DC Gothic: The Bat Man!

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Gotham City, May 2nd, 1890

As the sun hung low, a woman of means found herself in Crime Alley, set upon by two thugs, “give us your money!” Shaking, she managed to do as they asked, but they weren’t done. “Now, what else can you give us…” “Leave her alone!” The criminals follow the voice to the alley’s end, to see a strange man, in a black cloak, a hood pulled over his face.

They laughed, one saying, “just leave before we gut you!” But he wouldn’t. He just stood there, and as the sun set, with twilight following in its wake, the cloaked figure began to change and contort. The attackers stopped laughing, as massive wings exploded from under the stranger’s cloak, fangs grew from its mouth, and a guttural roar echoed through the air.

The men tried to run, but the monster stood at the only exit. They huddled at the dead end, cowering before the beast as it came down on them, ripping them apart with its fangs and claws. The woman looked on in horror, and began to run as fast as she could.

Hours later as the sun was rising, Jim Gordon, a monster hunter, arrived at the scene, finding what remained; two bloodied corpses, what was left of their faces contorted in fear. Gordon examined the scene as officer Todd hung behind, at the alley’s end. After a moment he spoke, “so, um, Mr Gordon, do you know what it is? Have you seen anything like it?” Jim didn’t turn around. He simply said, “Yes. We have to go. Take me to Wayne Mansion, right now.”

Gordon and Todd, just a young, wisp of a man, drove down a long, battered road, towards the dark, expansive home of Bruce Wayne. With conviction, Gordon stalked up to the front door, while officer Todd stumbled after him. “Are you certain about this sir, Wayne is the richest man in Gotham, he might not like this.” “Especially if I’m right.” He knocked hard on the thick oak doors, and was answered by a tall, gaunt butler. “Hello sirs, might I ask your reason for such an early arrival?” “We are here to see Bruce, on the matter of an attack I believe he may know something about.” The butler narrowed his eyes, before sighing. “Come in. You may wait in the lounge while I wake master Wayne."

The two waited in the lounge and while Todd fretted. Jim had noticed no other servants on the way in, save for the one who answered the door and the lounge seemed dusty. He didn’t have much time to ponder however, as Bruce Wayne entered, looking tired, wearing a purple dressing gown. “Hello Gordon, officer. What is this about?”

Jim started straight away, “there was an attack in crime alley. A were-bat.” Todd shuddered, as Bruce seemed surprised, and frightened. He looked away. “You mean like the monster who… took my parents.” “Yes.” “Why did you come to me with this at such an hour?” “Because I think you are the were-bat who did this.” Bruce stared at him, wide eyed, and angry. “You think it was me?! How dare you accuse me of all people, how-” “-Because were-bats are extremely rare. The last attack in Gotham was that of your parents. I don’t think it’s a coincidence the second attack in decades happens in the very same alley. Especially given the recent sightings of a massive bat attacking criminals, all happening days after your return from years of travel. Maybe you learned some degree of control in that time.” He paused and, to Todd’s surprise, spoke with a modicum of genuine concern. “Bruce, if it is you, then you might not know. You were injured when I found you. We thought it was from a fall, but maybe…”

Bruce stopped, and took a moment to think. “When did the attack happen?” “Last night.” Bruce sighed with relief. “Then I have an alibi. I was working last night, I only got to bed an hour ago.” Gordon wasn’t convinced. “Do you have proof?” “Yes, just go to my office and ask around, plenty saw me there last night.” Gordon locked eyes with Bruce for a moment, before standing up. “Fine. We’ll go have a look, but if it turns out you are lying, I’ll return.” Gordon then quickly left the room, and then the mansion, the uncertain officer following along.

The duo drove in silence to Bruce Wayne’s work, ‘Wayne Enterprises’, in the heart of Gotham City. Todd wished to ask about the first were-bat attack, but it seemed clear Gordon wasn’t interested in speaking about it. So, when they arrived, they asked the front desk if they had seen Mr Wayne leave recently. But the man there said he’d only started his shift a few minutes ago, though he also said they could go up and ask around, as they are police. Gordon thanked him, and he and Todd scaled the stairs.

They arrived in a bustling office space, people constantly toing and froing, calling out across the room, sending off messages; Todd felt overwhelmed, But Gordon was unfazed, and began seeking someone to interview. “Can I help you?” Gordon turned to see a young man, not much older than Todd, but with far greater self-confidence and presence. “James Gordon, this is officer Todd. We are here to confirm the whereabouts of Mr Wayne last night.” “Well he was here all night, as usual.” “And you are?” “Dick Grayson. His ward and currently employed here.” Gordon sensed something off about the man, so he decided to press him a bit.

“That’s an interesting accent, where are you from?” “England. Liverpool to be specific. I met Mr Wayne, during his world travels. He took me on as an assistant and when he returned to Gotham I came with him.” “And why would Mr Wayne need an assistant?” “Odd jobs mostly. Truth be told, I had recently been orphaned and Mr Wayne took me under his wing, eventually making me his ward.” “That was very nice of him.” “Yes, it was.”

The two men stared each other down, as Todd looked on, worried, before Gordon broke the stalemate. “Where did Bruce work?” “In his office.” “May I have a look?” “If you must.”

