A/N: Yup, finally I've uploaded a new chapter in what, over a month? I'm so sorry this took so long but none of my fanfics were coming our right and I tried my best to make them good. I ended up deleting half of this chapter... which I now regret. In retrospect, I should have kept it and just included it in the next chapter. Oh well. I can't remember any of it so it won't hold me back too much.
So, in this chapter I'll be introducing an OC named Austin Fall. He's going to be an interesting character indeed, so I hope you guys like him. He's going to get complicated and he's definitely multifaceted, so we'll see where that takes us. Please, enjoy.
Oh, and because this is my very first horror story, I'd love it if someone who's more experience in horror stories could help me. Message me if you're interested. ^_^
Arkham's One Horror
Chapter 1: Austin Fall
Austin Fall walked into the surveillance office with a straight face, but with energy that only optimistic youth seem to have. "Mornin' Jerry," Austin said smoothly as he slipped into his seat, immediately turning his chair towards a slightly obese man with a newspaper in front of his face and away from the monitors.
Jerry just grunted behind his newspaper. Austin has worked in the building for about five months now, and not once, in all their time together, has Jerry said an actual word to him. He wasn't much of a talker, more of a watcher as Austin learned about two weeks ago when he caught Jerry looking at him.
"Readin' the newspaper Jerry-boy?" Austin asked, trying once again to pull Jerry into a conversation to no avail. Jerry just continued to read –if that's what he was doing, sometimes Austin wasn't completely sure. But trying to get the nearly silent Jerry to talk was better than actually working.
Austin worked in one of the last rat holes left in Gotham after the Harvey Dent act –although it was technically outside of Gotham. Unfortunately, it had the worst rat of all within its walls.
Austin frowned and tried another one of his many tired out strategies. "So, how's 'e behaving?" Austin asked without looking at the screens. He preferred not to look at the screens. Jerry was the one that watched him from time to time and make sure that the security guard in front of the cell was still alive. Austin sometimes checked up on the security guard too, but mostly kept an eye on the hallways and gates.
Jerry nodded behind his newspaper, signaling the prisoner had behaved. Austin just nodded acceptingly, finding himself in the same awkward position as every other day. He knew he was supposed to have become accustomed to the silence, maybe even found it relaxing, but he felt the need to talk. That was just his character. He was a social person. Talking was how he would be making his work days shorter. Unfortunately the only person here that liked to talk was a little…
"Hello?" said a crackling voice over the speakers in the room. Austin knew what the source of the voice was, and despite him being safe from… it, he felt a shiver go down his spine. "Anyone in the office today? Or have you all dropped dead?"
"Shut up clown!"
It was quiet for a little while, but Austin found it odd. The twenty-three year-old had been working in Arkham Asylum for about five months now and as much as he'd hate to admit it, he's found a few patters in the… prisoner's mannerisms –the boss said you always had to call the prisoner the prisoner even in your thoughts –such as the fact that he always seemed to have a comeback.
Austin looked at Jerry, hoping to find some of signal of "all-clear" or at least a hint of what the prisoner's expression was, but it seemed like something in the newspaper had intrigued him.
Austin inhaled and couldn't help but bite his lower lip.
He needed to know what the expression was, but he couldn't find the strength to turn in his seat. The screens were about eight inches away from his eyes, but he always avoided them. But the prisoner was being too quiet. He had to look. He had to check.
He slowly turned his body, keeping his eyes forward. He didn't want to look. He really didn't want to look. After his second day… that second day…
"No need to be rude officer. What ever happened to innate kindness? Out the window I suppose," the prisoner said sarcastically. Austin breathed a soft sigh of relief and noticed Jerry's newspaper lower a bit.
"You don't deserve kindness clown," the officer shot back.
"Makes you wish for the days when we didn't have an intercom don' it?" Austin jumped at the old voice behind him. He looked and saw Aaron Cash standing on the opposite side of the chair. Austin relaxed but tried not to show it. Fortunately Cash's eyes never left the screen. "We didn't have to listen to his shit back then." Cash pressed a button to activate the intercom in the other room. "Officer!"
A man in his early forties came back into view of another camera –one Austin was more comfortable looking at. "Sir."
"Stop talking to the prisoner."
"Well, someone's in trouble," the prisoner remarked in a sing-song tone.
