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"NEW" (Updated Apr 18. Ch 14 added)

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By JP71


Because “Brightburn” Can’t Come Soon Enough




I wiped some condensed breath from the inside of my escape pod’s viewing pane so I could watch my home planet explode. I was panic-stricken; my racing heart caused me to expend air faster than normal. My grandparents, friends, my dog — literally everyone and everything I ever held dear —  snuffed out in an instant. It was too much to bear. I was 13 years old back then. I should have reached Earth — a long time interest of the scientists and scholars of my doomed world — in a matter of weeks. But something happened on the way. Maybe my pod veered off course, or got sucked into a wormhole. Maybe. Before I lost consciousness, I thought my scanners detected other escape craft from my world. Maybe others made it. Would I have compatriots on Earth once I’d arrived? No way to tell. I woke up in a field of corn, my ship a smouldering ruin around me. I had arrived. But I felt different. Something wasn’t right.




My pod crashing left a wake of burning devastation. The smell of corn cooking and popping filled the air, and reminded me of sleepovers with my cousins at my grandmother’s Filak ranch; popcorn and holo-stories; pillow fights, and reprimands if we played too raucously and didn’t go to bed when we were supposed to. We’re not much different from humans of Earth. Wait — scratch that — we’re nothing like you at all. We knew our world was doomed. We were even taught about Earth in school, and how different we would be existing on a world orbiting a yellow sun, with different atmosphere and gravity. We’d be immensely powerful; as gods. I was prepared for that, and the great burden of responsibility such an endowment carried with it.


But no amount of schooling could have prepared me for how I found myself upon regaining consciousness. I could tell it was night, although my eyes made it so it looked like daytime. Within seconds of coming to, my body was growing with power. How long had I been out there? I looked down at myself and saw the body of a man, whereas it seemed like only hours had passed since the onset of puberty.


I was naked; even my clothing hadn’t survived the crash. First order of business was to dispose of my pod, although there was little left to dispose of. We’d learned in school that Earth in the early 21st Century (their time) possessed sophisticated satellites that could track your movements from space. Our pods were designed to deflect most of these abilities, but you can’t be too careful, considering how damaged mine was. I had no equipment left to call upon to give me better insight. My only option was to use my new powers.


In school we took part in simulations in order to learn how to use and control our powers once we’d reached Earth. Only kids from the Great Houses would even get to go to Earth. My sponsor and mentor had already been to Earth several times, and had mastered flight with ease. In the low grav simulator I was mostly sick to my stomach and barely qualified bottom of my class. Still, my father was on the High Council, so my place in a pod was secured no matter how badly I fared from my Earth Prep schooling. I was pretty good with super breath and heat vision, however. So I decided to use these to improve my immediate situation. I used super cold breath to put out the mile-long trail of burning devastation caused by my less than gracious set-down. Once the flames were out, I used my heat vision to reduce what remained of my pod to dust, which I then blew to the four winds with my breath.


I scanned my surroundings for signs of life. It was mostly farmland; a few houses and outbuildings here and there. There was a town not far away. My super hearing picked up wailing sirens; the local law enforcement had been alerted to my crash landing. I didn’t want to get caught. We’d been taught to keep low profiles once Earth became home. I listened for signs that others had made it from our doomed world. So far nothing.




I was a man now; this felt so strange. How many years had passed during which I was lost in space and not even aware of it? We’d never been prepared for the sheer startling fact of muscle gain upon arrival on Earth and soaking up its sun's incredible energy. As the sirens of law enforcement grew ever louder, I decided to forego admiring my new adult body and all the muscle it now sported, and find some place to lay low. I rose a few feet into the air, and hovered for a bit. Then, like back in the simulator in school, I felt queasy and immediately threw up, although my stomach hadn’t eaten in ages, and only a clear fluid came up. I returned my feet to the scorched soil of the corn field and decided to use super speed and run to the nearest farm building.


The barn I entered contained sleeping bovines. They looked pretty and peaceful, and school had taught me their meat was highly prized. I was hungry. They wouldn't miss one of the beasts, as I counted more than twenty. As naked as the day I was born, I used super speed to remain upwind and invisible to the creatures. I took the smallest one (although it probably weighed about ten times my weight back home), and moved it out back of the barn as though it weighed less than a grain of rice. I remember my sponsor telling me that when he tested his strength during a secret visit to Earth, his strength maxed out when he stopped a dam from bursting. I felt way stronger than that just moving a bovine, but in fairness to my mentor, he was 72 years old when he stopped an entire wine-producing valley from being swept off the map.


I dispatched the bovine quietly, humanely. Then I skinned it and cooked it with my heat vision. I ate my fill; it was quite satisfying. Then I dug a deep hole with my bare hands, flash-froze the remains with my cold breath and buried it. I may need more sustenance later, and with resources stretched so thinly back on my now deceased world, we’d been taught never to waste food.




I scanned the nearby farmhouse with my x-ray vision and found a sleeping couple, along with two dogs and a single child. The male was about my size, thick and meaty of muscle from years of hard work on the farm. I sneaked into the house as a fleeting blur and helped myself to some of his clothes. The shirt was soft and comfortable, although a little tight across the chest. The pants clung snugly to my buttocks and thighs, but I could better feel my body growing, now that it was clothed. This shouldn’t be happening. Yes, we were taught to expect incredible super powers, but growing muscles was never mentioned. This was different. What happened to me out in space that might be to blame for this? Was it something to fear? I actually liked the feeling. It couldn’t be a bad thing, surely.

