Kidnapped - Chapter 1
By: Pebble Stage
It started with a phone call.
Mom was in her room sleeping. Terry was away at work, running errands for Mr. Wayne. I, the lucky one with the entire home to myself, was sprawled on the floor, head propped up on my arms as I watched TV in Terry's room. At my side were my wolf-man mask and gloves. I wanted to scare Terry when he came back, you know, just to keep him on his toes, so I waited ears alert for the telltale sound of the front door opening. When the phone rang, I wasn't going to bother getting up to pick it up at first, but on a whim I decided that answering it would be better than actually having to face Mom when she was grumpy.
"Matt?" A semi-surprised voice came from over the line. It was Terry, calling again no doubt to apologize for having missed yet another family dinner. Mom had said that it was okay as long as Terry had a good reason for missing out, and she had even set aside a heaping plate of food for him to re-heat when he came home. Well, Mom might be okay with it, but that doesn't mean I have to be. Why does Terry always seem to get away with everything? It just wasn't fair.
"You're so going to get it for missing dinner again," I jibed, "What's your excuse this time? Dinner with Dana?"
"Matt, seriously, what are you doing at home? Weren't you going to sleepover at your friend's house tonight?"
"Yea, but he got sick," I didn't mean to sound as whiny as I did. "Now I'm stuck at home because Mom said I shouldn't go over until he feels better. Why are you whispering?"
"I'm in the library. Don't be such a dweeb. It's not like he got sick on purpose, and I'm sure he'll feel better by next weekend," Terry retorted. "Is Mom there? I need to talk to her."
"No," I said meanly.
"No, she's not there? Or no, you're not going to hand the phone over to her."
"She's sleeping and I'm not going up there to wake her up."
"Is she feeling ok? It's only 8:30."
"She said something about cramps and it being that time of the month again," I shrugged, half-heartedly. Maybe someday I'll actually understand what she means by that.
"Oh," Terry was silent for a few moments, as if he was considering what to say. "Listen Matt, I won't be home until late tonight so don't wait up for me-"
"-As if I would anyway!-"
"- also, make sure everything is locked, and don't open the door to anyone you don't know."
I rolled my eyes, "Yeah, yeah, I know already. I'm not five years old anymore."
"I mean it. Take care of Mom, ok? I'll be home as soon as I can."
A soft click ended the call and I didn't think anything else of it. Terry, despite what other people might say about him, can actually be a worrywart. I turned back to the TV. In front of the flickering screen, I finished my homework, played an hour of net games and until the knocking started, even took a short nap.
I woke up to a rubbery-feeling arm, too long deprived of its circulation. The TV was still on – this time the show was about encounters with, sightings of, and theories about the Batman. Two slinky girls with the combined IQ of a snail were shooting half-baked theories about Batman and his secret life as an exotic dancer. Something about black spandex and hiding in broom closets. Terry probably would have agreed with me about how funny it is that some people can get so dumb when they're looking directly at a camera.
It was around the time when I switched off the TV that the knocking started.
At first, I didn't hear anything. It was too fast, too low, for my ears to pick up. In about five minutes I noticed that there was a sound and in another five, after finally realizing that, no, it really wasn't my imagination, I got up to find out where the knocking was coming from. Quietly, I walked through house listening closely to the walls for any sound. The only light in the house came from the living room, and though I should have been at least a little nervous in the half light, I wasn't. When I was younger, once I was terrified by the sound of a small mouse was gorging itself on our bags of beans and rice in the pantry, but since then I had pledged to outgrow the anxiety of strange noises. Or so I thought.
The front door was the source of the knocking. It was funny that I didn't check there first, but on second thought, even the act of knocking on someone's door seems so old-fashioned now. I was curious. Who would be knocking at this time of night? Who even knocks anymore? Everyone has replaced doorbells and peepholes in favor of vidcoms for a reason. But almost as if on cue, when I approached the door, the knocking stopped, and a muffled female voice called through the thick door. She sounded old and frantic.
"I know someone is there," she called urgently, "Please, open the door! There's a boy out here who needs help!"
