The bat swept softly through the warehouse. It was agonising work for him. The Joker should be here by now. He gently turned in a full circle, searching the corners. Listening. The walls were grime covered and the floor unswept. This wasn't a building. It was a carcass, a corpse. It had died. It had died so long ago that none remembered anything but the vultures of the world that would swoop down and hunt for any remaining scraps. Why would Joker ever want this place to be the place of his final demise? It was ordinary for Gotham. Nothing should have been ordinary with this one. He tensed as he heard a pipe drop to the floor. The sound was gentle and beautiful. The bat relaxed. Bruce didn't. No one was there, just birds. The smell unfortunately wasn't, the rotten crates consumed the odours around it. Paint. Garbage. Blood. Blood? The bat removed the sleek device from his belt. He held it up. The results took a short time but while he waited he glanced side to side, consulting every shadow. Blood traces positive. He was getting close. Bruce sighed, he allowed himself to slump slightly. He followed the trail. The crimson pools were soon easy enough to follow and he didn't need his gadgets. They stuck out against the slates and mud. He breathed heavily, his breath dancing hypnotically, like a ghostly maiden, in the air. He turned the corner only to find it clear. He heard the laugh echo. Ha. Ha. Ha. He sprinted to the direction it came from. He was desperate, doing the unthinkable, a prey running towards the predator. Ha. Ha. Ha. He had to find the thing it was coming from. Joker didn't deserve to be called a him. Ha. Ha. Ha. The maze was similar to the state of his mind. Confused. Bruce was crying. The bat wasn't. Ha. Ha. Ha.

Ha. Ha. Ha.


Joker was near. He dashed around a corner. He was close. He could find them. He paused behind the boxes. They were right round the corner. The laugh was too unbearable. He snarled. He was ready. He gripped his belt and unlocked it. He grabbed a handful in his hand. Smoke bombs and without looking tossed them over his shoulder. He was going to kill him. Just one kill. He had to for what he had done. He heard a noise. Muffled laughter. He rounded the corner, his explosives ready to throw. One was thrown towards the source of that sound that penetrated your mind. The explosion was wonderful and the colours rich. It was Bruce's heart as he realised he had finally found them. He was … happy! But the elation, soon, like the explosion, dispersed. The speakers connected to the video device were howling. It was eerie. He sank to his knees, his hope fell away.

Hello, little bat! How are you today? Oh, not good. I've got something. You wanna hear a … joke! Oh, who am I killing, of course you do? What happens if you kidnap two of Batman's dearest and closest? What! You don't know! Batman defeated. Oh, it's not a real joke but it still is making my ribs explode. Ohhhh… bad choice of words. Now, for my next trick, I want you to … oh, I can hardly bring myself to say it… you see I'm a little short on cash and I want some more. Say honey, why don't you go to the bank and make a withdrawal? Illegally of course. I want everyone to see you for what you are. OK? Goooooood. Want a word in Lex?

Lex? How could Lex be…? He was locked up. He had to contact the League.

Not really Joker. Now let's get on with it. Just remember bat, no one contacts the league or one of them dies. Understand? Good. Joker let's get outta here. Think on it.

Well that's our Lex! I'll say hi to the kid for ya. Until next time…