I did something that I couldn’t stop myself from doing. I super-speeded into the couple’s bedroom and stood over their delicate forms while they slept. They were both pleasing to look at. It was a warm night, so a window was open with a mild summer breeze making the gauzy curtains to shift and billow. The woman had smooth, pale skin and pleasing features. I felt something inside as I regarded her. Was this what it was like to be a ‘man’? I remember back home discovering strange hair growth in places there shouldn’t be. Now I was a man, and hairy like my father before me. The man sleeping next to his mate was also hairy. He was very handsome. I liked looking at him more than the woman. What did this mean?


I stepped backwards into the shadows. I could be quiet as mist if I chose to be. This was one of those times where I must be cautious. I didn’t mean these people any harm. I needed their help. I left the room and moved downstairs. There were dogs sleeping. Seeing them made me miss Lexor even more. I’d had him since I was three. He was now just a scattering of atoms, along with my world and most of its population.


School had taught me that a popular form of reference and communication on Earth was the internet. They were still using keyboard interfaces and such, but we’d been shown how to use these back in the classroom. There was a thing called YouTube that I particularly liked. All those cats were a lot of fun to observe. I found YouTube on this family’s computer, and I needed to focus on the changes in my body and learn more about them (although a couple of cat videos wouldn’t hurt). I typed in words like ‘puberty’, ‘male body development’, and ‘sexuality’. I learned exponentially, and in just a few minutes I had amassed all the information I needed to bring my mind to the same rate and level of maturity as my body. I no longer had an adolescent perspective. I was truly a man, now. No… I was a superman. And even supermen have needs.


I returned to the bedroom of the sleeping couple. With my newfound mental acuity for all things sexual in an adult sense, I once again studied the couple. Arousal came, my penis growing and stiffening into something truly impressive and powerful. But this arousal came from looking at the male, not his pale, feeble-looking mate.


I placed my hands on my hips, adopting a very ‘super’ pose. I lusted for the sleeping male before me as my arousal increased, and my body’s muscles began to expand and stretch the material of my stolen clothing to near-bursting point.


I quietly considered my next move. Would sheer mindless lust determine my actions? Or would I err on the side of caution?


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In the quarter-second of time it took for the man of the house to snap his eyes open and attempt to make a startled sound, I clamped a hand over his mouth and nose and effortlessly removed him from his bed. But being new to super powers, I was a little clumsy in executing his removal. I allowed his fisted hand to strike his sleeping mate with enough force to fracture her skull. But I didn’t know this at first.


I flew us both out to a small mountain range in the east; the law enforcers of this community wouldn’t find us there. I set down my handsome captive on an outcrop of rock. Above us an orange sun had begun to rise above the crest of this range. Its rays gradually strengthened and stretched across the hemisphere. I began to feel myself growing stronger as my now superhuman physiology put that radiation to work. He was more handsome now — with his eyes open — although I didn’t like that he looked so terrified. He was dark and hairy, rugged from much physical activity. He made my penis become gorged with my inhuman blood and push against the crotch of my stolen pants. My fine hearing picked up the sound of fabric fibers straining against the burgeoning pressure building up there.


“Puh-please, don’t hurt me,” he stammered. I thought it sounded a little pathetic. He looked so strong and attractive, but next to me, he was nothing… an ‘insignificant’. His tone was supplicant, plaintive. I didn’t speak at this time. I didn’t feel a need to. I was content to just observe him at this point. These Earth humans were weak and puny to me, although we’d been taught at school to never view them in this regard. Somehow, as my body grew stronger and more powerful as it soaked up more of this delicious yellow sun energy, those lessons in the classroom retreated into a distant, deep, and irretrievable corner of my consciousness. Everything I had learned — all that I had been up to this point — suddenly died. I was no longer my old self, a frightened child thrust out into the stars to save his life.


I was “NEW”.




It had been a warm night, and so my handsome captive was clad only from the waist down, short pants with the same chequered red pattern as my stolen shirt. I noticed he’d soiled his garment with urine. I didn’t like that he was terrified of me. I was no stranger to uncontrolled urinations, for I’d been a bedwetter until the age of five. He nursed his left hand, suddenly aware that he’d somehow damaged it. The knuckles were red and some bruising was present. The little finger seemed out of place; it had been dislocated.


“Let me fix that,” I said softly enough. It was the first time I’d spoken with an adult voice. Like everything else I’d experienced in the short time since emerging unscathed from a crashed space pod, my voice didn’t seem like my own. Then again, I am “New”, I reminded myself.


In a state of panic, he tried to scurry away from me. But there really was nowhere he could go; at a guess I’d say we were a couple of hundred metres above ground level. He’d never make it off this outcrop alive without my help.


“Your hand is damaged,” I pressed, sounding more insistent now. A firm look from me caused him to stop dead in his tracks. I could feel my eyes growing warm, as incredible energies were drawn up from every one of my cells and into the focussing lenses of my eyes. My choice of words made me sound like a robot. I was anything but. Had he tried to attack me as I whisked him out of his bed and from his house entirely? I couldn’t recall. But, then again, my body was harder than the hardest substance this planet could produce, so I most likely wouldn’t have felt a blow from him. But were this the case, his hand should have been pulverised completely. He must have struck it against something else.


