After the Ironman Match - 27th September - Nashville, Tennessee
Black and white. Silas had left the ring after the final bell rung to signify the end of the endurance test. Three to two, he had failed. It was his chance to cement his legacy, but he fell at the last hurdle in front of a large audience. His eyes were droopy as he focused on the exit, disregarding anything and everyone else.
He heard nothing, he saw nothing, just the curtains connecting the ring to the gorilla position, and with one quick arm sweep, he went though without as much as making an address to the audience.
Only the sight of officials and backstage assistants broke up the monotonous sight of concrete and equipment boxes, numerous amounts being packed for the trip to the next arena hosting Evolution.
Silas stood there, frozen but observing the area for what seemed like minutes, before one of them had the nerve to approach Silas and ask:
ASSISTANT: Are you alright?
The assistant likely didn’t see the match, not that it mattered. Silas just looked at the guy, stone faced and expressionless despite the pain, before breaking the look. He smiled, a faint chuckle escaped him, and he suddenly raised his arms. Deep breath.
SILAS ARTORIA: I’m the king of the the GODDAMN PROMOTION! I’M THE KING OF THE GODDAMN UNIVERSE! HAH!
Another unstable cackle escaped him as he merrily celebrated his self-proclamation, but his face suddenly took on a look of concern. His left foot gives away; his attempts to stabilize himself only portrayed him in a drunk-like manner, catching the attention of other nearby assistants. Silas collapses to the floor with the boxes he hopelessly tried to stabilize himself falling either on top of him or nearby, and the crashing sounds caught the attention of others. They rush towards the fallen Canadian.
The man himself only looked forward, absent, as his sight and hearing quickly became muffled and deafening. He faded quickly as his eyes twitched uncontrollably, only hearing muffled words of someone he cannot see, as he entered the abyss.
???: SOMEONE GET THE EMTs DOWN HERE!
He couldn't make out precisely who said it, but it didn't matter. His eyes closed as the pain faded with his eyesight.
PASSENGER: Rest now. You've done well.
Nashville Medical Facility - Nashville, Tennessee
A high pitched tone pierced his ears, and slowly his eyes started to open. Unfocused bright white, it was too painful that he squinted just to ease the sharp sensation. The blurred surroundings slowly came into focus, but only in two contrasting colours; ghost white and charcoal. Silas slowly became aware, though it felt like he was pinned to the surface he was laid on. A sharp gasp of air escaped him, but he soon started to control his breathing.
Stay calm, don’t panic.
He started to finally clearly see his surroundings, as the sharp black and white visual paved way for some colour; desaturated to the point where everything looked hollow, lifeless and sickly, but enough to get a foundation of his current predicament.
White all around; walls, curtains, floor, roof, completely sterilized with some gloss on them. A medical facility, a private holding room from the looks of it, unless he’s already in a reserved ward. His location was surprising. As far as he knew he collapsed from either exhaustion or, more seriously, dehydration.
Was there something else discovered? Or was it a way to keep Silas out of the way for now?
It was during his exploration for answers when he finally discovered that he wasn’t only just wearing an oxygen mask, but also a neck brace with padding. The memories slowly came back, but only briefly.
The doors opposite him opened, and through them walks a man in a white coat, a doctor likely, with another man in a more smartly dressed getup, probably someone from CWF checking on their contracted athlete. The two are conversing while approaching him, and he quickly figures out that the second man is Dr Harmon Leggett.
At least I has some sort of visitor.
He could barely hear the two talking, but soon picks it up as they got closer to the Canadian.
DOCTOR: --commend running more tests to see if there is any further damage to his neck.
HARMON LEGGETT: So long as we get an answer to his current condition. Have you made arrangements for transport?
DOCTOR: I haven’t recommended it, nor thought about it. We don’t even know if he isn’t paralyzed or suffering from a subdural hematoma. If the latter, I’d have to wheel him in for surgery immediately.
HARMON LEGGETT: He collapsed, he didn’t headbutt Flair!
The two arrive bedside, and Leggett immediately notices Silas’ eyes. Dr Leggett bends down to get a closer look.
HARMON LEGGETT: Mr Artoria, how are you feeling?
Silas tilts his head and only lets out a grumble.
DOCTOR: Mr Artoria, are you able to nod your head?
