Under the Red Sky

Under the Red Sky (Joker) Part 19


“Here, kitty -kitty,” I called through the darkness as I firmly shut the door to flat nine and moved farther into the living room.

No response.

I wondered if she was home yet. She might’ve still been duking it out with the Batman.

I had slipped off the roof just as the department store exploded and took haven on an adjacent rooftop to watch the fight for a few minutes before being called elsewhere by my goons. And what a fight it had been.

I had underestimated her. Seriously underestimated her. She was more than just some angry, lonely woman with a cat and a smart mouth. She was something else entirely. If anything this only fed my curiosity. And I hated her for it especially since I was just trying to forget her.

“Bijoooouuu?” I tried again, raising my voice as I ambled down the hall. “Come out, come out, wherever you are.”

I paused, listening. I could hear running water. I peered down the hallway, looking for a doorway. I found one. I smiled, giggling to myself as continued down foyer.

“I have to hand it to you, kitten,” I smirked, rounding the corner before shuffling into the bathroom. “That was some-"

I froze.

She was there, standing in the bathtub, shoulders hunched and leaning on the tile wall. The flow of water from the showerhead was reduced to a trickle, and the tiny beads dotted her porcelain skin like crystals. Her hair stood on end, matted and greasy in some places, soaking in others. She was naked.

I looked away, feeling sheepish for the first time in a long while, glancing down at the floor. I caught my reflection in the pieces of broken glass that were scattered here and there. I frowned, kicking them away.


I raised my head to look at her, keeping my eyes on her face. I gaped at her, letting my jaw drop a few inches. She looked like hell.

The entire right side of her face was covered in an ugly, purple bruise. Tears stained her cheeks, leaving a silvery residue around her eyes that were otherwise smeared with black. I saw now that her hair wasn’t sodden with water, but with blood.

She stared at me, her white blue eyes searching my face. My jaw shut closed with a click and I finally found my voice. “Hiii.”

There was a moment of silence, save for the light dripping of water and the blood pounding in my head.

“Are you….” I began, eyeing her warily, “alright?”
“What the fuck do you think?” she spat, the vacant look gone from her eyes. She glared at me before turning away, her movement sending a flurry of red splattering against the wall beside her.

For a split second, I felt the anger I knew I would. I wanted to hurt her. She was so vulnerable now. She would be the easiest of victims. But I couldn’t bring myself to reach for the gun in my pocket. I wasn’t used to this restraint. I twitched.

I thought back to Batman. Could he have done this to her? I didn’t think him capable of beating up a girl.

How could you? I’m a woman!

I fought back a giggle, but I was suddenly serious as Bijou looked back at me, something burning in those eyes of hers.

“I want him dead,” she hissed, as if reading my mind, her nails digging deep into her palms.

I stared. She couldn’t be serious. “Uh, I’m sorry…who?”

“BATMAN! YOU STUPID FUCKING CLOWN,” she screamed, picking up a nearby bar of soap and chucking it at me.

It bounced off my chest and then onto the floor with a feeble thud. For some reason, I did not get angry. I was at fault here. It was a stupid question.


Me? Being stupid?

Damn woman. Making me do crazy shit…

“Oh yeah,” I murmured, scratching the back of my neck idly, “Him. What did he, uh….do to you? When I left, it looked like you were winning.”

She cocked her head at me, eyes swimming with vague curiosity. “What do you mean? Were you there? Watching me?”

I nodded, leaning up against the wall and crossing my arms over my chest.

“Creep,” she muttered, her blue eyes flashing at me through the thick veil of hair that covered her face. I could see the faint ghost of a smirk on her lips, and I felt an all too familiar tingle in my fingertips: the burn for a weapon.

Just shoot her. Just shoot her.

I took a deep breath and waited for her to answer my question.

“It doesn’t matter what that bastard did,” she explained, running her hands over the pearly flesh of her arms, “The only thing that matters is what we are going to do.”

I made a face, raising an eyebrow at her. “We?”