A part of me knew that I should go tell Mom… that she of all people would know what to do. Had I been able to think faster, better, more clearly, I would have listened to this part of me. I would have turned immediately and woken her straight away. But for whatever reason, I couldn't move. Conflicted, not knowing what to say or do, I stood dumbly at the entranceway staring blankly at the door.
"Please, he's unconscious and bleeding. For god's sake at the very least, help me to call a doctor! The lights are on, I know you're there!"
A horrible thought crossed my mind: What if the boy was Terry? A picture of Terry, fallen and red, flashed across my mind. Without another thought, I cupped my hands against the door and in the tunnel of my palms, called out. "Hang on, I'll call an ambulance."
Quickly, I ran to the living room and grabbed the phone from its usual place on the countertop. Dialing 911 as I ran back to the door, I listened intently for the operator. The calm automated voice of the operator came on the line. I was comforted for a quarter of second, until the voice began to ask me describe in detail the nature of the emergency.
I cupped my hands against the door again, "The operator wants to know what the emergency is about. Can you tell me what's happening?"
"He's hurt, is what's happening!"
"I know, but can you describe what it is specifically?"
"This is ridiculous! Open the door! Either you see for yourself or give me the phone."
I hesitated, remembering Terry's words just a few hours earlier. The door stood in front of me, a wavering wall of my words and my promises on the verge of breaking under the pressure. Out of desperation, I sought permission from a stranger. "I'm not supposed to… unless… unless…"
"Unless he's someone you know?"
She had read my mind. I hung my head in shame. Before I could respond the woman continued, "You've got some nerve. I would show you what he looks like if I could hold him upright and activate the vidcom at the same time. He has black hair, cut short at the nape of his neck. He's tall. Probably around 5'6"or even 5'9" if he wasn't slouched over. He's wearing a brown jacket, black shirt and jeans."
Terry. It had to be Terry. Guilt over the woman's accusation quickly faded to anxiety and worry. I had promised not the open the door, but there was no way that Terry would have guessed that anything like this could happen. I undid the alarm without a second thought. In half a second, with the phone in gripped tightly in my hands, the door came open.
The entranceway outside our apartment was empty.
Distantly I heard the voice of the emergency operator calling over the phone, asking if everything was all right. My skin began to crawl. I had a sudden, violent urge to run inside and close the door as fast as possible. Before I could do just that, something ice cold seized my forearm, the force nearly dislocating arm from shoulder. I cried out in surprise and pain, but a strange smelling cloth covered my mouth and nose and all that came out was a muffled noise. I struggled, arching and kicking, doing anything to get leverage away, but it was useless. My movements became sluggish, my vision blurred, and soon there was only darkness.
Barbara Gordon first got the call when she had just arrived home from the airport. Usually, she would still be working at the office, but her husband had been summoned for an impromptu meeting in Metropolis and he had needed the lift to the terminal. For the first time in several months, Barbara had decided to take the day off. Among the things she had planned was a long soak in the tub and an evening with a book, a blanket and a hot cup of cocoa. Save her private phone to which only she and her husband knew the number to, Barbara switched off every work-related electronic device usually attached to her like leaden appendages. For the day at least, her deputy would be in charge at work and she intended make the most of her very brief, but much needed vacation.
Her cell phone, however, had other ideas.
It rang, jingling a shrill rendition of April Moon. Barbara flipped it open with a second thought and addressed the caller with an easy laugh. "You've barely checked in your luggage and you miss me already?"
"Bruce?" Barbara said, shocked, "What-"
"You turned off your work phone."
"How did you get this number?" Barbara demanded, "Hacking into my file is illegal, and I made sure personally this was a secure line."
"Do you have any idea how long I've been trying to reach you?"
"You shouldn't even have been able to reach me at all," Barbara snapped, "I'm off duty, and I am taking the night off. Either you get off this line or tell me what the hell you want."
"Turn on your TV."
"Fine. Was that all?"
