Rated FR18 for violence and gore.
Batman created by Bob Kane, all characters copyright of DC Comics.
Batman – Nightmares Part Three
Deep beneath the ground in the mad mans lair the young woman begins to regain consciousness. Her vision still hazy, but the smell of wax and the dankness of the chamber fill her nostrils, along with other unpleasant smells. She gags and coughs realizing she is tied to a chair. The dried crusts of blood pulling at her skin as they crack.
“Ah, you are awake.” He captor says as he impales the last of the heads he collected on his pikes. “I was afraid you may have slipped into a comma.”
“Who…are you? Where am I?” She says, her voice trembling with fear.
“I am nobody, and you are in my home.” He walks around to her grabbing her hair and pulling back her head. He looks into her eyes with a tiny flashlight.
“Are you a doctor?”
“No, much worse.” He says releasing her and going back to his heads.
Stacey’s vision begins to clear as she looks around. “Oh my god.” A cold shiver goes up her spine as she slowly turns her head to see the bloody heads. She lets out a scream horrified at the sight.
The man begins to laugh as she continues to scream knowing no one will hear her.
The sleek super car known as the Batmobile pulls up into its parking spot in the batcave. The Dark Knight emerging from it pulling his mini camera and the vile from his utility belt.
“Good to see you Master Bruce, it is nearly dawn.”
“I know how he kept the people locked inside. The back door was barricaded by a large vehicle, possibly a cargo van. It left heavier then it came. The main theater doors were locked from the outside, since the employees were killed first I gather he used one of their keys to lock it then entered.” Batman says as he places the swab he took from the projection room floor into the analyzer.
“What’s that?” Robin asks.
“Hopefully not what I think it is.” He hands Nightwing the mini camera. “Upload the images.” Batman turns his attention to the analyzer which has already finished. “Dammit, blood. Try to match it against the employee files, see who was working the projection room.” He says to Robin.
“You have the employee’s blood type on file?” Robin comments, not getting an answer. “Of course you do.” The teen does as he is instructed quickly coming up with one name. “It’s a rare blood type, only one employee on last night with it, Stacey Delight.”
“Sounds like a porn star.” Nightwing quips.
“Contact Gordon, we need to speed up the ID process.” Batman grunts.
Stacey struggles in her bonds, her face stained with tears, her voice horse from screaming for help.
“Are you finished?” The man says carrying in a plate of fresh bread and vegetables. “No one will hear you, no one knows where you are, and no one even knows if you are alive. It will take them weeks to figure it out.”
“You…killed…all those people?”
“Yes I did.”
He sticks an apple in her face, which she refuses. He tries some more of the fruits and vegetables on the plate, all which she continues to refuse. “Not hungry?”
“What are you going to do with me?”
The man smiles, his face dirty and scared. “Wouldn’t you like to know.”
Night comes quickly, most of still unsure about what happened at the theater. All attempts at contacting the police have failed, even the ones on the inside who’d normally leak information have kept their lips sealed. Gordon trying to prevent mass hysteria, the media not letting it die, still reporting what little they do know or have speculated.
Wayne Manor slowly comes to life as it does when night begins to fall. Bruce stirs in his sleep, his mind creating horrific visions of what may have happened in the theater, the people screaming, blood spraying, headless bodies dropping to the floor. He sees to familiar faces, his parents, and their heads sliding from their bodies. Then he sees himself, a terrified child weeping as a glimmer of a sword comes down.
Bruce wakes sitting up in his bed, covered in a cold sweat.
“Good evening Master Bruce.”
“Alfred, how long have you been standing there?”
“Since you went to sleep. You seemed extremely distressed, I was afraid to wake you.”
“It was nothing.”
“Where are Dick and Tim?”
“Already in the cave, are you sure you are alright Sir?”
“Yes, now drop it Alfred.” He snaps heading into the washroom to shower.
The G.C.P.D, Commissioner Gordon’s office, five hours later. Batman stands in the empty office looking over the photos on Jim’s desk. He picks up the one of Barbara and Jim’s late wife Sarah. Hearing a noise at the door Batman quickly replaces the photo exactly as it was. “Good evening Jim.”
Gordon nearly drops his coffee mug as he flicks on the lights. “Damn, even after all these years you still get me.”
“The I.D’s are going too slow.”
“I know, everyone is working as fast as they can. I have every available man on it, there are just too many bodies. We need a new plan before they strike again.”
“You’re still assuming its one person?”
“Why, what do you know?”
Batman looks out the window as he pulls a flash driver from his belt. “It’s all on here, what I found and all information we’ve gathered.” The Dark Knight places it down on Gordon’s desk then slips out the window.
Nightwing stands atop the Gotham Cathedral looking up into the full moon. A crisp fall wind rushes over him, a few stray leaves blowing by. “Oracle, do you copy?”
