A Child's Legacy
Demovere Xeno


Everyday, I see them.

People of all ages – young and old; people of all sizes – short and tall, stocky and lanky; people whose faces are unique from each other – almond eyes, puffy lips, squat noses. They walk along bland, concrete sidewalks, their various footwear clapping and clopping along in an almost ethereal rhythm; as if they were all members of some massive orchestra, playing their monotonous tune day in, day out, without realizing it. Or perhaps they do; perhaps somewhere, deep down in their subconscious, something is telling them to tap their feet to a common pace, enabling them to make such ghostly music…

Sorry, I’m thinking too much again. One tends to do that when one has lived for so long.

I stand up, and begin the trek to my favorite spot in the park, all the while glancing at every person whom I pass by. Just seeing their happy, carefree faces, it amazes me how much the people of this planet have gone through… and how much they have forgotten. Well, when I think about it, it’s highly doubtful that they WOULD remember, seeing as how short a human’s life is – and how far back it was.

A strong breeze picks up, and many of the people walking past me start going faster; probably to get out of the way of a possibly incoming storm. All I do is pull my coat tighter over my body and press on. The wind’s strong, yeah, but there’s nary a gray cloud in sight; it’s most likely the cold air from the sea rushing in to take the place of the warm air that’s already risen into the stratosphere. I’ve got my coat and hat keeping me warm; there’s no real reason to take refuge from something so trivial.

Hey, after all these years, you’ll definitely pick up a thing or two about the weather.

The wind dies down a few minutes later, and the sidewalks start flooding with people again. I check my watch. 3:20… it’s checkout time in some offices. I watch as the streets begin to fill with vehicles. Cars containing the free, unadulterated energy of children pass by buses packed to the rim with the matured ones and the elderly. Each engine rev, each screech of tires, each belch of smoke, slowly, but surely, assisting in the eventual fall of mankind.

I’d know… I was there when it happened.

Vehicles are progress. Progress leads to innovation. Finding new ways of doing things… that’s what innovation is. When coupled with concepts such as protection and nature, it becomes a tool of prosperity; a new path, that can lead us into tomorrow. But what happens when it sides with man’s single most primal desire… greed?


I reach the park. The scent of freshly-watered grass finds its way to me, and I inhale it deeply, savoring each relaxing moment. A young couple walks by me, hand in hand, her head resting on his. An elderly man is seated on a nearby wooden bench, telling a story to a little kid, who looks like he’s enjoying every second of it.

It still amazes me how far forward and backward humans have gone. It amazes me how much has been forgotten… and how much has been remembered, without them realizing it. To this generation, it would be almost absurd to say that to find the marvels of the future, one would only have to look back.

Yes, look back.

I’ve seen it all. Wars fought with weapons capable of mass destruction. Peace achieved through diplomatic means… or simply through force. People coming together to fight for a common goal… and turning against each other after an exchange of even the most insignificant pieces of information. In the end, humans ended up taking each other down, leading to what seemed like an eternal darkness… physically and culturally.

But if it’s one thing about humans, they learn from their mistakes. They eventually rebuild; maybe not immediately, but at their leisure. Whenever someone says “isn’t there a better way of doing this? Is this the only option we have?” you can rest assured that civilization as you know it is on the rise again… and perhaps, on its way to yet another drastic fall.

I reach my favorite bench. After dusting off some of the stray leaves, I slump down into it, continuing to observe people as they pass by. A group of joggers run past, huffing and puffing to the sound of their footsteps. A businesswoman, whose attention is diverted by her cellular phone, nearly walks into them; fortunately for her, they swerve around her just in time, and continue on.

Nothing to do… might as well catch some shuteye while I can.

Out of the corner of my eye, I see a ball bounce along in front of me. Reflexes take over; my right hand shoots outward, catching the ball in midair before it goes past. I hold it in my hands; it’s a child’s basketball. I note the cheerful colors used in designing it… blue, yellow, white…

“Nice catch, lady!”

I turn my head. Three children run up to me, admiring the way I caught the ball. “You play basketball, lady? That was cool, the way you caught it so fast!”

“Karl!” the girl of the group interrupted. “You don’t go around asking people if they play basketball!”

“It’s alright; I don’t mind answering,” I reply simply, handing them the ball. “One word, kids: experience. You’ll learn to appreciate it when you get older.”

“Not me, uh-uh!” the boy named Karl replied, puffing his chest out. “I ain’t never getting old – I’m gonna stay a kid!”

I laugh. “I admire your spunk, kid,” I tell him, a smile making its way across my face.

The three say their conditioned ‘thank you’ response, and run off, tossing the basketball amongst each other. As they leave, the smile vanishes from my face. I think about what Karl said, and sadly tell myself: if only it were that easy. If only one could stay in that point of nirvana – where one has no fears… no responsibilities… where one can just concentrate on one’s needs and wants. If only it were that simple.

