Five Years Running: Chapter 1: Memories Past
Blight's greedy eyes focused onto the barrels of the toxic waste he, as Derek Powers shipped out daily. He was running out of room in the large underground cavern his under cover men had found, and the many, some what dirty companies he paid low budget to ship out the radioactive muck had refused, and many disappeared under reasons unknown to himself and others. Someone, or something was driving them out of business, and Powers had a good guess who.
"Move faster!" he barked, as the men moved the heavy barrels on to the fork lift. "If he doesn't know already, he'll know soon!" Him being what Gotham knew well of, but in some ways ignored.
"I'll have to say it Blight," said a shadowy voice that couldn't be pinpointed. "I must be falling in a rut if I'm that obvious." The sound of a shout of fear came from the two men Powers had put on guard. And with that Batman came blasting in kicking people in the stomach.
"Kill him, kill him!" Blight shouted at the top of his lungs as Batman easily slipped past the twenty some people tackling him, and went for Blight himself.
Blight had been waiting for that very thing and clicked a button. A caged of pure steal fell with a crash around Batman as Blight saluted him and climbed onto the lift fork as it drove of to dump the chemical waste where Batman hadn't discovered.
"Stupid, stupid Terry!" he said, hitting his head after everyone had gone. He took off his mask, drying his sweaty face. "They got away Mr. Wayne," said Terry in a bit of shame.
"Indeed," said a somewhat quiet Bruce. "There'll be other nights McGinnis," he said as he clicked on the large computer which was in the Bat Cave. "You can come on back if you like. They won't show up again tonight, and I doubt there will be anything of consequence this late at night. And if so let one of Gordon's little monkeys take care of it."
"You don't have much faith in the GCPD do ya Mr. Wayne?"
Bruce was silent and simply said, "Come on back Terry."
Eventually Terry made it back and was sitting on a stool in the Bat Cave, his mask rolled into a ball, tossing it from one hand to the other, summing up his courage to ask a simple question of the old man.
"Mr. Wayne may I go home a little early tonight? It is the first day of summer vacation after all," said Terry.
"Date with Dana?" he asked unmoved. Though this was a big thing on Terry's mind, it wasn't the reason. Between school, his girlfriend and his family life, and job, Terry was surprised he hadn't dropped dead of tiredness yet. He, at times, marveled how the man did it. And now that summer was here, Mr. Wayne would probably expect him to work during the day as well, and Dana would demand, and deserve more time out of Terry, and the excuse of a job wouldn't cut it with Dana much longer.
"No," said Terry. "My cousin from Metropolis is coming by train for a three week visit. It's an early train and my mom wants me to pick her up. That's all." Bruce lifted an eyebrow but said he could go.
It was the way it always was whenever Terry left work, speeding on his motorcycle, lights whizzing past, only he had something else on his mind. Normally it was sleep. Tonight it was something completely different.
Terry hadn't seen his cousin, Emily Mackenzie, in five years. Oh sure there was the occasional e-card on birthdays and holidays. And there was the yearly family reunions too. But the conversation consisted mostly of "Hi. How are you? That's good to hear. You still have your girlfriend? Oh what's her name? Oh yeah that's right, Dana. How's Gotham? Well I kinda expected that, after all, it is Gotham. How's your brother? How's your mom?(when his dad had been alive) how's your dad? That good to hear. So I guess I'll talk to you later then. Bye," and then she'd smile and walk off. Only they never talked to each other again. And if his mother found her, she'd tell her where he was and Emily would simply say "Yeah. I saw him. We talked," and that was that.
Granted it hadn't always been like that. Emily used to live in Gotham, and because she had no siblings, the two were constantly together. But when Emily turned twelve, she and her family moved out of Gotham. The last time Terry remembered them actually talking like they used to was four years ago at the family reunion. She scanned every where for Terry, and when she found him, the two couldn't be pulled apart for all the money in the world and spent the rest of the night with each other. They had been best friends, Terry and Emily....And Terry missed that.
Every now and again he had the greatest wish to call her up and yell at her. He would say "Look Mackenzie, I don't know what it is I did, but why do you hate me?! It's not my fault you moved! So get off your high horse and tell me!!!" But Terry never did, so he never knew why his cousin had distanced herself from him....
So why was she coming now? Couldn't she just leave him be? His life was already a mess so why did his cousin have to all of a sudden get into the picture? He asked his mom this (though not in the same way) and she replied that they hadn't really seen her in so long and that it would be nice to see her again. Terry knew she was lying. He could always tell when anyone was lying and she was doing it now. Something was up, something they weren't telling Terry....
Matt was, naturally, overjoyed to learn that his cousin was coming and he suggested they keep Emily here and send Terry back on the train to Metropolis. This was just before Terry would feed him a pillow. Matt didn't really remember Emily too well, granted, he was five when she moved. But to him, anyone who was different then Terry, had to be an improvement.
Terry parked his motorcycle in the garage and walked up to the apartment where he and his family lived. He walked in the door and called out "Mom! I'm home!"
"Oh great," moaned Matt. "Thus ends paradise,"
"Oh shut up," said Terry and he walked to his room. He put his backpack down and flopped onto the bed. There was a soft "thunk" as a picture went from his desk to the bed. His black cat Spec curled up next to him purring as he stroke it's head. He picked up the picture and was about to put it back when he realized what it was a picture of.....He even remembered when it was taken too.....
