60 Minute Fics – October Challenge – Urban Legends - "Last Kiss"
Two Worlds - A Smallville/Supernatural crossover. Spoilers possible for season six of Smallville, spoilers possible for season two of Supernatural, but this is all brand new, so probably not.Smallville, 1926
There had never been a more glorious moment for the Ross family. Where once a two rows of long sheds had once stood, now a brick cannery rose from the harvest gold cornfields, and for the first time, citizens of Smallville could have jobs that didn't rely on their farms for income. It was a beautiful Kansas afternoon at the end of October, the kind that herald the end of Indian Summer, endless blue sky with only the softest and most perfect white clouds for the eyes to rest on. Royal Ross, the oldest of the Ross brothers and the official spokesman of the new company beamed proudly, his arms around his brothers as they posed for their photograph to celebrate the opening of the factory. A loud puff of smoke from the flash tray marked the official opening of the factory along with a cheer from the gathered crowd.
"Welcome to the Twentieth Century, Smallville!" Royce called out, as people milled past him and into the factory. The Smallville High School band began to play, as the town shuffled through the heavy oak doors that were still bright and fresh with their heavy shellac. Everyone from as far as Granville had come to see the machines take the good Lowell County corn and turn it into the sweet creamy delicacy they were famous for. Royal smoothed the lapels of his new suit jacket and nodded to his brothers, all of whom had been skeptical. They weren't that far from being the hired hands that picked the corn, and only Royal had believed in the good opinion of the people in the town enough to take the risk.
"This is something, Roy, I gotta hand it to you." Jeddediah Kent shook Royce's hand warmly, a wide smile creasing his sunburned face. "I'm telling you…all those hours shaving the corn by hand gone? I can't believe it."
"Jed, my friend, look at the future.." Royal waved his arm over the main processing area, hundreds of bushels of corn processed in what seemed like minutes. "There is nothing that can stop progress!" The whine of the steam powered grinders, heavy cylinders of stainless steel as they began to move made Royal's wide smile grow wider. "Those grinders will last a thousand years!"
Reuben Ross nodded slowly and walked back to the small cluster of engineers that huddled around the last ancient machine from the original cannery. His son Rodney had been sent home, along with Rodney's young friend, Jonathan Kent. Reuben and Hiram Kent had thought it would not only be a learning experience for both boys, but also a bit of a treat to bring them to the factory for the day. But they didn't need to see this. Reuben didn't want to see it himself, but he had no choice. The entire production staff had been sent home and to make matters worse, the gossip mill had begun churning almost immediately, because the girls on the switchboard could not answer the phones fast enough. The Ross Family loved Smallville, but one of the drawbacks of living in a small town was that there were no secrets at all.
"Goddamn piece of crap grinders, moody sunovabitch, always was…" Clayton Stevens groaned, the upper half of his body visible, the rest disappearing into one of the heavy, smooth presses that gave the creamed corn its creaminess. Reuben had never changed the rollers – they were heavy die cut steel, polished smooth with years of use. They had effectively created the Ross name brand corn for years, and now, Reuben felt his blood pounding in his ears, wondering what would become of all of them because of this accident. His time served in Korea with honor could not have possibly prepared him for this moment and Reuben wished his father were alive to handle it.
"We're here to help you, Clay, hang on…" Reuben knelt beside the creamer and looked into his foreman's eyes. "What can I get you? The doctor is on his way, and we called your wife…"
"Call Betty back and tell her to stay home, Reuben. I can't let her see me like this." Clayton struggled a little and then seemed to relax. "If I move a little to the left, I can't feel any pain at all." Clayton's ruddy face grew slightly paler, and Reuben felt his stomach turn at the idea of all that lost blood.
"Just hold tight, Clay. We're going to get you out of there." Reuben assured him uselessly, and Clayton nodded, swallowing hard.
"I heard that college kid from engineering say if we throw that freaking switch I'll bite the dust in less than ten seconds." The foreman muttered, rolling his eyes toward his friend. His voice was strained, but conversational and casual. "I say turn the sunovabitch on and do this thing right." The former Marine gritted his teeth and nodded. "Go on, Reuben, do it."
