Standard Disclaimer: This story is a work of fanfiction, intended solely for the enjoyment of the reader. No profit is being made from this, no money has changed hands. I do not own the characters nor did I create them. ('Cause if I did, Clark would just go ahead and kiss Lana and stop this whole calf-eyed mooning around thing but then again maybe not since I like Chloe better).

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AN IMPORTANT NOTE!!

I have had trouble getting italics to translate in the uploading process so ....

1 - Internal thoughts are designated with a *before and* after.

2 - Flashbacks are preceeded with

*****

and when the flashback is done

*****

Sorry about the confusion, it's the best I've got for now.

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Other notes:

My apologies to Rebecca who wrote a story of this same name back in April. No infringement was intended, I simply didn't do my 'title homework'.

Xanthia

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Oubliette

by Xanthia Morgan

The deluge lasted three days. Three days without stopping, without relenting. Lakes swelled, rivers threatened upper banks and streams that once carried minute amounts of water now moved with growing momentum.

Those folks who lived along waterways began to fill sandbags and talk about moving valuables. But the people who lived along the banks of Black Creek just scratched their heads and wondered at their luck. The wide stream, while thick with runoff, was no higher than normal for rainy days. They couldn't know that a smaller, underground stream was taking most of the water load, eating a path through a hidden vein of soft dirt and crumbling rock, until it reached a place where the rock wasn't so giving and it had no choice but to boil upward toward the lush Kansas farmland. In a frenzy of kinetic energy, the water rush ate away at the vulnerable earth, creating a deep pool that reached ever closer to the surface above. Then the rains stopped. Deprived of its energy, the water relented, ceasing its feeding frenzy just short of the grassland above. The pool drained and left a small cavern in its place. A cavern whose floor was littered with glowing green rocks.

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Clark Kent leaned against the tractor and dumped a cup of water down his neck, sighing as the cool liquid dribbled down his back. The hot Kansas sun beat down on the long lengths of hay drying under its intense rays and Clark was taking a moment to rest in the shade of the farm vehicle's huge wheels. Normally, working in the south pasture with his father was just like anything else - fast and easy. But today Clark felt as if his superhuman strength was being slowly sapped away.

"Maybe it's just the heat," he thought. It was a particularly intense July day with temperatures hovering just below one hundred degrees. And just because he'd never been bothered by temperature before didn't necessarily mean something was wrong. Still, he couldn't help but feel that the draining sensation was oddly similar to what happened when he was around the meteor rocks. He examined his hands for the telltale signs of exposure but saw nothing unusual in their pale backs. "If I just rest a minute, I'll be fine," he told himself and he closed his eyes and let the shade cool his overheated body.

"Clark? Son? Are you alright?"

Clark's eyes flew open and he squinted up at his father's shape silhouetted against the intense blue sky. He blinked a few times and tried to dispel the disorientation that plagued him. Something wasn't quite right but his brain was so fuzzy he couldn't get a handle on it. His father's shadow melted downward and Clark found himself looking into Jonathan Kent's very concerned face.

"Clark?" Jonathan asked again. Clark had been working by his side all afternoon and even though he'd told his gifted son to take it easy in the heat, Clark had been working slower and slower as the afternoon wore on. Jonathan wondered a bit about that but since Clark could only work at the pace of the baling machine, he didn't dwell on it. It wasn't until Clark went to get a drink and didn't return that Jonathan got a little concerned. And when he found him slumped against the tractor wheel disoriented and confused, that concern turned into full blown worry.

"Dad," Clark croaked as his father's distress registered through the fuzz. "I just needed to get some shade." Clark struggled to his feet. That was what was different. He'd been standing before. When had he sat down? Clark shook his head in confusion. "I must have dozed off or something."

"Dozed off? Son, we need to get you home." Something was definitely wrong with Jonathan Kent's son. He hadn't just 'dozed off' since he was five. Well, that wasn't exactly true. He did seem to need more rest immediately after his encounters with those meteor rocks but there weren't any around here. As soon as they'd learned of Clark's sensitivity to the meteor fragments, the family had scoured these fields and removed them all, not that there many to begin with. No, the closest accumulation of the dangerous remnants was almost a mile away, in Black Creek, and that was far enough away for them to be safe.

