‘We all wear masks, don’t we? We all switch roles so frequently that we have even forgotten who or what we truly are…what face we were born with. You know, all the emotions of life, the happiness, sadness, guilt, remorse, anger, boredom…all of it are illusions, tricks to deceive the common man…the gullible people of the naïve society. Kind of like to smile at a man outwardly, while deep below, plotting to kick him down. Remember, my dears, your eyes are your worst enemy. They always try to look for the worst…or the best, and they push you down into the abyss, but there comes a time when you can see something far beyond…something that would provide you with a reason to embrace life. And I had such a moment when I met this man, Bruce Wayne,’ said Blake from the pulpit. He then let the silence resonate as he removed his half-rimmed spectacles and turned back to look at a huge portrait of Bruce. ‘Now, when I see this portrait, it appears to me that the man is staring down at me, with his cold eyes and stiff smile sucking out the probabilistic happiness in me, but like I said, eyes are deceiving.’
‘One day, when I was as old as these kids here –’ said Blake and pointed at a box filled with kids from the Wayne Foundation. The kids were all clad in t-shirts that read, “We are the Waynes”, and they were all real quiet and keenly listening to their Father. ‘ – Bruce Wayne visited me. He got out of his fancy expensive car and he walked inside the hall majestically. I stood, with my buddies, at a far corner of the room and noticed him walk with such power and authority. He then climbed up the dais and spoke about Gotham and his family and the Wayne Legacy. When he talked, the coldness of his eyes vanished, the smile appeared assuring and his voice seemed like a call for me to take a stand…to fight for the people of Gotham. And that’s why I joined the GCPD. Each word he spoke inspired in me a sense of awakening, a want to achieve something phenomenal, a desire to become Bruce.’
‘To most of the people at Gotham, Bruce was just another eccentric billionaire, but to me, he was the light at the far end of a seemingly unending tunnel flooded in darkness. ‘
Reverend Blake stood up, picked up his iPad and closed it shut. He then looked at the large gathering at the courtyard of the Wayne Foundation’s Home for the Socially Challenged and finished his eulogy by saying, ‘The Foundation has never felt the need to ask for funds or resources, so far. But one can’t just live on legacy. In these nine years, we have reached out to a vast array of people in need. We have eighteen Homes for the Socially Challenged across the United States, we have forty institutions for the Mentally Challenged, we have funded and supported sixty-four non-profits, we have one of the best Medical Response Teams in all of States and our education program has been applauded and well accepted by the DoED. I can go on and on about our expanse and bore you with facts and data, but with the presumption that my presentation has sufficiently provided you all with the required inputs, I would like to cut to the chase and request you to do these kids and thousands of other kids like them a really small favor – Give them your hand. Please fund the Wayne Foundation. Please be a part of the Wayne Legacy. Thank you.’
Tens of cameras flashed and hundreds on hands joined to applaud both the speech and the exemplary work of the Wayne Foundation. As Blake walked down the dais, greeted by friends and fans alike, he fixed his eyes at a man standing at the rear end of the garden. Blake looked at the man, Commissioner Gordon, and he quickly excused himself and walked towards what was once the Wayne Manor.
Gordon walked behind him, slowly and without drawing much attention. They walked across the courtyard, then entered the Home and climbed up the stairs that led to Blake’s office, which was, nine years ago, the Regency Room. Once inside, Blake bolted the door shut and then walked towards the window. He drew the drapes shut and he said worriedly, ‘What’s wrong? You sounded all tensed on the phone.’
‘Blake, I am being followed. Three to four men I think. I have been trying to shake them off all morning, but I’m not able to get rid of them. They are really good! Professionals,’ murmured Gordon, as he pulled a chair and seated himself on it.
Blake followed suit and pulled poured himself a glass of water, as he asked, ‘Any idea who they might be?’
‘Well, I don’t know who they are, but I know who they might be working for…here, take a look at this,’ said Gordon and showed Blake his phone.
Blake immediately put down the glass of water and said, shocked, ‘The Joker?! No, this can’t be…Did you call Arkham?’
‘Doyle isn’t answering his phone. I tried him on his home too, he isn’t available,’ replied Gordon, annoyed.
‘Well, then call somebody!’ yelled Blake, as he passed Gordon’s phone back to him.
Gordon slid his phone in the inner pocket of his trench coat and shook his head, saying, ‘We needn’t. We can’t. We cannot afford to take that road. We cannot just go around telling people that we let the mad dog that terrorized Gotham escape from our clutches!’
‘You don’t know it yet. It might be a copycat case!’ jolted Blake.
‘No, it isn’t. It is him.’
‘How come you are so sure about that?’
‘I heard about it from a source.’
‘If I told you, you wouldn’t believe it.’
‘Just tell me, Gordon!’
Gordon scoffed and said, ‘Bruce Wayne.’
After the lapse of a few seconds, Blake said, ‘Impossible! He is – ’
‘ – back too.’