By Jessica Ackerley <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted: February, 2007
Summary: Clark and Lois are buying a new house together and decide to check out the neighbourhood. They and Jimmy encounter some weird and sometimes disturbing things along the way, but, in the end, will they survive it? Set in seasons 3-4.
The fierce wind curled around them, nipping at their skin so that they all pulled their thin jackets around themselves more and huddled together.
"What is the point in this?" Jimmy Olsen asked, hopping from one foot to the other, trying to keep warm.
Clark Kent, who never usually felt the cold, shoved his hands deeper into his pockets. "We're just checking the place out before we decide if we want to live around here or not."
Jimmy sighed then smiled. "I take it, it was Lois' idea to come on the windiest day of the year and at night, huh, CK?"
Clark laughed. "Got it in one."
"Shh! we're supposed to be looking," Lois Lane-Kent hushed, peering through the bushes that they were hiding behind.
She thought about what could be inside the gothic castle-like building. The house was vast and witch-like, its narrow and pointed turrets and towers were like the spears of an 18th century knight. The dampened and dark path leading to the house had opened suddenly onto a gulping black lake.
The weird noises that people had been hearing, coming from the property, certainly were intriguing. Maybe someone was hiding out in there. Maybe it was just the wind or something.
Maybe it was ghosts.
Lois shook her head, trying to get the last explanation out of it. She didn't like ghosts.
"You okay, Lois?"
She looked up at Clark. Lois slipped one of her hands into his and smiled. "I'm fine."
He smiled back and squared his shoulders to the cold. Lois raised the binoculars that were around her neck to her deep brown eyes and peered at the door. The small brunette hesitantly pulled the binoculars away, frowned and looked again.
"What is it, Lois?" Jimmy asked.
Lois looked across at him and narrowed her eyes slightly. "I'm not sure…it's like an engraving."
Jimmy took the binoculars that she offered him and stared through them with concentration. "It's like a child's drawing of stick people, carved into the door," he confirmed. "Let's take a closer look."
Clark led the way with Lois following closely behind. Jimmy trailed them uneasily. When the friends got to the door they all stared in surprise at the carving. On the old, wooden, 19th century door was indeed a child's drawing.
"I I I don't u-understand. Why does it have our names on it?" Lois asked not really wanting to hear the answer. If there was one.
"I have no idea," Clark whispered, one finger tracing the three stick men and women, each of which had their names underneath them. Clark put his arm around his wife's shoulder and smiled. She smiled back at him apprehensively.
Clark saw this. "Don't worry. I'm sure this is just some kind of sick joke." He tried to smile to lighten the mood but even he knew that this was more than 'just some sick joke'.
*FLASH CLICK FLASH* Jimmy, a photographer for the newspaper they all worked for, The Daily Planet , took some photos of the door.
Clark grasped the door knob and twisted it. With a piercing shriek it opened; he tentatively pushed it and stepped inside. It swiftly slammed shut, locking him inside.
"CLARK! CLARK!" Lois screamed, banging on the door. Jimmy also tried to open the door but neither of the two friends succeeded.
Clark was well and truly trapped.
Clark whirled around quickly as he heard the large door slam shut behind him.
"NO!" he shouted. "Lois! Jimmy!" Clark banged his fists on the door continuously.
Suddenly, a light flickered on. Not a pendant light or a bedside lamp, but a film projector. Clark's eyes widened in fear as, on a big white screen hanging on the wall before him, he saw a film of himself, Lois and Jimmy playing in a field when they were about six or seven. He didn't recall seeing a film like this before and even if he had, how did it appear here?
'Had someone been secretly filming us all those years ago? We didn't seem to be looking at the camera throughout the whole film,' he thought, a chill running down his back like a rollercoaster.
Clark's phone rang in his pocket, the tune, Summer Of '69. He fished it out and read the caller ID on the LCD screen. 'Lois Mob.'
He pressed accept. "Lois?"
"Clark? Clark, are you ok?"
"I'm fine. I'm fine. Are you ok?"
"Yeah, I'm ok. I was just worrying about you. Do you know a way to get out?"
"No. Um, a really weird thing just happened, when I came in here. An, um, projector thing came on and it kinda showed a film of us when we were about seven. But I've never seen it before and none of us look at the camera throughout the whole film. I think someone was secretly filming us."
"Oh my god! We're going to try and get to you."
"No, it's too dangerous, I'll just try and find a back — " Clark was cut off and his phone slipped from his grasp as a huge white light filled the room.
