“Did you freaking see that”, exclaimed the guy next to me.
He was pointing toward the crowded city sidewalk and then up toward the sky.
“That frigging guy just flew”, he shouted.
“I didn't see that”, I said.
“I swear to God there was a guy walking along in the crowd and when he stepped up onto the curb he just frigging flew up into the air”, shouted this guy.
I looked the guy over and he seemed pretty respectable. He was wearing a light trench coat, dark suit underneath and clean shoes. You can always tell a lot about people by the condition of their shoes. It was something I’d just held onto ever since reading Sherlock Holmes.
“No. I really didn't see that”, I said.
“Amazing, just amazing”, said the guy.
He started stopping other people on the street asking them if they had seen the flying man. Most of the passers-by ignored him completely or just quickly told him they didn't see it and they kept walking, heads down and focused on their digital devices in their hands.
I walked to my building and up to my office. It was there I found my co-workers huddled around the TV in the break room. It seemed there was an asteroid hurtling toward Earth and there was no way for the planet to mount an effective defense. According to the announcers there was only three hours of life left on Earth. I dropped into a chair and thought about all the things I never got to do. I never saw the Pyramids, I never had children, I never got to own a house, how could the world be coming to an end?
There was a powerful flash and rumble past the window. It seemed to rattle the whole framework of the building. I just caught a glimpse of it. It was in the shape of a man.
“Did you just see that”, I shouted.
I turned to my co-workers who were still running about or crying or staring at the TV.
“Something, something just shot past the window. I think… I think it was a man”, I said.
“Oh God, are people jumping out the windows”, asked Jennifer from Accounting.
“No. He was, flying past me, like, he was level with the windows, maybe rising”, I said.
Jennifer looked at me as if I had completely lost my mind. Maybe I had. Maybe that guy on the street earlier had gotten my hopes up that a real superhero was in our midst and was going to try and save us all. I felt the hope in my stomach. I tried to crane my neck up and see if I could get a better view of the sky. It was darkening with thick gray clouds.
The anchorman on the TV suddenly came to life; there was something in his voice, excitement.
“Ladies and gentleman what you’re about to see will… I can’t explain it. We go now to footage of what appears to be a man, flying up towards the asteroid at incredible speed. This footage is from NASA and they are at a loss to explain the phenomenon”.
A grainy and blurry video came on the TV screen and you could barely make out the form of a man, flying up towards the asteroid. It looked like his right arm was out ahead of him and there was a cape fluttering behind him. The video played again and again with the anchorman commenting.
“We appear to be witnessing a miracle ladies and gentlemen. When all hope was lost it appears there was someone to come forward and save us. I can only hope this man, this flying man, will be an icon of good and help bring about global peace. I only… I’m getting word from NASA now and… it seems… it can’t be… Son of a bitch”.
The room was perfectly quiet as we all waited to find out what had happened. Had we been saved? Had this man saved the human race? The TV feed stopped and a test pattern appeared. A few people screamed. The skies continued to darken outside.
“That guy just left I bet”, said Harold.
“No. No. He couldn't”, cried Laura.
“It’s over”, said Sam.
The TV flickered and a new picture came on. It was a strange face. Not the anchorman, certainly not a human face.
“You are the infestation. You will be eradicated. Your hero is dead”.
The TV cut to black. The room erupted in panic. Chairs went through windows. Things suddenly seemed to be on fire. There was an explosion outside and it shook the foundation of the building. Everyone went screaming toward an exit. I tried to stay where I was. I still had hope.
I looked out the window toward where the explosion came from. Rising from the crater was the flying man I saw earlier. He dusted himself off as he rose, back into the air. He saw me looking and waved. I didn't know what else to do so I waved back. He smiled and turned his attention back up and launched himself skyward at an incredible speed. I stood there, waving.
There was a loud boom. I think it was a sonic boom. I’d never heard one in person really so I couldn't be sure. I looked up at the sky. Some of my co-workers came to the window and looked up. There seemed to be a pause to the panic and chaos.
“I saw him. He was still alive”, I said.
There was a bright flash in the sky above us and the gathering clouds dissipated. A glow, brighter than the sun flashed over the sky and then quickly dimmed. There was a powerful concussive wave that followed that shook every building and car and person. I felt Jennifer holding onto me, which was nice because I always thought she was pretty cute. The sky cleared and streaks of debris could be seen burning up along the surface of the atmosphere.
There was a great cheer coming from somewhere down below.
“He did it”, I said, “We’re saved”.
I looked at Jennifer and she looked at me.
“What are you doing for lunch”, I asked.
Jennifer smiled and held me close.