Clark stirred as a single arm draped across his chest. A hand clutched at his shoulder and squeezed gently. Turning in bed, Clark’s curious gaze traveled toward Lois, whose eyes were staring at him through the dark room. His vision was sharp enough to make out his wife’s wakeful eyes; they were smoldering with desire, her lip curled in a smile he had come to know very well in their marriage. It was in the middle of the night, but that didn’t matter in the slightest when Lois looked at him the way she was doing now. Sleep fled his mind like a swift current that propelled heat and blood to stir in other areas of his body. He didn’t care to question her middle-of-the-night urge –which, glancing at the clock, read two-thirty in the morning— he only cared about satisfying it.
A slow grin crawled across his face as he turned further toward his wife. He leaned forward, her head dipping to meet his, and sparks flared inside as their lips met. Lois opened her mouth and Clark groaned into it, snaking his tongue around hers, swiftly adjusting himself and kicking impatiently at the sheets until they fell away and freed him to position himself over Lois. He pressed his body into hers, electricity zipping through his veins upon realizing that she was already naked, her soft flesh pushing up to greet his descent. Clark let his weight fall on her, freeing his hands to roam over her smooth, velveteen skin, treasuring the zing of electricity that sang through his fingertips as he traced familiar paths along her skin. Lois arched her back and released his mouth, purring against his touch.
Clark smiled in the darkness. God, he loved this woman! The way she made him feel each and every time they made love, how much he craved her, the sounds she made when he was hitting all of the right places, like right there . . .
“Oh God, Clark,” Lois moaned.
Clark’s smile broadened, but his wife wasn’t paying attention; her eyes were closed, clearly reveling in the sensations he was administering to her. He loved this, loved her, loved—
A piercing scream suddenly reverberated in his skull, making Clark immediately wince. He had turned on his super hearing so he could attune himself to the beating of Lois’s heart, but he hadn’t anticipated on a call coming through. That scream belonged to someone in trouble, and it was close—incredibly close.
Immediately Clark sat up as a second scream rumbled through his eardrums. It took Lois a few seconds to open her eyes and understand what was going on. She groaned, but this was not one of pleasure—it was of frustrated disappointment.
“Is it urgent enough for you to leave this?” Lois asked with exasperation.
“It’s a girl calling for help. She—it sounds like she’s in the house,” Clark responded with bewildered surprise.
In a blur of motion he was on his feet, had opened the door, rushed down the hallway and down the steps, through the living room and stepped into the kitchen where he stopped; this was where his hearing had pinpointed the distress call.
There, sitting on the floor in front of the kitchen island was a young teenage girl. It was hard to tell her age, but she looked somewhere between fifteen and sixteen. She had fiery red curls that ran in long tendrils and obscured most of her face from view. Her arms were up and scrunched into her face. She was rocking back and forth, sobbing.
“Are you—” The rest of Clark’s question died in his mouth as he took in more of her appearance. She was wearing a long black dress that pooled around her on the floor, but what was more significant about this was the fact that he could still make out the wooden base of his island kitchen through her clothing. The young girl sobbing in his kitchen wasn’t . . . solid. In fact, now that his brain had caught up with his eyes, Clark realized he could see through her entirely.
His brain stumbled over the connection it was making. Was he seeing a . . . a ghost?
Seconds ago Clark had been about to ask ‘are you okay?’ but instead, a more blunt and less genteel comment escaped from his mouth. “Who are you?” he blurted out.
The young teenager gave no indication that she had heard him barge into the kitchen, nor that he had spoken. Her shoulders continued to shake as she sobbed.
Clark stood rooted to the floor, unsure of what to do. This was the intruder in his home? This was the girl that had yelled in such a terrifying way a few minutes ago? She was transparent! And. . . what was she? Why was she here? What could he do to help . . . whatever she was?
As questions rolled away in his mind, Clark refrained from blurting any of them, rationalizing that she might vanish if he so much as moved or spoke aloud again. She was obviously in distress, but was she real? Yet as he continued to watch her sob so despairingly, caution gave way to curiosity. He cleared his throat to see if she would show some kind of sign that told him she knew he was there, but she kept on in her fit. Tentatively he took a step forward. Her transparent image remained, though her sobs were beginning to quiet.
