Starlight #7: Foul Play
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.
Cad (Narration): So, it’s game day. Game night? Whatever.
We open at Ridge Hill High’s stadium, night. A sizable crowd has gathered to watch a football game between the Ridge Hill Hawkeyes and the Inlet High Sharks, a team in green and grey uniforms. Cad sits, nervous, on a bench in the locker room, eyes on the helmet in his hands.
Cad: Forgive me if my head isn’t exactly in the game.
We cut to where Issue 6 left off- Nala at Cad’s front door, confronting him with an article on Starlight.
Cad: Uh… what?
Nala: This is you.
Cad: Um, no.
Cad: Think fast, think fast…
Cad: That dude’s flying. And glowing. Are you sure that wasn’t photoshopped?
Nala: Oh, Caddie. Don’t play dumb with me. Parker was over, you know. Had me built him an Electromagnetic Pulse.
Cad: A what?
Nala: Don’t deflect. Yes, you may be a little… shinier, here, than I’m used to, but I’d recognize you anywhere.
Cad is not phenomenal at lying, distracted by Nala’s success rather than preserving his secret ID.
Nala: Before the accident, Cadmus, we were very intimate friends. I know your body well.
Cad: Okay, gross.
Nala: Pfft. You used to make cruder remarks all the time.
Cad: I’m not who I was.
Nala: That is evident.
There is a panel of silence.
Cad:…What, exactly, did you come here for?
Nala: I want in.
Cad: On what?
Cad: Could you please stop being so vague? I literally have amnesia.
Nala:…Team Starlight. I want into Team Starlight.
We return to the night of the football game. The Coach finishes up his speech.
Coach: …Alright, I know each and every one of you will make me proud tonight. Go Hawkeyes!
Team: Go Hawkeyes!
Whooping and yelling, they begin to head out of the locker room. Cad places the helmet on his head, and is about to follow when Andrew puts a hand on his shoulder.
Andrew: Hey, Way.
Cad: Hey, Andrew. What’s up?
Andrew: Er… just reminding you that while you’re still on the roster…
Cad: Andrew, it’s fine. I know I’m benched. It makes sense… I’d bench me too. Don’t worry about it.
Andrew hesitates, looking guilty.
Andrew: Alright, cool.
He extends a hand, which Cad takes and gets to his feet.
Andrew: Now, let’s go win.
The two of them head out of the school building towards the stadium. There is a crack of thunder in the distance.
Andrew: Hope we don’t get rained out.
Cad: A little rain is the least of our worries.
In the bleachers, Eliza sits in the student section, looking briefly worried as she glances at the sky.
A girl turns, curious, to her.
Girl: What’s wrong?
Eliza: Forecast said today was sunny.
Girl: Girl, weather apps are never on top of things. That’s why I bring a jacket everywhere.
Eliza: Uh… cool…
Farther down the bleachers, Hunter is sitting alone. Quietly, he stares as the team assembles.
Voice: Hunter, right?
Hunter jumps in his seat, and turns, shocked to see… Nala?
Hunter: Um… are you talking to me?
Nala: You sound surprised.
Hunter: I am surprised.
Nala: Me too. I’ve never seen you at one of these before.
Hunter: Just… supporting a friend.
Nala: Cad, right?
Nala: What a sweetheart. A shame about his injury.
Hunter: Yeah, it was certainly… medically surprising.
Nala: Oh, for sure. I begged Daddy to have some of his physicians look into it, but the Ways wouldn’t take any money. They–
Hunter: –Why are you talking to me?
Nala: We’re neighbors.
Hunter: No, we’re not.
Nala: I mean I’m sitting here.
Hunter: No, you’re not.
Nala takes a seat next to Hunter and smiles.
Nala: Now I am.
We cut to the sidelines of the field, where Cad stands next to Parker, who is pacing nervously.
Parker doesn’t notice him.
Cad: Could you dial it down? You’re stressing me out.
Parker: This is a stressful #$%^ing game, Cad. Lots of us went to middle school with kids from Inlet. They’re like out biggest rivals.
Cad: You literally broke into a secure evil facility and this is worrying you?
Parker: Don’t judge me.
Cad: Too late.
Parker laughs and shoves Cad, who smiles back reluctantly. Parker’s smile fades as he sees something over Cad’s shoulder.
Cad: This might not be so bad.
We jump forward in time- the game is in full swing, and the Hawkeyes are losing– badly.
Cad: Jinxed it.
Cad sits on the bench, watching, as his teammates get repeatedly crucified by the other team… Parker is tackled, hard, Ewan fumbles the ball, and Ernie is tripped by another player.
Cad: I feel so helpless.
The game briefly halts as Ewan starts yelling at and shoving a player on the other team, whose jersey says Davidson. Whistles sound.
Andrew: Woah, woah…
Andrew attempts to halt the fight, aided by some Hawkeyes and Sharks.
Cad: This isn’t my thing anymore but… still. They’re my friends.
Ewan: This !@#$ tripped Ernie!
Davidson: It was an accident, &%$@***.
Cad: Should I star up and try to help break it up? That’s stupid, right? I have no idea how this superhero thing works.
In the bleachers, Nala watches this, frowning. Hunter, on the other hand, is looking up at the sky.
Hunter: That’s weird.
Nala: Not really. Davidson is famously awful as a person, and he was clearly tripping Ortega.
Hunter: No, not that. Look.
Nala looks up.
Hunter: It’s raining everywhere but in the stadium.
Indeed, it is pouring rain everywhere, except for in the stadium. Above, a massive blanket of stormclouds parts, perfectly looping around the stadium.
Nala: What in–
Abruptly, the stadium lights flicker, and then go out. For a moment, there is silence.
Muttering and murmurs break out.
Parent (Shouting): What’s happening?
Announcer (Voice): Everyone, please remain calm, we’re just having some technical–
There is a shattering noise, and the announcer is thrown abruptly from his box in the stadium, landing with a sickening crash in the center of the darkened field. Some of the lights abruptly flicker on, illuminating his body with a spotlight. His throat is torn out. A scratchy voice comes over the intercom.
Voice: No… more…
Paralyzed by fear, nobody moves, or speaks. Swearing, Cad ducks away to change into Starlight.
Cad: Damn it! Damn it! I could’ve saved him. I should’ve saved him.
The spotlight flickers, and when it returns, there is a girl standing over the announcer’s corpse. Her long, dark hair covers her face. She is dressed simply in a hoodie and jeans.
Homicidal Spirit: No more.
Andrew: Who… who are you?
Nala: What is she?
Eliza: …Mary Beth?
Slowly, the spirit begins to walk towards Andrew as the others watch, transfixed.
Andrew: I don’t… I’m not…
Homicidal Spirit: And…rew…
Cad: This ends now.
In full costume, Cad streaks out towards the spirit, but as he gets close her arm snakes out and grabs him by the neck.
Hunter: Holy Hell.
Parker: Somebody do something!
Homicidal Spirit: No.
She snaps her fingers. Instantly, the players on both teams, and the spirit, vanish, leaving the football field empty as the lights come on, with the exception of the Coaches, cheerleaders, and… Andrew.
Next: Who you gonna call?