Riddle Me This?
Maggie Whitlock was unfortunately walking back home from school. She really didn't want to go back home, if that was what you wanted to call it. To her school was more like home and home was more like school, where you try to avoid the school bully. The only time she could actually enjoy going home was when her father wasn't there. Whether he had work today or not was a complete mystery to her. She needed to get home and quickly get her chores done so she could avoid her father's wrath. If she didn't get things done fast enough or made a mistake or forgot something no matter how small, her father would be right there to rub her face in it. What felt worse was that she thought she should be immune to it by now with how long he has treated her like this. She could take the somewhat aggressive whack to the head and the look in his eyes that said he wanted to just beat her senseless but what made her feel so weak was the words he said to her.
She was grateful her mother wasn't too bad, she was very controlling but her need for control over her was an on/off switch. Maggie clutched her bag as her deep dark blue eyes looked at the grey clouds looming over her and Gotham. She wished they would go away so she could see the stars tonight. She loved seeing stars because they were her symbol of hope. The passing cars and the wind made the dead leaves dance on the sidewalk and the wind whistled in her ear as though to soothe her agitated heart. Cars drived on past her ignoring her like the rest of the world. She was used to being ignored, although she wasn't ignored by the people she wanted to be ignored by.
Eventually she walked by a dark alley near an old abandoned toy store and an old antique store that was closed and going out of business. A grey delivery truck was parked in the alley with two men who looked like old high school dropouts. The men were taking huge wooden crates out of the delivery truck and putting them in the old abandoned building. She gasped when she saw a familiar looking figure resting two hands on his cane in front of him with his legs together watching as the two men unloaded the vehicle. She quickly made sure that they couldn't see her peeking at them from around a corner. She recognized the green suited man with the question mark on his tie from the news. She heard about how he was called The Riddler and she secretly couldn't help but admire him for his intelligence and his skillful work in giving clues and commiting crimes. She knew it was probably easy for most people to commit crimes and kill people, she knew Riddler avoided killing people simply to show his intelligence and she admired him for it, not that she would ever tell anyone. She actually wished she was smart like him, She was pretty good at riddles and actually enjoyed them but that didn't mean she was going to challenge the Riddler.
She pulled out her cell phone and started dialing 911, the buttons beeping quickly as she dialed. She was waiting for someone to pick up when she felt four hands grab her in a vice like grip. She gasped but was too shocked to scream for help not that anyone was around to hear her. One man put a hand on her mouth and the other man hung up her phone. They then began pulling her in the alley, towards the Riddler. The Riddler had the most superior smirk on his face and was resting one hand on his cane and one hand on his hip. His smirk made her think of a cat who had caught a mouse, she really wished that she would have just ran past the alley or stayed after school that day.
"Tell me…" He said with a wry grin as he put her cell phone in his coat pocket "I have one ear, one mouth, and no legs, yet I can bear your voice a thousand miles away. What am I?"
Maggie considered her situation and the fact her cell phone was taken away, the answer to the riddle was obvious… " A cell phone" She couldn't help but answer quietly.
His smug smirk widened a bit as he stared intently at her. It seemed like she intrigued him. She debated whether or not that was a good thing. "Well done… How would you like to try another one?" She knew she didn't have much of a choice in the matter but decided to nod her head anyway, as she waited anxiously for the riddle. "Wonderful…I dig out tiny caves and store gold and silver in them. I also build bridges and make crowns of gold, they are the smallest you can imagine. Sooner or later everyone needs my help, but they are afraid to let me help them. .. What am I?"
His eyes watched her just as intently as he waited for an answer. Maggie thought about a kings crown and how it could possibly be smaller than she could imagine, then a thought struck her. What if the crown was for your teeth? What if those tiny caves were cavities with a silver or gold spot on your tooth. Then the answer would be… "A dentist?" she asked.
"Excellent" he said with a wry smile. "Gentlemen why don't you bring our new friend inside, so we can show her some hospitality." He walked towards the door of the abandonded toy store, while he gave his cane a twirl. She couldn't help but wonder if it would have been a good idea if she answered the riddle wrong, as the Riddler held the door open for them. One thing she knew about the Riddler was that he loved challenging his wits against others. She also knew that if she wanted to survive her encounter with him she HAD to keep her wits about her if he challenged her again. She heard about the unfortunate that had nearly died because of him and she definitely didn't want to be added on the list.
When they were inside the Riddler walked with smug grace and whistled as he made his way over to a comfy looking chair. He sat down and crossed his leg over the other, while holding his cane at an angle and resting his hands on the head of his cane. "Care to have a seat?" he asked as though they were two friends just having lunch together.
