To Heidi Vorn, the boy was the most beautiful person she had ever seen. He stood in the centre of the village with its tatty, wind-blown huts as toxic dust swirled in amber shrouds. Despite the ragged clothes flapping about him, he seemed to glow. His skin was almost golden, compared to the normal pallor. When he lifted his eyes towards the copter, she felt that he could not only see her but knew her. The feeling she experienced was a strange mix of peace and excitement of things to come.
The villagers – men, women and a few children – were kneeling before him as if wanting forgiveness. Heidi knew they had nothing to forgive. Her family was the source of their disease. Of their anguish and the famine that caved in their cheeks and left bones starting from the skin. A little further away, a scatter of gravestones poked up from the frozen ground.
“look at the poor fools. They think he’s a fucking new age messiah or something.”
Maxim’s voice seemed to come from far away, but the spell was broken. The clatter of the copter blades brought her back.
“Well is he?”
He seemed shocked. “He’s just a boy.”
“What’s his name?”
The air outside was filling with snow and she was already shivering. But the boy stood with his arms outstretched, and now he was smiling benevolently at his few followers.
More about this dark tale later.