BatFold: The Three OriJokers War
The Origami Riddler’s Letter
Welcome — back to Kane High School, Alan Wade.
It’s been different in many ways, yet it looks all the same.
Be afraid, and be very —- very aware
Because there are enemies that are familiar—
Yet—- there is something new— haven’t you heard?
Jokes, riddles, fear — that’s Kane’s favorite word—-
But don’t you worry, do not fret—
Because fear isn’t in you— after all — you are the Bat
Or— so I’ve been — told—
BatFold: The Three Orijoker War
Future Unknown for Kane High School?
By Charlie Dixon
On March 13, 2020, the world shut down. For months, schools worldwide were closed… but! We were finally able to get control of it. Luckily, at the start of August, Kane returned in full. Unprecedented times have led to unprecedented measures, but… oddly enough, unprecedented times call for unprecedented changes. After Novick closed down in Spring of 2019, bullying and attacks have been at an all-time low, probably due to the extended measures taking place to keep it down: expulsions, closures of clubs and activities, and a bigger hankering down on the puppetry school-wide.
With Alan Wade gone (and the BatPen not doing as much anymore…), the entire school has gone slow. No bullying, no expulsions, nothing.
This proposes the question, though…
What’s going to happen? Is something bound to explode? Has a hidden volcano been forming? Shall the cup runneth over?
Only time will tell.
By Alan “Batfold” Wade
“Did you flirt with any girls while you were in New York? Did you have Folder?!” Madalyn asked. ‘Folder’ is a new dating app in which the more you talk with a match (you match with people who share similar interests), their image slowly unfolds. Origami puns aside, Folder came across as very ineffective. I didn’t have it, but Danny did… for a week. Even then, he’s embarrassed that he even had it for that long.
“No, no.” I said, “I didn’t flirt with anyone.”
Madalyn chuckled, “Come on, Alan. You had to have done it, just once.” Me and Madalyn had been trying the whole relationship thing again. She’s changed a lot, she’s become more independent, and has her… Sirens of Birds or whatever. I think that was something we struggled with, the fact we didn’t really have many friends. Now, I don’t have friends, but she does. That’s fine, though. I’m not exactly opposed to that.
“I didn’t, though. I had Gar and Kev, and Kev had Cassidy. She tried setting me up with some of Wheeler’s finest, but I couldn’t do it.”
She giggled, and she gave me these eyes that just drove me mad, “I figured. Nobody’s better than me.”
I hated to say it, but she was right. There was no one better than her. Especially this… new her. This mischievous, funny personality… I liked it a lot. It was the same, but so, so very new. That’s what a full year of being broken up with will do to you. You change, but you’re so familiar all-the-same.
“Did… Did you?”
“‘Did I’ what?”
“Did you flirt with any guys while I was gone?” I asked.
She scoffed, “Of course I did.”
Yep. I’m not eating for a week. “…Did you have fun?” I asked.
“No. It wasn’t like flirting with you, Wade.” She picked up a mozzarella stick, “You can’t be serious, not even a fling with a cutie with a J. Jonah Jameson puppet or anything?”
“No, Maddy. I’m telling you, I did not flirt.”
“Alan Wade, I am shocked to say you get no puppets.”
“… What in the Hell are you talking about?”
“Well, I’m trying to like, not curse anymore.” She said, “So, you get no puppets.”
“As opposed to what?”
“&@*!@#$. You get no &@*!@#$.”
“Dang, Maddy!” Girlfriend aside, it was great having my best friend back as well, especially this one; one not afraid of being out of pocket like this.
A change in tone followed the shift in the subject, “Have you heard from Conrad?”
“Somewhat.” I said. Me and Conrad had become, weirdly enough, fairly close. But he does this thing where we don’t hear from each other for like a whole day. He’s back at Kane already, and I’m returning… tomorrow. He lets me know whenever crap’s happening, but all he’ll say is like “CJ looks goofy as BatPen.” or “No bullying today.” As the Batfold Who Laughs, his heroics haven’t really happened.
“Are you… Excited?”
“To come back?”
“Yeah! Are you like, just really hyped?”
“I know that the place is gonna be taken care of. Nothing happens there anymore. I know that there’s CreaseWing, the BatPen… I think Emily has been really helpful as Batgirligami, Cobaggoner Gordon, and even Oracle. There’s not much need for the Batfold, it’s just kind of a standard thing.”
“But what about the Orijoker copycats?”
“We haven’t heard from any of them, y’know? It’s not a big deal. I’m sure it’ll make for a nice side-project.” I looked down at the ground, and then back up at her, “Tell me about what’s going on in your life, enough about me.”
“Well, I applied to Nodel University. Claremont, too. I don’t think I want to go to New York, though. Especially if Mr. Alan Wade didn’t flirt with anyone there.”
“Business. Come on, Al-Al. You know I like to steal, but this time I want to do it legally.”
“And you are planning to major in what again?”
“I guess business as well, gonna be taking over Mom and Dad’s company.”
“Yeah, yeah. You and the soup and meats that need so much salt to actually have any flavor.”
“… Listen, when I’m in charge, change will come around. Believe me.” I told her.
We sat there, looking at one another for a moment, like old times. We were back in love again, but my brain was stirring around: is something going to happen? What if I mess it all up again? Will I do everything wrong?
We played some games at Dave and Buster’s, and then our date concluded with a kiss. Old times… yeah. Just like old times. But my anxieties ran rampant, and I wondered when, how, and why I’ll $&@* it up.
Anxiety, Alan. That’s what it is. Just pure, unadulterated anxiety.
The Red Hoodie Flashback Chapter
By Richy “Red Hoodie” Wickinni
It’s all that really matters right now; it’s the fact that it’s day. I trudge through a sandstorm of responsibilities, swirling in my mind. Things I want to do, people I want to see—
I think back to when those OriJoker kids beat me up. The guy at the helm, his goons. Kicking me repeatedly in the chest until I could barely breathe. I was scared. I was hurt. Those bruises did not want to heal. They did not want to recover. Then… one day… the physical ones did.
I step foot into Kane, wearing my Red Hoodie, the puppet in my pockets. These halls, these people— they are afraid of me. They don’t get it; I’m afraid of them, too. I’m afraid of who is around the corner, who it is that doesn’t want me around. I’ve done some work with a team a while back; the Young Justcrease felt like a joke. I didn’t fit in with anyone, and that’s why I was afraid. I knew I didn’t fit, and I feared that they, too, knew that I shouldn’t be there.
I was passing by the entrance on the way to my first class, when I saw a kid.
A familiar kid.
The purple pants, the green shirt —- It’s him. It had to have been him. He was wearing a stupid orange backpack, and he was walking with a little pep in his step.
… Something came over me. I walked towards him, and I tapped him on the shoulder. He turned around.
I didn’t know him. I thought it was the OriJoker that beat the crap out of me. I thought… “I’m sorry. I was looking for the wrong guy, I guess.” I said.
He looked me up and down. I stared at him, and he finally looked at me.
“Okay… Not what I expected.” He said.
“I thought the hoodie would be more red, is all. That’s maroon.”
This son of a %*$@ knew my hoodie was maroon.
“Yeah, don’t tell anyone.”
“Oh, I won’t. It’s just… listen, my name is Conrad.” Holy crap. Conrad Mordecai. In the flesh… “I was told to be on the lookout for a kid in a Red Hoodie. Listen, Alan is coming back today. He’ll be here any minute in his stupid little car. You know he drives a BMW, right?”
“I would assume.”
“Yeah, I guess it does make sense. I love irony. Don’t be alarmed or anything to see him skulking these halls again, all…” He gruffed his voice down, trying to sound like Christian Bale, but he came across more like Heath Ledger, “Batman like…”
When I didn’t say anything, he smiled. “See you!” He then swiftly walked away. Alan’s… returning? It swept my brain into a swirl of insanity. How? Why? I thought he was expelled? That whole speech about how things were gonna change… It had changed for a year, and now he’s returned?
A Legend Returns
By Braxton (CreaseWing, the Legend Who Was Reborn) Bouvet
“Alan freaking Wade!” I exclaimed, waltzing up to him. He looked at me for a moment, confused. Everyone else turned to look at us, shocked to see Alan. As was I.
“Do I know you?” He asked. A shot right to the gut. He was wearing his Hawaiian shirt, shorts, and looked like he was freshly shaven, judging by the razor burn on his face. Kane’s second greatest detective! Or… well, maybe fifth. Or sixth.
“Y… yeah. Dude, it’s Creasewing.”
“No, CJ is— was Creasewing.”
“That was NightCrease.”
“We’re terrible with puns.” He sighed.
“You remember me, man!” I said. “I was the legend, REBORN!”
“There was no legend, bro. I promise you. This origami stuff wasn’t that big of a deal.”
“Yeah… you’re right. It wasn’t.” I sighed, “I just wanted a cool title. I got inked. Like… by an ink bomb that I made. I was looking for the secret Penguin kid. Still on the search…”
“Oh. He graduated.” Alan said. I was shocked. I was looking for that kid for two years now. I didn’t piece two and two together that he would have graduated. Me and Alan were seniors now. It… should’ve clicked. “He was nothing special, just a kid that loved Penguins. There wasn’t a mystery there.”
“For real. You were that kid that looked at me through my window, weren’t you?”
“Yeah! Right after Novick. You let me become CreaseWing. Like Batwing.”
“You were my plane?”
“No…” How freaking clueless was he now? “Come on, man.”
Alan cracked a smile and grabbed my hand, “Braxton, I’m joking with you bud.” He laughed, and I kind of started to laugh too. Deep down, I think he didn’t recognize me fully.
“So… have you been here a couple days?” I asked. Alan shook his head.
“No, man. I just got back.”
We heard loud footsteps behind us. “Alan FREAKING Wade!” Alan looked past me, and he kind of pushed me aside.
“CJ!” He exclaimed. He grabbed CJ’s hand, firmly shaking it and smiling. Next to him was a kid in a maroon hoodie, and a… miniature Alan.
Alan looked at the kid in the maroon hoodie, “Richy! Buddy, how you doing?”
“I was wondering when you’d return. I’m a bit mad… but I’m happy. Listen, I have this mystery I want to talk to you about, but maybe we could save it for lunch… All of us, at a lunch table. It would be pretty cool.”
Richy held his hand out, and Alan shook it. Richy then pulled him in, hugging him. It was so cool, having the Crease Family kind of there.
“And who… who are you?” Alan asked, looking at the mirror image of him. Down to the Hawaiian shirt.
“Thomas— but people call Tommy. Tommy Watkins!”
“I told you he looked like you.” CJ said.
“Holy %&$*. He does. This is… weird.”
“I have a Robin puppet, I’m at your service!”
Looking back at CJ, Alan smiled.
“Great to be back.” He faced all of us, “Listen, everyone. I like Richy’s idea. Let’s all have lunch together today, and we can promptly catch up as a Crease Family.”
Tommy jumped in the air, cheering. “YES! YES! YES!”
“What is for lunch today?” I asked.
“Chicken nuggets.” Richy grumbled.
I joined in Tommy’s cheer, “YES! YES! YES!”
Then… the Bell rang. We were late to first period.
“Gotta go, guys!” Alan said, doing a Batfold disappearance. Gosh… It’s so cool.
Jokerigami and the Joke on TV
By Alan “Batfold” Wade
Kane is so… fresh… After being gone for a year now, it’s all fresh and new. I look around at the lay of the land, students are back from Novick, it’s a lot more full, and then I remember the freshest thing of all: Conrad is sitting right next to me in class.
“So,” he said, “What do you think of this place after traveling for a full year?”
“It wasn’t traveling,” I said. Conrad’s voice was lighter, it was a lot more friendly. His Batfold Who Laughs puppet sat in his chest pocket, “I was just in New York. There was a group there, full of Marvel puppets. Really surreal seeing that.”
Conrad mulled over this thought, and then said, “You never answered my question, though.”
I shook my head, “Yeah, you’re right. My head’s just… Swimming. I guess it’s weird. Wheeler was so much more high-tech, and it didn’t have the Kane roaches.”
Conrad stomped his foot down, squashing an insect beneath his shoe, “Yeah, these buggers are freaking huge.” He said in a mock British accent. I don’t know why, but I felt so tense being next to him. Like, he could suddenly snap at any second. But he doesn’t, and I knew why:
Some people change, Alan. It’s as simple as that. I have to check my prejudices before drawing these conclusions.
“Have you seen anything from those OriJokers we’ve talked about?” I asked, trying to change the topic. Conrad shook his head.
