Imaginary Hero

I watched my universe shatter before my eyes. It was like being torn out of a dream with ice water. That's how I felt when Mum snatched

away my comic, right when Ultraman was about to blast Mechzilla with his Flash Vision, and told me to get some fresh air.

According to them, I spend too much time with my head in the clouds. Not true, I just love to read. What other hobby can take you to the far

reaches of space, where you can fire laser cannons in some intergalactic civil war? Then have you escaping hordes of zombies on the back of a

giant T-Rex the next day?

Sure beats the heck out of soccer.

But they're my parents and since I can't escape their mind control until I'm like, twenty or something, I put on my jacket and headed out into

the "real world".

Take one good look around the city where I live and you'll begin to realise why I prefer books. I looked it up on Google maps once. It looks like

a cigarette burn on a dead leaf.

I plodded down the steps from the city boarding house were me and my parents live. Don't get me wrong, were not poor or anything like that.

It's just that Dad spends all day in his patrol car and Mum is constantly looking for places to showcase her art. So living in the heart of the city

is handy for them. And super, ultra sucky for me.

The city is a concrete skeleton were the closest thing to a park is the garden outside the bank where they don't let kids play. Even at school

the only thing I have to look forward to is a fifteen minute ride on an old rusty bus, more pavement and a steel bar playground death trap.

I followed orders and stepped out onto the sidewalk to get some of that "fresh air" Mum was talking about. I pulled out my iPhone and

started playing with it while my feet engaged the auto pilot. Destination: Wrights Books, the only fun place in the whole lousy city. Until a few

minutes later when I discovered something a million times more awesome.

A roaring sound like a super charged lion echoed through the city streets. At first I didn't see anything. But then I noticed a dark shadow

floating along the road like a giant, black fish. I looked up and gasped so much I thought my face would explode.

A Golden Dragon flew above me with smoke billowing from its nostrils. Hungry amber eyes gleamed down upon the people walking the

streets, looking for some worthy prey to devour. Its wings were almost as wide as the two way road and with every beat; I smelt the musky

brimstone wash over me.

The sun stung my eyes worse than any reading lamp. So I raised my hand to block the light. When I squinted up again, the Dragon vanished.

All I saw was a BCTV News helicopter. I remembered Dad once calling them the "looky-lou" news. Because all they did was scour the city for

car crashes and purse snatchers. But it was weird because I could've sworn I saw a real Golden Dragon.

Suddenly I felt the earth tremble beneath me. My knees buckled and I fell like an idiot on my butt. A fissure burst open in the road. Clouds of

steam and a red hot glow spewed out from the massive crack. Deep, bone-scrapping growls echoed out from below. A grotesquely deformed

hand, with claws and lanky yellow fingers reached up and grabbed the edge of the road. Five more twisted limbs followed and a horde of

deformed Mole Men clawed their way to the surface. They snarled as the sun seared their skin, threatening the sky with long, sinister looking

spears.

I rolled off my butt and bolted into a dark alleyway were I hoped they wouldn't notice me. But when I looked back, I didn't see any Mole Men.

All I saw was a bunch of fat, greasy civil workers clambering out of a manhole surrounded by barricades and witches hats. One of them looked

at me curiously.

Probably thought I was some crazy, weirdo kid.

Because it felt like I was going crazy. Or, maybe the world was going crazy and I was just fine. Which made more sense and suggested I

really was going crazy. I rubbed my eyes and set off down the alley, but as soon as I came out the other end it happened again.

A ghost train screamed up the road toward me. The cackles of ghouls and haunting cries of ghosts screeched along the windowed street.

Reaching out to consume me like the giant spectral hand of Death. I blinked, and then it was gone. My old rusty school bus rumbled by

without even the slightest giggle.

Now I can take weird, but this was freaking me out. So I ran hoping that the sanctuary of my book store would somehow stop these

hallucinations. But I couldn't help noticing more and more bizarre, crazy and downright ridiculous things popping up all over the city.

I saw a jungle man riding a sabre-toothed tiger out of the subway. But when I blinked, I realised it was only a proud, pompous looking man in

a suit walking a fluffy, white poodle.

With my phone I snapped a picture of a tall, purple alien with tentacles and a savage elongated jaw attack a parked taxi. But the photo

showed an obviously peeved guy helping a snobbish looking lady out of the car.

I slowed down to catch my breath, running was not my forte. But then I realised something was wrong. Not with the world, but with me.

'Why am I freakin' out like this?' I said to myself. 'I've seen all this sort of stuff before'.

Every time I opened a book they're waiting for me between the pages. And I see them every day in my imagination. How was this any much

different?

Things looked pretty normal until I came to the corner cafe opposite Wrights. A huge War Troll with mouldy green skin and dirty iron piercings

towered over a cowering Princess. Her hair was pink like gumballs and she clutched feebly at her sapphire dress. The Troll's stone club

shadowed menacingly over her.

It should've scared me, but it didn't. Mum always said, 'Act on instinct or lose the moment'. And every story needs a hero. I ducked in between

the Troll's huge tree-like legs and tackled the Princess out of the way. A second before his club smashed into the sidewalk.

The world exploded into musical chaos as chips of granite and wood rained over me and the Princess. A plume a dust rose up and the sounds

of gasping and moving feet began to surround us. I looked up at the pink headed Princess to see that she was actually a pink headed

waitress. Her face was wide open with her hand frozen in front her mouth. Only when she saw me staring at her did she unfreeze and stare

back.

'Thank you', she whispered.

That's when I looked over my shoulder. The remains of a destroyed piano lay crashed in a huge concrete crater. Screams and really bad words

came from above. A rooftop crane and a group of men in white suits were calling out panicked apologies. People from the cafe and other

witnesses from across the street dashed over to help us out. Ambulances were called and things got crowded.

I'll never remember how many times I got patted on the back or how many hands I shook that day. But there are two things I will always

remember. The discount Eddie in the bookshop gave me after he saw what I'd done. Apparently the waitress was his girlfriend. And the look

on Mums face when I got back home.

'Now see honey, don't you feel a little better after your walk? I bet you see a lot more interesting things out there than in your books'.

I simply smiled at her. Words escaped me at that point.

'Well you certainly look a lot better. Here, you can go finish your comic book now'.

'No thanks, Mum. I think I've had my hero fix for today'.

The End