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Metropolis: the very beginning

Bane looked down at a tub full of blood. The dark liquid was still, giving it an ominous appeal. The room was shrouded in darkness except for a few candles that gave off scant light around the tub. Bane shivered almost imperceptibly, goose pimples running up his dark skin. Looking away from the tub he noticed a woman standing in the corner of the room. She was barely visible but he could hear her voice as it carried across the room. The woman was chanting her hands clasped together as if in prayer. Her mouth seemed to move far too fast, as if her words could not catch up. Her voice rose ever higher in pitch until it sounded like she was shrieking an incantation. Her hair stood on end as she chanted, like some electric charge ran through her bony body. Then suddenly it seemed as if she had lost control. She began to convulse violently, her head was thrown back and she flailed her arms about her head. Her chest heaved and her back arched. Spittle ran from her mouth and dark blood ran from her nose. Her words were incoherent.

The shadows condensed around her as she chanted, growing closer to her body, as if to take a form other than her own. Then suddenly the shadows pulled themselves from the walls completely independent, and moving of their own accord. They walked clustered together, tearing their shadowy limbs from the surrounding darkness. Their motions were stiff and slow, as if they were wading through frozen water, yet as they tugged their forms from their shadowy confinement, they moved swifter, but no less stiff, edging and shifting closer and closer to Bane in the process. Soon the figures of shade surrounded him and the huge tub, circling him but not nearing any further. The candlelight flickered and the shadows began to dance around Bane and the tub. Shapes became visible as the shadows continued to reel around him.

He heard laughter and then it was followed by cries of pain and sorrow. The cries grew ever higher and higher, as the woman in the corner continued to convulse and chant. The shadows now physical beings grasped Bane, running their hands down the silvery -white tattoos that covered his body. He cried out in pain. He felt as if hooks were being sunk into his flesh. Some began to whisper in his ears, and horrifyingly vivid images filled his mind. He closed his eyes to shut them out. But he continued to see them. Bodies lay atop one another desecrated and debased. All of their heads were turned to face him, and with bone chilling certainty Bane recognized all of them, even in their semi-decayed state, he would never forget them.

Through rotted teeth and ruined flesh they smiled at him, their dead eyes pale and lidless. He smelled them as if he were there; the rot of decrepit flesh, the stench of feces and urine, filled his nostrils. They continued to smile up at him as flies and rats feasted upon their bodies ripping flesh and seemingly glaring with at him with beady black eyes as they feasted upon the dead. Entrails flooded from their bellies as rats and maggots ate their way out. Worms and maggots crawled from their eyes and mouth and their many bodily orifices. All of their bodies seemed to have been deprived of blood leaving them dry, shriveled and grey looking. Atop this pile of bodies stood a vulture, but it did not feast, its eyes pierced Bane’s own, searing his soul with that terrifying glare. In its savagely curved beak it held a heart, a living heart, a beating heart, and with trepidation Bane knew that it was his heart. The shadows whispers in his ears abruptly turned to violent shrieks of hatred and anger; their screams filled his head with the pain of death, and the fears of loss. He couldn’t take it anymore. Suddenly the cries had become unbearable, and then he jumped. The ominously still and dark blood came up to greet him