And now DC Mayhem proudly presents, Sensation Comics...
Tis the Season: Part Three
December 22, 2012 3:01 AM
Christmas time. A time of joy, laughter, and family. A time of giving gifts and carolers in the snow. The time of the cold chill. Cold like steel. Cold like death.
It wasn’t the pain that caused Kitrina to wake from her slumber, but instead it was the bitter cold air that had thrust her back into the world of the living. She couldn’t feel her hands or her feet. The taste of the rag in her mouth was foul, and it was almost impossible not to gag, so she tried to focus on breathing through her nose. Her vision was blurry, but she could see small strands of dim light coming through the gaps in what appeared to be some kind of wall. She could hear the sounds of water below her, splashing as it washed up near her.
Taking all of this in she gathered that she must still be at the Gotham Docks, but something had happened. The only thing she could really feel was her mid-section which throbbed with a dull ache, and she could feel something warm and wet running down her left side, which she could only assume was blood. Other than that she felt a sharp pain around her wrists and ankles, as she attempted to move she winced as she felt hard steel of her bindings cut into her skin. She looked up and could make out in the dim light what looked like her hands as the laid about around a large chain. She concentrated and noted with some relieve that she could still move them. She moved her hands to grab ahold of the chain, and attempted to pull up on the chain, but when she did the pain in her mid-section flared. The pain was so intense it made her eyes water, and she moaned in agony as the pain became too much.
Her hands let go of the chain, desperate for some relief, but that only caused her to drop, resulting sudden jerk from the small lift she had managed, and that only caused the chains around her wrists to cut even deeper her flesh. Her breathing briefly intensified, as she attempted to regain some sort of mental control over herself. The pain began to slowly subside, and she began wonder just how she had ended up bound, gagged, and bleeding like a stuck pig over the Gotham River.
She strained to remember, but it was a little fuzzy. The last thing she could remember was as she was trying to leave Doctor Loeb’s shipping container that had the operating table. She had turned around and came face to face with the old security guard from the gates she had come in. The same old dude who she had been so careful not to wake up. At one point she had even wondered if he was alive, before being nearly scared to death by his snoring when she tried to check his pulse.
At the container, when she had turned and seen him, her initial reaction was pure shock, and she had instantly wondered how he had managed to sneak up on her. She had wondered how he got past Selina, but much worse she had worried about hurting the old man, because she would have had to knock him out. That was she would have, had he actually had moved like an old man. All she could remember after that was the old man’s cold stare, the flash of a knife, and then total darkness.
Suddenly, Kitrina could hear the sounds of approaching footsteps, clopping against the wood as they approached closer and closer. Kitrina had heard that sound before.
“Water, wood, and a wall with gaps? A boathouse?” Kitrina wondered as she attempted to figure out her location. Next she heard the creaking of wooden door on iron hinges, and the loud clang it made as it slammed against the wooden wall. The door opening let in cold draft that chilled Kitrina even more, but at least it let in enough light to where she could make things out a little more. Now she could see the walkways, and could even make out a few boats. She felt a small sense of satisfaction that her assumption about being in boathouse had been right, now if only she could find some way to escape.
The footsteps she had heard earlier were now right next to her walking past. The dim light that was shining through the doorway allowed Kitrina to make out the gray hair of the old man and the word security stenciled across his the back of his coat with reflective letters. The man pulled matches out of his pocket, which with a quick snap of his wrist, had lit them and dropped them down into a large metal drum which violently erupted into flame. The sudden invasive presence of the light was somewhat blinding, but from where she hanged she could feel the warmth from it. Despite her predicament the flame was not entirely unwelcome.
Unfortunately, it also illuminated certain things that Kitrina had formally been oblivious to. Draped over the man’s arm was a leather jumpsuit with pink accents. Looking down Kitrina’s worst fears were realized. She had been stripped completely bare, and now was hanging in front of this old perve like some sort of demented pin up. The man took the jumpsuit and threw it into the flames followed by Selina’s infrared goggles, and then the leather cap.
“Freak,” Kitrina thought, “I’m going to get out of this and I’m going to make you…” Kitrina’s thoughts were suddenly brought to a complete halt. Because what she saw next chilled her to the bone, as the man reached up, grabbed hold of his scalp, and pulled the mask that had been concealing the man’s true identity. Only it wasn’t a mask. Kitrina could make out in the firelight, the precise cuts at the back of the head, around the eyes, mouth, and nostrils. Then even worse she could see small droplets blood coming from the edge of the mask. Only that was no mask this man was holding. It was someone else’s face, a face that had been removed, most likely through some sort of sick type of surgery. That’s when it all came flooding back.
