The living room television plays in the background as Sol inspects his son, Mikhail, one final time. He kneels down to polish his boots with the cuff of his sleeve till they shine. As he stands, he ensures the belt is secure and then moves around to the back. He attaches the cape and unfurls it. A shimmering golden cascade flows down almost to the ground.
Sol turns Mikhail to face him and smiles with admiration. The royal blue suit is a perfect fit, true to his tall stature and taking full advantage of his muscular, godlike frame. Mary would have been dumbfounded by how much his tailoring skills have improved.
“Father,” Mikhail asks, his eyes resolute and focused upon him, “why am I here?”
Sol sighs and continues to smile bemusedly. Mikhail has asked this before. He doesn’t mind answering him again. It’s the duty of a supportive father to assure his son of his purpose in life, to point him in the right direction, to raise him right.
“You’re here to show them, son,” he says, nodding at the television over Mikhail’s shoulder as he continues to diligently primp and adjust the suit. “To have the eyes of the entire world upon you. To have them look up to you with awe. To make an impression and impact that they will never forget. To make it so that everyone knows why you’re here.”
Mikhail looks towards the television. The news is on, and a reporter covers the events happening in the crowded, busy city behind her. He asks, “For them?”
Sol nods. “And for us.”
His son regards him again. “And my mother?”
A wrinkle appears over Sol’s brow. He pinches his lips tightly together, masking the quiver rippling through them. He braces his hands on Mikhail’s firm shoulders, leaning into his son’s strong body and searches deep within his unwavering gaze till he glimpses a familiar spark behind his eyes.
“She’s watching,” he says. A sudden lump in his throat causes him to choke a little on his words. He clears his throat and adds, “She's watching both of us, son.”
Mikhail tilts his chin slightly aside, then nods. He understands.
“Okay, enough of that,” Sol says, drawing a deep breath to compose himself. He closes the chest plate, sealing the network of fibre optics and processors behind a silver crest emblazoned with the emblem of fiery angel wings. “You’re ready.”
“I am, Father,” his son says. “I am ready.”
Sol then leads him to the backdoor of their house and out into their garden. The sky above is clear and bright.
Once more he pats his son reassuringly on the arm, almost with reverence. He then points towards the city. “Go now. Make me proud. Show them all, my son.”
Sol steps back. His son continues to regard him intently with eyes that begin to glow like the sun. Slowly his boots levitate from the ground and his golden cape flutters as if buoyed by the breath of the angels. Then with the speed and stealth of a jet, Mikhail bolts into the sky, arching through the blue canopy above towards the city with a sonic boom echoing in the distance.
Motionless for several minutes as he watches the skies, Sol feels his heart swell. A lump forms in his throat. He hopes Mary would be proud. He knows she would.
For the next twenty minutes, he tends to the garden, watering the flowers and clearing the debris with care and quiet attention. Then he goes back into the house, to the living room where the television has remained on.
He sits in his big chair and looks aside towards the wall where a portrait of Mary holding their baby hangs. She’s watching the television, as well. Sol settles in and turns the volume up. The news is still on.
“...this unprovoked attack on the city by this unknown caped figure has been utterly devastating! His power is unbelievable and terrifying! He has single-handedly destroyed the entire League of Champions as if they were nothing while they attempted to subdue him, leaving him to impose his destructive will on the unprotected populace! Entire blocks have been reduced to rubble in a matter of minutes! People are running in a mad panic to try to get away...”
The video on the screen shakes and stutters rendering the picture almost incomprehensible but encapsulates the chaos for all who watch with awe. Appearing as if the cameraman has stumbled and fallen, the image focuses momentarily, straight up where black smoke and swirling fire have washed out the blue sky.
An angelic figure rises into frame high above, his golden cape rippling upon the raging air. He stares down with the eyes of the entire world looking up at him, everyone wondering who this being is with the burning wings upon his chest, this bringer of armageddon. His eyes flare, he clenches his powerful fists, then a sudden explosion of brilliant light cuts out the newsfeed just as the reporter screams.
Sol nods as he watches intently.
“Show them,” he says, with eyes pinched and swollen with tears of pride. A growl curls the edge of his lips, “Show them all... my son.”