There was no consistency. It wasn't long before Jake didn't know which he dreaded more - the time he was alone to dwell on his own, or the times he got his "visits" from Jack. It hurt, it hurt more than anything had before. It hurt more than the slow, steady drip of insanity when he and Roland had been separated. It hurt more than being told that Babs was gone, that someone had taken her away. It hurt more than hearing Dinah had been hurt and he wasn't there to help her.
It hurt more than having to withdraw from Oy, knowing his pain was hurting the billy-bumbler. Jake was locked in his own mind, alone and lost.
He wanted to stay there. Close up his mind, lock it behind him, and pull the metaphorical blanket over his eyes until the boogeyman went away. But there was nowhere to hide from the specters in his mind. Haunting shadows of Roland walking into an ocean, hearing the lobstrosities calling out to him. Did-a-chik? Dum-a-chum? Dinah, flickering in and out of place as she sat down, telling him that there was simply no way for her to be there for him. That, in the end, the City wins all. Babs, turning towards him with empty eyes to say that she couldn't, wouldn't come back.
Jake was strong, a gunslinger. But he was a child, and Jack was a professional. The cuts, the burns, scratches, the bruises - all were administered with precision. Jake cringed when he found himself welcoming them, just to have someone else in the room. Welcoming the agony to escape from the silence, from the loneliness. Someone to save him from the ghosts.
It was the kindness he hated the most, he craved the most. Those gentle moments in his arms, having his wounds tended to, soothed. The caring touches, the softly-spoken words. Comfort like Jake had never had in his life. His own parents had failed in that regard. Greta Shaw had been too professional. The gunslinger had raised him hard, the only way he knew. Babs had gone too soon. Dinah was too unsure of her place with him. But Jack, the Joker, showed him more kindness than Jake had ever known.
It was all starting to blur. The hate and the craving, the hurt and the home, the loneliness and the wanting. Ghosts in the shadows. Cool water trickling down his raw throat. Ice cream, to his childish delight. Once, he had the companionship of a kitten. A warm, soft kitten that nuzzled at his fingers and slept against his shoulder. Some time later (hours, minutes, day, night, those things had ceased to hold meaning) the bloody skin and fur had adorned his head like a cap, while Jack had hung the organs on him like ornaments on a Christmas tree. The next time a rat had crept into his room, Jake had thrown things at it until it went away.
No day. No night. Just alone, or with Jack.
Jake was on his own. Alone, and lost.