“Mr. Baker,” Dr. Gardner said, “I do not understand. There was absolutely no way you could have survived the injury you had, and yet here you stand, only wounded.”
“I don’t remember what happened,” the patient, Henry Baker responded.
“You were in the car crash,” the doctor replied, “the debris pierced your heart. It should have killed you instantly, and yet your heart just kept beating, as if nothing had happened. You were only even knocked out because you got bumped in the head. I’ve consulted many of my colleagues. They all agree with me that this is just plain impossible.”
Henry was clueless and dumbfounded by the doctor’s claims.
“I’ve sent a DNA sample to an expert,” Dr. Gardner said, “he’s going to try to figure out what happened to you.”
Henry remained confused by the doctor’s words. If what the doctor said was true, he had no memory of it at all. He simply decided the doctor had made some really odd mistake, or was telling some sick joke, and decided to forget about it. He remained in the hospital for two days, getting further testing. While Dr. Gardner claimed these tests were related to the “miracle”, Henry simply rolled his eyes at the doctor.
After a few days passed, Henry was finally sent home. He didn’t think much more about Dr. Gardner. The doctor did call him a few times, but Henry didn’t answer, not wanting to listen to his crazy claims any more.
Two months passed, and Henry was on the way home from work, walking to the bus stop. That day, the sidewalk was closed for repair, so he had to head home through a side alley. He was walking down the alley, when suddenly, he felt cold metal against his neck.
“Hand over your money,” a voice said, “or else.”
“I don’t want any trouble,” Henry said scared.
“Then get your money,” the mugger said, “now!”
He reached into his pocket, to grab his wallet, when he heard police sirens.
“You,” the mugger said, “you.”
“I couldn’t have done it,” Henry panicked, “I swear!”
“Leave no witnesses,” the mugger said.
Despite the fact that Henry was completely right, and did not even have the opportunity to call the police, the mugger grabbed the blade tightly and slit Henry’s throat.
But despite having his throat slit, Henry felt nothing more than a tickle. He was completely unharmed by the knife.
“Impossible,” the mugger said.
Henry turned to face his mugger, but only caught a glimpse of him for a brief moment before he ran out of the alley in fear. But Henry was even more surprised than the mugger. He realized that Dr. Gardner was right. There is something different about him.
As he left, he could feel what little wounds he sustained from the blade were healing, and the cut in his skin was quickly sealing itself shut.
When he got home, he walked into his kitchen and grabbed a knife. He wanted to see what he could do, so he cut himself in the finger with it, very slightly. A few drops of blood came out of the wound, but when they dried up, the skin had fully healed. He then tried to cut himself a little harder, and was once again unfazed.
As he saw what he could do, he decided to call Dr. Gardner. He realized he should hear the doctor out. He walked over to his phone, and dialed the number the doctor left during his previous messages.
“Hello,” Dr. Gardner said.
“Doctor,” Henry said, “It’s Henry Baker. I called to apologize. You were right, there is something weird about me.”
“Good that you called,” Dr. Gardner said, “what can I do for you?”
“What were you trying to tell me?” Henry asked.
“Yes,” Dr. Gardner said, “I consulted an expert about your DNA samples, and we found you have a unique combination of rare genetic deformities. As a result, your resistance to pain is far greater than the average human, and you have an extremely accelerated healing rate. This combination lets you easily survive otherwise fatal wounds. Essentially, your body is indestructible.”
“Indestructible?” Henry said, “Then why hasn’t this happened before? Why haven’t I noticed something like this until now?”
“We suspect the genes don’t become active until later in life,” Dr. Gardner said, “or may have somehow been altered by an unknown agent. We’re still analyzing your DNA samples. We suspect your DNA samples may be a boon to medical research.”
“So this means I’m essentially invincible,” Henry asked.
“Yes,” Dr. Gardner said.