I propped my hands up on the desk and furrowed my eyebrows. It was so weird, why was there nothing about this besides the random occurrences?
Mr. Baker stood at the whiteboard, drawing formulas so simple that I froze. Wheeler was like a step ahead in all of academia, even the classes taught me Senior-Level stuff at the Junior grade. Suddenly, like clockwork, the TVs turned on for daily announcements, done from the comfort of Kane High’s Newsroom.
A student who I had never met before – I assume a sophomore – sat in front of the screen, dressed in a Wendy’s shirt and sweating bullets.
“Jeez,” Conrad said, leaning over to me, “Y’think he’s ever been in front of a camera before?”
“I don’t know.”
The kid started talking live, “Good morning, Kane High School. I’m your host, Paulie Snow, and today’s announcements are pretty short, nothing really important. We’d like to welcome back Alan Wade, whose parents were important donors to keeping this high school up and running. Everyone, be sure to give Alan Wade a nice pat on the back for being so peachy.”
I looked over at Conrad, and Conrad looked at me, “Why don’t I get an introduction?” He said in a silly tone, “That’s quite ludicrous, I mean, my dad helps out with your mommy and daddy’s company. Make it make sense!” Mr. Baker shushed us.
“In other news, I am sitting in front of a screen as a poo-poo-pee-pee pants. I’m being forced to say that because…” The class started to snicker at this, but we were shushed again by Mr. Baker, who obviously wasn’t listening to what was being said.
Then we saw it. Poking out from the bottom of the desk was a little green puppet.
“What?” Conrad grumbled, he then looked at me, “See, Wade? I’m not there, and this is live.” Little murmurs and whispers occurred.
“Hello, citizens of Kane High School!” The puppet vocalized, his voice sounding perfectly menacing, with a twinge of humor, “It is I, the Jokerigami.”
Kids turned and looked back at Conrad, and Conrad shook his head with genuine confusion. He tapped the puppet in his pocket. Theresa eyed me down, shooting bullets into my soul. I, too, shook my head.
“First things first, I’d like to mention some changes…” the puppet vocalized. The camera zoomed in closer on it, and we saw a glimpse of the finger, pale, and a little bit fat, “There’s been some changes in management, so if the teachers would please leave the building, as they’ve been fired!”
Mr. Baker sighed, “I always figured some crap like this would happen,”
“Oh, they know what’s going on by the way, after all, members of the Court are always two steps ahead.” The puppet said, the smile never leaving it’s face.
The Court. That occurrence had not entered my mind in over a year.
“Even good old Principal Sampson is in on this, and he’s already packed his bags for the new head to enter the building.”
Mr. Baker had left the room, and the kids in the class suddenly got really confused. We could hear on the microphone from the TV, people shuffling out. The broadcaster looked confused as he said, “Ms. Biloxi? Ms. Biloxi, where are you going-”
“It has been years of planning, outlining, and boy, oh boy, is this story fun!”
“Dude, I think your mystery is being solved right now.” Conrad whispered. Theresa scooted out of her chair and walked to the very back of the class.
“What did you two chucklenuts do?” She asked. I placed my hand on my chest, “I did nothing, neither did he.”
“But you two return, a month into class, and already there’s a Joker on screen taking over.”
“It’s not us.” I promised, “I came back to solve this mystery too.”
“One of the rules of the arrangement was that Alan Wade was not to return to Kane. Yeah, yeah, it was decided a little bit after he stormed a meeting a long long time ago, but look what happened now! The teachers are gone, and it’s time for the ultimate punishment, a good ole Orijokers and Court of Origami Owls plan!” The Jokerigami exclaimed, wagging around on the finger.
So the Court had something to do with this? I took out my notebook and quickly jotted that down. This dude mentioned ‘Orijokers,’ which signified more than one.
“Yes, ‘OriJokers’ signify more than one.” Jokerigami clarified, “But don’t try figuring out who we are. Poke your head out and wave,” The last sentence was said in bland dialogue, then we heard, “Oh,” before the student poked his head out and waved, “I’m the co-host. I’m being told to say this, by the way.”
Red herrings, I assumed.
“But Jokerigami,” The other host said, squinting at the lines, “Why are you doing this?”
“How about a joke, just to lighten the mood?”
“Ha ha.” The kid said in a monotone voice, “Okay, go ahead- Wait, why am I reading these lines? I don’t need to do this now that Miss Biloxi left.” Yet he stayed sitting.
“An origami bat is placed back into a pot of water, boiled on high heat. What is the point of him in the water?”
“I don’t know, what is the point?” the kid asked nonchalantly.
“To let chaos bubble over!” The Jokerigami exclaimed. At first, the other host rolled his eyes. All of a sudden, a paintball gun cropped out from under the desk, and for a brief second it looked like the puppet was holding a comically large toy gun. A green ball fired from the paintball gun, striking the host, Paulie, in the head and making green paint splatter all over his face and a little on the camera, “Ha, ha, ha!” The kid reading these lines said, then, right before the cameras cut, the kid stood up again and said “Paulie, are you okay?”
“That wasn’t even a joke, that was a riddle—”
Suddenly, a cut to black.
“So…” A football player said, “I guess school’s out?”
“I guess.” Theresa said, “Let’s go home.”
Something wasn’t sitting right about this, and as we all got up to leave for the exits, I stood next to Conrad the whole time.
“We need to stay behind and wait and see what happens.” I said.
We could hear the doors open and kids leaving, and we watched as they celebrated an early day off, dashing and running outside for their cars.
Then some kids all pushed the students back, slamming the doors shut. A siren went off above us, and locks turned on. Questions of ‘what’s happening?’ were being thrown around by the students, and then the intercom turned on.
“Nuh-uh-uh…” A different voice said, “No one can leave. Yes, we had a few escapees, but no one can leave this school until Alan Wade solves this. Welcome back! No, there’s no weapons, and honestly, if you ask nicely you can go… It’s Alan that we want.”
I saw that Theresa was one of the few to be locked out, she turned around and started stomping towards me, her eyebrows furrowing. “You hear that?”
“Yeah, I’m not deaf.”
“But you’ve been gone for a year. That is a sign of changing times, Wade. It’s time you save this.”
I eyed her for a bit, “It’s all because of puppets.” I said.
“Yeah, things can get pretty wild with these things, I mean, the Shredder Squad rumors made this place a dangerous land.”
I sighed, “Well, make yourself at home.”
“I got a feeling that this may take a full day, maybe more, to solve this case. I just need to think.”
Conrad rested a hand on my shoulder, “Alan, it may sound wild, but you have a whole family that could help you.”
Dang. I have been gone a year, but I guess desperate times call for desperate measures. That is, until Emily and Madalyn walked into the room.
“We searched high and low for you guys!” Emily said, walking into Mr. Baker’s room. I gave Madalyn a hug.
“Do you know what we need to do, Alan?” Emily asked.
I nodded, “We need our Crease Family, for the first time in forever.”
Emily smiled, “Then I’ll be the Oracle for a minute.” She took out her bag and her laptop, “I don’t know why my dad just ditched us like this, but I’m ready to get started whenever you are.”
“Start now. Conrad and I are going to go on a little search.”
“… For who?”
“Richy, CJ,and uh… that one new kid. Duh.” I said, slight uneasiness in my voice.
A Crisis of Identity
By Alan “Batfold” Wade
The changes were immediate in the hallways of Kane high school. As “New Management” had taken over and all of the teachers had left, every student immediately decried “This school is OURS!”
Conrad and I walked through those halls, trying to find CJ, his ward, and Richy.
“CJ?” I yelled.
“Richard?” Conrad yelled.
“It’s Richy.” I mumbled.
“What was his little crap’s name?”
“I don’t know… is he my little crap now?” I asked.
“Is CJ still Bat Fan or whatever?”
I laughed, the concept of a fan that was shaped like a bat just seemed interesting to me, “It was ‘BatPen’. Like I said, I don’t know. If he’s NightCrease again, then I guess Tommy— that’s right! His name is Tommy — he’s my Robin now.”
“Cool. You got a Robinigami you don’t know.”
“… I don’t wanna talk about it.”
“Three Robins over two years. Better than the Arkhamverse Batman.”
“You’re right, but…”
While we were talking, we eventually found ourselves standing right in front of the Cafeteria… whose doors were closed shut.
“Alan Wade and Conrad Mordecai…” The guy standing outside the middle doors said. I couldn’t quite recognize him at first… he was all muscle, though, and it would be impossible to take him down with us two.
“Come on, Moocher. Step aside.” Conrad told him. I finally recognized him: Graham Moocher. His entire body was made up of muscle mass. The Bag refused to let us through, shaking his head.
“You guys both came back today, and now the entire school is on lockdown. The boss and his friends said no one can come into their club.”
“Yeah. The cafeteria is the clubhouse now. For the elite.”
I sighed, “Are you kidding me?”
“No, dude. I’d say ‘have a look’, but… like… it’s just for the elite.”
“Graham, they’re literally eating all of the food us students could possibly need. I don’t know who’s in there, but—”
“The elite students. Two-Pleat, Carmine Foldcone. Many others.”
“Terry D’Lunes and Ernest McPherson… Use their real names.”
“Even a new Penguin kid… And a familiar face, too.”
“Oh, you know him, bro.” Graham said. Conrad sighed.
“He’s right… I think you probably do, Waddy.”
He cropped the door open, and I looked at the old kid — the “Hand” from so long ago. He wore that stupid paper mache Black Mask. I couldn’t see his eyes, but I could hear the fear in his voice“Oh, $&*%.” He said, slamming the door shut.
“All the ‘people with influence’ and you let Bartholomew Lowe in there? Bro, I’m Alan Wade. I’m probably the most influential guy here.”
“Not anymore, Alan. Welcome back to Kane High School… ‘Batfold.’”
He then opened the cafeteria door, and I could get a glimpse of all of them sitting around, eating cafeteria food with other people in there. Ernest stared at me, and I looked at him. He smiled and nodded. Then the door closed behind Graham.
“Didn’t your girlfriend leg-sweep that buff guy a couple years ago?”
“… Yeah…” I grumbled, “I kind of need her to do that again.”
We started to walk away, and in my head I’m beyond angry. I’m not influential anymore? Am I just… here? Conrad quickly starts walking back to our classroom, and I start to follow him.
How much has really happened in the last year or so since I was gone?
I had my adventure at Wheeler, I had my fun… but… I guess the Court was right.
They didn’t remember me.
“Hey, why the long face?” Conrad asked. He had stopped and saw me. I guess I looked down in the dumps.
“It’s those guys, huh?”
“Screw them, man! They’re all just clowns in suits. And look at me; I WAS a clown, and I can’t even fit in a suit anymore.” He put an arm around me, “Alan Wade, I promise you: you might not think it, but I am sure that Kane will appreciate you, especially when you fix this whole mess… Just don’t steal the spotlight for yourself, pal. We’ll all need it.”
I looked at Conrad, a once enemy, now an ally. I wasn’t sure if I could call the former Clown Prince of Origami Crime a friend yet, but he was an ally. He wiggled his Batfold Who Laughs puppet around; my first puppet I ever made. The second one was outside of that warehouse… and the third one rested in my chest pocket.
“Come on. Let’s get to Mr. Baker’s room and set up shop.”
“But CJ and Richy—”
“They’re somewhere. Besides, they’ll find us.”
We entered Mr. Baker’s room, and, sure enough, CJ, Richy, and Tommy were there.
“We were looking for you guys, and then we saw Emily, Madalyn, and…” Tommy trailed off.
“Theresa.” Theresa said, “I decided to just stick around here; I don’t know where else I could go. Hope it’s fine that the Wonder Folder has joined you guys.”
I smiled, looking at my Crease family… and Theresa. Yet another ally. Hopefully she can become my friend. “Yeah, it’s perfectly fine. Just as long as we’re all together… Where’s Braxton?”
“You consider Bouvet a member of the Crease family?” Emily asked.
“Yeah, I mean… he’s important, I guess.”
“But, come on… Creasewing and Nightcrease… it’ll get pretty confusing.” CJ mentioned, holding up his old puppet, “Like having Batpen and Batfold running around.”
“Guys. He should be allowed.” I said, “We’re a team.”
Theresa scoffed. Here we go. We all stared at her, Madalyn crossed her arms. “It’s nothing.” She said, “I promise. It’s nothing.”
“We should wait for him.” I said.
So, we sat down… and waited.
The Camera opens to a dark room, seemingly a spacious closet. It’s shaky, as the person that’s recording seems to never have held a camera before in his life. There is one lamp hanging down, swaying a bit around. The voice was ominous, if a little bit monotone.
