As per Mayhem decree, I have collected the finished story of Tis the Season (Sensation Comics 1-4) into a single, easily accessible post. This story belongs to the DC Mayhem continuity.
Disclaimer: I do not own any DC Characters or locations. All rights belong to DC Comics. I do, however, retain all rights to original characters, organizations, and locations
Rated: T+/M for strong language, violence, suggestive themes, some disturbing scenes, and a brief mention of nudity.
Sensation Comics #1
Tis the Season: Part One
Dec 18, 2012 1:09 AM
Jim was used to working late nights. It came with the territory of being Gotham City's Police Commissioner. Nights like tonight though made him want to go home, lie in bed, and cling tight to his wife. His office was dark, and the blinds closed shut. The only form of illumination came from a small desk lamp that had been at the Gotham City Police Department almost as long as he had. It had been a while since his detective Harvey Bullock had come in saying he was calling it a night. Most of the others were either gone or busy out running their beats, so he knew he wouldn't be disturbed.
He reached down and opened the bottom right drawer, and pulled out a small glass and a bottle of Johnnie Walker Black Label. He poured his self a small amount into the glass, but left the bottle open on top of the desk. He left the glass sitting there for a moment as he lit a cigarette and drew it to his lips and inhaled before removing it to blow out a long steady stream of smoke. Then with the same hand that held the cigarette he took the glass and downed the potent whiskey in a single gulp. The burn made his eyes water, but after a few moments the burn subsided, and was replaced with a slight oncoming sense of relaxation. It didn't help.
On his desk, illuminated by the desk lamp, was a case file with photos from a crime scene he had left just a few hours ago. The case file was small, but it was marked with a name Jim was all too familiar with: FALCONE. The Falcone family had once been a very powerful crime syndicate that ran its operations in Gotham City. Drugs, Guns, Extortion, you name it. The Falcone's had their hands in all of it. They even had the courts and police wrapped up in their corrupt little game. That was till the Batman showed up.
Within a month the Batman had destroyed what had took the Falcone Family generations to build, but the real fall came with the murder of Harvey Dent and the Holiday killings. Members of the Falcone Crime gang began to die one after another, and finally it all came crashing down when a new villain named Two Face, the deranged and deformed remnants what was once Harvey Dent, murdered the head of the Falcone Family: Carmine "The Roman" Falcone. All that was left after that was Carmine's children: Sofia, Alberto, and Mario. Alberto was killed by Sofia who was murdered moments later by Two-Face. The Batman tried to stop him, but it was too late.
All that was left was Mario Falcone, a man who had wanted to redeem the Falcone name, but business deals went south all because no one trusted Falcone. Mario was left a broken man, but apparently that wasn't enough. Tonight someone had broken into the Falcone estate and murdered Mario Falcone and all of his staff, but that wasn't what was keeping Jim up on this dark starless night. Jim looked down at the photo one last time, and once again felt his stomach turn. The picture was of a twelve year old girl with five gunshot wounds in the back, and a final shot placed right in the middle of her forehead. The little girl had been wearing a once white dress that had now been stained crimson. Her brown hair had been soaked from the blood that poured from the missing part of her scalp from where the bullet had entered her skull from an angle. Blood poured from the corners of the small pale lips and her blue eyes had still been wide open as she had looked into the face of her murderer.
One would think that this is Gotham City, and that for the police to see dead little girls was not that big of a deal. Sure that was what the common heartless bastard thought. They all thought that for you to live in Gotham City you had to have a heart of stone and that nothing could affect you. Sure try doing that when it's your daughter. When she's lying there helpless and bleeding and you can do nothing about it as she cries out for help. No, not Jim Gordon. Jim couldn't stomach it. He had felt it when he looked in the eyes of that little girl tonight. He had felt the horror she felt. He felt the anger. He felt the emptiness. It was enough to make any man want to put a gun to his head and pull the trigger.
No, not Jim Gordon. Gotham still needed him, and he was going to do everything he could to see that the creature that had done this was brought to justice. Justice. What a funny word. What passed for justice in Gotham was joke, but Jim knew that if he didn't do what was right then who else would?
That question was answered by the cold draft that was now blowing in through the window that had been closed just moments earlier. Jim didn't even have to look up to know what it meant.
"I'm surprised you didn't get here sooner." Jim said not even looking up from the case documents. Out of the darkness stepped a tall dark and looming figure known only as The Batman. On his head was a cowl with two pointed ears, a long dark cape draped down past his boots, and on his chest was a symbol in the shape of a large bat that was as dark as the night itself.
"Any leads?" The Batman asked in a gruff voice that was as rough as sand paper.
"None," Jim replied, "The whole house was swept clean. No security footage, no witnesses, heck there weren't even any damn bullet casings."
"Do we have a list of all those who we believe were on Falcone's payroll?"
"Yeah, archives is going over it right now, and cross referencing it with possible motives, so we can compile a suspect list."
"We won't find the murderer that way."
"Unless you have something I don't then I already know that!" Jim spat, not really shouting, but with enough emphasis that he might as well have been scolding a child. Batman only stood there in silence narrowing his eyes as he looked down at Jim. "I just don't understand. A twelve year old girl who had no connection with any of family's business dealings. You should have seen the room Batman. Blue ribbons from honor roll and spelling bees. More stuffed animals than I've ever seen. All of it belonged to a little girl that meant no harm to the world. Now all of it is dripping with her blood."
Jim paused once more pouring himself another shot of whiskey and downed it before continuing, "Every time I see something like this I think of Barbara, and how it could have been her. Damn this city, and all its monsters."
"Jim." The Batman said in what passed as a comforting tone for him, "We'll find who did this. Just keep looking. I'm going back to the house to see if I can find anything that can help."
"Yeah, you do that Batman." Jim said, but his statement was only answered by sound of the blinds that covered the window as they crashed up against the window frame where the Batman had gone out. Jim sat there in silence for a few moments longer. Trying in vain attempt to clear his head, when suddenly there was a knock at the door. Jim moving as quickly as he could muster put away the bottle and glass before answering.
"What is it?" The door cracked open slightly, and a uniformed officer stuck his head in.
"She's here sir." The mas said. Jim took a deep breath, and stood up from his seat.
"I'll be out there in a minute." Jim said rubbing his hand across the top of his head. The officer nodded and closed the door behind him, leaving Jim alone in the darkness once again.
Jim didn't know if he was ready for this one. He had to deliver bad news all the time, but experience in this matter did not make such a thing any easier. Jim grabbed his coat hanging on the rack at the door as he exited his office, and walked out onto the main floor of the GCPD. Out there waiting in a chair was another young girl, but this one was not like the innocent one whose dead eyes he had been starring into for the past several hours.