Bruce was silent, and Barbara let out a frustrated sigh. She knew that he was not the type of person to allow such noncompliance. If Barbara hung up like she desperately wanted, he would find some other less civil method of contacting her. Barbara let out a forced breath and picked up the remote control from the coffee table. The black screen in front of her came to life, and the familiar blue and white faces of the automated newscasters appeared.
"-no word yet on Mrs. McGinnis' condition as doctors work frantically to stabilize her condition and determine the cause of the severe trauma. Currently the whereabouts of her two sons, 17-year-old Terry McGinnis and 10-year-old Mathew McGinnis, are still unknown. Authorities are unwilling to release any information surrounding this horrible incident as details are still under heavy investigation. Some officials, however, suspect foul play. Commissioner Gordon has yet to release an official statement, and in her absence, Gordon's deputy has stepped forward to offer this statement:
"We understand the gravity of the situation, and would like to take this time to offer our solemn promise that the individuals responsible for such a heinous act will be found and tried for their offenses. Rest assured that no expense will be spared in the through investigation of today's events."
We will keep you updated with more information throughout the night. For more information regarding-"
Barbara turned off the television, and sat heavily down on the sofa. "How could this happen?" she whispered to herself. "Is Terry-"
"He's not here at the moment."
Barbara had forgotten Bruce was still on the line and she flinched slightly at his voice. "Where is he?"
"Out looking for his brother."
"How is he doing?"
It was a dumb question, but what else could someone ask in such a situation?
After a pause, Bruce surprised Barbara with an answer. "I don't know."
"You don't know?" Barbara said incredulously, "And you let him go out to search for his brother?"
"You might think highly of Terry, but he's still young. He could get himself hurt, or worse, he could get himself killed, if he acts too rashly. You should know better! You should have locked the suit away and forbidden him from going."
"That tactic didn't stop you from searching for Robin."
"Bruce, I'm serious. His mother is in critical condition in the hospital. His brother is missing with no leads. And with all that in mind, you let him out of your sights. This is not a game! I thought you, of all people, already learned that lesson well enough with Robin!"
The phone was silent, and Barbara knew she had stabbed a nerve.
"You're wrong, Barbara," Bruce said eventually in the same emotionless tone she had come to recognize over the years, "This is a game. A real game, with real consequences. And you already have made two big mistakes. One. You've shut off all your lines of communication. By doing so, you have placed your deputy in charge of the police department's public image during a highly public and media heavy crime. It is his face the public will see when the news clips run over and over again. They will ask why you, the Police Commissioner, were unreachable for this long. When things goes sour it is your name and not his that will be assaulted."
"Was there ever a time when you believed that things could go well?"
"And two," continued Bruce, ignoring her, "You've looked your gift horse in the mouth."
"I'm always cautious around old men bearing gifts. Who knows what will pop out from the horse's belly when no one is watching?"
"Trust it, don't trust it, the decision is entirely up to you. I won't be calling again."
A click ended their conversation and the line went dead. The last word. Bruce always had to have the last word. The phone remained clutched in her hand and Barbara stayed hunched in front of the dark screen of the television. She did not move from that position for a long time.
It had been almost two weeks ago when Terry had found the camera hidden in the corner of his room. The camera was small, the size of a child's thumbnail, and it blended perfectly with the color of the room in the shadows. Terry had seen it only by chance. He was standing on his chair, replacing the burnt bulb of his ceiling lamp, when the sudden glint of the camera lens caught his eye. He didn't know at first that what it was on his ceiling, but Terry knew immediately that tampering with it in any way was not an option. Terry took the first chance he could to leave the house and contacted Bruce with his cell phone.
In the following days, Terry conducted a clandestine examination of his room that eventually expanded to the entire interior and exterior of his family's condominium. The cameras were apparently wireless and actively recording everything within their visual range. They were everywhere. In the kitchen, in closets, around living room, behind the TV, outside the door way and in everyone's bedrooms. Most of the cameras, Terry found, were concentrated in and around his room. All of them were expertly camouflaged, placed just so that no corner escaped surveillance.
