Another person fell to the ground as the life force was drained from them. Sebastian stood close to the bodies of the people around him as he took aim and fired a piercing light from his hands. The shots whooshed through the air, splitting into four individual bullets that struck the backs of the robbers as they ran away, trying to get to safety.
The boy lowered his hands when the last bit of light found its mark and the robber crumpled. He walked over to the victim of his power and gently put his fingers to her throat, hoping for a pulse. When he found nothing, he stood and walked towards a rear exit of the gas station store. The robbers had shot and killed three people and he, Sebastian, had killed a fourth. He walked past an aisle and saw a group of young people huddled together for safety. He thought about telling them they were safe but didn’t know what good it would do. They had already seen too much. They were already traumatized.
Sirens filled the air and Sebastian walked out the back and ran to a forest behind the store. No one would find him. They never did.
He ran through the trees and over fallen logs, wondering how it had come to pass that he would be in the store when the robbers had come in. How had it been that they had decided to be there at the same time as he had been? His hands still burned a slight tingle from his powers and he rubbed them together to get them to stop.
The girl he had killed had been an innocent. He never was able to focus and take the life of the people who needed to die when he charged his light. It was always an innocent bystander. He had first used his powers when a stray dog had attacked him. It had bitten his arm and jerked him back and forth until the bone broke. Without thinking his uninjured had lit up and a bolt of light had come from it. The dog had let go as soon as it was struck and laid motionless, and a cat fell from its spot on the roof of a house, also dead.
Sebastian was taken to the hospital that day and treated. While he was there, men in suits walked into his room and talked to him about a facility far away that wanted to recruit him for the betterment of the world. Being scared and hurt, Sebastian unlocked his powers in the room and accidentally shot one of the men and drained the other of his life. He had stood shocked and then ran as fast as his legs could take him from the place.
He’d been running ever since. He knew the ins and outs of survival. Find water first and then shelter. Sebastian could go days without food but was excellent at hunting. Almost no matter what an animal would die when he activate his light, whether from being shot or from having their life stolen by his hands.
The boy found his hovel and quickly grabbed his bag and kicked around the wood and ash that had been a fire. He tried his best to quickly dismantle the camp and then continued on his run. The agency that had sent the men would be on his trail again soon. It had been three years but they always showed up when he made a mistake. They were always there to try and get him.
The forest grew thick in foliage and Sebastian became aware that he hadn’t been to this part of the forest yet. He continued moving, following a small creek, hoping against hope that he’d find a nice cave or dense bunch of conifer trees.
The way grew muddy as the creek widened and became a stream and then a small river. He couldn’t hear anything but the noise of the birds and the swaying of the leaves in the trees. His hands had stopped hurting, so he put on fingerless gloves to help keep his power in check. The last thing he needed was to get spooked and accidentally fire at someone or something.
The small river became wide and rushing and he found that the terrain was growing steeper and more rocky. He hadn’t been able to see any mountains or high places from his last campsite, but that meant little to what the geography looked like. He found that the Earth’s crust was ever changing. You could go from a flat plain to great hills in only a days walk. The mountainous fixtures on the land soon grew hard to walk on. There were steep inclines and dreadful drops, but the river flowed through it all.
Sebastian soon found a small cave in the side of the land. He crawled in and found it empty, safe for a few tufts of grass and mushrooms. He sat his bag done on the ground and began to look for dry wood to build a small fire.
He had gone to the gas station to buy himself some food, or rather steal himself some food. He had been stuck eating different kinds of nuts and pinecones for a while and he had wanted something of substance. He had almost made it out of the store. He had filled his pockets and has getting ready to leave when the robbers came in. They had called for everyone to get on the ground and they quickly forced the cashier to open the drawer and dish out all the cash. They then began to fill their bags with different junk in the small mart. That’s when one of the guys, a truck driver, rushed the robber nearest to him, followed by two others. They all were quickly gunned down after leaving the thieves with some rising bruises. That’s when Sebastian had intervened. He had hoped that one of the robbers would have been killed through the charging, but that was never the case. It was always a good guy. Everytime.
The girl had been lying next to the cash register when she felt the first pulls. Her breathing became ragged and she could feel her heart pounding in her chest. In fact, a coroner report would say that she had a heart attack, but the real reason was that Sebastian was pulling on the essence of her life. He tried to shut it off before she died but was too slow. The robbers deserved to die for what they did, but not her.
Camp was set up quickly and precisely. The fire was kept small and the frozen burrito that had come from his pocket was soon thawing over the flames. He looked up into the sky and saw that the sun was low. Not quite setting but clearly not midday. Sebastian gathered sticks and leaves to put in front of the entrance of the cave and got ready to settle into the night. He played with the fire and thought of the girl until the sun had set and the stars showed brightly through the canopies of the trees around him. He fell asleep, playing over and over the thieves falling to the ground.
Sebastian woke up in a sheen of sweat. He thought he heard something that sounded like helicopter blades. He sat up and crawled through his barrier of leaves and sticks. There. In the wind. The sound of a helicopter grew louder and louder. He saw the light before he saw the flying machine. They were searching for him.
He kicked the fire out and grabbed his bag, then ran up higher into the rocky hill that was fast becoming a mountain. The boy climbed until the ground beneath his feet began to plateau. He could still hear the helicopter but the light that had pierced the forest had disappeared. He felt safe. Sitting on a rock and wiping his brow and he looked around. There were animal tracks here and there but nothing suspicious or that showed any human had walked this way recently. Sebastian found a small shelf and crawled under it. He closed his eyes and fell asleep.
The next morning he was awakened but a gnawing at his stomach. He got the water bottle out of his bag and drank half the contents. He needed to find water again but was nervous about going back down the mountain for fear of running into one of the people from the helicopter chase the night before.
Making up his mind, Sebastian walked back down the mountain until he found the river. He dipped his bottle into it and heard the crunch of leaves under foot. The sound was recognizable even if he hadn’t been on the run for as long as he was. He looked up at an agent whose gun was level with him. Sebastian stayed down but called on his power. He connected with something nearby and felt his hands growing warm. Unfortunately, it didn’t appear as if he was draining the agent in front of him, who was standing stock still, appearing to be listening to something. When he felt charged, Sebastian let loose a double shot of light that in a blink of an eye found their target.
The agent went down and lay motionless. Sebastian put his bottle in his bag and searched the body quickly. Finding nothing of importance he grabbed the man’s wallet and stuffed it into the bag also.
They had failed to catch him again and they weren’t going to succeed anytime soon.
Sebastian started to run through the forest again, leaving the river and mountain behind.