The Dark Knight Lives (FORTY-FOUR)

Katherine Kane, like Bruce Wayne, had ordered, had gone to the entrance of the graveyard and found a black car with tinted windows waiting for her. The driver, a man in black with shades (even though it was nighttime) urged her with a gesture of his hand to enter the car. She obliged, seating herself in the backseat.

The driver didn’t speak as he got in the driver’s seat and drove her to an unknown destination. And honestly, she didn’t care. She kept her gaze on the window, watching the world of Gotham passing by as they drove down the street.

Her heart was still hammering in her chest. Part of her wanted to believe that this was the greatest dream she had concocted but after pinching herself–a little too hard–she once again was forced to confront the reality; this was very real.

They eventually drove to the front of the Wayne Enterprises Building. Katherine wasn’t surprised. She got out of the car, bracing herself against the frigid temperatures. As she stared up at the building that seemed to go on forever as it disappeared into the sudden arrival of nighttime clouds a cloud of white vapor escaped her mouth.

She heard the window to the car behind her sliding downward and when she looked the driver was speaking to her.

“Go to the 25th floor,” the driver told her.

Before she could respond he had closed the window and was driving off. She sighed.

“Nice guy,” she muttered.

With that, she turned and walked toward the entrance of the building. She was half-expecting the front entrance to be locked, considering how late it was, but as she pulled on the door’s handle it opened with relative ease. Her eyebrow rose.

“24-7 access. Interesting,” she noted.

She then walked through the massive lobby of the building, her eyes drawn to the gigantic portraits on the far wall of three men; Bob Wayne, Thomas Wayne, and finally Bruce Wayne. The Wayne legacy.

They all favored but they all seemed very different. Bob Wayne, his hair combed back and sporting a fancy mustache, seemed to be the happiest of the trio, his eyes edged with crow’s feet as he beamed to the painter. Thomas Wayne was more serious, his shaven face revealing a hint of a smile, especially in his eyes which seemed bright with the prospects of opportunity. And then there was Bruce Wayne, austere and devoid of any pleasantness. He looked like someone who grew up having seen his parents murdered before his very eyes.

Looking at his portrait, she almost felt sorry for him. Would there ever be a fourth portrait following his of a man, or woman, continuing the Wayne legacy or did it end with Bruce? Suddenly she began to grasp the true sacrifice he must’ve taken to be Batman. It was humbling.

She finally reached the elevators and to her relief one was already waiting for her. She entered its confines, pressing the button for the 25th floor. As the lift ascended she exhaled a long breath to calm herself. She didn’t know what she was about to meet but the suspense was definitely getting to her. It wouldn’t do well to have a heart attack from sheer excitement or the chance of being overwhelmed.

When the elevator doors slid open she found herself staring not at a fancy hall that would lead to several different locations like she expected but rather a simple room with a simple desk stationed but a few yards away. At this desk sat an elderly African-American man who seemed to be reading the newspaper.

She walked toward the desk and stopped. When the man didn’t move she cleared her throat. He snapped the paper as if startled and then smiled when he saw her.

“Ah, you scared me, miss. Kind of got caught up in the sports section.”

She smiled, trying to determine what to say next. Thankfully she didn’t have to explain why she, a mysterious woman from off the street, had come onto the 25th floor of the Wayne Enterprises Building in the middle of the night because he already knew.

He held up his hand. “You don’t have to say anything, Ms. Kane. Mr. Wayne told me everything I need to know.”

Her eyebrows creased. “How do you know my name?”

He waved his hand dismissively. “We’ll get to all that in a little bit but first,” he stood, a smile spreading on his aged face, “let me take you down to the playground.”

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