"Where are we going, Clark?"
Clark shushed Lex for the third time as he led them to a place only he knew. "Patience is a virtue."
"I'm serious Clark. Where are we going?" This is getting creepy, he didn't dare voice.
They came to an old chain link fence. Clark drew his fingers along the links, listening to them clatter until he found the gap he was looking for. He pulled the fence apart easily, rolling the wire back as countless humans had done before him. "We're here."
Lex looked through the makeshift gate at an old school playground. The grassy fields were overrun with weeds, waist deep in places. The sandbox was muddy and the weeds had conquered half of it. The slide had long since collapsed and been removed, but the support still hid in the sand. The only thing left standing in good repair was the swing set.
"So what do you think?" Clark asked.
Lex looked around at the playground reclaimed by nature. "I'm not sure."
"I used to come here all the time when I was a kid. My parents had warned me away from here many times but I kept coming back so they gave up. No one ever came with me; they were too afraid and they were forbidden from here by their own parents. I never realized why until I met him."
"Hmm." Lex hummed distractedly as he looked around the playground. He could swear he saw a boy about 6 years of age sitting on one of the swings.
"I was about 7 when I finally met him. I was swinging too high on the swing set and the link broke. I was thrown through the air into that big patch of weeds over there." He pointed to a patch on the edge of the field.
"Were you alright?" Lex looked at him curiously.
"Actually, yeah. I was just fine. I got up and looked back. That's when I saw him. We looked at each other for the longest time, then he just disappeared. Into thin air. I ran home and told my parents."
"What did they say?"
"Well, Mom held me and cried for a half-hour. Then Dad came in and Mom made me tell the story again. Then I had both parents holding me and crying. Apparently there was a reason they didn't want me coming here. You see, about 40 years ago there was a school here. A boy named Glen was swinging on the right hand swing there, the one I was on that day."
"What happened to him?"
"Glen was swinging as high as he could go when the chain broke. According to the people who were there, he flew through the air and fell were I did, but there weren't any weeds there. The jungle gym was there."
"Oh my. Was he alright?"
Clark gave Lex a look. "He died on impact."
"Oh." Lex fell silent.
"The swing was repaired, but every time someone would swing in it the chain would break in the same spot and the person would be thrown off and always injured, sometimes even killed. Eventually because of funding the school was closed and the area fenced off. The school was burned to the ground only a few years later. No one ever found out who did it. I don't really think anyone tried to find out who did it. Too many dead and injured kids around this place."
"So is that why this place is forbidden?"
Clark nodded. "Apparently I was the first child to be thrown off the swing and come away uninjured. However, I wasn't the first to see the boy."
"Everyone who has lived through being thrown from the swing has seen the boy."
"Who is he?"
Clark shrugged. "I never asked." He walked through the hole in the fence onto the overgrown field. Lex looked around nervously and followed.
They waded through the weeds, avoiding stickers and soft patches as they went. They approached the swing set. As they found it, Lex brushed as many weeds off his slacks as he could before realizing that the swing set wasn't broken. "Clark? If the chain broke when you flew off, who fixed it?"
"I never found out. I came back as soon as I could without being punished; something like two weeks later, and the chain had been fixed when I got here. It wasn't even a new chain. It was as old and rusted as the rest of the links."
"And you weren't scared?! Clark, forget the fact that we're in a small town for one minute. It could have been a stalker. It could have been a child molester. It could have been someone trying to push drugs onto you. It could haven been a murderer. Do you have any idea the danger you were in?"
Clark sighed. "Lex, I was 7. Of course I didn't know the danger I was in. Besides, I wanted to meet the boy I saw when I fell." He sat down onto the right hand swing and pushed himself back and forth a little bit.
"Clark, you do realize that if that swing can't hold the weight of a 7 year old child there's no way it can hold you now."
Clark shrugged and started to swing. The metal creaked and groaned as he pushed himself higher and higher. He closed his eyes and grinned into the wind. He opened them and looked down to see Lex glaring at him, trying to coax him down. Clark ignored him and with one great heave pushed the swing set harder as he flew higher and higher until...
Lex watched as the chain broke and Clark went flying through the air. He tumbled, almost in slow motion, and landed with a great THUD in a large patch of weeds in front of the swing set. As Clark landed, Lex found his voice again. "CLARK! Are you alright? Oh god, Clark!"
Clark sat up. "Lex, it's ok, I'm fine." He got up as Lex ran up to him.
"Clark, what on earth were you doing?! You said so yourself kids have died on that swing. You fell off that swing before. What stupid reason prompted you to tempt fate this time?"
Clark wrapped Lex in his arms. "Shh, it's ok, Lex. I'm sorry I did that. I'm alright. I'm not hurt. I just had to show you."
Lex looked up with eyes full of anger and worry. "Show me what?"
Clark pointed at the swing set. The swing was whole again and in it sat a little boy, pushing himself back and forth a little bit. He looked at Lex and Clark with his strangely empty eyes and smiled. He waved. Clark smiled and waved back.
Lex watched as Clark and the little boy looked at each other. After an eternity the little boy nodded and Clark grinned. Then the boy disappeared. Into thin air.
"Um, Clark?" Lex asked. "Who or what was that?"
Clark shrugged. "I don't know. He never tells me who he is. He's just always there."
Lex looked back at the swing set. The right hand swing swayed back and forth a little bit, without any wind to aid it. "Clark, let's go."
Lex grabbed for Clark's hand and started to pull him across the field to the gate. "No, Clark, lets go. NOW."
Glen watched as his friend, the only friend he could play with and trust to return, was dragged off by the bald man in black. He cocked his head.
They're always afraid at first, Glen thought. But he'll be back. Clark will bring him. Then we'll all be able to play!