"But, don't you want to say goodbye to Betty...I mean, I can see not wanting to take the girls out of school, but…" Reuben was flabbergasted, thinking of his own wife and children.
Clay trembled a little. "I'd rather she'd have remembered me like I was this morning…full of piss and vinegar…oh hell, here she comes…" Clay's face had grown even more ashen. His request was hurried, whispered, so that his wife would not overhear. "Do me a favor, Reuben. Take care of them for me…my girls, wouldya?"
"Like they were my own, I swear." Reuben promised and then stood. Betty Stevens, a cool Metropolis blonde, hurried toward them, the soft soles of her flat shoes slapping against the floor. "Betty, did the doctor explain what happened?"
Betty's sunglasses were off, revealing liquid brown eyes that were glazed over with fright and tears. "He did. It's not his fault I only heard every third word. Oh, Clay…" Betty sank to her knees beside her husband. "Clay…" Her hands fluttered helplessly around her husband's face, and the brave man closed his eyes, gathering his resolve.
"Right. Betty, kiss me goodbye, baby. Leonard Small has my will and insurance policy, he'll know what to do. I love you, Betty." Clay whispered, as his wife's tears wet his face.
"Oh God, Clay…"Betty rasped back. "You aren't hurting…"
"Hell, I should be." Clay grinned with effort. "Okay, baby, it's time. Get yourself out of here and home. The girls are going to need you to be tough now. Get me?"
"I do. I love you, Clay. It's only ever been you…" Betty kissed his face, sobbing. She rested her forehead against his and then nodded. "What am I going to do without you taking care of us?"
"Go. I'll always be there, in your heart, honey." Clay bit the word off and nodded slightly. "Bets, please you have to go."
Betty rose, and put her sunglasses back on. She turned to Reuben. "Don't do anything until I'm out of the building, okay?"
Reuben looked down at his friend, who nodded again. "Okay, Betty. I'll call you at home later. Paula will get the girls from school."
Betty nodded and turned away slowly, her steps forced as she walked toward the doors of the processing room and out into the Ross Creamed Corn Factory parking lot. Reuben had kept his word, because as Betty reached for the car door handle, a pain raced through her like brushfire. She looked back at the building, then ran back inside, ignoring the people who tried to stop her, and back into the processing room. A strangled sob managed to get past her closing throat as she observed the small group of men clustered around her now dead husband, and Reuben Ross' dark face was twisted with grief and horror as he turned to see her standing there.
"Betty! Jesus!" Reuben shouted. "Get her out of here now!" But Betty was frozen to the spot, the sight of her husband's lifeless torso draining blood freezing her to the cold cement floor, pointing to her dead husband. His eyes were glazed over, but even years later, Betty would swear she saw his mouth move…..
Smallville, 2006 –
Jim Niediger walked through the corridor toward his small office, eating a doughnut and reading the latest results of the tests they'd run on the corn, using the old Ross Cannery equipment that had been modified with meteor rock alloy. Jim was never one hundred percent sure what purpose his experiments served, but the results were always interesting and Lex Luthor paid well enough that Jim didn't really care to ask any questions. Finishing his doughnut and licking the last of the powdered sugar from his fingers, Jim reached for his pen, a custom one his wife had made for him when he gotten his Masters degree, and swore under his breath. He was forever leaving that thing behind, and as much as he loved it, Jim promised himself yet again that he was switching back to using the cheap pens that Luthorcorp supplied to their staff. He walked back to the engineering lab where the old equipment had been set up and modified, seeing his pen in his mind as he walked down the hall. Lately, there had been talk about seeing ghosts in this building, but Jim was a realist, a scientist, and such things were simply the product of over active imaginations and the over tired minds of the nightshift crew.
The engineering lab was dark, just the way he'd left it, but Jim saw a tall man examining the old presses, running his hand over the modified rollers, that gleamed and reflected back what small amount of light there was in the room, casting green glowing spots here and there.
"Hey, if you are punched out, buddy, you need to leave the lab. Can't have you in here without safety equipment. The OSHA rep would have my ass." Jim said and the tall man turned around, giving Jim a better look at his face. Thirtyish ,craggy features, hair buzz cut in the way that way seemed to be favored by the men at the Smallville Barber shop who were over 60, the man's white shirt was pristinely clean, and the black pants just slightly too black. The visitor nodded and went back to examining the machine again, and Jim set his reports down and walked over to him.
