I Did the Unthinkable

Part One: https://www.dcuniverse.com/community/boards/fancontributions/just-another-day-in-gotham

I sat upon a gargoyle and stared down at the scene that unfolded below.  Three men in animal masks were led into a police van.  A bat-shaped shadow chatted with an overweight, unkempt, cigar-chomping detective.  Paramedics dragged three bagged-up bodies out of the front entrance of the apartment building.  Whatever must’ve happened down in there wasn’t my concern.  After all, I wasn’t Batman’s best friend.  We fought for the same cause, yet had different ways of going about it.  And I preferred our relationship stay that way.

Some kid in a second-rate Robin Hood costume sat beside me.  I turned my head and stared into her eyes.  She was a scrawny, little thing; couldn’t have been older than 13 tops.  Her red hair was fine-trimmed to a pixie cut.  A pair of square-rimmed, green-tinted glasses sat upon her pointy nose.  She wore a yellow cape, red tunic, and yellow utility belt over a green t-shirt and short-shorts, gloves, and boots.  A laid-back, moderate-toned voice escaped her vocal cords.  “What’s up, Huntress?”

I shook my head.  “Tell your boss he took over my investigation.”

The kid raised her eyebrows.  “Your investigation?”

“What’s it to you, Robin?”

Robin stared down and frowned.  “I don’t want us to interrupt anything you’re doing if we can avoid it.  It’d make things easier for the three of us if you’d cooperate.”

A giant bat-shaped shadow stood in front of Robin while its gruff, Clint Eastwood-wannabe voice interrupted her.  “Not a chance.”

I pulled out my flashlight, flipped it in the air, grabbed the handle, and shined it into the bat-shaped shadow.  Through the shadow projection was a lame Halloween bat costume composed of overpriced bullet-resistant alloys and a prototype camouflage coating that made the suit resemble a shadow to the untrained human eye.  The shadow trick was obviously smoke and mirrors.  I didn’t need tricks like those to prove any points.  “Like I’d want to cooperate with a loony in a bat costume too scared to dirty his mittens.  After all, wasn’t it about a half year ago you lost yet another one of your Boy Wonders?  Jason, was it?  Are you hiring little girls into your Robin Brigade these days?”

Batman stepped close and stared into my eyes.  “Huntress, don’t push it.  I didn’t ask for any of this.  How I go about my life isn’t of your concern.”

I disagreed.  “Look, I know it gets lonely.  I’ve been there.  You know I’m not okay with the whole kid sidekick thing, especially after you had one ditch you for the Teen Titans years ago and just lost another.  If you really want a kid that badly, how about you get a girlfriend?  Get married?  You know, act like a normal adult?”

“Like you’re one to speak.”

I shrugged.  “We’re both costumed vigilantes.  It’s in our nature to be weirdos.”

“But unlike you, I don’t kill.”

“Not even the Joker?”

Batman shook his head.  “I’m not proud of what he did.  I gave it consideration after I saw what he did to Jason.  But in the end, killing him would make me no better.  Murder isn’t worth the pain and suffering caused to all parties involved.”

Too late for me now.  “More like self-defense on my end…  Too little, too late, I suppose.”

“It’s never too late to change, Huntress.”

I pulled out my grappling hook and aimed it down the road.  “Whatever.”  I pulled the trigger and launched myself across the street.  “Until next time.”

My grappling hook shot me across the Gotham skyline.  The rush of cars and the bright, fiery lights below were but a flash before my eyes.  A gust of spring wind chilled my body.  My long hair whipped back to the rush of forward momentum.  The distant church only got closer by the second.  Once I landed feet-first on the rooftop, Batman met my eyes.  I don’t know how he always beat me to the punch.  “I’m not done with you yet.”

I rolled my eyes.  “What now?”

Batman reminded me of something else that came up.  “Where is the Joker?”

