So When did the Nut Take Over the Nuthouse?

I could barely open my eyes. A harsh orange-reddish light pierced my pupils like a needle. I could barely breathe, either. Oh God, the stench.

 

Rotting carcasses were strewn around, which meant either a dinosaur had just completed his lunch, or Jack the Ripper was back in business. I wanted to vomit.

 

Then I opened my eyes a little more. Strangely, the sunlight was coming through a window that was 10 feet above me.

 

I turned around – I was sitting inside some kind of jail. But this wasn’t the Major Crimes Unit. Nor was it Gotham’s central police station.

 

The last time I remember visiting this place, it was clean.

 

“No Bruce, this isn’t what you think it is. Even I have no idea.”

 

Commissioner Gordon stared me in the face.

 

“Those weren’t my men or my orders. That madman had my family at gunpoint…”

 

I shook my head. Gordon didn’t need to explain himself. Someone else had to do the explaining.

 

“Apparently, he plans to expose the Batman in 24 hours… no, wait, he told me that around 5 hours earlier, so we have less than a day to do something, Mr. Wayne.”

 

I liked how he referred to me and Batman as two separate people.

 

Fortunately, in my brief time as a petty thief in China, I had learnt to pick the hardest locks. This one didn’t seem too hard at all.

 

As I was about to crack it, there was a flash of lightning. The lights went off, and came on again.

 

After that, the corpses around us ‘woke up’.

 

“Open the lock NOW, Mr. Wayne.”

 

I obliged. But where do we go from here? The building seemed familiar, but was new to me all the same.

 

We ran for our lives.

 

In all this mayhem, I managed to take a peek behind us. They were actually not humans, just pieces of rotting flesh. Yet, they ran hard at us, their eyes betraying their intentions.

 

Dead end.

As the zombie mob descended upon us, I felt helpless. Gordon’s gun was taken away, so we couldn’t even fire.

 

Then it hit me like a tank. I AM BATMAN. 

 

How could I forget that? I screamed as loud as I could and unleashed all those years of martial arts training on the zombies.

 

Every chop I landed, every bone I broke, didn’t seem to have an effect on them though. They got up again.

 

Gordon wasn’t 20, but he was a decent fighter. He saw me looking at him, “My Green Beret training. It’s been 20 years, but I can manage now and then.”

 

Although I was trained to a physical peak, I wasn’t trained to fight forever. I was getting tired…

 

“Mr. Wayne, here!”

 

A nice sharp blade came my way. What followed was bloodshed – I didn’t like it, but there wasn’t any other choice. Their heads went off, one by one.

 

At the end of it all, I kicked each and every one of them, just to make sure.

 

“Dead as a doornail. You’re quite the martial arts expert, Mr. Wayne.”

 

“Your grey hair belies your agility, Commissioner. I am impressed.”

 

We laughed. “That still doesn’t tell us where we are. Oh, there’s a door right ahead.”

 

It was locked. I broke it open.

 

In front of us was a large hallway, with sweeping staircases, gargoyles and a huge metal statue bang in the middle.

 

We ran towards the statue. It looked oddly familiar. There was a note attached to its foot.

 

WELCOME TO THE MADHOUSE, BRUCE WAYNE

 

Oh my God. The statue of Amadeus Arkham.

 

We were in Arkham Asylum.

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Why Do We Fall, Master Wayne?

“They’ll cast you out, like a leper.”

 

These words still ring in my head, like an irritating telephone.

 

I didn’t even feel like reading the papers anymore.

 

Madcap Billionaire unleashes assault on innocent journalists. Is he hiding Batman’s identity? What is his ulterior motive? IS HE THE BATMAN?

 

Of course, the fact that the Wayne Foundation donated over half a billion dollars to restore Gotham city was pushed back to the last page, in a little corner.

 

Not that I’m complaining. But sometimes it does go a little too far.

 

Alfred came in with breakfast. “I hope you know it’s 3 in the afternoon.”

 

I managed a weak smile. “You’re taking this too seriously on yourself, Master Bruce.”

 

Fox came in after a while. “I have news.”

 

“Bad… or good?” I was hopeful, even if only a little.

 

“It depends on how you look at it. Joker has disappeared from Gotham.”

 

Do you know what happens when a .45 hits you point blank in your guts? I do.

 

“Disappeared…?”

 

The newspaper article stating that he might come for that news conference was just a ruse. Apparently, he’d been missing ever since he was broken out by the League of Shadows.

 

The League of Shadows… oh my God. Was he being initiated? No, he was too insane for that. No way!

 

“I know what you’re thinking, Master Wayne. I don’t think the clown is one to fit in a team, though. He’s his own man. Don’t tell me you’re WORRIED about him?”

 

“No.” I was lying. I was worried about him. Not because he was Joker, because he was now in the hands of a man I feared most.

 

“Fox, I need to give a statement to the press.”

 

That’s when Gordon came charging in. “I’m afraid that won’t be possible, Mr. Wayne.” He was followed by a few more policemen.

 

“Hey Commissioner. Did I break another traffic light?” Trust me to come up with the worst jokes in a situation like this.

“I’m afraid it’s a lot more than that, Mr. Wayne. A journalist has slapped assault and battery charges on you.”

 

“Really? Who is that?”

 

“It is me, Bruce Wayne.”

 

From the back of the room a shadowy figure emerged. When he came into the light, I didn’t know whether to laugh or break something in anger.

 

Ra’s Al Ghul. Looked menacing even with his hand in a sling.