"Look, I don't know who you are, but you have to leave the lab now. I don't want to have to call security."
"Not safe." The visitor said, his hand on the meteor rock coated cylinder. "The sunovabitch has a mind of it's own. Should've been replaced years ago."
"Right." Jim nodded patiently. "I'll keep that in mind." The visitor shrugged and walked around the machine and then, seemed to vanish in the gloomy depths of the lab. "Hey, where did you go?" He heard a sort of strangled scream and turned toward the door. The machine suddenly sprung to life and Jim felt the back of his lab coat pulling at him. He turned again, getting twisted in the white fabric, his eyes growing wider as the rotor sucked him inexorably toward the inside of the machine. He called out, but his voice echoed in the room, with no one to hear. Looking back in the direction of the scream, the last thing Jim saw was a long, lean white shape, and where it's eyes should have been an odd black shadow stretched across the face. It pointed at the machine and sobbed as Jim Neidiger's body was processed by the heavy polished steel cylinders, the glowing meteor rock skins turning his blood black.
"And I can't recall...any love at all, oh baby, this blows them all away…" Dean Winchester was in a rare good mood. It was odd to be back in Kansas, made him think of his mother and the life they had before, but it felt good. The car windows were open, and the clean autumn air swept over them as they sped down the road to a town that even Sam had snickered at the name of. Freaking Smallville, of all places. Lowell County was the next one over from the one they had been born in, and Dean sang louder. "WHYYYY CAN'T THIS BEEEE LO-UH-HU-OVEE…"
"Do you really need to sing?" Sam Winchester was not in a good mood. His sleep was increasingly disturbed by dreams of Jess and now Dad. The last few weeks had been pretty darn traumatic, not that last year had been a cakewalk either, but Sam was feeling as if something huge was looming over them. This simple haunting job was really almost beneath them when there were demons out there. The other purpose for their trip was unavoidable, and Sam thought of the box holding their father's ashes, that sat in the trunk. "I mean, Van Halen is annoying enough, but you really aren't winning any Grammys."
"Lighten up, Sammy. Look around you, man. Feel it. It's freaking KANSAS. We're HOME." Dean said, and Sam frowned at his brother. It was hard to tell sometimes when Dean was being serious or if he was at his most sarcastic and facetious.
"Yeah, in Lowell County. Dad always said to stay the hell out of Lowell County, if we managed to get back to Kansas, and here we are." Sam said thinking of the research he'd been doing on odd incidents in Lowell County since they'd left their last job. His laptop had nearly crashed with the amount of information that had come back, news articles, blog entries, photos, a locked website that was owned by a C. Sullivan, all devoted to Lowell County and it's weirdness.
Dean turned to look at his brother quickly before darting his eyes back to the road. "The job...it's a simple haunting. We get in, we get out." Dean replied breezily, and Sam blinked at his brother's sunny attitude. A simple haunting was one thing, but ghosts and a deadly piece of industrial machinery was something else again.
"You really are happy to be back here. I can't believe it." Sam laughed finally. "Well, since we're going through with this, we may as well find a place to stay."
"Now you're talking, Sammy. I've got a good feeling about this job." Dean nodded as the Van Halen song ended, looking out at the sun dappled fields before them. "A really good feeling."
"I have a bad feeling about this, Clark." Chloe Sullivan looked at her friend Clark Kent and shook her head. People don't just get sucked up into a non-working piece of machinery and get smooshed. There is more to this than Lex is giving out to the public." She sipped her enormous latte and widened her hazel eyes at Clark, who nodded thoughtfully. Ever since his little conversation with Lex in the greenhouse on the Luthor estate, Clark avoided anything that Lex owned, so as not to accidentally run into his former friend. Except the Talon, which seemed to be an unspoken neutral zone.
"When has Lex ever been into full disclosure, Chloe?" Clark asked, leaning forward and lowering his voice so that the owner of the Talon, his ex-girlfriend, Lana Lang could not over hear them. "I can't just walk in there any more and ask him what's going on, either."