Sitting in one of the chairs outside his office was a sixteen year old girl with reddish-brown hair and green eyes. She was dressed casually in blue jeans, tennis shoes; a t-shit with a band logo on the front, and in her arms was a rather oversized coat that had been used to help block the cold of winter in Gotham. All the clothing was disheveled, and her hair was tangled as if she had left home in a hurry. Her eyes were red and her make up showed signs of running which was smeared in some places from where she had furiously tried to wipe the signs of tears away. Her face did not show signs of sadness though. Instead her face was stoic, but Jim could see it in her eyes. He could see the angry fire that often inhibited the eyes of those whom had a loved one taken from them.
"Kitrina Falcone?" Jim asked the girl hoping she would respond to him. The girl's eyes turned sharply to him, and almost seemed to glare right through him.
"Commissioner," Kitrina started to reply, her voice cracking as she said the following words, "I'm going to ask you this once and only once." Katrina paused once again taking another breath. Jim saw the girl hesitate to speak, almost too distraught to speak. He had seen most people like this break, but Kitrina still did not cry when she finally asked him: "Do you know who killed my cousin?"
Dec. 21 2012 4:29 PM
It was Christmas time in Gotham City, though for Kitrina it didn’t feel quite so festive. She had arrived back in town only a few days ago after having spent the last several months as a student at Aldridge Prep, an all-girls private school in North Carolina. Now she was set up in a modest hotel room near Gotham’s commercial district. Her cousin and Uncle’s funeral had been held just a few hours ago, and it seemed so strange to her that now she was watching the Gotham City Christmas Parade as it passed on the street below her window. It felt so strange that the entire world around her seemed happy and cheerful, but she herself could only feel sorrow and anger.
Luckily she had not needed to handle the funeral arrangements herself, and had managed to call in a few favors, and not just those that involved picking out caskets and flowers, but assistance in her true mission: finding the bastard that had killed her twelve year old cousin, Ana. The funeral itself went about as well as any funeral. It had been a traditional catholic funeral, but few people had shown up. Mario did not have that many friends, and even fewer had known Ana. Kitrina had wanted to cry, but she had forgotten how. As last member of the main branch of the Falcone family she had to appear strong otherwise the others might try to come after her. She was sure eventually someone would, but right now none of that was her concern. All she could think about was Ana.
Kitrina had loved that little girl, and had often babysat her during the time that she lived under her Uncle Mario’s roof. She could have cared less about her uncle’s death, and honestly she felt like he deserved it. Ana though had been the closest thing Kitrina had ever had to a little sister. In truth she was the closest thing she had left to family. Mario had not been much of a legal guardian, and her mother barely had made time for her even before her death. The only other person in Kitrina’s life that had ever shown her the slightest recognition was her grandfather, Carmine Falcone, whom Kitrina had seen murdered right before her eyes on a Halloween Night six years ago. The memory of her grandfather’s funeral still affected her till this day, and now having to see that little girl being lowered into the ground was like pouring salt into a wound.
Upon returning from the funeral she had changed out of the traditional black dress and veil, and into more comfortable clothing, pink pajama pants and a white tank top, so she could finally get to work. Though she had not been sure at first it turned out that the Falcone Family still had allies. This time it had been a man named Sammy Finch, a bistro owner on the south side of town who worked as a sort of banker for the family. Kitrina had put in a call to him and now she had a whole file of paperwork including invoices and a whole ledger on business dealings over the past four months. She had also been given a name: Dr. Loeb. Sam had pointed the name out to her, and had said that he only met the man once, and he gave him the creeps. Sam had said it was just a hunch, but it may have been a place to start.
As Kitrina sat down at the table she went over the records given to her by Sam once more. In the past few months her uncle Mario had made several contributions to Doctor Loeb’s clinic, but suddenly two months ago the payments had stopped without any indication as to why. There was another problem though that puzzled Kitrina, and that was that nobody had ever heard of Doctor Loeb. There was no number in the phone book, no address, and in truth there wasn’t even any record of him in any licensed department of medicine. So it would have appeared that Mario had been frequenting a black market doctor for some reason, but for what, and what did all this have to do with Ana?
There had to be something she was missing though. She began to flip through the ledger, and that was when she spotted it: the missing piece to the puzzle. It was an entry penciled in for a container rental at the Gotham Docks. Normally it wouldn’t be that big of a deal for the Falcone to have dealings with the docks because Falcone often deal with import export businesses, but this was a for a holding fee, and it continued for the next several months alongside the same contributions that were given to Doctor Loeb. If she was lucky perhaps she could still get a hold of the container number. She grabbed the phone book out of the bedside table drawer and flipped the pages till she found the number for the Docks. As soon as she found it she wasted no time grabbing the hotel phone and started dialing.
The space between rings felt like ages to Kitrina, and she was crossing her fingers hoping for some kind of lead. When the phone finally picked up and the person on the other end said hello Kitrina almost stumbled into an answer.
“Ah…Yes, my name is Kitrina Falcone, and my uncle passed away a few days ago. I’ve been left in charge of settling all of his accounts. I’ve been going over his records and it says he’s rented a cargo container there, and has been paying holding fees. I was wondering on what container that would be.” Kitrina asked trying to sound innocent yet somewhat sad, hoping to pass for what she hoped as a niece saddened over her uncle’s death and was now reluctant to have to close out his business. If she was lucky the person on the other end of the phone would not care if she were a Falcone or not. She crossed her fingers and hoped for the best.
“Just one second ma’am” the voice on the other end of the line when silent for a few moments that might has well have been an eternity, “Yes, ma’am that container’s number is A00035691.” Kitrina nearly dropped the phone as she grabbed the nearest pen and began scribbling the number down on a piece of paper. “Would you like to close out the container?”
“No not today, I’ll be coming down there later today to inspect its contents. If any of my uncle’s things in there I’ll have to know what it is so I can disperse it to the proper people.”
“I understand ma’am. Also I am very sorry for you loss. Have a good day.”
“Thank you and you too.” Kitrina replied just before hanging up the line. Kitrina took a deep breath and stretched before standing up and heading over to the window once more. Down below Santa Claus was being pulled through on a float as the parade was finishing up its route. She still did not quite feel the whole festive spirit, but she smiled at the pure irony of it, because it was like Santa had brought her a gift. She finally had a lead, and maybe whatever it was that was in that container would have some clue that would lead her to her cousin’s killer.
Kitrina walked over to her bed where she had laid out a leather jumpsuit accented with pink stripes, a pair of black boots, and a set of infrared goggles. She felt a sense of deviltry creep up in her as she ran her hands over the fabric, and then she felt a sense of pride rise up in her as she pulled out the final article to the costume she was assembling. In a way it looked silly to her, but at the same time she could feel power and liberation in the leather cap with flaps that in a way looked similar to the ears of cat.
