"Jaclyn Ester?" a young girl looked up from her seat in the waiting room, her watering green eyes wavering as she focused on the senior Nurse. As the girl rose from her seat she held her hands before her, making the longest walk she had ever made. That little waiting room might as well have been a marathon. It felt like an age by the time she crossed that little room, walked in tow of the nurse and arrived at that room.
The woman that raised her for 16 years was in a hospital bed. She had collapsed that morning and been rushed to hospital. Jaclyn had held her hand in the ambulance and screamed as the paramedics had to restart her heart three times on route to the hospital.
She had then had to wait, on her own, in the family waiting room as the doctors rushed her mother, her only family, through an MRI, then surgery. Jaclyn hadn't said a word the whole time.
And now she had finally been reunited with her mother, she still didn't know what to say.
Her mother had been flipping pancakes that morning with a smile on her face. Now she had her dirty blonde hair stuck to her neck and back against the pillow, her face pale and eyes closed. There was a soft beep o the heart monitor in the background, the only sign that her mother was alive. Jaclyn sank into the chair by her mother's side and shakily placed a hand over her mother's. It was cold and unresponsive.
"Miss Ester, your mother had a Cardiac arrest this morning. We are still unsure what caused it, but her heart went into Defib and despite getting her heart back into a normal rhythm on multiple occasions, the strain proved to be too much and her brain went without oxygen for too long." Jaclyn started sobbing, grasping her mother's hand tightly and pressing her head into the bed next to her mother. "By the time we were able to stabilise her heart, her mind was gone. I'm sorry to inform you that-"
"No! My mommy isn't dead. She isn't dead!" She whimpered. "We are going to the park party tomorrow. For my birthday. I'm 16." She cocked on her tears into the bed. "I'm 16. If she's dead then I have no one. She can't leave me alone. She promised she'd never leave me alone." Jaclyn wept, her shoulders shaking even when the nurse placed a hand on her shoulder.
"I'm so sorry for your loss Miss Ester. I've contacted social services. They'll take you home while you sort out you and your mother's belongings. Then you'll be placed with a foster family. You won't be alone little Miss."
Then the nurse backed off.
A social worker appeared out of nowhere, started babbling comforts at her. She ignored her and fell backwards into her shell. She watched as the nurse turned the machine off, explaining that she was already gone. She didn't fight it when she was dragged away from her mother and herded out of the hospital, into a car and eventually dropped off at her apartment.
Jaclyn allowed the social worker to sit her down on her bed in her room. It must have been another hour before Jaclyn Ester looked up from her trembling hands to the mirror opposite her bed.
Her long blonde hair hung by her face, her block fringe sticking to her forehead and her bangs to her cheeks with her tears. Her big green eyes shimmered, tears slugging down her red nose and cheeks. She had put on her frilly pink summer dress that day. It was her mother's favourite...she wanted to make her smile that day. The memory of her mother in that hospital bed seemed to be an insult. That couldn't have been her mother. Her mother was strict and very paranoid about going anywhere outside of their usual haunts, but she was a happy boisterous woman. Always telling Jaclyn she was special and could do anything she wanted to.
The next few weeks were a blur. The social worker helped her pack up her things and make sure she ate three times a day. Her birthday came and went, ignored as there was no one left to care. She was placed in a foster home with 30 other kids. Turns out the family quite enjoyed the funding that came with every child placed with them. None of them tried to learn her name, and for the next few weeks, she didn't care to learn theirs. In her possession she had one small suit case that went under her bed. Her bed was in the attack on its own. At first she thought this would be horrible, being completely alone even in her foster home. Then she was glad for it. Children all around her making so much noise, ignoring her existence and her misery, didn't seem to help her. So she hid in the attic looking over her scrapbook, filled to the brim with captured memories of her and her mother. She sobbed silently as she flicked through the pages, not knowing who she was without her mother. Who she was meant to be. Her mother, Jane Ester, was always smiling and plotting how one day Jaclyn was going to take the world by storm. She always talked about saving up enough money so that they could move to Metropolis one day, where they would find fame and fortune. That would always make Jaclyn smile.
