Chapter 35: The Finally
Clark was glad when the Funeral service was over. Few even bothered to show up to the funeral. When it came to friends, Clark was alone. Business associates were scared to show up, for fear of being tied to some of Lex's illegal activities. If it was up to Lois, she would not have come, either. She was only here for emotional support. Lex's ex-wife, Rachel, and her eight year old son, had come to the funeral, despite her undying hatred for the man.
As soon as the priest had finished his eulogy, the small crowd began to disperse. Clark and Lois slowly made their way away from the casket. "Thank you Lois, for coming with me." Clark said, pushing his glassed back up the bridge of his nose.
"It's no problem. I just wanted to make sure that he didn't rise from the grave or anything like that. You never know when or where the next great story will fall on your lap."
Clark laughed. "I hear that you are already working on your next big piece."
"It's more like my next mission. Do you realize how Superman always seems to be there whenever trouble rears its ugly head?"
"I've heard that'," Clark replied. "What about it?"
"For him to be able to do that, he must be hiding out in plain sight. Do you really think he's just sitting at a coffee table waiting for the next crime to be committed?"
"Of course not," Lois replied, not giving Clark the chance to offer his opinion. "I think he's hiding in plain sight."
"In plain sight?"
"I think he hides among us, disguised as one of us," Lois smiled.
"You mean, you think Superman has a secret identity?" Clark replied with a grin on his face.
"I would stake my career on it. I'm going to make it my, personal, mission to discover his secret identity."
"Gee, Lois, I'm not sure Superman would want his identity to be revealed to the world. Perhaps he has a really good reason for having one in the first place."
"Perhaps," Lois replied. "I might consider changing his name on paper if I have to, but I'm doing this more so for personal reasons rather than professional."
"Well then, I wish you luck on your mission," Clark replied. He looked over to the casket to see Rachel and her son still standing there. "If you will excuse me Lois, I want to give my condolence."
"Go ahead. I need to be heading back to work anywhere. Catch ya later, Clark." Lois made her way out of the graveyard to a cab that was waiting for her.
Clark chuckled. Only Lois Lane would show up to a funeral in a taxi cab. He turned around and returned to the casket where the former Mrs. Luthor and her son remained. Clark had never gotten to meet Rachel; the falling out between Lex and himself had started long before she was even in the picture. That did not stop him from feeling sorry for her and her son. "You may not know me, but my name is Clark Kent. I was a good friend of Lex's back in elementary school. I just wanted to say, that I'm sorry for your loss."
She looked at him with a curled upper lip. "The man was trash. I don't know how he was when you knew him, but he was a complete jerk. The only reason I'm here is for my son, Lex Junior, who was still fond of him."
"I understand," Clark replied and knelt down to the red head eight year old that stood underneath her shadow. "I'm sorry about your Father. I used to know him when he was your age."
The boy was a splitting image of his father, except for the red hair. It appeared that Lex's Hallermann-Streiff syndrome had not been passed down to him. Perhaps he would have a much better life than his father ever had.
Lex Jr. did not look up at him, but Clark could clearly see a hatred burning in his eyes. "Superman killed him. Superman killed my dad. I hate him! I hate him!"
The boy carried the Luthor gene alright. Clark was heartbroken to see this young boy already starting to walk down the same road as his father. He could only pray that somehow the boy would avoid the same pitfalls that his father had fallen into. With a loving mother raising him, perhaps there was still hope.
A large crowd had shown up to the Metropolis National Park. Lois was glad that she and Jimmy had arrived early so she could be right up in front of the constructed platform. Standing up on the platform was Police Inspector Henderson of the MPD, Chief Inspector Dan Turpin of the MSCU, and the mayor of Metropolis.
Jimmy took a picture of the three of them talking among themselves. "I can't believe Clark is gonna miss this. This is the most exciting day Metropolis has seen in a long time. It's not often Superman is given the key to the city."
"You know Clark," Lois replied. "He has his head on writing a story about the fate of Lexcorp. Besides, he won't admit this, but I think he's kind of jealous of Superman."
"You think Clark likes you?"
"I think so. He's sweet and everything, but he's just really not my kind of guy."