“I read you Nightwing.”
“Batman wants list of all events happening tonight, particularly ones that run at midnight or past.”
“Give me a second.”
Nightwing watches a pair of young teens below as they approach a parked car, one dressed in red jacket, the other in a black one. He positions himself to strike as one takes a screw driver out from his pocket. “Armatures.” Nightwing whips one of his escrima sticks clocking the one in red then leaps down the Cathedral. “Is it really worth it?”
“If you say Batman I’m going to put my other escrima stick somewhere unpleasant.” Nightwing says spinning it on his fingers.
The teen in the black jacket pulls his dazed friend to his feet as they run away. “Lets get out of here.”
“Good decision.” He picks up his other stick replacing them on his back.
“Would you really do that with your escrima stick?” Barbara asks, laughing.
“No way, I wouldn’t want it back after that, and I lose these enough as it is.”
“I have three possible locations for you. A fundraiser, museum exhibit opening and an invite only party in Robbinsville ”
“Good. Contact Batman and Robin, we’ll each have to take one.”
“I’m contacting them right now.”
The Dark Knight guides his black muscle car through the streets of , scaring away any would be criminals just at the sight of it. He flicks on the batmobiles internal com as the call comes in from Oracle. “Go ahead.”
“I have the locations you asked for, I’m uploading them to your GPS now.”
Batman looks them over as they scroll across his screen. “I’ll take the museum, I’m near by.”
“I’m in Robbinsville right now, so I’ll cover the party.” Robin responds.
“That leaves me the fundraiser.” Nightwing says.
“Becareful, no one goes in alone.”
“Even you?” Nightwing asks.
“No one. Batman out.” He looks down at his screen realizing Oracle is still on the line. “What is it Barbara?”
“The museum opening is near the theater, you’re not there by chance.”
“You are letting this get to you.”
“You can’t fool me, you can’t fool any of us.”
“Keep tabs on the boys will you.” Batman disconnects the line as he pulls the batmobile into an alley. He gets out firing his grappler and soars up into the night sky.
Robbinsville, near old , the breeze is warmer here, coming off from the river which is still warm from the summer and has not yet cooled. The Boy Wonder leaps across the roof tops of the homes heading to a larger building that is done in an old castle style. Robin lands down amongst a group of trees in the outer yard, watching as the guests arrive. Everyone is dressed in costumes, a Halloween party he just might be able to crash.
The Batman stands on the rooftop of the museum watching as people come and go, mostly in pairs. Everyone is dressed in their best, a few armed guards keeping tabs on the main entrance. “Oracle, come in.” He says heading to the rear to check the other exits.
“What can I do for you?”
“Run the guest lists for three locations we are covering against the list of names we have so far from the theater murders.”
“You think there might be a connection?”
“Just do it.” Batman slips down the back of the building landing like a ghost softly on the ground. He checks the emergency exits, careful not to be seen. Each of the doors secure and no signs of forced entry. Batman climbs back up to the roof and over to the skylight that looks down into the center of the room. He taps his cowl activating his HUD checking the time.
“Batman, I have a connection. There is a Mary Bradshaw formerly Delight on a guest list. She’s Stacey’s mother.”
Robin slips through a rear door, having used his lock picks to get inside. The sound of organ music echoes in the castle, the smell of burning candles and food fill the young crime fighter's nostrils. “Maybe I can get a bite to eat.” He jokes to himself silently moving along the hallways. Robin checks the rooms he passes by, all locked.
“Robin come in.” Batman’s voice booms in his ear.
"Go ahead Batman." Robin whispers.
"Stay away from the castle, do not go inside."
"Just do as I say."
Robin feels a presence near him reaching for his R shirken on his chest as an arm swings out smashing his head against the wall. Everything goes black as Robin drops to the floor, a smire of blood on the wall. If he was conscious he would hear Batman shouting to him.
Batman - Nightmares Conclusion
“I’m fine Tim, I can’t say much for the Minister though, and I was too late.” He looks down at the headless body as his vision begins to come back. “I can’t believe I let the guy get the drop on me. That was amateurish.”
“Don’t let it get to you Dick, we know what this guy is capable of. Just be glad he didn’t try to add your head to his collection.”
“Yeah.” Nightwing rubs his neck. “He said he had no use for me.”
“The people he decapitated we all attending outings, you don’t think he was trying to collect them as guests do you?”
Nightwing makes his way out of the house from the way he came. “It’s scary how good of a detective you are becoming, you might give Batman a run for his money.”
“I’ll try to get a hold of him.”
“You won’t be able to.” Oracle says coming on the com link.
Deep beneath the in the old sunken subway station Mary and Stacey struggle with their bonds trying to free themselves. The knots in the rope nearly impossible to undo.
“We need one of those candles to burn through the rope, mom.”
