22 Months Ago
Question: Heard a story once, long time ago. Man goes to doctor with a bad cough, just thinks it’s the cold but wants to be sure. Doctor runs test and is ready to subscribe whatever placebo is in season when the test results come back. The man doesn’t have the cold; he has cancer and only has 3 months to live. The way the story goes you can hear the man laugh all the way down the hallway when he gets the news. He finds it slightly funny, walks in with a cold and walks out with cancer.
Zatanna raises her eyebrow as she flips through the old brown book in her hands.
Zatanna: That’s slightly messed up.
Question: Here to please.
The Question stands in a dressing room looking round at several odd objects decorating it as Zatanna Zatara sits flipping through a large old looking brown book. She’s dressed casually wearing a long dark coat to shield herself against the rain outside. She’d been performing that evening and looking forward to getting him but was too exhausted to teleport herself when she opened the rear stage door to find the Question on the other side. She would be lying if she said that a faceless man on the other side of the door hadn’t freaked her out but she managed to maintain composure as the Question told her why he had came.
Question: Need help. I’m dying and I need to explore all possible options before giving up.
Zatanna had not dealt with the Question a great deal. She was at first unsure why he came to her but she was easy enough to find by those who wished to look. Out of guilt more than nothing else Zatanna started to look for an answer, doubting she could find one. Then her guest started telling her the story about another man finding out he had cancer. To say it disturbed her is putting it mildly.
Question: Any luck?
Zatanna: This isn’t an exact science you know.
The Question continues to wait as he inspects a paperweight in the shape of a dragon.
Zatanna: I wouldn’t touch that.
The Question pauses as he reaches out to touch the ornament but then glances at the door.
Question: Maybe this was a mistake. Sorry to trouble you. Would appreciate it if you told no one I was here.
The Question heads for the door but Zatanna stands as he reaches for the door handle.
Zatanna: Wait, don’t go. I’ll do the best I can but these things are tricky….if there was a chance for a cure then yes maybe I could help. You say you’ve been to 6 doctors and they’ve all told you there’s no hope. I’m very, very good….
Question: If you do say so yourself.
Zatanna:…..However I can’t mess with life and death, that’s out of my league.
The Question opens the door to leave and as he steps out into the rain he looks back.
Question: Thanks for your time.
He turns his collar up and starts walking away as Zatanna sighs and runs after him getting soaked in the process.
The Question turns as Zatanna runs up to him.
Zatanna: There is another option. I can’t make any promises though.
Question: Willing to try anything at this point.
Zatanna: I hope you remember saying that because beating this thing…it won’t be easy.
Rachael: This seems very complicated.
Rachael looks round her to make sure no one can see her as she stand on a bridge dressed in a long brown coat with her hair hidden, wearing sunglasses despite the dark night. Rachael leans over and looks down into the water as the Question stands beside her looking also.
Question: Everyone in the city looking for you, this is our best bet.
Rachael: Wouldn’t it be smarter to give myself in and feed you information from the inside?
Question: Too risky.
Rachael: My dad may be a jerk but he’d never hurt me.
Question: Willing to bet your life on that?
Rachael frowns and looks down at the water going over the question asked to her.
Question: Your father is not as powerful as he used to be. He’s sold parts of his soul to reclaim his empire. He has people to answer to now, if they want you dead they’ll either make him do it or ask him to turn the other way.
Rachael: Do you think he killed my mom?
Rachael looks at the Question who stands in silence for a few moments.
Question: I wasn’t there. Hard to tell.
Rachael: I’m not stupid I know what that means. That means you think he did.
Question: I think it’s possible.
Rachael goes quiet for a while as she sighs as she takes off her glasses and wipes the tears from her eyes.
Rachael: You know this has been a rough month. Living with you, sometimes it’s fine and sometimes…..
Question: If life was easy, world would be a better place.
Rachael: Oh great your telling me life sucks now.
Question: No, life is what you make it. Most people too lazy too put in the effort, most happy enough to settle for mediocrity. Only the few aim high and achieve their full potential but have to try.
Rachael: You sound like Mr. Miagi sometimes.
