Nobody knew where he came from. People just noticed they’ve got a new neighbor. He was a pleasant, nice young man, polite and considerate. Tall and slender, he looked almost fragile. From the delicate oval of his face two deep set blue-grey eyes looked in the world dreamingly. A straight nose and nicely curved, melancholic lips completed his features. His shoulder long, curly black hair was usually held in a lose pony-tail. Though he looked in his mid-twenties, time seemed to flow slower around him.
If asked about his family, his face shaded and he dismissed the question. He had a good mind, learning easily and doing well his job. The neighborhood where he lived was quiet and family-friendly. He was living in a nice, small apartment together with a red stray-cat. His favorite past-time was to sit on the shore, watching the through and fro of the waves. Sometimes he was standing there for hours, slowly turning home, his silhouette cut out in the golden light of the sleeping sun. Those times he was very quiet, lost in thoughts.
Despite his mild temper he wasn’t a recluse. He loved to play with kids; he enjoyed their cheerful company and got all the patience needed to deal with them. He had a special relationship with his young neighbor Brian, the adolescent son of a widow. It was obvious that since they became friends, Brian’s marks were higher and even his temper lost some of his age’s edge. The newcomer was like an older brother to him and Mrs. Knight was happy that her son finally got the father figure he missed.
Kian worked at a research center that studied the natural sources of radiation. The job involved some danger so it was impervious to keep an eye on the security measures. The young man was a trusted member of the scientific team. The night before, he slept badly. There were images of places and people he seemed to know coming into his sight but his memory wasn’t able to clear them. He woke up disturbed and sweating and he couldn’t sleep anymore. The day was hot and the air was dense and sticky. By noon the sky was covered by heavy clouds and the imminent starting of the storm made the whole thing worse.
The lightning emerging from the black vortex was huge. Like a web of fire it encircled the building, trying to find a way to spread inside. Under the unusual amount of electric power, the security system cracked and failed. People inside the building were caught by surprise. Kian was about to shut down a computerized section when the sparkling blue light caught him. For a moment everything, even time seemed to froze around him; then he was washed away by a strangely flooding sensation. It was like an unknown power reaching down to every cell of his body, rearranging them by a strange new pattern. His vision blurred and he lost conscience.
He woke up 6 month later in a hospital bed, unable to recount much of that particular day. From what the doctors and Brian told him later, he’s been hit by the lightning and he’s been in coma all that time. He woke up suddenly, feeling almost well, maybe a little dizzy. Strangely enough he’s been the only casualty that day.
Brian was very happy to get his friend back. One more day at the hospital and Kian was able to get home. The doctor warned him about possible headaches and blackouts in the future but there were no visible signs of harm done by the lightning. Mrs. Knight made some special treats for their homecoming young friend. The red cat was more than happy to sit in his lap and purr noisily. The afternoon was filled with pleasant chatter and Brian’s mother had to drag her son home to finally leave Kian to rest.
The next day the two of them spent the afternoon, strolling on the shore. Kian updated some of Brian’s knowledge in school matters and talked about future. Brian dreamed to become an astronomer but he wasn’t sure if his mom could provide the money for his studies. Kian smiled.
-You keep on getting good marks and leave the worries to the grown-ups…Let’s go home.
Your mom might be worried.
They took a shortcut and were heading towards their flat when they heard the screech of tires and saw a lorry running down the street, right in their way. In a matter of seconds it would hit them. Brian’s eyes rounded in horror. Kian grabbed his hand and…both of them disappeared. They landed in front of their home, shaking and panting but alive and unharmed. Kian leaned against the wall, sweating and shivering. He could hardly concentrate and the image of the world around was wobbling. He mumbled:
-Let’s go upstairs, Brian or I’ll faint right here.
Brian got his friend upstairs and sat him on the sofa. The mind shattering headache made Kian collapse, fighting for breath. Brian rushed for his mom for help. Mrs. Knight prepared some tea and put a wet towel on Kian’s forehead. She scolded both of the youngsters for their restlessness, not knowing that they’ve just miraculously escaped from death. She “ordered” Kian to sleep ands took Brian home.
While the tormenting ache slowly subsided, Kian tried to put things together. Since he’s been hit by the strange lightning, he developed some unexpected capabilities. He could make space jumps but the amount of energy used for that left him sick and helpless, at least for a while. Coming to a conclusion, he decided to give a chance to his body to recover, so he turned down the light and quickly fell asleep.
They never talked about the incident so after while it looked like it never happened. A new summer came along with the long awaited vacation for Brian. By midsummer Kian had a week of vacation to so he invited his friends to a trip in the mountains. He rented a car and in the afternoon of the same day they were basking on the last rays of the setting sun in the mountains. The small but neat woodhouse, provided with all the facilities was located on the rim of the forest and there was a plateau nearby that offered an excellent view of the surroundings.
As the last shades of crimson and gold died out on the horizon, the darkness slowly took hold of the whole scenery. One by one the stars lit up in the skies above, spreading on intricate patterns over the velvety-blackness. The Milky Way expanded its impressive ribbon of shining diamonds, crossing the night sky, tying together Earth and Heaven. Brian watched the unfolding of wonders with mouth agape. He has never seen so many stars in one location. The lights of the city blurred out most of them but here the entwining of darkness and light was undisturbed and in the deep silence around, you could almost hear the faint hum of the Universe. Kian enjoyed the amazement on Brian’s face. He also loved to watch the stars though there was a nagging feeling somewhere in the deep of his mind that this was not the only sky he’s ever seen. Yet the memory of other stars remained uncertain, except for…but he decided to turn his attention back to his young friend.
-I thought you might like to have this-he said, handing a long and slim black box to Brian.
-What is it?
-Open it and you’ll see…
Brian cautiously opened the box, took out the item from inside in and yelped.
-Gosh, Kian, a telescope! Is this for me?!-he asked incredulously.
Kian smiled and nodded.
-You mean it?! Man, thank you! You’re the greatest!
Kian laughed softly and took him by the elbow.
-Let’s go a little further and try it out. We might find something interesting in the skies…