What the Bat Child Does
Summary: Batboy: the Musical. Contains Major Spoilers. In a hospital to the north, Sheriff Reynolds discovers what became of Shelley after the events of "Finale: I Imagine You're Upset/I Am Not a Boy/Hold Me Batboy (Reprise)."
(Quick Note: This is not based in science. The logic of it is from the Buffy episode "Tabula Rosa", although NO KNOWLEDGE OF THAT IS NEEDED. That being said…enjoy.)
"The earth's asleep, time to wake it…hmm hmm….." Her hands expertly washed the blood off the dish as she sang to herself. She frowned at it- pig's blood. It always took the longest to scrub off, but the butcher's shop sold it the cheapest.
Strong arms abruptly circled her waist from behind. She jumped slightly, before relaxing with a sigh. "Hello, you."
She turned in his arms to face him. He gave her a toothy grin, his ears twitching slightly as she rested her hands on his chest. "How was you day?"
"Good. Great now that I'm home. Where are the kids?"
"At Mom and Dad's." She smiled at him. "Who'da thunk it? I'm a mom of twins at seventeen."
He rested his forehead against hers with a smile. "A great mum." He kissed her neck.
She leaned into him. His arms tightened. "I love you, Shelley."
"I love you, Edgar."
She jerked up slightly. He looked at her, wild eyed. "What is it?"
She looked around, frightened. "Didn't you hear that?"
"There's no one there, Shell, I'd smell them."
Her shoulders dropped slightly, but she was still tense. He pulled her closer. "There's nothing there, love."
She jerked up again. "Edgar, there's someone in the house!" She tore away from him, looking around wildly.
She turned around to face him, wrapping her arms around herself. She was shaking.
He walked to her, concern written all over his face. "There's nothing-" he cut off.
He choked, and stumbled forward. She caught him, watching in horror as blood began to soak his shirt.
His own blood.
They fell to the ground. A shadow fell over them, and she looked up.
Dr. Parker stood, staring in horror at a knife covered in blood.
This was familiar. Shock overtook her as she stared down at the man in her arms, dying.
Suddenly, they weren't alone. Her mother was there- dead. Her father as well. Around them stood everyone she knew.
Why were they staring? Why were they letting him die?
She brushed the hair out of his eyes.
Out of her brother's eyes.
She choked on her tears. "Oh, my Edgar. My dear, sweet boy."
"I'm not a boy," he gasped, "I'm an animal."
His body went limp. She felt herself crumple. "Oh, God…"
She looked up in shock. A man- a doctor- stood in front of her.
"Shelley," he said again.
She looked around. She was in a strange bed. Her body was achy- she'd been sleeping.
It had been a dream!
She groaned in relief as her memories flooded back. Her mother finding them, Reverend Hightower marrying them barely a day later, her honeymoon, their children being born…
It had just been a nightmare.
She frowned at the doctor. "Where am I?"
He sighed heavily. "You're in the psychiatry ward of Mercy Hospital, in Virginia."
She frowned. She drew on all the skills of patience Edgar had taught her. Yelling wouldn't help. "How did I come to be here?" She wracked her memory. "I'm not crazy."
"We found you about a year ago, sitting in a forest near the border of the states. You were unresponsive. We took you in right away."
She scowled at him. "That's absurd. I have no memory of this or you."
"Shelley, this is the tenth time we've had this exact conversation."
She snorted. "Oh, yeah? What's my last name, then?"
He opened his mouth, then faltered.
"That's right. You're the one that belongs in a loony bin. Now, I want to speak with my husband. Where's the phone?"
"There is no phone. Shelley, listen to me."
"No! I want to see Edgar!"
"Shelley! There is no Edgar!"
She froze, stunned.
"Every time you wake up, you talk about him, but there's no one-"
"What do you mean, every time I wake up?" She was becoming angrier by the second, and he could tell.
"You suffer from a mental condition. You sit and stare- that is your state of being. There is a world in your mind; a place only you can go."
She burst out laughing. "Are you serious?"
He sighed, and began to message his temples. He sat down in a chair by the window. "Yes, I'm afraid so."
"Well, I'm afraid that you're a loony! I haven't been in here two hours, let alone a year!" Her laughter increased. "Who put you up to this? Maggie's son? This is such bullshit!"
