Sunday, August 31, 2014

Walking Home in Gotham

A harsh and cold icy wind blew through the dark area of Gotham City known as Crime Alley.  Crime Alley was perhaps known to be the most notorious of all the districts in Gotham city. Namely so because many horrendous and unspeakable crimes had taken place in the area; hence the name the area was eventually given, Crime Alley. 
On this particular freezing December night in question, a young mother by the name of Theresa Drake; an Irish immigrant and her young son Timothy Drake who was about eight years old were walking home after seeing a movie.  Theresa had taken her young son into downtown to the Monarch Theatre to see an animated film he’d been begging her to see for the longest time and after the movie had finally ended, they immediately started heading home.  When they left the movie theater Theresa had checked her watch and realized it was very late. She wanted to get the two of them home quick and the quickest route she knew would be to cut through Crime Alley. Theresa knew very well the kind of dangers that lurked in the historic Crime Alley district, but she knew of no other quick way to get her and Tim home.  She silently prayed as they entered the alley and walked along that nothing bad would happen. 
Theresa wore a tall thick, black overcoat made from wool that wrapped around her and reached down to her feet upon which she wore a pair of plain tennis shoes. They looked to be the type that a worker in the kitchen of a restaurant might wear to keep from slipping on a greasy floor. The coat itself looked kinda ragged with strands of the fibers coming loose in different spots. It was certainly not a brand new coat as indicated by many of the buttons fastening the coat around her and being different colors. In the crook of one arm she held a small, brown strapless purse.  On her head Theresa wore a solid white knit cap. Peeking out from underneath the edges of the cap some small bits and strands of reddish-brown hair that curled at the ends. On either ear Theresa wore a set of faux, gold ear rings.  Her son Tim wore a puffy, bright blue colored jacket zipped up tightly around him, blue jeans, red and white tennis shoes, and on his head he also wore a knit cap, but his was a yellow.  Just like his mother’s coat; Tim’s was second-hand as well.  The only thing missing from both mother and son’s attire was a set of mittens or gloves.
As the two of them walked down the sidewalk that ran parallel with the street in the alley, Tim was clutching the hand of his mother’s; walking as fast as he could and trying to keep up with the quick pace of his mother. He had no idea why his mother was walking so fast, but he knew she seemed to be in an awfully big hurry for some reason.  All Tim really knew was that he’d just finished watching the best cartoon movie he’d ever seen in his life and now his mom was taking him back home to make hot chocolate and tuck him in with a good story.

However, unbeknownst to Theresa and young Tim, they had no idea they were being followed by an unsavory and potentially dangerous character.  It was a nasty, social degenerate of some kind that was doing his or her best to remain hidden in the shadows until the time was right. Theresa looked down at Tim walking beside her, “C’mon Tim we’ve got to move faster now!”  “Why momma, why are we in such a hurry?” Tim asked looking up at her.  Theresa smiled down at Tim then continued looking straight ahead at the darkened alleyway in front of them.  “Because sweetie this really isn’t a safe area of town, but it’s the quickest way for us to get home.”  With his other hand Tim started rubbing his eyes.  “I’m getting tired of so walking fast!  Can we slow down?”  Tim said.  Theresa looked at her son again as they continued their brisk pace. “I know you're tired sweetie, but we have to hurry!”  Theresa said.  She thought she heard footsteps behind them not long after they entered the alleyway which is the reason why she began increasing her pace; making Tim practically run to keep up. 
Further ahead down the alley Theresa could see a single streetlamp and was thankful there was at least some form of light in the alley.  It was the first streetlamp she’d seen since they had taken this shortcut.  It would be at least another ten minutes or so before they reached their apartment building though.  Their building was on another street on the other side of the Crime Alley district; in the Ashtor district.  If Theresa hadn’t decided to take the shortcut then she and Tim would’ve had to walk thirty blocks to get back home as opposed to twelve and being a waitress, Theresa didn’t have extra money for a cab. Otherwise she would’ve gladly called a cab.  
Theresa happened to glance up along the building rooftops because she thought she saw movement out of the corner of her eye.  “Oh God! We are being followed!” Theresa thought to herself.  “C’mon, Tim run for it!!!”  Theresa broke out running down the alley with Tim close by her side, heading for the streetlamp.  From somewhere in the darkness behind them, Theresa could hear the steady clop-clop sound of someone wearing boots and then she began to panic as the footsteps started speeding up. She realized the person was running after them, but Theresa was too scared to look behind her to see who was chasing them.   
When they finally reached the streetlamp Theresa told Tim she had to stop. She needed to catch her breath. Behind them the footsteps came to a sudden halt. Theresa’s body went cold and rigid knowing her and her young son both were in serious trouble.  Theresa Gulped and slowly turned around to face the person who’d been running after them. She held Tim tightly up against her; hugging him close as she could to her body. Stepping from out of the shadows and into the light was a scary looking humpty dumpty man with a scraggly beard.  He was wearing a black ski cap upon his head, a dark blue sweater, dark black jeans, and black work boots. He was not wearing any gloves. What he held in his hand that was stretched out to her is what Theresa’s eyes were fixated on. In his hand was a large high caliber pistol and the man was aiming it straight at the two of them. Theresa could tell by the look in the scary looking man’s pale grey eyes he wasn’t joking around. She hugged Tim even closer to her.  

