Chapter Seven

Guest Of Honour

The room was dark. Almost pitch black, but there was some moonlight coming in from what looked like a cellar window in the top corner of the room. Robin opened his eyes for the first time in about an hour. He couldn't feel much except for a horrible ache where he'd been struck over the head and cold. Freezing cold. He looked down and saw the predicament he was in. He was in the middle of a small dark room, still in the warehouse. Water was filling the room rapidly from various cracks, holes and vents in the room. He was seated in an old rickety wooden chair with his feet bound to the legs of the hair, and his hands behind the back of the chair, they were tied to something else. Tied to the hands of a young thirteen-year-old girl. Cassie Spokes. Only thirteen.

"Help!" she screamed, "help!" Hours of crying, sobbing and begging had relented her to one word: Help.

"I'm... I'm awake, Cassie?" Robin, still regaining his composure, tried to evaluate the situation.

"The room's flooding!" she cried, "I'm so cold, we're going to die aren't we?"

"No, don't even think that," Robin said, shooting down her teenage cynicism, "I've been in worse situations. We'll get out of this, trust me."

The storm had hit hard since he was knocked unconcscious. It was almost as if the storm was attacking Gotham, purposefully trying to drown it. Cleanse it. If Robin were a strongly religious hero, he'd think it were some kind of rapture, or maybe that all the sin in Gotham City had offended God so much that he just had to flood it and drown every murderer and kidnapper in the city. But then if that were true, why was a thirteen-year-old girl left to drown in some abandoned warehouse?

"Oracle, I need some help," Robin said into his communicator, all he could hear were the sounds of thunder outside and water pouring into the room. He tilted his head a little bit, "Oracle... can you hear me?"

"W-w-who are you talking to?" Cassie asked, still bound behind Robin.

"... Nobody it sounds like. We're going to have to get out of this ourselves," Robin replied.

The water was now above their waists, reaching Robin's chest. It was almost up to Cassie's chin. Robin struggled with the ropes, but he didn't want to pull too hard out of fear of hurting Cassie. He was tied to the chair tight. The only thing he could do would be reach into his utility belt. Bruce might pack those belts with all sorts of random ridiculous gadgets, but everyone of them has come in handy.

"Please do s-something," the little girl cried.

Robin had enough room in the ropes to manouevre his hands to his waist. But his belt wasn't there. It was nowhere to be found. His and Cassie's last hope was gone. His communicator was gone and so was his utility belt along with every single gadget inside of it. And now the water was raising higher and higher, past Robin's chest. Cassie had to tilt her head back to breathe.

But why would they be left to drown like this? If the guy who put Robin and this little girl in the room together wanted them dead, why didn't he just shoot them? He had enough time, why leave them in a room to drown. He wasn't even in the room and couldn't see it happen, he wouldn't get any enjoyment out of it. If he was killing them out of convenience, he would've done it hours ago. Besides, what kind of convenience would there be in killing Cassie?

"Help!" Cassie began screaming that one word again. It was useless, the harbour was off limits because of the floods. Besides, anyone nearby wouldn't hear a little girl's voice over such an intense storm. But at least she was doing something, which was more than Robin could say.

But then they were saved. The water began flooding back out of the room, just as quickly as it poured in. It all flushed out a doorway in the corner of the room that just swung open. A figure stood in the doorway as the water rushed through, soaking the bottom of his legs. The water was now a low enough level so that it was just ankle deep.

"Who are you?" Robin asked the figure as it stepped into the room, "let the girl go and you can have me, just, just let her go."

The figure stepped into what little light there was in the room. Tall, dark trenchcoat, wild grey hair, top hat and the one of the creepiest smiles you'd ever see. Up there with The Joker's.

This was The Mad Hatter. Return visitor at Arkham Asylum, he's always had an obsession with Lewis Caroll's Alice in Wonderland, hence the name and appearance of The Mad Hatter.

"Why, let her go? But she's my guest of honour, she can't be going anywhere just yet my boy," The Mad Hatter replied in a strange voice that seemed to change in pitch as he spoke, "and you. You are going to be a guest too. Tea parties need guests. I was afraid that you might be a bit too dangerous, maybe you'd get free and tell your friends and that it was all me and take all the attention away from the lizard man that I left underground, but without your utility belt, you don't seem to be so dangerous any more, haha!"

"What do you want Hatter?" Robin demanded, struggling in his ropes. Cassie seemed to be silent with fear at this point.

"Just a nice, fun little tea party with my dear Alice," Hatter stepped forward and stroked a finger down Cassie's cheek, "I have to say, the lady on the end of your little walkie-talkie gadget sounded quite fetching, if maybe a little frantic and panicked."


"What a disgusting name. Whatever happened to pretty innocent names like Sally, Lucy or heh, Alice?"

Robin struggled against the ropes. It was useless though. All he could do was stall for time. Oracle should have had his last coordinates, with any luck she would have alerted Batman by now and he would be on his way.

"Whatever you're planning Hatter, you should give it up now. Maybe Batman will be a bit lenient on you when he gets here then, give you a slightly comfier padded cell for your next stay in Arkham," Robin tried to threaten.

"Ha.. Haha.. What kind of an imbecile do you take me for? If I figured out that you were have a communications network set up between you, Batman and this Oracle character, then it wouldn't be difficult to remove any sort of GPS tracking device in that little belt of yours. We're nowhere near the warehouse you were searching, we're in a different warehouse now. But don't fret, we'll be leaving soon for the tea party."

Before Robin could respond, Hatter pulled out a small brown bottle and a cloth from his jacket pocket. He poured the bottle onto the cloth, then covered Robin's face with it. In seconds he was unconscious once again, he then did the same Cassie.

"Oracle, come in," Batman said into his cowl.

"Yes? Have you found him? Have you found Robin? Is he okay?" Oracle replied over the communicator.

"I'm here at the abandoned warehouse. I don't see Robin or any sign of a struggle. But it wouldn't be hard to hide evidence here in the condition that this building is in. And I've checked all the others too."

"Oh God... What if... What if something has-"

"Calm down Oracle. Robin's smart, and he's stronger than any of us give him credit for. I'm going to keep searching, you should keep trying to contact him."

"Okay... okay. I'm sorry. I'll keep a look out, I'll try and contact Nightwing too. Goodluck."

"He'll be okay Barbara. Trust me."

"I do."

I'd just like to use this space to thank the people that have been reading this and especially reviewing. It's great to know that people out there are enjoying this story. I'm hoping to have it finished in the next three chapters. You all know who the culprit is now, Killer Croc's innocent... or is he?

I'll try and not be slow with the next few chapters. You keep reading and I'll keep writing :)