All I can see is darkness, nothingness, the void as it were. I’m not entirely certain how I got here only that I find myself somewhere. What was the last thing I remember? I was at the poker game, I was winning per usual, Vladimir wasn’t too happy about that. That’s right, it’s coming back to me now. Sore losing Russian accused me of cheating him, not my fault somehow that ace found me again. Wasn’t like I won four or five hands in a row or anything. Oh god my head, it feels like I’ve been hit by a mack truck.
I try to reach up to touch the back of my head to assess the searing pain that throbs back there. However as my arm lifts it’s quickly struck by something rather solid. What’s this, it feels almost like….wood? I run my hand across the material; it’s smooth, yet has a few jagged pieces here and there like unsanded wooden planks. I fumble in my pocket for a moment trying to find my zippo, damn it, so cramped! I finally manage to get my zippo between my fingers and slip the lighter out of my pocket. Flicking it to life I can feel the heat against my hip and fingers as a quite disturbing sight comes into vision thanks to the small light source. It is indeed wood, wood encasing all around me. What the hell is this?!?!
I can hear something, sounds almost like voices. I strain my ears as hard as I can to hear them. It is indeed voices, speaking what sounds to me like Russian. It must be Vlad or some of his boys. The next sound is a thud right by my face on the other side of the wooden plank. The suddenness of it causes me to damn near drop the lighter. Then another thud, and a third. Each one sounding softer than the one before it. Suddenly my blood runs as cold as it ever had, the horrid realization of my situation has finally sank in.
I’m being buried alive, these god damn cooyons think I swindled them, hit me in the back of the head with something and have dragged me out to god knows where and are burying me alive. Over a fucking poker game! No, this can’t be how it ends, this is not how Tobias Devereaux was meant to meet his maker. This can’t be right. Help! Help! Someone!? Anyone! Oh please God, Allah, Buddha, Vishnu, ANYONE!
The sounds of my screams I know are not going to reach anyone but still I try, I scream no discernable word, just a noise, a plea for salvation. The scream echoing in my own ears like a bad reverb until I awake shooting up in my bed still screaming. I scan my surroundings quickly, sweat dripping down my forehead as I contain myself. It’s just my hotel room, it’s okay, I sling my legs over the side of the bed and place my head in my hands as I slump over. I can feel my breath still raggedly trying to catch up.
I take a few moments before standing up and making my way across the room. The darkness of which is barely illuminated from the city lights outside my window. The curtain over which seems to be doing just the bare minimum of it’s job. I reach the dresser where I had placed my valuables and grab my pack of cigarettes. I slip one from it’s package and go to grab my lighter but my hand stops just above it. My brain wanders back to the scene moments ago, albeit it years in the past, it feels so recent. It unfortunately will always feel so recent, no matter how I may try to run from it. My fingertips absentmindedly tracing over the small fleur de lis image engraved on it’s side. I finally lift the lighter up and light my cigarette, taking a slow deep drag as I try to calm myself. I wander over to the corner chair and have a seat just blankly staring at the window. Looking at the obscured lights and nothing all at the same time.
The past few weeks have been good to me, I’ve made a decent amount of coin thanks to the funding of one James Milenko. Hired to be the back up plan basically should the Jester fail or become unruly. However it would appear most people from the rumblings view me as just a secondary fiddle. That view has always amused me but it’s nothing new. They thought the same thing when I was teaming with Christopher St. James. Everyone always tries to place someone as the “leader” when it comes to teams or groups. No one can seem to comprehend the idea of two or more entities existing together on a level standing. No matter, not as though I’ve ever lost sleep due to what people thought of me anyway. Would of been a piss poor con man if something like that bothered me. However in my growing age I must becoming slightly more sensitive as this particular time it is getting to me at least slightly. Not in a jealous sort of way, just a slow burning anger in the base of my skull.