But it isn’t. Humans grow up; their eyes slowly opening up to the harshness of real life. Humans will experience joy and sadness, pleasure and pain… humility and arrogance… kindness and greed…

Right and wrong…

Hours pass. A piercing sound breaks the stillness of the park. Everyone stands up and looks around, suddenly wary of their surroundings. Then, it is heard again. And again. And again. A sound so often associated with misery, sorrow, and death.


“Oh man! Some goons’ve taken a restaurant hostage!” came a distraught man who arrived moments after. As one, the park goers panic, and fearing for their personal safety, begin to scatter in all directions – well, mostly in the opposite direction of the aforementioned restaurant. I stand there, watching as they all run by; wondering what goes on in their minds as they flee.

If there’s one thing I learned from traveling all these years, it’s that most humans are islands. They are all concerned for their own safety above all… and because of this, they distrust others as well. They were not created attached to each other; they were created as individuals; creatures who eventually must face outer and inner demons themselves. But sometimes, that’s not enough. Sometimes, even they must turn to others for help… for advice… for comfort.

I break into a run. Glancing around and making sure that I’m not noticed, I head into an alley outside the park. This exterior hallway reeks of decaying food and worn-out garbage bins; and yet, it serves the purpose of concealing oneself quite nicely.

I jump. My feet land against the wall, and I begin my sprint upward. As I reach the top ledge of the building, I back flip gracefully onto the concrete roof and continue on. From rooftop to rooftop I leap, regardless of whether the gap between them is ten feet or forty feet wide.

Progress is incredible. It makes things we’ve only dreamed of reality. It lets us travel at insane speeds; it lets us soar through the skies on giant mechanical birds; it lets us experience thrills as we’ve never experienced before; it even lets us live longer.

Or even forever.

Humans, who are imperfect, often desire perfection. They are vulnerable, so they temper themselves using training and nutrients. They are ignorant, so they study to learn as much as they can. They eventually die, so they… do something about it. To say that progress can prolong that lifespan – or even extend it to infinity – is the desire of some. They want to see what progress brings, some say. Others want to become master of all knowledge; there would be nothing that they did not know.

Well, you could say that somehow, I have achieved all that… whether I wanted to or not. But was it worth the consequences? Was it worth being shunned by society for having ideas that were ‘too radical’ for that era? Was it worth going into hiding for thousands of years, merely because people couldn’t accept, and sometimes even feared, what you were? Was it worth seeing the human race as it was at its weakest moments – power hungry, corrupt, genocidal?

Most of all… was it worth seeing those whom you cared for the most die, one by one, while you continue to exist?

I stop at the ledge of a ten-storey building, the glint of the setting sun in my eyes, and look below. Police vehicles lay surrounding the other similarly tall building; the windowless restaurant where the commotion has occurred is here. The dutiful lawmen take out their weapons and aim them at the restaurant’s lone doorway, ready in case the offenders inside tried anything. Of course, the lawmen would be hesitating; what if the offenders inside end up taking their rage out on the hostages?

I sigh. I have seen this scenario too many times to count.

As everyone is distracted by the hostage situation, I leap the gap towards the building where the restaurant is. I enter the stairwell and head down, my feet making nary a sound. I eventually reach the ground floor, where I peer into the restaurant through the kitchen door. Five gruff men have their pistols trained on the petrified hostages. From my vantage point, I could see several businessmen, some commoners, and a few children.

“Okay, all of you – until the cops come out with our demands fulfilled, you guys are gonna be our ‘guests’.” He aimed the pistol to the ceiling and fired off a round, causing every one of the hostages to cower even more. The usual ‘test-weapon-threat’. A classic among bastards like these. That doesn’t mean they won’t use them, though.

Let’s get this over with.

I open the door and walk inside; I have no need for stealth with these guys. As one, they turn to me; three of them point their guns at me, while the last two keep theirs aimed at the hostages.

“Huh?! Damnit, Slade, I thought you cleared out the kitchen?!”

The second guy shrugged his shoulders. “I did, Max!” He motioned to a set of the hostages, where about six cooks sat. “That was all of them!!”

“Well, looks like you weren’t thorough enough,” Max shot back, inching towards me. “C’mon, sweetcheeks – to the floor with ya!”

No, I’d rather not, if you don’t mind.

“What’re you waiting for – an invitation?! I said drop!!!” He moved even closer, all the while keeping the gun level with my head. Ever vigilant, I refused to heed his command. He stopped, with the point of the gun mere inches away from my nose.

“I’m going to say this one more time, bitch… TO THE FLOOR, OR I SHOOT!!!”

He never did.

