It was night, and the rain lashing down in near-biblical proportions had tempered the police’s vigilance as they watched over the rift which Iain and Iain M. Banks’ impossible collision had opened. So, as a giggle began to peal from… somewhere else… they didn’t notice over the storm. Soon it was a guffaw, and while they had begun to feel uneasy the armed officers didn’t attribute it to anything more than the rift itself. It was only when the laugh became a roar, echoing out around the street, that they moved into action, taking up positions with their weapons ready. The laughter stopped
The moment stretched out into a minute and more, the laughter never abating, the police’s adrenaline fuelled tension creeping ever upwards. Then, suddenly, movement. The police opened fire as a shape blurred out of the rift towards them. It was over in seconds, the figure falling at their feet. It seemed human, its arms were bound behind it’s back. The lead officer gingerly turned the figure over, then stepped back. The face, hidden by some kind of grotesque harlequin mask, started to shake as the laughter resumed. Too late they thought to flee, an explosion tore the figure apart and scattered the police, variously dead and unconscious.
“Ha ha hah ha.” Pale faced and noxiously green of hair, The Joker emerged from the rift. “Welcome back to London town, right boys?” He drew a oversized revolver from the inside of his purple jacket. “Let’s make a scene.”
But China Miéville, ever vigilant for the weird, had been watching the rift from atop a nearby building. He leapt into action and off the roof, his coat casting a misleading shadow. The Joker turned and fired, impossibly fast, his fixed rictus becoming confusion in the second it took to realise that China Miéville was not his arch-foe. The full impact of this arrived simultaneous with China Miéville’s foot. As he looked down at the unconscious clown prince of crime a voice like two slabs of obsidian being ground together sounded behind him, resonating through his bones.
“Good work soldier.”
China Miéville span in place, fists raised in preparation for whatever fresh hell the rift had spat out.
“Put those down soldier. I’m the goddamned Batman.”
China Miéville dropped his fists down to his sides, too shocked to take much more of this madness.
“Now, what do you know about The Hooded Bastard?”
WINNER: CHINA MIÉVILLE