There was once a little girl who could ride the lightning as easily as you or I could ride a train or a bus. Her name was Eve and she was six years old.
She lived in a little house on the end of Menagerie Road with her mother, two sisters and a cat. Eve didn’t have a father. Her older sister, Meg, said he ran away with a mermaid from the wharfs and never bothered to say goodbye. Eve didn’t believe her. Even at four, she didn’t believe in mermaids.
Her other sister, Jessie, who was eighteen and married to a longshoreman, said that Papa had simply gone for the milk one night and never returned.
Then she bopped Eve on the nose and said: “Maybe he became a pirate.”
Eve believed in pirates more than she believed in mermaids, but Jessie had been grinning when she said it, and Eve never trusted her grin.
In the end, it did not matter where here father had gone, only that he was gone. It didn’t effect Eve much either way. She only remembered him vaguely as a man with a pipe and a large stamp collection, and her life was much the same as it would have been anyway.
Then came the lightning.
She was on her way home one rainy afternoon, jumping gleefully from puddle to puddle, when there was a sharp crack of thunder, louder than any you have ever heard, followed by a flash of lightning.
Later, when people asked, Eve could never explain why she did it. Instinct, perhaps, or a strange form of vertigo.
But in that moment. she reached out her hand and caught the lightning between her fingers. It was like liquid light and a thousand electric shocks all at once.
And then she vanished.
One minute she was on Menagerie Road, the next she was swimming in a sea of electricity and air, dancing gaily in the light. It was better than anything she had ever imagined. Better even than the ferris wheel she had snuck on one lazy Sunday afternoon.
After what felt like an eternity in the lightning but was only seconds, Eve emerged in a flash. But she wasn’t on Menagerie Road anymore.
She was somewhere else.
Eve blinked and wiped the rain from her eyes. Eve didn’t believe in mermaids and had her doubts about pirates, but she had never doubted her own senses.
The row of dirty rundown houses she called home was gone. So were the battered old cars and the stench of the sea, everything. She was lost. But she was not afraid.
All she needed was another lightning bolt.
Above the storm clouds gathered.