Tis the Season: Part One
Dec 18, 2012 1:09 AM
Jim was used to working late nights. It came with the territory of being Gotham City's Police Commissioner. Nights like tonight though made him want to go home, lie in bed, and cling tight to his wife. His office was dark, and the blinds closed shut. The only form of illumination came from a small desk lamp that had been at the Gotham City Police Department almost as long as he had. It had been a while since his detective Harvey Bullock had come in saying he was calling it a night. Most of the others were either gone or busy out running their beats, so he knew he wouldn't be disturbed.
He reached down and opened the bottom right drawer, and pulled out a small glass and a bottle of Johnnie Walker Black Label. He poured his self a small amount into the glass, but left the bottle open on top of the desk. He left the glass sitting there for a moment as he lit a cigarette and drew it to his lips and inhaled before removing it to blow out a long steady stream of smoke. Then with the same hand that held the cigarette he took the glass and downed the potent whiskey in a single gulp. The burn made his eyes water, but after a few moments the burn subsided, and was replaced with a slight oncoming sense of relaxation. It didn't help.
On his desk, illuminated by the desk lamp, was a case file with photos from a crime scene he had left just a few hours ago. The case file was small, but it was marked with a name Jim was all too familiar with: FALCONE. The Falcone family had once been a very powerful crime syndicate that ran its operations in Gotham City. Drugs, Guns, Extortion, you name it. The Falcone's had their hands in all of it. They even had the courts and police wrapped up in their corrupt little game. That was till the Batman showed up.
Within a month the Batman had destroyed what had took the Falcone Family generations to build, but the real fall came with the murder of Harvey Dent and the Holiday killings. Members of the Falcone Crime gang began to die one after another, and finally it all came crashing down when a new villain named Two Face, the deranged and deformed remnants what was once Harvey Dent, murdered the head of the Falcone Family: Carmine "The Roman" Falcone. All that was left after that was Carmine's children: Sofia, Alberto, and Mario. Alberto was killed by Sofia who was murdered moments later by Two-Face. The Batman tried to stop him, but it was too late.
All that was left was Mario Falcone, a man who had wanted to redeem the Falcone name, but business deals went south all because no one trusted Falcone. Mario was left a broken man, but apparently that wasn't enough. Tonight someone had broken into the Falcone estate and murdered Mario Falcone and all of his staff, but that wasn't what was keeping Jim up on this dark starless night. Jim looked down at the photo one last time, and once again felt his stomach turn. The picture was of a twelve year old girl with five gunshot wounds in the back, and a final shot placed right in the middle of her forehead. The little girl had been wearing a once white dress that had now been stained crimson. Her brown hair had been soaked from the blood that poured from the missing part of her scalp from where the bullet had entered her skull from an angle. Blood poured from the corners of the small pale lips and her blue eyes had still been wide open as she had looked into the face of her murderer.
One would think that this is Gotham City, and that for the police to see dead little girls was not that big of a deal. Sure that was what the common heartless bastard thought. They all thought that for you to live in Gotham City you had to have a heart of stone and that nothing could affect you. Sure try doing that when it's your daughter. When she's lying there helpless and bleeding and you can do nothing about it as she cries out for help. No, not Jim Gordon. Jim couldn't stomach it. He had felt it when he looked in the eyes of that little girl tonight. He had felt the horror she felt. He felt the anger. He felt the emptiness. It was enough to make any man want to put a gun to his head and pull the trigger.
No, not Jim Gordon. Gotham still needed him, and he was going to do everything he could to see that the creature that had done this was brought to justice. Justice. What a funny word. What passed for justice in Gotham was joke, but Jim knew that if he didn't do what was right then who else would?
That question was answered by the cold draft that was now blowing in through the window that had been closed just moments earlier. Jim didn't even have to look up to know what it meant.
"I'm surprised you didn't get here sooner." Jim said not even looking up from the case documents. Out of the darkness stepped a tall dark and looming figure known only as The Batman. On his head was a cowl with two pointed ears, a long dark cape draped down past his boots, and on his chest was a symbol in the shape of a large bat that was as dark as the night itself.
"Any leads?" The Batman asked in a gruff voice that was as rough as sand paper.
"None," Jim replied, "The whole house was swept clean. No security footage, no witnesses, heck there weren't even any damn bullet casings."
"Do we have a list of all those who we believe were on Falcone's payroll?"
