Chapter 2

The cheers of hundreds echo about the shabby amphitheatre of Santa Prisca. The crowd is unruly as they are thugs, goons, thieves and deviants; searching for something they will never find ... solace from their pitiful lives. They cheer and holler, throwing popcorn and whiskey about, basking in the vile act taking place. Meanwhile, located at the center of the ring, two pit-bulls tear into each other, both fighting for their lives. Tooth pierces skin and yelps are heard in response. Canine blood squirts about the arena but the dogs continue to fight.

Meanwhile, in the back of the amphitheatre, shrouded in darkness, a large man waits. A heavy door opens, and four thugs, all wielding semi-automatic weapons, enter. They are cautious, tossing glances left and right, making certain there is no danger. The large man remains in the shadows, observing the armed goons.

"The coast is clear." said one of the armed men, "let the boss know."

Another thug nods, motioning for their leader to enter. The large man watches as the goons open the main door further, allowing a tall, well dressed, Spanish man to enter. He is well kempt, his hair slicked back, with a neatly trimmed mustache and beard. His suit is quite expensive and his dress shoes shine. He represents his rich status extremely well.

The man in the shadows finally speaks.

"You're late."

The rich man seems not to hear the larger man speak. The aristocrat looks about the room, his nose stuck up high in the air. He appears repulsed.

"I loathe places such as this. So barbaric."

"It isn't polite to leave one waiting." stated the dark man matter-of-factly.

"My apologies." replied the aristocrat. "I was held up."

The large man continues to speak from the shadows. He hasn't moved an inch since the arrival of the rich man and his thugs.

"You have the money?"

"Of course." replied the aristocrat, tugging down on the front of his suit. "I assume you have the product ready for shipment."

"The Venom is ready as ordered. However, there has been a change of plans."

The rich man raises an eyebrow in curiosity. He doesn't like the sound of the dark man's statement.

"What do you mean a change of plans?"

"I will sell you the product. However, you will not be disturbing it within Santa Prisca. You will take it to America."

The aristocrat chuckles in response.

"You dare presume to tell me what I can or cannot do with the drugs I have purchased? After I pay for them, they are mine to do with as I wish!"

"No. I'm afraid not. No longer will you plague my country with your two-bit criminal syndicate. Your petty acts of crime will do better elsewhere. Santa Prisca doesn't need any more monsters."

The aristocrat chuckles again, but this time motions to his thugs to level their weapons.

"I am Senor Pedro De La Vega the Third, kingpin of Santa Prisca and its surrounding islands. You sir, are merely a drug dealer hyped up on his own product." laughed the aristocrat.

"Be that as it may, when it comes to top notch drugs, I'm the only game in town, which is why you deal with me personally, Senor De La Vega." growled the man in the shadows.

"What can I say? When it comes to quality, your drug is the best. Meeting with you personally is a strange request, but one I'm willing to grant in order to maintain good business savvy and of course ... profit. It's what a kingpin does to maintain the business."

The large man laughs within the shadows.

"Your self proclaimed "nobility" isn't going to change the fact you're going to America, Senor."

De La Vega laughs yet again, this time more sinister than before. His thugs begin to get restless.

"You are a hypocrite, Mister Bane. I am merely purchasing the drugs you produce, distributing it as I see fit. It is your fault Santa Prisca is entrenched in Venom." hissed De La Vega. "So who is the real monster? The buyer or the seller?"

"You know De La Vega, there is a rule that most intelligent people follow. It goes ... 'Hurt your enemies, not those closest to you'." growled Bane. "You are killing your countrymen."

"I go by my own rules, Mister Bane. Survival of the fittest." laughed De La Vega. "You pretend to be a patriot but you are merely a drug dealer disguised in a luchadore mask."

"The mask serves a purpose." replied Bane, still shrouded deep within the darkness.

"Oh really? And what is that? Other than making you seem like a complete psychopath?"

"It keeps my identity safe, for when I do things such as this!"

Suddenly, Bane springs from the shadows, his massive form revealed in the light. Frightened, De La Vega stumbles backwards, watching in horror as Bane tears his men apart. A ferocious punch connects with jaw, and a resounding crack echoes about the back of the amphitheatre. Meanwhile, the dogs continue to do battle in the front.

Bane scoops up the dead thug and launches the body across the room, smashing into the nearest goon. The remaining thugs let loose their guns. The backroom is peppered with bullets, all aimed at Bane, but not a single shot lands home. Bane is as fast as he is large. He sweeps into the shadows, disappears for a moment, and then springs upon the next thug, crushing his skull. Gore splatters about the backroom and still the dog fighting continues on in the front.

"SHOOT HIM! SHOOT HIM!" cried De La Vega in a mixture of anger and fright.

No such luck. The remaining thug wasn't fast enough. He had emptied his gun clip and was forced to reload, which gave Bane amble time to close in on the unskilled lackey. A boot smashes across the thugs jaw, breaking it from the skull. He stumbles to the floor in a clump, bleeding freely from his detached jawbone. Bane looms over his newest victim, panting heavily. His muscles pulse and flex in rapid succession, as he observes his latest kill.

Meanwhile, De La Vega scoots toward the door, hoping to get away. However, with his back still turned, Bane calls out to the frightened aristocrat.

"Going somewhere, De La Vega?"

Bane turns about, to reveal a distribution pump connected to his chest. De La Vega's jaw drops. The pump was feeding Bane's body unheard levels of the drug Venom, making his faster and stronger than any other man alive. It was a wonder Bane was able to handle that much drug at one time and not die of a heart attack.

"Wha ... what do you want from me?" cried De La Vega, "I'll do whatever you wish. Just don't hurt me!"

"Good. Now we are seeing eye to eye." growled Bane.

De La Vega can't help but find the irony in Bane's statement. De La Vega had never seen Bane's eyes. Every time he had met with Bane, the drug dealer had always worn an evil, and quite formable, luchadore mask. It had seemed like child's play before, simply a cheap parlor trick to scare the masses, but now, surrounded by blood and darkness, De La Vega was terrified beyond all measure. The evil mask had made it so.

"What would you have me do?" quivered De La Vega.

"You will take the newest shipment of Venom to America and distributed about the city of Gotham."

"Gotham? Why Gotham?"

"The criminal justice system is flawed. Criminals rule the streets, making it easier to distribute the product." informed Bane, still pulsing with power. "You will go there, and do as I have commanded."

"And then what?"

"And then you will wait for my arrival."

"That's it?" asked De La Vega, a shake in his voice.

"No. You will collect all the information you can on a so-called 'Batman'."

De La Vega was even more confused and scared than before.

"Batman?" asked De La Vega. "What are you talking about Senor Bane?"

"No more questions, you idiot. Do as I have instructed! Go to Gotham and wait for my arrival! Soon, Gotham City will know the will of Bane!"

Maniacal laughter resounds about the back of the amphitheatre and De La Vega quickly realizes he is no longer the man in charge. Meanwhile, in the front, a vicious dog looms over its dead opponent, howling victorious. Two beasts had won the day, and the vile cretins of Santa Prisca cheered them on.

To Be Continued ...