Sensation Comics #2
Tis the Season: Part Two
December 22, 2012 12:22 AM
The world had not ended, and it was snowing. So the Mayans were wrong, and maybe that meant that Gotham was in for a white Christmas. These were the thoughts that were going through the minds of the common populace living in Gotham City; however, there was one particular young woman in Gotham City who did not have time for such thoughts. Kitrina Falcone was on a mission, a mission to find the person who had murdered her twelve year old cousin.
If Kitrina did give way to one thought that was not about her mission it was the fact that leather was not so great about blocking out the cold. This wasn’t really her first time wearing a strange outfit as she ran across the rooftops and jumped from building to building using the terrain to help propel her along. Still this was the first time she had worn this costume, and though she felt it looked kind of stylish she probably should have considered practicality a little more than she did. She had it tailored to fit to her form without necessarily hindering her mobility and it was a special blend of leather and Kevlar so it would protect her to an extent, but she knew it was probably best if she avoided any sort of skirmishes wherever possible. It was a good outfit for what she needed, but when she had it built she had a fit of nostalgia to where she had felt the need to customize the outfit, and that’s where all the pink accents came from.
“Stupid ass, should have added in a thermal layer, or at least have worn thermals Way to go Kat. Great job not thinking that it gets below freezing in the winter.”She thought to herself as she felt her skin starting to go numb underneath the leather. “Oh well, at least this time I went with boots and pockets instead of high heels and a studded belt.” She was of course referring to the fact that not only did the boots make it easier to run, but also made it easier to handle the terrain without heavily bruising an ankle. As for the belt, she still felt it had been cute and “her”, but the small pockets that lined her costume held a variety of tools that could help her break in and otherwise sabotage if needed. On her head was a set of custom infrared goggles that she had procured some time ago, and they were worth more than a neurosurgeon could make in a month, but they were by far one of her most useful devices. Then the cap with the cat ears was more of a sort of call back to an old life, but she felt it to be fitting, and at the very least the cap kept her ears warm.
The only part of her outfit which was not standard just so happened to be the large set of bolt cutters she had tied to her back. It offset her weight a little bit, but shipping containers were known to have heavy locks, and they just might come in handy.
When she had finally reached the docks her heart was racing from all the running, and though she could feel her skin freezing it felt like her insides were boiling. Across the street from the rooftop she had stopped on were the Gotham City docks, which was one of the city’s largest districts. The docks were huge, stretching for miles down the waterfront, and her first objective would be to find out where the container she was looking for was out of the thousands that were stored there. It would be a simple enough job, break into the offices, boot up a computer, and look up the location. If she was lucky she wouldn’t have to travel too far from the offices, or even worse have to use a crane to get to the container, but in her experience luck was not usually her ally.
As she stood on the roof attempting to catch her breath she reached up and pulled the infrared goggles down over her eyes, and turned them on. What had been darkness suddenly light up in a blue color, but with a slight red hue which covered most of the landscape. Outside of that the goggles could pick up on heat signatures, particularly those belonging to human beings. Out on the yard of the docks from where she was standing she could make out at least three guards patrolling, One guard at the gate she was closest too, and another outside the office complex who appeared to be on a smoke break.
“They’re understaffed. They must have let most of the staff off for Christmas or something. That would explain the skeleton crew.” she muttered to herself, as she attempted to look closer she noticed that it looked as if the guard at the gate was asleep, “No wonder the family liked to do a lot of business here, there’s no regard for security at all.” When she felt she had finally got a good lay of the docks from her position she moved to the edge of the roof, and grabbed a hold of gutter and used that to help her climb down to the ground.
The best way in would be through the front gates, but she would have to be quick and be very quiet at the same time. The guard was asleep, but there were security cameras around the gate, and the gate was mechanized. The Cameras were stationary though, and Katrina could see a blind spot on the side of the guard shack facing away from the gate.
“So I just need to sneak up to the booth incapacitate the guard, and open the gates…easy enough.” She thought to herself. When she finally felt like she was ready she darted across the street, and dropped down into a slide as she got near the booth. She lifted her goggles and eased up to the window of the booth, so she could get a good look inside. What she saw there made her stop. It was just an old man. He was passed out, and snoring. He even had hearing aids that appeared to be switched into the off position. One side of her felt like this was lazy security, but the other side of her really did not want to have to hurt this old man if she didn’t have to. She could see the panel that controlled the gate right in front of the old man, so moving very carefully she eased the window open, reached across the old man, and turned the switch to open the gate.
The gate clang and screeched causing Kitrina to wince. She had not considered that the gate opening might cause a lot of noise. She had closed her eyes in fear that she had awakened the old security guard, but when she slowly opened them she stopped. The man had not even moved. As a matter of a fact it didn’t even look like he was breathing. Kitrina reached for the man’s neck to check for a pulse.
Suddenly the man snored loudly causing Kitrina to jump in surprise! It took everything in her power not to scream. She even sat back down outside the booth and clamped both hands over her mouth to be sure she hadn’t.
“STUPID! STUPID! STUPID!” She mentally cursed herself, “Jesus Christ! No more caring about the well-being of old dudes.” When she calmed down a little and finally caught her breath she got up and sprinted as fast as she could through the gate, and finally stopped running when she reached a set of containers. Now all that was left was to find out where the container was, and hopefully that would go off without a hitch.
30 Minutes Later…
Things had not gone quite as well as Kitrina had hoped. She had been forced to knock out the guard that was patrolling the offices, and there just so happened to be another one inside that she had not spotted earlier when looking across the docks from the outside. When she finally made it to a computer and found out where the container she was looking for was located it just so happened to be in warehouse K -2910 which just so happened to be with the set of warehouses that were the farthest from the offices. After a mad dash across the dock yard, a few close calls with some gaurds, and judging by how her ring finger on her right hand was throbbing she had probably cracked a nail after nearly missing a jump between two containers stacked up on the docks.
By the time she had reached the warehouse, she had already torn her jumpsuit on the backside of her left thigh, and she was sweating profusely underneath the jumpsuit, and with it being below freezing outside that made her feel even colder. When she walked up to the door of the warehouse her feet were numb and she was shaking and her teeth were chattering from the cold.
The side door was shut with a standard padlock. Mustering what strength she had she pulled the bolt cutters from her back and cut the padlock loose. Kitrina dropped the bolt cutters, letting them clang against ground feeling too tired to sustain their weight. She removed the broken lock and eased open the door, before slipping inside.
