The Birth of Johnny Atom
Johnny was an interesting lad. He had a family which paid him little attention, and that’s all it really took for him to get into trouble. It started when he broke into his father’s lab. You see, Johnny’s dad worked for the government. He had been developing a serum that would allow objects to communicate in a way that had never before been seen. Johnny had overheard him speaking over the Vid-Com one night through the office door. His father told the man on the other line what the chemical could do. He said, “When the chemical composition is applied to an object it allows the molecules to utilize the surrounding atmosphere to reconstruct itself and maintain its compositions indefinitely.”
Now, Johnny was no genius and most of those words were unrecognizable to a ten year old boy, but Johnny saw an opportunity to get the attention he’d been seeking. It was Saturday morning when he broke into the lab. He rummaged through viles and looked through drawers until, finally, he found what he had been searching for. He grasped the glass bottle. It glowed an eerie green. He tipped it back and glugged it down without regard for anyone – not even himself.
It wasn’t but a moment that the fluid took effect. It grabbed at his neck and tugged on his bowels. He lurched forward, then wrenched back. He tossed and turned and growled. He flexed and grimaced, choked and gargled. Then he stilled. He steadied himself. With a deep breath, a smile spread across his lips.
Though he’d found what he sought, he hadn’t seen the damage his storm of search had brought. As he moved to leave the lab, Johnny tripped. His legs slid forward and his body toppled back. He reached to save himself but found nothing on which his hands could latch. The fall would not have been so bad had the basement door been closed. He tumbled down the stairs and broke bone after bone. With snap after crackle, he rolled and rolled. His body shattered beneath his weight until the last stair had met his face. In pain he stayed upon the floor.
Something rose up inside him. Something he’d never felt before. A tickling sensation moving beneath the burden of broken bones – a light, a flurry, a movement in his core. It rose and swelled, beginning in his deepest parts until it found its way through his skin and moved all about him. His arms mended and his legs un-broke. His jaw fixed and his skin smoothed. His body untwisted and Johnny stood. He felt no pain of broken bones. No remnants that he’d fallen so far. He looked up the stairs and dusted himself off.
I bet they’ll notice me now, Johnny thought.