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Dark Choices Part 3

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Eliza kneeled at the locked door. Her fists had long ago become raw and bloodied. She felt the pain and swollen flesh, but had long ago stopped caring. She couldn’t give up on getting out, couldn’t let Bane win.

She had no idea how long it had been since the attack on Arkham. Days? Weeks? Time was slipping for the city and she could do nothing about it. With Batman dead no one was strong enough to take him out face to face. It was up to her to kill him.

“Kill him? Could I really do that?” The idea that had been crossing her mind ever since he had locked her down here. It was in her oath to “do no harm”, yet letting him live would lead to more death. She wondered if Batman had come across this conundrum. “God, what am I supposed to do?” She sobbed against the door. She crawled back on to her bed and pulled her knees to her chest. “Don’t let me do this alone. Please?”

“God has abandoned places such as this.” She was used to him slipping in without her noticing now. Bane leaned against the door with a burlap bag in his hand. He had his mask on. “It would be best if you quit trying to find Him. Get up.”

“Where do you think I’m going?” She didn’t move. She defiantly looked into his eyes, challenging him to force her. “The mask is pointless. Why wear it?”

“The mask no longer aids my body, but it still serves a purpose.” He pulled out a pair of handcuffs and tossed them to her. “Put them on. My new facility needs a doctor.”

“A little kinky for the second date, don’t you think?” She didn’t touch the restraints, but she stood up and walked up to him“And what purpose could the mask still serve?”

“Intimidation.” He had a pair of zip-tie cuffs and quickly turned her around and got her wrists. He was careful enough to not reopen her sutures, but gruff enough keep her motionless; she mentally thanked him for that, but he wouldn’t have cared anyway.

As he threw open the door, she seized her opportunity. She threw her weight backwards. Even with her hands stuck behind her back, she managed to get her feet under her and stand. He grabbed her legs and pulled, throwing her back down. Unable to use her arms to ease the landing her head smacked the cement. Bane pinned her with his knee and held her head down keeping her face in the cement.

“Admirable, but foolish.” His quiet, soft tone was the most frightening thing Eliza had ever heard. “Your petty defiance, will not save you, let alone Gotham. I had hoped you would come willingly, but I suppose we could do things the easier way.” Eliza felt a cloth cover her mouth and nose. She barely had time to register the sickly sweet smell of chloroform before true darkness claimed her.


Bane knew the men he had found would be loyal unto death, but their belief was nothing compared to what Ras Al Ghul demanded. Their loyalty wasn’t hindered by the fact that he had once again donned his mask. Bane found that it had great effect on the weaker willed.

His little doctor stayed locked up in his quarters so much as to keep her there and to keep her away from prying eyes. Primarily he had men in his force and these men were prone to baser needs. Dr. Eliza Charleston was off limits was, and that was because she was of use.

“Sir?” His second-in-command came up to him.

Bane simply narrowed his eyes at the smaller man. The man barely flinched, but Bane saw it. He knew that the man could hold himself in the fight, but still required a great deal of training.

“The men want to know when the fire will burn. And they want that doctor brought out. The sentries told me that the lab is now ready.”

Bane said nothing. He simply crossed his arms and bored his eyes into the lesser man. The man walked away with sweat dripping down his face.

The new headquarters was located at an abandoned Wayne facility; the same facility that housed the bomb he used to hold the city in his clutches. When he found the facility completely abandoned he knew it would be the perfect place to begin again, if not a bit ironic. Silently he moved away to his rooms.
Perhaps he could improve the facilities for Eliza. Keeping her locked only made the doctor more defiant. He was beginning to understand her inner workings and the way he could bend her to his will. Pushing open the door, he slipped inside. She was fast asleep; the chloroform had a lasting effect on her body. With the amount he used, she should have been awake within five hours; now eight hours later she was still unconscious.

Shutting the door and locking it, he removed his mask. He knelt on the bed, then turned her over. Drool leaked out of her mouth, and she groaned at being moved. Her tangled hair covered half her face and grime covered the other half. There was a healing cut on her forehead from when she had struggled a day earlier.

“Charleston.” He pushed her shoulder, she groaned again. He whispered in her ear, “Eliza, get up.”

