"One Dark City Night": On the night of the blackout, Dick Grayson had been at the movies when the power was cut, and the entire theatre fell into chaos. People rushed screaming for the door, and he was knocked to the ground in the stampede, and was trampled.
- You know, your friends respect how talented you are, Dick. It wouldn't kill you to treat them the same way.
- -- John Grayson
Appearing in "One Dark City Night"
Synopsis for "One Dark City Night"
On the night of the blackout, Dick Grayson had been at the movies when the power was cut, and the entire theatre fell into chaos. People rushed screaming for the door, and he was knocked to the ground in the stampede, and was trampled.
Two hours earlier, Dick had been showboating at the trapeze, the first night that Raya Vestri would be performing as an aerialist, and his parents did not approve. In fact, just as Raya was meant to take her turn in the air, Dick swung away from her, taking another pass, landing a quadruple fit in his partner Raymond's grip. After the show, the other crew at Haly's Circus were impressed and congratulatory, but Raymond and Raya were angry. He had taken away their chance to shine. Afterwards, Dick's father John warned that it would behoove him to treat his friends with the same respect that they have for his talent - they might have been more interested in going to the movies that night if he had on this night. That said, John forbade his son from going to the movies alone in a place like Gotham City.
At Gotham General Hospital, the power outage had put patients in jeopardy. Fortunately, the generators had enough fuel to last a week, but Aaron Helzinger was already on the operating table for brain surgery, and they were unprepared to perform it. His amygdala was causing him great pain, and without waiting for treatment, he attacked his doctors and broke out of the hospital.
Dick, meanwhile, woke in the theatre to find three young people - Josh, CJ, and Jana - standing over him. They had seen him go down in the stampede, and pulled him to safety. Obligingly, Josh agreed to help Dick find his way back to the circus in the dark.
Dick's absence did not go unnoticed by his family, but with the city in darkness, it wouldn't be safe for them to go to the theatre to find him. Worriedly, his mother hopes that he will be alright until they can come for him. Afraid that they were responsible, Raya and Raymond shared a pointed glance.
Dick got to know his new companions as they traveled through Gotham's alleyways toward CJ's father's house, but all talk ended when a growling sound began emanating through the mist and steam rising from the storm drains. CJ assured them that the noise was probably just one of the usual weird noises that come from nearby Gotham General, but he was proved wrong as Helzinger attacked them, complaining that they had snuck up on him. Angrily, he swiped at them, ripping Dick's shirt apart. Terrified, the kids ran down the alleys to a nearby building. Fortunately, CJ was able to pick the lock, but once inside, they discovered that Josh had been hurt with a sprained ankle.
CJ's father was a man of importance, and he couldn't afford to get home late, so he coldly warned that he would have to leave without Josh if he couldn't walk. Jana and Dick would not desert him, and CJ decided, then, to go on alone. Jana was worried, as only CJ had lived in Old Gotham. She and Josh lived across the river. Assuring her things would be okay, Dick insisted that they find their way back to the circus together, as a team.
Emulating the actions heroes they had seen at the movie theatre, Dick ripped the remains of his shirt, and turned it into masks for each of them, and he and Jana supported Josh on their shoulders as they made their way out a side door in hopes of escaping Helzinger's rage. However, as they made their way outside, they noticed that the sound of his pounding on the door had stopped. Nervously, they peeked around the corner to see if he was still there, only to have him crash through the wall nearby, and resume his chase. Terrified, they ran so quickly that they caught up with CJ, who himself tripped in front of Helzinger. Sure that he would be killed, he begged to be spared. Fortunately, Dick went back for him, and provided a distraction so that CJ could escape with his friends.
Bravely, Dick lured Helzinger onto the roof of a building, and dashed away. Hitting a gap at the edge of the roof, he spied a telephone wire hanging over the gap and imagined it as if it were a trapeze, leaping out and grasping it. He swung to the opposite building, making a safe landing, just as Helzinger made the same leap, and dropped to the ground in the alley.
Later, Dick and his new friends found their way back to the circus, but CJ was nervous about what his father might do to him, and felt no remorse at all for having left Josh to die. His father had been contacted, and he arrived, relieved to find CJ safe. Gladly, he thanked Dick's parents for his efforts in keeping CJ safe. Turning to Mr. Haly, he introduced himself as Sal Maroni, and offered that he would be indebted to the circus, should they ever need help.
Dick's mother grounded him - effective the next day - but in the meantime, she hugged him to her, happy that he was safe. Spotting Raya and Raymond standing nearby, Dick asked a minute alone to talk to them. Sheepishly, he admitted that he had been a jerk to them. In order to resolve their situation, he suggested that they all wear matching costumes and masks so that no one of them would be the star of the act, and they could all share the glory - as a team.
- This book was first published on November 13, 2013.
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