Title: Azrael's personal bullies
Featuring: Azrael
Date: Everyday
Location: Under the sheets
Show: Evolution 29

{Azrael is lying in bed, trying to get a good night rest after another disappointing result. As he tosses and turns, we get a peak into his dreams, or more accurately his current nightmare.  Two spectres are hovering around Azrael’s head. They are engaged in a conversation with the asleep Azrael}


Spectre #1: You are not good enough.  You will never be good enough. Look at your performance, it was one of your best but you still couldn’t get it done


Spectre #2: Why do you continue to get up and fight? You know the outcome already.  You lose. That’s what you do, and that’s what you deserve. Look at what you have done.  Do you think you deserve victory?


Spectre #1: Do you deserve happiness? No you don’t.  You aren’t worthy of happiness. You aren’t worthy of anything more than causing pain to those who’ve had the mispleasure of loving you.  


Spectre #2: You know what you need to do.  You know how to stop the suffering of those who don’t deserve it.  


Azrael: No, this is just temporary and needed to get me to a better place.  The fact that I can sit here and challenge you shows me I am headed in the right direction.  That what I am doing is working


Spectre #1: But for how much longer can you withstand the pressure?  How much longer until you give up?


Azrael: Never.  I can’t, and I won’t give up.  I don’t have that option.


Spectre #2: How much longer until you revert back? When things start being normal, how easy is it going to for you to slip right back into where you were at, and end up back in the hospital, or worse.


Azrael: I will not return to that place.  I can not. I am much more aware of what led me to that dark place, and the triggers.  I am better and will not return.


Spectre #1: No you aren’t.  Look at your reactions this past week.  Look at how much you’ve questioned yourself and the purpose of all of this.  Look at your heart and see the toll this is taking on it. You are not strong enough to withstand this pressure.  The end isn’t close.


Spectre #2: The light at the end of the tunnel you see, isn’t the end.  It’s just another train, that is going to destroy you. Will you be able to get back up, and keep moving toward the next train?


Azrael: I don’t have any other options.  Each train makes me stronger and allows me to see how far I’ve improved.  It allows me to see how far I had fallen. To see that you are nothing more than a bully who is afraid of losing its hold on me.  Your desperation to keep hold is evident.


Spectre #2: It neither hurts us nor benefits us what happens to you.  We just speak the truth you know and see, but are too scared to accept.  We highlight what you know and think, without the influence of those who fill your head with lies.


Spectre #1: Lies that benefit them, and not you.  Lies that allows them to keep you under their thumb.  Lies that allow them to control you. Who keeps telling you you are getting better?  It’s them. Who is showing you the improvements? They are. They want to keep you coming back for more, not allowing you see the truth.


Azrael: You do not speak the truth.  You are the ones that are scared, that they are helping me vanquish you and keep you in check.  To see the negative views that you show. I am done with that and I am done with you


Spectre #2: You say that now but no matter what happens, we will always be here, we'll always have a voice in your head, and be one of the loudest voices there. This control you think you have is only temporary.  When things start getting back to normal, you will listen to us again. I promise you. And next time, when you reach your lowest, it will be six feet below.


{Azrael sits up, sweating with fear that the voices from his dream were correct}


Azrael: I am worthy and I can beat this.  I am doing everything and more that I should be to get better.  I trust the process and I see the results. I see days in which I could be happier than I have ever been.  I think my depression is scared that I am beating it and is trying to manifest itself to stay relevant. I am too strong for that.  


{With that, Azrael gets up and enters into the shower.  As the steam fogs the mirror in the bathroom, the words “WE WILL ALWAYS BE HERE WAITING”. The words stay for a moment or two before the steam erases them, before Azrael is able to see them. Azrael finishes his shower, wraps himself in a towel and lays back down on his bed.}


Azrael: Time and time again, I get to deal with the next big thing.  I get to be the start in a potential hall of fame career. Mr. Stark, I wish I could lay here and tell you that you will be in the fight of your life, that you are going up against someone who should have been Impact Champion.  That you are meeting up with a man whose history is filled with great matches that push the limits of the participants. Those are all things that are true. Things that I have done. But now, I’m just not sure if I can continue to do those things.  I’m not sure if my brain will allow me to give forth the effort required, or if it will just allow me to give up. To succumb to self doubt. To back down from bully within that constantly reminds me of the flaws and failures. I don’t know if it will cause the anger, the uncontrollable rage, the monster within to be free, indiscriminately destroying everything near it.  I know nothing about you Linus, other than your need for your blue blanket and your belief in the great pumpkin. But this match isn’t about you. You have no influence, no control over what is going to happen in that ring. You will be a passenger on a runaway train. Are you scared? Probably not. You are most likely just like everyone else. An Alpha, who can not be stopped, who is better than everybody and will do whatever it takes to prove it.  You will chalk this up as nothing more than the ramblings of another Alpha, who is trying to get in your head. My dear Linus, you would be wrong. As I am not Alpha, and I am not trying to get in your head. As a matter of fact, I am trying to get out of mine. The thoughts, the self doubt, the negativity, all swirling around, like Auntie Em in the tornado. If you think you can save me from this, please do. But you can’t. You won’t. To you, I am just the first step towards greatness.  The springboard that will take you to the top. The opponent that you will demonstrate just how superior you are to everyone else. That is all you see before you. That is the Alpha mindset. To conquer one obstacle after another in search of that glory. Come Evolution, you will meet one of two Azrael’s. The unleashed monster fueled by rage, looking to destroy whatever it can. Not caring about the ramifications, only looking to destroy, and be remembered. It knows it can’t be respected, so it will be feared.  Or will you get the Azrael that is busy fighting within his own mind, to keep the beast caged, that you do not get his full attention. A man who will push you to your limit, based on veteran reflexes alone, while trying not lose the battle within. A man who will push to the limit but lacks the concentration and internal drive to see it through to the end. I pray it's the second one who shows up, as the first is not a creature I want to see again, ever.


