Sunday, February 27, 2005

128. The omniscient narrator

Batman lay on the floor and stared at the desk containing the majority of his costume. His utility belt was there, having been the first item Hugo Strange had removed. If he could just drag himself a few feet, perhaps he could ...

No sooner did he entertain the notion than Strange returned. "You know what's next, don't you?" the doctor asked.

And Batman did indeed: following the pattern of the last several--what? Hours? Days?--it was now time for the gauntlets to come off. The detective heard the jangle of a key; it was the one used to unlock his batcuffs. The cuffs that were currently clasped around his own wrists.

"Another precaution," Strange said as he injected another shot into his captive's arm. "I don't need it at this point, but it never hurts to be careful. Though I should remind you that Mr. Grayson is in my protective care now. If you should attempt anything, he will stop you. And he has been trained to use any means necessary to do that. If, for some reason, you should escape his attack, I will simply kill him. He is, you might say, both prison guard and prisoner."

Strange tossed the cuff key to Dick, who used it to free Batman's hands. Once the batcuffs were gone, the gloves came off. Onto the desk they went.

"Your connections to your old life are growing weaker and weaker, Mr. Wayne," Strange said. "As are you."