Jaclyn was shocked out of her fond trip down memory lane by a banging on the attic door. She put the scrap book on the bed and scrambled over to the door, sliding it to one side on the floor. Her foster 'mom' Tammy was holding a large parcel up for her. She twittered something about 'for you', shoved the box at her, and stormed off.
Jaclyn slide the door shut and scuttled to the bed with the box. Who would be sending her mail? She didn't have any family. Her mother was all she had.
She eagerly ripped off the packaging to find a metal box. Taped to it was a note.
To my darling daughter. If you are reading this then I have died and I am so sorry for leaving you.
Jaclyn released a horse whimper. It was her mother. Her mother had sent her a parcel. But when? It was nearly a month ago that she had died. When did she send this? She shook her head and returned to the note.
I had an old friend keep this box and he was told that in the event of my death he was to send this to you immediately. Please break the wax seal on the box and read the letter inside first. I love you baby cakes.
Jaclyn wiped her face, put the note in her scrap book and tore the rest of the brown paper from the box. Over the opening was a large lump of red wax. In it was a very strange insignia. It looked like...a Jester's hat, pressed into the wax whilst it was still hot and set that way. The insignia was so intricate that if the box had been forced open there would be no way of setting the wax again without it being obvious. Jaclyn picked up a knife from her dinner plate and shoved it behind the wax seal. It cracked and pulled away. She shoved the seal into a plastic pocket in her scrap book and pried open the box.
Why would her mother have a box hidden away and have it delivered in the event of her death?
She saw lots of colourful things in the box, but did as she was told. She pulled the letter out first and held it in front of her face with wide eager eyes.
I have a lot of things to tell you baby cakes, so list well sugar buns.
She stopped at that. Baby cakes? Sugar buns? The note on the front sounded like her mother. And she recognised the handwriting. This letter however was something else. The paper was pink, the handwriting was red, there were smilie faces and love hearts everywhere and the language was...well different. Jaclyn cocked her head to one side and sniffed the paper. It was scented, but there was a fine layer of dust and a smell of moth balls on it. This letter was old. Maybe my mom wrote it when she was young? She read on.
Now butter buns, I'm 22 years old right now and I just found out I'm preggers with you, sweet thing. Now I need to let you know I've been a really bad girl. And as fun as that was, I can't exactly do what I do best with a bouncing ball of cuteness strapped to my front. Now, momma bear here grew up in the foster system and my foster daddy was a very bad man. So I had to blow his face off, you understand.
Jaclyn threw the letter at the floor and covered her mouth so she didn't squeal. She stared at the offending letter for longer than she cared to think. Her mother, a younger version of her mother, just confessed on paper that she killed someone, as nonchalantly as anything! Her hands slowly fell from her mouth and her fingers switched. There was much more to the letter. This was something her mother wanted her to know. There had to be a reason. She just couldn't fathom that at any stage of her life, her mother could be capable of killing anyone.
Finally, she slipped off the bed until her bum landed on the floor and she lifted the letter back up in front of her face. Her body was tense. She was now worried about what else she would find out about her mother. The worse thing was, she was starting to hear the soft southern twang of her mother's accent behind each mystery filled word in her head as she read the letter.
After that I decided I wasn't cut out for being under anyone's thumb and came to the big capital city of Gotham. Now, the things you need to survive this town and to make your fame and fortune are money, powerful friends, and power. These things are usually gained by kicking the shit out of someone and taking what they have. Now I started mugging on the street, but very soon I mugged the wrong guy. He laughed in my face, patted me on the head despite the fact I had a pistol pressed to his gut, and before I knew it I was on the floor bleeding my heart out. I thought I was a gonner for sure by this point honey bee, but I did go and wake up in a warehouse, in a dinky little bed. I was in a lotta pain but that sinister man was sat next to me, stitching me up.
