Risen From Darkness - Bane fanfic

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This is the first installment with more to follow. If you reproduce this anywhere, please credit the author (me: SK Keogh) and link to my Tumblr account where I'm also posting this: http://skkeogh.tumblr.com/ . I hope you enjoy it. (Apparently copying/pasting from a MS Word document here whacks out my paragraph indents, so this is block formatted. Sorry, if you are a formatting purist like me. :P )

ONE

Her raspy breathing had stopped somewhere in the night; the boy knew not when. To his shame, he had fallen asleep during his vigil. Had he awakened at the very moment of her death? Maybe she had waited for him to awaken before surrendering at last and passing on to whatever realm lay beyond this life. Her hand, still clasping his on the small pallet bed, quickly lost what little warmth had been there these last hours. As the cold seeped into her flesh he extricated his hand and wiped at the silent tears that trickled down his face.

He sat up on the edge of the bed. There was no light in their cell. Even during the day the only source of illumination was what managed to struggle down the five hundred foot shaft at the center of the subterranean prison. Sometimes they had a fire in the small brazier in the corner of their cell, but that barely gave off enough light by which to read. His eyes, however, accustomed to so much gloom since his birth, did not need sunlight or fire to see his mother now. Death’s veil paled her skin so that her face and hands seemed to glow, stealing her beauty. Although his mother was the only woman he had ever seen, he knew she must be the most beautiful of all those who lived in the world beyond theirs, like the princesses in the stories she recited to him. The other prisoners all said the same, though their words were not of flattery but of lust. Even in one as young as the boy he sensed the difference, knew it from the undercurrent of fear in which his mother lived lest those men somehow have access to her behind her protective bars. Now she no longer had to fear them or the hell in which she had lived. The boy tried to take comfort in such thoughts as he lay back down beside her, his tears trailing to his thin pillow, and waited for morning as around him the prison—for once—seemed to have fallen completely silent.

*****

A few hours later, in the hint of light that was known as dawn here in the depths, the doctor arrived. Already the prison was awake—men’s voices echoing against the rock walls, beyond the protective blankets that shielded the ragged boy and his mother from prisoners in adjacent cells, some even laughing harshly over something unknown, others cursing, others—those with little of their minds left—warming up to their daily ritual of wails. The boy was used to the sounds, of course; they were the fabric of this place as much as the dirt floors, stone walls, and iron bars.

The doctor’s gaze was upon the boy’s mother even before he put the key into the lock. He had blue eyes so pale that they had always mesmerized the boy. The doctor, too, was a prisoner, but by serving as physician to the two hundred condemned in the pit he received privileges from their jailer—better and more plentiful food and clothes, a larger cell with a comfortable bed and rugs, a seemingly endless supply of books to read, a small television, and fuel for his nightly fire to combat the earth’s relentless chill.

Once inside, the doctor diligently locked the door behind him before stepping over to the bed where the boy sat on the edge, tears spent, eyes puffy and irritated. The doctor offered a sympathetic frown as he settled next to him and briefly touched his shoulder.

“She is at peace now,” the doctor said. He took the blanket from the corpse and draped it around the shivering boy. “You must try to keep warm; that is what your mother would want you to do. No need for you to die of pneumonia, too.” He forced a smile before gesturing at the blankets that covered the bars. “After she is gone, we will take those down, but you may keep them; I will see that it is allowed. You will need the extra warmth now that you will have no one to share your bed.” The doctor winced at his own callousness. “I am sorry, my boy.”

“Where will they take her?” the child said near a whisper, the tears having made his throat sore.

“To the surface to be buried.”

“Where?”

“Not far from here.”

The boy faltered before he could ask the question he had been pondering among so many others during the long night. “What will become of me?”

The doctor sighed. “They said if your mother was to die…you would remain here.”

Although he had never been certain that he would willingly leave the pit—the only place he had ever known in life—without his mother, he now felt an overwhelming desire to do just that, to accompany her body to its final resting place then to walk off into the light. But what did a small boy born in darkness know of the world of light except what he had read in books and learned from the other prisoners? Perhaps he should take comfort in the doctor’s words, yet it was difficult when he thought of his mother’s dreams for him to one day escape the pit.

“After all,” the doctor echoed his thoughts, “where would you go if they set you free? You are just a boy, and what lies beyond this pit is little better, in truth, than what is here.”

“But my mother—”

“The man whose disfavor she incurred those years ago, the one who saw her into this place, still lives, and if he were to find out that you not only exist but that you were freed, he would find you and kill you. No, my boy, you are better off here in the shadows.”

