Sam awoke first. He couldn't remember what had happened and he felt like his body had been run over by a tank. He had a headache, so he kept his eyes closed. He really wished he could go back to sleep, but when he tried to turn onto his side he found he couldn't.
His eyes shot open. He could see the dark night sky, though there were no stars. Of course, he hadn't seen the stars since the explosion, the light being blocked by the clouds of ash and smoke.
There was the sound of water dripping somewhere. He looked to his immobile limbs, seeing they had been tied down to the side of a bed. Rachel was to his right, and Matt was to the right of her. They were tied down as well.
That's when he realized they were inside the remains of a house. The ceiling had fallen in, and there was a door hanging by just the bottom hinge, the wooden doorway splitting from the stress. However, it was the man coming toward him from behind the door that held his attention.
There were candles in the room which cast crawling shadows across the mans face, and it was only once he got very close that Sam noticed he had a very short, scruffy, salt-and-pepper beard.
With the realization he knew that face, he remembered what happened to them, however long ago that had been. This man had stood in front of their car, then blasted them with lightning. If it hadn't been for Rachel...
"Who are you with?" the man demanded. He had a deep, rich voice that would have probably been very charismatic, had it not been so intimidating. He narrowed his eyes at Sam, then demanded it again. "Do you belong to a gang!?"
"No, no we don't." Sam responded. The man sighed and adjusted a strap over his shoulder. It was a gun. No, wait, that was their gun!
"What do you want with us?" Sam responded, much more confidently than he actually felt. He knew he could do nothing. If only his power were something useful in a situation like this, like Rachel's.
The man looked him over and cast a quick glance at Rachel. "Do any of you... have powers?" he asked. Sam noticed his voice trembled slightly at the last word.
Sam fought a mental battle in the course of 2 seconds. Should he tell the truth? The man seemed afraid of powers. What if he kills them for having power? Then he remembered the car again. This man had power, so why kill someone who's like you?
This was the decision maker. "Yes." Sam said. "Except Matt." he added hastily.
The man looked him over once more. "What can you do?" he asked, some of the hostility had drained away. He took a seat in a rickety chair near the door, and for a moment Sam thought it might collapse under his weight.
"I can see far away. Basically like having binoculars." Sam mumbled. "Not very helpful."
"What about her?" the man asked, nodding toward Rachel.
"She's telekinetic." Sam responded dryly. "Stopping the car was the biggest thing she's ever attempted though." The man looked thoughtful, and Sam took the chance to ask a question of his own. "Why do you want to know so much about us?"
This simply made him smile, and he stood up and strode over to where a window had once been. It was now simply a gaping hole in the wall. He looked over the decimated landscape as he answer very slowly, thoughtfully.
"The day before the bomb dropped, I had everything. Penthouse apartment, loving family, a retirement fund." He laughed slightly, a smile wrinkling the corner of his eye. "I went to bed with aches and pains, not so unusual for my age. I can only assume I got up that day, but I don't remember it."
That's weird. Sam thought. Neither does Rachel or I.
"The next thing I remember after that, I'm laying down on the floor in this place, halfway across the city, buried under rubble. I hurt from some of the scratches on me, but those were my only injuries.
"But, all my pains were gone. My knees, my back, everywhere. I heal quicker than I know should be possible, and I can lift a truck over my head if I strain myself for a few seconds. I can only guess that's because my muscles heal and grow.
"One time I was in a store a week or two after the explosion and was attacked by one of the first gangs. The cops were even still around back then. One of them pulled a gun, and before I knew what I was doing, I had raised my hand to him and killed him on the spot with a shot of lightning."
The sadness in those last fear words hung in the air for what seemed like an eternity. It could only have been a few seconds, but suddenly he wasn't telling a stranger what had happened to him, he was reliving it.
He could see the man with the gun. He had smiled. Jamal raised his hand instinctively and yelled 'stop!', but an instant later the man fell backwards.
Jamal knew the man had planned on killing him, but it made it no easier for him to accept what he had done.
He was pulled back to reality by the insistent dripping in a corner, and looked back at Sam. They remained silent as he rose and untied Matt and Rachel, then finally Sam himself. But Sam still had a nagging question eating at the back of his mind.
"Are you saying then, that you have two powers?"
"Yes." Jamal replied as he walked toward the door. "Don't you?"