May 15 2012 3:30pm
Mia Price is a lightning addict. She’s survived countless strikes, but her craving to connect to the energy in storms endangers her life and the lives of those around her.
Los Angeles, where lightning rarely strikes, is one of the few places Mia feels safe from her addiction. But when an earthquake devastates the city, her haven is transformed into a minefield of chaos and danger. The beaches become massive tent cities. Downtown is a crumbling wasteland, where a traveling party moves to a different empty building each night, the revelers drawn to the destruction by a force they cannot deny. Two warring cults rise to power, and both see Mia as the key to their opposing doomsday prophecies. They believe she has a connection to the freak electrical storm that caused the quake, and to the far more devastating storm that is yet to come.
Mia wants to trust the enigmatic and alluring Jeremy when he promises to protect her, but she fears he isn’t who he claims to be. In the end, the passion and power that brought them together could be their downfall. When the final disaster strikes, Mia must risk unleashing the full horror of her strength to save the people she loves, or lose everything.
When you’ve been struck by lightning as many times as I have, you start to expect the worst pretty much all the time. You never know when that jagged scrawl of white fire, charged with a hundred million volts of electricity, might blaze down from the sky and find its mark on you; sear a hole like a bullet right through you, or turn your hair to ash; maybe leave your skin blackened to a crisp, or stop your heart; make you blind, or deaf, or both.
Sometimes lightning plays with you a little, lifts you into the air and drops you twenty yards away, blows your shoes off, or flash-fries the clothes from your body, leaving you naked and steaming in the rain. Lightning could wipe the last few hours or days from your memory, or overload your brain, short-circuiting your personality and rendering you a completely different person. I heard about a woman who was struck by lightning and cured of terminal cancer. A paraplegic who was given the ability to walk again.
Sometimes lightning strikes you, but it’s the person standing next to you who ends up in the hospital. Or the morgue.
Any of that could happen, or none of it, or something else no one’s ever heard of. The thing about lightning is you never know what it’s going to do to you. Lightning could turn you into some kind of freakish human battery, storing up energy, leaving you with the persistent feeling that any day now you’re going to spontaneously combust. Like a bomb is going to go off inside you and do, well . . . what bombs do best.
Or maybe that’s just me.
My name is Mia Price, and I am a human lightning rod. Do they make a support group for that? They should, and let me tell you why.
My name is Mia Price, and I am a lightning addict.
There. Now you know the truth. I want the lightning to find me. I crave it like lungs crave oxygen. There’s nothing that makes you feel more alive than being struck. Unless, of course, it kills you. It does that to me from time to time, which is why I moved to Los Angeles. As the song says, it never rains in Southern California. But the song also says when it pours, it pours.
The song is right.
My name is Mia Price, and it’s been one year since my last strike, but that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped expecting the worst. Lightning only strikes in L.A. a handful of times every year. The problem is, I traded thunderstorms for earthquakes, one earthquake in particular. The one that changed the city, and my life, forever.
That day, the day of the worst natural disaster to hit the United States, oh, pretty much ever . . . it rained.
Actually, it poured.