Daniel Bird Daniel Bird
Recommendations: 47

I love this beginning! So...brightly twisted, so...terrifying, so quickly! Straight to the point! I like that! Captivating! Immediately captivating! Good details. The knife- but particularly, the licking of the lips, is a terrific and very subtle way of taking this scene to a whole new level of fear, inspiring in the reader's mind a series of questions and illusions of dread. A great and powerful way to open a story.

Daniel Bird Daniel Bird
Recommendations: 47

" - They'd scrunch their eyebrows up and look you over, trying to figure it out... - " This part would work better if the character were to say "me" instead of "you," making it a direct statement, adding more strength to any resolve that follows. By doing it this way the reader is taken a little deeper into the fold, unleashing a series of powerful forces within the reader, when he/she finishes the paragraph. You draw us in and give us -whether we know it or not- a strong sense of empathy. Good job!

Don Yarber Don Yarber
Recommendations: 42

bailed the hell out of "there" instead of here. (?)

Daniel Bird Daniel Bird
Recommendations: 47

" - My skinny Popsicle legs were made of muscle. - " Fantastic writing!

Daniel Bird Daniel Bird
Recommendations: 47

I'm a big Joker Fan and Batman Fan, and I have to say that you definitely got The Joker down. Looking at my wall - dedicated to BATMAN and The Joker - I am sitting here snickering. I'm hooked! You got him! You just got him. Awesome! I knew he wasn't really dead, lolz!

Daniel Bird Daniel Bird
Recommendations: 47

" - You should do something else...something...funner. - " I think instead that The Joker would be held in a more insane regard if you use the word "funnier" instead of "funner." After all, The Joker is a sophisticated psychopath and fuelled by his own super-genius! Give it a try, and if it works...well, you can write a blurb about me in the Gotham Gazette or The Gotham Globe, lolz!

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Char Devaecci Char Devaecci
Recommendations: 1

Fireworks


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She had a friend.

"Nothing's better than a big loud boom."


Warning: Contains profanity.


He was smiling. A lumpy, disfigured smile that stretched across his face like some kind of demented carnival clown. He leaned in close and grinned, displaying slightly crooked, yellowing teeth. Giggling hysterically, holding the sharp blade of his knife just under my jaw, he licked his lips. 1 comment


I guess tonight was just one of those nights.


I did something any reasonable person would do. I shrank back, trying my hardest to make myself as small as possible. This is hard to do when you're pinned against the wall with a knife to your throat. You know, just slightly difficult.


But I should probably explain how I got into this unfortunate situation in the first place. How it all started when some drunken assholes ruined my night, making me walk two miles in the rain, just to be murdered by some psycho down by the wharf. I'm getting ahead of myself though.


I had one of those names. The kind that if people were talking about you, no one would be able to tell if you were a boy or a girl. In fact, most people couldn't tell even if they looked me straight in the face. They'd scrunch their eyebrows up and look you over, trying to figure it out, male or female or hermaphrodite or what. It didn't really matter to me, I'm not that particular about gender specific pronouns. I only ever found it annoying when it hindered conversation. Most of the time I was mistaken for a boy; which was sometimes helpful and sometimes hindering. Really, it all depended on the situation. 1 comment


If it wasn't for having such a boyish figure, narrow waist, flat chest, all sharp angles and limbs, I'm sure I would be recognized as a girl more often. But with a name like Jesse, there isn't much you could do about that. Having such short hair probably didn't help much, either.


There were some things that were distinctly feminine, the way I walked, the way I ate. Then there were some things that just screamed manliness, the way I talked and acted, particularly around men. But it was safer to be recognized as a boy, less chance of being bothered in the city, less chance of trouble, you know what I mean? A fight here and there, sure. Living on the streets doesn't help much for that. There are lots of people eager to take a swing at some low-life street kid. I dunno, that's just the way things are. The best you can hope to do is keep low and look out for trouble.


Most of the time, I sleep on fire escapes. High, dry, safe. If the weather's clear, you can get up to the roof. Some of the best views in the city can be found on Gotham's rooftops. You just have to know where to look.


It'd been raining a lot lately. All my usual haunts were flooded or soaked, and I'd had to make do with some improvised alleyway junk for shelter. Considering how street view usually is, what with murderous muggers and uptown pedophiles, it'd actually been alright. For three whole nights, I hadn't had any trouble. For Gotham, that was pretty unusual. You usually can't go twenty-four hours without hearing about some robbery or murder taking place. Like I said, it's just the way things are here. It's just the way it's always been.


That is, until some goddamn assholes got the idea into their heads that it'd be funny to light my stuff on fire. I'd stashed it by a recycling dumpster behind a bar, pick-up wasn't for a few more days, and I'd figured it'd be safe. Although, in hindsight, that probably hadn't been the best idea.


