They say lightning never strikes twice in the same place, yet it struck four times today in the small town of Malains. The sky flashed an ominous violet, and Alice’s tears outnumbered the raindrops. She couldn’t believe her eyes. It all happened in a blur as his painful scream made her ears bleed. His pencil grey lips strained to form a smile as his face turned blue. The killer’s movements were like a rabid animal. The sky boomed.
Her phone rang from within her pocket.
“Eric is dead,” those words barely escaped her throat. A pair of demonic eyes glared at her, and it hovered over his body. As much as she longed to cry out her legs were glued in place. No matter how much the girl struggled she could not get her feet to move from underneath her. Wide-eyed Alice stared at the fresh corpse. His eyes no longer held any color as they were glossed over, emptied of their beautiful irises, and started at the grey sky.
Rain soaked her to the bone. Her violet dress clung her like a second skin. Childlike her head turned to the sky that cried with her. However, the murderous alien eyed her. It took no action, and disappeared into the night without a purpose.
An hour later Alice sat in the backseat. The metal bars prevented her from seeing her husband’s face.
“He is… Really dead?” Allen muttered.
“Yes…” Tears formed in her eyes.
“That… is the fifth murder this week. Did you see anything?” He delivered his wife a warm gaze through the mirror.
She shook her head frantically.
“No... n-nothing,” Alice insisted as her entire body trembled. By now, it was difficult for lungs to up with air. A million questions and accusations raced into her mind, but none with answers.
“Are you sure?” Allen paused… This wasn’t an ordinary witness to him. This was his wife who needed his warmth, and not an integration. “How about we go home for now?”
Alice nodded meekly as her gaze stayed on the silver bars.
When they arrived home to their bleak house he scowled. The living room was so dark that Alice could only make out his figure. Light flooded in and it was revealed that Ryan’s clothes soaked him to the bone.
“Oh my god! Can you believe that bastard?! Eric didn’t fucking pick up again! I swear to god I’m going to kill him!” His face was as red as a tomato.
Every word was filled to the brim with hatred. At the mention of his name Alice’s face transformed: wide-eye and jaw-dropped.
“What happened?” Ryan inquired although he sounded as cold as a corpse.
“She saw a murder…” Allen mumbled as he put his dark hand on her golden hair.
Alice pressed her face against his chest as she began to cry, and she tried to drown out the entire world. In her mind… She could see the murder’s ravenous emerald eyes.
“I think he had green eyes… I remember that they were glossed over like they wouldn’t actually see…” Her voice was barely heard.
For a moment a void of silence formed within the living room. Only Allen’s warm arms wrapped around her small frame provided any sort of comfort.
“It will be alright… I will catch him…” His voice was as sweet as honey in her ears.
“Hey, why don’t we check the news and watch a movie later like we do every Sunday? I just walked back from BlockBusters to pick up a Dracula film!” Ryan exclaimed as his face lit up like a lightbulb.
The three of them walked over to their red couch. It was falling apart just like this apartment that they barely managed to afford. The moment they hit the cushions the stuffing tried to run away. Alice immediately jumped into Allen’s arms. She gave them both a meek smile of false assurance.
“...and the meteorologists are still studying the reasons for the surges in thunderstorms. Now, going to Mayor Black,” The woman in a navy pantsuit announced.
“Her face has had so much surgery that I wonder if it is all fake now…” Alice whispered.
“Haha if she has that much money she should give half of it to us,” Allen joked with a toothy grin.
“Really? Maybe it should all be mine so I can visit my mom in New York!” Ryan exclaimed as Alice hissed for them to be silenced.
Perhaps the mayor’s words could provide her with some clarity. A childhood friend of her fell out of her grasp, and all Alice could do was to accept the facts. The screen panned over to a middle-aged man on the podium. A sea of people swarmed around him, and they buzzed with questions. Every second the cameras flashed as the paparazzi harassed him. Each citizen, reporter, news anchor, had a hundred ideas and concerns to spill.
“Major Black, what are you going to do about all of these lightning strikes? Just this week five people have already been struck,” Someone inquired.
He shifted his blue tie. Allen leaned forward on his knees as if he longed to hear the Mayor’s words.
“Since when were you into politics? I thought you were someone who detests that stuff,” Alice said.
Her emerald eyes stared blankly at the wooden box once she realized that she would not got gain any results.
“Since I became a detective,” The question was quick-dismissive.
“Well as you see I can’t control the weather,” The mayor announced coldly, “but I am going to pass a bill that forbids people to go outside during a storm.”
“Sir, what about the uptick in murders?”