I wondered what to do. The smell of fresh urine further soiling his shorts and skin affronted my superpowered senses. So I made a decision to clean him up before dealing with his hand injury and anything else afterward. I tore off his pants and flicked them out into a moist morning sky. Then I fired two streams of heat vision at the garment, totally atomizing it. He stared at me in utter disbelief, the pain in his hand summarily ignored, as though this had been the single most incredible thing he’d witnessed so far. All of the powers we had back home and in school had been simulated, of course. Back home we were just ordinary mortals living on a doomed icy rock. But I’d been pretty sharp with my simulated heat vision training, even if I’d ‘sucked’ at flying, to use an Earth vernacular.


“Please… take me back to my wife. My boy… he’s only six. He’s autistic and—”


“Quiet,” I interjected, more harshly than intended. This was all “New” to me. I had to learn how to carry my tone from here on. I scanned for miles around me using my amazing vision. The ‘authorities’ were already combing around my crash site for clues; they would find nothing. In the blink of an eye I flew back to the farmhouse and set things right. I used x-ray vision to check his mate for damage. Her skull was fractured, and there was bleeding inside of it. But her breathing and other vitals seemed normal, although I was hardly knowledgeable on such things. But I acted quickly. I wrapped her in a blanket and flew her to the nearest medical center. It took less than two minutes to carry out this task. Super speed allowed me to take her straight into a theater already being prepped for surgery. I used heat vision to etch a message on one of the sterilized walls:


“Bleeding Inside Skull. Help Her!”


No one even saw or heard me. But they certainly felt my presence. In a thrice I was back at the farmhouse. The dogs were up and about now, barking and making a ruckus. I really wanted to stop and play with them. One of them looked a little like my Lexor. I will admit to feeling sad at that moment. They growled threateningly at me. But I was able to subdue them without harming them and put them in a room where they had food and water and paper for their soilings. They would be okay for the time being. The child needed to be cared for. I found my captive’s handheld communication device next to his bed. I scrolled through the names there and found “Mom & Dad”. It was a device not unlike the computer I’d used earlier. It took me just a few seconds to send a message to the boy’s grandparents to come pick him up.


A vehicle approached. I scanned it with my vision and saw that two males clad in non-law enforcement clothing were inside. I guessed them to be laborers employed by my handsome captive to work his farm. Before they could see me I again used heat vision to etch a message on the sloped roof of the farmhouse. They would see it easily enough:


“Boy Alone in House. Help Him!”


They could guess the rest. I really didn’t care. I couldn’t explain my actions. I had fixated on the first male Earth human I’d come across. And now I wanted him all to myself. Even if it meant breaking up his family.


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I returned to the outcrop where the focus of my attention was attempting to scramble down the rockface one-handedly. His masculine body rippled with the kind of muscle only a worker of the land can obtain, and I grew instantly hard in his pants at his sheer, but entirely futile, attempts to get back to his family. He really had nothing to fear from me. I needed to remind him of that.


I knew he was going to fall. Precognition is not a power I possess, but it was obvious he was going to fall to his death if I didn’t intervene. I was getting good at this flying thing and so deftly dipped down below him and lined myself up to catch him in midair.


Sure enough he lost his grip and footing and was quickly screaming downwards as the ground rushed up to meet him. Only I got there first. I caught him in my arms and flew him away from the mountains and to an elevated ranger station about a five minute flight from the mountains. During the flight I felt him try to resist me. His naked, furry body felt delicious to me, although he was defiantly rigid in my grasp. I’m sure his hand must hurt like a ‘bitch’ to use another Earth vernacular (thanks again, YouTube). I knew what pain was like. I’d broken my wrist falling out of a tree only last year, back on a planet which no longer existed. I could never feel physical pain again, certainly not in human terms.


“Let me go… I’m begging you,” he sobbed. We were flying well above the treetops as the morning sunshine further empowered me. I was getting stronger and stronger. I could feel my muscles hardening and swelling with mass and power. I loved the feeling, and didn’t want it to end. I felt it was time to properly communicate with my captive, although I hated referring to him as such.


“My name was Tal-Luk, of the House of Luk. But now I will be known simply as ‘New’,” I said, with a tone intended to soothe and not intimidate. I hoped he’d warm to me. But why should he? I’d just abducted him from his slumber and endangered the lives of his wife and child. I still couldn’t fathom why I was doing this. What made this puny human so enticing to me? At first he didn’t answer. I decided to gently but firmly bolster some response from him. I dipped down in the sky, lowering my altitude so that I skimmed through the air at quite the velocity, leaving just inches between myself, my cargo, and the treetops. I felt him clutch me tighter for fear I’d drop him. I would never do that to him. Right now all I wanted was to know what to call him. He now knew my name. It was only fair that I learn his.


“Trees!!!!” He shrieked. I was pretty sure that wasn’t his name. Had I lowered my altitude any further, the trees might certainly have posed a hazard to him. To me they barely tickled my bulging genitals as the fabric of my pants began to lose to the swelling still occurring there. My stolen clothing wouldn’t last me much longer.


“Apologies. I bottomed out of flying class back in school. I will increase our altitude.” These were the most words I’d so far uttered in one sentence. I liked my voice. It had a rough, masculine rasp to it.


“How can you… how can you do… this?” His body trembled in my grasp. I could have torn him apart like tissue paper if I so chose to. He weighed less than a grain of sand to me. And I could feel myself growing stronger with each passing minute.


“I’m… not from around here,” I replied simply.


“Then where are you from? Are you… an…”


Before he could finish:


“I am from a place that no longer exists. Earth is my home now.” Then I remembered his injured hand. I increased speed to the ranger station.


“Please take me back. I’ve done nothing to you,” he pleaded.


“I cannot do that,” I responded. Half a minute of silence ensued, during which I enjoyed the warm whoosh of air around me as my power of flight transported us to a place where I could tend to his injury.



