Before he knew what he was doing, Michael jumped down into the trench, landing beside the young girl that had fallen off the ledge and onto the subway tracks.
The sounds of the crowds' shouts, loudest of the them all the terrified screams of the child's mother, distant in his ears as he bent down to gingerly scoop up the unconscious girl in his arms. A trickle of blood flowing from the cut on her forehead where she had hit against the metal rail.
Michael could see she was breathing slowly like she was in a restful slumber as he lifted her off the grimy ground.
Moving as in a dream, he turned to lift her fragile body up to the waiting hands of the crowd kneeling down at the edge of the platform. He felt her light weight being lifted from him as another sound poured into his ears; the muffled horn of the subway train.
Slowly, he turned his head to look down the dim tunnel which was being lit by the bright lights of the train as it barreled down the tracks, blowing its horn wildly at him.
The people on the ledge screamed for him to climb up, holding out their hands to him. But there would not be enough time, he was near the tunnel opening; the train was almost upon him already.
Michael turned and faced the train, and as its lights glared in his eyes, he remembered moments from his life.
Falling off the monkey bars at school when he was a young boy. Chasing after a street-hockey ball while a car screeched its brakes. Sliding off a friend's roof while they snuck out after dark as teenagers. Wiping out while skiing down a wooded mountain trail.
All these incidents flashing through his memory; such odd things to be remembered at a time like this, but there had been something there he had not seen before.
Every near miss, all of them, should have ended with at least a terrible injury if not death; none did.
Each time he had simply walked away, not giving it a second thought. Until now. Now he looked; he watched as his memories revealed to him the answer.
It had not been fate, or even dumb luck that had save him. Every time his life was to be cut short; it had been him.
The white light washed over him and faded away as the screeching of the subway train brakes filled his ears.
Michael opened his eyes to find the train was a few meters in front of him, unmoving, though its wheels spun madly, sparks shooting from their contact with the tracks.
The driver's face was a white sheet of astonishment as he gripped the train's brake lever.
The crowd's shouts and screams had died away and as Michael turned to look at them, he realized that he was at the same level as they were. Their faces agog with disbelief.
He looked from them down to see that he was hovering above the dirty track floor about two meters up. Hand outstretched to the train in front of him, Michael could feel that he was stopping it from plowing through.
His feet dangled as he hung effortlessly in the air, looking as taken aback as the crowd.
A though of floating over to the ledge and he started to move toward the crowded platform. The people moved back as he touched down quietly on the floor.
The train suddenly lurched forward as he put his hand down; it rolled to a slow stop and some of the passengers that could see out of the windows watched his landing.
The crowd stood silently, the entire station did, as Michael looked at his hands; turning them over to inspect them as though for the first time.
He looked from his hands to the staring people, the mother of the girl he had lifted out off the tracks held her daughter in her arms, standing out in front with tears in her eyes.
She began to say something but her mouth only opened and shut noiselessly.
Michael looked as perplexed as the rest and almost started to say so when he heard a shout in the distance. A cry out for help, seemingly close by, but no one in the subway station had said a word.
Again it came and he turned to look down the dark tunnel at the other end of the platform. No one else seemed to react to the plea but him. He heard it a third time and stepped off the platform edge to hover above the tracks.
The mother stepped forward as if to stop him, but then looked into his eyes as he looked from the tunnel to her.
“Go on.” she whispered after a quiet moment.
Michael nodded and turned himself toward the far tunnel taking a deep breath. Like a bolt, he took off through the air; a blur of movement that disappeared into the darkness of the tunnel that led to the city outside.