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Strangers: A New Twist #7
October, 1998

Do You Have a Deathwish? (Part Two) – The Lady of Light

Written by Lex
Edited by James Pedrick
Created by Steve Englehart
Property of Malibu Comics

"This is Lesley Rorke for Channel 18 News. I’m here at the scene of a recent attack by an ultra monster calling itself Deathwish. The Strangers arrived just after the creature destroyed this building I’m standing in front of now. The battle wasn’t going well until the appearance of a new ultra named Boost."

***

"So your power is what now?"

"I can jump inside other ultras and boost their powers. Here, I’ll show you." Boost jumps inside Zip-Zap. "Now run."

Like a bolt of lightning, Zip-Zap zooms down the street. A few seconds later, he is running past Time Square in New York City. Another couple of seconds and he’s zipping past the Eiffel Tower, then the Leaning Tower of Pisa, then the Great Wall of China.

"Hellacool!" Zip-Zap stops back in San Francisco after a long couple of seconds going across the Pacific. "I’ve never gone that fast ever!"

"What’s it like inside people?" asks Electrocute.

"You don’t want to know…trust me."

"Can I talk to you for a minute, Boost?" asks Lady Killer. They both walk away from prying ears and stop. "It was awfully convenient for you to pop up right when we needed you. I don’t think it was an accident that you just happened to show up when you did."

"Well, ever since my power surfaced, I’ve been following you Strangers around. Y’know, in case any of you get in a jam and need my help."

"That’s good and we thank you for your help but this is a dangerous business you’re getting yourself into."

"I know. I just wanted to help."

"Well, your power is very useful…"

"Does that mean I can be a Strangers?" asks Boost in an overly excited way.

"NO! Uh…I mean no. Your power is useful but in some situations in could get yourself into trouble. How about you just tell me where I can reach you in case we need your help again."

"Okay."

***

"Look at all this destruction," says Atom Bob surveying the scene. "We should probably help clean all this up."

"But of course we should," says Lady Killer as she rejoins the group, "we can’t leave a mess like this, Bob. Even in San Francisco, the authorities can’t handle continued destruction…which is what the Era of Ultras has wrought."

"I thought it was exciting what happened to us."

"It was, Candy," comments Grenade, "but it should’ve stayed with us. Everybody and his brother’s an ultra now."

***

Spectral stands perfectly still in front of what once was a building, concentrating. Trying something new. He is in his orange flame and is using it to look at the heat in the area. He sees all the heat from the people standing around.

"Hey!" Spectral sees heat coming from inside a pile of rubble. It’s in the shape of a person. He runs over to the spot. "Hey, there’s someone buried in the rubble here! And I think he’s still alive!" Spectral blasts his orange flame at the rubble to melt it away, being careful not to burn whoever is in there. "It’s an old man!"

Moments later…

"That’s the only survivor so far," says a man loading Mr. Bushnell into the back of an ambulance. "We’ll get him to the hospital right away. It’s only three blocks."

"I’ll go with you," says Lady Killer hopping into the back of the ambulance. "Maybe he can tell us something about Deathwish."

"I’d like to hear that myself, Lady K.," says Zip-Zap. "I’ll race ya to the hospital. Yrial! Abuse yourself ‘til I get back!"

Yrial gives him a nasty look as he speeds off and then gives a sad sigh. She looks around and sees something moving in the shadows where no one but her could see it. It’s a person. She flies to the person and finds that it’s a woman who doesn’t seem to be hurt very badly but appears to be in serious pain.

"Who are you?"

"I’m Henrietta Hawkins. I am Mr. Bushnell’s nurse. The darkness inside Mr. Bushnell…Stop it! Stop it, please!"

"Don’t worry…we will."

‘She’s delirious,’ thinks Yrial, ‘but she must mean that the old man they took to the hospital is Deathwish. The Strangers will have to handle him for now, but I sense something in this woman that may be able to help.’

Yrial picks her up and flies her to the rooftop of a building next to the hospital.

"Oh, the pain," screams Henrietta.

"Let the pain come. Let it flow through you and on into the waiting world. I’ll be with you all the way. Let it come." ‘I don’t think she can surrender to the pain,’ thinks Yrial. ‘It’s not in her nature. But I sense that she is the key to everything. If we had known earlier then I would have been able to prevent Deathwish’s appearance. But she wasn’t ready yet, and my magickal senses are dulled ‘til the StarFoam grows calm. Now, however, it’s magick or nothing.’

Yrial walks over to the edge of the rooftop where a flock of pigeons sits. She uses her magick to hypnotize two of them and picks them up. She walks over to Hernietta who is now lying on the ground in extreme pain. Yrial cuts slits into the birds’ chests with her teeth, killing the birds. She spreads the pigeons’ blood all over Henrietta’s body.