"I know." Chloe bit her lip and looked over at where Lana was in smiling conversation with a customer. "I just think this is huge. Did you get in touch with Pete?"
"Yeah." Clark nodded. "He said that his grandfather told him once about a bad accident a long time ago at the creamed corn factory, but it sounded like one of those stories that get around, what do you call them…"
"Urban legends." Jimmy Olsen chimed in, sliding into a seat beside Chloe. "That's what you meant, right, CK?" He smiled brightly at Clark across the table and then turned to gaze at Chloe. "Hi, Brighteyes."
"Hi." Chloe smiled back, and then jumped a little when Clark cleared his throat. "Sorry, Clark."
Clark grimaced a little and then continued. "Pete said that his dad could still had access to the factory records. I'm going to head over there later."
"What makes you think that an accident that happened in a factory that's not even here anymore would have anything to with what happened the other night?" Jimmy asked, taking a drink from the triple espresso that Chloe had ordered for him. Two pairs of eyes on him made Jimmy blush. "Right, we're in Smallville, I forgot."
Dean parked the car in front of a busy looking coffee shop and looked around a little through the front window of the car. "I wish this town didn't look so familiar."
"You've been saying that. Are you sure you aren't psychic, Dean?" Sam asked, a small smirk the only sign that he found his brother's déjà vu extremely amusing. Dean's expression of disgust made Sam laugh out loud. "You act like that would be a bad thing."
Dean shook his head and took the keys from the car's ignition. "I can see the future, Sammy. Want to know what it is? It's me, drinking a large coffee and eating whatever isn't nailed down in this place and then sleeping with the windows open back at the hotel. Whoooo." Dean waved his hands in the air. "Freaky." He got out of the car, looked around and took a deep breath. "I love it here."
Sam got out of the car too, not ignoring the nagging sense of things being very odd here in Smallville. Maybe it was how it all looked perfect. Or maybe it was just that Dean was so happy being in the town. Usually his older brother was dour and watchful, suspicious of everyone that wasn't a pretty girl and ready for anything. Now, he was whistling (whistling!!), as he walked to the door of the coffee shop, a renovated movie theater by all appearances. Sam followed Dean into the shop, named the Talon, and looked around. The crowd was young, and almost preternaturally pretty. A petite brunette was behind the counter, and Sam waited for Dean to get a look at her. She smiled as they got closer, and put down the white cloth she'd been using to wipe the counter.
"Can I get you anything?" Her voice was sweet and welcoming. "I can vouch for the almond muffins myself – they're really good."
"A large coffee, black, and a," Dean squinted at the handwritten specials on the chalkboard. "The sandwich special." He looked at Sam. "You?"
"Um, the almond muffin sounds great, don't toast it, and an iced tea." Sam replied, smiling at the girl. He looked around. "This is a really nice place."
"Thanks." The girl shrugged. "It wasn't always a coffee shop, though. It used to be a movie theater." She smiled. "I'm Lana."
"I'm Sam, and this is my brother Dean." Sam gestured toward his brother, and Dean nodded absently, not doing his usual flirting. "He's not himself today."
"Oh, that's okay. You guys come from far away?" Lana asked, filling a large glass with fresh iced tea. "On your way to Metropolis?"
"Yeah." Dean replied, finally seeming to see the girl. "Lana, right?"
She nodded, her dark hair escaping from the pile she'd gathered it into on the top of her head. "That's right."
"We heard there was a pretty nasty industrial accident here a few days ago." Dean said, laying on the charm, but only at half power, and Sam frowned a little. "Was it as bad as it said in the paper?"
"Well." Lana tipped her head and folded her arms. "It's been hell, that's for sure. I'm seeing the person that owns that plant and he's had nothing but trouble. I hope you aren't reporters, because I'd have to ask you to leave."
"No, no.." Dean said quickly. "We're not reporters. Just passing through on our way to Lawrence. Our dad just died and we have to handle some odds and ends he left behind." The truth sounded alien coming from Dean, and Sam blinked. But the truth worked like no lie could have, and Sam could see that this girl had been lied to by professionals, and her face changed from stony resistance to empathy in half a heart beat.