 

“And I intend to bring you and your reputation down even further. Gotham must know the true identity of its ‘son’. Disgrace.”

 

At that moment, I snapped and landed him a nice blow on the jaw. Alfred held me back from doing any more damage.

 

“I’m sure you’re aware, Bruce Wayne, that anything you do or say can be used against you in a court of law. And I have MANY witnesses here.”

 

Gordon, Fox and Alfred pulled me back and tried to calm me down.

 

As I left with the cops, Alfred put a hand on my shoulder.

 

“Your time will come. Now is not the time.”  

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At What Cost

Why is it so hard to give up your past?

 

This is a question I’ve wrestled with ever since… that night. The consequence of not finding that answer is the charade I’ve been putting up every night – as this winged creature of ‘justice’.

 

Justice? If there was any justice, my parents would’ve lived, I would have been just Bruce Wayne, and… Gotham might have been normal.

 

No, I’m kidding myself.

 

But these guys are not. I find myself tied to a chair (again). But this time, all I see is a dim light and the silhouette of a man in front of me.

 

“I told you Bruce. I am going to reveal this grim façade of yours to Gotham city, once and for all.”

 

This was no dream.

 

“I know you can defend yourself and take down my men, but you will have to answer for the corpses of your dear butler Alfred, Lucius Fox and poor Commissioner Gordon, whose arrangements I had to… re-arrange.”

 

He showed me. Every corner of Wayne Manor had a sniper, but there were three special snipers with their scopes trained squarely on Alfred, Fox and Gordon.

 

I had to go quietly. But Ra’s wouldn’t even allow me that. He held me by the hair and dragged me.

 

As he dragged me, I took a peek outside. Yes, Gordon’s arrangements were spot on, but he had no clue about Ra’s’ snipers.

 

Ra’s slammed my face against the window. “See for yourself. The beginning of the end of Batman… and, Bruce Wayne.”

 

I saw a hundred reporters waiting at the Hall entrance. A few of them were planted by Ra’s, as backup. Fox was trying to calm them down by saying these were just rumours, but no one was listening. Gordon had the police in control. Alfred… I didn’t see Alfred.

 

Neither did I see Joker.

 

Is Ra's responsible

 

“Where’s Joker?”

 

“I couldn’t care less, Bruce. Now if you’ll excuse me, we have a press conference to attend…”

 

There was no Joker. He generally makes appearances. This is one conference he wouldn’t want to miss.

 

Did I miss something? Apart from the fact that Gotham’s only ray of hope was about to be extinguished?

 

I think I did. I immediately knocked down Ra’s and a couple of his thugs.

 

The party was only about to begin…

Madness is like Gravity

Leave me alone!

 

I struggled to no avail. They had my hands tied behind the chair I was sitting on. Wait a minute… I was sitting in a WITNESS BOX.

 

“MY LORD! I AM HERE TO PRESENT THE CASE – CITIZENS OF GOTHAM V/S BRUCE WAYNE AKA BATMAN.”

 

Harvey… my friend Harvey! I was relieved for a moment… and then he turned the other side of his face to me.

 

Why did it have to be me?
The only way to live in this world is chance...

 

“His crimes include killing five policemen, destroying public property of Gotham city… and he ruined my life. Well, half of it anyway. How do the defendants plead?”

 

Again, it was Harvey who spoke. “But your honour, Bruce Wayne is the last of the admired Wayne family. It was their family who brought Gotham back on its feet during the economic crisis. Let us also consider the fact that his parents were murdered at a tender age…”

 

“YOUR HONOUR… we must not bring emotion into this case. We must realise that Bruce Wayne and Batman are one and the same and the crimes committed by Batman are the crimes committed by BRUCE WAYNE! What do you say members of the jury?”

 

Very convenient. The League of Shadows as jury members. I’m sure you can guess who the judge was. He let out a hysterical laugh.

 

“What are you saying my dear Harvey? Bruce Wayne IS Batman? This opens up the case… and I don’t mean in a very nice way, Batman… or wait, should I call you Bruce? HAHAHA!”

 

I hate it when that clown laughs.

 

In any case, I was sentenced to death. And all my foes ganged up on me.

 

“I shall be the executioner, your honour,” said Harvey. Then he picked up his gun and shot me…

 

I heard the sound of sirens. And someone was vigorously trying to wake me up.

 

“Mr. Wayne. Don’t you read the papers? Joker and some mystery man are plotting to take your life in WAYNE MANOR!”

 

That was ANOTHER dream. Was I going mad? Anyway, you have no idea how glad I am to see you, Jim. “Commissioner Gordon! What brings you here?”

 

“You don’t follow the news, do you Mr. Wayne?”

 

“I try. But as far as I know, they just want to use the Wayne Manor grounds to make an announcement.”

 

I got up and walked to the window. What I saw shocked me.

 

But it was also impressive.

 

Almost all the cars of the Gotham police force had formed a perimeter around Wayne Manor. “Jeez, Jim, I’m no politician…”

 

“BUT YOU’RE BRUCE WAYNE!” hollered Gordon. “And around here, as far as I know, he’s bigger than a few god damn politicians.”

 

I laughed. Then I asked him why someone would want to take MY life.

 

“This mystery man knows who Batman is. Isn’t that reason enough?”

 

I felt like an idiot. I know Ra’s AND the Joker are after me. And yet I try to cover it all up with my billionaire persona. Why, I don’t know.

 

This ‘Batman identity reveal’ should be an interesting event…