❯ City of Fear – Chapter One ( Chapter 1 )

[ P - Pre-Teen ]

Hina: This isn’t set during any specific timeline in the Batman timeline or universes, etc. It’s just a Batman fic. Plain and simple.

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City of Fear
By: Tygra’s Kitten Kori
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Chapter One
A long stream of smoke trailed into the air as the engine of the locomotive roared, signifying the train was running.  Many people were seated, everyone laughing and going about their business.

Tucked away in one corner was a dark figure, dressed in a black trench coat and a wide brimmed hat that seemed to cover up the majority of his face. The man kept to himself and was always alone in his compartment. He would only look up or speak when an attendant came by with food and drinks. Even then, he said a few words and sent her on her way.

The train ride seemed to last an eternity until he felt something going off in the side pocket of his trench coat. Quickly looking around, the man reached over and closed the compartment door before reaching into his pocket and pulling out a small cell phone. He held it to his ear as he pressed the button to answer it. “What is it?” His tone was gruff and irritated.

A female voice spoke on the other end, sounding somewhat muffled and distant. “Have you reached the train station yet?”

Again, the man shook his head. The voice at the other end was starting to get on his last nerve. This was the fifth time in the past three hours that she had called. “No, not yet. I won’t reach the Metropolis Train Station until later on tonight. I told you that already.” He replied in a hushed tone. He hadn’t meant to sound so harsh but he had to be stern.

Bruce heard her make a pouting noise and in his mind’s eye, he could see her bottom lip poking out in that sad manner that she always did when she felt disappointed. “I want you to hurry up and come back home already, Daddy.” The girl said softly.

Bruce allowed a small smile to grace his lips and he felt his heart beginning to jump a bit with happiness.  Bruce Wayne may have a wall of ice around his heart but it was a well-known fact that he loves his daughter, Malley. It was about thirteen years ago that he had a brief affair with Selina Kyle, better known as Cat Woman. But the fling had ended rather badly with Selina hiding the pregnancy from him for nine months and then suddenly leaving him with a newborn baby to raise. Thank God, Alfred was around, or else, he wouldn’t have known what to do.

Raising Malley wasn’t exactly easy. All the late nights of staying up with her despite his double life, all the trips to the doctors for her yearly checkups, even her schooling was hard, but he somehow managed to find time to balance it all. Malley was always curious and very open. And not to mention she inherited her mother’s love for animals, which was why he bought the Doberman, Ace to help keep her company in his absence. Malley also knew of his secret identity as Batman; she found out after he rescued her from some thugs on the way home from school.

Bruce opened his mouth to speak when the entire train came to a screeching halt, making all the passengers aboard jerk forwards in confusion. The millionaire had to grab onto a nearby railing to keep from falling out of his seat. Little Malley’s voice was coming from the phone; each word was full of worry as he heard her calling out to him. “Papa? Are you there? Papa?”

“I’ll have to call you back, Malley.” He turned his phone off and picking up his hat, he put the hat back onto his head, and pulled it over his eyes to conceal his face properly. His hand reached out and pulled back the sliding door to reveal a startling scene. His eyes widened.

There standing further along down the corridor was the outlines of three familiar figures in the next carriage. Bruce slowly got onto his hands and knees in attempts to sneak out of the compartment. He had to get out of here before anyone spots him. Before he could sneak over to investigate, the door from the next carriage opened and a group of men entered. Bruce was barely in the next compartment when he had bumped into someone’s legs. It was then that he noticed the shadow that had fallen over him.

“Well, well, well, looky what we got here.” Said a loud, booming and deep voice. Bruce Wayne looked up, his blue eyes narrowing a bit as he feigned innocence with his broad smile. There was a buff bouncer-like thug staring at him from behind a smiling clown mask that was painted on to his somewhat dark skin. It was nothing, but a white chalky face paint with a big red mouth painted over his lips that curled up into a permanent eerie smile. Though the man himself was frowning.

Bruce just let out a faint laugh as he locked eyes with the clown thug. “Hi there. I was just looking for my contact lens.” He said nervously. His heart was beating fast in his chest. He couldn’t be caught. Not when he had to go meet an important client so that he could get back in time to spend some time with Malley before she goes off to school in the morning.

“You wouldn’t happened to have seen-“ Bruce’s sentence was cut short as the henchman grabbed him by his coat collar and pulled him roughly to his feet. He saw his captor’s lips pull back into a wide smirk as he addressed one of his comrades, “’Hey, Mo, lookit at what I found.”

