My plan is to make this a somewhat tongue-in-cheek Elseworlds tale set during Clark's high school years. With that in mind, no character will be "safe" in my story. Even if they survived past high school in the show, I may switch things up. I only have chapter one completed so far, which you'll find below. I'll be posting more on fanfiction.net in the future. Not sure how many Smallville/Superman fans are on this board, but if there's a couple of you out there, you might get a kick out of this. Enjoy; please share your comments in this thread.
The dream again. Always the same one. Fire from the sky. People running, screaming. Desperate. A little girl crying in a pink dress. Crying because her parents had been lost in the fire. Crying because of him.Lana!
Clark woke in a sweat, breathing heavily. He had fallen asleep in the loft again, on the old red couch. It sat in his family's living room once, but then his mother decided it looked a bit worn and asked him to carry it to the barn. That's the way things worked: when something wasn't good enough for the house anymore, it was Clark's, a new addition to the “Fortress of Solitude.” Admittedly, Clark sometimes felt that even he wasn't good enough for the house, for the people who called him “Son.” Maybe he really belonged in the loft, alone. Should an alien really expect anything else?No, Clark. You can't think that way. They love you.
He sat up, realized he had passed out with a history book on his lap. What time is it?
He looked at the rooster clock on his desk, another discarded trifle of the Kents. It was 3:28 in the morning. Clark knew he should try to sleep again; he had school in the morning. But his dream still lingered, fogging his mind. He couldn't stop thinking about Lana. About the meteor shower. He had to get out, clear his head. Lately, there was only one place where he could do that, where he could feel at peace. The Kawatche Caves.
In a moment's time, Clark was standing in the underground caves, still wearing the red plaid shirt and jeans from the previous day. He knew there was a chance of Lex dropping in, but he hoped the hour might keep that from happening. Lex had a way of giving him a fresh perspective on things, but Clark knew that no one – even Lex – could help right then. He needed to be alone.
Clark closed his eyes, felt a cool breeze whistling through the tunnels of stone. Tried to imagine his birth father in this place, years ago. Thought of the first kryptonian who came to Earth, who gave the Kawatche people a prophecy: the story of Naman. He thought of Kyla, too, who had introduced him to this mysterious place, this legacy.
Then he thought of Lana.
Why did everything circle back to Lana? It was bad enough that the meteor shower – the phenomenon which followed Clark to Smallville – had killed her parents. But Lana wasn't just any person; she was the person Clark loved. And, subsequently, the person he lied to most. If she knew the truth about him, about what he was... it would ruin everything.
In a moment of blind frustration, Clark turned and slammed his fist into the cave wall beside him. For as long as he could remember, his physical strength had been incredible. Still, he only expected to make a fist-sized dent in the rock. Instead, his arm had penetrated the wall entirely, and his hand was met with... open space?Yes,
Clark thought, slowly realizing the truth: he had found a hidden chamber in the Kawatche Caves. He peeked into the hole and saw nothing, only darkness. What am I going to do
, he wondered. How will I explain this to Lex?
He became lost in thought as one what-if scenario after another played out in his imagination. Until he heard something.
It was such a small noise, barely audible. A person wouldn't have been able to make it out, but Clark could hear it clear as day. It was a rustling sound coming from the other side of the wall.
Clark took a few steps back and focused on the wall until he could actually see though the stone. Over the last several months, he had mastered the technique. There, in the chamber he had discovered, was some sort of egg. And the rustling noise... was coming from something inside it. It was a crab-like creature, only far more hideous, with a sort of scorpion's tail. Even with all he had learned of his alien heritage, the farmboy could liken it to nothing else.
The thing moved only slightly; it barely seemed alive at all. But Clark knew that somehow – after all this time – it was alive. He listened carefully for any hint of footsteps, looked around for any sign of Lex. The coast was clear for the time being. Clark knew that if his billionaire bud found this... this... whatever it was... Lex wouldn't be able to help himself. Drunk with excitement, he would likely jeopardize his own life and the lives of others just for a chance to study it, learn more about it. Or worse. It was up to Clark to investigate this egg, determine the creature's nature.
