The Killing Joke Re-telling

I’ve decided to write a retelling of the events that transpire in Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke comic. I wanted to see what it would be like if I changed the comic book format into a purely written form. Enjoy.

It was raining tonight.

It always seemed to rain in this city, as far as he remembered. He also remembered that it also rained the day that changed his life, and tensed slightly in the driver’s seat. It was in these moments of isolation that he allowed the smallest fragments of grief to leak out. He would carry the burden by himself, and wouldn’t let anyone else even touch it, let alone see it.

The road ahead was illuminated by the powerful headlights, and he sped through the puddles with the steadiness of a rushing lake. Strong, direct and smooth, the movements of his vehicle were calculated and automatic.

He had been here on one too many occasions.

And today, it was just another restless visit.

He slowed down as he entered the main gate. The lightning flashed, and illuminated the rusty, black entrance sign above; Arkham Asylum.

The facility was a hellhole of demons; separated from the rest of society, like a dark secret that even the greatest of men hide.

He stepped out of the vehicle, and walked inside.

The bright white light of the interior flashed in his eyes underneath the cowl, and it took him a second to adjust. His face was then met with an old friend, and as far as he knew, one of the people in the city that deserved the title of ‘saint.’

It was the commissioner.

He gave the masked man a slight nod, and the pair walked inside the corridor, without saying a word to one another. It wasn’t a silence of awkwardness, but a voluntary silence between the two, a silence of mutual understanding of the situation.

They passed each holding cell, and the commissioner glanced at each of them occasionally. Harvey Dent, Jervis Tetch, Pamela Isley… In a twisted way, one could think of them as trophies.

Then they stopped at a familiar looking door.

Cell block 0801.

The commissioner didn’t look inside this one. He didn’t want to.

The masked man walked inside, and closed the door.

The commissioner swallowed.

“Hello.” The masked man started. It did not carry the expected tone of the greeting.

His conversational partner did not respond, and was in the middle of arranging a set of playing cards laid before him. Every enemy of the masked man seemed to have a theme surrounding them. This one was by far the most haunting.

“I came to talk.” The masked man tried again.

His efforts were in vain, as the only response he received from his partner was a slight pause of his hand when putting a card down, revealing the arrangement to be a full house. He then packed the cards, shuffled them, and started again.

“I’ve been thinking lately. About you and me.” The masked man continued.

The words he said could’ve easily applied to a loving couple having difficulty in their relationship, but the truth was on the polar opposite side of this alternative.

“About what’s going to happen to us, in the end.”

The partner remained silent, the sounds of the cards sliding and the occasional tapping of his nails on the metal table echoing in the small room.

“We’re going to kill each other, aren’t we?” The masked man finished.

It was then the other man’s hand stopped for another moment, which caught the masked man’s eye. He started again.

“Perhaps you’ll kill me. Perhaps I’ll kill you. Perhaps sooner, perhaps later. I just wanted to know that I’d made a genuine attempt to talk things over and avert that outcome. Just once.” The man in the costume finished. What he said was a sad truth. Every time he fought with the enemy, he told himself they were the problem, and he was the solution. It made things easier, seeing it as black and white. Operating for the law. This man seemed to change that.

The card man ignored him, and continued to arrange the cards in a new poker shape. He was on his fourth card, when the gloved hand suddenly gripped him. The man was surprised, and dropped his card.

“Are you listening to me? It’s life and death I’m discussing here. Maybe my death… Maybe yours.” He said, with more urgency in his voice than before.

The card dealer retracted his hand, and began massaging his wrist, seeking to soothe the pain from the costumed man’s death grip.

“I don’t fully understand why ours should be such a fatal relationship, but I don’t want your murder on my…” The costumed man trailed off, as his gaze shifted from the card dealer’s face to his gloved hands. There was a mark of white powder from when he had gripped him.

“Hands…” The costumed man managed to finish. A cold chill mixed with hot anger began creeping up into his spine.

The cards on the table were arranged into a five of a kind, with the last card being the smiling face of a joker.



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