{The hooded figure enters a boardroom, in which two individuals are discussing ways to maximize the company’s profits, and how to hide the negative effects of their decisions.  As the gentlemen speak, we learn that one is the CEO, while the other is the COO. The hood figure gets the gentlemen’s attention when he sits down at the far end of the table.}


COO: Can we help you?


Hooded Figure: No


CEO: I am sorry, but you are in the wrong place.  If you tell me what you need, we will make sure you get to the right place.  


Hooded Figure: I am exactly where I need to be.  As a matter of fact, I am here to help you.


CEO: I’m not sure what help you are offering, but I am pretty confident that we do not require your assistance in any matter.  Let me call security and they can show you the way out.


Hooded Figure: That is not necessary.  I am not offering my assistance, I am telling you that I am here to help you.  


{Hooded Figure rises and begins to walk toward the business men}


Hooded Figure: You see, I am here to assist you with your transition from this plane into the next.  Before I do that, I have a few other responsibilities. I help save those who can be still saved, and ensure that those who can not get to where they need to go.  I am also able to comfort those who have suffered loss. I feel like having a bit of fun. So I am going to ask you, what is the reason I am here to help you? Is it to save you, send you to hell, or comfort you in a time of loss?


COO: Listen, I don’t know who or what you think you are doing here, but it is time for you to go.  You can either go on your own now, wait for security or I will throw you out like the garbage that you are.


Hooded Figure: And what is your option, sir?  We know what he has picked but what about you?


{The COO steps towards the hooded figure, and in a flurry of motion, the COO is on the floor, in shock at the speed and efficiency in which he was immobilized.}


Hooded Figure: Do care to wager a guess Mr. CEO?


CEO: To send us to hell.


Hooded Figure: You are partially correct.  I am here to assist one of you to the place where you need to go.  The other, to console you in your loss, and provide with the path to save yourself.


CEO: Please make this painless and quick for me.  I know I have been a selfish person, consumed with power, money and status.  I have caused irreparable damage to people and the world. I have known this for a while, and have not been able to stop.  Please, do the world a favor, and send me to the afterlife. Allow my family to mourn me properly, with dignity and respect, before the stories come out, and my name is nothing more than an insult.  


Hooded Figure: Sir, with that I see in your heart and your mind, you are able to be saved. The events of today, will show you the path that you need to follow.  You will make amends for your wrongs, and will see the glory that God has in store for you. You are a lost sheep, and I am a helpful shepard leading you back to the flock.  


{Hooded figure grabs the COO by the hair and pulls him to his feet.  A look of terror spreads across his face as he realizes his fate has been sealed and there is no hope for him}


Hooded Figure: You Mr. COO, you are beyond saving.  It is time for you to leave this plane and stop the suffering you personally cause.  I look into your soul, and there is nothing left to save. There is no redeeming value there.  It has become so rotten and decayed, that there is little left to send. Not only have you, for your own gain and yours alone, destroyed Mother Earth, but you have also destroyed countless souls.  Between the boys you’ve tormented in your dungeon apartment, and the poor you have taken advantage of for your gain. You alone, have created so many people whose souls are rotting away, that the fallen angels in hell will have plenty of essence available, they may be able to start the great war.  


CEO: Wait, you said you were also here to help someone with a loss and to save them.  You said I was going to be saved, so what loss am I going to deal with. I liked this guy, but his loss is not something that would need the assistance of someone like you.


{A flaming blade ejects out from the gauntlets the hooded figure wears under his jacket.  His aim is perfect as he quickly and silently severes the spinal cord of the COO, causing instant death.  The flaming blade also coderizes the wound, making it a mess free execution.}


Hooded figure:  You are right. His loss, means very little to you or many others.  The only ones who care are the ones who have been praying for this day to come.  Hopefully, now their souls can find peace and begin to heal. I just hope it is enough.  As for your loss, let us take a walk. There is such beauty near that Mother Earth has provided, that it allows the heart to heal faster, and to make the loss not so great.  Remember, you have many responsibilities before you leave this plane. You have many wrongs to right. This is your destiny. Be strong.


{The hooded figure leads the CEO out of the conference and out of the building.  His hand rests on the CEO’s shoulder as the weight of unknown loss bears down on him.  The pair walk to pier, and find shade under a sycamore tree. The hooded figure speaks to the man, giving him the news of his loss.  The man falls to his knees and buries his head in his hand, weeping uncontrollably. The hooded figure leaves his hands on the CEO’s shoulders, providing a comforting touch, as he bows his head and begins praying for the man.  They remain in this position for several hours, allowing Mother Earth’s awe to envelop them in a warm embrace, that allows the sadness to happen, without judgement. To let the grieving process run its course, with no interference, just support.  As the sun begins, to set, they continue the grieving process on a bench, watching the sun melt into the sea. Mother Earth, reminding the CEO, that even in this incredible darkness he is in, there is still beauty and wonder around. That the intense feeling of this loss shall pass, and be replaced with a sense of duty and honor.  The emptiness will be replaced with purpose and memories. His loss will never be forgotten, but will help heal and guide so many people who need just a gentle touch and a reassuring word.}


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