The walls seemed to gleam of imbedded eyes without eyelids watching at his every move. Terry couldn't begin to describe the feeling it gave him. He came home only long enough to be inconspicuous, and spent most of his time with Bruce in the cave trying to discover the make and origins of the cameras. The work was hard and tedious without a physical sample, but they could not risk even touching the cameras without danger of discovery.
Terry could not have guessed that those malevolent eyes would be a godsend.
When he landed on the rooftop overlooking his condominium complex, Terry knew immediately that reconnaissance of any kind would be difficult. The street had been blocked off and his home was swarming with police investigators, intrepid reporters, and ironies of all ironies, unblinking cameras.
In stealth, Terry climbed down the wall to the window of his room. While the rest of the house was a throng of strangers, nothing had taken place in his room and it remained thankfully empty. Carefully, so as not to damage the tiny camera, Terry worked his fingers around its edges and gradually loosened the device from the wall. The camera was heavy and warm in the palm of his hand. It glinted like a blue opal in the dim light of the room. Terry stowed it away in the padded depths of his utility belt. It was only a matter of time and chance before someone would walk into his room. Without skipping a beat, Terry made his way back towards his window.
A soft material came underfoot, and Terry looked down in surprise to find Matt's wolf-man costume on the floor. With the camera now disabled in at least that portion of his room, Terry unstealthed without worry of detection. He reached down and picked up the furry fabric.
"I thought I told him never to come in my room," Terry thought to himself, distantly. Matt had probably been waiting there for him to come home. The grotesque, snarling face of wolf-man scrunched when Terry clutched the fabric in his hand tightly as he remembered all the times he had walked in only to find Matt the first one at the door.
Voices in the hallway outside the room snapped Terry back to reality. The investigators were making their way through the house. With Matt's costume in hand, Terry climbed out the window and satisfied that there were no unwanted observers, launched himself soundlessly into the wind.
He flew for almost forty minutes before reaching his destination – a long abandoned building huddled in the old business district on near the outskirts of the city. Terry gingerly avoided the dusty, sharp glass as he entered the building through a broken window. He landed noiselessly on the 3rd floor. Cobwebs and general disarray greeted him as he walked through the room at the end of the corridor. The building had once been beautiful with long, wide windows on all sides to let in natural light.
"Did you manage to get a sample?" a voice asked from behind him, making Terry jump. If Bruce noticed, he didn't say anything. That man needs a collar with a bell, Terry thought darkly as the both of them entered a windowless back room.
"Yeah. It's still warm. I began scanning it on the way here."
"Self-charging batteries, video capture equipment, no audio, limited digital storage capacity, and a transmission range of 2 miles from the point of origin. You want to take a look at it?"
"Put it there." Bruce gestured to the surprisingly dust-free table standing near the center of the room as he reached for a pair of magnifying glasses and electric tools.
"Are you sure we don't need to worry about the video transmission? It might still be active." Terry asked, but Bruce was already not listening. His body bent over the edge of the clean table, face exposed to the gleam of the lens as he examined the camera. Terry sighed, knowing that once Bruce was consumed with a project it would be probably an hour or so before he would pay any attention to the waking world again. Terry pulled his mask off and felt the familiar rush of cool air that swept over his slightly damp face.
"You look tired."
Terry turned in surprise, but Bruce wasn't looking at him. "I'm alright."
"There's some food in the bag on the counter, if you're hungry."
Terry blinked and peered into the aforementioned bag. There was enough food in it for at least three big meals. Terry picked a bright red apple and idly picked at the round sticker adhered to its skin. He was surprised again when Bruce spoke again.
"Your mother is in the safest place she can possibly be."
"I know," Terry said with more force than expected. He bit down hard into the fruit. He heard the double message behind Bruce's words – security at the hospital would be impossibly tight and a visit from either Terry McGinnis or Batman would be conspicuous. He glared at Bruce's back, mentally daring the older man to mention anything about Matt. Wisely, Bruce remained silent as he continued to pick and prod at the tiny camera.
