Disclaimer: I don't own any of the mentioned characters. This was written purely for fun.
It's a one shot featuring Jonathan Crane and his alter ego I wrote for this year's Halloween.
Arkham Asylum for the criminally insane.
Most people imagined it as a dark place, a hotbed of evil, a hopeless one-way road to hell - and they believed everyone who entered it to be either mad or corrupt or both.
Well, it was true, at least in most cases. But what people tended to forget were the good aspects of this rather useful institution, such as the fact that it monthly released an impressive number of patients as cured. Most of them tended to backslide sooner or later, though, but this was not the point.
Actually, Arkham looked quite nice from the inside, at least in the eyes of patient 5073, Dr. Jonathan Crane. Granted, everything was a little dirtier and the treatment was a little rougher than one should expect it in a 'mental hospital', but then again, nothing was perfect. Every time Jonathan had an incident with the Batman, which quite frequently resulted in him being taken to the Asylum again, he considered it as an opportunity to rest and recover. His cell was heated and dry, after all, and he even had a real, soft down pillow, let alone the fact that he daily received warm meals. What more could he want?
Now Jonathan lay on his bed, the blanket pulled up to his ears and with his back to the door. It was already bedtime in Arkham, which meant that all the lights were turned out, cloaking him with utter darkness. Thus, no one could see his eyes which were wide open, staring at the black wall with such an intensity that one should think he wanted to gouge holes in the dusty brick stones. The doctor was indeed a little nervous, and not without reason. Although he was obviously alone, he tried his best not to show it. Of course it was not the darkness which bothered him - it was his ally, after all - but rather the fact that it was the night of October 31st, Halloween night.
Personally, he did not care much about this day as it just kept reminding him of bad childhood memories, but someone else did: The Scarecrow, his alter ego, who saw it as its personal holiday and always found a way to force him to celebrate it appropriately year after year. He felt its impatience, which never was a good sign, but there was nothing he could do but wait until the second presence in his head could not bear it any longer.
'We must terrify someone, now! It is a shame that the Master of Fear is kept prisoner while the night of nights arrives!' the straw man soon growled, once again proving that Jonathan could take its measure quite well.
"There is no one here with us," Jonathan murmured as a reply.
'What about the guards, didn't we make them tremble with fear through our mere words before?'
"Yes, twice. They are all gone, though, only one is left in the security office, watching us via cameras. The records have no audio track, as you know." The doctor kept his tone as neutral as possible - he really did not feel like talking since he was tired and just wanted to sleep.
'Then we'll use the little freak in the cell next to ours,' the persistent, hoarse voice said, 'he's very unstable and will make a wonderful victim.'
"Jervis?" he asked, a little surprised. He did not know why the Scarecrow disliked his friend to such an extent. It had certainly not been his idea, yet it never lost an opportunity to tease the blonde villain. "I bet he's sleeping, leave him alone."
'Now, we can change that…'
"Don't-" was all Jonathan could say before he felt his alter ego taking control over a part of his body. "HATTER!" he yelled and immediately pressed both hands on his mouth, startled by the loud sound of his own voice. He remained motionless for a moment, listening, but luckily, the regular breathing from beyond the wall continued.
'Why the helldid you do that!' he inwardly snapped at the straw man. 'Do you want to wake the whole Asylum? I forbid you to try anything similar again!' Anger rose inside him despite his best efforts to keep it down. But if he was angry, the Scarecrow was as well.
'Now listen closely, kiddo: I am the Master of Fear, and I am going to celebrate my special night!' Its presence grew violently and overwhelmed his mind like an ominous, dark cloud. His vision blurred and the room began to spin.
'And if necessary, I am going to enjoy myself without you.' Its shadowy claws bumped into his memories like the blades of daggers, tearing them apart until it found what it had looked for. A deep anxiousness spread in his chest, quickened his heartbeat, as a long-forgotten pain was aroused anew. He broke out in cold sweat and reflexively clung to the iron bed frame.
'And now, my precious, you shall suffer!' The doctor's eyes were firmly squinted, yet he could not escape the horrible pictures which created themselves out of the dark behind his eyelids. He wanted to scream, but an invisible force kept him silent, made his struggle useless.
Hideous, bloody images danced in front of his eyes, images from his childhood and of his former victims which pierced through his panicking mind. All the horror he had spread turned on himself at once and made the following hours a living nightmare.
It took the psychiatrists of Arkham three days to restore Jonathan's mental state.
Thanks to Nightmare1 for telling me how to add a black line =D