The storm crept its way across the night sky on the legs of a white hot spider, tentatively feeling its way from rooftop to rooftop. Bolt after monstrous bolt exploded from the tops of the city’s towers, lighting the sky and dimming the buildings as they strained to absorb the blasts.
Jenny stood shivering in the hotel window. The rolling thunder shook the building’s foundation and it shivered with her under her feet. Her father was still at the Convention Center and she stood alone in the hotel room watching through the raindrops that spattered against the pane. Her pleas to go with him had fallen on deaf ears. He didn’t believe her about the Lightning Man, so she shivered in silence and waited for him to come.
The Lightning Man was real. Jenny had seen him once before from her hiding place under her bed. He had come through the window and stood in her bedroom on transparent white legs. The buzzing hum, the flickering on her bedroom walls, the sickly sweet smell of sparks he left behind, they were memories that would linger on. She had screamed when she heard his crackling laugh, but the Lighting Man fled before her father could answer her screams.
Now, the eerie lavender glow of his eyes peered down at her from the clouds. A flash of electricity lashed out at the office building closest to their hotel. Its windows went black and the building vanished, swallowed up by the night. He had grown bigger now, much too big to come into the hotel room. The windows in the office building flickered with dim life, resuscitated by the emergency generators.
A blinding flash shot out again even before the thunder from the one before shook her room. A giant white hand at the end of a writhing arm stretched across the sky, reaching for her window. She closed her eyes, but the trace of his hand was burned into her retinae. There was no escape from the image and she could feel his claws opening, his hand stretching to grab her.
Jenny screamed. She dove across the hotel room for the bed, but there was no room to crawl underneath it. Eyes clenched tight, she backed away from the claw still glowing against her eyelids and into the corner behind the nightstand. The thunderclap rattled the room with fierce intensity. It felt as if the Lightning Man had torn the whole hotel from the ground and would shake her out the window. She pushed into the corner with her feet as hard as she could screaming.
Then she felt it, his hand, his claws on her shoulder. Electricity shot through her body! The smell of ozone filled her nose. She jerked, but couldn’t pull away, pinned by the corner she’d pushed herself into. Terrified, she opened her eyes. Her father’s calm face stood over her. He looked casually over each shoulder and smiled.
“Lighting Man again?” he mused.
© 2011 Anne Schilde