Wicked – Chapter 13

By Christopher W. Blaine

DISCLAIMER: All of the characters and events portrayed in this work of fan fiction are ©2004 by DC Comics Inc. and are used without permission for fan-related entertainment purposes only. This original work of fiction is ©2004 by Christopher W. Blaine.

The bus slowed to a stop and the driver took a look at Bruce. "You sure you want to get off here, son? This is a dangerous place."

Bruce looked at the man, surprised by the bus driver's honest desire to check on Bruce's safety. Here, in the middle of what he considered hell, was a good soul. Perhaps there was some good left in the city; maybe it was worth saving after all. He wasn't sure and it would be many years before he would make that decision.

He half-considered just staying on the bus, following the advice of both Alfred and Mr. Grant. Did he really need to come back here? Was it that important? His parents weren't here anymore; they were buried back at the manor house, in the family plot of land. He suddenly felt stupid.

"Maybe you should stay here," the driver offered. His emerald eyes flashed slightly and had Bruce been inclined to look closer, he would have seen the the ghastly visage of the Spectre in the driver's eyes.

He shook his head, throwing off a fog that had suddenly formed in his brain. He said nothing more, but instead stumbled off, pulling his backpack up onto his shoulder. Behind him, a large man moved down the bus aisleway, slowly shuffling forward. He watched the boy, avoiding the deathly gaze of the bus driver.

The Spectre howled inside the bus driver, knowing that the roots of evil were spreading out this night. Something wicked was being planted, something foul was growing in the garden that was Gotham City. He wanted to stop it; he knew what the fates held for this night and for the future as well.

And because of that, he could do no more than watch as the small child known as Bruce Wayne briskly walked into a destiny that was to be filled with pain, misery and expectations never met.

Wicked stared at the blond haired boy, his excitement growing at the same rate as his erection. He would sate his lust tonight, perhaps not killing the boy. Let the boy live he told himself, let him proclaim to the world how evil old Wicked buggered him! He had to clamp down on his jaw in order to keep from giggling too loud. He simply could not believe his luck!

Wicked almost skipped as he followed behind the boy at a safe distance. This part of the city was grimy and filthy, more so than what you would find in the other parts. By the style of the buildings, he guessed that this had once been a very nice place a few decades before. However, anything that had been of value concerning this section of Gotham City had long since decayed into dark, hellish shapes.

Indeed, it was like walking into hell when he thought about it, and that suited him just fine. He knew his soul was damned, but that was the least of his concerns. His spiritual needs were inconsequential to his physical/sexual ones. He had an itch to scratch and that weighed more heavily on his mind then anything else.

The boy did not belong here, Wicked knew, but his lust kept him from pursuing the thought any further. A more sane person would be asking why he was here. A more sane person would look at his clean clothes and realize that this was no common street urchin, but was instead a fish out of water. A more sane person would avoid him because this was someone who would be missed, somebody who might even have someone waiting for them, or looking for them.

But Wicked no longer cared about his sanity. It was much easier to now just slip into the warm embrace of being plain crazy. He no longer had to justify his crimes, just commit them with deadly efficiency. This boy would be the end of his beginning and the beginning of his future. In another town or city he would begin anew.

The boy did not notice him, even though he looked back once. It was almost as if he were looking for someone else and had tunnel vision. Wicked did not match the physical description of who the boy feared and that suggested a runaway. That would be beneficial in that the police would probably wait 24 hours before looking for him.

That would be more than enough time.

Wicked heard the screech of tires and turned to see the small economy car that had passed his bus earlier. Inside were two people, frantically looking back and forth and he suspected it could be the parents of his prey. Better to fade into the shadows and wait he told himself. Stepping into the shadow of a building, he allowed the car to slowly drive by, but he managed to keep an eye on the boy as well.

Something wasn't right as the boy seemed to note the car as well, but seemed unconcerned. Wicked wasn't sure what was happening, but he told himself that he had been too careless lately so he continued to use the darkness as a cover. The boy was three blocks away before he felt safe enough to step away, though he could hear the car a few alleyways over. The driver was not being subtle about taking turns and he could have sworn he heard garbage cans clattering.

"Damn it!" Ben said, smacking the steering wheel.

"How did you hit the only garbage can in the entire alley?" Black Canary asked, mirth in her voice despite the situation. "That's either really bad luck or really good aim."

Ben turned off the engine and yanked the keys out of the ignition. "We weren't really getting any results like this anyway."

"Foot patrol is always the best way," she agreed as she got out. She stepped away from the car and slowly closed the door, removing her trench coat and throwing it to the ground next to the vehicle. It wasn't anything important anyway, just something she had grabbed out of her closet. Most likely it was one of her husband's leftovers from the fifties.

She sniffed the air and nearly gagged. The air was filled with the odor of a spoiled river and sewage lines desperate for attention. At one time, this had been a part of the city that had been jumping, full of energy and life. Now it was the first casualty in the war on crime that the good people of Gotham City seemed to be losing.

"I'm going to head towards Crime Alley," Ben said. "I've got a feeling about it."

She nodded. "I'll head that way as well, but I know a few back alleys that i can check. I don't know if we are wasting our time or not; doesn't seem to be a lot of kids down this way."