‘What would the Strangers say if they saw me now? Doubtless, they would think what any one of the world would. "That Yrial, that cold-blooded harpy from that etherial island in the sky…does voodoo!" So the Strangers must not see this side of me. Magick comes from one source, but manifests in many forms. My form is as old as this world, dating from my island’s days on Earth’s blue-green seas. I make no apologies for easing pain.’

Yrial blankets Henrietta with her magick. "Now Henriette – Now you see the pain for what it is. Not death – though death there be – but birth."

Purple and white light burst from Henrietta’s body. The light takes the form of a woman’s body. The woman appears to be made out of brightly glowing white light and she has light purple hair.

"Birth."

***

*We interrupt this regularly scheduled show for a Channel 18 News exclusive*

"This is Lesley Rorke and I’m here on 23rd street where a second battle between the Strangers and Deathwish has taken place. If you’ll remember, Deathwish is an ultra monster who can suck the life energy out of people, as I understand it.

"An ambulance carried an wounded, old man named G. Lawrence Bushnell and Lady Killer, along for the ride, to this hospital. She and Zip-Zap were there to learn more about what happened. They were told to stay in the waiting room until the doctors had finished checking out Bushnell."

"There was suddenly a scream and I saw Zip-Zap zoom out of the room and all around the hospital to find where the scream came from," says a nurse who was at the scene.

"Apparently Deathwish was hiding inside Bushnell’s body and came out as the nurses were preparing him," continued Lesley. "Deathwish had already consumed two of the nurses when Zip-Zap came running in and distracted the monster enough for the other nurses to run away. ‘This building teams with life. Some waxing, waining, beginning, dying but all of it suits me just fine. All life in this building belongs to me!’ was heard from the creature as the building started to be evacuated.

"Zip-Zap was very clever and trapped Deathwish in the morgue, but to no avail. The monster punched through a wall and was out in the street where he met the other Strangers. Each of them got a shot at the monster, some got two. Every once in a while they would buy themselves some time by asking if it knew anything about the Jumpstart and other questions relating to the cable car accident. The battle seemed lost until a lady of light appeared on the scene. I’m told we have tape of that scene and we’re going to that now."

***

"Get away from me, insect," says Deathwish as he punches away Electrocute. She comes right back at him, blasting him with electricity.

"I’m not an insect! I’m not any form of life you know. I was made in a factory. I can’t die…and I HATE IT!"

Deathwish dodges her blasts and says, "So you cannot die, but wish you could, eh? Deathwish will make you wish harder than ever!"

"Nothing could!"

"Huh?"

"Don’t you think every minute with the Strangers has reminded me how inhuman I am? You may love that feeling…"

"He does not," says the Lady of Light as she comes to the scene.

"You!" says Deathwish.

"You’ve never seen me…but you know me. For you are not something called ‘Deathwish’. You are an old man named G. Lawrence Bushnell."

"Nonsense! I conquered Bushnell, just as I’ll conquer you!"

"Yes, come to me. For in your claim to have ‘conquered’ Mr. Bushnell rather then to have destroyed him, you give yourself away. Even now he wishes for life. I was your nurse, Mr. Bushnell…your friend. We both rode the cable car…we both felt the Jumpstart. You felt better for it…I felt worse. You let the cancer that was killing you come forth. I fought the new life in me until it was almost too late. But now I’m here to help you as I always have."

"You cannot help me…the lust for oblivion is all consuming!"

"You wanted to see life in San Francisco, Mr. Bushnell. Whatever it is that wants to see death…you are too fine a man to let it win. Take my hand…"

With that both Deathwish and the Lady of Light vanish in a huge, soundless explosion of light.

"They…they’re gone," says Electrocute.

"Indeed," says Yrial as she flies down from above them. I helped the woman of light come forth, knowing that she would nullify the man of darkness."

"But why did you tell us that you were gonna do something like that?" asks Zip-Zap in an annoyed manner.

"Why should I tell you anything?"

"Because no matter how you talk the talk, you walk the walk like one’a us."

"Then why should I talk at all?"

"Well…"

***

"An interesting ending to an interesting story. This has been Lesley Rorke for Channel 18 News."

Later…

"Yrial’s Chieftain told us there were many things we had yet to learn," says Lady Killer.

"Yeah, about the world and ourselves, it seems," says Atom Bob.

"But one thing over shadows all other here," continues Lady Killer. "The Jumpstart can take months to show its effects. Who knows who else – and what else – is out there."

End of Issue #7

NEXT ISSUE: Who is the Pilgrim? And why does he want the total destruction of the Strangers? Find out in Strangers #8

 

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