Clark always insisted he was an alien. As young as three years of age he would lead friends on play dates into his barn where he alleged his parents had buried the ship on which he’d reached earth. They never found it, and he never manifested the alien powers he claimed he was supposed to get from sunlight. All it did was earn him the nickname “Unvampire.”
At five years of age, Clark began convincing girls on the playground to let him save them. It was his duty as a more evolved alien god-man. They would pretend to be trapped on top of the jungle gym, or that the slide was on fire, and he would run across the yard to pretend his incredible hearing was picking up their distress. How the fires were slain by him blowing on them was chalked up to imagination.
How the house fire began is still a matter of contention in the county. Clark was nearly burned alive trying to pull his mother from beneath a collapsed beam. The local paper has a heart-wrenching photo of the child kicking a firefighter for pulling him outside and, to quote, “stopping me from saving them.”
The tragedy begat several years of transitive living, with foster parents who all had praise for the boy’s intelligence and drive, but all reported he was simply too outgoing to fit in. He wanted to captain sports teams, be head chef at dinner, and yelled over every argument. His second foster father was an engineer, and tells the story of how the boy redirected sunlight through his glasses into a heat ray unlike anything he’d ever seen. The experiment conveniently destroyed the glasses and half their garage, and was largely thought of as apocryphal until his teens.
At age thirteen he lived at a shared home in a particularly nasty part of Chicago. It was almost as soon as Clark moved in that a series of grisly murders began along the waterfront, each a helpless young man or woman. The sites and times were spaced so that no one was able to create a narrow field of subjects. Not until Clark. With amateur blogging and diligent photo evidence of what was available to the public, he was able to lead the police to the murderer within only two weeks. It was a disturbed homeless man, whom psychiatrists later testified didn’t even know he’d done any of it. He’d squatted only a few blocks from Clark’s shared home.
Solving the gruesome killing spree launched him into a sort of regional celebrity. He was consulted on further cases, though solved none, and charities soon raised the funds to send him to the college he deserved. He had a plethora of glowing references and was admitted at the age of 16 to MIT.
Clark had the knack for engineering and immediately bonded with other top students and professors in key programs. He claimed he’d always loved rockets, and dedicated his post-graduate work in alternative fuels to a roommate, who died tragically from taking the wrong prescriptions. Clark revealed staggering breakthroughs in fuels only a month later, and patented enough that he was able to fund vast improvements in Chicago’s slums. To both orphans and astronauts, he was heralded as a hero. In retrospect, it seems bizarre they let him go up in that shuttle. It was all about stardom and reigniting the American passion for space.