Hello, readers! I wrote a new pre-Joker one-shot, but this one is different, as it goes way back, to the time when the Joker (or rather, Jack Napier) was only a fetus. Through the inner ramblings of his mother, you get to meet his parents (as they might have been). Much is revealed, but not everything (as is my usual style). As this story doesn't feature the Joker himself, really, I'm a little nervous; I don't know if you'll like it. But I hope you give this short story a try. Please, read it and take just a bit of your time to review. Okay? Good.;)
DISCLAIMER: I don't own Jack Napier. The rest is mine.
P.S. I hope it will be clear from the ending why the title of this story is "Genesis".
It was irony, or sarcasm on the part of the clinic. Maybe it was their attempt to convince young mothers-to-be to change their minds, as every life was important and sacred. Or so they said.
The invisible they who always dictated life; the cold, impersonal, disembodied, omnipresent they.
Alice snorted silently as she perused a magazine for future parents at the abortion clinic. She was very tempted to laugh out loud at the joke – magazines for future parents to be read in an abortion clinic – but she thought the laughter might bring attention to her, and she really didn't want any attention. She was so fed up with people, of their incessant questions and frowning foreheads. If someone else looked at her with an accusing eye, she swore she would scream and use a fist to crash their self-righteous faces into silence.
Involuntarily, her fingers traced over her flat stomach, inside of which rested a little bean that was not destined to become a human; the tiny thing within her would never make her stomach swell, stretching her womb with the promise of motherhood. She did not want to be a mother and she was ready to say goodbye to the little bean, the origin of the frowning foreheads and the accusing eyes. It was her body, her choice, and they should just stop their preaching and shut the hell up!
It was not that she did not want to be a mother one day, but right now was not a very good time. She was supposed to go to college next month, to Princeton, which was nothing short of successful and amazing for a girl from such a family as she had. She wanted to go to Princeton, to become a successful, important person, someone that would not be deemed inferior and something less in other people's eyes. She was smart, had a scholarship, and was on her way to leave behind a weak, mewling mother who was constantly afraid of her violent, abusive drunkard of a husband. But essentially, the victim and the bully that were her parents were the same. They believed that what they had was the peak of their lives and their lives at the present moment were as good as they could get, according to her not-so-intelligent and ambitious parents.
She hated their kind of normality. It was so mediocre and plain. It was absolutely nothing. She, on the other hand, craved for excitement. She wanted to become someone important, with money, and do whatever she wanted to do with her life. Ever since she met him, she'd been seeing things differently. She had changed; she felt at her best when she walked on the edge, like he did. And ever since he was gone from her life, the man who gave her the little, unwelcome bean, life had become strangely colourless; all there was to see were the same, boring, familiar grey and white hues. In short, life had become absolutely and completely dull and meaningless.
She figured that, had he stayed with her, she would probably want to keep the child growing inside of her so silently and unobtrusively. But without him, the child was just an unwanted present, only that this time, she could not return the box. She did not feel the child emotionally; sure, it was still so very small and barely a human being, but many women felt motherly love immediately, by instinct, whereas her maternal instinct had not been awakened yet. It was as dead as a mummy, slumbering away, frozen, perhaps even forever. Her baby would never become a butterfly; its cocoon would be torn apart and destroyed when it was still a caterpillar.
The metaphor suddenly made her feel sad. As soon as she imagined her child as a dead butterfly, its wings broken and covered with dust and decay, her insides shuddered and guilt coiled in her stomach, as if the unpleasant feeling had been sent to her directly by her child. The baby was right to make her feel guilty; not because she wanted to get rid of it, but because she lied to it and to everyone else about her reasons to end its existence.
She knew that Princeton could wait for another year. She had been the top of her class since forever and had always been an exemplary student despite her humble origins and not-so-fascinating parents. She could manage with a child. Being a single mother did not sound so bad. At least, she would be her own master, without having to indulge a cranky, bossy boyfriend or a husband, the lot of many other women. But, she was repulsed to have his child, although she always loved him so much while they were together. It was truly funny, but for the same reasons that she loved the man, she hated to have his child.
