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Whitney still couldn’t believe this was happening to him. Surely he was dreaming. He was stuck in one of his twisted nightmares. And it didn’t fucking make sense! He had just been kidnapped and assaulted by four guys he considered his friends not so long ago. And tonight he was being told that they never were his friends at all. That they had hated him all this time.
They were definitely homophobic and thought that he was… was gay? They hated him so much for being the star quarterback? They hated him so much because he was with Lana? They hated him so much because he had been popular? They hated him because he was in the fucking army?
Apparently, the four had targeted all their frustrations and anger of their own lives at him. A year ago they wouldn’t have dared. And now, what changed? Had he come back even looking like the awkward rookie that he was among the marines? Had there been some sort of vulnerability, some look of weakness about him?
“What the fuck is wrong with me?”
Whitney was so miserable he could cry. What had he done to these guys?
On the other hand, its quite possible he might have been totally nasty to them without knowing it. Its not like he didn’t enjoy his exclusive status in school. And his list of misdemeanors ran long and wide too. But the only time Whitney had felt he had really really crossed the line was... was with Clark when he made him the scarecrow of the year because of his jealousy and possessiveness. And he had not even bloody apologized. Not properly, not enough. To think that Clark never really seemed to hold a grudge against him and rather, had helped him out so many times… made him feel all the more worse about the stupid incident.
The grease in his mouth was making him want to hurl. Maybe he should, perhaps it would get some of the alcohol out of his system and he could have a minute chance of fighting the bastards. He tried the chords at his wrists again only to feel a leather booted foot dig itself into his struggling hands almost breaking his fingers. Couldn’t even scream.
Suddenly the truck stopped moving. The doors opened and Whitney was heaved out of it like a bag of garbage and dumped on the ground.
That’s when he saw the scarecrow.
“What took you so long?”
This voice was new. Oh my God. There was someone else too. Whitney looked towards where the voice had come from.
There was a figure standing in the headlights of the truck still on and he could hardly see him. The figure started to move. Move out of the direct glare of the lights. Move closer to where Whitney lay among his abductees. Move to where he could clearly see who this was.
Whitney had no idea who this was.
“Of course you don’t know who I am.” The guy was tall and dark and well-muscled, he had greasy hair and a rough stubble with a cigarette between his lips and smoke coming out of his nostrils. He was dressed in black leather pants and a black sleeveless vest. And there was a glowy something ... a kryptonite tattoo on his right shoulder.
“My name is Nigel.”
Suddenly it all made sense. For a split second, Whitney actually felt relieved. Only to return to total panic immediately after. Boy was he in trouble.
Mahaney noticed the way Whitney suddenly let his head fall to the ground and waited for the next blow as he walked towards him. He took the gag out of his mouth and Whitney let out a huge breath.
“Whitney Fordman. Haven’t had the pleasure of your acquaintance before. You skipped town before I got back.”
The voice was strong and deep and in any other situation might even sound sexy and seductive. It was also disturbingly accent-less.
Mahaney was circling him now. Whitney so wanted to writhe in pain but he decided he didn’t want to give the bastards the pleasure, and stayed still. The others were obviously Mahaney’s stooges. Some people stay sidekicks all their lives.
“Wade was my kid brother you know. I loved him. Like every brother does as I’m sure you know. Do you have a brother Whitney? May I call you Whitney?”
//What's with these people? They totally intend to talk me to death. //
Whitney made a brave attempt to speak up, spitting out some of his blood in the process.
“If I had a brother like yours I’d have made sure to keep him from getting in trouble. And if I’d failed, I would have hauled his scheming ass to jail myself. And that’s Fordman for you thank you very much.”
Whitney had never seen an evil smile before. People in Smallville are too nice to smile and not genuinely mean it. People in the corp don’t smile period. And then a kick landed right in his face. Followed by another this time in the gut. Whitney cursed, not drunk any longer and feeling each pain very very acutely.
