The sound of tape ripped in the air as Frank muffled the desperate screams of the man.
“Now normally I don’t do this,” Frank said. “Hell, I don’t want to do this but you… doctor.” Frank said the word with distaste, he opened up a toolbox, taking out whatever tools he could find. Pliers, screwdrivers, before finally settling on a wrench. “What you did…”
The doctor cries were muffled by the tape. His eyes pleaded, begged Frank not to continue but Frank didn’t care. He hit the man across the head with just enough force to leave him conscious.
“Children,” Frank said. “They were children, doctor. Vulnerable children and you put your filthy little hands all over them, didn’t you?”
The doctor shook his head, desperately. The side of his head started to swell up, blood started to pour down the swollen mound. It looked almost like a tumour.
“Now I’m not one to talk,” Frank said. “I’ve done my fair share of shady things down at the Gotham City police force but…” Frank pulled a chair, twisted it around and sat facing the good doctor. “The way I see it, the people I killed. They deserved it. Those kids, they didn’t deserve to have your hands all over them. Did they?”
The doctor looked like he was on the cusp of blacking out but Frank couldn’t have that. He punched the doctor across the face, snapping him back to consciousness.
“Uh uh, doctor,” Frank said. “Not now. Can’t lose you now. Wouldn’t be any fun in that, would they?”
“Now I got your blood all over my hands,” Frank said. “Goddammit.”
Frank walked over to the kitchen sink. He ran the tap, letting the dirty red water swirl around the sink before it was gobbled up by the drain.
“Say, you’re a therapist, right?” Frank asked. “My old lady, she always said I needed one. Hell, I think everybody in Gotham needed one.” Frank chuckled. “That city was like a parasite. Drained the life outta you. Wasn’t always like that, mind you but once the Waynes died well it all went downhill from there.” Frank wiped the blood out of his knuckles with a cloth. “I joined the army to get out of there but somehow the city dragged me back in. Met Maria after coming back and then my dumbass got her pregnant. Dad wasn’t around for most of my life and I didn’t the same thing to happen to my kid so I stayed.”
The doctor lost consciousness again. Frank sighed. “You ain’t a good listener, Doc. You know that?”
Frank filled a bucket of water and splashed it across the doctor’s face.
“I thought your job was to listen to people, Doc,” Frank said. He pulled out a kitchen drawer and jammed into the Doctor’s thigh. The doctor let out a muffled cry of pain, he looked at the knife and then at Frank’s icy blue eyes, pleading him to remove it but Frank remained unyielding. The Doctor squirmed in his seat, trying his hardest to remove the knife stuck in his thigh. He tried moving his hands but they were bound, tried moving his legs but they were stuck to the chair so tightly it was like they were glued onto it. Frank yanked him up by what remained of his hairline. “You really aren’t doing a good job, Doc.”
“Anyway,” Frank said. “Lisa was born and soon after, little Frank Junior.” Frank chuckled. “The little bastard. Was a real jackass.” Frank turned his chair around. “Like his old man. It was painful going away from them to fight down over at Afghanistan. Not knowing whether I’d see them again, y’know? Not knowing if I’d live to tell Lisa bedtime stories and teach Junior how to fix his bike. Didn’t dream back then that I’d outlive all of them, y’know?” Frank let out a deep sigh. “But we aren’t here to talk about that. You see I know a thing or two about abusing power. As much as it makes me want to vomit saying it, I’m a little like you Doc.”
The doctor cried out in pain as Frank pulled out the knife from his thigh. “I was part of the GCPD and that, my friend is a whole other can of worms.”
You see some shit when you’re a soldier. Awful shit. But after a while you get tired. Never took a toll on me physically but the mental toll was a slow acting poison. After the war, my lady knew I couldn’t go back to normal. She knew I needed structure, needed order and say what you want about Gotham but the Veteran’s program is great so I got myself a job over at the GCPD.
“Anything I can get you, Castle?” Officer Santana, his partner, asked.
