Black Casebook File #321
I made a gathering at the Wayne Manor. One which would gather us all around the big table. It was to reunite us and an attempt from my part to strengthen the bond which we had lost. Prior to the events which happened to each one of us a few months back. The family in our little name, in our little group was no longer up front and it was a far fetched idea.
The dinner had us all and as much as I would like to take credit for it, it wasn’t my idea. Alfred. It was all, once again, because of him.
I was never good with interactions and keeping in touch with people close to me. No matter how much I cared for them, I’ve always tried to drive myself further away. It was all precaution of what might happen to them. Many times I was right and I hated myself for being so. Jason, Barbara, Jack Drake, Steph, Jean-Paul, Damian and others. All of them were hurt because of their affiliation with me. With the goddamned Batman…
The dinner was meant to happen. Everybody was invited. Every single person who once my partner or ever worked with me or wanted my guidance. Each and every one of them turned up and sat down to have a meal, to feel normal, to feel at peace with himself. Dick, Jason, Barbara, Tim, Stephanie, Cassandra, Zatarra, Jean-Paul, Luke, Harper, Duke, Kate, Helena, Dinah, Selina, Leslie and others. Those people joined me and Alfred for supper.
We ate. We talked. We bonded. We laughed. We shared thoughts and memories. It felt like family.
The doubt was there, deep behind their masks and faces. I knew it was there because even the one who would never believe such rumors – believed them. Dick Grayson, my first son, my biggest happiness in life was not sure if I didn’t actually kill the Joker. If it wasn’t me who made the mad clown and Harvey disappear.
They were gone. It was two years since their last appearance. It was two years since I tackled that case which drove us to the point of killing each other. Only witness- Jim Gordon. However, that was not the reason why our bond was broken. Why we didn’t feel like family anymore. A story for a different time.
It was a week after the dinner. My true intent of telling this story lies there. I started a bit behind, typing in my thoughts on the gathering, so I can explain to myself why Richard Grayson was with me on this case.
It was a week after the dinner. A week after my dearest people started trusting me again. I got a report of a robbery happening at the Gotham History Museum. I picked on the report because of the tranquility of the night. I was driving towards the crime scene when my radio broke the silence:
“Hey. Bruce! I picked up the robbery at the musem. Meet you there?” It was Dick who tried to meet with me again after the dinner.
“Meet you there, Dick.” I replied and headed straight to the museum.
Arriving at the museum I saw Dick’s motorcycle on the side. He was still leaning on it, waiting for me. An unusual thing to happen – me arriving after him. However, he had changed through the past months and so had I. We quickly summarized what we had heard on the police frequency. We were ready for their arrival but there was no point in waiting for them. We could wrap this up by the time they arrive.
Going in we saw the massive signs on the walls which were spray painted. It was a red cross, a bit uneven and more looking like a “+”. It seemed familiar but still nothing was coming to my mind. At least, not yet.
We walked in further in order to investigate and find the intruders. Most thieves were sloppy and made extra noises, giving out their whereabouts. However, tonight, this was not the case. Examining the whole building we did not find a trace of human activity or anything stolen.
“This is unusual. Nothing seems right. Is this a break-in?” Dick’s thoughts completely captured mine at the time.
“Let’s continue looking. We might find something small which we may have missed.” I was losing patience but did not want Dick to lose his as well.
Looking for clues, a thought came up to my mind. The cross, the déjà vu that I experienced, I knew where to look. We needed to go to the Medieval sector of the museum. My gut was telling me that there we might find the answers to our questions. And so we did.
Three dark figures were gathered in a circle around one of the artifacts. Three knights which seemed out of place and out of their time. Three figures which were not there earlier when we examined this part of the museum. For people wearing heavy armor they were like cats. Swift, silent and agile.
They broke their circle after Dick exclaimed for them to surrender. They were quick to react to one of my batarangs by drawing their sword up and slicing it in half. They dashed towards us, all three of them drawing their weapons out, ready to attack. One was carrying a massive sword with some symbols on the blade, the other was carrying a bo stick and the third had bladed knuckles which emitted some sort of energy. Unusual enemies with unusual attributes and unusual weapons.