“But you told my mother I would be able to leave, that you knew of someone who would take me—”

“I told her what a dying mother needed to hear to ease her passing.” His eyes had grown stern, leaving no room for argument. “Would you rather she had died with the fear of what would become of you here without her?”

Ashamed, the boy bowed his head and murmured, “No, sir.”

The doctor patted the boy’s thigh. “Of course not.” He stood. “Now…come with me. You can stay with me until they’ve taken her away.”

Reluctantly the boy stood, stiff and shivering even with the blanket around him, the blanket that held his mother’s comforting scent. From next to his pillow he picked up the stuffed bear she had given him—battered, patched, and loyal since his birth, his only playmate. He shuffled to the door where he paused to look back. If not for her blue pallor, he could believe she were merely sleeping, sleeping as she dreamed of the home that she had always imagined for them, a place of warm sunlight and love, a place where they could be reunited with his father.
Last edited by Baniac on October 24th, 2012, 10:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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fakin

awesome

:twothumbsup: :twothumbsup: :twothumbsup: moar pl0x
Sigs???

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TehBatGetsBraked wrote:fakin

awesome

:twothumbsup: :twothumbsup: :twothumbsup: moar pl0x
Thanks. :-D Glad to share the Bane love.

(Oh, and I fixed the double "had"s in the post. Dear God, as many times as I read/edit shit I can't believe I miss things. :facepalm: )

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Baniac wrote:
TehBatGetsBraked wrote:fakin

awesome

:twothumbsup: :twothumbsup: :twothumbsup: moar pl0x
Thanks. :-D Glad to share the Bane love.

(Oh, and I fixed the double "had"s in the post. Dear God, as many times as I read/edit shit I can't believe I miss things. :facepalm: )
You gunna do more in this storyline?
Sigs???

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This was really, really good! Well done! I really enjoyed it!

And I agree with braked's question: will there be more?

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Celestin wrote:This was really, really good! Well done! I really enjoyed it!

And I agree with braked's question: will there be more?
Yep, I'm working on the next scene as we speak. :D I'm glad to hear you all like it so far. :thumbup:

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Second installment. If you share this anywhere, please credit me/link where possible.

“Deshi basara!”

Although the boy had heard the chant hundreds of times, a chill scraped down his spine whenever those two words echoed through the massive prison shaft, repeated over and over. And each time it rang out, as now, its hypnotic cadence drew him to the front of his cell. In anticipation he wrapped his hands so tightly around the clammy, rusted iron bars that the color washed away from his knuckles. He had been fortunate in the location of his cell, for it faced the open shaft, affording more light to him than to the prisoners whose cells lay in the corridors stretching away from the shaft. And thus it also allowed him to view the prisoners’ never ending attempts to escape by scaling the walls of the shaft.

The man who tried today was strongly built, so a surge of optimism stirred the boy, and for a moment his small voice joined in the chant: “Deshi basara! He rises!” After all, if but one of them succeeded, they all succeeded, for at the top of the shaft lay coils of rope used to lower new prisoners—or raise the dead ones—ropes that one liberated man could toss down to save the masses below. Yet for now these were but a tantalizing symbol of what could not be obtained, for no matter how many men tried, all failed.

A handful of prisoners had gathered at the base of the shaft, which formed a bawdi—a stepwell with its variety of stairs hewn out of the stone walls on all sides, leading down, one level after another in a diamond pattern to a large, square pool of water. The men’s faces were turned upward as they watched the progress of the climber, their mouths chanting in guttural unison, their eyes alight with the distant reflection of the sky.

A stout rope encircled the climber’s waist and snaked upward to a block and tackle secured in the wall a third of the way up the shaft where it was rove through, the fall coming back down to a burly, shirtless, tattooed inmate. Should the climber lose his grip on the wall’s outcroppings, his lethal descent would be cut short by the rope—albeit painfully—to keep him from smashing like an egg at the bottom of the shaft.

The climber’s bare feet and hands carefully sought the various crevices and ledges that took him farther away from the boy’s gaze. Higher, until the light from above nearly obscured the spider-like image against the wall. It had been a long time since anyone had achieved that height. The chanting had taken on a frenzied tone, but the boy had fallen silent, holding his breath. They had taken his mother up that shaft yesterday. Perhaps today he would visit her grave.

“Deshi basara!” ever louder, filling the cavernous shaft, blocking all other noises until the only sound that existed in the world was that propelling, urging, desperate intonation. They were the first two words the boy could remember hearing in his life, even before his own name, a name that he knew he would never hear again; it had been buried with his mother.

