The old man's disease
“A world where diseases, instead of giving harmful signs and symptoms in the body, gives superhuman powers instead.” Prompt by RhymeLime
The little kid and the old man sat on top of the hill. They studied the sun going down the horizon behind their village. The little kid held the old man’s hand noting for the first time how dry and thick the skin was.
“We can talk, son.”
“Grampa. Why did the gods made you sick?”
The old man smiled. His eyes were fixed on the village.
“The gods wanted to give me a superpower, you know? It’s like the bats that can’t see during the day, but they have this amazing hearing at night. Or the cats that are light and soft, but can jump really high and run really fast. Or like the bowerbird, who is all black but lives to make the most colorful nest.”
“Uhum.” The kid gazed the old man, still waiting for the rest of his answer.
“So the gods thought that, if I had less time to waste, I would be able to see what really mattered. So I could do something important. So I could — “
The kid’s eyes were of eternal interest. Deep black marbles reflecting the stars.
“So I could help our village be a better village.”
“Will they make me sick like you one day, Grampa?”
“Well. I guess. One day.” The old man tried to find the words. They bared more weight on his lips than he would’ve wanted. “It runs on the family.”
The crickets sounded louder then. Night had fallen. The fireflies were undistinguished from shooting stars. The little kid measured his hand against that of the old man and find himself satisfied.
“Yea. I think I have it too.”