Grayson gestured for Gordon and Todd to follow, as he led them to Mr Wayne’s office. They stepped inside, and Grayson, giving them a minor bow, returned to his duties, leaving the door open ajar. The office itself seemed rather ordinary. A chair, an unkempt desk, nothing to indicate Wayne or Grayson had lied.

After only a few short minutes of searching, Todd was convinced there was nothing amiss and thought they should leave. “Sir, there is nothing here, I think we should leave. I know you’re a prominent hunter and the police go to you all the time, but that doesn’t mean your every instinct is correct.” Gordon turned to him with a hard look, and Todd shrank away. “No offense meant, sir.”

Gordon continued searching, not being able to shake his meeting with Grayson. And soon found he was correct; noticing a very faint crease in the wall. It lay next to a bookshelf, which didn’t quite line up with the indentation in the carpet. “Help me move this.” Todd jumped to his command, and they moved the shelves. Gordon felt around the wall, until a portion concaved, and the wall moved assign in response. Revealing a sound proofed room, with a cage at its centre, filled with chains. Gordon sighed. “We have him.”

Later that day, as the sun began to set, Gordon and Todd waited down the road from Wayne Enterprises, for Bruce to come by. When they saw his car pull out, and Wayne get out, they waited a few minutes before following after him. Todd stayed at the front desk, in case the man there tried to get a warning to Mr Wayne, and Gordon went up. He strode straight for Bruce Wayne’s office, ignoring a passing employee that “Mr Wayne asked not to be disturbed”, except to say, “everyone leave if you don’t want to be arrested, too!”. Gordon stood before the door as the office emptied. It was locked, but Gordon broke in; to find Bruce Wayne chaining himself in the secret room. He looked at Gordon with an expression of complete shock and horror.

He couldn’t muster a word as Jim looked on at the boy he thought he’d saved from a monster all those years ago. “I should have seen it. I thought you’d scraped your knee, but the monster’s claws got you. It’s all my fault…” “Jim, it’s not your fault. I’m sorry for lying, but you have to believe I didn’t kill anyone.” “Yeah, right. I’m sorry, Bruce.” From his coathe produced a gun, and silver bullets. He loaded his gun and prepared to fire. “Jim please!” “I’m sorry Bruce.”

At that moment Dick Grayson burst into the room. Bruce screamed “no Dick, go, run. Please. Go to your office, now!” But Dick was adamant. “No, I can’t let him kill you!” At that moment, the sun could be seen setting through a window, and Bruce began to change. But so, did Dick Grayson.

Gordon wiped around, pointing his gun at the young man, who managed to say, in a garbled voice, “…it was me… I killed them. I’m new… to this… I lost control… Bruce never loses control… He… only helped… protect people…” In a similar voice, Bruce called out “Dick… get too your office… before you hurt anyone!” But it was too late.

With shaking hands, Gordon readied to shoot Grayson. But he took too long, and Grayson knocked the gun from his hands. Disarmed against an emerging monster, Gordon staggered back. “Gordon!”

He looked to Bruce. “Unchain me, now!” Bruce seemed to be holding onto his human form for the moment, but he’d lose it soon, so Gordon rushed to his side. Grayson tried to stop him, but Gordon got a hand free, and Bruce knocked him back.

Soon, Bruce was free, and the two massive bats began to fight right before Gordon in the confined office. A stray blow knocked Gordon against a wall, another into the window, which barely held while Jim was left with his sight patchy. He then saw his gun; he dived for it, and turned to fire, but he didn’t know which was Dick so, with little choice, called “Bruce!” Both paused, but one took the advantage and struck the other’s head hard against the wall, knocking them out. Leaving Gordon face to face with a giant bat.

Colour drained from his face as he thought it was Grayson; but it didn’t attack. It looked into his eyes with recognition. And Gordon knew it was Bruce. Gordon froze, uncertain what to do. Until Grayson stirring alerted him to current danger, and he cautiously approached him. Bruce seemed to allow it, and Jim dragged Dick to the cage, where he chained him up. But, before he could turn around, he heard the window shatter. Jim span around to see the window gone, and Bruce flying away, into the night.

For the next few days Jim Gordon’s mind drifted, unable to latch onto much of anything. After the fight between the bats, he just stood there, staring at Dick Grayson, and thinking. While he did, Todd arrived, he and others having heard and seen the were-bat emerge from the window. Without thinking, unable to think really, Gordon told Todd everything. Including that he didn’t want Bruce, or his name, to suffer for Jim’s mistake.

Thus, the two made a plan. Firstly, Gordon killed Grayson before he woke up. Whatever he meant to Bruce, he couldn’t allow a dangerous monster to draw breath. The two then hid the secret room, and decided on a new story. The were-bat attacks, both lethal and not, were the responsibility of Dick Grayson only. They suspected Bruce, but when they came up here expecting him to be the beast, it was Dick. They’d unchained his body, and made it appear Gordon had fought him off and shot him.

Gordon soon discovered that Bruce had fled the city, leaving a vague excuse that he wished to resume his travels. He was smart to leave. Jim Gordon didn’t turn him in, but not because he wished to let him go, he just wished to deal with Bruce himself. Him living with this curse all these years was his fault, along with his escape. It was his responsibility to deal with him, but do it humanely. He did save him after

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