"It's a real shame, Pastor. Jace was many things, both good and bad...but he was always happy. He was always alive." The normally smooth and sweet voice of Tabby Ubetcha is raspy and hoarse.
Tabby stands next to a tall man with peppered grey hair and a black suit. He takes her hand, gently trying to console her as the two of them stand in the middle of what is otherwise a completely empty funeral parlor.
"Well, it is almost time, Tab. You are the only one here? Are you sure the media got the date and time right for his service?" The pastor asks, a calming demeanor to his tone.
"It is entirely possible they got it wrong...but I don't expect that to be the case here unfortunately. Jace didn't have many friends, if any. He wasn't close to the remaining members of his family. He was rather closed off. He spent his last active days closing off all contacts and burning all bridges."
"Do you think there's a reason to that?"
"I'm thinking a lot of things right now, sir, it is just a matter of distinguishing between fantasy and reality at this point."
"It is a real shame indeed, then, Tab. Perhaps Jace was dealing with some things that he didn't make others aware of. It really is an unexplainable and untimely tragedy."
"Perhaps he wasn't even close to me. I thought we were close, I thought he had opened up to me. Jace was a very mysterious personality. I suspect that may be why I was drawn to him. Now, I have no idea what I really meant to him."
"You are here, Tabby. You were there for him, in life and now in death. That is all you are capable of. He is looking down on you from heaven...you mean EVERYTHING to him now."
Tabby weeps, desperately trying to hold herself together.
"I try...I try my best."
The pastor clears his throat as he runs his hand gently across Ubetcha's back, doing what he can to comfort her.
"Now is the moment, Tab. Give Jace your final word. Give him your final goodbye. He is with his Savior now. He is happy now, I promise you that."
A single tear runs down the face of Tabby Ubetcha as she steps towards Jace's casket.
This is goodbye. This is the end. Who would have thought it would have ended like this.
Why, Jace, Why?
What did I do to deserve this tragedy?
What happens next?
Is there any way in the world that this could be explained?
What did I do to cause this?
Is this my fault? This is my fault.
The thoughts fly through the mind of Tabby Ubetcha like soaring eagles, like searing flames, as drip after drip her tears hit the carpet below.
Tabby says her final words to Jace and immediately makes her way towards the door of the funeral parlor.
"Leaving already? What about all your guests?" The pastor jokes with a weak laugh.
"Now is not the time for sarcasm, pastor."
"I agree. It was in poor taste. I was just trying to lighten your mood."
"I appreciate that. I am Miss Bright Side after all...at least that is what Jace used to call me. I just can't handle the thought of this loss...this sadness...I can't be here. I need to move towards the next chapter of my life, whether it is what I want or not."
"I can understand that, Tab. Death and loss is a tough thing for everyone to deal with, especially when its self-inflicted like it was here. If you need anyone, Tab, I'll always be here to talk."
Tabby gives a light smile in the face of tragedy.
"And I will always be here to listen to your wise advice and insight."
Tabby grabs her coat and makes her way out the door. Her head is down, her hair is frazzled. Life is so chaotic. Life is just a mess.
Tabby is in such a haze that she damn near runs into a man standing in a black suit standing in the parking lot and facing the other direction.
No...not a black suit.
After Tabby collects herself a bit, she realizes that it is more of a robe...
...with a cloak, and a heavy black hood.
The man turns around.
Tabby catches a glimpse of his face.
Sahn? What is he doing here? What does he have to do with this?
The confusion is engulfing our friend Ubetcha.
"This incident with Jace is anything but an unexplainable tragedy. Close your eyes, open your mind, and follow me."
Tabby is in shock. Chaolin Sahn reaches out his hand. Tabby's mind goes blank, but her fingers lunge out and takes his as they share an embrace. Tabby's tears hit the shear cold black of Chaolin's robes as the two of them come together in a brief hug.
"A explanation would be good right now. Any explanation at all." Tabby begs.
"Tabitha, I truly am sorry for your loss. I know what took Jace away...and we must stop it at any cost."
Tabby just stares into Sahn's fiery eyes, completely confused by the riddles and rhymes coming from his tongue.
"I don't get it. I just don't understand. You think someone killed him? What is this about!?" She pleads.
