This short piece was designed to become the prologue of the Descention part of my main story but I had cut it out because other than the prologue and his name being mentioned Dr. Crane really isn't central to the story and does not appear until the very end of Descention.
I know that in all my other stories on this site Descention is labeled Volume One. That is something I will change. Volume One will encompass all the prequel stories that have been running amok in my head. All are mostly background stories of my OC and of others, for example: What was Bruce Wayne doing for those several years he spent away from Gotham? Other stories, movies and the comic books have touched on the events of those years and I have a few ideas myself and someday I might actually write them all out. But much of Volume One will encompass my OC's background and will be named Awakening. I have already posted part of that story on this site but that is only a small part of the greater story. I didn't want to start with that story though because being on the Batman fan-site with very little of Batman in it didn't seem right so I decided to begin with the part that had the Bat in it… Enter Descention.
Yes, at some point in the near future I will be re-editing all my Goddess stories that are currently posted but will be changing little in the way of plot, so if you've read them already there won't be much need to read them again… unless you want to.
This prologue will be added to Descention but I decided to post it as a one-shot only because I haven't posted much lately. I hope you enjoy it and as always I encourage and eagerly await feedback.
Volume Two: Descention
They that have the Power to Hurt and will Do None,
William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
The summer's flower is to the summer sweet,
Though to itself it only live and die,
But if that flower with base infection meet,
The basest weed outbraves his dignity:
For sweetest things turn sourest by their deeds;
Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds.
Arkham Correctional Facility
She took copious notes on his every movement and everything he muttered as he paced his white-walled cell. Sometimes he recited chemical equations that made no sense, even to another chemist. Other times he quoted Freud or Jung and sometimes Poe, Shakespeare or Dante and many others and sometimes, like now, it seemed he spoke to voices that only he could hear...
"Oh no, not yet, it won't be that easy my friend."
Jenna Jackson was the intern assigned to watch him today. Like the rest of Dr. Kinear's interns she believed she could break the code that were the musings of the former Dr. Jonathan Crane. His almost constant mumbling was recorded of course, but only in audio, that was all his lawyer would allow: He felt constant video surveillance was an invasion of privacy. But so was the constant watch Dr. Kinear had ordered when Crane began this new wrinkle in his behavior.
Jenna had not had the opportunity to meet Crane yet, Dr. Kinear hadn't allowed it and she rankled at that. Brady, Dr. Kinear had said she wasn't ready when she asked him the last time, then he had kissed her and did other things that completely derailed that line of questioning. She had to smile at his cleverness but she was still irked with him for keeping her away from one of his foremost patients. All his other interns had taken their turn in a brief meeting with Crane under supervision of course, why not her? As she watched Crane pacing in his room she wondered what did Brady think he was protecting her from? What could Crane possibly do under restraint and with armed guards surrounding him?
Behind the glass Jenna watched as Crane paced alone now in his room. She decided he was very average looking. Mouse brown hair neatly combed and clean shaven, on the whole, quite unremarkable except his eyes. They were small and dark, like little black beads, like a rat's eyes, a hungry malevolent rat. When he glanced in the direction of the one-way glass he seemed to look at her she shivered in spite herself. He was tall, but lanky. Even in the baggy orange jumpsuit he wore she could see how his sleeves and pant legs seemed too short. His long thin legs needed to take only three steps to reach the wall of his enclosure, then he would turn and walk that three steps back to the middle of the room. He never walked from one wall to the other, only back to the middle and turn only slightly and walk outward to the a different place in the wall. This piecemeal pacing would bring him face to the one-way glass soon and Jenna had mixed feelings about being so close to him even though he could not see her and despite of her wanting to meet with him face to face. Even Brady had secretly admitted to hating being in the same room with Jonathan Crane, the Scarecrow.
