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Starlight #9: Skeletons in the Closet

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.

Nala, Hunter, and Eliza hurry up to Hurt House.

Eliza: Come on, guys, hurry.

Hunter: Um, are we sure this is safe?

Nala: It’s definitely not.

Hunter: Great.

Cadmus (Narration): It’s been a weird day.

We cut to the interior of the house, where Starlight is facing Hurt, standing between her and Kenny. Black tears flow from Hurt’s eyes as she takes him in.

Hurt: Move.

Cad: No?

Hurt: Now.

Hurt streaks towards him, and he leans forward to punch, only to fall right through her.

Cad: What the–

Hurt whirls around, now solid, and grabs Cad’s neck, raising him into the air with superhuman strength. She throws him and he falls through the floor and walls into another room. Hurt floats towards Kenny.

Hurt: You will–

Cad: Hey!

Getting to his feet, Cad streaks back towards her, lighting up in his star form. Hurt winces and blocks her eyes as if pained and Cad lands one punch on her, and then two. She tries to phase but Cad grabs her– her intangibility is counteracted by his star form.

Cad: Hey, that’s–

He can touch her, but she can touch him. Hurt scratches at his eyes and he howls, giving her the time to grab him by his hair and bash his head against the floor, once, twice.

Cad: Urk–

Meanwhile, down below, Nala, Eliza, and Hunter try several rooms. Finally, they throw open a door and find themselves face-to-face with the Inlet High Sharks and the Ridge Hill Hawkeyes, all bound to the walls, dark circles under their eyes.

Parker: …Cad?

Nala: No.

She rushes over and begins to work at their bonds, Hunter right behind her. Eliza hesitates.

Eliza: We have to get to Mary Beth.

The Inlet High’s quarterback scoffs from where he is bound.

Austin: Wait, this is Mary Beth? That $!%#–

Nala: Shut up.

She turns to Eliza.

Nala: We’ll stay here and free them. You go save Caddie.

Misc. Hawkeye: And Kenny!

Nala: Kenny can choke.

We return to the fight above, where Starlight has just kicked Hurt off of him. They turn to face each other, circling carefully.

Cad: What do you want?

Hurt: Hurt.

Cad: Okay, um, cool, but what do you–

Kenny: Would you stop talking and just kill this $!%#?

Cad: Woah, lang–

As Cad turns briefly to face Kenny, Hurt streaks forwards, grabbing him and sending them flying through the far wall, out of the window, and into the lake. They fall under water, but Mary keeps going, grabbing Cad and slamming her thumbs into his eyes.

Cad: Glub!

Cad: Crap crap crap she can breathe underwater….

Hurt kicks him away into a clump of foliage, which curls around him, trapping him, as he struggles to get free.

Hurt: No more.

We cut to Kenny, struggling with the door.

Kenny: Come on, come on…

He shrieks as Hurt appears beside him, burning with fury.

Hurt: Time’s up.

Kenny: N-no, please. You wouldn’t hurt me. I–

Hurt grabs his neck with a single fist, her grip tightening. He struggles to breathe. The door bursts open and Eliza runs in.

Eliza: Mary Beth!

Hurt whirls around, surprised.

Hurt: Eliza?

We cut to the exterior of the house, where most of the football players are being evacuated. Sirens sound in the distance.

Nala: Help is coming.

Hunter: That’s good, right?

Parker: Not if they get to Cad before we do.

The three streak back into the house.

Underwater, Cad struggled against the foliage, unable to breathe.

Cad: Come on, come on…

He shakes his head.

Cad: 1… 2…

With a muffled grunt, Cad lights up again and tears apart his bonds, reaching the surface of the water and gasping for air. He glances around, sees the house, and flies towards it, careening into the room where Eliza and Mary Beth are hugging. Kenny crouches in the corner, shaking.

Cad: Eliza?

Cad: Okay, clearly I missed something.

Kenny sees Starlight and lets out a relieved gasp.

Kenny: Starlight, help! She’s possessed this girl too! You have to stop them both before–

Eliza and Hurt separate, Hurt looking defensive.

Hurt: Get–

Eliza: No. You don’t have to fight him. Just show him what you showed me.

Cad: Show me what? Show me–

In a flash, Mary Beth is on top of him, her fingers going through his head. Suddenly, Cad is adrift in a sea of memories.

Cad: I blink, and I’m adrift in a sea of night. And then I’m here.

He sees flickers of memory– Mary Beth and Kenny happy, hugging, kissing, but then it darkens as the memories show them arguing, and Kenny drinking, and arguing, and drinking.

Mary Beth (Narration): We were together. We were happy. Then we weren’t.

Andrew: I don’t know if this relationship is right for you, Mary, you seem miserable….

Mary Beth: (flatly) I love him.

Mary Beth: Over and over again he convinced me I was at fault, that he was doing his best, that I would never have someone like him. Over and over again, I believed him. And then the night came when he and his friends from the sharks had enough.

At a dingy bar, Kenny, Austin, and some miscellaneous Inlet High players drink around Mary Beth.

Mary Beth: They got rowdy. I tried to leave.

The bartender watches with disinterest.

Mary Beth: I even slipped the bartender a note. He ignored me. And then they hurt me. And nobody believed me.

We see a tear-stained Mary Beth walk to Hurt House, a dark look in her eyes.

Mary Beth: It was my fault my fault my fault I’d had enough. So I ended it.

We return to the present, as Starlight staggers back.

Hurt: I woke up.

Cad: Holy… the bartender… he was the announcer at the game. The one you killed.

Hurt: He deserved to–

Cad: I’m not arguing that he deserved to die but you didn’t have to kill him!

Hurt: I am anger. I am rage.

Eliza: But you don’t have to be! Mary Beth, what happened to you was unforgivable. But you came back. You have another chance to–

Kenny: That !@#$ is irredeemable! Just kill—

Cad sends a burst of energy at Kenny and he crumples into the wall.

Hurt: He has to die. All of his kind have to die.

Eliza: They’re not all like that. Andrew–

Hurt: Andrew is unique.

Eliza: Well, what about Cad? He changed.

Hurt: Cad.

She looks at Starlight, confused.

Hurt: Him?

Eliza: What?

She blinks.

Eliza: Oh my God, Cad?

Cad: Well, !@#$.

Cad: When I saw into you… you saw into me.

Hurt nods.

Hurt: You are… good.

Cad: So are you.

Hurt: No.

Cad: Okay, so, maybe not right now, but you could be.

The door flies open and Nala, Hunter, and Parker stumble in.

Parker: Cad, you have to hurry, the cops are–

They look around. Hurt is gone.

Nala: What happened here?

Hunter: Where’s the ghost?

Parker: Um, guys?

They turn to see Kenny’s corpse. Eliza covers her mouth.

Eliza: No…

We cut forward as the corpse of Kenny is carried out of the house.

Cad: Today’s been a weird day. I met a bad guy. Found out she was a good guy. But also a bad guy. I don’t know if I’d be any stronger than her in that situation. But I’ll never have to know.

Cad returns to school a few days later, waving weakly at a bandaged up Andrew as he heads into the building. Ewan and Ernie nod at him as he heads to the library.

Cad: Mary Beth was alone. She was abandoned. But I’m not.

He sits down at a table in front of Team Starlight: Parker, Hunter, Eliza, and Nala.

Cad: I have friends. And together, we can take whatever weird !@#$ comes next.

NEXT: Starlight #11: Not of Blood! And in a few months: Starlight #10: vs. Shadow!

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