The Dark Knight Lives (FORTY-ONE)

Katherine Kane was finding hero work to be quite tedious. The new mayor, Tom Goldman, was trying to make things better for Gotham but unsurprisingly, things were only getting worse.

She didn’t trust him with that smile he always wore and those fancy suits. Something was off about him and she couldn’t quite place it but she one thing she had learned in life was to trust her gut and her gut was never wrong.

The middle-class to wealthy individuals of Gotham were basking in the hype surrounding the new mayor but the poorer individuals were suffering from the rise of gang activity, burglaries, and miscellaneous crimes. It wasn’t pretty. The lower levels of Gotham were filled with the constant noise of police sirens filling the streets but the criminals didn’t hear the police and scatter. Rather, they welcomed the sound, cheering it on as if it was a call to action.

It was disturbing and Katherine Kane was viewing it all from the shadows. At the head of this criminal uprising was a crime lord named Charles Putton. And yes, his appearance matched his name.

He was a short, fat bald man who always wore a white top hat that had a different flower for every occasion and a stark white suit whose handkerchief changed as well. His ring of followers was called the Aristocrats.

She didn’t know why. Probably because he wanted a fancy name for his gang.

It was the Aristocrats that were part of the growing problem in Gotham’s criminal underworld and she needed to stop it. The only thing was, how could she stop it?

She was one woman against an army. And while she trusted Commissioner Lynx and Robin to have her back in taking on such an enemy they weren’t always reliable, as they had to deal with sometimes greater matters.

So, she was alone, and alone she was helpless to watch as Gotham’s lower levels and society suffered.

All of this was going through her head as she stood in the darkness of night–the cold wind nipping at her exposed skin–before the grave of her family.

They had become victims of the ruthless crime in the city, each dying for no apparent reason other than they refused to join the bad guys’ side. They were strong, fighting to the very end, but that fighting had gotten them nowhere.

More good people like them were getting laid to rest in the ground because the crime never ended. Because the order was never found. And Katherine Kane couldn’t do anything about it.

The realization of this fact hurt, driving Katherine to her knees as she thought of her brother dying in her arms. Her fists quivered with rage as she wept, the anger that she tried to bury away revealing itself once more.

In her moment of weakness, she didn’t hear the approaching footsteps until the snow crunched softly directly behind her. Her trembling body immediately tensed and she whirled, throwing her fist at whoever was stupid enough to get this close to her at such a time.

Her would-be assailant grabbed her wrist in midair, squeezing so tightly that she could do nothing but gasp. The “attacker” was a middle-aged man in an expensive black trenchcoat, revealing his wealth. His dark hair was streaked with grey and he wore an untrimmed beard. Out of the darkness, a woman approached.

She was lean and very beautiful, her brown hair tied in a ponytail behind her. Like him, she was also dressed in a rather expensive-looking black trenchcoat over what seemed to be a black dress that stopped at her knees, revealing her long legs covered in sheer stockings. She wore black heels.

Katherine eyes the two warily, expecting this to be her last few moments.

“We’re not trying to hurt you,” the man said.

“Yeah, if we wanted to you’d already be toast,” the woman announced blatantly.

Katherine’s eyebrows furrowed. “Who are you?”

“I’ll tell you if you promise not to attack.”

Katherine eyed both of them suspiciously for a second longer before dipping her head curtly. The man let go of her wrist and she gasped in response, rubbing her arm where his fingers had just been.

“Okay, I’m going to ask again. Who are you?”

The man looked back at the woman who nodded in approval before turning his attention back to Katherine Kane.

“I’m Bruce Wayne.”