A Shadow In The Mist

A Fan Fiction


Dark Knight_UK


Greg Adams was a good kid. He went to church, never swore out loud, help doors open for people walking behind him and always went out of his way to help friends, family and strangers alike. So when he saw the blood drenched stranger staggering awkwardly toward him on that rainy April night in Gotham his first and only impulse was to rush over to help him.

He had been on a date. At least, he thought it would be a date. Until he saw a tear roll down Vikki's cheek and into her chocolate malt. That was when she had broken down and told him, between sobs, that her family was moving back to Bludhaven. She had only been in Gotham a year. Her dad owned a convenience store. The poor guy had had to install so much hi-tech security equipment in the light of the spate of robbery and petty crime over the holiday season it had damn near bankrupted him. The store wasn't pulling in nearly as much as it cost to run, partly because of the recession but mostly because people were too afraid to leave their apartments to go to the shops anymore. It was bad enough during the day but at night- forget about it!

Greg was only 16 but he had lived in Gotham all his life. He loved every brick in the neo-gothic architecture. He loved every demonic gargoyle that looked out from the rooftops over the city like a twisted guardian angel. He loved the monolithic clock tower, the seemingly endless spire of the cathedral, the miraculous engineering of the massive Kane Memorial Bridge. He was born in Gotham and he would die in Gotham. But even he had to admit things were getting worse. Good people, desperate people were even turning to the mob for guns just so that they could go outside without fearing for their lives. Vikki's dad was sick of it and he had decided to cut his losses. He had a teenage daughter almost ready to graduate from high school, they needed to move somewhere he could give her the support she deserved.

And so it was that they walked side by side in total silence through the grimy streets of the financial district. When the heavens opened and the rain tumbled heavily down they had rushed into the spacious archway of the first national bank and collapsed, sobbing, into each other's arms. That was when he told her that he would always be there for her no matter what and that their love could not be broken by a two-hour drive. Tearfully he promised to visit her every chance he got and as the sky darkened and the lightning flashed and the rain pummelled the trash strewn sidewalk a strange euphoric sense of calm swept over them and they realised that as long as they loved each other then nothing could keep them apart.

It was while they were locked in their tearful embrace, waiting for the fury of the storm to subside that Greg noticed the strange man. He caught the peculiar gait, the shambling walk, the jerky, spasmodic movements of his limbs out of the corner of his eye. On further inspection he noticed the blood, spattered on the strange man's dark trench coat, dried blood caked on his face, in his hair, streaked by the persistence of the rain.

Gently he pushed Vikki aside;

"Wait here. I think that guy might be hurt!"

By the time the penny dropped it was too late. The news reports he only half paid attention to had announced that an unknown killer was operating in Gotham. The killer had been active in the last forty eight hours and while there seemed to be no discernable pattern the victims had all been couples. Couples.

Greg knew he was going to die even before he saw the incomprehensible madness in the man's eyes, before his blood and rain streaked face contorted into a grimace of pure hate. By the time the realisation came to him he was less than a yard away and the concern that had lent impetus to his sprint toward the bloody man made it difficult to stop. The waterlogged sidewalk didn't help either. He tumbled awkwardly into the man and caught a whiff of something strange. Like something burning, maybe a steak that had been left under the broiler for too long. Pain and a feeling of breathlessness followed and Greg knew he had been punched in the gut. With all his strength he pushed himself away from the killer, alarmed that he didn't budge an inch. He tried to run away but his legs gave out beneath him and he landed heavily on the ground. A bolt of pain shot through his body and a hand went to his stomach. It came away red and wet and with horror Greg realised he hadn't been punched in the stomach, he had been stabbed. His terror multiplied tenfold when his attacker stepped over his hunched body and headed toward the arched doorway of the bank. Toward Vikki! He did his best to rise but pain and loss of blood would not allow it. He could only turn his head up to the sky and say a prayer to however was listening. He spied one of the gargoyles up high on a ledge of the bank's tenth floor and mouthed a silent prayer.

"Help… me…. Please!"

And the gargoyle moved.

Everything went dark for a minute as Greg fought against the effects of shock. The killer was moving slowly but deliberately toward Vikki, the poor girl too terrified to move. Those twitchy, jerky limbs getting ever closer to the girl he loved. The rusty knife the killer carried cutting the air between them.

There was a loud thud that caused Greg's eyes to snap open. Something had landed heavily on the ground between Vikki and her assailant. It was black, slick and shiny and for a second Greg thought that somebody had thrown a huge garbage bag out of a tenth storey window. The image would be faintly ridiculous of the garbage bag hadn't begun to rise, taking form, a horned head rearing up to face the killer. The dark creature then spread its massive ragged wings revealing a familiar logo set in a gold disc and it was then that Greg knew.

Some people said it was a demon, summoned by Gotham's founding fathers and bound by magic to protect the city.

Some said it was a genetically engineered creature from the Cadmus facility.

Others said that it was just a normal guy who'd devoted his life to becoming the peak of physical and psychological perfection.

None of that mattered. What mattered was that it was real. Gotham's dark saviour. The Batman.

The killer slashed wildly at The Batman who casually dodged. What happened next was too fast for Greg to see but the next thing he knew The Batman has disarmed his assailant and hoisted him up by the lapels of his trench coat. Vikki had by now gathered her wits and rushed over to attend to her injured boyfriend. His head spun and he knew that he would not remain conscious for long. He gathered enough of his strength to assure Vikki;

"I think… I'm pretty sure I'm going to be okay!"

He managed a smile in spite of the blood gushing from his midriff swirling into the rain.

It was difficult to hear over the roar of the thunder but the killer seemed to say something to The Batman. Whatever it was The Dark Knight was not amused and he attacked the maniac with renewed vigour. In a few seconds the killer lay on the ground, battered and broken. Then he began to laugh. A creepy mocking laughter that infuriated The Batman and chilled Greg and Vikki to their very souls. Before Greg succumbed to the dark embrace of unconsciousness he remembered the killer, babbling incomprehensibly as he pulled open the lapels of his trench coat to reveal two words carved crudely into his bare chest.