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Weird Tales Volume 33 Number 1 JANUARY, 1939

Bride of the Lightning

By EDMOND HAMILTON

Sheila danced on the hilltop while fierce bolts of lightning played about her—but what was that coiling thing of dazzling brilliance that reached for her with its arms of living light?

CRASH after crash of thunder blinding split the night and rumbled away across the dark Wisconsin hills. Before each detonation, the fizz of the lightning illuminated the winding road in front of Dick Forman. His crisp blond face tautened and he pushed the coupé faster up the grades, hoping to get to Adam Crail's house before the rain broke.

Dick rounded a turn in the road, and then suddenly applied his brakes with a startled gasp of horror. Beside the road rose the black, humped mass of a low, domed hill. Bolt after bolt of terrific lightning was striking its bare summit, succeeding one another in brilliant flashes that wreathed the summit in searing light. And up there in that wild lightning was a girl!

Dick Forman could glimpse her, running and leaping up there, amid the dazzling flashes. Fie exclaimed, "Good God, why doesn't she get away from that hilltop?"

He jerked back the hand brake and leaped out of his car. In a moment he was running up the slope, through brambles and briars, toward the lightning-wreathed summit.

Dick's eyes were nearly blinded by the flashes of lightning that came each few moments, all striking on the summit. He had never seen lightning strike so successively in the same spot, and his ears were deafened by the cataclysmic crashes of thunder.

He stumbled up onto the bare, rocky summit and peered incredulously across it. The lightning was striking now on one part of the summit, now another. And there amid the bolts was the girl he had seen. She was dancing!

The weirdness of it held Dick petrified even in the face of the blasting menace. The girl was young, a slim figure in a short white dress, her black hair streaming in the wind. Her face was wild and lovely, ablaze with a strange, mad intoxication.

To right and left of her, sometimes only a few yards away, smote the splashing blasts of lightning. And with each new bolt, she flung her white arms high, wild face upturned to the tempest, dancing amid the bolts like some nymph of fire and storm.

Dick Forman recovered his presence of mind and ran desperately out over the summit toward her. There was a sulfurous smell in the air, and twice as he ran, the whole hilltop shook to the impact of new crashing bolts. Then he reached the girl and grasped her.

"Are you crazy to stay up here in this storm?" he yelled. "You've got to get out of here before you're hit!"

He was trying to drag her away. But the girl resisted furiously, struggling in his arms.

"Let me go!" she cried. "He is coming—He will be here soon——"

"What are you talking about?" cried Forman.

"The Lord of Lightning is coming!" the girl exclaimed. As another terrific bolt struck near them, she turned her dynamic face skyward with wild exultation. "Those are His messengers. He is coming, and will kill you like the others if He finds you here!"

DICK FORMAN wasted no more time in argument. It seemed evident to him that the girl was crazy and that they would both be killed if they stayed much longer in this lightning-haunted spot.

He snatched her up in his arms and started back down from the summit in a stumbling run. The girl struggled like a wildcat in his arms, her soft limbs writhing fiercely, her hands clawing at his face. Two more terrific bolts hit somewhere behind them, filling the world with light and thunder.

Then Dick was stumbling down through the briars to the road where his coupé waited. He shoved the girl unceremoniously into the car. Up there on the summit, the lightning had now become even fiercer—it was as though the whole hilltop was alive with dancing white flame.

The girl was straining wildly against the window of the car, ...

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