Under the Red Sky

Under the Red Sky (Joker) Part 17

For a moment, I stood there, staring. I would’ve given anything to find some petty burglar standing in my kitchen. Instead of him.

My first thought was to yell, scream, demand what he wanted this time. But as long as he was being cordial, so would I.

“What a pleasant surprise,” I sighed as I moved into the room, shimmying out of my coat and hanging it over the back of the nearest chair, “If I’d known you were coming, I would’ve straightened up around here.”

The Joker chuckled at my comment, though I kept my face void of emotion. “I was in the neighborhood. I’m not one to call ahead. So, uh…did you have fun on your little date?”

I gave him a sour look. “It’s none of your business.”

“But it is, Bijou,” he said, nodding matter-o-factly, “Because you’re mine.”

I scoffed at him. “I don’t belong to anybody. Especially not you.”

He shook his head like a dog, as if he were pretending not here me. “Finders keepers.”

I frowned. What was that supposed to mean? I opened my mouth to argue. But I remembered who I was talking to. And I stopped myself. There was no point.

I looked on in disgust as he downed the contents of the glass in his hand, swishing the milk around in his mouth. I watched his jugular move up and then down as he swallowed. I shot him a withering look as he let out a low belch before wiping his mouth with the back of his hand, smearing the red of his lipstick onto his chalky white cheek.

“Are you about done?” I growled, placing my hands on my hips as I tapped my foot impatiently.

His smirk returned and he nodded, setting his hands on the counter as if he were about to discuss business. This, in fact, was why he had come.

“I was going to kill you tonight,” he said nonchalantly.

I let out a small gasp, feeling as if someone had punched me in the stomach. “But I thought-"

“SHUTUP!” He roared, pounding a fist on the kitchen counter. My blood seemed to freeze. His ‘angry’ voice held all the black, passionate hatred in the world.

After a brief moment of silence, he continued as if he hadn’t screamed at me, as if he hadn’t burst into a fit of rage. “I figured I’d just try again since my little toxin hadn’t worked. Because nothing beats a loaded gun…even if it is too quick.”

I shuddered as a sinister smile spread over his ghoulish face. He did like to make me squirm. And I loathed him for it. I watched as he pulled a knife from his pocket. One of many, I supposed.

“But then!” he exclaimed, smiling and holding the knife triumphantly in the air, “I had a brilliant idea!”

Before I could blink, he was rushing towards me with the knife, leaving the kitchen with such urgent haste. But he stopped as swiftly as he had come, stooping slightly so we were eye to eye. He pushed a wisp of hair away from my face with the blade in his hand and I shivered as the cool metal brushed my forehead dangerously.

“It was your eyes that did it,” he spoke softly, his eyes swimming with some unreadable emotion, “I couldn’t think to let the light fade from them….”

His eyes seemed to flicker across every inch of my face before finally snapping up quickly, and with a flourish of his knife, he began to circle me like a wolf waiting for the precise moment to attack.

“ I thought, why not? Keep the feisty cat lady. She could be useful. And I turned out to be right. As usual. So are you going to prove me wrong? Or what?” he muttered, poking me sharply in the shoulder with the point of his knife.

I winced and took a couple steps away from him, eyeing the thing in his hand. “I don’t understand. What it is you want with me?”

“What is it you want with me?” he mocked and I felt my face get hot with annoyance. He stepped closer, shaking his head at me and smirking. “I want you to help me.”

I made a face. “With what?”

“Everything,” he laughed, his hands finding their way to my face, “I’m not taking a….aggressive enough approach with this city, you see. I want your help. Let’s have some fun. Make this city ours.”

Let’s. Ours. Why was he suddenly thinking in pairs?

I shook my head, trying and failing to get his hands off my face. I was worried he would kiss me again, and my heart was beating wildly with the way he was gripping jaw.

“What makes you think I want the city?”

“ Because you’re mad at it. I see it in those pretty eyes of yours. And when you snap, Bijou, the heads will roll,” he laughed, as if murder were some joke.

But I suppose it was.

“I’m not a criminal,” I stated defiantly.

“Oh, but you will be,” he nodded assuredly, “Like I said before, Bijou, I know you. I was just like you once, you know. You ignore the signs, deny that you’re losing your sanity and that the order in your life is slowly fading. But madness…it’s just like gravity. All you need is a little push.”

A smile erupted on his face and he slapped my cheek playfully, his mouth ripping wide in a deranged cackle.
In a sudden fit of rage, my hands flew to his wrists, angrily wrenching his hands from my face.

Darkness clouded his eyes and his smile vanished almost instantly. He moved to hit me but I was faster. And more furious. I swiped him across the face, smiling as I felt his skin tear under my nails. When I drew back, he was giggling madly and there was a long slash under his left eye, a small trickle of blood winding its way down his cheek like a tear.

“Get out,” I growled, pointing toward the door.

The Joker laughed. “You’re a fiery one. But that’s just fine. I like that-"


He did as I said, much to my surprise, ambling away from me. He paused at the door.

“Goodbye, Bijou.”


And then he was gone.

I stood there for a moment, staring at the door, listening to his thunderous footsteps as he made his way to the lobby and wondering how he managed to slip past everyone, unseen.

He was invisible when he needed to be. And at all times, insane.

I started to pace, looking up only after hearing a quiet sound as Ms. Kitty appeared at the mouth of the hall. She had probably been smart enough to hide when the Joker arrived.

“You couldn’t have warned me, huh?” I snapped, as she padded across the living room and hopped up onto the sofa. “Couldn’t have let me know he got in here, again?”

She licked her paws and cleaned her ears indifferently. It’s your own damn fault.

I shook my head angrily, feeling my lip curl. My fists clenched and unclenched.

I needed to get out of flat nine. Or I would burn it to the ground, my fury feeding the flames. I turned abruptly and rushed to my bedroom, pulling my dress over my head. I let it drop to the floor as I swung open my closet door. Out came a simple black dress with a bit of fake pelt here and there, and I slipped it on hurriedly.

I doubled back to the living room to retrieve my heels. And more importantly, my whip. I wound it around my waist and tugged at the band in my hair until it came loose, letting the thick mane fall around my shoulders. It was tame for once, though horribly tangled. I had noticed it stood on end when I was frightened. Or furious.

I grimaced, peering over my shoulder at Ms. Kitty. She was staring at me with those golden eyes.

I was becoming more like her everyday. More feline. Less like an average woman. I was changing.

I sighed, whirling around, my whip snapping at my legs as I headed for the front door. I didn’t bother locking it behind me. The Joker would come back, regardless if it was locked or not. There was no getting rid of him now. I knew that very well.

But I think I accepted it at this point, even if he could very well decide to kill me.

He already tried to kill you. And he failed.

I smiled to myself as I sauntered through the lobby and out the front door. Maybe that was why he kept coming back. He was curious.

Curiosity killed the cat.

Don’t I know it.

The cold wind bit at my face, but I ignored the chill as I pounded down the pavement toward the end of the street. I didn’t know quite where I was going. But I had a fair idea.

I had always wanted to visit one of Shrek’s department stores.

And what better time than tonight?

The sky was clear. The moon was full.

And I was livid.