Pairings/Characters (this chapter): Clark/Lex, Jonathan/Martha (Jonathan does not appear in this chapter), Ken Wilson, Malcolm Kinsky
Genres: Drama, Holiday, Horror, Mystery, Suspense
Rating (this chapter): G
General Summary: Something wicked lives in McCready’s Marsh.
Chapter Summary: Clark and Lex ask questions about Bull’s disappearance.
Date Of Completion: November 2, 2017
Date Of Posting: August 18, 2018
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC and Warner Brothers do, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1161
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
All chapters can be found here.
Robert B. Panko
Clark grinned and cut a generous slice of pumpkin pie. Martha smiled as she put away the last of the groceries.
“Just a snack, Mom.”
“I know; you’ll need it. After all, lunch is a whole hour away.”
Clark accepted the good-natured ribbing in the same vein. He sat down at the kitchen table and dug into the pie with a shiny fork.
“Mmm, delicious as always.”
“You and your father are my biggest fans.”
“You’ve got Lex now, too.”
“I’m glad.” Martha folded the paper bag and put it in a drawer. “Want to invite him over for lunch?”
“Thanks, I will.”
Lex was happy to accept the invitation and drove up at the appointed hour, knocking on the back door.
“Come in!” Martha called.
Lex entered the sunny kitchen. “Thank you for inviting me, Martha.” He still felt a little funny not calling her ‘Mrs. Kent’, but she had insisted upon the first name.
“My pleasure, Lex.”
Lex hung his long coat on the peg by the door. Offering to take his coat was unnecessary since Martha had declared that he was family now. Still a little uncertain, Lex nevertheless happily played along.
Lunch was served, and it was fairly simple with deli turkey sandwiches with lettuce, tomatoes and mayonnaise and a side of alfalfa sprouts, celery hearts and dill pickles. Apple cider was the drink everyone agreed on.
“What, no pumpkin juice?” Lex teased.
“Sorry, just apple today,” Martha said.
“Hand-pressed by you and Jonathan, no doubt?”
“Oh, of course.” Martha’s green eyes twinkled as she took a sip. She put her glass down. “Clark, I heard that a classmate of yours is missing.”
“That’s his actual name?” Lex blinked.
“Just a nickname.” Clark frowned. “When did he disappear?”
Clark’s frown deepened. “After a football game? He usually hangs out with the guys on the team.”
“He did, but Sadie Cutler says that the boys went home early as her son Matt surprised her coming home before she went to bed. The last anyone saw Bull was around ten o’clock.”
“I hope it’s not meteor mutants responsible,” said Lex.
“Could be.” Clark thoughtfully chewed his sandwich.
“I hope not.” Martha shuddered. “Meteor mutants are usually trouble.”
“Always,” Lex agreed.
After lunch, Clark suggested going out to look around for Bull. Once out of the house Lex turned to Clark and asked, “Is this guy someone we want to be pushing hard to look for? With a name like that, I somehow doubt it.”
Clark shrugged. “He’s a bully, so not really. I’m more interested in whether or not there’s a meteor freak running around.”
“Gotcha.” Lex looked up at the bright blue autumn sky. “Where do we start looking?”
Clark pondered the question. “We’d better start with some of the football team. They were the last to see him.”
“Okay.” Lex swept his arm toward his silver Porsche. “Your chariot, sir.”
Clark grinned. They hopped into the car and Lex took off in a swirl of gravel down the driveway.
Clark directed Lex to the Wilson farm and they pulled up to a neat-looking farmhouse with pumpkins on the front porch.
“I see Ken working in the barn. C’mon,” Clark said, pointing to the glimpse of someone in the shadowy interior.
Lex followed his friend to the barn, the smell of hay and cows strong as they entered.
Ken looked up from his task of mucking out the stalls. A broad-shouldered boy, his dark hair fell over into his eyes. He brushed it back, his brown eyes slightly contemptuous.
“What do you want, Kent?”
“Is that any way to talk to your former quarterback?”
“You wimped out on us.”
“I busted up my knee.”
Ken poked at the straw. “Why are you here?”
More poking. Clark glanced at Lex, who shrugged.
“Did he say where he was going last night?”
“He wasn’t going to meet anyone?”
“No, I toldja, he was just going home.”
“What time did he leave?”
“Ten o’clock.” Ken stabbed the hay with his pitchfork. “I told all this to the sheriff. Why are you pokin’ your nose in?”
“Because I’d like to find out what happened to Bull.”
“Oh, yeah? Since when?”
“Don’t you want to find your buddy?” Lex asked curiously.
“Who asked you?”
“Hey, if you don’t care…”
“Thanks, Ken. We’ll let you return to your work,” Clark said.
Lex pointedly looked down at the hay and smirked as Ken glared at him. Clark shook his head as they got in the car a few minutes later.
“Why did you goad him?”
“Why not? He was being a jerk.”
“So you have to be one, too?”
Lex grinned. “Why not?”
Clark shook his head again while Lex laughed. They drove down the road before Lex asked, “Where to next?”
“Malcolm Kinsky’s place. Bull has him do his homework.”
“Ah, the jock bullying the nerd.”
Lex bumped Clark’s shoulder lightly. “You mean you haven’t intervened?”
“I’d like to but wiping the floor with Bull really isn’t my style.”
Clark was clearly uncomfortable with the answer so Lex didn’t push it. He was crazy about the kid but Clark was not always forthcoming, to say the least. Still, Clark was worth the mystery.
They stopped at another farmhouse as neat as the last one, though the porch needed painting. Clark stepped up to the front door and knocked.
A thin, bespectacled teenager opened the door, the look of a typical nerd, Lex thought. His look of apprehension changed to one of relief when he saw Clark.
Malcolm noticed Lex leaning against his Porsche and he appeared nervous again. He stepped out onto the porch, closing the door behind him. Clark could hear pots and pans banging in the kitchen. Mal’s mother was home.
“How can I help you?”
“Did you see Bull last night?”
Malcolm flinched. “No.”
“Has he contacted you today?”
“Apparently he’s gone missing.”
Clark watched the rapid calvalcade of emotions play across the thin boy’s face: surprise, delight, guilt and hope.
“Gee, that’s a tough break.”
For Bull, not you.
Clark couldn’t blame Malcolm. Bullies rarely left your life unless something permanent happened to them.
“Well, if you hear from him, tell Sheriff Adams.”
Clark knew there was little chance of that but kept that thought to himself. He and Lex got into the Porsche and Lex said, “I doubt too many people around here will be sad to see Bull gone.”
“His parents, a few buddies, and football fans.”
Lex drove at a moderate pace, which was surprising but welcome. Clark needed to think.
“What if it isn’t a meteor freak?” Lex asked.
“What if it’s a non-freak killer?”
Clark looked surprised for a minute, then shrugged.
“Then we’re in trouble either way.”
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