"There he is," Major Gordon said with a nod across the tent. Sitting all by himself was the boy.
I gave Gordon my thanks and walked across the dirt floor of the circus. I ignored the crime scene technicians, pulling bullet holes from the stands, taking photos of the area surrounding the two bodies.
"Richard," I said, coming to a stop in front of the boy. "I'm sorry, they said you like to be called Dick. Dick... my name is Bruce. I've talked to Mister Haly and the people at the circus here. They want you to come stay with me, at least for a little while at first... would you like that?""
Nothing. No response, no reaction. Like I'm not even here.
Thirty Minutes Earlier
The crowd oohd and ahhd as the three acrobats seemed to defy gravity high above the ground. The Flying Graysons, they called themselves. They seemed to literally fly from end to end with ease.
While the rest of the circus' eyes are glued, I'm watching something else. Across the tent, sitting in the front row with his latest girlfriend, Carmine Falcone claps loudly at the acrobatics above. He has bodyguards around him, their eyes up in the sky as well. I turn away from him when I feel Alfred's elbow on my ribs.
"What did I say about enjoying yourself?"
"That it's overrated?"
He gave me a scowl and turned back to looking up. I chuckled to myself and took his lead. I watched the three acrobats, an adult man and woman with what I assumed was their teenaged son. As good as the man and woman were, the boy was so much better. I don't know if it was youth or natural skill, but his agility seemed to be olympic class.
The show above is so entrancing, I didn't notice the men sneaking into the circus, or what they were carrying until I heard the screams.
"AHHH!" A woman yelled from across the tent. I looked and saw a pair of men with machine guns, turning to aim at Falcone.
The gunfire erupted, taking out one of Falcone's bodyguards. The other one leaped forward, trying to tackle the two assassins. One of them fell, his gun going off and flying into the air. While the crowd panicked, I sprung into action and tried to fight the scattering mob to get to the scene.
That was when the bodies hit the center ring.
Two of them, from up above. Racked with bullet holes.
John and Mary Grayson. Dead before they hit the ground.
"Gimme your wallet and jewels!"
"Here, just take it."
"That pearl necklace, too."
"I said, give it to me!"
"Mom? Dad? Wake up... Please...."
"Don't think I know what you're going through," I said to the boy with the thousand yard stare. Fourteen years old, his whole life taken from him in the blink of an eye. "Your world has been torn down. Everything you thought you knew has been shattered. You don't know what to do, or where to go from there. The only thing you do know is the pain. The hurt feels like it's consuming you, and it is. Piece by piece, the pain and sadness with take you. It will try to consume you. But you can't let that happen."
"How?" He asked quietly, not making eye contact.
"You fight it. Rebel against it and control it. You don't let it consume you, you consume it and channel it. Make the pain and suffering your weapon."
"Weapon? For what?"