“Well… you see…” The mayor glanced at his wife who was hidden within the crowd. His furrowed brows, and tight lips screamed that he did not have a response.
“We will continue the investigations. I have the utmost trust in our police department.”
The screen flashed into a dark abyss. All three of their reflections started back at them. Alice held her fragile figure as her skin remained snow white. Ryan’s eyes had pools of oil under them as he slumped back into the couch. The remote rested on his ripped jeans. Meanwhile, Allen's fingers remained interlocked. His hazel eyes stared holes into the TV.
“Yo dude are you alright?” Ryan inquired.
“Yeah my mind is just running a million miles per hour.”
“You know… you can tell us whatever is on your mind…” Alice whispered as she held him.
“I know… It’s just… How could the mayor brush off all of those deaths? I mean he didn’t seem even slightly concerned. Besides… he also has green eyes.”
“So what cha sayin’? Are you really gonna say the major did it?” Ryan proposed.
“No there isn’t enough evidence yet.”
Ring! Ring! Allen opened his flip phone.
“You still have that old thing?” Alice inquired.
“Do you want to have enough money to eat?” Allen retorted before his attention returned to the mysterious voice on the other end.
For only a few moments they talked.
“I have to go. Work. I love you both,” With that he rose, kissed Alice and Ryan on the cheeks before he vanished into the night.
When he glanced left he noticed the brick wall. Towards the right there was the same structure, and when he glanced up the clouded night sky greeted him. Below him laid a hollow husk that he use to call a friend. Against Allen’s skin, the night air chilled him to the bone.
‘Why would someone kill such a man?’ He thought as he stared at the pale corpse. Just the other day Eric’s baby blue eyes shone as bright as the sun as he blabbed about his wedding plans.
“And there will be a triple layered fudge cake!” Eric cheered as a hand ran through his brown hair.
“Try to keep the sugar on the down low. Do you want another cavity?” Allen chuckled at his friend’s enthusiasm.
“I love cavities! Besides Sarah wanted to have an ice cream cake…”
“And a fudge cake is better?”
Nee-eu Nee-eu! The high pitch noise stung his ears as red and blue lights blinded his eyes.
“Have you identified the victim yet?” A voice boomed as a old man in a fedora approached him.
“Have you caught up with modern day fashion yet, Henry? Yes, I have. He is a good friend of mine Eric Holmes, and I already have a witness,” He allowed a pearly-white grin.
“I see as quick as ever to jump the gun. Well as you were busy dilly-dallying I have ready identified the cause of death as strangulation,” Henry remarked.
Allen knelt down to the face up body. Blood red lines ran around the middle of his neck. When he touched Eric’s arm it was clear as day that the body still had some heat. In other words the murder recently happened.
“He recently died… Have you collected any evidence yet?”
“None yet we will have to perform an autopsy. Bring your witness to the station as soon as possible so we can interview them.”
When Allen returned home at 1:30am everything was so still that he thought someone died. Oh wait someone has. Darkness enveloped every corner of the house for each light was turned off.
“Hello, Alice? Ryan?” A knot formed in his stomach.
His eyes bounced around to every invisible wall. For miles around him there was completely nothing. As Allen wandered deeper into this house his boots clanked against the tile floors. He held his nose as the house reeked of iron.
“HEL-” his voice cracked, “lo!” Only silence greeted Allen.
As slow as a snail he traveled deeper into the blackened room. From pure memory Allen knew he passed the couch. Only an hour ago the tree of there sat there. His breaths became deeper and quicker as his mind ran with a thousand possibilities. There could have been a power outage?
‘Ryan perhaps didn’t pay the bills, and they have to heckled the tax collector. Oh I know Alice and Ryan went to sleep! After all Ryan wakes up early for work and Alice had a long day,’ Allen gave himself false hope.
The sky gave a war cry as the room became illuminated with a flash of lightning for a mere moment. Just a few feet ahead there was a giant who held Alice’s golden hair. He towered over the small girl as a tears stained her cheeks. Next to her the man held a knife.
“Let her go!” Allen wailed as the stranger turned to face him.
They wore a snow white mask which had no expression. It was as if someone did not bother to finish what they started. Whoever it was, there hair was as dark as the night sky. Their neck was covered in countless pink lines, all of which pointed towards his feet. They waddled towards Allen like a zombie. Whoever it was methodically took each step as Allen’s complexion lost all of its color.
“ALLEN!” A cry tore itself from Alice’s throat as she laid on the floor. She rested in a pool of her own blood.
