Pairings/Characters (this chapter): Clark/Lex, Jonathan/Martha, Mike Barnwell, Cicely Stawicki, Ken Wilson, Al Crenshaw, Carol Cox, Toby Miller
Genres: Drama, Holiday, Horror, Mystery, Suspense
Rating (this chapter): PG-13
General Summary: Something wicked lives in McCready’s Marsh.
Summary: Halloween arrives.
Date Of Completion: February 6, 2018
Date Of Posting: November 25, 2018
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC and Warner Brothers do, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1711
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
All chapters can be found here.
"The Horror Of The Hollow"
Early on Halloween morning Clark went out to the marsh. The sun was just rising over
the hills, streaks of rose-pink, lemon-yellow, and tangerine-orange lighting the sky. Sunlight danced across the pond as Clark stared into its depths. Nothing but fish, weeds and silt.
He went to Lydia’s cottage but she was off on one of her mysterious trips. He considered it a good thing. It would keep her away from whatever might be lurking in McCready’s. He left the marsh before Sheriff Adams and her men showed up.
The children of Smallville were excited as they dressed up in costume and marched in the Horribles Parade at school. They chattered about trick-or-treating plans for the evening and a group of teenagers planned a party. Clark broke down and chose a costume for that night. Martha set up candy by the front door while Jonathan finished his chores in the barn and lit the candles inside the Jack O’Lanterns on the porch.
In town, the giant screen had been set up and folding chairs arranged on the edges of the square as most people would use blankets to sit on the lawn or bring their own lawn chairs. Concession stands were set up and would be operating just before showtime.
As the sun set, Smallville geared up for Halloween.
Lex tilted his fedora rakishly. His brown leather jacket crinkled as he moved and he laced up his hiking boots. He picked up a satchel and looped the strap over his head. He left the castle and went into the garage, climbed into the Porsche, and hit the road.
The night was clear as the moon peeked out from behind the clouds. The road was empty, but Lex kept an eye out for any trick-or-treaters. He passed the spot he had investigated yesterday, but the cornstalks had snapped back and there was no evidence of anything out-of-the-ordinary on the road.
Lex arrived at the Kent farm and parked to the side of the house but he went up to the front door and rang the doorbell. Footsteps approached and the door opened.
“Trick-or-treat!” Lex said with a grin.
“Well, what do we have here?” Clark asked, playing along.
“A professor of archeology.”
“Ah, Indiana Jones.”
“And I see that you’re in the spirit of the evening. Count Dracula, I presume?”
Clark bowed elaborately. “Come into my lair, um, house.”
Lex entered and smirked at the various Halloween decorations around the living room: there were pumpkins, painted or plain, and figurines of witches and ghosts set on the floor and tables, and tiny pumpkin lights were strung across the mantel. Black candles flanked a Jack O’Lantern whose inner lights winked on-and-off.
“You go all out, don’t you?”
“Mom loves to decorate.” Clark adjusted his high-collared cape. “You’ve seen this stuff already. She had it up as soon as the calendar turned to October.”
“There’s something about it all on Halloween night.”
Clark swirled his cape. “’Tis the night for it, all right.”
“You really rock that cape.”
Clark looked down at the black silk. “I think you’re right.” He grinned. “Hey, Mom, Lex is here.”
“Hi, Lex!” Martha called from the kitchen.
She emerged from the kitchen, dressed in a white dress and blond wig.
“All you need is a subway grate now, Miss Monroe,” said Lex.
“Thank you, dear.” She checked her watch. “Your father and I are heading for town,” she told Clark.
“I’ll stay here for the trick-or-treaters.”
“Good. See you later.” She kissed her son’s cheek and put on a coat.
“I’ll keep Clark company,” Lex offered.
Martha smiled. “Thanks, Indy,” and hurried out the door as Clark picked up a false set of fangs from the coffee table. “The kids will come ‘til about eight o’clock, then we can leave for town,” he said.
Clark chuckled. “We’ll have to watch Dracula the next time I come over.”
“Sounds good to me.” Lex put his hand on Clark’s shoulder. “You know how refreshing it is that a guy your age likes old films? Most of them only like the latest mindless action flick or some juvenile comedy written by the equivalent of twelve-year-olds.”
“Nothing wrong with a little action.”
“No, as long as you sample other offerings on the buffet table.”
“’Buffet’ or ‘buff’?”
“Well, in your case, ‘buff’.”
Clark smiled. The doorbell rang and he put in his fangs, eliciting shrieks and giggles when he opened the door to the chorus of “Trick-or-treat!”
Mike Barnwell parked his car on the gravel driveway and climbed out with the bag of groceries. He was dressed casually in jeans and a blue flannel shirt with a Smallville Crows baseball cap turned backwards. The shirt hung off his thin frame as he jogged to the farmhouse.