Terry finished his apple. He excused himself from the room. Outside the corridor windows, the dim glinting of the city could be seen above the darkness of the abandoned buildings surrounding them. Terry looked lingeringly out the window at Gotham's skyline.
This is the best place to be. He could be anywhere, Terry reasoned quietly. But even still, worry bordering on panic continued to gnaw its way at Terry's stomach, and he had to fight the strong urge to launch himself out into the city in blind search of his brother. But Terry knew better. Resigning himself to a clean spot on the floor, dimly Terry began to switch through the radio broadcasts tapping into the airwaves to hear of any news about the investigation.
Exhaustion crept up from nowhere. Terry's resolve to stay awake began to waver as his fatigue from the long night grew. After an hour, with his head pillowed on his arms, Terry drifted into a restless sleep.
Max was the first person Dana called when she heard the news over the television. The two of them agreed to meet at the café just down the road from Terry's house. When Dana arrived, Max was already seated in the booth for two farthest away from the entrance and bar. Two empty coffee cups were sitting at the table in front of her.
"You live farther away than me, and you're the first one here. Did you take a taxi or something?" Dana asked as she sat down.
"No, the train. I took the next train here since I first heard the news," Max said, "Sorry I didn't call you right away. I thought… I didn't know what I thought. I wasn't sure what to do."
"Yeah," Dana frowned, "You knew enough to come here. What's going on, Max? I thought we were friends."
"Look it's nothing like that," Max protested, "We are friends. We're best friends."
"So, you heard about Terry, leapt on the train and didn't bother to call me! What kind of friend is that?"
"A confused one. Look, I'm sorry! I wasn't thinking."
"You were my first phone call. If you can't trust me enough to tell me the truth… please, this is important to me."
"I was just worried about Terry," Max said, "This booth has the best view of his apartment. I've been watching them from here for the past hour and a half. I'm very sorry I didn't call."
Dana was quiet for a moment. She broke their eye contact. "Ok."
"I'm really sorry."
"What have you found out so far?" Dana kept her eyes pointed to the cups of coffee.
"Mrs. McGinnis is still in critical condition. On top of her physical injuries, the doctors think she has an infection of some sort. The police searched the apartment, but they haven't found anything yet. Other than Matt's prints, the door had no sign of forced entry. Any sign of the kidnapper was either erased or was never there. The neighbors said that they didn't hear anything, but the person working the emergency lines said that Matt was talking a person who sounded like a woman."
"Wow," Dana breathed, looking up, "You got all that from watching from this booth?"
Max grinned, "Watching is a relative term." She shifted her head slightly to the side and Dana could see the small earphone radio receiver tucked into Max's left ear. On Max's lap there was a small note pad with scribbles of graphite all over its surface.
"A bit low tech for your standards, isn't it?"
"And untraceable. Well, almost… considering the fact that you're probably the only other person in the world who can read my handwriting."
"Don't worry, I promise not to tell."
"Who said I was worried?" Max responded without a blink.
"So…" Dana said after a moment's pause, "What's next?"
"I wasn't lying when I said I didn't know," Max said with a sigh. "The police have the investigation covered and I'm no doctor. The only thing I'm good at is research and even that's getting us nowhere this time."
"You have a most complete picture of the situation than almost all the people in the city, and you're lamenting the fact you're not a police officer or doctor. Max, please. You're only human."
Max rubbed the side of her face and muttered, "But still not good enough apparently."
"Uh-" But before Max could answer, the waitress came around with her order pad. The waitress had an honest face and easy smile despite the late hour. "Late night cram session, girls? What can I get you?"
Max spoke up, grateful for the interruption, "Hot mochas for the both of us, please."
"That's your third of the night."
"Yeah, it's going to be a long night."
"Hey you don't have to apologize. You're a good customer compared to that kid over there." The waitress gestured over her shoulder to the other end of the shop. "He's been here longer than you and is still on his first cup. You kids have midterms or something over at the high school tomorrow?"
