A/N: Anyone even vaguely familiar with me as a writer knows just how very, very much I positively loathe Mary-Sues, but what I despise more than a Mary-Sue is a Mary-Sue Romance fic, and they are inevitably ALWAYS Romance or Pseudo-Romance fics. Now, I like a good Romance as much as the next girl, even if it's not my favorite of all genres – but when it starts getting unbelievable, Sugary starts getting stabby. Naturally, every fandom has their own sect of the Fellowship of Sue Writers, usually young authors who may or may not know how to spell or use proper grammar, but not always. What's particularly insidious is when the story's premise is great, the story well planned, and the writing on par with professionals… and the story is still a Sue fic. For some reason, Sues and 'Romance' go hand in hand – everyone wants her, everyone wants her in bed, the bad guys want to rape her violently, and the heroes want to have pure consummation with her and eventually marry her.

Of particular concern to me is that third thing – the rape. As a Batman geek and hugely obsessive Joker fan, I find it extremely disturbing that so many so-called 'Romantic' Sue fics deal with the Joker raping the Sue in question and the Sue falling for the Joker, or the Joker falling for the Sue. This is pretty common in the Nolanverse, perhaps because Heath Ledger was (admittedly) very handsome and "all girls love bad boys". Anyone who reads Dark Knight is familiar with the Joker/OC rape-is-love story; it's always the same: Joker kidnaps girl, Joker rapes girl, girl eventually falls for the Joker after being raped enough, girl becomes Nolanverse version of Harley Quinn. Not only is this type of story degrading to women, it just doesn't strike me as something the Joker would do unless he found it hilarious. The Joker would probably rape Rachel Dawes to spite Harvey and Bruce; the Joker would NOT just take some random chick off the street and rape her, because there's no punchline to it, no joke.

Just… every bit of this kind of story bothers me – nothing makes sense, leaving it as mindless self-fantasizing. This is worrisome to me because with the advent of books like Twilight and its abusive relationship between Edward and Bella (Come on, stealing the keys to your girl's car to keep her with you? That's not love, Meyer, that's sick), along with stories like these Joker/OC 'Romances', less well-adjusted girls might begin to think that rape and abuse is an OK thing. I'm not saying every person will, but it feels like those who write these stories as 'Romances' are trivializing the horrible trauma rape causes a person. Rape is not, and never will be, love – rape is a crime, it happens to men and women both gay and straight every day, and it's a callous act of taking every bit of empowerment from a person and making it your own. Rape is never just about sex – it's for power.

Now, that alone should tell anyone that the Joker wouldn't commit rape unless he thought it funny – the Joker, as portrayed in The Dark Knight, even states himself that he isn't after power or money. What the Joker in this universe fundamentally wants is to spread chaos – he's not looking for power, he's simply out to prove his point: that humans are savage creatures willing to do anything to stay alive. It's plausible that he would force a woman to have sex with him to save her life, or her child's life, or someone else's life. It's plausible he would rape Rachel to get to Harvey or Bruce. It's even plausible he would rape a torture victim just to make them feel horrible about themselves or prove they're miserable, powerless morons. What isn't plausible is the Joker kidnapping a random person just to rape them, or a person falling in love with him after the Joker does such a vile act. Stockholm syndrome is NOT an excuse here. The fact is that rape is not OK. Fantasize all you want, and write stories if you wish – but if you're gonna use rape as a plot device, at least make the trauma real – if you were raped, you wouldn't feel good about yourself, so neither should the character.

That's why I wrote this story. Because I was sick of seeing so many Rape Is Love stories involving the Joker and a random OC. Because it's unjust and vile, in my opinion, to continue perpetuating the lie that rape is love. Because it is a slam to every man, woman, and child who has ever been raped, or ever been sexually threatened, or was ever in an abusive relationship. Because it's wrong, it's been wrong from the moment it started, and it will always be wrong. This story has no happy ending, like rapes in real life have no happy ending. You may find this vile, dirty, disgusting, horrifying, and all manner of nasty adjectives besides – but that is exactly what rape is. I realize this won't stop the problem of writers on FFN writing these Rape is Love stories, but I hope at least some people take it upon themselves to make a stand against it, all fantasizing aside, and attempt to open other people's eyes to the same problem.

