Sal woke up.
His head pounding, as if he’d spent the entire night drinking. But something more incredible had happened than a great night out with friends. Sal had saved a life. In fact, he’d saved multiple lives.
There was a time when Sal’s life consisted mostly of drudgery. Waking up, going to the office, talking about the latest movie or Blue Jays game with coworkers, pretending to work, then going home and watching television until he passed out. That all changed just a few weeks ago.
On his commute home, later than usual, Sal drove off the road and was killed. It was instantly, so don’t feel too sorry for him. In fact, to any observer, the death was far less painful than his daily routine. Sal’s story would have ended here and he would have slowly faded into obscurity. The day of his death, however, was special. Sal, while careening off the road, had somehow managed to crash into a rare deposit of Holmium. Sal didn’t know it, but he’d been in contact with this normally harmless element before. It was used to color the cubic zirconia ring he had purchased for his ex-fiance. And although this crash encounter with Holmium also broke his heart, in the most literal sense, it also gave Sal something much more.
After the accident, Sal managed to stumble home to his apartment. The accident happened After getting over the shock of coming back to life and wrestling with the internal debate about whether or not he was the second coming of Jesus Christ, which Sal determined he in fact, was not, Sal started focusing on why no one had come to visit or questioned his absence. The only thing he received in the two weeks since his accident was an email from a co-worker asking him to, “throw out his food in the office refrigerator if he wasn’t going to eat it.”
While Sal was contemplating why no one seemed to notice him, he also started to notice he was able to do things that he couldn’t do before. It started when he turned on the TV to watch his shows. He wasn’t sure why, but nothing worked. He tried calling the cable company, but his phone wasn’t getting any reception. Same thing with his wi-fi.
“What the hell is going on?” Sal complained. “I can’t use anything in this place”. Sal decided he’d take is phone and router into the shop and see if they could fix it.
On his way to the shop, was when it happened. The first exciting thing that had occurred in his entire forty-five-year existence. Sal became a hero.
The shop was only a few blocks away. Sal had always loved living in the city because he could walk everywhere, but had started thinking about moving when his company’s head office moved into the suburbs. The commute had been killing him, although it ended up doing the trick much sooner than he imagined. It was an average day in the city. Overcast, streets still wet with the previous night’s rain, and crowded.
“How are there always so many people out on the street?” Sal wondered. “Do they not have jobs? Is everyone a tourist?” With only a few hundred metres to the shop, Sal caught a glimpse of the falling glass from the towering buildings. Before he could think about what was happening, he felt it.
His body lunged forward, hands outstretched, feet locked to the pavement. People shrieked, but before they could process it all, Sal’s hands slammed into the pavement, thirty feet from where his feet stood. His body, formed into a bowl shape above the crowd, was now filled with thousands of glass shards.
The crowd fell silent as Sal’s body slowly recoiled into a more human shape. Before any words were spoken, Sal turned and ran from the scene. Afraid of his own actions, he feared the worst in the people he had just saved.
Sal went back to his apartment. His body ached and his mind raced. What power had he been given? He took some aspirin, laid on his bed, and fell asleep.