Silas tilted his head to the unknown doctor, and struggled to nod positively, eliciting a self deprecating smile and vague chuckle.
HARMON LEGGETT: Yeah, he’s still with us.
DOCTOR: Body is likely exhausted, but he’s at least not completely out of it.
HARMON LEGGETT: Silas, can you please raise your arm?
He tried. It was clear Silas was struggling to do what he was asked, as the sight of gritted teeth under the clear oxygen mask made clear. He was slowly raising it, but he was about halfway up before Leggett gently rested his hand upon his arm.
HARMON LEGGETT: That’s enough.
He looked at the doctor with concern. Whether or not is was personal or business reason was unclear.
HARMON LEGGETT: How long before he can be transferred?
The doctor looks at Leggett with surprise, shock even as several thoughts passed through him. Leggett was rushing him to take him to the next destination!?
DOCTOR: How fast? How fast!? He needs as much time as possible to recover! You’re not seriously going to put him back in the ring next week are you?
HARMON LEGGETT: Of course not! Just out of Nashville.
SILAS ARTORIA: Back to Toronto.
The two doctors immediately looked at the Canadian, almost shocked at the sudden response from Silas. The man himself slowly moved his hand across to the oxygen mask and grabbed the utility, dragging it off his face with a look of defiance. He wasn’t going to look sick; he detested the prospect, and sure as hell wasn't going to stay in Nashville. There was an order, waiting for him back home.
SILAS ARTORIA: You’re going to take me back to Toronto.
It wasn’t a question, it was a statement, something that Leggett instead took as a spiteful sentence. Still, he remained calm. Likely an athlete who enjoyed his work too much to disregard medical advise.
HARMON LEGGETT: Well, we’re going to do some more tests and see if you’re good to compete next week, or at least the PPV, just for the sake of paperwo--
SILAS ARTORIA: That wasn’t a request, Leggett. I've only been awake for about a minute and I already hate it here! Too...featureless. Here is how it’s going to work.
He points to the other doctor, though without aggression.
SILAS ARTORIA: You, are going to perform the tests you need to do and as fast as possible!
He points to Dr Leggett, again, without a hint of aggression.
SILAS ARTORIA: And you are going to take me back to Toronto in the safest way possible, because I am not staying here in this hick town. I’ve had enough of here. Besides, there's a toy of mine I want get get back to.
HARMON LEGGETT: Toy?
Silas tries to stretch, but nothing is coming for him. His neck was in pain and stiffer than a two dollar steak, and his movement and strength was nonexistent, though improving.
SILAS ARTORIA: What does management have to say? About me? About me being here?
Dr Leggett puts his hands in his pockets and takes a deep breath.
HARMON LEGGETT: Well, from what I’ve heard they were happy with the performance to the point that they are thinking about adding benefits come the next contract negotiation, but that’s out of my league and they're just whispers. However. they’re not exactly happy with the fact that you’re here and not on you feet. Still, they’ve already booked you in a tag match.
The doctor looks at Leggett confused and concerned, almost shocked at the featherbrained management decisionson Silas’ behalf.
DOCTOR: They’ve arranged a match for him in this state!? After the ambulance was called!?
Dr Leggett held up his hand, dismissing the emotion the doctor showed, with care not to completely disregard his concerns.
HARMON LEGGETT: The cards are finalized days before broadcast subject to my final approval on medical grounds. You have no reason to worry, doctor, I’m not going to allow Mr Artoria into combat, even if it yields dissatisfaction from my employer...and Mr Artoria.
He gets close to Silas.
HARMON LEGGETT: You do know what the initial diagnoses is, right?
PASSENGER: Meaningless in due time.
Silas licked his dry lips, uncomfortable with the dry feeling, and spoke calmly with a smile. His strength was recovering, though slowly.
SILAS ARTORIA: Aside from exhaustion and possible dehydration, I’m guessing something within my head or, judging from what I am wearing, my neck? Concussion? Whiplash? Broken neck if we're being extreme?
HARMON LEGGETT: You landed on your head and neck pretty hard when you collapsed, and the falling equipment boxes only exasperated it at first glance.
SILAS ARTORIA: Neck won’t be an issue.
Dr Leggett jumped in surprise, and in response to Silas’ uncaring attitude towards his own body.
HARMON LEGGETT: Your neck!?
Silas lets out a chuckle, unconcerned as Leggett got increasingly agitated.
