Family Torn Apart By Fear

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[edit] Family Torn Apart By Fear

Lucy Brand sits in an empty home, surrounded by boxes and packing tape. The bookshelves are bare, the family photos are stacked away, and the pictures of happier times have been removed from the wall.

Lucy's leaving Gotham, but she can't leave behind the terrible memories. Images of horrific violence crash into her brain over and over again.

"I can't forget the day when my husband turned into a monster," Lucy said, wiping away the tears that frequently erupt from her pale blue eyes. "I guess I am condemned to remember, always, the day my life was taken away from me."

Lucy is alone now. Her husband is locked up at the Gotham Health Department at Arkham Asylum. Her daughters are both recovering from their wounds at Gotham General Hospital.

Lucy says she doesn't know what to do, or where to go. She only knows she can't stay in the city that brought her so much terror and sadness.

"I want to stay and help my husband recover, but the doctors say that he's not ever gonna get better," said Lucy. "And I don't know if it's good for my daughters to see him again after all that happened - at least, not now."

Lucy's story is a tragedy, but it is not a unique one. With health officials finally admitting that even trace exposure to the toxin can cause psychosis, Gotham is expected to see even more families devastated by the induced syndrome in the coming weeks.


When Frank asked Lucy to move to Gotham so he could join the fire department here, Lucy had no complaints.

"I would have followed Frank into Hell. And in a way, I did," Lucy said.

It was Lucy's mother who warmed her against the move.

"My Mom said Gotham was dangerous. But all I saw was the excitement of the city and a good job for my husband," said the former 9th Grade schoolteacher.

"I loved Gotham. All that stuff I read about in the papers and see on TV, I never thought it could happen to me. And then it did," Brand said.

Now, with her life crumbling around her she wishes she had listened to her mother's pleas to stay out of Gotham.


Before the Narrows Attack, Lucy and Frank's fairy-tale marriage was the envy of their friends. Days were full of family dinners, help with their daughters' homework, and occasional barbecues bringing family and friends together.

Frank loved his job as a city firefighter, and Lucy did what she called "silly goo-goo love things", like putting a little poem in his sack lunch every day. "To remind him of how much we all loved him," Lucy said.

They raised their two daughters, sent them to public schools, and started a young parents group at the local church. Frank got into gardening. The small yard behind their simple A-frame house turned into a little farm, with homegrown tomatoes, onions, raspberries, and strawberries peeking out of the urban surroundings. And then the Narrows Attack came.


When word came of the Narrows Attack, Lucy Brand was at school, teaching students who signed up for additional help.

"An announcement over the PA system by the principal asked us all to file quietly into the auditorium," Lucy recounted. "We stayed there and watched the TV coverage. Everyone was crying, and I remember I felt I had to stay strong for the kids, but I started crying too."

Lucy was scared for her husband, as reports streamed in of all the city's firemen converging on the devastation of the Narrows Attack. 19 firemen lost their lives that night, and 43 others fell victim to the Fear Toxin. Like many other citizens who converged on the Narrows as the disaster unfolded, the 43 firemen are still detained at temporary structures at Arkham Asylum. But, Frank emerged unscathed that night, both physically and psychologically.

"I remember when he came home that night, I never fell asleep," Lucy said. "I just stayed up the whole night, staring at the ceiling, thinking about how grateful I was to get him back safe."

After the Narrows Attack, Lucy's mother again begged her to leave the city. But Lucy thought everything would soon return to normal. After all, the Health Department declared the city water and air supply safe. But it wasn't.

CONT. on A3

CONT. from A1


Reports that the Fear Toxin had remained active in the city were dismissed, in one memorable phrase, as "reckless fear-mongering" by the Health Commissioner Janice Greetley. But by the time Frank began acting strangely, 89 other Gothamites had also suffered what the city took to calling "non-specific spontaneous psychosis" and blaming on city stress.

Meanwhile, the Fear Toxin's ability to induce delusion, paranoia, and madness had turned Lucy's husband into a monster.

Frank Brand, the man who used to call her every day to say he loved her, returned to their home and screamed obscenities as he axed the front door down. Lucy watched as her husband pushed, kicked, and hit their daughters.

"Frank... didn't even look like himself," Lucy said. "His face was distorted with rage. I can't get that terrible face out of my mind."

Lucy ran to their daughters and placed herself between them and their father.

"It was like he woke up, then, just for a moment. I could see his eyes clear and he realized what he had done."

Frank ran out the door then, screaming and tearing off his clothes as he raced down the neighborhood streets. He was picked up by the police within the hour after multiple 911 calls were made by Gotham residents startled by Frank's naked, maniacal appearance on their street.

"I guess I could fight to release Frank from Arkham. But, I'm so afraid of him now," Lucy said.

"Sometimes I think if I wait long enough Frank will just come back into the house, completely back to normal. I know it's crazy, but all I do every day is just sit here, and wait, and wait."

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