"Yeah, archives is going over it right now, and cross referencing it with possible motives, so we can compile a suspect list."
"We won't find the murderer that way."
"Unless you have something I don't then I already know that!" Jim spat, not really shouting, but with enough emphasis that he might as well have been scolding a child. Batman only stood there in silence narrowing his eyes as he looked down at Jim. "I just don't understand. A twelve year old girl who had no connection with any of family's business dealings. You should have seen the room Batman. Blue ribbons from honor roll and spelling bees. More stuffed animals than I've ever seen. All of it belonged to a little girl that meant no harm to the world. Now all of it is dripping with her blood."
Jim paused once more pouring himself another shot of whiskey and downed it before continuing, "Every time I see something like this I think of Barbara, and how it could have been her. Damn this city, and all its monsters."
"Jim." The Batman said in what passed as a comforting tone for him, "We'll find who did this. Just keep looking. I'm going back to the house to see if I can find anything that can help."
"Yeah, you do that Batman." Jim said, but his statement was only answered by sound of the blinds that covered the window as they crashed up against the window frame where the Batman had gone out. Jim sat there in silence for a few moments longer. Trying in vain attempt to clear his head, when suddenly there was a knock at the door. Jim moving as quickly as he could muster put away the bottle and glass before answering.
"What is it?" The door cracked open slightly, and a uniformed officer stuck his head in.
"She's here sir." The mas said. Jim took a deep breath, and stood up from his seat.
"I'll be out there in a minute." Jim said rubbing his hand across the top of his head. The officer nodded and closed the door behind him, leaving Jim alone in the darkness once again.
Jim didn't know if he was ready for this one. He had to deliver bad news all the time, but experience in this matter did not make such a thing any easier. Jim grabbed his coat hanging on the rack at the door as he exited his office, and walked out onto the main floor of the GCPD. Out there waiting in a chair was another young girl, but this one was not like the innocent one whose dead eyes he had been starring into for the past several hours.
Sitting in one of the chairs outside his office was a sixteen year old girl with reddish-brown hair and green eyes. She was dressed casually in blue jeans, tennis shoes; a t-shit with a band logo on the front, and in her arms was a rather oversized coat that had been used to help block the cold of winter in Gotham. All the clothing was disheveled, and her hair was tangled as if she had left home in a hurry. Her eyes were red and her make up showed signs of running which was smeared in some places from where she had furiously tried to wipe the signs of tears away. Her face did not show signs of sadness though. Instead her face was stoic, but Jim could see it in her eyes. He could see the angry fire that often inhibited the eyes of those whom had a loved one taken from them.
"Kitrina Falcone?" Jim asked the girl hoping she would respond to him. The girl's eyes turned sharply to him, and almost seemed to glare right through him.
"Commissioner," Kitrina started to reply, her voice cracking as she said the following words, "I'm going to ask you this once and only once." Katrina paused once again taking another breath. Jim saw the girl hesitate to speak, almost too distraught to speak. He had seen most people like this break, but Kitrina still did not cry when she finally asked him: "Do you know who killed my cousin?"
Dec. 21 2012 4:29 PM
It was Christmas time in Gotham City, though for Kitrina it didn’t feel quite so festive. She had arrived back in town only a few days ago after having spent the last several months as a student at Aldridge Prep, an all-girls private school in North Carolina. Now she was set up in a modest hotel room near Gotham’s commercial district. Her cousin and Uncle’s funeral had been held just a few hours ago, and it seemed so strange to her that now she was watching the Gotham City Christmas Parade as it passed on the street below her window. It felt so strange that the entire world around her seemed happy and cheerful, but she herself could only feel sorrow and anger.
Luckily she had not needed to handle the funeral arrangements herself, and had managed to call in a few favors, and not just those that involved picking out caskets and flowers, but assistance in her true mission: finding the bastard that had killed her twelve year old cousin, Ana. The funeral itself went about as well as any funeral. It had been a traditional catholic funeral, but few people had shown up. Mario did not have that many friends, and even fewer had known Ana. Kitrina had wanted to cry, but she had forgotten how. As last member of the main branch of the Falcone family she had to appear strong otherwise the others might try to come after her. She was sure eventually someone would, but right now none of that was her concern. All she could think about was Ana.