SILAS ARTORIA: In Japan you build up your neck to take punishment overti--
HARMON LEGGETT: You’re not in Japan, Silas! You're in the land of strict medical guidelines and the CWF's wellness policy! The way Japan does it is meaningless over here!
The good doctor stopped himself. He was getting too over emotional. Can't shout, too unprofessional. Instead he took a deep breath, and looked at Silas with a more relaxed posture.
HARMON LEGGETT: Have you heard of the sad tale of Mitsuharu Misawa?
SILAS ARTORIA: One of the greatest who ever live?
HARMON LEGGETT: Do you know what the doctor’s discovered when they were determining the cause of death? They found that his time getting inflicted with strikes to the neck without the necessary treatment sped the cause of his death! His spine was a literal thread when he died! And the final straw was a mere belly-to-back suplex!
SILAS ARTORIA: …
HARMON LEGGETT: You might have an uncaring attitude towards your body but the CWF will not have anyone die in the ring.
He gets in close, with a fierce glare in his eyes as if he had the intention to ensure Silas would never breathe again.
HARMON LEGGETT: You’ll be delighted to hear that you're going back to Toronto, but you are not to come within a hundred miles of Louisville. If I hear so much as a whisper on if you are in Kentucky or even Indiana, I’ll make sure your release papers are delivered to you personally.
Dr Leggett starts to make his way towards the door he entered the room through; his footsteps echoing throughout the aseptic and sterile room with a low pitch. He turns back to Silas just as he reaches the door, seeing the Canadian slowly sitting up in his bed to get a better look.
HARMON LEGGETT: You’re a great athlete, despite your brushes with other staff members, but I’ll be damned for eternity if anyone is going to die on my watch!
He disappears out of sight, leaving Silas on his own with only a doctor with little knowledge of the profession, and his own thoughts whom he couldn’t communicate without arousing suspicion. The doctor smiled and turned to Silas.
PASSENGER: Our ascent has hit a hurdle.
DOCTOR: Well, I guess I’ll get everything sorted.
SILAS ARTORIA: I guess so.
Silas slouches back down, and grabbed the oxygen mask. On one hand, he's not going to turn up at Evolution, which is disappointing considering he had the match of his career. But on the other hand, he'll be back in home territory. He looks at the doctor as he gets comfortable, placing the oxygen mask over his nose and mouth.
SILAS ARTORIA: Wake me up when I’m back in Toronto.
His eyes closed, and in what seemed like seconds, he was back in the abyss.
A pattern of clattering and vibrations filled the air. A cabin door slowly opened, and peering out of it was Silas, traveling alone and looking a bit lost. He had his usual gear on, and entered the corridor.
The train was traveling through what appeared to be a frozen forest. Unseasonable weather had clearly arrived, and the choice of transport was clearly a decision made by the doctors. Can risk air pressure messing up his neck further, he needed to travel by land, so the train was the more obvious option.
And yet, the train felt empty. Silas had just woken up so he was not part of any talks in regards to his travel. Trains weren't as popular as they use to be, but it didn't excuse it from lack in any form of life.
This was worrying, and Silas started to walk down the monolithic machine, still traveling through the frozen forest, still vibrating with familiar patterns.
He looked inside the cabins. No one. Next carriage, lined seating. No one. Next carriage, cabins again. No one. Not a shred of life, not even a small spider of stray flying was inside any of the carriages.
???: Welcome, Silas.
He froze in his path. There was a man in front of him, with his looks instilling pure horror within Silas. Dashing hair, undercoat and overcoat, with matching trousers.
The man was....Silas Artoria? But, the skin around his eyes were distorted, covered in words that evoked bitter anger. The cleaner Silas tried as he might to wrap his head around it.
SILAS ARTORIA: Wh--who a--
PASSENGER: Nothing to worry Silas. Just the only incarnation that grew alongside you.
The Passenger signaled a cubicle by the window, with a spectacular view of the white forest they passed through.
SILAS ARTORIA: But--
PASSENGER: I'm not real Silas, nothing here is. You're simply in a deep sleep as you travel back home. The train isn't real, the forest isn't real, it's a figment of your dreams. Come! We have things to discuss.
The Passenger calmly crossed over the the cubicle and sat down, looking at Silas invitingly as the man himself nervously sat down opposite. He was unsure and hesitantly, but did eventually sit down.