“This right here is one of Alan Wade’s little members of his Crease Family…” He said, “One of the unknowns, one of the ones no one ever… really cared to catch up on. Yeah, yeah… he’s faced some enemies in his past, but they’re all either graduated, or quickly getting to it. Just as he is… Isn’t that right, Braxton? The Senior, same as Alan Wade… same as everyone else that is important… same as me.”
Braxton Bouvet looks up at the camera. He is tied down on the chair. The camera meticulously follows the knots, which Braxton struggles with.
“My partner’s scouting knowledge had trained him well…” He starts to laugh, but it’s just “Ha. Ha. Ha.” “Look at him.” He said. “Look at him in all his tied up glory. Look at me.”
Braxton doesn’t look at him. The camera zooms in. “LOOK AT ME.” He yells. The kid looks slowly up at him.
“You are nothing special.” The camera man said. “You mean nothing. You were not a part of any ‘Crease Family.’ They won’t remember your story.”
Braxton stares at the camera man, “Dude.” He says, “Like they remember you?”
The kid drops the camera, and starts to wail on the tied up Braxton. Through gritted teeth, the unseen camera man (as the camera is now looking at the ground), says “They know me. They know my name. They’ll never… ever… EVER forget it.”
There is no sound after the beating except for his heavy breathing.
“We’re done here.” He picks up the camera, closing it out.
Many Minutes Later…
By CJ “NightCrease” Whogley
I looked at my other puppet – the one of Nightwing. So much has changed. Time has passed; a full school year has gone through the wind. Today, though, we were on lockdown… Today, I was scared.
“So… Do we go and find Braxton, or…?” Conrad asked. That was the other thing that was taking me out: while me and Alan had definitely forgiven one another, this new addition to the team was an odd one. We had thought, for the longest time, that this high school kid had killed Alan’s family. In retrospect… yeah, that’s pretty brutal, and we’re definitely in the wrong for it… but the only thing I can’t get out of my mind is that he acted like it was true. So, I definitely don’t trust him right now.
Our lack of a reaction made him nod, “Okay…”
“Actually, I think we should get into it. I’d like to be home by tonight.” Alan said. He stood up at the whiteboard, and everyone just kind of sat back and listened.
“So, I know it seems like it’s too much to be a coincidence, but I had accidentally uncovered a mystery when Conrad came to my door a few weeks ago. I believe that there are multiple OriJokers at this school.”
“That would make sense.” I said.
“Yeah, like… I also had that inkling too.” Richy mentioned.
“It did make a ton of sense, honestly.” Madalyn said, “I mean, he’s your arch nemesis.” Theresa even nodded at the sentiment, as did Emily.
“Wow. I thought I had an original idea for once.” Alan sighed.
“You did, don’t get us wrong, but he,” Richy pointed at Conrad, who posed all weirdly, “was not the one who had beaten me up long ago.”
“Okay. So we all agree there’s multiple OriJokers, right?” Alan asked. We all nodded, “So, the kid in the news said multiple too, which double confirms it.”
“… You have nothing.” Theresa said, sighing. “You have nothing.” She repeated. She then laughed, raising her hands in the air in defeat, “He has nothing! This is just great!”
“Come on, the mystery is only starting.” Madalyn said. She looked back at Alan, “Why do you have nothing on this, babe?”
“Aw, she calls you ‘babe.’ That’s cute. Why do you have nothing, infant?” Theresa asked.
Alan turned red with embarrassment, “I don’t know.” He said, “It’s only started and we’re at a dead end. The only person I think would know anything would be… you know, Bartholomew? Walter?”
“Walter is absent today. He’s in my AP Government class.” Emily mentioned.
“… So Walter is gonna be absent from every class for maybe the next few days. Good to know. But Bartholomew isn’t.” Alan said.
“Where’s Bartholomew?” I asked. Bartholomew was the Black Mask, back during the Novick Detention era. We had exposed him and his Origami Empire; me as the Origami Firefly, Alan undercover as Tony Zazonnie, the Origami Calendar Man. Alan met Madalyn in the middle of Novick Detention, and… it’s been pretty solid since then (except for the breakup that apparently happened, but I digressed).
Bartholomew Lowe was a part of a secret group called ‘The Presence’, consisting of three other members: Walter Gilligan, who became the Spectre, Vincent Vanderlin (The Presence), and Drake Rogers, who is still lost to this day. They would document the happenings of Kane, but their friendship fell apart with, what I think, obscurity. They were nobodies, and they remained nobodies…
“Well, somehow he’s back, and he’s hanging out with all of the “elites” in the cafeteria. Only people a part of, like, him and Foldcone’s groups are allowed in there.”
“So we’re gonna starve too?” Theresa complained.
“For being the Wonder Folder, I wonder when you’ll shut the $&@* up.” Conrad mentioned. Theresa sighed and looked down, “Look. I’m sorry, but if you’re only going to complain about what we’re doing, please just… like, leave.” Theresa looked at the ground, and she stood up.
“I’m going to go investigate.” She said, “Get some clues.”
“She’s headstrong.” Richy said, “I like it.”
“She’s insane.” Alan said, “I don’t know. Maybe I’m being rude. I just hate how she treats me.”
“Well, you did kind of screw her over.” I said, “Like… all of us. But that ship has sailed, it’s in the past. I don’t wanna talk about it.” I hate to say it, but I am still struggling, even after forgiving, even after understanding where he’s coming from.
“What if we all split into teams?” Tommy suggested, “Me and you, Alan. Richy and CJ, and Emily and Madalyn? We’ll all then reconvene with what we find out, and go from there?”
“I’m right here, bro.” Conrad mentioned. Tommy looked at him, and then averted his eyes away.
“Guys, I don’t think this is the typical mystery with ‘clues.’” I said. Alan looked at me, “What I’m saying is that if we’re dealing with OriJokers… They want us to find them. They’re not leaving riddles at every turn. I think… if they want to split us up, we’d be falling into their trap.”
“As a former OriJoker, the Night-Grease is right. This is an elaborate Joke, and I don’t think we should try to get to their punchline.” Conrad mentioned.
“Okay… So: as a team, as a Crease Family, anywhere we go, we stick together, okay?” Alan asked.
“Yeah!” Tommy exclaimed, “Starting with finding CreaseWing!”
Everyone stood up and nodded.
“Alright… let’s find CreaseWing, and hopefully a clue or two along the way.” Alan said.
“Team CREASE FAMILY!” Tommy announced. Everyone just kind of looked at him, proceeding to leave the Crease-Cave. Richy turned around, and, with a key that he found in the room, locked the door behind him.
“Let’s go.” He said.
Everywhere All at Once
By Emily “Batgirligami/Oracle” Sampson
As we walk through the hallways of Kane, the only question running through my head is why my dad decided to ditch us. The Cobbagoner Gordon. He’s nowhere to be seen; simply left when the OriJoker told everyone to. Maybe he expected me to follow suit, but because I was lead of the Hall Monitors of the school (which, also, have all left), I’m here to pick up the pieces and help keep some level of decorum.
Dad has been quiet as of late. He doesn’t really say much to me, and he’s been stressing a lot over Kane’s inner workings. I…
No. I’m not going to think about it. He would never do that.
Trying to keep decorum of a ton of kids who, at this point, refuse to leave is impossible. They’re all crowding the halls, pushing one another and dashing into rooms, making a mess everywhere. While the Crease Family wandered through, I could feel a slight tension amongst the crowd, like we weren’t exactly supposed to be here.
“Alan Wade and his little troops are about to beat us all up.” One of them said, I glared towards them, and they kind of stepped back.
“No, they’re… here to help, I’m sure. That’s Batfold, and… I mean, all of the Batfold people are heroes. Even that maroon hooded kid.” Richy stared at that guy, “And the small Alan, too. They’re all there to help out.”
“Well, I’m hungry!” One exclaimed.
“And I’m worried they’ll shut off the water fountains!”
“Where will we get a shower?”
“Are they anywhere close to finishing this stuff?”
“Come on, Alan Wade. What are you doing?”
I could see it in his face, that boiling frustration. Alan turned to the students. “The doors are unlocked, you dinguses! You don’t need to stay here!”
Everyone fell silent, and stared at him.
“What?” Alan asked. One kid pointed at the entrance door, a metal barricade had risen up, like we were trapped in a safe. Alan — and us — suddenly realized that we were actually all trapped.
“I think Dad said something about lockdown measures.” I mentioned, thinking back to a conversation I had with Dad when he was plotting out the Novick Detention sector. He had explained that there would be metallic vertical doors that could rise from the ground, blocking off entrances and exits in the event of chaos on the outside. It could close down a hallway, like Novick, preventing “problem children” from getting into the greater school.
I didn’t know he went through with the idea. What would happen if a fire came through, and the system bugged out? What if someone had control over the system, like these OriJokers did? Was my dad always this incompetent as a leader? As a principal? What kind of brash decision making was that? The fact it was implemented too, without any of the students knowing—
“Great.” Alan said, looking at the ground. He looked back at everyone, putting his hands on his waist, “Okay, everyone. I cannot promise you guys that this will end tonight. I cannot promise you anything, really. We’ve been in here for hours now, and someone has put up security doors, so no one is getting in, and no one is getting out. I promise all of you, we will fix this, ASAP.”
“Where should we go?”
“Just… stand around here.” He suggested.
“Yeah, seriously. I’ll get back to you guys with actual information soon enough.” Alan told the crowd, “Now, if you’ll excuse me and my crease family—”
“YOU BETTER FIX THIS, ALAN WADE!” One of them exclaimed, “USE YOUR RICH BOY MONEY, YOU NEW YORK CITY %*$@!” Alan stammered at this. He looked at the ground, and he kept walking… towards the gymnasium.
“Why didn’t you do something?” Tommy asked, “You’re Batfold! You should’ve socked him right in the face!”
CJ put his hand on Tommy’s shoulder, while Alan looked up at him. “That’s not what we do.” They both said at the same time. I could see CJ’s smile, and he looked back at me. I gave a thumbs up, but I was so deep in my headspace, thinking about my dad, that my heart wasn’t totally in this…
Where the $&@* is he?
Who is this Man?
By Tommy “Or-Robin” Walters
Me and Alan have — though he might not have known — lived next to one another for pretty much my whole life. I idolize the man; he was older than me, he was just as popular as me, he was about as RICH as me. He was who I wanted to be. I’ve been his number one supporter, his biggest fan.
So here I am, meeting my hero, and… he’s different.
Everything about him has changed in my opinion, from the person I thought I knew. He’s become… a pacifist?!
What happened to the Alan Wade that beat Conrad Mordecai to the point that Kane High School’s Gym has a dent in the ground? What happened to the Alan Wade who was so paranoid, he could screw over his closest friends? What happened to him?!
So, we’re walking down the hallway, trying to get to the gym, when a group of kids in masks walk out in front of us. They were all in different halloween masks, and they held bats and stuff in their hands.
“Alan Wade and his group, well, well, well…” One said, hitting his bat in his palm, “All alone.”
“We’re not alone!” I said, “We’re a team!”
Conrad leaned towards me, “I think it was rhetorical. Like, ‘we’re alone in our fight.’”
“Where do you think YOU’RE going?” One of the people yelled, seemingly gritting her teeth at us under her mask. Alan just stared.
“We’re going to the gym.” Madalyn said, “Why, you guys are the protectors of the gym or something?”
“No… we’re just some kids who were waiting for the Batfold to show up.”
“Come on, was I not good enough?” CJ asked.
“You weren’t.” One of them grunted. CJ bowed his head.
“Listen, we don’t want much. Just all of your belongings. I know that since Alan here is rich, you guys get every new phone, watch, even payment for helping him.”
Richy looked at me, “Are you getting paid?” I shook my head, “Who here’s getting paid?”
“Probably Braxton.” Madalyn jokes, “I don’t even get gifts.”
“No one is getting paid. And I do give you gifts, Maddy.” Alan said.
“I know, sweetums—” Suddenly, I socked one of these goons in the crotch. He keeled over, whining about the pain, struggling to breathe.
“Holy $*#&!” Conrad laughed, “That twerp punched a dude right in his Codcrease!”
“Alright, that’s it! You guys want to do this the hard way!”
“Oh, brother, don’t say —” Conrad was punched in the face by a guy in a Michael Myers mask. Alan glared at me, before kicking away a dude wearing cat ears. Everyone was getting in on this! Madalyn was leg sweeping, Emily was diving in. Richy was launching rocks, but then—
Someone hit me in the head, and I fell to the ground, going dark for a minute. When I lifted my head, the fight was… over. And we lost.
