Sometimes, the threat of death isn't enough, and in an interrogation you have to cause physical harm. Policemen weren't supposed to cross this line, but that was why Batman had been created- he was not bound by such statures and Gotham needed someone who could, even if the general populace did not quite accept it.
The day before, after a period of chilling silence, the Joker had made his first move.
A fishmonger's had been blown up- luckily no one had been inside, but a man had been caught in the explosion, dying later in hospital of third degree burns. Another one of the clown's victims- the name Anthony Price being added to a list that only seemed to be growing. There seemed to be no motive other than causing chaos. No mob ties, no run-ins with the law.
Flipper's fish emporium seemed to be just that, a shop to buy fresh fish, though now it lay in ruins, even the shop's child-friendly and cute mascot (Named Flipper, oddly enough a penguin and not a dolphin) was burnt beyond all recognition on the sign.
And this, of course, was the reason for the interrogation, and why a certain member (albeit only a small fry in the larger picture) of the criminal underworld was clutching a broken nose.
'Ready to talk?' a deep voice growled, one that no one would ever associate with Bruce Wayne, and that was the point.
The criminal looked at his attacker, decked out in black and looking almost as crazy as the Joker for dressing in such a fashion, but also just as dangerous. What sane person put on a costume to mimic a bat?
'No, no, no… you don't... You don't understand!' the other almost yelled, and did a good job of it considering his present condition. 'He'll kill me… I can't say... I can't-'
He was cut off by yet another sharp blow to the head.
'I need to know!' the Batman demanded. There were no leads on the Joker so far, but there were some on Cobblepot, and he couldn't help but think the two were connected somehow… The black market in Gotham was flourishing and he had intercepted many messages concerning 'goods'… The only problem lay in what those 'goods' actually were, and even the most cowardly of criminals were being oddly quiet about it.
He grabbed the heavily tattooed criminal by the throat, harshly shoving him against the wall, glaring angrily as he struggled for breath.
'No… Can't… Fine… protection…' he garbled out, and the Batman released his hold a little. A sigh of relief was let out. 'Protection first, then I'll tell… Please, I don't want to die…'
And the other man nodded, looking ahead, noting the lack of his signal in the sky. It had not shone for months- Batman was an enemy of Gotham, no longer her protector…
Oswald Cobblepot slammed the phone down angrily, though his expression looked as sedate as ever. The goods had been recovered in expert time, all except for one. And, unfortunately, that just so happened to be the one he would make the greatest loss from. He needed it back quickly, but how? There were already men on the job, though he supposed there would be no harm in sending out a few more, just in case...
The phone rang again suddenly, jarring him out of his thoughts.
He smiled and smoothed out his waistcoat despite the fact no one was around to see him, certain that it would be good news he would be hearing on the other line. Why else would they ring him so soon? No doubt someone had contacted them to where the goods were, obviously seeking the reward he had set out... Oswald hated the lose things: games, gambling, and especially his possessions, or at least things in which he held for others.
He scooped it up, putting the phone to his ear. The smile fell.
Once again, the owner of the Iceberg Lounge put the phone down angrily, but this time with horrible, high-pitched and insane laughter ringing in his ears.
She did not like the noise. (It hurt her ears, made them pound, made her want to scream) Only the day before there had been the loud bang and flames in the distance, and now these metal monstrosities (They had a name, she knew it, but it was lost in her mind) whooshed past on the road. She was used to the blaring of music, the shouting of people, but not this. They moved faster than anything she has ever seen in her life (Faster than the punches, faster than the whip), and she decided to take shelter in another alley where such unnatural objects do not exist. Things would be subdued there; the lights and the sounds and even the people.
Nobody gave her a second glance as she walks past, not like that man did before, just discounting her for another crazy on the street.
Finally, she found one, and seemed to slip into the darkness. She had done wrong, she knew it, but what could she do? There was screaming, and shouting, and bangs- she had to run. It meant leaving the safety of home, something she was told never to do, but she was frightened… Still, she knew punishment will lay in wait when she returned, but she just longed for the simplicity of home, where she is fed and looked after…
She needed to find Master. Master always knew what to do. He was the authority. Master is good, and she is bad. Master is-
A shuffling sound disrupted her thoughts. Fear fell onto her. Not everyone is as kind as Master, she had been told that many times, with him saying often how cruel the world outside is… She turned, afraid, but ready to fight. She managed to escape last time, from the man and that strange inferno, and she hoped she can do it again.
Another man greeted her, but he was smiling, if in a lop-sided sort of way.
'Hey there…' he slurred, and he smelt a little like some of the men did at the club; a strange, heavy sort of scent that some of the drinks also shared. He muttered some incomprehensible things and slumped against the wall. She stiffened. He was still smiling, but she was not. 'Hey… Don't be scared…' His voice was no different, but it was with the odd softness Master used when she had done a good job.
She still made no reply, but wondered if perhaps he knew Master. She needed to get back, needed to apologise, and she knew she would never run away or disobey him again. The outside world is cruel and wicked, just like he said.
'Lookin' right at you Doll…' He waved a hand vaguely in her direction; using the pet name he had graced his wife with, until she ran off with that bastard cop. 'You're not a bitch like her, are you, eh? Nah… And she says I have a problem… Don't need… stupid… AA… not me…' he drifted off a little, eyelids drooping, and although she understood the words used she comprehended very little.
Was he even speaking to her? And as if he could read her mind (Something she sometimes found herself wondering if Master could do) he spoke again:
'Yeah, Doll, I'm talkin' to you…' He smiled leeringly, yellowing teeth on show, but he looked more pitiful than dangerous. His misty eyes barely took in her unkempt appearance, or anything that might be strange about her. 'Come on, Doll, let's-'
'Are you okay sir?' another voice asked suddenly, coming from a member of 'Gotham's finest': a policewoman, new on the job. She strode into the alleyway, her flashlight penetrating the darkness.
'Fine, love,' the man replied with another sagging grin, his drunken condition very obvious. 'I was just… talking to my wife see…' He waved his hand again and the policewoman looked ahead, frowning.
There was no one there.
Somewhere, deep within Gotham, another policewoman laughed.
Her fiancé, thinking himself a romantic, had bought her to an expensive restaurant. Their relationship had been on the rocks for a while, but this had seemed like just the thing to solve all of their problems. She loved the flowers (Made out to 'Clarissa, my love' just as asked) and the smile on her face had simply been priceless when he had told her where they were going.
It had been like old times. They had talked together, and it was as if both of their respective jobs had not caused a rift between them. Both of them had felt happier than ever, and Clarissa had never seemed more beautiful.
And then, after only one bite of her steak, she had laughed at his favourite joke. And laughed, and laughed and laughed.
She was still laughing when the ambulance came to take her away.
To be continued…
A/N I just noticed that the title of this fic is a werewolf reference… Now as much as I adore the film 'An American Werewolf in London' I have to say that this fic will stay with Nolan's view of a realistic take on Batman, so there will be no superpowers of any kind, not even those brought on by scientific experiments.