TITLE: Fate Misnamed
He came into being a fifteen-year-old with a bleeding brain and radiation poisoning. At least, that's what he was told later. The boy just knew there had to be some logical explanation for why his vision was sliding out of focus and his head felt like it was splitting open.
The two adults stood before him, hanging back at a careful distance. The man's voice reverberated in his ears: "He looks like hell. What's wrong with the kid, Sabra?"
The woman eyed the boy in an unsettling manner; she looked poised as a hunted animal, gun dangling from her hand. "I'm just wondering what he's doing here."
The boy wondered that, too. He recalled watching the adults approach from across the concrete yard; they shouted unremembered words at him. But before that?
His dry-eyed gaze wandered about his surroundings. Flat granite sidewalks, rusting tanker trucks, the scarred walls of warehouses, and beyond it all a chilled expanse of water. The slit of a moon washed everything in a dull gray light.
He couldn't puzzle it out. It was like a heavy cloth was bunched in his skull, stuffed ear to ear, blotting his thoughts away.
"Who are you, kid?" The man's voice again.
The boy focused on him, the dark-skinned man blurring in and out of focus. Pain beat a dull rhythm inside his skull. "I don't know."
The woman, Sabra, this time: "How could you not know?"