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At the Smallville Hospital, “What happened Mrs. Fordman?”
“Oh I uhh.. silly me.. I managed to cut myself with my own knife”
“On your breast? At five thirty in the morning?”
“Uhh.. I was kinda sleepy actually. I.. I get up at five every morning. I do! Was.. trying to make some ..fresh.. orange juice. I’m not sure myself how I managed to get cut here.”
“Must have been really sleepy huh?”
Betty chatted with the nurse and looked up at her son, who was standing on the outside of the cubicle after the nurse turned him out while she worked on Betty. He stood there, miserable, close to breaking down, biting his lower lip till it bled, clasping himself to stop the trembling. Betty tried talking to him throughout the way to the hospital but he just wouldn’t tell her what was eating away at him. Anger? Fear? Guilt? Whatever it was he’d gotten himself into, it was slowly draining his innocence and filling him with such bitterness and rage. She was being driven to fearing the worst but she had to keep it all to herself. Whitney didn’t ask her to lie but she knew that’s what she had to do until he was ready to talk himself. She smiled away at the nurse and prayed silently.
//Holy Mother. Please look after my son.. give him peace. Give him peace.//
They came back home and Whit still hadn’t spoken a word. Once inside, Betty reached for him and sank into his arms. Whitney held her, restrained his tears and whispered softly,
“I’m sorry mom.”
“Shhh its not your fault. I know it isn’t”
If Whit earlier thought his mom was a weak woman, he now knew how wrong he was.
“Whitney if you need my help, you’ll ask for it wont you?”
Whit silently nodded into her hair.
“I know.. I know you think your mother is fragile and breaks easily but..”
“that’s okay baby, I know you want to shield me, from.. whatever it is you’ve got yourself into..”
And she added with a sob she couldn’t stop, “You would’ve told your dad but you wouldn’t tell me!”
Whit looked at her, now crying himself. “Mom please… its not that.”
His features contorted with absolute misery. She didn’t want this. She kissed his face.
“Its okay.. shhh its okay.”
She wiped her own tears away and added in as composed a tone as she could manage,
“Do what’s right Whitney. Do what is Right.”
She hugged him once more and with much trepidation she let him go. Whitney heard his mother crying softly as she went upstairs into her room. He stood where she left him.
He didn’t move. He didn’t cry. He didn’t speak. He just stood and stared up at his mother’s closed door. After an eternity, he moved. Opened the door and stepped out.
Danny and Mark were driving toward the safehouse just outside of Smallville. This was Nigel’s hideout, where they’d brought and hidden Nigel’s car, the sedan the police hadn’t located yet. And this was where Nigel had brought and hidden the loot from their last big heist – at the Luthor bank. The stash they couldn’t afford to lose. The stash that would make them tremendously rich. The stash that if the authorities ever got to know about, they’d be serving multiple life sentences in twenty countries.
Nigel Mahaney was no cheap hustler. He was one of the elite in the murky world of hi-tech sophisticated crime. It was said he’d trained with the IRA in covert operations.
Almost covert that is.
His weakness for pretty boys could easily give him away. Leaving a trail of brutally tortured, raped and artistically butchered men doesn’t exactly count as covert. Everyone who knew him knew him to be ruthless and psychotic. But he’d still managed to escape the law, with the only conviction they’d ever been able to bring to him was for drunken assault. He generally operated alone which had worked quite fine for him, until he came to Smallville and hooked up with this bunch of social rejects to do his not-so-sophisticated work. And now he was dead.
The boys were scared shitless. Their mentor was dead, their friends were in jail. And if a connection was established between them and Nigel Mahaney, it might not be long before the police got to know about their deepest, darkest secret. Only one way to cut their losses and get out of this mess – and this was something Nigel would never have approved of.
“Mr. L-Luthor, this is.. this is Danny Donner.”
“Mr Luthor you there?”
“Is this a secure line?”
“Yes sir this is an untraceable cell phone”
“I gave you strict instructions never to call me directly”
“Nigel is dead”
“Get to business. You have my package?”
“Good. I’ll get back to you with details of the rendezvous.”
“S-Sir there’s .. there’s a problem.”
“Two of my boys were arrested yesterday for.. for..”
“I’ll send someone to take care of it. Don’t you dare contact me again you got that?”
“Get to the safehouse. I’ll contact you when I need to.”
“Yes sir we’re al..” The line went dead.
Samuel Connor sure hated it when people disturbed his sleep. And here was some guy calling him incessantly for the past 15 minutes.
“This is Whitney Fordman. I.. I’d like to speak to you?”
Connor was wide awake now.
“Fordman? Uh sure. Why don’t you come by the Sheriff’s office by..” he looked at his watch. It wasn’t even seven. What's with this kid? He had to know.
“How about you come over by eight? I’ll meet you there.”
And Whitney hung up. This was going to be very very difficult for him. But one thing was for sure. He wasn’t gonna name Clark in the whole deal. No way.
Whitney wondered the streets of Smallville to vile away the time. He remembered the night before, and how beautiful it had been. He remembered Clark, his eyes, his hands, his lips, his strength, his warmth. Thinking of him, Whit could feel his touch, his mark on every tingling inch of his body and shed silent tears. He thought of his mom and lamented the pain he’d caused her in the past four days. He remembered his friends at the base, his dad’s hopes for him, his combat simulation programs.
//Boy am I gonna miss that//
His thoughts wandered back to his mom and he closed his eyes in inexplicable shame.
//I did this to her//
//It wasn’t your fault!//
//Sure about that?//
Whitney’s mind was in turmoil. But he knew he just had to get police protection for his mom and the only way to do it was admit to what really happened that night. He didn’t want to, and didn’t want to even think about what this could mean for his career with the marines. Right now, his mom was the only person he was concerned for.
