The Fiery Adventure of Salamander - The World as seen by a Comic Hero

The dark league has gathered for a meeting. The sharpest minds have to unite if they have to stand a chance against their common foe. The discussion goes on for hours. Meantime, in the world outside the sun has set to usher in darkness. Even after the sun has successfully fought its way back banishing the darkness, ushering in the next morning, the meeting is still on. The dark underworld however knows no sun or light. For this is the world of shadows where dwell the darkest and most dangerous of all creatures. Could there be one that feared by even these denizens of the dark? What could possibly be more dangerous than them? Who could strike such primeval fear into the very depth of their dark hearts? There is one such. And these vile creatures have got together to plan how to tackle him. He is none other than our super hero – ‘Salamander’ – the harbinger of light and fire – the destroyer of darkness.

The plan is an extremely diabolic one. The Salamander has been lured in by a fake call from a damsel in distress. Weakness for damsels in distress has always been the tragic flaw of heroes from times immemorial, super or otherwise. Salamander is no exception. He blindly rushes to rescue the damsel like a fly drawn towards light. A gloomy mansion awaits him there. Dreary, dark and menacing; it stands. But it takes more than that to intimidate Salamander. He is inside the mansion in a flash. But what is this? There is neither terrible ogre nor lovely damsel awaiting him inside. Instead he is greeted by emptiness. He rushes from room to room. But there is nothing. Void fills the whole place – sheer expanse of space. What is he to do? Any normal man would have given up. But then he is Salamander. He continues to go from room to room to room. How can so many rooms fit inside a single mansion? They seem just endless and he is beginning to tire out. Then suddenly he catches a whiff of something in the distance. A familiar, pleasant odor! The smell of something burning! Fire, his favorite element! He rushes in the direction of the burning smell. Soon he finds himself in a large hall. There is a single table right in the middle of the room, a chair next to it and a huge urn of blazing fire at its center. 

Oh, joy! Those lovely crimson flames! The lovely little embers that keeps the fire of life burning! He leaps on to the chair and reaches out for the delicious flames. But his tongue feels no pleasant burning sensation. There are no flames. It is just an illusion. A trap! He is furious. Whoever has done this to him would pay dearly! No one who messes with Salamander ever gets away lightly. He braces himself to leap out and go after his foes. But no! He is where he is, stuck to the chair! What is happening? The villains seem to have put glue on his seat. He is now in a real sticky situation. In a few hours, his energy would be drained away by the darkness and then the felons would emerge out of the darkness. Is this the end of this super hero’s saga?

But Salamander is not done yet. He still has a last trick up his sleeve or rather down his mouth. His fiery tongue – that has got him out of so many sticky situations in the past. He concentrates hard and gathers all his remaining energy to the tip of his tongue. He then opens his mouth and exhales. A brilliant ball of fire bursts out and the chair catches fire. It would be a matter of minutes! The sticky wooden trap would be reduced to ashes.

Would his ploy work? Or have the felons made the chair fire proof? No. Thankfully it isn’t! If the criminal types had that much brains, by now the world would have been doomed. The chair is normal wood and the fire has just eaten it away. But then, there is a small problem. The hunger of the flames is insatiable. Having consumed the chair fully, they reach out to that which is stuck to the chair – the superhero’s posterior. Ouch! It hurts! But how is this possible? How could fire hurt its master? To learn the answer one has to takes a trip down his memory lane. 

The scene becomes cloudy and amidst the dense cloud one can make out the form of a ravishing lady in a shiny red flowing gown. She holds a bundle in her hand wrapped in a maroon clothe. She is taking her new born baby to the great temple of the fire God to offer to the sacred flames. She makes the infant sit on the flat of her palm and gently lowers her hands into the urn. In a few minutes she gently draws her hands out from the flame. Her hands are unhurt and so is the little tyke in her arms. His body has a slight reddish glow for the sacred flames have endowed some of their aspect to him, making him Salamander – the master over fire. His body is now completely invulnerable to fire. Well, not entirely! Not his posterior that had been covered by his mother’s palm!

We return back to the present time. One little oversight on the part of his mother then was going to prove to be his undoing now! What a tragedy! Is this fate of all heroes? To pay the price for their mother’s follies! As the flames eat their way through his rear, his eyes begin to close, his mother’s calm serene face the last vision before his consciousness fades away. .He can hear his mellifluous voice calling out to him from a distance as his conscious seems to return again. “Salaman!” “ Son Salaman!“ “My dear son Salaman! ” His mother’s voice seems to be having a miraculous healing effect on him. He opens his eyes. His mother’s face is now clear as a crystal. So is her voice. “Get up, Salman! You need to get ready for school!” She is standing by the bed and shaking him hard.

He now has to go to school for he is Salman Dhar, an eleven year old school boy. By the day! By night, he becomes Salamander. As he gets up from bed, he still feels the burning sensation from his previous night’s adventures. Or is it the fiery chicken from last night acting up from the inside? He goes into the pot chamber to relieve himself. His posterior is now feeling much better. But the relief is only short lived for there is another worrying matter. Such is the nature of things of this world.

A fate worse than that of Salamander of the night awaits Salman of the day. He had spent the previous night with his uncle at the newly opened mall – at the multiplex watching the latest English super hero movie followed by an even more wonderful time savoring the delicacies at the newly opened fast food restaurant. Needles to say, his homework had got the short shrift. Now the ghost of the forgotten homework was coming back to haunt him. His teacher’s cane would descend upon his vulnerable posterior in all its fire and fury, putting him back again into the discomfiture of the previous night. He is now in a real sticky situation. He ponders how he could get out of it.
Salman’s sharp mind is Salamander’s fiery tongue. Soon he has a plan in place. Salman however does not rush in blindly like Salamander. He believes in proceeding slowly and steadily. Acting on his plan, he puts on a tired face and flops down piteously on the chair his head down on the breakfast table. He starts making low whining noises as he sees his mother approach. 

“Ma, I am feeling very tired and sleepy. My whole body is paining. I feel so terrible”, he says in a forlorn tone. His mother is worried and returns with a thermometer. She put it into his mouth and returns to the kitchen. The moment her back is turned, he thrusts the thermometer’s bulb into the bowl of breakfast cereal in warm milk. Slowly the mercury begins to rise. It hits 100 by the time he hears his mother’s footsteps. He quickly takes out the thermometer and puts it back into his mouth for his mother to pull out.

Her face takes on a concerned expression as she looks at the reading. “You do seem to be running a temperature. You don’t need to go to school today. I will call up and inform the teacher. Go and lie down!” 

His sharp mind and fiery tongue have once again saved the day. He happily tucks himself into bed with one of his favorite super hero comics. The world of super hero comics melds seamlessly into the real world as sweet slumber draws him into her embrace. It is time for the next adventure!

Coming up next week - A Quest for a better Nootropic - Alien Minds at Work 


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