SHADOW MAN--CH2: DEJA VU, 2/15
- Chapter 2-Déjà Vu
By the time Magneto floated up the empty elevator shaft at the end of
the hall, cloaked in the stink of forged metal, Logan was in control
of his emotions if not his body. Beneath his leather jacket a clammy
sweat drenched the underarms of his flannel shirt but he schooled his
features to impassivity. It was all he could do, his sole defense.
"I see you got out." It sounded stupid and obvious even to his own
ears, but he was determined to break the silence first, establish
himself as a human being and not some Tin Man toy for the other's
Magneto smiled and his thinning of lips did nothing to reassure Logan
that their reunion would be amicable. "I thought I heard someone
knock-knocking on my door. No one but you would announce himself in
such a melodramatic way. The whole building shook."
Logan said nothing, endured the other's scrutiny in silence.
"Hmm." Magneto summed up his survey with that faintly scornful
sound. "Charles told me of the risk you took for Rogue. I see you've
recovered nicely. Having myself experienced to a far lesser extent
the effect she has on one, I'm impressed. Yes, I believe you'll serve
my purposes even better than what I had envisioned."
Logan bared his teeth in a wolf's grin. "They'll be looking for you."
Magneto's smile was genuine this time. He slowly shook his
head. "Sorry to disappoint you, my boy, but the authorities believe
that I have resigned myself to my little plastic prison. Why would
they look for me? They can see the diabolical Magneto night and day
right where they put him. Besides," he frowned, fixing Logan with his
steely eyes, "no thanks to you, Mystique needs some recuperation
time. Three meals a day, bed rest And the food is quite tolerable, I
"As gullible as the others," Magneto cut him off. "I have let it be
known that I wish to contemplate my sins in solitude. So, no chess,
no Charles. Mystique's deception will be safe as long as I have need
"Thought she was busy playing Kelly," Logan commented with forced
casualness, hoping to hide his growing panic as he futilely tried to
move an arm, a leg, a finger.
Magneto chuckled. "My dear boy, you have been out of touch a while,
haven't you? The Senator's private plane went down in the Caribbean
when he set off for a well-deserved vacation. Unfortunately, the body
will never be found."
The man smiled with great good humor. "Chancy things, those light
metal planes," he added offhand.
If Logan could have shivered, he would have. He pressed his lips
together. The pleasantries were over, they both knew it. Magneto
flicked a finger, raising Logan a couple of inches off the floor,
then turned and headed for the elevator shaft. Logan followed,
floating like some kind of grotesque kite tethered to its owner by an
The stark reality of the laboratory was worse than the nightmares,
terrifying as they were. Logan had always believed the dreams were
distortions, exaggerations. In fact, he had taken solace in that
belief, assuring himself that no one could be so sadistic and
merciless to their victims as those shadowy figures his sleeping mind
conjured. Now he knew the nightmares didn't convey half the horrors
contained in this underground torture chamber. Sharp knives and
scalpels, picks, hooks ready to slice and sever, pierce and probe,
electric drills and acetylene torches ranging from large to small, a
vast array of metal strips that broke the light into rainbow
colors . . . Adamantium, he supposed.
He closed his eyes against it all, turned his head until his cheek
touched the cold, metal table and he was facing the icy, white tiles.
As if shutting his eyes would make the wicked blades and the cruel
fire and the evil bogeyman disappear the little voice chided.
Magneto had taken him on a tour before having him stripped and
fettered to the table, showing him the vat of water, the tools, the
"And the diagrams, my boy! Look at this ingenious multiple swivel
hinge for joints. The wrist, the elbow, the hipthey thought of
everything! You may be functional but you're not quite complete, you
know. In your impetuous way you ran off before they could incorporate
this list of refinements. We'll have to see if we can finish their
When Magneto came to Alkali Lake two weeks prior to Logan's ill-timed
arrival, he had found everything down here in place, as if the ghouls
who buried themselves in this hell hole had emerged for coffee one
day, discovered what the real world was like, and never came back. He
had cleaned up the lab and set to work with his assistant, a
vertically-challenged, creepy little guy with thick glasses, an
unhealthy greenish pallor, and a scraggly mess of hair that looked
like dried seaweed.
The way Magneto told it, his escape from the plastic prison was
childishly simple. Mystique had taken the form of the guard closest
to Magneto's physical type and was bringing dinner into the cube just
when the lights accidentally-on-purpose went off. They made the
exchange in the dark and when the lights came up the sensors
registered Magneto as remaining in the cell while the guard went his
All that happened a few days after Logan left the school. Like the
Professor, Magneto, too, had heard hints and rumors about the hush-
hush installation at Alkali Lake, whispers of the creation of a
superior fighting force of indomitable, indestructible warriors. And
after his disastrous defeat at Liberty Island by the X Men in general
and by one Wolverine in particular, Magneto decided to come up here
as fast as possible with the intention of building himself an army.
Logan, meanwhile . . . Well, Logan had sauntered along the way,
enjoying the power of Cyclops's bike and the feel of the warm, spring
air on his face after the harsh winter, a winter which was still in
full force up north. He liked the isolation, too, and the freedom
that came with it, if the truth be known. That surprised him when he
realized it. Jeez, he'd only been at the school a week or so! But in
that short time the Professor and the others had woven him into their
lives, with all the commitments and obligations their acceptance
required and Yeah, in spite of his better judgment, they'd become a
part of his life too. Temporarily, at least.
So he rode along at his ease, his only schedule one of late nights
and later mornings, spending a couple of days here, three or four
there, wherever his fancy took him, in no great hurry, really, to
reach his goal. Sure, the last of the winter up there was reason
enough to take it slow and casual. Best to wait till it got warmer.
He'd ridden motorcycles in snow and ice, even through a blizzard
once, but it was a risky, stupid thing to doand damned cold!and if
a guy had a choice . . .
No matter all the excuses he threw out for taking his time on the
road, he knew that the real reason he dawdled was because he was
afraid. How many times before had he gone searching for his past only
to come up with nothing? And that nothingness proved so devastating a
blow that with each disappointment he vowed to never again go on
another wild goose chase. He'd even keep that promise to himself
three, maybe four whole monthsthen once again he'd start asking
people questions, sifting for information, looking for clues. Because
a man with no past was like a man with no right arm. Logan could get
by without it, learn to compensate for its loss. But it left him off-
Would Alkali Lake be another dead end? If so, let him put it off as
long as possible. This way he could dream, at least, of what he might
learn. Why, he might even have a family! A wife and kids.
The wife a petite brunette with a sensuous body and fire in her eye
still waiting for him to come home with that carton of milk he went
out to buy fifteen years ago. Yeah, right! And the kids? Not kids
anymore. Teenagers. Logan didn't know if he could handle that.
So maybe not a wife and kids. Maybe a brother or a sister, parents,
somebody else like him. Oh, and they have claws, too? the little
He gritted his teeth. If he pushed himself he should arrive at Alkali
Lake by late afternoon. Just get it over and done with, he decided.
Although, now he wasn't so sure he wanted to know his past. What if
he found out he was a condemned murderer? A scumbag who volunteered
himself as guinea pig in order to escape death. It was possible, even
probable. He swallowed the sour taste in his mouth.
After all, no one seemed to have missed him, searched for him. He
hadn't seen his face tacked up on any post office walls. Plenty of
pictures of kids there. Dogs. Cats. 'Lost: one wolverine. Dangerous
if crossed. Surly at best. If found, please call . . .' But he hadn't
been found. 'Cause nobody ever bothered to look.
And so today, just before sunset, he finally arrived at the complex
only to end up in one of his nightmares. Déjà vu all over again.