Dave slowly opened his eyes, waking up to realise he was drooling all over the couch. He sat up and wiped the drool from his face, checking to make sure no one had seen. The lounge was empty. Jerry was probably in his room still asleep.
Dave stood up and instantly wished that he hadn’t. Blood rushed to his head and pounded against the inside of his skull. A night with the boys never came without pain. He took a deep breath and searched for his phone and wallet. Once he found them he shoved them in his pockets, opened the door and started walking home.
He squinted; the afternoon sunlight seemed much too bright. Home was only ten minutes away, but with his hangover Dave was in no mood for the walk.
He walked through the park at the end of Jerry’s street and reached into his pocket. He pulled out his phone, about to check the time, when his phone was engulfed in flames.
Dave dropped what was left of his phone with a start. What the hell just happened? He checked his hand, making sure it wasn’t burnt. It was fine, but his skin felt strangely warm. He clenched his fist as the warmth grew, intensifying until his fist burst into flames.
Dave stared, wide eyed, at his fist. It was wreathed in fire, covering his hand like a second skin. He uncurled his hand and watched in amazement as flames danced up his arm, twisting and leaping, until they stopped at his shoulder.
This is unbelievable, he thought to himself. It was like something from his childhood fantasies.
Flames exploded across his body, burning his clothes to ash. He gazed at the fire that covered his body then threw back his head and laughed in joy. It was a miracle!
He was struck by a sudden urge to test himself. He concentrated, testing the flames like a newfound appendage. He clenched his fists, and a flash like the glint of sun on steel lit up the park. Dave flared, burning like a sun until shimmering heat waves made the park waver like a mirage.
The flames disappeared and Dave fell to the ground. Struggling to catch his breath, he stood up and surveyed the extent of his power. The ground was charred black and the playground lay in ruins, looking like the surviving remnant from a holocaust.
Dave couldn’t wipe the smile from his face. This was a dream come true. He was special. He could be a hero, a real life superhero. He had to get home and tell his family.
He started running and suddenly realised he was naked. He cloaked himself in flames and ran home, a living fire that raced through the streets.
When he finally made it home he dispelled his skin of fire and burst into his house. His parents sat in the lounge, smiling at the sight of him.
“You’ll never guess what happened to me.”
“You got super powers,” his dad said.
Dave’s smile dropped. His parents laughed, shaking their heads.
“Didn’t you pay any attention during the election. Rudd promised to give super powers to every Australian citizen. It was the cornerstone of his campaign.”
Dave shook his head, his dreams evaporating as he remembered the election promise.
His dad smiled as a glass of water floated up from the table and glided into his hand. “Cool isn’t it.”
Copyright © 2008 Daniel S. S. Santos.
First published in our Infinitas Newsletter, January 2008 .
This page last updated 16th September 2008.