Mother Dearest Chapter 11 [PG] BB
Chapter 11/13? [I'm planning thirteen chapters]
Saturday 9:15 PM
“Where’s your brother?” Bruce asked without taking his eyes off the screen.
“Upstairs watching TV.” Terry perched himself on the edge of Wayne’s chair. “Anything new? We’re running out of time...”
“Did you find out any information about Jason?”
Bruce leaned back in the chair. “Actually, no. There is no record of any Jason Mannings that match the description of the one you know.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean he changed his name.”
Terry nodded. “Who is his apartment under?”
Bruce typed a few keys on the keyboard and waited. A name flashed on the screen. “Justin Sommers.” Bruce Wayne stared at the screen, thinking. He pressed a key, causing words to scroll quickly down. “Father... Bradley Sommers.”
“So there is a connection.”
Bruce shook his head. “It’s not clear though. Wait, let me see if whether there are any more places under either Justin or Bradley Sommers.”
The screen beeped and blinked the words “Two Matches Found.”
“I think we found your mother,” Bruce said quietly.
“My brother should be fine upstairs, but if you could check on him once in a while it would be great... I’m going to go there right now. Where is the other place?”
“Flat 19D, 19th floor, Garden Heights. Previous owner, Sasha McMann.”
Terry nearly fell over from the shock. “It’s him, isn’t it.”
“Looks like it. Suit up. I’ll monitor you from here.”
Saturday 10:45 PM
Balcony of Flat 19D
Batman stood there silently, staring at the curtained patio door. There was a dim light on inside. He held up two fingers to the pane of glass. The room was silent. He tried the door, finding that it was surprisingly unlocked. Slowly, he pulled the glass door open.
He went into stealth mode and slipped into the empty living room. The light came from the hallway to his left. Before he could take another step, a figure stepped into the living room and sat down on the couch.
It was Jason.
He turned the TV on and settled down into the couch, oblivious of Batman’s presence. On a whim, Batman switched off the stealth mode of his suit. Jason jumped at the sudden appearance of a figure clad in black. He jumped up.
“Where’s Mary McGinnis?”
Jason flinched, his mouth trying not to smile. “Impressive, Terry.”
Terry almost didn’t realize that Jason had called him by his real name. He took a step back when Jason started towards him. He could play the same game.
“Where is she, Justin?”
Justin/Jason shook his head with a chuckle. “So now we’re both even.”
“Where is she?” Batman repeated.
“She’s still alive, Terry. You needn’t worry so much.” Jason sat back down into the couch and leaned back. “I’m surprised that you don’t want to know why.”
Jason leaned forward, his eyes black. “Why not?” Then, his eyes cleared and he leaned back again. “Have you ever seen the movie, ‘The Bone Collector’? It’s an old movie, but good. A classic in my opinion. No one ever guesses who the real killer is until the very end. Unfortunately, you found me out somehow. But, the whole movie is a race. Life is a race. A race towards death.”
“Who was Sasha McMann?”
“Then why did you kill her?”
“How much do you know about tides, Terry?”
“They’re caused by the gravitational field of the moon.”
“Thanks for the science lesson, McGinnis. I didn’t know that you paid attention in class.”
Batman ignored the taunt.
“But what about the time?” Justin continued. When he didn’t get a response, he smiled.
With a sickening realization, Terry saw what Justin was trying to tell him. He extended his hand and fired a rope around Justin’s smiling body, binding him tightly. He then rushed through the open patio doors and into the night again. He knew that Justin wouldn’t leave. He was having too much fun with Terry.
He turned on the com link to the Wayne Mansion. “What happened in the Bone Collector?”
“That’s an old movie, McGinnis.”
“Judging from what he was saying, I think he was referring to the last victim. An old man and his granddaughter were tied to the pier. When the tide rose, they would be submerged under water and drowned.”
Batman opened his wings and turned on the thrusters in his boots towards Gotham Harbor. He had no time to lose.
“Looking at the schedule, high tide today will be at exactly 12 Midnight.”
“So, don’t we have time? We have around twenty minutes.” Batman asked, his eyes scanning the piers in the water.
“No, we don’t. You still have to find her. Gotham Harbor pretty much extends the entire length of Gotham. Did he say anything else?”