Disclaimer: I own none of the characters from The Dark Knight or the DC universe. And please don't try to call Rebecca's phone number for real – I don't want any of my readers getting in trouble for calling a number they saw in a fan fiction and annoying the owner. As another caveat, the Joker in this fic IS very out of character – here, he acts as an example of what would really happen if someone like him was out to rape someone, and the damage such an aggressive, depowering attack can cause. He is INTENTIONALLY out of character for that reason. Don't take it as an example of ALL of my writing. And yes, I realize his accent is a little heavy. Let's pretend I meant to do that. ;)

WARNING: This story contains graphic violent and sexual content and IS NOT for the squeamish or the very young. This story is also POTENTIALLY TRIGGERING for those who have been sexually abused. The M rating is there for a reason – no, it does NOT stand for "Majorly OK for Young Kids". This is a potentially traumatic story, and I'd really suggest that those under 18 look for something else to read.


The Telephone Game

Rebecca Reed was a lonely girl.

She sat alone, she ate alone, she did her classwork alone. The few she considered close friends knew her as a kind girl, if quiet, and studious. Rebecca was a self-confident, deceptively self-sufficient looking college girl, eager to escape her crime-ridden hometown of Gotham once and for all… as soon as she managed to finish her education at the local university, of course.

Rebecca was a plain girl, and plain-looking – almost puritanically so. There was not a day that she wore anything flashier than plain black pants and a baggy T-shirt. She never wore skirts shorter than knee-length, never wore stiletto heels, never wore much make-up, and never did much with her short brown hair. Her friends insisted she accent her body – a tall, powerful, Amazonian build, curvy and beautiful… if a bit pudgy.

Rebecca never could understand why they insisted on it so. She was painfully introverted, so much so that even the wear and tear of college left her a drained husk by the end of the day. Her favorite activity was to walk along the streets of Gotham, even if they were noisier than a classroom, for it calmed her mind considerably and seemed to melt stress from her body. Of course, she wasn't a stupid woman – she didn't carry mace and a utility blade for nothing, after all… and she never walked after dark, for that, she knew, was a death sentence in Gotham.

Above all, Rebecca was a simple girl, neither needing nor wanting much. She thought of herself as a pragmatic figure, using only what was necessary to get a task accomplished. Her thinking, she believed, was rational – even if no one else seemed to understand. Oh, but sometimes, she did wish she were more like her friends… especially those she spoke to online every night. They were so much younger, so innocent. Yet immature and yet unaware of life in the real world. But of course, she was better than they were; she had more life experience than they did. She understood. She got it. They… especially some… never would. There was one she blocked for whining too much; another for being too pushy; another for trying to get her phone number and home address.

Perhaps most of all, she desired a boyfriend, a mind mate with which to discuss life. A mature, intelligent young man to speak with, not simply some sex-crazed maniac of a pervert. Rebecca had no interest in sex at this point… simply a nice relationship. Oh, she knew it would come up at some point… but she wanted it to be when she was ready for it. The problem was, no man took the bait. She'd tried all the tricks – flirting with college guys, long-distance relationships, striking up conversation. The few times she'd dated online, all the singles she'd met were clearly young boys posing as men, or simply too immature for her taste. At every one, she failed. Not a single man seemed to want her, and the idea of living alone loomed above her like a forbidden raincloud.

And so, one night in the quiet of her room, Rebecca typed up a personal ad to send to the Gotham Times, praying with each keystroke that someone would read and respond favorably to it. It read:

Young lady of 20 years seeks intelligent
man w/ good sense of humor.
MUST
be mature-minded and single. I enjoy
long walks in the city and close time
alone. Call me 903-5768 day or nite.

Rebecca edited it and re-edited it to her liking at least three times before she was satisfied with it, and then sent it quietly through cyberspace to await its imminent publication.

The man in purple sat calmly in the darkness of the dingy apartment, peering intently out from a cracked window at the dirty city, the decay known as Gotham. Grotesque shadows and wailing sirens created an almost darkly carnivalesque atmosphere, one that put him in a precariously good mood.

On a nearby desk, marred with marks from weapons and thumbtacks, newspapers old and new huddled fearfully in uneven stacks, some about to fall over onto the floor in a dilapidated heap. Many had scars from where pictures were cut out and pasted on walls and doors; almost all were covered in red ink scrawls, commentary from their owner on past and present events. The most recent lay open on top of the others, its moth wing pages spread open to the personal ads. Fresh red ink glistened like blood on the pages, smeared and smudged by the man's own hand as he wrote. Most of the crimson scribbles told a sadistic running commentary of the previous article, but within some of the ads were disturbing additions and doodles, things circled and crossed out to tell a different story.

