I first saw him when I was six years old.
Our house was dark, like usual. Coming down the hall, I noticed a glimmer of light coming from my sister’s room. She had been bed ridden for weeks and too frail to spark a flame for herself. As I approached her door, I noticed the light began to blink. It was a pale blue color and interested me greatly. I hadn’t seen a light do that before. I slowly opened the door to see if she was all right. He was cowering over her, his hand cradling her skull and emanating a brilliant blue flash from his head. Looking back on that moment, he looked so peaceful, even hopeful. But to a six year old, he was unnervingly scary. I froze. Tears immediately welled up in my eyes and I let the experience consume me. He turned his dark eyes on me, his mouth opened and he vanished. The whole experience lasted no more than five seconds, but it’s been burned into my head ever since. He completely changed my life that night.
I approached my sister.
Her life had been extinguished. My tears began to flow without restraint. My terrifying screams woke our neighbors. My parents entered. I tried for what seemed like years to convey to them what I had seen.
“An electric man!”
Whatever credibility I had with my parents died that night as well. They quickly distanced themselves from me. The lesson of living only in my thoughts had not yet crystallized in my six-year-old brain. It would be a painful lesson, which turned me into the man I am today. I cried for days over my sister’s death. I cried for nights at the thought that he would come for me next. The more I raved about the electric man, the more I concerned my parents.
It took weeks before the ground warmed enough to get my sister into it. Her funeral was hard on us all, but especially so for my mother. She naturally blamed herself. I’ve read in times burying one’s child, a common reaction for the mother is to become overprotective of the sole surviving offspring. My mother was anything but common. My stories frightened her, but not in the same way they did me. I spoke of the electric man that took Sarah away from us. My mother spoke of how he was taking me away from them.
I remember my first visit with a doctor. Back then, there wasn’t a deep understanding into the human mind. When a child would tell absurd stories, they were to be corrected and if necessary taken from their home. My mother would not allow this.
Tensions grew between the three of us. My father was not as intolerant of my stories. He’d urged the use of my imagination ever since I could remember. He was an out-of-work novelist. I knew nothing of his previous career as an author at the time. I’ve since read his work and must admit it was not very good. He’d only written pretentious dramas expressing the insurmountable will of the human spirit against great adversity, but with having a young son in the house, his opinions of literature began to waiver. Over time, I convinced him of the joy in writing for me. He began to pen stories of fantasy as a way of connecting with me. I love my father for the immense effort he put into having a relationship with me back then. My mother feared my imagination was a little too big and my father and she argued constantly about the best way to handle me. My father was publishing a lot of these fables through a second rate publisher. He was barely making enough to support our family for some time. I loved sharing those stories with my father. We bonded hugely after the death of my sister and for some time, I even seemed well adjusted to them.
During one talk my father and I had, we were talking about giants in stories and the bad things they could do to little boys who didn’t go to bed when they were supposed to. We always joked around about fairy creatures that would come after me if I misbehaved. I was always afraid of the idea of being alone in my bedroom after dark.
“Why are you scared, Johnny?”
“The electric man is going to get me.”
“The electric man isn’t real, Johnny. He’s like the giants in our stories. They’re just stories.”
“He is real Daddy! He was there with Sarah when –“
My mom had just entered into the room when I mentioned this. My dad and I had an agreement that we were going to keep the electric man between us and not mention him around my mother anymore. She was getting upset and not handling her daughter’s death very well.
When I would mention the electric man, it would only upset her. My father had promised her he would not encourage me to talk about my sister’s death anymore. When my mother appeared, we both knew how hurt and upset she was.
“You promised me you guys would stop talking about this electric man. There is no electric man!”
“Yes there is! I saw him holding Sarah. Then he just disappeared.”
My mother’s hand hit my face and knocked me onto the ground. It was the only time in my life she ever hit me. She left the room immediately as I started crying.
My father scooped me up in his arms.
“Johnny, there is no Electric Man.”
“Th– there is no electric man.” I repeated.
That was the last time I remember talking with my mother about what I saw that night. There was an electric man. I was going to prove it.
End of Issue
My sister Sarah is dead. An electric man vanished from her dead body. I saw him.
I am going to prove it.
I grew up Episcopalian. My mother and father took me to church occasionally before my sister died. I knew some of the people in town from going there, but never knew anything about the stories of The Bible. I knew nothing about the possibility of other realms or spiritual worlds that interact with our own. I knew nothing.
I feel looking back that we only really went to church to stop the chatter about us since my sister had died. We thought that by going and acting like things were normal that the rest of the town would start to believe it. We’d heard enough quiet comments to everyone but us.
The church was my first insight into my future. Until then, I hadn’t placed any thought in things I hadn’t seen. Until I did see them. That got my attention.
