Mens rea

New World

Curt considered himself a people's person. He never was the shy one, right away stating his name and line of work to an unsuspecting victim. With graying brown hair that took on a pepper tone and forest green eyes, Curt felt he was a dashing man who wooed the ladies and made men jealous. He was on cloud nine until some naïve little punk teenage girl outright told him that with his plump pale complexion no woman would love a creep like him.

Well, of course, such a blow to his ego could not go unaccounted for. Curt had the reputation of being a prestigious math professor to uphold. So, he stalked the girl, haunting her every thought and drank her screams as he tortuously took her life. The girl would be the first but not the last.

Ten murders later and a lifetime sentence, Curt dropped off the face of the planet and landed in the hellhole of prisons. Folding his skinny pale legs to his chest, the simple gray fleece tunic and pants hung off of him like dead leaves to his skeletal frame. His once dashing good looks held a haunted appeal to his skull face, the pepper hair handing greasily around his cheek bones while wide mad green eyes etched the unconscious figure before him into his mind.

One of the big, look-at-me-and-my-steroids guards had slide the cell door open enough to toss the figure onto the ground without much care. As a result, the raven-hair head hit the concrete floor hard causing a bright red burn to appear on his forehead, much like a rug burn. Wearing the exact same gray uniform, Curt frowned with curiosity when he noticed that the young boy wore a white mask over his eyes.

A very familiar girl, his prideful first kill, towered above the small figure of the boy, her burnt blond hair in a wire-like frizz a soft glow of sunshine in the dull single light bulb dangling from ceiling. Her once blue eyes forever cried tears of blood flickered up to Curt, "Looks dead to me, handsome."

Another woman appeared and knelt beside the boy, red hair in patches of her shaven head, "Should we play with him?"

Unfolding his legs, Curt rose quietly from cot and with bare feet tip toed over to the boy. Squatting down, he poked the unconscious figure with a bony finger. "No, no. No playing. He is different…" Grabbing a fist full of hair, Curt picked up Robin's head and with his free hand pointed at the mask, "He wears a mask, yes, yes. Mask plus rude toss-in plus unconsciousness minus weapons equals superhero to the negative. Yes, yes."

The boy's face tightened and a small moan escaped his lips. Curt jumped back and let go. Robin's head whacked on the cement ceasing sounds from the boy. The red-head was gone but the blond was still around, giggling. "Superhero? He is nothing, nothing like you mi amore." The woman draped her hands around Curt's shoulders and whispered sweet nothingness into his ear. Curt closed his eyes, tilting his head upward, rocking back and forth in pleasure.

Lost in his own world, Curt's ears failed to pick the loud moaning emitting from Robin. Slowly rising onto his elbows, Robin rubbed his forehead softly. He felt like he had been head butted by a concrete wall. Eyes focusing behind his mask, he raised his eyebrow slowly muttering "Oh, that makes sense" as he took in the concrete floor.

Rolling onto his back, Robin let his mind catch up with reality. The last thing he remembered was being put behind bars in Tokyo prison. Tilting his head up slightly, he peered down his body and spotted the metal bars. "Must still be in Tokyo…" Words fell into mumblings when out of the corner of his eyes; he spotted a man rocking back and forth only a few inches away from him. Sliding up to sit upright, Robin took in the thin form of Curt rocking back and forth on the balls of his heels, a big smile plastered on his face.

Stretching out a hand, Robin did not realize that his once colorful uniform now consisted of the same dirty gray color as Curt's was. "Hey, you? When did you-Aaaachuu!" Head snapping downwards, a loud sneeze that would have put Beastboy to shame echoed in the cell. "Ugh." Robin rubbed his forehead, a pounding headache attacking his temples. "Must be allergic to something, dust probably. Hey, mister, do you have anything to drink my throat his parched…"

Masked eyes widened as Robin's calculative mind fought through the haziness. A memory of someone coming up the jail cell, a small pop sound, lights going off…

Gripping his hair in frustration, Robin growled, "Something's not right, I'm forgetting something!" With a slam of his fist into the floor, the Boy Wonder fought to keep his temper in check. Ever since this mission started it had been one bad thing one after the other.

"Aah!" yelped Curt as he fell onto his butt, green eyes alert scanning the cell for everything and nothing.

Robin shook out his hand before stretching out to Curt, "Hey, it's ok. I didn't mean to scare you. Sorry."