The ranger station was set at an elevation of several hundred metres above ground level, allowing for the occupants to survey the land for many miles around. Curiously the station was unmanned; I didn’t question it. It suited our needs without inciting resistance.


The cabin was spacious enough, albeit a little untidy, as though the ranger had left in a hurry. Maybe he’d been called to assist the local law enforcement in response to my pod crash. There were empty food receptacles strewn about on a table and on preparation services next to a water dispenser. There was crude radio equipment present, and cartographic representations of surrounding areas. I crushed the radio to smithereens easily enough. I had no intentions of allowing my captive (that word again) to attempt to raise an alarm. It wouldn’t have made any difference anyway. No force on Earth could stop me.


There was a cramped-looking bed, or cot, also present in the station. I gently placed him on it and looked around for some medical aid. There was a kit on the wall adorned with a medical ‘cross’ symbol. I retrieved it and found antiseptic, bandages, and other supplies. I found a spoon made of wood and offered it to him.


“Bite on this,” I instructed. I remembered my father doing something similar to my cousin years ago when he’d dislocated his shoulder playing a game not unlike soccer of Earth.


He did as he was told; what choice did he have?


I popped his finger back into place and held him close to me as if to absorb his pain and his scream. Then I snapped the spoon in two and used one half to make a splint for his finger, which I then lashed together with bandages from the kit. There were pills in the kit for his pain. I suggested he swallow two of them. After a few minutes:


“Thank you. It feels a lot better,” he said, and managed a shaky, but grateful, smile.


I was seated at a table opposite him. I couldn’t take my eyes off him. He made me aroused in ways I’d never experienced before. I could never have felt this way as a child. But I was changed to a man in the blink of an eye, or at least, what seemed to have been a blink. I may have been drifting through the cosmos for years in my pod, all the while unconscious and unaware that I was changing in ways my people could never have anticipated or prepared for.




“John,” he croaked. “My name is John.”

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Can you spot the Easter Eggs?




I was so pleased to hear him speak his name. I cannot explain why, but I felt myself leaping for joy inside. Had I actually leapt for joy at this time, the ranger station would no longer possess a roof. I smiled warmly at him and found myself wanting to join him on the bed. I could hear my excited heartbeat ringing in my ears. The urge to hug and kiss this man was difficult to fight against, but I did it, if only for his sake and not mine. It was early days. I wanted him to warm to me… and to love me.


“I like your name, John. It’s… uncomplicated.”


John regarded me with derision and suspicion.


“Uncomplicated…uncomplicated?  Like this shit that I woke up to? Shit you caused!” John snorted. His face had become twisted into a palsy of hate and distrust… aimed towards me. I didn’t like that face. I wanted the handsome, rugged landworker face to return. He’d looked so peaceful when he’d been asleep. I thought, fleetingly, about rendering him unconscious so that I could look at him for as long as I deemed fit. I could hug him close without objection. I could entwine our bodies as one without resistance.


I knew what the word ‘shit’ meant. It wasn’t a nice word. On my planet we had a similar word, which meant something similar: ‘fecas’. I preferred to hear nice words emerge from John’s wholesome lips. I wanted to connect my lips to his. I wanted empathy and sincerity to carry through our juices from my mouth to his.


“How did this happen?” John held up his bandaged hand. My hearing zoomed in on his heartbeat; it was racing dangerously fast.


“Tell me what the fuck you did! Did you hurt my family? Tell me. FUCKING TELL ME!!!!”


Suddenly I was a child again, but only in my head. I had annoyed an adult to the point where he lost control and flew into a rage aimed at undermining my confidence and self-worth. I didn’t like how his shouting made me feel. My eyes warmed up with heat vision energy once more, but I managed to keep it in check… for now.


What happened next appeared to occur during a momentary slowing down of time itself. I was too concerned with correctly processing John’s outburst with my new adult intellect (as opposed to a juvenile perspective) to accept that he’d picked up something large and metallic, only to let fly with it towards my head. It had been sitting on a small table next to the cot and was in easy reach of John’s good hand.


I caught the object easily; some sort of trophy cup emblazoned with the engraving of an aquatic lifeform. There was an inscription near its base: “1998 Reeve County Angler of the Year: Rich Collier” The words meant nothing to me. Still, something good came of John’s outburst. I saw my adult face for the first time reflected in the metallic surface of the trophy. I had changed so much during my unconscious time in space. I was very handsome. My face looked perfect, even reflected in the trophy’s imperfections. My hair was dark, my eyes blue. The bones of my face were angular and symmetrical. I was without flaws, as a superhuman should be. I even sported something of a beard, just like John. It was then that I realised we looked alike enough to be considered brothers. But I truly wanted us to be more than that.


I didn’t like having to do what I did next. But I guess it was to remind John of his position. He wasn’t in charge. I held the trophy in both hands and crushed it like paper. It took no effort on my part. There wasn’t another man on Earth who could do the things I can do. I didn’t show anger or annoyance at John’s outburst. Maybe it was healthy for him to ‘let off steam’, to use another Earth term.


He appeared to calm down a little. He even removed a covering from the bed and used it to conceal his modesty. I really wished he hadn’t done that. I liked admiring his rugged, naked form. But if this made him feel more comfortable, then so be it. I considered flying back to his home to gather some of his clothing. All in good time.


“Please…,” he began, his tone softer, “... just tell me what happened to my family. Are they safe?”


“They should be. I made certain conditions manifest in this scenario.” I chose my words carefully.


