The Scarlet Tree

BY : KoKoa_B
Category: DC Verse Comics >no category yet > no category yet
Dragon prints: 1019
Disclaimer: I do not own DC Comics, Justice League or Martian Manhunter. I do not make any monetary value from the writing of this story.

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"Blood is that fragile scarlet tree we carry within us." ~Osbert Sitwell

The cab driver honked his horn and made the woman grumble inside her apartment. She'd rarely been punctual, but this was the wrong time to be late; she would miss her flight.

“Alright, alright! Don’t have an aneurysm! I’m coming!” she yelled out her apartment window. She gathered her luggage; at least she had packed last night! The only thing left was to make sure things were off and locked. Melody barreled down the stairs, surprised that the cabbie helped her with the bags.

“Friends throw you a wild party, eh?”

“Uh… no. I don’t… have any friends. Just overslept.” she mumbled as she got in. As they took off, she sighed happily. Not even waking up late would ruin what lay ahead: a well-deserved vacation!

She rushed through the terminal to get her bags and passport checked. She smiled down at the brochure: Australia. It took her months to think of a location to visit; her co-workers warned her about the dangers that lurked all over the continent. Even the tiniest of animals were able to inflict death! Melody wasn’t worried about it. Her destination was Sydney, and she knew that there was more to Australia than venomous snakes, freakishly large, deadly spiders and crocodiles!

Melody worked at the same company since she graduated from college a few years ago. She was a hard worker, rewarded with a couple promotions even though she was soft spoken. Melody was glad she couldn't lead anyone yet; if she had her way, she'd stay the boss’s personal assistant. It paid well enough; the only thing that mattered to her!

Her boss saw she was awkward even after all that time. He suggested for the vacation to somewhere exotic, preferably out of North America! She chose Australia because it was one of the few places whose atmosphere wasn't overly romantic. Melody had no significant other.

She perked up as they announced the boarding and got in line. The one thing she wasn’t looking forward to: the almost daylong trip. The most time difference she ever experienced was two hours; she would be severely jet lagged! However, she would have two weeks to adjust, and she was determined to make the best of her time.

The plane was enormous; she was surprised to find she would be comfortable for the entire trip! Melody found her seat next to an older man who gave her the warmest of smiles. By the seats arrangement, the two wouldn’t even touch elbows! She returned the smile as she sat. Before she could acknowledge the man further, her phone buzzed in her pocket. She swiped it at once and smirked at the message:

Have a safe trip, lucky bastard :P

She lied to the cabbie when he asked about her friends. But she only had a few; a close knitted circle. They weren’t like the others in the office; most hit the local bars even after work. Melody and her four friends maybe went out once a month; they preferred simple nights inside or at the least going out to the movies. If they were all still in high school, they would be immediately pinned as nerds!

Shut up weirdo! I offered to bring you…

To AUSTRALIA?!?! No thanks! If you get eaten by a shark, can I have your apartment?? :D

I already told Chris he could have it!

Ugh! Really?? It’s gonna smell funny…

XD XD I’ll update from facebook for you guys

Yeah, yeah: luv ya! Take plenty of pics!

Of course! Love you too

“Talking to your husband…?” the man spoke. Melody smirked and shook her head.

“No. I’m not married. That was just my best friend. My goofy best friend!”

“You’re traveling alone. Business?”

“Actually, a vacation. To ‘find myself’ as my boss puts it! So… what’s your excuse?”

“Retired. This is something on my bucket list.”

“… Oh…” she felt bad about her smirk. The man noticed and chuckled.

“There’s nothing wrong with me; I’m in perfect health! I plan on living well into my hundreds!” he smiled. It was Melody’s turn to give out a small laugh.

“Optimism is good.”

“And… you don’t have to wait until you’re old to start doing things on your bucket list. If you have the means, do it as soon as you can. You never know what will happen…” he looked at her. She couldn’t help but to wonder at the sudden gleam in his eye; was he trying to tell her something? The man cleared his throat and looked at the paper in his lap, “I hear Sydney is beautiful at this time of year.”

“… Yeah. I hope so…”

Things went smooth for majority of the trip. Whenever they were able to use the Internet, Melody jumped at the chance to chat with her friends as well as try to catch up on the news. Nothing of importance as usual; a few mentions of the various members of the Justice League doing what they did best. The older man and she chatted about the presence of superheroes in the world. They both agreed that superheroes were harmless enough and had the public’s well-being in mind. Their presence annoyed so many people; they felt they got in the way of what public service people were meant to do. Melody saw nothing wrong with that. In fact, she knew that certain circumstances needed a superhero’s touch. After their talk, she ate her dinner and tried to get some sleep.