“Sleep-sleepy. Still sleepy. Go. Go away.” Her words slurred together. Her eyes opened and didn’t focus. She smiled a dopey smile that only someone can give when they’re high. She pulled on his jacket collar and attempted to kiss him. Her lips landed on his chin and she made a smacking sound. She fell back on the pillow laughing.

“Interesting.”

He must’ve triggered her conscious mind, for when he spoke her eyes cleared of the haze and she looked at him mortified.

“Oh my God!” She sat up, almost instantaneously kicking him in the rib. “What the hell was that? I…I just kissed you. Oh good God! Get out! Get out, Bane!”

“Your new laboratory is ready. You’re to start your work immediately.” He stood up, taking her with him. He went over to where he had put his mask down and put it back on.

“I won’t say it again, I won’t do it.”

“Perhaps once we get to the lab you’ll think otherwise.”

“I doubt it.”

He opened the door. Leading her out, he guided her through the dimly lit corridors. A few of his men lifted their heads but quickly looked back down after seeing Bane with her. The woman likely didn’t realize it, but every time they passed one of his men, she inched closer to him. Bane had a hold of her elbow and steered her clear of the more troublesome men.

Eliza allowed herself to move closer to Bane. He was, ironically enough, the safest person to be with. She couldn’t get her elbow loose from his grip and for once she was okay with that.

The steel door of the lab stood ajar when they got there. When Bane shoved her in she stumbled, but then gasped.
In a corner cowered her sister, bound with rope and gagged. Her cheek was bruised and cut, but over all she seemed healthy. She was barely out of college, Eliza loved her to death and had to get her out of there.

“What is she doing here Bane?” She ran to her sister and started untying her. Carefully she peeled the tape away from her mouth.

“She’s the reason you will do as you say.” he stood proud and defiant with his arms crossed over his massive chest.

“No. You get her out of here, and then I’ll do as you want.”

“No Liz!” Her sister clasped her arm. She was trembling; the young woman was frightened beyond wits. “Don’t do what he wants. He’s insane. Please don’t make me go!”

“Kellie, you have to.”

“Oh, but she doesn’t.” Bane crossed to Eliza and pushed her onto the wall. “She will die if you don’t start right now. And I will be the one to snap her delicate neck myself.”

Resigned that she wouldn’t get her sister out, Eliza dropped her head. “We both need to wash up first. And I’ll need to take samples from you.”

“The shower is over there, and I’ll be waiting here when you get out.” Bane sat down at one of the labs many chairs.

“Come on, Kellie.” She guided her to the room in the back. Looking over her shoulder she saw Bane staring at them. She thought she saw something flicker in his eyes, but he turned around to give orders to his men. “Get in the shower Kel. I have to check on something.” Eliza found her bed stacked with clothes. Eliza had to find away to get Kellie out of here and keep Bane satisfied, that in and of itself would take awhile.

Two months later…
“What do you mean you’re actually designing the thing?” Eliza saw the confusion and disgust on her sister’s face.

“I have to if I want to keep you safe.” Eliza shrugged. She had acquired all of her samples from Bane over the last two months. She could’ve gotten them all within two days, but claimed that because of his recent surgery it would be wise to space the sample gathering out. It was a complete lie, and was sure Bane saw right through it, but he had complied.

“I’m not worth killing millions of innocent people!”

“Innocent is a strong word in Gotham, we both know that. I’m doing what needs to happen to protect what I love.”

“You’re sounding like him!” Kellie came over and grabbed Eliza’s shoulders and shook her. “Bane is getting to you, Eliza.”

“Maybe I’m just having my eyes opened for the first time.” Eliza turned around and began working again. “Gotham needs to wake up. It needs to grow up.”

“You’re talking about the deaths of millions, including children.”

“Kellie, I just need you to trust me to save you, and to do it any way I can. Go grab those canisters.”


Bane stepped from the shadows, “Indeed, Kellie. Listen to your sister. She does have three doctorates. Dr. Charleston, a word in private?”

She followed him outside the lab, leaving the door slightly ajar. “What do you want, Bane? I’m doing as you asked.”

“That you are.” He pushed her chin up so that she would look at him. Eliza slapped his hand away.

“Don’t touch me.” Her defiant dark blue eyes challenged him to do it again and see what the results would be. “I assume you want to talk progress, well here it is. The tests are indicative that the disease that corrupted your body is completely subdued. However crude and deforming, the Pit’s doctor’s method eradicated the disease in you, and the cells I have found are not strong enough to do what you want.” A slight smile curved her lips.

