Fandom: Mother 3
Pairing/Characters: Lucas, Boney, no pairings
Challenge: #191, Thunderstruck
Rating/Category: T, Gen
Word Count: 1113
Spoilers: (if applicable) fairly major
Summary: Of all the buildings in Tazmilly, Lucas' house was the one that was struck by lightning the most.
Of all the buildings in Tazmilly, Lucas' house was the one that was struck by lightning the most.
A bolt hit the sheep pen again last night. The sheep seem quite used to it. None of them ever get hurt, they know how to get out of the way somehow. There's even one of them who ended up with frizzy wool that stays that way after you shear it and fetches a higher price at the market. The constant noise and the threat and the smell of charred wood stresses them out, though, and they don't produce such good milk any more. Lucas worried each night that he was going to lose one of them to a heart attack, even though they were good at not getting hit. It meant rebuilding the pen constantly, too. Lucas didn't have time to repair the fences that often, so the sheep wandered free. They didn't seem to have any intention of straying too far, not in such a strange world where everything changed so drastically in such a short space of time, where lightning struck with eerily consistent targets and accurate aim, where sometimes sheep just went missing if they went too close to the men in the masks who made noises like squealing pigs. Lucas didn't blame them. He was just as aware that the pig-masks were bad news, that none of these changes were happening at the rate they should.
He was offered a new sheep pen, a new house, replacement sheep who were bigger and better and crossed with more interesting, vicious animals and could defend themselves, or even be lightning-proof, not that his house would be struck by lightning so often if he would just be a better citizen. It would all be free, of course, a generous loan so that he could kickstart his business as a sheep farmer again after his tragic series of accidents. He always refused, because he remembered a time not long ago when there was no such thing as money, only people mutually providing for each other's needs and bartering for any excess, and also when lightning just kind of happened randomly, not to bad citizens. There hadn't been many lightning bolts at all back then, or fires, or giant sentient yams with tentacles.
No, it had all happened at once, and quickly, when the men with pig masks came along, and no matter how soon everyone else seemed to forget, despite how much it turned their life upside down, it was impossible for Lucas. To forget would involve forgetting certain things about his mother: for instance, that the Drago whose fang had been lodged in her heart when they found the body, had something very wrong done to it. Lucas remembered when a Drago was just another animal to be respected and lived alongside - large and terrifying when enraged, perhaps, but perfectly content to leave you alone as long as you didn't threaten its young - and not a berserk cyborg monstrosity. The adult Drago had even remembered itself, when its child jumped in front of it, protecting it from Flint's final blow. That act of bravery had brought Lucas' father to his senses, too, realising that he was depriving a child of its parent just as had been done to his own son. This was the sort of moment that Lucas had vowed to keep in his memory forever, together with the lessons they taught, as well as that one increasingly apparent truth: that someone had deliberately caused these tragedies in Lucas' world, in the once quiet life that was everything he loved.
Even as he cleared away the blackened, ruined wood panels and the pile of ash, checking up on the sheep every now and then, he smelled the faint tang of ozone in the air that always made him flinch. He thought he heard a rumble in the distance, although he’d been imagining them a lot lately, or thinking they were closer than they turned out to be, when they hit Reggie’s teepee or one of the other buildings that were always targeted these days. He resisted the urge to freeze in place or run and hide in the house (not that it was a particularly safe choice anyway). Instead, he climbed the ladder up onto the roof and glanced upwards. Once again, as it had every single time, the coiled antenna on top of the giant red tower that dominated the skyline, towering above the forest, briefly flashed with a bright white aura.
Rumours that the lightning was generated in that tower, dubbed the Thunder Tower by the locals, were abuzz. The Pigmasks encouraged such beliefs and the fear that came with them of the only authority powerful enough to control the forces of nature in such a manner. “The lightning of Thunder Tower only strikes unhelpful citizens,” they repeated in the town square, “Those who don’t buy a Happy Box and spread the happiness around, or who don’t do their fair share of work at the factory. It’s just the way that the new laws of nature work. It’ll be better off for everyone in the long run.”
Looking up at the tower, Lucas wasn’t afraid. Something else flowed through him as he picked up the stout stick that he used to ward off the sheep-stealing abominations with the bodies of giant fish but the heads and legs of dogs. His own dog, possibly one of the few normal animals who hadn’t also been put to work in the factories, sat beside him, growling at the tower, having somehow climbed the ladder behind him. Feeling the huge, furry bulk beside him, panting with the desire to go out and do something, only increased the determination that welled up inside Lucas.
In the old days, if someone or something threatened any one of the people in the village, they would all have banded together to fight it, fix it or solve whatever the problem was. Now the entire village, maybe the world, was in danger of the next stray spark that could set it on fire. If Lucas was the only one in the village who was still the same, who still remembered what they were, then so be it. At least he had his dog for company. It was probably a good thing to get out of the house before it collapsed around him.
He said one last goodbye to his brother in the mirror, wandered up the hill to visit his mother’s grave, then set out of Tazmilly’s front gates. He wondered if he still had time to catch the train.