With a bit of effort, Cash straightened up and took his finger off of the intercom button then turned to Fall. "I don't think you were here before we had the intercom." Austin shook his head silently and Cash put his hands on his hips. "Yeah. It was pretty quiet around here. We had 'im in his cell, a straighjacket and two armed guards outside. Cameras watching him twenty four hours a day… at first." Cash's face fell a bit. "Then we got cocky. Stopped watchin' 'im as much. Left him alone for a few hours every day. Guess he figured it out. One day he just up 'n… slipped off the straight jacket, opened his cell door, and used part of his jacket to kill the men standing outside his door." Austin watched as Cash's face darkened. "He killed three more before we brought him down…"
Austin stayed silent for a while… letting Cash think. But then he had to ask. "What does that have to do with the intercoms?"
Cash frowned. Austin couldn't identify all of his emotions, but one he could clearly see was grief. "He said that he was telling us his plan the whole time. Said he told us he got his jacket loose, got the gate unlocked, and knew how to unlock the door. Said he kept on repeating his whole plan, over and over again. For a whole three weeks… and he laughed in my face."
Austin felt like he should say something. Something to make his boss smile. Or at least feel better. He had wanted someone to talk to, and he still wanted someone to talk to. Arkham wasn't the best place to work, but having someone to talk to seemed to lighten the mood. Just this conversation seemed to keep his mind away from the prisoner.
It kept Austin from having to see the dank, dark stone around him that seemed to chill the air and absorb the light. It kept him from having to look at the screens that seemed to shiver yet never change. And it kept him from seeing those eyes…
His second day… his second day working here he was just in the surveillance room. Once again, he was doing his best to ignore his surroundings. He tried his best to forget that he was in the infamous asylum… Arkham Asylum. The name by itself was enough to make anyone sick to their stomachs. He could still hear the screaming… and Jerry was as silent as always. He didn't help Austin escape the screaming… and the echoes… and the cells screeching, and the doctors shouting, and the tv's blaring and the patient's mumbling and electricity flowing and the lights buzzing and the gurney's wheels squeaking and then…
"One little drop of blood on the wall, one little drop of blood. Get the knife go take a life, two little drops of blood on the wall…" the prisoner had started to sing.
Feeling empowered by his position and the prisoner's helplessness, Austin pressed the intercom button carelessly. "Shut it clown." Right then, he had felt strong. Invincible. He held all the cards in this situation.
The prisoner's head had popped up, his oily brown hair half covering his face. "A new voice? Well," Austin watched the prisoner lick his lips, "welcome to the family, friend. I'd offer you a handshake, but as you can see, I'm a little wrapped up in something."
Austin had scoffed at his lame attempt at a joke. Seven years to think about his sense of humor and that was the best he could come up with? How pathetic.
"SHUT IT CLOWN BEFORE I PUT YOU DOWN!" the guard inside shouted, then looked up at the camera. "And YOU," he started, clearly talking to Austin, "stop talking to the prisoner rookie!"
"Oh officer. Why so serious? I was just giving my compliments to dear…" the prisoner swung his head around towards the camera in the corner of his cell, staring at it deliberately for a short moment. Austin felt a shiver go up and down his spine as he slowly watched the prisoner's face transform slowly. His eyes became evil, and his mouth turned into the slightest, teasing grin. He didn't say anything out loud…
But Austin knows. Austin is certain that the Joker's lips said Austin.
"You ok son?" Cash asked.
Austin blinked and nodded a bit dumbly. Then, he decided he had to keep Cash talking, an attempt to keep the memory from lingering. "You know sir, it– it wasn't your fault. I mean... you've kept me alive for a while now," Austin commented, hoping it would cheer him up.
Cash smiles and grunted –or was it a laugh?– and pat Austin's on the back. He was quiet after that, staring through the screen at the prisoner while Austin just stared at Cash.
Austin watched as Cash's expression change over and over again. It changed from resentful to remorseful, then sad, then self-hatred, then blatant hatred when his eyes actually focused on the monitor, the guilt, and then finally resignation.
Austin jumped a little when Cash looked back at him. Austin cowered slightly, afraid that Cash would snap at him and take out his raging emotions on him. Just like–
Cash smiled. "You signed up to watch the football today right?" he asked, nodding towards Jerry's newspaper.
Austin frowned for a moment, disappointed that he had missed that conversation opportunity with Jerry –not that it would have worked, but it was worth a try.
Austin looked back at Cash and nodded. "Yeah but for the recording durin my next shift."
"Go ahead. I'll keep an eye on 'im for yuh."
Austin's eyes went wide. "Are you sure sir?"
Cash smiled kindly and nodded his head in dismissal. "Go ahead kid. Go watch the Rogues kick ass. I never really liked football anyway."