The date stood out boldly on the whiteboard, the teacher giving my class the yearly lesson about what happened on this day ten years ago. It was hard for anyone across the world to not know of what happened ten years ago. Most people looked back on it with a smile, but, for Henry, that day wasn’t so cheerful.
Henry could remember how the day had started off pretty happily.
“Gotcha!” Jenny Ford had exclaimed as she found him hiding within the tube slide at the old playground on the corner of Bluebird Street and Hemingway Boulevard. He screamed out with shock as Jenny laughed at him with a shining smile he would never forget. “Now it’s your turn to be It!”
Henry pouted and crawled out of the slide, walking over to the nearby tree and closing his eyes, beginning to count to ten as he could hear Jenny run off to hide, kicking up wood chips as she sped across the playground.
Henry had been a huge comic book nerd since he could read and, because of that, not a lot of kids talked to him that much. Jenny was practically the only friend he had, even though she was a couple years older than him.
“2 . . . 1 . . .” Henry smiled broadly as he opened his eyes and turned around. “Ready or not--!”
Henry stopped himself mid-sentence as he noticed the cloudy sky above him was suddenly shining a lot more boldly than usual with a rainbow of colors, a thundering voice surrounding him as it spoke.
Attention to all of humanity.
The voice seemed to echo in many different languages, but Henry could understand it clearly.
I have served as your god for many millenniums now, but my time is coming to an end. In twelve years time, I must step down and elect another being as the new god.
In order to make my decision on who shall succeed me, I shall be granting all of humanity with the ability to chose a super human power they wish to control.
Henry felt ecstatic. He wanted to be just like Superman, using his powers to save as many people as he can and making the last moments of those he couldn’t save as amazing as possible.
The human who uses their power the most wisely and earns my respect will become my prodigy.
You may have for whatever power you wish, but you only get one power, so choose wisely.
Henry’s excitement fell as the shining light faded away. Only one? How could he possibly choose between Superman’s many powers?
Remembering about Jenny hiding somewhere near, Henry quickly began to run around in the search for his friend.
“Jenny! Jenny, did you hear that?!” Henry shouted throughout the park. “We get to have super powers! What powers do you want? Do you want to have electricity powers like Static Shock? I want one of Superman’s powers, but I don’t know which one! Flying or super strength would be pretty awesome, but his new Super Nova power would really cool too!”
As Henry searched and searched with no prevail, he felt stumped. Then a thought hit him. “Oh, did you get the power to turn invisible? Or flying, or super speed? Maybe you can transport? I’m so jealous, I can’t think of just one I would want to have!”
Of course, as the hours passed by and day turned to night, it became apparent to Henry that Jenny had disappeared without a trace. Scores of adults and police officers searched all over for Henry’s friend, but when he tried to join in on the search as well, they said that there wasn’t much he could do.
In that moment, Henry remembered the words of the voice that called itself god. He suddenly wasn’t confused about what power he wanted.
Are you ready to decide, young one?
What is the power you wish for?
I wish to fly, so I can find Jenny.
Fly as you might, you won’t find her.
You don’t know that.
Jenny is no more.
I WILL FLY INTO THE SKY AND FIND HER ALIVE.
You are childish and refuse to listen. I will grant you the power, but know that you will never be allowed to be in the running to become god.
I don’t care about your stupid competition, I just want to save my friend!
“. . . nry? Henry Kent?”
Henry snapped himself back to the present as he looked up at the teacher. She was young and fresh out of college, the smile on her face making it far too obvious that she hadn’t been a high school teacher for long, especially not a teacher for a freshman history class. “Yes, Ms. Hall?”
“I heard that you were one of the first kids in this town to receive your powers,” Ms. Hall began, the other students looking at her as though she was completely insane.
“Yes,” Henry answered stiffly. “Ten years ago on this very day, I gained the power to fly.”
“What made you decide on your power so quickly?” Ms. Hall asked with a smile as the rest of the class sat in stunned silence.
Henry paused for a moment, taking a deep breath before plastering a fake smile on his face. “I am simply a big fan of Superman.”