The man occasionally enjoyed choosing his victims this way; it was so… random and chaotic, and one could find so much information simply from the little information given in the ads. Names, locations, criminal records, health records, social security numbers… all this and more he knew from a phone number in a personal ad - it was like taking candy from a very, very stupid and desperate baby.

The man in purple jerked his head back towards the paper, dark, kohl-circled eyes scanning for a new target. He was 25 and single, and very handsome – or he thought so, at least; some women liked bad boys – but despite this, he had no desire for a mate.

And some would say I got no heart to love with, he thought, smirking wolfishly. He was, after all, a lone wolf, and lone wolves always hunted alone.

An unassuming, plain text ad caught his eye, and he flicked both of the black pits towards it, calmly reading the lines of the ad aloud to himself.

"20 an' female… Mm, not that young, gotta be a college freshman. Likes a man with a sense'a humor. Now, that I can do… Likes long walks an'… alone time? Geez, this kid's desperate!"

And it struck him suddenly, like a bullet to the brain. This girl was probably some shy, lonely creature with a frigid nature that turned off all the guys he came across. The girl would probably absolutely hate being hit on, blushing at the slightest lewd comment…

"What a prude," he murmured softly, circling the phone number in the ad and resting the tip of his tongue against the corner of his mouth. Oh, he could do lewd. He could do bawdy. And when the poor girl was squirming with discomfort like a maggot on a hot plate, then he'd catch her and play his little games with her and kill her.

They'd find her body the next day. And they'd get it. They'd get the message – they'd understand that not even Gotham's bright young minds were safe from him, that people are idiots, that people will do anything for a mate they think will last forever but will only destroy them in the long run. That there was no happy ending in Gotham, and there never would be…

It would be so much fun. There'd be so much blood…

He shivered in quiet anticipation, a beast slavering for the hunt. His laptop was close by, all he had to do was run a simple search on the phone number, and he'd have her.

His fingers hit the keys in a mad flurry of movement, typing the number at lightning speed. A click, and the search ran, bringing up long trails of information to follow.

"Rebecca Reed," he murmured, clicking the first result and rerunning the search based on that. Within seconds, he had a match… and a name… and a registered address…

His eyes caressed the letters softly, taking in every bit of information, his scar-mangled mouth twisting upwards into an evil smirk. The little lost lamb wouldn't even know what had hit her…

It was a quiet evening at home for Rebecca, who sat in placid contemplation on the couch in her apartment's meager living room. She was proud to own it for how small it was, and for where it was – just outside the Narrows. She'd managed to buy it herself and upkeep it without having to ask her parents for help; having a job at the local McDonald's helped enormously, of course. In any case, she was grateful for her alone time; she needed it to work on her piles of English and Math homework…

She was in the middle of a rather tricky Calculus problem when her cellphone, an unassuming black clamshell, chirped happily.

Sighing, Rebecca set her pencil aside and picked up the phone, noting that the call was from someone named 'Unknown Caller'. Then again, most calls she got were from 'Unknown Caller', since she had few actual contacts beside her friends and her parents, even though she didn't have an actual land line telephone and communicated only by cellular phone.

Rebecca pressed the green 'on' button, hoping it wasn't some dumb telemarketer or something.

"Hello?"

"Hi…" came the caller's voice. It was gruff, masculine, and nasally all at once, with a tone to it that implied severe snark. "This… This Rebecca Reed speakin'?"

Rebecca didn't like the speaker's tone… it sounded vaguely familiar, but she wasn't sure where she knew it from… She was sure none of her classmates spoke with that prominent of a Gotham accent…

"Yes, this is she," she responded, hoping this wasn't some prank caller. Then again, it seemed… a little too creepy for a prank caller…

"Oh, good!" the caller replied excitedly. "See, I ah… I saw yer ad, 'Becca, an'… can I call ya 'Becca? S'that cool with ya?"

Rebecca felt her spirits lift. Could this be the man she longed for?