Suddenly, it was as if everything was in slow motion; just like every other time I had to do this. I yanked his arm towards me and dealt a crushing blow to his elbow joint – probably even breaking it. He screamed in pain and fell to the floor, dropping his gun.

“What the hell?!” Slade exclaimed, his aiming hand suddenly trembling. I saw his trigger finger slowly inch back, and acted: my right arm lengthened to abnormal proportions, and my fist struck him in the jaw from across the room. He also fell to the floor, but he was knocked out instead.

“C’mere, you FREAK!!!” one of them shouted. The next two rushed me; since I was momentarily distracted, they managed to tackle me and pin me down by the arms. “You’re not going anywhere!!” he sneered.

I wasn’t going anywhere.

I kneed the first guy in the stomach, and he quickly let go of me. The other goon pulled a knife out of his back pocket and tried to stab me in the chest. Responding to my thoughts in a matter of microseconds, my left hand changed into a flat blade, which I used to deflect his attack. He staggered back in shock, and I retaliated by changing my right hand into a large mallet, which I used to render him unconscious with a good blow to the head.

The goon I threw off earlier was down, but not out; he tried to aim, but I reacted in the nick of time. My long hair emerged from its hiding place under my hat, dancing around my head like a rattlesnake.

The goon stepped back, mesmerized and terrified by my unnatural hair. “W-W-What the FUCK?!” he stammered. Taking that chance, I ordered my hair to grab him by the waist and toss him into the ceiling. Scant seconds later, he fell to the floor, also knocked out.


My eyes widened as pain surged through me. I looked down, and saw a deep red stain forming around a hole in my coat. I had forgotten about the last goon…

Several of the hostages screamed. I lost my strength and fell to my knees, clutching the growing red spot. My hands came away bloody. Pain was causing me to feel dizzy; my sight was losing focus, and my hands were going numb. Out of the corner of my blurring eyes, I could see the last goon, still clutching his gun like a madman. His now-twisted eyes darted around me, as if examining me, making sure I was dying…

At last, they kicked in.

I could feel them as they worked their wonders within me. They flocked to my wound through arteries, veins and whatnot, bringing with them the necessary materials. Although I couldn’t see them, I liked imagining what they might be doing: they would start constructing new ‘barricades’, ‘welding’ damaged ones together, and retrieving some of the ‘supplies’ I lost before it became unusable. Soon, I could feel through my arms again; my sight was clearing up, and my strength was returning. I slowly stood up, as the numbness faded from my legs and feet.

The goon was losing it. “N-N-N-N-No way… You’re supposed to be DEAD!!!!” he cackled. “I SHOT YOU, BITCH!!! YOU SHOULD BE DEAD!!!!”

I ignored his rant, and lengthened my hair enough to pull his gun from his hand and toss it away. I quietly taunted him with a shake of my hair, which was currently in the form of a large hand. That was the last straw for him; he crumpled to the floor and promptly assumed the fetal position, muttering something incomprehensible to himself.

I looked around. Every one of the goons was disabled. As I admired my handiwork, I could feel dozens of eyes boring into my back. When I turned around, the hostages were still cowering – only this time, because of me.

I said nothing. I calmly brushed off the dirt from my coat – the blood stain I’d have to deal with later – and walked over to where my hat fell. My hair rearranged itself into a small bun, after which I covered it once again with the hat. I turned to the hostages again, who backed into the wall, thinking I was going to attack them.

“Best you get out of here and tell the cops outside to restrain these jerks,” I told them. As one, they quickly stood up and raced into the hallway and out the door, their shoes and heels stomping and clacking loudly.

I didn’t even wait for the last person inside to leave. I took another look at the hostage takers, making sure they weren’t going anywhere soon, before I turned to leave through the back door. The shout of “Hey! Where’s the lady going?” from one of the people inside came, but was soon drowned out by traffic in the streets as I leaped from rooftop to rooftop, distancing myself from the scene.

Humans are really quite strange, aren’t they?

Oftentimes, we hear that very common piece of advice: “learn from your mistakes.” We hear people around us constantly telling us that in order to progress, we must look back at our mistakes, and take measures so as not to commit them again. Yet in spite of all that, humans continue to repeat some of these mistakes… whether they be accidental or intentional. Some of them are insignificant; irrelevant; trivial. These mistakes are easily amended by future actions, brought upon by that common piece of advice. Other mistakes, though, are too immense to measure. Their effects will echo on into the future; people will abhor them, shun them for making such an earth-shattering mishap. But that common piece of advice will surface again. It will take time, but people will forgive… and forget.

And the cycle shall continue.

I hopped of the edge of the last building I landed on, and made a graceful, catlike landing in the alleyway nearby. Smoothing out any wrinkles in my coat, I head out into the sidewalk, into the multitude of people swarming all over – my head bowed down, one hand pulling my hat over part of my face – as if I were attempting to mask my presence from them. In a way, maybe I am.