Her voice awakened the detective from his stupor. Since he was still in uniform, Allen removed the pistol from its holder. His grasp never wavered once it took hold of the gun. The tip of the weapon pointed directly at the intruder. There was a perfect path for the bullet to walk to go inside the invader’s skull. Yet, the enemy still traveled forward.
‘Could he have seen through my bluff? No impossible!’ Allen panicked as his mind churned for a new plan... What could he do? The probability of the police arriving to the scene in time was slim. There was a higher chance of both of them being placed six feet under ground.
“Just push him out!” Alice wailed. There were several holes in her new dress.
“Are you crazy?!”
Fzzzzz…. The silver blade in his hand dragged along the edge of the wooden coffee table. There appeared to be no other options. Effortlessly, Allen managed to sneak around the attack. The stranger's head turned slowly to follow Allen’s movements. It was as if the person’s brain could not process information fast enough.
Allen firmly grasped the attacker’s silk clothing. Oddly enough, he didn’t even break a sweat as he forced the masked man out of the room. The person twisted too and through in a child-like attempt to escape, yet they were unable to gather the thought to turn around, or to firmly plant their feet on the tile.
THUD! The wooden door slammed shut after Allen summoned all of his strength to thrust the stranger outside.
“Alice!” his breath was ragged as he darted over to the girl on the floor.
Tears stung his hazel eyes. She was like a defenseless newborn baby.
“Alice… Alice!” He swooped her up into his arms.
In several places the knife slashed Alice’s clothing. Crimson fluid leaked from the countless holes in her skin.
“I’ll be fine…” With her ice cold hand she caressed his cheek, “it’s just... a scratch…”
“Don’t fucking LIE to me!” For a mere moment his voice sounded higher than usual.
The tears were so numerous that it was if his face rained. His body jerked as violently as a tornado as he held the most precious person in the universe.
“Haha… idiot don’t you have a hospital to call?” She smiled at him with lips that trembled.
Right away Allen pulled out the flip phone; then his hands pounded 911.
“Hello what is your emergency?” A robotic voice answered.
“I have a girl who is severely injured. We live on 123 South Street, Malains Iowa!”
“Sorry sir I cannot understand you. Please take a deep breath and say it again!”
Alice’s body became like a rag doll within his arms.
“We have a murder.”
The sun lost its color the next day. Everything became a shade of grey in Allen’s hazel eyes. Each action he took was through stone cold syrup.
“Hey, I’m going to borrow money from Ryan for my wedding!” Eric cheered back then.
“Are you sure? You know how he gets when the loan isn’t paid.”
“Yup!” His lips went from ear to ear as he tucked away his curly hair, “I mean he does report on the weather and stuff. He can loan a few bucks.”
“Alright… But if he does something that isn’t ethical don’t blame me.”
The floorboards creaked as he stormed down the hallway.
“OPEN UP YOU BASTARD!” Allen screamed.
BAM! His fists throbbed as his hand slammed against the door over and over. The other side was so quiet that only the singing crickets greeted him. Allen’s face was blood red. His hands shook like a ruba shaker at his sides. A set of hazel eyes glared at the peeling white bedroom door in front of him. His ruby lips curled upwards into a snarl to reveal vicious pearly whites.
“WHY DID YOU KILL HER?! ERIC WAS ALREADY DEAD SO YOU DON’T HAVE TO GET BACK AT HIM! SO WHAT IF HE NEVER PAID YOU BACK… She… She didn’t deserve death…” Gravity forced Allen to the ground, and his head was slumped against the door in front of him.
“Please just give me answers… Eric was killed by someone with green eyes… and you own green contacts… and had motivation. Besides… why did you kill her? Didn’t you love her too?” A lump in his throat made breathing impossible.
As he made his way into the kitchen for breakfast the steps under him creeked. With each second that passed Allen deteriorated. Only the ticking of the clock provided any comfort. Suddenly, his head whipped around to see the old fashion clock that hung on the wall, and the two hands worked together to spell out noon.
Ryan worked since 1am.
‘I need to turn myself in as a witness for my witness died and I saw the murder,’ with that a flame lit within him for if he could not crack the case as a detective, at least he could contribute as a witness.
“I swear I’m going to kill Eric!” Ryan yelled in frustration to Alice a week after the wedding.
“He will give you the money soon. That’s just the type of person he is!” Alice cheered as she pulled the giant Ryan into her arms.
“Fine. But if he doesn’t give me the money I’m going to kill someone.”
“Haha be careful of your words or else I will lock you up myself,” Allen joked back then.
When he went in as a witness it was a complete 180 from going in there for work.
