Comfortable in his flight skills, Neil looked upwards to the clouds. He knew that somewhere up there was a glorious golden sun, just waiting for him to break through the layer of cloud coverage to see. He thought of the similarities between himself and Icarus - the boy who flew too close to the sun with homemade wings that the wax melted and he plummeted to his death. Neil had to laugh at the humor of the situation he found himself in.
He angled himself upwards, and shot straight towards the clouds. He was now traveling well over two-hundred miles-per-hour. He held his arm out in front of him and cemented it in place with his mind. The force of the wind at this point was so strong that it could easily pull his arm back and dislocate his shoulder if he wasn’t careful.
Neil looked down and saw that he was gaining altitude at an astounding rate. The ground shrank below him, just like it did when taking off in an airplane. He saw the highway and the city below him, but knew that he was moving too fast and would look like a tiny speck to anybody on the ground.
The cloud layer above him was getting closer by the second. The air started to feel like the biting cold of a winter storm, and he could see moisture forming on his visor. Each deep breath was less fulfilling than the last, but the air was still thick enough to take in all the oxygen he needed.
Finally, he punctured the bottom of the cloud layer, and his mask was completely covered in water droplets. Around him was a grey fog so thick that he couldn’t see his hand in front of him. The thick condensation lasted only a few seconds, until finally he broke through the layer of water vapor into the sky beyond.
What he saw completely stunned him. He slowed to a halt and focused his gaze on the incredible view. The entire sky was a brilliant canvas of gold, orange, and red. The top of the clouds were bathed in sunlight trying to shine through. Shadows from the higher clouds were cast upon the layer beneath them. The entire horizon above the clouds was covered in the glow from the warm sun.
Neil wished he could just point himself at the sun and fly straight into it. He felt a strange attraction to it, like a moth drawn to a flame. Looking out the window of an airplane was nothing compared to the unleashed feeling of being completely exposed and free like Neil was. He took off his helmet to see the view with his own two eyes. Nothing he had ever seen on Earth came close to what he felt at that moment.
The rays from the sun soaked through his skin and calmed his entire body. Its radiance painted the rest of the sky with colors. Words failed to capture the combined experience that all of his senses provided him. Looking at a photograph of the same image would never be able to replicate what he felt, suspended above the clouds, staring at the sun.
He had never felt as small as he did then. The irony was not lost on Neil. Only after he had become the most powerful person imaginable was he able to truly feel insignificant. It wasn’t a bad feeling, though. It was calming – euphoric, even. Exams, girls, bills, parties - it all seemed so petty when looking across the painted sky and embracing how vast it all was. Neil could make little impact on anything up there.
Superhuman Nature is Brandon Overall's first novel. It was written and published during his first deployment to Afghanistan as a 2nd Lieutenant in late 2013.
Neil Hitchens was a senior ROTC Cadet in college. He was just weeks away from graduating and becoming an Officer in the United States Army, until a strange dream set off a chain of events that would twist his life into something he could have never prepared for.
In the days following his dream, several strange happenings occurred that he began to suspect were the result of his own actions. Before long, he discovered that he had the ability to control the world around him with his mind.
What started out as an unpredictable ability quickly evolved into an extraordinary power that had the capacity to change the world. It didn't take long for the government to find out what Neil could do.
They knew having such limitless potential on the side of the US Military could give them limitless political influence, and they would stop at nothing to get Neil to do their bidding. They would find out what happens when you back a dangerous animal into a corner.
Neil spent his whole life believing he would amount to greatness, but he never expected how greatness could corrupt even the most innocent of minds.
Genre – Science Fiction
Rating – PG-13
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