Into the Dust
He looked around at the mess he created and sighed. This wasn't how things were supposed to be. It was times like these when his painted façade was intolerable. If he were a thinking man or well with words, he might have even dared to call it burdensome and gut-wrenching. But words weren't his thing. He was a man of action and torment, a man whose name made people cringe and whose presence scarred even the most lofty of occasions.
He was the Joker.
He was Batman's rival.
He was Gotham City's worst nightmare.
He was his own worst nightmare. Someone he could barely stand to share a room with, let alone his life. He was lonely, weary, and sick. Sick of the names and the words and stupid games. Sick of pretending his empty home meant nothing to him. Sick of pretending his empty bed meant nothing to him. Sick of not sleeping. Sick of the terrors that plagued his ceaseless stupor.
This wasn't how things were supposed to be.
Not in the beginning. Not even in the end, the few times he had thought of it.
Longingly, he thought of a life of simplicity and subtleness. A life that found morning arriving right on time instead of far too quickly. A life with nights that were too short instead irrationally long. A life of contentment. A life where people didn't speak his name in hushed tones between fearful lips.
A life with no Batman.
A life with no Robin.
A life with no Gotham City.
A life with no Joker.
A life that was his. One that he didn't need to share on building walls and in secret passageways.
He had, had enough. He was through. Through with the stealing and lying and hating. Through with being everyone's enemy and nobody's friend. Through with the insistent charade of half-assed fights and empty threats. He was done.
He stared blankly at the Sunday paper, the front page title screaming for attention.
'- Suspected of Recent Arson'
Though the paper was half-heartedly thrown in the corner, folded over perhaps by the wind, he knew what completed the heading.
His name. His masterpiece of a plan that played out flawlessly. And now this. The ruined remains of an office building owned by none other than Batman himself. Undoubtedly the headlines for next Sunday's paper would read much the same. But it would be the last time.
Taking one last glance around the dilapidated building, he swung open the half-hinged door.
"Joker is dead," He whispered anonymously, finality in his voice. Silently, he closed the door firmly, paying no attention to the sound it made as it broke off its frame and hit the floor.
"I am dead," The voice echoed emotionlessly throughout the deserted hallway. His footsteps seeped softly into the chaos, leaving no evidence of Gotham's ruthless menace.
He would sleep well that night.
In loving memory of Heath Ledger, gone before his time.