"Hey, Shaun," Randy greeted his fellow police officer as he paraded past his desk in the lone police station.
"Hey, Randy," Shaun replied, pausing in the doorway that connected the lobby with a short corridor of rooms used for briefing and interrogation. At the end of this hallway, there was another door that lead into the cell house. The police station was not too entirely large—there was, with the exception of ghost attacks, little criminal activity in Amity Park, and there was no need for more than a few cells and a few officers, usually two or three, on duty at once.
"Nothing too exciting tonight, I take it," Randy said, his eyes studying the daily newspaper lazily.
Shaun sighed exasperatedly, snatching the sports section of the paper off the desk. Holding it up to eyelevel, he murmured, "As usual."
Randy glanced up from the comics and fixed his tired gaze on the clock on the wall across the room. Then he looked back down at the paper and paged through it. "Fifteen more minutes, man."
"Thank fuck," Shaun said roughly, wanting nothing more than to go home to his wife and two girls, his perfect, all-American family. His daughters would be asleep, but his wife would be up waiting for him with a late supper, and dessert for afterward…
"Yeah, no kidding," Randy agreed, imagining his wife as she shed her robe after their son and daughter had gone to bed and stood waiting for him in the doorway in nothing but a lacey bra and a pair of see-through panties. "Damn," he said aloud at the thought.
"Yeah," Randy said dreamily, almost dazed, and then again, "damn, I can't wait to get in bed with her."
"I wouldn't either," Shaun chirped, causing Randy to turn and glare at him. Shaun chuckled and said in reply, "Come on, you can't blame me for mentally undressing her."
When Randy's ballpoint pen came soaring toward his head, Shaun promptly ducked behind the desk and resurfaced moments later, laughing. Soon, Randy was laughing as well, because that was simply how they joked.
Randy nodded toward the doorway after they'd calmed down. "I have to go check on our favorite prisoner before Garcia and Collins get here."
"Our only prisoner," Shaun corrected, grinning.
"God, our job sucks," Randy said, smiling spitefully.
"It really does."
As Shaun gathered his things and put on his coat, Randy walked down the short corridor and unlocked the door of the cell house. He pushed it open and went inside.
"Yo, Joker!" he yelled, grinning from ear to ear, and then said teasingly, "Going home to Harley now!"
Usually, he got an immediate response, a voice that was impertinent and consumed with rage that was just barely contained. Usually, he heard: I am not the Joker!
Tonight, however, Randy heard nothing, but he thought nothing of it, at least not at first. He said, unfazed, "Hey, Joker, you sleeping?"
When he still got no reply, he walked toward the prisoner's cell, the one cell in the police station that was equipped with spectral-energy-neutralizing properties, provided by the number one ghost-fighting family in town—at least that was what they said—the Fentons.
"Hey, Freakshow," he began more seriously, when he opened the door to the cell and saw it.
In the back of Freakshow's cell, cut into the wall, a perfect, eight by five foot rectangle stared back at Randy, exposing the rugged forest of pine that lay behind the police station, cloaked by night's black curtain. A gust of chilly air blew in through the opening and ruffled Randy's hair as he stared past the empty cell and out into the darkness silently, his mouth hanging open, his eyes wide.
"Shaun!" Randy shrieked, bolting back down the hallway, out of the cell house and into the lobby where Shaun was just clocking out. "Oh my god, Shaun, we lost the only prisoner we had! Shaun!"
Almost four hours out of Amity Park, they rode in a luxurious convertible, the radio blaring death-metal music. The man in the driver's seat looked like he would rather shove scissors in his ears than listen to the growling vocalist and the mind-numbingly loud beat of the drums coupled with the distorted guitar. The man in the passenger's seat, however, was drumming his fingers on the dashboard and tapping his foot, looking at the scenery as they passed it by, seemingly at ease.
The man in the driver's seat glanced curiously at his dancing hands and feet, a small, confused smile forming on his face. "So there is a beat to this song," he yelled over the blaring music, sarcasm shooting through his voice.
"I take it you don't listen to this kind of music, Plasmius. But who can blame you? It's for disturbed people, and that I am, of course."
Vlad Plasmuis glanced the man in the passenger's seat over quickly, almost feebly, observing him. He wore a red suit with a black vest, a long black trench coat, tall black boots, a black bowtie, black gloves, a black hat with a red brim, and glistening red earrings that hung from his ears. His face was painted white and eyes were dark with makeup, his lips red with lipstick. The man caught his gaze and grinned at him. Vlad Plasmius let his eyes easily slip back onto the road in front of him.
"Danny's friend…she dresses like you," Vlad Plasmius said simply, neither negatively or positively.
"Oh, I remember her. Sam, I think he called her."
"Yes, that's her name."
"She was one of the more attractive ones that came to see my show. One of the more real, if you understand my meaning."
"I don't, Freakshow," Vlad said, staring at the road blankly.
Freakshow waved a hand. "Oh well. I can't expect a sane person to understand someone of the opposite nature."
"I suppose not."
For a moment they were both silent, and then Freakshow said, "I must say, I'm…oh, excited to see the Ghost Boy again. I liked him, even if he was disobedient. He made a wonderful…freak. I'm surprised he's not a goth like his friend."
"Really? And why is that?"
Freakshow sighed, almost nostalgically. "Oh, there's so much darkness behind that smile of his. You'd be surprised. It amazes me he's even capable of smiling."
Vlad could only murmur, "Hmm," because he did not believe it, at least, not to such extents. He knew Daniel had demons, of course he did, but surely they couldn't be so severe.
"I'm so glad you got me out of that awful place, Plasmius. They never shut the lights off."
Vlad stared at the road emotionlessly, his face like stone. "I can only imagine how horrible that must have been."
"Oh, it was."
For a moment they were both silent. Then, Freakshow turned to look at Vlad. "Plasmuis?"
"Do I look like the Joker to you?"