The hospital was in chaos and had been for three days since the meteors hit. Jonathan Kent had no idea why he had been summoned, since most of his neighbours had been away from the meteor strike and hadn’t been hit.
He walked through the corridor, looking for room eighty-five, dodging the people still milling about. Some of them didn’t look to be too badly injured but a few appeared to be shell-shocked, their faces pale, eyes curiously blank.
He didn’t want to be dealing with some mysterious summons. He had a farm to take care of and a little boy who was still trying to get used to this strange new world. Martha was having a terrible time trying to handle him. He seemed to be much stronger than a boy should be at his age, but considering the nature of his arrival, Jonathan thought anything was possible.
Room eighty, eighty-one … eighty-five. He put a hand on the door handle, noticing the little boy in the bed. He couldn’t be older than ten. His head was completely bald. He had an oxygen tube in his nose. A woman with red hair was sitting beside the bed.
As Jonathan entered, the woman got up. He frowned. He recognised her immediately.
“Lillian,” he said.
She smiled wanly at him.
“Hello Jonathan. It’s been a long time.”
The last time he had seen Lillian Albrecht was at his brother’s funeral nine years earlier. Hiram Junior had been killed in a car wreck. The only Kent who had chosen not to stay on the farm and had gone to Metropolis, seeking his fortune.
“This is my son, Alexander,” she said, gesturing toward the boy sleeping in the bed.
Jonathan frowned at her.
“I don’t understand,” he replied.
“He’s your nephew, Jonathan.”
Slowly, Lillian began to tell the story. She had learned she was pregnant shortly before Hiram’s death, but had never got the chance to tell him. A month after the funeral, she had met Lionel Luthor, a businessman. Jonathan had heard rumours about Lionel Luthor but didn’t voice his thoughts to the man’s widow. Lionel had been killed in the meteor shower, while looking for his young son, who had been wandering in a corn field while Lionel had been negotiating the purchase of the creamed corn factory.
Lionel had, of course, known that Alexander was not his, but he had taken him on, marrying Lillian shortly before the boy was born. It was a marriage of convenience. Lillian had money, Lionel needed it. His business had been failing and he needed an urgent cash injection.
He’d taken the money and turned the business around, but not without a few shortcuts. Lillian had been well aware of her husband’s less-than-ethical business dealings.
Now he was dead, and the boy who was supposedly his son was lying in a hospital bed.
“What’s wrong with him?” Jonathan said, looking at the boy who was as white as the sheets on the bed.
“The doctors don’t know. They think he was hit by a massive wave of radiation in the meteor shower.”
Lillian looked at him, her blue eyes almost pleading.
“I need your help Jonathan.”
“To do what?”
“Raise my son.”
“I can’t …”
“I’m dying, Jonathan. I have cancer. The doctors say I have about six months at the most. I never told Lionel, not that he would have cared anyway. He was planning on raising Alexander in his image, which was the last thing I wanted for my son. You’re all he has left now.”
“Martha and I … we have a son.”
“Yes, I know. You just adopted him.”
Her gaze was shrewd. It seemed as if she knew more than she was telling.
Jonathan knew he had little choice in the matter. Lillian offered to help him with the adoption papers for Clark if he would also adopt Alexander … Lex, she called him.
Martha was going to kill him.