I own nothing to do with Batman. It all belongs to its rightful owners.
I've never done something like this before, in creating my own OC and putting her in another world. I'm worried I've failed terribly, but I encourage and respect any advice you do have. This will be Bane/OC-oriented, not really in a romantic light, but friendship.
Please let me know what you think. Takes place when Gotham is taken over by Bane, and the reactor is in motion.
I woke just after six thirty of an early morning, and for a moment there, I couldn't remember where I was or what was going on in the world. The other side of the bed felt cold, and empty, and when I reached over, seeking Susie's warmth with my fingers, I found nothing but the scratchy rough material of the linen. Susie probably awoke in the middle of the night due to a bad dream, and crawled into bed with Mom. Nightmares weren't unusual for these rough and trying times in Gotham City, because whenever you awoke, you found you were constantly living in one. To ordinary day-to-day civilians like us, our own suburbs have become unsafe and overtaken by thieves, and thugs of the lowest spectrum.
It all happened so dramatically. One day I was at school, and in the next, the teachers were sending us home early, due to a live broadcast on national television depicting a masked terrorist who released all inmates from the City's prison. The entire fanfare had to have been broadcasted on the T.V at least ten times that night; I still remember how it felt, how shaken up I was, when I saw it happen before my own eyes myself on the screen.
Now this is how we all live; All residences in Gotham stay shacked up inside their homes, aiming to go unnoticed. Since the masked man set free all prisoners, everyone has remained on the down-low. The streets have become dangerous and marked with violence and blood-shed. That's why my mother insisted my little sister, Susie, and I stay in-doors at all times, no exceptions.
It isn't easy though; Supplies are becoming scarce in our household. Food is running low, the electricity ran out two months ago. Luckily, we learned to be resourceful in times like these; I found some old candles in the attic, ones that were used briefly last year for my sister's fifth birthday. The candles have been useful in giving us light during those dark evening hours, but even candles don't last forever and we've let more than a few of them burn down to the wick, due to Susie being frightened of sleeping in the dark.
I propped myself up onto my elbow and looked across the room. The dim morning sun was enough to cast over the bed opposite mine to see them vividly enough; My little sister, Susie, is curled up on her side, her chin resting against my mother's shoulder. My mother looked so different when she slept, more young and carefree. Still haggard and worn, but peaceful. I felt terrible for my mother; Ever since the City was taken hold and the streets patrolled by the masked man's soldiers and liberated prisoners, I don't believe she's ever had a stress-free minute to herself.
My mother has turned into an unfamiliar reproduction of herself; A woman in her late forties who weeps whenever Susie and I so much as drift on out of eyesight. Back when we were younger, she wasn't so protective of us. But clearly, times have changed. It's within a mother's instinct to do anything within her power to preserve her children from harm's way.
Lying at Susie's knees, their short hind-legs draping over her, guarding the house and its owners inside it, was the world's most fattest bulldog. He was quite ugly too, but the ugliness was somehow endearing. Susie named him Marcus, after our late father, who died when I was around twelve, and Susie three. He has a squashed in button-nose, he dribbles constantly, his ears always pricked up and on-guard for any unwanted intruders. Marcus has never been all that fond of me. Or at least, he distrusts me in some way.
He constantly barks at me, and its only when I offer him a small morsel of food, that he comes close enough to let me pet him. In all things considered, I don't like him all that much either. He annoys me, he's always making gurgled growling noises at me. But I have grown to appreciate him throughout these past few months; He is the only help we have in defending ourselves if someone barged in and moved to attack us.
A week ago, he disappeared from the house and we didn't see him for very nearly over two days. It was very torturous for Susie; I don't think I had ever seen her cry, and beg so hard. We all thought he had gotten himself killed, or trampled on. I had started to believe someone, our next-door neighbours maybe, had dropped so low as to slaughter him like a wild pig to feed themselves with. In these desperate times, you find anything is possible. You never truly know what you're capable of, unless you're experiencing a horrifying situation like this.
I tossed my legs off the bed and climbed to my feet. I searched around in the dark for my soft soled boots, that I often wore on my sneaky one hour vacations before either my mother or Susie woke to take notice. I wasn't doing it to throw my mother into an even more intense panic; Sometimes, I grew impatient with waiting around, and I would wander the streets. Sometimes I would go down to the empty grocery store a block away from the house, sneak inside, and fetch some food to tie us over until the next time supplies were low and I had to do it all over again.
