Superman: Dawnbreaker (DC Icons #4)(6)

And what happened if the people in the car didn’t have documentation? Could the police just throw them into the back of a squad car and whisk them away?

“That storm’s closer than it looks,” Jonathan said, peering into the sky again. “This really isn’t a great time to be flying.”

“What do you think they’re looking for?”

Jonathan repositioned a loose fence post in one of the holes Clark had dug. “Whatever it is, they should think about heading in soon. Especially after what happened with that plane today.”

Clark froze. “Plane?”

Jonathan paused, too. “A small plane crash-landed out by Noonan this afternoon. The pilot stalled it somehow and couldn’t regain control.”

Clark stared at his dad in shock. The plane he’d heard in class…it was real. His mind hadn’t been playing tricks on him after all.

A drizzle began falling, and the sky swiftly grew more sinister.

“What about the pilot?” Clark asked. “Everyone okay?”

His dad nodded, glancing up at the helicopter again. “She broke several bones. But from what I hear, she should eventually recover.”

“Dad, I…” Clark paused to think about what he wanted to say.

“Yes, son?”

Clark shook his head, imagining how absurd it would sound.

“You can tell me anything,” his dad said. “You know that.”

“It’s just…I heard that plane today.” Clark had to speak up, to make sure his dad could hear him over the sound of the helicopter as it passed overhead again. “How’s that even possible?”

Jonathan stared at Clark. “All the way in Noonan? From school?”

Clark nodded. He’d never tried to hide his powers from his parents—not that he could have if he’d tried. He’d been showing signs since he was a toddler. One summer, when Clark was eight, their closest neighbor, Mr. Peterman, had rolled his four-wheeler on their property. Clark had been playing in a nearby field when he heard the screams for help. He raced over to the scene and, without even considering the impossibility of the task, began hoisting the thousand-pound vehicle, an inch at a time, every muscle in his body straining, until the trapped man could scurry out from beneath it, where he promptly passed out. It was easy to convince the man later that he’d crawled out himself and Clark had merely found him there.

Another time he’d accidentally touched an electrified wire on the Kents’ steer pen. Sparks flew. The air crackled. His skin trembled and buzzed, and his palm grew warm, but he didn’t feel pain. He wasn’t even sure what pain was exactly. He understood it conceptually. He’d seen his dad wince and shake his hand out after slamming his thumb with a hammer. And he’d never forget watching Miles Loften writhe in pain at the twenty-yard line after Clark had accidentally busted his ribs. But pain for Clark was different. It was more of a minor irritant than anything else. Which he knew wasn’t normal.

The point was, Clark’s parents already knew he was special. They’d seen him go around the farm as a kid, trying to lift everything that wasn’t nailed down. They’d seen him running at the speed of light. But these new powers were different. They seemed almost…otherworldly.

His dad kept a poker face as he studied Clark.

The helicopter overhead looped away from a dark cloud, then came back around for yet another pass as the rain picked up. Clark kept expecting his dad to hurry them toward shelter. But Jonathan didn’t. Maybe he considered the conversation too important to interrupt.

“Well,” Jonathan finally began, “I don’t know how it’s possible, but…”

The whir of the helicopter blades was drowned out by a loud clap of thunder. The sudden silence that followed made them both look up. Helicopters weren’t supposed to just stop making noise. Clark thought of the plane in Noonan.

They spotted the helicopter at the same time.

It was plunging toward the ground near the old barn.

Swirling unnaturally in some kind of death spiral.

Clark resisted the urge to intervene. After the incident with Paul and the SUV, he’d vowed to keep his nose out of places it didn’t belong. He’d only make things worse. He cringed as an instinctive energy surged through his body with such ferocity that he accidentally snapped the shovel in two.

The helicopter was just seconds away from crashing into the Kents’ field when Clark tossed away the shovel pieces and took off.

“Clark!” his dad called after him. “Wait!”

Clark tore across the field, hyperaware of everything around him: the thick drops of rain suspended like teardrops in the sky, the deafening silence cocooning his body, the breath suspended in his lungs. In instances like this one, when his powers took hold and his thoughts receded, Earth felt smaller and more fragile, as if its rules no longer applied. Yet Clark knew this was only an illusion. Gravity would still yank down the chopper. The collision with the ground would still be catastrophic. The people inside would die.

He was the one somehow breaking the rules.

But could he break them in time?

With a desperate leap, he made it just before impact, grabbing hold of the landing skids a fraction of a second before they slammed into the ground. He clutched the thick steel in his hands and braced himself with his feet. But Clark’s knees buckled under the tremendous weight of the chopper’s momentum as he attempted to absorb it with his back and shoulders. His muscles screamed, his neck tweaked so far forward that his chin was nearly flush against his chest.

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