In the first century, a man received a secret technology that let him, and those that followed him, achieve their purposes with unparalleled efficacy. The reason some say it had been bestowed on that first agent was because he possessed the rare combination of pure intelligence to fully utilize it and a pure heart to use it for ultimate good. And it was assumed the technology had been bestowed upon him by beings not from this world.
The technology was a tool mostly used to construct robots that could do almost anything. But these machines were made of no stone, wood, metal or even plastic. The reason why the undercover government that became known as "The Domain" was never pulled out of secrecy was because the technology was a way to construct machines with organic material. If one of their machines was ever discovered, it was just assumed that it was a previously undiscovered plant or animal or bacteria or protein chain.
Barry was lonely, had always been dull and awkward, and if anyone called him a friend, at least outside of The Domain, it was a friendship of charity.
He had spent his morning in silence. Sometimes crying. Sometimes singing, listening for a word, his assignment for the day. It usually came to him as a surprisingly random thought, but sometimes it was communicated in circumstances that coincidentally lined up. That was how The Domain communicated their missions. It was available for anyone if they were open to hear, but effectively impossible to track it back to the source.
He didn't know how they accomplished it, but he knew it could be anything including using their tiny robots that looked like insects in the walls as a neural network which pulsed coordinated signals into his room in a way to communicate a thought.
"Captain, I am listening. I really need to hear from you today." Barry's mom, who had lived in this apartment with him, had passed away two months ago, and she had been the closest thing to a friend in this little town. The Domain had given him the commission to move to this tiny town to be with her for the last year of her life. It had been very hard on them but he had finally convinced her that The Domain was real and that there was a greater force that cared for her no matter how insignificant was the life she had lived.
She had finally turned off the television and begun to listen. She had begun to hear how much The Domain still had good plans for her in their city they were going to take her to. And as her body decayed, her hope and joy grew. She passed with Barry by her side, and a smile on her face.
Barry looked over at her empty room.
After a while Barry's head bobbed, lulling him awake, just as he heard a thump on his window. He got up and cautiously opened his curtain. He saw a bird laying on his 2nd floor apartment's little cement patio. The bird's feathers were splayed. It wasn't moving. He walked to the kitchen and ripped off a sheet of paper towel, and after hesitating had a random thought that stopped him in his tracks, maybe it could use water, and filled a tiny cup with water.
"Captain, do you want me to care for this bird or something? Or is he a messenger somehow?"
He fumbled with the lock for a second and by the time he got onto the little patio the bird wasn't there.
"I guess not." His heart dropped and he turned to go back inside.
But then he heard a chirp and looked over the edge to see the bird flopping on the ground on the level below. Barry shimmied down the stairs from the patio to examine the bird. But at the same time the door of the apartment below him creaked open and a little girl ran out to attend to the bird too. "Mommy, it's a bird! It's hurt!"
Barry stopped and looked over at their half-open door. It had a new orange paper taped to it that said, "Eviction Notice."
Then he heard the girl's mother say with a shaky voice from inside. "I'm sorry, Hunny. Mommy has some other things to worry about right now."
Barry hesitated for a moment standing awkwardly on the stairs. He felt like this was him; always finding himself awkwardly standing somewhere, not knowing what to do. "Captain," he said to himself, "What do you want me to do?" He looked up and around.
"Mommy! There's a man here." After looking at him she added, "I think he's here to heal the bird. Hey mister can you try?"
Barry stuttered as he approached the girl who was stooped, looking at the bird. "Oh, I don't know if I can heal it... I just brought this in case..." His voice trailed off.
The little girl looked up at him, and then at the cup of water and paper towel in his hand. Then she looked at the bird and waited for him to help it.
Barry didn't know what else to do. The little girl assumed he would use the water somehow. So, not knowing anything else to do, he hesitantly poured a little bit of the water on the bird, aiming for its mouth. The drops rolled off of its feathers. They both waited and nothing happened. Then all of a sudden the bird flopped onto its feet, stumbled once, and then flew away.
The little girl screamed in delight. "Mommy! He did it! He did it! The bird got better!" She turned to Barry and with big eyes said, maybe you can heal my mommy. Come here!" She grabbed Barry's sleeve and pulled him into their house, despite his stuttering objections.
Inside was a house kept tidy as could be, and necessitated by poverty. The little girl dragged him into the bedroom as Barry apologized to the other two children he saw as he passed through the main room.
"Captain," Barry whispered. "I'm sorry. I'm getting pulled off mission." But as he entered the bedroom and a woman in the bed turned over and saw him, her reaction told him this was exactly where they wanted him.
She looked at the small glass of water, still half-full and sat up in bed. She reached out for it. Barry stepped towards her, surprised, and offered it to her. She drank it until it was gone and smiled. You must be from The Domain too. They certainly did hear my cries for help. She reached around and picked up a thick paperback novel. I felt told to open this and read randomly this morning. This is the page I landed on. She showed him the novel, holding it open with one hand and pointing to a passage with the other. She read, "their hero came around the building with a glass of water and a glow."
"Your glow was the first thing I saw," she said.
"Well, I've never been a hero but, wha- what do you need?"
"I don't know. You may have seen we are being evicted today. We are about to be homeless. Their father passed away last month. We weren't together, but I paid for the doctor bills and then the burial. But lost my job because I was busy trying to fix all that."
"Oh!" Barry's eyes lit up. "My mother just passed away.
"Oh, I'm sorry."
He could tell she was surprised he was excited about this. "No, I mean, her room is available! And paid for. And," he hesitated. "I don't have any friends here."
They both smiled. The woman added, "Well if you indeed are a citizen of The Domain, we have both found friends here now.
Raw Spoon 7-9-2023