Jimmy took another photo of the leaders before changing the subject. "So your father must be going nuts by this ceremony."
Lois shook her head and frowned. "He is still obsessed in trying to pass an anti-vigilante bill. As long as the city of Metropolis is behind Superman, I think he'll have a hard time trying to get that bill passed."
The crowd began to go wild as Superman appeared, gently flying over the heads of the crowd. The high school band started playing their heroic composition as he slowly flew to the platform. As gracefully as he came to the park, he hovered downward until his feet touched the platform. He came in for a soft landing on the platform. The three leaders on the platform were quick to offer a friendly handshake to the hero.
When the mayor walked up to the platform, he signaled for the high school band to cease playing. They promptly obliged the mayor, so he could get this ceremony on the way. "We gather here to celebrate the arrival of Metropolis' newest citizen: Superman. Since his arrival, he has saved many lives, and has begun making Metropolis a better place to live."
As the mayor continued with his speech, Superman felt very strange. His vision became blurry. He did not feel light headed or dizzy, so he did not suspect Kryptonite, but something really strange was happening. His blurry vision intensified until he found himself surrounded by nothing but red nothingness. A dark, evil voice called unto him, using his Kryptonian name. "Kal-El, last son of Krypton!"
"Who are you? Show yourself!" He commanded.
The voice only laughed in reply. Through the red, he could see a half faded-in view of Metropolis in ruins. Flames were reaching high into the sky. The Daily Planet tower was completely in ruins. This horrific view changed to a closer look into the streets of Metropolis. It was as if he was watching a television movie. He could now see the ruins of a skyscraper which had completely collapsed upon itself. A single piece of wood stuck out of the rubble, and hanging on the giant splinter was his red cape with his yellow family crest. It flapped in the wind, torn in shreds with blood stains smeared across the crest.
Superman turned around to see Lois Lane, kneeling in the center of the street, coddling a broken and beaten version of himself on her legs. He was swollen and bloody almost beyond recognition. His blood staining her blouse, she wept uncontrollably.
A monstrous growl came from his right, pulling his attention from this terrifying sight. He turned to see a shadow of some sort of beast that was almost eleven feet tall, and bulkier than a professional wrestler. The monster's eyes were glowing, and through the shadow, he could almost see bones piercing throughout his face and entire body.
It let out a blood curdling roar that unnerved him. Fear was something new to Superman. Being virtually indestructible, he had never found himself truly scared over anything. This beast standing before him terrified him down to his core.
The dark voice returned as ominous as ever. "Kal-El, last son of Krypton, you are going to die."
As if someone had pressed stop on a remote control, he found himself back into reality where the mayor was finished with his speech. "So, Superman, we want to honor you today by giving you the key to the city. We officially welcome you to Earth and to our city."
The crowd cheered as the mayor handed him an opened black case, revealing a palm sized golden key. Still unsettled by the vision he just had, he accepted the key and followed the mayor's prompting to come to the podium and give a comment.
"Well, uh, I do not know quite what to say?" Superman quickly tried to put aside the vision and get his head back to the here and now. "When I first arrived here, I was not sure how I would be received. Here I was, a man with unspeakable powers and abilities; I never imagined how I would ever fit into your society. When I came to Earth, I saw a world at war with itself, but I also saw the potential for good. Very much like my planet, I saw good standing up to fight evil. Since I cannot serve to help my home world, I decided that I would stand and fight evil here, on Earth.
"I have not come here to be your savior, but as an example. As super as I may be, I am only one man. I cannot make Metropolis or this planet a better place by myself. Only together can we make planet earth a better place to live."
Everyone went crazy; the applause was deafening. He waved farewell as the band started to play once again. Taking to the sky, he felt like a new dawn for Metropolis had started. What he said rung true; that he would do his best to embody the human compactly for good. He would take the lead and protect Earth with his dying breath. He did not know what this vision he had was; but if it was a warning of things to come, he would be ready, even if it was the last thing he ever did.
Thank you very much for taking the time to read this story. It has been a blast to write.
Keep an eye out! On 4/3/11 The second story of my Superman trilogy will arrive. It will be entitled: Superman: The Man of Steel (No inspiration or anything to do with the new movie that has yet to be released as of the publishing of this story)