It was pitch black inside the ware house, but on an improved note at least it was not as cold in the warehouse since it was sort of protected from the chilling wind outside. Kitrina rubbed her hands together to try and get some warmth and feeling back into them before she reached up and pulled her goggles back down over her eyes. The goggles illuminated the warehouse, but what Kitrina saw there surprised her. In the center of the warehouse was a single container, and the rest of the warehouse was completely bare. She looked down and saw mud in the shape of tire marks all leading up to the container, and judging from the quantity it looked as if this container was visited several times.
Kitrina walked up to the container and sure enough she found the number: A00035691 printed on the side. This was definitely her container, but she was shocked to see the doors were slightly open and light was pouring out from where it was cracked. She lifted up her goggles, and snuck quietly up to the door. She couldn’t really hear anything inside other than a small humming sound, but whatever it was that was inside that container gave her a really bad feeling. There could be someone on the other side of that door just waiting to attack her. She peered in through the crack and didn’t see anything, so finally after taking a deep breath she eased the door open and stepped in.
What she found was beyond perplexing, and truthfully the last thing she would have expected her Uncle Mario to have stored. Inside the container illuminated by a utility light was an operating table draped over with a blood stained sheet. With a bit of hesitation in her step she walked up closer to the table, and felt her stomach lurch slightly at the fact that the sheet was still slightly wet and covered with bits of gray hair. Next to the table she spotted a small tray with surgical tools: clamps, scalpels, and scissors, all stained with blood and what looked like small bits of flesh. Lying on the floor next to the table was a heap of dirty bandages that smelt foul, and was beginning to draw flies. Near the bandages, she spotted something small and metal, and whatever it was it didn’t look like any surgical tool that she knew of, so she knelt down and picked it up.
It was a money clip made of pure silver, and etched on the side was the name: Mario Falcone.
“This must have been where Doctor Loeb did whatever it was Mario wanted him to.” Kitrina thought as she looked from the surgical tools and then back at the money clip, “And I suppose since this was here that Mario must have sit in on Loeb’s work. So just what is this place, A torture chamber of some kind? What the hell were you in to Mario?”
Suddenly Kitrina felt her goggles slip over and off her head, and her eyes went wide. Someone had snuck in behind her! Reacting Kitrina spun around, launching a spinning kick at the intruder hoping to catch them off-guard, but instead her kick was block throwing her off-balance. The something hit her other leg, and before she knew it she flipped over onto the ground and hit her head against the floor of the container. It blurred her vision for a second, and she instinctively grabbed the back of her head as it reeled. She was vulnerable now, and was open to attack, but strangely the attack never came.
“Well, what do we have here?” A sultry voice purred, “It looks like our little long lost kitten has come back home.” It was a voice Kitrina knew all too well.
“What the hell!? Selina?” Kitrina looked up and the black clad Catwoman with her high heels and unzipped top standing over her.
“In the flesh.” Selina quipped while making presenting gesture with her right hand, in which she held Kitrina’s goggles. “You know I looked for these for the longest after you skipped town, and after all we’ve been through. I really can’t believe, Kitrina, that you actually would have had the nerve to steal from me.” Selina wagged her finger. “tsk, tsk. Shame on you little girl. Mama’s gonna have to spank.”
Kitrina slowly pushed herself up off the ground and glared at the woman.
“First off, you weren’t going to do anything with them, but sell them. You wouldn’t have made as much on them as you would have with any other heist you normally run, and I felt I could have put them to better use. Secondly, I didn’t skip town, you, the Bat, and Night-Jerk, told me to leave, and finally! What are you doing here?”
“I was just in the neighborhood.” Selina teased pacing slightly back and forth in front of Kitrina, “I saw a bit of commotion going on at the docks, so I decided to check it out. Then lo and behold, I find my long lost protégé. “
“I’m not your proto…whatever! Now will you please give me the goggles back? I’ve got more important things to do.” Kitrina spat.
“My, My, what’s the rush?”
“You wouldn’t understand.”
“It’s about your cousin isn’t it.” Selina perused. Kitrina gritted her teeth at the invasive comment and looked away. The last thing she wanted to do right now was have a heart to heart with the Catwoman, “Look, Kitrina,” Selina continued, “I’m not heartless you know. You talked about that little girl all the time, so I know how much she meant to you.”
“YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT ANA MEANT TO ME!” Kitrina shouted. She had been unable to control the outburst. She could feel the tears welling up in her eyes, but she still did not cry. Selina only glared back at the girl, appearing unfazed by the outburst.
“Kitrina, if you need help. Don’t hesitate to…”
“I will never need help from someone like you!”
“Well I’m sorry you feel that way.” Selina looked away and walked over to the operating table, and Kitrina saw something she thought she would have never seen Catwoman do. Catwoman actually froze, and her eyes went wide. She reached down and picked up one of scalpels, and then dropped it back on the tray as soon as she had picked it up. Almost as if the blade had been red hot in her hands
“Kid, I think this is over your head.” Selina said in a serious tone that Kitrina was not used to. “Judging by the look of this set up, it looks like it was used recently, and whoever it was that used it was in a hurry, so that probably means they haven’t gone far.”
“Wait, you know something about this don’t you?” Kitrina asked.
“I’m not sure, but you need to get out of here?”
“No!” Kitrina spat, “You’re going to tell me what you know or I’ll…” Suddenly her head quickly snapped to the side as Selina slapped her across the face.
“You’re not going to do anything! This is bigger than you, and you’re going to need help. I know I’m not going to like it, but I’m going to get you help. I just need you to trust me this once.”
“I don’t trust you with damn thing.” Kitrina growled. Selina sighed, before reaching into the inside of her belt and pulling out what looked like white pouches. She put the pouches with the goggles and held them out to Kitrina who furiously swiped them from her grasp.
“Heating pads?” Kitrina said as she held them in her hand.
“Yep, judging from how you were shivering a little while ago I guess you hadn’t figured on the cold. There are three of them. Put two of them in each of your boots to keep your feet warm, as for the other…” Selina smiled devilishly, “Well I think you know where to put that one.”
Kitrina blushed brightly and glared at Catwoman.
"You can call me names later. Just do what I said, and get the hell out of here.” Selina ran for the door, but looked back and started to say something, but instead she just decided to smile before disappearing out the door of the container.
A few moments later Kitrina had put the heating pads in her boots and the other she stuffed in the appropriate place. She could feel the warmth surging through her body, and she was more than thankful for it. She looked back at the operating table one last time hoping to spot maybe another clue that might lead her to Doctor Loeb, but when she spotted nothing she sighed and turned to leave only to find darkness behind a pair of piercing blue eyes.
Sensation Comics #3
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.