“What does that mean?” His eyes were locked to my gaze. Veins throbbed in his temples and a solitary bead of sweat trickled down his forehead and joined with a tear he’d just squeezed out of an eye. I really wanted to taste that salty nectar.


“Your wife suffered an unfortunate accident, John. I am partly responsible, for which I am truly sor—”


“What did you do?” He flew at me in a rage. The sheet fell away from his loins. I immediately sidestepped and swung around to his rear, at which point I grabbed him and pulled him close. I held him securely, relishing his beating heart next to mine. He could not break my embrace. Nothing on Earth could. I needed to soothe him so that I could further explain my actions.


“Sssh… it’ll be okay.” I closed my eyes and concentrated, stretching my super hearing across many miles towards the medical facility I had earlier flown John’s mate to.


“Wuh-what are you doing?” John had no idea I possessed the ability to listen to voices from so far away, singling out information of interest.


“The medical facility where I brought your wife: I can hear spoken words of relevance. A woman, brought in via means unknown, presenting moderate-to-severe head trauma and subdural hematoma.” I stopped speaking in order to better focus my hearing on events as they unfolded. After a short time:


“The problem has been corrected and she has been stabilized,” I was pleased to inform John. Was it selfish of me to expect some gratitude from him at this time?  


John dropped to his knees, crying in unsteady spurts laced with occasional outbursts of ill-defined laughter. I read it as the kind of joy someone expresses when they experience extreme relief after momentary feelings of extreme dread. Human emotions would take some getting used to. My people seldom expressed mixed emotions. You either felt one thing, or another… but never at the same time.


I didn’t expect him to hug me whilst still on his knees. But I liked the feeling. My arousal was so great, now, it was a miracle the flimsy fibers of John’s clothing on me didn’t fly apart into chaff. His arms engulfed my taut waist above which a muscled torso seemed to explode outward, wider and wider to end at dual platforms capped on either shoulder with powerful deltoid swells that seemed like they were only revving up to something bigger and better along with all of my other super-parts.


Things developed from here on. John began to trust me. He didn’t even flinch when I sat next to him on the bed. I wanted to put a powerful arm around him — to comfort him further — but decided it was too soon. All in good time.


“You said you are ‘partly responsible’ for what happened to Elise.” He spoke slowly and softly. I listened to his heartbeat again, pleased that it had slowed and set his panic level back to zero.


“I am still growing accustomed to my powers. When I took you from your slumber, your hand struck her skull. I couldn’t have prevented this. Super speed is new to me, like so many other things. I am ‘New’, after all.” I paused before adding:


“Your wife will live, John.” My voice couldn’t get any more soothing, or my tone more reassuring. But John seemed placated for now.


“And my son? Alexander. He’s only seven. He has autism… he’d be waking up about now. He’ll be scared on his own.” John’s heartbeat rose again. I rubbed his back softly. His outward display of concern and vulnerability seemed to make him more handsome in my eyes. The same eyes that could vaporise this entire planet in less than a day if I felt so inclined.


“I took steps to fix that problem, too. Some men approached your home in a vehicle. I left them a message to look after the child. I also contacted ‘Mom & Dad’ on your communication device. I sent word to come and pick him up. His grandparents, I assume?”


Things seemed to make sense to John, now. He nodded in sync to my revelations.


“Jerry and Joe; they work for me. They’re good people. They know Alexander well. He’ll go to them without argument. But my parents live two hours away.” He trailed off and seemed to deflate next to me. He appeared exhausted. In contrast I felt hugely powerful. I could go on indefinitely without rest, if I needed to.


Speaking of the communication device: I had pocketed it without realising I’d done so. It vibrated in my pocket and chimed a not unpleasant tune: a song sung by a male, and consisting of the words: “Somebody save me! Let your warm hands break right through.” The words seemed appropriate to our mutual situation.


John reacted:

“My phone...you have my phone. Give it to me for fucksake!” Where he had seemed moments ago to be drained of vigour, now he was animated and insistent. I relinquished the device to him without argument.


“Dad? Oh thank Christ,” said John, now more relieved than concerned. My super hearing could easily eavesdrop on both ends of this communication.


“Son, what’s going on? I just woke up to a text to say we’ve to come pick up ‘the child?’ You mean Alexander? Is everything alright?”


“Uh… it’s Elise… I’m at the hospital. She hit her head… and…” John cast me a scathing look as he carefully fashioned a lie to his father for my benefit.


“Oh my, John, is she okay?”


“Uh… she’s out of danger. It was a… um… hematoma, but they caught it in time, I… I guess. Joe and Jerry will be with Alexander. He was sleeping when the ambulance took us in. I didn’t want to wake him. I wasn’t thinking clearly.”


“Your Mom is getting the car ready, son. We’ll be there when we can. Should we come to the hospital, too?”


“No… um, I’ll be fine. I’m with… a friend!” John’s eyes bored into mine. If a human was ever capable of firing heat from his eyes as I could, then it was John at this time. I almost flinched.


“Okay son, we’ll be there as soon as we can. For Alexander, and for you. We’ll pray for Elise, too.”


“Thanks Dad.” John then ended the communication. For a moment that seemed to drag on, no words were exchanged between us. I got up from the bed, causing it to creak noisily. I walked to the doorway of the station and soaked up some more yellow sun radiation from the searingly bright disc that was still climbing to its eventual zenith in a blue sky I could swim in forever if I so chose to. I was the living embodiment of the star that allowed all life to exist on Earth. And I had the power to wipe it all out if I wanted to.


