Sam Braxton awakens with a very sudden jolt as a deluge of ice-cold water comes down upon him.
“WHAT THE FU-“
He sees the faces of Jessica Matthews and Robert Coulter looming above him in the dimly lit living room of Jess’ Brisbane city apartment.
“Strewth. I thought my dreams were bad.”
“Time to wake up and sober up Mr Braxton.” Dean’s father proclaims.
“I told you al-boody-ready, I ain’t no Mr.”
Dean’s partner takes a more diplomatic approach, using a more conciliatory tone. His mind and body protesting from the forcible wake up call and the lingering hangover, Sam sighs in resignation.
“Alright. Alright. What’s the bizzo?”
“Yeah I knew that.”
“We know your angry-“
“I’m bloody pissed mate!”
Both literally and figuratively.
“Even so,this has all gone for far too long. If there is anyone who can get through to him. It’s you.”
In any other, more sober siutation Sam may have realised the profound gravity of that comment, spoken by the man who makes no secret of how much he dislikes Sam.
“Me? Mate, he couldn’t bloody wait to turn his back on me.”
“Whomever he has looking after Sophia, they won’t allow anyone to see her. Did you know that?”
“Wait. What? Fair Dinkum?”
Robert Coulter nods in response.
“But this whole thing was to look out for her and the rest of you mob.”
"And you believed this Ouroboros group would honour their agreement? You thought Dean had a choice in this matter? What kind of friend are you?”
The tone in Sam’s voice promises violence.
“It doesn’t matter. We can’t change the past, but we can try and solve the problems it’s caused. Sam we need to find a way to talk to Dean’s mother.”
“How? If what this wanker says is true then the snakes have got her locked up pretty tight.”
“Are there no friends in that…company that you could talk to?”
The look Sam gives Mr Coulter clearly expresses how much of a stupid question that is.
“Friends? Do I look like a bloke with a lot of friends currently?”
Robert concedes the point.
“But there’s gotta be someone you can talk to?”
An awkward silence hangs in the air between the three, until Sam takes a page out of his former friends book and releases a sigh of resignation. There are people he could talk to, but it means overcoming his pride and asking them for help. Looking at the forlorn and near desperate faces of both Jess Matthews and Robert Coulter does help to steel his resolve.
“Alright, strewth. I’ll try.”
Jess gives him a brief relieved embraced. It takes Sam, not one for sentimentality, completely by surprise. Even Dean’s dad looks at him with admiration and appreciation. If nothing else it would get them off his back.
Elisha is not pleased in the slightest and when he isn’t pleased, everyone is going to know about it. None in this point in time know it better or more poignantly then Judas, formerly Dean Coulter, being lifted and pinned against the wall with the Moonchild’s hand wrapped firmly around his throat.
“I tire of this.”
Elisha growls as the rest of the key figures of Ouroboros stand back and watch. Choronzon seems more than pleased, Revenant and Schamor couldn’t care less, but Cassandra…there is no evidence of sympathy or concern on her face. Judas is a fool for ever even entertaining the idea of the Prophetess ever being his friend, ally or confidant. She is just another form of manipulation, the illusion of a shoulder to cry on to coax and encourage acquiescence in new disciples. Yet again Judas considers how royally he has fucked everything up. He makes a token effort to resist Elisha’s manhandling. A part of him wishes the Moonchild would just follow through and end it, the finality of death seemingly the only way to escape the perpetual and self-inflicted hell the once proud and honourable Aussie Battler finds himself in.
“We have offered you a chance to be part of the New World Order, and yet you continue to fail us, continue to insult and corrupt us with your weakness and lack of conviction. You have seen what is done to those who disappoint me. So tell me why I should allow you to persist in existing?”
Judas struggles for air and tries to croak out his response. At first Elisha seems disinclined to allow his Hound the chance to speak. Eventually he does release his vice-like grip and Judas collapses to the floor. No one of course comes to his aid.
“Well dog? Speak!”
“What is this? Start a blue with the bloody Aussie? I wasn’t the only cobber in that match. ‘Mate’.”
“And yet my other disciples have not given me cause for concern over their loyalty or their dedication. I find yours…severely lacking.”
“I’m still bloody here ain’t I? I’ve done everything you’ve asked of me!”
“As if you had any other choice. If I am not mistaken you are a learned man, and would pick your words and actions carefully, saying and doing only what you thought we wanted. It was my hope that you would come into line without the constant need of your mother’s welfare in the balance. Did I err in my judgement?”
With the not so subtle threat and reminder of his mother’s situation, Judas snaps his eyes up from the floor, his gaze unflinching as he stares directly straight back into the eyes of the Moonchild. The tension could be cut with a knife.
“My liege. If I may?”
Cassandra finally interjects, seemingly mere seconds away from the stare-down erupting into an all out brawl.