Sensation Comics #4
Tis the Season: Part Four
Dec. 24, 2012 3:29 PM
Kitrina was never the biggest fan of hospital food. She held up the cardboard like Salisbury, eying it with disgust, and made a sort of grunting noise before setting it back down on the plate.
“You know, sometimes I think I would have preferred freezing to death over having to eat this crap.” She said to the woman sitting across from her, sitting up wearing a leopard print long sleeve blouse, and leather pants.
Selina had never been the type to dress casual for her daytime outings. Kitrina had learned from her short time period as her working partner. Selina had a sort of appreciation for the finer things in life, and she would sometime wear the things she stole from the higher echelon of Gotham as a sort of trophy or statement. What she didn’t keep for herself was normally sold to fences, and the cash from that was used to buy even more nice things. This outfit Selina was wearing today was one of those stolen items she had decided to keep. Kitrina knew because she had seen Selina steal the outfit on their first outing together, when Kitrina was just starting to learn the ropes in the “Catwoman School of Burglary”.
“Don’t complain. At least you’re getting the chance to live another day. It’s already a miracle that you managed to get away from Doctor Elliot. The guy cut out my heart once, literally, but you managed claw up his ugly mug after turning yourself into a walking Popsicle.”
Selina was right. She really shouldn’t be causing a fuss. The truth was that Kitrina had barely escaped with her life a few nights ago. She had sustained not only lacerated liver, bruised ribs, a sprained ankle, and several cuts and bruises all over both wrists; she had also developed critical hypothermia. Her body temperature had dropped below eighty degrees Fahrenheit, and Selina had told her that when they rescued her she resembled a corpse. Kitrina had been very lucky though. None of her limbs had turned black, or had to be removed. For the first day she had been in intense pain, as feeling slowly come back, but today things were a little easier. She had been sewn and bandaged up, the pins and needles feeling she had felt when recovering from being numb was gone, and now she was receiving blood to replace what she had lost during her tangle with Hush.
Kitrina had really been lucky, because the thing about Dr. Thomas Elliot is that he was much more than just a typical psychopath. Doctor Thomos Elliot, also known as Hush in the criminal underworld of Gotham, had once been a great surgeon, but at some point he had gone off the deep end, cut up his own face to resemble that of Bruce Wayne in some strange attempt to get back at him, or at least that was what Selina had explained to her. Selina had also explained to Kitrina that she had suspected that Hush might be involved when she saw the operating table in the container back at the docks. She had wanted Kitrina to get away before Hush got to her, but she had no idea that he was already there, waiting for her. The only way that Batman, Nightwing, and she had found Kitrina was because of a lone bat-tracker that Selina had placed on Kitrina’s uniform.
“I suppose I should say, thank you.”
“There’s no need to thank me. I said I would help you, and I meant it, but you’re welcome anyway.”
“What happened to Hush anyway?”
“After you were taken care of, Nightwing went to help Batman. The two of them took him down pretty quickly, and took him to Arkham. When he wakes up, Batman and the Commissioner are supposed to question him.”
“So that was his equipment in that cargo container.”
“It seems that way. You never quite explained to me what you were looking for there anyway. I figured it had to do with your cousin, but I didn’t want to interfere because, I know very well what it’s like to want to settle a personal score, and the need to settle it on your own terms.” Selina’s words resonated with Kitrina, at least a little bit anyway. She highly respected her former mentor, but after what she did there was very little connection left between the two of them. At one point, Kitrina had hoped to never see her feline-loving mentor ever again, but after all that had happened, she could appreciate that Selina was at least trying to repair what damage had been done. It was more than her Uncle Mario had ever done.
“I suppose I do owe you a little bit of an explanation.”
“A little?” Selina mocked
“Don’t push it.” Kitrina retorted, “After Ana’s funeral, I got a hold of an old family friend, named Samuel Finch. He gave me some financial records of my Uncle Mario’s business dealings over the past few months. He also pointed out a name to me, a Doctor Loeb. Payments made to the docks, plus the connection Uncle Mario, and Doctor Loeb had to the records is what led me there. I was hoping I could find another lead that would lead me to Ana’s killer, and I suppose in a way it did. I figured out pretty quick that Hush had to be Doctor Loeb. It was only thing that made sense.” Kitrina sighed, “Do you think Hush, killed Ana?”
“I don’t know, but if he did there’s no way you could get to him now.” Selina replied. Kitrina looked down, and clenched the bed sheets in her palms. She felt defeated, but more than that she was angry. She was so close to getting the answers she needed, and possibly even to avenging her cousin. Now, thanks to the Bat, her one solid lead was locked behind bars, and in her current condition, she was in no shape to go trouncing into Arkham, just so she could bloody or kill the once great surgeon.
“What am I going to do, Selina?” Kitrina asked. Now that her lead was gone, she would have to start all over, and this time without a name. Perhaps she could salvage something, but it seemed almost impossible at this point. “I can’t let whoever killed Ana get away with this.”
What happened next was the last thing Kitrina expected. Selina reached up and took Kitrina’s hand, and actually smiled what actually seemed a genuine smile, and was that actually a look of sympathy coming from the Catwoman of all people?
“I know it’s hard, kiddo, and I’m not the best when it comes to doing something like this, as you probably well know, but sometimes the best way to get our vengeance on those who hurt us, is to keep moving on. I know it sucks, and it hurts like hell, but sometimes the biggest kick these assholes get out of hurting others, is seeing them hurt. When you show them that they can’t hurt you anymore, it’s like you’re spitting in their face, and I think, right now, that maybe trying to keep moving forward would help you more than anything.” After Selina finished a long silence passed between them, until Kitrina finally spoke up.
“Okay, so when did you become Granny Fortune Cookie?” Kitrina started to laugh before clutching her side, and wincing in pain. Selina drew her hand back and scrunched her face up at Kitrina.
“That’s what you get, you smart-mouth brat!” Selina spat. Kitrina was still chuckling slightly while trying to bear the pain, but despite the pain. It was the best she had felt since coming back to Gotham.
“So what have you been up too, you know before, you were pulling my frozen ass out of the river, and all?” Kitrina said still smiling.
“The usual mostly, a couple heists here, and there to get the blood pumping, taking in a stray clown, who just so happens to be just about as good as you are about giving me a heart-attack, and I almost caught myself on fire, while fighting a couple wacko’s in record store that just so happened to be ablaze.” Selina rambled causing Kitrina to stare at her in almost disbelief, much to her misfortune though Selina saw this, and grinned devilishly as she said, “I think I also managed a one-night stand with Batman somewhere in between as well.”
“EWW!!!” Kitrina wailed, “I swear Selina, sometimes you are a total Sl…” Kitrina didn’t get to finish her sentence when Selina reached up and put a finger over her mouth startling the girl.
