Starlight #11: Ignition

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.

We begin in a mansion in the countryside: huge, luxurious. Two siblings, Malcolm and Millie, kids maybe 5-10 years older than Cadmus and his friends, sit in a small room, watching the stars.

Malcolm: I wish they’d let us in.

Millie: I know.

Malcolm: I want to know what’s going on.

Millie: Me, too. Dad shouldn’t be keeping us in the dark

They pause, a silence, taking over.

Millie: Remember when we were little, and we used to wish on the stars?

Malcolm: Yeah, of course.

Millie: I think we should do it right now.

Malcolm: Really?

Millie: Really.

Malcolm: Well… what would you wish for?

Cadmus (Narration): It’s easy to say you want something.

We cut to a car speeding along in the small town of Ridge Hill, going way over the speed limit.

Cad: Getting it? That’s a lot harder.

A kid is in the front seat, whooping, as Cadmus follows in costume as Starlight.

Cad: Stop, uh, citizen.

Kid: !@#$ off!

Cad: For example, earlier today I said I wanted some time away from everything, away from football, my friends, even the superheroing, to really start to think things through. I mean, come on, things are really spiraling out of–“

The wheel locks and the kid lets out a yelp as the car careens forward, out of control.

Kid: $#*!

Cad: $#*!

Cad: Control!.

An earpiece in Cadmus’, well, ear, springs to life. We cut back to a computer lab in Hunter’s house, where Hunter is crouching alongside a computer with Parker.

Hunter: Cad, we might’ve caused a bit of a problem.

Parker: We?

Hunter: Okay, I might’ve caused a bit of a problem.

The car veers into the wrong side of the road. Cad flies down behind it and presses up against the vehicle, grunting. He struggles to push it in the right direction.

Cad: I thought you were… tracking… his GPS…

Hunter: Okay, so I was, but the car was brand new and had so many fancy features that I got distracted and–

Parker: Hunter! Short version! Now!

Hunter: I’ve somehow screwed up the car and the situation is worse than before!

Parker: Wow, man. Excellent work.

Hunter: I don’t see you doing anything!

We cut back to Cad and the car.

Kid: Please, help! I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I–

Cad: I don’t think this “Team Starlight” thing is working out.

He lets loose a bolt of star energy into the car and the engine sparks, and gives out. The car keeps hurtling forward.

Cad: None of us know what we’re doing, frankly, most of us barely know each other, and we have a tendency to make things worse.

Cad takes in a deep breath and pushes the car sideways with all its might. It powers steadily off of the road and Cad flies around to the front of it, ignoring the screaming kid, he pushes against it and slowly, steadily, it comes to a stop. A convertible pulls up along the side of the road, containing Eliza. Cad grins.

Cad: Then again…

Kid: Thank you so–

Cad: Yeah, sure.

Cad: It’s not all bad.

Cad takes flight and alights down on the road, showing off slightly.

Cad: Hey.

Eliza: Hey. The boys really did a number on this one, huh?

Parker (Voice): Hey! Just–

Hunter (Voice): Just me. We get it.

Cad: Yeah, we have a ways to go before we’re an elite crimefighting team.

Eliza: I don’t know. You did okay.

Cad: You know what? I did–

Abruptly, Cad is hit by a speeding truck. The issue title, “Ignition” is shown on the side of the truck. We cut forward to a black screen.

Cad: The only person who seems even a little bit competent is Nala. And, well…

We cut to the mansion, where on a different balcony, Nala and a new, polished boy sit, talking.

Cad: She’s not exactly an open book.

Nala: Locking his own kids in for the duration of the conference? It’s excessive, Castor. Even for him.

Cas: I know. At least we don’t have to hang out with Millie.

Nala: What’s wrong with Millie?

Cas: She’s spoiled.

Nala: We’re all spoiled.

Cas: Well, she’s spoiled most of all.

They laugh.

Cas: So? What’s up with you these days? Still slumming it with the peasants?

Nala: Of course, and you can bet my father isn’t thrilled. But I prefer it. That world… it’s just so much more real.

A wry look crosses her face.

Nala: Or it used to be.

Cas: Used to be? Did something happen?

Nala: Well, let’s just say…

We cut to Cad’s room where he is lying, dinged up, on his bed. Parker looks him over.

Nala (Narration): …things have gotten a little strange as of late.

Parker: Well, you’ll live.

Cad: Gee, thanks, Park.

Parker: You’re welcome.

Hunter: Why is he doing the medical analysis again?

Parker: I practically live at the athletic trainer. I know the human body pretty well.

Eliza: Gross.

Parker: You’re gross.

Cad groans and sits up. He pulls on a t-shirt.

Cad: Look, guys, today…

Hunter: Was all my fault. I’m sorry guys, I–

Eliza: Oh, come on Hunter. We’ve all made mistakes these past few days. I let that little old lady get away during the bank attack.

Parker: And I… tackled the wrong little old lady.

Hunter: Not our finest hour.

Cad: Yeah.

There’s silence.

Cad: Maybe we should…

Hunter: Yeah…

Eliza: Just for a bit.

The others stand up and start to go their separate ways.

Cad: Just a breather.

Eliza: Sure.

Parker: I have some games to catch up on.

Hunter: So do I, but probably different kinds.

Parker: Fortnite?

Hunter:…this is embarrassing.

Parker: Wait, do we have something in common?

They walk out together. Eliza and Cad regard each other.

Eliza: Still weird.

Cad: What?

Eliza: Seeing your face, hearing your voice, but having you be someone else. Not to mention, sometimes, a superhero.

Cad: Yeah. ‘S a little weird.

Eliza: Just a little.

They regard each other.

Eliza: But, hey, while we have the night off, maybe… do you want to go out?

Cad: Yeah! Uh, sure.

Eliza: Great. I’ll see you then.

We cut forward to the night, where Cad is dressed semi-formally in front of a mirror. He adjusts his bow tie.

Cad: Looking… well, good enough.

Cad: The more I think about it, the more I’m sure: it’s time to lay Team Starlight to rest. In the end, we cause more harm than good. Nobody needs us. Nobody wants–

He steps down the stairs, speeding up as the doorbell rings.

Cad: Coming, Eliza, I’ll be right–

He opens the door to reveal Nala, frantic.

Nala: I need Team Starlight.

Three Hours Ago…

Nala and Cas lean into each other.

Cas: Hey, normally I hate these family get together but today…. it hasn’t been so bad.

Nala: It hasn’t.

They lean in, and are about to kiss when a scream sounds.

Cas: Nala–?

Nala: Millie!

Nala sprints down the hall and across the mansion to the locked room where Millie and Malcolm are. She pounds on the door. Guards rush along.

Guards: Ma’am, they’re not to be–

Nala: Something’s wrong, you morons, now open the door before–

Guard: Fine, fine…

He pushes open the door to where a tear-streaked Millie stands, huddled, away from the large shape on the floor. Shards of class fall in, indicating someone broke in, even as she shudders at the corpse of some sort of shape-shifting alien in her brother’s clothes.

Millie: Help.

NEXT: Whodunit?

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