“The Cave” [Rated PG]
Martha watched Clara come downstairs and her jaw dropped. Clara had her hair braided back out of her face and was in a light summer dress and a pull over sweater that she had grown out of a couple years before. Clara was stunning. Martha said, “Stop for a second before you get down here. Spin around and let me see you. You know, I always thought I had a daughter. Now I know for sure. Uh. Lift your skirt a little for me.” Clara complied. Martha said, “I didn’t think you had any underwear that … that brief … and I thought all yours were cotton.”
Clara blushed and said, “They’re yours, Mom. I borrowed them. Is it OK?”
Martha said, “You aren’t planning to show them to anyone are you?”
Clara said, “Of course not. They just make me feel more like a woman somehow … and today I wanted to feel like a woman.”
Martha said, “Any particular reason?”
Clara said, “Not really. I’m going on a nature walk with a friend today. Actually, I’m going to look at a new office building that LuthorCorp is putting up and then go for a walk in the area near the construction site. I like to see how buildings go together. I want to build a thing or two when I grow up. We’re just going to see how the building is coming along then walk around a while. I thought a cool breeze on my legs would feel good.”
Martha asked, “You have to watch out for those men on construction crews.”
Clara said, “This is Sunday. Construction crews don’t work on Sundays in Smallville.”
Martha said, “If Lionel Luthor is building something, I’m surprised he doesn’t have a crew working on it twenty-four seven. Well, enjoy yourself and don’t do anything that I wouldn’t do.”
Clara said, “I won’t!”
Martha was happy to see the smile on her daughter’s face. Clara had somehow recaptured some of the carefree spirit she had had in her first couple years on Earth. Martha said, “You had better get out of here before your Father sees you dressed like that or he’ll follow behind you with his shotgun!”
Clara giggled and said, “Bye Mom.”
Clara met Lex near the construction site. It was fenced in and there were some Native Americans picketing the place. Clara found the site preparation interesting, but none of the major excavating had even been started so she was a little disappointed. Lex showed her the blueprints and she pointed out some problems and made some suggestions. Lex was surprised and impressed by how she was able to understand the plans and wrote down everything she suggested.
Soon they were walking around enjoying the lay of the land. Lex had grabbed a picnic basket from his car and they were looking for a nice place to set up. Then Clara bent down to look at a wild flower. Lex smiled as he watched her, but he was horrified when suddenly the ground gave way below her and swallowed her up. He looked down the hole at Clara lying on her back a hundred feet below. He shouted, “Angel, are you OK?”
Clara said, “I’m fine but my dress is a mess!”
Lex said, “Should I call for a paramedic?”
Clara said, “No, just find a rope. I can climb out of here easily. I’ll be okay for a long while, just throw me down a few bananas. I’ll just sit down and make myself at home. The air is nice and cool!”
Lex threw the bananas down to her and said, “Well, I’m going to hurry because I’m not enjoying myself being up here while you are down there.”
Lex ran off and Clara found a smooth rock to sit on. She peeled a banana and casually began eating it. Then she felt something on her leg and lightly brushed at whatever it was through her skirt. But the feeling didn’t go away. She started feeling more and more things squirming up her legs. She lifted her skirt and saw strange wormlike creatures all over her. She tried brushing them off but they were persistent … and slimy. She got up and tried harder to get them off. It wasn’t working. She saw one on her arm and smashed her arm against a wall to get it off. She was disgusted by the things and was getting into a panic because they just would not stop crawling all over her. One got on her hand so she formed a fist and then smashed her first into the middle of a circular pattern in the wall. A strange power surge flooded the cave but Clara didn’t pay attention to it. She thought she heard someone talking about her destiny but she didn’t care. All she cared about was getting those slimy things off her body. Over the next few minutes, the cave walls were smashed and explosions erupted as Clara spun and ran and pounded up against the walls. After a while, Clara brushed herself of and examined herself to make sure that all the worms were gone. She looked up and there was no longer a cave roof above her … or even a cave – just a large depression in the ground filled with gravel.
Clara looked down and saw a rock with a glyph on it. She thought that it was interesting so she picked it up. She heard Lex shouting to her and she walked up the pile of rocks to get to him as he reached for her. Lex said, “What the hell happened here?”
Clara said, “It all just collapsed!”
Lex looked at her battered and filthy dress and asked, “Are you okay? I don’t even see any scratches.” He stared at her and looked really scared.
Clara said, “I’m fine Lex, really I am!” Lex threw his arms around her and pulled her tight against him. She said, “DON’T LEX!”
Lex loosened his grip and said, “I could have lost you. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to grab you like that. I know you don’t like it.”
Clara said, “I didn’t say I didn’t like it. It’s just that you have nice clothes on and I’m filthy dirty.”
Lex said, “I don’t mind getting dirty!” She smiled at him and he broke into a smile too. He laughed and she giggled and then their faces suddenly got serious again. Lex pulled her tight again and they had their first real kiss – at least the first one since the day she rescued him at the river.
Martha heard the front door open and went into the living room. She saw Clara in her filthy, torn dress and said, “My God! What happened to you?” But Clara didn’t answer. She had a bright smile that filled her face. She seemed like she was in some distant place. She walked across the living room as if she were floating on air – and probably was. She placed a flat slab of rock upright on the mantle and then turned and walked back past her mother as if she didn’t see her. Clara silently walked upstairs as Martha walked to the fireplace. She looked at the glyph that Clara had placed there. It showed two central figures coiled around each other in a loving embrace surrounded by two dozen of smaller figures.