"It is a challenge for me to tell you the details you need to know. It is not a case of murder, but anger left to fester and grow. Jace led a life of contempt, he led a life of sin. He fought his demons well, but ultimately he let them win."
"Every answer you give me just leads to more questions, damn it!" Tabby flies off in a rage, letting her frustrations get the better of her.
Chaolin just reaches out and takes her hand again, as the two of them come to a silent agreement of trust.
"Come with me, there is someone I would like you to meet. Only then may you begin to understand Jace's defeat."
She just needed a direction, any direction at all.
Any explanation at all.
It seems she may have found one.
CWF fans and media personalities are talking.
They're always talking.
You can hear the whimpers in their voice. You can almost feel the pain and suffering.
The Northern Crown tournament.
The CWF Tag Team Championships on the line.
Who is going to come out on top?
Brackets and predictions flying everywhere. What an exciting time to be alive.
But who is Bloodsport Incorporated? What is Bloodsport Incorporated?
What is excitement?
What is life?
What is death?
What am I?
I am a stream of blood running into a lake.
I am the viscera at the edge of the water. I am the look of fright on the face of a startled deer. I am the sense of inevitable and impending demise.
I am the wind that whips against your face. I am the sun that beams down on your brow as the sweat pours out. I am your anger, your anxiety, your fear. I am the monster that hides under your bed, while also being the deity you pray to before you tuck yourself between the sheets.
I am the clouds, drenched in the darkness of an oncoming rain. The storm will be big, it will be bright and packed with thunder and commotion. I am the sadness, the despair. I am the depression that keeps you tossing and turning. You feel incomplete, like you are lacking that missing piece.
I can be that piece. I can be that voice that sings you to sleep, rocking you like a darling little infant. I can be whatever you want me to be. I am the laughter, the slaughter. I am nothing, while being everything. I am the space and the time. I am nobody, while being everybody and being the space in between.
I am something all the scholars in the world cannot explain. I am something all the scholars in the world cannot ignore. I am the highest peak of every mountain and the lowest point of every valley.
I've been the sun, the star, and the moon. It's unexplainable, maybe. Unbeliveable, for sure. But despite it all, I am the undeniable. I am the thirst and the hunger. I am the saliva that rolls off your tongue with every word, thankful or hateful. I am every thought, every idea, all rolled into one.
I am your brain, your eyes, your ears. I am every instinct, every reflex, every twitch of your hand or cramp in your leg. I am pain. I am pleasure. I am satisfaction, I am suffocation. You can follow me, yet, I do not know where I am going. I don't know where I've been or how long it will take to get back there. I am everywhere, while being no where at all.
Every look of disdain, every passing glance...I'll be there. You might catch a glimpse of my appearance, but only if you are willing to see how I see. You must envision a perfect world. Your utopia...that is I. I am the mirage, the salvation. I am the exhaustion, the dehydration. I am the feeling of desperation, desertion and desolation. I am dread, but oh so much more than that.
I am revenge. I am retribution. I am a firestorm from the sky, crushing the hope of all the non-believers. A bunch of false gods and dissenters seek to cast me aside. They thought they had vanquished me. They thought that they had destroyed me. They thought they won.
I am that victory. I am that fleeting feeling of elation. I am ignorance and yes, I am bliss. I am the smiles on every one's face. I am the ringing in their ears. I am the stark and unforgiving reminder.
You can't kill what's already dead.
You can't defeat what is not standing across that ring from you.
I am not there. I am not anywhere. One passing moment, I am vanquished, vanished. The next? I am behind you. I am the monkey on your back. I am the monkey wrench in your gears. I am the caged monkey, the feeling of guilt and despair. I am the life of solitude, of servitude and of suffering. Do you know what I am?
Neither do I.
I am the gasoline in your engine. I am your Will to fight another day. I am your Will to please, but only yourself. I am greed, I am pure selfishness and cowardice. I am only human, or was once. Now something much, much more.
Something different. Something brimming with energy. I am the tiger stalking the gazelle. I am the hawk snatching up the snake in the grass. I am the trophy hunter, and the prized piece of game. I am the top of the food chain, and each link connects to the next link. I am every link in the cord. I am the noose that hangs from the ceiling.
