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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Gotham Rain: Chapter 1

[I haven't written fiction in a while, so I'm giving it a shot. On an unrelated note, I really hate to ask, but as I've recently been laid off, if you're feeling generous, I have a paypal at reverendsalem@gmail.com]

The following occurs between the events of Arkham Asylum and Arkham City.


     It's been raining for 3 days now. Not a pause and no end in sight. Here, in this sprawling concrete rainforest that is Gotham City, very few plants grow. My babies take refuge here, in one of Miagani Island's abandoned botanical gardens, at the southernmost coast of the city. The people, and their polluting vehicles, are fewer, and no one notices the patch of beautiful green high atop this vacant building. Since the Asylum incident, I've kept to myself, tending my babies and spreading my roots again through the city. The Bat and I leave each other alone. I imagine he's busy, he and his kind, scouring the streets for any of the degenerate maniacs that fled the island during the riots.

     She's been sitting on the balcony now for a whole day. She hasn't eaten. Hasn't spoken. I can hear her crying occasionally as I stroke the petals of my Alchymist rose, its peach blossoms growing strong and healthy. She's sitting out there in the rain because she thinks it's hiding the tears. She and I share something. Our skin is no longer the color it once was when we were human. When I was enlightened, I became a shade of green, but when he did what he did to her, her skin turned as pale as an orchid. But I can tell, when the nourishing water hits her face, what's her and what she's caked on as ornamental. The black streaks from her eyes trailing down her Hyacinth cheeks awaken in me something... human.


    Since my growth, I've felt less and less what these 'people' feel. Plants are much simpler, much less complex. I can feel their pain when they are cut down. I can feel their warmth when the sun hits them. But I can't feel hatred or jealousy or love or compassion like a person would anymore. But Harley, for some reason, brings that back to me. I've always felt some sort of kinship with her, and I'm not entirely sure why. That lack of certainty pricks at me like a thorn. The simplicity of a slowly growing plant is much easier to understand, and I hate that I feel this way. I wish I could leave her to her own devices, but I just can't.

    In the wake of the Asylum incident there was sheer chaos. While the GCPD was trying to clean up the mess that the clown left behind, I shook off the influence of the Titan formula and staggered through the rubble of Arkham Asylum's botanical gardens. The things he made me do were abhorrent. I create life and yet he made me destroy. I found Harley locked in a cell and summoned what was left of my strength to grow vines between the cracks of the cell's door until it burst from its hinges. Harley helped me to the shore, and again I summoned enough within myself to grow us a pod that would safely carry us North across the harbor to the shorelines of Miagani Island. Too weak to walk, let alone summon anything that would carry us to a safe haven, Harley stole a car and raided one of her stashes, abandoning the garish nurse outfit she'd worn to please him, while I cocooned myself and regained strength. I soaked in the brackish water that leaked into the basement of Harley's storeroom, and while she thought I was asleep, she ranted in anger about how he abandoned her.

     As soon as I was able, we left for the arboretum. Harley disappeared for a couple of days, intent on finding the Joker, but when she returned, she was different. She tried to play it off, but something had happened between them. I returned to tending my plants, bringing the abandoned arboretum back to life, but she sat on the balcony outside the glass walls of the greenhouse motionless.

     I can't stand to see her like this. I don't understand fully why. Why do I have this connection, this human connection with her? And what is this feeling I have, this feeling that, if I were still human, I would consider rage? Am I feeling this on her behalf, or do I selfishly want to make it go away just so that I can stop feeling it?


     I don't know. All I know is that I can't see her like this anymore. Every time he hurts her, she goes back. Every time he's almost captured, she takes the fall for it because he abandons her to the police or the Bat or one of his kind. I can't see it happen anymore. I won't see it happen anymore. And there's only one way that can be.

    The clown has to die.

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