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ELISHA LIGHTNING #1: Chasers of the Light Part 7

Solstice awoke and climbed out of the bed. He gazed around Dr. Billings laboratory. Noticing a nearby computer, he walked over to the desk and sat down. He placed his hand on the screen and it came to life. Lines of wiggly yellow energy flowed from the computer screen up Solstice’s arm and rushed to his forehead. He closed his eyes and smiled as all Earth’s discovered knowledge filled him.

Leslie Billings bounded down the stairs carrying her signature purple backpack. She wore a simple white shirt, her bare stomach exposed, and tight blue jeans. Tall, black boots finished the outfit. She entered the kitchen and found herself a bowl of cereal. Dr. Billings rose.

“Listen, Leslie, we never did have a chance to finish our conversation last night,” he said.

“Don’t have time today for it, Dad,” she replied.

“I can’t believe you snuck out again, broke your curfew...,” Mr. Billings fumed. “And for what, to go partying?”

Solstice heard the commotion upstairs. He disengaged himself from the computer and made his way up the basement stairs. Placing his hand on the door, Solstice could see through the metal material as if it was not there.

“It was a good thing I was there,” Leslie snapped. “I stopped Paradox Runner. I saved Solstice.”

“Your mother would never have approved…,” her father shouted.

“How dare you mention her!” she angrily said, jabbing her finger at her father’s face.

“What I’m trying to say is you’re sixteen years old,” Dr. Billings calmly replied, adjusting his glasses. “You’re still trying to find…”

“How would you know anything about Mom!” Leslie continued. “You were always too busy working in your laboratory to even notice her. She would want me to live my life and be happy! Something you can’t even comprehend! You do nothing but pressure me, Dad! I sneak out to get away from you!”

“Leslie, I only want…”

“Later, Dad,” she angrily commented. Leslie stormed out of the kitchen and ran down the hallway.

“Come back here young lady!” Dr. Billings ordered. The front door slammed shut. “And put on some decent clothes!”

Solstice walked down the basement stairs.

“Leslie Billings,” he queried. “Could she be the same girl as before?”

Professor Dox wheeled himself across the front of the classroom. His wheelchair glided effortlessly across the floor. He jerked himself to a sudden stop in the center of the room. Professor Dox was a middle aged man and dressed neatly in a pressed suit and tie. A touch of gray hair tinted the sides of an otherwise full brown head of hair. Both of his legs, from the knee down, were gone. The bell sounded signaling the end of class.

“Now class,” Professor Dox began, a note of arrogance in his voice. “Before you all leave, I’d like to congratulate you on your reports. Most of you did rather well.”

He wheeled himself back toward his desk.

“Not as well as I would have,” he chuckled. “When I was at your level, of course, I was a genius. But then again, I didn’t waste my time partying every night when I was in school. Some of your reports were so boring, in fact, I had to get out and go for a run.”

The students began filing out of the classroom.

“Such a pity,” Professor Dox remarked. “This generation has no sense of humor. If only you could have seen the Parisians during the Revolution. Leslie Billings, could you stay for just a moment?”

Leslie stood by her desk stuffing books and papers into her purple backpack. The

classroom was empty except for Professor Dox and herself.

"Where did everyone go," she thought.

“Sure. Sure thing, Mr. Dox,” Leslie sighed sarcastically. “It’s not like I had anything else to do. Like lunch.”

Professor Dox wheeled himself forward.

“I’d like to talk to you about your report,” he said.

“It’s a solid C,” Leslie answered. She tossed the backpack over her shoulder. “What

about it?”

“It seems like you wrote your paper in a rush,” her teacher continued.

“Let’s just say I like to do things fast,” Leslie remarked. “Was that it?”

“Yes, I know,” Professor Dox replied. “You do have a tendency to move quickly.”

“What do you mean by that?” Leslie puzzlingly asked.

“You chose a favorite topic of mine, you know,” Professor Dox continued, unfazed. He pulled a paper off his desk. “The Alamo. Such an interesting battle. You may not be aware, but I’ve seen it… I mean been there many times.”

“Lucky you,” Leslie smirked. “I guess.”

“So last night when I was reading your paper, I couldn’t help but notice how you referred to American heroes such as Davy Crockett and William Travis as well as others as fools for believing they could win against the Mexican forces. Would you care to explain?”

“Not really,” Leslie said. “I’d rather go eat some horrendous lunch in the school cafeteria.”