"Oh, I'm so sorry. I'm an orphan myself. How terrible for you." Lana smiled sadly. "I hope he didn't suffer."
"It was quick." Sam said, his eye falling on the table where Chloe, Clark and Jimmy were sitting. "Who are they?"
Lana looked around Sam and nodded. "That is my friend, Chloe Sullivan, her friend Jimmy Olsen, and Clark Kent." She said the third name like it tasted bad in her mouth.
"Don't like him much, huh?" Dean asked, and Lana shrugged again. "Ex boyfriend?"
"I guess you could say that." Lana replied, handing Dean his coffee.
"Not the C. Sullivan who kept a website of all the odd things that happened here in Lowell County?" Sam asked, and Lana nodded. "Now that's a coincidence."
"That's her. She's been busy at the Daily Planet but I'm sure if you were interested in the strange and unusual, Chloe'd be the person who could help you out." Lana told them. "Your food should be ready in a few minutes, if you want to go sit down."
"Great." Dean replied. "Thanks, Lana."
"Don't mention it." Lana smiled, and then her pretty face creased, as if trying to remember something. "You look so familiar. Do I know you?"
Dean smiled and raised his eyebrows a little. "I haven't been in this part of Kansas for longer than it took to drive through since I was a kid. And I know I'd remember you, if we had met before."
"I know." Lana nodded. "That's so funny. Well, anyway, go ahead and have a seat. Patty will bring your food to you in a few minutes."
"Yeah, thanks." Sam towed Dean away from the counter and Lana and toward a table near Chloe's. "Dean."
Dean was still looking at Lana, and then he shrugged and shook his head, as if trying to clear his mind. "I swear that girl looks familiar. What?"
"Come on." Sam walked up to Chloe and smiled. "Hi, I'm Sam, and this is Dean…"
"Hi, Sam, Dean." The big guy at the table rose, and Sam, who was used to being the tallest person in the room found himself looking up slightly at the guy. "I'm Clark."
"Clark..." Dean nodded. "We just want to talk to your girlfriend here…"
"I'm not his," Chloe began, and the red haired guy at the table also stood, looking slightly angry as well. "girlfriend. Clark.." Her hazel eyes widened and darted back to Clark's vacated seat. "How can I help you?" Clark sat back down, his broad shoulders impossibly straight and spine stiff. The red haired guy sat as well, after whispering something that got him a hisssed, "Quiet, Jimmy" from Chloe.
Sam pulled a chair over and sat down with them at the table, and then gestured for Dean to do the same. "My brother and I have sort of an interest in strange occurrences, and we heard about the factory accident so we thought we'd find out more about it. Plus," Sam smiled charmingly. "I'm sort of a fan of yours. I read your old Torch articles online." Dean nodded, adding a grunt of assent, keeping one eye on the big guy who was also paying very close attention to them.
"A fan, huh?" Chloe grinned, and Clark and Jimmy both looked at each other in shock. "Well, I'm flattered. The Torch articles are ancient history, but still alive through the magic of the internet, I guess. How can I help you?"
"This incident at, Luthorcorp, has anything happened like that before?" Dean asked, and Chloe shrugged, shaking her head.
"Our friend Pete's family used to own the land the Luthorcorp plant is on now." Clark offered. "He's trying to get more information for us."
"Besides, it's really not unusual for something odd to happen here in Smallville, especially in the Luthorcorp factory." Chloe said. "If you've read my articles from the Torch days, you can pretty much figure that out."
"I saw the sign as we drove into town, "Meteor Capital of the World." Two devastating strikes in less than twenty years. That's pretty amazing." Dean said, taking his sandwich plate from the waitress with a smile and a wink. "Surprising that you all stay here."
"Is it? Some of us have farms here." Clark turned to look at the older Winchester brother, his intense blue-green eyes suspicious. "You don't just abandon your home."
"Whoa, I'm just saying, if I lived in a town with a big, cosmic bullseye painted on it, I'd move." Dean replied smoothly. "No offense, man. Really." Clark nodded, but Sam got the uncomfortable feeling that Clark had seen a great deal of weirdness in this town, and it was mostly connected to the meteor strikes. He looked down at his muffin and pushed it away. He hadn't had much of an appetite lately.
