank weapon.
I woke lying in the roadside ditch, aching everywhere. My ears rang and my eyes--I had trouble with my eyes. Everything was blurry. There was nothing wrong with my ears once the ringing faded. I heard the screaming of their engines coming for me.
I struggled to my feet, weaving back and forth. Instead of throwing out lightning bolts, I cast out my “Board” in huge fast arcs. I forced it to cover everywhere that I heard noises.
Soon it was quiet.
Helicopters came, flying nap-of-the-earth. They must have been armed because when the pieces fell they exploded much more powerfully than a simple tank of fuel would account for. I tilted my head, listening carefully. A whistling, grumbling noise came from high in the sky, up where the cirrostratus and anvil clouds ruled. I grew angry. They believed that they could control me with their technology. A surge of will forced another blade of energy high into the sky.
No parachute or capsule emerged from the shattered wreckage that tumbled to the earth, over thirty miles below. A moderately radioactive patch of Nevada real-estate was all that marked the event.
A conversation was held deep beneath a military air base.
“General, we’re zero for zero. Our SR-71 was destroyed along with its nuclear payload, without any trace of an enemy missile employed.”
“Confirm results of the ground troop recall.”
“None have responded after 48 hours, sir.”
Another voice remarked, “Sir, the concensus is you’ll not take this target out without an orbital bombardment, and even that may fail.”
“Shit. Nothing for it now.” he said to himself. “Transmit to all involved agencies and attached military assets. Terminate operation hammer fall. Repeat, terminate operation hammer fall.”