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I have to admit I've always been a big fan of Jonathan Crane aka the Scarecrow in Batman's universe. It's a fascinating character with a twisted personality and he always was my favorite rogue in BTAS. So when my best friend told me that there was a lost episode in which Jonathan was changed back into a kid I was like,
"Hell yeah, just give me the DVD!"
And she did.
Thinking about it I guess I should have been wary; my best friend never was fond of Batman. Indeed she had always thought that my "sick passion" for this cartoon was kind of weird. But at the moment I was just too happy to be suspicious and when she gave me the DVD I could only think about one thing: watching it as soon as I could.
I got home earlier than usual that day. One of my teachers was sick and I left school in a hurry, eager to watch that lost episode!
I put the DVD in the drive and I sat on the couch with a bowl of soda crackers.
Everything started normally: Batman was chasing the Scarecrow down Gotham's streets- with Robin of course. Jonathan ran into a dark alley and hid beside a dumpster, looking tired and sick. He was paler and skinnier than usual with cold sweat all over his face and I immediately thought that he might have been drugged or something like that. The camera got back to Batman who was still looking for the villain, looking very worried.
"Have you found him yet?" asked Robin. "He can't have gone too far! Dr Bartholomew said he was weaker than a kitten when he escaped!"
"That's what I'm afraid of, Robin. A weak and scared Scarecrow is a very dangerous Scarecrow."
"But we're here to help him! For goodness' sake, Batman, it's not like we're gonna HURT him!"
"I'm fully aware of that, but the man isn't. Remember he is SICK."
I don't know why but I began to feel very uncomfortable here. Batman was usually very calm, very confident, and at this moment... Well, let's say it clearly: he seemed scared. Very scared. Of what I didn't know but I wasn't so sure I wanted to know.
A part of me wanted to turn off the TV, but the other part of my brain was like, "No, don't! Jonathan is in trouble! That'll be nice, to see the Batman helping him for once!"
So I just sat there, unable to get my eyes of the screen. The camera got back to Jonathan who was now sitting on the floor. His heartbeat was literally deafening and he seemed in great pain.
That's when things started to go wrong.
The Scarecrow screamed. A scream so shrill and so loud that I literally jumped down from the couch out of pure fright. He spat blood, a lot of blood, and his body started to convulse. His eyes were so bloody red and his face... Oh god his face was paler than a ghost!
I swear to god I wanted to turn of the TV, I never wanted so much to turn of that damn TV but it was like I was paralysed by fear! I could just look at that damn screen, wondering what was going on, and I was just thinking, "What the hell is this?!"
Then it all ended. Jonathan stopped moving. It was like he had just died there, in this dark alley.
His screams alerted the Dynamic Duo. Batman and Robin arrived on the scene within seconds and the look they had on their faces was pure terror.
The camera slowly turned back to Jonathan... Or at least what was left of him. There was a pile of bloody clothes and sitting under the rags you could see a red-haired kid who looked very frightened. He looked at Batman and Robin with tear-filled eyes.
"Professor Crane?" Robin asked carefully, "Do you... Do you recognize us ?"
The kid remained silent for a while as he got up on his feet. His face was all covered in blood but that didn't seem to bother him.
"Dimwits," he said, smiling.
Batman and Robin looked at each other with relief and I have to say that I was quite happy to see that Jonathan Crane was still himself. I sat back on the couch. Now I knew why that episode was never aired: it would have been far too scary for kids.
Batman caught the kid in his arms and wrapped him up in his cape. Jonathan didn't even fight back. He seemed pretty sleepy and I thought that he was maybe very happy to be safe.
They brought him back to Arkham, explaining the situation to Dr Bartholomew. At this point of the episode I was like a kid in front of a Christmas Tree: now that everything was back to normal I knew that I was going to enjoy this ep.!
The five following minutes were rather annoying in my opinion. It was all about Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn and their damn maternal instinct. "And I want to cuddle you and I want to read you a goodnight story" and so on... Booooring! But after the horrifying scenes I had seen I wasn't going to complain; nope sir!
The time passed by rather quickly and Jonathan was still stuck in a kid's body. Things weren't so fun for him anymore. The other inmates where tired of having to take care of him and the doctors were treating him like a toddler.
One night Batman came to the asylum to see if everything was okay. He found Jonathan sitting on his bed, looking very depressed and lonely.
"How do you feel Professor?" The caped crusader asked. "Dr Bartholomew told me that you were quite... morose?"
"Who wouldn't be? I hate being a child... I shouldn't have experimented this new toxin on myself. Look at me: I'm a freak."
I was waiting for a comforting speech from Batman. But he wasn't there anymore. Instead there was a note on Jonathan's door.
I felt a shiver run down my spine. Who could have written such a horrible note? Batman? No, that was insane...
Jonathan looked at the piece of paper for a moment. He didn't seem sad, no. Just tired. Exhausted.
The screen went black.
The next morning a nurse came in all the inmates' cells to see if everything was okay. She entered Jonathan's cell, there was a moment of silence, and she ran away, screaming as if she had seen the most horrible thing ever. The camera entered the cell, very slowly. No music, just the sound of a loud, very loud heartbeat.
And there he was. Grown up again, his face twisted into a horrifying expression of pain, a noose around his neck.
And I think I'll never stop screaming.