It was believed to be the new battery of meds that caused this incessant pacing and babbling but Dr. Kinear thought that perhaps it would also provide insight into the mind of Jonathon Crane. None of the interns were allowed any real contact with Crane until he acclimated to his new medication, he was too dangerous and unpredictable so they watched him behind the glass and listened to his rants and took their notes all the time believing Crane had no idea they were there.
"Knowledge is power but one must remain patient and studious else they may be proven unworthy to receive it."
Knowledge and power again. Jenna was hoping for something different today. When he was like this it seemed that he believed he was teaching his advanced classes back in Gotham University again. Jenna wondered what that would have been like; being taught psychology by a psychopath. One needed a fisherman to teach one how to fish… could the same rule apply to psychiatry? Jenna decided she would look into his former students, see how they fared now, there might even be a paper in it.
"Dabblers, nothing more. I am the key to unlocking the door to wisdom, I am the light that will show you the way."
Among many other things Crane had been diagnosed with narcissism, he truly believed he was foremost in his field. Perhaps he would be, Jenna thought, if he wasn't completely insane.
Jenna, like all Dr. Kinear's interns read Crane's arrest reports, court transcripts and case files from the host of different doctors he had been assigned over the years. She well knew his obsessive fixation with fear and the lengths he would go, has gone, to test his theories. Many of his victims and former patients were now permanent residents of the psychiatric ward in Gotham General and some, those who were more profoundly affected by his 'therapy', were here in Arkham.
"Fear is what keeps us alive, fear is what drives us to become more than what we are. It is the single most important factor in attaining the perfect human form."
Jenna could see where his pacing would lead him, soon she would be face to face with him, separated only by a thin pane of one-way glass.
"It is much more than the unknown, much more than what lurks in the shadows, those fears are child's play but they have their uses. They allow us to grow as we try to conquer those fears, but they are only the beginning."
In spite of herself Jenna was growing more and more apprehensive as Crane's pacing led him closer. She consoled herself with the fact that he couldn't possibly know anyone was there. He was in his own little world, oblivious to the fact that she was watching his every move.
Crane approached the glass and he slowed his pace and his tall thin frame seemed to jerk and twitch as he drew closer. His small dead eyes seemed to lock onto Jenna's.
"Adult fears are so much more complex aren't they? We fear failure, we fixate on our obsessions with power and what we can gain…"
Jenna could not look away, her eyes were locked with his as Crane stopped at the glass and set his long fingered hands on either side of his face. He took a long sniff then smiled, he seemed to speak directly to her…
"…masked with pride and false confidence we go about our daily grind hiding the fact that underneath that calm exterior we are all still quivering children but I know better… under that perfume of spurious arrogance I can still smell the stink of fear."
Her notebook forgotten, Jenna took a step back and stared at the apparition in the glass. "You are a child lost in a world full of scary monsters that will rip you to quivering shreds without a moments hesitation or moral wavering."
Jenna tried to shake the fear he seemed to stir within her but she was lost in his insidious gaze.
"You see it in their eyes don't you, that slavering hunger. Oh how you fear them."
Jenna took another step back, he was just grasping at straws, trying to elicit any kind of reaction. She knew he couldn't possibly know she was there, that anyone was there yet his words seemed to trigger something… Jenna involuntarily broke out into a cold sweat.
"But I know what you fear the most, that thing deep inside yourself, that thing you hate and dare not show to anyone."
Jenna was visibly shaken, all alone in that small observation room with him, with Crane, the master of fear. She tried to rationalize that there was nothing in his words that could possible apply to her personally, but it wasn't just his words, it was his manner and the way his eyes seemed to lock onto hers and she felt the fear wash over her when he spoke, he seemed to know what she was thinking...
"It's in the eyes isn't it? You see your own reflection in them, you see yourself as they see you and you hate it and love it don't you little girl?"
Jenna shook her head and whispered, "No." …he didn't know anything about her, how could he?
"You cannot hide it forever. There is a monster inside all of us, even you and it wants to break free."
