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ELISHA LIGHTNING #1: Chasers of the Light Part One

Alright, so my father asked me to write it all down so future generations might know how the adventure all got started. My name is Elisha Lightning and I am a founding member of the Apostles of Justice. My gift is super speed, among other things. I wasn’t always a super heroine. In fact, I haven’t been all that much. My father is Professor Samuel Billings, a Christian scientist. I know, it sounds kind of silly, a Christian scientist, but I’ve come to learn it’s really possible. Some people might say he is famous in prominent research circles, but once the grant money ran dry and my mother ran out on us, I pretty much thought he was more of a jerk than anything else.

(Listen to the Opening Prologue by Clicking on the Video Below)

If you read your Bible, which I certainly didn’t back then, you’ll know the story of the prophet Elijah and how he outran the chariot of Ahab. It’s in the Old Testament, First Book of Kings, I think. My father was given the Elijah bracelet by an archangel. Why? I don’t have any idea. For years, he was the hero called Elijah Lightning. I’ll never forget that ridiculous costume he wore. I hated it, to be honest. Elijah Lightning was wounded fighting one of his many villains and the bracelet was passed to me. I became Elisha Lightning. I made some modifications to the costume too.

Did I say my name was Elisha Lightning? It’s actually Leslie Billings. I’m sixteen years old and a sophomore at Canyon High School. I’m not a great student, don’t have a ton of friends, but I get invited to all the good parties. So how did it all get started? On a cool Wednesday night in the Arizona desert, way past my curfew, fighting some guy called the Paradox Runner.

The Desert Burger was a fast food restaurant located on the western portion of Tohono, Arizona. It was near a large, outdoor shopping center. The building was modeled on the design of all its major competitors, complete with a lobby and drive thru. A large neon cactus sign lit up every few seconds proclaiming the restaurant’s motto, “Our Food is as Sharp as a Cactus”. It served all the staples, Canyon hamburgers, rattlesnake curly french fries, Bertie’s barbecue, chicken sandwiches, a host of soft drinks and ice cream. It was a family spot, but it was particularly popular with the young people as a weekend hangout. The owners, an elderly brother and sister team, had started it decades ago. They grew it to ten locations and then sat back and collected the profits. The interior had that rustic, greasy southwestern feel to it and was adorned with cowboy and Native American motif. On Wednesday nights, children were treated to Dusty the Horse, Kyle the Cactus, Cowboy Roy and a host of other characters who passed out coloring books and coupons.

Tohono was named after a Native American people who had inhabited the area. It was once a small town and despite maintaining much of its historical appeal, it was now more a suburb of Mesa. The population had increased steadily over the past three decades and Tohono now had most of the features of any medium sized city. South of the town, however, there was virtually nothing but desert and forgotten, unpaved roads. A few, remote ranches dotted the landscape. As was common, sunset had brought in cooler temperatures to the town.

Leslie Billings guided her car into the crowded parking lot of The Desert Burger. She found a parking space. Leslie was sixteen years old. She was tall and slim with a big, bushy head of black hair. She had dabbed extra black eye liner on her eyebrows to go with her black lipstick. Despite that, she was a pretty girl. She had a blue jean jacket, a white t-shirt exposing her bare midriff and torn jeans complete with a pair of black boots. She looked at the line of cars wrapped around the drive thru and shrugged. Reaching into her backseat, she removed her own Desert Burger sand colored uniform and baseball cap. Leslie headed for the door.

Inside the restaurant, it was also busy. All three registers had lines and team members were busily hustling back and forth with food trays. The grill area was shouting out orders and wrapping food as quickly as the cooks could make it. Leslie got in line and slowly worked her way up to the counter. The team member was a teen-age, pimply boy with glasses.

“Hi, Leslie, you not working tonight?” he said.

“How are you doing, Steve? I’ll take a strawberry shake,” Leslie answered, digging into her pockets and depositing two dollars on the counter. “So who’s the manager working tonight?”

“It’s Mr. Bilcox,” the cashier replied.

“Great,” she sighed. “You think you could grab him for me?”

“Sure. No problem.”

Leslie stepped off to the side and placed her uniform and hat on the counter. Within seconds, the strawberry shake was placed down in front of her by another team member. Steve went to the back office, behind the grill area. He spoke a few words and then headed back to his cash register. The manager exited the office. Mr. Bilcox was a short, middle aged man with long blonde hair that touched down to his shoulders. He almost looked like he should be the lead guitarist to a rock and roll band and not a fast food restaurant manager. His white shirt and tie was covered in sweat and his blue pants had splotches of ketchup and barbecue sauce. He worked his way toward the front.

“Get those burgers off the grill! 30 seconds, come on people!” he bellowed out. “Ricky, one shot of mustard, two shots of ketchup! Don’t drown those buns! Who the heck is cleaning the lobby!?!”

