The Raven's Call

BY : AsylumWritings
Category: DC Verse Comics > Batman
Dragon prints: 48
Disclaimer: I do not own Batman/DC Comics, nor the characters from it. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.

In a mad world, only the mad are sane. Akira Kurosawa

“Members of the jury, have you reached a verdict?” The judge asked.

I stood behind the desk, next to the defence lawyer that Oz had hired for me. I had no idea what they were going to say, but after a month in the women’s wing at Blackgate, I didn’t think I could handle much more.

“Yes, we have, your honour.” The foreman stood up to speak. “We find the defendant not guilty by reason of insanity.”

Trying not to cry, I wrapped my arms around myself. I was relieved, but only momentarily, until the judge spoke again.

“Brianna Grace. You have been found not guilty, and will be placed in the custody of Arkham Asylum until such time as you are deemed safe to rejoin society.” She stated, banging her gavel.

A red haze swept across my vision and I launched myself over the desk at her. Before I could get very far, I was grabbed by two guards and dragged out of the courthouse to the transport area.

“Let go of me!” I screamed, struggling against them.

The bigger of the two guards threw me forward against the van, yanking my arms behind me and cuffing my wrists together. Then he pulled me around to the back, forcing me inside.

“Fuck off.” I snapped, sliding along the bench as he climbed in across from me.

“That’s not polite.” He pulled out his nightstick, tapping the scar on the side of my face. “Who gave that to you?”

“An asshole with a grudge.” I bit my lip with a smile. “But it’s cool. I made sure he won’t forget me anytime soon.”

The van began to move, and I sighed, leaning back against the cold metal. It was a longer drive than I expected, though that might have been because I was dreading it.

It was strange, like I completely zoned out, and the rest of the afternoon was kind of a blur. I was pulled from place to place, questioned, studied, looked over, until finally I was taken to my cell. It was somehow even smaller than the one in Blackgate, but it had a barred window, so at least I could get some fresh air.

I heard the cuffs click as the guard unlocked them, then I stepped inside, sitting down on the bed. Taking a deep breath, I felt my chest ache a little. My bullet wound was nearly healed, but it still felt so bruised.

As I looked out the window, I heard a familiar croak, and the raven flew past. I stood and walked over, reaching my hands out. It settled down on one of my hands, and I gently ran my fingers along its feathers.

“She’s been moved to Arkham.” Butch said, sitting across the table from him.

“I don’t want her there for too long.” He replied, leaning on the hardwood. “They’ll hurt her.”

Butch sighed. “I know, Boss. But we need to get you out of here first. The men are getting restless, uncertain, and I don’t know how much longer they will listen to me.”

I sat down at the table with my food. It did not look appealing, but it was something to eat, and I was hungry. Before I could even start, someone sat down across from me. Looking up, I recognised who it was, and sighed.

“I was wondering where you’d gone, Ed.” I said quietly, taking a drink of water. “How long have you been stuck here?”

He laughed, running his fingers through his dark hair. “Few months.”

“And you haven’t managed to escape yet? I’m disappointed.” Resting my chin in my hand, I watched him.

“I haven’t tried yet.” He shrugged. “It’s far more interesting seeing who comes and goes here than anything I have planned right now. I never expected to see you here, though.” He reached out, taking hold of my arm and looking at my scars. “Tommy Bones did this? I heard that during your trial.”

I nodded. “I scratched at his face when Maroni had me kidnapped. He… took personal offence to that.”

“And you punished him for it.” He studied my face. “Seems logical to me.”

I was about to say more, but hesitated for a second. I wanted to be get out of here as soon as possible, but that would require convincing the doctors that I was sane again. So if I just freely handed out information about what I had done, I wasn’t sure if that would get back to them. I’d known Ed for a long time, but I wasn’t sure if he’d changed since he’d been locked up here.

He saw the look on my face and shook his head. “Relax. I’m hardly going to tell anyone what you’ve told me. It’s not like I’d get anything out of it.”

“I carved my name into nearly every inch of his skin.” I took a bite of bread. “I could have killed him, but it’s much more satisfying knowing that he lives with a reminder of me all over him.” Tapping on the table, I had a thought. “So tell me, who’s in charge here? Or, rather, who do I need to befriend to make sure I stay safe?”

