The Seven Five Nothing

The Seven Five Nothing are a collection of hyper-short stories, each written in a single sitting with no editting.

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24. The Boy Who Flew.

He was seven when they found out he could fly. His parents, understandably, were stunned. But the boy, he thought nothing of it. 'Why didn't you tell us?' his mother asked.
'I thought everybody could fly,' the boy remarked.

At first, they didn't know how to deal with it. They weren't even too sure that they were meant to deal with it. 'After all,' the father's boy commented, 'if he was just really good at art, would we be compelled to tell the world?'

And so it was, for the first year or so after their discovery, his mother and father didn't tell a soul, and they made the boy promise that he wouldn't fly in front of anybody else. 'Make me a promise,' his mother pushed. And the boy did, not wanting to upset her.

But behind closed doors, he would often fly around the house. Being small, it was easy for him to zip through doorways and around corners, and gradually, as they got used to it, his parents began to think that it might not be such a worrying thing. 'We could go to the newspapers,' the boy's father said. 'They'd pay money for this.'
'No,' his mother insisted. 'It would be a terrible intrusion. We mustn't let strangers invade our lives.' And so, they agreed, no stories, no newspapers. Their flying boy would be a family secret.

As the boy grew however, his feelings also changed, and it was hard sometimes to not show off what he could do. Any little boy who loves climbing trees but can only get so high would always want to fly up to higher branches. But instead, he had to respect his parents wishes and not show off just what he could do.

Then, one day, when the boy ten years old, he discovered that he had strength as well. It happened by accident, whilst playing with his friends. They had discovered an old quarry, and the boy managed to pick up a rock - many thousands of times heavier than himself - without even trying. His friends were just as amazed as he was, and unfortunately, they were not as quiet as his parents had been. The boy anticipated that his parents might not be too pleased, but there was nothing he could do, even after he begged his friends to not tell anybody.

But of course, nobody took them seriously, and even after they had all told their parents, none of the adults wanted to get involved. Children, they all thought, have such wonderfully wild imaginations.

And then when he was thirteen, the boy faced danger for the first time. It was his a car accident and the vehicle tumbled through the air, spinning the people inside like rag dolls, close to the edge of the bridge. The boy's instincts kicked in, and without thought of those around him, he flew straight to the car, catching it within inches of rolling over into the water below. This time, nobody could deny what they had seen.

That evening, as the newspaper men and the TV women queued on the lawn, the boy's father shook his head, glancing through the curtains. 'Why?' he asked. 'Why did you let them see?'
'I don't know. I just did it. I didn't think.'
'Exactly,' his father muttered.

It was a week before he they went away, all the press and the television people. His mother was quiet and his father fraught. By now, he'd started to regret not letting them talk. 'We missed the boat,' his father said. 'Just think what they might of paid.'
'No,' the boy's mother insisted. 'We made a promise to him. He has to have a normal life.'
'Look at him. He's a goddamn superhero. He's never going to be normal. We might as well cash in now.'
'No.'

The boy wasn't allowed out again till the following summer, when most people had forgotten about what had happened that day on the bridge.

By the time the boy was sixteen, he'd barely flown at all. 'Why don't you fly anymore?' his mother asked.
'These walls are too small.'
'But I used to watch you in wonder. Won't you fly for me?'
'I can barely get off the ground before I'm hitting the ceiling. I'm not sure I even know how to anymore.'
'We should have cashed in,' his father said. 'The boy probably can't do it anymore. He's probably grown out of it. He's just a normal kid now.'

And when he was eighteen, he'd forgotten he had ever flown at all.
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