"The Hounds of Smallville" Prologue

*One month ago*

The full moon glimmered in the sky, breaking through the large clouds and defying the humid air, which was thick with fog. Various insects chirped and buzzed through the cabin of teenager Edward Drake, keeping him from falling into a much-needed sleep.

He would never forget that fateful day over eleven months ago when his mother, a botanist, came home and announced that they would be moving from Gotham City to Ireland for a year. Both Edward and his father asked why.

"Mister Wayne needs me to investigate some strange plants growing like weeds in his experimental fields in Ireland," explained Sara Drake. "We need to move immediately, so get up! Pack!"

Edward's father, Colin, looked enraged. "Now wait here, don't I get a say in this?"

"Or me?" Edward asked meekly.

Sara merely ignored Edward and looked dead at his father. "You're from Ireland! You still have a light Irish accent and you're telling me you don't want to visit your homeland?"

"'Course I do, but I refuse to just be told to stuff everything in a suitcase and move halfway across the world in an instant!"

"We have until the end of the week, Colin, calm down."

"What about my position at the plant?"

"Mister Wayne talked to them. Your job will be waiting for you the moment you get back. I don't see how you can find that a good thing."

After an hour of more arguing, Edward's father finally gave up and agreed to move to Ireland (though he still rambled occasional things like, "A year? How long does it take to investigate some shrubs?" or "I had golf planned this weekend. Now I'll have to cancel.") and stomped upstairs to his room for his daily nap.

Edward merely went outside and played basketball with himself. He had few friends, and was sad to say good-bye to them, but he knew deep inside that it would only take them a couple of days before they forgot all about him. They never had really cared where or how he ended up.

They hadn't moved into a luxury suite as Colin had originally thought, but into small cabins near the field where Sara was working. Edward got a cabin all to himself and was happy for that. He could get out his notepad and write for hours about living a better life somewhere in the Far East or in an underwater city, like Atlantis.

At night, however, when the insects were greatly active, he was almost literally bugged to death. On his first night, he thought he would succumb to insanity from hearing the drowning tone of insect wings flapping and zipping around the room.

Tonight, he had enough. He tossed on some jeans and a T-shirt and ventured outside of his cabin and into the night. There was a narrow road that led from his cabin all the way to town, which wasn't much farther than a mile away. He'd sneak into a bar and have few beers and converse with the locals, or so he thought hopefully.

Indeed, the first building he came across was a bar, as upscale as you could get in as small a town he was in now. There was even a limousine parked outside. There can't be any town smaller than this, thought Edward.

He peeked in through the foggy window and saw that many people were still awake, partying without a care in the world and singing and dancing and laughing. It must have been midnight, but none of the drunks cared, for they would have more alcohol to wash away any guilt or worries. They wouldn't have to worry about driving drunk because they either slept in the bar or had an apartment right down the street that they could walk to.

Edward tiptoed to the other end of the building and peered in through another window and was shocked by what he saw.

It was his mother, sitting across the table from a man with long, rich, flowing hair the color of a deep mahogany and a beard equally as fascinating. His eyes were a piercing cold green that reflected a rare ruthlessness that was nearly impossible to top. This man had made the papers back in America several times and Edward instantly recalled his name: Lionel Luthor.

Unsure of exactly what his mother was doing with one of the richest men in the world, Edward decided that he intended to find out. He successfully stepped into the bar unnoticed and hid in a booth behind the one where Lionel and Edward's mother sat. He was lucky. They were just in the midst of their conversation.

"I have a very secured contract to Wayne Enterprises, I can't – " protested Sara.

"But you haven't even heard my offer. Triple what Mister Wayne is paying, and from my understanding, that's quite a bit," chuckled Lionel. "All your bonds to the Wayne Foundation, Wayne Enterprises, and WayneTech will be null and void."

"I don't have anything to do with WayneTech."

"Sure you don't," said Lionel cryptically.

"I don't see why my work is so important to you. I'm just a botanist."

"Oh, and the highest in your field! You see, I've been digging into the work of a former, well, a brief associate. He..." Lionel lowered his voice to a bare whisper and leaned in closely to Sara. Edward could not hear him. "He resurrected a long extinct flower."

"How?" asked Sara quite loudly, leading to an urgent "ssh!" from Lionel. She whispered, "How?"

"He cloned it."

Sara looked at him like he was a madman, and if she knew better, perhaps she could have realized much earlier that he most likely was. He chuckled at the look she gave him and leaned in to whisper in her ear again and said, "I too, have had my own little experiments with playing God.

"But, you see, we had different methods, and the one I used was not quite satisfying. I want to know how he did it. I want his formula. And then, you will show me how I can perform it on humans."