No, he didn't know she was there, he was just playing one of his games. Even still, Jenna had to force herself to take a step toward the glass again, but mid-step she froze…
"Sometimes you let it don't you? Sometimes you let that morally deficient animal out don't you girl? You play secret games of 'doctor' in the dark and pretend the fantasy is real."
How could he know? Brady would never have told him, did one of the other interns…
"But it's his fantasy girl not yours that you are making happen. Only his dreams are coming true, not yours, never yours…"
She wanted to make him understand that wasn't true… wasn't it? She did have a secret fantasy that Brady would leave his wife and then they would be together but that was a childish dream, she knew it would never happen but...
"It is your own fault, you deny yourself your dreams and let him have his and still he holds you back, perhaps to keep you exactly where he wants you to be…. Under him."
She thought he was keeping her away from his more dangerous patients to keep her safe, but what if that wasn't the case? Her progress had been slowed because of that hindrance. Was the real reason for that to keep her a lowly intern and his personal toy forever?
"Perhaps it is that he thinks you just don't have what it takes, perhaps all you really are good for is backseat dalliances and office games."
No, she thought, that's not true. She was at the top of her class. She was better than this, better than how she was being treated.
"You have let yourself be beaten down, you have allowed him to control you."
He doesn't control her, does he? She was never allowed to call him, but she had to be ready for him any time night or day. Anytime he could get away from his wife…
"It's only your lot in this life if you allow it to be. You are too frightened to take control of your own life so you allow others to control you. It's so much safer that way isn't it? No decisions to make, you just do what you're told like a good little girl. It's always been that way hasn't it?"
How could he know? She had always felt she was taking orders. Her parents, ex-boyfriends even her girlfriends. She was a follower, all her life, nothing but a follower.
"How many times have others led you astray? Made you feel worthless and inadequate, a victim."
All her life she had felt forced into things, even this, psychology wasn't her first choice. She wanted to be a musician but her parents made her choose something more 'substantial'. But now what was she? A toy for a mentor that wanted to keep her down, on her knees for his own enjoyment. No one understood her, no one cared what she wanted.
"It is time to conquer your fear and take off the sheep's skin and be more than they all think you are."
Yes it was time, and long overdue.
"Time for the student to become the teacher. It is time for him to learn a lesson isn't it? Time for you to take control."
Enthralled she spoke, "Yes, this has to stop."
"Time for him to know what it feels like to be on his knees, time for him to feel the fear."
Lost in his eyes she nodded, "Yes, it is time…"
Jonathon Crane could hear a door slam on the other side of the glass and smiled. It was child's play. He had known the good Dr. Kinear was keeping a female intern away from him. He could smell her perfume on him and after months of intensive therapy Crane knew this new scent wasn't his wife's stink on him. When he approached the glass he could smell it and he knew who was watching. The rest of the manipulation was a mixture of guess work and clues Kinear and his other interns supplied when they tried to delve into a mind much more advanced than their own.
Crane didn't know what the young female intern would do, run to a corner somewhere and cry, confront Kinear, maim him, kill him or his wife or both. He really didn't care he just didn't want to be watched at the moment. He turned around and paced back to the middle of the room and began tapping at his ear; a series of short taps interspaced by gaps seemingly at random. These silent taps could not be picked up by the audio recording devices that he knew were in the room with him but still they spoke volumes.
His lawyer, a benefit his new acquaintances supplied, had smuggled him a tiny transmitter that fit deep inside his ear. His constant talking was a way to speak in code to the people who worked to free him from this place but sometimes code was too cumbersome a mode of conversation. Morse code on the other hand could convey his questions much more readily.
The voice in his ear, finally able to understand his question, gave him the answer he was hoping for. Very soon it would be time to leave.
Crane stopped his pacing in the middle of the room and looked around at the white walls. He considered Arkham his home and he always would, it had given him much over the years but sometimes one had to stretch their legs and see the world again.
The end... sort of.