03-05-2012, 02:58 PM
Chapter Thirteen: The Mystery
Two months had passed since Luke Blade escaped the hospital. The grounds had been searched thoroughly, the surrounding area alerted for any sign of the fugitive illusionist. The director of the hospital had gone on national television to plead for Luke to surrender and return to the hospital for his own sake. He was a very sick man and needed medical help, he had said. Now there was little if any hope of Luke surviving his illness outside the hospital, unless he got help somewhere else.
Luke Blade's crimes and subsequent escape put him in the top ten of America's Most Wanted list. His mug shot was a regular feature on the crime series. Yet there were no leads as to where he was. Had he fled the country? Had he died? Had he changed his name and features and living among ordinary citizens? Where was he hiding? And who was helping him?
By October 28th, 2008, one year and two months after his escape from the hospital, David Baron, Luke's former manager, had Luke declared legally dead. Without the antibiotics he needed for his peritonitis, the medical authorities claimed he would have succumbed to the poisons swirling around in his bloodstream. There was no way he could have survived without them, they said.
The memorial service was a private affair, with very few attending. Beckie Winslow was chief mourner, weeping throughout the brief fifteen minute service. She had bought a large pot of yellow daffodils purchased from a greenhouse to the service. Soames, the Weeks family, and David Barron were the only others present. The funeral was kept secret to prevent a media circus or protest movements.
While Luke's will bequeathed his entire estate to Benny and Andrea Weeks, with a trust fund set up for Baby Luke, his assets had been frozen and under garnishment by the Court for damages in the wrongful death suits filed by the surviving families of Vienna Hyatt and Austin Cannon. His possessions were auctioned off to pay for legal fees and other debts. The house in Las Vegas was put up for sale in mid-September. By late October the following year, there were still no buyers. When a prospective customer came to look over the house, word would leak out abour its previous owner, and it was good-bye sale. The realtor could not even sell it for the value of the land. Some logical types blamed it on a sluggish housing market, but in reality, the house was cursed. Only a lone caretaker tended the property, who enjoyed regaling the neighborhood kids with lurid tales of Luke Blade and his evil ways, many of his own creation. It was here that he plotted his murders, he said, and who knows who might be buried in that house? He was a famous magician who sold his soul to the Devil for his powers, and there were many strange sights while he lived here. No one sought to correct him, or complain about his behavior. They just dismissed him as an eccentric man with a vivid imagination.
The controversy that was Luke Blade's life rages on. Underground fans say that Luke is still alive, and will return in all his former glory. Others believe he is truly dead; indeed, sightings of Luke's ghost around the warehouse theater were reported, either menacing or pleading for rescue. A videotape of one such "sighting" made the rounds on the Internet: a greenish wraithlike shape drifting past the camera lens. As much as the skeptics tried to debunk it, there were those who swore it was the ghost of Luke Blade caught on tape.
Many people still see Luke as a cold-blooded killer. He would always be a criminal, villified and condemned by his own actions, mental and psychological disabilites notwithstanding. Religious types, especially fundamentalist Christians, consign him to the lowest depths of Hell for his sins. He showed no mercy, he received no mercy. He was everything that they despised about the entertainment world, especially magicians, whom they claim practice the Dark Arts.
Others take a more humane view of Luke, saying he was a victim of an antiquated mental health system and an inadequate social services system as well. He was more to be pitied than censured, more to be helped than despised. He was cursed from the womb, when his mother drank alcohol and damaged his brain, then he suffered abandonment and abuse from a chruch run orphanage, then was shuttled in and out of foster homes and other instiutions. While they did not exonerate Luke for his crimes, he should have received better treatment for his disorders.
There are still those who regard Luke as an antihero, the idol of the outcasts. He had accomplished the impossible by escaping the most secure and inpenetrable prison in the country, despite what everyone said. He was immortal in their eyes. His CDs and DVDs are played at parties and Goth gatherings everywhere. It is the epitome of rebellion to wear Luke Blade type clothing and hairstyles; many high schools blacklist such fashion statements in their dress codes. Luke Blade has become a legend.
As of this writing, the mystery of Luke's disappearance remains unsolved. No witnesses have stepped forward to make a statement, no new clues have been discovered. However history judges him over time, whether as entertainer, criminal or madman, he is still a man who had been shaped by forces outside of his control and had suffered in the end, as well as those in his orbit. He suffered a debilitating disorder by his biological mother's alcoholism. He suffered horrific abuse by those in whose care he had been entrusted. He had been cheated by the man who brought him to stardom. He harbored feelings of abandonment and rejection by not only his adoptive mother, but by those whom he brought himself to trust. He was haunted by traumatic events and a sense of unbearable lonliness. Judge Thomas Williams stated that Luke could escape anything except justice. It is closer to the truth that Luke Blade could escape anything but himself.
This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance of the characters in this work to any persons living or dead is purely coincidental. Arkham Asylum is the creation of DC Comics, producers of Batman and others. It is an incomplete biography, just a thumbnail sketch of a fictional character. The author wants to thank all the Loyals for their support and positive reveiws, knowing the supertalented among them will undoubtedly wish to either add on, or use this as a reference for their own works. I wish them luck.