Madalyn was trying to kick them away, yelling for help. I started to push up, but someone’s foot pressed against my back, pushing me down.
“Guess they need some training, huh?”
“Did you see the gut on Wade? Jeez louise, maybe he needs to go to the gym—”
“Help!” Madalyn exclaimed, “Alan, please! Get up!”
“I can’t!” He grunted, “This guy is sitting on me!”
“Oh man, stinky butt to face, that sucks for you, Wade!” Conrad yelled, then he was punched. I could hear him spit on the floor.
“I can’t do anything.” Richy said. “I hate you guys!” He announced to the gang.
“Help!!!” Madalyn yelled once more. It sounded like she was being dragged away. Then, we heard some more punching; a person falling to the ground, the weight leaving my back from that guy, I could see his feet as he ran over, and then get punched. Again. And Again. The tooth rolling in front of my face. I saw a pot of dirt hit that guy in cat ears, knocking the headband off and breaking the ceramic in multiple pieces. A hand reached down to me, helping me up, and I got a glimpse of my rescuer.
“You okay?” The blonde haired, dressed in a Kane yellow shirt with a green jersey over the top of it asked. I stared at her, and then I stared at the red headed… ‘creature’, who pulled her away from me. She glared at me, shooting bullets through her eyes.
“She’s mine, bucko!” The girl yelled. I looked around, seeing my Crease Family recover, thanks to these two lady furies.
“Jessica, Mary, oh-my-god, thank you guys!” Madalyn yelled, hugging both of them. I walked up next to CJ.
“You know those two?” I asked my old mentor.
“I know the blonde is Jessica Zinnia, the Poison Foldy.”
“That can’t be her pun.” I said.
“I’m sure it’s in the works. That other one, though? The one with the crazed eyes and the done up hair?”
“Yeah, who’s she?”
“I don’t know.” We watched as she walked around, kicking at the people that were knocked out by her and Jessica’s hands. She had a belt on, and sitting tightly in the belt was a puppet, whose blonde pigtails had streaks of pinks and blues against it.
“I guess she’s Harley Quinn.” I said.
“Quill.” She grumbled.
“Harley Quill.” I corrected myself.
“That’s my name, guys. Well, actually, it’s Mary, but I have already said too much.” She sounded all jokey, and then she groaned, “Listen, I can’t do that sort of jokey crap for long. I’ve dealt with a group of all quippers before. I’m not going to do it again.”
“Dang, and I was just starting to like you.” Conrad mentioned. She glared at him.
“Don’t think I don’t know who you are, Mordecai. Frankly, I think you’re behind this.”
“Hand to God, I am not.” Conrad said to her, raising his puppet, “I’m the Batfold Who Laughs now.”
“Right…” Jessica said, doubting his words as she locked her arm around Mary’s.
“I guess Conrad and Mary weren’t together…?” I whispered to Richy, who joined us in staring at the confrontation.
“No. More than one Joker around here, remember?”
“I’ll have you chucklenuts know, I’ve never dated a kid with a clown puppet. Have I dated clowns? Yeah. But not a single one had an OriJoker. Not every origin for a woman needs to involve a man, y’know?” She said to us, before turning back to Conrad, “Looking at your body language, I feel like you’re telling the truth.”
“Oooh, she’s using ‘I feel’ statements, like a true psychologist!” Conrad joked, before getting slapped.
“Where did you two come from?” Alan asked Jessica and Mary, standing next to Madalyn. We decided to join all of them. Emily looked exhausted.
“The gym.” Jessica said.
“We call it the Safe-Haven.” Mary said.
“I just call it the gym.”
“Excuse me,” CJ said to Jessica, “Where’d you get the potted plant?”
“Ms. Oldman’s room.” Jessica responded, “Mary had a bone to pick with her, so I helped her pick it.”
“By destroying her sunflower plant that she starts at the beginning of every school year?” Richy said, looking devastated.
“Yes. by destroying her sunflower plant that she starts at the beginning of every school year.” Jessica mocked, “Gosh, you guys need to become better detectives.”
“Come on, Madalyn and… friends. And Alan.” Mary said, “We’ll take you all to the Safe-Haven…”
“The Gym.” Jessica mumbled.
“Mar, just call it the gym… please.” Jessica begged lovingly.
“Okay, but only for you, Jess.”
So, we followed them, continuing our fun ride. Alan glared at me for the majority of the trip, mainly because I broke his rule. CJ didn’t really say anything. A part of me wonders… Who is that man dressed as Alan Wade? I know it’s him, but I have no clue what happened to him.
By Madalyn “Origami Catwoman” Ford
“Why didn’t you leave when you had the chance?” Mary asked me. I looked at her, and then nodded towards Alan.
“Yeesh.” Jessica said, “He wouldn’t let you leave?”
“No, he would, I said I wanted to stay and help.”
“And all you did was…?”
“Get you guys!” I said, “Just the right people, the Kane High Sirens!” I wrapped them both around my arms, and they smiled at me. Eventually, we approached the door to the gym, and Mary knocked.
“Who is it?”
“Bobby, it’s Mary and Jessica. We found some stragglers.”
“Tell ‘em to buzz off, kindly from the Mad Plaster.” I recognized that grating, nasally voice as Bob Markov. I looked at Mary and Jessica.
“Is this place just a Rogues’ gallery hangout spot?” I asked.
“To an extent?” Jessica said.
“Ehhhh…” Mary kind of flung her hands in the air in confusion, “I don’t really know… There’s a lot of bad guys, but there’s some bad guys that are, like, out and about.”
“Can you get us in there, or not?” Alan asked. I looked at him, and he looked away.
“Sorry about him.” I said to the girls, “He meant to say ‘can you get us in there, or not?’” I tried saying more kindly.
“We’re trying to.” Jessica said, banging on the door this time. Bob creaked it open.
“Who is it?”
“It’s us, you dingus. These people can help us.”
“Nah, it’s fine. I don’t even know who they are. You might’ve compromised us!”
I leaned up to the door, “Bobby, it’s me, Madalyn. You remember me!”
“Madalyn? From third period?”
“Yeah, and from… Novick, too.”
Bobby swung the door open to the gymnasium, and then his face turned from joy of seeing me to… utter shock, and fear, of seeing Alan and the rest of his squad. Before he could close the door, we already barged in, leaving him no choice but to shut the door. We looked around the gym, which had been, somehow in the last four hours, decked out. The bleachers were pulled out, people were sitting around, dressed in jerseys and stuff, holding hockey sticks and throwing basketballs. Someone had designed the stage to look like some sort of palace. I think it was actually for the upcoming play, Julius Caesar, but it still fit this aesthetic.
“Who’s keeping this place safe?” Alan asked, “I mean, it looks like heaven.”
“It’s not. In the last four hours, there’s been so much political strife, an assassination attempt, and a marriage.” Mary grunted.
“Aww. A marriage… that’s cute.” Tommy sighed, “Young love…”
Mary held up her finger, revealing a ring pop ring with the candy eaten up, “Domestic life is tough.” Jessica chuckled, showing off her ring to Emily, who didn’t really say much, because it was a plastic, fake ring.
“You didn’t invite me to the wedding?” I asked.
“It was in secret.” Mary whispered.
“Oooh…” I said.
“Anyways, take a wild guess who is keeping this place safe.” Mary asked, stopping the group. We all shrugged, “No, shrugging isn’t a good answer. Come on! Guess!”
“Theresa Carter?” Alan asked, “Please not Theresa Carter. Anyone but Theresa Carter.”
“It’s not her.” Mary said, a smile beginning to creep across her face.
“Smedly Maroni?” Richy said, “He is the Origami Condiment King.”
“No…” The smile grew larger.
“Maybe Braxton?” Emily wondered.
“We thought the same thing.” Alan confessed.
“Jessie Bennett!” CJ said with a ton of confidence. “Wonder Girligami, at the helm!”
“No, agh! You guys are bad at this. You guys should step out now, you got to do your introduction.”
A skinny boy wandered out, strutting his arms in the air, making noises for his own entrance. On his finger was a puppet with wings; a newer puppet, who was drawn in the same garb that he wore, which was a cape made of old kickball jerseys, and a crown made of paper, grass, tape, and little rhinestones.
“Hello hello!” He yelled.
Then, another boy, chubby, pale, and bald, also entered. Instead of a crown, he wrote today’s holiday: Steve Jobs Day. He had written it in sharpie. He didn’t seem to wear any big getup, except he had put calendars on his arms as shoulderpads.
“Woah, Alan Wade. Hey. Remember when you beat the $&*% out of me?”
“Hey, Tony. Yeah. I’m sorry.”
“All is forgiven! For in Safe Haven, there is no crime, there is no punishment! Only us! The students!” The kid in the crown announced, “For it is foretold, by me! THE Foldifer Morningpleat!”
“Oh… Neil Vanderlin. I couldn’t recognize you with the, well, crown.” I said.
“Yeah, all is forgiven.” Tony mentioned, “Calendarigami King — that’s my new puppet’s name, by the way — and Foldifer Morningpleat’s new Complicare is… well, interesting, to say the least.”
Neil pointed through our group, directly at Alan Wade.
“You!” He said, “We have been waiting for THE Batfold for quite some time. Say, why don’t you, me, and Tony have a little meeting, one on one, in my office!”
“Our office. He means our office.”
“Actually, Coach V’s office, but who’s keeping count, hm?” Foldifer questioned.
“Sure. I guess.” Alan said. He lightly tapped my shoulder, walking past me. “I’ll be right back, y’all.” So, Alan left, leaving all of us to explore the area. Richy and Tommy left to go play Volleyball while me, Jessica, Emily, and Mary all chatted.
“So… How do you know Tony?” I asked Mary.
“From the Shredder Squad. How did you know him?”
“I dated him for four days.” I mentioned, shuddering at the worst relationship experience I had ever had.
“Yeah, that was back during his ‘only throw calendars’ phase of sophomore year. He told me every day what holiday it was and how many hours, minutes, seconds it was for our anniversary. Got to sixty eight hours, fourteen minutes, and thirty nine seconds before I broke that up, fast.”
“Well, he’s the Calendarigami King now, so he’s past that.”
“He’s also pretty sweet…” Mary sighed, “He gave me flowers and a flower calendar for the one year anniversary of the Shredder Squad. I still have them at home! They’re probably dead by now.”
“I told you you have to start taking care of those flowers, babe.” Jessica told Mary. Mary just shook her head.
“I think Neil is kind of hot.” Emily confessed. We all stared at her, our mouths wide open in shock. “Nevermind.”
“Yeah… What do we think of lockdown?” I asked the original Sirens, kind of shifting the focus away from Emily.
“It’s crippling to my mental health and I am making brash decisions.” Mary said.
“Same!” Jessica smiled.
“Me too!” Emily exclaimed.
“Like saying Neil is hot?” Jessica asked.
“Yeah!” And that was that in the conversation. I love Emily, but man. That was a mood killer. Liking the milk bartender of Complicare?! What the hell.
By Neil “Foldifer Morningpleat” Vanderlin
I’m sure that, if he ever comes, he’ll ask “How did you do this in four hours?” And so, with the help of Tony, I have dedicated my time and effort as leader of the new Complicare, and if/when that question is asked, I’m just gonna hand him this printed paper we typed and printed from Coach V’s computer.
Our story begins during the announcements. As we sat in health class, watching the morning routine, both me and Tony were enthralled by the display the OriJokers had put on. I thought it was an April Fools prank in October, but Tony knew better. After that whole thing with the Brainiac and Shredder Squad stuff, he’s been alert and on edge. Immediately, he started texting someone — who I learned was Mary —- about what they should do. Mary and Tony talked back and forth, and then, like a bum, Coach V just left the building! So, we all figured “Ah, what the heck?” And we tried to leave too.
There were a ton of students that got out early, but Tony kept telling me that, because it was Steve Jobs day, this isn’t what Steve Jobs would have wanted. I didn’t exactly understand, but he explained to me that Jobs was so resilient. He was always steadfast, ready to stay and do whatever needed to be done. So… I went to Complicare with him.
A lot of our old buddies were there. Even Eleanor Borkoshavski, the lass who has stuck by my side as entertainment for years.
“Neil!” They asked, “What are we gonna do?” And I stared at my crew, with the Mad Duck Taper (now the Mad Plaster), Eleanor, Tony, Mary, Jessica… EVEN That Clayface kid from that play a while back! You know, the one with the amputated arm? One of your boy wonders beat the crap out of him? Pretty common through-line, man. You got to work on that.
