Fiction

The Slide

By: Zane Tomich

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There is a lot of activity going on inside the building. I focus my sight towards the metallic wall. My x-ray vision pierces through the wall, allowing me to see everything inside. Twelve of Luthor’s henchmen stand alert. They guard the main entrance of Lexcorp. The large steel door is going to be my ticket inside this massive fortress. Sure, I can bust down the flimsy walls of the building; but I think a dramatic superhero entrance is fitting for this occasion.

Luthor’s men are anxiously on their toes. They definitely expect me to arrive very soon. I position my fist against the cold steel of the door. With a thunderous hurl of my right arm, the door explodes open. Bits and pieces of debris scatter like snowflakes in a blizzard.

As expected, a swarm of armed guards charge at me. They unleash the fury of their automatic machine guns. I bellow with an overzealous laugh as the useless bullets reflect off my indestructible body. I respond by protruding powerful red laser beams from my eyes. The beams carve a destructive path of chaos, knocking the guards over. Falling pieces of ceiling crash to the ground. I casually walk over to the disoriented guards and bestow havoc upon them with my solid fists of pure steel.

Within a matter of seconds, a stacked heap of unconscious bodies lie before me. I dust off my hands and wipe my forehead, which barely broke a sweat during the savage beatdown.

Sounds of clanking footsteps ring through my enhanced ears. I look up to see Luthor on the staircase, manhandling Lois through an exit to the roof. I quickly launch myself in the air. I explode through the ceiling with incredible might.

Luthor stands at the helipad with Lois firmly intact in his arms. He shoves her into the helicopter and takes off into the sunset. I squat down on one knee and bow my head as if I were a priest praying at the Vatican. Objects on the roof begin to levitate. The ground shakes with vibration. I click my heels together like Dorothy Gale and thrust upward into the sky. My gigantic right arm points forward with my fist clenched. I glide in a streamlined fashion. The air is so soft I cut through it like butter bound. Luthor’s helicopter is dead ahead–

—All of the sudden, there is a shift in the wind. Everything is warped. The velocity and momentum created from my launch mysteriously weakens. Gravity pulls me down. My pointed arm dips uncontrollably towards the ground below. My body freezes in a motion-less standstill while hovering in midair. Forward movement is non-existent. I glide powerlessly. No longer am I an eagle soaring through the sky. Instead, I spiral into a downward free-fall.

I can see the mountains of Banff, Alberta re-appearing before my very eyes. The Man of Steel is an illusion. My replica red cape and blue suit possesses no superpowers of any kind that can save me from this situation. Only the well-crafted fabrics and precise stitching of Jacks Costume Company stay connected. I am not the last son of Krypton; I am a foolish five-year-old boy. A mere mortal.

—Thud.

*

Like Greg Louganis making an epic dive into a pool, I plummeted head first into the rocky sands of the playground. An intense jolt of shock pierced through my body. Bright yellow stars circled around my eyes. I stared aimlessly at the clear blue sky, lying on the flatness of my back. The sun gleamed with a mighty sparkle. Above me, a shadow of the great summit that was the towering slide I had just jumped off of, became distinctively visible. From my angle, it looked as if the sun was in the process of swallowing the wretched park contraption whole, like Jaws.

My mother’s screams echo throughout the park. The nightmare all mothers cringe about had just happened.

She rushed over to the slide area where I was laying and scooped me up in her arms. She ran frantically back to the trailer. My father was sitting comfortably outside in his lawn chair reading a book under the awning. Mother’s hysterical cries as she approached the trailer shifted my father’s look of relaxation and calmness to that of fright and surprise. He quickly leaped from his chair as if he was sitting on a sharp tack. They both took me inside where they assessed the seriousness of my little accident. It got to a point where they considered calling an air ambulance.

Surprisingly, I don’t remember crying at all. In fact, not even a sound could be heard from my voice. Despite fearing the worst of things, there was not a single injury to my little body. My frightened parents were shocked to find nothing wrong with me. Judging by the fall of epic proportions I had, which was from at least eight feet high, they had to assume only the worst happened to me; however, by the grace of god, I did not break my neck, crack open my head, concuss my brain, or shatter a single bone. All that was present was a couple of minor scrapes on my skin, and a blank, emotionless look on my face. It was like nothing had even occurred. I came out of this unscathed.

Now and again, when I look back on this story, it still resonates with me as if it happened yesterday. Nothing occurs without purpose. This event means so much more, especially now since I have grown up and learned to understand the meaning of that accident. The fact of the matter is that we are all mortal beings that can be harmed no matter what world we live in or how old we are. Our skin is breakable. With children, that concept does not apply in the same manner. It certainly didn’t apply to my childhood, that is for sure. My life was a living fantasy. The realm of reality is very different than that of the world of an adventurous child. Sure, like Superman, I was unharmed after enduring a form of forceful impact; but on that summer day at a campsite in Banff, unbeknownst to me, I was exposed to kryptonite for the first time.

Superman was my idol as a child. I wanted to be him. My imagination was powerful enough to actually become a “superhero” for the briefest of moments. Maybe I didn’t lack superpowers after all. My mind was a source of power in itself. That is until the truth decided to hit me hard in the face in the most literal and nearly disastrous way possible.

I got my first taste of vulnerability and sand. The accident could have easily ended my life and yet I thought nothing of it for the longest time. If something dangerous like that were to happen to me now as an adult, my reaction would be quite different. Mind you, a young child’s body is like a piece of rubber. It absorbs any impact and bounces off everything like a basketball. Broken bones would be plentiful in my current aging adult form now if such a fall were to occur again.

It is interesting to think about this because if I were to return to that slide now, I would see it as an ordinary slide. Not the rooftop of Lexcorp. The mind naturally matures over time and none of us are indestructible. We are all human comprised of flesh and blood. Superman certainly empowered me to unleash the abilities he made me feel I thought I had. My hero taught me what is real and what is not. I see that the accident was a pivotal learning curve for my maturity. It was a way to open my eyes to what was actually happening around me. I became much more aware and attuned to senses as a person living on this planet. Maybe some of us need to feel what its like to be human first in order to fully understand ourselves and how life tends to work out.

Superman had a human experience when he was killed by Doomsday. Obviously you don’t have to fall off gigantic slide or have a serious brush with death to have such a realization. I was lucky enough not to die or become paralyzed.

Imagination is beautiful; but it can also create trouble. Especially when you are a young, oblivious and impressionable kid trying to conquer your own universe. Eventually, we all get to the point in our lives where it is time to hang up the red cape. As we all continue to age, life becomes but a slow unraveling truth of things. You cannot escape the dangers that linger everywhere no matter what world you see in front of yourself. It is good to be alert and present in moment. It will keep you safe and more importantly, allow you to enjoy life. When the time comes to finally bury the cape, every lesson learned can mean something valuable for the future and shape who you become as a human being.

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Categories: Fiction

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