SILAS ARTORIA: Not real.
PASSENGER: Not real. So tell me.
The incarnation of the Passenger leaned forward, examining the current visualization of Silas.
PASSENGER: You went on for an hour straight. Pretty impressive, but you walked away with nothing. No belt, no reward, but a 3-2 decision against you.
Silas scrunched his lips, almost as if he's unsure of the score.
SILAS ARTORIA: Both from disqualitifcation.
PASSENGER: But decisions nontheless.
Silas leans back and sighs.
PASSENGER: You object.
SILAS ARTORIA: I blew an early 2-0 lead, and the two decisions are starting to bother me a lot more than they reasonably should. One from Loki clubbing Flair, and the other from Shad--
He stops, and sits up tensely, with annoyance blatantly transparent.
SILAS ARTORIA: Why did he have to be at ringside, Shadow? Why did the poster child of the CWF Goth Chapter have to stroll in and make the match about him? He had no reason to be there! I called him boring, he called me dull and irritating, yet he hounds me constantly as if he cannot get enough of me! Ever since the scuffle with Tara he's been on my case incessantly. The Golden Intensions Rumble, the four way, most of the addresses he's done since. Almost as if I am the point of his existence.
PASSENGER: Don't suppose your attitude towards Miss Robinson has him on edge, you think?
SILAS ARTORIA: I'm trying to make up for it and I think I'm doing an alright job at it!
Pause. The Passenger looks at Silas with a sarcastic stare, not buying most of the words coming out of his mouth.
SILAS ARTORIA: OK! I might be going too over the board but I want to get the message across, and what does that have to do with Shadow anyway?
PASSENGER: Your addresses are gaining traction and screen time. There's only so many hours in a day and they are getting shorter. Maybe the initial victory over Flair might have him on edge. Either way, The Shadow is not someone to be ignored, unlike that pest you carried for most of the past year. He needs to be dealt with quickly.
SILAS ARTORIA: From my current position? I don't even know what my next match or scheduled date is! I got knocked out dizzy from the ironman match alone. I should probably thank Rolash for the drink that might've saved my life!
PASSENGER: You will eventually meet The Shadow in the ring at some point, and it won't be a tag match or a rumble or a battle royal. The question will be if it's for a title or not.
SILAS ARTORIA: I've been chasing titles for a while without results, since January I think. December if you consider that discontinued title.
PASSENGER: Your recent attitude change has been yielding some results. Could be a matter of time. You've been in the CWF for almost a year and you've finally found your footing. No avian creatures to babysit, no Australians to back stab you. You are your own man at last, Silas, and that has proven to be hugely beneficial. You going to go after the title again eventually.
SILAS ARTORIA: Modern Warfare.
PASSENGER: Certainly by then, and this time you won't have a cobbled together tire fire weighing you down. Stay optimistic.
He places his hand on top of Silas.
PASSENGER: I told you to rest. You're going to need it.
The surroundings began to fade into darkness.
Toronto Private Hospital - 4th October - Toronto, Canada
The sound of the television blares out at the obnoxious theme song of Evolution, as Silas sat in his bed, eating a steak while surrounded by flowers from several well wishers. It was a struggle, since the neck brace was still firmly about his neck, making it impossibly for him to bend or turn it. He takes another bite, but suddenly stops. Fingers in mouth, he pulled out a piece of chewed up fat surrounded by traces of meat. He seems insulted.
SILAS ARTORIA: How much am I paying this place?
PASSENGER: Too much if you’re that petty over a piece of cut meat.
SILAS ARTORIA: But I need my protein! I’ve had to sit on my backside most of the time for the past week. Can’t even get into the gym!
PASSENGER: What is physically stopping you from leaving?
SILAS ARTORIA: It would be rude to do so. Doctors have been taking care of me, plus I want to know my test results as soon as! Would love to know if you had some impact on my brain visually. Would be interesting to see!
PASSENGER: Then you might not return to the ring!
SILAS ARTORIA: Japan might want me back after the past few weeks.
PASSENGER: We have unfinished business with certain...characters! Remember our discussion in the frozen forest?
Turns out that his journey involved a major detour. Instead of being allowed home where he could indulge in the comfort of his own possessions, the CWF sent explicit instructions to make sure the injured athlete was confined to a hospital. It felt hopeless, trying to restrict him, but Silas didn't want to enrage management.
