The Demon Within
Chapter 1
Sweet Dreams

Blue doe eyes and pouting red lips, Lana Lang grinned seductively and beckoned with her shiny red nailed hand. Her black leather mini-skirt, hugging her like a second skin fell to the ground revealing sexy red panties. "Come here, now. You know you want this."

Clark moved forward. Lana's shirt hit him in the chest, and his eyes strayed down to her revealing red bra. He could see the school pool to his right, hazy and indistinct, but this was more important. This moment was too important. He was going to get this right this time. Clark pulled Lana to him and claimed her lips in a hard possessive kiss. Clark felt the burning behind his eyelids that he had only recently learned to control and he forced it down.

"whY figHt iT?"

Clark jumped back. That voice had been loud, sarcastic, cold. "Who's there?" Lana was stroking at his chest, nibbling at his neck. "One second, okay?" Clark pushed Lana back, and she stuck her bottom lip out, pouting. Something was moving in the shadows, pacing. The sound of leather soles striking the concrete floor filled the room echoing over and over. "I know someone's there."

"Who cares," Lana whined. She walked around behind Clark and threaded her hands into his hair. "He can watch."

It was hard to stay focused on the stranger, with Lana kneading his scalp. Then her hands strayed down his back and started pushing up his shirt. Concerns about, strange pacing people faded back and Clark sighed deeply.

"DOn'T iGnORe mE!" the pacer shouted.

The back rub ended and Lana gasped. She gripped at Clark's shirt, holding herself up. "Clark, help me."

"Lana?" Clark turned and cradled Lana in his arms. The red from her fingernails and lips had spread, so very much blood. It was everywhere, an ever-expanding pool of warm life. "What's wrong? What happened? Help, someone help us."

"DeLiCATe CReaTurES, aRen't thEY? SACks oF wATeR aND sAlt BAreLy heLD toGETheR bY a thIn laYer Of pRotEIN, thEy'Re HArDly aLivE aT aLL," the voice said.

Clark stared into the shadows, trying to see his tormentor. "You did this. You hurt her. Come out here and face me, now!" he shouted. Lana's lips had stopped moving and her chest wasn't rising. Clark stroked at her blood soaked hair, and her skin was cool to the touch. "You killed her!"

"YoU tHink thiS iS bAd? tHis is nOthinG. i'm GOing tO do A wHolE LOt wORsE THan tHIs."

Clark stood and turned slowly, looking for the owner of the voice, the murderer. "Come out here!"

Unseen hands pushed him from behind and Clark fell toward the pool. Instead of water, it was filled with thick red blood. "No!" Clark screamed.

"You're late! Get up now! I won't be calling you again."

Clark sat up in bed, gasping for air. His sheets were stuck to his sweaty body like an uncomfortable second skin. After peeling himself out his covers, Clark took up a little notebook from his nightstand. He'd had another dream, well nightmare. When it started, he hadn't thought much of it. People had nightmares sometimes. It was normal. These nightmares had progressed though. Originally, they'd been a rare occurrence, once a month. Now they were an every night occurrence, and they were getting worse, more graphic and threatening. The notebook was supposed to be a dream journal. A sleep disorder website had recommended one, and Clark had decided to give it a shot.

With a sigh, Clark looked between the notebook and his alarm clock. He was late, but if he didn't write the dream up now, he'd forget bits of it. Speed was useful for running to school and dodging bullets, but Clark was using it more and more often to do delicate tasks like his art homework, and writing papers. Sometimes he thought he could just live at full speed, well if it wouldn't mean being branded a freak and disected.

A steak of color, Clark tore around the room getting dressed. Once fully clothed and ready for school, he scribbled up his dream. Tossing his journal onto his bed, Clark headed downstairs.

After sending Jonathan and Clark on their way, Martha made her way upstairs. She sighed when she poked her head into Clark's bedroom. He hadn't made his bed or taken his nightclothes to the hamper. They were going to have another talk about helping her out now that she was working full time.

