Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Enemy, Chapter 1

Late Season 5
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the WB and DC Comics, not to me


Chloe Sullivan pushed the front door of the Kent farmhouse open and leaned her head into the dark hallway. The house was quiet, which surprised her a bit. Her friend Pete Ross had been coming to Smallville today to visit, and she'd been supposed to meet him and Clark Kent here for a late lunch. But she hadn't seen Pete's old car in the driveway, and she didn't hear the sound of masculine laughter, either. Maybe Pete had gotten held up somehow, or maybe Clark and Pete had headed out without her.

No one answered her call. She stepped into the dark hall, and suddenly a horrible smell assaulted her nostrils. It smelled like stale vomit, and alarm twisted in her chest. Clark's mom was out of town right now on business, and Clark was never sick, because he was an alien, and invulnerable.

Worried, she headed for the kitchen. And stopped dead.

Clark's body was sprawled on the tile floor. He wore baggy gray sweatpants, but no shirt, like he'd just gotten out of bed. A ceramic bowl lay smashed on the floor near his hand, as if he'd dropped it in the process of getting his breakfast. But Clark was a farmer, with a lot of early morning chores to perform, and it was impossible he'd slept in this late. He must have been lying there for quite some time.

She walked quickly toward him. Beyond him the kitchen window was shattered, and broken glass was all over the floor. Near him, a large pool of drying puke covered the tiles. She knelt next to him, her heart pounding with dread. A network of veins pulsed beneath his skin, so dark they almost looked black, covering every inch of his exposed skin. She had no idea what was wrong with him, but it looked alien and frightening, like nothing she'd ever seen before.

His eyes were closed, and she could hear his breath rattling in his throat, as if he were slowly strangling. "Clark," she whispered, touching him. He was wet with sweat, and his skin burned with fever beneath her hand. "Clark."

He didn't stir.

She stared at him, her heart thudding, with absolutely no idea what to do. She'd promised she'd never tell anyone his secret. She'd promised that she'd die before she told anyone.

But she wasn't a doctor, and she had no idea how to help him. Maybe no one else did either, since he wasn't human, but at least in a hospital he'd have a chance to survive.

It was obvious to her that he was extremely ill. If she didn't call an ambulance, she had no doubt he was going to die.

And she couldn't let that happen, even if it meant exposing his secret to the world.

She dug her cell phone out of her pocket with a shaking hand. "I'm sorry," she whispered softly, squeezing his arm once more, then flipping the phone open.

She could hear the harsh sound of each breath he took. He was obviously struggling for air, and that rang a dim bell in the depths of her mind. She paused, her fingers hesitating in midair over the phone, as all of a sudden the research she'd done for an article on peanut allergies in kids last month came back to her.

Anaphylactic shock. A severe allergic reaction causing rapid constriction of the airways, leading to brain damage and death.

It sure sounded like he had constricted airways, judging from the tortured sound of his breathing, and that made her wonder if this wasn't some sort of weird alien illness, but simply an allergic reaction.

As far as she knew, there was only one substance on Earth that Clark was allergic to.

She stared at him, and then at the smashed kitchen window behind him. All of a sudden she flipped the phone closed and started frantically searching the kitchen.

There had to be a meteor rock-- what Clark called kryptonite-- somewhere in this room. There had to be. Nothing else made Clark sick. Nothing else could even render him unconscious.

The phrase "brain damage and death" spun in her mind, spurring her to move quickly. With desperate haste, she looked everywhere-- the countertops, the floor, the table-- but came up empty-handed. Clark's breathing sounded more and more labored, and she snarled, infuriated."Where the hell is it?"

She looked down at him again, seeing the way his veins looked as if they'd been traced in black, all over his skin. She'd never seen him have such a severe reaction to kryptonite. Maybe she was wrong, and it wasn't a meteor rock reaction at all.

Or maybe the rock was just really, really close to him. If he'd been standing at the sink, and someone had thrown the rock through the window...

She dropped to her knees and studied him carefully. One of his shoulders did look raised a bit, as if there was something beneath him.

Okay. It was underneath him, then. When the rock had come crashing through the window, he'd fallen right on top of it. She grabbed his shoulder and started trying to roll him to the side.

It wasn't easy. He weighed a ton. But at last she managed to get his shoulder off the ground an inch or two and peered beneath him.

She could see the rock, glowing its eerie, unearthly green.

Using every bit of strength she possessed, she held his shoulder off the ground with one hand and reached underneath him with the other. She grasped the kryptonite and pulled it out from beneath him. It was covered with blood, which horrified her, because she'd never seen Clark bleed from kryptonite exposure before. Then again, she'd never seen it pressed up against his skin for a long period of time, either.

She didn't hesitate, just turned around and threw the rock into the living room as hard as she could. A lamp shattered, but she didn't much care. She turned back to him, studying him anxiously.

"Clark?" she whispered, shaking his shoulder. "Clark?"

There was no response, and his eyelashes didn't flutter, but his breathing sounded less strained already. She sighed with relief and sat down next to him to monitor his condition. If he didn't improve shortly, she could always call 911. But he didn't appear to be in danger of dying immediately anymore, at least. He had amazing recuperative powers, so she'd wait and see if his body could recover on its own.

And then she'd find out who'd done this to him... and strangle them personally.

Read Chapter 2 here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That's pretty slow on the uptake, especially for Chloe, especially once she already knows. I know SV stupidly insists on calling radiation poisoning an "allergy," but it isn't.

The Die Hard