The operating table covered with the bloody sheet, the surgical tools that had bits of flesh and hair on them, and then Selina’s reaction to them, and what she had said about them appearing to be recently used.
“This psycho has to be Doctor Loeb.” Kitrina surmised. “There’s no way it could be anyone else.” It was the only thing that really made sense to her. A man is precise enough to skin another man’s face and wear it as a mask, has to have some kind of surgical skill. Then there was the fact that this guy had showed up, stabbed her, and then knocked her out. Who else would have a reason to come back to that container other than the only person with something to hide? Then there was what Selina had said about the tools looking like they had been recently used. That was what troubled her.
“Until now, I thought this psycho was some harmless old man, and now I find out the whole thing was just a ruse. So in the booth at the gate...” Kitrina paused, and the epiphany hit her, “He was waiting for me. Loeb knew I was coming. He set a trap to make sure my guard was down, but that would mean…He knew I was coming.”
Kitrina couldn’t wrap her head around it. She needed time to clear her head, and sort things out. There was no way she was going to be able to do that though while hanging naked from some godforsaken boathouse ceiling.
The man took the old man’s face and threw it into the flames first, and within a few seconds the air stank of melting skin. Next when her jumpsuit, underwear, boots, and the leather cap. Kitrina glared at the man. Now she was definitely pissed off, and began thinking of ways to try and escape her bindings. She was going to kill this man. That was for certain. That was until the man started talk.
“I’m going to say this only once.” He said in a voice Kitrina found oddly familiar. She had heard this voice before, but she couldn’t quite place her finger on it. “I’m going to ask you some questions. You nod for yes shake your head for no. Pretty simple I think, now for the first question. Do you know who I am?”
The man turned around, and Kitrina’s eyes went wide. If she had been able to her jaw would have hit the floor. Things just got extremely freaky, really fast, too fast. The man looking back at her was a man she had only seen on television. The man looking back at her, with a prideful malice in his eyes, was Bruce Wayne. She was so in shock by what she saw that she did not realize she had not answered his question. It was a mistake she wish she had not made as Wayne jabbed one of his fingers deep into the open wound on Kitrina’s side.
The pain was unbearable, and Kitrina let out a scream that almost seemed to pierce the cloth blocking her mouth. He pulled the finger back out of the wound. The wound hurt like hell, and the intense pain had sapped her strength as she fell and hung limply.
“That was me being nice.” Wayne said, “Next time, you might not live. Now I won’t ask again. Do you know who I am?” Kitrina slowly looked up and glared at the man with as much hatred as she could muster, and then slowly nodded her head.
“Am I Bruce Wayne?”
“What the hell? Why would he ask that?” Kitrina thought before she nodded once more, already sick of Wayne’s twisted game. Wayne grinned at her.
“You are Kitrina Falcone.” It was more of a statement than a question. Kitrina could see it in Wayne’s eyes.
“He knows who I am!” Kitrina realized. It was suddenly hard to breathe, and she didn’t know what to do. Her eyes began darting from left to right as she began looking all over for some means of escape. “I have to get out of here! I have to get away!” She saw from Wayne’s look that he was getting impatient, “Keep it together, girl. Be patient” Kitrina thought before nodding furiously.
“Last question, Is Mario Falcone dead?” Kitrina glared this time right into Wayne’s eyes, and then slowly nodded. Wayne was still smiling, that was until Kitrina planted her left foot up side his head. Wayne had been so preoccupied with tormenting the girl that he had not paid attention to her movements. She supposed he had heard the splash as the chains around her ankles slipped off and fell into the water, but by then it was too late. Using all the strength she could muster she delivered a kick to Wayne’s face. She noted with some satisfaction when she heard the sickening pop of his jaw dislocating.
Her wrists had bled just enough to give her some movement room, and with one last tug Kitrina did the first thing of the night she knew she was going to regret latter. Kitrina had escaped chains, safes, and otherwise before. She was good at getting out of situations, but she was weak and bleeding. Had that not been an issue she could have landed on the wooden floor of the boathouse, but this time there was no way she could avoid plunging into the dark water of Gotham’s river.
Every year in Gotham there is over three-hundred cases of Hypothermia, and every year sixty nine percent of those treated either die or receive permanent physical trauma. It was good odds, but it hurt like hell. As she felt herself fall under the water it felt like her skin was on fire, ironically enough. The first thing to go was her breath, as it felt like something had punched her in the gut. Earlier when she had at least been able to feel the pain from her wounds that went next. Her eyes burned, and her arms flailed about aimlessly in the water. Though she could barely see she could make out the floor of the boathouse and threw herself up against it.