"I wanna talk with ya, 'Becca. See, I'm a lonely guy… I think y'sound like a real sweet girl an' I wanna get ta know ya better…"

"Sure! Uh… sure…" Rebecca stumbled, unsure of what to say next. Did she sound too excited? Was she stuttering too much? She rarely spoke casually with anyone other than her close friends…

"What kinda clothes y'like, 'Becca?" he asked. Clearly he understood she was a non-conformist; clearly he was the kind of intelligent man who knew what to expect from a girl like her.

"Oh… well…" She smiled slightly, blushing a faint maroon. "I like… I… I like practical things… suits and skirts, blue jeans… t-shirts –"

"Whatcha wearin', 'Becca?" The voice interrupted.

Rebecca felt her pulse quicken and her face deepen to a dark purple blush. How immature, asking what she was wearing over the phone like some common college boy! How absolutely disgusting! What kind of male chauvinistic pig was he?

It was time to hang up, Rebecca thought. This was going far too sexual, far too fast.

"Well, I… I… uh…" She knew she sounded stupid, but she couldn't think of anything to say for the embarrassment.

"Yer in yer PJ's, arencha, Rebecca?" His voice had grown sneering and humorous, as if he were telling a hilarious joke, and she didn't like it one bit. "Yer wearin' yer favorite Pooh Bear nightie… an' nothin' else…"

Rebecca felt her stomach churn sickeningly. She… she was wearing her favorite oversized Pooh nightie…

"I… I really think I should go… I'm… I'm very busy…"

"Oh, don't go yet, 'Becca!" The caller said suddenly. "I wanna get ta know ya… I really wanna get ta know ya…"

She hit the 'end' button, quietly panicking. How did that man know what she had on? How did he know her name? She hadn't revealed more than a phone number in her ad!

A terrifying thought hit her suddenly. Was he… was he stalking her?

She shook the thought from her mind. Yet she couldn't quite wipe it away completely – it was all too creepy. And it made her feel like someone was watching her

"… Maybe now's a good time for a hot shower," she murmured to herself. Hot showers always did calm her nerves…

She sped quietly to the bathroom, shutting the door and locking it behind her in paranoia.

Not five minutes after she got into the shower, the phone rang.

Rebecca groaned in irritation, quickly washing the remnants of soapsuds from her hair. It always happened when you got in the shower – you get in, and five minutes later, someone calls. It never failed…

She quickly finished her shower, trying her best to ignore the phone, but it continued to ring from somewhere in the kitchen.

"Oh, what the Hell," she murmured, shutting off the water and escaping the shower in a cloud of steam. Her mother always hated how she took long showers in steaming hot water…

Rebecca threw a towel around her body and wrung the water from her hair, all thoughts of the unknown caller out of her head. The phone continued its happy chirping, like some stupid bird trapped in the house that kept banging against the window. Not that many birds besides pigeons inhabited Gotham, but the point still stood. Annoyed, she picked up the phone and answered.

"Hello?"

"Y'got nice curves, 'Becca…"

She nearly dropped the phone in shock. It… it was that man again, the one from earlier… The one who harassed her over the phone…

"I… I b-beg your pardon?"

"Well," the man quipped, "F'that's yer kink, I'm happy ta accommodate… That's a real good idea, 'Becca… get on yer knees and lemmie tie ya up so ya can beg?"

The man chuckled darkly, sending fearful shudders down Rebecca's bare spine.

"I… I'm hanging up!" She threatened, sounding sadly toothless. "I'm calling the cops on you!"

"Oh, now don't go an' do that…" the man apologized, sounding not one bit apologetic. "No really… don't…"

The sound of a gun cocking scraped across her ears through the phone, and she whimpered involuntarily. Apparently, the man heard it, for he gave a short, sharp laugh and his tone changed to one of dark fascination...

"See, I can see ya through the window, 'Becca… an' I'm aimin' a Tommy gun right at yer precious little head. Y'hang up… yer gonna die…"

He paused a moment, listening to the way Rebecca's breath hitched fearfully.

"… Take the towel off, 'Becca."

Rebecca's face paled. This… this perverted freak was actually getting off on her terror!

"No!" she shouted, thoroughly appalled. "Never! Not for you, you sick freak!"

"Ooh, she's got fire… I like that, 'Becca. I really, really do…"
"Leave me alone!"
"Aww, does 'ickle 'Becca like it rough? Y'seem like the kinky type."

Rebecca felt ill. Struggling not to vomit at the thought of her and this… this disgusting freak together, she backed far away from the nearest window and clutched the towel to her chest. There was no way she was giving this creep any more of a view than she already had.

