Who Mourns the Night?

I've never been very good at this. I don't understand why. I've braved the wrath of gods, I've retained my composure with kings and diplomats, I've held my poise amongst burn victims and cancer patients. But, when it comes to speaking to a lonely slab of stone, I have to force myself not to turn and run.

It's odd that way. When in the heat of battle I know full well what I am capable of and what I can and cannot handle. I do not question my own mortality, because, at that moment, my mortality does not come into question. At that moment I cannot die, because I know what I'm doing.

But standing here, staring at this lonely patch of grass and earth, I am forced to acknowledge that, regardless of who I am or what the situation, I am mortal. And, as a mortal, I will die. Maybe not in battle. Maybe not today. But one day Death will steal me from this realm. It's not a matter of 'if'. It's a matter of 'when'.

Gods, listen to me. I must sound pathetic right now. I can almost hear you telling me to get it together. "Dwelling on the dead won't bring them back," you'd say. "You can mourn them, or you can honor their memory. Either won't make the loss hurt any less. But crying your life away won't do any good either." And then I'd glare at you, like you spat on the grave or something, when all you did was make sense. I wouldn't want to hear it, because I'd want to mourn.

But you'd be right. You were always right. Sometimes none of us wanted to admit it, though. We wanted to be weak, to be human. But you were always reminding us that we needed to be strong. That we could not afford to be frail, even for a moment.

I guess that's why I still can't believe that you're dead. You were always so...so invincible. You held the weight of the world on your shoulders without once complaining. Never once did you shirk from your responsibilities. No matter what the situation, you always had an answer. You were our light in the darkness, guiding us through whatever hell we had managed to get ourselves into.

So strong. So invincible. I guess we had convinced ourselves that you were immortal, too.

One shot reminded us how wrong we were.

I still remember your funeral. The clouds had clasped so tightly not even a sliver of light could break through. Fitting, I suppose. You lived your life in the dark. Why should your funeral have been any different?

It reminds me of something my mother once told me: "You can tell the kind of life a person lives by the people who attend their funeral." When Superman died, the world wept. Thousands...no, MILLIONS gathered to honor his passing. His funeral mass was held in a church so large fifty thousand people could have fit, and still its walls could not contain all the mourners. The city, the state, and the world gathered beside the street to watch his body pass. Some wept for loss of hope; some wept for loss of love; some wept for loss of tomorrow. After all, he was always there for us, always shining high above the sky, brighter than the sun. We could always see Superman and witness in awe the man-god that graced we mortals with his benevolence.

But when YOU died...it was like nothing had happened. We held your viewing in a church not unlike the one in Metropolis, simply because if felt right. But no one came. The only ones there, aside from the League and your "family", were a lonely old man and a handful of police officers. Barely ten people total, not including the priest. And not a single tear was shed.

And while the people of Metropolis erected a huge monument in Superman's honor, your city offered nothing but scorn. Hardly anyone knew you existed as more than an urban legend anyway. And those who DID know of your existence at all would've loved nothing more than to spit on your grave.

So this was all we could offer - A simple tombstone upon this lonely hill, overlooking the city that didn't care. We couldn't even inscribe a name on it. It's not that we didn't want to. It's just that no one knew who you were...who you REALLY were...behind that mask.

So we left it blank. A forgotten reminder of a hero who didn't exist.

And, still, no one wept.

No one...but me.

Still, I shouldn't be surprised. You never made it easy for anyone to enter your world. Hiding behind your scowl, eyes growling whenever someone tried to be anything but your ally (sometimes even for that). However, there were times, few as they were, when you would relax, even lower your guard for a moment. It was at times like those where, for a brief moment, I saw someone other than shadow and fear. Where I saw something...something beautiful and sad staring out from the night; longing for the touch of day.

But then you'd sense that someone threatened to get close to you and peel back the shroud around your heart, and you'd scurry farther back into your shadows where no one could reach. I never could understand how one so unafraid of death could be so afraid of life.

Now I never will.

Gods, I wish you were still here. I'm...we're...so lost without you. When Superman died, our hope died too. But, when you died, we lost our support. We lost our focus. We don't know what to do or how to act. We smile, try to pass each day like everything's all right. But it's not. Worse, we know it's false humor. The League is a house of cards without any foundation. It's only a matter of time before we fall.

Gods, do we need you.

Gods, do I need you.

Every night I drift off to sleep I wonder what things would have been like had Superman been alive. Would he have stopped Deadshot? Would he have caught his bullet before it claimed you? Would I have had the chance to tell you...tell you...

**Diana! It's Lantern! Savage is threatening the world with some kind of gravity bomb! We need you!**

*Sigh* To stay and mourn, or to honor your memory? I already know what you'd say. But, still, I'd give anything to be weak, even for a moment.

When Superman died, we all mourned because he was the sun. But when you died not a single tear was shed. But we needed you just as much as Superman, if not more.

Everyone mourns the passing of the day. But who mourns the loss of night?

Farewell, Batman.

Farewell.

*****

This is Snapper Carr, live from Metropolis. If you are watching this, then you already know what has happened, and that it's only a matter of time.

About one hour ago Vandal Savage came on the air, demanding that the world leaders surrender control over to him. If they refused, he would detonate a gravity bomb capable of plunging the Earth out of its orbit.

The Justice League arrived on the scene moments after his announcement, and a fierce battle ensued between Earth's champions and Savage. Despite the absence of Superman and one other mysterious member the League fought valiantly. Undaunted, they gave their all to stop Savage and his evil plot.

They failed.

In response, Savage made good his threat, and detonated his gravity bomb.

Already the Earth's magnetic poles have begun to shift, as our planet spins off its axis and plummets to the farthest reaches of our solar system. It's only a matter of time before the electromagnetic disturbance from our eroding atmosphere becomes too great, and we lose our signal.

I wish there were something more to be said. Something more to be done.

But there isn't.

The only thing left to do now is wait for the inevitable.

I'm sorry. So very sorry.

Good...

[Signal lost]

[Static]