Batman/Punisher: Undead Reckoning
(© Robert Denham)
These idiots knew nothing. He was on trial for three gruesome sex murders, it
was true, but there was speculation about his having committed at least several
more; if they only knew. There were, in fact, dozens, men, women and children,
across the many years and states.
His final mistake, he had to admit, was in coming to Gotham; in being arrogant
enough to think he could challenge the Bat.
Well, challenge him, he certainly did, but whatever; he’d still gotten caught
by the costumed lunatic; an individual who saw something, made the right
connections and deductions, and succeeded when untold numbers of others over
the years had miserably failed.
He would have to watch that in the future; arrogance usually ends up being the
downfall. After all, as the Bible says: "pride goeth before the fall". He
chuckled to himself. But oh; to have had the opportunity to work his will on
the Bat. To explore the depth and darkness of those fears, and those desires;
how wonderful would be that? He felt the old, familiar stirring in his loins,
just thinking of it. But no; that would have to be denied for a while, he
recognized, and resolutely crushed it before it got...well, out of hand. He
No matter; when the trial began nearly three weeks before, his lawyers had
assured him that the evidence against him was nonetheless relatively flimsy and
even circumstantial, and it had been. He was confident that he’d be freed in
the end. Today, they’d see. They’d all see his triumph.
The guards took his arms, and he was prodded toward the steps. His smirk was
still prominent as they brushed aside the microphones and tape recorders.
When they reached the third step, he suddenly stopped, and turned; he smiled
broadly, again, at the assembled rabble and raised his hands, fists clenched,
in a confident gesture of victory.
That was when the top half of his head, just north of his eyebrows,
disappeared, vaporized, into a fine red mist. His stunned police guards,
suddenly spattered with gore and brain tissue, could only stand, dumbfounded.
Henninger’s eyes rolled up, the arrogant smile still on his lips, and he
toppled stiffly backward, like a felled tree, onto the steps behind him. As he
fell, slightly to his right, his remains jumped as another shot impacted his
chest, blowing—no, tearing, really—a sizeable exit wound through his back.
Blood and sundered internals sprayed across the century-old, cement steps, and
mingled there with the chunky remains of his head. They would leave a stain on
the porous surface that would never quite be removed. A short series of sharp
popping noises erupted, and the large crowd, suddenly panicked, scattered like
leaves in a brisk wind, screaming, to all points of the compass.
Castle, carefully out of sight atop a building across the street and to the
north of the courthouse, sighted in the snazzily-dressed scumbag as he moved,
passing out of the van’s concealing bulk.
The sniper rifle was nestled under a gray "digitized" camouflage tarp, chosen
for its resemblance to the gravel spread on the roof. Castle himself was
dressed in gray camo of a similar pattern. Two choppers, one a GCPD bird, the
other from a local TV station, had passed over, somehow not seeing him.
Damn, Castle thought glumly, all those people; he didn’t want any collateral
damage, here. He waited, biding his time, for the shot to reveal itself. At
least one always did. Then the killer climbed the steps, taking him slightly
above the crowd; oddly, no other police moved in.
Castle’s finger moved from the guard to the trigger, and stiffened; he grinned
thinly as his target turned, smiling broadly, and raised his fists. Perfect. He
squeezed the trigger. The silenced rifle kicked. The top of the killer’s head
disappeared. Castle waited a heartbeat and squeezed the trigger again, shooting
him once in the chest, for good measure. He then calmly reached to his right,
took up a small walkie-talkie, and pressed the button. "Go", he muttered.
Instantly, several small charges he’d planted last night detonated, sounding,
to the uninitiated, like close-range, small-arms gunfire and sowing the panic
and confusion into which he would escape. He quickly disassembled the sniper
rifle, slid the components into a soft, padded rifle case and was gone, over
the side of the building and down the fire escape.
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