I found the rusting kitchen knife I often used on my quick travels, always for the sole intentions of protecting myself just in case I ran into trouble, and shoved it inside my pocket. It hadn't happened to me, as yet, I hadn't been confronted by any of the masked man's guards outside on the street, but I was expecting it sooner or later. It was better to be always suspecting and ready, than to be caught in a sticky situation unarmed. Plus, my mother would never forgive me had her daughter never returned home.
As I padded my way towards the door and unlatched it from the bolt, Marcus raised his head and whined at me. I pressed my finger to my lips, pleading with him to be silent, like a dog could truly understand what such a gesture signalled. Then, I slipped out before neither my mother or Susie stirred to see what Marcus was making a commotion about. I decided then I would try to scourge around for some dog treats while I was at it. Though Marcus was a chubby, meaty creäture who showed no sign of starvation, I believed it was a kind act to do for him. He had certainly deserved it, after all that he has done to keep my family safe. It was the least I could do, surely. It wasn't as if I was going out of my way, really. I was certain they had dog treats in the grocery store.
At this dim dark hour of the morning, our area's patrolled streets were usually quiet. Before this all happened, you would see people rushing off in their business skirts and uniforms all the time to get to work. It's funny how much you take things for granted.
Today the streets are empty. The shutters on each individual house are closed, probably to keep out of suspicions way.
The grocery store is on a block away from our house. I just have to pass down the street then cross the road to get to the corner where it was. Even though it appeared calm and quiet, I still stopped and listened carefully, hidden against the wall, before running across the street. All you had to do is hear footsteps and low voices, to know that the masked men's guards were out patrolling the street. Right now, though, it was still and calm as a summer's breezeless day. As soon as I get the all-clear, I slip my knife out of my pocket- always for a safety precaution in case- and take advantage of the still silent to jog over the road.
There is no cars out either, anymore. No early morning traffic. Everyone has retreated into their homes with their families ever since it happened. We've all been reduced to the same, hiding frightened animals they've molded us into.
My mother hadn't coped very well. She was shaken up badly. The streets seem to heighten that, illustrating just how bleak and closed-off the City is now.
Everyone is much the same; living in fear for the moment the masked man and his troops targeted them and destroyed their family.
There isn't any hope anymore; My mother told me several months ago, and it has remained to stick by me ever since, that our one true reason for hope is gone. By that, she means the Batman. He has been active in the City for months now, everyone is fearing that he is dead. But there are some of us - like me- who still has some misguided hope that he will return and put everything back into its rightful state of before. There are some of us, like me, who still find hope and happiness in the smallest, must humble things; Whether it be fooling around with a sibling by tickling them, or by managing to collect a few small scraps of bread to tie us over and curb the hunger for several hours. I believe that's the right way to live, though. In finding positivity in the most bleak and dreary situations.
It's not always easy to have that outlook on life, though. Not when you're confined and living the way we were, constantly in hiding.
Sure that the coast is clear, I push the corner grocery store door open with the side of my hip, and push inside. It's completely deserted in here, also. It's everywhere, it shows in the most smallest of things, just how shut down the City is. Before, the grocery store used to be crowded with people towing around their shopping carts. Now, it's like all civilians have been demolished and I'm the only one left in existence. It's almost as if I have the world all to myself.
I scanned the aisles, and collected some bread. I found the dog treats I wanted for Marcus, too. Because there hasn't been any moving life in the grocery store for quite some time, rats have decided to make it their new home. Several cereal boxes have been left chewed through at the cardboard. I had to inspect certain supplies very carefully, so that we wouldn't get sick. Who knows how much disease the rats have? And we certainly couldn't afford anyone in my family getting ill at the time. Doctors, were a rarity now. We all had to fend for ourselves, and never take our health for granted.