She met him one night when she went out to party with her friends. They went to a bar for adults; they were allowed to go inside because one of her girlfriends occasionally fooled around with one of the guards at the front door. It was her first time at a bar, and it was her first time of falling in love with someone. It seemed almost corny to use that cliché-sodden phrase, but for her, it was love at first sight. On her way to the unisex toilet, she bumped into a tall, muscular figure that radiated warmth and a sharp, deep smell of cologne. Curious that she felt and noticed all those details about the man, she looked up to see the face and when her eyes collided with his, an explosion went on in her head. Those eyes were her undoing.
He said his name was Jack, but he never offered her his last name. She did not need something as trivial as a last name; she only needed him. Jack was so many things. He was distant, but was able to give himself to her entirely when they were together. He did not speak much, but when he did, his deep, husky voice that drawled slowly and enticingly from his mouth held much meaning. His eyes were venom, a dark viridian entity, sometimes almost black, but with her, their absinthe orbs were always strangely warm and welcoming. He was rough and he once beat a guy to the verge of death for looking at her in the wrong way, but he was always nice to her.
He could also be very strange and mysterious on some days. Then, he would abuse his long, blonde curls with his fingers and mutter things to himself. When she would ask him questions, he would snap at her, his eyes losing themselves behind the sinister, dangerous blackness, but upon realizing who he was talking to, he would allow the tension and the predatory violence in him to grow mellow and he would say that it was nothing, just him planning stuff for his job, that was all.
One day, when he fell asleep after they'd made passionate love that left bruises formed by his fingers all over her delicate skin, she crawled from his motel bed and tip-toed into the bathroom to take a shower. She pulled the shower curtain aside and gasped at the sight that welcomed her. There, in the tub, was one of his shirts, decorated with ribbons of red liquid. On top of the shirt lay a knife, covered in the same red liquid substance, and she knew immediately that it was blood. There was also a gun. For a moment, she felt terror and a sickness stirring at the pit of her stomach. For a moment, she was tempted to scream and run away, but instead, the feeling of terror was supplanted by morbid curiosity.
She took the gun in her hands and observed it with scientific curiosity. It was Jack's gun and anything that had some relation to Jack inspired her with curiosity and a strong desire to know everything, and to feel things the way Jack did. She was in love with him so much; sometimes it felt like an obsession. She could hardly think at school anymore; Jack was always on her mind. Now was no exception. She held the gun in her right hand and aimed it at an imaginary target, just like, she suspected, Jack might have done.
"Pow!" she mimicked the sound of the gun and giggled to herself.
"Having fun, baby doll?"
She let out a shriek, but relaxed immediately as she saw Jack's face hovering above hers. Then, she blushed and grinned; he was completely naked.
"You shouldn't scare a girl with a gun in her hands!" she scolded him playfully and kissed him.
He curled his lips into one of his usual meagre smiles and took the gun from her hands without tearing his eyes from hers. He seemed impenetrable and invincible at that moment, making her swoon inwardly from so many emotions that passed through every fibre of her soul.
"This is not a toy," he said gruffly, "but I'm glad you, uh, like it."
She shrugged her shoulders. "I don't mind the things you like....But really, why do you keep a gun? And what happened to your shirt?"
She tried to keep her voice calm, but the proximity of him, and the expectation of the words he might produce, made her tremble all over.
"I will tell you, but...If you told anyone else, I'd just have to kill you, and that would make me feel bad, I confess. I like you a lot, so...there you go."
She knew that he meant every single word he had just said and that frightened her, but she did not take a step back. She took a step forward.
"Tell me," she whispered. It was then that she decided that she would never leave him or be scared of him, no matter what he would say.
He told her that he was an assassin, hired to kill people; it paid well and he liked the job, a lot.
His now black eyes pierced her through and through, daunting her, teasing her to react. Before she knew it, her back was flattened against one wall of the bathroom and his tall figure loomed above her, danger incarnate. His fingers snaked around her thin neck and pressed into her flesh gently at first, then with more vigour.
"Are you afraid?" he growled almost gently. "Do you want to run away and cry to your mommy?"