The climber scaled almost out of view, the boy’s line of sight hindered by the stone ceiling that stretched away from the bank of cells to open upon the stepwell. All he could see now were the man’s feet, one rising just above the other, precariously searching, searching…then…slipping...first the one foot then the other…his arms now taking the full burden of his weight…

The chant abruptly stopped.

Then came the scream, the horrible plummet, the flailing arms and legs while the prisoners below flattened themselves against the walls and watched like jackals. To the boy each fall was different. Some seemed meteoric while others appeared slow and somehow graceful. His mother had tried her best to shield him, but morbid fascination had won out on many occasions, especially the older he grew. Now no succoring arms drew him to the rear of the cell, no muffling hands covered his ears or eyes. So he stood entranced as the climber fell to the end of his tether, and with a snap his body bent sharply backward with his impulsion. The scream died, the body swung once against the wall with a dull thud, swung back toward the center of the shaft like a dead fowl. The prisoner showed no sign of life as his body was lowered to the steps.

The audience muttered and cursed the fool’s failure then pushed away from the safety of the walls. They fragmented and went separate ways. The doctor was there beside the fallen. His examination was brief; he shook his head at the man in charge of the rope.

The boy did not take his eyes off the motionless lump of defeated humanity. He admired the prisoner, no matter how fatally futile his effort. Would he one day be courageous enough to try the climb himself? Often he had told his mother that he would indeed and that he would succeed where others had not, that he would save them both. “My son,” she had said, “a child cannot succeed where men have failed.” He knew she had not said it to belittle him; she simply said it out of fear of his failure, of watching him fall as she had watched so many others. And now, with her gone, who was there to save? He would not do it for the other prisoners, for he had no love for them as they had none for him. Perhaps the doctor was right and he should remain here. Yet when he thought of his father, he knew he had to try.

Someone stopped in front of his cell, so close and so unexpected that he gave a small gasp and took a step back. The form blocked the light and his view of the stepwell. He smelled the prisoner, knew him by his unwashed scent alone without even having to look at his homely face. When he lifted his eyes, the hunched figure of the Vulture smiled at him, the light from behind shining dully on his pate, nearly bald except for a comical ring of thin hair.

“Nothing new to see here today, eh, Bane?”

The boy frowned at the name. The Vulture had bestowed the moniker back when he had been a newborn, for his cries had often kept the nervous man up at night in the adjacent cell. “The bane of my existence, that one,” he had said to the boy’s mother and often reminded him of it over the years, living there on the other side of the shielding blanket. Now the shield was down.

The Vulture crouched, the cool smile never wavering, the dark eyes almost aglow. “Hey now, boy. Nothing to say to your old friend? I’d think you’d be glad to speak freely now that your dear mother is gone, seeing as how she never let you spend the time with me that you wanted.”

Bane puzzled his words, wondering when he had ever expressed a desire to linger in the man’s presence. It was not that he despised the Vulture; he had no reason to, especially considering the time the man had spent tutoring him in both Spanish and Arabic (the Vulture claimed he had a parent from each culture, though he spoke English as clearly as Bane). No, his caution around the man—or any prisoner—had been ingrained in him by his mother. She had remained safely locked in her cell all of these years; anything that needed to be gathered for her well-being was done so by Bane, the doctor, or sometimes even the Vulture. In fact, it was those few kindnesses shown to her by the Vulture that kept Bane’s own wariness to a minimum.

Knowing he should respond to the man’s inquiry, Bane murmured, “I miss her.”

“Why, of course you do, boy. But as hard as it is to hear, the truth of the matter is she’s not coming back anymore than that poor bastard out there is going to resurrect.” His smile broadened before he seemed to remember himself and adopted a more reserved expression. “Being alone isn’t the thing for you, so used to having someone around to look out for you, eh? Why don’t you come sit a spell with me, and we’ll work some more on your Spanish? Got a new piece of chalk for that slate of yours.” He winked.

The whisper of his mother’s voice compelled Bane to hesitate again. “Maybe—maybe later.”

“Later?” The Vulture laughed his familiar dry squawk. “Something more important on your calendar, is there? Picking lice maybe? Or playing with that moldy old bear of yours? You’re too old for that. Sure, you’re nigh a man now, I’d say.”

While the flattery succeeded in buoying Bane for a moment, the whisper was still there, so he took another step back from the bars and mumbled, “Maybe tomorrow.”

The smile died, and the light dimmed in the Vulture’s eyes. “Suit yourself.” He stood. “But don’t you keep me awake again tonight with your bawling.”

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Amazing! I hope you'll write more :-D .

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MOAR DAMN YOU
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