She could feel nothing. In truth she wasn't even sure if she was holding onto the dock. Her vision was blurry, and she couldn’t make out the smell of the wood, due to all the river water that had went up her nose. It was either this, or dive back into the water, and there she knew she would die.
“I have to stand here, and fight this bastard. At least this way…I’m going to die,” Kitrina thought, “I have no chance…No! I’m going to die!” All she wanted to do was give up. Lay there and die. It was so cold. She couldn’t breathe, her heart felt like it was about to jump out of her chest, and she was shaking violently. There was no way she could fight. What chance did she have?
She could still hear Wayne in the room as he roared in pain over his broken jaw. His speech was unclear, but Kitrina could still make out the sound of a pistol as it was being drawn.
“I’m going to die. I’m going to die. I’m going to die.” repeated though Kitrina’s head, “I have to take that gun from him.” Kitrina picked herself up off the ground, and then half ran, half stumbled, toward Wayne.
She heard one shot fire, and she saw the splash of blood as she tackled the man, and brought him to the ground.
“I have to live! I’m going to die!” was the thought that drove Kitrina on. She scratched at Wayne’s face leaving long marks in pretty boy’s face. She slammed her fists into his face over and over and felt his nose break. She could barely make out the blood on her hands. She could barely make anything out, like the fact that Wayne still had fight in him, and that she had just really pissed him off. She wasn’t prepared when his fist slammed into the side of her head and knocked her off him.
Kitrina lay there, shivering; all the fight was gone out of her. She had tried hard, and she had lost. Wayne was still alive, and he was roaring out curses as he came up and over to her. Her vision cleared one last time as she saw into the dark abyss of the gun barrel. She waited for the end to come, but it never did. The last thing she saw was two figures come crashing through the doorway. One of them was completely clad in black. It lunged at Wayne seeming almost as if the very night itself was assaulting her would be murderer.
The other came over to her, lifted her up and started running. She could barely make out a hint of blue in the darkness, and a rather handsome face. Of course, she was bleeding, freezing, and about to die, so probably anything looked handsome to her right about now. Kitrina couldn't tell how much time past when they finally stopped. Everything was swirling around her, and her vision had finally gone. She could barely make out the sounds. At least she started to feel a little warm, but it wasn't like normal warmth. The last time she felt this warmth was when she was a little girl being hugged by her grandfather. She thought she could hear someone talking to her, but it sounded like the voice was coming from the far end of a long hallway.
“Come on, Kid!” the voice echoed. She had heard the voice before. The last time she had heard it was the night before the last time she left Gotham.
“Night-jerk?” Kitrina wondered, “So I get to die in the arms of a cute guy. That’s not so bad.” She felt the rag that had been used to gag her, finally be removed, and then she felt something heavy pressing down on her chest.
“Don’t you die on me!” Nightwing said.
“Kitrina, come on baby wake up.” It was another voice. A womanly voice. Sultry yet sweet. Perhaps a little bit of worry in there somewhere.
“Selina? She’s here too? Damn it all, I guess I really am going to hell.” Suddenly a sharp pain jabbed through her chest, and Kitrina began to cough violently shaking her entire body. She could breathe again, and that brought the cold back. She lay there shivering, but could see the faces of both Nightwing and Selina clearly now. Their faces had a mix of both worry and relief etched into them.
“Dick go” Selina said turning to Nightwing, “Bruce needs your help. I’ve got her.”
“Don’t worry kid. It’s going to be all-right now. I’ll be back soon” Nightwing, or Dick said.
“So his name is Dick?” Kitrina absent mindedly wondered. There was also something about him. She could see his eyes through the lens of the mask: Pretty blue eyes. Then there was what he said. Something about how he had said “It’s going to be all-right” felt familiar, but Kitrina couldn’t quite place it. She felt woozy, and when he finally stood up and ran off to fight, she didn’t feel have bad being left with Selina, of all people.
Selina had produced a large tarp from somewhere, and wrapped her up in it drying her off as best as she could with it. She felt pressure being put on the wound at her side, and the tarp was wrapped around her. Selina picked her up, and held her closely too her. Being pressed up against Selina was the last place she wanted to be, but at least it was warm.
In the background Kitrina could hear police sirens, and for once, it was the most beautiful sound she had ever heard.