Leslie took a long sip of her shake.

“What can I do for you?” Mr. Bilcox sarcastically questioned.

Leslie took another sip and pushed her uniform across the counter.

“So what is this?” her manager asked.

“It’s my uniform, Ron,” Leslie replied.

“Why don’t you try wearing it?”

“Umm, no,” she answered. “Ron, I’m afraid I am going to have to resign my position at this wonderful establishment.”

“It’s Mr. Bilcox to you, Leslie.”

“Your name tag says Ron,” she pointed out as she took another drink.

“That’s for the customers, not you,” he answered. Mr. Bilcox motioned her aside near the door. “What’s going on, Leslie? You’re just quitting like this? No two week notice or anything?”

“Well, I haven’t shown up for two weeks,” Leslie responded. “Does that count?”

“What are you doing with yourself, Leslie?” Mr. Bilcox asked. “Is it school? Do you need me to adjust your schedule? You’re actually pretty good at this job. I mean, you’re fast. Really fast.”

“I just don’t think the whole french fry girl thing really works for me,” she answered. “Kind of gets in the way of my whole saving the world thing.”

“What in the world does that mean?” Mr. Bilcox retorted. “Your father asked me to give you a chance, Leslie. And I did it because I saw something in you. I’m not so sure what that is anymore, but there is something special about you. But, you have to be more responsible.”

A car pulled into the parking lot and beeped its horn several times. Leslie turned and could see her friend, Sarah, waving out the passenger side window.

“Look, Mr. Bilcox,” Leslie said. “I have got to go.”

Mr. Bilcox collected the uniform from the counter.

“Why don’t we do this,” he said. “I’ll take your uniform and I’ll hold onto it for a couple weeks. Take some time, save the world or whatever, and think about it. If you change your mind, I’ll still have a position here waiting for you. Fair enough?”

“Ok, sure,” Leslie answered. She placed the empty milkshake cup on the counter. “You think you could throw that away for me?”

Mr. Bilcox tossed the cup into the garbage can. Leslie started out the door, but stopped.

“Thanks, Mr. Bilcox,” she said. “You always were a pretty cool manager. I’m sorry that whole rock star thing didn’t work out for you.”

“I was never in a rock band!” he shouted back with a smile as Leslie gave him a quick wink and disappeared through the door. “That’s not me in that online video!”

Leslie bounded out the door and into the parking lot. She ran over to her friend’s parked car and jumped into the back seat. The windows were all down and music was blasting.

“You good to go, girl!” the female driver named Alicia excitedly shouted.

“Hit it!” Leslie answered. “The Desert Burger is no longer a part of my future. Let’s go party!”

“What about your car?” the red haired passenger asked.

“We can pick it up later,” Leslie answered. “Let’s get out there before all the boys are taken!”

“That’s the spirit, Leslie!”

The car zoomed out of the parking lot and headed south toward the desert.

“So what did you tell your parents?” Sarah asked.

“I told them I was going to spend the night at your house,” Alicia replied. “Something about studying for a big test on Monday.”

“And they believed that?” Sarah chuckled. She flipped back her red hair and adjusted her glasses. “Good thing my parents are out of town.”

“Of course,” Alicia laughed. “You are the brainy one of the group.”

“What about you, Leslie,” Sarah said. “What did you tell your father?”

“Or was he down in his lab making something creepy,” Alicia chimed in. “Hello, Earth to Leslie.”

“Oh, sorry,” Leslie finally responded. “I didn’t tell him anything. I just snuck out my window.”

“Come on,” Sarah said in disbelief. “Are you telling us your father thinks you’re upstairs in your bedroom sleeping?”

“I don’t know,” Leslie responded. “Maybe. I don’t really care what he thinks.”

“Ok, that was ugly,” Alicia remarked.

A black and red streak of lightning zipped across a sand dune roughly a hundred yards away from them. It stopped for a brief moment and one could almost make out a figure standing there. It zipped away and disappeared. Leslie jumped to her feet.

“Did you see that?” Sarah said. “That was scary.”

“You’re seeing things,” Leslie replied. “Heat lightning.”

“I don’t know…” Alicia stammered. “I thought…”

“I thought we were here to party,” Leslie boasted as the car came to a stop. “Why don’t you two grab us some drinks and meet me in the dance pit.”

“Well, yeah,” Sarah reluctantly said. “Sure. We’ll see you there.”

Sarah and Alicia walked away. Leslie gazed around, to make sure no one was looking, and then ran off in the opposite direction. Finding a large cactus, she ducked behind it.