Monday 0730 hrs
“Clark? Aren't you supposed to be going to school?”
“Yeah.. Lex I need to see you. Its urgent. I.. I need your help again.”
“Its about the Fordman kid again?’
“Its okay Clark. When do you want to come over?”
“As soon as possible. I could come in.. half an hour?”
“Hmm okay. I’ll be waiting.”
“Let me help you first. Thank me later”
“Okay. I was just..” and the line went dead.
Clark so hated it when he did that. But right now, he was more thankful than anything. His thoughts wandered back to the boy he assumed was sleeping, and he hoped peacefully.
//Patience my love.. I’ll get us out of this mess.. I promise//
Lex Luthor kept the phone down and turned to his father.
"What will you tell him?"
"Whatever you wish."
Lionel Luthor blew five hundred dollar cigar smoke into his son's face and smiled.
Monday 0800 hrs
At the Sheriff’s office, Whitney reached exactly at eight and went in. Connor wasn’t there yet. So he came out again, feeling relieved actually, intending to roam the streets a little while longer, going over his story over and over.. making sure there were no loopholes, and no suggestions that Clark was involved.
//He was torturing me Detective. I have the wounds to prove it. And he was about to rape me too.//
//How did you escape?//
//I convinced him that I wanted it as much as he did, and he undid the ropes. And then we had a fight and..//
//And you ripped his arm out?//
//You want me to believe that you were injured and still you managed to ripped out his limb with bare hands?//
// I just lost it baby.. I was so … mad with rage and.. and pain! I felt physically pained.. and so angry and.. so.. in complete rage and …. just so…//
Whitney forced his thoughts back to his story.
//And then what happened Fordman?//
//And then he took out his gun and, just like that he.. he shot himself in the head.//
//Just like that?//
GAWD his story stank! No one was going to believe Nigel had a gun and he shot not Whitney but himself! How will he ever be able to get away with this? Unless.. he said what he was expected to say…
//And then he took out his gun and, he tried to shoot me… and we struggled and it went off… Nigel got hit.//
//That the whole truth boy?//
Whitney was interrupted by a soft voice and he turned to see where it came from. A young girl stood clutching a book to her chest, looking up through her bespectacled bewitched eyes.. at him.
//Officer Haley’s daughter.. Lisa was it?//
The girl couldn’t be happier. Well of course she could.. but Whitney Fordman.. the Whitney Fordman remembered her name! Right now she was the happiest she’d been all her life. And then Whitney smiled at her.
“How are you Lisa?”
“I’m.. I’m good. How are you Whitney?”
“Yeah. I’m good too. You’re a big girl now Lisa.”
Lisa was delighted. “Yeah? Yeah.. well I’m in eighth grade now.”
The two were walking in the direction of the school. His subconscious somehow chose to take him to his former high school, must have happened around the time he was wishing he could go back to when dad was around. Whit was too occupied to notice the awkward silence but the girl obviously wasn’t.
“So.. looks like you came back and brought the excitement back to Smallville huh?”
“What do you mean?”
“Oh you know.. the scarecrow murder?”
“Nothing exciting about murder Lisa.”
Lisa realized that was a wrong thing to say, and tried to make amends.
“You’re right. Nothing exciting about murder. Its.. just that.. you know I heard dad talking about it with mom and… everything is so weird about this case!”
//Tell me about it.//
“Yeah. Like what?”
“You promise not to tell anybody?”
Whitney frowned at the girl. “Okay”
Lisa looked like she’d explode if she didn’t get stuff out of her system. Might as well do it in front of him. He worried if she’d heard anything about him being discussed. Apparently not.
"This is just such a high-profile murder. Did you know that the Sheriff personally called a detective from Metropolis PD to look into this matter?
"Yeah. A Detective Samuel Connor."
"Yeah that's him. Dad is so pissed with him. Says his methods are way too odd for a small town like ours.
"Yeah. Yesterday, he walks into the Smallville General hospital and demands to see old blood test reports or something, just like that.
Whitney felt his insides twist.
//Could he do that? It would be illegal wouldn't it, getting samples without a judicial warrant?//
And here he was about to put his life, not to mention his mom's life in his hands!
"I.. I guess they must know who the victim is then huh?"
"Hmm maybe. Dad didn't say"
Whitney was lost. He was so lost. He looked around for directions, didn't know which one he was meant to take. He looked at the girl next to him, and decided someone up there must still love him.. running into Officer Haley's daughter like this.. cant just be chance.
"Wow this is all very interesting Lisa. What else did you hear?"
“Okay so… did you know that the dead guy had his arm actually ripped out of his body? And the post mortem reports say it was done with bare hands or something!”
Whitney wanted to roll his eyes but he was too polite to do that to the little girl who he’d been told had had a massive crush on him when he was in school.
“Yeah I knew that. This was on the news.”
“Oh yes! It was.” and she got serious. “But this wasn’t.. did you know that they found flattened out bullets?”
Whitney froze. “Bullets?”
“Flattened out bullets!”
Like Whitney was missing out the whole point …..
Lisa continued, “Lots of them! Almost an entire .45 clip in fact. Apparently, the bullets were fired at something really hard or bullet-proof or something .. the bullets hit this thing and they just.. got flattened out! Makes you wonder what exactly they hit huh. But you know what's even weirder?”
The words were flowing away.
“The bullets were found just in front of the scarecrow. But there are no signs of any kind of heavy object or any object having been placed there at all! And also, the scarecrow is absolutely unscathed. Looks like someone put this something in front of the scarecrow to protect it.. rather whoever was tied to it.”
The world was spinning. There was no ground beneath his feet.
//He lied to me! He lied to me! //
(To Be Continued...)