Oh boy!  He already knows, doesn’t he?  “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Batman already figured it out.  “The Joker’s been missing for a week already.  Harley Quinn caused a scene earlier this evening and told me about it.  Do you know anything about his disappearance?”

“No.”  I looked away.  “And frankly, I don’t care.”

“You brought him up, not me.”

I shrugged.  “Hey, he’s your arch nemesis.  I know about what he did to Jason and Barbara.  I just wanted to hear your honest opinion about the manner.”

Batman changed the topic.  “Can you at least tell me if Barbara is okay?”

“Barbara is fine.  Don’t worry.  What, you got a date with her or something?”

Batman’s tone lowered to a disgusted groan.  “What?  No!  I wouldn’t!”

“Figured you were pals with the commissioner.”  I aimed my grappling hook to the side.  “I’d stay and chat some more, but I’m overstaying my welcome.”  I pulled the trigger and flew away.  “Adios.”


	Once I reached my apartment building, I looked over my shoulder.  Batman was long gone.  I leaped across the alleyway, landed on the fire escape in front of my window, opened the window, crawled past the cotton blinds, and shut the window behind myself.  I holstered my crossbow into a nearby rifle rack, took off my domino mask, disrobed to my undergarments, and pranced over to my bedroom.  An unopened red wine bottle and an empty wine glass sat atop of my bed’s end table.  I opened the wine bottle, poured myself a glass, swished the wine, and sipped it.  Cheap wine after a long day’s work always brightened the mood!

	I sat down on my bed and sipped my wine while I thought about the day.  Not much happened.  I fought petty, forgettable purse snatchers and bullies earlier that day.  And once I reached the apartment complex where the assassination of Harvey Bullock was to take place, Batman snatched my targets right before my eyes.  Barely anything of value was accomplished.  Talk about an underwhelming day…

	I heard my refrigerator open open.  I set my wine glass aside, opened the end table drawer, pulled out my 22 LR pistol, and aimed it at the kitchen.  “Who’s there?”

	 A smoky drawl purred from the other side.  “It’s just me, Huntress.”

	I got up and stomped into the kitchen.  A woman in a black, leather bodysuit sat upon my table and chugged my milk straight out of the carton.  Her cowl had a pair of pointy, cat-like ears on the sides.  Her whip was holstered upon her lower back in a manner not unlike that of a tail.  Her eyes peeked through red tinted goggles.  I wasn’t pleased by her sudden appearance.  “Catwoman, what the hell are you doing in my room?  And can you please pour that in a glass next time?”

	Catwoman set the milk carton down, took off her goggles, and pulled her cowl down.  Underneath the cowl was a black pixie cut and a pair of slanted, green eyes.  She smirk wide while a white mustache was stained above her upper lip.  “Don’t tell me you’ve never done this before.”

	“Not with a stranger’s milk carton.”  I placed my pistol in the rifle rack, sighed, and walked into the kitchen.  “Seriously, what are you doing in my apartment?”

	Catwoman glanced back and forth and shrugged.  “Oh, I don’t know.  I figured I’d stop by and say hi.  You know how stray cats are sometimes.”

	“And you’re more human than cat last I checked.  Can you cut the bullshit and tell me what’s on your mind?”

	Catwoman dodged my concerns.  “Oh, I don’t know.”  She licked her milk mustache, laid down on my table, and patted her stomach.  “What’s it for me?”

	I reached for the rifle rack.  “I’ll let you out alive if you shut up and speak.”  I glanced at the milk carton.  “And you’re going to need to buy milk for me.  Whole milk, please.  None of that skim or low-fat bullshit.” 

	Catwoman grabbed the milk carton.  “Can I finish the rest of it?”

	“Get it over with, but remember to buy another carton in an hour tops.”

	Catwoman chugged the milk carton and told me something I already knew.  “You know that Jason Todd kid the Joker killed?  Rumor has it he’s…”

	“Back in town.  Yeah, I know.”

	Catwoman spat her milk.  “How?”

