Gotham’s Plight is Tragic When Merlin Uses His Magic

She was trapped! She could feel the four smooth walls of her lightless prison but was unable to see a thing. Desperately she pressed her gloved hands all around her, searching for a way to escape. Fighting against her rising panic, she forced herself to relax.

But it was no use; nothing she tried seemed to help. Just as she was about to give way to despair, suddenly the back wall of the enclosure sprang open, catapulting her backward. Her nylon-clad feet were unable to find purchase and she tumbled to the wooden stage floor, landing hard on her backside. Her eyes narrowed as she saw HIM standing beside the newly created opening.

“Brian! I swear I’m going to kill you!” yelled the disheveled seventeen year old Tina Drake as she picked herself up. She tried vainly to brush off the dirt, as well as the embarrassment, of her situation. “If you think I’m ever getting back in that deathtrap you’re out of your mind!”

“Geez Tina, I’m sorry,” whined Brian Lawson, the erstwhile amateur magician. “You know that The Disappearing Cabinet trick will be an incredible finale to the show.”

Fuming, the beautiful girl replied, “It was almost MY finale! Where was the hidden release button that’s supposed to be on the back door? Did you buy this thing from the cheapest magic shop in the city?” Tina knew she had made a mistake agreeing to be ‘The Amazing Brian’s’ assistant in the Gotham High School annual student talent show. Just as she feared, not only was he a lousy illusionist but he seemed to get even more distracted by the sight of Tina in her sequined leotard and tights costume.

Glumly, the boy in the oversized top hat and tattered cap replied, “Um…, I didn’t buy it. I had to build it myself from plans on the internet. I guess I forgot to put in the interior door release.”

“Last year your birdhouse project in wood shop almost put Mr. Harrison in the hospital. What made you think you could build a disappearing cabinet?” asked Tina.

“It was the only way to get one! I went to 15 different stores, but every place in Gotham City has had to close down because of all the magic shop break-ins. Come on Tina, please don’t quit. We’ll practice again tomorrow and by next Friday we’ll have it down perfect.”

Distractedly the young girl replied, “Yeah, sure Brian.” But her attention was now on what her rather inept magical partner had just said. She remembered reading something about one or two of the magic shop robberies, but she had no idea the problem was as bad as this. There had to be some connection and she knew just the person to investigate…

Later that evening, the beautiful high school student Tina Drake had changed into her alter-ego, that of the young crimefighting superheroine known to the world as Robin, the Girl Wonder. She now wore a bright red vested tunic with yellow laces on the chest and her famous “R” insignia, short green sleeves, green trunks, boots, & gloves, short yellow silken cape, small black eye mask, thin utility belt, and sheer tan tights over her trim, athletic legs.

She sat at the control station of the powerful Batcomputer, located in the recesses of the Batcave, the enormous headquarters of her legendary mentor Batman. She pondered this latest criminal conundrum.

Using the powerful computer’s vast resources, the beautiful young heroine was able to determine that every magic shop in the city had been hit by a powerful criminal, whose aim seemed more to force the shops to close than to actually steal anything. There was a definite slant towards destruction and intimidation, more so than towards burglary.

In each case, either witnesses or surveillance systems reported the presence of a dark, shadowy figure, accompanied by a pair of shapely associates. Shopkeepers told tales of
supernatural powers and spells as their stores were ransacked and they themselves frightened beyond belief. While Robin had faced her share of criminals and villains, their powers always relied on technology, tricks, or brute force. She was skeptical about these claims of “real magic.”

Suddenly the teen wonder noticed a small icon appear at location near the city’s business district. It seemed as if a new store specializing in magic and illusion had recently opened, and had so far gone unnoticed by whatever criminal forces had plagued all the others.

“Hmm, Abracadabra, Incorporated. Illusions and novelties,” mused the young crimefighter. “Well, they’re somehow involved in this mystery or are about to become its next victims. Either way, I think it’s time to pay them a visit.” She decided against trying to contact her mentor, Batman. She didn’t think a minor crime spree like this was worth interrupting his current undercover assignment with the Justice League.

It was almost completely dark by the time Robin was parking her RobinCycle several blocks away from the newly-opened magic store. As night wore on she slowly made her way toward its location, carefully on alert. Until she knew the story behind this new shop, she wasn’t taking any chances.

As she drew near she saw that Abracadabra, Inc. was the first tenant in a newly refurbished business plaza. While all the other spaces looked to be in differing states of construction, the magic store’s windows were already filled with posters and merchandise. The sign on the front door indicated that the store had closed several hours ago.

After doing a careful check of the building’s perimeter, the lovely young heroine made her way to the rear door accessing the store’s interior. Detecting no video cameras or entry alarms, she used the lock-pick set she kept in the utility belt fastened around her trim waist. She was able to defeat the lock easily and silently made her way into the store’s rear door.

Refastening the door behind her, Robin crept along the back area of the shop. In the dim after-hours lighting she made out the normal things you would expect to find behind the scenes in a normal retail store, as well as stacks and shelves of boxes of merchandise inventory waiting to be sold.

Silently she crept through the partition of hanging beads into the public area of the store. Making her way up and down through the rows of items, she could find nothing suspicious. It was looking more and more as if this were indeed a legitimate retail store, which made it all the more possible that it may become the criminal’s next target.

It was then that she heard the sound of a key being placed in the back door lock. She quickly made her way to the beaded back area door. As she watched, three figures entered from the outside.

First came two very shapely young women that looked to be no older than twenty. One African-American and one Caucasian, both wearing long-sleeved gold leotards, covered with flashy sequins, and flesh-tone footed tights embedded with small rhinestones. Both girls also wore small ballet-type slippers.

