Lois Bell, president of the WRUL Broadcasting Station, sat in her office while going over some paper work.
“Boss, we have a problem with the broadcasting tower,” her secretary called over the intercom.
“Thanks, I'll get someone on it right away.”
* * *
Lois stood near the elevator as she watched the repair crew on the other end of the roof. A storm had moved in and lightning was flashing wildly. It began to rain.
Lois looked at her watch. It was 8:57 PM. She held her walkie-talkie up to her mouth. “Hey guys, let's try to wrap this up soon. I don't like the looks of this storm,” she warned. Suddenly, lightning struck Lois, and she let out a garbled yell.
Seeing what happened, the technicians dropped what they were doing and ran over to her.
“Ms. Bell! Are you alright?” one worker asked her. Lois' eyes were closed and she didn't respond. She wasn't breathing either. “Someone call 911!” he shouted. “I know CPR!” He began mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
* * *
When the ambulance got to the television station, they took Lois to the hospital. Someone had contacted her boyfriend Karl Patterson who was now beside her hospital bed. “Had it not been for one of the technicians performing CPR she wouldn't have made it before the ambulance got there,” Doctor Kore told Karl.
“Please extend my thanks to this person,” Karl said.
“...nnhhnn...” Lois began to stir.
“She's waking up!” Karl exclaimed. Doctor Kore was more surprised than Karl was excited.
Lois opened her eyes and saw her boyfriend and a doctor looking back at her. “Karl? What's going on, Karl, where am I?”
Karl reached over to take hold of Lois' hand. “Everything's all right,” he said. “You're in the hospital.”
“Lois, do you know why you're here?” Doctor Kore asked.
“No. All I remember . . . is that I was on the roof watching repairs, and then I was in pain . . . now I'm here.”
“Lois, you were struck by lighting. And you know what the odd thing about it is?” Doctor Kore asked, not really expecting an answer.
Lois shook her head.
“There is absolutely no physical proof on your body that says you were struck by lighting,” Doctor Kore said with amazement in his voice. “Not even a singed hair. In fact, you're fit enough to leave right now, though I would strongly recommend that you remain overnight for observation.”
Lois looked at Karl, each with excited relief in their eyes.
“Extremely odd things have happened in other cases of people getting struck by lightning, but never free from even a minor injury,” Doctor Kore added, still amazed by Lois' incredible recovery.
* * *
Karl drove Lois back to the station to get her car, then escorted her home. She had decided not to stay the night at the hospital. After they parked in the apartment building's garage, Karl walked Lois to her door. Her apartment was on the ninth floor.
Lois was brooding over the accident as she reached for the doorknob. A flash of light jumped from her fingertips to the doorknob. Startled, Lois dropped her keys as she jumped back and let out a small shriek.
Karl had been looking down the hall and hadn't noticed the flash. “Are you alright?” he asked as he put his arm around Lois and gave her shoulder a squeeze.
“Yeah. Yeah, I'm fine," Lois said uneasily. “I'm just a little jumpy. It's not every day that I get struck by lightning.”
Karl picked up Lois' keys and unlocked the door. “Sit down and I'll get you some coffee,” he said as they entered Lois' apartment. Karl closed the door behind them and tossed the keys onto the coffee table.
“No thanks, Karl,” Lois declined. “That'll just keep me up. How 'bout some warm milk instead?”
Lois slumped onto the living room couch and Karl headed for the kitchen. He returned a moment later with a glass of heated milk.
“Are you sure you'll be all right?” Karl asked as he handed the glass to Lois.
“Yes.” Lois took a sip of her drink. “I just need to get some rest.”
“Are you sure?” Karl persisted.
“Positive,” Lois said cheerfully with a smile, despite her fatigue.
“Well, if you're really so sure, I'll be going now.” Karl bent over and kissed Lois.
“Bye,” Lois said.
Lois finished her milk then got up and locked the door. She then proceeded to her bedroom and crashed on the bed. It took all her will power to get up and change into some pajamas before climbing into bed.
With her mind dwelling on the storm, Lois yawned, and as she stretched electricity crackled from her finger tips. Lois thought that she was hallucinating because of the accident, and let herself fall into a deep sleep without giving it any more thought.
* * *
The next day, Lois got up at her normal time and drove to work as normal. She did feel a little odd about it, having been struck by lightning just the night before, yet physically unaffected by the incident. After all, she could have just taken a few days off and stayed home to recuperate, but she decided not to since she felt no different than usual and saw no need for recuperation.
Even though she was president of the television station, Lois didn't have a reserved parking place in the garage. After a few minutes of searching, she finally found an empty spot to park her car.
Lois got out of the car and began to walk towards the elevator, unaware of the presence lurking in the shadows.