Ben shook his head and spread his arms wide. "This is the heart of Lost Children Central. Every year, dozens of kids, mainly teenage girls, are abducted and brought here to be raped or forced into one of the underground porn houses in the area. The cops make a few arrests and then accept a lot more bribes." He lowered his arms. "The kids are here, they are just hidden very well."

"Do you think Wicked knows that?"

"Rats always converge in the same place."

She didn't really want to accept that answer, because the reality of it was too horrible to comprehend. What Wicked did was terrible, but was it becoming something that was not even out of place anymore? God, she prayed, she missed the good old days.

Or did she?

Again she had to tell herself that many of the crimes that she was thinking about occurred when she was a young girl; had occurred for hundreds of years. The innocent were always the victims of the powerful. Be it slavery, murder or rape, it didn't matter.

"This business sucks," she told herself as the separated. "This really, really sucks." All she wanted to do was go home and hold her daughter and tell her everything was going to be okay.

"Ladies, I wish I could stay," Wildcat said as he squeezed out of the backseat of the car that had carried him to the Crime Alley area. He couldn't get too close because he did not want to take a chance of having Bruce recognized.

The driver giggled and her equally bubbly companion could not resist giving Wildcat's rump a pat. "You sure you can't stay, kitty? I bet we can make you purr."

A smile crossed his face as he considered the two. They were just old enough to be the granddaughters of his girlfriends in the forties. "I'll take a rain check on that, girls."

One of them handed him a card with some numbers on it. "Call us."

He took the card. "I will," he said as the drove off, laughing like a couple of drunk bingo whores. He looked at the card and started to throw it down and then reconsidered. A devilish grin indicated what he intended to do with the number and he quickly stuffed it inside his waistband pocket before sprinting off in the direction of the spot where the Wayne parents had been murdered.

Several winos and bums gave startled cries as he ran by, the claws of his costume's feet clicking on the ground. One older, grizzled drunk raised a bottle to him as he passed. "Yooz go Wildcat...yooz ki-hick dat Degertun's ass!"

A couple more of the more senior homeless men began to chant "J Ass A", as opposed to the initials of the Justice Society of America. Wildcat ignored them , ran up a board to the top of a stack of crates and then jumped for the bottom rung of a fire escape ladder.

Even before the ladder was able to fully slide down to the street below, he was two more flights up, making his way to the roof. The best way to track someone on the ground was to follow them on the rooftops. He jumped from building to building, pushing himself to his physical limits as he looked for any sign of Bruce. The closer he got to Crime Alley, the more worried he became. Why hadn't he found the boy yet? He didn't have that great of a head start.

Finally, after a few tense minutes, he saw who he was looking for. Bruce was below him and Wildcat cut to the right, jumped to the next building and practically jumped from every other floor on the fire escape. Once on street level, he gave himself a moment to pause and catch his breath.

Part of him debated letting the boy go ahead and do his thing. After all, he had made it this far on his own, though it had been a very reckless way to do it. Impressive, but reckless. Then again, he had been hired to make sure Bruce was safe and this definitely wasn't the safest place to be. As if to punctuate that, he looked down to see a used condom laying next to a soiled and torn teddy bear.

That made up his mind. He moved to step in front of Bruce when some movement caught his eye. He froze in the shadows and watched as across the street, in another alley, a figure snuck around. Bruce passed by the alleyway and the figure stopped short, watched the young boy and then began to move a little quicker towards the mouth of the alley.

Wildcat decided not to take any chances. He sprinted across the street; Bruce had already turned the corner into what was Crime Alley proper and the figure was gearing up for a run. So intent was the figure on Bruce that it did not see Wildcat until the very last moment. The figure threw up an arm that caught the hero, but did not prevent him from being taken back and down into the alley.

Wildcat took a punch to the jaw and by reflex only, struck back. Then his foe seemed to get really mad and the hero kept moving to pin their arms. "Let go of me!" the figure said, before being able to maneuver their knee in for a groin strike.

Pain shot through Wildcat, but not enough to make him let go. His pelvic protection prevented any real damage, but it did manage to pinch some of the more tender spots. With a snarl, Wildcat mentally took off the kid gloves. "Child molesting scumbag," the hero roared as he gave two quick punches to the stomach.

"Oh, God," the figure said before vomiting. An elbow to the ribs brought a resounding crack. "Stop!"

Wildcat responded by standing up and hauling the figure to his knees. "Why were you following that kid?"

"Rape..." the man said, spitting out blood.

Wildcat kneed the man on the jaw, sending him sprawling back against the cold, slimy ground.

Wicked watched the fight from the safety of the alleyway that Wildcat had just vacated. He had been shocked to have the super-hero land just a few feet in front of him, but was pleasantly surprised that he had not been seen. Wildcat had been focused on the man across the way, which was fine by him.

Wicked stepped a few yards over to a hole in a fence that gave him a perfect view of the young boy, who had stopped in the middle of the alleyway. A few blocks over, the lights from a theater, which now only showed adult films, silhouetted the boy for him. He looked almost angelic, on his knees there, laying out a single rose. It was almost as if he were calling to him, saying "take me, ravage me, fill me with your love".

Smiling, Wicked adjusted himself in his pants and slowly began to move through the hole.