By JDG <email@example.com>
Submitted: August 2007
Summary: Sequel to the fanfic "Scream." Some people asked what made Lois scream.
The thugs pulled ski masks over their faces. "Right or left hand?" Burly asked.
"What?" Lois locked her knees to remain standing. Superman was still on the television and the distance felt like more than half the world away. He wasn't going to save her — not this time.
"She's left-handed," Shorty said. "Her watch is on her right wrist."
"Why does it matter?" Lois asked. Her voice cracked, betraying her fear.
"Read this," Burly instructed, holding up a note as he took hold of her left wrist. Shorty wrapped his fingers around her right wrist at the same time. Lois reflexively tried to twist away, but neither of them gave way.
Lois cleared her throat, fighting the rising panic and glanced down at the paper Burly was holding in front of her.
"P—, Perry," she started off shakily, forcing her to clear her throat again. "Perry White, you were warned not to run a certain story." The paper swam out of focus for a moment. What story? Perry had never told her he had been threatened over a story. She looked up at the video camera. 'Not your fault, Perry,' she thought. 'This wasn't your fault.'
"Keep going," Burly said, shaking the paper to remind her of her task.
"You printed the story anyway." Lois barely managed to croak the words out. "We warned you this would happen."
She had barely finished reading before Shorty stepped behind her, twisting her right arm uncomfortably behind her back.
Time seemed to slow down as her eyes went to the television screen. Superman was still in China — he had no idea what was going to happen to her. He wasn't going to come.
The paper fell from Burly's hand, fluttering back and forth as it drifted to the floor. Burly took hold of her pinky finger and wrenched it backwards.
Lois let out a muffled yelp. Her eyes found the television again. He was still there. So friendly, so helpful, so very, very far away. Her finger was throbbing as she took in several shallow breaths, still trying to comprehend what was happening.
Burly took hold of her ring finger and she let out an involuntary whimper. "No," she whispered, more as a reflex than anything else. The whimper quickly became a moan and then she was screaming…
Perry turned off the television, unable to keep watching. He glanced out the window of his office in time to see Clark coming down the ramp into the newsroom. He knocked on the window, gesturing Clark into his office.
"Yes, sir?" Clark asked as he opened the door.
"You know how to get in touch with Superman in a hurry, don't you, Clark?"
"Yeah, I guess so." Clark's eyebrows furrowed in confusion. "Why?"
Perry closed his eyes and nodded. "Find him. Find him fast. Tell him it's Lois—"
"Lois?" Clark's expression changed at the mention of his partner's name. "What's happened?" He took in the worry in Perry's eyes and the faint trace of sweat on his brow. Something was very wrong and the thought made his stomach twisted in fear.
"Just find him."
Clark took off on a jog across the newsroom.
Less than a minute later Superman streaked through the newsroom and into Perry's office leaving a wake behind him that stirred up papers off the desks. "What's happened to Lois?" he asked Perry.
"Please shut the door," Perry answered and then gestured for Superman to join him in front of the television. He had already rewound the tape and he now pushed play.
Superman said nothing, watching as Lois shakily read the prepared statement. Perry looked away, unable to continue watching. He saw Superman's jaw clench, a muscle jumping in his cheek, as they broke her first finger.
"Who are they?" Superman asked as the volume of Lois's anguish increased. His eyes closed momentarily and then his head turned away from the television to look at Perry.
"I don't know." Perry shook his head, hating this helpless feeling. He hit 'stop' on the remote, unwilling to let it continue to play Lois's pain. "I was warned not to run a story on Roland Bardsley last week but he's still in prison so these have to be hired goons."
"May I?" Superman held his hand out for the remote. Perry passed it to him and he punched rewind. "When did Lois leave here?" he asked.
"Around ten this morning. I told her to take Clark with her, but he wasn't here."
Superman flinched and took a deep breath. "Where was she going?"
"The warehouse district. She didn't give me a specific address."
Superman nodded and took another deep breath before hitting 'play'. As soon as Lois began to speak he thumbed the mute button, his eyes scanning the screen for a hint, a clue, anything that might reveal where they had taken her. There was nothing. She was in an empty room — there wasn't a stick of furniture that he could see. Only Lois and two masked men. Men who held her as she struggled. Her gaze was fixed on something just below the camera and he saw her mouth the name, "Superman."
He hit 'stop' and his head bowed for the briefest of moments. When he lifted his eyes again Perry saw the same horror and fear he was feeling in them. For a moment Superman hesitated and Perry wondered if he was about to rewind the tape. Instead he set the remote down and his lips thinned in a frown.
"Call the police," Superman said, "and give them that tape. I'll contact you as soon as I find her."
The memory of Lois's screams echoed in his head as he flew. Clark scanned the buildings of the warehouse district, his agitation growing with each passing second. She might not even be there. They could have taken her anywhere after she met up with them.
He pushed away the possibility that they might have killed her after they had stopped taping. She wasn't dead. He would know it — somehow — if she was dead. Wouldn't he? Wouldn't he feel something that momentous, that life-changing, in his soul?
'Right,' he reprimanded himself, 'just like you knew when they were torturing her.'
And then he heard it — the softest little sound, but one that tore through him like hot shrapnel.