Batman wasn’t there.
Neither was the boy.
Not that I could blame him. I wouldn’t come to see me either. I had actually tried to come early, not to apologize exactly, but..something. I tried to get to the bus stop early, but my wife didn’t understand why I had to and I didn’t think she would understand about Batman, so I didn’t even start to leave nearly as early as I’d hoped.
Maybe I just missed him. When it came down to it, I was probably just too late. Although I would guess it was about the same time as yesterday cause the same black sedan was pulling away from the curb again. But this time he wasn’t here to tell me what I missed, cause I missed him.
I muttered: “Batman was here. and you missed him.”
Maybe that was Batman in the sedan. I laughed without cheer. Maybe he took the boy with him this time. I was mocking him and he wasn’t even here. I felt pathetic about that, but then, suddenly I felt something else. A chill. A terrible, horrible possibility.
Memories swirled by in a flash…the black sedan, pulling away, “He doesn’t need a bus, he has his Batmobile…He doesn’t wear a cape, he comes as Bwuce Wayne, but I know it’s Batman”…the black sedan pulling away again and this time no boy. Maybe Batman took him this time.
He was probably just mad or scared cause I was a lunatic yesterday…but what If I wasn’t the real lunatic. What if he had come, and what if instead of mocking I had just come to meet “Batman” like he asked?
I was being paranoid now, I couldn’t really believe it, but what if? Maybe I should tell the police. Tell them what, though? That I was worried because a 6 year old boy whose name I didn’t even know had failed to show up at a bus stop by himself 5 days in a row? That I thought a guy pretending to be Batman, whom I’d never seen, had taken him, cause I saw a black sedan pulling away from a curb.
It couldn’t be…surely no predator would be so patient, coming back day after day…but the boy wasn’t here. He was always here. and now he wasn’t.
What had the boy been doing here anyway? What parent lets their child do that? What stranger sees a boy alone for 4 days and does nothing about it?
I looked around in a panic. No help. No Batman.
I prayed, literally prayed, that he was home, sleeping in, with mom making him oatmeal in the next room. That he was telling her about Batman, while she smiled. That he wasn’t even thinking about the angry man at the bus stop, and that he hadn’t climbed in to any black Sedan with a stranger.
And all because I came a few minutes late. I tried to come early. I came too late.