by Eric J. Krause
He sat perched on the stony edge of the roof of the American United Banks building, looking every bit the iconic gargoyles he named himself after. Crime festered below, from the petty crooks shaking down helpless citizens to the mastermind costumed supervillains whose crazy schemes could net millions in a single night. They'd all grown complacent, cozy, in his absence, but that ended tonight. Tonight they'd remember the fear that compelled safety in the streets for so long.
Politics had driven him away. With no crime, less police officers were needed. With cutbacks looming, the officer's union sprang into action, condemning costumed vigilantes, as they called him. Once the darling of the police force, the Gargoyle now found himself ordered shot on sight. The union rallied the public into a frenzy with TV, radio, and Internet smear campaigns. It wasn't long before he had to endure taunts, boos, and heckles anytime he showed up to stop a crime. The hurled rocks and broken bottles came next, followed by pot-shots from .22s and bigger caliber guns. John Q. Public proved more hazardous than the actual criminals. So he gave them their way and left town.
Pleas from civic leaders started not two weeks later. "Save us, Gargoyle. We're sorry for how we treated you. Please come back." And on and on, over and over. He knew he'd relent and return, but first he let them stew in their own juices. Let them see how ineffectual the crooked police union had become. He considered a press conference to announce his return, but that was never his style. Next he thought about a fireworks and laser light show as he burst into action, but that was too flashy. No, it had to fit him, and what better way to come back than by simply showing up and stopping crime? The murmurs in the underground would scare a great deal many crooks into going straight before he ever had to face them.
He spread his oversized wings and launched into the night. It didn't matter where he landed; each street in the city had turned into a cesspool needing his immediate attention. First he'd clean out the vermin on the streets, then decimate the costumed heavies, and finally destroy the corrupt police union. This great metropolis deserved nothing less.
He was back. Evil beware.