	I lied.  “Word travels fast.  Something else?  If you’re going to tell me the Joker…”

	“Is missing.  Rumor has it Jason may have something to do with it.”

	I leaned against the doorway and crossed my arms.  “You know I’m not living under a rock.  As a matter of fact, I know more than you think I do.  Ask away.”

	Catwoman sat up and held back a belch.  “Tell me you know where the Joker is hiding.”

	“What’s it to you?”

	Catwoman stared into my eyes and smirked.  “Oh, a friend wanted to know.”

	“Who, Batman?”

	“I’m not telling.”

	“I’m not telling, either.  It’s classified.”

	“Do you want to kill The Joker?”

	I gave her my honest opinion.  “I mean, who doesn’t?  He’s murdered and gassed tens if not hundreds of innocent people already, murdered a teenage sidekick in cold blood, and paralyzed another before torturing her father with pictures of her naked, wounded body.  That’s not even going into all the times he’s escaped Arkham Asylum.  The guy’s a grade-A psychopath with no end in sight to his crimes.  Someone’s got to put that rabid dog down for good.”

	“You know where he is, don’t you.”  Catwoman hopped down and reached for her tail whip.  “Where is he?”

	“I know who has him, but I’m not speaking.”

	“Why?”

	“It’s confidential.”

	Catwoman dropped her arm and hissed.  “Fine.”  She walked over to the window, opened it, and ducked outside.  “Buy your own goddamn milk.”

	I shut the door behind her, locked it, grabbed my wine glass, went over to my bed, and sat down.  Right when I began to get comfy, the phone rang.  I picked up the phone and heard a robotic monotone.  “Good evening, Huntress.”

	I sipped my wine glass and said hello.  “Good evening, Oracle.”

	“How’s it going?”

	I told her about both of the encounters from earlier tonight.  “Batman and Catwoman asked about the Joker.  They seem to think I’ve got him held up somewhere.”

	“You can’t tell anyone else what’s going on, especially Batman.  The Arkham Knight will kill me if anyone finds out.”

	I was on her side.  “Relax, I’m keeping this tight-lipped.  After this mess is over, the Arkham Knight will go away for good.  After all, Batman would freak out if he knew what was going on.”

	“Don’t forget I’m on his suspect list, too.”  Oracle paused a moment.  “The things Joker did to me?  I’ll never forgive him.  And the things Joker did to him?  Just awful…  I wouldn’t go to the same lengths, but I can relate to how he’s feeling.”

	I sipped my wine glass.  “Two sidekicks tortured by the same man.  It’s a wonder Batman has any patience left for that monster.”

	“I understand both sides of the conflict, but I wish to keep my distance.”  Somebody else rang.  “Hold on, he’s calling.”

	Oracle said goodbye and hung up.  “I’ll see you later.”

	I dropped her call and answered the other caller.  “Stuck in the Middle with You” by Stealers Wheel blasted out of the stereos in the background so loud, I turned down the volume.  The caller’s distorted and modulated voice was lower-toned than normal.  “Helena, we need to talk.”

	It sounded urgent.  “Is everything alright, Jason?”

	Jason’s voice shook while he admitted to his commitment.  “I…did the unthinkable.”

	“The Joker’s dead, isn’t he?”

	Jason paused momentarily.  I couldn’t tell if he was either crying or afraid to acknowledge.

	Once the realization hit, I began to get cold feet.  “Do you need any help?  I don’t know it’s a good idea to share this over a public line.”

	Jason pretended he said nothing.  “Forget it.  I meant to call Bruce.”

	Uh…  “Bruce?  Who’s Bruce?”

	Jason hung up the phone.

	I unplugged the phone, set the glass aside and hopped off of my bed.  I hurried into my costume and went for the window.  Dear lord, Jason…  What have you done?

