Read The Further Adventures of Batman Online

Authors: Martin H. Greenberg

The Further Adventures of Batman

BOOK: The Further Adventures of Batman
11.92Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

“Criminals are a superstitious, cowardly lot, so I must wear a disguise that will strike terror into their hearts! I must be a creature of the night, like a . . . a . . . a
bat
!”

—Bruce Wayne

It began with those words fifty years ago, a crusade that would grow into a legend. Orphaned as a child, his parents murdered before his eyes, millionaire Bruce Wayne dedicated his life to avenging their deaths, becoming in the dark of night the costume-garbed protector of Gotham City, BATMAN.

To celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of his creation, fifteen of today’s greatest writers of fantastic fiction have joined together to take you inside his world of shadows and fear in
all-new
tales of mystery, humor, horror, and the supernatural. These are your guides through
The Further Adventures Of Batman
.

A beam of light stabs through the night sky, summoning from his cave the Protector of Gotham: BATMAN.

From the distant past to the near future, here are fourteen of the most baffling cases from the files of the Dark Knight Detective:

“Death of the Dreammaster”—the ]oker is dead. Batman watches as the Clown Prince of Crime is crushed to death between two huge stone wheels. But if that’s so, who does Bruce Wayne see walking down the street the next day? . . .

“The Origin of The Polarizer”—there’s a different kind of criminal loose in 1957 Gotham City, a mysterious figure who not only can control the Bat Signal and the BATIVAC Crime Computer, but who has even infiltrated the Dynamic Duo’s utility belts! Will they be able to deduce the insidious villain’s identity in time?

“Subway Jack”—a serial killer is rampaging through the subways, killing bag ladies and anyone else who gets in his way. It’s up to Batman to stop him in this tale of terror and the supernatural.

And eleven more stories from the greatest authors of mystery, science fiction, fantasy, and horror!

Bantam Books of Related Interest
Ask your bookseller for those you have missed.

THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF BATMAN

THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF THE JOKER

THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF BATMAN

A Bantam Book/July 1989

BATMAN
and all related characters, slogans, and indicia are trademarks of DC Comics Inc.
Copyright © 1989 DC Comics Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Cover art by Kyle Baker.

ISBN 0-553-28270-0

Published simultaneously in the United States and Canada

Bantam Books are published by Bantam Books, a division of Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc. Its trademark, consisting of the words “Bantam Books” and the portrayal of a rooster, is Registered in U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and in other countries, Marca Registrada. Bantam Books, 666 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York 10103

PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Contents

DEATH OF THE DREAMMASTER

Robert Sheckley

BATS

Henry Slesar

SUBWAY JACK

Joe R. Lansdale

THE SOUND OF ONE HAND CLAPPING

Max Allan Collins

NEUTRAL GROUND

Mike Resnick

BATMAN IN NIGHTTOWN

Karen Haber and Robert Silverberg

THE BATMAN MEMOS

Stuart M. Kaminsky

WISE MEN OF GOTHAM

Edward Wellen

NORTHWESTWARD

Isaac Asimov

DADDY’S GIRL

William F. Nolan

COMMAND PERFORMANCE

Howard Goldsmith

THE PIRATE OF MILLIONAIRES’ COVE

Edward D. Hoch

THE ORIGIN OF THE POLARIZER

George Alec Effinger

IDOL

Ed Gorman

Death
of the
Dreammaster

Robert Sheckley

B
ruce Wayne would never forget the scene. He saw it again in his mind’s eye, the grisly windmill in the low fen country outside New Charity Parish. Bruce himself, as Batman, was there. He was spread-eagled against a wide wooden door, his arms and legs pinioned by steel clamps secured with half-inch bolts. The bodies of the Joker’s most recent victims had been stacked roughly against a wall like so much bloodstained cordwood. The torsos were in one pile, the arms and legs in another, the heads in a third. The Joker himself, his thin-lipped grin wider and more hideous than ever, his painter’s smock stiff with blood, a bloodstained beret perched on his green-haired head, had just lifted up the last of his victims, little Monica Elroy. The child was still alive, but she had fainted. The Joker tried to slap her into consciousness because death was so much nicer when the victim was awake to appreciate it. Mercifully for her, the child did not respond.

