I created a short fiction inspired by Batman. I started it a while back, but now it’s finally finished. It feels like too long since I worked at a vein of writing that wasn’t creative non-fiction, so I wrote this story to kind of get back into that genre. As an aspiring writer, if you could read to the end of this and let me know what you think, I’d really appreciate it. Constructive criticism/feedback always means a lot.
While Gotham Sleeps ~ Sarah Thea
The puddles on the street drink up the reflection of the orange street lamps and shimmer many feet below me as I smoothly and silently glide in-between the dazzling skyscrapers. The many vehicles and humans which patrol the streets this late are small – so very small. They only seem like insignificant particles of existence from up here – much different from my perspective of them when both of my feet are set solidly atop the earth. I now understand what these high-rise buildings must think of us – nothing more than what we think of insects and midges.
Wind forcibly storms past me as I glide against its power. It tackles my body and rips furiously through my dark cloak which wafts out behind me. I sense its strength attempting to throw me back, whilst its deafening roar attacks my hearing.
Meanwhile, the rain which is currently pouring down troops from the clouds to attack the Earth only grows fiercer and bolder as I land feet first onto a smaller tower. My cape is drenched and it clings about my bulky armour. Thankfully, my helmet – though it squeezes my skull tightly – shields the majority of my face from the angry rainwater, but it still pelts against my lower jaw and mouth.
Standing on the edge of the building’s roof and staring down at the alleyway below, I take a moment to comprehend the thoughts which rattle about in my brain and hammer against my skull’s walls. I’m presently in the process of making my way to the harbour outside of the city; I’d caught word that there’d be a probable drug transaction around there at midnight and I’m coming to hopefully end it before the dope even leaves the port. Most people – if they knew who I was – would question why I ever spend my time chasing down criminals. And, if I’m honest, sometimes I question myself too. But, when living in a city so devastated and infested by crime, it’s hard to not want to do something about it. I know I have the tools to aid in the ending of my city’s reputation for crime and that’s not some kind of job I could quit easily. Now this weight of responsibility sits heavily on my shoulders and it won’t shake off. And my whole life has been filled with a craving to make a difference; without doing what I do would give me a sense of worthlessness.
After consulting with my thoughts for the past few moments, I’ve made up my mind to go ahead with tonight’s plan. With that, I just take one more second to glance at the street below, and then dive. I dive into a freefall and let my wet cape flare out behind me as it guides me across to the next block. I’m on my way to Gotham Harbour.
When I arrive at the port, the rain has calmed just a bit, but it’s certainly not the definition of graceful yet. Though it doesn’t feel much like my enemy anymore, since its raindrops are usefully covering up the sound of my boots scratching along the asphalt and the movement of my suit as I calmly trek my way through a maze of random, metal sheds. They’re small buildings, but convenient to stay undercover behind.
My grip tightens around the pouch of batarangs clipped onto my belt. Voices are arriving within earshot and I know I’m getting boldly close to the scene of crime.
Peering around a dull red, corrugated shed, I can plainly spot a group of people only around ten feet away. Warm lights around the port highlight their silhouettes. I take in what I see: two crates, three vehicles and four men. They’re gathered into a circle.
The two crates are almost definitely holding the dope – I’m pretty certain about that, apart from the fact that I can’t actually catch a real glimpse of the contents. As for the vehicles, there are two Ford cars and one Jeep. Three of the men appear quite young in age from their appearance – only about their early twenties. They seem so uneasy and unrelaxed, like they’re not too familiar in this field. I only see one of them bearing a small handgun – he looks slightly punk-ish in fashion and the weapon is tucked down the back of his baggy biker jean’s waistband. The other two youths have donned shiny, long raincoats. One of them wears thin, framed glasses.
As for the final guy, he appears to be the one buying the crates. He leans against his Jeep’s open side door – a little older than the others, slightly plump with balding hair. Altogether, he’s calm and collected, with a different attitude than the rest towards the risky matter. He’s undoubtedly experienced and highly used to this work. I almost at once decide that he’s going to be the first and toughest person of the group to take out.
With just a bit of hesitation, I step forward from the shadows of the metal shed. The light exposes me. The heat of nervous perspiration stains my face and neck beneath the mask – I’m still not as confident about this job as I’d like to be.
One comforting thing though, is that the younger drug dealers look a thousand times more insecure right now. Even in the dull, foggy light it’s plain to see, as if I was reading their emotions written across their faces. Unfortunately, the older fellow’s reaction is not so relieving. A bright, angry flame sparks in both of his eyeballs and a look of wild, sheer contempt crawls over his expression. I think he’s a lot less than happy to see me.
“What are you doing here?” He spits out.
“Where have you been getting this dope shipped from?” I growl, paying no heed to his question. I gesture a gloved hand towards the crates. The Adam’s apple in my throat rubs uncomfortably against the tight cowl which grips my neck firmly.
The punk is reaching for the back of his pants.
“That’s none of your concern,” the guy who leaned against the Jeep replies (now he’s standing up straight. Tensed).
I clench my jaw.
The rain has lulled and transformed into a faint, light shower.