I figured Jason would be where I met him last; Warehouse 4 in the Gotham Docks.  I stared down at the destination from atop a nearby crane.  The rush of the Atlantic Ocean waves splashed against the pier with outright ferocity.  A harsh wind sent my cape and hair flying back while a slight chill went along my spine.  “My Sharona” by The Knack blared out of the dim-lit warehouse loud enough for the neighbors to hear.  He was there.  I wasn’t ready to witness the unthinkable.

I made a cross gesture and prayed.  “Dear lord, please forgive me for what I’m about to do.  All we wanted was to get rid of a madman and bring peace to this god-forsaken city.  I hope you’re not anger at me for allowing this man to partake in a horrible sin.  Please forgive me, my lord.  Amen.”

I hopped off of the crane, grappled onto the rooftop, and rolled onto my feet.  I leaped down the edge of the rooftop, landed in front of Warehouse 4, hurried for the door, and pushed the garage door up.  The moment I saw it, I held my mouth and gasped!

Dead center of the room was Joker’s corpse.  Joker was a milk-white skinned man of average height and slim figure.  His green hair was a wavy wisp.  His green eyes were sunken and bloodshot.  He wore a purple business suit with an orange vest and green buttoned shirt, purple gloves, and green shoes.   Joker sat upon an office chair and was bound by tight-knit barbed wire.  His head was caved in deep enough to expose brain matter.  The hole in his head was most likely a gunshot wound, most likely a 9mm round.  The joints in his arms and legs were snapped back to 90 degree angles.  His chest and stomach was riddled by bullet wounds.  Blood oozed down from his wounds and caked the floor in a thick, dark reddish puddle.  Worst of all, despite the pain, his thin, red lips had grimaced into an abnormally wide, toothy grin.  Son of a bitch died with a smile, yet I couldn’t help but feel sorry for the way he died.  Nobody deserved such a violent, torturous fate.

The more I stared at the scene, the more I shivered and trembled.  God, he pissed us all off.  And yet, the way he died…  This manner in which he met his fate…  This was a severe case of brutality.  This was torture.  This was one man’s rage unleashed upon another.  I wouldn’t have stooped this low even on a bad day.  To think I helped that guy kidnap Joker…

I turned my head to the right.  His assailant sat upon an office chair with his back to me.  He stared long at the boombox while he held his head in his hand.  His black hair was parted in the middle.  He wore a brown, blood-stained bomber jacket over a black bodysuit with a titanium breastplate.  His red motorcycle helmet with a red-tinted visor was set upon a table beside a 9mm semi-automatic pistol and a blood-stained crowbar.  He whimpered soft and pretended I wasn’t there.

I let out my mind.  “Seriously, what the fuck?  What the hell is this?”

Jason turned off the boombox and spun his chair around.  When I saw his face, I was at a loss for words.  To think I once attended Sunday morning service with this kid back when he was twelve…  Four years later, while he’s still a kid, he became a cold-blooded murderer.  His once inverted triangle face was severely scarred and lopsided.  His once pointy nose was crooked and broken.  His bright blue, narrow eyes were soaked in tears.  The boy I once knew had changed…  “Jason, how could you?”

Jason kept his lips sealed.

“We used to attend the same church.  I can’t believe I just aided you in kidnapping, torture, and murder.  You’re just a kid.  You know better than this.”

Jason shook his head.  His high-pitched, crackly voice was but an imitation of his once-pure youth gone corrupt.  “Helena, you don’t know me.”

“You’re right, I don’t.  Whatever Joker did to you is long over.  It didn’t have to end this way.  You didn’t need to be this violent; this messy.  This is disturbing.”

“You have no idea.  I gave him what he deserved.  There was no other way.”

“Jason, I can’t believe you went to these lengths.”

Jason pointed at his face.  “Look at me.  Look at my face.  He ruined me, Helena.  I almost died because of him.  Not even Leslie could fix me.”  He covered his eyes.  “God, everyone else thinks I’m still dead!  I can’t go back to Bruce looking like this.  What would he think of me?”