“I will take you to see your wife, John. But you must understand that you belong to me, now. Your family will be taken care of. All will be well,” I said as I grew in power and continued to enjoy the feeling of increasing strength as I stood in the doorway.


Then, unexpectedly:


“Hey ‘New’... if you like heat so much… have some more!”


I’d never seen a weapon of its type before, and it bothered me that John had found it amongst the clutter and disarray of the abandoned station. It upset me to think that he would try something like this again, so soon after failing to injure me with the metallic trophy. But in retrospect, I guess a man will try anything to protect his family. I didn’t blame him.


I turned just in time for the flare to explode against my chest, a smoky trail issuing behind it like the tail of a comet which connected back to the pistol John aimed at me.


“John… why? I only want to love you,” I entreated. My stolen shirt was now melting away from my muscular body, but the fire could do me no harm. However, it did set an effect in motion, one which startled us both.


As the shirt continued to burn, so my body became larger. I was growing, wider, taller. I could feel my impregnable skin growing tighter and tighter as the muscles beneath expelled furious energy from every fiber in my body.


John became transfixed with awe, his eyes waxing large in his handsome face. I gazed down at myself, my expression identical to his.


Suddenly a dirty chorus of disconnected voices affronted my senses. My hearing picked up noises and voices for hundreds of miles around, and it all came to me at once. I could smell rotting animal carcasses; assorted fuels in a state of combustion; water rushing through a million underground conduits; countless people dying from all their years spent, and innumerable infants taking their first breaths of life in order to fill the vacuums left in the wake of death. I heard it, smelt it, tasted it all at once. It was too much to bear. I tilted my head back and screamed as powerful twin beams of searing heat shot out of my eyes and almost tore the sky above in two. As my body trembled and grew — generating more power and greater muscle mass — the station that provided us temporary respite began to collapse around us.


All I could think about was keeping John safe. But first I had to get my powers back under my control.

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My growing powers became too much for a flimsy tower of wood and brick to resist. I held John close to me as I lifted him free of the crumbling edifice, and thus, my incredible abilities protected us and cast us aloft once again. It felt to me like John was shrinking inside my embrace; I found myself having to adjust my grip so as not to lose my hold on him.


It was an unsettling experience, feeling myself getting bigger and stronger as I ascended further and further into the higher layers of Earth’s atmosphere. Should the air become too thin, John would struggle to breathe. I wanted to protect him , but the more I grew, the more he seemed to grow less significant in my possession. We were now both fully unclothed as my body grew too large for the remnants of my stolen clothing to contain. As unnatural as my transformation felt at this time, the fact that our bodies had been stripped down to their natural state and were entwined during this moment of uncertainty, seemed like a progression unto itself. It was as though this was meant to be; a union of two disparate beings intended to be made one. This could only be fully realised and brought to fruition if our pairing was through a complete physical contact of the skin.


I was mindful of John’s fragile state. I could feel him shivering and gasping, and so I did my best to concentrate on getting my flight power under control. I looked above us and saw the sky growing dark, and the beginning of starlight. I was too high. John would die if I didn’t do something drastic, and soon.


I looked down. I saw a lake far below. I scanned it with my super vision, checking for pollutants or dangerous aquatic life. It seemed okay. Then I brought up a fist harder and stronger than steel to strike my temple. I hit myself several times, each time mustering more and more power. I was desperate to save John. He felt smaller to me, his face seemed to sink into my growing chest muscles. It was as if my body had the ability to absorb him completely. An absurd notion. I hit myself again... and again.


I punched myself further; whether I was actually capable of bruising my skin here on Earth was immaterial at this time. I had to lose consciousness or else the vacuum of space would take John from me.


I felt myself slowing down, my angle of ascent levelling out. I felt disorientated, even stunned. Good... it was working. One more punch did it. Everything grew dark around me. There was nothing for an indeterminable time. It could have been seconds or hours. Hopefully seconds. They were all John had.




The splashdown into the cool water revived me. My senses sharpened in a heartbeat, and I beat around in the water for a few seconds to regain my orientation. I looked about for John. He was nowhere to be seen. I used my super vision to look under the lake’s surface. There he was, about twenty metres below me. His body was limp, but x-ray vision revealed that he still had a beating heart, although it was faltering, slowing down.


I aimed my body downward and ‘flew’ down to retrieve him. I grabbed him gently — lovingly — and carried him up to dry land. I lay him on the soft lakeshore and rubbed his body all over, using swift motions with my hands in order to get some heat into him. I was tempted to bathe him in the gentlest heat vision, but I still didn’t fully trust my powers and ability to control them. I didn’t want to hurt him, or even vaporise him in a desperate attempt to augment his life signs. He wasn’t responding. I began to panic.


Think, you fool, I commanded myself. I thought back to my school days back home, although I’d buried those memories deep inside my mind during my ‘rebirth’. We’d had training in many Earth skills, in case we accidentally harmed a human and therefore had to render them assistance. One such skill was called CPR. We’d had something like it on my deceased world, only it involved crystals, the kind much of our technology was based on. I remembered the motions I’d been taught using holographic representations of humans from Earth. I pressed my palms to his chest and applied rhythmic pressure, alternating between this and breathing into John’s mouth. It was my first time to ‘taste’ him. Had the circumstances been different, I might have enjoyed the experience.


“Come back to me,” I implored. I was careful not to press too hard, because I could easily kill him by caving in his sternum and crushing his heart and lungs. I was starting to think that my abilities were as much a curse as a gift. He wasn’t responding.




