I could fly. The wind didn’t frighten me and the limitations that hold me back didn’t exist anymore. I was free. And strong. Invulnerable to harm, even.
Everything felt right, good. I smiled and meant it, joy sweeping through my entire body and lifting me through every moment like some absurdly sweet fairy tale come to life.
There was still pain and suffering in the world. Still villains and confused humans who thought they were helping as they heaped sand over the heads of those they claimed to love. The lost still roamed, the weather still changed with no regard to our desires.
But I could do something about it.
I collided with the ichor of the world, stopping the ugliness and taking its power away. I thrived on righting wrongs, protecting, and helping those in my scope of influence. It was a whirlwind romance with life.
Sitting beside friends at an event of massive proportions, there were others like me, among the crowd. We knew each other in the way no one else around us did. We were the ones who ran toward danger, put ourselves to the hazard. Not for glory. No one knew who we were (we had actual disguises, not a pair of glasses). But we knew. We did it to help, to ease some of the misery. Something inside us couldn’t rest, couldn’t be at one with who we were unless we did this. It drove us, electrified us, filled us with fire.
We smiled knowingly at each other and traded jokes that meant things beyond the surface. Our friends passed food and we chatted, passing yummy smells down the tables as we spent the time catching up and snacking, waiting for something. An excited tension built throughout the crowd of attendees, eager.
The sky darkened and a large, misshapen blue crystal became visible, just above the clouds, a thick and dark fog filling the sky, lower, lower, lower until we could hardly see. A massive crack in a decaying slice of agony and betrayal. Someone had broken it, sending shock-waves throughout the world, the implications of which, no one knew.
The crowd gasped as a collective, abandoning food and clustering together, trapped or hiding. My friends and I made our escape outside, into the day where the sun’s rays no longer penetrated the afternoon.
But once outside, I fell, an unseen force pushing me toward the ground, pressure against my body so tight I could hardly breathe, and something inside me cracked. In the middle there, just below my navel. I couldn’t lift my head to look down at my own body, couldn’t move a single limb.
Not only had my inhuman strength been stripped, but I couldn’t find the energy to do much more than blink.
My breathing slowed, a huge rush blocking out the sounds of the panicking crowd, the crackling in the sky, the mayhem all around me. I turned my head from where I lay on my back. The others like me suffered the same fate, I could feel them. But I couldn’t find anyone in the fog, just knew.
A scrawny twenty-something came out of the fog and knelt beside me, trying to help.
Painlessly, I felt my skin split, deep blue light that didn’t so much glow as it did emanate from within me, drawing our attention in hushed confusion. A tiny blue crystal hovered just above my navel, having lifted out from within my stomach. It just hung there, slowly losing light.
“What do I do?” The kid asked. He had his hands awkwardly out in front of him, one just above the crystal, like he was afraid it would float away and he was preparing to grab it.
The whole time, the only thing I could think, was to fix this so I could get out there and help the people trapped inside. Get back to being me. None of the airy joy bled from me, no doubt crept in. I just focused on the task, not a fear in sight.
I smiled at him, breathless, and said, “touch it”.
I knew if only he touched it, it would zap the life back into me, knew everything would be okay.
He hesitantly drew a finger closer, closer…
The moment he touched it, it absorbed into him. He jolted backward, frantically trying to find where it was. But it took effect, changing him, and he stood, stronger, filled with a radiance he hadn’t possessed before. More solidly him, as if every bit of untapped potential was now on tap, fired up, rewired, and ready to use.
He needed to change before I could take the crystal back, before it could be mine once again.
And I woke up.