Can’t say the anger hasn’t been a good thing as I’ve been on a bit of a tear sense arriving at the Championship Wrestling Federation. Thrown into a tag team match practically last second, a proving match against an up and comer, a match with my stablemates against the largest threat in the Forsaken and then a tag match against the champions of the federation. Not a bad string of matches to participate in let alone come out on top in each. Although now would not be a time to grow to overconfident as the greatest challenge still awaits me I’m sure. The Jester has been playing nice for now, even worked well with me last week. However it’s not built to last, nothing with The Jester ever is. When that shoe falls, that’s when the hardest test of my abilities will come into play. Lord I hope it’s no time soon though.
I see a small light illuminate from the dresser as it vibrates causing a buzzing like noise against the wood, I honestly don’t feel like getting up and going to see what it is. Whoever is texting or calling me at this time of night should know better anyway. I take another drag off my cigarette and lean my head back running my fingers through the corner of my eyes. I can hear the buzzing finally stop and sigh to myself slightly. The buzzing immediately starts back up and I groan slowly as I stand back up and make my way over. Cursing under my breath the entire time. I reach the phone and without looking at the caller i.d. answer it.
“Dis betta be good”
“Good evening Tobias, how are you?”
“I was good until now Milenko, what do yew want?”
“Don’t be like that friend. I just want to meet up with you, we have much to discuss.”
“Why can’t we discuss it on de phone or betta yet via text so dat I can ignore it til later?”
“Well you just answered the very reason we can’t do either of those. Now will you please meet with me so we can discuss a few things?”
I sigh resigning myself to my fate.
“Okay, where do I need to go?”
“Don’t worry about that, I’ve already sent a driver to come pick you up. It’s one of the benefits of being in charge now.”
I don’t bother with any pleasantries and just hang up the phone. I’m pretty sure that’ll get a reaction from him later, but I don’t rightly care at the moment. I open up the dressers top drawer and grab a pair of my black slacks. I slip them on and while doing up the button and fly realize that my cigarette has burned way too low and is slightly starting to burn my lips. Not sure why that took me so long to realize, what a waste of a cigarette. I put it out in the nearby ashtray and wander over to the closet. I run a hand through the different silken shirts that are hanging up and land upon the crimson one. I go to pull it off the hanger when in the back of my head a flashing image returns. Myself trapped in that wooden coffin screaming for help, wearing this very shirt. The image causes me pause as I slowly shake my head and run my hand to the next one a sky blue colored one. I slip it off the coat hanger and put it on.
I spend the next several minutes finishing getting ready; putting on my socks, boots, belt, coat, the usuals. I make my way downstairs and give the night desk worker a slight nod as I step outside. Damn it’s cold up here in Canada, makes me miss the days spent out looking across the gulf. I pull my coat tighter against my body trying to keep the wind at bay. I look across the parking lot only to see a black town car pulling up slowly. I don’t wait for any sort of sign and just open the back passenger door and get in closing it behind myself. I settle in as I look up and meet eyes with the driver through the rearview mirror. I give him the slightest of polite nods as he pulls away from the hotel. I stare out the window watches the lights pass by. Sometimes the light getting so bright between different vehicles and the street lights that I have to squint.
As my face is entirely illuminated I find myself back in my hellish memory. Standing in that crimson shirt before a giant light. The type of light that washes over you, engulfs you, swallows you whole making you feel as insignificant as a miniscule ant in the middle of a barren wasteland. This was it, this was the moment that I had realized my time on this earth was done. My innate ability to always come out on top had finally ran out. However the light suddenly just went dark. I was no longer trapped in my bright prison but rather just an empty room. Not really dark, but dimly lit. I felt cold, not like oh it’s winter time, but as in you could feel something crawling up the back of your neck while watching a horror movie sort of cold. I look around for what was causing the sensation but could find nothing. It was as if my very shadow caused the sensation for everytime I turned it would turn along with me. Hiding from my vision just over my shoulder.
“Tobias Aluin Devereaux, your time has come!”