Kitrina had loved that little girl, and had often babysat her during the time that she lived under her Uncle Mario’s roof. She could have cared less about her uncle’s death, and honestly she felt like he deserved it. Ana though had been the closest thing Kitrina had ever had to a little sister. In truth she was the closest thing she had left to family. Mario had not been much of a legal guardian, and her mother barely had made time for her even before her death. The only other person in Kitrina’s life that had ever shown her the slightest recognition was her grandfather, Carmine Falcone, whom Kitrina had seen murdered right before her eyes on a Halloween Night six years ago. The memory of her grandfather’s funeral still affected her till this day, and now having to see that little girl being lowered into the ground was like pouring salt into a wound.
Upon returning from the funeral she had changed out of the traditional black dress and veil, and into more comfortable clothing, pink pajama pants and a white tank top, so she could finally get to work. Though she had not been sure at first it turned out that the Falcone Family still had allies. This time it had been a man named Sammy Finch, a bistro owner on the south side of town who worked as a sort of banker for the family. Kitrina had put in a call to him and now she had a whole file of paperwork including invoices and a whole ledger on business dealings over the past four months. She had also been given a name: Dr. Loeb. Sam had pointed the name out to her, and had said that he only met the man once, and he gave him the creeps. Sam had said it was just a hunch, but it may have been a place to start.
As Kitrina sat down at the table she went over the records given to her by Sam once more. In the past few months her uncle Mario had made several contributions to Doctor Loeb’s clinic, but suddenly two months ago the payments had stopped without any indication as to why. There was another problem though that puzzled Kitrina, and that was that nobody had ever heard of Doctor Loeb. There was no number in the phone book, no address, and in truth there wasn’t even any record of him in any licensed department of medicine. So it would have appeared that Mario had been frequenting a black market doctor for some reason, but for what, and what did all this have to do with Ana?
There had to be something she was missing though. She began to flip through the ledger, and that was when she spotted it: the missing piece to the puzzle. It was an entry penciled in for a container rental at the Gotham Docks. Normally it wouldn’t be that big of a deal for the Falcone to have dealings with the docks because Falcone often deal with import export businesses, but this was a for a holding fee, and it continued for the next several months alongside the same contributions that were given to Doctor Loeb. If she was lucky perhaps she could still get a hold of the container number. She grabbed the phone book out of the bedside table drawer and flipped the pages till she found the number for the Docks. As soon as she found it she wasted no time grabbing the hotel phone and started dialing.
The space between rings felt like ages to Kitrina, and she was crossing her fingers hoping for some kind of lead. When the phone finally picked up and the person on the other end said hello Kitrina almost stumbled into an answer.
“Ah…Yes, my name is Kitrina Falcone, and my uncle passed away a few days ago. I’ve been left in charge of settling all of his accounts. I’ve been going over his records and it says he’s rented a cargo container there, and has been paying holding fees. I was wondering on what container that would be.” Kitrina asked trying to sound innocent yet somewhat sad, hoping to pass for what she hoped as a niece saddened over her uncle’s death and was now reluctant to have to close out his business. If she was lucky the person on the other end of the phone would not care if she were a Falcone or not. She crossed her fingers and hoped for the best.
“Just one second ma’am” the voice on the other end of the line when silent for a few moments that might has well have been an eternity, “Yes, ma’am that container’s number is A00035691.” Kitrina nearly dropped the phone as she grabbed the nearest pen and began scribbling the number down on a piece of paper. “Would you like to close out the container?”
“No not today, I’ll be coming down there later today to inspect its contents. If any of my uncle’s things in there I’ll have to know what it is so I can disperse it to the proper people.”
“I understand ma’am. Also I am very sorry for you loss. Have a good day.”
“Thank you and you too.” Kitrina replied just before hanging up the line. Kitrina took a deep breath and stretched before standing up and heading over to the window once more. Down below Santa Claus was being pulled through on a float as the parade was finishing up its route. She still did not quite feel the whole festive spirit, but she smiled at the pure irony of it, because it was like Santa had brought her a gift. She finally had a lead, and maybe whatever it was that was in that container would have some clue that would lead her to her cousin’s killer.
Kitrina walked over to her bed where she had laid out a leather jumpsuit accented with pink stripes, a pair of black boots, and a set of infrared goggles. She felt a sense of deviltry creep up in her as she ran her hands over the fabric, and then she felt a sense of pride rise up in her as she pulled out the final article to the costume she was assembling. In a way it looked silly to her, but at the same time she could feel power and liberation in the leather cap with flaps that in a way looked similar to the ears of cat.