It was the fourth of July. Because Emily was just two days older then him, and their birthdays were so close to the fourth of July, they celebrated it in one big party conglomerate. It was the year Terry and Emily turned twelve. The last birthday they'd spend together, though they didn't know it then.
They wore the most ridiculous hats, the kind shaped like a cone with confetti in a big puff ball at the top and little ribbons of it on the bottom, just so they could laugh at each other. They ate pizza and watermelon, played games and got presents from their relatives. But Terry and Emily didn't give each other their presents till the first set of fireworks went off.
Emily led Terry to the back of the car and opened it up to reveal a box with a black kitten with a red ribbon around it's neck. Terry's crystal blue eyes widened and sparkled as he picked up that tiny thing. He called it Spec, because of the tiny white dot on it's forehead, but that would go away in time. He never let that kitten out of his sight for the rest of the evening.
Terry's gift to Emily was much more expensive, but had no less or more value and love behind it then the kitten. Terry had saved up his allowance since December, just for that one gift.
Terry handed his cousin a small black velvet box tied with red ribbon. Emily looked at the box, then at Terry, then the box again. In anticipation, she slowly untied the ribbon and lifted the lid. Inside was a 24 carrot gold necklace. Emily gasped and she wiped away tears of joy. She threw her arms around Terry saying thank you, thank you, thank you.....
"I'll always remember this Terry.....Forever and ever......," she whispered in his ear and still sniffing put the beautiful gold thing around her neck. It was then Mary McGinnis took a picture of Terry holding his kitten, and Emily, with her hand on Terry's shoulder wearing her new necklace. They spent the rest of the evening sitting on the green grassy hill, watching the city of Gotham light up under brightly colored fireworks....
Although he tried not to, Terry couldn't help but to smile, remembering pleasantly the year he turned twelve. But then he started thinking of the day Emily left.....Just one month later....
Her parents told Emily that they were moving to Metropolis because Gotham was just to unsafe now, and they worried about her constantly when they weren't there. She had argued that Metropolis was now better, seeing as how Superman had died years ago, and the city was just as terrible as Gotham. Her parents other reason, one which made at least a little more sense, was that Metropolis was at least a little more eye pleasing. This was true. Gotham had always had this ere of bruting mystery, even when the capped crusader was around. While Metropolis on the other hand at least seemed to have hope for the next day, when Gotham always seemed just as bad as yesterday....
But still Emily protested. She would be leaving behind Terry and Matt and all of her friends. Her entire life. She'd always lived in Gotham, and everything she knew and loved was right there. She refused to go, saying she'd run away and live in a garbage can if it meant staying in Gotham. Of course she wasn't about to attempt this, but was seeing if she could get her parents to sweat and decide to stay. Their perspiration level remained the same.
Terry watched as the movers packed boxes filled with belongings that used to hang on walls and sit on tables. Emily just sat in a corner and cried. She gave Terry the biggest hug and said she wouldn't go. She was staying right there! Eventually her father had to sling her over his shoulder after ripping her apart from Terry to get her to the car. She pressed her face at the back window looking back at Terry, who chased after her car, and had his father not grabbed his arm, he probably would have chased them all the way to Metropolis.....Terry could still see his cousin's face and hear her crying, pleading sobs.....
Terry sighed a bit more depressed. This was the cousin he had loved....Not the one he knew now....This one he wanted nothing to do with, but she was coming for three agonizing weeks. His mother said it would give them good quality time together. Terry laughed under his breath. But still....He almost wished it would.....Because in his heart, although he'd never admit it, he really missed his cousin....
That same year Terry became "friends" with Charlie Bigalow, and landed himself three months in juvenile hall....
Terry glanced at the clock. 9:00. His brother came in and said "when I turn seventeen, you won't see me going to bed at nine." Terry buried his face in the pillow and said "you would if you worked for Mr. Wayne," and Terry booted him out the door. He would have to be at the train station by six tomorrow, and he'd have to get up at five so he decided to get some sleep.
"What? Do you hate me or something?! It's not that I ever did anything to hurt you!"
"No Terry! You just let them take me! You never called! You never wrote! You said we were best friends who, no matter what, would always be there for each other! But you weren't there Terry! You weren't there...."
Terry woke up in cold sweat. It drenched his face as he mopped it with his sheets. He glanced at the clock. 2:00 am. He moaned and wondered exactly what he had dreamt about. There was voices. His voice and someone who sounded like an older version of his cousin. They were yelling about what he still wasn't sure. Something about hate, love, friendship, betrayal....As Terry puzzled over this, he fell back to sleep, and it was dreamless....
He awoke in the morning to find his brother bouncing off the walls with excitement. Surprise, surprise. Even his mom seemed a little anxious for his cousin's arrival. Terry ate his cereal and got dressed. He didn't remember the dream last night and was dreading his cousin's coming. Dana called him on his cell phone as he drove in the car his mom let him borrow.
"You said as soon as-" said Dana
"I know Dana and it stinks! But I told you! There's no way I can weasel out of it! My cousins coming for three weeks! I really am sorry," replied Terry.
Dana moaned. "Ok Ter. We'll work it out some how." They finished their conversation and Terry hung up.
After about an hours drive he reached the train station. He always admired the sleek silver bullet trains that sped about as fast as one of the old Jets that people like Bruce Wayne would have taken. He mingled with people till he found the right landing, and as people began to get off, he looked for his cousin. And then stepped off.....
To be continued....