A figure appeared, strolling purposely and proudly from the source of the light. Clark's breathing became almost ragged as he saw a strange object in the hunched man's hand. 'Friend or foe?' he wanted to ask but didn't dare; from his point of view he was already in a sticky enough situation.
The figure continued to saunter towards Clark and the light gradually cascading onto his harsh features, which looked as though they had been roughly cut by an inexperienced sculptor, showed anger. Perhaps anger at being disrupted in his house by a stranger.
Clark's mind buzzed with ideas for escape. Maybe if he just ran really fast? Well, the man before him didn't really look like a sprinter!
He then thought to simply tell the truth. He came from a stable and loving family with good morals and hated to lie. But what would become of him after that? Would the man just let him go or would he not even listen to Clark's explanation and lock him into a room and never let him out?
Time seemed to slow as the man progressively continued to confront Clark and the younger man did the only thing he could. He ran.
And run he did. Clark ran so fast he could have put an Olympic gold medallist to shame! He slowed slightly as he reached an oddly-shaped door.
Without hesitation, he grasped the door handle. He entered the decaying room and closed the creaking door behind him. The room was huge, with rusty and rotten bay windows. There were many dark and hidden corners, which looked as though they'd never seen sunlight. The blinds and floor-length drapes had been closely drawn, like a coat in the wind. He could hear the wind and the rain as it whistled around and pelted down on the windows. A single oil lamp stood dimly lit on a rich, mahogany desk.
The desk looked strange amongst its decrepit surroundings and Clark wondered if the room was as unused as it looked. There were the dying remains of a fire in the ashy grate. Two very dirty and smudged mirrors hung limply, high up on the grubby, bare walls. A wonky, wooden shelf housed two rusty candlesticks and threatened to fall on anyone who walked beneath it. The young reporter could hear the distant out of tune ticking of the ancient grandfather clock and then noticed, atop the questionable desk, an old- fashioned typewriter with half-typed-on paper sticking out of the top, the writer obviously disturbed while writing whatever it was up.
Lost in his musings, Clark failed to notice the door parting slightly and a form standing in the hallway watching him.
The eyes, never wavering, continued to watch as the stranger leafed through the papers in the desk drawer. At that point, the ageing man vowed to make sure the man he was watching knew who he was being watched by.
"Arghhh! My lock pick doesn't work on this stupid door!" Lois huffed, frustrated.
"Why don't we go look for a window or something?" Jimmy suggested, stepping back off the doorstep and peering around the corner. The young gofer did have a point, so Lois and he crept around the left side of the building to see if they could climb through — or even break into — a window. When they reached one, which was nearly six feet away from the ground, Lois immediately offered to go first and so Jimmy helped her to climb the stone wall.
"Can you see anything?" Jimmy hollered, hesitancy in his voice.
"Nope, it looks pretty empty from up here," Lois replied. Sighing, she clambered in the rest of the way and jumped inside.
"Are there any ropes or anything?" Jimmy called, looking left and right so see if anyone was coming. They weren't exactly trespassing, they were trying to save their friend and he only needed saving because their curiosity got the better of them and, well, seeing your names on a house door kind of peaks your curiosity. He just hoped they got there in time. It sounded so cliché in the movies, but when you were in that position the phrase was perfectly fitting.
Lois scanned what looked like a child's bedroom. There was a large, four-poster bed with a thick, deep, red quilt and a small, scruffy brown bear with a patch on its head and one button eye missing. If she would have checked, Lois was certain the bear would squeak when you pressed his tummy. Lois' eyes glazed over as she remembered the bear that she had when she was younger, it was just like the one on the bed.
Her scientist father, Sam Lane, had given her the bear when she was five years old and she named it Frankie. Her mother sowed a small tag onto his right leg with L.L on. She absolutely adored Frankie and had been utterly distraught when he was stolen. He had been in her mother, Ellen Lane's bag when they were out shopping and the bag, unfortunately, was stolen by a gang of youths and never returned. She had been given another bear and many others after but she still loved Frankie the most.
Lois snapped back to the present but still felt a bit teary eyed. She looked under the bed, in the drawers, everywhere, but she couldn't find any rope.
"I can't find — oh!" Lois looked down at Jimmy and saw that he was holding a large, thick piece of rope. "Where did you — oh it doesn't matter, here chuck it up."
Jimmy did so and Lois attached one end securely around the bed post and threw the other back down.
Jimmy started ascending the rope and in a matter of minutes Lois was helping him through the window. "It's a good job I was so good at the ropes in gym class!"