“What do you mean your witness died?” Henry inquired.
Allen return the question with a casual shrug like the witness held no meaning.
“I mean that she died in my arms. Someone broke into my house with a knife, and it appeared that she was tortured.”
“So… what did you do with the body?” His voice was void of all life.
He sighed for in the entire grey room there was only one decoration. On the farthest wall there was a large rectangular mirror that the detectives used to eavesdrop. For in reality, it was not a mirror at all. The truth was that it was a window on the other side where countless eyes glared at anyone inside. Allen longed to go back to observing instead of participating. However, now he was seated at a table across from his partner. Today, they were not partners.
“...I left the body. I couldn’t bring myself to bring her in for an autopsy,” His eyes grew so heavy that it as if they were made of out lead.
“Her body is still in the living room.”
With that it was unanimously decided to hold any further questions for the next day. Henry dismissed Allen from the integration room. He anxiously paced to his car, and he quickly flicked on the radio.
“The mayor has just been found,” A man calmly stated.
‘Found? So was he lost?’ Questions started to roar in Allen’s head.
“The 64 year old mayor has been found pacing near 123 South Street. No matter how many times we tried to call out to him, the major did not respond.”
The car accelerated.
“There seems to be some lightning scar on his neck pointing downwards. He was wearing a white mask.”
Allen ran through a stop sign. Luckily the intersection was abandoned.
“We now have the mayor in the hospital to see exactly what has happened. Now we will go talk to detective Henry.”
“We suspect that the Major has broken into my partner’s house at 123 South Street, but we cannot be certain. Currently, there is an ongoing investigating,” Henry’s voice was rough.
Allen shut off the radio has he pulled into a parking spot. Above him silver clouds began to blot out the sunlight, and the wildlife scattered into every direction. A cool breeze gave Allen goosebumps. He decided to roll up the window for he will be waiting here for decades.
After a lifetime passed, familiar face tapped on his car door.
“Wake up sleeping beauty,” He chirped.
Allen opened his eyes to see a tall, pale man who loomed over him. His features were childlike: A round face, small mouth, and messy hair. Yet that provided a small comfort. A child couldn’t hurt anyone.
“It’s so unlike you to come see me after work. Though we should get going since another storm is coming. Unless, you want to go to jail?”
“Jail…?” Allen groaned.
“Yeah, that new law was passed by the mayor. Its effective as of today. No one is allowed to go outside during a storm, or else you will go to jail. Though I doubt it will be enforced.”
‘Storm… Death…’ Allen remembered his purpose for arriving here.
“Did you kill Alice?” He asked in a monotone.
The response was a furrow of the eyebrows. Ryan went into such a deep thought that it was as if his mind would short circuit.
“Alice is dead?!” Ryan shouted wide-eyed, “what do you mean?! She was fine when I watched Dracula with her!” His jaw snapped shut. Ryan’s hands were clenched into fist at his sides, as he stood outside the car door.
“I would never do such a thing!” Ryan elaborated as his eyes stared at the asphalt.
“Well then who would?! You killed Alice to get back at Eric! But why when he was already dead!” A handful of tears came from the sky.
“I didn’t kill Eric! Do you even have any evidence connecting me to the crime?!” Ryan lunged forward and planted his hands firmly onto the rolled down car window.
“Yes, actually. You came some soaking wet that day. You have connections to Eric, and you could have wanted to kill him for he didn’t pay his debt to you,” it took all of his willpower to not let his voice to rise. Allen couldn’t meet Ryan’s eye.
“That is all speculation!”
The clouds above roar with fury as rain pour down.
“The autopsy will reveal everything once it is finished,” he began to roll up his window, but Ryan stayed glued into place.
“I didn’t do it! Okay I wanted my money, but I would never kill him for it!” Tears formed in his eyes, “I wouldn’t… I really… Just want to go back on that couch with everyone…”
He pulled out a silver metal umbrella and tossed it over his head. Ryan turned his back on his accuser as gave him one last glance. His lips strained to form his signature open mouth smile. At this final departure Ryan’s tears outnumbered the raindrops.
Allen nearly put the key into the ignition as the sky flashed an ominous violet. A heart wrenching cry from outside Allen’s window forced his head to turn. A giant laid on the soaked asphalt. His metal umbrella was tossed into the storm as he curled around his hand. Allen ran out of the car to go to his friend’s side.
“Ryan… RYAN!” He screamed as he swooped the man into his arms, “What happened?!”
“I’ll… be fine…” Ryan caressed his cheek. Several pink lies littered his hand, and they all pointed south.
