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Sunday 0815 hrs
Whitney was back at the cross.
Tied, spreadeagled, naked, hurting, bleeding, cold. Whitney couldn’t believe this was happening again. And Nigel was there. Cutting him, raping him. Mocking him.
“Who’s your savior Whitney?”
The menacing voice was at it again. Whitney squirmed against the bonds that seemed to only get tighter the more he moved.
“What's the name? What is it? Answer me…” And the knife turned.
Blinding white pain. Blinding white flashes again. The spring formal dance.
“You and I’ve had a weird year. I started out thinking you just wanted to steal Lana. I'm not trying to make excuses, but... I did some things I'm not proud of. I'm sorry, Clark.”
“I appreciate that.”
//No don’t appreciate! Don’t appreciate! That's not enough. I’m really really sorry Clark.. //
The knife turned again. And the flashes turned to red. The loft, Clark’s loft.
Clark holding him, rocking him.
“I love you Whit. I love you so much. Please don’t leave me.”
And the rocking.
More flashes.. more pain… The Fordman’s. the green tattoo. As green as.. Clark’s eyes…
“Did those guys give it to you? Whitney, they’re bad news.”
“You spend all your time trying to steal Lana. Now suddenly you want to become my own personal boy scout?”
“That’s not true.”
“It’s tough seeing yourself the way others see you, isn’t it, Kent?”
//No I didn’t mean that. I see you Clark and you’re beautiful.. your heart, your soul.. //
“Stay away from those guys.”
“You’re not my father, Kent. Now get the hell out of here!”
Blackout, total blackout. Its dark, its cold. How can it be hurting so much?
And then there is Clark. Hauling him up into his arms, his face lightly pressed against his.
“I’m sorry Whit, I’m so sorry”
“What for? I deserved it.”
“Whit that’s not true.” And the tugging. “Whit.. Whit?”
//I deserved it. I deserved it. I deserved it. I..//
The tugging was quite insistent now.
//No, leave me alone… leave me! .. I deserved it…//
“No you didn’t Whitney! Now wake up!”
And Whitney finally came to. He opened his eyes and saw the most beautiful face he’d ever laid eyes on.
“Whitney you gotta get up.. the cops, they’re here.”
Cops? Oh yeah the cops.
Whitney wasn’t completely awake yet, he felt exhausted, like he weighed a thousand tons. There was no way in hell he could get up today.
“Come on… out of bed Whitney fast!”
“Mmm.. what time is it?”
“8 'o clock…” after a thought he added, “Sunday.”
“What? Shit.” Whitney had no idea he’d slept so long. And he was supposed to be on his way by now.
With superhuman strength, he pulled himself upright on the bed. He groaned as he came up but caught himself when he saw Clark turning to him with the most alluring look of concern on his face. Whitney stared back, waiting for Clark to say something. The boy didn’t. So he did.
“I have to get back to the base.”
Clark had known this was coming and yet... he could swear he heard his heart smash to pieces at the declaration. You know with the enhanced hearing and all.
“Hah. You’re kidding right? It’s the polizei down there Einstein. And they’re looking for a Whitney Fordman. Do you know what that means??”
Clark was upset and worried all at the same time. He decided there was no point arguing right now and continued running around the loft setting things right, making sure there were no traces of the last day’s medical commotion in there. Couldn’t have the detectives knowing Whitney was the scarecrow-ed victim. Obviously.
Whitney followed all his movements with his keen eyes. Boy he was fast.
“They’re gonna come up here any moment now, they’re down there talking to my folks... hurry up you moron!”
Whitney smiled at the casually thrown out reprimand. And painfully hoisted himself out of bed. They had to deal with the cops right now. He could get back to the base later. He could travel all night to be there tomorrow morning right on time.
Clark had only to turn his head a little to look down at the detective called Connor along with Officer Haley coming towards the loft. This loft that he had converted into a comfortable lodging in the sky was Clark’s pride and joy. And in the past two days, his once fortress of solitude had been invaded by more people than had ever cared to come by in the past two years. And now these men… come here to take his Whit away… he wouldn’t let that happen. Clark had that look on his face where he is concentrating so hard the vessels in his throat tighten up, making him look all the more sexier. For the nth time, Whitney thought he’d never set eyes on anyone so beautiful.
