The Devil Everybody Knows
By Padraig Fagan
This one-shot is set just before The Murdock Papers. On that note, my hat goes off to Brian Michael Bendis, easily the greatest DD writer since Miller, and the guy who got me hooked on comics to begin with.
This is the first time I've tried to write a superhero story. Any opinions – positive or negative, I can handle criticism – firstname.lastname@example.org
Bank robbers. Idiots.
Who the hell thinks they can pull off a decent bank robbery in
The first of the police cars are less than two blocks away, but they still won't be here in time. These guys have lost their calm. Didn't take long.
It all went wrong with the security guard. Policy in any kind of financial institution these days is: somebody tries to rob you, let them. But what works in theory doesn't always work in practice. And now the guard's on the floor in a pool of his own blood. I can still hear his heart beating, but only just. Then they go nuts and all I hear are my eardrums exploding.
Only one of them is smart enough to try and run when he sees me. Unfortunately for him, he's the same one who blasted the old guard with a shotgun. The club flies from my hand and shatters his jaw before he gets two steps, then, stumbling and trying to cry out but failing, he cracks his head on the marble tile floor and goes limp. He'll be fine, but that's really going to hurt later.
I really shouldn't be doing this. The F.B.I want my head, and the Federal judgeship that goes with it for the guy who makes the case. The whole world knows that Matt Murdock is Daredevil. Ten minutes ago I was pushing my way past the gauntlet of reporters who've made the street outside my office their home away from home. Every day, I spend more time defending my ‘innocence' than anything else, and then I go and do something like this.
Foggy still begs me to stop every day. Ben Urich is convinced I've lost it, and now I've lost Milla, too. Ben filled her and Foggy in on his wonderful theory about my failing sanity, and she made a run for it. Foggy sticks around, but he's terrified. Whether for me or of me, I can't even tell. Maybe both.
Why am I still doing this?
Within five seconds, three more of them are down. No more broken bones, but two of them are out for the count, and the other cowers in a corner, nursing his sore hand and already purpling face. The fifth and last of this wild bunch doesn't plan on going easy. The woman he has a stranglehold of makes a pretty good shield. She's taller than him and strung out on the adrenaline rush of what's happening to her. She won't stop struggling, but he's strong enough to hold her and keep the gun on her. All she does by struggling is make him harder to hit.
The police are outside. Three cars so far, and more on the way. But they can't come in yet. Protocol dictates they wait for a tactical team and a negotiator, or at least someone of rank. They won't be any help here, and they know it. This is out of their hands.
The last bandit's getting impatient. "Back off, Murdock!" he screams at me for the third time, "or I'll blow this bitches head off!"
Why in God's name am I still doing this?
Her lavender perfume mixes with buckets of sweat, and I hear two things that scare the hell out of me; her racing heart, and the old pacemaker attached. She's young, barely into her thirties, but her heart is weak as a kitten. Most likely since she was an infant, considering that pacemaker is so old I can actually hear it. This has to end soon.
Luckily, she realizes that too. In one last desperate attempt, she twists in his grip, and stumbles when he pulls her roughly back, knocking him off balance too.
Turning away from him as she falls, the woman gets herself clear and pisses him of with an accidental kick behind his left shin. Before he can even attempt to turn the gun on her again, the club whacks him between the eyes, followed immediately by my fist as the other hand knocks the gun from his grip. He's already beaten, but it's been a bad start to the day, so I throw in a kick between the legs just for my own satisfaction. Doesn't feel quite as good as it did with the Owl, but still. I have a lot of anger to work through these days, and with Bullseye, Fisk, Hammerhead, Owl and even Frank Castle locked up in Rykers, I have to settle for what I can get.
It's all over, and the cops storm in, covering the two conscious bandits first, then the others. One of them moves straight to the woman I'm standing over, and whispers to me, "The Feds are on the way." I'm glad for the tip, even though I already knew. Kitchen cops tend to make a sharp distinction between what's legal or illegal and what's right or wrong. The whole place would have crumbled years ago, otherwise.
I'm out in the street just as they turn the corner. A cable shoots from the billy-club, and as I lift into the air, I hear all the usual cracks, like "Hey, Murdock, what colour is my shirt?" I've heard that one about a thousand times by now.
The first of four F.B.I cars screeches to a halt, and the guy in the passenger seat jumps out wearing a flak jacket and brandishing an MP5K. The driver is out a second later, pistol drawn, but the safety's on, and her attention isn't on me as much as the scene inside the bank. Angela Del Toro - the next White Tiger if she ever admits to herself that she wants to be -breaking in a new partner. "Put it down!" She hisses at him when he screams at me to surrender. "There's crowds all around, and you'll clip yourself with a ricochet before you hit him." The other cars have all pulled up by now, but they all no better than to try to take a shot at me here. They'll wait until they think they have me cornered, when there's less chance of them hurting somebody who stops to watch the action.
Why the HELL am I still doing this?!
Just before I disappear, I hear the woman's heart rate normalizing, and she calls faintly after me. "Thank you."