She nodded, silently, watching me like a predatory feline.
“And just what are we going to do, Ms. ‘I’m-not-a-criminal’?” I inquired, smiling meanly. But the grin slid off my face. I watched, slightly horrified, as she climbed gracefully from the tub, never taking her haunting eyes from my face. And I knew for the sake of her dignity and my own that I could not look away.

“I have no idea,” she murmured dazedly, coming to a stop directly in front of me. I peered down at her slightly unnerved. This woman gave me the creeps. I couldn’t exactly say why, but she did.

“But if you cross me,” she went on, the bemused smile vanishing from her face, “I’ll fucking kill you.”
Before I could even argue, with a burst of blind fury, her lips crashed onto mine and I felt the tug of her fingers entangled in my hair. For a moment, I was too shocked to do much of anything but just stand there. But my mind came rushing back to me like water once contained by a dam and I snapped out of my stupor.

I kissed her back, taking her swollen face in my gloved hands. I mean, what else was there to do?

I didn’t know why she ‘attacked’ me in the first place. Maybe the bat had hit her a little too hard. Maybe she just couldn’t control her urges. I did have that affect on women.

But mostly, I think she had lost what little sanity remained in that pretty head of hers. And I supposed that was a-okay with me.

I felt gnawing on my bottom lip before she pulled away, staring out the bathroom window at nothing in particular as if she hadn’t just planted one on me.

I sniffed and smacked my lips. She tasted like blood and winter air. And faintly of milk. “Well…that was somethi-"

“Get out,” she muttered, still gazing over near the window.

I frowned, just about fed up with her erratic behavior. I growled, grabbing her jaw and turning her face so I could look her in the eye. I sneered at her, about ready to chew her out when I noticed something was wrong.

She stared up at me, blinking rapidly, her eyelids fluttering. I could feel the blood pumping beneath her flesh and her soft, shaky breath danced on the bare skin of my wrist.

“I don’t feel well,” she whispered, smiling lazily, and with a quiet laugh, she collapsed at my feet.

I gazed down at her, thankful that most of her was covered by the shadows. I nudged her with the toe of my shoe.

Nothing. She was out cold.

I considered just leaving her there. She had already been beaten to a pulp by the bat, or so I assumed. What harm could lying on the bathroom floor all night do?

No. That wouldn’t do.

I sighed, rolling my eyes as I turned and retrieved a towel from the mess on the floor. This chick was crazy with her random bouts of anger and libido and her fainting spells. It was maddening. But she was no good to be bleeding or unconscious.

I wrapped her up and took her in my arms, bridal style. She was surprisingly light, like an empty barrel of gasoline. Her head lolled to the side, the moonlight illuminating her face.

She was angelic, almost doll like, even with the bruises and the blood. She was so fair with her ivory skin and the contrast of her dark, wild hair. She was so…clean. It made me want to mess her up.

But there was malice in that face of hers, a wickedness that had been dormant for God knows how long. From the night I saw her wreck havoc on her little apartment, I knew she had changed, resurrected into this…monster, throwing dead animals at people, blowing up buildings, fighting the Batman. And kissing me.

I chuckled, remembering her lips on mine as I left the bathroom and moved down the hallway toward her bedroom. I eyed the neon sign on her wall curiously. Hell here.

Very appropriate.

I set her on the bed and she immediately curled up into a ball, burying her face in the pillow. I heard a small sound and was momentarily distracted as her cat leaped up onto the bed. She hissed at me as she perched next to Bijou protectively, watching me with those yellow eyes.

I felt a familiar tickle in my nose and I backed toward the doorway hands raised defensively, before I could explode into another violent sneezing fit. Or before the cat attacked me.

I ambled back toward the living room, thinking of what Bijou had said. ‘If you cross me, I’ll kill you.’ Why did I have the nagging feeling that she wasn’t bluffing?

Like I said. She gave me the creeps.

I shook off the feeling though as I left her apartment and wandered down to Luna Street, just as the sun was beginning to rise in a brilliant, bloody sky.