“No, we might set ourselves on fire it’s too risky.”
They both go silent hearing someone approach quickly scuffling back to where their chairs sat. A dark figure looms through the opening then comes into view. Mary lets out a scream at the sight of the giant bat.
“Mom, oh my god, that’s Batman. He found us, he’s here to save us.” Stacey begins to sob.
“Batman?” Mary says in wonderment believing him to only be a myth.
The Dark Knight removes a knife from his utility belt and begins to cut the women free. He grimaces at the rotting heads, anger boiling through his blood. As soon as the women are free they throw their arms around Batman hugging him and cry with joy. “Easy now, we’re not out of the woods yet. The tunnel is long and narrow, you’ll go behind me after we finish something here first.”
Batman walks up to the heads and begins to knock all the pikes over. The two women join in letting out their fear and anger. Batman looks around finding a small kerosene lamp with fuel still in it. He opens it up dumping it on the heads then knocks over some candles igniting the fuel.
“May they all find peace now.” Mary says.
“Follow me, stay close.”
“WHAT HAVE YOU DONE!!” Malcolm screams entering his laid, tossing the sack that carries the Minister to the ground. Mary lets out a scream as the decapitated head rolls out recognizing the man. “I’ll rip your head from your body Batman.”
“Try it.” He growls back as Malcolm lunges at him. The Detective grabs him tossing him into one of the support beams knocking it from its place. Dirty falls and the lair beings to rumble. “Go now get out!” He shouts at the two women.
“What about you?” Mary asks.
“I’ll be right behind you, go now!” Batman leaps back as Malcolm tries to grab his legs. “It’s over now.”
“NO!” He springs up pulling his blood stained sword from behind his back.
Batman quickly reaches behind his back latching a batarang launcher to his hand and fires a few off at Malcolm hitting his hand and sword.
“You are as good as they say.” He laughs rushing Batman. Malcolm throws punch after punch not able to land a single blow. Like a mouse trying to fight a gorilla.
“My turn.” Batman smirks wickedly landing a few punches to the man's already badly scared face, knocking a few teeth free. Blood running out from his nose.
“I’ll kill you with my bare hands!” Malcolm screams
“Better people have tried and failed.” Batman says enraging the man even more. He steps aside as Malcolm charges him and follows through by slamming his hands into Malcolm’s back pushing him face first into the rock wall. “I should leave you hear to die.” Batman growls.
“You don’t kill.”
“You’re right I don’t, but I don’t have to save you.” Batman pulls Malcolm back slamming him into the ground, the flames of the burning heads lapping at his scalp. “This place is unstable, it will come down.”
“Then it will be your tomb as well.” Malcolm reaches back grabbing one of the heads smashing it against Batman who staggers back. “You’re not catching fire…you’re not real?” He gasps in amazement.
Batman brushes the burning flesh from his suit thankful for the fact it’s fire retardant. “Oh I am very real.” He booms looming over Malcolm hitting him hard across the face knocking him out cold. He looks to each of the remaining beams that threaten to fall at any moment. Batman wedges a few explosive batarangs into them then grabs Malcolm dragging him into the tunnel. He looks back at the pile of burning heads and closes his eyes. “I am sorry.”
Nightwing reaches the Park quickly locating the well, just like his mentor he finds the loose brick and removes the concrete lid.
“I wouldn’t go in.” Tim says over the com link.
“Batman might need back up.”
“I agree with him Dick, it’s too dangerous.” Oracle chimes in.
“This man is sick, he has no restraint or control.”
“Neither does the Joker, and even I took him down.” Tim reminds Nightwing.
“I hear someone.” He says sticking his head into the well. “Hello?”
“Oh my god, help us please.” Mary calls up.
Nightwing pops a flashlight from the gauntlet on his boots and shines it down the deep well seeing the two women looking up. “Hang on.” He runs back to his batcycle opening up a hidden compartment and pulls out some climbing rope, then runs back to the well lowering it in. “Climb up one at a time.”
Stacey climbs up first then followed by her mother who both hug Nightwing and thank him.
“He said he was going to follow us, but he was fighting that sicko.” Mary explains. “We don’t know…” She falls silent as a line fires from out of the well.
“Batman!” Nightwing shouts down.
“Grab the line.”
Nightwing grips the cable pulling hard, the weight heavy. “Man you have to lay off those bat-cookies.” He jests. The two women help him pull on the line until Malcolm’s unconscious body slumps over then edge. Stacey screams grabbing her mother for comfort. “He’s still out cold it’s alright.” Nightwing assures her as he drops the climbing rope down the well and helps Batman up. “Are you alright?”