The green eyes zeroed in on Robin's concerned face, bubbling with outright fury, "You interrupted my fun!"

Robin leaned back away, his warning sirens going off. "I-I'm sorry."

"Four women minus any men raised to the hundredth power equals fun! Adding you to the equation does not equal fun!" A rage filled scream tore through his throat as Curt sprung at Robin, long nails extended forward.

"Hey!" screamed Robin as he sluggishly fell to the side. But before he could get any further away, Curt dug his nails into Robin's leg. "Ow!" Twisting his upper body, Robin was about to punch Curt when the man pounced on him again, one hand at his throat and the other clawing at his face.

Arms flailing widely and legs kicking out, Robin tried to get the wide-eyed man off of him but Curt held strong and struggled back with equal ferocity screaming at the top of his lungs, "You took my fun away! She was just getting to the good part!"

Through Curt's screams, Robin could barely make out the echoing of other voices and screams from other prisoners who were hearing the racket. "When did the prison get this big?" thought Robin's mind in the mist of the painful. "It's like I'm in another prison. Argh! Why won't my body move? It's like I'm drugged." Eyes snapped to full brightness, the last memory flooding into him. The glint of a gun was in the commissioner's hand. He had stood to ask the man what was going on, he heard the pop. A sting hit him in the neck soon followed by total darkness, the lights going off. They had tranquilized him and brought him to this new prison. But why?

As much as Robin would have wanted to answer that question, he had more important things to worry about such as a wild maniac attacking him while his body was still trying to fight off the drug. A fist slammed into his side, digging deep into his liver. Spit mingled with blood shot up his throat and spilt out his mouth. "Fight him, Robin. You're getting beaten by some deranged lunatic. You're better than this. Fight!" screamed Robin's mind, kicking his slowly rebooting body into full mode, the adrenaline rush burning away any of the remaining drugs from his system.

As the next fist came ramming down Robin shot out his arm and grabbed the fist. Narrowing his eyes, Robin locked his eyes with Curt's insane ones and with authority he yelled back, "Calm down!" To emphasize his words, Robin brought up his leg underneath Curt, kneeing the man in the stomach. Curt doubled over and was an inch from Robin's face, his hot breath smelling of onion and garlic.

"No nice to newbie," hissed Curt before slamming his forehead into Robin's face, breaking the boy's nose causing the boy to lose all grip on him.

Curt shot up straight and was about to deliver another punch when the metal door slammed into the wall and two muscular arms wrapped themselves around Curt, pulling the man off of Robin. Robin, relieved of a kicking Curt, rolled to his side and cupped his hand over the bleeding, broken nose. Not even five minutes in the place and he was already shedding blood.

Gazing over his shoulder, Robin watched from the sidelines as a huge deeply tanned man with a red-hair ponytail wrestled to keep Curt in his arm lock, his black eyes a raging inferno. Two guards were right in front of him waiting for their time. Their time came, when the massive man crushed Curt's arms behind his back earning a mind-piercing scream from the wild green-eyed man. One of the guards lunged forward driving a needle straight into his jugular, injecting a pale blue sedative into the man's body. Removing the needle, the two guards nodded at each other wearily, and left the cell, locking the metal door securely. They had better things to do than deal with upset prisoners.

The red hair man adjusted Curt in his arms before pivoting and tossing the man hard onto his cot. Dusting his hands off, the black eyes slowly turned and gazed down at Robin.

"He's crazy, kiddo."

Sniffing softly and wiping the blood from underneath his nose, Robin frowned, "Go figure."

The man's eyes focused on the far left corner of the cell behind the bunk beds to where the small toilet stood. With two strides, he reached it and took a huge chunk of toilet paper that was perched on the lid from the roll. Without breaking stride, he turned and reached Robin. Without warning, his large hand gripped Robin's upper arm, almost encircling it completely, and yanked Robin up onto his feet before using his other hand to yank the boy back with his hair and jam the paper at his nose.

"Won't do much but will stop the bleeding at least till the doc comes, kiddo," mumbled the man.

Robin nodded lightly, taking in the man's build. Where Curt was a small, scrawny man this man was the total opposite, similar to that of a boxer, despite the water running off the man and the upside down Y on the front of his uniform. Robin could already tell that messing with the man would be a bad idea especially with a weak body, broken nose and loss of blood.

"Whamp's your nammme?" asked Robin, the light paper fluttering upwards.

"Kyle, but you can call me K.O."