"We're staying at that little motel just inside of town, and if you all hear anything, please call." Sam handed Chloe a card. She frowned at it, and then looked up at him again.
"You ARE Sam Winchester. I've heard of you. And your brother. Clark, these are the guys I told you about." Chloe smiled knowingly. "I'm a fan of yours too."
"We made the papers?" Dean asked, and Chloe shook her head.
"Let's just say that our interests in the unusual have intersected from time to time. And you think our little industrial accident might fall into your territory?" Chloe pushed Sam's muffin closer to him. "Eat. You don't look good."
"Not sleeping. Lot on my mind. It might, but we won't be sure of that until we can get more information." Sam said, and this time Clark's expression changed from watchfulness to understanding.
"I know that feeling, believe me. You guys shouldn't stay out at that motel. It's not very safe. You can stay at my farm. There's plenty of room." Clark offered, and Sam looked at the farmer again. Where he had gotten a perfectly clear read on him before, now Clark was a blank slate. It wasn't a conscious thing, Sam realized, but there it was.
"Fine with me." Dean picked up his sandwich, and sighed happily. "I could eat ten of these."
Sam smiled at Clark. "Appreciate the concern, but Dean and I are used to staying in rough places."
"Well, the invitation stands, if you change your mind." Clark smiled back, and Sam found himself questioning his decision to turn the offer down . Clark could have been a fraternity brother at Stanford, a football hero. There was nothing odd or unusual about him. Was it the hunting that made him so suspicious? Or was it that Sam couldn't read him at all? . And then, it came to Sam slowly, a creeping awareness as he looked at the perfectly normal seeming young man before him. Not human, never human.
"I can't believe you just invited those guys to stay at the farm, just like that!" Chloe scolded Clark later, after Jimmy headed back to Metropolis and the Winchesters had gone back to their motel. "You don't know much about the Winchesters; They hunt things not human, Clark."
"I'm not exactly a ghost, Chloe." Clark laughed, as he fed the cows. Chloe folded her arms and followed him down the row of stalls, her face set in angry lines. "Besides, what could they do to me?"
"They could discover that Kryptonite weakens you and kill you." Chloe offered testily, and Clark shrugged.
"I guess. They'd first have to figure out that I wasn't human, and then what weakened me. Overall, I'm not that concerned, especially with them more interested in the accident at the Luthorcorp plant." Clark looked at Chloe and set the bag of grain down. "You're really concerned, aren't you?"
"I'm really concerned because for some reason the idea completely escaped your mind that they could really be here to hunt you." Chloe reached over and pulled on Clark's shirt. "We don't know who has seen you do what you do. First the Green Arrow and now these guys? It's scary when you get trusting all at once, Clark."
"You sound like my Dad now." Clark shook his head. "Listen, Chloe, if they want to investigate what's going on at Luthorcorp, I say fine. The more people that start figuring out that Lex is never quite on the up and up out there, the better."
Chloe rolled her eyes and sighed. "I'm going to check my email from any word from Pete."
"I'm telling you, Dean, that guy Clark isn't human." Sam leafed through their father's journal, stopping occasionally to quickly skim one page or another. "I couldn't get a clear read on him at all…" They were back in their motel room, which was definitely not as nice as a room in a cozy Kansas farmhouse. Sam didn't want to take anything for granted or at face value. He sighed, thinking about how someone like Clark wouldn't have even set off the smallest alarm bell back in the days of Stanford. As a matter of fact, Clark might have been a friend there. That's what bothered Sam so much.
"Why, Sammy? Because he's built like a linebacker for the Green Bay Packers and was actually nice? So what?" Dean was looking at blueprints of the Luthorcorp plant that he'd gotten from Smallville public records. "Oh, here we go - score one for the farmer and the reporter chick. There really was another factory on the site, Sammy, look." Dean pointed to a section of the drawing. "They incorporated the old factory and it's foundation into the new one."
Sam put down John Winchester's journal and squinted at the blueprint. "I wonder why?"
"Who knows?" Dean replied, tapping the drawing. "That's got to be the place." He looked up at his brother. "Sam." Dean snapped his fingers twice. "Sammy?!"
