"You've failed. Now suffer!"

The bitter words of Scarecrow flared across a black screen, followed by a flourish of his gauntleted hand. A shriek rang about the room, and a fist came down upon a blue bowl sending popcorn into the air.

"Damn it! He always catches me there!" An exasperated voice complained. The voice belonged to Melanie Muck, a teenage girl sitting upon her floor pouting at the now blank screen. She had been playing Batman Arkham Asylum, and had lost in one of Scarecrow's nightmares.

It had been the fourth time that night that she had been found and lost. Obviously she wasn't happy.

"Mel, get a hold of yourself. It's just a game." The second voice belonged to Monica Decan, who was lounging upon Melanie's bed flipping idly through a magazine. "I know dude, but it still pisses me off!" Melanie sighed, flopping back upon her beds side. The two were having a sleepover to celebrate their last day of summer. Soon they would have to go to bed to wake up early for the next morning.

The tell tale signs off sleepiness were starting to show upon the girl's faces. But Melanie's stubbornness refused to let her rest until she beat Scarecrow. Even now, her appearance was shabby at best. Her black tresses were in disarray, long lines of eyeliner had ran down and stained her cheeks from Florida's constant heat, and dark purple bags had began to develop under her blue eyes.

In all honesty, she looked like hell.

Monica in contrast had neatly combed hair and a washed face. She had already gotten ready for bed and was just staying up to please her friend. She was about ready to pass out.

"Maybe we should get to bed Mel?" she suggested gently, yawning at the end of her sentence.

"I can't until I beat this guy!" Mel argued angrily. She had already begun to guide Batman through Scarecrow's nightmare, hoping her luck would be better this time. "Isn't this the fourth time you've played this game?" "Fifth actually. And I always have trouble on stupid Scarecrow…"

With a roll of her brown eyes, Monica closed her magazine and rested her head on the pillow. "I thought you thought he was hot?" Monica chuckled when she was met with her friends glare.

"He is! If he wasn't so freaking sexy I would hate him." Mel grumbled, fighting against skeletons with Batman's skilled hands. "I swear Mon, I belong in this world." She said, somewhat randomly.

"I agree. I've always thought you belonged in an asylum." Monica replied wryly. She really didn't like it when Mel talked about how she belonged in the world of psychotic clowns, and men who dressed as bats. It had to be unhealthy.

With a glance at the clock resting on her bedside table Mel sighed. Time had already pushed forwards to 12:09 am. In less then six hours they would have to get up to go to school. Joy…

She turned her eyes back to the television screen and began to smile as she thought of Arkham Asylum. It housed Gotham's most dangerous criminals; and in its own way it was almost a whole other world separate from Gotham. Populated by the nightmares of all its citizens.

A world she desperately wished she could be a part of it.

To wander the sewers home to Killer Croc, crawl through the vents in Intensive Treatment, maybe even find and solve a few of Riddler's carefully placed puzzles.

But she wasn't dumb. She knew that would never happen. The next day she would be a senior in high school, and then have to continue her boring life again.

With a glance over her shoulder she saw Monica was already asleep, so she didn't mind undressing into a simple white nightgown without going into the bathroom. 'Saved me a useless trip…' she thought, unpausing and resuming her game.

Batman ran through the Scarecrow's distorted world at her careful fingertips. And before long she started to get tired, with the fatigue came clouded vision. Batman was discovered by Scarecrow, and his personalized game over sign came on. Although what Jonathan Crane said didn't match anything he had said before.

"Sleep tight little bat!"

Too tired to even get angry, Melanie slumped over onto the floor, already in a deep slumber. But as she slept, the world around her began to change.

Ding Da Ding Dong!

"Has anyone found the bat? We can't just let him walk around freely! He'll ruin everything!"

A sharp ringing in her ears awoke Mel from her deep sleep. "Monica… shut up dude." She mumbled, feeling around for a pillow to throw at her noisy friend. She scrunched her face up when she felt something gritty slide under her finger nails instead of feeling a soft pillow.

She opened one of her eyes sleepily to look at what had possibly gotten under her nails. As her vision focused, she saw a brown material under her otherwise clean nails. 'Dirt…?' She thought, picking some out to get a closer look.

The substance lodged under her cuticles was indeed dirt. But how had dirt gotten into her room? She may have been messy, but no that much of a slob. As she looked around more fully awake, she saw hard, ground underneath her, instead of her soft black carpet.

"What the hell…?" She stood slowly, looking around her in shock. She wasn't in her room anymore. She was outside! And judging by the sky and temperature of the air, she wasn't in Florida.

Looking around franticly, she began to panic.

Had she been kidnapped? Sold to some experimental facility? Abducted by aliens?

Her eyes landed abruptly on a large sign, and she couldn't help the curse that fell from her lips. "Fuck no…" She muttered, walking closer and laying a hand on the sign. Written clear as day were the words, "ARKHAM WEST"

"It can't be." Her voice had begun to rise in disbelief. No way was she in Arkham Asylum! That place was fictional. About as real as sparkly vampires and Sonic the Hedgehog.

