When Batman Grew Old - Short Story

By Angsuman Chakraborty, Gaea News Network
Sunday, November 5, 2006

Batman has grown old, very old. Most of his crime-fighting colleagues have passed on years ago. Only Green Lantern remains, counting his not-too-many days left, and of course the ever-green Superman.

Superman too has aged but not as much as others, obviously aided by his Kryptonian physique. He has however remained a “boy-scout”, as ever, with likewise mental maturity. Batman called him a “fool” and continues to do so even today when he occassionally reads his exploits in Daily Bugle, which incidentally acquired Daily Planet almost a decade ago.

Lous Lane too has passed on, despite Clark’s supermanic efforts to save her. Batman has seen death all around and yet the death of his trusted butler, Alfred shook him the most. He has long since been replaced by a young and able butler but life isn’t the same anymore at Wayne mansion. Alfred was a part of his life that will never return.

Robin has moved on from Wayne mansion long ago, after his marriage. He too has grown old, recently lost his wife; but content and happy with his grandchildren. They haven’t kept in touch with passing time, not for any other reason than lack of mutual interest.

Batman too had his share of marriage and divorce, with Catwoman. They stated “irreconcilable differences” in court. In reality, when Batman could no longer overlook her propensity to crime, despite her obvious attractions, he decided to part, “amicably” as he puts it. Life hasn’t been too kind to Catwomen either. She is on parole. Any more slip and she is very likely to die behind bars. Batman was visibly relieved after their “mutual separation” long ago. Even today he doesn’t regret it.

Days are longer, much longer for the former crime fighter. He doesn’t have problems sleeping, at least not yet. But he often doesn’t feel like it. Old habits die hard. Each passing day feels like an epoch, a life that will never return.

He has long since passed on his cape and utility belt. He doesn’t anymore feel even a tinge of sadness. He has done his will, bequeathing his enormous fortune to families of all Robin’s and few legitimate charities, after his death. Even then he felt the futility of his effort.

He is mentally sound, not even a touch of dementia. His intense mental activity, even today, protects him. His mind however isn’t in crime fighting anymore. He has realized the futulity of his efforts in the bigger scheme of things. Someone once said that criminals like Joker and two-face exists because there is a crime fighter like Batman.

Not a day goes by when he doesn’t muse about the fate of humanity. From “dust to dust” is becoming clearer to him by the day. Why does everyone fight so hard when it will anyway come to nought anyway with passing time? He knows every effort of his will soon be forgotten, every lamp he has lit will soon be doused. More and more every human effort and struggle feels like merely an exercise for something bigger, but what? Finally he reached a conclusion. He turned out the light. It was night outside.

Note: All superhero(ine) character names used are copyright of their owners like DC Comics and Marvel Comics.

November 15, 2006: 12:09 pm

This was a good read.


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