Little ten-year-old Patricia sat alone in the alleyway, partially hidden by the dirty dumpster. Tears stained her cheeks, her face dismal. She had been there for hours, waiting, just waiting for the moment they would find her. It was eventually going to happen, they always found her. No matter how far she ran or even if she would surround herself with police, they would get to her. They would severely punish her. They would torture her until she couldn't take it anymore. She cursed as she heard people stumble into the alleyway. She had been crying so hard, that others could hear her obnoxious hi-cups.
"Is someone here? Hello?" Called a woman.
"We're not here to hurt you." A man announced. Patricia made no attempt to answer the young couple; she just wanted to be left alone. She could hear the petite footsteps of the woman, she was quickly approaching. She tried to calm her erratic breathing, hopefully the dumpster would conceal her small frame.
"What are you doing out here hunny?" Patricia didn't dare look up at the woman; she just stared at the woman's pointy shoes. The woman pulled at her chin, pointing her face towards her. The woman quickly retracted her hand, horrified at what her hand had come in contact with. "Gerald, come here quick!" She shouted. Patricia cringed at the woman's panicked voice. The woman dragged Patricia completely from the shadows. "Are you hurt hunny?" Patricia shook her head no. She didn't want to get these people involved. Suddenly, the man got close enough to see what his girlfriend was distressed about.
"I'll call an ambulance." He pulled out his phone.
"Don't." The couple looked at Patricia confused.
"It will be okay hunny. Don't worry." The woman tried to reassure Patricia. "What's your name?"
"Don't call anyone. Just leave." The woman shook her head not believing what the little girl was saying to her. She was so small and showered in blood from head to toe. She couldn't even tell if it was the girl's blood or someone else's.
"Hunny who did this to you?" Patricia shoved the woman's hand away from her.
"You're going to die." The woman retracted her hand once again. This girl was quickly scaring her.
"Why would you say such a thing?"
"Because it's true. If you help me, you will die." The man pulled the woman close to him. This little girl seriously needed help, but it wasn't really their responsibility to help her. She was warning them of danger if they helped her.
"Natalie, maybe we should leave her here." He whispered, his girlfriend pushed him away disgusted. The girl obviously needed help and he wanted to be selfish.
"Why don't you leave Gerald, if that's how you feel but she needs help."
"But Natalie." She cut him off angrily.
"Hand me your phone." Defeated he handed her the phone. Patricia watched in terror.
"911, I'm in an alleyway of Knox Avenue and 400th block, behind Romo's Tavern. There is a little girl drenched in blood by the dumpster." She paused for a moment. "Yes, she's responsive but refusing medical attention." She paused once again. The man beside her began to anxiously look around. Patricia stared at the couple horrified. "I can't tell if it's her blood, or someone else's, please send someone over here please. I'll stay..." Patricia lunged at the woman with a broken pipe that she found lying next to her. The phone flung out of the woman's hand. The woman clutched her hand trying to clot the gash that she just gave her. The man shoved the girl away from his girlfriend.
"What the fuck is your problem?" He screamed. He knew that girl was trouble. "Are you okay?"
"Yes, I'm okay." They watched the young girl ferociously swing the pipe up and down, smashing the cell phone to pieces. Sirens, suddenly brought the little girl out of the violent trance that she was in, she dropped the broken pipe in her hand.
"I need to leave." She started to back away, when the man snatched her.
"You're not going anywhere. The police are going to sort you out." She fought against the man, kicking, punching and biting but it was getting her nowhere. She fell to her knees in defeat.
"You need to let me go. You're going to die if you don't." She cried. The man roughly shook her shoulder. The woman pulled at her boyfriend's coat.
"Gerald, don't be harsh to her." The man angrily huffed. He dragged Patricia between him and his girlfriend.
"She attacked you Natalie. Unprovoked attack. She needs to be picked up and dealt with. She's staying here until the police and ambulance arrive."
She howled with fear, "NO, I need to leave now."
"You're not going anywhere." The man snarled. Out of nowhere manic laughter could be heard throughout the alleyway. Patricia bowed her head to the ground; it was too late to get away. "Who's there? Show yourself!" The laughter started all over again, scaring the couple deeply. "You better get out of here, the police are on their way!" Something collided with the dumpster, making the couple jump. The object flashed and beeped, at an alarming rate.
