The Martyr

He knew he had won. The fight was over. He had succeeded in defeating the most powerful being known to man. All that was left to do was to finish it off for good.

He glided down to where it’s body lied. It was still breathing, struggling to cause more havoc in this world. It’s recklessness has taken away so many innocent lives. Lives he cared about.

As he attached the hook to its legs, Bruce remembered about Jack. Jack had been one of his most trusted employees ever since he took over Wayne Enterprises. He had been obedient and trustworthy. He had such a strong sense of responsibility that even in the face of destruction he had waited for Bruce’s orders on what to do.

But Jack died. Along with dozens of employees inside the Wayne Tower. Hundreds more on the streets of the city. And it has caused this. Jack’s blood was on its hand. And Bruce will make it pay.

The Bat pulled the body in blue by the wire attached to its leg. Bruce said to the half-conscious alien, “I bet your parents taught you that you mean something. That you’re here for a reason. My parents taught me a different lesson, dying in the gutter, for no reason at ALL!”

At the last word, the Bat swung the Kryptonian across the hall, making it so that it hit each of the stone pillars in the vicinity. The struggling body dropped to the ground, gasping for breath.

The site of its helplessness reminded Bruce of his parents on that night. Their pleading eyes staring at the void above, as young Wayne screamed at the top of his lungs. It had felt like the sky cracked open, jeering at his emptiness. The rage wasn’t in him then.

But it was here now. The Bat’s eyes darted towards the Green spear that he had placed on the ground before. He pulled it out of the ground. The strange green glow reminded Bruce of his mother. Martha Wayne.

Young Bruce Wayne used to fear the dark. So his parents bought him a green aquarium that glowed in the dark, illuminating his room at night. His mother’s seemed unearthly in the strange glow; something not quite human, but angelic. One night Bruce had screamed when he found an ant inside his blanket. His mother hurried into his room to find the scared boy looking fearfully at the insect.

“Why are you afraid of it Bruce?”, his mother had asked.

“It reminds me of the scary Alien from the movies, mom! I hate it!”

“But Bruce, ants are gentle creatures. They’re stronger than they look, they help each other, and they’re very hard-working. In fact, ants may even be better than us in most ways.”

The boy had stared back at her in disbelief. But his mother had explained to him about all the doubts he had. And slowly Bruce understood. He respected the bugs, and everything they stood for. His mother had been the pillar holding Bruce up. Until the light had gone out of her eyes in front of him.

Bruce started walking towards its body. No more funerals to attend after this. No more aliens to bow to. No more lives lost. It’ll be over now. He had won.

The Bat stood before it. He looked at its face contorted in pain, and the sight pleased him. It deserved it. No, it deserved MORE.

He lifted the spear. It was mumbling about something. The Bat didn’t stop. He will put an end to this now. Once and for all.

“You were never a God. You weren’t even a man.”

It struggled a bit more.

“You’re not brave. Men are brave.”

The moment has come. The Bat is going to finish it once and for all. All these months of preparation and hard work finally paying off. He has won.

It mumbled, “Save….

The Bat prepared his hands to give the final thrust.

“.. Martha.”

Bruce Wayne stopped. The whole world started spinning around him. How did it know?

“What does that mean?”, asked the bewildered voice of Bruce Wayne. “Why did you say that name?”

“-find him. Save Martha.”

Bruce’s mind went back to the memories of that evening. Find him? But Joe Chill was dead. Bruce never got a chance at getting revenge for his parents. For which he pledged to fight against criminals with all he had. He didn’t want another child to feel what he felt. He wanted to make sure there were no orphans.

But the thought of death had always scared him. He knew what if felt like to lose people to it, to never get them back. That was something Bruce never wanted to be responsible for.

But then what was he doing holding a spear to the Man of Steel’s chest?

The Bat screamed, “Why did you say that name?”

“It’s his mother’s name.” said a voice beside the fallen god. The famous reporter from TV was kneeling beside it, holding it’s head in her lap. The exhausted voice said again, “It’s his mother’s name.”

Martha. A mother. It’s mother.

His mother.

“Save Martha”, it had said.