"That's it, lemmie get a good look atcha… Well, damn… Bet ya'd look gorgeous all tied up in rope… an' nothin' else…"

Rebecca ran into the bathroom frantically, hiding herself from the windows and locking the door again. Her nightie hung over a towel bar; she grabbed it and put it on in an effort to hide her fear and shame. Maybe if he had nothing to watch, he'd go away…

"Oh, don't you dare hang up on me, 'Becca…" his voice chirped from the phone. "I know yer hidin' in the bathroom…"

Rebecca said nothing, instead staring at the phone as if it were an adder about to strike at her.

"I can see ya from the window, 'Becca," he continued, his voice a snicker. "I'm gonna break in an' then ya won't be able ta run… I'm gonna do dirty, dirty things ta, ya, 'Becca… I wanna tie ya up an' cut ya an' get all soaked in yer blood… I wanna make ya beg fer mercy, I'm gonna fuck ya so hard –"

Rebecca hung up quickly, feeling terrified and incredibly violated. Her fingers flew over the nine, the one, and the one again, and every ringtone of the connecting call felt like an hour to her. Finally, it answered, and the words brought relief to her fear.

"Hello, Gotham City Police Department, what's your emergency?" The man on the other end sounded friendly, if a bit gruff.

"Hello," she said breathlessly. "I need help… Someone keeps calling me and sexually harassing me over the phone…"

"Well, do you have a number?" the man replied. "All our officers are out on a pretty big call right now, but we can probably trace the number and send someone over soon as possible."

"Yes, yes please!" Rebecca responded quickly. "His number's… um… I didn't write it down, but I'm pretty sure it was 578-4875… And the area code was the Gotham area code."

"Got it," the officer responded. A soft sound of ticking keys filtered through the phone.

"… It's searching. Oh… it's not… Hmm."

Rebecca felt her heart sink. Was something wrong?

"Well… it's not… it's not showing anything..." the man said regretfully. "Here, let me run the search again… are you still there?"

"Yes, yes I am."
"Okay, good… Shoot. It's not showing anything…"
"It's… it's not? W-why…?"
"The number's not registered, it looks like… but if someone called you with it… then that means it's… it must be an untraceable number…"

Rebecca's heart sped like a charging bull. It would be just her luck to have some psycho call her from an untraceable phone number…

"Well… w-what should I do, then?" Rebecca responded softly. "He's… he's threatened me, and…"

"Just lock your doors and stay inside the house," the officer replied calmly. "Don't pick up the phone for anyone unless you know the caller, and for God's sake, don't open the door to anyone, either. We'll have someone over there as soon as we get this other messy case sorted out…"

"What happened?" Rebecca asked, morbidly curious. If every officer in the city was out at it, it had to be something pretty big…

"Sorry, that's classified information. We're not allowed to give citizens any information about any open case. Especially not big ones like this… Anything else you need, Ma'am?"
"No… No, I think I'll be alright…"
"Alright. Good night, stay safe."
"… Good night…"

Rebecca hung up, feeling a lot less sure than she had before…

The minutes ticked by slowly as Rebecca hid in her room, terrified that the phone would ring again. She'd managed to make it to her room without a call, but that didn't mean it wouldn't happen, and soon. Oh, she'd contemplated turning her phone off, of course, but that would mean blocking any possibly helpful calls, and she didn't want that…

Rebecca felt horribly, pitifully vulnerable, hiding like this. She was absolutely defenseless against a psychopathic sex freak, and it was all her stupid fault. Why did she ever think it was a good idea for her to put out a personal ad?

She paced quietly, hoping for a police car to show up soon. Minutes ticked by without a single car, friend or foe, and Rebecca began to doubt if she was ever going to get help. The phone rang once, twice, thrice – and as the officer suggested, she did not answer. She knew he was probably trying to send text messages, too… but her phone was too old and cheap to support it, thankfully.

Something crashed through her bedroom window suddenly, and she jumped. A small, rectangular thing lay in a pool of broken glass; it appeared to be a brick with… with a note tied around it.

Against her better judgment, Rebecca picked up the offending artifact and pulled the note off it, unfolding it as she did so. On the scrap of paper, someone had scrawled a message in what she hoped was red ink. Her mind screamed at her not to read it, but against her instinct, she let her eyes fall onto the words.