“Um . . .”Clark began uncertainly, but still the girl didn’t look up. “Can . . . uh . . . can I help you?”
Quite suddenly her sobbing ended. Her hands lowered minutely, and when they did, a soft clinking sounded on the floor. Clark’s eyes, which had been rooted to the girl’s face, now flickered to the floor where he now saw the small circular object that had made the sound. It fell away from the girl, bounced once on the floor, then rolled toward him, stopping with fluid grace right in front of his feet. It looked like a ring, or rather, a broad band with a flat, smooth surface. Clark squinted. The band’s painted coating looked like a dark clay-red.
He quirked a puzzled brow and lifted his eyes toward the girl, whose face was now in full view. He started, unprepared for the way she looked at him, so solemn and crestfallen. Her eyes—vivid emerald pools—were full of sorrow and despair. He found himself arrested, unable to look away, his heart welling with sympathy at the emotional turmoil he saw in her gaze.
“What can I do for you?” Clark found himself asking, knowing futilely that he wasn’t sure he could do anything for her at all.
The transparent girl—or ghost, he really couldn’t decide what to call her—captured his gaze for a few lingering moments before slowly looking up toward the ceiling. Clark followed her gaze, and found himself standing outside, staring at a large Victorian mansion instead of the ceiling of his kitchen. Shocked as he was, he didn’t question the vision she was somehow sharing with him. His eyes were rooted to the home, drinking in its features.
The mansion was massive. It seemed to take up the whole length and width of a football field, and then some. The exterior was brick red with ornately carved white trimming and siding mixed in with extravagant forest-green shutters and oblong windows. Several turrets and large peaks stretched themselves high into the sky, as if daring anyone to try and sneak in unnoticed—though why that thought crossed Clark’s mind, he couldn’t guess. There was a grand front porch that spanned at least twenty feet long, but its size looked dwarfed in comparison to the rest of the length of the home.
Clark felt his jaw drop as he continued to stare, but into his mind, the girl’s voice, soft and quavering, spoke to him.
It was a full thirty seconds until Clark realized he had been staring up at a dark ceiling—his dark ceiling. There wasn’t a Victorian mansion so large and massive obscuring his view anymore, but rather he was immersed back in the pitch black of night, and he was lying down.
Clark whipped his head. There, right next to him in bed, was Lois, fast asleep. He glanced at the clock: it read two-twenty eight.
That had all been a dream?
Clark brought his hands up to his face and wiped furiously at it. Adrenaline was fueling his system, his body still feeling the effects of the dream. That had all felt so terribly real that it was hard to believe it hadn’t actually happened.
He glanced again at Lois’s sleeping form. He let out a silent sigh. She looked ravishing as she slept. There was the desire to reach out to her and touch her, just to feel something real and solid and comforting, but he didn’t want to chance waking her. Perhaps he could just go down to the kitchen and warm himself a glass of milk like his mother used to do; that would work.
Clark’s mind gave a mental jab—the kitchen. His dream. Hmm. . . yes, he had to go and check.
Slipping quietly out of bed, Clark grabbed at his robe and silently put it on. He hovered above the floor a few inches, careful to avoid the spots that were known to creak as he floated over to the bedroom door. He extended his hand, reached for the handle—and before his fingers touched the knob, it opened. All on its own.
Clark froze, his gaze arrested, watching the door silently open a good few inches before it halted. This wasn’t a super-power of his; the door was opening on its own! Blood now pumping through his veins in earnest, Clark used his x-ray vision and did a sweep of the hallway outside. Nothing and no one was there. With stealth he exited his room, his x-ray vision sweeping the entire way until he had walked into the kitchen. His x-ray scope had told him the place was empty, but he wasn’t convinced. The hairs on the back of his neck stood on end.
Yet as he stood in the doorway, peering this way and that, he did not see the red-headed transparent girl he had seen in his dream.
There was no ghost in his kitchen.
Reality was now catching up with Clark. Of course there was no ghost in his kitchen. It had just been a dream! How foolish he now felt, chasing after shadows that weren’t there. The bedroom door hadn’t been shut properly and that’s why it had opened. There wasn’t anything suspicious or paranormal going on in his home. He was overreacting to a vividly powerful dream his mind had conjured. Nothing more.
It was nothing more.