Foreword: In the fall of 2005, I got bored and created a new villain in the Batverse. I wrote a story about her - my very first bit of Batman fanfic. And then I wrote another. And another. Since then, her world has spawned more new characters than I ever dreamed it would (including a certain Riddler henchgirl by the name of Jackie) and it entertained me and kept me sane while I went through my own personal hell.
So, without any further ado, here's the villainess that taught me to write. I hope you like her as much as I do.
The month of April in Gotham City is wonderful. As in most big cities, the change of seasons is not visible by the changing colors of the plant life, but the changing plumage of its residents. Boots are traded for colorful shoes that click angrily around filthy puddles of rainwater and sludge on the sidewalks. Bulky fleece-lined hats are stored away in closets in favor of bare heads and fluffy hairstyles.
But more than the changing human scenery, April brings a taste of something new. Possibilities seem to sprout up from the pavement in precisely the way that the trees don't. Things are wonderful and shiny and everything smells like the fresh, green scent of success and optimism.
Provided, of course, that you are outside. Some residents of Gotham wouldn't notice the fresh newness of Spring if it whacked them upside the head with a bolt of lightning. The young man gazing out the window, however, is not one of them.
He is tired of working. He's spent two years at the same bank, watching the customers, watching the tellers, guarding them from nothing much. He's a smart lad, after all, who has picked his place of employment carefully. It's a small bank, it's fairly unimpressive, and most importantly, it doesn't correspond with any theme that any criminal has ever come up with. It is on a nondescript street in a boring part of town. There's no sparkle to the place. It's not anything that anyone would be proud to list on their Top Ten Places I've Robbed.
Of course, some people don't care about publicity. Some people don't care for themes. And some people need money too much to care where it comes from...
As a security guard, Jimmy's responsibilities were fairly simple: watch the customers and try not to fall asleep. He'd been watching them all day, and so far, he'd only fallen asleep twice. It had been a fairly normal Friday: busy, with furtive managers trotting in with their hard-earned cash to be deposited in the bank's vaults. But now, during that long, slow drag from just after lunch until three PM, the pace had dropped down to a crippled crawl. There were all of two customers in the bank, and one was old Mrs. Green who made up business just to talk to someone. The thick, mindless boredom was almost a tangible force in the little lobby.
The other two guards had left for their own lunch break, claiming that the right of seniority meant that they could leave Jimmy alone and ravenous while they plundered the nearest restaurant. He sighed and leaned up against the wall, watching the clock tick slowly onward toward his break and the cold little ham sandwich that waited for him in his locker.
A small group of construction workers, with mud splatters on their flannel shirts and hard hats, stomped by him. His daydreams of ham were rudely interrupted when one of the construction workers slammed into him. "Hey," he protested, picking up his hat from the floor.
"Sorry, shrimp," one of them muttered at him. Another one elbowed the speaker in the midriff. "I mean, officer," he corrected himself.
Well, that was refreshing. A little respect at last! Jimmy returned to his post, watching Mrs. Green make yet another attempt at making friends with the bank manager, who looked like he'd rather jump naked off the nearest bridge than listen to her yammer on about her cats for one more second.
He ran his eyes once more over the construction guys, who were laboriously printing out information on their blank deposit slips. Nestling back against the wall, he settled his eyes on the clock again and watched the second hand slowly tick toward lunchtime. Oh, ham sandwich, I hear you calling...
The door swung open again, revealing a short, bald man who was ushering in a young woman swathed in a long blue coat. She was facing the little man, so Jimmy couldn't quite see what she looked like under the curtain of reddish hair that swung over her face. She was maybe a little too pudgy, but hey, compared with five dirty construction workers and withery little Mrs. Green, she was definitely easy on the eyes.
His mind was split evenly between the ham sandwich and the girl's torso, so he didn't really notice that she was getting closer to him until he realized that her blue coat was filling his vision. Embarrassed to be caught staring, he jerked his head upward and met her eyes.
"I'm sorry, miss...sssson of a bitch!" he hissed, finally seeing that her face was liberally smeared with gray makeup. She was a rogue!
What was a rogue doing in his bank? In daylight? Alone? Didn't rogues normally rob places at night? How the hell was he supposed to get Batman here in the daytime? Who was she, anyway?
He yanked his gun from its holster and pointed it at her. He could find all of that out after he had her securely handcuffed to the nearest stationary object.
"Put the gun down, sweetie," she advised him in a low murmur. "You don't want to get in my way."
"Freeze!" he shouted, hoping to jar the other occupants of the bank into action. Maybe the tellers would hit the silent alarms. Maybe the manager would get on the phone with the cops. Maybe the construction workers would take a stand and floor this uppity bitch!
The burly men were moving in her direction. He scowled, trying his best to look like Bruce Willis, and said "Now you listen to me."
The girl beckoned at the men. As one, they extracted handguns from various pockets and hiding places. One of them took off his hard hat and pulled out a gun as if he was a magician used to dealing with very tough crowds. Every single gun barrel slowly pointed in his direction. "Well?" she purred, watching Jimmy's face go sickly pale. "I'm listening."
"You...I'll shoot you," he muttered, his hands starting to shake.