I am the force that curtails the weak, unwilling and Unworthy. I am the driving wedge that breaks it all apart, ensuring that only the strong live to breathe another day. None of them have proven to be on my level. How can they be? I am every level. I am every stage. I am a looping illusion, the mask in the magic mirror. I am the bottom of the rabbit hat, the rabbit hole. I am the Wonderland. I am the Wonder world. I am the promise of a bright future. I am the bringer of a better world.
That world starts in hellfire. I am that fire.
I am that flame.
I am the light.
I am the Darkness.
I am the Eclipse.
I am the Tormented Soul.
"Rick? You're coming right? Don't tell me you've pussied off on this whole thing...."
"Yeah, I'm fuckin' coming..." Rick says, trying desperately to catch his breath. "...It's just fucking COLD!"
Richardo Chavez is a middle aged overweight excuse for a Mexican and he seems far out of his element standing over a white wave of snow on a cold Montreal night.
"You practically begged me to drag you out here. Don't start getting cold feet now."
"Cold feet is one thing, Zane. I'm not backing out." Rick says, turning to the other voice which belongs to some pale skinned Aryan assailant straight out of the Neo Nazi catalog.
"Cold or not, get those fucking feet moving. We're almost there."
The two men quickly scamper though the night as the blizzard beyond them quickly covers their tracks as they traverse the cityscape.
Finally, they reach a specific building and the man known as Zane puts his hand up, stopping Rick's progress.
"Here's the place. It used to be owned by some media hotshot. At this point...deserted."
"Then what are we doing here? Fuck you, man. You said we were going to get some real action today. I'm tired of dealing with these pencil necked business fucks!" Rick rages.
Rick is frustrated. Rick is down right pissed. His wife of nine years is likely cheating on him. He's struggling at his career and it just seems like life has passed him by.
But not now. Not tonight. Tonight someone is going to pay for Rick's frustrations, his hurt, his agony. They would feel that agony too.
The two men follow a narrow staircase that seems to lead under the media headquarters, a pathway that is obscured from view by the casual passerby.
A brief moment later, they reach a heavy stone door.
"Rick...this is Bloodsport Incorporated. Here you fight. Not for glory, not to be a champion or for any other reason. Here you fight...violence for violence's sake."
"Count me in. I need this, Zane. I really need this."
"There's thousands of us. Downtrodden and deplorable. We fight because it makes life worth living. We fight because we can, and no one can deny us our Will. We fight...and we fight for our Maker. Only then shall we realize everlasting glory."
"Save me the bullshit, hombre." Rick says as he forces his way through the door and into a banquet hall packed with people.
With no hesitation or announcement, Rick runs up to the first man he sees and punches him right in the jaw.
The man scowls for a moment but in a swift motion reaches into his pocket and lunges a knife into Rick's overflowing gut.
Rick turns to Zane as the life in his face slowly fades.
"You didn't say there would be fucking weapons ..." He whimpers.
"You didn't fucking ask." Zane replies with a smile. "You think you can just waltz on in here and have your way with people? No!"
Zane screams manically as he pulls out a knife of his own and waves it frantically at Rick.
"You think I brought you out here to be the victimizer? You fucking idiot! You are my victim! You are the bearer of my suffering!"
Zane lunges the knife into the heart of Rick over and over again as the other figures in the room just stand there with perverse smiles.
With Rick now laying in a pool of his own blood, Zane's insanity seems to briefly subside.
A man speaks.
"Good. Good. Very well done, Zane." The voice belongs to John Mapother.
"I appreciate the kind words, master. This is just one example of what I am capable of."
"I just have one question for you." Mapother says solemnly.
"What is it, John?"
"Zane Arnold...are you the victim or the victimizer?"
Zane seems a bit taken back the question. In his confusion, he doesn't seem to see the two towering masses of flesh standing behind him. Two men, the size of mountains, wearing masks that appear as skulls and wielding steel chairs.
"What kind of question is that? I think I just showed Rick here what side of history I'll be on."
"Tonight...it appears that you are both."
With the snap of Mapother's finger, cold steel crashes down on the head of Zane, knocking the consciousness from his body.
"This is Abel. This is Abraham. This is Bloodsport Incorporated."