The light was kept on throughout the night. Just so the rat would not come eat The Van Man. But he was under. Asleep.
The wind blew into his face and was crisp. The sky a deep, midnight blue. Black clouds hung like paintings on the night canvas. Green hills rolled across the horizon, sprouting mangled trees. All bare from an unpronounced winter. On top of the biggest mound stood three lost souls, huddled together.
Van Man recognized them, instantly. He felt their fear and knew the urgency. He ran to them and he jumped toward them and was flying. Van Man soared, breezily in the night. The power of the universe loaded within his structure. His was a flight more graceful than the eagle.
A series of quick steps accompanied his landing, like the parachutists in New Mexico. He greeted the troubled people. Loved ones. Mother, Uncle and Grandmother. They rushed to Van Man's side and spoke hastily, in fear. Silence. Their mouths opened and no sound came.
Van Man looked out onto the devastatingly blue landscape. No words were needed. The three took hold of him. And he held back. He lifted them with all his strength, creating a space of an inch between their feet and the cold grass. Van Man took a step. Then two. He worked his steps into a few and the legs churned into a gallop. He needed speed for take off. Van Man jumped and flight was reborn, but only for a few yards. His family held on. They needed him to fly. And he was not so sure anymore. Were they too heavy for him to carry?
Again the legs stomped, but the loved ones sagged in his arms. Feet dragged the ground as Van Man mustered another run. The jump was mighty and strenuous, but the result was the same and quicker. He looked at his dead Uncle and Grandmother. And then he looked at his Mother. The deal was understood. Van Man stepped away from his family. He charged a few feet and took flight, but he could no longer control his gift. Van Man crashed in and out of trees and skidded along the green hills.
Van Man awoke. The dream was over. But it haunted. He stood up, groggy and turned off the lamp. The room was aglow in sunlight and would keep the rat hiding. He walked into the cold hallway and peeked into her room. His mother slept. And in the kitchen, a mouse scurried along the sink and The Van Man put on coffee.