"Yeah." Sam looked up, his mind whirling with possibilities. Clark wasn't human. There were already demons in the world, could there be angels, too? Clark might not be human, but he certainly wasn't evil. That much Sam was almost sure of. Sam frowned, and Dean shook his head, instinctively knowing what his brother was mulling over.
"Listen, forget Clark, Sammy. He's the last of a dying breed – a nice guy. That's it. Not anything else." Dean stood and stretched. "I think I might go back into town and see what they do for fun."
"This is too small a town to hustle pool in, Dean." Sam muttered, and Dean managed to look scandalized, placing one hand over his heart in mock pain.
"Some words to live by, little brother: No town is too small to hustle pool in." Dean retorted, picking up his jacket and keys. "Don't wait up." His cellphone rang, and Dean reached into a pocket, fished out his phone and answered.
"Hello?" Dean's eyes widened and Sam stood. "Yeah, Chloe, it's Dean. Did you find something?"
"Did we find something? Well, it's definitely up your alley, that's for sure." Chloe replied, looking up at Clark, who was leafing through a stack of black and white pictures. "Our friend, the one whose family used to own the land the Luthorcorp plant is on? Well, he just had his brother drop off everything his family still had regarding their old factory. It seems there was a similar accident forty years ago."
Dean gestured for Sam to get up. "We're on our way. Where are you, Chloe?"
"Clark and I are at his farm. From your hotel, get on the main road like you were going back to town. Make the first left you can after you pass through Smallville. The Kent farm will be on the right. Big yellow farm house. We're out in the barn." Chloe told him quickly.
"Right." Dean nodded. "Got it. Be there as soon as we can. Thanks, Chloe." Dean hung up and looked at Sam with an odd expression.
"What is it?" Sam asked, and Dean laughed.
"I think we missed out not having a sister, Sam. Come on. They got some background on the old factory for us." He slapped his brother on the shoulder. "I could get used to this."
Vinny Carson looked at the old Ross Cannery equipment, and tapped it with his flashlight. Mr. Luthor had ordered double security on the entire plant since the accident, and Vinny was glad of the overtime. His girlfriend Penny had a whole fairy tale princess wedding planned, and the extra shifts would help pay for the dream honeymoon he had arranged for her. Smiling as he thought about Penny in a bikini on a Hawaiian beach, Vinny pointed his flashlight at the place where that engineering geek had been found. They'd cleaned up the mess, nothing left to tell that the machine had gone berserk and killed that guy. Vinny shook his head.
"Poor bastard." The young security guard shook his head, walking around the machine. He heard a thunk, like the sound of a full can of beer hitting the floor. Turning, Vinny saw a man, roughly thirty-five, poking at the processor thoughtfully.
"Hey, you with the police?" Vinny asked, and the man looked up at him, and Vinny wondered if maybe this cop didn't need a vacation to Hawaii, he was pale. The man blinked and shook his head.
"Sunovabitch is going to cause problems down the road. Friggin' antique, that's what it is. Should've been replaced years ago." The man looked up and tapped the outside of the machine. The full beer can falling sound echoed through the room again. "Keep your ass away from this sunovabitch, new guy."
"Right." Vinny nodded. "Who the hell are you?" The man in front of him folded his arms and then frowned. It seemed as if he were getting ready to say something, but then, he simply vanished. "What the hell…?" Vinny walked around the machine, and he tapped it with his flashlight. It sprung to life on it's own with a mechanical scream. Taking two steps back, Vinny staggered away from the grinders, and then felt a cold, creeping feeling that traced up his spine and danced around his ears. He turned, and found himself face to face with a glowing white figure. It had no eyes, just a black band across where it's eyes should have been. "Sweet Jesus!" Vinny felt it touch him, pushing him backwards and then he lost his balance, collapsing against the housing of the machine. Something tugged at his jacket, and he swatted at it, his eyes not leaving the figure before him. It opened it's mouth and pointed, the scream issuing from it rattled through his mind, blending with the crunching sound of the gears. The tugging at his jacket continued, urgent and insistent. Vinny turned to look at what was pulling on him and saw the huge shining, green cylinders spinning, pulling his jacket. He fumbled with the buttons, but could not get free.
