"The Midnight Man!": There is a game that Gotham City's teens play, where they try to scare themselves by attempting to summon the Midnight Man. Tonight, Rory and his friends are playing; drawing the yellow chalk outline of a door on their floor, lighting candles at the corners, placing a po
- Every kid in Gotham knows the poem about the Midnight Man. Sure as you know the rules for Bloody Mary, and the legend of the Dark Knight. A scary story. An urban legend.
- -- Batgirl
Appearing in "The Midnight Man!"
- Midnight Man (Single appearance)
- Bruce Wayne (Mentioned only)
- Damian Wayne (Mentioned only)
- Dick Grayson (Mentioned only)
- Jason Todd (Mentioned only)
- Tim Drake (Mentioned only)
- Andrew Bennett (Mentioned only)
- Silver (Mentioned only)
Synopsis for "The Midnight Man!"
There is a game that Gotham City's teens play, where they try to scare themselves by attempting to summon the Midnight Man. Tonight, Rory and his friends are playing; drawing the yellow chalk outline of a door on their floor, lighting candles at the corners, placing a potted plant - watered with whisky - within the outline, and finally reciting the rhyme that accompanies the ritual. Just as they finish saying the words, the clock strikes midnight - but nothing happens. They wait another hour, but still nothing.
Batgirl, meanwhile, is out on patrol, thinking back on how Dick Grayson used to rib her for her love of horror movies. He knew they'd give her nightmares, and she knew it too, but there was always the thrill of that fear that made her keep watching them. She figured he could understand the concept of doing something for the thrill of it.
Suddenly, Barbara is startled by the sound of her EMF reader's alarm, having picked up lethal amounts of energy. Normally, the device remains silent because the background noise of Gotham's paranormal weirdness is practically normal for the city - but a spike like this means bad news. She follows the readings to a quiet, private residence, which she feels uncomfortable about entering without permission - but there's too much else to worry about. Stifling thoughts about her lost comrades in Dick and Damian, finding her search of the house like a scene from a horror movie like they used to watch, she opens a door to see a monstrous creature rising from a doorway in the floor, and preparing to prey upon the teens sleeping nearby.
Hardly able to believe what she sees, she snaps herself out of it and warns the teens to wake up, trying to usher them out of the room before the creature can catch them. Unfortunately, something has blocked the door. Standing between the teens and the creature, she sends them up the stairs to the open window she used to break in. Chasing them down, the Midnight Man takes on the form of a swarm of bats, but is barred by the door that Barbara slams behind her. Thinking on the rhyme, and its foreboding suggestion that, somehow, the Midnight Man will know your name, Barbara wonders if the creature is a mimic of some kind. Unfortunately, the black sludge the creature seems to be made of has sealed off all the windows and the chimney too. They're trapped.
Spotting a vent in the wall, Batgirl punches its covering away, explaining that she needs to find anything that might ward off evil spirits - sage in particular. As it happens, Rory's mother keeps sage in the kitchen - unfortunately that means crawling through the ventilation system to find it. This turns out to be a worse idea than she thought, as they are all cramped together in it when the Midnight Man meets them on the other end, and she is forced to rip open the vent so that they all fall through the ceiling and into the kitchen in a heap.
Hurriedly, Barbara turns on the gas stove and grabs sage from the pantry. She lights the herbs and tosses them at the Midnight Man, making it scream. In its pain, it stumbles back through the kitchen door and into the room where its door remains open. It collapses into the open doorway, and slams it shut behind itself. Despite having won, though, Barbara's thoughts are with Dick Grayson, and just how much she misses him. Sighing, she shakes off her feelings, worried already that solving this issue was too easy. Even so, she takes her leave of the teens, warning them that they'd be better off playing Spin the Bottle.
As the sun begins to rise on Gotham, Barbara supposes that this may not be the last she sees of Gotham's supernatural elements - the horror genre does lend itself to sequels, after all.
Later, a road-crew is surprised to find that their paint for the yellow lines on the street seems to have had yellow chalk, booze, and flowers mixed into it - but they've already used it to paint a full square block's worth of road...
- This book was first published on April 9, 2014.
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