“Don’t lie to me! I am going to take you to the hospital right now! Come on get up a lightning strike like that isn’t something you can walk of-”
The pistol was removed from his holster. Allen’s stared at the metal end of his own gun.
“Hey… hey no need to point that at me…” He bit his lip so hard that blood rushed out. Allen’s chest tightened.
“Mrrr…” Ryan mumbled.
When Allen made the slightest movement out of the bullet’s path Ryan’s movements dragged along with him. He was like a baby playing with a toy. Each time Allen moved his head to avoid being put at point blank range the gun dragged along.
“Ryan?” Allen questioned once again as the rain came down in droves.
Another incoherent sentence.
Allen rose to his feet as Ryan followed suit. The former friend’s arm trembled as if a tiny part of him rebelled. Answers raced into Allen’s brain as he traveled back to the car door. The bullets twirled near his cheek, but it was implanted into the silver car door.
‘Did the lightning mess with his nervous system? The mayor had a similar reaction time. Its as if th-’ His leg flared with a sensation that burned.
Blood oozed out of the bullet wound, yet Allen walked on. His walk was more like a crawl. Shot after shot stalked him, and both legs became victims. Allen walked on.
‘Did the strike mess with his morals? Judging by his terrible aim a part of him remembers me!’ Countless metal balls wedged themselves in the car door.
He entered the safety of the car once again. With the speed of a cheetah Allen shut the window, and therefore created an artificial barrier. Now that the immediate threat was isolated his heart began to race. It was as if the organ would tear itself from his chest at any moment. He fumbled with the keys. After countless attempts Allen managed to shove the key into the ignition.
A set of familiar pale hands smashed along Allen’s windows. Those once bright eyes no longer gazed at him, but instead they peered through him. Allen himself couldn’t find one object to look at. A knot in his throat forced him to take quick short breaths like a panting dog. Slowly, his foot eased on the gas but Ryan, or a husk of Ryan, trailed along the vehicle.
As the engine propelled the vehicle forwards, Ryan lingered behind. Eventually, he vanished into the distance.
“Okay let's go over the facts,” Allen yelled over the radio.
Blood trailed down his bare leg. The bullet made itself a home within his leg, yet the pain became invisible.
“People who get struck by lightning lose themselves. It happened with Ryan and the Mayor. Most likely Eric’s murder was stuck as well given for the 1:1 ratio of lightning strikes and murder. Everyone who gets struck has a lightning mark appear with all of the lines pointing down, and they change almost immediately.”
The car ran through a stop sign.
“And there is always nervous system damage that causes them to have delayed reactions, and lose the ability of speech. They also seem to go to a primal state and attack anything on sight. Or maybe the first person they see.”
Sirens wailed behind him, and he pulled over the car.
“Good evening sir. You ran the stop sign can we see your license?” A cop asked.
Allen fumbled for a moment before he pulled out a piece of plastic.
“Sir you don’t look so good. Is everything okay?” The man reviewed the license, and made sure it was valid.
“...Yes…” Allen lied in between each precious breath.
“Sir it says you are from Lightening City. We are going to have to search you.”
“Lightning City?” Allen inquired as he swung his legs out of the car.
The cop grimaced at the wounds.
“Yeah it’s known as Malians to the people inside the town. We don’t want those freaks rushing out in droves so we force the government there to stay quiet on the situation. That's why they have their own government and news channel. “
“Should we take him to the hospital?” His partner inquired.
“After the search…”
As Allen stood on his legs they quaked under him, and the cops proceed to strip him from head to toe. Bystanders were taken aback by the display. Nonetheless, they continued to ride pass, walk pass, bike pass, without any intervention. The cool breeze made Allen’s bare skin erupt in goosebumps. That cool feeling was eliminated for the search came up negative.
A high pitch noise made his ears bleed. It was everywhere: in his throat, in the air, and in his lungs. Who could release such a beast like noise? Tears stained Allen’s cheeks. His throat left as he swallowed a thousand needles in one gulp. Suddenly, it dawned on him the owner of that voice. It was one that he heard so often that it became alien to him. It was his own.
A thin object was dragged along his back in jagged lines. Each pathway the needle created was pointed south.
“Don’t bother going to the doctors for this. Once they know your lightening scum they will keep this label on you.”
Allen trashed about; however his vision began to fail him. With the lack of blood fighting became impossible. Several ear-shattering wails ripped themselves from his throat. A layer of sweat formed on Allen’s skin as his back arched forwards. His struggle ended in vail.
Without blood although his lungs filled with air his hazel eyes closed. At least the clouds subsided.