“This is the deal,” his mother said. She had the grim look on, the one that, when he was younger, had meant punishments he couldn’t avoid and a week of having her Disappointed in Him, which, if he’d been forced to think about it, he might have admitted was usually worse than the punishments. He squirmed, because whatever was coming, it wasn’t going to be fun.
“The deal,” he agreed cautiously. He hadn’t screwed up that badly this time… had he?
“I’ll help you deal with this situation. She’s a nice girl. Her mother’s a reasonable woman and, while her father’s not quite so level-headed, well, we’ve worked around fathers before.”
He squirmed. They had. There’d been that very angry one… that very angry several…
“Speaking of fathers, I’m going to have a talk with yours about certain things he assured me weren’t inherited, and why he thought it was a good idea to teach you such things. But that’s not your concern. Your concern, young man, is what you have been doing with your little power…”
“It’s…” He shut his mouth before he could protest that it was a little power, but the look his mother gave him suggested that she knew what he was going to say anyway.
“…what you’ve been doing with it, how we’re going to handle that, and, equally importantly, what you’re going to be doing with it in the future.”
His heart sank. He wasn’t getting out of this one any time soon. ”What am I going to be doing with it?” he asked dutifully. His mother, after all, was probably saving him from death at the hands of yet another angry father.
“Well, you see, since you’re so good at this breaking and entering…”
The girl was not sure how long she had been bricked up in the cell on top of the hill. There was very little light, that from a grate in the ceiling. Once in a while, they lowered food down. More rarely, the rain came in and she could be clean again.
Today, the rain was coming down metallic-looking, shining bright and golden in sunlight that never reached her. And then the rain was a man, a youth with a sheepish smile and no clothes at all. ”Hello,” the rain said, holding one hand to cover himself and the other out to her. ”I, um. I’m here to rescue you.”