“I expected as much.” Bane made a gesture and his men brought forth a sniveling man. Sores and open wounds covered his skin. The small man was gaunt and drawn. His bruised, bloodshot eyes slithered around the room. Blood was crusted at his nose and sores. “This particular virus requires it to be transferred from blood to open sores. Work with this disease and make it more volatile and aggressive.” The man began seizing and blood poured out of his nose, eyes, and ears. The seizures continued until they abruptly stopped and the blood began to pool around the crumpled pile of bones.

“More aggressive?” She shoved him. “You bastard! How can you ask me to do this to millions of people?”

“Gotham has spilled enough blood to fill a river, what are a few more drops?” Bane started to walk away when a feminine scream came from the laboratory. Briefly Eliza locked eyes with him before she ran with him behind her.

“Kellie!” Eliza screamed.
A man was crouched over her sister with his pants around his ankles. Blood speckled the walls and her sister’s body crumpled on the floor, bruised and bloody. She ran at the man and threw her fist into his face. Bane caught the reeling man and held him up by the throat with one hand. She knelt at her sister’s head and felt her neck for a pulse. “No, no, no, no! Kellie wake up
sweetie. Baby-doll!” Kellie briefly looked up but then her eyes rolled in toe the back of her head and she became limp. Eliza cradled her sister’s lifeless body in her arms. “I’m so sorry you got dragged into this Kel. So sorry.” She sobbed silently.

She heard the tell-tale snap of a neck and slump of a body. She didn’t look back at him. “Thank you Bane.”

“The great Dr. Charleston, thanking someone for the death of another human?”

“In this instant, yes.” She gently laid her sister down and stood to face Bane. “You were right Bane. There are more creatures out there hurting more young girls like Kellie. And Gotham is a breeding ground for them.” She tenderly put her hand on his mask. “It is time for Ras Al Ghul’s fire to burn.”

“Indeed it is.”

Six months later…
Eliza awoke surrounded by Bane. His heavy arm was draped across her stomach, and held her tight to his side. He started a habit of this to ensure that she stayed there every night. Ever since her sister’s death, she had taken to sleeping in his bed with him so that the men would think twice before attacking her. They never “slept” together in that sense, but it was comforting having someone who would protect her; even if that man would soon unleash her weapon Gotham. Tears welled in her eyes, but then she remembered her sister’s beaten face and they went away.

“Bane, I need to get to the lab.”

“The dispersal system, is it ready?” Bane respectfully didn’t look over his shoulder.

“Of course. It’s been ready for quite some time.” She started getting dressed. “With one last test of the virus in a volunteered subject, we will be ready by tonight. Will anyone be joining us tonight to celebrate?”

“Just us. Now get to work Dr. Charleston.”

She simply nodded and headed towards the lab. Bane’s second-in-command had learned to take orders from her and listened quickly whenever she spoke. “You, pick a volunteer. And bring him to the lab.” She walked to the lab and put on her Has-mat suit, then grabbed the vials containing the new strain of the virus. “Leave him in the negative-pressure room.”

“Yes, ma’am.” He dumped the confused man into the room and left.

The room had a speaker so Eliza could talk with the infected. The man was in fact more or less a teenage boy. He barely had peach fuzz on his face and dirty blonde hair. He looked frightened and weak.

“Miss, please let me go.” His small voice echoed in the lab. “Why did Tom pick me? I, I didn’t do anything.”

“No, you didn’t.” She heated the vial just enough, and turned her back so the boy wouldn’t see. She poured a glass of water and turned to the negative-pressure room. “The fire must burn, but every fire needs to be started. Will you help us start the fire?”

“I-I guess.” Eliza walked to the little box that connected the two rooms. She handed him the glass of water. “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.” When he took the first sip, she felt her heart leap out of her chest and breathing hurt. “You’ll first feel a sudden fever, then blood will leak from every orifice and death will follow within five minutes.” He clutched his throat and turned bright red. He collapsed and hit the floor. Blood flowed from his eyes, nose, ears and mouth. “I’m sorry.”

“All is working as expected.” Bane stepped up behind her. “To have it react in water is ingenious.”

“Of course it is. I designed it. It’s the easiest way to make sure every Gothamite is affected.” She turned around and looked him in the eye. “Ras Al Ghul’s one problem ten years ago was stealing that microwave-emitter. It alerted too many people. You’ve been stealing my equipment and supplies, little by little, and never from the same place.”