There is nothing at all in The Bible about a blue electric man who comes to kill older siblings, but it is an environment in which a child can ask about possibilities and not get slapped in the face.
“What happens to people when they die?”
“Well, according to the word of God, when a person dies, they go to heaven where it is peaceful.”
“Where is heaven, Father?”
“Johnny, heaven isn’t a physical place. It’s a place your soul goes carrying with it all that you are and have been. It’s not your body. It’s more than that.”
“More than my body?”
“Yes Johnny. Your soul contains your thoughts and everything you are. It’s what makes you who you are. And only in heaven is it fully happy.”
“Did Sarah go to heaven when she died?”
“She certainly did, Johnny. Sarah was a good girl with a good soul. Everything she was is in a happy place right now where she can’t be hurt by anything. She’s at peace.”
“Thank you Father.”
“You’re welcome Johnny.”
I didn’t know it at the time, but Father Michaels was wrong. Dead wrong.
End of Issue
My mother had just finished washing my father’s clothes for the sixth time in less than a month. He owned plenty of trousers and men’s shirts to get through a few weeks on his own, but my mother continually washed them for him. I never understood why. He was an out of work writer making just enough publications to get by without needing a second job. What did he really need clean clothes for anyway? But my mother would wash his clothes continually.
“What do you guys want to eat?
My father was in his office dressed in a full suit and tie. I was in the living room sitting on my father’s chair bored out of my mind. I wasn’t allowed outside in the evenings due to my dad’s constant concern. My mother had taken more to routine than to me and left the day to day parenting to my father.
I was flipping through the pages of my dad’s current fable reading of dragon’s and knights. This dragon was blue and reminded me of The Electric Man. He’s been in my head a lot and I thought I was seeing him everywhere, but I never said a word to anyone about him.
I moved on from my latest fable to a newspaper. My dad had bought a newspaper every single day since I could remember, but I never paid them any mind. I had actually reached a level of boredom that forced me to put time into these headlines. I can’t remember reading a single newspaper before that in my entire life, but for some reason, it was like this one was glowing. It stood out and I had to thumb through it.
I threw it down into my lap and tore open to the first page.
“What do you boys want to eat?”
I remember nothing of the articles in the paper on any of the front pages, but I do recall the curiosity I felt when seeing the places the paper mentioned. Moscow. Cairo. New York. These stories were far outside my play area.
I imagined the world and the distances at which these places were located. Back then, they felt like I could walk in one direction and never leave the block. These places were like another world. I got toward the back of the paper and found the pages were out of order.
I shifted them around. Near the back, I found a story about a murder that had taken place. At first reading the words were a little tough for me to swallow.
“What do you guys want?”
“Hold on Mother.”
“Ok, I’m making turkey, then.”
Like drawn to a flame, I quickly looked back to the murder story.
“Seattle, WA – Two men gunned down. Witnesses say a strange light was coming from the crime scene after.”
A strange light? I was seeing things like this everywhere recently. Was it the electric man that made me look at this paper? Were the doctors right about me? Was my mind slipping?
I dropped the paper and the pages spread across the floor. I quickly gathered them up and shuffled through them.
“No. no. no.”
I scoured the paper for the murder story.
“Ok, fine. What would you rather have instead then?”
On the page, there no longer was a story from Seattle. It was now a story about a King from Europe.
This scared me. I knew for the first time, I was going mad.
I ran into my father’s office.
“Johnny. Good, you’ll like this.”
“I wrote you something. It’s about a new character.”
My father lowered a sketch to my eyes. It was a figure I knew only too well.
It was the electric man. He was closing in on me.
In the kitchen, my mother dropped a chicken into boiling water.
End of Issue
Tales of the Electric Man
He’d headed deeper into magic by this point. He trained everyday for 27 years to peak his power. Tonight was the night. Tonight was the night he would kill the dragon.
There were others like him. (show Johnny reading)
Everyone else who met the dragon was dead. Looking at the dragon’s claws and barely escaping flames from his mouth made it easy to understand why. Why had he survived? What made him special?
The dragon had murdered his entire town when he was just a boy. Unable to defend himself from the dragon’s power. Unable to be any thing. Other than scared. And alone. (keep on Johnny)
In his teens, he’d come to understand magic and the power it held to allow him to avenge all those murders. All that suffering. (show decimated town, pan out to show entire planet)
He knew if he was to fully make the most of his potential, he’d have to add himself to the realms of the impossible. Make himself into something more.
It wasn’t as hard as it should have been either. A few spells here and there, a talisman and the will to keep on going was all he needed. He’d drawn the symbols on the floor beneath him and the friends he’d made along the way assisted him with the reading of alien sounding phrases.
They all chanted now. They’d all had their own battles with their own demons in the past but after tonight, their fighting and sacrifice would be over. It would all mean something. There would be nothing more to fear.