Silas threw the chewed up meat towards the nearest bin, and successfully hit the target with such force that the lid closes itself through the impact. Silas looked at the bin with surprise.
SILAS ARTORIA: Ok, didn’t know it would land perfectly. We’ll come to that crossroad with unfinished business when we get there. In the meantime, let’s enjoy the show!
The show started with faded cuts of several events that happened. Loki continuously attacking athletes, with a scepter shot to MJ Flair getting a particularly gruesome closeup. The smile of Silas withered a little, but the sight of The Foresaken struggling did give Silas an almost sick sense of glee. Replays of the ironman match dominated the latter section, with Silas taking a particular interest in himself.
SILAS ARTORIA: Did I always look that good?
PASSENGER: Vainness at its most transparent.
The last part of the flashbacks showed Flair and Loki face to face with at least one familiar face. Colton Mace, the man whom was pinned when The Lost Boys took the tag titles, and another man, possibly MJ’s manager or mentor. Hard to tell, need to talk to him to at least get a baseline. For the most part, Silas was satisfied that his fight had some form of acknowledgement. It even portrayed him as a force not to underestimate. That that was flattering to see.
MJ Flair entered the stage, and she started to talk. She talked about her scuffle with Loki, she talked about the stitches in the back of her head, and, rather surprisingly, she talked about Silas. Unflattering to begin with, but later gave him a rousing reception. The words of choice, ‘respect’ especially, perked Silas’ interest. She...respected him? After the hell he dragged her through?
He was finally gaining respect and not mere begrudging sportsmanship?
SILAS ARTORIA: Well, what do you know.
PASSENGER: Too bad you’re stuck here to truly bask in the moment.
Silas chuckled then took another mouthful. Pure meat, no fat. Just the way he likes it. He soon swallowed his food.
SILAS ARTORIA: We’ll be back, and we’ll harp on about it.
The show continued on with the usual glitz and glamour that normally occupied the airwaves of a go-home show, emphasizing how rivalries between two or more parties are to come to a head.
The one thing that did bother him was the address Autumn made to the crowd after her victory. She had a little bit of momentum going, he had to give her that considering he threw her by the wasteside while he rose to become one of the promotions biggest attractions, but her address to the crowd touches a few delicate strings within his head. The reaction of the crowd was what confused him, although it could be that the fans were following Flair’s words than actually investing in Silas himself.
AUTUMN RAVEN: He wanted to prove it to all of you out there that he could 'hang' with the champ one more time...for 60 minutes...just to prove that single point to himself. He did, I'll give him that, but even the simplest of creatures can break.
Silas stopped eating his food and looked at the screen; eyes looking into the captured projection of Autumn’s glee. The lack of risk of consequences not weighing on her shoulders gave her confidence, and she reveled with that limited time. Insulting Silas, calling him weak, she was fortunate that Silas was barred from the show by Dr Leggett, otherwise the walls would be painted in blood. She continued her diatribe delivery.
AUTUMN RAVEN: Break he did. He collapsed and was whisked away, far away from the halls of CWF. He was feeling the effects of that match far more than he let on.
He gently rests what remained on the plate onto the table, and gently pushed it aside to allow room for him to lean forward, hearing a light static in his ears as the woman he once called his partner continued on.
AUTUMN RAVEN: He didn't want to collapse in front of everyone, god no. Because that would make him less than a man than he already is.
His eyes narrowed. He gripped the sheets. The static-like sensation continued as he felt it calling out to him. ‘Act now’, it said. ‘Act before she casts you into the void.’
AUTUMN RAVEN: I guess the bastard bit off more than he can chew.
He threw the covers of him and leaped to his feet, marching towards the door as Autumn soaked in the response she received. His face full of furor as he grabbed the door handle to the corridors--
Silas froze, still eclipsed with fury. He gritted his teeth and resisted opening the door, though his emotions were urging him otherwise.
SILAS ARTORIA: What!?
PASSENGER: Are you seriously going to let her get into your head?
SILAS ARTORIA: Are you going to let her run her mouth with no consequence?
PASSENGER: She’s beneath you Silas. A mere blip on a radar. The direction we are on contrasts sharply to the point that she has been left to squander. The spotlight is on us, she is the chorus’ sole understudy. She is nothing!