They were followed by a mid-thirties male with dark complexion wearing an old-fashioned full tuxedo, complete with an elaborate boutonniere, top hat, and long black cape, carrying what could only be described as a textbook magic wand.

As the teen superheroine watched, the trio made their way over to the back office table. Sitting, the nylon-clad young women looked expectantly at their male counterpart. “My lovely assistants,” he began, “you’ve done very well. In just a few short weeks we’ve eliminated all the so-called ‘magic shops’ in town, leaving us the only true masters of the mystical arts around. People will now come to know the true nature of real magic.”

Robin was almost disappointed by what she was hearing. This was nothing more than the simple crimes of someone who wanted to get rid of his competition. She knew that taking down these three would be an easy evening’s work. She readied herself to end their criminal schemes.

Boldly the teen superheroine emerged through the beaded partition. The three villains whirled to see her assume her classic hands-on-hips stance. “All right you misguided magician,” Robin said forcefully. “It looks like the curtain is coming down on your performance.”

“Well, if it isn’t Gotham’s own Robin the Girl Wonder!” exclaimed the dark skinned male. “To what do we owe the honor of your presence?”

“I’m here to put you out of business,” replied the beautiful teenager. “And ensure that the legitimate magic shop owners of the city see justice done.”

“Legitimate?!” cried the rising magician. “It is only I, Merlin, that can lay true claim to being a real practitioner of mysticism! Those other charlatans are nothing more than fakes, unworthy to gaze upon my greatness!” At this grandiose pronouncement the two obvious henchgirls stood and applauded their criminal master.

Oh brother, thought the teen heroine. Talk about delusions of grandeur. Aloud she said, “Well I’m sorry to disappoint you Merlin, but I’m afraid that ‘your greatness’ will be spending the next few years in prison.”

The villainous magician’s eyes narrowed as he regarded the Girl Wonder. “My dear little girl,” cooed Merlin, “I’m afraid it’s YOU who are about to be disappointed.” Gesturing to his shapely assistants, he said, “Hocus, Pocus, let’s take care of our uninvited little guest, shall we?” With that, the two henchgirls launched themselves across the table toward the solitary young heroine.

As the villainous vixens approached, Robin leapt up, grabbing the door frame above. Swinging her nylon-clad legs forward, she delivered a powerful kick to the upper chests of the beautiful villainesses. Stunned, they toppled backwards, landing on the hard store floor.

As she released the door frame her gloved hands became entangled in the strings of beads hanging down. As she worked her hands free, this gave the evil Merlin an opportunity. Trotting toward the momentarily distracted teen heroine, he reached his white-gloved hand toward his left sleeve cuff. With a tug he sent a stream of colorful scarves shooting from his left sleeve at the struggling heroine.

Just as she freed her hands from the beadwork, the dastardly scarves reached Robin and began encircling her entire body. She began to frantically struggle against the silky fabric as it entwined her arms, torso, and legs. Within just a few seconds she was wrapped within this slippery, colorful fabric ribbon.

Desperately the trapped teenager spun around with her back facing the oncoming villain. She then purposely fell onto her back. Using the limited mobility in her hopelessly bound legs, she planted her booted feet against one side of the doorjamb and kicked mightily. The silky bonds holding her allowed her to shoot almost frictionless across the smooth concrete floor.

She slid directly between the recovering henchgirls and several yards away from Merlin’s approach. As she slowed to a stop on the other side of the large back area, she noticed the scarves had loosened their evil grip during her slide. She was able to quickly shrug off the silky bonds and regain her feet.

Looking up she saw the villain and his recovered henchgirls drawing near. She was being backed up toward the looming shelves of merchandise. With a smile she reached above and behind her, her gloved hands finding a large cardboard packing carton. With a shove she pulled the carton forward to toss it onto the evil trio.

But just as the heavy carton cleared the shelf, its bottom gave way. Instantly the teen heroine was bombarded by hundreds of small stuffed white rabbits. She was unable to keep her knees from buckling under the oppressing onslaught. The henchgirls were quick to take advantage of Robin’s misfortune. The beautiful young girl suddenly felt the powerful grip of the villainous young women as they grabbed her forearms and pulled her roughly forward.

Still dazed, Robin was held fast in the grip of Hocus and Pocus. She struggled weakly but needed a few moments to recover. Moments that were not going to be given to her. Merlin was instantly before her and raised his magic wand. “Oh, that was very naughty indeed my girl,” crowed the magician. “I think we need to help you settle down just a bit.”

He placed the end of his wand against the buckle of the weakened girl’s utility belt. With a small spark, the Girl Wonder’s belt buckle parted, allowing her fabulous utility belt to fall to the floor. Robin gasped as she became a truly helpless captive of these evil magicians. “Stop this!” she pleaded as she struggled futilely within the grasp of the powerful henchgirls. “Let me… go!”

“Not on your life, Girl Wonder,” replied the maniacal Merlin. “But I do want our time together to be pleasant. How about some nice flowers?” With a flick of his right wrist a small bouquet of colorful fake flowers popped out of his sleeve and into his hand. Knowingly both Hocus and Pocus turned their heads aside and held their breath as Merlin brought the flowers close to the captured heroine’s face.

Suddenly a small puff of gas shot forth from the bouquet directly into the powerless teenager’s face. Unable to avoid the spray, Robin felt suddenly very weak, unable to keep her eyes open. “No… please,” she moaned softly. “Can’t… stay… awake.”

Powerless against the effects of Merlin’s knockout gas, the beautiful helpless teenager slumped forward in the henchgirls’ grasp, completely vulnerable to whatever evil schemes awaited her at Merlin’s diabolical hands.

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