Disclaimer: I don't own "The Nightmare Before Christmas" or any of its characters.

That Touch of Lightning

Nevada

Sally Margaret Suitor put the last box into the back of the van and turned to her mother for a final goodbye. "I can't believe it," she sniffled. "My little girl, all grown up and going to college."

Sally brushed an errant strand of short brown hair behind her ear and embraced her mother. "Goodbye, Mither," she said, using the childhood nickname from when she couldn't pronounce "Mother".

The horn of the van honked. "Come on, Sally," Jennifer Trust, the owner of the van and on of Sally's best friends, whined as she puffed on a cigarette. "We still have to pick up Lanai and Tonya."

"Oh, okay." Sally hugged her mother on last time, closed the door to the back of the van, and climbed in on the passenger side. Jennifer hit the gas almost before Sally could fasten her seatbelt. Sally twisted around in her seat to look back at her mother just in time to see her parting words: Be careful.

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They had picked up the rest of their friends and were now on the highway headed for school. "I can't wait to get there," Tonya said around her cigarette. "I hear the frat parties are great!"

"Like, I know," Lanai replied in her fake Valley-girl accent, which she thought was cute. "College guys are, like, so mature. Ya know?"

Sally rolled down the window so she wouldn't inhale any toxic fumes from the cancer sticks the others were puffing. She inhaled the fresh, crisp summer air and watched the clouds roll by. She had convinced her friends to sign up for summer courses at the University of Reno using their love of parties and boys against them. She, however, signed up so she could begin her classes early. There was so much to do in life! She didn't want to spend most of it waiting for fall to start school again. Sally munched on some potato chips while contemplating which classes she would take. Chemistry, definitely. Various math and science courses. She wasn't sure what she would do with her life, but she knew her field was science. She had never been very good at Home Economics type stuff--- she couldn't even sew well--- but she passed physics with flying colors. Maybe she could be a marine biologist. Or maybe...

"If you keep eating all those chips, you're going to be fat."

Sally thought about glaring at Jennifer, but decided not to. "I just don't want to be stick thin, that's all," she calmly replied. Jennifer snorted and ignored her again.

Sally turned back to the window. Most of her friends thought she was, or would be, fat. Actually, she was just big boned.

It was then that she noticed that Jennifer was driving a bit faster than necessary. They had gone from the highway to a freeway. There was a forest surrounding them, the clouds were a lot thicker, no streetlights were to be seen, and no other cars were in sight. And Jennifer was diving way over the speed limit. "Jennifer, slow down," Sally said. "You're going too fast."

Jennifer tossed a cigarette butt out the window. "Ha. There's not even anyone around. Don't be such a worry-wart."

Then the sky burst open. Torrents of rain poured down on the van. Jennifer cursed and rolled up the windows. Thunder crashed and lightning streaked directly overhead. "Jennifer, slow down!" Sally was adamant by now. "You can't see three feet ahead in this."

Jennifer glared at her. "I can see just fine!" She turned back to look through the windshield, just in time to see a huge fir get hit by lightning and fall in front of the car. Jennifer swerved, the other girls screamed, and Sally clutched at the metal handle of her door. She watched everything as if it were in slow motion. The car heading for the trees, the bolt of lightning coming out from the sky, the same lightning hitting the car, sending a million watts of electricity through the front, around the engine, into every metal facet of the vehicle, straight to the door handle in Sally's hand. She felt fire run through her veins, hotter than the sun and more painful than anything. She heard someone screaming, and guessed it was she. Then, as swiftly as it had begun, the pain ceased, and Sally felt herself slipping away...