Sometime ago, round about when many of you would call it Christmas, Womble gave me a small gift. Nibbles wasn’t around at the time, so I can tell you that how he found it was ‘Quark’ and where he found it was also ‘Quark’.
It’s actually a Timelord medallion and the main reason I’m currently in the madhouse. Because like some Earth cultures, Gallifrey symbols can translate into letters, words or, where we had to go one better, whole phrases.
As you can see, after a lot of working out and flashbacks to my childhood schooling, I managed to work out the four words. So the question is, did Womble decide to hand me this so I could forever wear his insults to save him the bother of actually speaking? Or did he hand over one whopping great coincidence?
Well, here I am, finding out.
~ * ~
Did you ever look back at all the mistakes you made, whether you wanted to or not, because your mind wouldn’t let you stop? I did. In a room with a window no larger than a mobile phone, a bed with six strong straps and chains clamped to my wrists. On cold days I can still feel the itching. And it was in this room, every minute of every day, my seventh self reflected on his life,
“……Sebastian Adamson……Konnor Justyn……Fiametta……Eula Lehi……Guardian……Zarra……”
and spoke aloud the name of every one he ever killed. That is the curse granted for killing himself. Those named would not let him out that easily. The doctors here don’t understand it either and I’m not going to be the one to tell them. For all they know, he hit his head on a random name generator.
This is all he ever does, even when I’m visiting and it’s all he’ll do until someone saves him. I can’t remember how it happened because, well, as you can see I wasn’t at my full metal capacity at the (present) time. I’m guessing it’s me now because I certainly haven’t done it so far.
Ugh, time travel semantics.
Either way, I’m also here to give him the medallion.
“Hopefully this will stop the mumbling, eh? There you are.”
Hmm. “So it guess it really was Womble’s way of a perpetual insult.”
“You don’t know how right you are.”
As if this cell wasn’t small enough, or holding too many versions of myself. Let’s welcome back the king of blinding white and he without a top hat, FutureHH.
“What brings you back to visit me again?”
“That’s certainly a warmer welcome than last time.”
“I was a different man, then.”
“Don’t flatter us, HH, you just mellowed the hell out. I’m a future self after all, not a therapist.”
“Though that would make a good therapy session, I was just talking about past mistakes.”
“Yes. You’re not even halfway done with yours, and I’m not giving away anymore freebies. Otherwise we’ll never learn anything.”
“Fair enough. So why are you here?”
He points at the medallion hanging from Seven’s neck. “My satnav went off.”
“Well I gave you the Q.U.A.R.K didn’t I? Tricky to get my aim right when travelling back along my own timeline nowadays. So before my first visit I made some pre-set destinations. Example: medallion chains hits Seven’s flesh, boom, here I am.”
“Speaking of, why didn’t you warn me about the whole “quark” thing?”
“Because you never would have even considered believing me.”
*bang-bang!* “Mr H, who are you talking to in there?”
“That’s my cue.”
One quick sonic later, Seven’s chains drop from his wrist and near deafen us with clangs. Eddie outside gets slightly more agitated.
“You don’t remember, HH, but fortunately I do. I take Seven, you get yourself out.”
“That’s your plan?”
“That’s your plan. The ‘exit strategy’?”
Almost guiltily, I produce a smoke bomb from inside my coat. He gives me a Look like wearisome teacher.
“Best of luck, then. We’ll see you again shortly.”
Then his face changes to the other end of the spectrum. I’d almost believe that his every Christmas were to come at once. “Are you kidding? I’m not missing the chance to see it a second time.”
A quick noise like a vacuum crashing in on itself, and FutureHH and Seven disappear in a such way that almost screams “up yours, physics.” I’ve no idea what might be running through Seven’s mind right now but it’s nothing too outrageous compared to the norm, I’m assuming.
Just as Eddie gets the door open, I release the smoke bomb. He and Bowles disappear into a thick, dark cloud and I just manage to slip past them. While they go into cell 1412, coughing, about to find it empty, my footsteps are echoing off the hallway walls as I sprint down one after the next. Turning down into the Intensive ward, where the Joker and I had our first meeting, the fire alarm starts ringing.
Fascinating place, Arkham. An incredibly old, historic structure with lots of new age stuff covering up its decaying borrowed time. I can relate. But its led to additions like electrical sliding cell doors, automatic locks and ferocious fire-related health and safety regulations. Such as the rule where, in the event of a fire, all cell doors will open. And you know the old saying.
Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.
Which is why, within a minute of my release of the smoke bomb, I’m at the front of a mass asylum exodus. I can definitely hear the Joker behind me somewhere, laughing it up with that girlfriend of his. I think I can hear Scarecrow and 2-Face as well, but I’m not looking back or stopping for anything, no way am I waiting around for the likes of Bane, Clayface and Killer Croc to get up here.
Best prepare yourself, Gotham. Your very own Feast of Fools is about to begin with me, their liberator, at the front. The lunatics will be running more than the asylum and no doubt this will call in the dark knight and his band of colourful delinquents.
Which rather gives me an idea…
*Yup, they’re even doing prologues now. Well it matches these mini epilogues, doesn’t it? Who even cares what you think, you’re nothing but a voice in my head – 7