I took a walk around the world
To ease my troubled mind
I left my body lying somewhere
In the sands of time
– Kryptonite, 3 Doors Down
“It’s been almost two weeks since this guy appeared, and there hasn’t been a single sighting since the bar!” The lead agent spat as he entered his superior’s office.
“So, you’re telling me a man with the power to rip our fastest jets apart with his bare hands has just… vanished?”, the superior asked incredulously.
“Maybe he went back to where he came from,” another of the four agents present in the briefing suggested.
“That doesn’t negate our need for answers,” the first agent shot back as the man behind the desk sat absently drumming his fingers as he listened to the petty bickering.
“Gentlemen,” the man behind the desk spoke quietly, yet caught everyone’s attention. Beyond his size, the burly agent’s reputation had made him a virtual legend in the office. “The fact is, whoever, or whatever this man is, he is powerful. And, if there is anything we have learned in our experience, it is that power,any type of power, does not exist in a vacuum. It demands to be used. So, if he is still out there, we will be hearing from him. Until then, we need to keep our minds, and our eyes open, so we will continue to monitor all sources that indicate there might be something odd happening…”
“We might have a lead,” a young brunette told him as she burst into the room just then.
“What is it?” the lead agent snapped.
She ignored him, and put the report on the desk in front of the director. “Nine days ago, a little boy spotted a flying man who swooped down and stole his father’s shirt off the line due east of his last sighting. The only reason the report was logged was because a neighbor saw the same man when he went to investigate the kid’s shouts.”
“Nine days ago,” the director murmured. “The day after the bar.”
“Any indication of what direction he headed,” the agent asked.
“None,” the woman told him. “The report stated simply that he flew up into the sky.”
“After stealing a shirt. This guy is unbelievably powerful, and all he did was steal a shirt?”
“The punk at the bar blew a hole in the one he had on the night before this report,” another of the men realized. “It’d be hard to pass yourself off in a crowd with a shotgun blast in your shirt.”
“All right. Someone get out there and interview the kid, and the other witness. Find out anything the local boys didn’t bother learning. Maybe you can pick up something they missed.
“In the meantime, I want everyone scouring the news, and AP listings. I don’t care how it sounds, if it’s the slightest bit suspicious, I want to know about it,” the director told them.
“You really think this is more than just a hoax,” the woman asked the director after the other agents left.
“You don’t rip three navy jets apart in front of a battle group without being seen, Ms. Graves,” the director told her. “And while it’s brief, and fragmented at best, our satellites are definitely picking something up that is moving around the globe at fantastic speeds.
“Whatever it is, we have to assume it’s real, and a potential threat.”
The debonair agent nodded. “I’ll keep reviewing the newscasts,” she assured him. “If what you said about power is right, he’s sure to slip up again before too long.”
“I have a confession to make,” Clark told Laura, who was gaping at her completely rebuilt barn. A barn that was now not only refurbished, but cleaned, and freshly painted.
What made it so unbelievable was because it had apparently been done in one night. Every bit of it. Because she knew it had been the same rundown, near-ruin just the night before when she went to check on her few chickens. Suddenly, the odd noises last night made sense.
“Who….. What are you?”
“Well, obviously, I’m not from around here,” Clark told her as he sat on a pile of debris from his work project so as not to alarm her by appearing too threatening. “And I thought if I helped you out a bit, maybe you would hear me out, and not go running off to the authorities.”
Laura swallowed hard. “You……can’t be human,” she realized, looking at the barn, and at him again.
“Honestly,” he said with a wry smile. “I’m not.
“But I was raised by humans, as a man.”
“In…… Kansas,” she rasped.
“Yes,” he nodded.
“You know,” Laura eyed him suspiciously. “You’re starting to sound like you’re right out of a……
“Oh my god. It can’t be,” she gasped, staring at where he sat.
“Mrs. Hastings,” he asked with a frown.
“My…… My son used to read comic books. His favorite was…….”
“You look just like……”
“Clark Kent,” he finished with a smile.
Laura nodded mechanically, unable to tear her eyes from him.
“You….. don’t have a cape under that shirt,” she asked a little uneasily.
“No,” he told her.
She relaxed slightly.
“I left it back home.”
Laura’s mouth dropped open, and he stood slowly as he smiled at her. “Could we finish that talk now,” he asked.
She managed to close her mouth, and stared up at him. “Are you trying to tell me that you’re really…..? I mean that you are…. him?”
Clark rose five feet off the ground, his feet standing on empty air.
He caught Laura just before she hit the ground.
Clark sighed as he berated himself for showing off, and returned to the ground to carry the woman back inside the house. This, he decided, was going to be a long day. A very long day. Still, he reasoned that he was going to need an ally to get around this strange world, and she was the best prospect he had encountered to date.