Sep 2012 20

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A crack of thunder echoed over Metropolis. The lightning made silhouettes of the city’s skyscrapers, sprinkled lights as far as the eye could see were twinkling as the tiring inhabitants went to sleep. Soon, only street lights remained amid the relentless downpour. A golden globe spun atop one tower, surrounded by the crest ‘The Daily Planet’. A lone figure floated above, wearing a cape, unmoved by the storm around him.

Adopting an observant posture, he listened intently for any signs of distress, any cries for help. He was expecting a quiet night, for the world had just endured and overcome one savagery. Tonight, of all nights, he was confident that the city would be safe.

Superman floated down silently, and landed softly on the roof of his alter ego’s workplace. His gaze never wavering from the city below. Never wavering, that is, until something distracted him.

“Show yourself” he demanded, “I know someone is there, I can hear your heart beat”

“Through the rain?” inquired a deep, gravelly voice.

“Yes” replied Superman, nonchalantly. The rain eased slightly, increasing visibility. “What do you want?”

The shadows behind the support pillars for the globe shifted for a moment, and then were still again. A gust of wind shot the standing water collecting on the floor into the air, as the mysterious figure responded only with movement..

Superman spun round and prepared himself.

“I’m not here to harm you.” Said the voice, “I’m here to warn you.”

“Warn me?” Superman responded, with slight disdain, “Sir, whoever you are, I advise you to think twice before entering into any confrontation with me, I’m here to protect, but will not hesitate to act, if necessary.”

“There are others who can stop you, if you go down the wrong path. Your actions, due to their very scale, have not gone unnoticed.”

“You talk of the Lantern?” Superman had heard of this one, a man with a ring of magic.

“He is not alone.”

Superman appeared to be looking at the floor, he was using his x-ray vision to penetrate each level until he saw his target, Louis Lane, still working late into the night. He relaxed, no longer sensing a threat from this presence. “Unfortunately, I am.”

“You are wrong, you have the city.” replied the stranger, “There will be times when they question you, fear you. But they will always need you. It is a responsibility. Are you ready for it?”

Superman looked to the sky, towards where his home once was, a world lost to the harsh will of the universe. Fate dealt him a cruel blow, but this new world, this new home had taught him much. The obligation to protect his new home grew exponentially, each passing day. There would be challenges, yes, but he knew what must be done.

“As long as I draw breath, I will protect this world.” Superman said as he gazed towards the voice.

Out of the darkness, the shadow emerged slightly, a flash of lightning illuminated the roof for all but a moment, exposing his form. A dark suited man, with a cowl shaped like a bat, his cape flapped across the city landscape. “Then we do so together”

Another flash of lightning struck, the thunder on this one was deafening, it distracted Superman for only a moment. He turned back to where the shadowy figure stood.

But it was too late. He had already gone.

KAZ

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