Again, with Bruce…  “Who is this “Bruce” you speak of?  I’m sure before you killed Joker, he would’ve been fine enough to see you in one piece.”

Jason raised his head and spilled the beans.  “Bruce Wayne is Batman.”

Bullshit!  “You’re lying.  No way that multi-billionaire playboy douche is Batman.”

“You know it to be true.  Bruce Wayne is Batman.  You know I was once Robin.  I know everything, especially the hidden Batcave under his mansion.”

I raised my hand.  “You’re talking crazy!  There is no Batcave.  That can’t possibly exist!”

Jason gave up.  “Believe what you will, but I’ve seen it firsthand.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”  He breathed deep and shrugged.  “Either way, there’s no going back from here.  I’m done with killing.”

That was a start.  “You need to run.  Lay low.  Get a new identity and pretend none of this happened.  Forget about fighting crime.  And seek out a professional psychologist to help you deal with the pain.  I’m sorry about what Joker did to you.  None of you deserved any of this.”

Jason denied the claim.  “Bullshit.  Joker got what was coming.”

“The world’s a safer place without him, but not in this way.”  I began to hear sirens.  “Go.  Get out of Gotham.  Run and don’t look back.”

Jason put on his motorcycle helmet, holstered his pistol, stood up, and walked towards me.  Its internal voice modulator got deep and distorted almost like a corruption of his soul.  Jason was no more.  His metamorphosis into Red Hood was complete.  “Could I stay at your place for a bit?”

I raised my crossbow and backed away.  “No!  Stay back!”

Red Hood kept walking and raised his hands.  “Help me lay low.  Trust me.”

Never.  “I can’t trust you.  Not after what you did.”

“You need to trust me.  After all, I’m a good guy.”

I lowered my finger on the trigger.  “Good guys don’t murder and torture.”

“But you kill bad guys all the time.  What’s the difference?”

I backed up near the entrance.  “I don’t always kill, but when I do, it’s in self-defense.  You committed first-degree murder.  That’s a felony.”

The sirens were getting close.  I couldn’t help but feel as if someone was watching.  The anger in Red Hood’s voice seethed.  “So what?  He nearly murdered me!  He left me permanently scarred!  He left me to die!  If I didn’t wake up in that morgue, god only knows what could’ve happened.  You know what scares me?”  Red Hood pulled out his pistol, turned around, aimed up, and fired.  “Realizing I’m now a target of the man I used to admire as a father!”

Something on the catwalk scurried away from the gunfire and vanished into the shadows.

Red Hood pumped his chest and trash-talked the guest.  “What’s wrong, Bruce?  Are you scared?  Are you afraid?  I killed your arch nemesis for you.  You should be relieved.”

The lights went out and a gruff, Clint Eastwood-wannabe voice filled the room with terror.  “You should be ashamed of yourself.  First-degree murder gives you twenty-five to life.  You’re already getting one count on your record and you don’t want a second.  Drop the gun.  Don’t make me do this the hard way.”

Red Hood holstered his pistol, raised his arms, and gestured the guest over.  “Bring it, Bruce!”

“Wrong.”  A shadowy figure with tall, bat-like ears slipped out of the shadows and appeared in front of Red Hood’s face.  “I’m Batman.”

Red Hood pumped back and elbow and swung a fist.  Batman blocked the punch and swung back.  Red Hood blocked the fist, turned, and side-kicked.  Batman got knocked aside, regained his balance, and pounced.

I lowered my crossbow and looked back.  Robin gestured me outside.  “Hurry.  This way.”

I could’ve stayed and watch the fight unfold, but figured my safety was a bigger concern.  I backed out of the warehouse, turned around, and ran.  The lens of my domino mask fogged up and the tears were uncontrollable.  I couldn’t believe what I witnessed.  It was too much to bear.

I did the unthinkable.  I aided in the kidnapping and murder of Joker.  And now, I had to pay for my sins.  Forgive me, father, for I have sinned.


