Illusions

He doesn't know.

He doesn't know that I was sitting there, in the dark, my eyes upon him. He doesn't know how close I was. Close enough that he could have felt my breath at the back of his neck; if I had let him. Close enough to have killed him.

I could have killed him so many times. So many chances I've had, so many opportunities.

But I never did.

I tell him all the time how I would murder him the first chance I got. But that's a lie. He would be dead by now if that were true. I don't want to kill him, at least, not yet. I only tell him I do to make him uncomfortable, to make him angry, to throw him off balance. I want to scare him even, but he's a hard case. He doesn't easily frighten. I can bother him though, I can make his mind race and wonder and confuse. I do so love to see him fidget.

But kill him? No.

He's the only person in this world I can relate to, the only person like me. We stand on either side of the same line, facing off against each other. He opposes me so completely, and I him; his philosophies and perceptions the direct contradiction of my own. One cancels the other out, and so we are one in the same, whether he wants to admit so or not.

Killing him would only turn this from a comedy to a tragedy. I don't want a tragedy.

That I would be dealt, in the exact opposite of me, the only person I can connect with, that is indeed a cruel joke for the ages. And I laugh. I laugh because all life is like that. We've all been made fools of. But they don't see the humor like I do. They take themselves too seriously to accept the truth. And so they pretend it isn't there. And I laugh some more. It's all so funny.

I step out of the shadows and let him see me. I allow him to think he's found me, feigning surprise as he swoops down from the building tops, where I watched him scanning the city below, searching for my face.

He beats me mercilessly as I fake resistance. I shoot at him. I know I'll miss. I try covering him with acid. I know he'll dodge it. I want him to hit me. I giggle with each blow, as though it tickles. It doesn't. It hurts. But I like that. I like pain. It makes me feel vibrant, more aware then already I am. I can feel ribs breaking now. One side of my face has gone numb, and I see my own blood falling in small drops on the pavement under my hands and knees. One more blow and I'm out. The world fades to black.

When I wake again, he's got me shackled to the passenger side door of his silly car. We are moving fast and I look over at him, smiling. His focus is fixed on the road ahead, stoic as ever, but I can see him watching me from the corner of his eye. He must know I could free myself of these restraints in an instant. His peering at me tells me he does.

"Is that a new suit Batsy?" I ask him. "It looks cute on you."

He doesn't answer, doesn't overtly respond. But I can see from how his jaw clenches and how the lines about his mouth shift that he's bothered.

I giggle to myself and don't say another word for the rest of our journey to Arkham.

When at last we arrive, he leaps gracefully from the vehicle to the ground below, looping around to my side. I watch him intently, and then he reaches for me, un-cuffing my wrists from the door and yanking me out by the collar of my shirt, lifting me in to the air bodily before placing me roughly down. A sharp, shooting pain travels up my ribs. But it doesn't concern me.

I never was a match for him physically. He always did outdo me in that particular department, and I readily admit it. He has an almost inhuman strength and moves with a vengeful speed and athleticism, while my frame is long and thin, painfully thin even, some might say. I am not nearly as well developed.

I start to giggle aloud again. It annoys him. It annoys him that I laugh and he doesn't know why. I've tried to explain to him, but he never listens, never learns.

He tells me in his gruff voice to "shut up" and pushes me from behind, forcefully enough that I stumble and loose my footing, falling to my knees. I continue to laugh.

"Get up!" He orders, grabbing me under my arm and pulling me to my feet.

Inside the mad house, he hands me over to the guards, three of them, two flanking me, one behind. They handle me with similar carelessness to the Bat's. As I'm lead away, I call over my shoulder to him.

"Don't forget to drop by once in a while Darling! I'll miss you!"

He pretends he can't hear me. I know he can. And I smile.

"How's it going boys?" I look to either guard along side me. They're new and they seem taken aback by my addressing them.

"Don't answer him!" I hear Ms. Falice snap from the reception desk.

Maybe it's the sound of my voice that shocks them. It's soft, almost soothing, I've been told. Well, no ones actually told me so, but I've seen it's affects in the weekly therapy sessions they subject the inmates here to. On the rare occasions I decide to speak at length to whichever doctor they've assigned me at the time, it seems to change each week, I've noticed their expression lulling in to one of relaxation, their eyelids becoming heavy. It isn't something I do on purpose. My voice is just a natural gift, one which aids in my manipulation of them without effort.

The buffoons cannot rectify such a delicate feature with the things I've done. It confuses them. They allow "logical reasoning" to get in the way of reality. What has one got to do with the other? They try to control their world by labeling, through explanation and definition, and they miss everything because of it.

I've made the doctors here pay more then once for letting me talk them in to drowsiness; gave a few of them a good scare, heh.