Sara had a look of near horror on her face, not certainly understanding what she being asked to do other than resurrect a flower the way someone else had done it before her. "I don't know... How soon would you want me to begin on this?"

Lionel cleared his throat and spoke at a regular volume so Edward could hear again. "Well, you'll finish your work here in Ireland, report back to Gotham City with whatever findings you've collected, and then you can join your family in Smallville. I think it would be more convenient if they went on ahead and moved there, don't you?"

"If you say so. I guess they wouldn't object," murmured Sara in a low voice. Edward had to keep himself from jumping up and choking his mother.

After a few more minutes of small talk and polite chitchat, they decided to get up and leave. Miraculously, they didn't notice Edward as they passed him. As they reached the door, Sara turned to face Lionel's gaze. "Why did you choose for us to meet in a bar at midnight?"

"In a bar, there are much less people who are interested in anything they possibly could have overheard. And at midnight, well, it makes the whole scene much more exciting. It's invigorating! Don't you think?"

They left just as a strong, beefy hand grasped the back of Edward's shirt. A booming voice asked him, "What are you doing here?!"

"Clubbing?" answered Edward. The man wasn't amused and dragged Edward to the door. He used his foot to slam open the door and was just about to throw Edward out into the street when he heard a wolf's howl, causing him to look up at the sky, where he spotted the full moon.

"Oh... Oh, no, no, no! The night is no place for a child to be out in!" murmured the beefy man. He dragged Edward back into the bar and led him to a storage room in the back. The storage room was cluttered, but the man knew what he was looking for. He tossed aside random articles of clothes and uncovered a large trunk.

The man opened the trunk, revealing canes, rifles, and what appeared to be ammunition made of silver. The rifles and canes were made of silver as well. He pulled out a cane and handed it to Edward. "You'll be needing that."

"What for?" asked Edward.

"In case you're attacked by a wolf. You just strike it with that cane hard as you can and it's nighty-night for the wolf," explained the man. "By the way, m' name's Ellem."

"I'm Edward," he introduced. Edward peered over Ellem's shoulder and eyed the rifle. "Can I have a gun?"

Ellem chuckled, "No, but I'll tell you what. Here's a pack of silver bullets – little souvenir from Ireland for you. I can tell you're a tourist."

Edward took the ammo from Ellem's hands and eyed it eagerly. Ellem remembered that Edward was a kid and snapped, "Get out of here! Or you'll cost me m'job!"

He didn't need to be told twice. He burst out of the storage room and weaved through the crowd of drunken people. Before he knew it, he was outside in the cold, wet night. The limousine was gone and his mother was probably already halfway back to the cabins.

Oh well. I wouldn't want my mom to see me sneaking out at night anyway, thought Edward. He was already on the road back to the cabin when he realized how silly he was to have believed Ellem. Werewolves? Someone's watched waaay too many movies. Still, the bullets and the cane weren't bad souvenirs from the town, now were they? They made him feel safer and secure.

AWOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

Then again, he said the cane would protect him against wolves; Ellem never mentioned werewolves. Edward quickened his pace and didn't notice the fog begin to lift.

Even thought the fog had cleared, the trail back to the cabin seemed darker than ever. He had no idea whether he was still on the road or heading into the forest. A shroud of shadow and darkness was lowered over him, with the only source of illumination being the full moon – and it didn't bother to brighten anything up.

With a loud THUMP, he fell to the ground. He must have tripped over a root, nothing more. He forced himself to his feet and brushed the dirt off of himself, then realized that he dropped his cane. Where is it? he wondered.

He fell to his knees and searched the ground with his hands like a blind man desperately searching for his cane. He thought he had found it when something behind him gave a low, hissing snarl.

"GRRRRRRRRRRRRR..."

Slowly, he turned his head to look in the direction of the growl. All he saw was two, red, eye-shaped dots.

In an instant, the snarler was on him, much to fast for a human to have done it. From the drool dripping onto his face, Edward could tell that his assailant was definitely an animal. From the growl, he suspected that the animal was a dog.

From the gnawing on his chest, he guessed it was hungry.

Edward felt little. His right hand was numb and laid by his side, while his left hand was still on the spot where he had felt the cane. Meanwhile, the dog was moving up from chomping on his chest to lightly chewing his neck.

Thoughtlessly, Edward clutched the cane tightly and slammed into the dog's (or was it a wolf?) skull.

Yelping, the dog jumped off and limped into the darkness. After a few seconds, he could hear a low moaning of sadness, like it was in pain. A minute passed, and the dog died.

Edward tried to get up, but his legs didn't respond. The pitch-blackness cleared, revealing the moon. Edward looked around, using the moonlight to identify his surroundings.

There was a pool of blood all around Edward. Blood seeped from slashes in his chest and a nick in his neck. Utterly horrified by the sight and the smell, Edward passed out.