“It’s on the thirteenth floor, appropriately” the landlord mentioned as we approached the apex of the top floor of his ‘luxury’ apartment block.
“Appropriately?” I questioned back at the rather burly man who was quietly fumbling for the requisite key to the apartment we had just reached.
“Oh didn’t I mention, this apartment is really rather special, it has the most glorious view of the city from a large picturesque window situated in its front room, and, well, I dunno, I guess the number thirteen sort of comes to mind whenever I think about him… uh, it!? Mmmmmm, no’one’s really sure if he’s human, or something, else”
My curiosity piqued – ” Him? who exactly are we talking about?”
“Wow, you’re really not from around here are you, I mean your accent sounds, British, right?” the landlord sighed heavily as he finally found the relevant apartment key.
“Yes, I’m English, only been in the states for a couple of days in fact, I’m a writer you see, one in need of a healthy dose of inspiration, I thought travelling across the pond and making my home here in Gotham for a few months might help blow away those writer’s block cobwebs… again, who is this mysterious, entity to whom you refer?”
The landlord turned towards me with a look of startling incredulity “Batman, of course, what rock have you been living under, Brit or not, I mean come on, it’s the goddamn Batman!”
“Batman?” my brow furrowed at the idea “he’s actually real?, I always thought he was some kind of myth, a sort of urban legend, you know a boogeyman type”
The landlord’s lips cracked into a rather ominous smile “Oh he’s the boogeyman alright, ‘cept in his case he only does harm to those who deserve it, anyway, please go in and take a look around, but I suggest you make up your mind quickly if you are at all interested, this apartment is well sought after and I have two more viewings this evening”
The apartment was much larger than I had at first envisioned, but then at the price he was charging I could probably afford a mansion in comparison, but it was, strangely enough, the apartment number that had attracted me to the viewing – 1313, there just seemed something, familiar about it.
“And here we are” the landlord stood in front of a sizeable plate glass window with what could only be described as a spectacular view onto the city itself, yet, with the constant torrential rain and lightning storm, and the ridiculously prodigious amount of black spires and gargoyles that peppered the immediate skyline, Hell came more to mind. “This window is better than any TV set you’ve ever seen, and if you’re looking for inspiration to break your writer’s block, well, this particular room might very well be your new favourite muse”
I pressed my nose against the cold glass “How so?” I asked, curious of his assertion.
“Well, you see, for some reason the Bat seems to frequent this particular area rather often, I mean we do have a rather high crime rate here, but that could be said for the entire city, it’s Gotham after all, infamous across the world for just this reason. This particular suburb – Park Row is actually more famous for one particular street dubbed ‘Crime Alley’ by the locals, if you look just over to your left you can see the infamous thoroughfare, the downgrade of this area began maybe thirty years ago after an awful tragedy involving Gotham’s famous affluent family, The Waynes…”
“Ah, as in the parents of billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne?” I said glancing towards the landlord, who appeared a little miffed at my interruption “I think I’ve heard this story, but please, continue on Sir”
“As I was saying, it’s been at least three decades since that awful night, when, after a evening out at the movies with their young son Bruce, the Waynes, Thomas and Martha were gunned down in cold blood right before the very eyes of their child, I mean can you imagine that, how it would taint your life… well it certainly tainted this area that’s for sure and the entire city itself, things got worse from that night onward, the city began its slow gradual descent into hell, I know, I know, I sound awfully dramatic but… wait a second, is that?”
The landlord stood transfixed staring out the window, like a deer caught in headlights, “what is it?” I said whirling on the spot following his gaze. Something dark was moving through the buildings, at first it appeared to be some kind of gigantic corvidae, but one of this size would be ridiculous, we continued to watch as the ‘thing’ descended to the ground below. It was then that the darkened figure began to take shape as my eyes adjusted to the light differential outside, it was clearly some kind of humanoid creature, though like no man I had ever encountered before. The head bore two rather long pointed ears and what seemed to be large black wings draped around the impressively framed individual.
“It’s him!” the landlord exclaimed with an almost childlike glee “told ya huh, can’t believe he appeared just as I was telling you about him though, really creepy timing, and yet…” the landlord glanced at a calendar hanging on the back wall “that’s it!, weirdly enough he seems to come here, to crime alley every year on this particular day”
I looked back towards the calendar “26th of September, Mmmmm, I wonder what the significance of this date is to such a man, umm, creature? that he should appear every year on this very day” I looked back out of the window towards where this ‘Bat’ had been, “he’s gone! I mean, he was there literally a second ago!”
The landlord’s face broadened into a large wry grin “Oh yeah, he’s good at that! off to take down a murderous clown or a riddling sociopath I would hazard, so, after that excitement, what do you think of the place, interested?”
I turned away from the window “I’ll take it” I said confidently.
“Yeah, thought ya would” the landlord passed me the keys”Oh, and we’ve had a few writers rent the place in the past you know, I believe they may have even left some of theirs musings and manuscripts up in the loft area, may be of interest to you.” The landlord turned on the spot and slowly made his way for the door “Welcome to Gotham” he uttered as he closed the door behind him.
“Thanks” I murmured back “I think I’m going to like it here” I gazed towards the trap door that gave access to the attic area… “yeah, I really think I’m going to like it here”
To Be Continued…
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