“What do you want?!”  Theresa asked.  “I don’t have any money on me! I just spent the last of our money today on rent, food, and then to take my little boy to a movie!”  Underneath all the hair on the man’s face Theresa could see a wicked grin forming. His grin was just as scary looking as the rest of him as he was missing a few teeth.  The few teeth he had left were stained yellow and he seemed to have permanent tobacco stains on his lower gum-line. Theresa gathered that he either smoked heavily or chewed tobacco quite frequently. She guessed it was most likely the latter. “I’m not here for your money lady!  I’m here to deliver a message!”  The man said with an almost gravel-raspy sounding voice.
Theresa felt confused by his statement or choice of words rather.  She looked down at Tim for a moment. He stood simply stood there hugging his mother tightly and merely looked back up at her with fear in his eyes. She could feel her little boy shaking. He was absolutely terrified.  Theresa looked back at the man standing before her still holding the gun aiming it at her and Tim. “A message?! What kind of a message?” she asked.  The scary man stepped even closer to her and Tim.  He was so close now that Theresa could make out the manufacturer of the gun he was using. It read on the side, “Cobblepot Firearms.”
“I got a message fer’ ya’ lady, from the Falcone family!  You better forget about testifying tomorrow or you can kiss little Timmy there goodbye!”  The man said.  He shifted the large gun he was holding; aiming it at the center of Tim’s forehead then he started laughing with a gurgling laughter.  Theresa’s brow raised as her eyes widened with fear.  Out of the corner of her eye Theresa spotted something shiny and metallic suddenly fly through the air, but it was moving too fast for her to see exactly what it was. The object whatever it was collided into the streetlamp, smashing the glass causing the light to flicker out.  The man abruptly stopped laughing and looked all around him.  “What in tha’ hell?!” The scary man exclaimed. 
Theresa put a hand to her mouth; gasping as a tall dark figure suddenly appeared behind the scary man out of nowhere.  The dark figure grabbed the scary man from behind; violently spinning him around.  With a quick finger jab to the throat; the dark figure caused the scary man to sink to his knees.  Theresa quickly grabbed Tim in her arms and started to hurry off down the street, but something made her stop and look back. With Tim in her arms she stood there at another street corner, beneath another streetlamp watching the brawl.  The dark figure performed a quick roundhouse; hitting the scary man across the face; subsequently knocking him to the ground and onto his back before he could respond. He tried to get up and aim his gun at the figure assaulting him, but the strength of his attacker was too much for him. The figure pounced on him like a rabid dog; quickly subduing him with a quick sucker punch and a follow-up punch to the jaw then his upper ribcage. Once the figure was sure the scary man was unconscious he released the tight grip he had around the scary man’s throat and he stood up. He now faced Theresa and her young son.

