Disclaimer: Nothing you recognise is mine etc etc etc
I'm also not Australian so if there are any inaccuracies in this, I hope they don't spoil the story.
He didn't cry. It hurt too much for that.
He'd never had much family; now he had none at all.
Just himself. Sitting on a beach, watching the sea.
Wondering what the hell he was going to do now. He knew he couldn't sit there forever, but his mind supplied no other suggestion. He'd explored the ship – it remained frustratingly obtuse and only hinted at the answers surrounding it, but Adam couldn't bring himself to care, not yet.
He had no idea how long he'd been there, on this crazy island in the middle of nowhere. No notion of what had happened in his house after he'd managed to escape.
But yet some part of him realised he had to think of something – so far, he'd been sleeping on the beach, wearing the same clothes he'd arrived in, hadn't eaten in however long. And he knew he hadn't survived just to sit here and starve.
So he got to his feet, closed his eyes, and teleported.
The living room had been stripped bare – presumably SOCOs - even the carpet was gone, and Adam didn't want to linger. He went to the kitchen first, hunting through cupboards – the fridge was now empty, so someone must've come in and cleaned it out, before the food went bad. Adam found he couldn't bring himself to care.
There was a packet of chocolate bars – that would do. There was a half-empty bottle of whiskey on top of the fridge and he took that too. He'd never been that bothered about drinking, but if ever there was a time to test the theory of alcohol blotting out your situation, it was now.
Feeling like he was trespassing in his own house, Adam went upstairs, keeping his footsteps light. Clothes first – he had a hiking backpack under the bed, so he filled that with whatever came to hand.
Rummaging in the closet, he came across the tent, buried at the back. Hadn't used it in ages; none of the sort-of friends he'd made since moving here were into camping. He took that too, with the sleeping bag, a couple of pillows.
Eventually a small pile of items built up on the floor, alongside the abandoned schoolbooks, revision timetables; things from his former life, of no use to him now. He had no intention of going back to that.
Even without everything that had happened – he may have been standing back in his house, but Adam couldn't face up to thinking about that, not properly – he couldn't just go back to school. Mostly, he'd just been ignored at school, another hard-working kid who preferred his own company, but now he was some psychic teleporting freak of nature, whatever the ship called it, he couldn't just sit back down and carry on like nothing had changed. He didn't even feel human anymore, couldn't fit back in with normal people, couldn't even pretend to.
So engrossed in shoving things into the backpack was he, Adam didn't hear the door swinging open, didn't realise there was someone else there until they spoke.
"So you are alive then."
Adam dropped what he was holding, stepping back in startlement, heart thumping.
But he pulled himself back under control quickly.
Adam's neighbour took in the state of the boy in front of her.
The charming, cheerful and quietly confident young man she remembered, the boy she'd grown fond of, was no longer there, it seemed. Something had broken, which was hardly surprising.
"You know, you had a lot of people worried. Where have you been, Adam?"
"I - don't know," was the honest answer.
"You don't know?"
The woman's eyebrows raised to her carefully set grey hair.
"Adam, what happened to you? Were you here, when?"
Adam nodded, dropping his eyes.
The woman raised her hands, wanting to put her arms around him, to comfort him, but lowered them again.
"I'm so sorry."
Sharon McClusky had lived in the same street for more than thirty years, raised her children there, let her grandchildren go out to play by themselves. And in all that time, she'd never even heard of anything happening like what had happened to the Newmans. This was a safe place, low crime rate.
When she'd come back from shopping to find police cars everywhere, crime scene tape surrounding her neighbours' house, it had been the most horrifying, most surreal moment of her life. Nobody deserved to have that happen to them; the Newmans were a nice family, perfect neighbours who kept their lawns tidy and their music down, people who were always happy to stop and chat, to help out. They'd kept themselves to themselves, to a certain extent, and Sharon had respected that.
She certainly hadn't put up with any vicious gossip from the bystanders who'd appeared out from nowhere as soon as the 'Police: Do Not Cross' barriers went up.
There were a few eyewitnesses who'd seen the gunmen drive off, but that hadn't stopped speculation that, because he was missing, it had been Adam himself who'd committed the atrocity. Yes, people had secrets, they could surprise you with what they were capable of, but this boy could not, ever, have done something like that.
He'd survived, escaped somehow, and he was safe. That was what mattered.
And now here he was, packing a bag with every indication of disappearing again.
"Do you have somewhere to go?"
"Will you come back?"
Adam shook his head
"Adam, please. Think about this. I know it's hard right now, but you have your future to think of. Not just your schooling, but everything. Don't throw it all away because of what these people did."
"I can't. It – just doesn't feel right. I can't stay here."
"Then just speak to the police. Tell them what happened. They caught the men who did it, but if you testified, that would put them away for sure..."
"I didn't see anything. They were wearing masks… please Mrs McClusky. I just can't."
"There are still people who care about you. You don't have to deal with this on your own."
Adam couldn't put how he was feeling into words. Couldn't tell her what was really going on.
Mrs McClusky crossed the room, put a maternal hand on Adam's arm.
"You don't have to answer to anyone, just, please, take care of yourself. Please, Adam."
He met her eyes, and it just broke her heart to see the haunted look in them; she couldn't even imagine.
"I'll do my best."
There was a spark that remained of the boy she'd known, and that gave her hope.
That he didn't want to stay, she could understand. That she couldn't help was hard, but he wasn't a child anymore; she had to let him make his own choices.
"They'll always be someone here for you, if you need them," she told him, and then she left him to it.
She kept an eye on the house, but she didn't see him come back out.
A Tomorrow Person.
It sounded crazy, even though he knew, deep down, what it really meant.
All that stuff about evolution; he didn't feel especially evolved. So what use were these new abilities, these superpowers?