So much for subtlety… the people from the restaurant, as well as the hostage takers, are bound to remember my face. To the restaurant goers, it would probably be because I was their ‘angel’; that ‘kindly, mysterious woman’ who came out of nowhere and saved them from a life-threatening situation. Those goons, on the other hand, would see me as a threat to any future operations they may have in mind; the next time they’d see me, they may not hesitate as much.

There are times when I ask myself if what I do is worth… doing. I go around, righting wrongs, and generally being a ‘good guy’. Because of that, people will like me. They’ll owe their lives to me, sing songs of praise, and generally thank me. On the other hand, there are those who will hate me for it. I ruin their well-thought of plans to rise from the shadows of obscurity – whether financially or politically. They will search for me, hunt me down, and try to find new and more… creative ways for me to meet my demise. Oftentimes, the former outweighs the latter by a mile.

I make my way towards the train station. It was a simple plan I had forged since way back: mask myself whenever I had the ‘urge’ to help others. If I was discovered, I’d move on to the next town or city, and eventually the hype around the ‘mysterious woman’ will die down. Hopefully. Otherwise, I’ll have to rethink going into hiding for the next one hundred –

“Hey, lady!”

I instinctively turn around, silently praying that this isn’t one of the hostages from earlier who managed to recognize me. But when I look back, I see nothing. I scratch my head in confusion.

“Down here!”

I look down. The face of naivety, of innocence, greets me. A familiar face, too. “Karl, was it?”

“Hey, you remember! Thanks, lady!” He bounds up and down in jovial response.

“So, you’re Karl’s ‘basketball lady’, huh?”

Slightly startled, I look ahead again. Behind the child, a man stood; too young to be Karl’s father, it seemed. He looked like he was in his mid-20s, and was sporting a clean-cut look, with his shoulder-length hair tied into a neat ponytail behind him. “Looks like I have you to thank for catching my brother’s ball earlier today,” he began, scratching his head.

“No problem,” I told him, smiling. “I make it a point not to let little kids lose their balls so easily.”

Wholehearted laughter, accompanied by an odd stare from Karl. “Karl here’s quite the storyteller… I gather from him that you can catch stray balls with your eyes closed?”

“Well, he’d better brush up on his storytelling skills,” I reply, ruffling Karl’s brown hair a bit. “I doubt I’m THAT good.” He pulls away from me, fixing his hair.

“Hey, I never know, do I?” he responds with a grin. “Well, if you’re not doing anything, maybe you can join us for a quick bite. Something fancy for the woman who saved my kid brother’s ball... how about Burger Hut?” His grin widens.

I ponder for a moment, looking back at the train station. He assumes my response from my gesture and says, “Hey, if you still have some appointment or something, then maybe next time.” Beside him, Karl looks on with a mixture of longing and excitement.

Perhaps, this is what makes it all worthwhile. It’s not just the praise I could have received, the material items I could have in my possession. No… maybe it’s seeing kids like Karl live happy and free. Sure, he’ll eventually grow up and have his eyes opened to the harsh realities that we all have to face sooner or later – but maybe, because of the happiness, the freedom he has experienced in his childhood; he’ll grow up far better than history dictates. Maybe he’ll live to see a realm of chaos… or maybe he’ll live to see a peaceful era – either one he merely lives in, or one he fashions himself… his legacy, if you will.

Either way, humans will continue to exist… imperfections and all. After all, I have to ask myself: isn’t that why I was created? To ensure a future for humans… to usher in a golden age for them… and to prevent such a complex, beautiful race from bringing its own extinction unto itself… That was ‘his’ legacy passed onto me. It’ll take some time, yeah… but just as he refused to give up, maybe I shouldn’t either. In my own little ways, I’ll continue ‘his’ legacy.

And maybe I’ll start with making Karl happy by taking his brother up on his offer.

…Besides, who can say ‘no’ to an innocent face like Karl’s?

I sigh in response. “Oh, maybe I can find some time in my… ‘busy’ schedule to go have a friendly dinner with a total stranger.” A smile creeps across my face, to which he grins even wider.

“Great! C’mon, then – there’s one just a block away. Of course, my treat!”

He takes Karl by the waist and hoists him into the air and onto his shoulders. “Wow – I can see everyone from up here!” Karl exclaims.

“Don’t get too comfy!” he replies as we begin the trek to search for affordable nourishments. I walk quietly beside him, watching him play with Karl, enjoying the company of two happy, carefree siblings.

Don’t worry. I’ll make sure those smiles are never wiped from their faces... for as long as I can fight to protect them, and so many others, I will do so.

I’ll make you proud, Kim.

I’ll make you proud.