The Death of Clark Kent
The sun beat down and for the first time, Clark Kent despised it. He had wandered the Earth for two lifetimes not changing at all. He'd seen Lois and their son and daughter all pass. Bruce and Diana too, though she'd outlasted the rest, had succumbed to their mortal fates. Only Clark remained.
Metropolis, his beloved city, lay in ruins as well, because they'd come. Zod's Army, other exiles from the Phantom Zone, broke out of their prison, found Earth, found Kal-El, and almost killed him. Clark's only ally, the bright yellow sun he'd lived under for so long, made him stronger than the entire army put together. He'd beaten them, just like the countless other foes over the centuries and he was tired.
He'd tried to turn to writing as Clark Kent III, but he world moved past newspapers and real journalism. They didn't care about facts, only what was directly relevant to their daily lives. He'd given up on that too. No more Truth, Justice, and the American Way... just him wandering the Mojave Desert, trapped by his need for sunlight and his everlasting life.
Many miles away the mighty Metropolis was no more. Following Zod's Army, the remaining citizens struggled to resume life. It was difficult, because they had no leader. No one to Trust. There was only Luthor. Not Lex, but his great grandson Vincent. A man born with synthetic Kryptonite in his skin. A man invincible to Kal-El. The ultimate version of his great grandfather's madness.
Zod's Army left Luthor alone as they only wanted to break Superman. Hoping they would succeed, Luthor waited in the wings like a coward. Following the utter destruction of Zod's Army, Luthor issued his plan. He planted a bomb, a device so malevolent, it was said to be able to break the Earth in half. Luthor told the world he'd put the bomb in the middle of the Desert.
Superman raced to Ground Zero searching for this weapon. All he found was a datapad sitting on a large rock. He picked up the datapad as it flickered on. Vin Luthor smiled at him from the screen and told the Man of Steel he would finally be delivered from his immortality and that Luthor would be his Death. Superman turned to flee the desert, but was too late. From space, Superman's cage was dropped. A 200 mile in diameter Kryptonite dome fell to the Earth, sealing Superman inside.
Not too long after his imprisonment, Luthor's soldiers came. Their Kryptonite bullets and suits of armor were no match for the Man of Steel. He simply threw boulders at them from 4 miles away, rendering their weapons and shielding useless. So many lives lost.
Saving one soldier, Kal-El sent him back with a message to Luthor that if he wanted Superman dead, he had to come out to the desert alone. Luthor never showed, so Clark Kent waited... and began to go mad.
Nights in the desert dragged. With no need for rest, Kal El just sat awake. He stared up the dome preventing his escape. Trapped like an animal, Superman tried everything to break free. He'd flown with all of his might, thrown mountaintops, fired his red heat, but it was all useless to Luthor's great, green sky. He checked for any weakness, any flaw... there was none except for the heavily guarded entrance. It was hopeless. It was too far away. Superman had failed.
"Clark," came a voice from the darkness, stirring him from his reverie.
He turned with fists clenched.
"Who's there," he called out.
"Kal-El," another voice beckoned.
"Tell me or I'll rip you limb from limb."
"You've been known by many names," said the first voice.
"But only one has truly mattered," said the second.
"Show yourselves," he roared at the darkness.
At that a faint light emitted in front of him. In the light stood his fathers, Jor-El and Jonathan Kent. Kal-El was without words. Another light shone next to them, revealing the love of his life, Lois.
"And that name is Superman," she said.
The mere sight of her made him begin to weep.
"How can you be here," he asked them. "How can this be?"
Jor-El was the first to speak.
"You've lived many lives," his birth father said. "One on Krypton, if only for a few minutes."
"One in Smallville," said his adopted father.
"Another in Metropolis," she said.
"And in those lives you've known great power and great pain," Jor-El said.
"But that pain was solely from the loss of others," Jonathan said.
"Now in this time alone, out here in the desert, you've lost yourself," Lois said. "You aren't Clark."
"Nor Kal-El," Jor-El said.
"You are only Superman," they said in unison.
"And your work isn't done," she said to him. "So get up."
With that they were gone. Superman reached out for them, but knew it wouldn't bring them back. He knew they were memories, brought forward as visions from his Kryptonian mind. Superman stood and looked down at the red S on his chest. Covered with dirt, it hardly honored his family now. He was no longer a son of El, nor a son of Kent. He was Superman, Champion of Earth, because Earth still needed a champion, still needed the one they called super.
He brushed off the emblem and looked far away at his enemy. The sentries protecting the gate were strong. He would need momentum to get through. Superman smiled. Momentum, as it turned out, was something he could do. In fact, with a little momentum he could run faster than a locomotive, leap tall buildings in a single bound, and if you saw him in the sky you might mistake him for a bird or a plane.
Pumping his legs like pistons, his eyes red with power, Superman charged toward freedom. He hadn't felt like this in years. He had purpose again, a reason to do what he did best... Fight. Superman smiled against the rushing air passing his face, because he suddenly knew one thing for certain.
In a few minutes, the world would lose a Luthor.