Something from behind and above startled me. What? Not now, not when I needed my full attention to save John.


“Attention, you on the shore. Do you require assistance?” The voice from the flying vehicle — I believe it’s called a ‘helicopter’ —  sounded ‘tinny’ and amplified through electronic means. It hovered some distance above the lake, its rotating blades buffing the skin of the water enough to incite minor rage from its otherwise calm surface. I didn’t care for the sound or the sensation. I half-turned my attention from John and new instincts made me scan the helicopter to find one occupant present, dressed in some kind of enforcement attire. The livery on the helicopter displayed: “Reeve County Forest Ranger”.


“I repeat… do you… require… assistance?”


I required that he go away. Something snapped in my head. I felt myself thinking: They need machines to fly. Pathetic.


I had two choices. I could either blow him a kiss, or else bathe him in concentrated sunlight. Either would prove devastating. I didn’t want my heat vision to get out of control again. And so I blew him a kiss.


My super breath — a modification of the breath I was using to try to save John’s life — emerged from me as a thin, super-concentrated blast of air. It hit the helicopter sideways, with force enough to send it spinning out of control. I cared little if the pilot struggled to regain control of his machine. He’d disturbed my last-ditch efforts to save John. And for that he deserved to die.


The machine bucked and ‘convulsed’ in the air as my super breath continued to push it away. It danced skittishly, as an insane person might dance in sombre  lamentation to an unrequited love from days long since flown. It was almost poetic to momentarily watch the helicopter fail and crash down into the forest beyond the edge of the lake farthest from me.


Only an ‘unsettled’ mind was capable of comparing the senseless murder of a helpless human being to the dance of a madman craving a love lost. I had someone to love, now. And I was desperate to bring him back from the brink of utter oblivion.


As the helicopter exploded into a ball of flame and smoke and ruin, I cared little if the fire I’d caused spread to the forest and beyond. All I cared about was saving John’s life. From this point onward, all other life didn’t matter.


The CPR wasn’t working. I had to think of something else. I cried out in fear and rage. My cries filled all corners of the Earth. Every living creature on this pathetic planet capable of sensing sound stopped rigidly, momentarily paralysed by my scream. Billions of hearts simultaneously skipped a beat in response to my emotional squall.


John failed to live from this point forward. I x-rayed him for vital signs. But everything had stopped. I got up from the shore and walked away, shaking my head, anxiously wringing my hands and biting my nails in despair. I was once again a scared kid in a thunderstorm whose parents were too busy arguing about our planet’s future to be concerned that their only child was terrified alone in his room. He’d been grounded for fighting with his cousin, sent to his room without evening meal, and in the middle of one of the worst storms in our planet’s history.


My mind reeled in confusion. I couldn’t tell the past from the present. I looked all about, frantically trying to regain a grasp of my surroundings and current predicament. I wanted food. I wanted the storm to end. I wanted my parents to show their only child some love. Why did they have me in the first place? I’d always been the shy type, occasionally climbing trees and breaking bones if only to remind my mother and father that I was alive and that I mattered. Their work always came first.


And yet right now I could have used a hug from my mother, or a reassuring word from my father. Damn them both. They were just space dust now.


I walked back to John. All life was gone from him. I picked him up and held him close to me. He seemed smaller than before; no… I was bigger. I kissed him repeatedly; it was strange that I could have feelings for a person I’d known only a few hours. I didn’t know how or why I felt this way. Why had he become so important to me at a time when I was emerging into an alien world to either be its ultimate saviour, or a deliverer of doom?


Which version of me was truly me?


John hung limply in my grip. He felt weightless to me, as of aether. A single tear fell from my eye and struck his cheek with force enough to leave a slight bruise. Even my tears could damage these fragile beings.


“No… this can’t be how it ends. This can change. I can change this!”


I laid John gently back on the shore. I got down on one knee and pressed my mighty fists into the ground. Then I mustered power from within, from which this world would be made to tremble. The ground shook beneath me. The air around me became charged with fury and tempest. Once again I screamed to the heavens. And with such power called up from within, I shot up into the sky, determined that it shouldn’t end like this.


I’d only just gotten to Earth, and it seemed to reject me. I’d taken my first life, and doing so failed to affect me one way or the other. But despite my efforts to save him, John had slipped away, and that did affect me terribly. As a superhuman I could do so many incredible things.


But could I turn back death?


I had to try.

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Earth’s many varied landscapes, cities, and oceans, blurred into one beneath me as my speed gathered greater and greater momentum. It transformed everything below into a constantly-shifting kaleidoscope of variegated hues and textures. I adjusted my flight path so that I flew in a clockwise direction around the planet at its widest  circumference. I don’t know how I knew this (again, I’d not paid enough attention back in school when learning about my future home’s planetary geography); call it ‘New’ instincts, or perhaps powers my mentors and previous visitors to Earth hadn’t experienced or anticipated.


To help me concentrate, I timed each complete turn around the Earth in my head until numbers seemed to throb across the screen of my mind. I kept my focus and flew straight as an arrow, never deviating, never faltering. I cared not at this point that the muscles of my outstretched arms appeared to be thickening — with cuts and bulges becoming larger as the seconds rolled onward — and veins across my forearms and biceps looked more defined and tense than I’d been previously aware of. I used rage and grief and the determination not to fail to fuel my journey. I kept going… and going.