A man in a ski mask sneaked up behind Lois and grabbed her, placing an arm around her arms and a hand over her mouth to keep her from screaming. She struggled desperately to escape. “Stop squirming if you know what's good for you!” the man snapped.
As Lois panicked, her mind filled with images of the previous night's storm and lightning flashed across her vision.
Electricity jumped from Lois' hands to her attacker. She didn't realize what was happening as the man loosened his grip and fell to the ground.
Lois took off her high heel shoes and ran to the elevator and punched the up-button. The elevator was taking too long so she ran into the stairwell and literally flew up the stairs without realizing it.
Lois found a phone and called security and informed them of the mugger laying unconscious in the parking garage.
* * *
Sure enough, the mugger was found laying unconscious near Lois' car. He was taken into police custody and a policeman questioned Lois about the incident.
“I don't know what happened,” Lois said truthfully. “He just suddenly let go and fell down. It sounded like something hurt him, not that I give a damn about his condition.”
“You didn't see anyone else?” asked the cop.
“No,” Lois replied.
“Do you carry a Taser? That guy suffered from minor electrical shock.”
“No, but I think I will in the future.”
“So, how did you get up here so fast?”
“I ran up the stairs. It felt like I flew; I must have been pumped with adrenaline.”
“Are you sure you're alright?”
“Yeah, sure,” Lois said confidently. “If I can come back to work the day after getting hit by lightning, then I'm alright after escaping a mugging unhurt.”
“Well, you've been under a lot of stress the last couple of days, so I'd strongly recommend that you take some time off,” the cop suggested.
“I think I will . . .”
* * *
As Lois drove home she decided not to tell Karl about the attack since he'd only worry and make a big fuss. Letting her mind wander, she hadn't noticed that she had let her speed drop and was slowing traffic. A teenager in a truck extended his middle finger and flipped her off as he passed her and cut her off.
Lois had to slam on her brakes to avoid hitting the teen's truck. She sped up along side him and stuck her head out the window and waved her left hand about as she angrily shouted, “Watch where you're going, asshole!”
A bolt of electricity leaped from Lois' hand to the teenager's truck and fried his battery.
As the truck's engine died, the teenager was forced to pull over. He cursed at Lois as she drove by with her own middle finger extended.
* * *
Glad to be home again, Lois opened her door and found Karl sitting on her couch, watching TV.
“Hi, Lois!” Karl greeted her as he stood up and turned off the television. “How are you feeling?”
“Ohhh, fine. I guess. I was nearly mugged in the garage at the station and was almost ran off the road by a teenager on the way home. Just another average day," Lois said sardonically. What the hell, she thought, I'll let him worry.
“That's not funny,” Karl said gravely.
“Well, I'm not laughing, am I?”
“Are you alright?”
“Yeah,” Lois said rather dully. “The mugger just dropped like a rock—unconscious—for some weird reason; and the teenager that nearly ran me off the road, his engine died. So, justice has somehow dealt itself.”
“Lois, you don't sound like yourself,” Karl said with concern in his voice. “Are you sure you're okay?”
“Positive,” Lois protested. “Now look, Karl, you're starting to get on my nerves. Either clam up or go home. Actually, I'd like to be alone right now.” Silence befell the room. “Please go home, Karl. I'll talk to you later.”
“Alright,” Karl said. “But if you start to feel anything strange immediately call the doctor.”
“I will Karl. Now go before I throw you out the window,” Lois said jokingly with a smile on her face.
“Now, that's better, Lois,” Karl said happily as he opened the door.
“Good bye, Karl,” Lois said still smiling but trying to sound serious.
Karl shut the door behind him and Lois dropped onto the couch. She put her right elbow on the back of the couch and rested her cheek on her fist. She held her left hand up in front of her face and thought about lightning. As electricity crackled across her fingertips a comprehension of what happened to her washed over her.
An idea popped into her mind and she jump up off the couch.
* * *
That night, Lois found herself in the slums of the city. She wore a trench coat with its collar up, and an old, wide brimmed hat. Two teenagers stepped out of the shadows and blocked her path.
“Wut's a girl like you doin' in a place like this at this time of night?” asked Raul Terry.
Lois recognized the boys' clothing as the “uniform” of the Street Gravel gang. “I-I was looking for something,” she said in a frightened voice.
“Oh? What?” Jesse Krane asked. “Maybe we can help you find it.”
“N-n-no, that's okay,” Lois said weakly. “I'll just be on my way.”
As Lois turned around two more gang members, Logan Danson and Keith Turner, appeared at the mouth of the alley.
“We don't want any trouble, lady,” Raul said. “Just give us your cash and valuables and you can go.”
The gangsters began to close the gap between themselves and Lois.
Jesse pulled out a knife. “Actually,” he said, “I was looking for some trouble.”
“That's too bad,” Lois said, her voice suddenly sounding confident, “because I was too. Attack me if you dare.”