“We are going to do something about this!” I said, “We’re going to all hanker down, and take over a place!” and they ALL Cheered! Cheering for me, I was their king, but I was their jester too! Comedic relief, but also a leader!
So, we all got together, and we took up shop over in the gym. I brought my cooler, made drinks for all of us, and got to work, taking over the stage for Julius Caesar, bringing out the bleachers, and accepting more and more people into it. Tony is our logistics guy, but he just knows a lot about today. I’m the Steve Jobs, he’s the Wozniak (Tony’s comment: A lot of this stuff was stuff I did, but he’s taking credit like Jobs would want him to do.)
But… Now we’re here. Someone tried assassinating me with a kickball. Mary and Jessica got ‘married’, and… well, there’s a struggle that we want to talk to you about.
“That’s crazy.” Alan said, “Especially the fact that Steve Jobs day is a real thing. What did you want me here for again?”
“We’re hungry.” I told him. He was chubbier now, and looked a little bit like my brother Vinny. “Our whole place is hungry.”
“Y’know, when we’re kept on a schedule with set lunch times, we get conditioned to feel sensations at certain hours of the day. I play games at night, even on weekends, because that’s when I feel the happiest. I’m always, without fail, hungry at 11:05 AM, which is when my lunch time is.”
“Dang, now that you mention it… I’m hungry too.” Alan mentioned. He rubbed his stomach. This, certainly, was not the same Batfold who went under disguise.
“It’s important that we get food.” I said, “It’ll keep our people happy, and we have no clue how long this lockdown will be. We don’t even know what’s going on on the outside. Who knows if we’ll even be saved? And did you see the metal doors that have been put up everywhere? We can’t get out, no one can even get in. It’s already limited.”
“I see your point, and I have an idea.” Alan said, rubbing his chin, the light stubble on his face.
“Which is…?” Tony asked.
“We’ll go and get lunch at the cafeteria, duh.”
“Actually, it’s more like dinner time, or a late lunch, but—” Tony started.
“Just let him have his moment.” I whispered to him. “Let’s go rally the troops!”
By CJ “NightCrease” Whogley
I can’t help but wonder what Braxton Bouvet is doing right now. I know, I know. We’ve been making fun of him. We’ve not said many nice things about the “CreaseWing”, and, frankly, I’m upset he took that pun before I did. Nonetheless, he was an important, though at times forgettable member of our team. I had spent a lot of my time while playing that volleyball game looking for him in the bleachers. He was nowhere to be seen, and I would’ve figured he’d find himself here.
On top of that, it’s good to be working with Alan again, but we’re so off of our mojo right now. We don’t hit anymore, sure, but because of that we’re getting our crap beat in. It’s on me. I found that it’s best to communicate, to talk it out, but right now… that’s kind of impossible. No one wants to “talk it out” when we’re all on lockdown and there’s no teachers watching us, I guess.
I don’t know. It was scary. I was staring at Tommy, and seeing him get knocked out while I tried fighting…
I don’t want to think about it, really.
Alan, Tony, and Neil stepped onto the stage. Tony took a seat at the throne reserved for Julius Caesar, and he clapped his hands, demanding the game to stop. Neil, his hands behind his back, looked at all of us.
“Ladies, Gents… TONIGHT! We dine! IN HECK!” Neil announced. No one understood the reference, but he continued on a raucous monologue, “I, Foldifer Morningpleat, have served some of the best milks known to mankind. Do you all remember when I managed to get ELEPHANT milk? How exotic of a flavor, how wonderful it was when I made strawberry milk with it? We’re OUT of ALL THE MILKS!” Everyone groaned. I’ve never gotten to try a Foldifer Milk Concoction before.
“I know, I know! Tragic!” He said. Everyone continued to throw a hissy fit, “But that’s not all!” He continued, “We’re hungry!”
“Yeah!” The crowd jeered.
“We miss mommy and daddy!”
“Ye-No, actually. This is fun.”
“Okay, well, I miss my parents. Anyways… I can at least fix one of those three things: we are going to ATTACK THE CAFETERIA!” Alan’s face immediately shifted and he raised his hands in a ‘no, wait, that’s not it’ sort of way, but Neil continued, “And it will begin IMMEDIATELY! We’re going to take hockey sticks, golf clubs, and more, and take it to those ELITE creatures called ‘students’ and take them down!”
“Guys—” Alan said, but Neil motioned towards Alan.
“Mr. Wade right here, along with his compadres, will lead the charge!”
“Since when—” Alan started.
“Since NOW! EVERYONE! LET US COMMENCE FORTH! FOR FOLDIFER! FOR CALENDARGAMI KING!”
“Hip hip! Hooray!” Everyone cheered as they started to pick up anything they can use as a weapon. Tommy picked up a medicine ball. Alan jumped off the stage and ran towards us.
“I’m serious, guys, I didn’t expect to be fighting.” He said, “I mean, we got our butts whooped once before, I don’t know how we can fight again. Maybe we’re just washed up. We’re—”
Richy, of all people, put a hand on Alan’s shoulder, “Hey, man. We’ll do this. We got this. It’ll be awesome.” Me, Emily, Tommy, Richy, Alan, Madalyn, Jessica, and Mary all formed a circle.
“If we’re going to fight, we must give them war.” Alan said, “I never thought I’d say that, but that’s what we gotta do. Besides… They wouldn’t let me into their cool club. Madalyn,” Madalyn perked up, looking at Alan, “I need you to kick Graham’s leg in. Again.” She gave a thumbs up, and blew a kiss. “Everyone else, we need to fight like we’re the last chimp trying to get on the Ark… and brother, it’s starting to rain.”
“You saw that meme I sent you?” I asked Alan. He smiled.
“Yeah, the monkey in the suit with the pistol was pretty awesome.”
“I know, right?!” I agreed.
“Hey, do you guys need help?” A student asked. We turned around, staring at a rather large group of students, all with similar looking puppets. Alan smiled.
“Hey, David!” He said. We looked at Alan, and Alan explained himself, “Uh… this guy had a group called the Robinigamis. When I hired Richy, he and his friends started a whole group of Robins. Are we alright with him joining our group?”
“Yeah!” Emily exclaimed. “Please, the more hands, the better.” So, Alan expanded the circle, allowing for David and his small band of brothers and sisters to join us. It was nice to still have that Legacy around in a big way.
“So… the Origami Bat Fam on three. One, two, three!” Alan said. As we all let go from the circle, we announced “Origami Bat Fam!”
This sounded like fun. Tommy looked excited. The only thing I was worried about, however, was Braxton.
By Richy “Red Hoodie” Wickinni
I picked up the Golf Club, rolling it around in my hand, examining the intricate design of the grip, and how its ridges helped me hold it. I looked over at Alan, who looked… concerned that I was holding it with such familiarity.
“What? I take the occasional hit sometimes. Only on bullies, though.”
“I know, I just… I don’t know, Richy. I feel bad for what happened to you.”
“Well.” If we continued this conversation, I’d start to cry, “Shan Wei taught me a lot more than you did. Everything happens for a reason —- maybe our partnership was so I could become this. A skilled fighter, a smart kid. I am just you, but I’m willing to take a punch.” Deep down, I wanted to just cry. Alan fired me because I couldn’t handle my anger, and I got beat up by that OriJoker, and Shan Wei had trained me, but I wish that, if everything happened for a reason, that it didn’t happen to me.
“I’m just sorry.” He said. This Alan felt so different. Frankly, he was one I liked more. He was a leader. “I had some things happen to me with this Court of Origami Owls, and I ended up dropping the Batfold moniker. I left this whole state. Now we’re here, under lockdown, and it’s because I broke their promise.”
I looked at him, and if it was me from a few years back, I would’ve been so mad. But I wasn’t. I held my hand out, “We’re in this together.” I said. He smiled, and he shook my hand.
Graham Moocher stood outside of the cafeteria, his arms crossed with Bag in his pocket. He saw a large crowd of students approaching him, and he stood still, staring all of us down.
“Alan Wade, back with his group, eh?”
“Let us through, Graham.” He said, “We can make this simple, with no conflict. As long as you just step aside.”
“And what if I don’t? You guys are ALL puny. I could take all of you on at once.”
“Really?” Alan asked.
“For real. Twenty of you? One of me? You know how much I can bench, bro?”
“I’m sure I can guess.” Alan did a little hand signal, rubbing his nose for an exaggerated period of time. Suddenly, Madalyn came sliding in, performing a leg sweep that knocked Graham clean off his feet. We heard a snap, and Alan’s eyes widened.
“Babe, are you okay?” He asked to Madalyn. Madalyn got up, giving a thumbs up. Then, our eyes shifted to Graham, whose left leg had broken.
“What?!” He said, the initial shock setting in, “The second time it breaks!? Why? Why me! What a world!” He started crying, and we all stared at the Bane-wannabe, who eventually passed out.
“You broke his leg.” CJ told Madalyn.
“I know.” Madalyn said.
“Now we have to finish this sooner, because one kid now needs to go to the hospital.” Alan grumbled, “Come on, guys.” He opened the door, and the battle had begun.
Bartholomew Lowe, Ernest McPherson, and Terry D’Lunes paused, looking at us. Surrounding them were a ton of girls and boys, who stood guard while they played some card guy. Terry put his deck down.
“Right, what’s all this then?” He asked.
“Terry, Ernest… Bart… The cafeteria is now in possession of the Safe-Haven gymnasium. We are hungry, and we’re not going to starve while on lockdown.” Alan said. Ernest chuckled, holding up his Foldcone puppet.
“You come to me, on the day where everything that can goes right does, and you’re trying to ruin it. Come on, Batfold. Take a seat at the table, feast, leave your buddies behind. We’re sorry about all of this… hullabaloo.”
“I know this eighteen year old did not just say ‘hullabaloo.’” Tommy said. “What are you thinking, Wade?”
I looked at Alan, who walked over to them. He stood at the table, pulling his seat out. He looked back at me, and we were all worried. In fact, we were kind of freaking out. Was Alan just going to betray us? That’s not him. That wouldn’t be him. That’s not in his nature.
Oh God. What is he going to do?
Slowly, he picked up the chair by its legs, and, with a sweeping motion, he hit Ernest square in the jaw. He threw the chair aside, and stared at the three gangsters. The Two-Pleat, Foldcone, and Origami Black Mask.
“What… the… $&@*?!” Ernest exclaimed, holding his mouth. He struggled to say his words, spit going everywhere. “That was my perfectly good jaw!”
Terry pointed at the people surrounding him.
“All of you, attack Mr. Wade and his associates.” He said calmly, “And don’t let them win!” He then said angrily.
Everybody started to attack, with everyone but me, CJ, and Alan facing off against their goons. The sounds of squeaking shoes upon the marbled floors, the skidding of chairs, and the throws of punches occupied our eardrums as I picked a fight with Bartholomew.
“Who is the OriJoker?” I asked.
“I wouldn’t know, pal!” He exclaimed, “I’ve stayed out of the way for so long, I don’t even know many names. Listen, your puppet is cool and all, but I could make one so much better.”
“No, bro.” I said, “I don’t want your help.”
“Aw, come on Richy…” I took the golf club out from behind me, and I held it out in front of me. Suddenly, Bartholomew’s face turned scared, “Woah, wait. Listen, I didn’t bring a golf club to a fist fight. Can’t we play fair?”
“I don’t do that, man.” I said. “I remember when you put this school on lockdown. I was there, running through the halls. You thought you were king. You are just a hand, bro. Just a pawn.” His face turned red. I threw the club on the ground. “In retrospect, I guess the least I can do for a pawn is play fair.”
Bartholomew picked up the club, “Dumb@$$.” He grumbled. As he raised the club in the air to swing, I punched him in the gut. He dropped the club, and, like Shan Wei taught me, I picked it up mid drop, and I swung it into his side. He fell over, wincing in his pain.
“Just a Hand. Just a pawn in the bigger game.”
I looked over at Alan and CJ, to see if they needed help, but Alan was having a back and forth with Terry, someone that Alan said used to be an old friend of his. They fought back and forth, and then Alan eventually took him down. As Alan looked at me, I saw someone behind him…
A kid in a clown mask.
His stringy hair immediately made me realize that he… he was the one. I started to run after him, and Emily and Conrad saw it too, running for me as well. As he dashed out the front, and we passed by Graham, I continued to run.
The kid looked back at me, that clown mask smiling the whole time. It made me so angry, as I knew… somehow, I just knew it was that one kid. The one with the “plan,” the one who beat me up in front of my father’s grave.
“Who is that?” Conrad asked.
