Chapter Eight: The Long Halloween

On August 2nd, Roman Falcone’s birthday, the unthinkable happens. A year into Bruce Wayne’s grand two year plan the alliance breaks. While on the stand Sal Maroni hurls acid into the face of Harvey Dent, hideously disfiguring half of Dent’s face. Dent is rushed to the hospital, where he stabs a doctor and escapes, vanishing into Gotham’s night.

A search of Dent’s new home turns up numerous .22 pistols, the same signature weapon as the Holiday Killer. James Gordon goes public, annooucning that Harvey Dent is the main suspect in the Holiday Killings. A man-hunt for the missing District Attorney is launched. On Labor Day James Gordon launches a sting in hopes of catching the Dent. Ordering Sal Maroni moves to a new cell in hopes of drawing out Holiday.

The plan works and after a confrontation James Gordon arrests the real Holiday Killer, Alberto Falcone. With the Holiday Killer behind bars things start to look hopeful for Gotham City… Until a month later, on Halloween, when all of Arkham’s inmates are released by Dent, based on the flip of a coin.

Carmine Falcone and his daughter Sofia are ambushed in their penthouse by Dent – now going by the moniker Two-Face. Batman intervenes, but is unable to stop Two-Face from murdering Falcone. Then Two-Face turns himself over to Batman and James Gordon. The Long Halloween is finally over…

Except there is only a year left to turn the city around. The deranged Holiday Killer put a significant strain on Bruce Wayne’s plan and worse, stole his ally in the District Attorney’s office. Everyone wonders if this is finally the end of the line for Bruce Wayne…

Part One: Marcus Toure

Question: How do you commit a crime in a city that claims the World’s Greatest Detective?

Answer: Make sure someone else takes the blame.

It’s been a year since I squeezed the trigger and put the gun in another man’s hand. Specifically, the Joker’s hand. I shot a man, cuffed my hands to the water main and waited for everyone else to show up.

I killed him and blamed it on the Joker. Nobody doubted my story. Not even Gordon. And since the Batman never showed up, I assumed he never doubted my story, either. The kicker was the threat the Joker made. When I told that part of the story, the rest of it made perfect sense.

It’s been a year. I don’t regret my decision. Although, something has changed. In my head. Maybe it was my brief contact with the smile venom. Maybe it was being locked to a wall while the Joker put a gun against my temple. Maybe it was pulling the trigger and watching another man die. Maybe it was all these things. But I’m different now. I can see things. Hear things. Imagine things.

I heard someone on the TV say that the Joker is a disease, an infection. Not in a metaphorical sense, but in a literal sense. He’s the Typhoid Mary of Gotham, infecting everything he touches with a kind of madness. I believe that. I believe that because…

I can see things. Hear things. Imagine things.

I was on a crime scene, taking photos. Although nobody was saying anything, the M.C.U. was on the scene. This was one of their cases. As I walked through, my eyes focused on a small detail. The tiniest thing. Once that happened, I’m told I started speaking. I dropped the camera, walked through the house and—as if in a trance—began narrating the events of the scene. I finally broke down at the end, whimpering and crying.

A week later, they caught the bastard. Some asshole calling himself “Copperhead.” An assassin who got sloppy and needed to kill an entire family to cover up his incompetence.

I saw the crime. I _saw_ it.

The M.C.U. knows about me. Sometimes, they bring me in. Detective Driver says, “Beats working with the Bat.”

I’ve changed. Something inside my head has changed. Every night, I wake up covered in sweat, reliving the moment I pulled the trigger.

That moment. God, I can’t get that moment out of my head. Don’t think I ever will.

Part Two: Ignatius Gallow

I sat with my back to the greasy peeling apartment wall. This was one of the Family’s bolt holes, but that didn’t matter anymore. The Roman is dead, the Family is in shambles. My crews are still out on the streets, but so many of them are dropping their flags and joining the freaks. The Cat finally turned on me when Two-Face let the freaks out of Arkham.

I can still see Sal pulling the acid from his jacket and tossing it. I wish I had stopped him. I should have plugged Dent and been done with it. Nothing for it now. Now I just needed to keep as many of the pieces as possible.

I twitch when there is a knock on the door. No one is supposed to know I am here. I keep my gun in my hand as I crack the door. Lana is pointing a gun back at me. I let her in.

“Were you followed?” I asked, not liking the shake in my voice.

“No.” She dropped supplies in the galley kitchen. “Two-Face is in custody babe. We are safe here.”

I shuddered. I’d take the Bat or his little army hangers on over Two-Face. The Bat was straight forward. Dent… No, Dent is dead… Two-Face was something else. He is a freak, but he was the freak version of a member of the Family. The look on the split face as he leveled a gun at me. The Cat had let him in. It didn’t matter that I had a scatter gun pointed at him. If that coin came down wrong he was going to kill me, even at the cost of his own life.

It had been like looking into an Alice in Wonderland looking glass. In another time, and another place, I could have sided with Two-Face. On some level I could understand. I knew what it was to protect something to the end of your life. I knew what it was like to be maimed for a cause.

Now though, everything I have worked for is a gone. I have Lana. I have my piece, and I have my honor. The freaks have taken the city. Now it was time to survive.

Credits

Chapters written by Rob Justice
Marcus Toure written by John Wick
Ignatius Gallow written by Steven A. Skidmore

Posted in A City Without Hope.

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