The voice is deep and gravely, the words spoken slowly and with purpose. Each syllable dripping with malice. I look around frantically still unable to see anything yet feeling it all around.
“Eh? Yew tink yew can just take ole Tobias dat easy? Yew tink I’ll just lay down and take dis? I don’t tink so mon amie! Yew want ole Tobias, den you step out where he can see yew and we’ll see if’n yew man enough to do so!”
That would work right? Bravado in the face of danger, well I’m taking a whole new spin on that whole fake it until you make it. However what formed in front of me quickly made me wish that maybe I hadn’t of spoken so harshly. It was as if it flowed up from the very ground beneath me. Materializing merely inches from my face. A pale visage of a man, hair stringy and unkempt, hanging down in front of his face hiding most of his face. Dressed in a suit as dark of a black that I could ever recall seeing. The being leaned his head back causing the hair to fall from his face off to the side revealing a half decayed skeletal face that caused ever bit of my courage to crawl into my throat and nearly escape as a pitiful yelp.
“I may not be man enough to take you by force Tobias, but that would simply be because I am not man at all. Tremble and kneel before me in your rightful fear. Gaze upon this diluted vision of my true self and know that if I so chose to reveal myself that the sight would cause you to lose every resemblance of sanity for all eternity. Plead for my mercy and consider yourself blessed to receive even this momentary pause, for I am death and I have come to claim you this day.”
Well what exactly does one say to that? I wish I could say that I felt like he was full of shit, but considering I was just buried alive, then a bright light, yup this seems fairly in line with what I would imagine to come next. Well shit, um, oh!
“Wait, don’t I gets a chance to earn my life? Like most of de time I see on de movies dey play a game and if dey beat yews they get to live. Or dey do a favor or something and you give them a reprieve as it were.”
“What about seeing something in a movie makes you believe it to be true when it comes to dealing with death? Do you think the person who wrote it was dead and beat death, just to write the script? Because that was the one last thing they wanted to do before they went to the beyond.”
Well shit, scary and sarcastic as shit. Yup definitely what I’d imagine the representation of death to be.
“Dat won’t a no?”
Statement and question at the same time with Ron Burgundy inflection to drive home puzzlement….check. I swear to whatever entity I’m about to find to be real death just smirked. I have no idea if that is a good or bad thing.
“You have found me in a charitable mood Tobias Devereaux, so I will give you one opportunity to prove your worth to me. Prove worthy and perhaps I will allow you to remain upon the earth for some time.”
“No problem Mista Death, what it yew needs ole Tobias to do?”
“I wish for you to kill someone.”
Yup...Death is definitely smirking at me, no doubt about it. That’s awesome and completely and utterly terrifying in every sense of the word.
The sound of a horn honking jolts me back to the present reality. The driver is muttering to himself about the car in front of us, who seems to not be in as much of a hurry to leave the freshly turned stop light. I sigh slightly to myself and once again rub the corner of my eyes, closing them trying to tune out the world as we finish the ride to wherever James wanted to meet.
It takes maybe another ten minutes before we arrive at some restaurant. I would anticipated most everything in this town to be closed by this time of the night, but knowing James he just slipped them a few bucks to stay open. Makes him feel important I suppose to have a building all to himself. As the vehicle comes to a stop I let myself out and head into the facility. There doesn’t seem to be much staff inside the restaurant, only furthering my belief on why it’s still open. I see Milenko sitting in the far corner booth and make my way over giving a polite nod to the couple people waiting on him to finish so they can go home. As I arrive I see a few plates sitting in front of him. One with a few little crumbs of some sort of appetizer long gone, another filled with pasta, and a third that holds a few pieces of bread. He gives me a slight smirk when I approach and motions towards the bench across from himself.
Because where else was I going to sit ya cooyon.
I slide into the bench across from him as one of the waitresses approaches.
“Can I get anything for you sir?”