Potentially, the thing was a threat. But maybe it was a simple animal, a native of Krypton that his birth father, Jor-El, had preserved for some reason. Maybe it wasn't dangerous at all. Either way, Clark knew he had to tear down the wall and save his worries for later. Sadly, lying to his friends, especially Lex, had become almost second nature to Clark. He tried to assure himself that lying came with the territory, but that excuse didn't always satisfy him.
Reaching both hands into the hole, Clark began to pull the wall down. He ripped chunks of rock away like they were Styrofoam; the pieces sounded with a thunk
when they fell at his feet. When there was enough space for Clark to duck and enter the room, he did so.
There was nothing remarkable about the chamber whatsoever, save for the lone egg in its center. It was a vile-looking thing, leathery and slick with some sort of ooze. Doesn't matter how gross it is
, Clark thought. I have to get this thing out of here before Lex does
. Kneeling, Clark put his hands around the egg; he was instantly surprised by how warm it was. Just as he was about to lift it off the ground, the top of the egg unfolded like a blossoming flower.
Clark peered inside. In the darkness, he could faintly see an odd sort of membrane, something like a placenta. It smelled terrible, and it wobbled as if it were made of gelatin. Clark was about to turn and gag when the monstrous crab leapt onto his face. He was stunned at the thing's speed, but there was no time to think about that. The thing had latched itself onto Clark's head with its bony, finger-like protrusions, blinding him completely. And it was trying to force something into his mouth.
Clark held his lips shut as best he could, but the thing's strength was incredible, even by kryptonian standards. Furthermore, a strange sort of drowsiness was beginning to overtake him. Seconds passed like hours, and Clark realized that he was lying on his back when he didn't even remember falling down. All of this was happening so fast, and yet time seemed foreign, far away.
Frantically, he began to tug at the thing's legs. He managed to lift one of them off his ear for a moment, but it clamped back down. The creature was drugging him somehow, making him disoriented. Desperately, and with the last ounce of consciousness he could muster, Clark unleashed his heat vision. The thing held tight, but he felt it wriggling as a warm sensation met his face. It became overwhelmingly, painfully hot, a heat like none Clark had experienced before. He didn't know what was happening to him. Maybe the underside of the beast had somehow managed to reflect the heat vision, turning it against him. The sensation spread to his neck and chest before the creature detached itself and scurried away, leaving Clark to cough and gag as he regained composure.
Looking down, Clark discovered what had happened: a great portion of his plaid shirt had been burned away. The earth where he sat mingled with a bright green substance that sizzled and smoked. The creature bled acid.What are you
, Clark wondered, looking left and right for his attacker. Only with x-ray vision did he find it in a corner. It was wounded, moving slowly. But it was alive.
He thought about his options. His gut instinct was to kill it, but the creature may have been acting in self defense. After all, it had just been born when Clark, a being much larger than the crab-thing, had been hovering over its egg. With that in mind, the creature's hostile response seemed natural, logical.
But further thought revealed something else, something far more troubling. How could he have discovered the egg just as it was about to hatch? And why did it open only when he knelt before it? Could these events really be coincidence? And the way it had attacked, wrapping itself around his head, trying to put him to sleep. Something felt deeply wrong about all of this.
Clark approached the thing and raised his boot. With a hint of reluctance, he slammed his foot down onto the crab-thing. It gave an unnerving chirp-cry as it was split in two, spilling green acidic blood across the cave floor. The heat quickly ate away at Clark's boot and met the underside of his bare foot. Mom's gonna kill me
, he thought. This was my only good pair.
He knew he couldn't leave anything behind for Lex. There was nothing he could do about the wall; no amount of heat vision or super speed could repair it enough to make it look natural again. So he took the egg and the crab-thing's remains back to the Kent farm, burying his unwanted treasure behind the barn.
He thought it was over.
He thought wrong.