A young teenage boy wakes up. There are X-Men posters on the walls of his room; clearly he’s a fan. Dressed, he walks down in the kitchen. Scrounging for some food, he finds the fruit bowl is empty and, strangely, the tap is running. He turns it off and shouts out for his mother. He’s late for school. No answer. Strangely, though, he finds her clothes on the ground. He shouts out again. No reply. He writes his mother a note and leaves for school.
There’s nobody outside the house, either, and the streets are empty. The trees have no leaves and the grass is brown. He finds a dog collar on the sidewalk. He looks at it, clearly weirded out, before walking on. As he walks for some time, he sees cars and people across the street and is relieved. At least there are some people. He thought he was going nuts for some time. He passes them, never noticing that, after he’s walked by, smoke begins to rise from the people.
After he’s reached school, a girl runs towards him asking why he hasn’t called her. He’s not allowed to use the phone after 10:00, he defends himself. She begins to argue but, suddenly, breaks off, looking sick. A moment later, smoke begins to rise from her mouth and eyes and the same is happening to all the kids around them. Horrified, the boy has to watch, as she turns into a lifeless mummy and crumbles to dust, her last words being it’s you.
All around him, people, leaves, grass, anything organic crumbles to dust and the boy just stares in horror.
Much later at night, in a cave somewhere, a man enters the fissure, lighting a match. It’s Wolverine. He sees the McDonald’s wrappers and a pile of wood. He uses his match to make a fire. A voice orders him to get out. Wolverine sits down at the fire and grabs a beer from his six-pack. The boy shouts at him to get out or he’ll die. Not today, Wolverine replies calmly and hands the boy a beer. The boy recognizes him. Wolverine explains that he has a healing factor so the boy isn’t going to hurt him. He’s here to talk to the boy. How did he find him, the boy asks. The guy he works with, Xavier, has a mutant finding machine, Wolverine explains. He’s a mutant? the boy asks. So it was him.
With his eyes welling up, he states that he thinks that he’s killed his parents and all those other people. All because he’s a mutant? Wolverine agrees. The boy buries his face in his hands. Sniffling, he asks how many people died. Wolverine tells him he really doesn’t want to know. When the boy insists, Wolverine states that there were, at least, 265. The boy stares at him wide-eyed.
Wolverine tells him he’s sorry and explains that he hit puberty last night. He takes out a note to explain it better. His specific mutation radiates a series of toxins and acid-like poisons and everything in a radius around him… basically all he does now is kill organic tissue. His mutant power is to kill everything around him? the boy repeats. Wolverine again tells him he’s sorry. The boy shouts out that he can’t live like this and quietly repeats it.
“I know,” Wolverine agrees and looks at him. The boy finally opens his beer, stating that he should have done more, enjoyed life more. He starts talking about all the things he wanted to do and never will. He and his girlfriend never…
Wolverine again tells him sorry. If it makes him feel better, nobody will ever know that it was him. They have a cover story and will blame this on a chemical leak. Because if it ever got out that a mutant did this, that would be it for mutants. They’d start rounding them up.
So, like one chromosome or whatever to the left and he would have maybe been one of the X-Men? the boy asks. Maybe, Wolverine replies and tells him to finish his beer. The boy tells him to just do it.
Some time later, Wolverine leaves the cave alone.