Just when I was halfway through with loading my pockets up with some soft-centered chocolates I know will keep Susie content for a day or two, I heard a noise. The front door of the grocery store clattering and banging open. I was gripping my knife so tightly in my hand then, that my fingers started to tingle and grow numb. I couldn't see anything fishy or unusual, but when I backed away into the frozen food aisle, I heard them. Footsteps. Clunking, heavy footsteps that echoed along the deserted room. I held in a collective breath, when I spotted a head. A hairless, bald head. My entire back stiffened, when the footsteps started again down the aisles. The head turned into a full body, and I was struck by how big and tall the person was. His combat boots were as big and heavy as a set of logs. He was completely unaware of my presence, going about his business; He obviously wasn't betting on anyone hitting up the shelves in a deserted grocery store for food supplies this early of a morning.
He scampered down the medical section, remaining completely oblivious to the fact he had a silent, hidden spectator. He was looking for something, I was standing stock-still and focused on the back of that bald, scarred head of his, until the dreadful moment he turned around and spotted me. My belly clenched in fear at the impending moment. He then bent down low- his boots giving off a funny squeaking sound- and snatched a box off the rack. His fingers were so big, so thick, I could almost hear the cardboard crunching between them as he held the label level to his eyes. He read it next, out-loud, in the open:
"Ah, yes. Adhesive bandages."
And then I began to feel nauseous, I was praying to a higher power, please oh please don't let him turn around, because I recognized that voice the instance I heard it. He was the very same man I had heard on the television. The very same man who seized Gotham and turned its streets into an empty, abandoned City. The very man who kept everyone locked inside their homes, out of sheer mind-numbing terror he would harm them. Never had I once in my right mind envisioned I would be meeting him in the flesh. I suppose things never work out the way you expect them to, though.
And then he turned, the tightly tacked tendons in the back of his neck twitching. And then his eyes fell on me. They were light gray eyes, with no light in them. Simply the awareness that they were focused on me, all on and solely me, it made it frightening most of all.
I remember one time, when I was little, I had a bad experience in riding my training bike down a winding road. I couldn't remember how to use the breaks, and I crashed right into a fence. The impact had been well and truly enough to render me breathless with shock, my stomach had flipped, and it had managed to knock every whisper of air I could inhale in, and out. I laid there on the ground, half on the seat of my bike, my right leg half trapped underneath the wheel, struggling to breathe, to do anything, my lungs ceased functioning, I was so dumb-founded with shock.
That was exactly like how this moment felt, when he looked straight over at me. I was totally stunned. The trying to remember how to breath, to get some air into my lungs, to try to recall how to work my limbs, my body, to move into action. I wanted to flee, I wanted to run for my life, and yet, it was impossible. My body wouldn't let me, but my mind wanted to, so badly. I was in fight or flight mode. And, clearly, with the way my trembling hand rose, holding the sharpest blade of the knife in front of me, it wanted to fight, whether I was in reasonable frame of mind or not.
"You. Come here, girl."
This cannot be happening!
I managed to find my voice an instance later. It was unsteady, however. But at least I had managed to use it. "Please, I was just getting some food for my family... I never..." I trailed off, unsure of myself.
"I said, get over here!" There was a gruff manner to his tinny voice that shook me greatly. Steeling myself, I pushed forward on my feet. Right foot, left foot, right, left. He was looking at me peculiarly, it was quite hard to say what it was he felt in seeing me; It was because there wasn't much of him to see. His face was covered, aside from the eyes, which were squinting down at me, creased at the rims. I had grown very perceptive in judging how people felt with their facial expressions at an early age. But with this man, with that ghastly mask on, I couldn't tell what his intentions were with me at all.
And I think that made him all the more dangerous in my eyes.
He was far more daunting up close; He had a bulky, wool-blend military jacket on, and loose dark grey pants. He was so far taller than me, I had to crane my neck to see him more clearly. Who knew what he was capable of doing to a girl like me? After all, this is a man who unleashed all violent inmates confined. Often, on the news on those rare occasions we were brave enough to watch it, we would see how the crime rate has risen since the prisoners release. They were all reoffending, and I think that gave us about the dead-set incentive we needed to stay in-door and out-of-sight to the world.
"Please, I'll leave now and pretend I never saw you," I begged, far too softly and weakly, because it was truly upsetting me and I felt very nearly on the verge of crying. Back then, when I saw the replays of him on television, he was what nightmares were made of for me. I didn't want him to take note of my tears and gauge them as a sign of weakness, I wouldn't dare let myself be marked as an easy target, nor would I let him have the satisfaction. I would rather give no one that satisfaction ever.
