DC Mayhem: Riddle Me This #2

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Joygirl

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#1  Edited By Joygirl

For more Mayhem, click here! Make sure to read the beginning of the spin-off mini, Renee Montoya, here, as written by

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In a moment of weakness, he had prepared the needle. He hadn't used it, but he had prepared it. Strengthened his own temptation in a fit of impulse. He needed it. He needed... something. Something to fill the void, the unending hunger of obsession that burned his skin, washed over him like the fires of Hell.

Nigma sat shaking now, in his one simple chair. Staring at the syringe on the table in front of him. He could go back to it – he could, he had it, it would be so simple. It would take his pain away, this stinging itch that seemed to stem from his very soul. The compulsion beaten into his mind since a young age. He could assuage it, with this. With the needle. He could.

But should he...? Wouldn't it be simpler, the other way? Easier to simply give in to what he truly wanted? He could regain his own health, grow strong again. Once more he could be an icon for Gotham to fear and cower beneath.

At what expense?

Who would be hurt, if Edward Nigma gave in again... after only two days back in Gotham? After two days without a case, held up by Wayne's money? Who could be caught in the crossfire, should he give in to the weakness twitching hotly inside of him, how much pain would he cause?

“Two...” he whispered, his bloodshot eyes still staring at the syringe. “Twomenwalkintoasubway....”

He needed help. He needed an ally, needed a friend... needed someone to look after him, to keep him from making either decision in front of him. “Thirtyminuteselapse....”

He squinted his eyes shut, the fiery addiction inside of him ringing against the sides of his skull like church bells. Church. Religion? Could that save him? “Carryingaredbag....”

He needed help. He needed Renee – the cop hated him, as far as he could tell. But that was what he needed. He needed someone who wouldn't pity him, who would treat him like the threat he had the potential to be. “Twentythreeandahalffeetsouth....”

There was no need to say the riddle. He had already almost forgotten the answer as he contemplated the syringe in front of him. He could feel that icy venom rushing through his veins, cooling the sweat that was sizzling down his skin, soaking through his battered, stained clothing. “Atthetendofthehourwhichmanisstillalive...?”

In one flurry of desperate action, Edward knocked the needle off of the table, into the simple plastic trashcan that lay beside it. He chewed his bottom lip and squeezed his eyes shut to ignore the headache. It would pass. He didn't answer the riddle, didn't allow himself the... pleasure, of the answer. The soothing sensation he experienced when he knew he was right.

Where was that damn cop? Where was Gordon? The cleaning lady... Batman... anyone. Anyone to take control over him, to force him down the better path. Willpower was... agonizing, to exercise, and even as Nigma threw the trashcan out of the window, he felt like he was betraying himself. A man of his fine intellect and taste shouldn't have to deny himself anything – should be able to have what he needed and wanted.

Edward – Detective – Nigma paused as he turned back into the tiny room he called his home. The mirror on the far wall spoke to him, showed him the utter idiocy of his thoughts, and this only served to enrage him further. His nearly-lifeless eyes were bloodshot, his pallid skin oozing sweat. His entire scrawny figure shuddered from withdrawal, and he hadn't shaved in at least two weeks. The mirror saw him for what he was, and spat the truth back into his face.

“Damn it... damn it.” Edward whispered, his bare feet taking step after step against the coarse, beige carpet. Closer to the mirror. “Dammit.”

The mirror showed him a man who had once been great, once been Batman's most brilliant nemesis. A man who could challenge the world's greatest detective, not through inane chaos or random happenstance. A man who could challenge the world's greatest detective because he was better, because he had the intelligence to baffle a man who knew everything. He had been the Riddler. That mirror showed him every path in front of him, and there were three.

One path led to the needle he had just thrown out the window. That path led to deterioration – he would never become a great detective, nor would he ever see the status of the Riddler again. That path led to starving in the street, a shivering junkie. That path led to Gotham's lower-class walking by him on the streets, paying no heed except to urinate on or pity him. “Look at him,” they would say. “Can you believe that guy used to be the Riddler? Now he's just a joke.”

The second path led to Nigma finishing that riddle. Saying the answer aloud and recalling his brilliance. He could cast everything else aside, scam the Wayne foundation out of millions if not more. He could deceive the Commissioner, grow closer with the GCPD until the entire city was in his obsessive grasp. That path led to the Riddler, led to a recession into the glory of his past.

