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Buyer Beware

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Dr. Jonathan Crane overlooks Gotham from the top floor of a parking garage. The city shines bright in the darkness, illuminated by the glowing moon and splashes of colorful neon lights.

He wishes it would all burn.

"Do you have it?" The voice is sharp, irritated.

Crane turns to face the man standing next to him.

"Of course," he replies smoothly.

The man sighs impatiently. His breath creates a thin fog in the night's cool air, quickly fading as it floats above the city.

Crane reaches inside his jacket and retrieves a tiny, clear pouch containing a fine powder. The man reaches forward greedily; Crane quickly pulls his hand back, out of the man's reach.

"Payment first, please."

Hot anger briefly flashes across the man's face. Scowling, he shoves a wad of crumpled bills into Crane's open palm.

"It's all there."

"I'm sure it is."

The man snatches the pouch from Crane, fumbling at the seal with frantic hands. Crane carefully flips through the dirty bills, his lips moving silently as he counts. Content that he has not been cheated, he folds the money and tucks it into his pocket.

He looks up to see the man wiping his nose, a confused expression on his face.

"Satisfactory?" Crane asks.

The man begins to blink rapidly, as if struggling to comprehend what he sees. He gives no indication that he has heard Crane.

"I believe you'll find my product to be somewhat unique," Crane continues, unperturbed by his lack of audience. "I would be so bold as to suggest that you've never experienced anything like it."

The man crumbles to the floor with a scream, his eyes wide with terror. Crane watches calmly while the man writhes and contorts in horror, leaving behind a bloody trail as he drags his fingernails across the concrete. Satisfied with the man's reaction, he turns away from him and walks towards the elevator.

It had been remarkably easy to find a subject to test the powder form of his fear toxin. A drive to one of Gotham's seedier areas, a quick flash of the pouch—yes, it had been a rather simplistic experiment.

And very, very rewarding.

Crane casts a final glance at the dying man on the floor, his screams now a fading gurgle.


"Pleasure doing business with you," Crane says, smirking.

The elevator doors close and the man is left to spend his remaining moments alone in his Hell.