'Again, the devil taketh him unto an exceeding high mountain, and showeth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; and he said unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me...'
A man was sitting in a ridiculously expensive high-backed leather chair in front of an immense fireplace. If one bothered to walk around and face him, he would see a man blankly staring into the flames, holding a shotglass, swirling amber liquid around and around.
Lionel Luthor had everything he ever wanted. Money, a feared name, respect. Power. Yes, he had achieved all he'd set out to in life. He'd started out with nothing in the slums and built an empire. He'd achieved the dreams of every poor boy and more. No longer was he weak and poor. He had vowed as a young man to never be a the mercy of others again. He would not be miserable like the others. He would have power. He would matter. He would be master of all he surveyed. And he did. And he was.
Why did he feel so empty tonight? Empty eyes haunted his mind. Empty eyes behind a two-way mirror staring into their own reflection and and nothing at all.
Lionel had sacrificed much and lost much to get this far. One must break a few eggs to make an omelet, after all. His wife, his infant son Julian, friends, emotions, all that sappy sentimental nonsense...
But it was worth it of course. Power is always worth it. Yes, yes, of course.
No amount of power was worth this. Nothing was worth this hell. But he couldn't stop. He couldn't stop. He wanted more than anything to run back to that asylum and take Lex away, take Lex back. He wanted to hold his son like he had when Lex had been a newborn, hold him and cry at how beautiful he truly was.
But it was too late. He had destroyed Lex. He hadn't been able to bring himself to have Lex killed, but now that the plan had been carried through, he saw his error. He had killed Lex. As sure as if he'd put a bullet through his heart.
If he stopped the medication right now, there's a chance Lex might recover. But he wouldn't stop it. He knew he wouldn't stop it. Why couldn't he stop it?
That teenage girl had said he was pathetic. He hadn't fully understood the implication of what that girl had said the day he'd overheard it. At the time he though the girl was envious, delusional, and exaggerating.
"So what? He likes it that way. Being a greedy heartless bastard is his favorite pastime."
"No, listen. I'm not finished. He just thinks he likes it, but he's really miserable! He holds onto this illusion of power because he'd be too scared to live without it. He's drunk on it. He's like a heroin junkie. And he can't stand the thought of not being in control of everything, but he doesn't even realize that he has no control over himself, that he's really under control of money and this false 'power' of his."
"I think maybe you're just jealous because he's up to his ears in money and influence and you get chased by freaks on a regular basis" Chloe didn't really like where this conversation was headed. Why the hell did Lana have to bring up Lionel Luthor? That was the last subject she wanted to think about right now.
"Chloe, you're not listening to me. Yes, he has power and influence, but he's like King Midas. Everything he touches turns to gold, but he's starving. He'll grow old and die completely miserable and alone and unmourned and his empire will fall apart and all his treasures will turn to dust and there'll be nothing worthwhile left behind. Hell, the only good thing that's ever come from Lionel Luthor is Lex and he's doing his damnedest to destroy him too."
He understands now, of course, though it is too late.
Lionel remembers the street preachers and missionaries of his childhood. Kind old men with winter clothes and new testaments who would come to the door the week before Christmas. Crazy young men on the street pleading with the masses to repent of their sins and redeem their souls if only they would give themselves to Christ. Lillian would insist on going to church every Christmas, and on Easter as well. He always hated it. He found it dull and insipid and thought the congregation a lot of fools. Opiate of the masses indeed. They were not like him. They were weak, giving themselves over to a myth. A fairytale. Not like Lionel. He owned his life, his soul, his destiny. He was his own master, serving himself. And they sat like cattle, chewing their cud while the preacher stood up to give the sermon, like the street preachers, but with far less fervor, pleading for penitence and redemption.
The problem with this, of course, is that one has to still have a soul for it to be redeemed. Lionel now knew he had bartered his off, along with his heart and conscience and emotions years ago for his empire of shit. How foolish he had been as a young man.
Right now, more than anything, he wished he still had his soul, so he could trade it for his son. But it was far too late. All he had left now was his worthless empire. His servitude under the master to whom he'd traded himself for this. The demon of his own creation.
Lionel pulled out his laptop, sending a message to the doctors at the asylum to increase the dosage of Lex's medication.
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