“Na-ah! Nobody uses the S word with me. Not even you darling. Besides, you’re one to talk; you never could keep your eyes off Nightwing’s ass.” Selina teased taking her hand down from Kitrina’s face ,that just so happened to be blushing brighter than any Christmas tree in all of Gotham at that time.
“I HAVE NEVER LOOKED AT HIS ASS!” She wailed.
“Oh really, I seem to recall that one time in particular, when you said, and I quote: ‘Ugh, I hate to admit it, but Night-Jerk sure does have a cute butt.” Selina teased while mockingly imitating Kitrina’s voice.
“You’re lying, I never said that!”
“Whatever, honey, deny it all you want, but this woman knows when her Kittens see something they like.” Selina playfully stuck her tongue out at her ex-protégé who just glared at her with as much contempt as she could muster. The argument about might have continued had it not been for a knock that suddenly came at the door to Kitrina’s room. The girls suddenly straightened their demeanor as a middle aged looking gentleman with black hair showing tips of grey on the edges stuck his head in the door. He was a bit stocky, but not overweight. He wore khaki slacks, and a white sweater with a black blazer worn over it.
“Hello, I sure hope, I’m not interrupting.” He said with a thick Sicilian accent. Kitrina smiled at the man and waved, but Selina stood up and walked over to the man, a slight look of disapproval hinting at the edges of her face.
“Can I help you, sir?” Selina asked, with a slight defensive tone in her voice.
“Uh, yes ma’am, I’m just here to pick Lady Kitrina.” The man replied.
“Relax Selina,” Kitrina cut in, “This is Samuel Finch, the guy I told you about. I called him a little earlier today, and he’s going to take me back to his place where I can rest up.”
“What!?” Selina cried, “You’re in no shape to go anywhere.”
“Please, Selina, there is no way in hell I’m staying here another moment. Believe it or not, the Falcone name still has a little weight behind it, even if it is just me.” Kitrina said as Sam walked over to her bedside, “You see, Sam has been a long-time friend of my grandfather, and he even watches over my own trust fund. Even during that time I was at Ambridge, he still looked after my money, and didn’t even let Mario near it even after he tried to convince Sam that I was dead.”
“Your friend is right though, Lady Kitrina. You look like you were badly injured. Perhaps you should stay longer, and let the doctors have a closer look at you. I’m not so sure recovering in one of my guest rooms, at the bistro, is such a good idea.”
“I’m leaving this hospital Sam, and there’s nothing either of you can say that will convince me otherwise.” Kitrina said while pointing at both Selina and Sam. “Besides, the doctor’s told me that I should be cleared to go home this evening, after I finish getting the blood I need.”
Sure enough, it was as Kitrina had said, and she was taken off the blood transfusion after a short while. During the time that the blood had finished Sam and Selina talked a little more, and they seemed to be getting along fairly well. Kitrina was happy about that, Selina was a bit over protective at times, but she meant well. Sam had always been a very good friend. She never kept in contact with him due to the possibility that Mario might find out where she was. She remembered the first time she met Sam, when as a little girl she had walked in on a meeting between Sam, Mario, and her Grandfather. Mario had tried to shoo her away, but she remembered her grandfather calling her over, and setting her on his knee anyway. She also remembered how Sam had smiled at her warmly, as he had reached in his pocket and pulled out a piece of bubble-gum to give her, after asking her grandfather’s permission. Ever since that day Kitrina had loved Sam like a beloved Uncle. In truth, Sam had been more of an Uncle to her than Mario ever had.
When the minimal amount of time had passed to see if there were going to be any adverse reactions to the blood transfusion, Kitrina called for a wheelchair to be sent up to her room. As Sam was getting ready to leave to bring the car around, he turned and shook Selina’s hand one last.
“I have to admit Mr. Finch, I had you pegged wrong at first, but I suppose you seem like a pretty nice guy. Normally, I’m pretty good about reading people, but maybe she’ll be in alright hands with you.” Selina said while shaking the man’s hand.
“Thank you, ma’am, I appreciate it. I promise you she’s in safe hands with me.” Sam took his hand away then pulled out a small card from his jacket, “Take my card. It’s got the address to the Bistro on it. Feel free to stop by and visit Kitrina, anytime you would like, and if you’re feeling up to it I can cook you one of the best meals you’ve ever had.”
“I may take you up on that offer.” Selina replied with a formality that Kitrina had rarely seen. Sam said his final good-byes as he headed out to the car. A few moments laderthe nurse came in and detached all the hospital equipment from Kitrina, then stepped out while Selina stayed behind to help Kitrina into the loose fitting sweater and sweat pants that Sam had brought with him for her to change into.
The process was a little more difficult that she thought it would be. Her wounds throbbed a little, but she gritted her teeth and bared the pain.
“Kitrina, I want you to know that you don’t have to be a stranger, okay?” Selina said softly to the girl as she helped pull the sweater over the girl’s head, “I know some people who can get you set up in a nice place of your own, here in Gotham, away from all these dealings with the old crime families. You can start a whole new life again, you know?”
“Thanks for the offer Selina, really.” Kitrina replied, “I think though it time I quit running away from my past. It caught up to me the last time, I tried to live a normal life, so I think maybe it’s best if I just deal with it.”
“I suppose, I can appreciate that.” Selina sighed. Kitrina was finally dressed, and Selina helped to ease her down into the well chair. “Take care of yourself, okay. If you need anything you have my number.”
“I may just take you up on that offer about a that place you were talking about.” Kitrina smiled at her ex-mentor, and Selina smiled back. The nurse came in and got behind Kitrina, and asked her if she was ready to leave. When Kitrina acknowledged that she was ready, she looked back at her mentor, one last time.
“Merry Christmas, Selina.” Kitrina said.
“Merry Christmas, Kitrina.” Selina replied, and with that the nurse rolled Kitrina out into, and down the hallway. As she was leaving she looked back and saw a rather cute looking young guy, with dark hair, and a nice ass, approach Selina with a bouquet of flowers stuffed into a vase. She saw a few words being exchanged between the two of them, but if it was one thing she was never quite good at it was reading lips. Still despite that Kitrina could have sworn that from what little experience she did have reading lips, Selina referred to the guy as “boy wonder”.
Oct 31, 2004
She was here again. Eight years old in the long hallway. The big white door. Her grandfather’s office. Tabacco smell. Her grandfather lying down in a pool of blood. The man with two faces standing above her.
“Adios Kid,” he said as he brought up the still smoking gun.
A crash. A bat. Gunfire. The boy that pulled her away. She looked back. Her grandfather’s eyes still starring at her, saying “I love you” over and over again.
“Grandpa!” She cried. As she was swept up into the air. She cried, and cried, and cried. The boy wearing bright clothes of red, and green, and yellow, hugged her tight as she cried.