"Sure you will," she said patronizingly, patting him on the head like a puppy with one black-gloved hand. "Down on the ground, folks," she said, turning to the rest of the patrons of the bank. "Tellers, open the vault, blah blah blah, you know how it goes, right?" Her little smile shrank a bit when no one moved. "I said down," she ordered, pointing at the ground. "My boys get a bit impatient sometimes. You!" she said, pointing imperiously at a teller. "The vault." The teller nodded and scrambled to obey.
Jimmy watched in frozen silence as the bald little man handed out empty bags to the henchmen, who swarmed into the vault and began stripping it bare. He had to stop them! How was he going to stop them all by himself? Oh, but wait...if he could just get the girl down, the henchmen would follow, right? Cut the head off a snake and the body dies. And anyway, what gave her the right to order him around? She wasn't a rogue...not really...well, he'd never heard of her, so she must be just another nut in a costume. Well, she was about to learn why no costumed fruitcake crossed Jimmy Pearson!
"I said freeze," he repeated, trying to sound as authoritative as possible.
She glanced over her shoulder at him. "You're still here?"
"I will shoot you," he warned.
"Will you?" she asked, one eyebrow raised. She idly tugged at her gloves, removing them. "Listen..." She ran her gaze over his chest, where a gleaming little brass nametag flashed in the flat white lights. "Jimmy, have you ever shot yourself in the head?"
"No," he said, caught off-guard.
She smiled lazily. "Would you like to?"
"Shut up," he snapped. "You're not armed, and by the time your goons look over here, you'll be dead," he said. "Now, hands out so I can cuff you, then you call them off."
"You haven't been doing this long, have you?" she asked, smirking.
"Do it now or I'll shoot!" he growled.
"Fine." She rolled her eyes at the little bald man, who hadn't moved, and stuck her hands out in front of her, palms down.
It was a trap. It had to be a trap. No one just...just submitted like this! Not in Gotham, probably not anywhere in the world. But...well, he'd said he would shoot her, right? Maybe she was just a coward. Maybe he was actually going to be able to do something that it normally took the Batman to do: arrest a rogue!
He fumbled for the handcuffs on his belt and slowly approached her, gun still trained on her abdomen. The handcuffs clicked quietly around her wrists. She trailed her fingers almost lovingly across his palm as he pulled away.
Ewww, the guard thought, feeling something cold and gritty left on his skin. When was the last time she'd washed her hands? This was disgusting! This was...was...
This was the trap, and he'd walked right into it. Oh, he was such an idiot...He frantically scrubbed his hand on the leg of his pants, trying to get the nasty black stuff off of him before it started doing whatever it would do...was it poisonous? Oh, he was so stupid...but he'd always been stupid, hadn't he? He'd always been nothing but a worthless little failure, good for nothing else but standing around and wasting time...a monkey could do his job better than he could...and a monkey with its brain removed, at that. Oh, it was hopeless. He sat down hard on the floor, not caring what he landed on, and started to sniffle helplessly. She was going to rob the bank and it was all his fault, everything was his fault...
"Well, that was fun," Sorrow remarked as the lone guard crumpled to the floor, lost in a swirl of self-loathing. "Sammy, get me his handcuff key." She turned and glared at the rest of her goons. "What are you staring at? Fill those bags!"
The men quickly returned to stuffing as much money as possible into their loot bags. Sammy, carefully gloved, clicked the key in the little locks and freed his boss. "Good," she said absently as she knelt down by the guard. He was starting to get that look on his face, the one that said This gun is my only friend in the world...She picked it up and stuffed it in her pocket. "Now, now, relax," she muttered as he whimpered.
It was the work of a moment to prop him up on a nearby support pole and wrap his arms behind it. Sammy, knowing what she'd want without needing orders, crouched behind the guard and tightened the cuffs around his dangling wrists. Sorrow held the guard's chin in one hand and tilted his face upward."This will be over in a minute." She forced a few tears from her eyes and dabbed them on his face.
One of the goons filling a money bag in the corner by the vault broke off filling his bag to take a glance at his boss. "What's she doin'?"
"She cries on 'em and then they don't wanna kill themselves," the other explained as he tied his bag shut.
"I can't believe she's lettin' him live," he said incredulously, louder than he intended.
"What was that?" Sorrow said icily, rising to her feet.
"Nothin! Uh, nothing, boss, really," he stammered as she strolled menacingly up to him.
"You think I should kill someone today?" she said quietly.
"No, boss, I never-"
"Are you volunteering?"
"No, boss, I'm sorry!" He felt a bead of sweat trickle down his spine as she glared up at him.
"Boss, he didn't know. He's new," Sammy offered from his perpetual spot at her elbow.
She looked him over once more. Sweaty, terrified, shaking...you could almost forget the fact that he'd personally been responsible for no less than twelve murders. "We'll discuss this later." She surveyed the rest of the room. "Are we finished?" she asked in a tone that clearly said that the answer had better be yes.
"Yes, boss!" chimed the rest of the goons.
"Then get out of here." She waited until the thugs had filed out and then turned a sunny smile on the bank manager. He twisted his hands agitatedly as he watched several thousand dollars stroll out the door. "See you around!" she said happily, and then breezed out of the bank.
Jimmy, slowly coming back to reality, tried to sniff his nose clear, a sound that was reminiscent of an elephant stomping into a mud wallow. "What happened?" he said stuffily. "Who was that chick, anyway?"
But the manager was already on the phone. "Hello, police?"
(to be continued)
Author's Note: If you're wondering where all the DC-owned rogues and/or vigilantes are, don't worry - they're on their way. Thank you for reading!