Lessons in Speed
"Why do you run?"
Warren blinked at the simple question. "Why? I run ... to save people. To stop bad things from happening."
"No," said Xiao Lin, known to his friends, and the world, as Runechild. "That is why you put on your uniform and call yourself the White Blur. If not these clothes and not this name, you would choose others."
Warren found it hard to argue with that. He found it hard to argue with Xiao at all.
"Now, think hard. Why do you run?"
Warren's brow creased. He thought back to the moment he realized he was ... fast. It was terrifying, but also ...
"The thrill," he said. "I love how it feels. I love how the world stands still for me. I love the wind on my face, the fantastic things I can do."
"And yet you fear to."
Warren clenched his fists and his teeth and tried not to cry. "Yes," he breathed.
Xiao was silent for a moment. It felt like the gathering of a storm ... or like sunlight breaking slowly through the clouds. Then he spoke, asking another question: "Do you know what speed is?"
Now Warren was a little insulted. Runechild was quick - could do things at speeds that caught even him off guard - but Warren Meyers was the fastest living thing in existence. "Of course I know what speed is," he said, showing his annoyance in his voice.
"And yet you know you can go faster than you have before. So I ask you, if you have not gone as fast as you can go, how can you know what true speed is?"
Once again, Warren was without an answer.
"True speed," Xiao began, finally teaching now that the student was ready to listen, "is not in how fast you can move, how quickly you can arrive at where you want to be, or how many times you can hit your opponent before he knows he has been hit. True speed is found in the imperceptibly inevitable."
Warren tried to understand, but Xiao kept on teaching.
"It is the changing of the seasons, the passage of years. It is the life of a child who is suddenly grown and gone. It is the full and grand sweep of history, the years and centuries that have all come and gone. It is when we realize we have fallen in love, but cannot discern when it happened. It is when the sun sets as you are not looking." Xiao pointed over Warren's shoulder.
Warren turned to see the last brilliant wisp of scarlet fade from a darkening sky.
"Catch that moment again, speedster," came the impossible challenge.
Warren laughed at himself.