Author : Duncan Shields, Staff Writer
We tried everything but the kid was just too fast. We were hoping to break speed records when we bred him. A snip of a molecule here, a tweak of an atom there. We only wanted to cheat and win some gold medals for our country.
We were too good. The kid could move himself around the room with a muscle twitch. The snap of each muscle fiber contraction set off miniature sonic booms. We had him contained but he’d run into the walls just by taking a step. He’d rocket around in his room like a pinball every time he had a nightmare until we strapped him down. The concussions were killing him.
We had to let him out. We had theories about how to slow him down so that he could function in society and we tried them out. Speed retardant. Friction enhancers. We injected negative velocity serums into his bloodstream. We coated him with time suspension gel. We even dialed his quantum universe placement signature to always be ten feet behind where he actually was.
Early in the morning, we carefully put him into a wheelchair and told him to stay still. We took him out into the field above the secret sub-basement where he’s spent his entire life. He was immediately agoraphobic when he saw the blue sky and clouds so far above. His eyes were wide.
“No walls.” He said. He was six. Those were the last words we heard him say.
He twitched his head to the left and my glasses broke from the shockwave. He stood up, immediately displacing the air into flames around him for a second with the friction. Anything standing in front of him would have been vaporized from the small blast wave.
He looked into the distance and cocked his head.
And disappeared. The trail of churned earth and scorched grass that flew up like a roostertail fell back to earth lazily, reclaimed by gravity. His tracks ended twenty feet away. At first, we’d though that he had vaporized.
Then I looked up and saw the hole in the clouds. Taking a minute of drift into account, it looked like it would have been about parallel with the end of his tracks.
We got the defcon warning two minutes later that there had been an unauthorized missile launch from our co-ordinates. We invoked our black book top-secret status and that went away. Defcon stood back down to previous levels.
I want to believe that our child broke the light barrier. I want to believe that he has landed exhausted and happy on another planet.
I want to believe that he hasn’t run into the heart of a star or that he hasn’t died in the cold vacuum of space.
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