"What is your name, girl?"
I swallowed hard. "M-Miranda."
"Miranda, was it?" He almost bellowed it out. Something flashed in his eyes. "Oh, what irony."
"Please, let me leave," I said, far harshly than intended.
"Oh, no. I have use for you yet. Do you know how to treat someone who is injured?"
I was about to crack and break, yet something in his question prevented me from it. "Yes, I... I believe so."
"Very good. Then proceed as you naturally would." He tilted his head sideways, and it was then I caught it, and automatically understood. He had a gaping graze, from the right side of his bare forehead to his temple. Fresh blood was oozing from the cut. A few red tear-like drops dribbled down the side of his cheek. "Well, go on, child. Don't loiter now. Assist me, use the bandage, and I shall let you go free and unharmed."
That seemed a bargain worth the effort, despite my not wanting to touch any part of him.
I was baffled, motionless, but recollected myself enough in time when he thrust the box into my hand. I tore it open and managed, with as much dignity as I possibly could, to stretch up onto my toes and smooth the glossy side over the wound. I heard the hiss he gave out- which was more like a deep, reverberating whoosh through the mouthpiece of his strange mask, more than anything- when I glided the pad of my thumb to seal it in place. Then by wave of his arm, he consented me to leave. I was disgusted and a bit curious in him, but mostly grateful he had honoured his side of the bargain.
I put my knife back into my pocket and clutched onto the loaf of bread. When I scampered towards the door, I turned to glance back at him fleetingly. His eyes were trained on me, and I found the distance was enough to let loose the startled, strangled choke I discovered I was suppressing when in close distance to him.
At home, I found my mother was already awake. She was setting the table, ready to go for breakfast. I assumed Susie was still sleeping. She stared at me pointedly when I slid the loaf of bread onto the table. She has never liked me leaving the house without her knowing. I knew she was only merely worried for me, and after this morning's recent events, I couldn't blame her.
"You look frightened," she said, in a hushed voice. We couldn't have Susie noticing that something was wrong. Even though she wasn't in the room at present, she did tend to eavesdrop sneakily, as her game of childlike entertainment. "Did something happen while you were out in the streets?"
I couldn't even look at her. Looking at my mother directly in the face, it instantly made me powerless in lying to her. "No, everything went fine." I smoothed out my hair, trying to tame down whatever expression she saw I was wearing. Maybe I did look shaken up terribly? Well, I was. I was more than shaken up. I was terrified.
She nodded, and let it go, but she looked teary, as she usually did under stress. I turned to her and grabbed her arm, firmly, while she went about setting the cutlery onto the table. "Mom, listen to me. Can you really listen?" She nodded again, alarmed by my trembling intensity. "Whatever you do, don't let Susie go out in the streets. All right?"
"Of course not."
"Good, because it really isn't safe! Especially not for a girl like her! There are frightening people out there who look capable of nearly anything!" Incidentally, my voice had risen into a shout. And it set her off. Her eyes welled over, and she put her arms around me, shaking me. It only made the desperation worse for her to understand.
"Oh, God." She shook me again, moved to tearful anger herself. "You saw him, didn't you? You finally saw him? He finally saw you on your little quest for food, didn't he? I told you not to leave the house! With no exceptions!"
"I know you did. And I hear you this time! I won't be doing it ever again!"
"Good, because..." She drew in a deep breath, then clasped her face in her hands. "I couldn't risk losing you, over you doing something so silly! We remain in-doors for a reason, all right?"
Susie toddled in, and she heard the end part, much to my dismay. It set her off bawling, like she usually does for a girl her age, and it set off Marcus with his barking, too. But the masked man had spared me today. He hadn't felt it necessary to deceive me. I didn't know what he saw in me, but clearly he was above and beyond killing a young girl. That seemed a small spark to be grateful for.
Hope you enjoyed this first chapter? I just wanted to touch on how depressed and deserted the City is. I tried to make Miranda as realistic as possible- sorry about the fact her name is Miranda. Is that a bit too cheesy considering Talia goes under that alias? Hope not. Feel free to let me know your thoughts, and if this is something worthy of expanding on.