I'd come back to find a dying blaze and four ossified bastards. When one pulled a knife on me, that was enough and I bailed the hell out of there. 1 comment


It's funny, you hear all this news about this batman guy and he doesn't even show up when you fucking need him. Gotham glorified this guy, set him up on a silver pedestal, that is, until he killed Harvey Dent. This really didn't bother me all that much, I didn't like that Dent guy much anyway. Creeped me out. Politicians, you know? It's like they always have some kind of ulterior motive. Well, Batman's stopped doing his fighting crime hero thing because everyone hates him now. I don't understand why he's so worried about that when earlier people still didn't like him much he kept on 'fighting crime' anyways.


But whatever, what kind of weirdo goes around being a hardcore ass kicking hero in a bat suit? Really? A bat? What the hell inspired him to do that crazy bullshit?


After I ran off from those guys I started towards Amusement Mile, they had a fenced playground behind the Ferris wheel; it would be easy to climb that fence and crash in the crawling tube until morning. It was never occupied. Nobody slept street wise down by the wharfs. At least, not since Falcone marked them out as his territory. Just as well, more room for me. I'd figure out what to do after a nap, I was just too damn tired to think just now. After all, it was two in the morning. My mind had been up and running since dawn, not to mention I'd been walking most of the day.


I was walking to Amusement Mile, which was a ways from the bar; but a safe place to sleep. It was a not that far, about two and a half miles, but that was no biggie to me. I walked everywhere. My skinny Popsicle legs were made of muscle. And it was faster going since I didn't have my pack anymore. I had to take a different way though, walking by the warehouses along the wharf. Those guys had gotten me running in the completely wrong direction or the route I usually took. It reeked of fish and I didn't know that area as well, but I knew it well enough. And I didn't want to run into those drunks again. Besides, this was the quickest route from the bar. 1 comment


So being the stupid girl that I am, I opted for the fastest, shortest way. Because I was dead tired. So I opted for the darker, smellier route through an area I didn't know all that well. But this is just an example of my stupidity, usually I'm a lot more careful than this, so don't you dare judge or I'll punch you in the face.


Anyways.


Down by the wharf warehouses was where I ran into this whack job. That's right about where you came in.


I didn't recognize him at first, it was dark and he was like any other creep to me. He wasn't wearing that trademark face paint of his, and it was hard to see his scars in the dim light of wharf side. He was just any other weirdo running around after dark. It wasn't until after he spoke that my annoyance turned to curiosity and then later on, fear.


"Whatcha doin' down here all by yourself," He smacked his lips and paused, looking me up an down. I rolled my eyes. Nobody ever got it right on the first try. "…kid?" It amused me that he even cared about this kind of thing; he was just going to kill me anyways. Why bother with the specifics? I guess it was a good thing we were so close to the water, he wouldn't have to drag the body all that far.


"Listen; if you're going to kill me can you just get it over with? I'm tired of this bullshit." I said, exasperated. What a fucking weirdo.


He just laughed at me. He just kept laughing and laughing as if what I said was the funniest thing in the world. His laughter changed pitches at a sickening pace, escalating and becoming wilder as he went on. It was like he was trying to win a goddamn evil scientist award or something.


And then he pushed me up against a wall and held the knife to my throat.


In case you were wondering, this is about the time I started taking him seriously.


"Not afraid, huh, kid?" He grinned down at me, the sides of his mouth curving and curling up his cheeks. That's when I realized that I was dealing with the most clinically insane person in all of Gotham.


"Aw, fuck..." I realized, trying to press back into the wall.


The Joker laughed. Then suddenly cut off, pressing the knife against my throat. There was a sharp stinging pain and a trickle of something warm rolled down my neck. Blood. "So, uh, kiddo, you never answered my question." He growled, his face way too close for personal comfort. 1 comment


I winced, it bothered me the way he placed emphasis on his n's and d's. But it bothered me slightly more that I was probably going to die within the next couple of minutes. I'd heard about this guy though, he played with his victims before he killed them.


There was this black feeling of panic welling up inside my chest. And my mind felt a little numb. It was like my lungs couldn't function or that my ribs were too small for my chest. Either way, I was really starting to freak out.


"Amusement Mile." I managed, grasping along the mortar behind me for a loose brick. If I was going down tonight, I was going down fighting.


He stopped and jerked back his sleeve in a fluid motion to glance at his watch. "I hate to break it to you, but uh- I don't think they're open this late." The way he popped his 't' made spit fly onto my face and I scrunched up my nose in discomfort.


"I know." I wanted to egg him on, make him angrier so he'd end this faster. I didn't care all that much. I only really cared about the pain; I wasn't that big of a fan. At one point I'd even wanted to die. Now, I didn't want to, but I didn't mind if I did. I was indifferent. After all, it wasn't like anybody would miss me; it wasn't like I had much to live for.


"Sneakin' in?" Was that curiousity I heard in his voice? What, like he wanted to know my life story before he killed me? Jeezers creazers. If he asked me for a story, damn it all to hell, I'd give him one he'd never forget. 'The year was 1791; I was twenty-one when it happened. I was a man then, the owner of a large plantation…" I could go on and on.


"Yeah." The panic died down a little, though I didn't move from my frozen pose against the wall.


