The Love Bug

Chloe Sullivan shivered as she pulled her car up to the rear gate of Turner Enterprises, and she suddenly wished she hadn't listened to the tip she had been given. It was a cold night, and the moon's silhouette played across her rounded car hood like some giant soccer ball in the prevailing sky. Great, I come all the way out here and then chicken out because I watched some cheap horror flick last night!

She pushed away the urge to restart her engine and instead climbed from the soft-top with her purse in hand. Her contact had insisted that the Turner group of companies were continuing some of Luthorcorp's abandoned projects, one of which involved meteor rocks and experimental fertilizer. The mention of it had brought the mysterious level three to mind, and Chloe just hadn't been able to resist the challenge. So why am I getting the creeps before I get near the building?

Somehow it seemed unlikely that anything secretive was going on here. This had been a pretty low-key facility even in its hay day. Now, mostly the place was used for storage- or so Turner Enterprises said. The thing that baffled Chloe was the fact that there didn't even appear to be any security around the place. Oh well, you're here now Sullivan, may as well take a look.

Chloe moved forward, climbing over the gate where her VW was parked without even being challenged. The fact added to her suspicions that this was a wasted trip.

The gate groaned as Chloe's weight balanced on its old wooden timbers for a moment, and then the intrepid reporter was over and nearly at her objective. The closest building was the one her contact had singled out as the 'doer of evil', but right now it looked as decrepit as the barrier she had just scaled. I wish Clark were here…

Chloe had once been infected with something at Luthorcorp that made everyone in her presence tell the truth. The side effect was almost death. Now, memories of that time and her savior flooded back. It wasn't just that Clark always came to her rescue that made her want him near, though. Clark Kent was special to Chloe, even if he would never return the feelings.

Thoughts of his tall, handsome features and boyish, innocent grin spurred her on. I can't have Clark, but I can sure have this story…

Chloe looked around in the dull light, searching for an entry point into the facility. "Why oh why can't you share my feelings, Kent?" The whispered words gave courage to the spunky blonde as a surge of fear began to well in her stomach. "I mean it's not like you don't know I love you…" Yeah right, keep blabbering about Clark and go get yourself caught with all the noise, Sullivan!

Chloe touched the wall of the structure she was now in front of, and felt the brickwork was warm to her fingers. It had to mean someone was using the old place. The idea both terrified and excited her. Without thinking more, her investigative instincts pushed Chloe to the corroded metal side entrance that was obviously once used for deliveries.

On the ground she noted the first true evidence that her contact might be right after all. Scuff marks in the dirt, and a fresh elongated scratch along an old section of concrete meant the double doors had recently been opened. So, how do I get in there? Where are you when I need you, farm boy? She couldn't help but wish Clark was psychic and would come running. Well sometimes it feels like he is…

Something squealed inside the old Turner plant, something like metal tearing into more metal at high speed. Chloe stepped back instinctively, sensing the noise was not a natural one. More sounds came from the doorway, and suddenly the reporter decided that she had outstayed her welcome.

Backing up, Chloe began to run for her life back to the gate and her car. The short distance seemed much further as she retraced her steps in desperation. Breathless, Chloe reached the barrier just as the crescendo from within erupted in all its glory.

An explosion ripped through the double doors like a tidal wave washing away some waterfront home. A spire of green fire shafted up into the Kansas sky, sending jets of flame spreading out and encapsulating everything within the building perimeter.

Chloe was lucky to have simply made it to the gate. The ensuing wall of pressure from the blast pushed her forward, and her body slammed down hard on the hood of her little car. Its suspension rocked with the weight of her body being propelled heavily onto it, and then all that Chloe remembered was a hellish green fallout raining down from the now emerald green heavens. Clark…Clark…

Chloe sat at home the next morning and wished there was someone she could tell her tale to, but after she had awakened out by the plant it had occurred to her that on this occasion silence might be a better idea. Right now, all she kept doing was replaying things in her mind about the night before.

When she had come too the whole area had looked like nothing had happened. Well the plant was blackened and charred, and the signs of the explosion had yet to be covered up, but the strange green aura had dissipated, and any spores or remnants of its presence had apparently been 'cleaned'. So why have they left me lying here? Am I getting paranoid? Did any of that even just happen?

Chloe shook her head and realized there was a gash across it, and a small trickle of blood had pooled onto her gleaming hood's paintwork. She rubbed at the wound absent-mindedly as her head began to throb. Is this hangover from the blast, or the green mist? Again, Chloe feared the after effects she had once encountered at Luthorcorp.

She looked at her watch and swiftly noted over two hours had passed since she had blacked out. Something sure happened…

DING! DING! Chloe looked up from her reminiscing to realize someone was at the door, and that she was late for school. Whether it was the blow to her head, or worrying about the mists after effects, she had pulled a Clark Kent and was not only late for her first class, she had already missed most of it.

"Great, I get some super-lethargy effect from the meteor rocks, while all the other freaks get some cool power!" The reporter scowled as she tugged open the front door, to find Ed Morgan from the local florists waiting for her.

"Hi, Chloe." The elderly man smiled warmly and pushed a huge bunch of red roses in her direction, "I guess some guy really wants you to know how he feels!" Ed winked and tapped the card attached the massive blooms. "I should grab this guy, he paid for the most expensive we have…"

Morgan backed up slightly at Chloe's bewildered gaze, and didn't wait for her to read the attached note. After taking over Nell's flower shop's business, he had seen many a happy girl grab his blooms after their man had spent a bundle on pleasing them. Chloe had amazed him with her bizarre reaction.

Once Morgan had retreated, Chloe took the roses inside and flipped the card over to read what had been written. She didn't recognize the handwriting, but the two solitary initials seemed to say it all…CK.

Chloe's face lit up and she bristled with a sudden gush of emotions. Clark had finally seen that she had feelings for him! Abruptly, Chloe paused and deflated after her moment of joy. Why now? Why send flowers so out of the blue? Its not as if he even knows I was almost 'Green-fried Sullivan' last night!

Determined to find out what Clark was suddenly up to, Chloe grabbed her purse and coat, and jogged out to her car. The smear of blood on its hood reminded her of the tumble she had taken, but she brushed it aside. Clark Kent's affections were much more interesting, even if there was something very suspicious going on.