"...So that's where that ugly scar came from!" Jac had always asked her mother where that jagged scar down her chest came from, but she'd always said to her 'from life dear, from life'.
I was scared of course, but then I couldn't stop laughing. He was cracking joke after joke as he poured vodka down my chest and chatting me up for my nice rack.
"Ew mom, didn't need to know that."
I was bed bound for a while, but when I looked around I saw all sorts of things. This funny mad man had a weird hide out. there were circus things everywhere. I remembered going to the circus when my parents were still alive, back when I was a little nipper. I was crying and smiling before I knew it. When the man with the crazy grin walked in on me he said since I liked it so much, and I was a violent bitch, I might as well join his gang. So I did! Fancy that sweet pee!
"...a gang...? My mom wasn't in a gang..."
Well, it was tons of fun! We smashed up shops, stole whatever we wanted and had a laugh all at the same time! And he soon started to tell me to be more ambitious. He said life was a joke, so start having fun. He pointed out that my name was a sign that I was sent to him. J for Jane, and Ester put together made the name Jester. So he even made me a costume. We were such a pair. He was a little rough and had quite a temper, but he always stopped if I looked like I was going to cry. He hated that. Mr J was always a gentleman, in his own way. For 6 months I was his main squeeze, and we were really starting to make a name for ourselves. Well, for Mr J anyway. Anywho sugar, this is where this story ends. As much as I love Mr J and this life, as soon as I twigged that I was up the duff, I knew that I had to run away. Mr J is a very complex man. I don't know how he'd take it if he found out I was pregnant. He might get pretty mad. And he was rough with me. I couldn't risk it. Besides, I want you to have the perfect life my little angel. I want you to feel safe. I want you to live a life where you look forward to every day, and never have to fight for what you deserve. So the Jester is going in this box with all of her baggage. Today I am Jane Ester, expectant momma bear and responsible person. Mr J would collapse if he heard that! ^.^ anyway sugar, I wrote this down so that in the event of my untimely or timely demise you would have the knowledge that your momma was a fighter. I'm not condoning you do anything rash now, but you deserve the truth, whenever it is that I decide you deserve it. My name is Jane Ester, I was a criminal called the Jester, and your father is The Joker.
Try and stay out of trouble, unless you're going to be good at it!
Hugs and kisses little Misses!
Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxx
Jaclyn Ester read the letter again with one hand over her open mouth, the other almost fisting at the letter.
Her mother was a criminal. She couldn't believe it. Then again it would explain why her mother hadn't worked a day in her life and yet they never struggled with bills or anything they wanted to do...
Slowly she put the letter down on the bed and looked to the box. There was a lot of yellow and black material, so she pulled it out and laid the outfit on the bed.
She was about to look over the clothing in greater detail, when she saw a photograph.
There was a man and a woman in it. The woman was wearing the outfit she'd just pulled out of the box. She was wearing thigh high leather black boots with really high heels. The cuff around the top of her thighs folded back with triangular yellow leather strips. Black leather suspenders connected the boots to a pair of tight black leather shorts. She and her 'great rack' were packed into a leather yellow corset dress. The dress stopped just before the edge of her shorts at the front, and fell down in folded layers at the back behind her knees. White lace could be seen as her under skirt. There were black belts strapped across her dress with large bullets attached to them. Knives were strapped to her belts and boots. She had long black leather gloves on up to her mid bicep. Her blonde hair was long and wild down her back. She wore a long leather yellow hat with a black strip at the base. It sat on top of her head and fell down her back with one large bell attached to the end. Her face though...it was painted white! She had black panda eyes and thick black lipstick on. Her eye lashes were long and brilliant yellow, framing her bright blue eyes.
The man she was next to was wearing a brilliant deep purple tailored suit, black and white dance shoes, white gloves, green under vest and big purple bow tie. There was a yellow fluffy flower pinned to his chest. His hair was a mottled green, his face white, his eyes were green and his lips were crimson and stretched into a manic grin.
