Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Chapter 11: Impact

It was the last thing that Lex had expected to discuss. At the same time, it was an event (like the day he first met Clark) that he simply couldn’t escape. “Quite a bit, actually. What do you want to know?”

“Just tell me what you know.”

Shrugging, Lex described that morning in sparse detail beginning with the helicopter ride, wandering the fields, finding Jeremy Creek (Smallville High’s homecoming scarecrow for that year), and seeing the meteor strike. Slowing as his memories and description dwelled on the eerie shockwaves of energy, dirt, debris, and corn chaff thrown toward him as he ran – Lex finished his narration describing how it felt when the churning ashes and smoke carried him into the air tossing him from gust to gust until his consciousness seeped away. As thoughts returned to the present, he was stunned by the awareness that as he delivered his narrative, Jonathon had come to sit beside him gripping his shoulder in sympathy as he might have his own son’s. As Lex regained composure, Jonathon nodded and dropped his hand but stayed seated by Lex.

“Then you don’t remember how you reached the hospital?” waiting until Lex shook his head in denial before continuing, “We drove you.”

“You were out in the meteor shower?” Lex asked curiously, Clark had never mentioned this.

“It happened on the same day that we were bringing Clark home. During the meteor storm, we were caught between impacts with one landing just yards from the truck. The truck flipped. Clark’s carrier opened somehow. When I came to, he was outside the truck without a stitch of clothing left on him… in the middle of burning cornstalks and earth.”

Jonathon stopped to gauge Lex’s reaction, infinitely glad that he and Martha had carefully discussed the exact wording they should use – avoiding anything that would trigger Lex’s suspicion. Every word had accurately described some of that day’s events – without giving away the fact that Clark’s carrier had been a space ship or that Clark, then barely a toddler, had rescued them from the overturned truck by pulling the truck’s doors off their hinges. If it worked, Lex’s response would be an almost obvious question.

“Did it? Of course, it did, or you wouldn’t be telling me this. I’m sorry,” Lex fumbled with the unexpected thought of all his questions answered.. “What did it do? I mean how did it affect him?” I’m right., Lex thought to himself, Clark is different, but how different?

Smiling to soften his next comment, Jonathon reached out brushing the side of Lex’s forehead as if pushing a hair back into place as he said, “What you lost on the outside — Clark lost on the inside: the chance to live a normal childhood and, for a child growing up in the “Meteor Capital of the World”, he lost something particularly important: immunity to meteors…” Pressing the meteor into Lex’s hand, “You can see what a small piece of the meteor does to someone who was shielded from the impact when the truck flipped.”

As the stone left Jonathon’s hand, the rivulet of blood simultaneously stemmed it’s flow into a single drop that fell to his shirt — leaving no other trace. “Can you imagine its effects on someone who wasn’t shielded?” Jonathon asked quietly.

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