Season 5, after "Fanatic"
Rating: Adult. If you're under eighteen, please go elsewhere now.
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the WB and DC Comics, not to me.
Read this story from the beginning.
Read the previous chapter.
The confused panic he felt must have been clearly reflected in his eyes, because Chloe wrapped an arm around his chest and held him more tightly. "Take it easy, Clark. It was just a dream."
"No." He sat up and stared at her. She sat up, too, resting her hand on his thigh in a possessive gesture, the sort of casual touch a woman shared with a man she'd made love to. "It wasn't just a dream, and it wasn't just a nightmare. It was..." He shivered all over, convulsively, and looked at her hopefully. "Did you dream, too?"
She shook her head. "I wasn't sleepy. I took a nap earlier, remember? I just lay here and composed articles in my head."
So she had absolutely no idea what he'd experienced, or how bone-chilling it had been. He tried again to explain. "There was this thing... and it took something from me..."
She looked at him for a long moment, and he could see her shifting into investigative reporter mode. "Okay," she said at last, her voice brisker. "There was something in your dream. What was it? What did it look like?"
"Scary." His voice broke, and he swallowed hard, in an effort to get himself under control. "I mean, it was just... it looked... and it smelled..."
His voice rose, and she patted his thigh reassuringly. "One thing at a time, Clark. What did it look like?"
Her gentle, even tones helped calm him down. He closed his eyes and tried to dredge up a coherent description from his jumbled mental images. "Uh... sort of like a dragon, maybe. It was black. It had black scales. And these pointed teeth, about this long..." He held his hands about a foot apart. "And claws. Big sharp claws."
"Okay. That does sound scary. Anything else?"
"Its eyes were red. And when it opened its mouth, I could see flame. I could smell it, too. It smelled... it smelled like sulfur."
She nodded. "It sounds like a dragon, more or less. Let's call it a dragon. So you saw this dragon. What did it do?"
"Chased me." He felt himself begin to shake involuntarily. "I tried to get away. I ran as fast as I could, but I couldn't outrun it. I tried to wake up, but it wouldn't let me. It was like it was holding me in the dream somehow. It chased me across this dark, foggy plain, and then it knocked me down on the ground, and it..."
His voice trailed off. She waited quietly. At last he got himself together enough to continue. "It took something from me. It was like it sucked it out of me, like a vampire."
"Did it hurt?"
"Not exactly. It just took... it was something that mattered, something I have to get back. I can't live without it, Chlo. I needed it... and it took it away."
Her fingers closed over his, and suddenly he realized his hands were trembling. Obviously she'd noticed, because she held his hand tightly. "What exactly did it take?"
"I'm not sure. I think maybe..." He closed his eyes tightly, unable to look at her. "I think maybe it took my memories of this afternoon."
He could feel her hand suddenly freeze against his. "What?"
He opened her eyes and looked at her, very solemnly. "I don't remember what we did this afternoon, Chlo."
"None of it?" Her voice rose, higher and shriller than he'd ever heard it.
"No. I'm kind of getting the impression that you and I, uh..."
Her mouth dropped open. "Oh. My. God. You really don't remember."
"It's not my fault," he snapped, feeling oddly defensive. "That dragon, or whatever the hell it was, took the memories out of me. It stole them from me."
"I don't understand." She looked bewildered. "Why on earth would it do that?"
"How the hell should I know? It didn't take the time to explain. It just knocked me over, took what it wanted, and left." He decided to leave out the part where he'd screamed and cried and begged for mercy, because that just wasn't the sort of thing a guy wanted to admit to doing, even in his dreams. "And then... I woke up."
She frowned, looking down at their entwined hands. "So something has been making people in Lowell County dream," she said slowly, as if working her way carefully through a minefield of logic. "And now something is stealing the results of those dreams."
His eyebrows shot up. "I'm not following you."
"No, you wouldn't be. Because if it took your memories of today, you probably don't really remember what we talked about earlier. We decided the dreams everyone's been having were about our deepest desires. Remember?"
He tilted his head, trying to sort through his memories, but it was like the fog from his dreams had infiltrated his brain. "Yeah," he said uncertainly. "I think so."
"Okay. See, whatever is causing these dreams is apparently causing people to dream about their deepest desires. What we want most. Are you with me so far?"
He frowned at her. "Are you telling me that you think making love to you was my deepest desire?"
She sighed, and he saw her blinking hard. "You seemed to think so earlier."
"Uh... okay." He didn't remember thinking that, but he didn't want to say so. His deepest desires revolved around Lana Lang, he was pretty sure, but it didn't seem really kind to say that, either. "So..."
"So the dreams prompted you to act out that desire," she said. "And then the dragon took it all away from you."
"I have absolutely no idea. But if it's taking the result of those desires, I think it's safe to assume it's creating the dreams somehow." She sighed. "Earlier I was operating under the theory this might be some sort of toxin LuthorCorp had created. But now it seems like it's the work of an... entity... of some sort."
"An entity?" He thought about that. "You think there's a big black-scaled dragon with foot-long teeth hanging out in Smallville somewhere?"
"Are your dreams always literal, Clark?"
He scowled. "I told you. It wasn't just a dream. It was real."
"It might have been real," she answered, "but the part of your brain that it tapped into doesn't work literally. It runs on symbolism. Dreams are full of symbols. You saw something scary come at you while you were in a dream state, and your brain interpreted it as a huge monster, something straight out of a children's book of fairy tales." She hesitated, apparently giving the matter thought. "But it might be something totally different. Something a lot less unearthly."
He blinked, suddenly grasping her train of logic. "You think it might be a meteor freak."
"I think it's a distinct possibility," she admitted. "Remember what you said earlier? You tried to wake up, but it wouldn't let you."
He stared at her a moment longer, as the pieces of the puzzle suddenly reorganized themselves into a pattern he recognized. Suddenly he remembered being trapped in dreams he couldn't get out of once before. He remembered being trapped in sleep for a day and a half, unable to get away, unable to do anything but dream.
I tried to wake up, but it wouldn't let me. It was like it was holding me in the dream somehow.
He'd had that experience once before.
"I get what you're driving at," he said slowly. "You think the meteor freak who might be doing all this... is Sara Conroy."
Read Chapter 10 here.