Silas cooled, but his hand is still firmly on the door handle. There was a quandary brewing. Should he risk getting fired just to shut one mouth up, or should he allow it to happen?
PASSENGER: Her words will bite back eventually. We just need to buy time until so. We have more important matters to tend to.
Deep breath, he finally lets go and turns back towards his bed, ears firmly picking up the continuing sound of Evolution. He was at the edge of his bed, about to climb back in, when a familiar voice almost...called to him.
THE SHADOW: ...let's just say that Harvey and Jarvis won't be the only ones making sure that nobody will be able to disturb their little tete-a-tete..
Silas turned his head towards the television, and there he was. The Shadow, wasting as much screen time as possible while playing politics with his influential friend. Silas rolled his eyes a little, at least Jaiden Rishel has at least an inkling of sanity. The conversation between Shadow and Church droned on, yet he was strangely captivated by it.
BLAKE CHURCH: Ooh, that is some strong statements here tonight, any last words?
THE SHADOW: Yes, Silas…
Silas stepped closers to the television, almost as if he was right in front of the Shadow, completely entranced by an unknown prospect.
Then...a light insult made everything clear.
THE SHADOW: ...see you in hell.
PASSENGER: Hell in a Cell.
Silas’ mouth creaked upward, as if he was a child who just received a new toy.
SILAS ARTORIA: You are a dullard, Shadow, but you have my attention yet again.
PASSENGER: An opportunity to break someone in half.
SILAS ARTORIA: Am I correct in assuming that your objections for leaving have disappeared into the wind?
PASSENGER: By my guest.
Silas ran for the door without another word, this time opening the door with such enthusiasm that his posture caught the attention to almost everyone whom happened to be in the corridor. This strange man, proudly wearing a suit vest and smart trousers while sporting a neck brace, smiled and pranced towards the exit.
A man with a bunch of flowers stopped him. A nurse in scrubs gear, assigned to keep an eye on Silas and to report to the Dr Leggett.
NURSE: Ahh, Mr Artoria. Nice to see you are up and about. The federation will be delighted to hear that your joyful attitude hasn’t wavered.
Silas looks at the nurse in the eyes, sporting a sarcastic look.
SILAS ARTORIA: Really?
The nurse pauses.
NURSE: Well, you haven’t taken a sharp turn in your personality that would alarm us. Anyway, I have some more flowers for you, from someone calle--
SILAS ARTORIA: Yeah yeah. Anyway, I’m leaving!
The nurse looked shocked, quickly putting down the flowers.
NURSE: You mean...heading somewhere or discharging yourself?
SILAS ARTORIA: Discharging. I’m going home.
NURSE: But….you can’t. I can’t allow you to leave.
SILAS ARTORIA: Why not? You’ve taken good care of me, you don’t have anything to worry about. Your job will be in good standing. I’ll recommend you on……..what’s the medical equivalent to Yelp?
NURSE: I have orders not to let you leave!
SILAS ARTORIA: Odd name, bit too long.
Silas stopped talking. He looked at the nurse whom was giving out a concerned face, almost as if they were a guardian to certain doom.
NURSE: Dr Leggett is worried about you. He doesn’t want you back in the ring until you we have the full results to your CT scan. Your neck is still in bad shape, we can’t determine your rate of recovery, we don’t even know if there’s any lasting damage!
SILAS ARTORIA: Is he worried about me or about his job?
NURSE: You know my point Silas!
Silas delved into thought. They did have a point, and it would be wise not to do anything that would piss off the man who had final say over the card, but at the same time staying within the hospital, unable to even send a prerecorded message without looking like he’s severely injured, greatly irritated him. The ironman match completely messed him up, but he wasn’t going to miss another CWF event, especially if it’s a PPV.
SILAS ARTORIA: Tell you what.
He leans towards the nurse and innocently placed his hand on their shoulder, showing the innocent smile that had made many others feel unsafe.
SILAS ARTORIA: How about you tell Dr Leggett that I want to be at the Detroit event in person to address the audience, and I can get on my merry way. You tell him that I'm not going to fly to Kentucky, I'm leaving after I got my energy back. Send the good doctor and myself the results, and I can go home to my comfortable home with my special treat awaiting me, and get away from this white, lifeless prison. That good?
Silas pats his face before they could respond.
