Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Chapter 35: In Dim Light

When the bitter solution finally began to wear off, Lex opened his eyes and was hit with a strong wave of nausea as he struggled to sit up. The task was made only marginally more difficult for the fact that his wrists were tightly bound with a rope running up to a rail about three or four feet from the floor then back down to a rope that bound his ankles. Turning so that the rope ran up over his shoulder with his back against the wall, Lex was finally able to sit up and extend his legs slightly.

Looking around, he could barely see with only a little grey light showing down from a dirty-gray window. Although incredibly dim, the light was strong enough for him to see Clark tied close by. But, unlike Lex, Clark wouldn’t be able to set up because whoever had tied him had taken extra measures to be certain that Clark couldn’t escape—tying Clark’s arms beneath him with a rope wrapping tightly around his waist to keep them in place. Then, a second rope binding Clark tightly above the knees ran upward to bind Clark’s ankles together and tie them to the bar a few inches from Lex’s head. Watching Clark begin to stir, Lex was hit with another wave of nausea and before he could control it was doubled over vomiting between them. Beside him, Clark groaned, rolled toward him, and asked weakly, “Dad, are you okay?”

The effort it took to ask the short question left Clark panting, as Lex took several seconds to recover from the dry heaves that followed before answering, “No, Clark it’s Lex.”


When Clark turned toward him, even in the dim light, Lex could see that something didn’t look right in Clark’s eyes. There was a troubling vagueness in his stare… some lack of recognition that could have come from the earlier blow, from whatever drug was used, or from Clark’s illness before that.

Inexplicably, Clark asked, “Lex, I don’t understand… why are you here? Where’s my dad?”

Forcing a calm, casual tone into his voice, Lex responded, “Clark, it’s all right, your mom and dad are back at home.”

“Oh, Ok” Clark answered as if finding himself tied upside down were an everyday occurrence.

“Clark, what do you remember?”

Clark started unevenly, his voice rough with rapidly falling tears, “I thought you were off on your honeymoon, and…” Clark’s voice broke in confusion as he asked again “Where is my dad?” as if Lex hadn’t answered the first time.

Christ! Lex thought to himself. This is the last thing we needed. Trying to control his frustration, Lex spoke as soothingly as he could when he answered, “He and your mom are at home waiting for you. Can you tell me the last thing you remember?”

Before he answered, Clark’s face contorted for several seconds, then gasping, Clark burst out, “Oh God…” and became sick adding his stomach contents to the puddle between them.

Unlike Lex’s sick spell, though, Clark’s gagging lasted for nearly forty minutes while wave after wave of dry heaves racked his body once his stomach contents were ejected. Finally, too exhausted even to turn his head, Clark gasped, “I’m sorry.”

“That’s okay. It hit me like that too,” Lex smiled softly, as he lied to his friend. It was not okay by any stretch of the imagination that Lex could contrive. Clark was in serious trouble and it looked like Lex would have to be the one to come up with the miracle this time.

When Clark didn’t respond after several seconds, Lex worked the rope on his wrists high enough over the bar that he could reach over to touch Clark’s shoulder with his foot. Several nudges were enough to convince Lex that Clark was either asleep again or unconscious. Finally, looking around the room as he worked on the knots at his wrists, Lex tried to figure out where he could find a miracle to pull out of his hat.


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