“Just a cup of coffee be fine chere”
Don’t really want to make the poor lady have to work more than already are. Probably was suppose to be home taking care of her kid hour or so ago knowing Milenko. She smiles softly at me as she goes off to grab my drink. Meanwhile James is slurping away at his pasta between gulps from a glass of wine. It’s like a child pretending to be fancy and civilized. Like most people the longer I spent with James Milenko the less I liked him. However his checks have never bounced so for now he serves his purpose.
“So yew wanted to chat mon amie?”
He greedily swallows his latest mouth full of pasta before washing it down with another gulp of wine. He gives me a large smile, which I can’t help but find unsettling when he does.
“Indeed Tobias, I have good news, for both of us. It appears as though you’ve been impressive enough that with a little bit of convincing I was able to line you up for a very special match.”
An eyebrow cocks up on my face as his definition of special and my definition has rarely ever been the same.
“Yes, so the take over has been going rather well, no small part thanks to adding yourself and Jimmy Allen into the plans. In the last few weeks we’ve been able to strike a real blow to The Glass Ceiling and The Forsaken. Jimmy has Dorian so confused and messed up in his head that he’s fallen off the wagon again. His own daughter being used in the mind games. Meanwhile Loki has caused MJ to slightly taint herself by having to use a weapon to survive. That's not even counting the damage Loki and yourself did against the Smoking Aces, the tag team champions! We even managed to get rid of Ataxia without having to do anything at all, leaving this power vacuum which we both know I’m going to take full advantage of.”
My god he loves to hear himself talk. I wish he’d just get to the damn point.
“Yea, Milenko, it’s been a good run as dey say. However, I’s been here for all dis, so de point?”
“I’m getting there my Cajun friend, can’t a man enjoy building up to the reveal? Don’t spoil the moment!”
The waitress finally returns with my coffee, she sits it down in front of me as I give her a polite nod. I wrap my hands around the cup warming them with the heat of the liquid. I lift the cup up to my lips.
“I do apologize mon amie, do continue.”
“So as I was saying, sense it’s gone so well and I’ve managed to place myself into a position of power. I was able to convince the members of the board that due to your showing the last few weeks that you deserve a shot at a title!”
I damn near spit out my coffee as he says the last bit. I sit the cup back down as he has to stifle a chuckle at the look on my face.
“I’s only been here what a month? I mean it makes sense me and de Jester just beat dem, but to turn around and make de match.”
James lifts his hands up and shakes his head.
“No no no, not the tag titles, I got you a different title shot.”
“One Mariella Jade Flair”
James Milenko gives me a smirk that reminds me of a cat who just caught the canary so to speak. I can feel a knot appear in my throat at the words sink in. He didn’t get me a title shot, he got me the title shot, as in the championship above all championships. I mean I knew Jimmy got a shot last week and it makes some sense to run the gauntlet of Hostility members, but it still hits me like a ton of bricks. It’s been quite some time sense someone put me in a match of that magnitude. Not sense the days of the sVo trying to take down the likes Christopher Bond and Talon. Lord knows when the next time this opportunity would rear its head. Guess that leaves only one option.
“Well den, I guess I betta win.”
“That would be nice Tobias”
He stifles a slight chuckle, before clearing his throat.
However the main thing is to soften her up a good bit for Loki. Everyone knows that Loki will get another shot soon and MJ barely survived last time, so if you can at least wear her down then Loki should have this one in the bag.”
Fuck the Jester, this is my opportunity, I’m not her damn lackey to soften up her opponents. I’m my own fucking person.
“Yea, don’t yew worry none Milenko, ole Tobias got dis.”
I take another drink from my coffee before getting up from the table. I give him a little nod and resist the urge to toss the rest of my coffee on him and tell him what he can do with his Hostility Stable. I make my way to the exit and brace myself for the cold of the outside. It doesn’t help much as I have to hold in a loud curse just from hitting the wind itself.
Who seriously decides to tour canada at the start of fall?
