Between Sleeping and Waking...
All of them weirdly have something to do with dreams or sleeping, except the last one, which I didn't plan. It just kind of happened that way.
Sometimes he sleepwalks.
He’ll awake and find himself in a place he did not fall asleep in. His gardens, deep beneath the foundations of his home, the roof. A graveyard.
The name on the tombstone slowly comes into focus as if it is traveling across a great distance of time and space just to reach him as he kneels on the wet ground, still waking. Reverent, coming up from dreams, breaking the surface.
"Rachel Dawes, beloved Daughter and Friend…"
How strange they chose her resting place not far from that of his parents.
Everything he cherished… is lost.
The night is so dark.
‘He is all I could ever want or need,’ the hollow-eyed man in the corner thinks.
And he is with out a doubt, absolutely, painfully… correct. He smiles at this, but then again he never stops smiling.
Tonight he knows he will have blessed dreams, dreams in which he sews their skin back together, needles, thread and scissors. He’ll take their reunited blood and decorate their faces, paint the love back into their eyes. Images of a struggle in the dirt and dust, a sickly yellow moon-light oozing through tangled tree limbs, a giant ribcage, and veins, already flicker across his eyelids.
Aristophanes couldn’t have been more right!
The other won’t come willingly. But that’s not a problem really, it’ll be more fun if they fight, tooth and claw, sound and fury.
And battered and bruised and bloody, he can feel the needle already between his fingers. Because it is there, tiniest steel glinting in the harsh light. Experimentally, he pulls the needle through his own flesh. In and out, in and out. Backstitch, cross-stitch, basting and tacking, skin into skin.
Practice makes perfect.
And this… must… be perfect.
It’s never been easy, and palm to brow, furrowed and creased, he knows it’s not going to get any easier.
"These things will continue to happen. Buildings will be destroyed, money will be stolen, lives will be put in danger. People will die."
Yes. But that doesn’t make the sinking feeling he gets in his heart when he thinks about his son with a gun to his head go away.
Every night since then, he’s had nightmares. These days he’s barely sleeping at all.
"You look like hell."
He was able to manage a weak smile, although this did not help the darkness under his eyes or the defeated sound of his voice.
"You shouldn’t be here," he said. "You’re the most wanted man in Gotham." But underneath this is the gratitude he feels having the much missed company.
"I came to see if there’s anything I can do."
There’s humanity there, in the voice from the shadows. There’s kindness.
A shared look passed between them, and silence.
"I’ll be all right."
"Get some sleep, Jim."
That was yesterday. The sun had just set.
Tonight he dreams of flying.
Part of him always knew it was there, the cruelty and the malice. That was the part that he’d managed to keep in check, but it was still there, burning in the deepest part of his being.
Then he let it off the chain, snarling and raging, out into the universe. That part of him was birthed into fire, scorched and disfigured and angry. All hell broke loose.
He can be civil, he can be fair, but at the drop of a coin - certainly not his - he will tear this world down, blindly and with no regrets. Who has time for regrets anymore? Especially with half a mind full of hate, like his.
Some things must be burned down in order to rebuild.