It took Henry a couple days to fully wrap his head around the idea that he could truly be invincible and indestructible. He soon knew he was special. He felt this strange power was a gift, he just had to figure out how to use it.
A few more weeks passed, and Henry was going for a walk around his neighborhood, when he passed by a house on fire. The firefighters were already on the scene, but the fire was already getting pretty large. It would take a while for them to get it out. Next to the fire, one of the firefighters was trying to calm down a panicked woman.
“My daughter’s still in there,” the woman cried, “you’ve got to save my daughter. She’s still in her upstairs bedroom!”
The firefighter tried to calm her, but had little success. Henry then knew that he had to act. He wouldn’t be hurt by the flames. He made a beeline for the entrance to the house.
“Stop, you!” one of the firefighters cried, noticing him.
But Henry just kept running. He walked into the burning house, and looked around. The flames inside were intense, but Henry remained unfazed, knowing he couldn’t be harmed by them. He ran up the stairs.
Once he got upstairs, through the sound of the roaring flames, he heard a young girl’s muffled screams “Mommy, mommy!” He followed the noise, and was led to the girl, who couldn’t have been older than three, and was sitting in the center of the room, obviously terrified.
“Come on,” Henry said, “I’ll take you to your mommy.”
The girl looked scared, but didn’t run or complain when Henry approached her. Henry gently picked her up, and rushed out of the building, cradling her in his arms. When he got outside, the girl’s mother noticed them immediately.
“Amy!” she cried, rushing towards them.
Henry handed Amy to her mother, and the reunited mother and daughter happily hugged each other.
“Thank you,” Amy’s mother said to Henry.
“No problem,” Henry said.
After he said that, he ran off. He didn’t want to draw too much attention to himself. He didn’t want his gift to become public knowledge. But despite that, throughout his daily life, he continued to use his ability to help people. Without the fear of death, he could do things far too dangerous for other people. As he did this, he tried to avoid revealing his gift, so nobody would think to use him or take advantage of it.
Two weeks had passed, and Henry had become quite satisfied with how he was able to help people with his gift. As he was walking down the street, past the city bank, he heard gunshots firing. He looked inside the bank. It was being robbed!
He figured he could help stop the robbers, so he pushed the door open, and ran into the bank. Three robbers in ski masks were holding the other people in the bank hostage, while forcing the tellers to empty their money drawers. One of them noticed Henry enter.
“Hit the floor,” the robber cried, pointing his gun at Henry.
“You don’t scare me,” Henry said.
He ran towards the robber, knowing he would be unfazed by the guns were he fired at. The robber fired a gun, and it struck him in the forehead at close range. As Henry’s vision grew weak, he wondered how the bullet could have affected him, and he fell to the ground.
Later, Henry lay in a hospital bed, strapped to a life support system. Two doctors were looking over him.
“It’s amazing his brain could recover like that,” one of them said.
“True,” the other doctor said, “but it may have been better if it didn’t. Only the physical part of the brain recovered. Whatever was stored in the brain: memories, knowledge, emotions, did not. While his body may continue to function, his mind is gone.”
The two doctors left, as Henry’s invincible body lay, alive and fully functioning, and yet Henry himself was no more.
Author’s Notes (may contain spoilers):
Invincible was originally a story I had planned for Evaira. Well, actually, it was a two-part story. Part one was where Henry learned of his apparent immortality and indestructibility, and Evaira helped investigate the cause. Part two would have been where he started to use his powers for good, with an unexpected consequence. I eventually concluded that part one wasn’t very good, and without it, part two would have been better as a stand-alone story. Thus, Invincible is mostly about part two, only touching on what would have been part one.
Aside from that, most of the plot is the same, including the twist ending, and the theme that nobody is truly invincible. I even kept Henry’s original name, which was chosen because it sounded relatively ordinary and unremarkable, for a rather special man.
This story was delayed much longer than I wanted due to repeated power failures and snow problems causing internet outages. Sorry!