The Dark Knight Lives (TWENTY-THREE)

It was late at night and Gotham was mostly silent. Inhabitants of the city were either in their homes preparing for the festivities of the coming day or scared to death because of the recent events transpiring in Gotham.

The police depot was just as quiet. Police officers had either retired to their homes to spend time with their families before the big day or were silently lurking about the station.

Commissioner Gordon couldn’t sleep, choosing to stay at the depot. There was something unnerving about having two prisoners as dangerous as Harley Quinn and the other one who refused to reveal her name in the station. Whoever they were working for could get the bright idea to try and bust them out. And what would he do in that situation? Three-fourths of Gotham’s police force was away and the last fourth surely wasn’t prepared for a potential attack.

The only person he knew he could rely on was Lieutenant Lynx and Robin who had also chosen to stay at the depot, just in case. But three against an army wasn’t enough.

Even the newcomer named Kate had left, choosing to continue her heroic work in Gotham rather than hanging around the station in paranoia.

Commissioner Gordon grabbed the picture frame of his family gazing grimly at the photo within its wooden borders. His wife and children were caught eternally smiling for him to see, the lapping waves of the ocean at their back.

In his mind, he could remember the night when everything changed for the worse for him. They had finally captured The Joker thanks to Batman’s heroics but The Joker had had the last laugh; blowing up half of the depot in his unsettlingly easy escape and ending Harvey Dent’s shining disposition in one fell blow.

Harvey Dent turned psychotic Two-Face would end up nearly killing his son. That next morning, his wife left him with the kids.

A tear fell from his eye as he remembered watching them haul themselves into a cab with three suitcases. He didn’t blame his wife. He would’ve done the same thing if he was her.

He put the photo back on the table, releasing a deep sigh. He was tired of crying. Tired of feeling like a sad sack every single day. Sometimes he wished he would muster the nerve to resign from being the city’s Commissioner and head to Cleveland where his wife had relocated and beg for her forgiveness. Then, maybe, he could finally get some peace.

He leaned back in his chair, closing his eyes and forcing himself to go to sleep.

The Penguin stepped from the armored limousine, his perfectly tailored suit as black as the night. In his right hand was his cane, which he tapped against the street methodically. Before him sat the main police station in Gotham.

Around him were three other armored limousines that poured forth his masked followers called The Flock. They gathered around him, their gazes turned to the depot.

“You know what to do,” he told them with a double-tap of his cane for emphasis.

The flock moved forward as a unit, armed to the teeth with guns, knives, bullets, but most importantly, grenades.

Harley Quinn was lying on her uncomfortable cot hanging upside down off of the bed’s edge. Across from her cell was Pamela’s cell which she appreciated. At least she had somebody to talk to.

“Have you ever hung upside down for thirty-minutes straight?” Harley Quinn asked.

Pamela tensed, a hint of annoyance crossing her serious expression. “No.”

“Well,” Harley Quinn sat up, twirling to her feet, “it’s quite painful,” she said with that annoying grin she always wore.

Pamela’s nose curled. “Do you always have to smile like that?”

Harley’s grin slightly faltered. “The Joker liked my smile…”

Pamela shook her head, sighing with exasperation. “Oh no, not again.”

“He said my smile would light up the world,” Harley pouted. “That we would show Gotham how truly cynical it was. It would be the biggest joke of all time. And then…he was killed…”

Her sadness turned into startling rage. “He was murdered!” she screamed, charging forward and kicking the bars as hard as she could.

Pamela jumped to her feet, hurrying to her own bars and reaching forward. Her fingers curled and a tendril of ivy jutted from the wall, wrapping around Harley’s throat. She clawed at the vine wrapping around her neck, choking the life from her.

“Shut. Up,” Pamela whispered. “A plan of our escape is in place and I don’t need you spoiling it by making too much noise, do you hear me?”

Harley Quinn nodded, her face turning blue as the vine tightened. Pamela’s fingers uncurled and Harley fell to the ground spluttering.

“Now stop acting like a child,” Pamela spat before returning to her cot.

As Pamela’s back was turned Harley glared at her with an expression full of malice. One day, she would get Pamela for what she just did. And that day would be so sweet. But that plan of revenge would have to be delayed as an explosion rocked the depot.

Commissioner Gordon’s eyes flashed open as the deafening explosion startled him awake. He hurriedly grasped one of his rifles from off of the wall and hurried out of his office, heading to the prisoners’ cells.

As soon as he turned a corner he found himself face to face with at least three dozen masked men with military-style guns in their hands. He didn’t even have time to blink before he was blasted by a shotgun.

Pamela Isley smiled as she heard gunshots and the occasional yell within the police station. She curled her fingers, calling forth tendrils of ivy out of the floor and onto the cell bars. With a twist of her hand, the ivy tendrils picked the lock of her cell and she gracefully walked out of the block in an unbothered fashion.

Harley glared at her. “Why didn’t you do that in the first place?”

“I wanted the Commissioner to think we were helpless,” Pamela replied, before picking the lock of Harley’s cell. “Now, let’s get out of here.”

The Penguin looked at the watch on his left wrist. One minute had passed since The Flock’s infiltration into the depot. One minute was all it took for The Flock to complete their mission as he watched them approaching with Harley Quinn and the stunning Pamela Isley in tow. Behind them, the police depot billowed smoke from the explosion used to enter the station.

Harley Quinn skipped toward The Penguin and gave him a big kiss on the cheek.

“Oh, our hero has come to rescue us,” she squealed.

“Please, get in the car,” he told her, unable to contain his disgust.

She giggled, doing as he ordered as she bounced into the limo. His gaze then turned to Pamela.

“So Robin’s still alive?” he asked her.

She nodded. “Very alive.” Her serious expression morphed into a pleased smile. “But the Commissioner is no longer your concern.”

The Penguin grinned. “Ah.” He held his arm out to her. “It’s a beautiful night.”

They then entered the limousine, as did The Flock who all piled into their own vehicles, before heading down the street in a single file. The work was done.

The first thing Robin heard was the explosion. Then the gunshots. Then the desperate shouts. And then a terrible scream.

By the time he had reached Commissioner Gordon’s office, the police depot was unsettlingly silent, especially after such ruckus. He turned the corner, ready for a fight, and skidded to a halt.

Before him, Lieutenant Lynx was crying as she knelt beside the bloodied body of none other than Commissioner Gordon. Robin’s eyes immediately drifted to the bloody hole in Gordon’s chest. He quickly averted his gaze, a hint of bile rising in his throat.

He walked past the still weeping Lynx through the station, his gaze taking in the other unfortunate police officers who had perished under the unnervingly quick attack. Furniture was overturned and sprawled everywhere. There were small fires in corners from the explosion and smoke billowing through the room.

He began to choke on the smoke and hurriedly rushed to Lynx’s side, dragging her screaming from Gordon’s body out of the station as firemen rushed in. Firetrucks sat in front of the station, their blaring sirens filling the night.

Lynx finally managed to wriggle her way out of his grasp.

“Let me go!” she yelled.

And that’s what he did. They stared at one another, Lynx’s eyes and cheeks wet with tears, Robin’s gaze frozen in shock. Neither one of them could believe what had just happened. It was almost surreal as medics hurried past by them, the newly arriving ambulances’ sirens mingling with the firetrucks filling their ears.

“Is this really happening?” Lynx asked.

Robin nodded. “I think so.”

Lynx’s chin began to tremble before she rushed forward, hugging him tightly. And this time, she didn’t let go.

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