"What's a runt like you gonna do? Spray paint the carrousel horsies?" He giggled. "You should do something else… something funnier. And there's nothing funner than explosives. TNT, C-4, dynamite. Nothing's better than a big loud boom." 1 comment


I stared at him. What was he saying? That he was gonna blow some shit up tonight? Go ahead, by all means. Go ahead and do it. It's not my problem, nor is it any of my interest. Either kill me or let me go. Don't dink around with this theatrical philosophical nonsense. Hell no. I don't understand a word of it anyways.


But instead I said, "What?"


He wiped his nose on his sleeve and paused. He looked off to the side as if he was bored, tossing the spit around in his mouth. Eeugh, gross. "You uh, you like explosives?"


My vocabulary was currently limited to 'what', unfortunately, so I said it again. Except this time more in the tone of 'what the fuck do you mean'.


"EXPLOSIVES!" He roared; taking the knife and putting a long cut from the bottom of my eye to the corner of my lip. "Do you like explosives?" He patted my unscathed cheek with his free hand. "Oh kiddo, you haven't lived until you've tried 'em! Like fireworks. Everyone likes fireworks right? Pretty lights, loud noise, all that shit. Lots of fun."


He grabbed me by the hair and pushed me back the way I came, snapping his knife shut and stowing it in his pocket. "You know, you have given me an excellent idea." He laughed, "Let's play a game. You guess what my idea is, ok, it involves C-4, a Ferris wheel, and the day, uh- school let's out."


As soon as he started the 'game' he ended it. "Come on! Let's go!" He said gleefully, renewing his grip on my hair. "I just know you and me, well…" He burst into a fit of giggles. "Heh heh, oh, we're going to be the best of friends."


I swear to god he even skipped a little. He was crazy, a maniac, a monster. There was probably no worse way to die than at the hands of this loony. Which was something I would really prefer not to do. Like I said earlier, remember? Pain, low threshold.


And for the first time in a long time, I was afraid. It wasn't that silly nervous first day of school stuff. No. This was gut wrenching, panic inducing fear. The kind where you pissed your pants you were so goddamn scared. Luckily I hadn't pissed myself… yet. But that same mind numbing chill that was making its way down my spine was making it difficult to remain calm, at least, as calm as I was managing to be in this situation.


Which was not much, believe me.


I didn't realize that I was crying until I felt wetness at the corner of my mouth and tasted the salt. It'd been a long while since I'd cried, either. Breaking two taboos in a single day. Will wonders never cease?


It was hard to see where we were going; his grip on my hair turned my head so that I was looking up and away from where we were headed. But he walked back the way I had just come, down the waterway. This son-of-a-bitch had been watching me for a while.


"So, what's your name beautiful? You -uhm, come here often?" He chuckled and tossed the spit around in his mouth. I tried to lean away, forgetting for a moment about his grip on my hair. He smelled funny. Like drying paint and gunpowder and smoke. But considering his… occupation, that didn't really surprise me. He yanked my head back and that fucking knife was back. He stuck it behind my ear and pressed. "You know, since these don't seem to work, well, we might as well just get rid of them." He growled.


"It's Jesse." I said quickly, not wanting to upset him.


The Joker threw back his head and laughed as if he had just heard the cleverest joke in the world. "Jesse, Jesse, Jesse, Jester!" He sang, "Jester-ah!" Tired of the hold on my hair, he settled for a hand around my neck and a knife at my throat. The blade nicked against my skin with every jostling step and I winced.


"Fucking hell, just make it fast. I don't want to feel it... make it fast, ok?" I couldn't believe I was begging. But the words came out of my mouth like a faucet had been turned in my brain and wouldn't shut off. I just wouldn't shut up. "Please!"


He waggled his eyebrows at me. I could see flecks of white paint dried in them. He looked like a different person without all the grease paint on. The television in the windows of Marty's was always on GCN, they only ever showed him with all that gunk on his face. Maybe no one had ever seen him without his face on.


He definitely looked scarier without the paint.


His eyes were nearly black and there were dark purple circles under his sunken eyes. His scars raked up the sides of his face, lumpy and disfigured, giving him that famous Cheshire grin. There was a tie-dye bruise near his temple and a long scratch below his left eye. His nose was crooked in a few places, as if it had been broken several different times.


He sighed and feigned disappointment. "I don't understand you at all, kiddo."


"When you kill me, I don't want to feel it. You're going to kill me eventually, right?"


"Say, kiddo, Jesse." He grazed the knife up and down my cheek and licked his lips. "Why aren't you begging me to let you go? Where are the desperate pleas for help?" He leaned in close, "What about your Mommy and Daddy? Your friends?" That Glasgow grin stretched across his face, blood red and murderous. My face must have given away my answer, and he maliciously continued, his red lips parting to reveal disgusting yellow teeth. "Cause you don't have any, do you? You've got nobody. Nobody's got you, nobody's got me. You and me, we ain't got nobody." He sang. His expression sobered and he turned to look seriously at me. "Except don't ever say that, kid. Bad grammar, you know."


I nodded dumbly.


He was a lunatic.


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