“Ms. Billings,” Professor Dox calmly remarked. “I get the whole angry, young rebel

routine. You feel time is not on your side. And you’re right. Time is not on your side. Now, answer the question.”

“Fine,” she sighed. “It’s simple really. There’s not much difference, in my opinion,

between bravery and stupidity. They were regular people, outnumbered ten to one. It’s not like they were superheroes like Elisha Lightning or that Blue Dove character. I mean he’s probably not even real.”

“Elisha Lightning,” Professor Dox quietly remarked, his hand rising up to clutch his chin.

“You have a girl running against time itself or outside of time perhaps.”

“What did you say?” Leslie inquired. “How do you know Elisha Lightning?”

“I know her quite well, Leslie,” Dox replied. He maneuvered his wheelchair toward the chalkboard. “Do you?”

“How would I know her?” Leslie remarked defensively. She started for the door. “You’re a strange dude, Professor Dox. I’ve got to go.”

“You will find, Leslie, that often the lines between two similar things can be quite

blurred,” he said. “I should know. After all, I lost part of both of my legs trying to be brave back when I was a soldier. Maybe it was stupid. Maybe it was brave. It is an interesting question, I must confess. You are a high school girl that masquerades as a super heroine. I am a super villain pretending to be an educator. We are opposites in so many ways.”

Leslie turned slowly to face her teacher.

“In the book of Genesis, fire fell from the sky to destroy the cities of Sodom and

Gomarrah,” Professor Dox continued. “What fell from the sky last night, Leslie?”

“I don’t know what you are talking about. This is getting really weird.”

“The brave suffer for their stupid acts of bravery while the stupid joyfully celebrate. And

for what do they celebrate? For doing nothing bravely,” Professor Dox laughed. “It is quite a paradox, wouldn’t you say, Ms. Billings?”

“You…” Leslie stammered. “You’re him! You’re the Paradox Runner!”

“What was it?” Dox demanded. “It fell from the heavens. Is he a piece of the divine Power?”

“Stay away from me,” Leslie commanded. “You’re evil!”

“You are right, you know,” Dox said. “But what are you going to do now? Run out into the hallway and reveal my true identity? Who will believe you? There is your paradox. Your truth to others will always be a lie. It is my paradox too. Elisha Lightning’s alter ego will remain a secret. At least until the ultimate power of the universe is mine.”

“I will never give you the Elijah bracelet!” Leslie countered.

Professor Dox let out a thunderous laugh.

“The Elijah bracelet,” he confidently said. “It will belong to me soon enough. But, you cannot even comprehend the power that is coming. This power thrives on all things and to think that I will soon possess it. Your bracelet is nothing compared to the one that is to come.”

“What are you talking about?” Leslie angrily questioned. She reached out to grab him, but pulled her arm back. “Who is coming?”

Professor Dox wheeled himself toward the classroom door. He smiled.

“Perhaps you should run along, Ms. Billings,” Dox calmly said. “I would hate for you

to miss your lunch. Do not forget your homework assignments for the week.”

“I think I’ve lost my appetite,” Leslie remarked. She walked out.

The classroom door slammed shut behind her. Leslie took two steps, but felt the cold stare of Dox still on her. She turned. Her eyes widened in disbelief and horror. She gasped. Professor Dox stood, fully erect, without the aid of his wheelchair, peering out the glass window of the classroom door. Tiny bolts of black and red lightning vibrated all around him. Leslie stumbled backwards, colliding with another student.

“Watch where you’re going, Billings,” the student angrily said.

“Did you see that?” Leslie stuttered out, pointing toward the door.

The student looked at the glass window. There was nothing.

“You need to stop partying so much,” he said before hurrying off down the hallway.

Leslie put her hands in her pockets and began slowly walking down the school corridor. She noticed five or six students at their lockers removing books. It could only mean one thing. She gazed at the clock on the wall. Five minutes left in her lunch period.

“Could this day possibly get any worse,” she muttered under her breath.

Solstice stood in the middle of the hall, frantically waving his gloved hand, trying to get Leslie’s attention.

“Hello, Leslie! Hello!” he shouted out. “Hello!”

Leslie looked up and saw him. Once again, her eyes bulged in disbelief.

“First, Professor Dox is really the Paradox Runner. Second, there’s an alien being of some kind named Solstice standing in my high school hallway yelling my name. Everything comes in threes. What could possibly be the third?” Leslie gasped to herself. “And all this and I still missed lunch too?”

Solstice began running in her direction.


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