"No, Shelley, it's not."
Slowly, she stopped laughing. "Come on. I want to call Edgar."
Her smile faltered. "Let me call him."
"There is no Edgar, Shelley."
"Give me a goddamn phone."
She stood up. He moved and pushed her on the bed.
"What the hell do you think you're doing!"
Grabbing the straps along the sides, he fended off her struggling and tied her to the bed.
Ignoring her, he began to move down her body. She kicked him in the head. He ignored that as well, and bound her legs, before moving to the door.
"YOU BASTARD! LET ME OUT OF HERE!"
He turned. "No. Not until you calm down and listen."
He walked out and closed the door to her shouts.
Sheriff Reynolds quickly closed the door behind him. He hated visiting his mother. He walked quickly down the hallway.
The events at Hope Falls had greatly aged him. His hair had gone gray and his shoulders now stooped. Ever since Edgar was murdered and Shelley had run away, the town had collapsed into chaos. Even visiting his mother was a reprieve from the town that, a year later, was only beginning to heal.
He wished for Shelley's presence desperately. Having been the only first-hand witness to all of the events, she was the only one who could have educated them. Even having Maggie by his side didn't help, as she needed to learn, too.
"YOU BASTARD! LET ME OUT OF HERE!"
He froze. He knew that voice.
A doctor stumbled out of a room, pulling the door shut with a sigh. He leaned against the wall, mopping his face with a handkerchief.
The sheriff moved around him and looked through the small window in the door.
"Can I help you, Sheriff? Your mother is still down the hall."
He ignored the doctor for a moment as he studied the young woman in the room.
It was she. Aged and much thinner, but her.
"Doc, what's Shelley in for?"
"You know her?"
"Yes." He moved away from the window.
"She's got a rare mental disease. She lives inside her mind- most of the time, she just sits and stares, but sometimes, she comes to, like now, screaming and yelling about someone."
"Can I see her?"
"Sure, as long as I'm with you."
The doctor pushed the door open. The sheriff stepped in.
To his surprise, she recognized him right away. "Sheriff Reynolds!" Her nose turned up haughtily. "Thank God you're here. Surely you can talk some sense into this man? He says I'm insane!"
He stared at her for a moment. "Shelley, are you alright?"
"Of course I'm alright, but Edgar must be worried sick about me!"
He did a distinct double-take at the name. He glanced at the doctor and motioned his head toward the door. He smiled at her reassuringly as they walked out.
The doctor shook his head. "Whenever she comes to, she talks about him- Edgar. Says that he's her husband. Do you know who he is?"
The Sheriff closed his eyes. "Jesus."
The doctor eyed him oddly. "Come again?"
"No, I mean…I know who he is. I reckon ya'll heard about the Hope Falls incident?"
The doctor frowned. "Yes- with the Batboy? But how does that-" He froze for a second. "Oh, God. She can't be…she's that Shelley? Shelley Parker?"
The Sheriff buried his face in his hands. It was all the response needed.
"Oh, my God. That poor woman."
"Yes. That poor woman."
"I can barely ask- Edgar?"
"Edgar is- was- the Batboy. You pro'ly don't know the whole story."
The doctor shook his head. "No. Only the rumors."
Sheriff Reynolds turned and looked into the window. "Three siblings were in a cave, rock climbing. They scared the daylights out of the Batboy, and he bit the sister. I got ahold of him, and gave him to Meredith- Shelley's mother. Her husband, Thomas, was the town veterinarian." His eyes glazed over slightly. He was reliving it. "Meredith took the Batboy, and named him Edgar. Turned him into a fine young man." He smiled absently. "I spoke with him a few times. He really was nice. Anyway, the Reverend Billy Hightower brought his Revival to the town- and Edgar showed up! The whole town wanted him dead, but he showed up, begging to be accepted. And…just then, it turned out that Ruthie Taylor- the one he bit- died." He frowned. "It was chaos, and Edgar, Shelley, and Meredith ran away. I don't know what happened when they were gone, but this is what I know: Shelley and Edgar loved each other very much; anyone could have seen it. I saw it, the few times I was around both of them. He would have killed for her. But-" He stopped. He ran a hand over his face.
The doctor couldn't help it. "But?"
