"Why don't you just kill him?" murmured Clark as he lay in bed, tired from a night of patrolling. It was a question he often was asked as Superman when he caught a perpetrator of some heinous crime but could only watch as the guilty party either got a light sentence after the case meandered through the criminal justice system or got off. "They act as if it doesn't frustrate me too," he said before he fell asleep.
He found himself standing in front of a massive building. Lana was standing near the door, radiantly splendid in a black gown with pink trim and lining and a massive gold crown on her heard, dripping with red jewels and pearls in the form of tears. She held a sword in a sheath and large ball of red yarn in her hands. "You know what you must do."
"Slay the monster! You must go in and kill him," she said. "It's your destiny!"
Clark noticed that the ball of yarn was dripping wet. "Why is it soggy?"
"It isn't important. The important thing is that to save everyone, you follow the yarn's path to the monster and back to safety. It's your duty. Go . . ."
He took the ball of yarn, which was clammy and not a little sticky. He put it on the floor and it rolled through the opening of the building. He reluctantly took the sword she held out for him.
She smiled as he did so. "You will see many things but do not tarry. If you kill the monster first, everything else will fall into place. Come back quickly for I will be waiting for you."
He walked into what appeared to be a large maze of hallways and corridors. He went past doors where he heard screams and sometimes arms would reach out to him. He listened to her advice and kept following the yarn that kept unspooling.
After what seemed to be miles, the much smaller ball of yarn stopped in front of double doors. After pulling out his sword, he threw open the doors to see Lex sitting on his desk, looking like he did so long ago: young, dressed in black pants and lavender shirt. Lex smiled and said, "You're here to kill me, aren't you?"
"It's the story of the Minotaur. A queen was cursed with an unquenchable passion for a brute, literally an animal. She in term gave birth to a monster with horns on its head. The monster was put into a labyrinth where Athenian youths and maidens were sacrificed yearly to satisfy its hunger. A youth named Theseus attracted the eye of the princess and she gave him the means to destroy him, a ball of yarn to make his way back after he used the sword."
"It's just a myth," said Clark.
"Then what are you doing here with a sword? Why are you dreaming about this particular story?" Lex got off the desk and got so close to Clark that the sword was touching his chest. "Why don't you slay the monster and win the princess? That's how all the stories end, right? Isn't this what you've been wishing for so very long?"
"This maze . . . do you ever leave it?"
Lex frowned and shook his head. "No, my father built it so I could never find my way out and besides it's my kingdom. Here, I am the absolute ruler."
"But it's a prison," said Clark.
Lex shrugged and looked away for a second. "I still get to call myself king even if my subjects are the wretched and my kingdom is little more than a trap."
"Don't you want to leave?"
Lex laughed. "Where would I go? You know that your friends just put me back in here or I'd be put into some other prison. Do you think your princess would be happy with you if you came back with me in tow after all the sacrifices made?" Lex put his hands in his pants pocket and shook his head. "She'd leave you."
"I left her behind a long time ago. Besides, the myth has me abandoning her shortly after this anyway," Clark said. He looked at the sword in his hand and was about to sheath it when he found Lex buried to its hilt on it, warm blood trickling over his hands. Lex gasped before closing his eyes.
He looked up to see Lana standing behind Lex, her hands red from pushing him. "Why?" he yelled as he pulled the sword out and tried in vain to staunch the bleeding.
Her face was a monument to disdain and irritation. "Because you're a failure as a hero. A true hero is willing to kill as many monsters as it takes to protect the people. You have to do anything it takes to make society safe from this creature. I had to follow you and take care of business myself!"
Clark grabbed her by the shoulders, shook her so violently her head flopped back and forth and yelled, "You killed him!"
The crown fell off, revealing a small pair of horns . . .
Clark woke up in the darkness and sat up to look at the clock. It was 3:23 a.m. It would be hours before he had to get ready for work. He flopped back down on his bed. There are no balls of yarn for either of us, he thought.
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