My thoughts around their appearance and reasoning got me distracted, the one with the sword almost struck me and almost sliced of a piece of my should if I had not parried his strike. They were silent and strong. His push with the sword was nothing to underrate. However, he was sloppy. My sliding leg managed to put him down on his rear but he did not drop the sword. As I was readying to attack, the second one attacked me from the back shoving me aside and helping out his friend.
They were on the run as I started to chase them and left Dick with the third one. He was dealing with the one with the bo staff who was giving him a run for his money. Despite his skills, Dick was still too good for him. He was fast and agile, more than his opponent and that would win him the fight. His acrobatic skills were something which the knight was not ready for but at the most important time, when the winner would be decided, I exited the room.
My exit was much needed as I was chasing down the other two thieving knights, who apparently had stolen an artifact. One which would reveal itself to me and its importance much later on this case. A case which I desperately needed to get my head back in the game, but at the same time I later on cursed for its revival of old and terrible memories.
The two knights were gaining more and more speed. With the way they were managing to gain more and more distance between us I was sure of their superhuman traits. It was impossible for a regular human being to reach such speed. Even if one was able to strain his body to the limit as I had done and others.
They had reached the end of the line or in normal words – the exit of the museum. What expected them after the door was the police force which would be no match for them but they would at least slow them down a bit.
They ran through the door, sending it down hard, shattering the glass which was on it. The distance between me and them was enough for me to be unable to see what is happening with them. When I reached the exit I saw an empty street and no sign of the thieves. There was no trace of police cars or police officers. I was the only one left there with a startled face.
The sight of loneliness and the feeling of disappointment were starting to come up. However, I had Nightwing to return to. As I was making my way back to him I started feeling off my balance. My sight was becoming blurry, a striking headache appeared and my legs were shaking.
I grabbed my head, rubbed my eyes, tried to contact Alfred to see on the Bat-computer the readings of my suit. I wanted to make sure that I was not stabbed or any poisonous liquid did not come on my body without my knowledge. The connection between me and the cave was severed. Silence, that’s what I started hearing.
I was at the threshold of the Medieval part of the Museum and I saw Nightwing who was making his way to me. He was moving his lips, he was talking to me but I did not hear a thing. A buzzing sound started coming up while increasing its volume with each passing second. I was screaming in pain trying to lip read Nightwing’s words but I was unable to do so.
I knew I was screaming but I couldn’t hear it.
Fear. I hadn’t felt this in a long time and I could see that Nightwing was feeling the same. Soon, I couldn’t see that either.
I woke up the following morning in the Batcave. I was lying on the med table naked from head to beginning of legs. I felt extreme pain in my abdominal area and in my back area. Soon I saw the cuts which were on my body.
“Master Bruce, your body was exposed to an extremely poisonous and hallucinogenic gas. Your dizziness, lack of hearing and soon – sight, were in result to breathing in this toxin.”said Alfred.
“Dick, were you exposed to it?” I asked straight away.
“I was but it had no effect on my body. It was meant only for you. Whoever they were, they did not expect me.” Replied Dick.
His response made me wonder who might it be. Who might steal from the History Museum and plan it in such a well manner, so he can disarm me. As I was wondering about this, Dick briefed on me what had truly happened as I had not seen the truth. I did fight the knights, I did chase them but my surrounding were not as they appeared. Since I had walked into the museum and was exposed to the gas my sight was shifted.
The museum security team was slaughtered, their bodies were hung around us and Dick had made a comment about it but no response from my part. The slaughter was not the only thing I had not seen. The museum was completely trashed, each section destroyed apart from the Medieval one. And if that was not enough, the cops were truly there and the knights injured most of them but with no effect on my part as I couldn’t see it. I was blind as a bat. I could see only what my brain remembered of the museum, as it was before it was destroyed.
The gas which they had used on me was specifically created for my body. They had expected me and wanted me taken down. Their preparations were incredible. The mystery was present and I needed help. I needed Dick because I was not sure what I am going up against.