But the third path showed resistance. It showed Nigma leaving that needle outside and leaving his lips shut. It showed him getting a meal – a hot meal – and taking the pocket-change Wayne had allotted him to the barbershop for a shave. A real shave. It led to him growing stronger, and moving forward, leaving the past behind him. It led to a man that people would come to know as Detective Nigma, a strong, healthy, capable, good man, one who helped people instead of hurt them.

“Damn it... and damn me.” Edward closed his eyes and turned back around, flopping into the folding chair with a creaky groan.

A case. He needed a case, something to focus on. Something to get his mind away from his compulsions.

The laptop.

Nigma nearly threw the small machine onto the table where the syringe had been not long ago, and opened it, pressing the “on” button. He had already put out multiple ads as a “Private Detective Edward Nash” but over the past couple of days he hadn't gotten any bites. He put in his password (a maniacal sequence of upper-and-lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols, chosen at random, that Edward had already memorized) and signed into the ad agency he had set himself up with.

A tiny red number one lingered in the top left corner of the screen, next to the notifications bar. Someone had made an inquiry. A slow smile spread across Edward's face, and despite his body still shaking violently, he moved the cheap, wireless mouse to that bright icon. A symbol of hope if there ever was one.

Dear Mr. Nash,

I'm not sure who else to turn to. None of the freelance PI's will take my case. I hate to be blunt, but they all claim it's too dangerous. I think my son may be involved in some sort of. Um. Gang. I'm not sure how to describe it. Maybe more than a gang, I don't know. I think it may be dangerous. My family has always been religious, but now Clayton never takes his cross off, not to sleep or shower. He's started talking about sinners, and every night I can see him slipping out of his bedroom window to join with the rest of the... um, gang. He's only sixteen, Mr. Nash. I can't bear to lose my baby to something like this, not as this age. Please find out what he's doing, if you can, please help me get my baby back. Your prices are a little higher than I can normally afford but I'm taking some money out of Clayton's college fund – if I lose him to these thugs, he won't need it anyway. Please visit me at the address listed under my profile, I'll pay you half up front to look for my son.

Desperately,

Mrs. Rosemary Hernandez.”

Edward put his feet up onto the side of the small table, his brow furrowing as he finished scrolling through the message. Too dangerous? What were the private dicks made of these days, tissue paper? A little bit of gang activity was too hot for them to even consider the case?

Unless they knew something Edward didn't. This thought instantly displeased him, and he read back over the message Mrs. Hernandez had sent. Religious extremism and gang activity often didn't go hand-in-hand, that much was obvious, but neither were the two mutually exclusive. The KKK, after all, was exactly that combination, when observed in the right light.

But the KKK stayed in the south, where there were wide open fields to practice their debauchery. Also, more importantly, Hernandez was a spanish name – assuming that little Clayton didn't fall too far from the tree, he would be distinguished as impure by a lynching organization like the Klan.

Also, this was Gotham.

And, as his massive mind sorted through damn near everything he knew about Gotham, Nigma quickly realized why the case was too hot. Why every other PI worth his salt had stayed away from Rosemary and her son.

Azrael.

But wasn't that dark organization too particular to start accepting sixteen-year-old hispanic runaways? They were the high elite, the toughest of the tough. He had seen Michael Lane in action and he understood firsthand what they were capable of.

Michael Lane... Michael Lane had a price on Nigma's head, did he not?

Mrs. Hernandez,

I would be delighted to take your case. I'll meet you tomorrow at 11:30AM.”

Perhaps it was time Edward took matters into his own hands.

The weak smirk on his face slowly widened as he sent the message. He had his first paying case, and he was getting half up front. He would have laughed out loud, but refrained out of respect for the recently deceased Clown Prince of Crime. Was just too soon.

That mouse swiveled again as Ed opened a new tab in his browser, intent on checking his email. Maybe a message from the Commissioner, or Renee, explaining why she hadn't been to babysit today (yes, he knew what her job was – he was past minding). Maybe even send a few excited notes of his own on getting his first case.

But the second he left-clicked to enter his password, the screen on the laptop went black. Empty. An oblivion of color but for the faint glow of the LED screen, which told him the machine was still on.

RIDDLE ME THIS.

The words flickered into the center of the screen in bright green, grainy letters. Nigma sat stunned for a long moment, his breath caught in his throat. He placed one finger on the “control” key, another on “alter”. As he searched for “delete”, however, the screen went black again, just for a moment.

RIDDLE ME THAT.

The screen went dark again, and the small white light that indicated the laptop was running blinked off. The black LED screen went dim.

