His gift maturing, Eu El is now faced with his first challenge that would decide more than his own fate.
Eu El waits cautiously behind the door, unsure of how to separate the perception of realism between the deception of what he feels is a dream.
The moment confronts him like the illusion of a convincing Freddy Krueger movie.
What feels less and less the house he grew up in, deepens like another complicated equation he cannot solve.
He presses his back against the wall and wishes the shadow, its cold and crooked hand caressing his baby sister's forehead, would vanish as all nightmares should when it becomes unbearably frightening. Yet, for some reason, even with much effort, he cannot wake from this nightmare.
The dark shadow's piercing cackle acknowledges the chilling reality for the boy, who chooses to bury its deep, chilling laughter in the hum of a Belinda Carlisle song, "Heaven is a Place on Earth," unaware of how the mysterious shadow's potential for destruction is equally as fatal as Eu El's denial of her existence.
"Your heartbeat, boy. It teases me," the shadow hisses.
El muffles his hum with shaking palms, unwilling to gasp for the air that could disclose his location.
"This isn't...real," he tells himself, afraid to inhale.
"Your fear has been worth the wait, boy."
The shadow's voice, more frightful than the wheezing of a rabid animal, extinguishes any light of hope El needs to find his way home.
He expects a miracle.
Instead, he sees the sun retreating behind the wake of an inevitable storm fast approaching from across the horizon.
He continues humming the song, but this time in his mind. The lyrics rekindles a pleasant memory of the time he first heard the song from his father's broken portable radio cassette player that he fixed.
("In this world we're just beginning...
To understand the miracle of living.")
Along with the words are the emotions that remind him of what he aspires to be: Clark Kent.
Fatherhood weighed heavily on Eu El's boyish, skinny shoulders. At the same time he struggled to complete a single pull-up in his middle school gym class, he was already carrying the weight of soiled diapers, long grocery lists, and a narcissistic brother.
Yet, he accepted the responsibility with the equal grace of his childhood superheroes would in the name of justice, love, and honor.
Whether this boy, who was no stranger to the uncertainty inside him, was prepared or not he would make the choice that would decide the fate of both his future, and the future of the world armed with only the lessons learned from his collection of Spider-Man, and Transformers comic books.
"Are you scared...boy?" The shadow continues hissing.
Its voice changes to the familiar sound of his angry brother. "You are NOTHING, loser! You can't save her! You fail at EVERYTHING!"
The echo alters into the other familiar, narcissistic voice in his life. "Give up, son. Listen to your older brother. You're just going to embarrass me. Shame on you for trying!"
Trembling, Eu El continues humming the song.
("Maybe I was afraid before...
I'm not afraid anymore!")
Another voice, recognizable only from the boy's mental library of after school cartoons, interrupts the shiver of his humming with a question.
It is the kind of question which challenges all character:
"What would Superman do?"
It is the question he has been waiting for all his life.