Author: NotebookNinja PM
When Becky Albright is kidnapped by the Penguin, it seems that only one person can save her...and it isn't Batman.Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Romance - Johnathan C./Scarecrow & Poison Ivy - Chapters: 11 - Words: 35,633 - Reviews: 51 - Favs: 12 - Follows: 21 - Updated: 09-13-12 - Published: 08-12-12 - id: 8422447
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: I don't own Batman. :'(
Catwoman hissed at me, perfect, pearly white teeth forming a feral snarl. She leapt forward, black claws swiping for my face. I ducked the blow, bringing my cane up to her ribcage. I was surprised it hit, and she hissed once more, but this time in pain.
"Wait," I told her, but she struck out again with predatory reflexes. I didn't manage a full dodge and metal scraped at my cheek. I cried out, clutching my bloodied face with my one free hand. The scar from the kitchen knife had only just healed, and now I had a deeper set. "I'm a hostage here," I said.
This seemed to spark curiosity in her, but also suspicion. I saw her feline eyes flash behind her translucent goggles as she took to circling me. Her claws were held at the ready and I didn't miss the whip swinging from her hips.
"You don't seem to be a hostage," her demure voice was filled with interest.
"If I was working for the Penguin, I would have called the guards by now," I replied, watching her movements constantly.
"You wouldn't be calling him the Penguin, either," Catwoman narrowed her eyes. "He would have had you beaten senseless for saying that name."
"I guess you'll have to trust my word then," I said. "Because I need your help….in fact, I think I might be useful to you too."
"How so?" inquired Catwoman. She ceased her pacing, laying a delicate claw on her chin.
"All of these artefacts, they're replicas. I know where the Penguin keeps the real ones."
Turning her back on me, Catwoman strolled over to a nearby painting. She didn't touch it, merely stared up at it longingly. I followed her line of sight. She was admiring the Penguin's fake copy of The Scream by Edvard Munch.
"Are you telling me that this preciouspainting is forged?" she purred.
"Yeah," I stepped up beside her. I saw her as my one realistic chance to escape this manor house. I was sick of being a prisoner. "But if you want to know where the real copy is, I'll need a favour from you in return."
"What do you want?" Catwoman's attention snapped back to me. She raised a beautifully arched eyebrow.
"Like I said, I'm a hostage here," I explained. My eyes flickered upwards briefly to a still security camera. I frowned, before realizing why it didn't move. Why none of them had. Catwoman had messed with the Penguin's security system.
"Go on," prompted the cat burglar.
"I want you to help me escape."
The thief chewed this over in her head, looking slightly apprehensive. I thought she was on the brink of declining, but then her longing gaze turned back to the expensive painting on the wall. I thought I heard an actual purring noise inside her throat.
"Deal," said Catwoman, causing me to blink in surprise. "But only if you tell me where the painting is first."
"How can I trust you?" I was the one narrowing my eyes this time.
"Because I hate the Penguin," snarled the thief convincingly. "Did you know he put a bounty on my head once? It's part of the reason why I'm stealing his copy of The Scream."
"I only have your word for that," I said.
"And I only have yours that you're a hostage."
There was an uneasy silence between us as we decided whether or not to trust the other. I didn't have much choice, really. It wasn't like I had anything to lose.
"I overheard a henchman saying that the real paintings are in a vault downstairs. I guess he meant the basement. There's bound to be a basement to this place, right?" I said.
"Right," Catwoman nodded. "Where are you being held…hostage?"
"It's a room on the first floor, at the back of the house." Beyond that, I had no idea. "I'll…I'll stand next to the window. There's only one."
"OK…" said Catwoman sceptically. "Wait there, I should be outside in under an hour. You better not be leading me into a trap here, kid, or you'll regret it."
"My name's Becky, n-not kid," I said. Now that I had obtained what I wanted, I could feel my confidence slipping. The stutters and pauses started to rise back into my mouth. "And y-you'll see I'm not lying. Good luck…getting down there."
"I don't need luck," spat the thief. She retrieved a black bag that had previously been nestled on the floor and swung it over her shoulder. "I have skill." After rummaging in her bag for a second, she drew out a dark piece of cloth and handed it to me. "Cover the scratches on your face," she said.
I took the piece of material, pressing it into my cheek. I watched as Catwoman sauntered past me and leapt nimbly up to the ledge of the open window. It was a leap I could never have dreamed of doing. She turned back once to close the glass, and then gave me a mock salute as she unravelled her whip and swung away into the night.
Licking the cloth and dabbing it against my face, I squinted at my reflection in the brightly lit glass, until I thought most of the blood had gone. I stuffed the cloth in my pocket as I headed back towards the steel door, hiding my injured cheek behind a curtain of auburn hair.
When I met Dixon, I made sure to walk on the side of him that wouldn't reveal my scratches. As we went in silence back to my room, my eyes caught hold of the occasional security cameras in the corridors. None of them moved, but seeing as an alarm hadn't been raised, I figured that Catwoman may have put them on a loop.
"I heard the Penguin was planning to stop by tonight," said Dixon, just before we reached my door.
"Oh really?" I asked, holding a neutral tone.
"Yeah, said something about keeping an eye on his hostage."
I had to fight a smile as I thought about it. If Catwoman intended to keep her word, I was this close to escaping the Penguin's custody. I imagined him walking into that empty room.
Once I returned to the room where I had resided for the past week, time seemed to crawl by ever so slowly. With each minute that ticked past, I fretted more and more about Catwoman keeping up her side of the deal. For the best part of an hour, I sat next to the large window, with the lights on bright whilst I stared out into the darkness.
