Welcome to the 2022 April A to Z Challenge! Each day (minus Sundays) in the month of April will feature a short work of fiction based on a random word beginning with the corresponding letter of the day. Those random words will be provided by various friends and family members throughout the month. Today’s word, façade, was provided by my friend, Brandon.

The sun was rising over a quiet Blüdhaven cityscape. It had now been just over 48 hours since Batman personally delivered the news to Nightwing that the Joker was coming to town. But in those two days and two nights, Blüdhaven had neither seen nor heard any sign that the Clown Prince of Crime was making his mark.

Nightwing stared out at the city. His city.

He had really come to enjoy being in Blüdhaven in the few years since he had moved here. Not long after Dick Grayson dropped the title of Robin to take on Nightwing, he decided that this would be a good place to branch out and be on his own. After all, it was far enough away from Gotham that he didn’t necessarily feel like Batman was peeking over his shoulder at all times, but still close enough that he could make the quick trip home when needed.

“You need to take this seriously,” Batman had said, “and you need to be careful. Whatever he’s up to this time, he’s playing it pretty close to the chest.”

Nightwing could only nod along. Of course he would take the Joker seriously. Of course he would be careful. But the Joker was allegedly in his town now. He was on Nightwing’s turf. Dick wasn’t about to let that psychopath get in a few kills before making his presence known.

But the city remained quiet. In the past two days, Nightwing’s biggest hassle was a late night jewel heist that he was able to easily bust up. In fact, there hadn’t been a reported homicide in nearly a month. If this was Gotham, that would be a new record.

Blüdhaven was different. At least, the powers that be in the city liked to pretend they were different. It may not have been as bad as Gotham in Blüdhaven, but that may be simply because Gotham wears her criminal element on her sleeve. Blüdhaven likes to put on a happy façade and pretend like they don’t have the same problems that every other major city deals with. Scratch the surface, though…

“What about the others?” Nightwing had asked before Batman had a chance to leave again.

“What about them?”

“Has anyone else decided to take it upon themselves to make the trip to Blüdhaven?” he continued the line of questioning without coming right out with the accusation that Red Hood would act against Bruce’s orders. “Not that I would blame them. Blüdhaven is kind of beautiful this time of year.”

“I told them all to get some rest but stay alert,” said Batman with a sigh.

“You really think Jason just went home to get some rest?”

Batman didn’t even have to respond.

“That’s what I figured,” said Nightwing. “I’ll keep an eye out for him. If he shows up, I’ll do what I can to keep him in line.”

Batman only nodded, then climbed into the cockpit of the Batwing. Nightwing watched as the aircraft hovered above the skyline then flew north.

“Good talk, Bruce,” he said, turning his attention back toward the city.

Two days later, Nightwing could only shake his head. He was glad for the warning, certainly. The Joker is a dangerous variable to throw into the Blüdhaven mix. Chaos personified… But the fact that no one had a clue to his whereabouts was concerning.

He’s waiting to make his move, Dick thought, but what is he waiting for?

That’s when he heard the unmistakable sound of an explosion.

These characters are not my own. Batman and all related characters are the property of DC Comics. This is a work of fan fiction and is just for fun. Please don’t sue me.

FeaturePhoto by Anders Jildén on Unsplash


4 thoughts on “Façade

  1. Pingback: A to Z Challenge 2022 – Reflection | The Confusing Middle

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