My speed increased along with my concentration. I passed the same landmarks every thirty seconds or so, although at this altitude and speed, I could barely make anything out. Eventually everything below me blurred into the same grey haze, which was probably for the best, considering my revolutions around the planet were causing tremendous tidal and polar distress. In my attempt to halt, and even reverse the passage of time, my actions laid claim to hundreds of millions of lives. I shattered much of the polar ice caps; I caused plates in the Earth’s crust to shift and buckle, which sent massive tidal waves crashing over and swallowing whole cities in a matter of moments. But my screams brought on by the stress of my situation easily drowned out those of the population below me.


I increased my speed, easily completing one turn around the planet in just a couple of seconds. Could my speed become infinite? And if it did, what would happen to the world; ultimately, what would happen to me? In my mind I saw my actions cause the planet to break apart, but I resigned this to the fiction section. I would not let this happen. I intended for my actions to be good and to benefit John and my newfound home. In my mind I saw myself slowing the rotation of the Earth to a point where it actually stopped spinning on its axis. But what did that mean for John and the billions of other humans he shared a world with?


At this point something I can only describe as a ‘branching off’ seemed to occur. As I brought the rotation of Earth to a fleeting halt, I looked to my left and saw something — an afterimage? — but of what? It smiled at me; then saluted me with a finger, before zipping away at a speed only I could match. The image looked like me, but for the fraction of a second in which he managed to match my speed and flight path, I didn’t much care for the twisted look of conceit on his face.


It could have just been my mind playing tricks. I was generating forces the like of which had never existed before. Or maybe they did exist, but had yet to be accessed and applied. I put it all out of my head and thought only of saving John. I had stopped the Earth from turning, but this wasn’t enough to save him. I had to get faster; I had to get stronger. And so I mustered more strength and speed. I don’t know how I managed this; I was in uncharted waters, despite the oceans below me evaporating entirely. At this point there didn’t seem to be anything left in existence bar myself. What had I done?




“No! This is not how it must be! I need to get stronger!”


I felt my body expanding, my muscles gorging on blood and space and the matter of creation itself. I drew in energy light and heat and gravitational stresses. I sucked up life and death and cancelled out both. For a microsecond nothing at all existed. And even that nothingness wasn’t spared consumption by every cell in my body. I grew as if to engulf the world — all of creation — and thus I became the Creator of All. The myriad life I had taken from this world, was thus returned. And it came back in its entirety as my power as a superman forced the Earth to begin once again rotating, only now in the completely opposite direction.


I had succeeded. I will never know what possessed me to perform this unprecedented act. Many would call it a miracle. Perhaps it was. But now that I had the Earth spinning clockwise, I didn’t stop. I wouldn’t stop until all had been as before. I was completing rotations faster than I could blink, and I was turning failure into success. I had to succeed.


The Earth appeared to re-form below me. The ice caps appeared to ‘patch’ up, and great fissures in the mantle healed up like wounds miraculously closing by themselves. Forests leveled and reduced to splinters were drawn back, the very matter from which they were formed seemed to regain shape and structure. Entire cities — flattened by my actions — were rebuilt in reverse time. Vehicles swallowed by the erupting Earth were returned to intact roads, where for a moment in shattered time there were only smouldering craters. Oceans settled down and all marine life supported by them felt their hearts — however big or minute — beat once more. A chorus of life breathed gasps of relief below me, and as I began to tire, I felt that chorus rise up and support me like billions of hands caressing my massively-muscled flesh. I could go on. I must finish this. Where was John? Would he exist once again?


I continued to turn the Earth backwards, taking time in a direction it was never meant to travel. I felt like I was returning to that lakeshore where I had begun this. Familiar shapes and forms began to solidify below me out of a ‘soupy aether’ I had created. I felt the heat of a great fire devouring a forest gradually lose its bite and be drawn back to a point where a helicopter had fallen out of the sky — entirely my fault — and a voice in my head mocked me:


They need machines to fly. Pathetic.


It was my voice. Or more accurately his voice. For a microsecond I saw another version of myself. He was selfish and cold. He saluted me and flew away. I didn’t care for him. But he didn’t exist now, because I had reversed time to a point before he existed, right? My head was burning. I was in a new place; I shouldn’t exist there, but I did.


Things continued to be restored. The helicopter was made whole again and returned to a point where it hovered over the same lake that had claimed the life of John. I had failed to save him before. But now I could save him this time. Because I owned time. I remade it. And so everything that existed because of time was remade.


John was no longer on the shore of the lake. He was in the lake, and I felt myself reaching out to him. But now that I got to relive this moment, I saw that it was already too late. I couldn’t have saved him at this point. So I turned the Earth back further to before I’d flown John far too high into Earth’s thinner atmosphere as I struggled to regain control of my burgeoning powers. It was here that I intervened. I could see myself struggling in flight, with John held dearly in one arm whilst I punched myself repeatedly in the head. How many versions of me could exist at any one time? I suddenly had the ability to fly towards the other me who’d already lost consciousness from one too many blows to the head. John was limp in his grasp, but I took him away from the other me, and allowed my doppelganger to fall to the lake far below.


I had John back. The Earth slowed once again. Now that I was no longer turning it in the opposite direction, it took over from me and set itself back to its correct rotation. It had taken just a few minutes for me to undo the world. Now it was back on course, and those minutes never got to be lived a second time.


I flew both of us far away. I didn’t want to be anywhere near Reeve County for fear I’d repeat the events I worked so hard to erase from existence. The world was back turning as it should, and everything seemed beautiful. He was alive next to me. I could feel his heart beating through the connection of our fleshes. What he said to me before he settled into a gentle slumber in my arms, however, made the blood in my veins run cold.


He said:


“Thank you.”

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