The Superman Experiment

Prologue: Blood on the Streets

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Such a shame that things had to turn out this way, he thought as he slammed her head against the pavement. It was such a waste to ruin such a pretty face, to break the high cheek bones, redden the pale skin with her own blood. Her auburn hair had been done up so carefully, but now it was matted, a thin shield between her skull and the brick wall.

She was screaming louder now, more inhuman than the first five minutes of her… predicament. She was clawing at him, grazing her nails against his skin, flailing her limbs, but no avail. His height alone engulfed her, and his strength, as always, dominated hers.

Scare her, had been his orders. Bruise her up a little. Make sure she doesn't ask anymore questions. It was stupid, just to scare her. He should just kill her and get it over with. After all, if she remembered anything, if the memory part of her brain hadn't been as damaged as much as he'd like, it would be his ass they would come after. Still, his boss scared him a lot more than the cops. The system was faulty, and for assault he'd only get a couple years with a shark lawyer, less with good behavior.

Her screaming had stopped now. Good, it had been quite the headache. He checked her to make sure her pulse was still there before beginning a clean-up. He clipped her nails to remove any of his blood (she had drawn some) and made sure nothing of his was littered around the area. His fingerprints were already taken care of by the black leather gloves he wore. Now all that was left was the explosion and to make sure she didn't remember a thing, and if she did, to eliminate her.

He stripped his jacket and the gloves, and changed his jeans and shoes. He put the evidence in a trash bin, poured gasoline in it, and watched it enflame.

As he left the crime scene, all he could hope was that someone had heard her shrieks and would find her before she died from blood loss or head trauma.

If she died, well, he didn't want to think about that.

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Mrs. Williams was a thin, petite woman with a surprisingly large constitution. She had not shed a tear since her daughter had been found, broken and beaten in a back alley, nor when they rushed her into the ER for multiple surgeries.

If she cried, was her reasoning, then this was really happening. Her baby girl, Candace Marie Williams, had really been assaulted and mugged. Her baby girl might not live.

Instead she contented herself with holding her husband's hand, whose face was wide and blank with shock. He had not been able to say a word since they were ushered into the waiting room. No words were adequate. No words could save her life.

The couple had been told terrible things. Their daughter had head trauma, broken ribs, a sprained ankle. Her arm had been fractured in several places, and bruises were steadily appearing just about everywhere. The blood was something neither wanted to reflect on. They had been told that there had been a lot, and the woman, who had found Candace, on her way to get some groceries, had thought the girl was dead.

But what the police had told them was far worse. It appeared to be a mugging, said the police, but they suspected a stronger motive than that. Sure, her stuff had been stolen (Candace's mother remembered that Candace never went anywhere without her purse and it was not found), but the beating was severe to the point that the police thought the assailant had been someone Candace had knew, then angered.

When Candace wakes up…Mrs. Williams lapsed in her state of denial… She'll tell us who did this and we'll hunt down that son of a bitch.

Meanwhile, Mr. Williams was going through his head whom the 'personal assailant' could be. Candace was attending her first year at the University of Chicago, so she knew many more people than Mr. and Mrs. Williams had heard about.

She had many guy friends, he knew, could it have been one of them? A suitor whom she had rejected? There was no way to know. Or perhaps someone had hated her from afar? Someone they'd never be able to identify? The very thought made him shudder.

And then he remembered. She had a boyfriend. How had the thought slipped his mind? How could he have forgotten that bastard for one second? He and his wife had met him once. His name was Jason and he, like Candace, was eighteen. He had pale blond hair that contrasted drastically with his eyes. Mr. Williams was not an easily scared man, but the thought of the twin caves of the darkest black made him shiver. He had begged his wife to convince Candace to break up with him, but Jason had done no visible wrong.

In fact, Mrs. Williams thought the world of him. He had been polite and quite the charmer, he offered to help Mrs. Williams in the kitchen and was very sweet to Candace at the dinner table. Still, he couldn't shake the feeling that something was very wrong with that kid… maybe Candace tried to break up with him and things had gone badly?

"Mr. and Mrs. Williams?" a female doctor had come through the doors into the waiting room. The couple sat up at once.

"Right here," Mrs. Williams said in a strong voice.

"She's awake now--"

Mrs. Williams collapsed into held back tears. "Oh thank God, oh thank you Lord…" She clutched the rosary dangling around her neck and continued to sob.

"Go on," Mr. Williams urged. The doctor didn't sound as happy as he would've liked.

"I'm going to let you see her now, but there's something you need to know first. Candace is experiencing some short term memory loss, either due to the traumatizing event, the head trauma, or a combination of both. She seems to be unable to remember events from the past few months, so I don't want you to push her. Her last memory is the day before going off to college, so she won't be able to identify the assailant--"

"Wh-what?" Mrs. Williams spluttered.

"She can't remember the past few months. Whether this is permanent or temporary is uncertain, so we're going to adopt a wait-and-see approach." The doctor waited for a response.

"All right," Mrs. Williams had regained her composure, "We'll go on and see her. We won't push."

But Mrs. Williams was breaking inside. Mr. Williams too, actually. As they walked towards room A142 where she was at, all they could think of was the memory loss. They were overjoyed that she was physically all right, and thankful that nothing worse had happened, but the memory loss, if permanent, meant so many things. She wouldn't be able to remember new friends she had made, or college experiences she had. She wouldn't be able to recall classes she'd took, or decision she'd had to think about. But most importantly…

She wouldn't be able to remember the person who'd almost killed her.

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