As the various shades of green turned into gold and amber, autumn claimed the land for itself. Long streaks of flying birds took away the warmth of the summer and carried the moments of the daylight to higher latitudes. The blissful vacations turned into happy memories and everybody got back on track. For Brian this was the final year in high school so he was more than busy. The telescope he got from Kian proved to be the boost he needed to work at full speed for his dream.
On the other side, Kian felt fulfilled bringing happiness to his chosen family. His own moments of melancholy were balanced by the feeling of belonging he’s got from Mrs. Knight and her son. Things seemed to work out nicely. By the middle of December winter prepared itself to take over the landscape and hide it under the cloak of snow and ice. At the same time people were looking forward to celebrate Christmas and New Years Eve. Unfortunately celebration wasn’t for every one. There were unhappy or bitter people towards whom life has been hard or plainly unjust. For most of them this period of the year was hard to bear.
Brian and some of his friends were at school that afternoon, preparing surprises for the children of the neighborhood. The mad or maddened man, who burst into the school, shouting that he has a bomb, took the youngsters by surprise. They were totally unprepared for such an event and they didn’t have the time to lock the man out. So they became the hostages of a highly disturbed person, not knowing what would be the outcome of this situation or how serious the threat was. Soon, the police arrived trying to defuse the situation.
Kian was just coming home when he bumped into a deeply disturbed Mrs. Knight. She was on her way to the school so Kian took a cab and they both departed in a hurry. The crowd was already gathering around the school: troubled parents, curious strangers, journalists, televisions and the tensed, overwhelmed police workers. A hostage situation involving children put a great pressure on them. Kian tried to assess the situation from what he could see, hear or sense. The fact that his friend was trapped inside raised the alarm level inside his mind. He felt his senses sharpening and expanding to a level he never felt before. Suddenly he became aware of the location of the tragedy unfolding. He could clearly detect the place where the madman was, hiding from the snipers. For a moment the senseless rage of the man washed through his mind but it was quickly replaced by the wave of fear and terror coming from the kids. At that moment Kian knew he has to take action. So he chose a remote spot from where he had a clear feeling of the source, closed his eyes and concentrated.
The surprised offender wasn’t even realizing what was happening and he was out in front of the building, face down and Kian atop of him. He was quickly taken away by the police while Kian disappeared inside the building to look after Brian. They met on the stairs, the boy pale and shaken, Kian worried and starting to feel sick.
-Who…who are you?-he stammered.
-I don’t know-whispered Kian. I don’t know…Let’s go find your mom.
They were about to exit the building when they bumped into Mrs. Knight. She embraced both of them, bursting into tears. They stood like that for a few moments then Mrs. Knight turned to Kian:
-They are looking for you outside: police, televisions, parents…-
-I…I can’t. Please, help me out of here. I don’t think I can stand on my feet for long…The sickness…it’s coming back…-he said in a restrained voice. He was already sweating and shivering.
The cab rolled in high speed. Kian’s head rested on Brian shoulder while he was slipping away into unconsciousness. They had to carry him upstairs and despite all care, his condition was quickly deteriorating. By midnight the ambulance took him to the hospital, back in the care of the doctor who knew so well his story. Fortunately they managed to stabilize him and by morning he regained conscience. He was alert but he felt incredibly tired.
By noon the doctor came along with two men in dark suit. Kian sighed.
-I knew you would come. I need a day to clear up some things and then, I’ll be yours-he said.
The two men exchanged some words and then the older turned to Kian.
-The car will be here tomorrow at 11.
They briefly saluted him and the doctor and they left. The doctor looked embarrassed.
-I could try to stop them on medical ground…-he started but Kian stopped him.
-Thank you, sir but it won’t be necessary. I was expecting them. Please, call Mrs. Knight and Brian. I urgently need to talk to them.
An hour later the three of them were talking in Kian’s room.
-I have to go. I don’t know when or if I’m coming back. I’ll leave you my flat and my cat. Please take care as you always did. All the expenses are taken care off. There’s also a count for Brian’s studies-don’t disappoint me, young man. Thank you, Mrs. Knight for being my family- said Kian, embracing her.
-Now, I’d like to have a few words with him, if it’s possible.
Brian’s mom left the room, leaving the two young men alone.
-Why are you leaving?!-cried out Brian.
-You know I have to-whispered Kian. I have no choice and I can’t run away in my present condition. Sooner or later they would catch me. And they would pester you to. It’s not worth it.
-It’s not fair! You’re a hero! You saved me twice and you saved us all!
-I don’t belong here; not anymore. Please, don’t argue; it’s not easy for me either. Look, I have a gift for you.
Kian unbuttoned his shirt and took out a necklace. There was a bluish rock pending on it. Kian took the rock in both palms, warming it up for a few moments. When he released it, the rock was glowing and became translucent. He handed it to Brian.
-Look inside and tell me what you see.
-It’s a star cluster!-exclaimed the boy. One that I’ve never seen…
-Find it! Find it for me!-said Kian. Keep that rock as a memory of my friendship to you. It’s the only thing I have from a past I can’t recall.
They embraced then Kian gently pushed his young friend out.
-Go! Go now! I still have some things to think over. Take care and watch the skies!
The sight of tears shining in the corner of his eyes was the last memory of Kian in the troubled mind of Brian.
The next day, Kian took the black Army car and left himself in the hand of fate.
The base was well hidden in the sand of the eerie looking valley. The research and the medical team treated Kian well and did their best to get him back on track. He needed rest and vitamins to supply all he’d lost during the hostage situation. He complied with all the requests, answered all the questions and went trough all the tests they’ve asked for. He had nothing to gain and nothing to lose. He knew that they were preparing him to perform another space jump.
The day of the experiment almost the whole basis was watching through television. Kian was placed in one of the labs, surrounded by sophisticated instruments and cameras.
Everybody was withholding breath while he closed his eyes and concentrated. In less then a fraction of a second he was in the lab next door. He stood there, resting for a while then repeated the performance, getting back to the first lab. A stunned silence surrounded him. He collapsed.
Three busy days and all the knowledge they could gather was necessary to bring him back to life. The amount of energy needed to perform the space jump almost terminated him. Though he was alive and up on his feet, he was fading. He was pleasant and even smiling but he looked pale and tired. Even the look in his blue-grey eyes was somehow drifting away and his mind seemed to be elsewhere.
It was a deep night when he woke up with the feeling that someone is waiting for him outside. He quickly dressed up and left the room in silence. Fortunately there was nobody around. He went to the exit door at the end of the corridor and pushed it open. The air outside was fresh and crisp. He took a few steps in the deep darkness. A door of light exploded in front of his, blinding him for a moment. He took a step forward and a pair of strong hand helped him in to the light. A moment later, the starship disappeared without a trace.
They couldn’t find an explanation for the missing test subject. The whole base was turned upside-down, searching for him or a clue. Finally they decided to close the file on Kian and to consider it another X File.