A/N: This is an excerpt from the journal of a character-diary I'm writing for Harvey on a brand-new RPG board.

Disclaimer: I own only my writing and idea. If you've seen it before, it isn't mine.

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Seeing as how this city is speeding down the runway to Hell, and there's a very real chance I could be killed trying to put on the brakes, I thought I'd start a journal. That way, if I fail, whoever's left will know that I tried, and that I did the best I could with what I was given. If I succeed ( here's to hopin'! ) I'll have a beautiful true-life account of my struggles along this bumpy road and how I overcame them. I could publish it in a book: perhaps an autobiography. Yeah. That might be fun.

Who am I kidding? I need a place to vent. Because I swear, if my life gets much more stressful I'm going to develop some kind of mental disorder. They'll find me talking to rats in the sewers, and I'll swear up and down that they're giving me vital information on a secret global conspiracy.

Things are bad and they keep getting worse. I hate having to tell everyone it's going to be alright when I know it's not. White lies. Necessary lies. Stride on out there and be their White Knight to keep hope alive. Because once the people of Gotham start to lose hope the bad guys have already won. I can't let that happen. I won't let it happen.

The crime rate in this city is simply unbelievable. The numbers are staggering. We have it all. Drug and slave traffickers. Money launderers. Gangs. Rapists. Mob bosses. Pedophiles. Mass murderers. The usual. Common criminals you can find in any city, except that they seem to have made this one their capitol.

And lately the species has been evolving in some truly odd and disturbing ways. Some criminals are better at what they do than others. Some are masterminds.

Take the people who almost turned all of Gotham into a bunch of fear-crazed agents of chaos a while back. I have to admit that was some excellent planning and organization. We never did catch the big wig himself: only a few of his lackies. And the wacko psychologist responsible for the creation and distribution of the fear toxin: Doctor Jonathan Crane.

Oh yes: the bad doctor.

Funny how Rachel never bothered telling me about him until early this morning when my suspicions about the man prompted me to ask. Apparently Crane abducted her during that whole crisis and subjected her to highly concentrated doses of the toxin, which could have lead to irreversible brain damage or even death had Batman not come to the rescue and magically produced an antidote.

I love that guy; not only does he have all the gadgets and all the answers, but he's always prepared and has this enduring habit of showing up at just the right places at just the right times.

Anyway, when Rachel recovered she encountered Crane again in the streets, and he was wearing a burlap potato-sack over his head and calling himself "Scarecrow" ( I can only assume he remembered to cut eyeholes! ). It's awfully damn ironic that a guy with a PhD in Psychology would, in fact, have a split personality. He could do a whole case-study on himself. Rachel says he was riding a horse and trying to look all scary doing his Headless Horseman impersonation when she whipped out a taser and got him good. We've had this lunatic in custody before, it turns out, but he keeps escaping before he can be tried.

Next time he's caught, I'm going to make sure the Gotham Police keep him in maximum security until the day arrives when I will fillet him alive in the courtroom. Dr. Crane, Scarecrow — I don't care who'sstanding behind the Defendant podium that day, I'll prosecute him to the fullest of my ability and make a plea-bargain inaccessible. The Defense will opt for the insanity, of course, and they'll have a pretty strong case, but I'll do everything in my power to see that that "straw man" never sees the outside of a padded cell — or the inside of a potato-sack — ever again. No-one does that to Rachel and gets away with it, especially with me as the D.A.

Bad as Crane is, he's a sweetheart compared to the Joker. I have to admit that I know next to nothing about this man apart from that facts that he's a psychotic killer clown without a conscience, nobody seems to know who he really is or where he came from, and the only thing worse than his sense of humor is his sense of fashion. He also likes to laugh. A lot. Over the most inappropriate things. I think maybe he was raised by hyenas.

Or maybe he's laughing at the fact that we can never catch him?

I had an unpleasant encounter with the Joker last night. I'm sure he hears it a lot, but for a clown he's about as funny as syphilis. He threw a razor shaped like a card at me and ran off, but not before making sure I knew how inept the police were and how bad of shape Gotham was really in. Of course anyone with eyes can see that — he hardly needed to point it out. He was just trying to rattle my nerves, break my spirits. But the only thing he broke was the skin on my cheek, and if he were half as smart as he lets on he would've killed me on the spot rather than waste time playing head games.

Not that I wish he'd went the intelligent route, of course.

Still, the clown has a point — Batman's gone, and criminals all over the city are having a party. Gotham's finest, bless their souls, mean well, but when I use that term I really wish I didn't have to mean it literally, as it would be much better for Gotham if its finest were a little, well, finer. Not to put them down, these guys try. They just aren't the Batman.

I wonder where he went?

It's unlikely that he'd be taking a vacation in a time like this, so maybe someone finally got him?

No.

Just because we haven't seen him for a while doesn't mean he's dead. Perhaps he's under cover, working it out, ferreting out everyone's dirty little secrets so he knows who to go after and where to find them. Or maybe he's saving our asses behind the scenes and preventing things from being even worse than they are. I'm sure he must have a good reason for not contacting someone and saying "Hey, I'm alive. I'm out here doing the dirty work so you all can sleep safer at night."

Hey! Maybe he's pulling a disappearing act to give the criminals a false sense of security so he can come out and bust them when they have their guard down and least expect it! Oh, that's brilliant! And so his style.

The Batman will come out of hiding.

Soon, I hope.

Then I won't have to be our solitary candle flame in this dark ocean of misery.

Someone's knocking at the door — Rachel?

I'll write more later.