Last time, it was several hundred schoolchildren. This time, it was a mid-size mall. Jason, Dick, Damian, Alfred…you killed them all, Joker, and you laughed while you did it.
Now it’s just you and me. Playing the same old game, one last time.
After decades of silence, you reemerged and brought the city to its knees. Why? After all this time, why couldn’t you just fade away and succumb to your cancer? The world deserves to turn on its gyre, and forget the horror we were once a party to.
As I enter the lobby of Arkham Asylum, I hear the steady drip of leaking pipes. Cobwebs coat the long-defunct lighting, gone rusty and cracked from years of neglect.
Auto-gating lenses snap down from my cowl, painting the world in sickly green light. I run my gaze over the shattered tiles. It’s been thirty years since this place has had inmates or staff. Whatever madman that’s created this universe has a twisted sense of irony; he’s brought Arkham’s truest inhabitants back to their authentic home. We were the only two that ever belonged here.
I’m coming for you, Joker.
“Hee hee hee. HA HA HA HA!”
His voice comes from everywhere—he’s accessed the intercoms. Remotely? No…my cowl’s spectrometers would alert me to the presence of a radio signature.
He’s in the warden’s office. It’s the only place he’d be able to key the speakers.
“COME AND GET ME, BATS!”
I take off running down the main corridor. A flash of motion to either side causes me to dive and roll. Just in time—a trio of knives burst from the walls. Their pommels are topped with custom-made bobble-heads of his grinning visage. One of them nicks my cape as it whistles by.
I see Mr. Freeze’s gun at the end of the hallway and I chuck a miniature thermite grenade into its barrel. The grenade fizzles—a dud. I chuck another one as icy blue glimmer begins creeping from the muzzle. This one goes off, blowing the gun apart into a charred mess of parts.
Even my thermite is old.
I run up the stairs and onto the second floor. At the end of the corridor is the warden’s office. Before I get to it, I deactivate a killer robot-clown, avoid a set of acid-shooting flowers, and manage to get my gas mask on before a cloud of joker toxin hisses out from the vents.
I turn the knob and there he is, sitting before the intercom, his lips peeled back in a lunatic grin.
He crosses his legs, leans back in his chair, and tents his fingers over his chest. “What’ll you do this time, Bats? A daring feat of technological wizardry? A well-placed batarang across the mug? Perhaps a good old fashioned one-two pu—”
“No, Joker,” I rasp. “You’re playing the wrong game—the OLD game.”
As his brow wrinkles in puzzlement, I open my eReader to Echo, activating its reality distortion powers. Magic flash.
“Hup hup haZOO!” Kent Wayne somersaults through the air and lands lightly in front of Joker. He uncoils his penis from around his hips, then slathers its unwashed head across Joker’s upper lip.
The clown prince of Gotham shoots up from his chair, gagging and coughing. “Oh God—it smells like caveman bukkake!”
He drops to his knees, clutching at his neck. Boils erupt across the surface of his face, and his eyes redden from burst capillaries. A second later he slumps to the ground, pink sputum leaking from his dead, twitching lips.
Kent Wayne places his hands on his hips and gives me an ear-to-ear smile, as if by dispatching the Joker with his horrible penis, he’s accomplished some monumental feat of heroism. What an idiot.
“What do you say, Bruce? Can I be your sidekick?”
“Take a shower,” I reply. “You disgust me.”
I walk out of Arkham, shaking my head in utter revulsion.
The things I have to do for this fucking city.
Are you an aging superhero, locked in a grim death match with your twisted archnemesis? Never fear! Get Echo Vol. 1 on Kindle here: Vol. 1 on Kindle. Vol. 2 on Kindle here: Vol.2 on Kindle Vol. 3 on Kindle here: Vol. 3 on Kindle Echo Vol. 1 & 2 Combined Edition here: Combined Edition If you wanna hear me babble on about anything and everything, and strain my FREAKIN’ BRAIN, then here’s a link to my podcast: Strained Brains! It is on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, and Google Play! Please give it a listen and a five-star review! Here’s the miscellaneous gear that I use to try and become an uber-human: Optimization, and last but not least, my buddy Jumar Balacy has made a supercool microsite at kentwaynebrain.com! Go check out his computer-based wizardry 🙂 🙂 😀
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