The Dark Knight Lives (FORTY-EIGHT)

Charles Putton wasn’t expecting visitors. Or at least, not so soon.

He was lying in a medical center, unable to move as every inch of his body, except his face, was wrapped in thick swaths of bandages. He felt like a mummy. An alive mummy. He couldn’t move. He could only stare at the ceiling and wonder what had happened.

He wanted to believe it was all a bad dream. That his encounter with The Batman, or the Batwoman, as his assailant had corrected, was just a figment of his imagination and that he was really assaulted by some nutcase in a mask.

And yet, it all seemed too real, the threat too powerful, the enemy too mysterious. He saw the ears of the mask, he had heard his men gunned down with raw fear in their voices. What had transpired wasn’t fake and no matter of self-convincing could change that fact.

He was staring at the ceiling, his eyes wide with the memory of the Batwoman’s grasp releasing, allowing him to plummet to his death when he heard the door of his hospital room opening and closing. Seconds later, he heard footsteps approaching.

He closed his eyes, expecting to hear the voice of a rival crime-lord reveling in his state and about to end his miserable life. So imagine his surprise when he heard a woman’s voice.

His eyes snapped open as he half-expected to find Batwoman standing over him, returning to finish the job, and instead found himself looking at the new Commissioner, Lynx was what they called her. Her expression was stern.

He snorted. “Wasn’t expecting to see you anytime soon,” he said.

She crossed her arms. “And what does that mean?”

“It means,” he instantly replied, “I wasn’t going to see you for a while because you weren’t going to have the means or the guts to arrest me.”

“And look where that got you. You may have been safer in prison.”

He sighed. “Maybe you’re right.”

“I was notified that you’ve been spewing tales that The Batman has returned.”

His eyes flashed with anger. “It’s not a tale. It’s real. And it’s not The Batman. It’s someone new. She calls herself Batwoman.”

Commissioner Lynx’s eyebrows furrowed. “Batwoman?”

“Yes, Batwoman. She’s dressed just like the dark knight and is just as terrifying. Be careful. She may be coming after you next.”

Lynx smirked. “She nearly killed you, didn’t she? I think if what you’re saying is true she has a particular despisal of criminals like yourself.”

He snarled. “Police commissioners. Pfft. You’re all the same.”

Her frown deepened.

“You think because you’re the head of the police department you can control everything, every outcome, every lowlife, high-level criminal, maniacal madman, but let me tell you something, Ms. Pretty Commissioner,” her eyebrows furrowed even further, “you can’t stop the evil that arises in Gotham. Not you, not masked Robin, not your fancy Batwoman, none of you can stop what’s coming.”

“And what’s coming exactly?” she responded.

He chuckled humorlessly. “It’s already here.” His tone quieted. “The Penguin. You know about him. He was the one who took your precious Commissioner away from you and he’s the one who is going to steal the heart of Gotham right out from under your nose.”

She neared him menacingly. “What do you know about The Penguin?”

He snorted. “No more than you. But I know one thing for certain, he’s the real deal. And his gang of goons, The Flock, are an army you’re not going to want to mess with. You’ve got a problem on your hands, Commissioner.”

She turned, leaving his eyesight as she began to walk away.

“Don’t say I didn’t warn you, Commissioner!” he called after her.

A second later, the door slammed. He smiled to himself and yet, thinking on it, he was the one immobile and Commissioner Lynx was free to walk around. Maybe crime’s time would, in fact, come to an end in Gotham and he would be the first victim of this new era.

He closed his eyes and fell asleep, his dreams permeated by the Batwoman’s arrival.

Commissioner Lynx exited the hospital, her thoughts stuck on Charles Putton’s words. What he had said had affected her deeply, mainly because what he said had only confirmed her fears, her deepest worries.

She knew The Penguin was a major threat. It’s why she was using every resource she had at her disposal to find and destroy him before more people were hurt. But he was a wraith, a ghost whose name haunted the Gothamites and actions left next to zero fingerprints.

She kept a brave face for her officers and the people of Gotham but deep down, she was afraid. She was afraid because she didn’t know if The Penguin could be stopped. In fact, in all honesty, she felt like he had the very city wrapped around his little finger and whenever he felt the means to he would strike, casting Gotham into an even deeper well of despair and hopelessness. And Commissioner Lynx wouldn’t be able to do anything about it.

These were the troubling thoughts that milled around in her brain as she approached her sheriff’s car. And then there was an exclamation from somewhere in the parking lot. It distracted her from her thoughts just long enough to see what was going on. When he looked, a man and woman were staring up at the sky, pointing in awe. She followed their gaze and nearly had a heart attack.

In the sky, glowing brighter than ever, was the Batman signal.

From the top of the Wayne Enterprises Building, the Batman signal poured into the clouds, glowing down on the city overhead with a brilliance that hadn’t been seen in years.

Katherine Kane stood by the Bat-signal, her figure a shadow against the bright light and her cape flowing in the wind.

Tonight, she was making a statement. A message to all in Gotham, good and bad, that Batman had returned in the form of a new warrior, her, the Batwoman.

She would be the city’s new hope, their unwavering guardian, their new Dark Knight.

With her chin raised with determination, she gazed at the beacon, a smile coming to her face.

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