by  DarkMark

 A response to the character-killing challenge

He's still coming after you.  Parsec after parsec of the hardest asteroid field to negotiate in the Spiral Arm, and he's still coming.

What the hell are you supposed to do?

"The Main Man."  "Numero Uno."  The guy who got p.o.'ed when Doomsday took out Superman before you could get to him.  All of those things, yeah, the stuff you used to call yourself in the transpace bars, the legends they spread about you...

...Problem is, the guy on your tail just doesn't give that much of a damn about your reputation.

So you kick the space-sled into as high a pitch as you possibly can, using every last bit of energy to propel you through vacuum-or-near-to-it, knowing you won't even make planetfall.  He'll get you by then.

Your broken hand still hurts.  The biggest drugs they had in the infirmary won't stop the pain.

There's blood still in your mouth and you have to swallow it so it won't mess up the inside of your helmet.

You've still got the hook.  That's your trademark.  A fraggin' lot o' good that's gonna do ya.  This guy could probably eat it, smiling, and excrete it as nails.  But you're gonna try and hit him with it when he gets close enough.

Chance a look behind, sucker.  That guy's visible.  You don't even need your tracker screen to register his presence.

Ditch the sled, jump off, hope he'd go after that instead of you?  No.  Even if he were that dumb, it wouldn't take him that long to double back and find you.  And even if he didn't, how much more you got left in that atmosphere tank?

Maybe he'll be doing you a favor when he gets you.  Yeah, right.  Just like he's been doing you a favor ever since he tore up that bar on Aldebaran IV, and left precisely as many people dead as he did alive.  He was doing you a big favor when he grinned at you and said, "Get on your bike.  I'll give you a head start."

You tried to knock him down and he grabbed your hand and pulped it.

That was when the rubes finally learned that Lobo could scream.

Damn the whole damn planet Earth, the damn ghetto for super-freaks.  Wish somebody'd given you a contract on that whole fraggin' world, wipe out every super-bastich in one whack.  Could'a done it, too.

Except for him.

And the bit is, you don't even know why he wants to do it.  You don't have a fraggin' idea.  You never threw down on him.  Before today, you barely even saw him.

But that was before today.

And that was before the sonuvva reaches out and grabs one of your exhausts and your shoulder at the same time, and crunches something and makes the sled blow up, but he puts his body between you and the sled, and you don't take any of the shrapnel hits.

Then he pushes you away.   He's...maybe he's letting you go?

No.  No, not with a smile like that.  He's just giving you another chance.

Some chance.  You grab the hook and you swing it.  It's the only thing that feels good to you right now.  Not that it'll be much use, but it's an old friend right now, and you're mighty damn glad to feel it at the end of your arm.

You've done a little space fighting and you know just how to swing your body so as to make the reaction-propulsion push you in, towards him.  And you swing your hook like it'd be enough to tear his head and shoulders off, cape with it.

But it doesn't make a sound in space when it bounces off his shoulder and neck, and he grins.  Then he reaches out, grabs the chain, and tears it away from you.  He takes the hook between his hands and he compresses it into a ball of hot metal, just loving what it's doing to you.

Then all the playing is over with, and you know it.  And so does he.

One of his hands reaches out, and you try and grab his arm and you try and kick him where it should hurt, and it doesn't matter a thing.  His other hand reaches out and...penetrates your body...

...good god...

He is doing things to you that you did to others and it hurts like hell and you just want it to be over...and you know it will be, very, very soon...

You've still got a breath or two left, and you've still got a radio in your helmet, and he has one, too.  So you decide on some last words, and with what you've still got to spit up blood, phlegm, and syllables with, you say, "Why?  Why are you killing me?"

He still grins that hellsucking grin, the nearest star's light reflecting off his teeth.

Then he says something.

"My boss, Mister Luthor, told me to.  He said I needed the experience."

It goes black very quickly after that.  You are looking upward along his body.

You see his red costume and the yellow lightning bolt on his chest and the white cape with yellow trim.

And the last two things you see are, first, his grin...

...and then a strange little worm peeking out of his ear.

All characters in this story are property of DC Comics.  No money is being made from this story and no infringement is intended.