As their chant culminated, he took to the skies in a bask of light. The immense heat that passed through his body warmed him. He baked in the afternoon sun while levitating in the midst of the air.
Suddenly, he could not breathe. He felt this realm was rejecting him. He so craved its support and guidance, but he knew he was not being welcomed. (show him begin to turn blue)
He tried to scream, but instead intense bile began to stew up from within him. He was falling. His face began to moisten. He heard, not felt, his body strike the ground. He saw his breakfast laying on the ground before him. He had no pain. He closed his eyes expecting darkness, but instead was greeted with the sight of his friends running to him.
He was alive. (show blue man)
He tried to raise from the ground and do so effortlessly. It was as if he only thought of rising up instead of actually doing it. He looked on and saw his friends at eye level.
Sir Johnny raised his hand and saw he could not see through it. He was welcomed to this realm and was greeted with light. The darkness was gone.
(Johnny’s father strikes a match illuminated the room.)
The electric man was born.
“Daddy, you are writing about the Electric-“
“Shhh, Johnny. We mustn’t speak of him.”
“But, I thought-“
“He isn’t the hero of this story, Johnny. You are.”
“But he’s bad! I know it! He was-”
“I know, Johnny. I know all about it. But that isn’t true anymore. The real bad guy in this story is the dragon. Don’t you see?”
“The Electric Man is going to kill the dragon?”
“Yes, Johnny, he is going to save people. Not hurt them. It’s important that you remember that. He saves people.”
“But Sarah! Daddy, he-“
“The story isn’t over yet, Johnny. Go on. Keep reading… You’ll see…”
(Johnny lowers his head to the typed pages and continues reading.)
End of issue
Tales of the Electric Man : Vol. 2
(Open on Johnny reading. )
I worried my family for so long that an electric man was an evil thing that killed my sister and was coming to get me next. My father thought these were just stories. And what better way to fight stories than with stories?
Reading what my father wanted me to know of this electric man, it was clear I was not supposed to fear him anymore. Nothing was coming to get me.
“We’ve got to go get him now!”
“We will, Thomas.” Sir Johnny had only been The Electric Man for minutes and with him the game, a new game plan had to be quickly established. They knew nothing of how long these spells could last. Nothing like this had ever happened before.
“I don’t think we should wait.”
“Malory’s right, Johnny. We have to strike while the iron’s hot.”
“And I guess I am now the iron, then.”
It was no secret where the dragon lived. He was too powerful to have any reason to obscure his location. If any came to challenge him, it was simply easier for the dragon to kill them.
“Up the mountain then!”
“Wait, wait. Should we not analyze this first?”
“What’s there to analyze? We march up mountain. You kill dragon. End of story.”
“Thomas, I don’t know if I can just kill the dragon. I don’t really know what I can do exactly.”
“Only one way to find out then, isn’t there?”
Well clearly, mind control was not on his list of new powers.
The crew began to turn away. Only Malory looked back to see if her brother was following them. He knew if he did not act, all of them would immediately be killed. He saw no other choice.
He began his journey with them.
The walk to the dragon’s lair was shorter than expected. It had been a place to avoid for so long, that it was odd to be walking toward it for a change. There was a dragon to kill and nothing was going to stop them.
Sir Johnny, also known as the Electric Man, was taking the lead.
“When we get there, let there be no mistake. I will confront the dragon first.”
Johnny had no idea if any of them had heard them. Again, there was a dragon to kill.
“We’re here Dragon! Show yourself!”
“Well so much for the element of surprise.”
It was amazing to Johnny that Thomas survived childhood. Looking at him scream to the dragon, Johnny wasn’t completely sure he had.
The dragon showed himself. Johnny’s heart would have been racing as Sir Johnny, but as The Electric Man, he was calm and ready.
“Back up everyone!”
This time Johnny was sure they heard him. He turned to see their response to find himself utterly alone.
He turned back to find himself engrossed in flames. The sight of seeing flames from within surprised him. He was more than a little pleased with the sight. On this spot, many challengers had been burned alive, but Sir Johnny was the first to survive it. He noticed the arsenal of weapons surrounding him from challengers previous. He grabbed a sword.
“Dragon, you will not live to hurt another soul. I am here to kill you.”
The Electric Man raised his sword and charged the dragon. The dragon turned to flee, but it was too late. The sword had been thrusted into his side. The dragon’s fate was sealed. The Electric Man dropped the dragon to the ground and tied his mouth shut.
“He can not spit fire anymore. Would you guys perhaps prefer to finish the job?”
The crowd’s response did not surprise him.
Within minutes, the dragon was dead.
“Did you like the story, Johnny?”
“Yes I did, Daddy.”
The Electric Man is real. My father wants me to believe I am imagining his existence. I know he is real, but now he is a hero.
He is a hero.
End of Issue