But Bruce couldn’t save Martha, she was dead. And he had knelt beside his fallen father, holding her head on his lap.

Suddenly everything span around him, except the vision of the two beings in front of him. Her face reminded him every bit of the grief he had once felt. Her eyes asked him the question he himself had asked the disappearing back of Joe Chill all those years ago-

Why?

But there was hope in her eyes too. He can still stop this. He’s the one killing people, not it. He’s the executioner, the final judge.

But he won’t be anymore.

Slowly the spear fell from his grasp, as Bruce Wayne stared at the body of the Superman, who was still breathing.

He couldn’t save Martha then, but he will now.

The figure sprawled before him reminded Bruce of the ant his mother had talked to him about. “There’s nothing to fear about them, Bruce. Despite looking like an alien outside, ants share almost all the characteristics that make us human.” To Bruce, the Superman had always been an alien who sought after destruction. Only now does he realize even the Man Of Steel had someone who cared about him. And the Batman will not be the person to take that away from Lois. Because he knows what it feels like. All these months of blinding rage had disappeared, and now he felt empty. As empty as he had once been on a dark evening many years ago.

They explained to him about the situation, and slowly understanding dawned on his eyes. He had a goal now. For the first time in twenty years, the Batman felt something as alien as the red caped figure before him – Hope.

He’ll save Martha. Whatever the cost. He won’t let her be taken away again.

A man on a mission.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

(The Aftermath of the battle)

Lois held his body in his arms, sobbing hard. The world had gone dark around her, everything she cared for were gone. The other two felt the same. Even for the Dark Knight, the darkness surrounding them was unnerving.

He looked at the body of the man before him, and he felt despair. He felt shameful, angry at himself for not looking at things differently. The Superman had been an ally after all, as Alfred predicted months ago. In twenty years he had lost two allies, both because of psychotic maniacs with different goals in their minds. No. This was his OWN fault. His arrogance had led them to this tragedy. And he is the onely one who’s responsible for this. And he has to make things right again.

The Amazonian wondered what went through the Bat’s mind. She just had fought one of the toughest battles of her life, but all she felt now was a sense of despair. Looking at the standing figure, she understood something. He felt responsible for this. She could see it in his eyes. Maybe that’s what drives him to fight against gods and monsters. The feeling of guilt, however wrongly felt. That’s what makes him so focused. Despite her weariness, she felt admiration for the Dark Knight. And despair, because the god is dead.

Bruce suddenly realized he will have to attend his funeral. He had caused this after all. In the first funeral he had attended in his life, he had run from the yard, only to fall into a hole in the ground.

And after all those years, Bruce felt like he was still falling.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

(The Funeral)

“Help me find the others like you. They’ll have to fight”, Bruce said to her.

“Maybe they don’t want to be found”, she replied. They were standing away from the grave, looking at the broken figure of Lois Lane, kneeling on the ground. They were feeling it too, yet they didn’t know how to express it.

“Why do you think they’ll have to fight?”

“Just a feeling”, replied Bruce. He knew what had to be done. He had a feeling that Darkness was approaching fast. And that he’ll need all the help he’ll get. He felt motivation surging through his mind, created by what Superman was cherished for the most. Even in death, he radiated Hope.

Bruce Wayne strode off of the graveyard, looking more determined than ever in the past twenty years.

A man on a mission.

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5 thoughts on “The Martyr

  1. This is how a writer should work on his writing.
    It clearly shows the maturity level of the writer.
    Small concept , deep meaning and extreme level of writing.
    Perfect.
    I loved the ant concept and how you connected the concept with the story,
    You kept the base strong and on that basis you perfect and explained the story.

    Bats started as a hero punishing villains but here he became the villain by punishing an innocent Supes. This is the realization he had which is the ending of the story. I liked how easily you describe with this realization being kept as an allusion. Work well done.
    Good job.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This has got a lot of things going on underneath the surface of the story, and I must say the themes feel almost professionally handled. Even though the narrative itself is simple, the story is superb.
    I remember Bhaiya getting pissed once because I called Goku a Super Alien :p. It was one of those Goku vs Superman thingies.
    Real awesome take on the prompt!

    Liked by 3 people

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