A Black Umbrella

A crow cawed, a bunch of leaves rustled and an old radio rattled.

As the unwelcoming afternoon sun soared high, thick beads of sweat trickled down Gordon’s face. Gordon groggily looked at the placid water in the canal adjacent to him and witnessed the act of his phone and revolver drowning deeper and exploring new depths.

The turn of events in the minutes incepting from Blake’s idiosyncrasies regarding the Batman possessed every essential ingredient necessary to be deemed “surreal” by those who could at least remotely be branded “sane”. However, when the very definition of sanity was in question and when a people of the City worshipped vigilantes and held superstitious practices, surrealism was the norm and sanity was the tradeoff factor.

Gotham had, over the years, witnessed cultural reformation, a tectonic shift in the very fabric of art and architecture, which speaks pages of human psychology and paints a clear picture of the prevalent conditions in the society. Gotham’s was a picture that reeked of filth. Where once Van Gogh’s work stood, now there stood the Batman’s figurines. Where once Remington’s art stood, now there stood the Batman on Canvas. Religious beliefs of people had been skewed, traditions of yore were being morphed, faiths of people were persistently questioned by a demented few and underground groups who hailed themselves as “The Sons of Batman” was on the ascent. Gotham, which once had sent tremors through the world and hailed to be one of the best cities, had become a pariah to the rest of the world, one that people despised and one that saw virtually no growth in realms of tourism, exports and heritage.

The Batman…one that Bruce Wayne chose works in cahoots with the Joker? Thought Gordon and shuddered. ‘We believed in you, Blake. I, of all people, never expected this madness from you!’ yelled Gordon, as he walked towards the canal, his hands raised up in the air.

The air was irritably dry on that grim Friday afternoon and had fittingly contributed to the upheaval of the animosity. Gordon’s black coat had fine deposits of sand and dirt all over it, and the perspiration had left behind wet patches on Blake’s otherwise well-pressed Van Heusen.

A dog whimpered, a boat whistled and the wind hissed.

‘Gordon, don’t you dare move. I won’t, even for a second, hesitate to put a bullet through your head,’ said Blake grimly, as he stared at the commissioner’s bewildered countenance. ‘Our cause is greater than mere lives of mortals, Gordon. So don’t bloody think that I’m just bluffing.’

‘“Our cause?” Blake! What is the matter you? You were already entrusted with a cause! The protection of the people of Gotham, which you obvious failed – ’ said Gordon, only to be cut abruptly by the hotheaded minion of the Joker.

‘Don’t give me that shit, Gordon! And I have neither the time nor the want to explain anything to you. That is not my task either. All I was told to do was to bring you here and so I have. I have absolutely zero idea as to what happens after this. So save your bloody questions because I’m not going to answer any, and also drown your goddamn advice because nothing you say will affect me.’

‘Since when did you start working without knowing the purpose? What got into you, Blake! I get it that you despise the Batman, fine! But you were an officer once. Remember that! Doesn’t that mean anything…’

Blake gave out a sigh and said, ‘The ends justify the means, Gordon. And the thought that I was once an officer with the GCPD really means a lot to me. That is the goal, commissioner. That is our purpose. Restoring to Gotham the true power of people. Gotham can afford a villain, not a vigilante.’

A bell chimed, a radio rattled and a motor whirred.  

‘I’m done talking to you, you son-of-a!’ screamed Gordon and threw his hands in the air, as Blake’s revolver followed his chest. ‘We all believed in you, Blake. Never expected that Gotham’s hero would turn into its reckoning!’

‘For the thousandth time, you piece of shit, listen to me! Gotham doesn’t need a hero, nor does it deserve one,’ yelled Blake, straining each and every sinew.

‘Oh screw you!’ screamed Gordon and pulled out a revolver from his back. Without warning he fired two shots straight at Blake.

As Gordon’s love letters emerged from the barrel, Blake’s death capsules struck Gordon’s collarbone and liver. The Batman-of-the-Damned dodged both of Gordon’s bullets and was quick to pirouette his way towards the fallen commissioner. ‘Like you said, Gordon, I was an officer once and I know every one of those tricks in the book.’

Gordon collapsed on the floor and howled in pain. Blake kicked him twice and then pulled out his vibrating phone. The screen read, “Dr. D. calling”. Blake smirked at the sight of the caller’s identity and then answered it.

A boat roared, a lever clinked and the water puffed.            

Blake turned around and walked away from Gordon, as he began saying, ‘Hello Doctor, I have him –’, as a bullet pierced through his gun wielding arm and a fraction of a second hence, metallic canister flew through the air and banged against his head.

As the canister rebounded off Blake’s head and hit the ground, a thick cloud of tear gas erupted and then the clink of two more canisters were heard, momentarily masking Blake from eyeing the fallen commissioner.

Three masked men, immediately after the canisters were fired, jumped off the whizzing motorboat and ran towards the fence. Blake screamed in pain and tried to lift himself up. As two of the three men cut through the fence and grabbed Gordon, Blake managed to stand up and run towards his Porsche,

Gordon’s heartbeat roared, his ears rang and Blake’s phone screeched.

The Batman-of-the-Damned jumped inside the Porsche and locked the door behind him. He immediately called Dr. D. from a phone inside the car and heard him squeal like a pig. ‘Blake, what the hell just happened? Where are you?’

‘I don’t know. I don’t know,’ cried Blake, coughing, as he revved the engines on and flew towards the fence. ‘I fired at Gordon and then within seconds, a bullet pierced my arms and then a canister got me in the head. It wasn’t him, I’m positive. Gordon didn’t have anything on him, I’m sure.’

The smoke slowly cleared away and the sound of the boat was now heard in the distance. ‘I can hear a boat. It’s fading though. See what you can do about it. I’ll be right back,’ said Blake jumped out of the Porsche to survey the scene.

Where Gordon was before there was now a black umbrella.

Where Gordon said ‘Oh screw you!’ a note now said, ‘The Liberation of Gotham has begun’.

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