I scan my surroundings for a moment trying to decide my next move. Given the news I certainly don’t feel like returning to my room. Not to mention the idea of trying to go back to sleep at the moment is about as promising as sticking my hand in a wood chipper. Off about maybe half a block I can see the faint glow of neon. Ah my favorite color, for where there is neon there is generally booze. I blow some hot hair in between my hands and start my way towards the glow. Taking out a cigarette after a few steps I light it up, the smoke filtering up above. It’s almost more out of habit now than really a need for nicotine, just stuck outside in the cold, walking, seems like a good time to smoke.
Sure enough as I reach the glow of neon it is indeed a bar. A bit more well put together than most of my normal dive establishments but hey that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Shit, they even have a door man on the outside? Fancy up here in the great cold north. I step up to the gentleman and give him a nod.
“Five bucks friend.”
Really, it’s like after midnight and you’re still charging covers. It’s a fucking weekday...how much money are you really making when you’re charging covers on...ya know what I don’t care I just want a bourbon. I take out my wallet and flip through some bills. Of course I forgot to change over some more of my cash into canadian money. Because that’s the type of forward thinking cooyon I am.
“My apologies mon amie, yews take american cash?”
“Not normally, no.”
The smirk on his face tells me this isn’t the first time some poor schmuck has done this. It also tells me that if I want to pay American I’m gonna have to overpay for the quote unquote inconvenience. I pull out a twenty and hand it to the doorman. He nods politely and motions for me to enter. Damn drink better be the best damn bourbon I’ve had in weeks. I head inside, the thumping of bass hits me as soon as I step in. I look around for a moment and sure enough there’s not many people inside. The few that are seem to be having a good time over on the dance floor. Definitely not my normal style of bar, but beggars can't be choosers as they say. I head up to the bar and motion to the barkeep. I slide him my credit card to start up a tab.
He just nods and goes off to pour me a drink. I look out on the dance floor and smirk at the people having a good time. Most of them seem to be in their early twenties and familiar with one another. Most likely friends who work in the service industry and therefore never have weekends off, so although it’s middle of the week they party like it’s friday night. The thought slips into my mind what it’d of been like to have friends like that. People who would actually want to get together and have a fun time for just the sake of enjoying my company. Not because they were paying me to do a job or because I served some purpose in their plans. It was hard to remember if I’d even ever had friends. Well that’s depressing, oh look, my bourbon!
I turn back around in my seat and grab the glass giving the bartender a nod of thanks. I take a small sip of the dark liquid, grimacing slightly as it burns it’s way down my throat and rests in my chest. Ah the warming sensation of killing my body slowly, my personal favorite. I stare down at my drink as the thumping bass causes the liquid to vibrate like the water in jurassic park. I watch the ripples and shake my head.
Almost like an echo from the past I’m sitting on a bar stool staring down at my drink. The music fades away as I sit there in deep thought. My crimson shirt wet slightly from the constant sweat I’ve had going for the last two hours since I left “Death”. My mission, to terminate some poor soul. It didn’t make sense, why would Death of all entities want me some nobody in the grand scheme of things to kill some other nobody in the grand scheme of things. I’m many of things, a liar, a cheat, a scoundrel, but murder…..cold blooded murder of someone. That’s a line that even I wouldn’t cross. I’m a gentleman rouge at best, con man at worst, deviant par the course. This, this was just evil, however what sort of choice do I have? I can either kill this person as requested, or I can die myself.
I sigh heavily before just downing my drink. I look down at my watch to see it read just before two in the morning. I’ve been here for about as long as I can be. Death didn’t feel like giving a rather large window to do the job. Simply five hours, not a minute more he said. I guess we do what we must, but must I? Who am I to decide my life is inherently of greater importance than someone else's. Who am I to destroy someone else's existence to spare my own. What sort of selfish, self righteous, piece of shit does that make me to do this?