Robin raised his eyebrow in a question expression. The man flashed a pearly smile. "Stands for Knocked Out, but in my profession Killed Out…Fratuno's mafia in Boston ring a bell?"

The superhero's face must have changed either in color or expression for Kyle laughed before pushing Robin into his own cot on the bottom level, Robin's head barely missing the metal bar of the top cot. "Don't bleed too much on the ground, kiddo. You don't want me to smell blood. It turns me on."

With that said, Kyle walked in one stride before pulling himself onto the top bunk, stretching out his body and snuggling deeper into the cot before turning onto his side. Soon, his steady breathing signaled the man was fast asleep.

Robin leaned back against the cold wall, tilting his chin to his chest to prevent any blood from running down his throat. With nothing to distract him, Robin's mind fell into the old habit of replaying memories. When Psycho Tech had broken into the Tower and attacked Jump City before fleeing back to Tokyo, Japan, Robin felt that their chase after him had been justified. Arriving in Tokyo, the Titans soon found out through Commander Daizo—the Commissioner of the Japanese Police Force—that the colorful blue and pink villains were tied to a criminal called Brushogun. Clues led to trails and the trails led the Titans to an abandoned tower from which all havoc would erupt from. Later that night, Robin ordered the Titans to split up and search the city. He didn't know what happened to the others, but…

Behind masked lens, his eyes stared down at his clean hands, but in his mind they were still stained with the pink, reddish tint ooze of the man, no creature, he had beaten to death. Robin didn't really mean too; it was an accident. It was a setup. The man wasn't real. He could have grabbed the villain before he fell. Robin could have restrained himself from losing control. But the teenage superhero didn't and look at what happened. He lost control, total control. Robin thought he had flushed out all his anger with Slade, but he didn't understand how murderous he got when it came to fighting the supervillain. Deep down, Robin could always trust Slade to hold his own and in the end defeat the Boy Wonder; leaving him in a bloody pulp. So when Robin fought Psycho Tech, he thought the villain would be able to keep up, protect himself.

But he hadn't and Robin killed him. Even now the boy knows the villain wasn't human, that he was more like a drone, like a robot. Yet how was he going to prove it? But does that even change the mere action Robin beat a man to death? He still took a life. Sitting in the darkness of the cell, he can already feel his heart speeding up with adrenaline as the memories of the fight fly through his mind. In the end, a simple human teenager took down a powerful metahuman. Pride began to swell in him and Robin's face twisted in a sick look. The sensation soon became trampled by the guilt.

The blue light emitting from some unknown source in the hallway seemed to flicker away from him, allowing the darkness from the corner of the cell to creep towards him. Instead of cringing in fear, it's a sad type of funny irony that Robin almost wants to laugh. He knew now that his guilt did not come from killing Psycho Tech but from the notion that he has the ability to kill. If it were some other villain underneath him, real blood would have been shed forever tainting the Boy Wonder of murder. But for some odd reason, Robin's mind didn't feel like he has crossed that line with Psycho Tech. Maybe he was still in shock. But right now, Robin felt like a hero, who was just currently being framed.

The click of a lock being opened brought the Boy Wonder out of his thoughts. Masked eyes became slits in the dark. Frowning, Robin watched as the two massive guards from before came with shotguns stood at the door, motioning at him to come towards them. The guard on the left is a large, muscular built man with his black thin, spaghetti string hair tied up in the back, letting merciless dark brown eyes shine with joy. His partner had dirty blond hair picking out from underneath a trucker hat, big freckled cheeks that held a stud of a cigar with the shotgun tucked lightly under his arm. The blue colored uniform with cheap brass buttons blends in with the dark background. How the two were able to sneak up to the cell without altering Robin, made the younger man begin to seethe. It would seem that he would have to alert twenty-four seven in order to plan an escape.

Sliding himself off the cot, Robin bent down to avoid hitting his head and stood facing the guards.

The guard with the cigar stud grinned, "Play nice now, the doc just wants to see ya nose, that's all."

Nodding stiffly, Robin walked in between the guards, one thought repeating in his head, "Play it cool, easier to escape," the sound of the door closing and the grinding sound of it being locked in the background. With the soft bump of a the barrel of a shotgun against his lower back, Robin fell into step behind the man with the cigar as the threesome made their way to the medical ward.

Continue Reading Next Chapter

About Us

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered publisher, providing a platform to discover hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books our readers love most on our sister app, GALATEA and other formats.