“I don’t know, but I’m going to find out.” The kid continued to run, and he slid a bit as he tried to make a left turn. As he continued running, I took my golf club, and I threw it at him, knocking him on the ground. Emily, Conrad, and I caught up to him. I knelt over him, and I flipped him over. I took off his mask.
“Ah… Richy Wickinni. Happy to see you’re still around and kicking.”
“Who… are you?”
“William Martin.” I looked at Emily and Conrad, and both of them shrugged, “I’m the kid who had beat you up.” That was enough confirmation to me, “And it was hilarious!” He yelled. I started to beat him up, left hook, right punch, a slap here and there. He just… kept laughing.
“Stop!” I said. “STOP Laughing!” I kept punching him, but he wouldn’t stop.
Conrad and Emily started to pull me off, but I pushed them back, and I kept fighting. Alan ran up next to me, and he grabbed me, yanking me off of William.
William laid there, his face bloody and beaten, a smile across his face, and a puppet, looking like Jared Leto’s Joker, rested on his finger. It was pointing at a door. I started to cry, and Alan shook me, trying to get me to snap out of it. To get out of the trauma. This isn’t what Dad would want me to do. I should’ve never done this. I’m evil.
But Alan wrapped me in a hug. “It’s okay, man.” He said, “I promise you, it’s okay.”
“What is he pointing at…?” Conrad asked, walking over to the door. My tears dried, and Alan was still with me, we looked up.
Conrad swung the door open to the janitor’s closet, and we came face to face with Braxton Bouvet. Emily’s eyes widened, and she let out a scream. Braxton’s teeth were broken, his entire body beaten and bruised, and he was tied up to the chair.
“Oh, the joke’s not over!” William wheezed, “Pick up the phone!”
Conrad picked up the phone that was lying on the floor, and he started to watch the video. I quickly got to work untying and helping Braxton up. Conrad, Emily, and Alan looked in horror as I heard Braxton’s screams and cries. Alan looked at William, and then back at Braxton.
Alan curb stomped William, knocking him out. He looked angry and upset, his face red, tears starting to form in his eyes, “We’ll interrogate him when he wakes up. Let’s bring Braxton and that kid to Safe-Haven. The Cafeteria — and the gangsters themselves —- are stuck with us, now.”
I looked at the ground, where William had laid. A dent had formed in the floor. I’m awful. I had to run into the bathroom and throw up. When I looked in the mirror, I saw my face, but my connection with it had changed. I’m a terrible person. I’m a monster. I put my Maroon Hood up, and I walked out.
By Alan “Batfold” Wade
The ground of Safe-Haven was hard, and it felt impossible to sleep without a blanket or pillow. People were sleeping on Basketballs, using jerseys as covers. To keep herself warm, Madalyn cuddled on me, resting on my chest. I was content, and a smile crept across my face.
Then I went to sleep.
I was in a dream.
As of late, I have noticed that in these dreams, I know it’s a dream. The dreams with Moon Knight, Batman, and Bruce Wayne have been long gone, but now… Now they’re full of friends, and they tend to be good.
I’m with my friends. We’re in class together, and I’m writing on my computer — which I brought to school — about my biography, how many turns my life has taken. Conrad is next to me, and he’s drawing a sketch on his computer.
“Do you ever think about this?” He asked, showing me some ink blot image he had drawn.
“No.” I said. “I don’t like to think about book-eaters.”
“Me neither.” A speech bubble had grown from his mouth, and fallen onto the table. I continued to write.
When I looked up at the teacher, I didn’t see Mr. Nolan. Rather, I saw…
And he held Madalyn, and Madalyn looked horrified. When I looked at Conrad, I saw the passed out form of Braxton, beaten and bruised to near-unrecognizability. I looked back up, and two more had join him, dancing around Madalyn, CJ, and Richy. They started screaming at me, but their screams were falling on deaf ears. I had felt a sharp pain in my back, and when I felt it and looked at my hand, I saw red liquid all over it. I was stabbed.
When I, myself, screamed, I woke myself up. The scream had traveled throughout the gym, and a few others had woken up, Madalyn included.
“What’s wrong?” She asked.
“Nothing.” I said, staring in the distance, in the room where William was locked. “It’s nothing. Just a bad dream, that’s all.”
“A couple nothings and a bad dream, to me, makes me feel like it’s something.”
“No, it’s not. Let me just go back to sleep.” We laid back down, and I stared at the dirty floor. That image of Braxton would not get out of my head. I could not go back to sleep for the rest of that night.
Interrogation with a Monster
By Conrad “The Batfold Who Laughs” Mordecai
Sitting across from one another, I can definitely see the similarities. William’s laugh, the slight stutter with his words — I know, for sure, that he’s inspired by me. He doesn’t speak to me. He’s just staring, a smile across his face. I’m looking at him, and all that occupies our minds is the fact I’ve been in these same clothes for twenty four hours now, and neither of us have had a shower for at least that long. At least.
I say that because he smells. It’s a rancid scent, as though he’s been out and about, getting his hands and feet dirty. He’s just smiling at me. The bruises have formed on his face, making his entire image inflamed, yet he is still smiling.
“How many are there?” I ask.
“You’re supposed to be a clown.” William responds, “You’re one of us. What happened to your jokes?”
“Well, I learned a bit ago that this was, actually, more serious than I first thought. I don’t have much time for humor right about now.”
“But it’s just a sick joke, man. Just a sick, sick, sick joke. I’m the only one laughing at it.”
I took a sip of Coach V’s day old coffee. It tasted disgusting, like a lukewarm brew with mustache clippings in it. I swallowed, because I didn’t want to look weak in front of this kid. I wiped my lips off, trying to hide the horrible flavor, and I glared at him, “I’m not going to listen to your incel ‘literally me’ bullcrap anymore, man. You need to tell me how many of ‘you’ there are, or else I’m going to get angry.”
“Go ahead! Get mad! I’m not coughing any of them up!” He exclaimed, wagging his puppet in the air, “It’s just a cruel joke! This school is a cruel joke. Alan Wade? A cruel joke. EVERYONE here! They’re all just a cruel joke with the worst punchline known to man.” He started to laugh, putting his hands down on the table. “Just a cruel joke. That’s all it is.”
“What… happened to you?” I asked.
“If I gave my origin story, there wouldn’t be much point, would there? That’s the whole thing the Joker does. He gives so many, that nobody knows WHICH is the real one! Just another cruel, funny joke.” He started to laugh, tears forming in his eyes. I just stared at him, trying to hide my rage.
This was what I left behind.
After all of these years, all of these efforts. This is what I’ve left. I was the first ‘bad guy’. I lied about some corrupt stuff, I hurt a ton of feelings. Sure… some good came from it. Alan. All these other students are heroes. But then… I brought a ton of bad, like this copycat. This student who, all he is, is some direct rip off of the Joker. Not even a student anymore; not even a kid with a puppet. He looks, acts, and talks like some Clown Prince of Crime.
I have to snap him out of it.
No… I have to scare him out of it.
I slammed my fist on the table, standing up.
“What? Do you finally see the punchline? Do you finally get it? All I have been saying, for so long… do you finally get it?”
“No.” I said, “I don’t. And I don’t want to. Because you’re not me.” I said, “You’re not the first Origami Clown Prince. I am. I’m the first, and I’m the best.” I took Coach V’s cup of joe, and I spilled it at his face.
“Agh! That’s cold.” William said. “Usually, when you have coffee, it needs to burn.”
“Burn?” I asked, walking around the back room. I found the rope that Coach V attaches to the top of the ceiling for those rope climbing challenges. It took me a minute, but I dragged it over to him.
“What are you going to do, h—-” I started to rub the rope on his arm, the friction starting to cause a rope burn. At first, William stared at his arm, looking at me with confusion.
“What, have you never heard of rope burns before?” I asked. He didn’t move, then, with one last, fast strike on his arm, there was a deep, red burn marking on his skin. He started screaming in pain, glaring at his arm.
“Now will you talk?” I asked. But he just kept screaming. I slapped him across the face, “Who else is a part of your group?”
“There’s three of them, including me! Please, don’t do this again!”
“Who are they?”
“I can’t say— I promise you, I can’t say that!” He was being honest with me. He couldn’t say it. “But, I can tell you where they are.”
“Where?” I asked. He hesitated, and I picked up the rope again, “I said ‘where’!”
“Old Novick hall. We change rooms all the time, but we’re in there. They shut the lights off and stuff, and it’s totally abandoned. Please. Just let me go.”
I didn’t let him leave that room. I left, letting some Robinigami kid stand guard. I walked over to Alan, who was tending to Braxton’s wounds with Madalyn.
“How’re you doing?” I asked Braxton. He looked at me, and when he tried opening his mouth, all that was let out was a mere squeak.
“It’s best if you don’t talk.” Alan said to Braxton, “You’re pretty hurt.
He looked at me, “We gotta get out of here, man. Two people injured, no doubt more to come— we need to wrap this up, fast. None of us are nurses and doctors. Some football managers helped Braxton through the night, but they only know how to do wrappings and stuff.” Braxton was dozing in and out of consciousness, and I felt sorry for him. In some way, this was my fault. I was the first Joker. Had I not had… well, existed, this wouldn’t have happened.
“He’ll be fine.” Madalyn promised, “I’m sure he’ll pull through.” She glanced at me, “Conrad, what did you figure out from William?”
“Including him, there’s three OriJokers.” I said, “And those other two are hiding out in Old Novick Hall.”
Alan looked down. “Okay.” He said.
“That’s it?” I asked, “Just ‘okay’? Dude! Let’s go get them?”
“No. I need a chance to plan. I need…”
“Me?” The familiar, gruff voice echoed behind me. I froze, and Alan smiled.
“Yeah, Theresa, we could definitely use your help.” Theresa Carter was dressed in make-shift warrior garb, putting football padding all over herself. She carried a shield made from a trash-can lid, and she posed like a true warrior.
“Where were you?” I asked.
“Just kicking butt and taking names, I see you guys have been… doing some of the same.” She pointed at the bruising all over my arms, and a gash that was on Alan’s face, and… all of Braxton, “But without any armor.”
“Yeah… we didn’t really think about that.” I confessed.
“Conrad, why don’t you leave me, Theresa, and Madalyn alone for a moment while we talk out our plan?”
“Sure.” I said, “That sounds fine.” I left them, walking over to the kid in the Maroon Hoodie: Richy. He had refused to move from that spot on the bleachers since last night. He seemed to have been thinking about, well, a lot of stuff.
“What’s up?” I asked him, sitting down next to him.
“I think I’m a horrible person.” He admitted immediately, unlike the last guy I interrogated.
“No you’re not.” I said. He looked at me.
“Coming from you, I don’t think that’s a good endorsement.”
“Okay, but Richy, some people change. They grow. They become different people from what they were before. You’re not a horrible person, you’re far from it. That guy in there?” I said, pointing at the door where William was kept, “That’s a horrible person. You’re not like that. You’re nothing like that. You’re the Red Hoodie! You’re a part of the Crease Family, and, sure, you might punch a lot, you might get into conflict sometimes with people, and you have some… very, very, deep-seated traumas, but that doesn’t make you a horrible person. We all have things we’re struggling with.” I think back to my dad, how his distance and the way he would hit me made me feel, “Seriously. You are… by far… the least horrible person I’ve met. And, I’ve met many.”
He didn’t look like he believed me, but when I saw his eyes beneath that hood, I could see tears welling up in them.
“You want a hug?” I asked.
“Okay. How about I just sit here?”
“That sounds fine.” He said. We sat still, looking out at the people playing volleyball with Calendarigami King, seeing the community that was in front of us; a safe-spot in a school in danger. Maybe… Maybe, sometimes, my legacy isn’t that bad. Without me, and without Alan, we wouldn’t get to see moments like this: pure unity.
By Alan “Batfold” Wade
Letting Braxton rest, I gathered Conrad, Emily, Richy, Madalyn, CJ, and Tommy together to talk about the plan I had concocted with Theresa. We sat on the stage in a socratic discussion circle, looking like Greek philosophers while on the set of Julius Caesar.
“I wonder why they chose the gym when we literally have a theater to do this play.” Conrad wondered.
“They’re doing a ‘theater in the round’ concept.” Theresa said, pointing at the seats behind her, “People can see the play… at all angles.”
“That makes sense.” Conrad said, “But I won’t lie, I’d probably dissociate hardcore to see the rest of the audience. Like, the realization that… you know, people can see you? That’s weird.”
“Conrad has a point.” I said. “I’d just always be thinking about if I had food on my lips or something.” I paused, feeling the weight of Theresa’s eyes on me. I looked at her, “Sorry.” I said.