"No. It's just regular studying," said Max conversationally. Dana turned her gaze to the boy the waitress mentioned. He sat alone in his booth. On the table was a full cup of presumably cold coffee, a small brown paper bag and a large textbook. His hair was dyed bright orange and he wore a tight black leather jacket with silver zippers.
The waitress continued, "He keeps staring at the same page. I went over a few times to check up on him. Can you believe that a kid who looks like a punk would be reading about quantum mechanics?"
"I don't know," said Max, "sometimes clothing style and behavior really don't match."
"You have a point. But I think the book is too hard for him. He's been on the same page for the whole time he's been here," the waitress shrugged. "I need to get back to work. You're drinks will be ready in a few minutes."
"Thanks," said Max. When the waitress was gone, Max said, "She's new here, but really nice. Her mochas are amazing too."
"Did you hear what she said though? About the guy over there?" asked Dana.
"What about him?"
"What if he's not studying."
"Well that's obvious," snorted Max. "Who spends that long on a page of homework?"
"I wonder what he keeps writing down. His pencil hasn't stopped since the waitress pointed him out to us."
"Dana. Stop it." Max said it firmly and her tone of voice made Dana look up.
"How is pointing out a random person who happens to look suspicious going to do anything to help us?" Before Dana could respond, Max said, "Really, it not going to help."
"Oh, come on! He's a guy doing things that normal people don't do! We should be watching out for those types shouldn't we?" Dana stopped herself, realizing the dumbness of her statement, "Fine. Do you have any bright ideas?"
"No," Max said after a moment's pause, "Yes. I do. You're right, those are the type of people we should pay particular attention to."
"I have no idea what you're trying to say."
"Dana, I've been such an idiot wasting time! Thank god you're here." Max practically jumped up with excitement. "We need to find Bruce Wayne."
Dana, raised a skeptical eyebrow, "How did your brain jump to that so fast? Mr. Wayne has nothing to do with this. And even if he did we all know he's not too hard to find. Everyone knows where he lives."
Max shook her head, "He's not there anymore. I bet you 100 credits that he's not there anymore. Come on! Let's go!"
"Max, you're not making any sense! Max!" Dana exclaimed, but her friend was already out the door. The other patrons didn't spare a glance as Dana hastily paid for the drinks at the counter. She missed the shift in attention from the boy who, at the first sound of their movements, suddenly stopped writing and looked up. As Dana rushed out of the diner after Max, she didn't notice his unblinking stare upon her retreating form.
The phones hadn't stopped ringing since she entered the office. There were calls from reporter after reporter asking for her comment; calls from her people informing her of the status of the investigation; and finally when dawn was just beginning to light the sky with blue, the long awaited call from the hospital.
"Commissioner Gordon? Mrs. McGinnis' attending physician is on line 3. He says he has what you were asking about earlier."
Barbara nodded and once her secretary was out of listening range, she picked up the phone.
The bite of exhaustion colored the doctor's voice from the other end of the telephone. He did not bother with formality as he began. "Before I begin, it needs to be mentioned that the amount of time you gave us for a full diagnosis was extremely short. Tests don't happen like you see on television and cultures take time to grow. I need you to understand that some of what I will suggest has no hard evidence and is purely speculation."
"I understand. I'm sorry for rushing your diagnosis," Barbara said sincerely. "Please understand that I only placed you in this position because I think it's necessary and important."
"There are rumors that say otherwise."
"And I'm sure that you'd do anything to halt such false rumors because I'm sure your professionalism as a medical doctor and your understanding that this is a police investigation overrides any personal opinion you may happen to carry."
"We're not all that perfect."
Barbara rubbed her temples and bit back the acerbic retort that threatened to bubble up. "Back to the subject. What's the diagnosis?"
"We think the infection is from a virus."
Barbara waited a moment, expecting the doctor to elaborate somewhat more, but nothing else came.
"Ok…" Barbara said, strained, "And the prognosis?"
"We know from its progression in her body that it's likely fatal. Two of her major body systems are already in critical condition. We've isolated her in a clean room to keep the hospital staff from contracting the virus, but from the looks of it, this precaution may not be necessary."
"What do you mean?"
"We found out late that it may be a virus. If she were contagious, the second floor in its entirety would already be in the sick room. It's a long shot, but some of us suspect that whatever she has is a tailored strain."
Barbara's hand tightened against the edge of her desk. "Doctor, are you suggesting that this wasn't a random attack. That the virus may have been specifically engineered for Mrs. McGinnis?"
"Medically speaking I have absolutely no concrete evidence as of right now. Once the PCR and back up PCR tests are complete you will have a better picture," the doctor responded with a firm finality to his voice.
Barbara wasn't finished. "If the virus is catered to the mother's DNA, what are the chances that it can be contacted by close genetic matches? Her sons for example."
The doctor paused, clearly not expecting Barbara's question. "You bring up an interesting question. Direct family is certainly at greater risk, though we can't be completely sure at this moment. I will post a warning to the staff to keep an eye out for anyone posing as a family member."
"I doubt that will be a problem at this point. Mrs. McGinnis' sons are still both missing without any leads." Barbara said honestly, her frustration briefly breaking through the cool professionalism. "But I appreciate your efforts all the same."
The doctor paused. When he spoke again, curiosity laced his voice. "I'm surprised you didn't ask if there was a cure for her. That's the usual question I get from you law enforcement authorities anyway."
"Just trying to think ahead," Barbara said, "I didn't want you railing on me again about how there was no time for any tests."
"You're a smarter woman than what they give you credit for on the news."
"The best kept secret in the division. Promise not to tell, and I promise not to judge your character through the media," Barbara countered in good humor.
"Witty, too." The doctor let out a soft laugh. "I'm surprised you let your deputy do most of the talking for you on the television. You'd be just fine in front of the cameras. The test results should be in within a few hours. I'll call again when they are ready."
"Thank you." And the call ended.
Barbara sat back digested the information from the conversation. Contacting Terry had become a top priority. Whether or not the virus could be passed from his mother, the risk of Terry contracting anything was too great. Briefly Barbara thought about lighting the old bat signal in the sky, but dashed the idea just as quickly. The sky was clear without a cloud in sight. As much as she hated it, the best – the only – way to find Terry would be through Bruce.
She let out a frustrated breath. Pride was the only thing standing in her way, but somehow, after her earlier conversation with the man, pride was the hardest emotion to overcome.
Stiffly, Barbara notified her secretary to cancel any meetings for the rest of the night. She exited the office using the back alleyway entrance that few people seldom used or even knew about. She walked until she reached a main street far enough away from the mob of reporters camping outside the precinct. She hailed a cab.
"Where will it be?" the driver asked when he pulled to the curb.
"I've got several places to go. My friends like to keep me on my toes, you see and we do these fun little scavenger hunts from time to time. I'll give you 1000 credits if you'll stick with me all night, and another 500 upfront if you can keep this night to yourself."
"Show me the money first," after she did, he nodded satisfied, "Alright. Where first?"
"Take me to Wayne Manor."
Hi everyone! Thank you for sticking with the story until the end of this chapter! It took me quite a while to finish this chapter. I kept putting it down and picking it up again, and my obsessions tend to come and go like a tidal wave. I really really hope you've enjoyed reading this chapter as much as I enjoyed writing it!
There is a reference that might have been slightly confusing. When Barbara is talking about the gift horse… I was thinking of a double pun. Bruce references a horse by meaning looking at the unattractive parts first (mouth) you miss the overall beauty of the gift. Barbara was thinking about the Trojan Horse and the mistake of inviting enemies into a place one believes is safe. Sorry if that was confusing for anyone!
Lastly, I want to give a HUGE thank you to two wonderful authors who graciously took time from their busy schedules to proof-read for a stranger. Silver Scribes and Kyoko Kasshu Minaminom you two are awesome!! This chapter is just that much better because of your sharp eyes for grammar and wonderfully positive encouragement! Thank you!!
If you liked or didn't like the chapter, please write to me and let me know! Comments of any and all sorts are welcome!!
Until next time,