	I cowered against an air duct on top of the closest building I could find.  I tried to comprehend the events I witnessed, but it was too much to bear.  A child I recognized and befriended from church turned out to be a monster.  I wasn’t ready to tell Batman the hard truth while he stood beside me.  I held my knees close and tried to figure out what to say.

	Batman stood beside me and interrogated me.  “Huntress, what were you doing in that warehouse?”

	I gave him the honest answer.  “A week ago, I helped a few people kidnap the Joker.  We were ready to put an end to his shenanigans after we heard about what happened to Jason and Barbara.  Earlier tonight, I got the news.  That man you fought?  He murdered Joker.  It…wasn’t pleasant.”  I sniffled.  “And I regret the choice I made.”

	“And yet, you handed Joker over to somebody you didn’t know.”

	Not quite.  “I knew Oracle.  Oracle wasn’t involved in the murder directly, but she was interested in acquiring him and seeing him get put down.  The other person, the guy you fought…”

	“Who was he?”

	I gave him the half-truth.  I didn’t think he was ready to stomach the entire truth.  “He calls himself Red Hood.”

	“Red Hood?  As in Joker’s previously known alias?”

	I nodded.  “What happened to him?”

	“He escaped.  He was a better fighter than I anticipated.  Somebody taught him well.”

	“Yeah.”  I was ready to unmask his secret identity.  “Bruce Wayne, is it?”

	Batman denied the claim.  “I’m Batman.  Who told you?”

	“Red Hood.”  I brushed a tear.  “I can’t say who it is, but I knew him from church and he’s become such a monster I don’t know what else to say.”

	Batman talked with someone on another line.  “Alfred, someone’s compromised my identity.  Give me a list of known associates, pronto.  People who attend Gotham Cathedral.”

	I took a deep breath.  I was scared.  “What’s going to happen to me now?  Am I going to jail?  I don’t want to ruin my crime fighting career over this.”

	Batman looked down.  “Give me a good reason not to turn you over to the authorities.”

	I nodded him over, waited for him to kneel beside me, and whispered soft.  “You can’t tell anyone about this.”  I told him everything I knew about the situation.  “There was a third person involved who manipulated the other two, plus a number of super-powered villains.  Oracle is being held ransom by someone who calls himself the Arkham Knight and he’s making her direct Red Hood and the other bad guys towards their objectives.  I don’t know what he’s trying to achieve, but the hit on Bullock and the Joker’s murder are connected and this is only the tip of the iceberg.”  I tried to hold back a tear, but I couldn’t.  All of this was too much to bear.  “We’re all pawns in some fucked-up scheme and frankly, I don’t know any other way out of this.”

	“If you promise to help me, I’ll forgive you.”  He patted my shoulder, stood up, and stared into the distance.  “Tell me everything you know about the Arkham Knight.”

	That’s the thing about Batman…  Sometimes, we don’t see eye-to-eye with our methods.  Sometimes, he’s just another person in a ridiculous outfit doing what’s best for the city.  Sometimes, he brings hope and confidence in people.  Batman is a complicated character, but when he’s on your side, it’s best you put your trust in him.  He’s not such a bad guy after all.
2 Likes

The dialogue needs work in several places… occasionally, you lose that ‘natural’ feeling in the way the characters talk. Mostly that’s word choices, choice of this phrase or that. And… Helena doesn’t PRANCE across a room. Reindeer prance. Again, though, word choices. You have a solid gift for first person narrative. This is the best piece of fiction on this website. And that includes mine. I am impressed.

3 Likes

I’m glad I’m one of the better fan fiction writers on this site. I enjoy writing as much as I hope my viewers are enjoying my work. I do feel like I could’ve spent another day or two on the editing board, but considering tomorrow was going to be a busy day (what with Captain Marvel coming out and all), perhaps now was a better time to get it released while it was done. I’ll praise the day DCU has an edit function.

2 Likes