The Darkest Night

"All things truly wicked start from innocence." Ernest Hemingway


16. Great Place for an Origin Story: Downfall

Not much happened in the next few weeks aside from their return from "vacation" and her roughly-taken promotion. Bruce had to work vigorously to get all the men over their egos and assumptions. With the Joker and Maroni both behind bars, there were no late night calls for Batman. In fact, there wasn't much crime at all. Gotham's worst hid and cowered in fear at the bat-man, giving Bruce and Aurora time to really get close to each other like they were so many years ago, when they were too young to understand the value of the other.

At the beginning of the fourth week, Aurora got a call from her parents asking her to visit them in Metropolis. She hadn't seen them in years, and since she was promoted, they wanted to celebrate with her. Her plane was to leave on that Friday and she planned to stay for a week.

"I love you.” She smiled and gave Bruce a final kiss as he closed the trunk. "I'll see you in a week. Call me when you can." Aurora let him get her door and she slid into the taxi cab. "And Bruce," she began with a small smile before he closed the door, "please be careful.”

He gave her a small smile, a promise in itself but not anything she could hold him to if something were to happen, and closed the door.

The taxi driver took off down the long drive, turning hastily onto the icy Gotham streets. Watching Bruce shrink behind them was painful.

It had been maybe ten minutes in, when she got suspicious. The driver couldn't stop laughing, and it was really effecting his driving. Aurora shifted uncomfortably and sunk back into her seat.

"Sir? Are you okay?" she asked, voice timid.

"Oh yes, my dear! I'm fantastic! BAHAHAHA!"

The man turned around and revealed his face to Aurora.

               White face.

                         Red lips.

                                   Green hair.

The colors were toned down and faded, making him look like he was just some adult trying to be punk-y to feel young again. Not that he really was. She knew that now.

"Oh, don't you worry. You're going to be with your parents eventually.” The Joker dragged a purple-gloved finger across his throat to imitate a person dying and chuckled darkly. "I bet you're wondering why I chose you, aren't you? Well, a few weeks ago I found myself being rescued as I fell to my almost death by none other than the Batman himself! I've been doing a bit of reading, collecting various news stories of Batman and I came across something strange. The Batman emerged...five years ago? Two years after his first sighting, he vanished for three years, the same amount of time our mutual pal, billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne, went on his little 'vacation'. Come on. At least make an effort, Brucie! Attacking you was all too easy. I'm going to draw out the Batman. I'm going to draw out Bruce Wayne. And I am going to make him break that golden rule of his! Because it's me or you, baby! Me or you! BAHAHAHAHAHA!" The doors around Aurora locked shut, and though she tried to get out of the car, the doors were unable to be unlocked from the back seat. Panic set in. “But don’t you worry. His little secret is safe with me. I want the Batman, not your boyfriend.”

The Joker started laughing again and took a sharp left turn, leading Aurora to whatever was waiting for her.

"Let me out," she ordered in a low voice. The girl pounded on the doors, struggling to find the phone she left in her carry-on bag in the trunk. Her head spun, she went numb, and she was tense with adrenaline tearing through her. This would happen. She and Bruce were so relaxed. Hell, she really was going on vacation. How could the Joker have broken out of Blackgate? "Let me out!" She was wrong when she told Bruce he was there for the city, not the people. Bruce was there to save the people. And right now, that person was her.

He dragged her into a empty building, the girl kicking and screaming the entire way.

"I told ya not to worry, Rory. This is a great place for an origin story! Way better than old ACE."

He restrained her to a big, metal pole in the center of the room that ran all the way up to the ceiling. The Joker skipped around the tied up and gagged girl sitting on the frozen floor of the warehouse.

"Oh, Miss Rider, you're in quite the pickle aren't you? Boohoo. Heh heh..." He bent down so he was eye level with her. Aurora whimpered and scooted away from the man.

In the taxi, he looked completely normal—like any other taxi driver she ever encountered in her life. Now, the man had vibrant colors across his face and skin. He wore an eccentric outfit and had a look in his eyes that was more terrifying than anything she had seen—complete insanity.

"Batman will be here soon, you know? Then we can get down to business. But you know, I've been thinking. A good chemical reaction always occurs if you add a catalyst!" He put a hand next to his mouth like he was sharing a secret with her. "And my boys over there have been dying to have a go at you." He pointed to the group of men dressed in clown masks. "I think that if we want to get the best result from my little experiment, we should add this catalyst. Boys! Have at her! BAHAHAHA!" The Joker screamed with laughter as he cleared the area.

Aurora screamed and tried to get away from them, but any noise she made couldn't be heard through the gag and she was frozen with terror. The man in the front began to unzip his jeans and her eyes widened, tears filling them already.

She would not stay tough. She would not stay strong.

There was nothing she could do. There was no way out.

And there was no one to save her.

"Untie her. I want her to get comfortable," the man with the undone zipper said.

The other clowns hurried around her, slicing off the binding ropes with small knives, one of the men pulling the cloth wrapped around her mouth down to her throat.

The first breath of fresh, cold air sent a dizzying feeling straight to her head.

"Please," she begged, pushing and kicking at the men who were holding her down. She managed to deliver a blow from her heel to one of their jaws, but then she was fully restrained. Her screams bounced off the walls, her pleads and cries making her ears ring. "Stop!" she shrieked as the men tore off her clothes, beating her until she could no longer scream, but sob what words she could manage. All of the men slammed into her, hit and hurt her in any way they could. One of them tickled her sides while the other two restrained her and the fourth pounded into her. Another thought that was funny and started to do the same to her feet. Aurora's sobs were temporarily laced with laughter, a sensation washing over her that made her want to vomit. She was naked and cold and helpless under them. "Please," she sobbed., the Joker's sniggering echoing around the warehouse."I'm pregnant. I'm pregnant!"

One hit.

One hit and she felt the floor drop from under her, sending her plummeting into a frozen, dark hole in the world—one where no one should ever be. There was a sharp pain in her stomach, followed by a feeling of absolute wrongness.

"Oh, God..." Her voice was full of so many emotions. Sickness, humiliation, terror, pain... It was hoarse and barely audible.

"That's enough!" the Joker called.

The men scattered, leaving shattered Aurora lying on the floor, motionless.

She couldn't cry or scream anymore—she just laid there.

The Joker squatted next to her, a sickly excited expression on her face.

She was wrong. She could scream. Her shrieking was ear shattering, blood curdling as he cut slowly into her arm.

“H….A….H….A….” he muttered, carving each letter into the soft bottom of her left forearm as he spoke it.

By the time he was finished, there was a mess of blood around her purple skin, along with plenty coming from her arms and between her legs from miscarrying. She laid there, soft sobs coming from the exhausted, beaten girl who could barely manage to make a noise. The baby was dead. The baby Bruce didn't know about. And now he never would know what really happened when they took that shower together.

She was destroyed.

The Joker began to walk away, but she knew he wouldn't do this and get away with it.

Everything faded and she fell unconscious.

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