Rorschach’s journal: October 12th, 1985:
Dog carcass in alley this morning, tire tread on burst stomach. This city is afraid of me. I have seen its true face. The streets are extended gutters and the gutters are full of blood and when the drains finally scab over, all the vermin will drown. The accumulated filth of all their sex and murder will foam up about their waists and all the whores and politicians will look up and shout “Save us!” And I’ll look down and whisper “no.”
They had a choice, all of them. They could have followed in the footsteps of good men like my father or president Truman. Decent men, who believed in a day’s work for a day’s pay. Instead they followed the droppings of lechers and communists and didn’t realize that the trail led over a precipice until it was too late. Don’t tell me they didn’t have a choice.
Now the whole world stands on the brink, staring down into bloody hell, all those liberals and intellectuals and smooth-talkers and all of a sudden nobody can think of anything to say.
A smiling yellow face floats in a sea of blood on a cold New York street. An ugly world-weary man in a dirty raincoat walks through the puddle. The deli owner yells something at him, but he doesn’t hear. All he’s concerned about is carrying his sign that proclaims the coming end time. The deli owner shakes his head and continues hosing the blood into the storm drain. The ugly man tracks bloody foot prints behind him.
“Hmm,” the detective says, looking at the blood splat below. “That’s quite a drop.”
“Yeah, poor guy,” his partner said, inspecting the apartment door. “Y’know, I always wonder…, do you think you black out before you hit the side walk or what?”
The detective shudders. “Frankly I don’t need to know that bad.” He turns from the broken window and scans the disheveled room. “What do you think happened here?”
“Well, looks like someone broke in by bustin’ this door down. That would take either two guys or one guy on serious drugs, because the door had a chain fastened on the inside.” The partner pulled his cigarette from his mouth and lifted the door chain and lock, ripped from the wall. Which means that the occupant was home when it happened.”
“Hmm,” The detective walked towards the center of the room. Spilled bottles of liquor stained the carpet. Framed paintings lay on the floor, chairs were over turned. Dark blood on the floor and walls painted a picture of a brutal attack. “I saw the body, an’ he looked beefy enough to protect himself. For a guy his age, he was in terrific shape.”
“What, you mean apart from being dead?”
“No…I mean this guy, this Blake guy, the occupant…he had muscles like a weightlifter. He would have put up some kind’a fight. I’m certain.” The detective had already seen the body. The victim, Edward Blake, was old, scarred, missing some teeth, but his body looked like he could enter a strongman competition. And win. At least that’s what he could tell from what was left of him. The coroner’s office would give him a full analysis later.
“Yeah, well, looks like he lost.” The partner stuck his cigarette backed in his mouth and looked at the shattered mirror on the wall. The detective was looking at a framed photograph on a side table. “Maybe it was a couple of guys and they just overpowered him.”
“Maybe. The data we have suggests he’s been doing some sort of overseas diplomatic work for years. Lotta classy expense-account living. Maybe he just got soft. He don’t look too soft in this photograph. Wonder how he got that scar? It looks…” He peered closer at the picture.
“Hey! The guy he’s shakin’ hands with in the picture, it’s Vice-President Ford!”
The partner came over and took a look. “Hey, so it is! Well, listen, between you and me, I think we can rule him out as a suspect. A job like this just isn’t his style.”
“That’d be real funny if we had any better leads to go on.” The detective placed the photo back on the table. “I mean, what is this? A little money got stolen, but no way is this a straight burglary. Somebody really had it in for this guy. I mean, how did he go outta the window?”
The two detectives walked down the hallway to the elevator. Police protected the crime scene from any unwanted prying eyes.
“Maybe he tripped against it?” the partner asked.
“Forget it. That’s strong glass, man. You trip against it, even a big guy like that, it don’t break. I think you’d have to be thrown.”
“Well, if this Edward Blake was as big as you say he was, then one guy would never lift him, so we’re talking two assailants here.” They stepped into the elevator. A man was already inside.
“What floor ya want?” he asked.
“Oh, uh, ground floor, please,” the detective said.
“Ground floor, comin’ up.” An image of Edward Blake being thrown through the window and splatting against the ground flashed in the detective’s mind. Normally cases didn’t get to him like this, but there was something so odd about this case… He turned to his partner as they stepped out of the elevator.
“So look, you haven’t answered my question…is this a burglary, or do we look for some other motive?”
“Listen,” the partner said, “it could just have been a burglary…maybe a bunch’a Knot-Tops on KT-28s or ‘luudes. You know how it is…a lot of crazy things happen in a city of this size. They don’t all need motives.”
“So what you’re saying is—”
“I’m saying let’s not raise too much dust over this one. We don’t need any masked avengers getting interested and cutting in. Follow it up discreetly, sure. But in public.
“Well, what say we let this one drop out of sight?”
The detective shook his head as they walked down the street, back to the precinct. “I dunno. I think you take this vigilante stuff too seriously. Since the Keene Act was passed in ’77, only the government-sponsored weirdos are active. They don’t interfere.”
“Screw them,” the partner spat. “What about Rorschach?
“Rorschach never retired, even after him and his buddies fell outta grace. Rorschach’s still out there somewhere. He’s crazier than a snake’s armpit and wanted on two counts, murder one. We got a cozy little homicide here. If he gets involved, we’ll be up to our butts in corpses.” He noticed the detective huddling inside his coat. “What’s the matter?”
“Uh, nothing.” The detective did a quick glance-back at a man carrying a sign reading THE END IS NIGH. Something about him made him uneasy. “Just a shiver. Must be getting’ a cold.”
That night, a pale full moon hung in the sky. A shadowy figure walks to a storm drain, plucking something out. He looks at the yellow, besmiled button in his gloved hand and then turns his attention skyward. Reaching into his coat he pulls out a gun. With a blast of compressed air a grappling hook shoots skyward; it latches onto the broken window of Edward Blake. The man climbs up the rope. He pulls himself into the room and hops in.
He pulls a flashlight out of his coat and then wanders into Blake’s room. After rifling through the drawers he goes digging in the closet. “Hunh,” he growls, pushing at the wall. He takes one of the wire coathangers and straightens it out, using it to poke at the wall. Something in the corner of the back wall catches his eye: a small button. He grumbles as he pushes it.
Some mechanism clicks and moves the back wall to the side. He pushes the panel aside to reveal a superhero’s costume with a small arsenal of weaponry. The masked intruder went through each item, stopping at a picture of a group of superheros posing for the camera.