Patricia screamed, "Bomb!" before dropping to the ground. The blast knocked the couple into the opposite wall. The man groaned in pain, shrapnel had lodged itself into his shoulder, the woman's vision became fuzzy.
"Look, who we have here. New toys." Spoke a voice. The woman's vision slowly cleared, seeing a woman dressed in a jester suit clutching the little girl's arm. The girl tried to push her away.
"Go away Harley."
"No can do kiddo. Mistah J sent me out here to collect you." The little girl punched the woman as hard as she could in the gut resulting her in doubling over and releasing her arm.
"I'm not going back. You're not going to make me." Before she could make a move, the woman kicked her down and pinned her beneath her foot.
"That wasn't very nice."
"Let her go!" This plea, recaptured the Jester looking woman's attention once again. She had almost forgotten about Patricia's playmates.
"So who do we have here Patty?" She pushed against her once again.
"I said no Harley! Leave them alone. They have nothing to do with this!" The screeching of tires could be heard in the distance and the sounds of guns being cocked.
"Put your hands up and step away from the child." An officer with a blow horn demanded.
"They brought more friends to play." She put a hand to her mouth and shouted, "Come on piggys, let's play!"
"We're warning you, step away from the child and put your hands up."
"We'll shoot." Another officer exclaimed. Harley smiled.
"I'm counting on it." She mumbled to herself. The sound of gurgling could be heard from where Patricia and Harley stood. Patricia stared in horror and Harley clapped and squealed. She dragged Patricia with her towards the squad cars. The three officers weren't sure where to point their weapons at, someone had slashed their brother's officers throat without them seeing the perpetrator.
"Gerald, are you okay?" She whispered to her boyfriend. The sounds of skin hitting against other skin and guns firing could be heard. He groaned in response.
"I can't move my left arm. Are you okay?" He slowly turned to face his girlfriend, who was few meters from him. There was a gash bleeding from her head this time. "Oh Natalie." He reached his arm out, trying to comfort his girlfriend. Someone decided to stomp on his hand, mid-reach. "Fuck." He tried to pull back, but the person wouldn't let off. He and his girlfriend froze when they heard the manic laughter right over them.
"Thought we forgot about you two, didn't you?" He laughed once again. To the couple's horror, it was the infamous psycho that was blasted all over the Gotham News, the Joker. Before they could realize it he swung something heavy towards their skulls.
"No, DON'T!" Patricia screamed. Everything went dark for the couple.
"Is he ever going to wake up? How much beauty sleep does one stupid lawyer need? Maybe we should wake him up?"
"NO!" The sound of someone getting smashed into the ground could be heard. Gerald was doing all that he could do to delay these psychos before he had come with an idea to escape. He kept his breathing steady, trying to keep them fooled for just a while longer.
"You're going to be a part of this, like it or not."
"They were just trying to help me. Don't punish them, punish me." In the background, Gerald could hear the Joker, bellow out a cruel chuckle.
"Oh, your punishment will come soon enough. HARLEY!" Someone clumsily stumbled into the room, she was out of breath.
"Yes, Mistah J?"
"I think it's time to wake up our sleeping guests over here, don't you think?"
"Alright." Before she could move, something clicked open and was handed to her.
"Use this. It should put on a good show." Gerald was holding his breath, waiting for the attack to come, but it didn't.
"Ahhhhh! PLEASE STOP! PLEASE!" Gerald's eyes flung open to see his girlfriend tied to a chair across from him. She had a knife sticking out from her stomach.
"Natalie!" He shouted. "You psychos, leave her alone!" Instantly a knife was pressed against his throat tight.
"Ah ta ta, contestant number two. Swearing at your hosts won't help your girlfriend's chances of survival." The Joker shoved his face into the man's face, terrifying him deeply. He tried to keep a straight fearless face for his girlfriend, but he was failing miserably. He was too scared. Joker backed from the terrified man, he huffed towards Patricia. "You pick the weakest contestants."
"But I didn't..." The woman had muffled the child's excuse. Joker's excitement was renewed once again. He hopped towards the young girl. He stuffed papers into the girl's hand.