"HELP!!" He cried, but the specter before him seemed to dampen all the sound in the room, and he realized that no one would hear him. "HELP ME!"
Vinny felt himself being dragged closer to the spinning grinders and then, as he lost his balance, the pain blinded him. The specter pointed and seemed to cry, and the last thing Vinny saw before he lost consciousness was the thing open and close it's mouth, like it was trying to speak to him.
"Of course he lives here." Dean said, looking at the well kept Kent farmhouse and shaking his head. "Perfect."
"What's wrong with here?" Sam asked. He'd not been able to shake the feeling that something was definitely NOT human about Clark Kent, but the perfectly normal farmhouse and barn were not evidence Sam's intution was on target.
"Guys like that Clark, good looking, All American, no problems. Of course he lives in a Norman Rockwell painting…that's all." Dean rolled his eyes. "Let's go see what they found."
"Yeah." Sam climbed out of the car. He looked up, and smiled to see Chloe Sullivan looking down at him from the loft window. "Hey." He waved, and she waved back.
"You found it. I thought we'd have to go out searching." Chloe grinned. "Come on up."
Sam and Dean made their way up to the Kent's barn loft and saw that Clark and Chloe had already made some headway through the pictures and documents they'd received from their friend.
"Thanks for coming out." Clark shook hands with the brothers and handed over the sheaf of black and white pictures. "Most of the stuff Pete's dad sent over is just manufacturing records and inventories, but I found these. They're old crime scene photos, and they may be a little gory."
"I love gory." Dean said, taking the pictures and shuffling through them. "Industrial accident?"
"Exactly the same as the one last week." Chloe said, looking up from a pile of old newspapers. "Clark found these in his storm cellar. His grandfather kept them." She rose and handed one to Sam. FOREMAN KILLED BY FAULTY EQUIPMENT AT ROSS FACTORY – NO CHARGES BEING SOUGHT AGAINST ROSS FAMILY, was the headline.
Sam read the article. "It says here his wife got there in time to say goodbye. That's her, right, the blonde?"
Chloe nodded. "Betty Stevens. She lives in town. Owns a bookstore." She looked at Clark. "A new age bookstore."
"A new age bookstore in Smallville?" Dean raised an eyebrow. "Not exactly normal."
"No." Clark shrugged. "She's had it hard. Her oldest daughter was killed in the first meteor shower that hit here, and her two other girls don't speak to her anymore."
"Let's hear it for the small town gossip network." Dean looked up from the pictures. "Why?"
"Well," Clark rubbed the back of his neck, thinking. "I'm not sure. One of them is a neighbor of mine. It's…" Clark trailed off as if listening to something. "Chloe, why don't you go over to the bookstore with Sam, and Dean and I will go take a ride to the Luthorcorp plant. We'll cover more ground if we split up."
"Sounds like a good idea." Chloe looked up at Sam. "Let's go." Sam smiled and looked over at Dean, who was studying one of the pictures very intently. "Hang on, Chloe…what is it, Dean?"
"Nothing." Dean shook his head. "Her face. She's got those big old shades on, I can't make out her eyes…" He turned the picture around so Sam could see it. "It's the urban legend, you know, the one where the guy gets caught in the machine and…"
"His wife gets there in time to kiss him goodbye." Chloe bit her lip. "You don't really believe that could have actually happened?"
"I've seen lots of things no one believes actually happened." Dean said, looking back at Sam. He pointed at Betty. "She's alive. So if the wife is alive…."
"The husband? I don't know, Dean. It seems so strange. Why would the victim kill more people?" Sam asked.
"Anger, revenge, frustration…could have been anything." Clark offered, taking the others by surprise. "If we're going to go, we'd better do it now."
"Yeah." Dean slid the pictures into his pockets. "My car or, no...my car." Clark nodded, grabbing a red jacket from the back of a chair. "That jacket stays here. Don't you have something less conspicuous?"
Clark grinned. "Yeah. He walked over to a coat rack and pulled off a battered looking denim jacket and put it on. "Better?"
"Yes." Chloe gasped, and this time the three men looked at her in surprise. She gasped helplessly, blushing, then snatched up her purse. "Um...come on, Sam. I'll drive us over Mrs. Steven's bookstore."