David wasn’t dead. In fact, he never had been.
Instead, he lay buried under layers of concrete, in the bar that Stanley ran, under the bar where Shade had worked.
His heart had stopped, but his body had healed itself.
He lay there for months, struggling to breathe with the limited air around him. At first, he’d given up. He’d pled with his body to die. He’d assumed this must be some sort of purgatory, or perhaps even a hell.
But the truth of the matter was that he was a hero, and heroes never gave up.
So, slowly, painfully, he’d begun making his way out of the concrete. It started out small, with him wiggling his fingers, just to get some feeling back into them. But as he had wiggled, he’d come to realize. Over the course of many hours, in part due to his super strength, he was able to create a pocket of space. The mere act of flicking his fingers back and forth slowly eroded the concrete.
He kept doing just that, across hours, days, weeks, months. He created space around his hands and feet. He banged his head against the concrete, elbows, knees, and chest. It became a thoughtless act, one more of rhythm than purpose.
A part of him had forgotten the world even existed. He found it such a strange thing to believe.
Eventually he didn’t need to believe. He broke through the concrete, which had left him sheltered. He broke through and fell to his knees. The light blinded him and all of the bar’s patrons stared.
But none of that mattered; he was free.