*Lets make this easy, [ ] are actions done while talking, bold letters are stressed and – are where he really stresses a word.*

Chapter 11

She was not sure when she had awoken or exactly what time it really was, but none of that really mattered anymore did it? Did hell really have a measurement of time? There was almost nothing left of the Karen she was before, the sane sweet doctor who insisted on keeping that stupid job at Arkham.

There was a part of her that wondered if anyone had tried to come looking for her or if they had just forgotten about her. The voice in her head rang off again singing demented show tunes to try and lull Karen into a psychotic fit of rage.

A tune filled knock of 'shave and a haircut' told Karen that Joker was just on the other side of that door. He was like an excited little kid at Christmas who just couldn't wait to play with his psychotic porcelain doll.

With a click of the lock, he slowly opened the door and peeked his head inside. With a toothy make up caked grin he spoke in that oh so familiar 'yeah its me' tone of voice.

"Hiiii [Lick smack smack]"

Something inside of Karen squirmed, something that had been growing since this whole trip had occurred. It wasn't much, but it was hatred, anger, vengeance and a survival instinct that had decided she was going to kill Joker the first chance she got. Or kill herself.

Joker squirmed in and closed the door behind him, making his almost jaunty way over to her, fingertips pressed together, his head cocked to the side and his eyes always on her. Those chocolate pools that said so much and so little all at the same time.

He stopped in front of her prison and laying one arm across his stomach, the other held his chin between his pointer finger an thumb. Then cocking his head to the side and rolling his eyes up a moment he spoke.

"[Lick] I'm..s-orry…K-arren…[he cocked his head to the side again, nodding as he spoke] I thin-k..we..[he licked his lips smacking them before dropping his head and looking up at her with his eyes.] go-ta off to a [he rolled his eyes] ba-da start.[lick smack smack]

*Say it with me Karen, I'm Joker's play thing. I'm Joke-*

'You shut the hell up whoever you are…You go the fuck away.'

Karen had somewhere inside found the strength to fight her internal insanity, now she needed to kill the external instigator of that insanity. She needed to play his game for a little while. To find something sharp and dig him from this world.

"Yes daddy…I think we did. I forgive you."

She would play his game now for a little while, just long enough to get free and finish this cycle. God knows how many other girls he had done this to and how many of them he had killed when he grew bored.

Joker moved over to her cage and let her out, not bothering to help her to her feet. But instead he paced the floor as he too often did when thinking. Reaching into his coat pocket, he found what he was looking for and pulled it out.

Karen backed away very slowly when she saw him brandishing a butcher knife in his right hand. She backed toward the opposite side of the room, just in time to watch him turn on his heels.

For a few moments he just stood there looking at her, his posture slouched, his head dropped, the ghoulish grin on his face widening in to a demonic smile. He moved quick, almost to quick for her to see and before she knew it she was curled into a ball.

"Daddy..please…I'll be good I promise."

He just stood there hovering above her, shaking the knife at her, not saying anything before turning on his heels and moving back to the other side of the room. Then he would come back just as quickly, pacing at her now it seemed.

Finally, he moved back over to her and lifted her by one of her braided pigtails, shoving the handle of the knife in her hand. His tongue forking its way across his bottom lip, running over his gums and his lips smacking sporadically.

"He-rrre…yo-ua [lick] wil-la..need this la-ter [nod nod nod]."

If she hadn't already been afraid of him, Karen might have jumped for joy, instead, she admired the blade in her hand. This was an opportunity for her to finally free herself from this nightmare before she was completely gone from her own mind.

Joker turned his back on her pacing across the room again, his chin in his hand, one arm across his stomach. He seemed to be thinking, always thinking of something. That twisted mind always working in ways that no sane person would ever understand.

When Karen thought that she had the opportunity, she moved quickly across the room, hoping to catch him by surprise and end this torture. But she didn't hear the footsteps up the stairs because the next thing she knew, FBI agents were storming into the room and taking Joker into custody.

"No!"

Karen screamed, not because she wasn't happy she was free, but because she knew that if he was still even remotely kept alive, she would not be free for long. Only in death was she going to find freedom, so she attempted the only other thing she could. With Joker watching in handcuffs-the most devilish look on his face-she drew the knife up and attempted to stab herself.

But four agents were on her, taking the knife from her and handcuffing her for her own good while she cried out.

"No! Let me do it! Please let me do it! He'll keep coming for me! No! Let go of me!"

None of them listened to her as they hauled them both out of the room, Joker grinning ever so excitedly. Karen knew why.

When they reached outside, there was one of the Arkham Transportation vans and one of the S.W.A.T. vans waiting outside to take Joker. Karen recognized the doctor in charge of the Arkham Van and she begged him not to take her away.

"Nooo! Let me out! Damn it! Noooo! You Bastards!"

Now Karen was the one throwing herself against the padded cell walls and screaming at the top of her lungs. But over all the other screams and cries, she went unheard. When Dr. Lee came in for her daily appointment she begged him to let her out.

"Harvey you know me. I'm Dr. Miller."

"Dr. Miller? Mrs. Miller, you never even went to medical school."

"What? No, doctor you know me. We've worked together for a long time."

"No Karen, I'm afraid you have been a delusional patient in Arkham for the past twenty years. You escaped with Joker a few months back, we've been on the lookout for you ever since."

"You mean…was I really with him or did I just have one bad nightmare?"

"Karen…he never kidnapped you. You voluntarily went with him."

"What about the scars on my leg?"

"Self inflicted. All of it. Everything was self induced."

"No…no no no."

Karen started crying and shaking her head, she began to back away into a corner and scream.

"Karen..come on calm down. Don't make me get an orderly."

She knew this drill, she sat on the floor and became really quiet, until he left. Then the screams started all over again.

"Ahhhh!"

She screamed until she fell asleep, then sometime after midnight, something woke her. It was a sort of tapping, scraping sound. Slowly, she pushed her way up from the floor, keeping to the wall as if someone was going to jump out and get her.

The floor was cold under her bare feet and she welcomed its comforting coolness. When she got to the door, she peeked out the window and saw only darkness covering the hallway. Satisfied that it was only a dream or a delusion, she moved back into her corner.

It was after she had settled down that she heard it again, this time, she looked up at the window and watched for a few moments. There it was, that white painted face and the red smile of a very disturbed individual. She screamed.

"Noooo! God no! Go away! Go away!"

Then she heard it, that laugh, but it was coming from inside the room, echoing off the padded walls of her cell. It ran in her ears and through her whole being. She screamed over it and curled into a ball on the floor, rocking until it went away.

What was reality anymore and what was a dream? Those lines had been blurred until they were non existent. Karen was no longer sure what was true or what was a dream, she no longer cared. She just wanted to be left alone, completely alone.

What is insanity? What is reality? To some what is real is a fantasy world to others. Whether Karen dreamed everything up or whether she just lost it in the end, will never be determined. One thing is for certain, never follow the man with the painted face. He will lead you further down the rabbit hole than you are willing to go.