"But…it turned out that they were brother and sister." He laughed harshly. "Can you believe that? Meredith gave birth to both of them, couldn't stand the sight of Edgar, and sent him away! And when he done turned up again, she pretended he wasn't hers! They let their son and daughter- twins!- fall in love. They didn't even see it."
The doctor was as pale as a ghost. "So everything went to hell."
"That's not even the worst of it. Dr. Parker went insane."
"Insane. He killed the three siblings who found the boy, and had Edgar take the blame. And…he killed Edgar. For sleeping with his daughter, for chrissakes! For loving her! He even killed Meredith. He didn't mean it. She shielded Edgar with her body. He had slit his own throat maybe a minute beforehand. And Shelley held Edgar as he died."
The doctor buried his face in his hands. "That poor woman."
"Her whole family."
"I don't understand."
The sheriff laughed harshly. "Who does? Was this all some mistake of God's? Was it a lesson we were supposed to learn? Edgar and Shelley were meant to be together. Any fool saw that! I went into their house, man!" His voice was almost pleading. "I checked up on him! I thought it was sweet, the two of them missing each others' glances, something to distract them from the fact that the whole town wanted him dead!"
The doctor was silent. There was nothing to say.
"I could have stopped it, maybe. Could have given them happiness."
The doctor moved and looked through the window. "Talk to her. Bring her back."
He nodded, and opened the door. "What should I say?"
"The truth. Remind her of everything you can."
They both walked in.
"Shelley, this man is right."
She blinked at him. "Not you, too!"
"Yes, Shelley. Think."
"There's nothing to think. You're all insane."
"PROVE IT! YOU CAN'T!" She was shaking now.
He stared at her. "I could tell you something I don't want to. Well, sing it."
She sneered at him. "Go ahead. Sing."
He didn't take his eyes off of her.
"Sheriff, you idiot! Why do you pity it? Look at the blood on him, why don't you kill it?"
She gaped at him. Her eyes glazed ever so slightly.
She squeezed her eyes shut, remembering. The doctor watched, silent.
A distinct noise of pain escaped her mouth.
"You know, one thing alone saved me from despair, back in my feral state…"
"Edgar…" she said.
It was working! She was reliving it. Encouraged, he sang again.
"Once in a while she would meet my stare, then I'd forget the cage."
"But surely her smile wasn't meant for me…"
"Easier to dismiss, but tonight she kissed me here…"
"NO! NO NO NO NO NO!" She strained against thebonds, thrashing, tears pouring down her face. "EDGAR! DADDY- don't, Daddy…MOM!"
She stiffened. "Oh, my Edgar," she sobbed, "my dear, sweet boy…."
She fell still, crying freely. "Edgar…."
The room was silent.
Slowly she opened her eyes. The pain she felt was reflected in them. She was shaking uncontrollably.
She looked right at Sheriff Reynolds. "I'm s-sorry…"
She turned to the doctor. "I can't."
She leaned her head back against the pillows, shivering. Slowly, her eyes lost focus, and she stared at nothing.
Edgar walked to her, concern written all over his face. "Shelley, there's nothing there."
She looked around wildly.
He pulled her into his arms. She buried her face into his neck, crying. She didn't know why she was crying, but she was.
"I have you, Shell. I always have you, love."
She sniffled, and closed her eyes. There's nothing wrong, she told herself, there's nothing there. It's just me and my Edgar.
They stood in silence for a few moments.
"Doctor, I'm a simple man. I don't understand medicine."
"Maybe she's better off that way." He held up a hand, stifling the man's protests before they even started. "Think of what she's been through! Of what you just saw!"
The doctor mouthed wordlessly at him.
"She asked you. She said she couldn't. Don't."
The doctor turned and stared at the woman on the bed. Swiftly, he nodded. Tears had pooled in the corners of his eyes.
Sheriff Reynolds turned and exited the room. He didn't stop walking until the hospital was behind him.
Then, he ran.
(Final Note: This fic helped me make peace with a play that gave me everything but that. Batboy was most definitely a journey for me- I lost a part I had worked at for months, and spent a month of my life on a play that often gave me nothing but grief. It was worth it in the end, but still, a lot about it haunted me. I hope you enjoyed this fic, but if you did not, that is fine. I wrote this for me.)