“That’s enough, Kid. It’s going to be alright.”
Dec 25, 2012 5:05 AM
The nightmare had plagued Kitrina’s dreams for years. She used to wake up in tears from it, but now she just slowly opened her eyes, set up on the bed, and ran on hand through her hair while taking a deep breath. She wasn’t used to it. What girl could get used to seeing their grandfather murdered over and over again. The truth was that she had accepted it. Grandpa was dead, and there was nothing she could do about it. Those were the good days of her life in the Falcone family. The days of warm hugs by grandpa, the smell of sweet tobacco on his clothes, and then there were the presents. Her grandfather had always showered her with gifts, on her Birthday and Christmas day.
It wasn’t about the gifts though, it was about her grandpa. She knew the truth. Grandpa had once been the most ruthless mobster in Gotham. Her grandpa killed, smuggled, and stole and often from those who had nothing to give. She knew the truth, but she still clung tightly to the memories. Her grandfather was not Carmine Falcone, the man who robbed Gotham, he was her Grandpa, the man who had always took her up and gave her these great big hugs. She missed him.
That was her childhood though, and that was gone now. Grandpa was never coming back, and neither was Ana. Kitrina was finally starting to accept it, and it amazed her just how much easier it was becoming. She had not even cried at Ana’s funeral, and Ana had been the one thing left from the Falcone family that she treasured. To have something that precious ripped away from you was just indescribable. It was easier to accept, because of the one useful thing her Uncle Mario had told her, on the Christmas Eve after her Grandfather and her Mother had been killed. Kitrina remembered how alone she had felt, and how Mario had come to her one Christmas Eve night.
Dec 24, 2004 8:49 PM
“Hey doll, why you cryin’? It’s Christmas Eve. A pretty doll like you should be happy.” Uncle Mario said, as tears streamed down the little girl’s cheek. Mario had come into the room after he had heard the little girl crying.
“I had a bad dream.” She blubbered.
“Oh, what about?” Mario asked
“About grandpa. I miss him.”
“Yeah, I know doll. I do too. He left Uncle with lot things to take care off. I could really use his help right now.”
“Yep, even a little girl who cries about bad dreams.” Mario whispered. Kitrina stopped crying and gasped for air, “You see doll, one day you’re going to grow up to be a strong young lady of the Falcone family. Grandpa would be very mad to see you cryin’ like you are. You don’t want to let Grandpa down do you?” Kitrina reached up, and wiped the tears away as fast as she could, and shook her head. Her lip was still quivering, so she bit it to make sure she could hide all signs of crying. Mario smiled at her and patted her on the head.
“That’s a good doll.”
Dec 25, 2012 5:10 AM
Till this day, even though Mario was now worm food, Kitrina hated the word: doll, but despite Mario’s cruel words to the little girl she had once been, she did grow up to be a strong lady of the Falcone family, and she was sure she had not let her grandfather down. She was just glad Mario was no longer around, and she could only imagine what hell Ana had to put up with when her father had been around. At least now, he would never have the chance to hurt Ana, and neither could he hurt her.
“Ugh, why the hell am I thinking about this crap again!?” Kitrina thought to herself, as she eased herself out of the bed. She winced in pain as both sock-covered feet hit the floor. The shift in pressure, and tensing of muscles caused her injuries to flare slightly. At least she was warm, thanks to the sweatpants, and long sleeved shirt she had worn to bed. She could hear a bit of commotion going on outside her door, and a dim light was shining through the cracks. She took small easy steps toward the door, being sure the grab a hold of what she could to help as a brace.
She eased open the door to Samuel Finch’s studio apartment, which was set up above his popular Italian bistro. It was a rather modest setting, but it was large enough to accommodate a small family. Kitrina briefly wondered why Sam had never married. He was getting up in age now, but Kitrina had always known him as a very nice man. Had he wanted to, he should have had no problem catching him a nice girl to settle down with, but he never did, and Kitrina supposed that his reasons were his own, so she did not entertain the thought a second longer.
The light was coming from the bottom of the stairs, and Kitrina could make out now the various sounds of a cook at work. Grabbing hold of the rail, and taking the venture one step at a time Kitrina eased herself down the stairs. After stopping to catch her breath a few times, she finally made it near the bottom. The kitchen was lit up, and Sam was at one of the stoves cooking up a storm. The smell of crispy bacon and fresh eggs filled her senses, and suddenly she heard her stomach start to growl, and apparently so did Sam, when he turned and smiled at her.
“Good morning Lady Kitrina, I hope you slept well.”
“Good morning Sam, and I suppose I’ve had worse nights.” She replied.
“Seeing as what you’ve been through, I would agree.” Sam said before pausing a moment to turn back to his cooking. “I had intended to fix you breakfast in bed, but I supposed you couldn’t wait. Are you hungry?”
“Starving actually,” Kitrina replied. Sam reached and grabbed a plate, and set two fresh eggs cooked over easy, and three slices of bacon on it before setting it down on one of the tables in the kitchen. He then quickly went out to the dining area, and came back with a chair for her to sit in. He even took the gentlemanly demeanor a step further, as he helped Kitrina into her chair.
Kitrina wasn’t really used to the hospitality, but she welcomed it. She had never had Sam’s cooking before, but had heard that he was quite the cook, and truth be told it wasn’t that bad. Of course, after all you’ve had in the past several days is hospital food, and river water, almost anything would taste good. Sam stood there and watched her eat for a few seconds, before he held up his hand and said,
“Hold on a second, I have something I want to give you.” He said, before he ran upstairs. Kitrina could hear a bit of rustling going on up there, but a short while later he came back down. In his hand was clutched a small red box wrapped with a green ribbon.
“I got this for you.” Sam said as he held the box out to her.
“Aw, thank you, Sam” She said taking it from him. She was a little excited to be honest, because she had truthfully not received an actual present from anyone in quite some time.
“I was going to give it too you a little later, but I figured what the heck ya know.” Sam said as Kitrina undid the ribbon, and removed the lid. What was inside was something she never thought she would have ever seen again. Inside was a large silver ring adorned with a red stone with a line of diamonds encircling it, and in the middle of the red stone there was a tiny golden “F” engraved into the surface. The ring was covered in scratches, the bottom of the ring was bent, and some of the diamonds were missing.
“It was your grandfather’s. The entire male heads of the Falcone family would wear a ring just like that. Your grandfather was the only one who had two. One he wore for special occasions, and another that he wore to business. The nicer one was buried with him, but the other was left with me, and it’s been in my possession for a while, but I think he would have wanted you to have it.” Sam said.