The two men released her and she walked over to a couch with a burning fire place between them. She sat down in front of him and wondered why she was starting to feel relaxed in front of a well known crazy criminal. She had to admit for an insane criminal, he really knew how to make a run down toy store seem like a warm home away from home. "You look like you're in high school, correct?" he asked, while resting a hand on his chin in thought.
She nodded her head, "Yes, I'm a junior this year," she replied, thinking it would be harmless information. He quirked an eyebrow in curiosity.
"Any plans for after high school?" he asked. As much as she wanted to play twenty questions, she really needed to get home, especially if her dad was there. The very thought made her become agitated again.
"Please, I have to get home. My father..." Riddler waved this aside.
"I'm sure your father will understand. Daddy's little girl, I'll bet." There was a bitter tone to his voice that made Maggie nervous. She didn't want The Riddler to think she was some pampered rich kid. Especially not worthy of ransoming.
"No, he won't understand," she protested. "He'll be angry."
"Angry?" Riddler rose an eyebrow and leant forward intently. "Why should he be angry with you if I'm the one who's kept you?" Maggie lowered her eyes to the ground realising too late she'd said too much.
"He just... gets stressed sometimes." She didn't look up immediately but the silence dragged on and eventually she looked up to see Riddler staring away across the room. Suddenly he looked back to her with a wide smile.
"I have a wonderful idea," he declared. "You can come help me." Maggie's mouth fell open in shock. She couldn't believe what he just said, how did she go from walking home to school to getting kidnapped to being asked if she wanted to help her kidnapper with his crimes? Now there was a riddle! Now that she thought about what he said she really didnt think he had asked her. She had only been with the guy for probably ten minutes! She wasn't sure what to say all she really wanted was to get out of here.
"Um...well I would have to think about it, I mean Im still in high school and I really would like to graduate next year..." his smile widened.
"I could teach you everything you need to know and more if you would like." he said while staring at her intently. He was staring at her like a boy in a toy store that just found a toy he really wanted.
She suddenly decied to change the subject as subtly and innocently as possible. She hoped he would play along espessially with his obsession for riddles. " Wait... so if your really good at riddles can I show you an anagram and you can try and solve it?" His eyes narrowed slightly. 'Dang it', she thought 'he knew!' His smile transformed into a pompous smirk andshe saw the challenge in his eyes. She suddenly realized she didnt just change the subject she challenged him! you idiot! she thought to herself, as she thought that, it sounded more like her father's voice.
"Very well, I think it's only fair since I have tested your intellect, that you test mine." He said as he uncrossed his leg and leaned back in his chair with his hands steepled togeather after he pointed to a few peices of paper and a pen lying on the miniture table in front of them , while looking at her expectantly. "...let's see it." His whole body seemed to radiate with his pompous personality, never the less she thought of an anagram he might enjoy as she grabbed a paper and pen. She couldnt help but notice all the other papers having different styles of letters glued onto the paper in riddles. She thought this anagram should be fairly easy especially when she noticed his eyes were watching her intently as she looked at the mess lying on the minuture table. She thought of the best anagram she could and handed it to him, she couldn't help the smile that crossed her lips as she handed it over.
She watched as he looked it over and suddenly then looked up at her. "I'm the ill- timed rat, shredded? Well, well, aren't we creative? " He said with an arched brow, humor was vibrantly shinnging in his eyes. She couldn't help but giggle herself. She waited for only a minute until he rasied his eyes from the paper to her and grinned, while handing back the paper to her."There you are my dear." She smiled while looking down at the paper and saw the anwser to her anagram, Riddle Me This, Riddle Me That.
"Yeah that's it!" She exclaimed. She suddenly realized that she liked challenging him and being challenged and she also realized that the two were actually smiling at eachother like they were enjoying eachothers company. She thought it was strange considering how he was her captor.
He smiled smugly back at her as he put both hands on his cane and leaned forward. "Of coarse it is." He replied, suddenly it looked as though a thought struck him. "My most sincerie appologies, but I dont believe I caught your name." Her smile was washed off clean by his comment. There was no way she was going to tell him her name, and possibly put all of her family and friends in danger. She liked him but that didn't change the fact that he was a criminal. So she decied to lie about her name and she almost used a snobby girl's name she had to put up with in school , but decieded against it, but it was still really tempting. She didnt even like her name,it just didnt seem to fit her and when ever she heard that name, it just sounded so plain.