The sun hitting her closed eyelids made her wake from her slumber. The elderly man stayed fast asleep as she stretched and got up to use the latrine. She couldn’t wait until she got to her hotel; the first thing she was going to do was take a long hot shower! Melody brushed her teeth and washed her face before the buzzing in her pocket made her jump. While she did enjoy the older man and their conversations, she didn’t know him well enough to leave her phone out in the open. Melody looked at her phone and almost dropped her toothbrush.

Holy shit; guess you picked the right time to be in the air!!

What’s going on…?

Terrorist attacks!

What?! where?!


It’s too early to be joking!

Seriously; check! We’re ok. But they’re telling everyone to stay inside.

She was about to text until she wobbled inside of the small bathroom. The seatbelt sign flashed as she tried to balance herself. Great; turbulence, she thought to herself as she made her way back to her seat. She put her seatbelt on but grabbed her laptop. Checking everywhere, she saw that her friend was right. Bombs detonated in large cities. A few world leaders assassinated; pure chaos. Her heart thumped as she read one of the articles.

“Oh? It’s already started…” the man startled her. She slowly looked at him.

“Wha…” she noticed he held something in his hand. Before she questioned it, she felt an excruciating pain in her abdomen followed by an uncomfortable burn. She looked down and saw that the man had stabbed her; the slight upward thrust put her in too much shock. It hurt to breathe, making it impossible to call out for help… or warn anyone that he had something else in his hand: a detonator. Melody gasped for air as an exploding sound engulfed her ears, making the entire plane lurch forward. She winced as he pulled the knife out, producing a raspy and shrilled gasp as bright red blood squirted towards him. White spots gathered in her line of vision as she gaped at the man wide eyed. Tears ran from her eyes as she wanted to ask him why he had done such a thing. She immediately tried in vain to cover her wound. Another large “boom” sounded that rocked the plane and there was no denying it; they were falling from the sky. The oxygen masks dropped and many of the passengers started putting them on. Melody was in too much pain to grab at hers; the only thing she could do was clutch at the hole where her blood was leaving her. She gaped at the man as he smiled at her… revealing monstrous, sharp teeth.

“It’s only because you were nice to me that I did this. You’ll be dead by the time the plane crashes so… you won’t feel it.” he explained. Melody was already gasping for air; he was right. She knew that she needed to save her strength but thought against it; she was going to die no matter what.

“Who… what… are… y-y-you…? Why…” it hurt for her to even speak. The man gave out a low chuckle.

“I’m the one who’s going to help take over your planet.” when his eyes started to glow red, hers widened. He wasn’t human, she realized.

She heard the plane screaming towards the Pacific Ocean; it drained out some of the panicking passengers. Melody wanted to curse at herself for not being more outgoing in her life. She didn’t even have any children. A part of her was glad; the feeling of leaving a child behind was wrenching. She thought about what whoever or whatever that sat beside her told her. He spared her a more horrendous death. Whoever tried to take over her planet may not be so merciful towards the remaining humans. Maybe she should be at peace with what happened to her and thank him.

No one paid attention to the thud from the top of the plane; many saw their lives flash before their eyes. Melody looked up in time to see something come through the plane from above… phasing right through the metal as though it was water. Her eyes widened at the sight: a large, green Martian. Was he one of the ones who would take over her planet, she wondered. Why would he be there; to make sure that the plane would crash?

His cape flowed as he stood in the aisle, accessing the situation. She experienced tunnel vision but her eyes stayed on him as long as they allowed her. His outfit made him look majestic; the only true thing threatening about him? His height! Even his red eyes carried compassion as they landed on her. He was there… to save them.

She wanted to ask for help but she knew that he saw the blood when his eyes widened. She weakly stared at him, her hands shaking; she only hoped that he could read the despair in her eyes. He touched his temple as he looked at everyone else.

SLEEP…” the last thing her mind registered as darkness enveloped her. She was no longer in a panic, she no longer felt the pain; Melody Whitmore was at peace.

J’onn needed to calm everyone on board; the only way to do so was to induce sleep. He was returning from the moon when he noticed the plane descending. He tried to keep the plane in the air but if it continued to fly, the fuselage would give out and kill everyone on board before it crashed. J'onn had another plan.

“The Epiphany has begun…” a voice startled him as he began his own descent out of the plane. J’onn looked up, surprised to see someone still awake, “We need you, J’onn, to turn this planet red.”[1] the man’s eyes glowed red. J’onn knew who he was, or at least what he was. He chastised the Martian for pretending to be a superhero when they both knew what he truly was… and his purpose. The thought angered him as he descended from the plane.