So while Whitney was sleeping, the police force had been quite busy.
They found out about the two high school kids who’d been elemental in the capture of the notorious bank robbers as also the accidental death of their main man Wade Mahaney. This same guy was Nigel Mahaney’s younger brother. One was Clark Kent, the other – Whitney Fordman.
They came to speak to Martha and Jonathan Kent. And that’s where they found the elusive Fordman kid. Martha told them he had spent the.. the night at Clark’s loft.
They spoke to the Kent kid. He didn’t seem to know much about the night before and they didn’t think he was lying either. And he sure didn’t seem like he’d been victimized. Plus, the boy was too innocent-looking to be involved in such a vicious crime. A trait that would go a long long way in keeping the identity of the strongest man on earth a bona fide secret.
Now the Fordman kid – this is where things get interesting. Whitney Fordman had graduated and joined the Marine Corp a year ago. But he’d been back in town this past week. According to his mother, he was supposed to leave this morning but instead he left yesterday, the morning right after the night of the murder. Officer Louis called up the marines base but Fordman hadn’t reported back yet. Turns out he was hiding out at Clark’s.
Why is that?
And where was Fordman the night of the scarecrow? According to eyewitnesses, he was seen at the new joint called Zinc with a bunch of kids who’d been his high school mates a year ago. Kids who, apparently also hung out with Nigel whenever he was in town. Kids they suspected to have been involved in several assaults, heists and DUIs around town. Kids that Officer Louis was finding more about.
And then there was the mother’s statement according to which he had been with his ex-girlfriend Lana Lang. They talked to Lana Lang and she said the same thing, although she seemed quite vague about the details. Was she hiding something? Was she involved?
Involved in what?!? They still weren’t sure what really happened. Bits and pieces that didn't seem to fit together at all.
So Nigel and the punks rigged up some guy on the scarecrow and had fun with him. Blood and gore fun. And then what? Where did the guy go? Did someone come to rescue him? If so then who? And who or what the hell ripped the guy’s fucking arm off?
Alright so let's assume someone did come and rip his arm off. Then what? He trained the gun to Nigel’s head and shot him dead. Then he got the boy down and took him where? His home? So the to-be-killer is dead and the victim or his rescuer or both are the killers now. Going by Nigel’s foot-long rap sheet, Detective Connor didn’t think he was interested in getting the poor guys anyway.
//Focus Connor. Focus. And don’t forget.. Whitney Fordman has a truck. A red one.//
Connor’s phone rang. He took the call, it was Officer Louis. The call ended and the two men climbed up the loft.
“Yes, that’s me.”
Whitney’s face was still a mess. His right eye was still only half-open, and there were bruises. Very many visible bruises.
“What happened to your face son?”
“I… I was in an accident.”
Clark spoke up.. “He.. He fell asleep on the wheel yesterday morning while driving to the bus station” He chuckled lightly, like he was narrating a really funny story.
“Yeah..” It was Whitney now, getting the hint.
“And I crashed into this tree and so.. you see… C-Clark here found me and.. and brought me to his loft.”
“Why didn’t you take him to the hospital Mr. Kent?”
“Uhh I insisted not to. I didn’t have time for.. for all that. I had to get back to the base as soon as possible.”
“But you’re still here.”
“I’m leaving in the afternoon.”
Clark looked at Whitney. He didn’t like what he was hearing and only hoped he was still in cock-and-bull mode.
“Hmmm” Detective Connor seemed lost in deep thought.
“So.. you left home yesterday morning to go back to your base, but you had an accident and Mr. Kent here brought you back here, tended to you?”
“okay.” Then he suddenly changed the subject.
“Where were you on Friday night Mr. Fordman?”
“I went out with a few friends of mine to.. to the Zinc. After that I went to.. to…”
He looked at Clark. Clark tried to assure him with the blank but rigid stare and a very very slight nod.
Whitney sighed. He had no choice. “I was with Lana Lang. She was my girlfriend in…”
“High school. Yes.”
“What time did you reach her place?”
