Palms tingling, Willow dismissed her class early. She had set the wards her first day here, so that she would know of hostile supernatural beings on campus; now something strange had triggered this warning system. Students in the hallways were surprised to see the new teacher racing down the hallway as if she was a late student herself.
The Yegsulth demon, following the charm on the knife that once had been used in Sunnydale to bleed the key, identified its target. Dropping the coat which had disguised him from the humans, he stood and pounced. At that same moment, Willow rounded the corner and pushed Dawn against the wall, “Thicken,” she said. Instantly, Dawn and Willow were surrounded by pure magical force. The blue scaled demon twice jumped onto the magical force field but was repelled each time. As the students screamed and ran down the hallway away from the creature, Willow quickly tried to think of the best spell to dispatch the creature when suddenly it disappeared in a streak of blue and red.
It had taken Clark Kent an instant to realize something was wrong. One minute he and Pete were talking about the game and the next moment he was hearing screams and watching a blue scaled monster – his mind immediately screamed “Meteor mutant – my fault!” – attack Miss Rosenberg and Dawn. His brain sped up, his body reacted, and in a burst of super-speed he grabbed the creature by its waist, pulled it out of the building, and then threw it into a tool shed.
The creature growled, not in pain but in anger, and moved, faster than anything Clark had fought before and attacked, bringing its claws to Clark’s chest. Clark felt a sudden pain as the supernaturally sharp claws met Clark’s normally invulnerable body. He was bleeding! In shock and panic, the boy threw the thing up in the air as hard as he could. It landed with a thump and was motionless, dead on impact. Then it became merely a pile of scales that dispersed in the wind.
Clark backed away, confusion warring with guilt in his mind. On one hand, he had apparently killed another being that, although terribly mutated still was once human, but on the other hand, the way it had just dissolved was not like any of the meteor mutants he had encountered before, but something other, something from stories told late at night around the campfire.
Meanwhile in the hallway, Chloe, who had seen the face-off between the two former Sunnydale residents and the strange beast, observed how neither seemed terribly shocked or frightened. Hiding in a doorway, she saw the computer teacher turn in a circle, her index finger outstretched and then say something to Dawn. “Yet another ‘friend’ keeping secrets from me,” Chloe thought bitterly to herself. “And Ms. Rosenberg did something to stop that mutant’s attack. Is she one of them too?”
Ignorant of the reporter’s musings, Willow assured Dawn that the demon was gone but confessed that she did not know what killed it. “Then I’m not safe here, am I?” Dawn asked. “It could come back.”
“Well in addition to having a guardian witch and guardian vampire watching over you, there’s whatever guardian angel took care of that demon too.” Willow said. “But I’ll see what I can do to get you more protection, perhaps an amulet of Tsivotelh…” Inside, however, Willow was thinking that this was a very close call. Before returning to her classroom, Willow picked up the knife with dried blood and hid it in her purse. It was not much, but deprived of the knife to guide tracking spells, the enemy’s threat to Dawn was slightly diminished.
A few hours later, after classes were through for the day, Lana hesitantly approached the Torch office and poked her head in, checking to see if Chloe was alone. “Hello?”
Chloe quickly blanked her display so the other girl would not see her searches on Willow Rosenberg and picked up an article submission. “Please save me from having to proof yet another article by a jock who thinks he doesn’t have to know how to spell as long as he uses spell-check. Hello, ‘there’ ‘they’re’; is that really so hard?!?”
Lana walked slowly in and sat on a desk facing Chloe. “So, what’s up?” the editor asked.
“I was gonna ask you what happened today. I heard so fairly out there rumors.”
“Oh just the usual Smallville mutant madness,” Chloe tossed out. “Strange mutant attacks student in the hallway, dozens of kids must have seen it, and am I allowed to print a word of what happened? No, I get a lecture from the principal on responsible journalism.”
“Chloe,” Lana said. “Did you ever wonder about all these mutants attacking? Bug-guy Greg, Shapeshifting Tina, Jodi the People Eater, Eric the Superboy, Justin the Telekinetic. Notice how none of them ever use their powers for good, or even just for fun? Is there something about the meteor rocks that turns them evil?”
Chloe looked at Lana skeptically. Her reporter instincts tugged at her; Lana was hiding something personal in that question. “Have you looked through a newspaper lately?” she asked. “They’re full of regular humans doing bad things. That doesn’t mean that everyone who has the ability to kill or hurt someone does so. It may be the same with these rock powered people. We only notice the ones who cause problems. But do the math. If we know of several of these mutants just over the last year, imagine how many more there must be since the meteors first fell and they’ve kept it quiet.”
Chloe smiled. “Well, there’s that old saying, ‘power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely’ so yeah, I think the meteor mutants are more likely to run amuck than your average postal worker, but there are good ones out there, I mean, I told you about Kyle. Worst thing he did was make me kiss Clark.”
The two looked awkwardly at each other. “Oops, forget I mentioned that.”
Lana smiled. “Thanks, Chloe”
Chloe looked at her predatorily. “So what’s this really about?”
Lana glanced away, looking down at her shoes. “Well…”
“C’mon girlfriend, dish.”
“I wore that pedant with the meteor rock for years and years. And now I think I’m turning into one of those meteor freaks.”
Chloe’s heart pounded. She carefully schooled her face into an open expression, trying to mentally urge the brunette to continue.
Lana picked up a pencil and fiddled with it, not looking at the other girl. “When you were kidnapped last May, I had a vision of where you were. I told Clark and he rescued you. That vision was why Deputy Watts went after me.”
Chloe pushed though the reminder of the incident she much rather would forget (although the story had helped her get an internship at the Daily Planet) and focused on the issue at hand. “But you told everyone the visions went away.” She leaned forward, “Didn’t they?”
Lana flushed. “Well, sort of, yes.”
Chloe’s eyes gleamed with excitement.
Lana whispered. “I’ve been having… dreams.”