Pairings/Characters (this chapter): Clark/Lex, Anna Hollander, Cal Anderson
Genres: Drama, Holiday, Horror, Mystery, Suspense
Rating (this chapter): G
General Summary: Something wicked lives in McCready’s Marsh.
Chapter Summary: Clark and Lex are stymied.
Date Of Completion: December 3, 2017
Date Of Posting: October 13, 2018
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC and Warner Brothers do, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1378
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
All chapters can be found here.
Still and quiet,
As the horror
“The Old Ones”
Clark was uncertain about his next step. If Bull Rush’s disappearance was the result of a meteor freak, he had to know. He stood by the back door of his home and scanned the fields with his telescopic vision. Nothing appeared out of the ordinary.
His gaze wandered over to Castle Luthor and he found Lex in his favorite room. The library looked warm and inviting and he decided to pay his friend a visit.
Clark started walking through the fields. Staying off the road meant that he could use super-speed if he wanted. Right now he wanted to take his time.
He was grateful for the solitude. Sometimes his mind raced and whirled and he was never quite sure if it was because he was Kryptonian or a teenager.
Much of his confusion centered around Lex. He was attracted to him. Oh, hell, he loved Lex. And his teenage hormones were letting him know it.
He trudged through stubbled fields, his hands in his jacket pockets. Lex suspected something. Why he hadn’t come out and asked Clark about his suspicions, Clark had no idea. Lex didn’t strike him as a guy who just let things go.
Well, it was probably best not to dwell on such questions. If Lex decided to ask, he would. It was useless to worry about the future when he had the present to enjoy. Something told him that he would look back on these days as some of the happiest of his life.
He picked up the pace and allowed his thoughts to drift on the missing Bull Rush while he headed for Castle Luthor.
The castle was always impressive but cold. Clark could admire the grounds, landscaped by a talented gardener, but he would always prefer the flowers his mother planted in flower beds and window boxes at their house.
He was let into the castle by Mrs. Hollander, who was on her way out. The cheerful woman was pleased to see him.
“Mr. Luthor’s in the library.”
“Thanks, Mrs. Hollander.”
“You know the way.”
Clark took the familiar route to Lex’s favorite room in the house. It was his favorite room, too, just about the only room besides the kitchen that was warm and charming. The crackle of the fireplace was comforting.
“Well, to what do I owe the pleasure?”
Clark liked Lex’s smile. “I wanted to hang out.”
Amusement sparkled in Lex’s pale blue eyes. “Enjoy.”
“Yeah, well, hanging out means two people generally, or more than two.”
“Looks like we’ve got the requisite number.”
Clark laughed. “Ah, very true.” He flopped down on the couch. “Just a quiet Sunday in Smallville.”
Lex closed his laptop. “What’s up, Clark?”
Clark stretched out and put his hands behind his head. “Why do you think something’s up?”
“Because I know you.”
Clark was happy at the thought. “I’ve got a plan.”
“I’m going to the marsh tonight.”
Clark noticed the slight tensing of Lex’s muscles. He made sure not to let Lex know that he had noticed.
“Why? Lydia isn’t there.”
“She might be. It’s more likely to catch her home at night than during the day.”
“But what if she’s not there?”
“Then we return again.”
“What’s this ‘we’ stuff?”
“You don’t want to come?” Clark was genuinely disappointed. Lex seemed to struggle with his answer, piquing Clark’s curiosity. What was Lex so afraid of? The marsh?
“All right, I’ll come.”
Clark beamed. “Good! Now, are there any more blueberry muffins like that one?” He pointed to Lex’s plate.
Lex was trying to keep a clamp on his emotions. The marsh definitely spooked him. Clark, on the other hand, seemed completely unaffected as his boots clomped on spongy ground.
Get ahold of yourself. A marsh is just a swamp with no alligators, which is a plus.
Lex resignedly trudged along behind Clark. He could have let the object of his desire come here alone, but no matter how many powers he suspected Clark possessed, he still didn’t like the idea of letting him come here alone. Whether it was his own nervousness or just being a protective boyfriend, he wasn’t sure. All he knew that despite his dislike of McCready’s Marsh, he wasn’t going to let Clark roam around in here without back-up, especially with the strange disappearance of Bull Rush.
Somewhere a loon belted out its eerie cry, sending little shivers down Lex’s spine. Why did Lydia Kraven have to live way out there in a spooky marsh?
Because she’s a Witch, he thought wryly.
Who knew for sure in Smallville?
Lex paused. He was certain something had slithered right across his path. Grateful for his hiking boots, he stayed close to Clark.
They reached the cottage, slivers of moonlight poking through the canopy of leaves overhead. Clark had advised Lex to take a flashlight, because the thin moonbeams would not provide much illumination. Lex frowned. Even the flashlight beams were swallowed up by this stygian darkness.
Why would anyone live here? He paused. Well, I guess people wonder about me and the castle, but at least it’s light there.
Clark put a hand on Lex’s arm. “Wait here,” he said in a low voice and headed for the porch.
An owl hooted in the distance as Clark climbed the short steps. Lex noticed no rock on top of the butter churn.
“Is the note gone?” he asked quietly.
“Yes.” Clark peered into the window and knocked softly on the door.
“Maybe she’s asleep.”
Clark shook his head. “No.”
“What else is there to do out here? I figure she’s got no electricity.”
“She doesn’t.” Clark touched a string of herbs, which twirled slowly.
Lex noticed two large, fat pumpkins flanking the door. Lydia had obviously been here since their last visit.
“So where is she?”
“Not here.” Clark came down the stairs.
“How can you tell? I still say she could be asleep.”
Clark looked almost impatient. “If she was here, we’d know it.”
Lex felt a little impatient himself. This Lydia Kraven didn’t see-all, know-all. She was just a woman.
Or a Witch.
“I’ll have to come back sometime this week.” Clark buttoned his coat and they left the clearing.
At the edge of the clearing, the hairs on the back of his neck caused Lex to rub it. He had the feeling they were being watched. Turning around, his eyes widened as he thought he saw a pair of eyes staring out from the forest by the cottage.
Lex blinked and the eyes were gone. “Nothing.” He followed Clark with alacrity.
Cal Anderson was furious. He stomped along the spongy ground as he carried a net and pail. His wife was the most aggravating woman! Yammering about getting a new washing machine. Did the dang woman think money grew on trees? So she had to use a washboard for awhile. It was good enough for her grandma, ought to be good enough for her.
He grumbled as he headed for the marsh. Catching frogs to sell to the medical school over in Rachel would get him a little money, enough for a toot at The Dew Drop Inn not far from here. Better than another evening listening to his old lady nag.
A stocky man with a crew cut, he was dressed in a blue denim shirt and waders. He shuffled into the murky pond. The frogs were croaking real good tonight, he thought. Shouldn’t be too hard to scoop up a dozen at least.
As he worked he listened to the usual sounds: frogs croaking, crickets cricking, the occasional loon…and bubbling.
Cal frowned as he saw the water bubbling several feet away. The frogs in his bucket jumped like they were on a hot griddle.
Good thing this ain’t Florida. ‘Least it ain’t a gator.
A dark shape could be seen under the moonlit water. Curiosity warred with fear. The latter won out. He turned to leave just as the water exploded.
In his bed in Castle Luthor, Lex moved restlessly in his sleep as a scream died out on the night wind outside the castle.
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