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rav4

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#2  Edited By rav4

@Joygirl: Ohhh, someone messing with Mister Nigma. Let's see him riddle his way out of this one.

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knightofthechronicle

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This is incredible. Riddle me this, when's the next chapter?

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Joygirl

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#4  Edited By Joygirl

@knightofthechronicle: Official ETA: Whenever I get around to it. :P But it won't be too long.

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#5  Edited By The Poet  Moderator

@Joygirl: Very Awesome! I love this story!

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#6  Edited By Joygirl

@The Poet: Thanks. ^_^ Poet stamp of approval on my version of Riddler, woohoo!

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#7  Edited By Irishlad

I feel like Nigma now I want my fix why do these chapters have to end so quickly I want more :(

keep up the awesome work!

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xxxddd

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#8  Edited By xxxddd

@Joygirl:

1. I am loving the descriptions more so than the dialogue(because it helps me imagine the story better).

2. The talent of a writer is told more by what they describe more than what characters say, because descriptions create the foundations of solid images in a reader's mind that set the tone for the rest of the story.

3. The parallelism, metaphors, and symbolic structure are all realistically portrayed and are beautifully woven into a well-written(and easy to understand) story.

4. All in all, keep the good work:)

5.My only question(not regarding the content of your story) is::

How long does it take you to do this?

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Joygirl

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#9  Edited By Joygirl

@xxxddd:

`1/2. Many thanks. ^_^ Not much dialogue in this one but I'm honored I could hold a tune without one. :D

3. Again, thanks. I was a little frightened to try portraying something as drastic as an addiction, having only experienced it mildly myself.

5. It varies on my level of inspiration. On a normal day I can write 1000 words in half an hour to an hour. This chapter... hmm... maybe an hour and a half, all in all?

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#10  Edited By xxxddd

@Joygirl said:

3. Again, thanks. I was a little frightened to try portraying something as drastic as an addiction, having only experienced it mildly myself.

I like the fact that you show problems people face, if every story just portrayed a character that was flawless and unbeatable, it wouldn't relate to anyone.

@Joygirl said:

5. It varies on my level of inspiration. On a normal day I can write 1000 words in half an hour to an hour. This chapter... hmm... maybe an hour and a half, all in all?

Okay, do you actually write your story on paper first as a rough draft, then edit your story, then put it on the vine? Or do you just write your ideas as they flow on the vine?

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Joygirl

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#11  Edited By Joygirl

@xxxddd: Paper doesn't enter the equation but I do always write in on a hard file first. After I have written it and brushed it up, then I post it to CV.

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xxxddd

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#12  Edited By xxxddd

@Joygirl said:

but I do always write in on a hard file first.

You mean on Wordpad, or Microsoft Word? What?

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#13  Edited By xxxddd

@knightofthechronicle said:

This is incredible. Riddle me this, when's the next chapter?

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#14  Edited By Joygirl

@xxxddd: I used to have Word, but it went funny, now I use Apache OpenOffice (shh, I don't like it as much, don't tell anyone)

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#15  Edited By xxxddd

@Joygirl:

Well, I use wordpad.

1. So an hour an a half just to put it on the vine?(not including the "behind the scenes" work). That's alot of work, would you still read my stories if I released them in blogs posts weekly?

2. 1,000 words a day? How would I know how many words I write if I only use wordpad?

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Joygirl

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#16  Edited By Joygirl

@xxxddd:

1. Still? I don't read them as is. :P I have a lot on my hands in the fan-fic community -- best way to get me to read stuff is to be a Mayhem member. That's sure-fire. Otherwise is tricky.

2. On wordpad? You wouldn't.

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#17  Edited By xxxddd

@Joygirl said:

Still? I don't read them as is. :P I have a lot on my hands in the fan-fic community -- best way to get me to read stuff is to be a Mayhem member. That's sure-fire. Otherwise is tricky.

Well, I understand now that you are busy, I'll still read your work.

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Joygirl

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#18  Edited By Joygirl

@xxxddd: Coolio. I may read some of your stuff from time to time but it's no promise -- I have a lot of people that want me to read and critique and eventually I need to draw a line.

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#19  Edited By xxxddd

@Joygirl:

It's just that you can't say "yes" for everything, I get it.

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#20  Edited By Joygirl

Quick bump.

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wildvine

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#21  Edited By wildvine

Ooooh, Riddler has a nemesis. Kinda gritty too. I loved it.