"Dad, I'm okay. I just needed to take a break. I'm fine. We can finish." Clark pushed away from the tractor and stumbled. Jonathan caught his arm.

"Clark!" He sat his son back down in the shade. "What is it?"

Clark sighed. "I don't know, Dad. I'm just so tired. Maybe it's the heat."

"I've never known the heat to affect you before. Still . . . we'd better get you cooled off. Come on, son, let's get you home. I'll unhook the tractor and we'll drive over to the pickup."

Clark eyed the pickup, parked half a field away, then the tractor which was hooked to the huge baler and wagon. He knew it would take time to detach the couplings and that it would take even more time later to hook them back up. "Don't do that, Dad. I can make it to the truck," he assured his father. They'd already lost enough time today.

"Are you sure, Clark?" Jonathan knew as well as his son how much time they'd lose if they had to uncouple everything but he also didn't want to risk his son's health any more than he had to.

"I'm sure."

Clark let his father give him a hand up and started slowly toward the truck. He hated it when he let his dad down. He knew this field needed haying and soon. It was supposed to rain again and they'd already lost one field to rot after the heavy downpour of last week, and God knew they needed the hay to sell. Things were tough on the Kent farm and Clark did everything he could to make things easier for his parents. Something like this was not what they needed.

"I'm sure I'll feel better later, Dad," he told his father as they slowly made their way. They'd not cut this part of the field yet and the long stalks swished around their knees as they walked.

Jonathan kept a steadying arm around Clark's shoulders. He could practically feel the disappointment radiating off his son. He knew how hard Clark worked to help keep the farm running, how hard to tried to make things better for him and Martha. He'd lost count of the times he'd given thanks for this wonderful boy at his side. Now, he just wanted to lift his spirits. "You know," he quipped lightly, "if I didn't know better, I'd say you were coming down with something,"

Clark smiled slightly at that. "Dad, you know I don't..." But whatever he was about to say was forced back by the impact of his knees hitting the dirt.

"Clark!" Jonathan caught at Clark's arm but it wasn't enough to keep his son from crashing down. "Clark!"

Clark wanted to answer his father but he couldn't. His head was swimming and the earth beneath him was shifting. Jonathan caught his son's swaying shoulders in his strong hands, steadying him. He released one hand long enough to cup Clark's face and bring his son's unfocused eyes up to meet his. "Clark, what is it?" he asked urgently.

"I ..." But Clark couldn't finish. Without both of his father's hands to keep him upright, his body fell forward and he landed on his side.

"Dad . . . you have to . . . " Clark gasped as another intense wave of dizziness engulfed him.

Jonathan caught Clark's hand in his own. "I have to what, Clark? What are you trying to tell me?"

"Dad . . . you have to get out of here."

"What?"

"Under us. Get out of here, Dad. Please. The ground . . . " Again Clark stopped short, stunned by another attack of vertigo. Despite what was happening, he could feel the ground beneath him slowly giving way. He had to get his father away! "The ground . . . is . . . "

But Clark didn't need to finish. Jonathan felt the dirt beneath him shift suddenly and he knew what his son was trying to convey. The ground was unstable. "Don't worry, Clark, I'll get you out of here."

"No, Dad! You have to move, now." Clark pushed at his father weakly, desperately trying to get him to move away before the earth beneath them collapsed.

"I'm not leaving you, Clark." Jonathan said with stern finality as he stood up and grabbed Clark under the shoulders.

But it was too late. The ground cracked and crumbled around them as the unsteady earth gave way and plunged them into the newly made cavern below. They hit bottom, two ungainly thuds as their bodies connected with the floor. Jonathan's head connected with an outcropping of rock and the last thing he heard as the world spun away in darkness was his son's scream of agony, echoing off the rock walls that surrounded them.