"Come on dear hostess; introduce your guests to the game." He threw the girl to the floor between the couple's feet. Tears filled Patricia's eyes as she started gathering the papers that fell beneath her.
"This game is called Front Page News. If you follow the re...re..." Patricia struggled to read what was written for her. Harley mumbled in the girl's ear, trying to help her sound out the word. She stomped her foot. "Just do what we say, and they will dump your girlfriend at the steps of Gotham Hospital, but you must do it quickly. Time is running out." Gerald looked over at Natalie, her skin was starting to turn pale as blood oozed around the knife in her stomach.
"Okay, I'll do whatever, if you get Natalie to a hospital." Suddenly a knife was jammed into his lower leg. "WHAT THE FUCK!" He had agreed, Joker patted him on the head.
"Penalty for the hostess not reading her lines right." He snapped his fingers, Harley held the other contestant by the hair, while Patricia shuffled papers.
"What do you call Dent behind his back?"
"Everybody knows that Dent is the mighty Apollo." The man answered bitterly, obviously showing a dislike for the shining star of Gotham.
"Tsk, tsk contestant. I guess not everyone is literate in this room." Joker laughed, slamming a pocket knife into the man's lower back. Patricia gulped as the man screamed. "Now, do we understand the question? Behind Dent's back, just like this little knife is."
"It's IN my back, not BEHIND IT!" Joker giggled and lifted his hands up innocently.
"In, Behind, they all just start to blend together." Joker snapped his fingers. Patricia started again.
"What do you call Dent behind his back?" He looked at his ailing fiancé, not hesitating to answer.
"Harvey Two Face."
"But I answered right!" The man nervously cried, they couldn't kill Natalie.
"Strike Two!" Gerald clamped his mouth shut. Why did he think the Joker would give him a fair chance to save his girlfriend?
"Who is Dent's cur..rr..rent, current squeeze?"
"The ADA Rachel Dawes, they have been dating for a while now." The jester woman, Harley, let go of Natalie's head, which drop towards the ground, to clap for the boyfriend.
"Hooray, Hooray. You have made it to the final round."
"Sudden Death!" Harley clapped. Joker shoved Patricia out of the way. She was relieved that she could possibly look away at the end of the game. They were never pleasant.
"Contestants never usually get this far." Joker hopped back and forth, he was entertained now. "Now contestant, you must answer one final question, and if you get it right, you win your bloody prize. Are you ready?" Gerald didn't want to respond. He just wanted to get Natalie out of here. Joker put his gloved hands on both sides of the man's head. Gerald's pulse raced as the Joker swooped in close. "Think hard contestant," Joker put pressure on the man's head, "this will take a lot of brain power." Joker kept pressing into the man's head, kind of like an awkward and painful massage. "Who caused you to be in this little situation? Think fast contestant, time is fading." Gerald had an answer already; he couldn't focus his mind on anyone else. She had taken advantage of Natalie's kindness, and now his position in the DA's office was causing them their lives. It was all her fault.
"The girl." A knife appeared out of nowhere and into Joker's hand.
"Strike three." He laughed. Joker turned to the girlfriend, and violently slit her neck. He made sure her blood would spray the boyfriend.
"NOOOOO! NATALIE!" Joker faced the screaming man.
"Your turn!" Suddenly, it had gone black for Gerald.
Gerald had woken up weeks later, the staff at Gotham General was surprised that he had even survived. He had lost a lot of his blood, and a good portion of his leg was severed apart. Not soon after did Gotham P.D. and the media outlets enclosed around the hospital. None of their questions had fazed him in the slightest; it was almost as if there was nothing to fight for. Which was true, he had lost Natalie, his one love. Her corpse was a disgrace, the police had to ask him to identify if the mutilated body found with him was truly his girlfriend. He wanted to lie, to the police and to himself. It couldn't be her. He couldn't have let this happen to one he loved. But again it wasn't his fault, it wasn't at all. Just as Joker had asked him, who was the cause for his lost, who was it? He was wrong when he had answered the question, he hadn't realized at the time, but the answer was right in front of him the whole time.
"You have a visitor from the DA's office Mr. Burtman." The nurse calmly announced, unaware of the rage boiling within her patient. He stared menacing into the other man's blue eyes, it was his entire fault.