The man looked out over the city, his city.
Hands clasped tightly behind his back, he watched the order of his universe fall into place. Lights of houses were beginning to turn on as dusk started to settle in. In his mind, nothing could’ve been more perfect.
A door opened from behind him, the entrance to his large conference hall where he had just conjured a meeting with his security council. Everything was finally set in place, not a traitor to be heard of.
He cocked his head in the direction of the visitor without turning to face him.
“The citizens?” he asked.
“Put in their place,” the visitor replied in a low voice.
“Good.” The ruler let his pause be long and drawn out. “You’re sure that the element is inactive?”
“If I may speak with pride, I’ve known, used, and helped create it. I’m certain that it is inactive. No one should be able to come into this place ever again.”
The leader turned to face the pale, dark haired man, his son. They exchanged a knowing smile, then the elder one laughed.
“We finally have what we--”
But he was cut off in mid-sentence. Suddenly, the scene changed about the son, sending him back into the past.
This couldn’t be, he thought, quickly blinking his eyes figures walked around him. Frantically, he spotted a version of himself walking by with a girl. His own wife that still loves and needs him. He followed as the two held hands, perfectly content in the busy streets.
Emotion overwhelmed him as he witnessed the recent memory. He had to disarm the element before it hurt any of them again. Being sent here was bad enough, and the fact that it was his because of his unintentional pride made it worse.
Like someone had flipped a switch, it all went back to normal.
His father caught his breath and exchanged a frightened look with his son, who had gone through what he had just a moment ago. At first, shock registered. Then came the rage.
“Son,” the father hissed. He took his boy by the shoulders tightly, though he wasn’t much a boy anymore.
“I thought I had--”
“Never mind what you thought! Get the element, and don’t let it out of your sights. Whoever you trusted it with isn’t to be trusted anymore,” he commanded, spit flying off his lip.
The son nodded at his father as he let him go and spun back to the window.
The son waited a beat before responding, waiting for his father to give his infamous speech about threats and carelessness. It didn’t come.
Instead, the father motioned him to come forward and began whispering in his ear.