"My name is Bethany Freisan." Suddenly She heard her cell phone go off in The Riddler's pocket. Oh no! Please no! She thought as Riddler pulled out her cell phone and flipped it open. The voice of father could be heard loud and clear.
"Maggie Whitlock! Where the hell are you? You stupid fucking moron! Didn't I tell you to clean the fucking house, when you get home? Did you get lost? Stupid mother fucking retard. " Immediatley the phone snapped shut and the Riddler fixed her with a knowing look and detected a hint of anger as well, she couldn't tell if he was angry with her for lying to him or angry with her father.
His eyes seemed to be peircing into her. She couldn't look at him and she wouldnt allow herself to cry, though her eyes did become watery. Stupid, moron, idiot. Would those words ever stop haunting her. They said nothing and she listened to the soothing crackles coming from the fire. She suddenly looked up to see his expression he was looking across the room, seemingly deep in thought. He finally looked up at her and smiled "Well who cares what he thinks?" She looked down again inhaling softly.
"Yeah who cares?" She said bitterly
She heard him sigh softly and she felt his eyes on her and once again she felt as if they were peircing into her. "He just can't see you as I see you." He said queitly. " Maybe one day he will, you can show him." He smiled softly, for once dropping his arrogant personality.
She looked back up at him and smiled again, happy about his kind comment. He didnt seem like the kind that would say kind things and actually mean them, but it seemed he truly meant what he said. "Thank you" She replied gratefully.
"So tell me did you change your name because you don't like it?" He asked with a knowing smirk and and arched brow.
"Actually I really don't like it." She said smiling, suddenly knowing he didn't mind that she lied to him.
" Yes it is quite unbecoming for a young girl like you. Hhmmm. I have an idea. I will give you a new name but only if you can solve a puzzle. Deal? " He asked smiling at her.
"Alright" She smiled as she handed the paper to him when he beckoned for it. She waited patiently while he scribbled an anagram on the paper. When he handed it back to her she read over the paper. The paper read shy area. She rearranged the letters and was given her new name Shyera. Shyera,she thought as she smiled brightly, she loved that name!
"So what is the anwser?" He asked watching her expectantly, though he could tell by the gleam in her eye that she knew it.
"It's Shyera!,I love that name!" She exclaimed as he chuckled at her excitement. He rested his steepled hands against his chin and grinned at her.
"Well done. Now about my offer-" Suddenly one of his men came over.
"Excuse me boss but we need yer help with something." The riddler rolled his eyes in annoyance and sighed dramatically.
"Excuse me, this shouldn't take too long. I will return in a moment, why dont you think of more amusing riddles for me while Im gone, Hhmm?" he said as he rised from his smiled and nodded her head. He began walking away but stopped in his tracks to look back at her. "Do think about my offer as well, will you?" She forced her smile to widen and she nodded her head again. He smirked and continued to walk towards a staircase to another part of building.
As soon as she heard their footsteps disapear and a door close, She quickly and quietly ran to the door and tried to open it. Unfortunatley it was locked. She noticed a fire extingisher on the wall and quickly grabbed it and spayed it directly where the lock would be. Remembering her lessons from tae kwon do, She quickly kicked the door open and ran as fast as she could. She felt like she was breathing fire from her mouth and her legs as they pumped underneath her. When she finally got home she hid in the backyard, with the fence around it so noone could see into the backyard, she didnt want face her father just yet but she needed to go somewhere safe and since she couldn't go to her room the backyard was the next best place.
She laid in the grass and finally noticed it was dark out and the stars were out. Her breathing slowed and she calmed, she really didn't want to tell anyone that she saw the Riddler, she just wanted to forget that it happened and yet another part of her pulled out the paper that her and The Riddler wrote on and her eyes went over her name. Shyera's eyes suddenly noticed another small note in the corner of the paper, she didnt notice. It had read: Riddle me this, how are you and I alike? She wasn't sure she wanted to know the anwser to that riddle especially if she was like a well known insane criminal, yet at the same time it intrigued her. She also felt as though the paper could be a warning as to what the future might hold for her, but would it be so bad living by nothing but your wits like the Riddler?
She hoped that until she could think about the events of tonight and reflect on them that she wouldn't see the Riddler again. She got up and headed toward the front yard and make it look like she returned from a friends house. Had she turned around while shutting the door, she wood have seen a familiar looking figure sitting in a van watching her intently with ghost of a smirk on his face. The van widow rolled up hiding the shady figure and a plotting mind drove the car down the street.
Thank you Esperata for helping me with this! Reveiwers let me know if you want a sequel!