He takes one step forward. “You know, I’ve always hated you, Batman.” My title escapes his lips coated in a thick mocking tone of voice. “You really think you’re someone. Gotham is apparently gonna love you for what you do. But who you truly are is a coward. That’s what you are! Always hiding behind some stupid mask. You’re a coward. And I hate cowards! Why don’t you show yourself, eh?!”
It only takes a second for him to end his bitterly angry barking before the punk to my left whips out his handgun. With shaky, sweaty hands, he aims it at my head. Yet, it only takes me about a second to twist the firearm out of his grip, hear the bones in his arm crunch and feel the snap of his skeleton arm vibrate through my own hand as I do so, and then let my elbow heavily swing straight into his terrified face.
The next few moments are all a blur of defending myself from fiery blows and kicks in the misty, dark lighting. Several gunshots go off and a bullet is deflected off my armour. But it’s bounce ripples a bruising pain right through my stomach and I feel sick. Now, three unconscious bodies lie around me on the damp asphalt. One of them had run off – the youngest fellow with the glasses. He’d run for dear life, barely looking back. I’d let him go tonight though. He looked so young and so innocent. For once, I want to let someone have just a little taste of mercy.
I try my best to refrain from gasping in pain as I bend over the druggie’s bodies. Starting with the older, stronger guy, I commence in tying his arms firmly behind his broad back. This one had been tougher than I’d hoped; I have the proof as well. The right cheek of my cowl features a rudely torn crack streaming down from it’s eyehole to its mouth opening. It had been that area where he’d punched me and I can even feel my skin beginning to swell underneath the mask’s damage.
Once I repeat the same process on the other two men, I stand back up. My stomach still feels very bruised, but yet, I’m grateful to my armour for hindering the bullet’s travels into my flesh earlier.
It’ll be 1 A.M. soon. The rain is much less than a drizzle now – it’s stopped its attack. Close by, I can hear the calm white foam washing over the sea and I can taste the saltiness of it drift through the air. The sudden quiet compared to the violent struggle I witnessed just a moment ago feels quite preternatural and eerie.
Glancing over, I can see the nearby Gotham city. The iridescent lights from the many skyscrapers almost seem like they’re calling me back home. I should be going, really. The Police will be here soon to investigate the sound of wild gunshots. But instead, they’ll discover three captured criminals next to their own getaway cars and two crates of powdery dope. No one will ever know for sure who caught them.
And so, I go. I’m headed back for the city – a bat flying into the night’s late hours.
Miller watched the lad, slouched over the bar’s countertop, sipping from a whiskey-filled drinking glass. His glasses, which reflected the rustic orange lighting from around the pub, were stained by rainwater – as was his long coat. His hair was pasted onto his forehead with a mixture of rain and sweat. As for the young kid himself, Todd, he was still greatly shaken from the night’s events.
But Miller had listened to his long, drawn-out story.
Scooping up his cane, which was leaning against the bar, Miller spun his stool around, facing the opposite end of the pub. The smell of alcohol wafted up his nostrils. He shook his head in silent despair.
His drug transaction with his customer, Baxter, had gone disastrously wrong tonight. Oh, so horribly wrong! Not only that, but this pathetic Todd was suspecting that Baxter was probably dead by now. Baxter? Dead? He couldn’t be! Not one of the best runners in his field.
And this was all because of that so-called “Batman” freak. Miller shook his head again at the thought. He’d always disliked the slightest mention of the apparent hero’s name – he didn’t even want to believe or acknowledge his existence.
With his blood still boiling due to the news, Miller stood up, turning back once more to Todd. He put his hand on the lad’s leather coated shoulder and leant closer towards his ear. “Listen, don’t tell anyone a word about what you’ve seen. And don’t you dare go back to the port. If not already, the Police will likely get there soon. So leave the dope. I don’t want them finding any leads to me or any of yous whatsoever. Got it?”
After receiving a sullen nod, he turned on his heels and hobbled slowly towards the pub’s doors. He favoured his right foot more as he walked and grasped the wooden cane in his left hand.
Upon escaping out the doors, he was immediately hit by a chilly breath of fresh air. It aided in calming down his upset and frustrated state of mind. He knew this and was glad for it; even he understood that the overwhelming sea of rage which washed over him just a minute ago wasn’t good for his health, not at his age.
He inhaled. His head turned upright, to the Gotham sky.
And it was then, as he was prepared to make his way back to his apartment, that he saw it! He was certain he saw a lonely body standing atop the building to the northwest of him. Miller tensed up and felt himself shudder. It was as if the body was staring down at him.
Braving another glance, he checked again. Sure enough, the figure was there. Haloed by moonlight, with two vertical ears standing alertly up from his helmet and his cloak wrapped tightly around his body, a man stood on the building’s rooftop. The body was unmovable. It was so still – just staring down at the street Miller trembled on.
Breathing curses, Miller abruptly turned and hastily paced down the sidewalk, his breathing ragged. He couldn’t believe it – the same masked man who he’d hated with all his heart and soul was right above him just now, staring at him. Staring at him and sending down fear which felt like electricity zapping through Miller’s cold body. His heartbeat quickened its pace; so did his walk. How could he be feeling so petrified?
He’d seen him with his own two eyes. He could no longer deny the existence of the Dark Knight, guarding over the city from above. And the existence? It burnt him with so much fear.
featured art by Jim Lee. used from Pinterest.