“I am doing this for the greater good!”
Neal could do nothing but stare are the mad preacher as he stood before them. The preacher, with his black suit, white clerical collar and black bowler hat, had to be almost seven feel tall. A clean-shaven man with delicate skin, he appeared as normal as any other man on the street. The vest of explosives strapped to his chest separated him from them, though. In his left hand was a remote control that Neal assumed was the trigger for the explosives, and in his right hand was a wooden cross.
“A demon runs amok in our city,” the preacher shouted with fire in his throat, “and what do you do?! You praise him! You call him a hero! You put him on the cover of every magazine and newspaper in the city and worship him! Unacceptable!”
Neal heard the man next to him begin to blubber and cry. He tried to glance at the man, but it was difficult with his stomach and forehead on the cold, marble floor. He didn’t want to turn his head for fear of being caught and reprimanded.
“Stop crying, you sniveling ass!” the preacher commanded, hurrying to the man next to Neal and pointing the wooden cross at him. “Weeping won’t save you! You’ve squandered your forgiveness, just like everybody else! How do you think your God will judge you when you stand before Him?”
The man next to Neal sobbed even louder, showing no sign of trying to control it. The preacher’s frustration was evident in his face as his teeth clenched together and his eyelids rolled back. He raised the wooden cross high up and brought it down on the back of the man’s head. A vicious crack! echoed throughout the room, followed by a wave of yelps from the crowd.
“Silence!” the preacher screamed, raising to his feet. “I am your judge, Gotham, and I demand the same fear you give to God! And when that cursed demon you call a hero gets here, I will judge him with the rest of you!"
Neal stole a glance at the man next to him while the preacher ranted. His hands gripped the back of his head, but he looked more afraid than injured.
Oh, God, Neal prayed in his head. Where is he? Where is Batman?