By LaraMoon <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted: October 2007
Summary: Some silences can be absolutely deafening.
This was written for a one-word prompt challenge that's taking place in a Live Journal community. You'll note that this is almost ridiculously short. My muse was pretty much all worded out after giving me the last lines to nightfall the same weekend.
Silence wasn't something Clark Kent normally gave much thought to. He wasn't very accustomed to it, in fact, but he didn't exactly miss it.
Ever since his hearing had gone super, when he was in his teens, he had lived his life constantly hearing voices in his head. Real voices — not the imaginary kind. The kind that came from people in danger, people who cried for help, people desperate for someone to come to their rescue.
There was always someone, somewhere, in need of help; desperately calling for someone to save them. Clark heard them night and day; all the time. As such, he was never completely alone in his head — there were always other voices in there as well.
At first, he used to hear all the other voices too. He heard everything and anything anyone within earshot ever said out loud. And considering his hearing extended several miles further than a normal human's, this meant Clark could hear a lot of voices.
Although it had taken him quite some time to develop the ability to filter out the calls for help from everything else he heard, Clark had long ago accepted — and learned to live with — his super hearing.
Oh, there had been that time last year in Smallville, when he'd had to adjust to silence again. Courtesy of his exposure to a chunk of Kryptonite, Clark had completely lost all his powers — super hearing included, of course. And for a short while, he had enjoyed the pleasures that people — normal people — got from listening to what they referred to as "the sounds of silence." His powers had returned just as unexpectedly as they had disappeared and, with them, the enhanced sounds and voices of the world around him.
Super hearing, like heat vision or the power to fly, was just one of the many things that made him Superman. And that was just the way Clark Kent liked things to be.
Truth be told, although having a sense of hearing so developed had some downsides, its upsides made up for them several times over. Apart from the obvious — knowing where and when someone needed Superman's help — Clark could tell, just by concentrating a little on someone's breathing and heart rate, whether they were lying or not. He was able to hear criminals discuss their plans to rob a bank, or kidnap a state official, for instance. He could listen in to what was going on, on the inside, in a hostage situation. And best of all, with just a tiny bit of effort, he was able to hear the comforting rhythm of Lois's beating heart.
No, silence wasn't something Clark normally gave much thought to.
Tonight, silence was the last thing Clark wanted to hear. Silence was the absolute worse thing in the world.
Silence meant death.
Earlier today, Jace Mazic — a heartless villain who had been blackmailing him — had informed Clark that he had taken his parents hostage and that he would only release them in exchange for one thing: Lois Lane's dead body. Things had led to another, almost at the speed of light, and Clark — or rather Superman — had let Lois convince him, against his better judgment, to use his super breath on her, thereby putting her in a state of cryogenic sleep. This way, she would appear dead, Mazic's demands would be met, and Clark wouldn't have to lose anyone he cared for.
Or would he?
The villains — both Mazic and his accomplice, Nigel St. John — were no longer a threat. Clark's parents were safe and no longer held captive. But Lois… Lois still lay, unconscious and not breathing.
He had used heat vision and even tried mouth to mouth. It wasn't working. Lois's heartbeat was still as deafeningly silent as it had been when Superman had frozen her body. Desperately, Clark willed her to live, but that gave no more results than anything else he had tried.
Then, suddenly — finally! — Lois took a ragged breath and slowly, came back to life; to him. The beating of her heart returned to his ears, sounding to Clark like the most beautiful music in the world. And as he held her tightly against his own heart, he prayed for this music never to stop.
Silence, Clark realized, was highly overrated.