"He would have laughed out loud, but refrained out of respect for the recently deceased Clown Prince of Crime. Was just too soon."

This bit was odd. I suppose i never thought of villains observing moments of silence for dead villains. Just another of those little gems i never expect to see but you keep tossing them out. Tots awesome, (as i predicted.)

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#22  Edited By Delphic

brilliant characterization of Nigma, and I'm looking forward to the next chapter. Also it would appear you have a slight amount of disdain for Micheal Lane. It's been several times not since I've seen him mentioned. I know he appeared in Gotham Hearts, but something tells me he has more significance that that.

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#23  Edited By stumpy49er

Another good read. Love the idea of Azrael having a fanatic, religous gang.

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#24  Edited By wildvine

Here it is.

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#25  Edited By nerdork

I have to say that the depth in which you write good ole Edward is pretty amazing. You have a very tight feel for the character, and seem to know how he thinks...and thats scary. :P

I would love to see your portrayal of characters like Joker or Lobo. You seem to have a nack for the wierd and demented, and i like that. You might enjoy my serial killer story, but i am afraid I will be warned if i post it, and to edit it may take away from the continuity of the character.

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#26  Edited By wildvine

@nerdork said:

@wildvine: I have to say that the depth in which you write good ole Edward is pretty amazing. You have a very tight feel for the character, and seem to know how he thinks...and thats scary. :P

I would love to see your portrayal of characters like Joker or Lobo. You seem to have a nack for the wierd and demented, and i like that. You might enjoy my serial killer story, but i am afraid I will be warned if i post it, and to edit it may take away from the continuity of the character.

No no no. Joygirl wrote this. I just called you out cause you said you couldn't wait for pt 2.

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#27  Edited By nerdork

@wildvine: I changed the call-out to her. How stupid do i look? lol

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#28  Edited By Joygirl
I have to say that the depth in which you write good ole Edward is pretty amazing. You have a very tight feel for the character, and seem to know how he thinks...and thats scary. :P

Many thanks! I am certainly doing my best to do him justice.

I would love to see your portrayal of characters like Joker or Lobo. You seem to have a nack for the wierd and demented, and i like that.

For Joker, see Gotham Hearts and Secret Six. I write Joker a few times there. ^_^ Lobo I haven't done yet, but he may be coming soon!

You might enjoy my serial killer story, but i am afraid I will be warned if i post it, and to edit it may take away from the continuity of the character.

I know what you mean... I wanted to post my Joygirl story but it is just way, WAY too vulgar for CV.

But thanks very much, @nerdork:, as for reading your fantasy story, it is pretty big and I have little time to read stuff, but I'll keep it on the list. Best way to get critique out of me is to join Mayhem. :P

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#29  Edited By dngn4774

Like where the story's heading so far, but personally, I prefer JPV over Lane under nearly every circumstance.  I'm sure you'll make Lane an interesting read anyway.  I was wondering where Lane's feud with Nigma originates?

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#30  Edited By Joygirl

@dngn4774: Gotham Hearts, Riddler rigs a motorcycle to shoot him with shrapnel and flame. ^_^

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#31  Edited By batkevin74

@Joygirl said:

No Caption Provided

RIDDLE ME THIS.

The words flickered into the center of the screen in bright green, grainy letters. Nigma sat stunned for a long moment, his breath caught in his throat. He placed one finger on the “control” key, another on “alter”. As he searched for “delete”, however, the screen went black again, just for a moment.

RIDDLE ME THAT.

The screen went dark again, and the small white light that indicated the laptop was running blinked off. The black LED screen went dim.

OH MY GOD PATRICK SWAYZE IS TRYING TO KILL EDWARD NIGMA!

This is the comic book version of Ghost and at the end the Joker's spirit, inhabiting Harvey Bullock or Batman will have a passionate weird kiss with the Riddler at the end!....or not! :)

Good stuff

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<sigh> Find it bump. Because this is a new account, I can't just make a new link. I have to copy it from the forum page. i.e. I want it to say "DC Mayhem: Riddle Me This #2," but I can't make a link say that right now. I can't even make a link out of http://www.comicvine.com/forums/fan-fic-8/dc-mayhem-riddle-me-this-2-740417/, as it won't let me turn that into a link that I could then change either. I can't create links from the forum. I can only create links to things in the wiki. The site restrictions for new accounts are very frustrating. It would be nice if these restrictions could be lifted if someone can prove they are an alt of an established account. :(