I groan to myself….the type who does whatever it takes to survive. The type I’ve always been, just never wanted to acknowledge it. With that I stand up from my dive bar, toss a ten down onto the bar and head outside. As I step outside the warm summer winds blow through my hair. I take a moment to appreciate it, far more than I probably ever have before. I make my way down the sidewalk to a car sitting outside. Getting into the vehicle I run my hands slowly over the steering wheel debating on just driving as fast and far as I can. Not that I’m entirely sure how one would outrun death, but it’d be better than doing this...right?
I start up the car and pull away from the downtown city streets. It’s not a long drive, maybe five minutes at most. Yet it feels like an eternity, ever second painstakingly long, I swear I can hear the literal ticks of the second hand on my watch click……..click……..click. Until finally I pull up outside a white house in the middle of the suburbs. It looks straight out of a lifetime movie. White house, picket fence, well cared for lawn. I see no lights on in the house which is a good sign. I stare at the building for a moment, I’m not really going to do this right? Fuck!
I get out of the car and start walking up to the house, I pull some gloves out of my back pocket and slip them onto my hands. Putting my right hand on the fence I hop it rather easily. Going up the side the house I keep an eye for any lights or movements. Everything seems quiet as I make my way up to the back door. From my breast pocket I pull a lock pick and kneel down by the door handle. This is not happening, we’re not this stupid and desperate! Why did we play poker with some damn Russians who don’t know how to lose with dignity? The lock clicks and the door slowly swings open. I put away the pick and step inside closing the door softly behind me. I reach into the back of my pants and pull out a chrome forty five caliber handgun. This is certainly not my style, lacks grace or finesse, however Death was very specific on me using this particular weapon to prove myself as it put it.
I look around and notice that I’m in what appears to be the kitchen. I slowly creep my way through the nearest frame leading to the dining area. It’s a pretty nice house to be honest, well kept, a lot larger than it looks on the outside. I wonder if they got a good price on it. This neighborhood can be rather expensive being so close to downtown. These thoughts help, at least for the moment, best not to focus on what I’m doing, just do it. It’ll be over soon, not too much further to go. I make my way through the house until I almost reach the front door, there’s a staircase to the right. Most likely the bedrooms are up there, I start to make my way up the steps when I hear something from the room near by. I turn quickly just to see a man who appears to be in his thirties, he’s got dark black hair that’s professional cut in a neat business style. Dressed in just a pair of shorts, must of been lounging in the living room or den watching tv until he heard me. I point the gun at him and steady my nerves.
“I’m sorry mon amie, truly I am”
“Please mister, don’t shoot, whatever you want take it. Just don’t hurt me or my family.”
The word family sends a knife into my heart, searing pain fills my body as the guilt already builds. The man has his hands up to me, his face full of fear, eyes tearing up as he looks around in a panic. I can see the thoughts from his mind about if he can get to me in time, what would he need to do to stop me. As far as he knows I’m just a burglar and this has gone south so everyone has to die. I can’t fault him for such an assumption. It doesn’t make this any easier though. I don’t know what I had hoped, to just quietly sneak in, do the job while the target was asleep and sneak back out. Maybe then not have to face directly the consequences of my actions. Well that certainly sounds like me.
I hear a small pitter patter coming from the room behind him. Into my line of sight steps a small boy, no more than three or four years old. Dressed in a little pair of blue footie pajamas designed to look like cookie monster if you put on the hood. Please just turn around and go lay back down on the couch. Please don’t come in here. I can feel the water welling up into my eyes. The boy steps up beside his father and takes a hold of his shorts at the hip, giving them a slight tug. The father just gives me a look. We stare into each other's eyes for a moment, letting the gravitas of the situation sink in. I give out a long sigh
It’s all I can say as almost as if watching it myself my hand drops down slightly and to the right. The horror on the father's face as he realizes where the gun now points. I can feel more tension on the trigger than I can ever recall as through my ears I hear the sound as loud as thunder deafening, numbing me to everything. The world stops moving around me as far as I’m concerned, then the next thing I know I’m in the dark room once again. Standing before me is the entity that identifies itself as Death. As soon as I see him I can’t help it, the gun falls to the ground as I crumble to my knees tears flowing down my face.