AnSweR The pHonE ReBEccA
oR I'LL coMe ouT oF YouR cLoSeT AnD
STAB YOU:)

Rebecca's heart pounded frantically; her breath came in shallow gasps. He wasn't… He couldn't really be… Not after she'd locked all the doors and windows in her house…

But what if he was? What if he really, really was…?

The phone rang again, deceptively joyful despite its message. And shakily, against all she knew she should do, Rebecca answered it.

"P-please… stop calling me…" she whispered, wanting to cry. Tears already formed quiet streaks down her pale, trembling cheeks, dripping to the floor to land in tiny wet pools.

"Don't hang up on me like that again, 'Becca…" came the voice, its tone now a soft, predatory growl. "I'd hate ta haveta kill you…"

Rebecca whimpered, but didn't dare end the call. Not here. Not now…

"Oh, by the way, I really am in yer closet… A good pal'a mine hidin' outside threw that brick fer me. Oh, don't cry, 'Becca… shh, shh… don't cry… We're gonna meet fer the first time soon, y'should be happy ta meet yer dream man! An' I know yer gonna do everythin' I ask ya to, no questions…"

"NO!" she shrieked, slamming the phone shut and running for the door in a blind panic. It wasn't safe here; at any moment he might lunge from under her bed or from her closet. She had to get a head start. Maybe, if she was lucky, she could outrun him and get somewhere safer...

She wrenched the door open with a single hand, only to find her only escape route blocked by a single tall, angularly thin man. Her eyes traveled up the lean, violet-clad legs, the broad, vested chest, the angular shoulders… finally resting on his heavily painted face, paled with layers of white greasepaint. His stringy green hair hung limply against his skin; his kohl-circled eyes glinted darkly, like two hollow pits inlayed with onyx. But worst of all was the crimson smirk that spread across his face like a disease, a perpetual, horrible grin wider than any normal human being should ever have. Indeed, the man's identity was unmistakable.

Rebecca screamed in terror at her own terrible misfortune, and she would have jolted back if her pathetic legs weren't frozen by fear, quivering uselessly along with the rest of her.

"Well, now…" His eyes sparked dangerously and his permanent smile widened horribly to show his yellowed teeth. "Look at you, hmm?" His gaze swept over her like a knife as he came slowly forward, closing in on his prey. "Yer even more gorgeous in person…"

He moved slowly, deliberately, she noticed. He wasn't in any hurry; he knew how doomed his trembling victim was. He knew the terror surging through her at that moment, and he was laughing at it. It was only after Rebecca felt his leather-gloved hand rest heavily upon her shoulder that she could move, as if fearful, heavy chains tying her to the floor fell away to free her, and she backed away in terror. But it was too late by then; he was so close now, too close, and he had her cornered against the bed before she knew it.

"Oh, don't run, 'Becca," he sneered, pushing her into the sheets. He slid his gloves off calmly, one at a time, and grabbed her arms roughly. "I thought y'wanted alone time… Y'said that's what ya wanted, isn't it?"

Rebecca sobbed softly, her eyes stinging with frightened tears. He was so tall and so strong – too strong. It took only minutes for him to clamber on top of her, pinning her with his body and clinging so painfully that his nails dug into her skin. She couldn't struggle; he was too powerful…

"Shh, shh, shh, 'Becca…" his words fell hot against her ear; his greasepaint coated chin rested softly on her shoulder. "I promise this'll only hurt a little bit…" His face split into a wide grin as he shrugged off his long purple overcoat, letting it fall carelessly to the floor. "S'only fair I pay ya yer dues fer bein' such a lovely little plaything… I mean, s'either this'r torture, an' ya don't wanna be my hostage, do ya…?"

He sat up on his knees suddenly, pinning her with a single hand, and a soft zipping noise met Rebecca's ears. An overwhelming wave of horror overtook her as he finally pinned her beneath his body entirely.

