It was about half an hour before sunset when Harriet stepped into her greenhouse, sunglasses over her eyes and watering can in hand. She shuffled about, attending to all her lovely flowers. Her arthritis had been acting up badly that day, keeping her from her usual walk around the park, so it was all the exercise she was likely to get. The thought brushed through her mind that some day, it may get so bad she wouldn’t be able to do even that.
She chuckled the thought away. When she could no longer attend to her plants, it was probably time to get the shovel. Finishing her rounds, she turned and headed back inside.
Upon closing the door, her eyes not yet adjusted to the dimmer light, she thought she saw the silhouette of a small person, yet it seemed too small for any child capable of standing upright. What’s more, since her husband passed away, Henrietta lived alone.
Perplexed, she swept off her sunglasses, and was greeted by a smiling face she hadn’t seen since she was five: there, standing by itself in the middle of her kitchen stood her old rag doll, Josephine.
Any question as to how this could be was quickly dashed from her mind as the doll took a single step forward, and raised its fingerless hand up toward her. Where a thread of red yarn sat to suggest a smile, the fabric tore open to release stuffing and a single word: “Why?”
All around the city, folks began seeing strange sights. Eyes peering at them from around corners. Homeless people who were sleeping against the wall of a building when you glanced first, but gone when you looked again. Small dead animals getting up briefly to walk around, behaving as if nothing was amiss. Along one street, onlookers stared aghast as what appeared to be a baby with the exposed bones of its legs extended to three times their normal length ran the length of the street, making no sound.
Though the citizens of Gotham suspected some new experiment by Scarecrow, to those who saw it and had dealt with a boogeyman before, it felt all too familiar. There were a few, and they might have been so unlucky as to have witnessed a few of these events personally.
One might even have encountered a cat, killed more than a week ago by a bad encounter with a dog and already partially consumed by rats, crows, and decay. It walked up to them on its hind legs, like a human but limping horribly. Its remaining eye pleading, it reached its out with its forepaws and in a voice like a small child, managed to croak out “Please hold me. It hurts.”
One generally does not knock the door of public buildings, but the odd fellow that stood at the front door seemed a bit at a loss of what else to do. While clearly human, he’s covered in noteworthy details. Scars upon scars over dark-tan skin, enough muscles to suggest long days of fighting and labor, clothes reminiscent of a proper, well-kept gentleman, and finally, a blue gem set in the man’s collarbone.
He pushes up his glasses with a quiet sigh, and doublechecks the letter in hand.
Well, this seems to be the address. He gives a second, more confident knock at the door. In the meantime, he adjusts a cartboard box over one arm. Something about all of this felt a little ridiculous and strange. When was the last time Sakura had sent him on an errand like this?…
No matter. If it means keeping the crazed woman bedbound at home, and to properly recover as a result, so be it.
“Is anyone there?” His voice is deep, rumbling, and he speaks with a strange non-native accent. Rumbles mixed in with hisses, but it was by no means unpleasant. He at least, sounds as if he could get a few creative tones with that voice.
An anxious glance is given to a passer-by, before he looks back to the door. “Is this the residence of Jervis Tetch?”