Ghosts (Parts II and III)

Tim Williams

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Gotham is subject to yet another night of pillaging. There is a robbery cut short by figure that bathes in the nightlife of this pit. Balancing himself and a thug on a ledge, twenty stories up, the Batman dangles him upside down. He thinks, “Johnny Bones, a small-time thug trying to get big here in Gotham. He works for Scarecrow, and I need information.”

There, he speaks, “Bones, my arms are getting tired. Speak, before I drop you.”

“FINE, FINE,” Johnny replies, looking down to see the the herd of traffic below him.

“Do you work for Scarecrow?” Batman asks, raising his arms so that his eyesight would level with his chest, his symbol.

“I used to! I used to! I haven’t worked for him in years! I used to, man.” Lenses squint, not believing a word he mustered. And with a slowed breath, he lets Johnny go, tumbling to the ground below.

Twenty stories.

 Eight stories.

Five stories.

Before he could muster a howl, the thug is swooped into the arms of a beast gliding from above him. They seemingly fly over to the rooftop of a theater, one of the last in Gotham. “I will ask ONE more time, Johnny, do you work for him?”

After taking a second to position himself on this new surface, he brings himself to his feet, despite his shaking legs. “No…” Batman steps closer, “BUT, I do sometimes run things by him. You know, little things from off the streets.”

This was useful to him, the Batman would use him as bait to catch Scarecrow. “Take me to him,” he said, grabbing him by the collar with strength unlike Johnny had ever seen, and they retreat off the rooftop using his grappling gun.

III

 They stand near a warehouse on the East End; the docks were a dirty place, even for the Batman. It was a shock that these supports were still in use, despite their ugly features.

“Here,” said Johnny. “This is where he’s been hiding out these last couple o’ days, man, I swear!”

As if the wind were a calling for him to flee, The Dark Knight lifts off into the night, disappearing before Johnny Bones even knew what happened. “Jonathan Crane, Scarecrow; once a doctor at Arkham Asylum turned inmate himself. Like my father used to tell me before bed, ‘Gradually slipping into one’s own sanity is better than slipping into everyone else’s.’ I know this now.”

After making his way in through an air vent, there is a rhyme, one he hadn’t heard since childhood echo through the metal surrounding him:

“Hickory Dickory dock,

The mouse ran up the clock.

The clock struck one;

the mouse ran down.

Hickory Dickory dock.”

Scarecrow stood in front of a crate. The warehouse was an abandoned shipping dock, dilapidated but sturdy.

“Hickory Dickory dock,” Scarecrow continued, dancing around the crate among machinery.

“The mouse ran up the clock,

the clock struck two;

and down he flew.

Hickory Dickory dock.”

“For the last five days, Scarecrow and his men have been blowing up relay towers, causing blackouts all over the city. After dark, they loots stores, rob whomever and whatever they can. Bones told me Crane has barrels of his fear gas SOMEWHERE in Gotham. I need to know where they are.”

There is a faint light in the pipe; it was a grate, big enough for him to fit through but the location of said grate was unknown. “I need to get to Crane before any of his gas is released in MY city.”

“Hickory Dickory dock,

the mouse ran up the clock.

The clock struck three;

and he did flee.” Scarecrow is interrupted by a deep voice in origin; soothing but menacing.

“Hickory! Dickory! Dock!” Batman musters from behind the crate. Its frame flies off with a kick. His cape falls behind him gracefully; a slick landing makes for a dramatic entrance.

“Where are the barrels, Crane?!”

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Ghosts (Parts II and III)