“Correct. Subtlety is something Talia lacked.” He pushed the Has-mat helmet back. “You do not, and I had I known about you two years ago, Gotham would have already burned.”

“What a wonderful thought.”

“Sir?” The second-in-command had entered without her noticing. Bane merely raised his head. “The foot-soldiers are ready to go to the dispersal sights, on your orders.”

“Come with me.” He pulled her out to the staging area. “Gentlemen! This is the beginning of a new chapter in this world. In this we cannot fail, Gotham will burn from the inside out. Dr. Charleston has given us the fuel in which Gotham will burn; it is up to us to light it!” A roar went up from the crowd of unkempt men. Eliza flinched at the sound. “You shall all be remembered for the cleansing of Gotham! Go now, and fulfill Ras Al Ghul’s destiny!”

The men continued their roaring approval as they grabbed the canisters of the virus. Eliza turned away, not wanting to see her worst nightmare come to light. She went back to the lab and took off the Has-mat suit. Tears fell down her cheeks; she knew this would be the right thing to do for Gotham, if not a bit extreme. She knew what had to be done.

“Bane?”

“Eliza?”

She should have known he’d already followed her. “What will you do now? Your fire is burning as we speak. The world will not forget this, and will never stop hunting you. How is that a life for anyone?”

Bane closed the lab door and took off his mask. Underneath was the surprisingly handsome face that Eliza had helped restore. Without the mask one could tell he was still powerful being, not the nightmare Gotham had come to fear. His eyes were still incredibly intense, so much so that Eliza turned away.

Bane came up behind Eliza and turned her head towards him. “They will be looking for the great terrorist Bane. They won’t think twice about a frightened and fleeing married couple.” He let her hand fly at him. The resonating smack did not however make Bane jerk back; it was the small woman’s sudden intensity.

“You bastard!”

“You enjoy using that word.” She tried to slap him again and this time he caught her. “Eliza, you will stay with me. You are the catalyst that the League of Shadows needs. Come with me, and you will never be harmed again.”

Her skeptical eyes searched his face. They gazed at one another for what seemed like an hour. They must have found what they were looking for, because then she leaned in and kissed him. Bane had never once considered that this would’ve been her response. Not knowing what to do, he simply held her. He questioned if she had breathed in too many fumes.

She pulled away, and tears brimmed over her eyes. Bane thought nothing of it. “So you will be coming with me?”

“No.” Her breathing became shallow and rapid. She peeled something away from her lips. She shrugged her shoulder. “That was the only way I could get it into your system. You’ll first feel a tightening of your throat. Then a slow, steady rise in your temperature.”

Bane coughed and sat down. Sweat beaded and dropped into his eyes.

“The virus will take longer, but it won’t hurt too much. The fire will only burn in you, Bane. Gotham is being given anti-bodies. I engineered it to attack only your DNA, so only you will suffer.” She pushed his suddenly heavy head up to look at him. “I’m so sorry Bane. You left me no choice. This is harder for me than you can imagine. God forgive me for saying it, I love you.”

A sudden burst of adrenaline coursed through him, he grasped her small, fragile neck. She feebly tried to push his arm away, he grasped tighter. They collapsed to the ground, with him still holding her. He felt a bead of liquid fall down his face; he was unsure if it was a bead of sweat or a wayward tear.

Eliza saw the utter confusion and anger on his face. The tear that escaped down his cheek brought forth her own. Her heart was squeezed in her chest; what had she done to this man?

“So this is what it’s like to burn.” Her eyes met his, and she knew he wasn’t talking about the disease. She felt his hand squeeze tighter, and she did nothing to stop him. She had accepted long ago that her life would likely be the price for saving Gotham. She deserved to live for saving Gotham, yet deserved hell for killing the man she loved. His eyes became unfocused. “Eliza, keep…keep the world balanced.” Fever made his wording slurred. “It’s better with you in it. You made the world brighter, for me. The light wasn’t blinding.”

“I’m sorry Bane.” She saw blackness closing in on her vision. “So sorry.” His eyes shut, and soon after Eliza felt herself slip into the black abyss.



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Momma said...
Jul. 6 at 12:33 am:
Great work Chickie!!!  Loved all three parts!
 
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