|khaosworks (khaosworks) wrote in scans_daily,|
When Superboy entered the atmosphere of the Earth there was smoke seeping out the windows of Lex Luthor's laboratory. Four thousandths of a second later the Boy of Steel crashed through one wall of the structure he had built three weeks earlier and out the opposite wall. The fire, with room to breathe, now spat its killing heat into the open air. Superboy scooped the unconscious Lex Luthor from the floor of the building, wrapped him in his cape to extinguish the flames licking at his clothes and hair and set him down on the open field. When Lex awoke two seconds later, heaving air in and out of his lungs, he saw Superboy emptying his own lungs at Lex's laboratory, his fire, his creation.
Lex raced at the falling building, howling his rage. He got far enough to feel the heat, to need to cover his mouth and nose with a hand as he ran, to feel a hot prickling sensation over his exposed skin, to see the bowlful of living protoplasm he had created with his mind and hands and livid soul die the death that Lex, at that moment, wanted to die.
Searing gas from the combustion of his artificial protoplasm killed the hair follicles of Lex's arms, face and head. Only the hand he was holding over his nose and mouth when Superboy plucked him up, kicking and writhing, for the second time, saved the cilia in his nostrils. He would never grow hair or a beard again. He would laugh or cry or become enraged when pansy philosophers wondered, in the future, whether laboratory life could have a soul. He knew that such life would have no less than the soul of its creator. Lex Luthor chose, from the moment his creation died, to hate the being who had saved his miserable life, who was responsible for the loss of his brown curls and his child. It was the only way he could walk slowly, one millimeter at a time, from the abyss of madness.
Superman came to understand, as Luthor did not, that while Luthor's soul might be as durable as that of any other creature in the Universe, the vulnerable and sensitive body of a mortal can withstand only a certain amount of greatness before it must balance that with venality. Superman occasionally thought to devise some way to give Luthor super-powers, then thought better of it. Luthor was damaged at the same time and with the same terrible efficiency that Superboy had been nurtured. Luthor had never killed a human being, had never been directly responsible for a man or woman's death. The entire mass of his hatred was directed at Superman, who was thankful to take the hatred and leave only Luthor's disdain for the rest of the human community. The Kryptonian became upset whenever he thought of the man who had been his boyhood friend. Superman could only hope that someday God would have mercy on Lex Luthor's tortured soul.