Short Story Exercise: What Goes Down

(pulled 3 random Rory’s Story Cubes [finally got two of the Batman ones!], shook ’em up, dropped on table, arranged in order they fell top to bottom, wrote short story)

Mark pushed the goggles tight against his face and started to climb the rocky slope next to the waterfall. There was no moon and he couldn’t risk a flashlight, so he moved with his arms thrust forward and clumsily navigated his way across the moss covered rocks.

By the time he reached the top of the waterfall, Mark had sprained both ankles, cracked a few ribs, and had a bleeding gash on his chin.

“But there ain’t no water in my eyes,” he said to no one in particular and tapped on the plastic lenses.

Moving under the waterfall, Mark climbed, or rather, slipped a few feet back down the hillside with water hammering against his back. The cold water numbed his fingers and caused him to shiver so violently he nearly bounced off the rocks, straight down into the river. He clung to the boulder closest to him, teeth chattering, his joints frozen stiff. Carefully he extended his right arm. He bounced his fist on this rock, then that one. Nothing happened. So he slithered further down the slimy rocks. Mark couldn’t see the river, but he could sure hear it roaring mere feet below him.

If this is just a gag Nygma made up… Mark didn’t have time to finish the thought.

The gushing water caught the vinyl strap of his goggles, tearing them from his head. Mark recoiled against the rocks, slamming his hip against the exact hidden button he had been searching for.

Mark screamed as he dropped through the trapdoor into darkness. A cloud of water vapor descended with him. He flailed his arms, trying to slow his fall, and his hand struck a solid rock making an awful crunch sound. Mark howled in pain. The sound echoed all around him.

“Ooof!” he grunted as he hit bottom face down. Whatever he landed on was squishy and stank of rubber. In the soft glow of the cave, Mark looked to see what he was laying on. His stomach seized and he pushed his fist into his mouth to stop the vomit.

But then he got a closer look.

“What in the…” Mark picked up the piece right under his face. It was just one of the Bat-creep’s gloves. It had a blood-stained tear across the palm and one finger looked like it had melted. He surveyed the pile. All around him were discarded bits of Bat-suit, and every single one of them had some carnage splattered on it. Mark was particularly satisfied by the cape he found covered in brownish, smelly gunk. He dug through the torn pieces of suits, his head rocking back and forth with hysterical laughter.

There were gray pieces and blue pieces and yellow pieces and black pieces. And some pieces looked like they had nipples on them. Mark twisted those bits and rubbed them on any cowls he could find. He completely forgot why he was there and instead scavenged through the pile looking for one of the legendary belts.

“Belty-belts, where’s the belts, gonna get a belt…the belts got the toys, and the belts got the joys, and the belts got the boom-boom…” He sat back on his haunches. “Oh yeah. Boom-booms.”

Mark grabbed a blue-gray pair of shorts from the pile and pulled them on over his clothes. Then he limped off towards light. Security cameras were mounted strategically through the caves. Mark waved his broken hand at the first one. To the second he blew a raspberry. And finally he shoved his good hand down the front of his new shorts and honked at every other camera he saw.

All the way to the right, Eddie had said. Mark longed to mess with the car parked up on that plinth, and he really, really wanted to rearrange all of the cables that ran between the massive computers. Alas, it was never meant to be.

He went to the right. All the way to the right. And there it was. Shelf after shelf of diffused bombs, confiscated weapons, spray paint cans, cattle prods, chemistry sets. Mark noted sourly the huge pile of stolen cash the Bat-creep had managed to keep. His shoulders dropped. If only I could take some of it with me.

Mark grabbed a bundle of dynamite with a basic fuse from the shelf and wandered back towards the car and the computer. He hummed Peter and the Wolf as he worked, expertly fixing the wiring on the dynamite and resetting the timer. He arranged the contraption precisely on the support beam Nygma had recommended.

Job done, Mark limped back towards the pile of discarded Bat-suits, honking his junk as he passed the Bat-car for good measure. He snaked his way underneath the suits, pulling on a cowl and wrapping himself in one of the kevlar capes just in case. In less than a minute the bomb would go off, and then…

Mark’s eyes opened. Nygma never said how he was supposed to get out of the cave.