“You are responsible for my brother’s death. And justice must be done.”
“That’s not true, I…” Another kick in the jaw.
“Lets not waste your precious time Mr. Fordman, considering you have so little left.”
Pause. If Whitney was expected to say something at this point, he disappointed. Whitney was scared now.
“If you haven’t figured it out already.. Mr. Fordman .. its payback time”
Then Whitney was dragged up and thrown onto his own truck face down. Pretty much the way he had thrown Clark onto it two years ago. The moment the image of that night popped into his mind, something came over Whitney he never thought was possible in his lifetime. A sudden calm descended over him. Just as it hit him that if this was the last night of his life, figures that it should turn out this way. Exactly the same way.
//Judgment day cometh.//
He felt sharp blades at so many places on his body cutting away his tee shirt and jeans and most of his flesh along with them. It stung, it hurt so bad.
“Say something Whitney, don’t be so quiet.”
This was Mark mocking his minor attempt at bravery. Whitney lay on his left cheek and stared at Nigel as he stood quietly beside the truck staring back at him with bloodlust gleaming in his eyes. He was bleeding from his thighs and arms and waist and where else not. His shoes and socks were pulled out leaving him in his boxers. He was picked up again and dragged towards the scarecrow post. This was so familiar. It all felt so familiar. Like he’d been here before. Of course, he was Nigel then. But he was Clark now.
He was Clark. Whitney didn’t realize it, but he had smiled slightly at the thought.
They undid the wire chords only to rope him spread-eagled to the scarecrow instead. Whitney closed his eyes and felt the spray snaking an alphabet on his chest. There he stood in the glare of his own truck’s headlights, beaten and naked and marked, bound hands and feet to a wooden stake. Déjà vu.
“You think the little slut likes it?” It was Brent. He sure was stuck at the whole homosexual thing more than anyone else.
“Let's find out” That was Hector and he cut off the boxers off from Whitney as well. Whitney closed his eyes. The pain couldn’t get any worse. Could it?
And they laughed and cussed and called him all kinds of names and continued with the physical molestation this time more focused on his exposed genitals.
“That’s enough” This was Nigel. The stooges turned around to face him. Nigel came toward the bound figure. He blew smoke into his face.
“This isn’t over Fordman. You’re gonna pay for the life of my brother….” Whitney let his head rest on the wood behind him. The oppressor took out the cigarette from his mouth and pressed it into Whitney’s bare shoulder, just on top of the kryptonite tattoo. Whitney’s screams reverberated in the air for a whole minute. Then the stub fell to the ground.
“Come on boys. Let's give Mr. Fordman here a little privacy.”
“Goodnight Mr. Fordman.”
And the victor (as if there had been a fucking fight) turned and moved away from the scarecrow and towards a black car standing a short distance away. Two of the four went with him while the other two walked towards Whitney’s truck
“You know..” //Whitney don’t do it. Don’t do it Whitney . Shut the hell up//
“When… when that old car wreck came crashing down on your brother..?”
“He was holding me by the neck under it, he wanted to crush me. But thanks to this… this friend of.. m-mine, I escaped and it crushed him instead. Your brother.”
Whitney had no idea why he said it. Nigel’s expression that he could make out even in the semi-darkness did nothing to stop the steady flow of words from his mouth that Whitney couldn’t control any longer.
“You see this.. this f-friend of mine.. he.. he’s a good man. He can’t be angry. Or selfish. Or jealous. What I did to him.. and he saved me. That’s something almost... superhuman don’t you think?”
What the hell?
Whitney was asking himself this question too. But he couldn’t stop. He couldn’t stop himself. He was phasing out.
“I wish I had his soul you know. I wish… and pray.. that I had his soul”
“If you wanna pray for something Mr. Fordman…”
Nigel started walking again. “Pray for the sun not to rise.”
And then they were gone. And he was there, alone and he chanted to himself over and over..
“I wish I had his soul.”
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