Chapter 45: Damn Those Garden Gnomes

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'You've been gone for weeks, Elliot,' Mrs Cowan sobbed, closing the car door.

It hadn't been an hour after Quentin's parents had come and gone, before his own mother had arrived to whisk him away from the police station.

To say that she had been furious would be akin to likening the Himalayan Ranges to a shallow speed bump down a quiet street.

But furious wasn't the only reaction he'd received.

Elliot could remember the way his mother had halted in her tracks, upon seeing him sitting in the cell, surrounded by the very people she had caught on report, not too many days ago. Mixed emotions had coursed through her nervous system in waves of pulsating electricity, lighting her up like fireworks, from his perspective.

She hadn't seen him, that day. He hadn't let her see him.

But she certainly saw him, now. And it was clear she was having trouble processing that.

'Weeks!' she continued, her words growing more hysterical with every sentence. 'Not a single call. Not even a text, or... or, I don't know, a letter!? Do you know how many other people have disappeared recently?! Your father and I.... we... we didn't know what could have happened! We thought... we thought who ever was behind the kidnappings.... Had taken you, too!

'And then I get a call today, saying that the police had taken you in. Not found you....Taken you in. They told me that you were a part of that mutant team that had been running around the city. I... well I hung up the first time; I thought it had to have been some sort of a prank call! But they called again, and I had no choice but to come in. I didn't believe them until... until I saw you....'

Her hysterical rambling trailed off into a small string of poorly-concealed sobs.

'I'm... sorry,' he whispered, almost a minute later. 'That I never told you...'

There was a large pause, filled with a silence so thick he could cut it with a spoon.

Finally, her mouth parted, and moments later, words came trickling out. Slowly. Hesitant.

'What.... What can you do?' she asked, her words quivering. Her entire body had been shaking with barely concealed sobs, but Elliot couldn't seem to pay attention to that.

He had been expecting all sorts of replies. An angry shout, or two. A scream of disappointment. Maybe she would have disowned him, like Colt's parents had done.

But no.... it was merely a question. He could have labelled it a simple one, perhaps, if the situation had been different. But as hard as it had been for her to choke out those words, he had more troubles trying to choke out an answer.

'I can... I can see.'

He watched as she glanced sideways at him, then, but he kept his own face turned away.

'See? Elliot, what do you mean, see? You're... I thought...'

'It's not like that. Not that type of vision. It's true that I'm blind to most things. I can't see sunlight. I can't make out the colour of your eyes, or your dress. I can't see words, or letters or.... Or the sky.' Here, Elliot trailed off, fiddling with the hem of his shirt. 'But I can see you...'

He tried to explain it to her, tried to describe the nuances of his mutation. Yet, though his mother really was trying hard to understand, he knew she was, it was of no use. She had spent the past seventeen years raising a blind son, he reasoned. He would never expect her to adjust to the news so easily. It was just nice to see that she was trying...

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