“You’ve done well Tobias Devereaux”
The voice that once filled me with dread and terror now only enrages me as I leap to my feet and charge to the figure. However as soon as I reach out to grasp him he is simply gone. I turn around scanning the room for him only to see him standing where I was knelt moments ago.
“Ya damn fool, what have yews made me into?”
“I’ve not made you into anything. You are the same Tobias Aluin Devereaux as you were hours ago. I’ve only opened your mind to the person you truly are. Now you are ready for the next step.”
“Dere is no next step, I did as yew asked, now send me home!”
“I will decide when you leave this place Tobias Devereaux, not the likes of you! Now shut up and listen to what I have to tell you. It may ease your mind.”
I go to speak but the capability escapes me at the moment. I simply fall back to my knees in defeat. How could I fall so low, how could I allow my fear to drive me so.
“Hush your mind Tobias Devereaux, you have done a good thing this day. I am a being of immense power, but like all powers in this world, it has its limits. For one, my power is reserved for the land of the dead and dying. I can not directly influence someone who has never passed to the other side. No matter how I may so wish to do so.”
I stare at the being before me. I hear his words but honestly they’re not getting through, it’s just a buzzing sound for the most part. I’m not sure if it’s the sound from the blast or the seething self loathing that’s eating my soul.
“This world is filled with truly dark and evil things. The likes you could never even have begun to understand before this moment. However you have proven worthy of learning the truths of the world in which you live.”
“How, by killing...killing...a….a….”
“A Djinn, that’s what you’ve killed this night. A Djinn who has enslaved family after family feeding on them slowly over years until they are dried up husks. A Djinn who has sent me being after being for at least a century. A Djinn who I could not stop despite how much I willed to do so. However you, you Tobias Devereaux did just that.”
“What the fuck yew talking about?”
My eyes narrow as I look upon this being with genuine confusion. A Djinn, what sort of made up word is that? Feeding on people, like a cannibal? I…
I know I heard the voice of the entity but then there was just darkness for a moment like an extended blink. As my eyes opened again I could see a blinding light. I sit up quickly and look around only to notice dirt all around me. I look down to see I’m sitting up in the makeshift wooden coffin. Leaping to my feet I look around and see nothing, how did I get free? Who dug me up? Was it real? I’m jarred back to current reality as the sound of the doorman coughing over my shoulder rings in my ear. I look up from my bourbon and smile.
“Sorry Mon amie, was just tinking. What can ole Tobias do for yews.”
He motions to my credit card and tab on the bar in front of me and then the clock on the wall. It reads quarter after two. I must of spaced out for some time and now the place is closing up. I give him a quick nod before signing my receipt and downing the rest of my drink.
“Yew fellas have a good night eh?”
I make my way slowly on across the bar to the exit to step back out into the cold. I shudder a bit as that first bit of wind hits me. So much for focusing on my match. I chuckle to myself slightly as I pull out my phone and start ordering a ride back to the hotel. It’s been a long night and despite my wishes, my eyes are getting heavy.
The world champion, the shining star of the CWF, the hero as it were. Standing so high above the rest of us on her moral code and honor of battle sort of mentality. It would be admirable if not for it being so unreasonable. No one can live up to that level of perfection for too long, at least not without cracking. That’s what Hellbound was for you MJ, it was the first crack, the first little glimpse of what you hide from the rest of us. What is it you’re hiding? Well the fact you’re human just like the rest of us, which makes you just as inherently evil and flawed. It’s just an unfortunate fact of existence. We can fight against it sure, we can do nice things like give to charity or volunteer at shelters. We could even go to whatever house of worship you so desire on a weekly or even daily basis. However at the end of the day when our head hits that pillow we are still just as flawed as when it left that morning.
