The businessman shot off to nearest alley, loudly cursing the sudden downpour. There, in the recessed doorway of an old building, decorated by the grotesque, jutting moldings that were a fashionable feature of the Old City district, he found shelter. And other men were looking for the same thing, or at least that’s what he thought at first.
The four men didn’t seem worried by the rain, and they walked his way with an almost casual pace. He didn’t like how they were dressed, or how they looked (and looked at him,) but he repressed the thought since he was a tolerant fellow.
“Now, friends,” he said when they were almost upon him, “I’m willing to share this place with you, but it’s a bit crowded already, hehe — grhrhgh!”
That was the sound of his choked laughter as his windpipe was squashed by one of the thugs. They pushed him against the door and held him by the throat while two other ruffled through his double-breasted coat and pants and the last one kept guard. Wallet, mobile phone, rings, even his belt. They were fast and efficient, and they cleaned him out in less than ten seconds.
The man holding him released him, and the businessman toppled to the ground. The three muggers turned on their heels, and as soon as they did so, the fourth, who was blocking the doorway, was lifted up into the air as if a whirlwind had sucked him up.
The shocked criminals shouted but their surprise and fear were nothing compared to the cries of panic from the other man, coming from above. But then they grew closer and the man smashed into the ground, where it lay moaning.
“I’m outta here!” Shouted one of the muggers. He ran off to the right and his hurried steps were soon silenced by a bone-crushing thump.
“What the hell was that?” Shouted on the remaining criminals.
“I don’t know, but follow me! Don’t split up!” The other, the one who had held the businessman, ordered.
Tentatively, they walked out of the doorway, looking in all directions for any sign of the hidden threat — in front, to the right, and to the left. But they didn’t look above.
The businessman saw the upside-down shadow creep down behind the two men. Then it whistled, and the two men whirled to face it. Two strong arms shot off from the cape of darkness that engulfed it and banged the two heads together. They dropped like dolls.
The thing flipped over with the agility of a gymnast and dropped to the ground. It turned just enough for the businessman to see it was a man, draped in a long, dark cape and dressed in a black combat suit that covered almost all his face.
“Who are you?” Asked the terrified businessman
“I AM THE NIGHT,” he said looking upwards, as if pensive.
“Uhh… well, thanks.”
“YOU ARE WELCOME. JUSTICE NEVER SLEEPS.”
And without saying anything else, he lifted an arm holding some sort of a tool and then flew away.
“Hey! What about the….” the businessman shouted, pointing at the thugs that were starting to stir.
But he was already gone. However, all around him, the beaten men woke up, bruised, humiliated, and very angry.
“Ah, shit…” the man said.
This story is a not very subtle reference to Batman, especially to the very successful video game trilogy made by Rocksteady. I played the latest game recently and I found myself chuckling many times at the fact that Batman was rescuing a lot of people, beating the crap out of twenty murderous thugs, and then leaving the rescued guy there, with a vague promise of “help is on the way,” among the (thanks to amusing ragdoll physics) comically-placed bodies of the very, very angry thugs who had been in fact torturing the guy just before Batman arrived.