Question: Wouldn’t know.
Rachael: Are you telling me you’ve never seen the karate kid?
Question: Little behind on my viewing.
Rachael: Wow that is something.
Rachael clears his throat and checks her watch.
Rachael: So we’re doing this then?
Question: Yes at 2.00 AM tonight you die Rachael Thorn.
Police cars fill the bridge as Commissioner Gordon frowns as he stares at the broken barrier that was built to protect people from falling over. Gordon looks down at the ocean as one of his officers walks up beside him.
Officer: Commissioner, Thorn’s here.
Gordon: How the hell did he find out about this so fast?
Officer: He’s got Nigma.
Gordon: Of course he does.
Officer: You want me to send them packing?
Gordon: No the last thing this force needs is to be sued by Thorn. Let them through.
The officer disappears for a few moments before returning with Rupert Thorn who has the Riddler at his side.
Thorn: Is it true Gordon?
Gordon: We just got here Thorn. Quite frankly I find it surprising you’re here already.
Riddler: I’ve been keeping a track on Ms. Thorn’s credit card in case she was foolish enough to use it. Today she was, I tracked her to a car dealership where she rented a van earlier this evening. Using sources at the police department I was able to track the licence plate by video cameras in the city. The car was last seen only a few blocks away on Miller Avenue. After hearing the rumours of a crash on the bridge involving a vehicle, I simply calculated the odds. Ms. Thorn’s car would have been surely large enough the burst the barriers of the bridge and had she been driving at the necessary speed to send her car over the edge she would have reached this location in the projected time between the camera and here.
Thorn: That’s enough Nigma.
The Riddler raises an eyebrow but keeps silent as Thorn goes face to face with Gordon.
Thorn: I need to know. Is my little girl dead?
Gordon: We’ll know more when and if we find the vehicle but it sounds to me Mr. Nigma already has it all figured it out.
Thorn: I never liked you Gordon.
Gordon: The feeling’s mutual.
Thorn: I still expect to be notified if you find something or so help me…..
Gordon: When we find the evidence you’ll be notified.
Thorn: I better.
Thorn storms off as Nigma gives Commissioner Gordon a quick nod. Thorn makes his way past the yellow tape blocking off the crime scene and climbs inside his limo as the press arrive.
Riddler: I don’t suppose I could stay and let them know how I figured it all out….
Thorn: In the limo Nigma.
The Riddler frowns but does as he’s told and closes the door behind him as the limo takes off.
Thorn sits quietly for a few moments as a figure sits in the shadows looking out the tinted windows as the bridge fades into the distance. Hush leans forward and glares at the bridge as rain beats against the limo windows.
Hush: Tell your driver to drive carefully I have it on good authority bridges can be dangerous places on rainy evenings.
Thorn: My daughters dead and you’re commenting on the weather.
Hush: She is not dead.
Riddler: All the evidence says otherwise.
Hush: To perceive is to suffer.
Riddler: More Aristotle Thomas?
Hush: It’s Hush, always Hush.
Thorn: This is all your fault. You wanted me to bring in Nigma publicly and she got desperate and careless.
Hush: She’s not dead Thorn, she’s being smart. She’s either better than I thought or she’s got help.
Riddler: Help from who?
Hush: Isn’t that the question?
Elsewhere Rachael watches the news report of the accident on the bridge as she holds a remote in her hands.
Rachael: It worked. The remote on the car did the job just like your friend said it would.
Question: So I am useful for more than sage like advice.
Rachael: Now and then. So what was the purpose to all that?
Question: It allows us freedom to operate. I’m afraid we’ll have to change your look to keep you hidden.
Rachael: How are we going to do that?
Question: I know people.
Rachael: Great, you can call this time. I had real trouble convincing this tech guy you told me about to fix the car with the remote on such short notice. If I didn’t have the money he probably would have shoved me out the door.
Question: Can’t call them, you have to do it.
Rachael glances over at the Question as he sits at the dinner table in the small apartment.
Rachael: What are you talking about?
Question: It’s time Rachael. You need to know the truth.
Her name is Rachael, she’s only 21. She’s about to get the shock of her young life.