That’s not really a fact to shy away from either, I mean it’s just our nature. We are built with a survival instinct just like any other animal. We either fight or we flee when placed in a dangerous situation. To be fair, I can’t think of many more dangerous situations than to be stuck in a barbwire ring with the Jester. At the moment you could fight or you could flee and you chose to fight. Now this was not a fight for honor or your title or even recognition. It was a fight for survival because at the end of the day the Jester is about destruction above all else. So you fought to survive and if that meant your precious moral code and honor bound style had to be tweaked then so be it.
I’m not one to judge you for that, if anything I commend you for it. However accepting that about yourself is the first step to raising yourself to an even higher ability. That acceptance, I’m not sure if you can do yet. I see you come out to the ring and talk your big game about how you’re still standing tall as the champion. How you still represent the federation and such. Do you? Do you really represent this place that is crumbling down around you with the vicious and consistent assault brought upon it by James Milenko? Or are you just the last vestige of a falling hierarchy that doesn't know when the time to fight has changed to the time to flee? I suppose only time can tell.
I’m not one for doing extensive background checks on people in companies with me. I just honestly don’t care that much about other people to do so. However I do know a little about you, it’s hard not to, given the popularity of your parents. I do wonder though if dear ole dad trained you or did he try to keep you from following in his footsteps. I do hope it was the first as the image of a mini MJ in a back yard ring tumbling around with dear ole dad warms the cold black parts of my heart. However if it is the later, don’t feel too bad deary, that’s just the breaks sometimes.
I mean could always be worse, your mom could be some drugged up whore who left when you were only a few years old because she couldn’t take the beatings from a drunk old washed up gambler anymore. Not that she should of had to mind you, but could of at least taken the child with her,ya know? I guess that would of interrupted her party lifestyle more than she was willing to allow. Alas though, it's just how life works out for some of us. Some spend our youth grooming and preparing for all the accolades and praises of fans all around the world. Others spend it making whatever bit of money they can, however they can, to survive. Just the different side of the coin as it were I suppose.
However because of this upbringing one of us has been made much more use to having to fight to survive, not just because we’re trapped in a ring with Loki Synn, but because the day started and that’s all you know how to do. One of us is willing to bend any semblance of morality and honor to come out on top. One of us is willing to admit that they are at the end of the day a flawed human being that simply couldn’t live up to the standards of the so called fans even if they wanted to so why even bother. So one of us, is not tied down in anyway, nor do they have anything to lose and everything to gain. That doesn’t sound too good for one of us.
Now don’t get me wrong MJ, you’re a hell of a wrestler, a hell of a fighter, a hell of a survivor. It will be a test, that I’m more than certain. However I wonder exactly how many holds it’ll take. How many muscles and tendons will need to rip and tear. How many bones will have to break, before you go into that true survivor mode. Will you allow yourself to go there again? By the time you are willing to, because believe me I will get you to that point one way or the other, will it be too late? Oh chere, I do look forward to finding out.
The sound of a car horn jolts me back as my ride is waiting for me. I give a quick nod and hold my hand up in a little wave. I get into the back passenger seat as the vehicle pulls off. I stare out the window again still considering my match this week. It’ll be a chance to show everyone that this isn’t just Loki Synns carnival so to speak. I’ve been too easy on them I suppose, just showing up, doing the job and going home. Despite what I do in my free time being righteously motivated, it damn sure doesn’t pay worth shit. However, Milenko does, he pays quite well, so here I am. Not ideal, not moral, not honorable, but necessary like most things in life.
The car ride seems much faster this time around as before I know it we’re pulling up at the hotel. I hand the driver a few bucks from my wallet as a tip and head on inside. The same night clerk greets me as I step back inside, I give him a slight nod as I head back up to my room. I groan as I finally step back into the room. Stretching as I do the security latch and privacy lock. I slowly start undoing the button on my shirt as I walk over to the closet. Suddenly I hear something from the chair in the corner of the room. A voice deep and gravely.
“Tobias Aluin Devereaux, we need to speak”