The Disciple

December 09, 2016:

Cutscene. Takes place after There Is No Hunting Like the Hunting of Man.

Arkham Asylum

Characters

NPCs: Michael Kazinsky, Gottfried Muller

Mentions: Tim Drake

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

The cells in Arkham Asylum were all the same in first blush - dark, cramped and dingy, with very little accoutrements to provide any degree of comfort to its residents. It was in one of these cells that Michael Kazinsky had finally ended up; his encounter with the vigilante known as Red Robin had ensured him a one way ticket into the facility after what the police had found in his hideaway in Red Hook - his bowls, his candles, his blades, the sightless stares of his beautiful, dark-haired dolls, one by one plucked from the freezer powered by stolen electricity from a nearby grid.

"No!" he cried as he was shoved into the cell, eyes squinting through the narrow window cut into the thick metal. "You can't keep me in here, I'm not crazy!"

"Yeah?" said the guard, smirking around the toothpick clutched between his teeth. "Funny, that's what everyone in here says. Get comfortable, Kazinsky. You're gonna be in here for a long, /long/ time."

The window slammed shut, plunging Michael into dank, unforgiving darkness. Shuffling backwards, he dropped onto the cot shoved in one corner of the narrow space, his head lowering into his hands. It was over, he thought, his dark eyes staring blankly on the ground underneath his feet. He hadn't been able to keep his part of the bargain, his thirteenth sacrifice had managed to escape, and while he managed to open himself up to his deity in an effort to fight toe to toe with one of Gotham's caped crusaders, something had happened that tore the influence away from him. Now, he was back where he started.

Alone.

But that wasn't to be for long. He felt the change in the air, the presence of someone else invading his cell. Slowly, he lifted his head to stare at the small abyss at the opposite corner of his cell, where shadows have concentrated into an impenetrable black. While he couldn't see it - couldn't see /him/ - he knew who it was. He wouldn't have known about Mammon and his promises in the first place had it not been for his visitor.

"Oh, Michael." The voice was low, tinged with a noticeable German accent. "You were so close."

"You said if I did it this way, nobody would notice," Michael hissed, his dark eyes glaring at the shadows. "You said if I was careful, nobody would care. Well, someone /did/ notice, Muller! What the hell am I going to do now?!"

"Like all things worth achieving, it was a gamble that you decided to undertake," the shadows murmured. "It seems that the odds were not in your favor after all."

Michael's eyes widened, feeling the presence recede. He bolted from the bed, practically throwing his aching body against the wall, desperate fingers clawing into the cold concrete and finding absolutely nothing but the darkness for his trouble. "No! You can't leave me here, you have to do something! You have powers…/magic/! You can do things, if you get me out of here, I could still—!"

"I gave you what you needed vith every expectation that you would follow through what you promised," Muller said through his chosen conduit. "That once you have acquired what you wanted, it would then be your turn to do me a favor. But it seems, Michael, that much like everything in the last decades I have lived, I am to do everything myself."

The serial killer's fingers balled into tight fists on his side, his teeth ground tight behind his pale lips. "So you're leaving me here to rot," he spat.

"No, Michael, I am leaving you for Hell. Mammon will inevitably make you pay for inconveniencing him, sooner or later."

The serial killer closed his eyes, his heavy head pressing into the wall, his skin leeching in the cold - it was sweltering in his cell, but the sensation afforded him no relief.

"When I get out of here," he breathed. "I'm going to kill you."

The shadows twisted amongst themselves, laughed in an eerily quiet way that suggested that they took his words more as a joke than a credible threat.

"I welcome the attempt," Muller's voice replied. "If you ever had the chance of being successful. Had our respective efforts yielded any functional fruit, I would have insisted on it."

His following words curled seductively in his ear; for a disembodied voice, for a moment it felt real, as if the man himself was standing behind him, leaning in close.

"I've been trying to correct this problem for decades, Michael, but I'm afraid I can't die."

He jerked away from the wall, spinning around to stare behind him. Beads of cold sweat rose from his pores, squeezed out by the strange sensation prickling over his skin, the hairs rising at the back of his neck. There were many out there who claimed immortality, especially proud men who believed the world existed merely to serve their every whim. He had no doubt that Gottfried Muller, if that was his real name, was just one of the many superpowered megalomaniacs out there that believed their mystical chess games made them untouchable, unreachable beyond any mere mortal's ken.

And yet, he couldn't dispell the nagging, disquieting thought that he meant what he said.

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