Lionel had declared today a half-day so she didn't have to be there until noon, but it was annoying to have to waste part of her day on something Clark knew he was supposed to do. Martha tossed the blanket on the floor and began smoothing at the pale blue linens underneath. When she tried to toss the spread back on, a notebook went flying. It hit the ceiling and fluttered to the ground.

It probably wasn't anything important, but Martha flinched anyway. She took the little book and flipped it shut. The front cover was dangling half-off, and a couple of the front pages looked like they might just fall out. "Dream Journal," Martha read aloud. This was obviously private. She should put the notebook down and ask Clark about it later.

Martha set the book down and finished making the bed. With a frown she turned back to Clark's journal. She'd messed the thing up. She should at least try to fix it.

Downstairs, with some craft glue and a roll of scotch tape, Martha set about restoring Clark's journal. First she repositioned the pages where they were supposed to be, then she started taping. Occasionally a word or phrase would jump out at her: dead eyes, blood, shadow voices. It was all she could do to not pick up the thing and start reading.

Clark had been having nightmares, that much was obvious from the snippets she'd accidentally read. Why hadn't she or Jonathan heard about it? The poor thing, he was trying to deal with it himself. He probably didn't want to add to the tension around the farm. God knew there had been enough of that lately.

It would be okay. She and Clark would have a nice long talk, and make sure things were fine. Martha had had a couple of college courses in psychology and she knew that dreams could be a sign of emotional distress.

Mentally, she penciled an afternoon talk with her son into her busy schedule, and smiled to herself. It felt good to have a busy schedule. It made her feel more important than she had in a long time.

As long as she kept her priorities straight, as Jonathan was so want to say, working was a good thing.

Clark arrived at school right after the morning rush. The quad was silent in the way only a schoolyard can be right after the second bell. It's a tentative quiet, almost like the kids left a bit of themselves behind, the potential for sound.

Not even bothering to go to homeroom, Clark made his way to the secretary's office to pick up his tardy slip. The new principal was going to be unhappy. He had made Clark's tardiness his personal crusade. No use crying over it now though.

Tardy slip in hand, Clark tried to make a quiet entrance into Geometry. Thankfully, Mr. Carter chose to accept the slip without stopping his lecture for any scolding. Clark caught Chloe's eye on the way to his seat, and she tapped her watch disapprovingly at him. Once safely slouching in his desk, Clark relaxed.

It didn't take long for the Pythagorean theorem to wear thin, and Clark started doodling randomly. At first it was just an odd jumble of lines, but gradually it took form, an eye, stretched wide, and surrounded by blackness.

"Want to work together?"

Clark jumped and turned. "What?"

"Come on Clark, tardy and zoning out, you can do better," Chloe said. "We have to work in groups of two to design a miniature golf hole. You're better at this stuff than me. It's all a little too left-brined for my taste. So?"

Clark grinned and covered his doodle with his hand. For some irrational reason he didn't want Chloe to see it. It felt dark, dirty. "Sounds good to me."

"Great then, we can meet at the Talon after school and hash out some ideas," Chloe said. "A good latte always helps jumpstart the left-brain in me."

"You have a left-brain?" Clark joked.

"Do I look like I'm going into creative writing? Of course I have a left brain, just not an over developed one like some people," Chloe said. The perfect joking facade fractured and Chloe frowned. She had to hold back the instinct to reach out and touch Clark. They were friends and friends didn't rub their thumbs across other friend's jawbones. He looked kind of tired, unusual for Clark on any day. There were dark smudges under his eyes. "Have you been getting enough rest? You seem a little tired."

Too much rest... "I'm fine."

Author's Note

First off, this is a dark little pleasure that's been in my head for a while now. I needed a break from studies, and the other story I'm writing, so I elected to toy with this little guy for a bit.

Second, this story is at the bottom of my priority list at the moment, so I wouldn't expect a chapter a week or anything like my normally strict schedules ;)

Finally, before it's asked... I'm still a romantic fence sitter. I think this is more likely to turn into a Chlark than a Lark, but that's just a guess.