Melanie stumbled backwards, wincing as rocks and twigs dug into her bare feet. She was in the attire she was in when she had fallen asleep. This meant no shoes, and no protection. 'Thank god I wore a bra to sleep…' She thought morbidly. At least she had some bit of luck.

"I thought I heard something over here!"

Her head snapped to the right in panic. Someone else was coming! Thinking quickly, she ran to the Cliffside nearby and wedged herself between two rocks. Footsteps approached as she tried to calm her rapid breathing and thumping heart. Thinking anything could give away her position.

Two shirtless men came into view; Melanie quickly recognized them as Black Gate prisoners.

One of which was carrying a gun.

The larger of the two was a black man, whose face was painted to look like a clown. The trademark sign of Joker henchmen. He looked around the area with a scowl, probably thinking he was about to find Batman. "I don't see nothing." The other grunted. He was a smaller white man, who had spiked hair and also sported a painted face. In his hand was clenched a shotgun.

Melanie inwardly gulped. These men were armed. If she was found she would die. Or worse…

The black man huffed. "I thought I heard a twig break." With a glance down at her feet, Melanie cursed them for being so clumsy.

The white clown gave his friend a rough pat on the back. "You been workin' too hard man. Take a breather." "Yeah, I guess you're right…" With one last suspicious glance around, the two men turned away and began to walk back to their posts. Melanie quickly pushed herself from the rocks and ran towards the opening to Arkham East. In there she could at least find a better hiding spot.

Blinking, the white clown turned and couldn't believe his eyes as he saw a ghostly white figure step through the cliff and run into the entrance to Arkham East. He opened his mouth once, then twice, not knowing how to get his point across. He finally decided upon just roughly smacking his friend in the shoulder twice.

"Ace! Ace! Look at that!" He cried, shaken to his core. He was told to handle the bat, not some fucking ghost!

Ace turned, sighing in exasperation. "What is it Kyle?" He snapped, annoyed at his friends spastic hitting. Kyle couldn't even bring himself to explain what he had saw; instead he pointed a shaking finger towards the billowing white figure that had now sprinted into the safety of the passage to Arkham East.

"I-It's a ghost man! A fucking ghost!" he stammered, making a quick cross over his chest. Ace scowled at Kyle. "You lost yo' mind man! It's just one of the Arkham loonies!" Kyle shook his head quickly. "No! It came through the cliff!"

Ace rolled his eyes and snatched the gun from Kyle's hand. "You're goin' psycho." he scoffed, leaving his friend behind as he walked back to his post.

Kyle gave one more glance at the door to Arkham East which was closing. But in the split second it closed, he saw the figure look back at him and through the veil of black hair; a piercing blue eye stared back at him.

With a scream, he ran back to Ace.

Melanie's heart was pounding. She knew the clowns had seen her! She had locked eyes with one for God's sake! So she wasted no time in sprinting towards the end of the passageway. She was happily surprised to see the Inmates hadn't locked it yet.

But towards the entrance to the Arkham East, there were two bodies of Arkham guards strung up from an overhanging rafter. Her stomach churned.

She had seen these bodies before. But seeing them on a screen and seeing them in front of you were two totally different things. Their mouths and eyes were wide open in silent terror, and blood still dripped from fresh gunshot wounds.

"God help you…" She muttered, walking around them slowly. And as the gates in front of her opened, she began to realize the seriousness of the situation. "And God help me too…"

Laid out in front of her were Arkham Mansion and the Botanical Gardens. Both equally dangerous places. But she had to find a place to hide before more clowns came looking for her.

Ignoring the stinging in her feet, she jogged down the passage and toward the Mansion. Sooner or later Aaron Cash would escort Dr. Young into the mansion to find her notes. Maybe then she could seek protection with him.

Glancing left and right, she noted the various clowns walking around the island. Not many were armed; most were using metal pipes as weapons. This was a good sign, and meant the game had not gotten too far along yet. She shoved herself into a bush as she heard the door behind her begin to open.

Two muscular looking clowns walked out, talking quite loudly.

"Did you hear Kyle's crazy story about seein' a ghost?" One chuckled. This piqued her interest, Mel didn't remember there being a ghost at Arkham Asylum. "No I didn't." the other replied, sounding interested as well.

"Well, he says he saw her comin' out of the cliff in Arkham West, and running out here! Said she had black hair and freaky blue eyes." The clown talking began to chuckle. The other clown shuddered. "Dude that's freaky. I hate ghosts…"

"You know Kyle was only seeing shit man. Although I wonder if the ghost was hot." At that, both clowns broke out cackling. Melanie felt her face burn with embarrassment. It took all her restraint to not reach out and trip them as they walked by.

Once they were a safe distance away, she stood and began to think of what they said. Were they talking about her? Unconsciously, she reached up and took a strand of black matted hair between her fingers.