After quickly getting over the surprise of the challenge and humorously brushing it aside, the rest of the teenagers drew their own knives.
As Jesse thrust his knife at Lois, she deflected the stab by side-swiping his hand and sent a small jolt of electricity into his arm. He dropped the knife and fell against some garbage cans, temporarily stunned.
As Raul charged her, Lois used her ability of flight to jump and somersault over the teen. As she landed, she mule-kicked his butt and sent him reeling headfirst into Logan's stomach.
Keith got scared and started to run away. Lois stretched her hand forth and shot a bolt of lightning from her fingertips to his butt. Keith jumped and grabbed his butt with both hands as he let out a loud yelp. The electric shock caused a muscle spasm in his bowels and he soiled his underpants. With his hair now sticking out on end, he got up and proceeded to run away in a waddling fashion.
Meanwhile, Jesse had recovered. His hair, too, was sticking up because of the electric shock he'd taken. As he ran up behind Lois she backhanded him with a clenched fist, grabbed the front of his shirt, and flipped him over her shoulder and onto his back.
Still holding Jesse down by his collar, Lois said with a smile, “All I'm going to give you is a new hairstyle. Like it?”
“Leggo a' me, ya crazy bitch!” he shouted.
“Where are your manners?” Lois asked sarcastically. “If I were your mother, I'd wash your mouth out with soap! We'll just have to settle for the next best thing!” Lois reached for a bruised banana which had fallen out of the garbage cans that had been knocked over in the scuffle and crammed it into Jesse's mouth. She let go of him and turned her attention to the two angry gangsters who were now back on their feet. Jesse rolled over on his side and puked as he coughed out the aged banana.
“Keith may have ran away, but we're not scared so easily,” Raul said.
Laying in a pool of his own vomit, Jesse looked up at Lois. She looked back at him and let a little electricity crackle across her fingertips for a second. “Boo,” she said softly. Jesse hastily got up and scrambled away.
“Get back here, Jesse!” Raul shouted after the fleeing teen. “You good for nothing shit!”
Lois laughed, then beckoned with her hands. “Come get some,” she said.
Raul and Logan ran toward Lois. She countered their attack by flying at them and clotheslining them with her arms outstretched.
Logan hit the back of his head on the street as he was knocked down, and was too dizzy to get up.
Lois grabbed Raul by the shirt with both hands and slammed him against the wall. “Who the hell are you?” he screamed.
“That's a good question,” Lois responded. Keeping a hold of Raul's shirt with her right hand, Lois turned her eyes up to think and rubbed her chin with her other hand.
Replacing her grip on Raul's shirt with both hands, Lois looked into his eyes and said in a low voice, “You can call me, 'Lightning.'”
Lois spun around and flung Raul into Logan. She put her hands on her hips and asked, “Can I go now?”
“Sh-sure!” Logan said with his hand on the back of his head. “Just get the hell away from us!”
“Oh, thank you so very much,” Lois said with sarcastic graciousness, bowing slightly.
The young thugs stared as Lois hovered away, a foot above the ground.
* * *
As Lois entered her apartment she quickly shut the door and leaned back against it. “I can't believe this is really happening,” Lois said to herself, wide eyed. She locked her door and walked toward the couch.
Lois held up her hands and let electricity run across them as she thought, All I have to do is think about it and I can create electricity. I can even discharge it over distances! And I can fly . . . Lois floated up a couple of feet. . . . I can do it instinctively—just like walking! Lois flexed an arm. And I seem to be a little stronger too; I picked that kid up without any effort.
Another idea popped into Lois' head. I need some sort of disguise, but something better than this drab trench coat. I'm pooped though, Lois thought as she yawned. I'll sleep on it for now and think about it tomorrow.
* * *
Lois slept away most of the next day; she got up in the late afternoon. After fixing herself a lunchtime breakfast, she returned to thinking about a disguise.
After finishing her meal, Lois drew a design of what she had in mind. She dug out of a closet some material and sewing utensils, and got right to work on it.
By early evening that night, Lois had completed her disguise and was trying it on in front of the mirror.
Just then, a knocking came at the door. “Lois, it's Karl,” said the knocker.
“Uh, hold on!” Lois called back frantically. She was in a panic. She wasn't ready to let Karl know what was going on, and surely he'd want to know why she was dressed so ridiculously. Spotting her bathrobe hanging from the towel rack in the bathroom, she threw it on and answered the door.
To be continued . . . ?
This was as far as I got before we stopped working on this story. It has never before appeared on-line. I recently found it while digging through my old Word Perfect backups, and when I showed it to Brad he said he'd mostly forgotten about it. It was one of my earliest stories that ran longer than a page, and I'm actually proud of how well it turned out, considering I was a teenager when I wrote it. Maybe someday I'll refine it and give it an ending.