Kitrina knew the ring very well. She had toyed with it several times while sitting on her grandfather’s lap as a child. She wanted to say thank you, but she was at a complete loss for words as she cupped the tiny piece of jewelry in her hands and ran her finger around the rim. It was mostly worn away, but she could still partially make out the name: “Carmine Falcone” engraved on the inside of the ring. For a brief moment in time, everything seemed perfect in Kitrina’s little world.
“Merry Christmas, doll.” Sam said to her with a smile.
Kitrina froze. For a second she was not sure she had heard Sam right, but there was no mistaking what he had called her.
As she slowly looked up at Sam, a barrage of thoughts flooded her mind. Sam had been the first and only person she went to for help, when she had decided she was going to track down Ana’s killer. It had also been Sam who had first mentioned the name Doctor Loeb. Doctor Loeb, who just so happened to be the psychotic ex-surgeon known as Hush, had been waiting for her, and the way he had trapped her had been meticulously prepared, almost as if he had known she was going to be there. If Sam had volunteered that information to Hush, then that would also explain how Hush knew who she was, but that wasn’t what disturbed Kitrina the most. Hush had also asked her on that cold morning: “Is Mario Falcone dead?”
At the time, Kitrina had feared for her life, so any thought as to why Hush would ask such a thing had slipped her mind. Now she had a sinking feeling in her gut. A feeling that she knew why Hush had asked her that question. She just needed to know for sure.
“Um…Thanks Sam,” Kitrina stammered, “Merry Christmas to you too.”
“Don’t mention it.” Sam said. He took a rag out of his back pocket and began wiping his hands, and threw it over his shoulder as he turned to go and start cleaning up the kitchen. When he turned Kitrina got the answer she was looking for. At the base of Sam’s neck was a fresh scar. A single line running from the base of his neck that disappeared into the hair line, but Kitrina was pretty sure it went up into his scalp. On each side of that scar were other smaller scars, dots that were evenly spaced on each side of the fading line.
Kitrina had seen similar scars on herself whenever she had to get pretty extensive stitching done. When she got stitching done it was normally to take care of a nasty cut, but judging by what she was seeing on Sam, it looked as if Sam had recently had a lot of work done. The type of work that a psychotic ex-surgeon who had changed his own face, would probably be more than happy to do for someone willing to pay the right price.
Kitrina slowly got up from her place at the table, doing her best not to make as little sound as possible as she did. On a nearby countertop, a mallet, designed to tenderize various meats, was laid out, waiting for the rotisseur to come in the next morning. Kitrina picked it up, as she slowly walked by. The weight of the jagged hammer was a little too much for her, as she felt her wounds protest in pain against her current movements, but instead she bit her lip and bared it.
She was standing close behind Sam when she finally stopped, and glared at the back of his head. Her hand tensed around the mallet’s handle.
“Why?” She asked.
“Hm?” Sam piqued up and looked over his shoulder only to find Kitrina glaring into his eyes with something deeper than hatred. “What do you mean, Lady Kitrina?”
“You know, my Uncle Mario used to call me doll. With Mario it was a habit, but there has been nothing else in this world, that I have hated more, than to hear myself being referred to as a doll.”
“I see.” Sam said looking confused and a bit insulted at Kitrina’s forwardness, “I’m sorry if I have offended you.”
“Did you kill her?”
“Don’t play with me, Mario.” Kitrina glared into her Uncle’s eyes. It was a different face, but Kitrina knew for certain that she was talking to none other than, her dead Uncle. For a second, a silence passed between them, and finally Mario smiled.
“You know, I always said you were always too smart for your own good.” He spat. Kitrina roared as she pulled the meat tenderizer out from behind her back, and swung it in a wide arc toward Mario’s head. She didn't care that every bone in her body was screaming at her. Mario grabbed hold of her arm stopping the swing, but Kitrina mind was ablaze with a fury that she had never felt before. She kicked Mario in the groin with such force she felt him lift slightly off the ground. He lost his balance, and fell to his knees. In his pain he had loosen his grip on Kitrina’s arm. Kitrina swung the hammer down on Mario with as much force as she could muster.
The first thing that went was his jaw, then his collar bone, and finally Kitrina brought the hammer down on Mario’s hand crushing the bones connecting the fingers to the wrist. Mario lay at Kitrina’s feet withering in pain. Kitrina stood above him, eyes wide and breathing heavily. She was beginning to see black spots in her vision, as the pain from over-exerting herself was starting to take its toll.
“This is your last chance!” She screamed, “Did you kill, Ana?”
“Yes! I killed the little shit! Are you happy now?!” He roared. The truth shook Kitrina, she had not wanted to believe it. She had asked simply on a gut feeling. Part of her wished, Mario had denied it, but instead the truth was out now, and a fury like she had never felt before was coursing through her hotter than any fire of hell could hope to achieve.
“She was your daughter!”
“What do you want from me you little brat!? You wonderin’ how I could do such a thing! For your information, thanks to Pop getting two bullets through his skull, it was left to me to take care of this family. The Falcone name turned out to be a lost cause, and the only way to fix it, was to start over! Ana had to go!”
“She was twelve, she was my cousin, and you killed her!”
“You think I wanted to kill my little girl. I much rather it be me in that body bag, but I had to fix what Pop left behind. I couldn’t do that with Ana around. The Falcone name would still be out there ruining any future we had! I had to fix it! What can’t I get you to understand about that! I had to fix it! I have to fix it! I was fixing it, and then you had to come back! You know what you little shit, I wish Dent had put those two bullets in your skull instead of Pop’s!”
“Go to hell!” Kitrina roared as she raised the mallet above her head, and brought it crashing down onto Mario’s skull. She heard the sickening crunch as the blow shattered the skull, but even when Mario fell to the floor, Kitrina did not stop. She raised the mallet again and brought it crashing back down: again, again, and again.
By the time it was over, she couldn't feel her arm any more. The pain had become too much, now and her body was no longer cooperating. Kitrina felt lost. She could not make out the sound of the police sirens outside, nor the sound of the commissioner’s voice as it was amplified by the megaphone in his hand. She did not realize it when two men clad in black came crashing in through the back door. She just floated in a sea of nothing, and it wasn't until one of the black clad men, the one known as Nightwing, walked up, and took hold of her. The touch startled Kitrina, and she looked up into blue eyes that were all too familiar. She knew now where she had seen those eyes before. It had been eight years, but she knew.
Kitrina had done it. She had avenged her cousin’s death, she had killed her uncle, and she was still alive…still alive, A Falcone woman, and still alive. Grandfather would be proud.
“Kitrina,” Nightwing whispered to her as he eased the bloodied mallet from her grasp, “It’s going be alright now, okay.” Then for the first time in nearly eight years, Kitrina cried.