The guards should, according to state institutional guidelines, be leading me to the medical ward, to treat my broken ribs and bloodied lips and nose, but they don't. Instead they take me to the showers and strip me down before shackling me to the balance bar along the wall. They could use the shower heads above to wash me, but that wouldn't make them feel strong. Instead, they blast me with ice cold water from a high pressured fire hose for several minutes. The liquid stings like fire when it hits your skin. They do this to all of the inmates and most of them holler and scream and put up a great fuss as its happening. You can't really standas the force of the water brings you down. But I don't make a sound.

This angers the guards.

It used to be, when they finished, if they deemed the Bat hadn't roughed me up sufficiently, which was more often then not what they deemed, they would beat me with their night sticks, all three at a time, causing further bruising and swelling and bleeding. My continued muteness only further enraged them, and they would hit me harder. They're as cruel as I am. But they're dishonest about it, hiding behind official titles and fabricated justifications. When they would bring me back out, nobody would ask any questions. Doctor Arkham acts as though blind to the actions of his institute's employees. Ridiculous hypocrisy. He says he wants to help us. They pretend to be so civilized, but I know they enjoy seeing me battered and bruised. They're dishonest about it. That's what makes them disgusting.

This kept up until the last time I was brought in, when I grew tired of the routine. As always they shackled me to the balance bar and sprayed me with the hose. They didn't notice me get free of the restraints before they turned the water on, and as they came in on me afterwards, their clubs in hand, I lunged at the guard closest to where I stood, sinking the open ended cuff in to his jugular, grabbing the stick from him as blood sprayed rapidly, and I cracked the object hard across the faces of the other two, before their brains could even make their body's react to my being free. And again and again I brought the club across their faces, until they resembled something closer to mashed potatoes mixed with ketchup then human beings.

I recall staring, satisfied with my work, before sitting down against the wet wall, dripping with blood and water, and I began to laugh. I laughed so loud that, after only a short while, other guards and a few nurses came to join me. The pure horror in their expressions was beautiful, and it made me chuckle excitedly. Of course, they held me at gun point, whipping me across the face with the weapons butt before dragging me back to my cell. They could have simply asked. I wasn't interested in escape. Though I could have very easily had I wanted.

So they didn't beat me this time, just sprayed me down. They took an extra precaution, chaining my feet to some piping which protruded from out a wall. Silly. That wouldn't have made any difference.

I was taken back to my holding pen, in the maximum security wing, and they shoved me inside, sealing the heavy metal door behind. They keep making the same mistakes. I'll leave again soon, when I grow weary of my surroundings. They can never figure out how I escape, or how I manage to smuggle in things which aren't supposed to be there. And they'll never know, because I'll never tell them. They'll know when I've left though. I'll be sure to leave them with a few parting gifts.

And maybe next time, when I find Batman again, maybe I'll actually pull the trigger. Or maybe I'll just make him pay for his underestimation of me. For thinking he's trapped me, when I've really trapped him. Maybe I'll kill another of his little birds. Or maybe… maybe I'll just let him think once more that he's caught me unexpected and let him have his little fun. I can see the sadistic satisfaction in his eyes when he brings his fists down on me. He likes to tell himself it isn't there. But I see it in him. He'll bring me back, and he knows I'll escape, when I want to, and he knows people will die because of it. They know it too. These "professionals" here at Arkham.

If they really cared about life, as they claim they do, they would kill me. But they don't. They care only about upholding the masquerade. They've defined me as insane. That's how they've concluded to explain and control me. But my being so frees me of responsibility for my actions. They say I can't differentiate between right and wrong, that I cannot grasp what separates benevolence from evil. Yet, that's only according to what they've assigned those words to mean. Their rules, their laws. Oh, I know what it is they say is good and bad, I am fully aware of how they identify these things, but I also know it to be a lie. If they executed me, they would save hundreds of lives, maybe, someday, thousands, but then they would have to take responsibility for my murder. By their standards, they are perfectly sane, and so understand the consequences of what they do. To kill me would shatter the boundaries they've put in place, cause their moral codes to crumble, because they will have killed an innocent man, irresponsible for his deeds by way of what they call madness. Then they will have been exposed for being as brutal as they say I am, and they will lose their veil of deceit, their guise of civilization and their made-up definitions of what is acceptable and what is not. And then they'll be no better then me, then they'll be worse. So they can't kill me, not if they want to keep up the illusion. They say I'm out of touch with reality, but that's not true. I see the way the world really is, the way life really is, and I don't pretend it isn't there. I accept it, embrace it, thrive on it, and I am forever free because of it, while they fight a never ending battle against the most powerful tide or truth, clinging to their fragile facade of what is real, only to be beaten violently back in the end.