I picked up the book I had been reading. On the cover were the words The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. I skimmed through to the page I was on and started to read. Subconsciously, however, my mind remained focussed on the time. It felt as though it was slipping through my fingers, like sand from a beach. Where was Catwoman? When did the Penguin plan on making his pointless little visit?
Just when I felt I had been betrayed, there was a sharp tap on the glass next to me. I jumped from my seat, panic written across my face. Catwoman wore an amused smile from the other side of the window. I just about made out the wink she gave me, before she reached into the black bag perched next to her on the ledge. Unzipping it, her clawed hand disappeared for a moment before bringing out a large glass cutter.
I licked my lips in anticipation. I was getting out of here.
In the same instant that the tool touched the window, the worst possible thing happened.
The door behind me opened.
Catwoman's eyes widened in surprise. She instantly stashed the glass cutter back into the bag.
"Guards!" squawked a familiar voice. "Guards!"
Dixon and Roy rushed into the room, Roy drawing his gun from its holster. By the time they had entered, Catwoman had leapt from the outer window ledge, swallowed by the dark night. My fist hit the window, infuriated. I had been this close.
"What is it, sir?" asked Dixon, scanning the room with dark eyes.
"Catwoman!" hissed the Penguin. "She was outside!"
"She's gone," said Roy.
"I can see that, you imbecile. I want her found, now! I want to know what that bitch was here for, you understand that, moron?" snapped his boss.
"Yes sir," said Dixon sharply. The two henchmen left the room.
The Penguin stalked towards me, small, shrewd eyes narrowed and venomous. His pudgy, bejewelled fingers grabbed hold of my chin roughly as he examined the scars on my face.
"You've met with that thief before," he snarled. "What did she want?"
"No idea," I lied inefficiently.
A hard slap landed on my cuts and I felt wings of colour spread across my face. I hated being slapped. It was so degrading.
"Tell me! Why was she after you?" demanded the Penguin. I could smell the faint scent of cigar smoke around him, and see the sweat shining on his wide forehead.
"She was after your copy of The Scream," I corrected him. "Best of luck getting it back."
Another slap reddened my cheek. I swallowed down anger.
"I bet you helped her, didn't you?" he spat, turning away from me and moving quickly back to the door. "Bloody women. Can't trust a single one of them!" He called for more guards, and three armed men entered the room. "I want this hostage secure, you hear me?" The Penguin swept away, umbrella tapping on the floor.
I leant heavily on my cane, glad to be left with just three simple-minded henchmen. Even if they were armed, they wouldn't risk shooting me.
Their eyes followed me as I headed for the bathroom door.
"I'm just cleaning these scratches up," I told them quietly. I did just that. But when I had locked the door, I let a few hot, frustrated tears fall from my eyes. I had wanted to get out of here so badly. I hadn't realized just how much until there had been the hope of Catwoman freeing me. Now I wanted my freedom even more desperately.
Catwoman wasn't found that night. I heard the news through Roy and another henchman, who both returned to my door that evening with machine guns. The cat burglar had successfully managed to steal The Scream painting from the underground vault.
That woman owed me, I thought spitefully.
Early the following morning, the Penguin had sensors installed outside my window, to sound an alarm if they detected any movement. I smirked as I watched the men on ladders, fiddling with wiring and what not.
Deep down, though, I was livid. I was back to square one all over again.
It was safe to say that I wasn't allowed back to the gallery, even if all the displays were completely fake. Dixon was dealt with harshly for letting me step foot in there. It was never revealed that he had told me about the Penguin's vault, so the last I heard, he was still alive. I had to admit I felt bad for getting him into such a mess, even though most of my emotions were spent on stress and frustration, not guilt.
No amount of escapism through books or endless pacing cured my insatiable want for freedom. I found myself checking the window multiple times a day, just to see if a way out had appeared. I even tried to prize the grate off of the air conditioning shaft. It was no use. I was still trapped here.
On the bright side, because my brain always had an irritating habit of trying to find one, I hadn't been attacked by the henchmen again, like I had in the kitchens on my first day. Whenever they saw me, they would always look at the scars smarting on my face, and decide that it wasn't worth the risk to create any more damage. I guess I had Catwoman to thank for that.
I lay awake one night, staring at the darkness of my ceiling. I thought about being trapped here forever, but then realized that wasn't realistic. They would kill me eventually. I might only have a week left to live, or a month if I was lucky.
The solitude in this room I could deal with. The lack of human contact I could handle. But the never-ending feeling that I was a prisoner? Not so much.
I wondered if the Scarecrow knew I was here.
I blinked tiredly, yawning up to my ceiling. When I tried to focus on it again, my vision kept slipping. Was I really that drowsy? It felt like my head was tilting sideways, even though I was sure I was still. I turned on to my side and suddenly the whole room started spinning, to the point where I was nearly sick. What was wrong with me?
Fumbling for the lamp beside the bed, my fingers flicked its switch. It burned me. I snatched my hand back as brilliant white light bathed half the room in a surreal glow. My sight was fuzzy.
From the corner of my eye, I saw things moving in the shadows. A slow, icy fear started to crawl through my bloodstream, and I broke into a cold sweat.
That was when I noticed it. Through my warped and frightened gaze, I made out the odourless, chemical green gas seeping in from behind the ventilation grate.
A/N: Another big THANK YOU to everyone who has read, reviewed, followed and favourited this story! Your support really makes a difference to me. Reviews for this chapter will be very much appreciated! :)
I'd also like to offer an apology, because I'll be going on holiday tomorrow and the next guaranteed update will be Wednesday evening. I'll do as much as I can beforehand, but I'm still sorry because I know long waits for updates suck!