“Yeah… anyways, I really think all of us, decked out, will be fine going into Old Novick. We’ll grab gear from around here, and, like… I don’t know. We’ll go in there, we’ll fight a good fight, and we’ll take down these OriJokers, free the kids, and leave.” Theresa said.
“Yeah, I helped come up with the idea.” I said. She had most of it planned, but… I helped some.
“Sounds pretty sweet.” CJ said. “But I don’t want to punch more than I have to.”
“I agree.” I said, “In fact, I want to try communicating with these people, before trying to… y’know, beat their daylights in. We’ve done so much fighting over the last day. My hand hurts from hitting Foldcone with that chair. So, we should only take hockey sticks and stuff not with the intention to fight, but with the hope to defend. Sounds good with everyone?”
“Yeah!” They cheered.
“For Braxton!” Tommy exclaimed, raising a hockey stick. I raised my fist in the air, “For Braxton!”
We had all gotten geared up. I was the first to put on football pads, and I had chosen a baseball bat as my go-to weapon. Baseball bat, Batfold… you get it. Because of the time I had to spare, I sat down at Coach V’s office table, and started folding a puppet, using the paper and whatever pens and pencils he had lying around. Foldifer chilled with me as I did this.
“Have you seen my brother any?” He asked. I looked at Neil briefly while folding my puppet, “I’m just asking because… well, I hope he made it out safe.”
“I haven’t seen Vincent, man. I’m sorry.”
“It’s okay… He was pretty lame, anyways.”
“Yeah, the whole Presence stuff was stupid.” I confessed, “I think he wanted to be so secretive, but so popular. Do you drive now?”
“Yeah, I drive a lot more than he does. How about you?”
“I think my car is still parked out there. I took Conrad with me yesterday morning.”
“I drive a van.” Neil grumbled, “A hand-me-down car. No AC.”
I held up the puppet, “What do you think of this?” I had made a new Batfold puppet, to reflect the sort of danger I was surely going to get myself into. It looked like the Thrasher Suit Bruce had used to take down the Talons hiding in his Batcave. The helmet was bulky-looking, hiding Bruce’s face. The visor was a deep red ‘v’ shape, and there were grills that looked like blackened teeth. The symbol was more sharp than my other puppet, and it looked like a mecha-Batfold.
“That’s pretty bad@$$.” Neil said. “I like it.”
Madalyn opened the door to Coach V’s office, peering inside. She was dressed in pads as well, but carried a mace, “You ready?” She asked.
“Yeah. Where’d you find a mace?”
“It’s a prop for the play.” She said, “I think it’s pretty cool. Plus, it hurts a lot.”
“How do you know?”
“I hit Mary with it, she’s still cursing about it as we speak.” She closed the door for a moment, to look out. I heard her exclaim, “Mary, are you okay?”
“No, you $*#*!”
“Okay!” She opened the door back up, “Let’s get this done, babe.”
“Right behind you.”
As me and the gang wandered the halls of Kane again, the lights had shut off. Students who were still trapped in here started groaning and screaming. CJ took out a flashlight that he had found in the gym, and powered it on. We continued to trek through the halls.
Kane High School was scary with the lights on. You could see the history in the cracks of the bricks, you could recognize the various pathways that roaches and bugs had crawled through, finding their newest place to reside. You could read under the desks the love notes long-gone, and the gum from the 90s. You could recognize it all. Yet, this was the place my father went to. It was the place my mother attended. It’s where I am now.
I doubt they’ve ever seen it when the lights shut off.
Suddenly, the history has disappeared, it’s become more centralized in the flashlight CJ is carrying. It’s… absurd. What you see in front of you is not what you’re familiar with. The floor might look clean, and when you step on it, it’s slippery. The lights of the school would’ve made it easier to see. But not anymore.
CJ shined the light upon the entrance: “NOVICK HALL” sprawled in big letters over the archway. We stepped through, and immediately, any natural sunlight had disappeared from the hallway, the walls got grayer, everything was left unkempt and unnatural.
“I can’t see a single thing.” Emily grumbled.
“I know.” I said, “And there’s… no one.”
“Hello?” Tommy exclaimed, “Anyone home?”
But we heard nothing. No shuffling in the hall.
“Should we split up and look for clues?” Conrad joked.
“No.” I said, “We’re sticking together.” I paused, thinking back to the times I didn’t have anyone to stick together with, or the times I did and we split up. The Justice Pleats, Madalyn… Richy… the Court. “I’m not going to lose my Crease Family one by one.” I mentioned.
“Why don’t we just start going into different rooms?” Theresa asked, pointing at the first door to her left, “Starting with N1, all the way to N6? They’re bound to be in one of these. Besides, we’ll probably get into conflict with something.”
“Alrighty… let’s go.” I said, stepping into the first door.
Sitting in the middle of the room is a table, full of little paper puppets and dolls. Lanterns are lighting the setting of the table, and the blinds are closed.
“What… in the world…” I said. I wandered over to the table, looking at…
Little puppets. Of me. Of my mom, my dad. Even origami headstones of them, with a crying puppet of myself. CJ walked next to me, staring at the scene.
“This is morbid.” He said.
“You’re telling me. Maybe the origami stuff has gone… a bit too far.” I picked up the puppet of myself, looking at a weird cartoon version of me, my eyes soulless. I turned it over, looking at the back of it: “The richest child of Jutefruce City. Alone. Always.” I turned him back over, and I put him down in front of my origami parents’ graves.
“Alan, look. Behind this headstone.” Conrad mentioned. I looked behind, “How funny is it that, the boy who has everything, can’t hold onto friends?”
“Let’s get out of here.” I grumbled. We headed to the next room, which was right across from N1: N2.
Inside N2 was a similar thing, but this time it was for Madalyn. The origami cat represented her, surrounded by faceless puppets.
“Whoever is doing this is insane.” She grumbled. “I don’t even get it.”
“… Are you sure?” Richy asked.
“I mean… Ugh.” I could see the frustration in her face, “I— I don’t want to talk about it, it’s just… it’s not a big deal. I promise you guys. Don’t listen to this crap.” While they all left for the next room, I picked up the cat origami. CJ shined his light on the back, “The Cat. Surrounded by many, unknown by all.”
I didn’t know much about Madalyn’s past. I knew her parents. I knew that she was in and out of trouble. But I didn’t know everything. She had a brother…
She doesn’t anymore.
I’m just there for her; I have to be. That’s all she needs. But I don’t think I’ll ever fully know her past. I don’t think I need to.
When we walked into N3, CJ paused.
“What is it?” I asked. He shined the light all around the classroom, which had been painted blue, complete with posters of Marvel and DC characters. There was a table on the side, with a pillow on top.
“It’s my room.” He said, “From my old home, you know, out of town.”
I had never been to CJ’s home, over by Marukami Academy. “It’s… a spitting image.” He said, “Dad hasn’t heard from me.” He looked away for a moment, “He’s probably scared sick. He’s been living with me in your mansion, Alan.”
“That’s fine.” I said, trying to ignore the shock factor of this.
“I’m going to be sick.” He said. Emily put an arm on his shoulder. “It’s okay.” She said, but she still looked about as confused and scared as the rest of us were.
“Where are these people?” Theresa asked, focused on the mission. She gritted her teeth, and left CJ’s fake room.
CJ handed me the flashlight, and left. There was a torn up origami Robin (like, the bird) on the floor. It had been taped together a few times, but none of it worked. I picked it up, and looked at it. There was no message, but to me, it was clear:
That Robin, my first Robin, was torn apart, by my hands. This childhood room is one that he can never go back to, and that’s thanks to me.
I put it back on the ground, and I left.
Everyone was waiting for me. Tommy wasn’t looking so cheery, and Richy was nowhere to be seen.
“Where’s Richy?” I asked. Madalyn pointed at N4. Inside was a ceiling light, and it was shining directly down on Richy, who was sitting in front of a gravestone. When I walked in, he looked up at me. “Who would do this?” He asked. I looked around the stone, seeing all of the Origami Jokers surrounding the headstone of his father. But it didn’t look like the actual thing. It looked like… a prop.
I pushed the styrofoam stone over, and Richy glared at me.
“Why?” He asked.
“They’re messing with us.” I said, “I’ve… I’ve dealt with stuff like this before. Come on, Richy. I’ll be by your side, pal.” He looked at me, and he smiled, “You’re a hero.” I told him, “And your Dad would be proud of you for it.”
When he left, I looked back at the headstone. It read: “Here lies Richy Wickinni. Only the Red Hoodie Remains.”
It’s good that he couldn’t see that, because we both know that Richy is still there.
Then, we were at the second to last door.
“Why don’t we just skip this?” Theresa asked.
“No.” Emily said, “I have to see what’s behind that door.” Everyone crowded around that door, and Emily opened it up. She closed it behind us.
I didn’t know what to do. We all just stood around, waiting for her to leave, scared out of our minds. Who would know all of this stuff about us? Everyone looked confused and freaked out.
“I don’t know how much more I can do of this.” CJ said, “This is… horrifying. I just want to drop the puppet crap now, and leave.”
“No.” I said. They looked at me, “Guys, we can’t do that. I dropped my puppet, I hid from danger, and now here we are; a greater danger, one that is affecting all of us. We can’t let this type of thing continue, we just can’t stand by and watch. The puppet is not what makes this happen; dropping Batfold wasn’t what led to this. It was me leaving all of you. And if we drop the puppets now, and we hide; then there’s no point to any of this. Look at every single room we’ve been in; there’s been nothing about the puppets we’re using, it’s all about us. It’s about our lives.”
They stared at me, “And it’s my fault. I’ve said this multiple times in the last day, but I’m so sorry.” I’ve forgiven myself, but I had no clue if they had forgiven me. Everyone comforted me, and I melted. At that moment, I felt loved.
By Emily “BatGirligami” Sampson
I stepped into the room, and all that was in it was a round table with a paper bag on it. Only then, did I realize that it was Cobbaggoner Gordon, my father’s silly bag puppet that he used to help me and Alan. I picked it up, flipping it upside down. His googly eyes jiggled a bit, and out fell a letter.
Holy crap. I tore it open, and I started to read.
To my daughter,
I have been wanting to say this for a while now, but I did not know how to confess it to you. For that, I am sorry to you. For being a dishonest father. For not being as around as I should have. After your mother passed, I’ve become really distant, and I know it. During that distance, I’ve fallen into some bad, harsh crowds. Well, they’re crowds that I’ve always been a part of, people I’d spend time with when it was late at night, but these crowds got harsher on me, demanding me to do things that I didn’t want to do.
So… I’m sure that you’ve been working with Alan Wade, who has returned despite our many, many requests for him not to. I’m sure you’re the one to read this, and, when you step foot into the next room, you’ll find me.
The other OriJoker.
I’ve been this other one for… well, over a year now. It’s not because I want to, but because I have to. Alan Wade has fallen into the plan.
I’m sorry for what’s to come.
I’m sorry that I’ll have to leave you.
Teardrops fell onto the pages, and I wiped my eyes. He’s been so distant. He’s been so odd. This is why.
I’m so… mad.
I stepped out, seeing everyone hugging one another. I looked down at the ground.
“Emily, what happened?” Alan asked.
“You’ll all find out.” I said, trying to hide my face away from them. I felt so… nasty. My father was one of the people responsible for this. He… he put us all on lockdown. My principal, my father. We stood in front of the last door, and I furrowed my eyes.
“Do you want to do the honors?” CJ asked Alan. But… I didn’t want to wait. I swung the door open, and we were all there, coming face to face with the other two jokers… who were turned around, away from us. But, I could recognize the back of my father, who was wearing a disgusting, putrid suit.
We all squeezed into the room. I clenched my fist.
“You guys need to show yourselves, now. We need to put an end to this.” I said. Slowly, they turned around, wearing their stupid clown masks, their puppets sitting in their shirt pockets, smiling.
“Come on, take those masks off.” Tommy said. CJ elbowed him.
“Dad.” I said, “Take off that stupid mask, and look at me with your own eyes.” He sighed, and he took off the mask, showing Marshall Sampson— my father. Everyone looked at me, and then back at him. To see that it was true… It devastated me. I had to leave. I covered my mouth, trying to hide the sobs.
“Wait, Emily, come back—” I could hear him say as I left. I then heard that familiar sigh of disappointment. He’s a monster. He’s a horrible, horrible madman. He’s a traitor.
I’m sorry, guys. I’m so, so, freaking sorry.
By Alan “Batfold” Wade
After Emily left, I finally let the realization sink in that our principal was one of them… One of the OriJokers.