“Well, she’s being a poor sport about it,” the Joker said. “Might as well finish her and get to you, Batman.”

The Joker carried the child to the center of the big high-ceilinged room. It was dominated by two enormous grindstones, set on axles contained within an open scaffolding. The great wheels turned slowly, propelled by the wide wings of the windmill outside. They were bloodstained, those wheels. The blood from the victims they had ground into a paste of flesh and bone had stained the granite deeply.

“We’ll just feed her in one toe at a time,” the Joker said. “Maybe she’ll come around in time to say bye-bye.”

Batman had been tugging at the clamp that held his right arm to the door. It had a fraction of give to it. Not much, but maybe enough. Enough to give him a chance, faint though it was.

In past years, Batman had learned a precise control of muscles and nerves in his advanced studies in Tibet. He remembered those studies now and forced his concentration to narrow and deepen, ignoring the scenes of horror around him and the overwhelming smell of blood. All his energy had to go into that arm, into his wrist, into the exact point of contact where the clamp pressed. He directed his force outward in a rhythmic fashion, timing it with his pulse beats, and, as he saw the Joker, unconscious child in his arms, mounting the three steps to the platform where the great grindstones touched their rough faces together, Batman drove at the clamp with every ounce of mental and physical energy at his disposal.

For a moment, nothing happened. And then the steel clamp wrenched free from the wooden door with a loud clear ringing sound, and the bolt that had secured it flew across the room as if it had been shot from a slingshot.

The Joker, who had just been lowering the unconscious girl toward the grindstones, was hit on the back of the head. Although the blow did not hurt him, he started violently, more shock than pain, and the girl fell from his arms. Off balance, he flailed, trying to regain his footing.

One hand, wildly gesticulating in its bloodstained white glove, came up against the grindstones at their point of contact. The hand was pulled in at once. The Joker howled and tried to pull free. The grindstones turned inexorably. The madman screamed and wrenched at his arm, and so violent was his movement that it seemed as if the limb might be pulled from his shoulder. But no such luck. The grindstones continued to devour him, and, as his forearm vanished between the stones and the rest of him was pulled in after it, the Joker, mad with pain, began to laugh, the high inhuman laughter of absolute insanity, and he continued to laugh as his body was pulled between the grindstone wheels, only stopping when his head came apart like a watermelon in a hydraulic press . . .

And so the Joker was dead.

But was he?

If so, who was that madcap and horrifying creature that Bruce kept glimpsing at the corners of his vision?

Who was Bruce Wayne seeing now, as he walked through downtown Gotham City, on his way to see his old friend Dr. Edwin Waltham?

Bruce Wayne shuddered slightly and resisted the urge to turn. The figure was never there when he turned around.

But he kept on seeing it.

This time, however, was different.

He was at the corner of Fifth and Concord in the heart of Gotham City. Across the street rose the tall tower with the famous polychrome façade that was the New Era Hotel. It was the newest and most sumptuous hotel in the city, built, it was said, by a consortium of foreign investors. It was a place where the rich from all over the world came to look and to be seen, the women to parade in their furs and silks, the men to blow smoke from their fine Havana cigars.

As he stood on the corner across from the hotel, waiting for the light to change, he clearly saw the figure he had glimpsed earlier. The man was long and skinny, dressed in a bottle-green swallow-tailed coat and tattersall trousers like an Edwardian dandy. But that was not what caught Bruce Wayne’s eye. It was the man’s hair, mossy green above a narrow, long-nosed, long-chinned face. The face looked at Wayne for a split second; the long, red, thin-lipped mouth stretched into a grin. There could be no doubt about it: it was the Joker.

But that was impossible. The Joker was dead. Bruce had seen him die himself; had even had a hand in it.

The Joker, or his look-alike, turned away abruptly, darted across the street, and went into the New Era Hotel.

BOOK: The Further Adventures of Batman
11.92Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

The Trouble With Tony by Easton, Eli
Ink Mage by Victor Gischler
Taking Tessa by Aria Cole
Men at Arms by Evelyn Waugh
The Mandarin Club by Gerald Felix Warburg
Yvonne Goes to York by M. C. Beaton