He nodded at someone behind me, and I turned to find a man sitting in the corner. He sat casually on a bench, but I could tell he felt superior to the patients around him. His dark hair fell between his wire-framed glasses and his eyes, but he brushed it aside.

I turned back, away from his dark eyes. “Who is that?”

“Jonathan Crane.”

“The Scarecrow?” I whispered, playing with my hair. “I don’t think even I can tame that.”

He shrugged again, standing up. “It might be worth a try.”

I watched him walk to the door, then returned to picking at my food. I’d barely eaten anything when someone grabbed my arm. Spinning around, I ripped their hand off me and slammed them down on the table. It was a man, completely unspectacular.

Holding this random patient’s head in place against the wood, I leaned in close.

“Don’t touch me, or I’ll make your life here even worse than it already is.” I said, before shoving him to the floor.

He looked up at me with wide eyes, then scrambled away. As I watched him run, I caught the eye of Crane, before looking away. I just wanted to eat my food and go back to my cell, but I had a feeling that I wasn’t going to get any peace whenever I was in these common areas.

I was right, because a few moments later, Jonathan Crane sat down beside me. He was taller than I expected, but gaunt.

“It’s not wise to antagonise other patients in here.” He commented, pushing his glasses up his nose. “At least, not so quickly.”

“Thanks for the advice.” I lifted my foot up onto the bench, resting my arm on my knee. “But I would really rather not just do nothing when a guy like that touches me.”

“I guarantee he wouldn’t have hurt you. But I’m guessing from your scars you’ve probably developed a touch aversion.” He leaned on his elbow.

“Did you come here to psychoanalyse me, Doctor?” I asked. “Or is there something else you wanted?”

“You’re one of the few patients in this wing who aren’t drugged up to the point of losing any sense of speech. I thought it would be interesting to talk to you.”

He sat on the hard bed in his cell, looking down at his hands. Ideas were forming in his mind, but it was hard to focus when his thoughts kept turning to her. He had intimate knowledge of what went on in the asylum, and he was certain she would not come out the same she went in. All he could do is limit the damage by getting her out as quickly as possible.

Being stuck in a place like prison, it sent his mind back to his old boarding school. He needed to get out, needed space. He began to pace, trying to calm his mind down just a little, so that he could think.

“Tell me, Miss Grace. How did you end up working for Carmine Falcone?” Doctor Young asked, sitting outside the bars of my cell.

“My father…” I hesitated. “He’d been working for Falcone for as long as I could remember. When he died, I went off the rails for a month, and ended up on the streets. Falcone found me and helped me get back on my feet.”

“Were you close to your father?”

I nodded, a couple of tears beginning to roll down my cheeks. “He raised me on his own, after my mother left. Losing him… I lost my whole world.”

“Tell me about his death.”

“No.” I stood, turning away from her.

She sighed. “You’re going to have to talk about this eventually, why not now?”

“I said no!” I ran the two steps to the cell doors, clinging onto the bars. My heart was racing as anger and fear surged through my veins. “I don’t want to do this.”

“He was shot while standing beside you, yes?” She continued to push, even as I sank to the ground.

“Fuck you.” My chest felt like it was closing in, crushing my lungs, and I struggled to take a breath. “What do you want me to say? Yes, he was shot right beside me. His blood sprayed across my face, and I just stood there. I’m glad he died instantly, because he didn’t see how much of a coward I was.”

I closed my eyes, feeling the warmth of my father’s blood on my skin again. Frozen in place, looking down at his body, I’d heard a piercing scream, not realising it was coming from me. Then the panic began. Only it wasn’t just me. Slade had murdered my father in a public place, as people were heading home from a night out. They all began running and screaming around me, as I fell to my knees in a pool of blood.

Snapping out of the memory, I found that my cell had been opened, and Dr. Young was inside with a guard, injecting something into me.

“What…?” I asked, struggling against the hands on me.

“Don’t fight it.” She said, quietly. “You need to rest.”

Everything felt so heavy, like my body was sinking into the floor, and I stopped resisting.

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