Both people in the photo were embracing intimately, with one arm around each other. The other arms were holding up very large guns, and both of them had incredibly amused grins on their faces.
Jaclyn looked over the photograph, analysing every inch of it, holding it in her finger tips like she was afraid the picture would vanish as soon as she looked away.
"...my dad...is the Joker...and my mum was his right hand man..." She looked to her side on the bed, looking over the outfit her mother was wearing in the picture. The Jester...
She then had to suppress the urge to jump off the bed and head for cover, as she saw the rest of the box was filled with knives, guns, boxes of ammo, scalpels and grenades.
Her mom was no amateur...
Jaclyn took a deep breath, and ran a hand over the outfit on her bed, then shook her head. She shoved everything back into the box bar the letter and the picture, and shoved the box under head bed in her suitcase.
She then sat on her bed and looked around the room, as if she thought someone was going to storm in at any moment and arrest her for her discovery. She tentatively went through her daily routine so no one suspected anything, retiring to her room that night with her mother's letter in one hand, and the photo in the other.
"...I thought Harley Quinn was Joker's girlfriend...? then again, maybe my mom came first..." Jaclyn, and every other person in Gotham, knew about the Joker. He was one of the biggest bad guys in the world and was renowned for his violence and insanity, not to mention his criminal activities. He was in and out of Arkham Asylum and always in the papers. Along with the Penguin, Mr Freeze, Two Face, The Riddler, Cat Woman, Poison Ivy and so many others. Not to mention of course Batman. Oh yes, she knew all about the Joker. She looked hard at the picture.
Her mother had wanted her to know this.
"My name is Jane Ester, I was a criminal called The Jester, and your father is The Joker.
Try and stay out of trouble, unless you're going to be good at it!
Hugs and kisses little Misses!"
"Stay out of trouble unless you're going to be good at it..." her gaze fell on the Joker, and how his hand was intimately placed on his mother's hip.
All her life she'd asked her mother who her father was. All she'd ever got was 'He's a bad man. Don't worry about it sweet pee'. Bad man or not, she'd always wanted to know who he was, and why he didn't want her. But from the letter it was obvious to her that The Joker didn't know she existed. Her mother had run away, after all.
Now, Jaclyn Ester wasn't a normal 16 year old girl. Her mother used to be called into school on a regular basis to take her daughter home. Little miss Ester didn't know when to keep her mouth shut to avoid a beating, and was more than willing to get into a scrap because of it.
And she usually always won...
It was a bit bad when she had to have her pens and pencils confiscated at the end of every lesson so she didn't use them against any of the bullies...
"My baby is just a bit of a spit fire! If those bullies are going to try it on with her, then they are the only ones to blame really!"
Her mother always defended her. Thing is, Jaclyn knew she was in the wrong, and that she should just walk away, not start scratching their arms with her number 2 pencil... She discussed it with her mother some times, asking if it was wrong that she enjoyed fighting and even looked forward to it. She didn't want to really hurt anyone, but sometimes it was fun to smack an idiotic bully, that grabbed her ass, face first into a wall of lockers, grab a fistful of his hair, and drag his face along the wall until there were imprints of multiple locker numbers in his face.
Her mother would reply by saying she needed to keep her anger in check, but it was a family thing.
"I guess now I know exactly where that comes from, ay 'Jester'?"
So what now?
She had this information, and a box of rather dangerous mementoes from her mother's past...but what should she do with it?
She knew one thing. "I have to meet him." no matter what she did, she had to meet her father. But that would be no easy feat. He was a criminal mastermind, surrounded by gangs of thugs and armed to the teeth. Oh yes, and insane. There would be only one way she would get anywhere near the Joker... "And that's to be good at getting into trouble, ay Mom?"
Jaclyn Ester's eyes lulled shut and she fell asleep in the middle of her tiny bed holding the letter and picture to her chest. Tomorrow she would make her move. Tonight she would dream and try to process all she had learnt about her mother. Tomorrow she would act.