Zesty

Welcome to the final entry in the 2022 April A to Z Challenge! Each day (minus Sundays) in the month of April has featured a short work of fiction based on a random word beginning with the corresponding letter of the day. Those random words were provided by various friends and family members throughout the month. Today’s word, zesty, was provided by my friend, Kathryn. Each story has been loosely connected to the one before and will make more sense if you read them all in order. To go back to the beginning to see where this madness began, click here

Adam and Rebecca had only been sitting at their table for a few minutes. They were listening to their waiter describe today’s lunch specials. “…And the chicken parmesan, of course, is topped with our homemade zesty marinara sauce.”

Suddenly, the window that overlooked Clinton Ave. in midtown Metropolis exploded inward. Shards of glass flew through the air like shrapnel as a wounded Wonder Woman soared over the heads of restaurant patrons. She flew backwards into the back wall of the dining area, landing with a thud on the floor.

Slowly, the princess from Themyscira rose to her feet with a sword in her right hand, a shield in her left. Diana was aware of the injured civilians that surrounded her, but she could not stay to help them. The battle continued to rage on in the city as Darkseid’s army of Parademons wreaked havoc. “Everyone take cover!” she shouted to anyone who could hear her as she made her way back to the broken window and the street beyond.

Near the center of Metropolis, in Centennial Park, Darkseid sat atop a pile of rubble that had once been a tribute to the hero known as Superman. “Godfrey,” the dark god said calmly, “I want the Kryptonian. Where is he?”

Before G. Gordon Godfrey could answer his master, Luthor stepped in and interrupted. “You know how that do-gooder can be, Lord Darkseid. Probably rescuing a cat from a tree or stopping a school bus from running off the side of a bridge somewhere.”

“Who are you that you dare address Darkseid?” asked Darkseid angrily, his eyes beginning to glow with the power of his deadly omega blast.

Luthor quickly dropped to his knees. “I am Lex Luthor. Some would consider me an important man here on Earth. However, I am but your humble servant, my lord.”

The Joker sat off to the side, confused. The Lex Luthor he thought he knew would never bend the knee to an alien invader. Even Godfrey side-eyed Luthor in some suspicion. Luthor’s face remained downcast. He dared not look the New God in the eyes.

“I take it you have had dealings with the Kryptonian in the past?”

Luthor smirked. “Superman has been a thorn in my side ever since he made his presence known on this planet.”

The glow in Darkseid’s eyes subsided. “You may prove useful to me, Lex Luthor. Bring me the Kryptonian, alive, and you will be greatly rewarded.”

“As you wish,” said Lex as he rose to his feet and walked away. As if I would allow you the privilege of killing Superman, he thought, approaching his limousine. Climbing into the back seat, Lex ordered his driver, Mercy, to take him back to the LexCorp Tower as quickly as she could.

Driving seven blocks in Metropolis was difficult under the best of circumstances. In light of the chaos of an invading alien army, getting back to the tower took a significant amount of time. Something Lex knew he had precious little of if he was to succeed in his plan. As Mercy drove, Lex reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a small communication device.

Activating the communicator, Lex spoke softly into the microphone. “Superman, this device is broadcasting on a frequency that only a Kryptonian can hear. And I’m certain that you can hear it from anywhere on Earth. That being the case, wherever you are fighting this battle against these Apokoliptan forces, you may want to make your way to Centennial Park. Darkseid is there and is waiting specifically for you. I suggest you give him a good fight while you still can.”

Lex returned the device to his pocket just as Mercy pulled into the underground LexCorp garage. “Wait here,” he said as he got out and jogged to the elevator. Lex then rode the elevator down, making his way to an underground, lead-lined laboratory. Here, he retrieved a small sphere and what looked like a Mother Box replica. A look of concern crossed Luthor’s face, knowing that neither of these devices had been tested. I suppose a field test will have to do.

He returned to his limo and directed Mercy to get him back to the park as quickly as the car could move. When he found himself back in the park clearing that had been home to a regal Superman statue less than an hour before, he saw the Man of Steel himself trading blows with the larger than life Darkseid. The Joker was nowhere to be found while Godfrey cheered on his master from the tree line.

Once again activating the communicator in his pocket, Luthor spoke directly to Superman as he fought the New God. “When you see that the Boom Tube has re-opened, I’m going to throw you a small sphere. Try to shove it into Darkseid’s mouth before you throw him into the portal.”

Luthor saw no confirmation from Superman, but hoped that the Kryptonian would trust him just enough to follow through with his orders. Lex then activated the Mother Box replica he had built based on schematics he had stolen from Justice League archives. Now he only hoped this would work.

To his surprise, a Boom Tube opened in the air, roughly 100 feet off the ground. Luthor now had no doubt that the false Mother Box would work exactly as he designed it. It had created a Boom Tube that would draw in anything with Apokoliptan DNA. He watched with some humor as G. Gordon Godfrey was caught unawares and swept off his feet, flying high into the portal. Hundreds… no, thousands of Parademons desperately attempted to escape the pull of the Boom Tube, but their efforts were futile.

Darkseid, as powerful as he was, could only fight against the Boom Tube for so long. In a split second, Lex saw Superman nod, giving him the signal to throw the sphere. Without hesitation, Superman caught it and shoved it into Darkseid’s screaming maw before punching him with enough force to knock him through the Boom Tube.

Once Metropolis was clear of its Apokoliptan legion, the Boom Tube closed and the fake Mother Box in Luthor’s hand shorted out.

Superman came to a landing in front of Lex. “I’ve already gotten word that similar tubes opened up in D.C. and San Francisco. The armies of Apokolips are all gone. How’d you do it, Luthor?”

Lex smiled, “Once again you expect me to lay my cards out on the table.”

“What about that sphere you had me push into Darkseid’s mouth?”

“Oh,” said Lex, “I wouldn’t lose too much sleep over that if I were you.” Lex turned to walk back to his limo, but stopped to say, “If the Justice League would like to consider me for membership, you have my number.”

Epilogue

On Apokolips, Darkseid crashed to the planet’s surface just as the three Boom Tubes came to a close. He had no idea what the Kryptonian had put in his mouth, but it was small. The punch that forced Darkseid back through the Boom Tube had also forced him to accidentally swallow the tiny sphere.

But he wasn’t thinking about what he could have swallowed. He was consumed with anger. He had once again failed in his attempt to conquer the Earth. Darkseid punched the ground over and over again, his eyes glowing once more. This time, the glow did not subside. This time he unleashed his Omega blast, which found its target: G. Gordon Godfrey.

Suddenly, Darkseid was aware that something was wrong. He suddenly felt ill. No… he felt as if his insides were being pulled apart.

Luthor’s spherical device, when activated by violent force, was designed to create a singularity. Like those found at the center of black holes, it would pull in anything near enough to feel its effects and utterly destroy it. By the time Darkseid realized what was happening to him, it was already too late.

These characters are not my own. Darkseid, Lex Luthor, Superman, and all related characters are the property of DC Comics. This is a work of fan fiction and is just for fun. Please don’t sue me.

Feature Photo by Clark Douglas on Unsplash

10 thoughts on “Zesty

  1. Pingback: A to Z Challenge 2022 – Reflection | The Confusing Middle

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