'The clown said black hair and blue eyes…Could that have been the one that saw me?' A sudden thought struck her. She had been hiding between two rocks in the cliff. If someone had turned and saw her unwedge herself from her hiding spot, it would have indeed looked like she had ran out of the cliff.

"They think I'm a ghost…?" She wondered aloud, looking down at her white nightgown. From someone else's perspective she probably looked seriously creepy. Like that girl from The Ring.

Well at least now she had a gimmick to fall back on. But a gimmick wouldn't help her if one of the clowns took a shot at her. Bullets hurt, and getting shot really wasn't on Mel's agenda.

Jogging down the steep hill, she began to work her way towards Arkham Mansion. Clowns were carrying equipment towards Arkham West. Probably to build The Jokers platform on the roof of the Visitor Center.

Ding Da Ding Dong

"I've been hearing rumors of a "ghost" running around Arkham! I want her found and I don't know… exorcised or something."

Mel froze at the sound of Joker's voice on the intercom. He was talking about her! How did he hear about her so fast?

'These clowns gossip like freaking teenagers!' She though angrily, noticing the clowns now looking around more then before. It would be harder to get inside the mansion!

When footsteps began to approach, Mel hid in one of the small rooms outside the mansion. By the contents of the room, it was an office. But it was what was sitting on the desk that caught her attention.

It was a shiny, green, question mark shaped trophy.

"A Riddler trophy…" Mel mumbled, walking over and laying her hand on the cool metal. She had spent hours finding all of Riddler's trophies, and riddles when she had first beaten the game. She had hunted down all 240 challenges… but it was no where near as satisfying as finding one for real.

She picked it up gently and almost dropped it when a sudden voice came out of the bottom.

"Thank the Lord! I thought you'd never find that one Batman!"

Her heart nearly bounced up into her throat. It was Riddler! He must've thought Batman picked up the trophy. Boy would he be surprised when he found out it was eighteen year old girl.

She was about to reply back to the intercom on the bottom of the trophy when a red flag suddenly went up in her head.

No! Don't tell him who you are! That's a damn good way to get killed!

Biting her lip, Mel suddenly remembered what the clowns and what Joker had said. They thought she was a ghost…

So, she cleared her throat, and in the best ghostly voice she could manage she rasped, "Not Batman…" Into the device.

Back at his hideout Edward Nygma leaned back in his chair from surprise. Trophy number forty-six had been picked up, and he was suspecting to hear gruff breathing before the intercom would be broken. That's what Batman had done all the other times he had found his trophies.

But when he heard that whisper, "Not Batman…." A shiver ran up his spine.

He scowled and ran the voice through his computer, comparing it to the other female samples he had obtained from Arkham Inmates. When none of those matched, he even compared it to the police force and Batgirl.

Still none matched.

"Who are you?" He hissed into his intercom, not at all liking that he didn't know who was speaking to him, or that this same person had found one of his trophies specifically meant for Batman!

He could hear some kind of feminine noise before another soft whisper drifted through the intercom again. "Banshee…"

With an annoyed growl, he activated the camera he had placed in room near his trophy. What he saw, he almost couldn't believe.

Melanie was panicking.

She had just talked to Riddler! And boy he didn't sound happy to be talking to her. In fact, he sounded murderous. She had almost lost her cool when he demanded who she was. He was pissed.

And not knowing what to say, Mel began to think of ghost references. A sudden thought lodged itself into her brain. In one of her games, she had major trouble with a ghost that would appear and scream at her before taking her weapons. It was called a Banshee.

"Banshee…" She whispered into the intercom.

Then a soft mechanical whirring sound began to emit off a camera in the corner. Her eyes widened immensely. He had a camera in the room!

It caught at least one good shot of her before it suddenly began to spark. She smiled, it was glitching! Someone up in heaven loved her! She dropped the trophy and sprinted out of the room before the camera could come back on.

Edward slammed his hands onto his keyboard. "No! Go back!" He hissed, pressing buttons rapidly, trying to get the picture to come back.

When it finally did he saw his trophy laying on the ground, and the girl gone. "Where'd she go..? Where'd she go?" He slammed his hands down again, glaring at the screen. He didn't like this one bit. He hated not knowing what was going on.

With a growl, he flipped open his cell phone and punched in the first person on his speed dial.

Within two rings, the obnoxious voice of The Joker answered.

"Helooooo?"

Edward directed his vision towards the screen where he rewound the tape so he could look at this 'ghost' fully. She sure fit the description one would label a ghost by. In fact, she looked down right creepy. And he was sure that no one at Arkham had the M.O of a ghost. He should know. He was a genius.

"Joker, I have some information you might find interesting…."

Well there was the first chapter! Reviews and constructive criticism are appreciated! But NO FLAMES.

I hope you guys enjoyed it! I promise there will be Croc or Scarecrow in the next chapter! :D I had to establish the story first!

See you next time!