“I’m fine, move.” He grabs Malcolm dragging him away as the ground begins to rumble. The explosives he left behind going off and caving in the lair and tunnel. The ground sinks as the well breaks apart tumbling into the crevasse. Batman walks over to Mary and Stacey who both thank him, sirens begin to blare in the distance quickly approaching. “The police will need full statements from both of you…”
“Batman…” Mary looks into his polarized lenses trying to see his eyes. “That man…that man is not my husband.”
“I know.” Batman removes the wallet he retrieved earlier from his belt and hands it to her. “I found your husband buried in the tunnel.”
Mary takes the wallet placing her hand on it as if feeling for a heart beat. She presses it against her chest and sobs. “I didn’t hate him, I just didn’t want to move again, I wanted to stay here.”
“I know.” Batman places his hand on Mary’s shoulder as Stacey wraps her arms around Batman holding on to him tightly. “I have something else for you.” He slips a ring out of his belt handing it over to Mary.
The woman takes it and collapses to the ground in tears, Malcolm’s wedding ring. “Thank you…god thank you.”
“I have to go.” Batman says looking down at Stacey who slowly lets him go. He walks over to Nightwing as the two climb onto their batcycles and put on their helmets.
“Do you think they’ll be alright?”
“No.” Batman says starting up his bike and tears out of the park followed by Nightwing as police cars pull up to the park followed by paramedics.
Mary reaches up grabbing her daughter hugging her as they both let out years of emotions. Mary’s current husband rushes up to them pushing past police who try to stop him. He drops down taking his wife into his arms hugging her tightly.
Gordon approaches the man who called himself Malcolm Delight as he comes to. “Please, give me a reason.” He grunts holding his gun on him. “You’re going to spend the rest of your life behind bars I promise you that.”
The man looks over at Mary and her family, sadness in his eyes, officers grab him hoisting him onto a stretcher and restraining him to it. Gordon reads him his rights which get lost like a jumble of words echoing in his ears. Stacey catches the man's gaze frozen like a statue as the paramedics help her up taking her to an ambulance to check her over.
Gordon looks around for any moving shadows or signs of life. His eyes roll up to the moon which peeks out from the behind the scattered clouds. “You kept your word old friend, as always.” He follows the stretcher carrying the man and surrounded by a half dozen officers, as they load him into a paddy wagon.
“I still love you Mary!” The man shouts out.
“I told you to give me a reason.” Gordon says using the butt of his gun to clock the man across the head knocking him out.
Arkham Asylum the hospital for the mentally insane, the next day, October 31, Halloween. The man who claimed to be Malcolm Delight is wheeled down the hall restrained to a back board as he is taken to his new home. A padded cell with the most criminally insane minds the world has ever seen.
One of the most infamous of the inmates watches closely as the man is wheeled by, his eyes wide and bugged out. “Oooo we have new meat.” The white skinned ruby lipped man laughs his famous laugh. “NEW MEAT!! NEW MEAT!!” He chants and laughs. “HA HA HA HA HA!!”
Across the river, perched up on the rooftops sits Batman who stares directly at Arkham Asylum. “You shouldn’t be out here.”
“Guess I’ll never be able to sneak up on you.” Robin says walking up next to Batman. “I needed to get out of the manor, and the cave, besides Nightwing has been tailing me all night.”
“You are getting good little brother.” Nightwing laughs coming out from the shadows. “So who was that man?”
“Brian Montgomery, another man who was lost during the quake. He and Malcolm Delight, and probably some other survivors must have tired to dig themselves out. had nothing, he was broke, nearly homeless, no one waiting for him. Malcolm must have talked of his life as they dug, he either died or Brian killed him and tried to assume his identity.”
“And he knew enough to fool us all.” Robin says.
“Yes, sometimes when we face certain death we think of happier times.”
“What happier time is there then a wedding between two people who love each other.” Nightwing adds.
“Mary is filing for divorce from her current husband, I think she’s realized she rushed into something she wasn’t ready for and wants to live her life.”
“What about Stacey Delight, she was pretty emotional?” Nightwing asks.
“She has been admitted to the psychiatric ward at Gotham General.”
Robin sits down on the roof top hanging his head.
“Are you alright?” Nightwing kneels down checking on him.
“I’m fine, it’s just these two women. There lives have been changed forever, and not for the good. All those people this mad man killed…their families…”
“What?” Both sidekicks say looking up at Batman.
“The press has dubbed him the Nightmare Killer.” Batman looks down to the street below. Children dressed in costume roam the streets trick or treating.
“One man, he ruined so many lives.” Robin says.
“And because of us we saved so many more. Never lose sight of that ever. These children could not be out on the street tonight if we do.” He pulls a grappler gun from his belt. “Let’s take one last patrol over the city.”
“Sounds like a good idea.” Nightwing helps the teen wonder to his feet.
“Happy Halloween.” Robin says with a smile.
The three guardians of launch their grapplers and swing through the night sky lit by the batsignal.
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