Thomas awoke with a start. Was it all just a dream? He sat up. His head pounded, a clear indicator that no, it was not a dream. He glance down to his side. His arm was covered in blood. The suit he wore was torn all over. His hand was planted on the ground, but it wasn’t the ground he was used to.
Thomas tried to think back to the last time he had felt grass and dirt. The sensation felt new to him but he was sure that somewhere he’d experienced it before. it must have been before “he” arrived and begun the technological revolution. Oh, how he wished those events had never transpired.
The daze in Thomas’s head was beginning to wear off and he was able to think more clearly. His friends lay unconscious beside him. He prayed they were still alive. had their plan worked? He looked around him. The sun shone in a blue sky, plant life was all around between roads where cars still drove on wheels and by buildings made of brick and mortar not steel and glass.
It was a brave new world. One vastly different from the one he remembered. Thomas marveled at the beauty of what mankind, left to their own devices, was capable of.
“Robert, Lionel, Jonathan,” he called to his friends. “Wake up.”
The men were still breathing but he was unable to bring them consciousness.
Thomas climbed up and walked into the building ahead of him. He recognized the way the building was laid out as being a hotel. He walked to the first desk he saw labeled concierge.
“Good day Davi,” he said reading the girl’s name tag.
“Good day sir! How can I help you,” she asked in the most friendly greeting he’d had in quite some time.
“Me and my friends are lost and not sure where we are, can you please tell me?”
“Certainly sir. You’re at Easton in Columbus, Ohio.”
Thomas was caught off guard by this news. He never thought he’d be in Columbus again. From his understanding most of the Midwest had been destroyed when the attacks first began.
“Can you help me get back to Gotham City?”
“Excuse me,” said the girl. “You mean New York?”
“Yes,” he said. Confused by the question. “Gotham City, New York.”
The girl gave him a bewildered look.
“Give me a moment sir, let me find out.”
The girl stepped away from the desk and walked over to a boy working there as well.
“Is Gotham City a real place,” he heard her ask the boy.
“Some people call New York City that but otherwise no.”
“Well that gentleman is asking how to get there.”
The two of them walked over to Thomas.
“Sir,” asked the boy. “Are you trying to get to New York City?”
“No,” Thomas reiterated feeling annoyed and slightly frightened. “I need to get to Gotham. Do you have any idea who I am? Just get me to the nearest boom tube!”
“Ok,” said the boy. “Relax, you’ve been reading too many comics and you look like you’ve been in a fight. I think you may have hit your head too hard. Let’s get you to a hospital.”
“I don’t need a hospital,” he shouted, anger filling him. He pulled out his I.D. and flashed it at the boy. “I’m Dr. Thomas Wayne.”
The boy glanced at the I.D. His eyes widened in shock and recognition. “But… But, you’re not real,” he stammered.
“You’re a fictional character. Father of Bruce Wayne aka Batman.”
The boy reached in his pocket and pulled out a phone.
“See,” he said.
Thomas grabbed the device and read about the fictional Thomas Wayne. The boy starred at him as he clicked link after link reading about his dear Martha, his beloved Gotham, and his friends Lionel Luther, Jonathan Kent, and Robert Queen. He dropped the device, having read enough, and ran outside. The boy followed him.
“Lionel! Lionel,” he screamed, shaking his friend awake.
“Oh my god,” said the boy seeing the other three bruised and bloodied men.
Lionel opened his eyes. “I’m sorry,” he said.
“What happened,” asked Thomas.
“When we entered the time stream Braniac followed. We stopped him but in the process he destabilized us.”
“What does that mean?”
“We were pulled from the time stream to a stable timeline.”
“Then we need to get back to ours,” said Thomas.
“We can’t. We’re stuck. This timeline is stable. No magic or science has the capability of bending it.”
Thomas collapsed to the ground. He may have saved his world but to him it was lost. Martha. Bruce. Gotham. Braniac might as well have destroyed it all for all the good it did him. Would Bruce become this Batman the boy mentioned? His world was over. He dreaded Jonathan and Robert waking up. How would they handle the losses of Clark and Oliver.
Thomas looked at the boy.
“Tell me about my son and what would have been.”
Thomas would never see Bruce grow up. He hoped that he would have a great life. He prayed Alfred would take care of Martha and Bruce.
“Your son will be a hero,” said the boy. “He’ll save the world.”
Thomas smiled. Bruce Wayne, the hero, the Batman.