The Dark Knight Lives (SIXTEEN)

One of the reasons The Penguin had survived so long in the dark criminal underworld is because he was a cautious man. Fools like The Joker and Bane, they wanted to prove a point to Gotham too fast. It was what got them killed. The Penguin had been working from the shadows for nearly two decades, orchestrating small crimes and causing mischief to the town’s elite in ways that he would never be caught.

Now, he wanted his presence to be known, and in one fell swoop Gotham would be his.

But…there was something amiss. A deep gut feeling that Robin wasn’t dead. Yes, he had been unconscious when they threw him into the river but The Penguin felt their defeat of him was too easy.

It was why he had sent a group of The Flock, unmasked which had become the greatest cover of their true identity, down the river to see if they could find his body. And sure enough, they didn’t. Instead, they discovered his cape lying on the shore.

The Penguin was furious. For a small moment, he had allowed his ego to get the better of him. In thinking he had Robin defeated he could’ve jeopardized his entire mission with one very stupid mistake; not letting Harley Quinn kill him.

“Find him,” The Penguin told them over the phone. “Find him and kill anyone who is close to him. We can’t let our plans be ruined.”

“Yes, sir,” the man replied before ending the call.

The Penguin sighed, pressing his fingers together in deep thought as he lounged back in his velvet chair in his office, a quaint room with wooden cabinets and beautiful paintings of priceless art that he had stolen from several museums throughout Gotham.

He was a man of great taste…and yet he lived in a cavern that was connected to the sewer. He made a sound of disgust.

He leaned forward, running a hand through his greased black hair agitatedly before placing his hand against his forehead in deep thought as memories of his early childhood returned to haunt him, reminding him of why he was the man he was today.

“Be careful. He’s not…normal like other children,” his father, George Leed, had told the new, pretty blond-haired nanny named Annabelle.

“What do you mean he’s not normal?” Annabelle had asked, bending down and rubbing Baby Richard’s hair. “He looks so cute.”

“Just…be careful.”

Baby Richard watched as his father pulled the nanny around the corner but he could still see their shadows, reflected from the firelight, against the cream-colored wall gilded with gold.

“I just don’t want anything to happen to you,” he heard his father whispered.

Their shadows melded as the two collided in a passionate kiss. Richard’s tiny hands clenched and his teeth, sharp at the points, bared.

Richard was much smarter than most two-year-olds and very strong for his age. During his lunchtime, he had managed to stow a small knife. While his nanny wasn’t looking he tested it by ripping straight through a cloth with little resistance. 

That night, while she was tucking him into his crib, he took the knife and stabbed her in the eye. Her bloodcurdling screams filled the night, waking her father and mother who came running in response.

Scrambling from his crib he took the knife from her writhing body and waited. When his father arrived he latched onto his leg, scrambled up the length of his body onto his chest, and slit his throat.

His father collapsed to the ground, bleeding to death. His mother found Baby Richard sitting on the floor in a puddle of the nanny and his father’s blood, the bloodied knife still in his hands.

Her mother, wide-eyed, fell unconscious. Baby Richard felt very proud of himself, for he had killed his father, who was having an affair on his mother with the young nanny. His mother, however, had not understood his noble intentions.

That next morning, she sent him away. He was taken to a foster home that was designed for troubled children.

He was there for a couple of years but it only took a few hours at the house to know he would never fit in. His razor-sharp teeth and the story of his reasoning for being at the home was horrifying, at the least.

At four-years-old, while taking an expedition at a park with their adult caretakers, a troupe of boys several years older than him cornered him on a bridge over a frothy stream that passed underneath. At the time, he was a small, skinny boy with dark eyes and long ragged black hair that hung around his face.

They pinned him against the railing, hurting him.

“You’re a freak, Richard and we don’t like freaks,” the lead bully spat in his face.

Richard screamed and called for help but it was futile as the boy lifted him off of his feet and dumped him into the ice-cold stream. Their evil laughter was swallowed up by the roar of the current that filled his ears.

He fought to stay afloat, refusing not to die. The stream eventually connected with the sewer depot and he was sent down into the depths of Gotham before eventually washing up on the shore of an underground cavern filled with penguins that had escaped the city zoo and somehow were never discovered living underneath the very city.

It was these penguins that had kept him alive along with his natural internal instinct of survival. 

When he became a teenager he began to venture from the caverns of Gotham and into the city. The city that had destroyed him because he was different. The city filled with lustful individuals like his father who made Gotham into the sinful place it had become.

It was this place that he had decided to destroy. But he would destroy it by ruling Gotham, showing the world its true ugly colors by bringing its villainy to the forefront, before cleansing the city of its filth, vindicating his very existence in this cruel world.

The Penguin had done well for himself over his silent reign of the criminal underworld, becoming a wealthy man, wealthy enough to get a dentist to give him the sparkly white teeth that he always dreamed of. Wealthy enough to wear the finest suits and amass a small army of followers who believed in the vision he was designing for his version of Gotham. Powerful enough to have a woman as beautiful and intelligent as Pamela Isley at his side.

How his fate had changed. If only those bullies who had thrown him into the stream to die could see him now. Unfortunately, they couldn’t, because he had found and killed them a long time ago in a long-awaited act of revenge. And his mother, oh his beloved mother who he would die for to protect, what will she say when she sees him again? Will she cry tears of joy, sorrow, disappointment, or disgust?

He was so close to fulfilling his goal and one little damn mistake could cost it all.

He pounded his hand on the table in vicious fury. The door opened and in stepped Pamela Isley, expectedly beautiful in a blue suede suit with a white collared shirt and matching blue heels.

“What’s wrong, Richard?” she asked.

She was one of the few people who knew his real name. In order to gain her trust and her commitment to his plan, he confided some of his deepest, darkest secrets to her and it worked. At times, he felt uncomfortable knowing that she knew him so well but she had been by his side for years. He figured she deserved that at least.

“Robin isn’t dead,” he told her.

Pamela’s eyes widened and then narrowed as she cursed. “So what are you going to do?”

“He has to die today before he messes up our plans for tomorrow.”

“Harley Quinn is our best option of eliminating him,” Pamela offered. “She’ll get the job done.”

He nodded. “Yes. Yes, she will. But she can’t go now. She must wait for cover of darkness before she strikes so we don’t have the whole police department rammed down our throats.”

Pamela nodded in response. “I’ll give her the order.”

As the door closed behind her he closed his eyes and took a deep breath. No one would stop his plan. He would make sure of that, even if he had to personally see to it that Robin was killed himself.

 

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