She was surprised by her own reaction, but he had changed her a long time ago from a goody-goody into a person who thrived on adventure of any kind. She burst into giggles. At first, he frowned, but then he started to laugh with her. They laughed and laughed until they both needed to catch their breaths. It was a crazy moment, but a good one.
"I'm not afraid," she rasped out. "I love you, and it wouldn't be real love if I didn't love absolutely everything about you, now, would it?"
"You sure are something," he replied and assaulted her bare shoulders with his teeth.
"How does it make you feel, killing people?" she breathed out, her body and mind already in a daze of bubbling passion.
"Free," he said, "like I can do anything I want and get away with it."
"You're so bad," she scolded him, shoved him aside and ran away from him back into the bedroom. He followed promptly and they rewarded each other with the joys of the flesh as best as they could.
The next day, she woke up alone and strangely cold in her heart. Instead of his head, a note was resting on his usual pillow.
alice – i really do like you a lot baby doll. i dont like people but i like you. i hope to find you again one day but i have to go now. work. dont be too good while im gone. i expect to find you as i left you. J.
And now, here she was, missing him, hating him for leaving so abruptly, and waiting to abort their child. She did not really believe he would come back to her. She felt that Jack had been very fond of her, but what if right now, in another city, maybe even in another state, he was very fond of another one such as she was? She did not want to think that was true, but she was jealous of everyone who were able to enjoy his company at that very moment. She even envied his potential victims – they would at least be able to see him, be touched by him, even if they would not be able to appreciate the attention he would give them. At least they would have his attention, whereas she was stuck at an abortion clinic, trying to extricate Jack from within herself.
Keeping the child would be too painful. Jack was such a strong personality, he was sure to pervade the majority of the baby's growing cells. The baby, no matter the gender, would surely become like him, and she could just not bear the sight of her Jack-like child while Jack was gone from her life. It would be a constant reminder of what she'd lost, of what she could have had, but did not possess.
But...She hadn't even thought about the other option! She had been so immersed in her grief over the loss of Jack that she hadn't even thought about another option.
She could keep the child and raise a new Jack! Maybe the child did not have to be a teasing constant reminder of what she'd lost. Maybe, through the child, she would be able to recuperate Jack. It would be like some kind of reincarnation; not exactly by the book, but close enough.
Why hadn't she thought of this option in the first place? It might have saved her so much grief and anger! And who knew, maybe Jack would actually return to her some day, just as he had told her in his short note.
Until then, she could raise the baby according to Jack. Yes, she could! Why not? It was possible, more than possible. The child would probably inherit some of Jack's physical and psychological features, or so she truly hoped, and she would be there to nurture them, help them grow and shape themselves in all their glory. She would get Jack back!
"Alice Napier," a nurse called her name.
Her mind changed so fast in the course of a few minutes, seconds, even, but she was firm in her decision now, firmer than before. She could not abort the baby. She could just not. The bean would grow, beget limbs and Jack's eyes and his rare, but beautiful smile. If it had been any other man, she would have gotten rid of the bean days ago. But it was Jack's bean, too, and she just couldn't bring herself to kill the baby. Jack was a killer, but this baby was not even human yet. However, it had the potential of resembling his daddy in every possible way.
"Alice Napier!" the nurse called again.
Alice sprang to her feet and grinned at the nurse. "I changed my mind, ma'am. I am keeping the baby!"
She slung her purse over one shoulder and ran from the clinic. Once inside her car, she put her hands on the so-far flat stomach, imagining she was caressing her baby, her little Jack.
"If you're a girl," she whispered, "I'll name you after myself. But if you're a boy, and I hope you are," this time she grinned, "your name will be Jack. Either way, my little bean, you will be a Jack, okay? Do we have a deal?"
She giggled to herself, shook her head playfully and started the car. She would need to get a job, and find a place for herself and the future Jack, but she was sure she would manage.
And just in case, she would stay in the city; in case Jack returned. But even if he never came back, Alice was not so sad anymore. She would have a new Jack that would come to her from within her very core.
"I love you, little Jack," she said to her stomach and drove away.
This was a new beginning, the creation of a new life for Alice, and for her child.
The child was the beginning – the beginning of a new Jack.
The end. What do you think? I'm eager to know, obviously.;)