by Aidan Lerner ’22
October 30, 10:30 p.m., Pinehurst Avenue, Providence RI 02908
Jack Ryder shuddered as he hustled down the cracked sidewalk of Pinehurst. Even by New England standards, this was one of the colder October nights in recent memory. Jack paused to push his phony glasses up the bridge of his nose and looked up to see three hooded men slink out in front of him.
“Before we take everything you own, what’re you supposed to be?” the biggest one asked.
Jack, stammering, replied, “A-uh r-r-reporte-er.”
The men chuckled amongst themselves before closing in with menacing leers. Jack closed his eyes and braced for the impending mugging.
Suddenly, Jack felt the woosh of a cape and opened his eyes to see a flash of movement with a figure, cloaked in darkness, at the center of it. Batman! In a flurry of fists the Batman reduced the would-be crooks to a groaning heap. He turned, the whites of his eyes becoming visible under his cowl.
“Stay inside tonight,” Batman growled.
11:00 pm, The Flame, PC Campus
Director of Public Safety, Gordon, lit his cigarette and frowned. The Bat Signal was fully operational next to the Flame and the light shone against the full moon. Batman rarely responded to the Signal directly, but Gordon hoped that tonight he would show. This night, of all nights, Providence College needed The Bat.
A voice from nowhere called out, “Activity on Pinehurst. Taken care of now.”
Gordon’s eyes adjusted to take in the hulking figure of the Caped Crusader.
“That’s the least of our problems, Batman. I’ve heard rumors that Scarecrow is on the prowl off campus tonight.”
Batman stared at Gordon, impassive. “Well, what is public safety going to do about this, Jim?”
An exasperated Gordon responded, “We are doing all we can. We have a bus that drives people around now. But what can we do against the likes of Scarecrow?”
Gordon looked around, realizing he had lost sight of Batman.
Jim Gordon shook his head. Batman had slipped back into shadow, gone.
Gordon spoke into his walkie-talkie, “High alert tonight, everyone! New protocol: when people show up at the gate, we need to ask them where they are going and glare at them. Godspeed.”
11:30 p.m., Eaton Street
The Boy Wonder had grown accustomed to spotting his mentor in the shadows.
“I know where Scarecrow is hiding,” Robin declared. Batman revealed himself and turned to question his ward.
“It couldn’t have been that easy,” he remarked.
Robin replied, “There’s a house on Eaton called Gotham. That’s where he’s hiding.”
“How do you know that?” Batman asked.
Robin was enthusiastic to make his point known. “There were mass groups of kids stumbling outside, totally lost. Many of them cried about their emotional fears. They looked like they had no idea where to go.”
Batman stared at his protégé. “Robin, those parameters apply to every house in the immediate area. This is a college.”
“Well, I also saw a bunch of Fear Gas emanating from every window, and I heard Scarecrow laughing.”
Batman pulled out his trademark bat-a-rang. It was time to work.
October 31, 12:00 a.m., Harkins Hall
“Another night, another win for the Batsy crew, huh?” Catwoman whispered with her typical purr.
The Dark Knight smiled for the first time all evening. “Scarecrow is taken care of. Off-campus is safe again, for tonight at least.”
Catwoman smirked. “Why do you do it? Who are you under that cowl?”
Batman strode away with a flick of his cape.
“Who am I?” the Bat repeated, “Who are we? One heart. One heartbeat. One community.”
Catwoman gasped. She knew exactly who Batman was.