Post by Admin on Jul 21, 2017 14:41:36 GMT -5
Issue #6: “Scarecrow”
Story by Mark Sant
Edited by Mark Bowers
Issue #6: “Scarecrow”
Story by Mark Sant
Edited by Mark Bowers
Corrie calls and tells me Bruce is alive, but his heart keeps failing every few hours. The body can’t take it. He’ll be dead by tomorrow. Doctors can’t figure out what’s wrong with him. Grace tells me they’ve never seen anything like this. She tells me he screams until breathless whenever he’s stable, suffering something unspeakable as he sleeps. Then his heart spikes toward death again and doctors zap him back to life.
The only hope Bruce has is Jim Gordon finding the man responsible and finding the antidote, and I have to help him. So today, for the first day in as long as I can remember, I really can’t think about The Roman.
And I can’t think about the other me, who howls.
I can’t think about Grace and the twins in her.
I can’t think about Henry and the coin toss.
Today we have to bring down terrorists and save the last surviving member of the greatest family this city’s ever known.
Jim called this morning, saying that Lonnie Machin was finally in custody. Took all night to track him down. I went down to Central Station to oversee the interrogation, which gave us zilch. Kid’s a gloomy stonefaced punk with hair dyed black and skull earrings. All he says is, “You got nothin’ on me, dick. I just delivered a letter.”
We learnt that Lonnie Machin applied to work over half-a-dozen jobs at Wayne Enterprises in the past month, only finally getting a job in the mailroom last week. Jim’s boys in the tech department have gotten into Lonnie’s laptop and found a history of the kid frequenting anarchist chatrooms and websites on how to build bombs, on which Machin used the username “Anarky69”. We also found a good hunk of websites pertaining to Bruce Wayne and Wayne Enterprises.
It’s enough to build a case, but it isn’t what we need. It isn’t an antidote.
Bruce is gonna die.
Lousy rich prick is gonna die
While Gordon bashed his fists into the table and yelled in the punk’s face, Chem finally called back to us. They said the shredded letter was identified and tested. Gordon asked them what the toxin he used was, but the Chem-boys just told him there was nothing on the letter. It was just a notice for jury duty.
Lonnie Machin is innocent.
Wayne’s gonna die Wayne’s gonna die Wayne’s gonna
“What else was on that security tape?” I ask Jimbo.
“I told you,” he says. “Wayne just got the letter from Machin. Before that he was sipping coffee and talking to a guy named Lucius Fox. Wayne’s assistant says they were talking about someone in the pharmaceutical research division. Letting someone go, she said.”
As he tells me this, Gordon reaches for his phone and dials.
Calling Corrie Desjardin and reaching her and asking her quickly about that meeting Wayne had with Fox yesterday. The man that Fox had to let go. Who was it? Who was fired and why?
Corrie says his name was Jonathan Crane.
As she understands it, Crane was let go due to unauthorized experiments on test-patients with a drug that Crane had developed without the knowledge of his superiors, which ended up causing a multi-million dollar lawsuit when the patients lost their minds in what they described as absolute terror.
The property damage they caused was nowhere near as haunting as the mutilations they caused themselves and others.
There’s a warrant out for Crane’s arrest and police, crooked and clean alike, are scouring the city for this supposed mad scientist. The Fear Doctor. That’s what Vicki Vale will call him on her sleazy blog. The Voodoo Priest of Gotham. The Nightmare on Silver Street.
A scarecrow in the cornfield.
GCPD check Crane’s condo. It’s deserted, unless you count the corpse of a homeless junkie in the bathtub. No one can find Crane anywhere.
Wayne’s gonna die Wayne’s gonna die oh Wayne is gonna
I go with Gordon and his partner, Crispus Allen. Bruce is my friend and I can’t sit in my office waiting for the call. Can’t work the Falcone case. Can’t work any case, despite my caseload. We check out Crane’s condo on the upper-east side. The high end. Millions Mile, they call it. Crane was a well-paid man coming from a well-off family of doctors famous for working with the Waynes. Sure enough, his place is one that puts any of ours to shame.
But it takes a very disturbed mind to destroy such a palace.
Cold winds of the twenty-third floor blow through the three-bedroom condo, coming in from the shattered glass doors leading out onto the balcony. They freeze the place and flap the yellow police tape marking this as a crime-scene. There are several butcher’s knives stabbed into the drywall. Several more slits and slashes decorate the walls and the black sofa and the framed prints hanging crooked on the walls – prints of nightmarish works by Giger and Dali. The Scream by Munch. CSI have found drops of blood in the white Berber carpet and the hardwood in the living room. A larger spatter found in the master bedroom.
In another room, they find some elaborate chemistry apparatus and innumerable chemicals and powders in various vials, beakers and cases. A stainless-steel tablet-press for producing pills. An aerosol valve attached to a large green gas tank and a number of small generic air canisters scattered hazardously around it. In the wall across from the equipment is a bone-saw, embedded in the last E of the phrase FEAR ME
I stare at the words carved messily into the drywall.
The stench of toxins in the air.
In the bathtub, we find the dead guy. An obvious city bum. Judging by his clothing and hair and the filth and the blemishes of a heroin-addiction, he’s another one of the poor bastards that Falcone’s got hooked on his damn heroin. No visible injuries or wounds, though his face is scratched bloody and his fingernails are red. His eyes frozen wide in horror.
When I was eleven years old, I fell before a scarecrow in the cornfield.
There’s a lot to find in this haunted home. But no Jonathan Crane.
No clue on how to reverse Bruce’s affliction.
I’m sick in this place, and I’m afraid, and angry, and I close my eyes and I see the face in the darkness. A mirror in my mind. The other side with burning fires in his eyes.
Wayne’s gonna die Wayne’s gonna die oh Wayne is gonna die
I clench my teeth, and I hate the other side.
But, on the other hand, I’m kinda afraid he’s right.
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