The man's raw power surged in the boy. Three steps to cross the ravine.
A boy-sized canister of argon gas corkscrewed through the air. Its broken nozzle spinning off behind it. The noise, ragged and too loud. He watched it penetrate the plaster to the outdoors.
Through the window beside the hole in the wall: a falling man. Half of his chest bitten away by the canister, yet the canister's attitude had changed. It was hovering over the man. Wondering what it had done. Docile, whipping like a fan blade above the body, pinwheeling with no pin. The dead man's body, just the thing to stop its terrible rampage. Slowly the canister lighted on the ground, whirring in a perfect circle, chopping the grass and clanging heavy metal on the uneven ground.
His father was not the dead man. His father was lightly pressed against the back wall of the lab. He reached for the red wall phone and pressed O. Two bodies, his colleague of 14 years and a curly haired Jewish graduate student who had shown promise lay in thick slices at his feet.
“No one is hurt. No one alive is hurt. Take your time.”
The boy listened to the grasses. A breeze whispered through the thin reedy trees in the ravine and their small, hard leaves. He could not tell if the man had gone. He couldn't see the man.
He realized he was sitting down. A small motorcycle engine ack-acked above him, hidden by the trees. Moments later, a truck in a low gear. He got to his feet and followed the path into the ravine. At the bottom of it he looked up. The trees towered over him; what had barely hidden the enormous man dwarfed the boy. Five steps up from the bottom, the boy found evidence. One footprint. He knelt down to rest in it. Both knees fit in it cleanly.
As he scrambled to the top another vehicle passed. Chickens wandered on the pitted dirt road. It turned gently toward the white chalk hills in the distance. He looked back. The road followed the curve of the canal back to the plaza.
He came out from the trees onto the low side of the road. A colectivo van slowly snaked from side to side avoiding craters. It stopped 20 feet from the boy. Across the sunshade on its windshield was a reflective strip that read, "El Ejecutibo."
Chronicon Anonymi Cantuariensis 1346-1365
22 hours ago