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Aug. 17, 2019 | Saturday
Local News
Writer's Circle: Lightning People
File photo.

SUBMITTED BY RICHARD WEST.
WRITER'S CIRCLE

Backstory

The following is a version of the original short story that eventually morphed into a 150-page book - The Lightning People. This piece blossomed into Chapter 1 of the book, which tells about the discovery of a group of people with special skills, who lived amongst the population of Britain in the early 1900s. Perhaps they live amongst us even now.

Lightning People

In 1903, I was a construction manager working on a new highway in Wiltshire, when late one Friday evening I was hit by lightning. I woke up in the field the next morning, with charred clothing, and surrounded by scorched grass. Standing was difficult, but I managed to stagger to my feet and wander back to my bicycle, feeling really odd but not that unwell. Rather than being terribly burned, I was light-headed and seemed to have a temperature.

To my surprise, any small burns and scraps healed rapidly and so, by Sunday evening, I felt well enough to go to the pub for a meal.

Once in the village, I was shocked that all the people I saw seemed to have an aura of colour about them. Hues of reds, blues, yellows and greens. Mostly subtle colours, but some were more intense. During the pub meal, I started to realize that the emotions and states of health of the individuals influenced the colours and intensities of their auras.

A strange experience to sit through a meal, watching people you know through a new set of eyes. Eyes capable of assessing the people from a completely different viewpoint.

I quickly learned to use the new skill to help make decisions about tasks that were to be done. The hues of my colleagues and others gave away people’s weak positions or uncertainties so providing me with useful levers to guide others. This soon resulted in advancement and the other benefits.

After a medical in London in 1919, the doctor’s summation was, ‘You are in wonderful condition for a man of forty.’ A man of forty? I had already turned 56!

Before taking the train back home, I dallied on a footbridge in Paddington Station and watched the milling crowds, while I pondered the meaning and implications of the doctor’s conclusion. It was fascinating to watch the mass of people with their hues of reds, blues, greens, and yellows. I quietly smiled at how this has become so normal and what a beautiful vision they made.

Suddenly, I just stared at one man. There, in the midst of the rainbow crowd, was a man with no colour at all! A man who looked just like people used to look before my rendezvous with lightning.

The man was staring straight back at me! Suddenly, I felt afraid and confused.

After so long, something normal had happened to punctuate the sea of unusual experiences I had lived with for so long. Then the man waved, and started to walk against the flow of humanity towards the stairs that lead up to the footbridge where I stood. Run? What? But I just quietly stood my ground and waited for this unknown person.

He was short, and seemed to have pot marks on his face from some skin problem. Without any hesitation, he put out his hand and greeted me in a voice with a strong accent, which was not familiar. Possibly Welsh, but yet not Welsh.

‘My name is Creighton’.

“I am Kenneth.”

‘When did it happen to you?’ Creighton asked, just as if we were talking about missing a train.

‘What happen?’ I replied, hoping to get time to think.

‘The lightning strike’ responded Creighton a little abruptly, as if speaking more to a child than a man more than ten years his senior.

Chided by the openness of this new person in my life, I responded.

‘Sixteen years ago.’

Then I asked, ‘And when did it happen to you?’

Creighton gazed out over the sea of colourful commuters below. He then stared straight at me before saying, ‘In the year of our Lord, 1472!’

The full novel can be purchased on Amazon, or by visiting richardpwest.ca.

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