SILAS ARTORIA: Lovely! Glad to hear it!
He turns and heads towards the exit, pointing to the doorway to the outside while drawing attention to the neck brace, making no effort to adjust it.
SILAS ARTORIA: I’m going to the bar to see what follies the good people of Toronto are up to! And if you don’t mind, I’m going to keep this for now. Still a bit stiff, going to be really helpful.
He sped up his pace and barged through the double doors to the foyer; his footsteps and posture now taking on a carefree attitude as he started singing a song unfamiliar with the nurse.
SILAS ARTORIA: Writing in bogs and walking their dogs! HAPPY TO BE THEMSELVES! They are in a mess but couldn’t care less, HAPPY TO BE THEMSELVES! HOY!
The double doors closed behind him, and he vanished from the nurses’ sight. They stared at the inanimate object, then Silas' commands and senses got knocked back into him. Without another word, they ran towards the nearest office, calling out:
NURSE: Get Dr Leggett on the phone!
Room was pitch black, no notable features, no sound to fill the deafening atmosphere of pure nothingness. A bright rectangle emerges, and a familiar silhouette is contained within it. Silas Artoria is sporting a neck brace alongside his usual attire, and his attention was directed to an unfamiliar object in the now dimly lit room. He smiles in an instant with joy.
SILAS ARTORIA: Ahh, it came!
He jogs with valiance towards the shadowed box, flicking on a nearby light to reveal what he ordered. A jukebox!
SILAS ARTORIA: I ordered this just before I left. It was one of the reasons why I wanted to get out of the hospital as soon as possible.
He takes a look inside the clear glass, with three stacks of discs neatly lined on top of each other, creating a visually pleasing tone when the light reflected from each one.
SILAS ARTORIA: Excellent!
Silas rushes off frame briefly, with a loud, uncomfortable screech preceding his return. He pushes an armchair towards the right side of the frame, sitting down once in position. He gets comfortable, and clears his throat.
SILAS ARTORIA: So, a lot of you are probably asking questions regarding what happened at the ironman match and my hospitalization.
So, a one hour bout between Flair and myself for the CWF Championship lit the promotion on fire, and she comes out on top with a well executed pinfall. I failed to bring it to the draw after delivering my Fall of Man, and I start to walk away.
It was a blur, a flash, there was nothing in my sight or cone of hearing except the exit, because after one hour of unloading everything you have at your opponent, it messes with your senses. I had to rewatch the show just to recount what I did. That's how unfocused my head was.
I collapses, and from what the doctors told me I messed up my head and neck pretty bad, hence the obvious addition to my attire. At the time of this address, I don't know what Dr Leggett is planning to do with my status.
But let's add some more atmosphere in here before we continue, shall we?
He switches the jukebox on, pressing one of the many buttons on the machine, causing the spectacle of it switching machines to show itself to the camera. He chuckles.
SILAS ARTORIA: I really enjoyed watching the preparations. As a kid. Was fascinating back then.
The record starts to spin, and the music starts playing. Silas is relaxed, comfortable, happy.
SILAS ARTORIA: So, what is happening? I'm not to sure exactly, but I know the few bullet points from sheer clairvoyance. Dr Leggett isn't happy that I discharged myself, my neck is in dire conditions considering my need to wear this thing, and that, pending clearance, I am scheduled to take on The Shadow in a Hell in a Cell match in the semi-main event of Hellbound.
He grits his teeth, as a slight shooting pain clearly went through his spine.
SILAS ARTORIA: Not a desirable sensation in the slightest.
He looks back at the camera with a smile, trying to hide any semblance of weakness to mixed success. His look quickly becomes somber.
SILAS ARTORIA: My current predicament is not desirable in the slightest. It hurts, it's painful to experience, and it has put me on the bench. It's hard to be practically tied to a bed while the world continues on without you, and my absence has brought about some unpleasant characters. I'm still awaiting results of a CT scan, I don't know exactly what needs to be done to my neck before I can be cleared, and I don't know if I am going to be able to compete at Hellbound due to it.
He pauses, before a comforting smile escapes him.