Theresa stepped forward still holding Tim tightly in her arms. “Oh thank you so much whoever you are!”  In the darkness of the alley Theresa couldn’t make out any of the figure’s features as it looked like he was wearing some kind of mask over his face and possibly a costume of some kind. There was a flicker as the streetlamp that had been previously disabled now came back on revealing the identity of the dark figure. 
Standing before Theresa was a six-foot-two inch tall man with a black mask that covered almost his entire face; including his nose. Only the lower part of his face was showing. On top of his head that was covered by the mask on either side were two very tall semi-thick points, slightly curving forward; that Theresa thought might’ve represented ears. Attached to the rear of the mask and flowing down behind him, touching the ground was a long and wide black cape. It looked like it was made from some kind of extra-durable leather material. The mid-section of the costume was a light grey and in the center of the mid-section directly over the chest area was a large yellow oval. Set into the center of the yellow oval oddly enough; was a large black relief that almost resembled a bat. Around his waist he wore some kind of large, gold colored belt with multiple utility pouches attached to the belt. In the center of the belt where normally a buckle would be attached was yet another large bat relief. On his hands, reaching almost up to his elbow joints; the man wore large leather gloves that had three nasty looking spikes set on either side. Upon his legs he wore leg coverings comprised of the same material his costume’s mid-section was made from and on his feet he wore tall and thick black boots that reached up to his kneecaps, whereupon the boots came to a downward arch at his knee.
Tim took one look at the tall, imposing figure standing there before him and his mother then shouted out excitedly, “Mom it’s Batman!!!” True enough Theresa couldn’t believe who was standing before her very eyes.  He must’ve been the shadow she'd seen earlier on the rooftop.  Theresa hugged Tim close; kissing him on the cheek. “Thank you so much!!! I can’t believe it’s you, but it’s really you Batman!!! You saved our lives!!!”  Theresa said.  Batman didn’t utter a word at first.  He simply stood there glaring at Theresa hugging her young son. The cold look in his eyes began making Theresa uneasy. 
When he finally spoke, it was in a deep gruff voice; not to mention his tone was chock full of ice. “The best way you can thank me Miss Drake, is by getting you and your son home now! And don’t forget to show up and testify tomorrow at the hearing!”  Batman turned and started walking off down the alley, away from Theresa and Tim in the opposite direction. “Wait!!!”  Theresa called out.  Batman stopped and turned his head looking over his shoulder.  “Why did you choose to help us? I guess what I mean is; why do you do this every night?”  She asked. “I’ll tell you the same thing I’ve told many other people before Miss Drake; no one else can and it’s something I have to. Now go home!!!” Batman continued on his way down the alley, eventually disappearing into the darkness of the night with his long cape flapping in the cold wind behind him. Theresa and young Tim watched him as he disappeared; simply speechless. Not many people can say they’ve met The Batman, but those that had usually were slotted into two categories; the ones that were grateful they had and the ones that wish they hadn’t.
High above the streets of Gotham on the edge of a building Batman sat kneeling. As snow came down at a steady pace Batman watched over his city. He was Gotham’s protector or as some had come to call him over the years: her Dark Knight.  He’d been doing this job so long he didn’t know how to do anything else. Every night it was the same thing. During the day he was billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne; CEO of Wayne Enterprises and one of the world’s leading philanthropists. By nightfall he became something much worse; something much darker. Something he used to dread, but now he was used to it and now not a day or night went by that he didn’t look forward to slipping into his second work uniform. Over the years it had become not only a second skin for him, but second nature to him. After an incident with the Scarecrow, he’d even woken up in bed one morning wearing his costume. Thankfully Alfred was on top of things. He’d had an appointment that morning with Vicky Vale and Jack Ryder. It would’ve been a hard thing to explain if he’d shown up downstairs wearing a Batman costume. Alfred Pennyworth had been a longtime servant to the Wayne family even before Bruce had been born. Fact was Bruce didn’t know what he’d do if he ever lost Alfred. And he almost did one year thanks to Harvey Dent. Good ol’ Harvey Dent. Or Two-Face as he now liked to call himself.
In his right ear there was the sudden buzzing of static.  Batman put his hand up to his head touching his ear. “What is it?” Batman asked. Instantly the nasal sounding type voice of his butler Alfred filled up the headset in his mask. “Sir I thought I should let you know that Master Dick called earlier this evening.”  “What’d he want?” Batman asked.  “He’s going to be arriving tomorrow evening from New York and he says he has something important he wants to show you.”  Alfred said.  “That’s fine Alfred; see to anything he needs; because I’ll be busy tomorrow.”  Batman said.  “So I assume you’ll be in court all day tomorrow then?”  Alfred asked.  “You better believe it Alfred!  I wanna make sure Theresa Drake actually makes it to the courthouse in one piece. I wanna make sure they find Romano Falcone guilty this time!”  Batman said with a grumble.  “Sir you wouldn’t be planning anything drastic in the chance that they don’t find him guilty now would you?” Alfred asked.  Batman chuckled at the notion that Alfred would even suggest that he’d take the law into his own hands. “C'mon be serious now Alfred. I’m not Harvey. As much as I’d like to when dealing with these pieces of scum; I don’t take the law into my own hands.”  Batman replied. 

“Oh you don’t? I seem to remember an incident involving the Joker back in ’89.” Alfred said.  “That was an accident and he fell.”  Batman said.  “As I recall sir the original accident; you shoved him into that pool at Acme.”  Alfred said.  “I’m not gonna get into this with you right now Alfred! Just take care of anything Dick needs when he gets into town tomorrow and after I’m done with the hearing tomorrow, I’ll be back home Batman out!” Batman stood up and reached into one of the compartments on his belt and pulled out a small black square device that had what looked like a metallic hook attached. He reached into another compartment on his belt and retrieved another smaller metallic piece and slid that into a hidden area on the black device, locking it into place. Together the two pieces formed a large grappling gun. Batman noticed the snow was starting to come down even heavier now. He knew it was December, but there wasn’t anything that day reported in the forecast about a snowstorm. He wondered if perhaps Mr. Fries might be the source of the sudden snowstorm. Then perhaps maybe it was the job. After doing it for so long he was looking for and seeing new foes everywhere. Either way he’d check with Arkham and see if Victor was still confined. If Fries was then it was just a normal unexpected snowstorm. Batman aimed the grappling gun at a nearby building and fired the trigger. He leapt off the edge of the building swinging away into the cold darkness of the night; his cape gliding behind him. 

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