Fanfic Friday – “One Heck Of A Story”

17 Aug

The clock read close to five AM, and Jimmy dragged his fingers through his bright orange hair. The evening’s fresh edits were still swaying in a looming stack on the desk opposite, and just the sight of them – and the hours of painfully boring busywork they represented – was enough to slump his shoulders and fill him with dread. He glanced at his camera, sitting untouched on the corner of his workstation, and felt a stab of longing. His hand reached out involuntarily and he grabbed it, slinging its familiar weight around his neck. It reassured him. He’d get back on the streets soon enough. For now, there was work to do, and hell to pay if he didn’t get it done before Editor White showed up.

Jimmy stood up and stretched out the kinks in his back. This was the fourth all-nighter he’d pulled this month, and he was starting to feel it. He looked out the towering glass window at the city below, bathed in the soft pink light of sunrise. His face stared back at him in the reflection, looking exactly as haggard as he felt. It was all worth it, though. Mr. White said he’d be up for Junior Assistant if he kept his nose to the grindstone. He yawned, and when he opened his eyes, his mouth gaped wide in silent shock.

The beautiful art deco glass structure of the twenty-foot window exploded inward with tremendous force, throwing Jimmy backward to tumble across his desk. He felt shards of broken glass slice at his clothing and skin, and the breath was punched out of him as his shoulders hit the marble floor. Jimmy coughed and sat up, wincing, and through the fluttering papers and roiling dust he saw a dark figure towering over him, radiating power and malice in tangible waves. Jimmy felt nauseated with fear.

The silhouette spoke then, striding forward, its voice like cracking thunder. “Ah, good. I expected to find this place empty, yet now I have an…assistant.”

This last word was spoken as the figure swooped downward to come face to face with the quaking reporter. Jimmy saw craggy grey flesh stretched over a massive face as thick and solid as stone, and brilliant crystalline eyes which sparkled with crimson hatred. Lips parted with a sound like sliding slate and exposed a flat row of off-white teeth, and Jimmy realized the… thing… was smiling. Realization flashed in Jimmy’s mind, overriding his fear in a ludicrous moment of clarity. “I know you,” he gasped, and the intruder’s laugh was like a storm of falling rocks.

“Yes, human, we have met before. You are the pitiful creature called Olson. And I… am Darkseid.”

The figure stood to his full height, a monstrous alien god in human form. His purple armour shone dully over his powerfully muscled frame. He clasped his hands behind his back and leered down at Jimmy, eyes flashing malevolently. “You possess a device which will summon the Kryptonian. You will give it to me. I will defeat him, and then I will watch you weep while your world burns.”

Jimmy knew that Darkseid was referring to his signal watch, which was currently strapped to his wrist. It took all his willpower not to look at it. One press of the red button set into its face, and he would be safe. But Jimmy hesitated, confused. Wasn’t that what Darkseid wanted?

Before he could make a decision, Darkseid’s smile vanished, and he swung his giant palm downward to snatch Jimmy bodily off the ground. Jimmy’s face was engulfed in the villain’s fist, which squeezed the breath from his throat and brought stars swimming into his eyes. He croaked in terror, his legs kicking frantically, and Darkseid snarled, “My patience is at an end, human. Tell me where the device is.”

Jimmy’s eyes popped as his mouth silently worked, and he flapped his arm at Darkseid’s face. He saw those horrible red eyes focus on his wrist, and the suffocating grip suddenly released, letting Jimmy fall to the ground in a heap. He gulped in air with shuddering gasps, and tore the watch off his wrist to throw it at Darkseid’s feet. It was comically small between the cosmic deity’s huge fingers, and Jimmy saw its green light flash as the button was pressed. Darkseid grinned again, stepped toward him, and Jimmy felt sick. He didn’t want to die. He raised his hand feebly, pointlessly. Oh God…

The rumble of Darkseid’s taunting voice was cut short as a bright red streak punched through the air and ripped him across the office, desks and tables flying aside like so many wispy blades of grass, to crash into the marble wall beyond in an explosion of splitting stone and dust. Jimmy’s girlish scream was lost in the noise, but his heart soared. He was saved! He couldn’t see anything, but he heard Darkseid shout with rage, and there was a sound like a hammer striking steel as the villain’s limp body sailed through the air towards the prone reporter. Jimmy shrieked and ducked, and Darkseid plowed into the floor beyond, grinding to a halt in a cloud of debris. Jimmy spun around, and standing above him like a divine vision was Superman, his cape flowing richly in the breeze from the broken window.

Jimmy could feel the warmth flowing from Superman’s body, and it filled him with hope. There was something strangely familiar in the Kryptonian’s voice as he shouted “Get down, Jimmy,” and his chest swelled as he drew a great breath and blew it out again over Jimmy’s head, icy air pouring over the charging form of Darkseid and freezing him solid to the floor. Superman took a gentle leap over the reporter and clasped his fists together, slamming them sideways into Darkseid’s face and shattering him through the gaping wound in the skyscraper’s side to plummet hundreds of stories to the street below. Before Jimmy could blink, Superman plunged outside after his falling foe, and the reporter was left to sit in sudden silence in the wreck of the Daily Planet‘s office.

The opponents reappeared almost immediately, swooping back and forth in lunging strikes which sent the other reeling into the air, caroming off the ledges of buildings and righting themselves to attack fresh again. They were inexhaustible and immensely powerful; Jimmy could feel the force of their blows reverberate in his chest even from his perch hundreds of feet away. He could hear Darkseid’s rumbling bellows of fury, sounding like a howl from the pits of hell. Superman, for his part, made no noise that Jimmy could pick out.

Jimmy didn’t know when he had pulled his camera up to his face, but he found himself clicking away madly, capturing each and every collision of the epic duel. Through the crosshair of his lens, he saw Darkseid’s eyes flash, and a zig-zagging ray of brilliant energy clawed through the sky towards Superman, who met it with his own heatbeam gaze. The two crimson lights slammed together, blossoming into a violent shockwave which flowed outward in a disc of destructive glare, slicing through several tenements before fading into the air. Jimmy shielded his eyes from the dazzling power of the attack, and when he opened them again he saw that Superman had wrapped his legs around Darkseid’s rippling torso, and was raining blows on the villain’s face faster than the eye could follow. Darkseid was wilting under the furious cannonade of Superman’s fists, and when his body went slack the Kryptonian wasted no time in grabbing his foe’s ankle, spinning around like a top until they were a blur of colour, and releasing Darkseid to catapult with incredible speed into the upper atmosphere, and totally out of sight.

Jimmy was shaking like a leaf when Superman lighted softly next to him. He held out a broad hand and Jimmy clasped it, again feeling the invigorating heat pouring from his saviour’s palm into his own. He stood, unsteady, and looked up into the smiling face of Earth’s mightiest hero.

“I hope you got some good shots. I imagine this will make a great story, Jimmy.” The reporter was struck again by the bizarre familiarity in that deep, calm voice. Superman’s hand came to rest on his shoulder. “And I can’t think of anyone better to write it.”

Jimmy watched as his friend soared smoothly away into the sky, and felt a soothing calm wash over his body. He felt vibrant, and alive, and despite having stayed up behind a desk all night, he’d never felt more energetic in his life. He whistled a sprightly tune and began grabbing papers from the wreckage of the floor.

“Great Caesar’s ghost.”

Jimmy bolted upright and saw his editor, Perry White, standing at the elevator doorway, staring at the crumbling ruin of his office. The colour had drained entirely from his face. He looked up pleadingly at Jimmy, who returned his horrified stare with a broad smile.

“Hey, Chief! Got one heck of a story for ya.”

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: