Ace of Hearts Chap 5

Gotham Streets

It took me a while to get out of the forest. I almost fell in a ditch without a watchful eye of some birds, but no matter. When I stepped out of the forest, I saw a road that lead to the big Gotham City!

"Gotham here I come!" I said. I ran along with the path, and after about 9-10 minutes, I reached the first sidewalk.

Gotham was very big to me. Skyscrapers, the dark buildings, even the cars. Tonight, few people were walking in the area and some didn't notice me. I continued to walk on till I reached an ally. There was a particular smell there that I couldn't make out. I walked in the ally where there were wet spots, trash cans and bags, and one cheap lamp on the side of a door. It must've been a restaurant nearby, because the trash bins were filled with food. Rotten food that is.

"What a waste," I said. I walked towards a bitten apple, and sniffed it. "Ew! And what a smell! I can't believe they just leave it here!"

"I can puppy!"

I whirled around in all directions, "Who said that?"

"Down here!" I looked at the apple, and saw a creature coming out from behind it. It smelled of cheese and some sewer odor.

"What, are you?" I said.

"What? You don't know me? What kind of pup are you?" it was sending a curious look at me.

"Well, this is the first time I've been outside." I said.

The creature slapped his forehead, "Whoa, first time heh? Well, poo to you! I'm a rat, Jimmy the Rat. At your service! Or, not to you. You look like a runt to me."

I flinched at the word, but then I said, "I'm not a runt!"

The rat stepped back, "Okay, okay. Then what's your name?"

I didn't want to say the name that Tim called me, but, it sounded right, "Ace."

"Ace huh? Hmmm. You look like an Ace I bet. Well, gotta jet, see ya later kid!" Jimmy then picked up the apple, and scurried past me till he turned on a corner, and disappeared.

"Why would he want that?" I said to myself. I then slowly walked away. I was deeper in the ally now, and the there seemed to be more and more darkness surrounding me. Is my life always concealed with darkness?

All of a sudden, there was a loud bang! I turned in all directions, trying to find out what it was.

"Who's there?" I said. "You, you better not mess with me, I'm Ace!"

"Ace who?"

"Ace!"

"That's a pity." Then, from the darkest corner of the ally, a figure emerged, and then it pounced up and caught me in surprise. I started to whimper as I saw the red fur of the animal, with its front paws with black patches, and had black spots all over its body and around its eyes. And around its neck was a yellow scarf with a black oval clip holding it.

"What are you doing in my territory?" it asked.

"I don't know I just got here!" said I meekly.

"You obviously don't belong here do ya?"

"No!" I said. I wanted to run, but that wouldn't be brave, so I lifted my head up at the thing and said, "But I'm not scared of you! I, I'm Ace Bathound! Or, at least that's what I think!"

The animal looked at me, and then it started to laugh, at me!

"Priceless," It said. Then it got a serious face, "what are you doing out here at night kid? You wanna be someone's chew toy?"

I shook my head, "No, and I'm out here to have a life!"

The animal nodded his head, "Really? That's something you don't see every day. Where you from?"

"Uh, somewhere…" I said. I didn't really know where I came from.

The animal looked amused,"Okay. Hey, tell you what, you come with me and we'll see what old' Rueben can do for ya." He then started to walk off into the darkness.

"In there?" I said.

"Yeah in here! What you think, going out where people could see you?"

I thought about it for a while, then I said,"Oh, okay." I then began to walk into the darkness too.

I could see the animal's red fur. It was ruffled up, but still clean. I wanted to ask him what dog he is, but I kept my mouth shut.

He led me into the other allies and more and more. It seemed endless! I then had the courage to ask him, "Uh, um. Rueben?"

"Yeah?"

"Where are we going?"

"Somewhere, now keep your mouth shut!"

"Why?" I protested.

"Just shush!" he snapped.

All of a sudden, there was a scatter of fallen cans in the area.

"What was that?" I asked.

"Something I can deal with, but you can't." He then tipped his head and ran off. I think he wanted me to run too.

I started to run as fast as my legs could carry me. I ran further and further to see where Rueben was. Then all at once I stopped. He was no where to be seen.

"Rueben?" I cried out. But there was no answer, except several growls behind me!

I whipped around, and saw about five shady figures step out from the trash bins. They all were scrangly and some what brindled. I backed away and started to whimper. Was this a trap?

The biggest dog stepped up and growled at me. I jumped back, but didn't run. Then the others joined in, and they started barking, soon they started snapping their sharp teeth at me!

"H-help!" I shouted, and started to run.

I looked back and saw the other dogs were chasing me. Why weren't they chasing something else for awhile? Why their own kind? I then started to feel clumsy and tired. Then, with the biggest mistake yet, I tripped.

Soon I could feel them upon me, biting me, clawing me, trying to fling me into the air, but I clung to the ground. Then, in a matter of moments, there were yelping and barking, but not at me, but at something else in fear. Then there were cried of agony and pain, then footsteps running away in the distance. Then it all stopped.

I opened my eyes. The strays where gone, and so where the shadows. Then I felt something nudge me up. I looked up, and there was Rueben.

"I told you to come along! And I already asked you do you want to be someone's chew toy? And from that incident, I think it's a yes."

"But I could run that fast! And, how was I suppose to run without you saying it?"

"Because I was quiet!" then with a great nudge of his nose, I stood up straight, but I staggered.

"You're hurt." He said.

"Of course I am! I almost got killed!" I was expecting a snap from Rueben, but he shook his head.

"Can you walk?" he asked.

I looked at him, and then to my wounds. They weren't serious, so I started to walk a bit. It didn't hurt, only stung. I then said, "Yeah, I can walk."

"Good." Rueben then walked away.

I wanted to call out to him for not saying anything about going on again, but I still kept quiet, except I said, "Thanks for saving me."

"You're welcome," answered Rueben.

I began to feel safe again around him. I think, he really cares about me. But I wouldn't be too sure, because these are the streets of Gotham. And by that fight I think it's hard to trust anyone out here.

"Besides kid," said Rueben. "There ain't nothing out there I bet to beat a hyena, that's for sure."

Rueben led me out of the allies and into the dump yard. It was filled with foul smells and rotten things. The junk was fairly unique though, that's one god thing. He then stopped.

"What-what's wrong?" I asked, still nervous around his presence.

"Nothing, just stay here." Rueben then trotted off behind a dump pile.

I was waiting for a long time. Being out in the streets was hard, but it beats being trapped in a cave. But, Tim and Bruce were still nice to me…

All of a sudden, Rueben came out, and behind him was a beautiful black Irish setter. She looked my way. Then turned to Rueben, "This is the kid? He looks more like a runt to me."

I flinched. Does the whole world think I'm a runt? "I'm not a-"

Rueben glared at me before I could finish. He continued to till I sat back down. He then said to the setter, "Come' on Lilith, he's only a pup, he'll might as well die out in those streets."

"Well then let him! He's not my concern."

Not her concern? I finally ignored Rueben and said, "That's mean of you to say that!"

The setter and Rueben looked down at me.

"I've been through all this way from outside the city and you could still say that to me? What kind of dog are you? I've, I"ve been forced to escape to be free, and from a horrible family too once. How can you say that?"

Everyone was silent, all looking at me. I then realized I spoken to loud. I immediately shrank back down to feel Rueben's cold stare, but it never came. Instead he looked at me and glanced at Lilith at the same time. Was he waiting for something?

Finally Lilith spoke, "That's enough kid. I think I know what you mean. Come with me." She then went away through the dump's path.

I trembled at her calm answer. I looked at Rueben for a command, but he pointed his nose and Lilith. I then sighed and started to follow Lilith.