SILAS ARTORIA: But I am proud of the situation that got me into this position. Me, MJ, one hour for the title, in the main event. Back and forth, fighting until our bodies began to break apart as we threw everything we had at each other. Gritted teeth, fighting force, you name it, we brought it into the ring and left behind a legacy that may never be topped. I solidified myself as a force to be reckoned with, and you, Flair, solidified yourself as a true champion, and I didn't miss your words from Evolution while I recovered. It was....welcoming as I was confined to a bed.
He stops, pausing for thought, and his eyes wonder away from the camera lens. His smile drops, and he lightly clutches the ends of his chair as an unpleasant realization crossed his mind.
SILAS ARTORIA: However, there is a certain point of contention that I am absolutely furious about, and that is the first few moments of that match. Not one, but two interruptions. Fortunately one is guaranteed to be rectified in the last moments of Hellbound, but I want to call some attention to this man.
He holds up an image of The Shadow, a photo taken with two druids in the background and on stage during a CWF show.
SILAS ARTORIA: They say first impressions count for a lot, and the opening moments nearly stained the match and Flair's current run with the title, because someone couldn't help but make it about them. Flair winning the title, he enters the picture, the main event being set in stone, he enters to ignite a fire between the two of us. The main event of Evolution, he enters to take a cheap shot at me just because I had the good sense to tell him to get out of the match.
It does take a special kind of selfishness to do their damnedest to make the show about them, to the point that he would leverage his influence with the commissioner. No, it wasn't enough to lose the contendership to someone who entered through the door one day, now he wants to drag me down to his level in a desperate attempt to save fact.
He quickly scrunches the image of his rival with a seething furor; his eyes gazing the camera and the tone of his voice gradually building to a crescendo.
SILAS ARTORIA: This man doesn't know the meaning of pain or sacrifice or empathy! This is an individual who just can't resist making the show about him and only him, damning all those whom have surpassed him! He plays politics with the commissioner, he enters blissful ignorance, and brushes aside his failures while not learning from them. Have you stopped and reflected on your failures, Shadow? Have you taken a look at the common element, you, and acted accordingly to elevate yourself without dragging down others!?
He leans back in his seat. Deep breath, calm down, don't put additional stress on yourself.
SILAS ARTORIA: Because I did, and now I am the king of the whole world.
The music on the jukebox stops, with Silas suddenly looking at the machine with pure disappointment.
SILAS ARTORIA: Oh, the track is shorter then I remember, or is it that time is flying by?
A smile escapes him, and he turns back to the camera.
SILAS ARTORIA: Probably for the best, don't want to address you all for too long. But there is one more thing I would like to say to Shadow.
If our match at Hell in a Cell goes ahead, I will be more than happy to drag you to the 7th circle of hell if it means making realize your lack your humility. You'll be playing with fire trying to keep me down, but you're only going to endanger yourself and will end up in the same position I am in, only you won't return with the same lackadaisical attitude you always return with.
I will personally drag you up to the top of the cell myself, and watch you fall if it means finally making you humble.
In your dreams, you are a king, with knights of the realm behind following your every command with little consequence to yourself.
Wake up, Shadow, wake up and learn for once.
He coughs suddenly, interrupting his address. He looks at his hand, before returning his attention to the camera, smile deployed.
SILAS ARTORIA: There's....more things I would like to say...
He looks at the lens, his face shaped like an innocent man with a ulterior motive.
SILAS ARTORIA: ...but I'll save that for Hellbound.
He grabs the black rose from his coat, closes his eyes, and takes a prolonged snuff at the delicate creation. He gently opens his eyes and returns his attention to the camera.
SILAS ARTORIA: In the meantime, have a good night, and I look forward to addressing you all.
He throws the rose in the air, and the camera focuses on the plant as it gently lowers to the ground, with only a glimmer of light showcasing its feature, and the man who possessed it walked away from the frame, his footsteps echoing a prophecy no one can hear.
He closes the door behind him, and the remaining light on the rose goes dark.
Thousands of Miles Away...
Television was on. It was early morning and the sun had not risen yet, yet life in the city never stopped moving. He loves that, about the city. Even though it's sometimes unimaginably busy, it was always clean, quiet, and orderly.
They were sat down in front of the television while on the telephone, starring at a still image on a screen.
TELEPHONE: [[Thank you for ordering Championship Wrestling Federation Presents Hellbound Pay-Per-View, we hope you enjoy your order.]]
The man in his pajamas smiled, and he hung up the phone.
The static image was gone.
Hellbound was inbound.