Story 1 Prologue
Darkness swirled with rain as a Mr. E Nygma stormed down the night shrouded streets of Gotham and hurried inside in old brick building. The interior had faded tan walls and dim lights that guided his way up the stairs. On the second floor, not even the familiar sight of his apartment door with the number 43 could calm his rising anger. He was digging through his pockets for his keys when a voice floated from out of the dark.
"Mr. Nygma I presume." The red headed man jumped, startled by the sudden noise, and dropped his recently recovered keys.
"Who's there?" he asked, scanning the dark with flashing blue eyes. One shadow separated itself from the others. As it stepped into the dim light, the form of a short man appeared. He had a large head, bucked teeth, small blue eyes that darted this way and that, blond hair under a colorful top hat and a colorful suit to match.
"How do you know my name? Who are you?" Nygma glanced the strange man up and down suspiciously. He wasn't sure if he should trust the colorful clown; it was Gotham City after all.
"Oh, where are my manners? Allow me to introduce myself." In one swift move, the stranger took off his hat and stooped into a low bow. "I am the Mad Hatter, one of the many notorious villains in Gotham. You can call me the Hatter if you like, Edward."
"How do you know me?" Nygma repeated carefully. The man straightened up, holding Edward's keys in his hand.
"I've had my eye on you for some time now, Edward. Can I call you Eddie? You see, I have a proposition for you, Eddie. One you may find quite interesting. I know you are in need of a job."
"How would you know that?" Edward snapped. "I was just fired today!"
"I told you, I've had my eye on you. There is a device I need completed but I'm in need of some help trying to finish it. The whole thing has been a bit of a riddle and I thought you may be the one person smart enough to solve it. I know how much you like a good mind teaser, Eddie. So, what do you say?"
The Hatter stuck out his hand, but Edward just stared at it. After a moment of silence, the blond man pulled his hand back.
"Well I can understand if you don't want to." He dropped the keys into the red headed man's hand and sighed dramatically. "I though you were a man of opportunity, but I guess I was wrong. Jobs are getting so hard to find now and this one would pay really well. Perhaps you aren't worried about losing the apartment, or your sister." He glanced at the door in an almost menacing way, but the look was lost in the dark.
"Anyways," he said, turning his back, "sorry for bothering you. I wish you a good night and good luck finding another job." He started to walk down the hall with Nygma weighing his options.
"Wait!" he called, making his decision. "How much does it pay?" he asked simply, narrowing his blue eyes. The colorful back stopped and turned to face him.
"That depends." The Hatter said craftily, placing his hat on his head.
"On what?" Edward asked, his interest peaked.
"On how much you can carry!" The Hatter laughed and walked back over to him. "Come Eddie my friend. I can assure you that you won't be disappointed. Come back to my place, we'll talk it over and you can make your decision there." He wrapped one arm around the taller man's shoulders and led him down the hall.
As they walked away, Ed pocked his key and glanced at the apartment door behind them. "Sorry," he whispered, turning his eyes away and following the Hatter down the stairs.