Maybe he should get a costume and fight crime.
A stab of mental anguish shot through him as the memories flashed before him once more. What use would these abilities have been then, had he been able to control them? He could have teleported himself to safety, maybe his parents too, but he couldn't stop armed robbers anymore than a – a regular human.
He had psychic abilities he wouldn't have believed were real only a matter of days ago, but he wasn't Bruce Wayne; couldn't start battling cartels and Mafia. Not just because he was basically a teenage student with no idea how anyone would even start to go about something like that, but because he was starting to suspect that what made him different to other people went deeper than just these new abilities.
His fingers traced the scar on his side; the shark bite.
He'd told people he'd dropped the knife rather than admit he just couldn't bring himself to use it. It had been stronger than just a regular conscience; a deep taboo he couldn't break, a compulsion that seemed driven by instinct.
He'd wondered, when confronted by a man with a gun, if he could take it from him and use it against him, and Adam thought now that he probably really couldn't have. Even to save his parents. Even to save his own life. It didn't seem to make sense to have an instinct that went against self-preservation, but then what else made sense about his life right now?
He needed time to learn to understand, to cope with everything that had happened to him, and this place, as crazy as it was, in some ways was also the best place for that.
It was quiet, there was almost everything he needed. And above all, he felt kind of … welcome. It wasn't a home – you needed a family for it to be a home – but it felt like he was supposed to be there, and that was more than he could say for anywhere else right then.
So he would stay on the island, and practise his new abilities; the better he got at using them, the more chance he had of using them for the right purposes, whatever they turned out to be.
Maybe fighting crime wasn't such a stupid notion. His parents had instilled in him a strong sense of right and wrong, yet he hadn't been able to face up to testifying against the men who'd killed his family, ensuring that justice was served.
Was that cowardice? He'd never thought he'd back down from a challenge, but this was too personal, too much. And it wasn't just the court that he couldn't face up to; it was the questions. The lawyers, the press, people who'd known him and people who just wanted to know. He'd seen it before, whenever anything like this happened. And on top of that, there was the other thing that had happened to him, that he couldn't mention to anyone, let alone explain.
Not a phrase he particularly cared for, but it did the job.
Discovering he could teleport would, in other circumstances, have been astonishing, wonderful, and part of him still delighted in doing it, pushing himself to see what he could do with this skill - he'd even found himself practising tumbling on the beach, when he couldn't think of anything else to do, something he hadn't tried since gym class, incorporating it into his new teleporting skills.
It felt right, natural and it got easier the more he did it, so that he barely had to think about it and it would happen, even if he was travelling across the world. The telepathy was more difficult to practise; he needed another person, another Tomorrow Person at that, and apart from the ship, with its half-conscious transmissions, there wasn't anyone.
But when others came – and they had to; there had to be others like him, there had to be. This ship, it never gave clear answers, didn't even use real words when it communicated, but it hinted that it had been waiting for those like him, and it wouldn't do that if he was the only one.
And when they came, then maybe he could learn and he could help them too. They wouldn't have to stumble about blindly like he had.
After all, if they truly were the future, then they had a lot to live up to.
He didn't have any real way to keep track of how long he lived like that, alone on a crashed, buried spaceship on a deserted island – and it was most definitely deserted; he explored every inch. Long enough to find a certain peace within himself, an acceptance that this was his life now, who he was. That wasn't to say he didn't still mourn; he might not quite be human anymore, but his heart still was.
But he had found that, within himself, the same quiet strength he'd always had remained, the little voice that told him he needed to keep on down the path he was on, even if he didn't know where it was going.
And then quite suddenly, Adam knew, with absolute certainty, that he wasn't the only one anymore.
He'd been getting odd flashes for days, intuitive sensations he couldn't name or understand, and the Ship seemed to be getting that too, lighting up and making peculiar noises. And so Adam had taken to sitting within the Ship, eyes closed, his every new sense stretching as much as he could, not really knowing what he was doing and if it made any difference, but he had to try.
And then, with no ceremony, there it was sitting in his mind like it had always been there.
Who was she? Adam could tell she was here, on the Island, had only just teleported here, landing in the sea as he had, and was making her way up the beach.
His first impulse was to go up to her immediately, but he held back, something inhibiting him.
How to introduce himself, to explain?
A memory flashed before him; his twelve-year-old self awkwardly asking his mother's advice on how to talk to a girl he liked. He couldn't remember the girl in question now – Danielle in Shepparton, maybe, or perhaps Laura in Sydney; they'd moved a lot around that time.
"Just be yourself," his mother had said, somewhat predictably.
"Just go up to her and say 'Madam, I'm Adam.'"
And then she'd laughed, not just at the palindrome that was an old family joke but proud that her son was growing up and she reached out to tickle him until he laughed too.
Okay, so maybe not quite that approach. But being himself was the only option really – she was like him, so wouldn't she know if he was lying, even to protect her? And if she was going through the same he had when he broke out, then she'd be confused and scared enough. He had to be the one to make this easier on her, was responsible for showing her some normality could remain despite everything else. And that meant keeping his past private; there was no need to burden her with anything more and if he could show her that he was, underneath, just a regular guy, the same Adam Newman he'd been before everything kicked off, then that might be for the best.
He heard the hatch open, up above – maybe he should have intervened, stopped her being pulled down the chute like that. It wasn't the best introduction to the Ship, after all, but it was too late now. She was on the Ship – he could see her now and almost hear her thinking; her newly awoken mind spilling out half-thoughts in a confused haze.
Stepping out from where he stood in shadow, Adam prepared himself to meet the girl who may be the only other person in the world like himself.
"Hi," he said.
Lisa turned around, and Adam knew that, despite everything, it was going to be okay.