“I concede that Judas is quite a wilful individual, something attributed to most Australian stock, but would not a individual of such strength of Will and passion be of value to us?”
“My prophetess, after what you and Choronzon have said to me of Judas’ doubts, you still believe he can be swayed?”
“It will take some time. But yes. I believe so.”
Judas looks over both Cassandra and Choronzon, curious as to what and how much of what he has shared has been revealed to Elisha over the time since joining Ouroboros. Elisha returns his gaze to his Hound.
“Are they wrong?”
Judas says nothing and Elisha sneers in contempt. “But my li-“ Elisha raises a hand to silence the oncoming protest from Choronzon.
“See it done. There can be no further errors, for I foresee a defining moment, of great proportions, waiting us at Summer Games.”
Cassandra and Choronzon bow their heads.
“As you Will.” They both reply. Choronzon begrudgingly.
“Judas. You are consigned to the dungeons. And see yourself prepared for Evolution, you will fight alongside ME against the sycophantic fools, the Smokin’ Aces.”
“As. You. Will.” Judas replies through gritted teeth.
He is hoisted up by the shoulders and dragged through the Epicentre, paying no attention to the conversation shared between Prophetess and Disciple. When they arrive at the dungeons Judas is simply dropped and discarded, left to his own devices without a single glance backwards. It’s clear that Judas no longer has anyone within the group he can trust or rely on. He is overcome by pangs of regret and longing.
If nothing else his time of isolation is a perfect opportunity to think about the future, and its implications, more specifically his upcoming match alongside the leader of Ouroboros, the Moonchild himself, against the same two competitors who won the Tag Team Title belts off of him and his former friend, and partner, Sam in what turned out to be the final match for the Lost Boys.
“I don’t reckon there is any moment more bloody indicative of how messed up things got then when Sam dropped off of the apron and walked away from Dean, leaving him at the mercy of Duce Jones and Freddie Styles. It was that night, in fact the exact second he knew he had lost everything. beisst friend, the Tag Team Title belts and as it turned out the respect of practically everyone else in the CWF locker room. The worst part is, he can’t blame anyone but himself. And now he brought this messed up, shit-show of a situation, upon himself, with no-where to go and no one to turn to. He ain’t even drinking with the flies these days…I keep trying to tell myself there’s no point dwelling on these mistakes, cause there ain’t no going back. I just gotta focus on the uncertain future that now lies before me and do whatever I can, however I can, to make the best of it…somehow…But ultimately I’ve got six of one and half a dozen of the other. I’m in way over my head and am screwed no matter what I do…”
Judas hangs his head in shame and for a moment it appears as if he may even be sobbing. He eventually calms himself with a series of long, drawn out breaths.
“If it were only my life on the line, then I’d be resigned to whatever fate the Moonchild deigns, but I’m not here for me. I’m not fighting JUST for my life and wellbeing. And because of that I’m sorry Smokin’ Aces but I gotta tear the two of you down. You’ve proved to be talented and respectable champions, worthy of beating us, and I regret that Sam and me-ah Dean, weren’t at their full strength when you faced them. But it is what it is and now, well you pose a threat to Elisha and Ouroboros and in order for me to ensure the safety of my family I gotta contribute to beating you blokes, black, blue, green, gold, and all that bizzo until your barely able to breathe, let alone lift a finger in opposition to Ouroboros. You may be former champions, and talented competitors in your own right hoping to get back on the road to championship gold, but that ain’t gonna mean jack since we’re on the warpath and will not stop. Not until the world falls under heel. And when the bell finally rings your defeat, I hope you remember, that as far as I’m concerned this was never personal. It’s just the way it’s gotta be, for the greater good of everyone.”
Choronzon puts an end to the soliloquy with a loud banging on the cell door. A small hatch at the bottom of the door slides open and a tray of food that they wouldn’t even serve at a school cafeteria is pushed through.
“Enjoy.” Choronzon sneers.
At first Judas hesitates before even considering touching the meal, but then reassures himself that if Elisha wanted him disposed of, he would do it publicly and in a more personal manner. Besides this treatment wouldn’t last if they expected the Hound to be fighting fit and raring to go come Evolution, so he’ll just grit his teeth and bare it, and hope secretly and silently that those in opposition of the group win out in the end. If Judas is around long enough to see such an outcome, then he’ll be happy. But if not…well then…such is life…
Bloody: Used for emphasis
Cobber: Interchangeable with Mate. A generic identifier
Drinking with the flies: Drinking alone.
Fair Dinkum/Strewth: Are you for real? etc. An exclamation or question, meaning depends on context.
Six of one, half a dzoen of the other: Damned if you do, damned if you don't (sort of)
Wanker: Insult or ironic term of endearment, think akin to prick/dick-head.