Mr. Gaffney had asked him to make the delivery before he quit for the day. Mike would have preferred to skip this trip and start celebrating, but the delivery wouldn’t take long. Just ring the doorbell, leave the bag on the porch, and take off. Easy as pie.
Mike stepped up on the sagging porch and rang the doorbell. He put the bag on an old cane chair and went down the steps. He had already fished out the money for the groceries (including tip) from the mailbox at the end of the driveway. Eckersley Tannen had an account at the general store and Mr. Gaffney would send him his standing orders like clockwork. No interaction, which suited Mike just fine and Tannen even better.
Mike frowned. What was that smell? It was brackish, like polluted water. This farm was close to the marsh but not that close.
He looked down. The grass was wet, but it hadn’t rained. He leaned over. It smelled like…
Mike straightened up abruptly. He looked nervously at the nearby woods and saw several broken branches and flattened grass. He shivered as he suddenly felt a wave of panic. He hurried into his car and took off down the driveway with a squeal of tires kicking up gravel.
Cicely Stawicki smoked a Camel cigarette as Ken Wilson drove his family’s truck, bumping down a side road that was little more than a lane. Cicely’s frosted-blonde hair was loose over her shoulders. Blue eyeshadow dominated her sallow face as cheap earrings dangled and glittered. She wore a black leather jacket over a black T-shirt and jeans. Short, black boots with heels completed her outfit.
“Take it easy, willya?” she complained as the truck jounced over a particularly deep rut.
“Hey, you’re lucky we even got a cow path here.”
She shrugged and flicked her ashes in the ashtray. Ken kept his eyes on the road, but he slowed down.
After a short distance, they could see headlights forming a semi-circle. Ken slowed the truck down even more and parked next to a beat-up old Ford. He turned off his lights and the engine.
Once out of the truck, Ken said, “You guys better kill your lights or your batteries will croak.”
Beefy Al Crenshaw smirked as he drank a beer. “Don’t worry, we were gonna do that as soon as you got here.” He went to his car and shut off his headlights.
Everyone gathered around two Coleman lanterns and a cooler stuffed with ice and beer cans. There were a dozen teenagers laughing and drinking in the small clearing. Al plucked out another can and said, “Now this is a Halloween party, not that lame thing going on in town.”
“Oh, I dunno, keeps the adults busy,” said Carol Cox, her dyed jet-black hair looking like the Bride of Frankenstein. Her eye make-up was heavy and she wore diamond studs in her ears.
“Better yet, keeps Sheriff Adams busy,” aid Cicely.
They all laughed.
“Hey, I got some goodies here.” Al produced a plastic bag. “Quality weed, my friends.”
“Give it here,” Ken said. He was a solid tight end on the football team but liked to cut loose every once in awhile.
Al passed the bag around while Cicely threw her cigarette on the ground and stamped it out with the heel of her boot. “Don’t want Smokey Bear comin’ after me,” she drawled to more laughter. She grabbed the bag from Ken, pulled out a joint, and passed the bag along.
The distinctive odor of marijuana filled the small glade as beer cans were popped open and lies told. Someone turned on a boombox and dancing began.
After several dances, Cicely sat on a log and smoked a fresh joint. Carol sat next to her as she sipped a beer.
“This was a good idea, Cee.”
“Yeah, well, I figured Adams would be busy in town. She won’t care what’s going on out here, at least not tonight.”
Carol glanced around nervously. “Wonder what happened to Bull?”
“Oh, the jerk probably got drunk and fell into McCready’s and drowned.”
Carol snorted in laughter. “Probably.”
Cicely inhaled deeply. The sweet smell gave her a sense of pleasure. She wished she could indulge more often, but her mother was like a hawk, always watching her. It was damned annoying.
Trees bustled as the wind whipped up and flickered the lit joints. Someone had lighted a fire to try and ward off the October chill and the flames wavered. Eerie patterns flickered over faces growing glassy-eyed with weed and booze.
Carol glanced over her shoulder. “You hear something?”
Cicely took another deep drag. “You’re jumpy, girl. Have some more weed and relax.”
Carol fished around in the plastic bag. “We’re getting’ low.”
“Bet ol’ Toby has another stash.”
Toby was dancing with his girl Megs and Carol yelled, “Hey, Tobes, you got another stash?”
“Sure, Coxie.” Toby danced over to his pick-up truck.
Another gust of wind hit, so strong that the campfire’s flames guttered and went out. Swearing and laughter mixed as someone attempted to restart the fire.
Cicely was never quite sure what happened next. Strange noises came out of the woods as the fire went out again. A scream from Toby over by his truck was the last thing that made sense before chaos hit.
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