 “You are wrong and I will prove it!” he snarled as he began his transformation. The Martian shifted into a gigantic green dragon. He was large enough to grab the plane and guide it to the safety of a nearby island, moments before touching the water. The plane barreled into the sand before stopping as J’onn released his grip and took the humans out of their induced sleep. The act made him weary as he laid in the sand long enough to let his body transform naturally. Enough time passed to contemplate what he'd been through that day… and the start of his life on Earth. The one thing that the White Martian was right about: he was not a superhero. He was a mere Martian; the last of the Green Martians. But he did not believe that his sole purpose was to be a weapon of mass destruction.

“M-M-Monster!” a voice interrupted his thoughts. J’onn opened his eyes and saw the terrified gleam in a small boy’s eyes. He figured that his transformation wasn’t complete and tried his best to shift back into his “regular” form.

“No. It’s okay. You’re safe. I’m a member of the Justice League and…” he tried to explain. But, the little boy had seen enough and ran back to the others.

“Mom!! There’s a monster!! It made us crash!!”

“Don’t…” he hesitated before going after him. Maybe the adults would be less hysterical. He was not a monster, he argued with himself.

All the passengers were off the plane, wandering around the island. As J’onn approached, he remembered that there would be one still on board. Instead of approaching the humans, he made his way inside of the plane. Sure enough, she was the only one left. She slipped in and out of consciousness although the blood from her wound didn't bleed as much as before. She still lost enough blood; someone stabbed her, he realized. J’onn unbuckled her and carried her off the plane.

The others stopped what they were doing to watch as the Martian carried the human in his arms. The boy from before tugged at the hem of his mother’s skirt.

“That’s the monster! He’s trying to take that woman away!!”

“S-Shush! He’s… what is he doing?”

“Is she bleeding? Did he hurt her…?”

“For God’s sake, he’s saving her!”

“Did… did he save us all…?” with his extrasensory hearing, even as they murmured, he still heard them. His mind went elsewhere, and he knew he had no time to worry about what the others thought of him.

When she came to, her entire body felt heavy. The throbbing in her stomach region came back and did nothing to ease her disorientation. As she opened her eyes, her vision was cloudy; the darkness still threatened around her peripherals. She realized she was no longer sitting: someone was carrying her… and he wasn’t human. She wished the cool temperature that emanated from his body could relieve the fiery sensation from her stomach. The Martian came into her sight when he gently laid her on the ground. His face appeared human enough, aside from the green skin, red eyes and tapered brow.

J’onn eyed her curiously as she stared back at him. It was rare that someone would look at him without fear.

“Why are you not afraid of me?” his deep voice resonated; his curiosity got the best of him. Melody felt weaker by the moment but she still managed a small smile.

“Because… I’m dead. Only way to… explain it…” she half mumbled. J’onn returned the smile. Even on the brink of death, she managed to have a sense of humor. He looked down at the wound; he knew what he had to do.

“You’re injured. I can help you.”

“… ‘Kay…”

“Someone get the first aid kit!” he heard. He had to give them some credit, but he knew that mere bandages would do nothing. The knife punctured an organ; stopping the bleeding alone would only buy her so much time. J’onn looked at the blood that covered part of her shirt and lifted it; the blood was almost black. Her liver, he realized. Why would the White Martian stab her, he asked himself. He expected her to die before the crash… she wouldn’t had felt the impact. A White Martian showed sympathy for a human in its own twisted way.

“I’m sorry. This will hurt.” he could waste no more time. He had no idea how far a hospital would be. Even if they arrived promptly, would the surgeons operate in time? J’onn doubted it. He used his heat vision to help repair the damage, focusing first on her lacerated liver. Melody gasped as her body shook from the pain. She was about to yell out in excruciating pain until the shock of it all made her pass out. While he was a bit worried about her, he was glad that she passed out; he didn’t have to hold her down to keep her still.

J’onn made quick work of the repair to her liver; he narrowed his hand so it could fit through the hole to check on his work. He sighed in his mind; the bleeding had slowed drastically: the woman was out of critical condition.

“Oh, God… I’m gonna be sick…”

“Is he supposed to that?”

J’onn sighed louder than he meant to; at least they let him work on the woman! He removed his hand and closed up the knife wound with another beam of heat vision. He hoped the woman wouldn’t take it too hard about the scar she would have; that she would be grateful she was alive instead. He looked up at the crowd that gathered around the two.

“Is anyone else injured?” he asked with concern in his voice. He did a quick scan of their minds and found no one else had any serious injuries, “Please do not wander off too far; I will return with more help.” he assured them as he cradled the woman in his arms.

“See, mom; I told you he’s taking that woman!”

“… I am not kidnapping her. She’s the only one who needs immediate medical attention.” he looked solemnly at the young boy. There was no use arguing with him; J’onn hoped the boy's mother would talk some sense into him as he took the sky.

“… I am not a monster…”

[1] Taken from Martian Manhunter issue, “Weapon”.

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