HUMAN/SUPER First Contact 157

She opened her arms wide and Tommy fell into them. She carried him up over the ledge, back onto the roof. She fell to her knees, her arms still locked around the boy. He squirmed free and backed away.

Angela doubled over. The wind wafted across her wings, chilling the ache that burned through them. She closed her eyes and pressed her forehead to the concrete roof. She heard Harry’s muffled voice at the edge of her perception.

“What the hell were you thinking?” he said. “You could have died!”

“I know,” Tommy replied.

“What do you mean you know?” Harry asked. A pause. “Tommy, what do you mean you know?”

“Nothing,” Tommy said. “I didn’t mean anything.”

Angela looked up. Tommy hugged his elbows and stared at his feet. Angela crawled forward on hands and knees, her wings dissolving into dust behind her. She reached up and grabbed Tommy, twisted him toward her. Their eyes met.

The sorrow engulfed her again, but she pressed through it. She found the nugget of anger at the heart of it all and squeezed until a memory came spilling out….


Tommy sat on the couch, leaning against his mother’s side with her arm draped over his shoulder. A movie played on the television, some kind of fantasy epic. The phone rang. His mother got up. He paused the DVD.

“Hello?” she said. “Oh, hi, Meg…. I’m not supposed to be on call tonight…. I understand that but it’s…. Okay, fine, I’ll be there as soon as I can.” She turned back to Tommy. “Sorry, honey, I have to go to work.”

“But it’s my birthday,” he said.

“I know that, sweetie,” she replied, “but the hospital needs me.”

I need you,” he said, pouting.

She reached down and ruffled his hair.

“I’ll find a way to make it up to you tomorrow,” she said. “I promise.”