Frank remained silent. Santana shrugged. He exited the car, barely able to get his bulky frame out. “Suit yourself.”
Frank watched rain patter on the windshield as Santana walked over to the donut stand, smiling and sweet talking the lady at the counter, paying her with the dirty money he got from the Falconies. Or was it the Maronies? Frank couldn’t remember. Scum was scum.
The tightly packed buildings loomed over them. The shower of rain made Frank feel like he was drowning under the sea and his outfit felt itchy. Frank wasn’t used to the police uniform. It was too complicated, too many buttons and belts and hooks unlike his old Marine outfit. Everybody back at the Marines were simple. Good men and women fighting for their country or just wanting to get home. Over here, except for a meagre few like Gordon all you saw were men and women taking bribes and looking the other way. In war, everybody was equal. Here, shit wasn’t so simple.
“All officers,” the operator droned. “All operators. Reported assault down by the apartments near the Narrows. Caucasian male dragging a young female into his apartment. Requesting any nearby patrols to investigate.”
Frank picked up the radio. “Officer Castle, here. I’m on my way.”
It was at that moment that Santana opened the door. He waited for him to get in as Santana placed a box of donuts on the windshield before starting up the car.
Frank turned on the sirens and drove through the cramped streets of Gotham.
“What’s up Castle?” Santana said. “Where we headed?”
“Near the narrows,” Frank said. “An assault or something.”
“Shit like that always happens around there,” Santana said, munching on a donut. “No need to get your panties in a twist, Marine.”
Frank ignored Santana. They parked in front of the warn down apartment, the police siren howling and the red and blue lights flashing across the worn plaster. While Santana handled a radio call, Frank left him alone and entered the apartment.
“He’s up there,” mumbled an old man by the lobby. “Second floor, room 23. Dragged a poor girl, kept threatening us with a knife. Josh tried playing the hero, make sure he’s…”
Frank ignored him and rushed up the stairs. Following the sounds of a lady screaming for help and a scratchy voice telling her to shut up.
Frank burst through the door of Room 23. A dark musty room that smelt like rats. The light was so dim that the red and blue of the police lights overpowered it. In the dim lights, Frank saw a man get off a woman in the corner of the room, brandishing a bloodied knife.
On his left Frank saw a fresh corpse. Male, couldn’t have been more than 17, blood pouring out of his throat and wide-open glassy eyes.
The girl was lying in the corner, crying. Her clothes ripped and with bruises all over her body.
The man was big, burly. Stern face with a fat nose, beard that muffled his mouth and long shaggy hair. He only pulled up his pants when he saw Frank.
“Look, boss,” the man said, grinning. “I’ll come quietly. I…”
Frank fired one bullet in his chest and another in his head. His brain splattered all over the walls. At that moment, Santana walked in. He saw the man lying in the ground and the smoke trailing out of the barrel.
The police lights flashed red and blue. The blue shined over Frank’s ice-cold face.
“Didn’t know you were such a goody two shoes, Frank,” Santana said. “You’ve made a fine mess of things.”
The lady was crying in the corner, her chest spasming, hands over her eyes.
“Get a paramedic for the girl,” Frank said. “She…”
“I’m already on it.”
Frank held out of his hands.
“What’re you doing?” Santana said.
“I just killed a man,” Frank said.
“A man nobody cares about,” Santana said and chuckled. “Look if we were arrested for every rapist, murderer or creep we killed Gotham wouldn’t have anybody to protect it. You can just plead self-defence, nobody in this city gives a shit. Everything will be covered up anyway.”
“Operator, has the assault over at the Narrows been dealt with?” The operator’s voice crackled over Santana’s radio.
“Yeah, things escalated,” Santana said. “Old Frank had to use his gun in self-defence. Might want the paramedics to clean up the mess.”
“Okay, over and out.”The lights flashed red and blue. In the blue, Frank saw the corpse of the boy that was killed. In the red he saw himself.