Lois chuckled and they made their way carefully into the hallway. If Lois could have chosen one word to describe the hall it would be ominous. The air was murky and thick and there was only a patch of carpet left. The hall itself seemed to stretch out for miles and the bare, grubby walls were cracked with one or two dust-covered pictures and portraits dotted around and hanging crookedly. A horrible stench like stale tobacco loomed around them and tea and coffee stains covered the oversized tablecloth, once beautifully embroidered, which sheltered the small table near the left wall.
If Jimmy could describe what the place looked like it would be a dingy motel. He had seen plenty of them in his job while being undercover with Lois and Clark and had also seen plenty of the people who lived in them. Unemployed, divorcees, runaways…he'd need three hands to count them all up on but he wasn't stereotyping, those kinds of people really did live in those types of places and Jimmy really wished they didn't have to. He wished no one had to go through those things but he knew deep down that the world would never be free of anger and betrayal. It was as if the world had been made — destined — to fail.
Jimmy wondered if there were any occupants in the house. If there were, then he was almost certain they wouldn't exactly take too lightly to him, Clark and Lois coming into their house uninvited. He had seen plenty of movies — maybe too many — where a group of people -okay , so they were usually teens — were eaten by a madman turned into a werewolf. Okay, so it was a little far-fetched but that was the silver screen for you!
Clark searched through the drawers of the desk. Inside was an old newspaper dated 7th April 1986. He picked it up and scanned the front page. It was an article, declaring the tragic mystery of a lost six-year-old girl. The girl, Emma-May, had last been seen four days previously in her garden and her father, Eirad Alan Carded, was left grief-stricken. Eirad often was not seen for months and even years on end after her disappearance.
There was a picture of little Emma-May and Eirad in their garden. Their house, the house that Clark now stood in, was in the background. It didn't look as dark and scary as it did now. Emma-May had long, flowing fair hair and bright eyes with long eyelashes. A cold shiver ran down Clark's spine as he realised with a start just who the man was who had confronted him, Eirad Alan Carded.
Clark dropped the newspaper and hurried out of the room, his spectacled eyes flickering over the corridors, looking for the man.
"Mr. Carded?" he dared shout as he picked up his pace. "Mr. Carded, are you here? My name's Clark Kent. I know about your daughter. "Can I talk to you?"
Clark stopped; the deep-seated silence was almost deafening. Then someone stepped out of the shadows; it was Eirad.
"Hey," Clark whispered hesitantly, not wanting the man to bolt before he had a chance to talk to him.
"Hello," Eirad croaked, his voice not used to talking.
"I'm sorry about before, when I ran. I didn't know this house was occupied," Clark explained, taking a step towards Eirad.
Eirad nodded. "That's okay. What are you doing here?"
"My wife and I, Lois, are thinking of buying a house down the road and we just wanted to check the places around here out," Clark responded.
Eirad accepted the explanation and changed the subject to what the younger man had told him earlier. "So you know about Emma-May?"
Clark nodded. "I'm sorry for your loss; she was a beautiful little girl."
"Yes, she was," Eirad agreed.
Clark saw a weird expression cross his face. Guilt? Clark mentally shook his head. Eirad obviously wasn't to blame, his little girl had just wandered off and had been unable to find her way back
Jimmy and Lois had heard the shouts and were now running at full speed to the other end of the house. Every time they came to another huge door they would sling it open and carry on running, never slowing.
Then they saw them, Clark and an old man.
"Clark!" Lois shouted, flinging her arms around him.
"Lois! Are you okay?" Clark hugged her back.
Lois nodded. "I'm fine." She turned to Eirad. "Hello, I'm Lois, this is Jimmy."
"Nice to meet you." He shook her outstretched hand and then Jimmy's. "I am Eirad, I am Eirad, I am Eirad."
The three friends frowned as he jerked and shook until small sparks of electricity shot from him. They moved back and 'Eirad' fell to the floor.
He stopped moving and Clark knelt down. "He's a robot!"
Jimmy knelt down next to Clark. "Wow, that was weird. So who's Eirad then?"
Clark shook his head."I don't know, but there is or was one and he lost his daughter twenty-six years ago." He stood up and sighed. "Maybe this house is deserted after all!"
Lois and Jimmy agreed to that explanation and they made their way home.
No one saw the two bodies lying in the cellar, one small and decayed and the other larger and bloodied. No one ever saw the bodies. No one ever saw the murderer. But the people never forgot and the venture was never forgotten…