There were toys in the attic.

Toys in the attic, toys in the attic, toys in the attic…

No doubt about it. Edward Nygma had toys in the attic.

China dolls, marionettes, rag dolls…all of them watching.

Dead, glassy eyes watching him. Watching his every movement the way a predator intently watches its prey.

He could feel their little flat gazes following him; lifeless save for whatever light struck them and glimmered, showing glimpses of the true malice that was to be found inside their little porcelain skulls.

And oh, that malicious intent was there. He knew. He knew. They could fool the others…with their innocent little painted smiles and cold, flat, dead eyes, but he knew.

They weren't clever enough to fool him. No, no.

He knew.

And they knew that he knew.

Knew that he knew the eyes were the windows to the soul. He felt them enter there. Through lens and gland and optic nerves…felt them as they penetrated his mind and spoke in dry rustling whispers like dead leaves scraping across pavement and told him that everything would be just fine.

The liars.

The liars!

Liars, deceivers, tricksters, cheats, all!

They sat there lined up against the walls, looming larger in his vision with each passing second, and their dead little eyes bore into his own, their voices rising as one, urging him to let them stay. They lied through their little porcelain teeth and told him things he knew weren't true.

The eyes. It was all in the eyes. Every time he met their eyes he could hear them. Loud, clear, bouncing around inside his head, slithering through his brain tissue and making themselves at home as though their little voices were a part of him.

If only he didn't meet their eyes…if only he didn't look…

But there was nowhere to look but at them. They were everywhere. No way to escape their probing stares that drove into his skull like a spike, right between his eyes.

They looked at him and their little voices traveled along the pathways in his eyes; through his veins with the pump of every heartbeat, driving them deeper. Deeper. So deep that he could no longer force them back.

Eyes. Eyes. It was all in the eyes.

Theirs were glass. Theirs were forever. They would never stop staring.

But his...

His were vulnerable. Flesh. Blood. His weren't indestructible like theirs...

Fingers shaking, a little blonde one looked at him, arresting his attention as her raised the shard of glass he'd found--he didn't know from where--and pressed it to his face.

Is it so bad to have us in here, Edward? Is it so bad?

The rush of warm liquid that spread down his cheek as he raised it to his eye fortified him. "You don't belong here!"

The little blonde starred on, unmoving. But we'll keep you company…

Copper. Copper, copper, the air smelled of copper and iron and the pain was immense as his flesh tore. "I don't want company."

We're the toys in your attic, Edward…

His fingers dipped into the hole he'd made to widen his eye socket and he touched the sensitive membrane of his eyeball.

We'll never leave you, Edward.

"Yes you will."

No. We promise, Edward.

"I'll make you leave!"

We'll be with you always.

A sharp yank.

A ragged scream torn from his throat.

A soft yet firm sphere clutched in his fingers and the copper…the copper and iron and red everywhere.

And then the darkness.

---

Jonathan Crane looked on in sickened fascination as Edward Nygma, alias the Riddler, lost consciousness, having just ripped one of his own eyes from his head.

The poor man had wandered into Crane's lab at the wrong moment and had gotten a face full of fear toxin and this…this horror show was the result. Nygma had dropped to the floor in a ball at Crane's feet, alternately muttering and shouting and then he'd shattered a test tube, using one of the glass shards on himself before he could be stopped.

There was no antidote to this toxin yet, so there was really nothing to be done but watch. Awful as it may have been, there was really nothing for it, and Crane was a scientist at heart, after all; the deepest, most academic part of him was utterly fascinated by the insanity that had gripped the formerly brilliant mind of Edward Nygma and rent it in half.

So, like any other scientist in his current predicament would have done with a lab rat, Crane picked up his ledger and scribbled a few notes about this latest development.

Certainly, it was a shame that Nygma had been accidentally exposed to this new toxin…

But there was no sense in wasting a test subject, was there?