“Around.. 11 I guess. I’m not sure.”
Whitney sighed again. Clark wanted to do something but he didn’t know what.
“Because I.. was.. slightly drunk?”
“Ah.. of course. Alright then what time did you leave Miss Lang’s place?”
“Umm about 9.30 in the morning. From there I headed back home, picked up stuff and then…”
“Yes the accident and everything. So when did you get the time to drive your knee into Mark Webber’s jaw then?”
“I-I.. I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Clark and Whitney both were holding their breath.
“Mr. Fordman, you were seen at Mark’s gas station around ten in the morning where you proceeded to bull-doze his cabin to the ground and break his jaw. Relax, Mr. Webber is not pressing any charges. I wonder why.. I have no proof but I think that is actually what happened to your face didn’t it?”
And breaths were collectively let out. Clark spoke up first.
“Detective Connor you can’t just accuse …”
“Mr. Kent I can see that you deeply care about your… friend here…”
There was a question mark in his tone. And an exclamation mark too.
“Now what I need to know is .. what was it Mr. Fordman and Mr. Webber fought about?”
He looked at Whitney.
Whitney didn’t know what to say.
“I guess I’ll just have to find out for myself then. Uh Mr. Fordman, where is your truck?”
Dead beat silence.
“I-Its out in the shed. Behind the loft.” Clark spoke up.
The detective wanted to see it. Clark thought there ought to be some kind of search warrant for this but wasn’t sure if asking for one would help their already stinking story right now. So he complied quietly.
They all got down the loft, Whitney quite painfully but putting on his best face so as not to reveal his bodily injuries.
Whitney was scared shitless. The truck might be loaded with evidence of the scuffle and maybe even of Nigel who drove the truck to get to Reiley’s field that… night.
Once inside the shed, he took one look at the truck and couldn't help smiling at Clark. The boy had done an excellent job of cleaning it up and the officers of the law saw as much. Damn. There was nothing they could prove with the truck now. A more minute examination of the truck would definitely need a search warrant because now Jonathan and Martha had also joined them. The kids may have been hesitant to speak up but Kent senior was obviously not.
So far, they had nothing but circumstantial evidence. There was nothing to tie either of them at the scene.
Detective Connor kept the thought to himself. For now. He turned to leave.
Officer Haley looked at Whitney and said, “Whitney, you are not to leave town while this investigation is under way.”
“But Officer I have to report to the base tomorrow.”
“No can do. You want me to talk to your commanding officer? I could do that.”
“That settles it then” This was Detective Connor. And the party shoved off.
“Oh and Whitney…” Haley knew the Fordmans personally.
“Your mother doesn’t know you are still in town, maybe you should give her a ring?”
Whitney stared long and hard at his toes. He’d wanted so much for the whole thing to just be over for Christ's sake. And for his mom not to be involved or hurt by any of this. Now that he was in town longer, he just couldn’t keep running and hiding his face from his mom.
Clark was lost in his thoughts as he watched the officers drive away. He had noticed the weird look that came over Connor’s face immediately after the previous look of disappointment at seeing the good-as-new truck. Clark’d seen and relished the expression for a while only to realize Connor had something else up his scheming sleeve. He was determined to find what that was. So far, he couldn’t think of anything concrete that might place him or Whitney at the scene that night. But Clark Kent had never learnt to be complacent. Every time he’d let his guard down, fate would deliver a blow so severe it would bring him back to his alien senses. An uncontrollable new strength, a painful new weakness, brutal reminders of how mortal all his loved ones were and how immortal he was himself.
He hated it.
Clark was not about to get complacent in this matter. This meant way too much to him. He had to ensure Whitney came out of this unscathed… well… too late for that. Whitney had been scarred for life. He had been through hell and back and it wasn’t over yet. Clark turned to look at the object of his undying affection. His obsession.
Whitney looked worried and tired. And he looked back at Clark with this confusion in his eyes, and on his face.
What was he thinking? He could see anger, he could see pain, he saw fear and resentment, but he also saw friendship and gratefulness, even coyness and ... love?
Point was.. Whitney was lost. He needed to be found.
And brought back home. Clark smiled.
//High time I did something about it then.//
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