“Not that I can recall...” He flew down to ground level and landed. “How do they label piers?”
Terry had an idea, but it was a risky one. “What day is tomorrow?”
“Sunday, the 13th.”
“So let’s give that one a shot.” Batman flew up into the air again and headed South. He checked the pier numbers. He was currently flying over Pier 127. Taking a quick glance at his watch, he saw that he had less than 15 minutes.
60...59...48... He was getting closer and closer. Less than 10 minutes.
“Mom, please hold on.” Batman said without even realizing it.
“She will, Terry. Just don’t stop. Keep looking.”
His eyes travelled from one pier to another as he quickly approached Pier 13. He landed on the pier. Now where was he supposed to look. “Wayne, where were the two victims in the movie?”
“The book said hanging down a bridge, but the actual perp tied them to the wooden pier on the side. Fly low, Terry, around the pier. See what you can find.” Terry checked the clock. It was 12. Taking a deep breath, he opened the wings and dived off the pier. He skinned the water and flew a little higher. His eyes quickly scanned the water under him and the water under the pier.
“Bruce, what if she isn’t here?” he asked, his voice filled with anxiety.
“You took a risk, now just continue.”
Batman flew straight ahead, his eyes still looking. Were there any other numbers that meant something to Justin? He had flown around the entire pier without finding anything. “Bruce, she isn’t here at all.” Terry could feel his heart pound in his chest. He couldn’t lose his mother, not here, not in this way. He had to find her. “What day was Sasha killed?”
“They found her two years later, remember? Autopsy shows the 23rd.”
“Then that’s where I’m going now.” Batman turned on his thrusters and flew in the opposite direction. From above, as he flew closer towards Pier 23, he saw a flash of red in the water. “Wayne, I found her.” He flew down to the pier and looked over the wooden plancks. A head was submerged under the water, but he knew that it was her. “How does this suit do in water?”
“Why wonder, Terry, just get her.”
Terry took out a Batarang and jumped down into the water. He paddled over to the tied body. It wasn’t moving. He blinked back the tears that had threatened to form. “Please God, no...”
Terry wasn’t a religious man, but he was so completely desparate that he was willing to try anything. He couldn’t lose her. With the batarang, he sliced away the rope and pulled his mother’s body up. Her eyes were closed and she didn’t seem to be breathing. Turning on the thrusters, Batman flew up from the water with a large splash and onto the pier. He gently lay his mother down.
It was a test to see if whether Terry could remember everything from the mandatory CPR class which he had found so pointless and annoying.
“Bruce, tell me what to do!”
Terry, with his mask still on, placed both hands on her chest and pressed down hard. Spurts of water gushed out of Mary McGinnis’s mouth, but there was still no movement. He pinched her nose, pulled her head back, and forced himself to breathe into her. After several minutes of repeating the CPR procedure, Mary McGinnis began to cough. Terry could hear the gush of air flow through her body as she hacked out more water. Relief flooded Terry’s body as she slowly opened her eyes and looked at him.
Batman shook his head. Remembering Ms. Richards’s words, he pulled the mask off. Mary’s eyes opened wide in shock.
Terry nodded, tears slipping down his face. He cradled his mother’s limp body in his arms. “You’re all right now.” He had never allowed himself to cry until now. “I came so close to losing you...”
Mary smiled, tears streaming down her face as well. Never had she expected... Believed... Thought... That her oldest son. She pulled herself closer to Terry, thankful for everything.
In the distance, Terry heard a voice.
Terry and Mary both looked up simultaneously at the child running towards them. Matt was still fairly far so he hadn’t yet realized who was kneeling next to his mother. Terry quickly pulled the mask on over his face.
Matt’s face glowed when he realized who the person in black was. “Batman! Mom! What happened?”
“She’s back from vacation. She slipped and fell off the boat.”
Mary looked back to her oldest son, questions all over her face. Then, understanding, she nodded. Off into the distance, she noticed Mr. Wayne standing there in a trench coat. Terry helped her to her feet, but she was still too weak to stand. He helped her over to Mr. Wayne and Matt. Matt threw his arms around his mother, glad that she was finally home.
“I leave her with you for now. I have some unfinished business.” Batman said. Mr. Wayne nodded. Batman looked at Mary McGinnis one last time before flying off into the night. He did indeed have unfinished business.