“It’s not exactly a phone booth, but…” she muttered to herself. She tapped her left arm. Her arm vibrated for a few seconds and a large, metal bracelet materialized. It was silver and lined with gold. In the center of the bracelet were a green lightning bolt and a purple letter “E”. It was the Elijah bracelet.

Leslie closed her eyes and whispered a short prayer. Green and purple lightning bolts began to swirl around her. The energy began moving faster and faster. Her clothes began to transform. Where once Leslie Billings had stood, now was Elisha Lightning!

Her costume was primarily purple with green outlines. On her front lapel, a large yellow “E” was sewn. Her mask stretched across the center of her face and the green glasses covered her eyes. The sleeve on her left arm was torn off. Her bare midriff was exposed revealing her firm stomach and belly button.

“Dad is not going to like my alterations to the costume,” she muttered. “Alright, find the Paradox Runner and stay focused.”

Elisha Lightning zipped away in a flash of purple and green. The figure raced across the desert sands. His dark blue and orange rubber and spandex outfit emitting red and black streams of lightning. His face was completely covered by his helmet except for the area around his mouth. He moved at an incredible rate of speed, but he showed no signs of even breaking a sweat. The figure smiled.

The green and purple lightning bolt whipped through the night sky. It struck the figure, sending him reeling backwards.

Elisha Lightning raced onto the scene with a flurry of speed.

“Paradox Runner!” she called out. “I thought I got rid of you the last time!”

“A lightning bolt thrown at five hundred miles per hour,” the Paradox Runner replied. “Impressive.”

“You like that!?! Let’s see how you like this!”

She ran forward in a blur of speed, landing a solid punch with her gloved fist across her opponent’s chin. Paradox Runner stumbled backwards and fell to the ground.

“Well, well,” the Paradox Runner said, wiping a tint of blood from his nose. “Isn’t that a paradox? You vanquish me now only so that I can return to you at a later time.”

“Why are you even here?” Elisha Lightning questioned.

“It’s funny, my dear,” the Paradox Runner answered. “Or is it rather serious? I was going to ask you the exact same thing.”

“Here we go again,” Elisha Lightning shrugged. “Maybe we should just get back to fighting.”

She zipped across the desert sand, a trail of purple and green lightning behind her. Paradox Runner smiled before gliding at super speed to a boulder fifty feet away in a matter of seconds. His body vibrated with energy.

“It’s quite a paradox,” he said. “I came to steal energy from the universal source, to add to my collection. But, why did you come here?”

Elisha Lightning raced toward him. Once again, the Paradox Runner zoomed out of her reach.

“Why would a super heroine like yourself,” he taunted. “Powered by the Elijah bracelet given by the universal source itself, be here with a gang of law breaking teenagers? Tell me, Elisha Lightning. Would you stop them or let them go?”

“Zip it, PR!” Elisha Lightning angrily said. “No one wants to hear it from a villain like you!”

“How nice and charming of you,” he replied. “As always.”

Paradox Runner raced away, black and red lightning shooting out from behind him. Elisha Lightning pursued. They darted in a circle a hundred yards wide at super speed across the desert sands. The circle was illuminated with traces of red and purple lightning bolts. Dust and broken cactus slowly rose into the air. Elisha Lightning could see Paradox Runner just a few feet in front of her in the vortex. She gritted her teeth and raced forward with determination. Paradox Runner turned his head just in time to see Elisha Lightning land her fist across his chin. He fell at supersonic speed and tumbled across the desert floor. Paradox Runner crashed into a sand dune. He sat up dazed as Elisha Lightning appeared before him. Paradox Runner wiped the dirt from his uniform. He was breathing heavily.

“You’re looking a little tired, PR,” she said. “Running out of steam?”

“Perhaps you just take my breath away,” he chuckled. “I take that back. You’re really not my type.”

“Like gross,” Elisha Lightning gasped.

Paradox Runner slowly started to vibrate.

“Do you really believe, I mean, like really believe you can steal energy from God?” she questioned.

Paradox Runner jumped to his feet. Zoom! In a flash, he was behind Elisha Lightning.

“Do you believe that this God of yours would share his precious energy with you?” he chuckled “Oh, how I love the paradoxes of your world. Now catch me if you can.”

Za-zoom! Paradox Runner darted away in a blur of black and red lightning across the desert. Elisha Lightning let out a half smile.

“Here we go again,” she said. Zap! She was gone, racing after Paradox Runner.

The figure was barely visible inside the ball of fire as it hurdled toward planet Earth. It had journeyed millions of miles from the far reaches of space. It entered the atmosphere over the Artic Circle in a fiery display of orange and red flame.

It continued miles above the lush forests and mountains of North America. The figure twitched and rolled inside the fiery cocoon. The ball of flame altered course heading on a trajectory toward the deserts of Arizona, USA.


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