I’ve lost it.
“You’re looking... well?”
He walks toward us, that smug little smile on his face. So familiar. It’s almost like he’s really here, like he’s not dead, like I’m not hallucinating this whole thing.
Like Hudson’s really lying in front of me, dying.
Kneeling beside of her, I stroke her heavy hair away from her face, crooning slightly. She’s crying, her face wet and screwed up with pain. I don’t understand why she feels real under my touch.
“It can’t-” Shaking my head in denial even as he reaches out for me, I skitter away from both of them. “No. This is some kind of trap.”
It’s the only logical explanation.
Superwoman doesn’t save Lex Luthor. Men don’t rise from the grave.
It can’t be real.
“Son.” The thing with Lionel’s face steps over the thing that looks like Hudson, leaving her writhing on the floor. “Lex, it’s me. Don’t you recognize your own father?” He reaches out for me again, cupping my face in his hands. “I’m alive.”
“No,” yelling now, I try to pull away, but his hands tighten painfully against my skin. “You died. I was there when they covered your coffin with dirt. Ashes to ashes.”
“It was all a ruse, Lex.” His fingers stroke the side of my face, my scalp. They make me want to vomit. “I love you. I had to do it, I had to try and save you.”
Smiling, the Lionel thing lets go of my face, his hand sliding down my neck like oil and resting heavily against my shoulder. He turns back and looks at the Hudson thing lying on the floor across the room. “Yes, from it. From the alien.”
I don’t understand.
That’s not right.
I’m sure the dream’s not supposed to go like this.
He ushers me back across the room, until we’re standing right beside of her, right over her. “The alien was trying to take you away from me, away from your legacy -- trying to make you forget who you are. I wanted to save you from it, but I’ve gone about it the wrong way.”
I’m so confused.
“The wrong way?”
“Yes, Son.” Patting my back, he rubs small circles on my shoulder. “I acted in haste, and I got you hurt. For that I am truly sorry.”
Everything is backwards.
“You hurt me.”
“I would never.” Lionel shakes his head, frowning slightly. “But it would.”
That’s absurd. She couldn’t hurt a fly.
I mean, just look at her -- she’s lying on the floor, practically unconscious.
“She’s an alien, Lex. Not even human.” He leans close to me, whispering in my ear, “there’s no telling what its motives are. World domination.”
“No buts, Lex. I wanted to save you from it, but the only way you can ever truly be free is to save yourself.” I feel his hand close to mine, feel him pass me something cold and heavy. Deadly.
Looking down, I stare at the silvery weapon in my hand. How easily it fills my palm. It feels almost good there, like an extension of my hand.
“You have to save yourself, Son. You have to kill it.”
Why is that important?
“Kill it, Lex. Do it for yourself.”
I don’t want to kill her.
“I love her.”
“Its love is a lie, Lex. The alien doesn’t love you, it wants to control you.”
Hudson looks up at me, but says nothing. There’s a sad finality in her eyes.
And so much pain.
“Do it, Son. Do it for yourself.”
Not a dream.
I tighten my loose grip on the gun, raising my hand slightly. “Yes. Kill it.”
He smiles at me, eyes reflecting my weary face.
Turning, almost in slow motion, I raise the gun higher and aim it at my father. “You need to die.”
“Lex!” He raises his hands, palms up in surrender. “You’re confused, Son. Put the gun down.”
“Why should I? You gave it to me. Armed me.” Walking toward him, I watch as he skitters backward this time. “You’ve armed me from the very beginning: teaching me to hate, teaching me to betray. Why should I go against all that now?”
“You never wanted to be a Luthor, Lex.”
“But I am, aren’t I? Blood tells.”
“Lex. If you do this you’ll be a murderer.”
“You bred me that way, you son of a bitch.”
I see his eyes widen in horror, but I don’t hesitate. I don’t stop. I pull the trigger over and over and over and over, until I’m standing over his fallen body, the gun clicking uselessly in my good hand. His red blood runs across the glowing green floor, turning it a sickly black.
The gun clatters to the floor, chamber empty. Backing away from my the body, I trip over my own clumsy feet, falling on my ass.
I killed him.
Dead by my own... hand.
Can I sleep now?
Can I sleep with Hudson?
Scrambling to my knees, I turn back to where Hudson was lying on the Kryptonite floor. Where she was dying.
“I don’t understand.”
The Reaper really does wear black. And he has... ears?
“Let’s get you out of here.” He takes me by the arm, pulling me toward the door.
No, I can’t leave here.
“Wait, Hudson. Where did she go?”
Please, don’t let her be dead.
Don’t let her have faded away like some hero in the movies.
“I took her outside. She needed away from the Kryptonite. Sunlight would be better, but we’re a few hours away from that.”
I’ve forgotten what the Light is like.
“Come on.” I let him drag me up the stairs and outside, trailing behind him like a confused child, watching as his cape flaps in the breeze created by his wake.
It’s cold outside, the ground covered with a few inches of snow which has melted in the heat of the day and then refrozen at night, crunching under my feet like brittle bones cracking. Shivering, I wrap my arms around myself, trying to block the cutting wind.
I don’t know what to do, where to go.
Nothing is as it seems, nothing is as it should be.
Everything is wrong.
My father is dead. I killed him. What kind of man does that make me?
This is the fall of the House of Luthor.
I taste salt in my mouth, feel my face burning in the wind. When did I start bleeding? No, not blood. Tears. Luthors don’t cry, we don’t care enough to cry. I’m a Luthor, so why am I crying? Am I not a Luthor? It doesn’t make any sense. Nothing makes sense any more. I’m so fucked up.
A house divided against itself cannot stand.
What if I want to make a new house?
Am I strong enough to make a new house?
I look up and see her standing over me, her honeyed skin uncharacteristically pale, her green eyes tired and worried, wet from crying. It’s not right. Angels shouldn’t look like that, they shouldn’t cry.
But this one does.
Does that mean a crying Luthor is fine too?
The first step is admitting you have a problem.
I have a problem.
I am a problem.
“I need your help.”
Feedback comforts me.