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I passed by the main Wayne Tower, where I was still working not two days ago. It got me thinking how sad it is that things can change in a second. When you think everything is fine, Gotham makes sure to remind you of its treacherous Butterfly effect. Such a tiny little act. Such a shiny little object. The simple wave of a finger. The trigger of a gun. A shot in the dark. The ticking sound of antique pearls scattering all over the street. Rolling in the mud. Rolling in the blood... A hurricane of changes, shaping the destiny of our dear depraved city. I could feel its alarming breeze, like a lament in between the buildings. And it was very windy tonight. Desperate times were ahead. Dark times. Somebody has to do something about it. It might as well be me.
I stopped my car in the parking lot. With my keys in between my knuckles, I walked towards the elevator, pulling my collar closer to my neck and cheeks to protect me from the cold. I selected the 15th floor, pressing rapidly and repetitively on the ‘close door’ button. I made my way down the corridor fast, looking straight ahead.
Finally! Home sweet home. I opened the bright red door, entering a spacious, rustic looking loft with dark chestnut wood beams all over the ceiling and dark red brick wall on my left. I put my black purse and my keys on the leather couch - matching with the door’s colour. I took the remote off the small coffee table and lit the fireplace, before carefully putting it back to its proper place, the flames mirroring on the 52 inch flat screen hanging above. Beyond the large bookshelf wall, I lifted up the switch to light the chandelier above the dining table. As I did so, I watched out the huge forged iron window in the middle of the brick wall. The view of the city was quite breathtaking, with all its tall skyscrapers and lights. The somber clouds covering it, letting a little glimpse of pale moonlight passing though. The serene river at its feet, flowing under the bridge. I could hear the muffled sound of cars and chatters, reminding me that this city was very much alive. I sometimes liked to lean over the cement balcony and look down at those walking on the pavement, like I was the Queen of Gotham.
I turned around and walked past the granite countertop to get to the fridge, pouring myself a nice glass of milk mixed with chocolate alcohol. Heading to the right, climbing the ‘L’ shaped forged iron staircase. I passed in front of the bathroom door in between the two floors, then I reached the open space above the kitchen, serving as bedroom and office.
I sank into my desk’s chair. Looking at the wall papered with Gotham’s map and several pictures of influent people and mob bosses. My headquarters. I sighed as I the turned on stereo. "I Don’t Want to Set the World on Fire" by The Ink Spot came on.
I closed my eyes for a minute. Enjoying the melody. Then looked upon a damaged file with a red classified stamp on it. I opened it for the 1000th time. Reading what was left of it slowly, studying it. I felt the anger rising as I stumbled upon his nickname; The Roman. Of course... Who else would have the authority to cover such a crime and simply wash his hands of it! Luckily for me, the poor soul who was designated to burn this document was an incompetent. I have enough information to start my own investigation on what is going on and what really happened that night, down the theater alley.
I put the document down and grabbed an old green book, worn out on the cover's edges. I blew the dust away and leaned back in my chair, crossing my ankles over the desk. The pages cracked loudly as I opened it.
‘’Beware the Court of Owls, that watches all the time,
Ruling Gotham from a shadowed perch, behind granite and lime.
They watch you at your hearth, they watch you in your bed.
Speak not a whispered word about them, or they'll send the Talon for your head.’’
One of Gotham’s oldest superstitious tales. One of fear, murder and conspiracy. In which an ancient order was ruling Gotham in secrecy, from its very depth. ‘’Watch for the signs’’ my father used to tell me. ‘’They are in our homes.’’ How obsessed he was...
It used to scare me, as a child. I soon began to realise it was only a way for grown up people to frighten little children into making them behave. Just like the myth of Krampus around Christmas time or the Grimm’s Fairy Tales before going to bed.
I gave a quick look at the open file. I frowned as I stared at the partial owl seal at the bottom. I grew up surrounded by the Siciliain mob, my father being Don Carmine Falcone himself, sometimes called the Roman. He worked his way to the top as the main Godfather of Gotham. All he ever wanted was to make sure his name would be put on a pedestal. And he succeeded. Worldwide, the name Falcone grew to be as famous and respected as the Corleones. And so, I've always been aware of the undergrounds of the city, but this? "Could it be... " I caught myself thinking. I brush it off my mind as quickly as it came. "It’s just a story, Kitrina. It’s not real.’"
One thing’s for sure. The Waynes murder was no coincidence. And someone inside Wayne Enterprise knows what happened. Someone’s responsible. And he or she knows I know. After all, they fired me the very moment after I found that file. I remember the man’s expression when he caught me with it. The expression of a man who knows he’s going to die painfully in the near future. And, indeed, he’s never been seen by anyone after that day. He went missing. Just like that. I saw it over the newspaper this morning. Yet, no one cares. No one dares. When Gotham’s got a hold on you, it swallows you whole.
Everything felt very calm. Too calm. "Don’t Let Us Say Goodbye" was now playing and I felt a stroke of air brushing the naked skin of my arms. I froze, frightened. Something wasn't right. I did not remember letting any windows open.
Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a shadow dancing. I gasped and stood quickly, facing it.
‘’Oh... My... GOD!’’