Humans are surprisingly dim for such clever creatures. It took them a while to work out that they had changed. People no longer got ill. They didn’t tire as easily, and they were stronger and faster than ever before. Lots of things happened that could only point toward humans having become more powerful, but people don’t like to connect the dots if the bigger picture is one that they don’t want to acknowledge.
Even so, it was only a matter of days until the governments of the world were forced to announce that the experiment may not have gone entirely to plan. It went something along the lines of: “Somebody forgot to carry the one in the calculations and now the Earth and everything in it is atomically unstable. On a side note, you are all basically superman now. Please don’t use these powers and continue with your life as normal.”
If you think that anybody took that advice then you are more naive than I gave credit for. When confronted with power, human minds reach for extremities. They realise that they have no need to work when they could take anything that they want, or they develop a hero complex. Only, neither works when everybody is the same.
How do you use your newfound powers to rob an old lady when she turns around and slaps you straight through a building? How do you protect the innocent when they can fully protect themselves?
Just like in nature though, not everyone was affected in equal measures. Some became stronger than others for reasons that nobody could tell. Many great stories of tragedy, triumph and the like rose during this time. There were millions of tales, such as Mrs Baker, and elderly woman who had been on her deathbed. After the Change she stood back up and took her poor dog on a long overdue walk in the park. Then there was Mr Dale who had thrown himself off of a skyscraper moments before the Change only to crash down onto a car and walk away unharmed, much to his own chagrin.
None of these events factor into this particular narrative though. Instead we must shift our way through the chaos and miracles to a small terrace house in a rundown neighbourhood. It had always been run down but of late had been reduced to crumbling ruins.
Damian Smithson stood in the center of his living room with a crying baby cradled in one arm. He stared at his free arm, held out before him with fingers splayed, and watched tendrils of smoke curl around it. Before him on the ground lay a mound of charred bones.
Things had happened quickly. The bones belonged to a man who had broken into the house. This was a very literal statement too since there was a wide hole in the wall that marked the man’s entrance. He had come to steal from the single father, and Damian had done what he had to in order to protect his daughter. Only, neither man had expected Damian to fire a laser beam from his hand. People were stronger, faster, and could take more damage, but lasers? That was something new.
Slowly, Damian lowered his arm and tried to sooth the baby absentmindedly. He had always been weak. He was scrawny and had never advanced his career past being a supervisor at a fastfood restaurant. He had been bullied throughout his youth and had been unable to save his wife when she had been hit by a drunk driver two months ago.
So why was he suddenly so powerful? Since the Change he had outclassed those around him. The man at his feet had not been the first to cross him. People could survive gunshots now but Damian had broken bones with a childlike ease. Only one explanation came to his mind.
He had been chosen.
“Hush Amelia,” he whispered to the child. “Don’t cry. Daddy is going to make the world a better place for you. Don’t fear the chaos, for I’ll bring order. Just you wait and see.”