RATED - FR18 - BY THE LRCC [A division of Wayne Enterprises]
It’s a cold night... The kind where you shake down to your bones. No clouds to cushion the jagged wind. No stars to light the soot black streets. The perfect evening.
Gotham’s finest followed a goose trail. And, an obvious one at that. I had to let them, this one is too dangerous. Not even Gordon can know. If that old zealot had even the tiniest clue he’d be out here on the hunt, right at the tail of my cape. And, I can’t have that. Not this time, Gordie. Not tonight.
They call him the Grave Robber. Another one of science’s failed miracles. Ever since Dr. Arkham proved to the media that Boston Brand still lingered here as a ghost, millions of tax payer dollars were poured into paranormal studies. This guy “volunteered” to be experimented on in a test to see what parts of the brain amplified connection to the other side. Sad for them, it worked. Too well. The Robber can control any dead body within miles just by the mere thought of it. If he sees a living body he wants but can’t have... well... you get the picture.
Like a shadow, I soar from rooftop to rooftop. Each landing sends a shudder through my legs and up my spine. I forget how many days I’ve been looking for this one. No food. No rest. This one has to be stopped. Tonight. I finally sniffed out the trail. Damn near impossible to follow a road paved with corpses when they get up and move. But, now I’ve got it... His end game. The Grave Robber. He’s trying to build an army. Accumulate enough relatively fresh corpses in one area with the Grave Robber in the middle? Gotham doesn’t even realize. The common man here has no idea what is going on out here in the sin black of night. Gotham can’t fathom what I do for her...
The docks... And the fog is lifted. I’m either getting old or my edge is starting to dull. It’s so obvious now. The boats. He’s loading the corpses on the boats. His plan may not be to sweep Gotham, but New York City, or Metropolis. From here, his army is of use anywhere. Those boats have to be destroyed. Corpses march toward the ramps, as if led by some invisible slaver. Tonight is the end, for me or him. Get to the Robber, stop the corpses. Simple. I’m crouched - hidden - on some dock cargo boxes. One shot. It has to be silent. I shoot a remote activated mine onto the lower back of one of the dead men. He doesn’t even flinch. He continues his march right into the hive. That’s going to be handy later. The hell is... Someone behind me? This close? Not possible.
“Well, well, well. The Bat has come out to play.”
Zsasz. Fresh blood on his knife. Hell, he’s one giant scar now. No visible skin left, just pink, plushy knife wounds, and dozens of brown, crusty scabs.
“Viktor... It’s been you. You’ve been killing for the Grave Robber.”
“Yes. And I scarred myself for every... last... one... Not even all Gothamites. We knew you’d catch on sooner or later. That Superman bitch is too busy stopping earthquakes to notice a homeless man or twenty get their throats slit.”
“It ends here, Viktor.”
“It will end when I’m dead, Batman. So, how is it going to be? Do you want to start a scar collection, too?”
“How about a thumb collection...”
I throw the batarang. It takes the knife out of his hand... and the thumb. He starts to yelp.
“AAAAAIIIIIEEEEEE! Curse you, Batman! Curse you! I’ll bite your teeth out one at a time before I stop killing because of you!”
He makes the charge. Predictable. Guess he’s missing the thumb. Makes this easy. Most of his wounds are fresh. I side step his charge and shove my fingers into some choice wounds. Then I spread them out. More intense screams. All of the trouble this scum has caused me? It’s music to my f<cking ears. The pain forces him to his knees. I keep spreading the wounds. Then the screams turn to something else.
“Heh heh heh! HAHAHA! They’ll hear me, Batman! HE’LL! HEAR! ME! And, because you didn’t kill me when you had the chance... because you WON’T... I’ll get to watch the corpses tear that mask off... and then your face... and then your muscle... AND I’LL LICK YOUR BONES CLEAN!”
Bastard is right. They’ll hear him. I knock him out, but we both knew it was too late. I jump down from the cargo boxes. The cape blots whatever light was left, but I still see them. Hundreds of them... An ocean of once living innocents. All of the scum... But, few of them criminals. It’s gonna be a long night.
NEXT TIME IN BATMAN: CURSED EARTH
-BATMAN VERSUS INNUMERABLE UNDEAD !
-WHAT DOES THE GRAVE ROBBER WANT?
TUNE IN NEXT WEEK.