A pandemic “illness” sweeps across the world in which its victims all have superpowers. You don’t know what yours is. [link to post
I met a strange, amazing, and wonderful man when I was 15. I changed the world at 17. I was stupid at 16. He came from another world, but knew more about my world than I did. He taught me how to speak my own words. I said “portal” without having to catch the word. He knew so many words, and he put them together in the most amazing stories about the things he’d seen and done. I loved him like a father and he talked about Jenny like a daughter. She was not his actual daughter, but he felt a deep connection to her. He told me about how proud he was of her.
“Words are power here.” Regal told me while we walked through the forest. “Those words that you hunt are magic words. Somehow your people started to believe that they could not speak unless they caught the right words, and no one tries anymore. When children try to speak parents shush them and teach them sign language. They convinced you that you can’t speak.”
He had been right, of course. All the words I caught were magical. I learned to summon roses, tulips, or irises with ease. I introduced him to my parents as a tutor, and he demonstrated just enough knowledge to sell the ruse. This gave me the excuse of spending more and more time away from home. My vocabulary had grown harder to keep hidden.
My favorite word was, “nano”. He explained to me that the magical words were clusters of nanos that organized themselves naturally. Nanos, tiny machines. He proved it to me, he had his own nanos in different colors. Jenny’s corpse was placed in a horse trough filled with golden nanos. It flowed like liquid gold as he poured the nanos in over her naked body.
His cabin took him a year to build. He picked out a hill and flattened all the land around it. That was done in a day. While he poured gold on Jenny I asked him why it took him a year to build his house.
“I needed to seal every piece of wood to keep the nanos in here trapped. These gold nanos are too powerful for your world. Nanos train each other, if these got out they’d train the rest of the wild nanos in the blink of an eye. Everyone would have magic,” He explained.
My inexperience translated that into, “these can give people magic.” It only made me realize how often he sprinkled me with golden powder while I trained. Shortly after that, I met a boy.
I lay on my back at the side of the stream. I stared up at the blue sky while I kicked my feet in the flowing water. I heard footsteps in the grass, they sounded lighter than Regal’s. I rolled over and spotted an older boy sneaking up on me. His posture changed when I saw him. He relaxed and laughed.
“Hey. Name?” he asked.
“Roberto. Bob.” He offered me his hand and I shook it with a smile.
“Like a flower.” He smiled and pointed at me. I nodded, fighting the “thank you” Regal taught me. It was an unknown word.
My year was amazing. I learned so much from Regal and Bob. Bob’s vocabulary grew as we spent time together, I took him hunting in all my special places. I loved him and I revealed my magical nature. Not everything. I didn’t explain nanos, or where Regal came from. But I showed him magic. He loved it. I loved him.
The boy I loved wanted magic, and I knew how to give him magic. If I gave him a drink of golden nanos while we were in Regal’s cabin, he would learn magic. I planned it perfectly, down to the last detail. Regal made monthly trips to another world for supplies. I did not plan on Bob pocketing some nanos for his friends. The second we left the cabin the sky exploded with golden light. It looked like a new sun formed in the night sky. Magic affected everyone differently, and some people not at all. Regal felt the change the second he returned.
“FUCK!” he said, as soon as he stepped foot back into my world. Only the second time I’d ever heard him use any curse word. He looked at me and sighed.
“Are you ready to make things right?” he asked me. This was his favorite phrase whenever I messed up. I nodded at him.
“Because these nanos were so much more powerful than the nanos of your world, they were enough to heal Jenny. Now the magic of your world has been rebalanced, and I need to do it the old fashioned way,” He began to explain how I could help fix the situation. “I’m going to spend the next few years readying myself, and you’re going to have to help me. When I begin, I’ll need you to help keep me alive, because I won’t be able to stop talking.”
Bob insisted on helping to fix the mistake, Regal accepted his help. Once Regal began his incantation Bob and I visited weekly to maintain his house, and make sure his nutritional needs were met. Bob discovered he had the power to control wind. I never learned my power. Regal was never able to finish training me. Bob and I had a son when I was 36. I sacrificed myself when our son was two years old.