Another of the clown thugs looked over his shoulder as a couple of women dumped their jewelry into his sack at gunpoint. Or would it be gas point? Considering any of the Joker’s flunkies use nerve and laughing gas in their guns rather than normal guns. The second criminal was a bit shorter but still just as burly and thick necked. He laughed at the sight of Bruce, struggling to get away from his captor. “You’s a rich boy, ain’tcha, Bub?” The thug taunted as he closed his sack and heaved it onto his shoulder. The clown narrowed his eyes a bit, screwing his face up in concentration as he squinted. “Say, you look familiar. Do I know you?”

Again, Bruce smiled nervously and shook his head. “No, no, you don’t.” He said hurriedly. God, he hoped they would just leave him be and move on. Of all the days to have left the Batman suit behind at home…

The mugger just peered closer, “I think I know ‘ho you are now.”

“You idiot! This is…” The other thug smirked as recognition passed over his face. Bruce felt some of his black hair being ripped out of his scalp as his captor took the hat off his hat. He mentally swore as shock registered onto both of their faces. The one with an iron grip on him growled and seized him by the throat this time. “You’re that Bruce Wayne guy, the famous millionaire from Gotham!”

The said millionaire grinned sheepishly now. He didn’t know how he was going to get out of this now. If there was some kind of black out on this train, then maybe, just maybe he could make a clean get away and sneak off of the train. The train just had to be on the outskirts of Metropolis and then when he reached Metropolis, he could just take an airplane back to Gotham after finishing up with his client.

“People said we look alike, but we all have a look alike don’t we?” Bruce asked teasingly.  He really didn’t want to mess with The Joker or his flunkies.

The clown shook his head as did his friend, both of them glaring at him. “I ain’t stupid, Wayne. I know you’s Bruce Wayne; the Boss’s been lookin’ to have a word wit’ yous.” His breath smelled rancid and of cigar smoke as Bruce was brought close to the other male’s face. It took all of his willpower not to gag from the smell of his putrid breath. “Mo, go get Mr. J.”

“Ehehe. Sure thing.” Mo walked away, his bag of jewelry and whatever else swinging and hitting against his back as he made his way to the next carriage where laughter, obviously the Joker, could be heard. Bruce shuddered a bit at feeling a chill creeping up his spine. No matter how many times he’s dealt with the Joker as Batman or Bruce Wayne, the Joker never ceased to make him feel cold and sick, in a scary way. The Joker is one of the most twisted villains of Gotham City, and the most dangerous.

The door opened slid open again and this time, Rob came out with a woman dressed in a black and red clown suit with her face painted in a Harlequin fashion. This was the Joker’s right hand woman, and love interest, Harlequin. Harlequin bounced up to Bruce and the flunky holding him. The female clown tilted her head to the side a bit as her sky blue eyes stared at him, filling with the childlike curiosity that she was always known for.

Bruce almost felt sorry for the young girl standing over him. Harlequin, whose real name was Harleen Quinnzel, used to be an intern at Arkham Asylum when she met the Joker, and through some strange twist of fate, she became swayed to join him. She’s been with him ever since. But there were often times where she would seem to have gone back to being good, but that was when she thought the Joker was done for. And the minute that the Joker surfaced from hiding, she would fall back into her evil ways.

“What do we have here, boys?” Harley asked, leaning in close. Bruce crinkled his nose at the strong smell of perfume that lingered from the woman. It was very strong and almost sickening. The thug behind Bruce forced the millionaire onto his knees, only to hold his head up in Harley’s direction so that she could get a better look at him.

“It’s Bruce Wayne, Miz J.” The crony, Lar, said. [i]Miz J[/i]? So, Harleen and the Joker finally got hitched. Bruce couldn’t hold back the chuckle erupting in his throat and he just laughed a bit at the thought. As creepy as the thought was, it was also sort sweet [i]and[/i] funny. But it was creepy overall.

Harlequin’s black lips curled into a frown as she glared at the rich man, her blue eyes becoming brittle like ice. “What’re you laughin’ at, Mistah Wayne?”

The brunette quickly composed himself and shook his head. He stared back at the woman, glaring at her. “I was just thinking of how much I hated clowns.”

“Yea? Well, Mistah J and I hate you, nearly as much as we hate the Bats.” Harlequinn remarked, and she reached into the pocket of her red and black suit before pulling a squirt gun. Smirking, her eyes flashed malevolently as she held out the seemingly harmless toy gun. “Say nighty-night, Brucekins.” And with that said, she pulled the trigger, squirting Bruce square in the face, blasting him with a toxic yellow powder.

Bruce tried to struggle against Lar’s grip on him but the clown henchman was too strong. Either that or the powder was making him feel weak. His body became wracked by a coughing fit as sleep overcame him. And the next thing he knew, his world faded to black, his body slumping to the floor.