What followed next so horrified Rebecca that she couldn't even scream. He slid his clothes off and she felt skin on skin, felt him wrap his powerful arms around her with enough force to crush her. His hands were rough, calloused from clutching a thousand rough-handled knives, the skin riddled in places with smooth and jagged scars from the blades themselves. His mouth smothered hers, his tongue probing in a brutal mockery of a kiss; she could feel the irregular ridges of his scars where the knife had sliced through to the inside of his cheeks, and she whimpered softly…

"Oh, hush, 'Becca…" he murmured as he pulled away and bit her ear hard enough the break the skin. "Hush, now… Y'ain't seen nothin' yet, sweetheart…"

And he smothered her again, moving to slide her thin nightgown out of the way as Rebecca mumbled in muffled protest and vainly tried to struggle… Something shattered painfully as he entered her, an innocence she could never recover, and all at once, she realized exactly what was happening to her, what horrible violation he was committing against her. The knowledge was a horrid burning, chafing, and aching that made her soul twinge like an open, festering sore with each violent attack; she could feel herself bruise to the bone, she thought she might be bleeding…

She didn't dare look to confirm it. She didn't want to.

Instead, she said nothing, sobbing softly as she felt her insides clench in disgust at the decay, his decay, the corruption she felt spreading through every part of her being like an ugly hand bent on destroying her from the inside out. She felt tainted, used. Poisoned. It lasted for eons, she thought, trying vainly to dissociate herself from the horror of reality, and failing miserably at it. She was so pathetically helpless, so weak. She was nothing, and nothingness could do only nothing. She would have asked a quick and painless death at that moment, but no… no, she was not that fortunate, not her. And when it finally ended one awful, hellish eternity later, it felt to her as if she'd spent her entire life chained and controlled by a slavering, sweating, hideous monster.

It took her five minutes to realize it was finally over; that this nightmarish creature come alive was finally satiated, no longer pinning her down with its terrible weight or unspeakably joined with her. No, it was finally dressed, sitting on the edge of her bed like some monstrous parody of a guardian angel.

"Aww, what's the matter, 'Becca?" her assailant sneered as he slid a leather glove onto his rough hands. "Y'look like you've never smiled once in yer life… Oh, but I thought y'just wanted someone else in yer life… S'a matter, I'm not good enough fer ya? I don't make ya happy enough?"

His voice rose to a bestial growl; his face rested inches from hers. His arms enfolded her like a straitjacket, pinning and binding her again like a splinted arm. Rebecca broke into uncontrollable sobs, terrified that he would attack her so violently again…

"What's wrong, 'Becca?" He hissed, his words venom to her ears. "I'm not the dream man y'were lookin' fer?"

Rebecca was a broken mess. She looked and felt like a whore, with her hair in shambles and her face a teary, red-eyed disaster. Every part of her debased, bleeding, bruised womanhood ached horribly. She spoke nothing, instead continuing to sob in physical and emotional agony.

Her destroyer began to anger, growling like a vicious predator. He grabbed her face, turning it harshly to meet his own grotesquely painted visage.

"C'mon, 'Becca, I know y'gotta nice smile… Smile pretty fer me, 'Becca. Go on, do it. Smile. SMILE!"

His words rose to an awful, inhuman roar, making Rebecca wail in torment. He shook her like a rag doll, oblivious to her pain… or perhaps enjoying it.

"No?" he half-laughed. "No, yer not gonna smile fer me?" His voice rose to a delirious, psychotic cacophony; his scarred mouth twisted to a demented grin. "Well, I guess I gotta make ya smile, then!"

And the knife, a horrific tool more resembling a potato peeler than a blade, slid easily from his pants pocket. The awful, shredding talon slipped between her lips easily, aligning itself with the edge of her mouth and biting into the skin ever so slightly. A trickle of blood ran into her trembling mouth, tasting of iron and fear…

Rebecca shuddered, involuntarily licking the minor wound – and the blade.

"Ooh, 'Becca, I didn't know ya liked it that way…" His eyes glinted in eager desire; for what, she didn't know. "Should'a had ya do that ta me while I was at it…"

He shoved the knife into her mouth up to the hilt, his grin widening even more.

"C'mon, 'Becca, lick the blade again… Suck on it. C'mon, do it. DO IT!"

The feral roar in his voice acted as a militant command, and she obeyed. Her tongue slid painfully over the blade, each pass deepening the cuts on her tongue from the last. Silent, hot tears of agony slid down her face, stinging like acid.

"That's the spirit, 'Becca!" he cackled, slicing ever further up her cheeks. "There's my girl!"

Rebecca felt weak… The blood… The blood was everywhere; it was so thick and hot, and there was so much of it…

The phone rang endlessly, unaware of its owner's slow torment, and the last thing Rebecca ever heard as she slowly bled to death was the maddening sound of the Joker's laughter, mixed with the terrifying sound of her ringing cellphone…