Starlight #2: Hard Lessons
Starlight is a series I started writing for fun in 2016, written in the “style” of a comic book. As such, this is not my best writing, but it’s something I had fun doing.
Cadmus (Narration): When I was in the hospital, I wasn’t allowed to read or watch TV or basically do anything.
Cadmus stands at the hospital window.
Cadmus: So I made up a sort of game.
Cadmus places a hand on the window. We see stars reflected in his eyes.
Cadmus: I told myself all the things about myself that I knew were true.
Cadmus: *whispering* My name is Cadmus… something… Way. I’m around 16 years old.
Cadmus: It seems dumb now, but at the time it was kind of reassuring.
Cadmus: I’ve lived in Ridge Hill my whole life.
Cadmus: Like– I was real.
Cadmus: My parents names are Henry– no, Howard– and Louisa.
Cadmus: I was more than the blank slate I felt like. I had friends. I had family. I belonged.
A tear slips down Cad’s cheek.
Cadmus: I was human.
Cut to the party where last issue left off. A smoking truck has crashed into the sidewalk as Cadmus backs away, shocked. His skin is glowing so that it looks like he is a galaxy.
Cadmus: Now I’m not so sure.
Parker: *Still drunk, slurring* Woooow Cadmoos, you loook funny.
The stars fade from Cadmus’ skin, leaving him looking ordinary.
Cadmus: I… I…
Boy: Hey! *a random jock approaches Cadmus, obviously drunk* Howdya do that?
Cadmus: I– I–
Boy: Yer an alien aren’t ya?
Cadmus: God, I hope not.
Boy: My pa told me how to deal with your kind…
The boy draws a gun, and Cadmus staggers back, shocked.
Cadmus: What the–
Cadmus: What the Hell?
Cadmus: In that moment, I felt like I would do anything to get out of there.
Closeup on the gun.
Cadmus: I guess I did.
Cadmus shoots into the air, coming to rest high above the partygoers.
Cadmus: What the–
Cadmus: WHAT THE HELL!
Cadmus: This isn’t happening, this isn’t happening, this isn’t–
The gun is shot. The bullet hits Cadmus and ricochets off. The spot where is hit momentarily turns that same galaxy blue.
Cadmus: Get out of here get out of here get out of here
Cadmus shoots away, out of control
He careens awkwardly towards the sky. He stops a moment, and stares at the moon. Unconsciously, he reaches for it.
Cadmus: What am I…
Abruptly, Cadmus starts falling.
Cadmus falls for a few panels, before crashing into a cornfield. Dazed, he lifts his head.
Cadmus: My life is over.
Cut to the front porch of Cadmus’ house, where he stiffly makes his way to the door.
Cadmus: Ow ow ow ow
As he pushes the door open with a creak, a light flickers on. His father and his mother are standing in the foyer, arms crossed.
Cadmus: I’m dead.
Cadmus: Uh, I–
Father: How was the party?
Cadmus: Fine? I–
Mother: You look unusually coherent.
Father: Cadmus, we understand that drinking is a natural part of being a teenager. I did it when I was your age.
Cadmus: You also probably hunted dinosaurs, so…
Mother: It’s not that we’re telling you to drink it’s just… we know it’s going to happen. Please don’t do something actually dangerous, like LSD.
Cadmus: Honestly, this explains so much. No wonder I have brain damage.
Cadmus: *thumbs up* Got it, cool. Alcohol, no LSD.
Cadmus: This life is insane.
Cut to Ridge Hill High, the next day, an uncertain Cad stands outside the building.
Cadmus: I’ve checked social media (and deleted some pretty nasty pics) and nobody’s mentioned any sort of flying freak. They probably all think it was a drunken illusion.
Cadmus: (I wish it was a drunken illusion).
Cadmus shifts uncomfortably from one foot to another.
Cadmus: Man, I don’t want to do this.
Eliza: Hey! *waves and approaches* You okay? You look a little lost.
Cadmus: Eliza. Apparently we dated once? She’s actually kind of nice, unlike all of my other ‘friends’, who act like they jumped out of a bad teen sitcom.
Cadmus: Well, I have a map to classes I’ve spent weeks going to but can’t remember any material from, or where I sit, or basically anything.
Cadmus: It’s really not funny.
Eliza: No, sorry, it’s just…
Eliza tucks a bit of hair behind her ear.
Eliza: The first day of school sucks, and now you have to do it all over again.
Cadmus: Fair enough.
Parker: (Off-screen) Cadster! My man!
Cadmus visibly winces.
Cadmus: God, no.
Cadmus turns tentatively toward Parker.
Cadmus: Hey, Parker…
Parker approaches him with a pack of jocks, and tries some sort of weird handshake which Cadmus fails. Eliza stifles a laugh.
Parker: Call me Parkster, boy!
Cadmus: Yeah, no.
Cadmus: Do we have any classes together?
Parker: Do we? We’ve got all of them baby.
Cadmus: Now I wish I’d been shot.
Cadmus: *scratches back of neck* Cool…
Random boy: Good ta have you back, man! *musses the top of Cadmus’ head*
Eliza: Anyway, I’d better go. I have to talk to Mr. Lyzman about my latin paper.
Cadmus: Uh, great, bye!
As Eliza leaves, Parker grabs Cadmus’ arm.
Parker: What are you doing?
Cadmus: Uh, standing here?
Parker: No, fool. I’m talking about Eliza.
Parker: Nala will be furious when she finds out you were fooling around with another girl.
Cadmus: Does it still count as dating when you have no memory of a girl slash are completely terrified by her?
Cadmus: I’m talking to you, and yet we’re not dating.
Parker: This isn’t a joke. That girl be crazy.
Cadmus: At least she can’t shoot me.
Cadmus: I’ll be fine.
Parker: You were warned, man.
Cadmus watches Parker exit.
Cadmus: This is going to suck.
Cadmus is walking through the halls, looking around.
Cadmus: Okay, classroom 2a…
Cadmus accidentally bumps into a girl. Her books go flying to the floor.
Cadmus: Sorry! Sorry!
He reaches down to help her, and picks up the books.
She seems to realize who he is.
Cadmus: uh oh.
Cadmus: Uh, hi.
Girl: You may’ve fooled everyone else with this phony amnesia act, but I know you, and I know what you’re capable of. And I swear, you will pay.
She stalks away.
Cadmus: Man, I wish I had some context for that.
The panel pans out to reveal a short boy wearing a Star Trek jacket, watching.
Boy: You look unsettled.
Cadmus: I have no idea what I did to make her hate me so much.
Boy: Don’t take it personally. Most people hate you.
Boy: No, it’s no big deal. Just part of the natural caste system of this place. You’re a jock, you beat people up like me.
Cadmus: Have we–?
Boy: You stole my clothes after gym class back in August.
Boy: *extends hand* I’m Hunter. You have any more questions about who you’ve screwed over, let me know.
Cadmus shakes hands with the boy. Suddenly, the bell rings.
Hunter: I gotta go. AP CompSci may be my jam, but that teacher will write me up if I’m late.
Cadmus: Okay, great. *he watches as Hunter leaves, a strange look in his eyes*
Cadmus: Great, so I’m friends with idiots and pretty much nationally hated.
Cut to exterior of Mr. Lyzman’s room, where Eliza is knocking on the door.
Eliza: Mr. Lyzman?
She pushes the door open, and her eyes fill with horror.
Cadmus: What other surprises are in store for me?
Mr. Lyzman is slumped down at the foot of his desk, bleeding out. The same symbol from Cadmus’ dreams is etched into his desk, glowing.
NEXT: KILLER ON THE LOOSE