Isaiah Witt entered his own modest apartment and tossed his coat on the couch. Kiona, the school secretary, was finally off to work and he wouldn't have to spend any more time with her until this evening.
Josiah, not surprisingly, was sitting in front of the television watching cartoons. He glanced up briefly as his brother entered but soon returned his attention to whatever ridiculous show he was watching.
"Turn that garbage off," Isaiah snapped. "Let's get some work done."
With a heavy sigh Josiah did as his brother asked. He shuffled over to the kitchen table and sat down. His odd eyes, one blue--one brown, looked vaguely disappointed. "It was just getting good."
Isaiah didn't answer. He'd given up wondering why fate would choose to curse him with a brother who was a mutant. It least Josiah had his uses. "Look here." He pointed to the papers on the table in front of him. "Let's go over this one last time. You've identified every mutant in this stinking place and classified them by strength. Now remind me, who are the strongest and the weakest?"
Pouting slightly, Josiah began pointing. "Bright, bright, bright, bright." His mutant power allowed him to see the power signature of others, like a colorful aura surrounding that person. Strong mutants had brilliant signatures; weak ones had dull ones.
Smiling, Isaiah leaned in, taking note of the names. He wasn't at all surprised. Gabriel Tanner, Lex Thorne, Stone--the town's handyman, and one of the teachers from the high school: all leaders in their own way. "Ok, who's next in line?"
Josiah pointed to a few more names: ordinary citizens for the most part, some with blatant powers, some less flamboyant. At the bottom of the list were the mutants with the weakest powers, like dear little Kiona and Dr. Moy.
The rest of the inhabitants of this town were just typical bleeding hearts, poor fools who actually liked mutants and wanted to live in peace. Isaiah's smile turned deadly. He'd give them peace... of the eternal variety.
It had taken two years of living in this dump, pretending to be sympathetic, to get to this point. He'd lived, worked, and spent all his spare moments around those filthy freaks. Soon the information would be on its way back to F.o.H. headquarters. Soon the town of Haven would cease to exist.
His triumphant thoughts were broken by the sound of Josiah shuffling his feet on the tile. Brown eyes coolly angry, Isaiah fixed his brother with a glare. "Do you mind?"
Josiah's pout could not have been more pathetic. "I want to go outside. You said I could go watch them work on the church today."
"Fine," he gave a long-suffering sigh. "Don't go far. And don't you even think about making me come look for you."
For an instant Josiah's odd eyes showed a trace of fear then his typical happy smile was back. "Ok, Isaiah, I won't. I promise."
Shaking his head, Isaiah turned his attention back to his plans, ignoring as his brother practically skipped out the door.
"Explore the town with me."
A pillow, thrown from somewhere across the room, hit Zaid square in the back. Frowning, he stood from where he'd been unpacking a few of his clothes, and tossed the pillow back to his partner.
"I'm bored." Petra's smile was decidedly impish. "And you know how bad it is to let someone like me get bored."
Zaid decided to ignore her, unpacking a few more meticulously folded shirts. Another pillow bounced off his back, followed by a pair of rolled up socks. "Don't make me hurt you."
Petra only laughed. "You know I'm not going to give up."
That was true. Zaid gave a half laugh and headed for the door.
The town of Haven was now busy with its day. Merchants and others went about their business on the quiet little main street. Zaid and Petra received more than a couple curious looks as they passed by, but Petra answered them all with a friendly smile.
At the center of town a group of men were up on the roof of the little white chapel, busily replacing the shingles. A boy, maybe in his early teens, sat watching them work. Something about the look on his face made him appear much younger than his size suggested.
"Looks like hard work." Petra smiled as she approached the kid.
"I wish I could help," the boy muttered, looking at them without much curiosity. "They get to be up so high, like they could reach out and touch the sky."
Zaid gave Petra a cautious look. Though it wasn't exactly unheard of for humans to have two different color eyes--in this case, one blue and one brown--physical abnormalities like that were, more often than not, a sign of a mutant. He decided to let his partner keep talking. She was better with people anyway and, despite the scar, kids seemed to love her.
"So why don't you go ask if you can help?" The blonde woman took a seat on the fragrant grass next to the boy.
"Oh, I couldn't." He shook his head, long brown hair falling into his eyes. "My brother would never let me." He suddenly seemed to notice who he was talking to. "I've never seen you around here before."
Petra shrugged. "Just visiting. I'm Petra, that's my friend Zaid."
"Oh." That seemed to satisfy him and he went back to watching the men work. "I'm Josiah."
"Well, Josiah, it was nice to meet you. My friend and I are going to go now. But maybe we'll talk to you again someday."
The boy nodded absently, eyes still on the chapel.
Zaid waited until they were a few blocks out of earshot before asking. "Well?"
"More than likely. Seems we were right about this town. They're everywhere." Her smile grew just a bit smug. "You did notice that those workers were re-roofing the church without any tools, didn't you?"
Zaid nodded. "Of course," he lied. "Let's finish up out here then. The sooner we can get started, the sooner we can go back to civilization and get paid."
"Civilization," Petra snorted, but she didn't argue. "You're right; we have a job to do."