“Cat’s out of the bag, huh?” He asked. The stubble covered his face, sleep seemed to not be a thing that was around for him. He looked devastated to see his daughter leave, and he looked disappointed when the other kid wouldn’t take off his mask. “You might as well.” He said, “They know two of the OriJokers’ identities, and you… well, you’ve lost, too.”
That kid sighed, and I watched as his chubby fingers grabbed hold of the mask, and took it off. I looked at a kid who I remember all too well. He once came to my door, and cried, complained, and warned me about a court of origami owls.
Vincent Vanderlin. The Presence. He smiled at all of us, and raised his arms in the air, “Welp! Here we are!” He said.
“…Why?” I asked. For some reason, this shocked me more than Principal Sampson. I guess it was because I knew Vinny more. I guess…
“Because I hate you, Alan.” He said. He looked at all of us, “For years, I’ve been planning this. Ever since I heard the rumor of some kid taking out his anger in some stupid mask with an origami Batman puppet, I knew… I just knew it was you. I’ve been lonely, I have spent the last four years of high school with the same group of friends who all abandoned me because of you. You got everything in the world, and… me? I was left with my stupid brother, who is so much cooler than me, and a stupid moniker of ‘The Presence.’ I hate you, and I hate everyone else here, because all of you just followed him.”
“I was lonely. I have… always… been… lonely. I wanted to be your friend, bro. Through Walter, I convinced you that your parents were killed, just to, well… get under your skin, so I could swoop in and be your friend, but… no. Clearly, that didn’t work, and I realized that there would be no way I could be your friend after that. After the autopsy reports came back that it was falsified, after the Novick incident, and ESPECIALLY after I lost Bartholomew, Drake, and Walter… I realized it was all stupid. How funny? How freaking funny is it that this had to happen to ME?”
“Vincent, you could’ve been my friend, bro. You just had to —-”
“No, I could see it in your eyes, you didn’t trust me. You never liked me.” Vincent was angry, his face turning red. He was right. I was so mad at him. When the Court of Origami Owls stuff started, it was him that ushered the omen. For a while, I thought it was him that led me down this path, that led me to this moment. Here he is, now, throwing a fit.
“You’re evil, Alan Wade. You went off to New York and, for a moment, I thought it was all kaput. I seriously thought my plan was going to go to waste. I recruited William — yet another kid who hated you — and, crap.” He pointed at Conrad, “I was going to get you too, but then she had to dig her stupid claws into your head, and he had to be the one to convince you to join him.” He pointed at me and Madalyn. “It’s all just so freaking funny. Pick on Vincent, everyone should just hate on Vincent. I hate you all.”
Richy stepped forward, “Hey, buddy. I don’t even know who the $&@* you are. You can’t hate me.”
“Oh, but Richy Wickinni… I do.” He stood up from his seat. “I was the Presence, after all! I’ve been at everything! I laughed when Alan revealed his identity, I wrote the articles that Mr. Sampson here then posted to ruin the Justice Pleats as Oberon! I convinced William to target you, Wickinni, and I… I did this. This! My SENIOR PRANK! MY FINALE!”
“So, for years… you’ve just been targeting me and my friends?”
“Yes!” He erupted in laughter, clapping his hands, “It was genius! IT WAS ALL THERE FOR YOU ALL TO FIND! AND YOU DIDN’T! I tore all of you apart, glued you all back together, and you dumb@$$es couldn’t do anything about it! You had no clue!”
Richy rolled up his sleeves, taking out his golf club.
“Nope, don’t do anything, Richard. You know that if you do anything, our principal here can expel you. Haha! But… all he can do with me is just watch!” Vincent jumped on top of the desk, and he then jumped down in front of me. He punched me right in the face, and I saw Principal Sampson look away.
“No, Sampy, look at this! Watch! A little throwback, huh? Poetry, that rhymes!” And then… he knocked me down.
What Happened Next
By Richy “The Red Hoodie” Wickinni
We all stood there, watching as Vinny started to wail upon Alan, who was now on the ground. I screamed for him to stop, but he continued to Alan. Vinny grabbed Alan’s head, and he slammed it onto the ground, repeatedly.
“That… reminds me of something.” Conrad said, rubbing the back of his head. I reached for Vinny, who pushed me back. Vinny was making weird, joyful noises, getting a lot of fun out of doing this.
“Stop!” Madalyn cried, “Holy $&*%, stop!” But he wouldn’t. Alan reached his hand out, trying to slap Vinny, but Vinny restrained him. We all reached over, grabbing Vinny, trying to pull him back.
“No!” He yelled, “No! This is my finale! This is my turn!”
“You’re done!” I said. “You’ve done enough!”
“No! I haven’t! I’m not done until all of you Crease-Freaks realize that…” He stood up, breathing heavily, “That fool, down there, is not a hero. None of you are. You’re just kids, and you’ll just bleed, and I’ll see it—” Something hit him directly in the head. It was Principal Sampson, holding Alan’s metal bat. Vincent fell down, knocked out.
“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I— I couldn’t do anything else.” He said, “I had to do this. For Him.”
“For who?” I asked.
“For… him.” But we didn’t get it. None of us understood what he meant. Theresa and CJ picked up Alan, who was shallowly breathing. We were all scared — in that moment, I thought I was going to lose another person, someone, who, in just the last couple days, I had only just forgiven.
Madalyn started crying on me, I comforted her as Principal Sampson unlocked the security doors, and everyone started to walk out. I had lifted Vincent up to be next to me, and I dragged him out with me.
Emily was not seen again.
As we stepped outside, I could see all of these police cars, sitting directly outside the school. They were taking students to their families, and a SWAT Team came and arrested Principal Sampson, who did not resist.
“Where’s my brother?” Neil yelled, looking around. He was still in his king outfit. “Where is he?” he kept asking. Then, he looked at me, as I brought him over to an ambulance. Neil ran over, and he looked at his brother, who was still knocked out. Sitting in his chest pocket was a Joaquin Phoenix Joker. Neil looked at him, and then at me. His face was full of shock and devastation.
“I’m sorry, Neil.” I said, “Your brother… had a lot of deep-seated issues that he couldn’t work through.” Neil started to cry. I wrapped him in a hug, and I just let him sob it out. He looked at me.
“I should’ve known.” He mumbled, “I’m sorry. If you, or… Alan… need any help in the future, please… don’t be a stranger.”
All I could do was nod. I saw Alan’s butler, or, I guess, guardian, hop into the back of an ambulance with CJ and Madalyn also joining. They sped off. The one carrying Vincent also put William in there too, and another ambulance picked up Braxton and Graham, who was still wailing about his foot. As the ambulance, and all the injured, were taken away, a man in a suit and tie stepped forward. He walked past me, and he picked up a megaphone. Mary and Jessica were talking to Tony, but then Mary paused as she heard his voice say “Excuse me? Excuse me?”
Mary ran over to me. Conrad had joined the little group that was forming around me as well.
“Do you know who that is?” I asked Mary. Mary stared, with shock in her eyes.
“My name is Malcolm Tenebris.” He started, “I am the superintendent of this district. These last two days were horrifying — not just for the students, but for the families, and the teachers. Kane has been in disrepair for decades, and today just proved that, as a school, it is not effective.” We all watched, Mary especially. Tenebris kept looking at her, and then looking away, “I’m… I don’t know how to really say this, but because of this attack… Kane is now closed. Permanently. There will be no ‘returning’ to school tomorrow. There won’t be any school to go to here. You all will finish these next two semesters out at one of our two other schools in the district: Lampert, or Donner. I’m sorry for any confusion, but these decisions were not made with a light heart. Thank you.”
Immediately, students started to yell and berate Malcolm Tenebris. Faculty, who were also there, were screaming about their jobs; how they’re going to get an income, how they’ll survive. Photos were being taken by the press, as the story had shifted; instead of how a group of students saved the school, it was now focused entirely on Tenebris’ decision to close the school down.
“That… That can’t be legal.” Conrad said.
“He can do anything he wants, now. He has the jurisdiction.” Mary sighed.
I have to tell Alan.
Kane High School is finished.
By Madalyn “The Origami Catwoman” Ford
It would be four weeks until Alan would wake up.
Over that time, I had started school at Lampert academy, and I could feel the students all hating me, giving me side-glances as I walked the hall. I was in unfamiliar territory, and they knew it. CJ, his father, and his grandfather would all work in moving everything that Alan had in their old house back into the mansion again, as a treat for Alan when he comes home. I helped in the moving process, as did Richy, and even Conrad. After that, though… Conrad went ghost.
Emily told me over text that an Aunt in New York had asked Emily to come live with her, to escape from all the news coverage of her father.
Vincent would be charged as an adult, given he was eighteen years old. For terrorizing students and putting a school on lockdown, along with attempted homicide, he was sentenced to thirty years in prison due to what happened from October 16 to October 17. Neil was defeated; he lost his club, his brother, and… well, everything. Theresa took him in to her little group, the Justice Pleats Dark. The case was open and shut; the irrevocable proof, along with the journal entries that we had given police, proved to them that Vincent had conspired and enacted this plan. Emily’s father, also, got forty five years in prison. The last of the three OriJokers, William, was put into a mental hospital, due to him seemingly being obsessed with Alan Wade and the premise of “immortality” through legacy.
After school everyday, Mom would take me to visit Alan. Some days, it was with the other Sirens, but most of the time, it was just me. CJ would typically be there, as was Richy. Alan looked like a cyborg; he was all strapped up to these machines, monitoring his breathing, his vitals, etcetera.
On the day he woke up, me, CJ, Richy, and… Theresa, of all people, was visiting. Danny had not left Alan’s side since it happened. When Alan opened his eyes, the first thing he saw was Theresa, and he screamed.
“Woah. Rude.” Theresa said, but she couldn’t help but smile. “How are you doing, Wade?”
“I don’t remember… a lot.” He confessed, and then he looked at me and the others, and his face broke into a smile. “I got knocked down by Vincent, and… well, now I’m here.”
“You’re bruised more than a peach that I kicked around.” Theresa said.
“Thanks, Tess.” He grumbled. Theresa had given me permission to call her “Tess”, because she considered me a friend.
“You still look handsome.” I said, holding his hand.
“And I’m happy to have my boy back, Alan.” Danny said, “We moved!”
“What?!” He asked.
“Yeah!” CJ exclaimed, “We’ve all moved back into the mansion again. You, me, my dad, and grandpa Whogley. How sweet is that?”
Alan smiled, “That’s pretty cool…” He was starting to close his eyes, going back to sleep. We snapped at him though, keeping him awake. I told him all that I had written above, including Emily leaving. His face had fallen, and he started to cry.
“What’s wrong?” I asked him, though I knew it would hurt him to learn.
“I just… It sucks to lose people from our friend group, I guess. I… I love you guys.” He said.
“We love you too, man.” Richy laughed. Everyone stood around Alan’s bed, and he was pretty content with it.
But, in typical Alan fashion, “This… Tenebris guy… Do you think he’ll be easy to stop?”
“Agh, you need to just cool it and enjoy this. Let’s get you home first!” I said.
“You’re right.” He mumbled. Surrounded by his friends and family, Alan went back to sleep, and… eventually… The Marked Knight got to go home.
To be honest, I never thought I’d finish this story.
It’s the last of the Alan Wade Saga, and the idea had been brewing in my mind since Batfold 2. There was a lot more I wanted to do, but I couldn’t exactly justify doing it, because… when you want to tell a story, you need to learn how to tell it as concisely, and as honestly, as possible. A lot of my heart went into writing this, mainly because I wanted to pay homage to a lot of the characters introduced in the past few stories, especially the first two. This was hard to write, and… honestly, I’m struggling to write concise acknowledgements, too.
Me and Jar Jar came up with some of the early ideas from this. “Joker War” was announced in early 2020, as was the 3 Jokers story, neither of which I have read. I simply just liked the premise of both of them, and I wanted to somehow mold them into one. Jar Jar shared a similar idea, so… it became this.
I owe a lot of gratitude to our readers, especially Thrawn and Hades, whose words of encouragement (I.E. “We have got to finish this site”) pushed me up to pursue this story in full.
Of course, I thank the council for giving me this opportunity. As we round the bend for the last DCOU story and the conclusion of the site, I’m so happy that I got to do it with all of you by my side.
Keeping it short; Thank you, Bill Finger and Bob Kane (mostly Bill), for creating the Dark Knight as we know it. Geoff Johns and James Tynion the IV: I owe my gratitude for coming up with the original ideas for the Three Jokers and the Joker War, respectively.
And… With That… we round the bend for…