Las Vegas, Nevada
August 1st, 2013
Darkness. The sound of somebody moving around, and then a click. Light.
Nathan Paradine is standing in the small bathroom of a Goodfellas Casino hotel suite, peering at himself closely in the mirror. It’s immediately apparent that he isn’t in good health; lines crease his forehead, his eyes are sunken deep into his head and his jaw carries the scruff of several weeks worth of beard. Slowly, he examines one eye and then the other before running his tongue over his teeth and grimacing at the taste.
He spits into the sink and twists the faucet, taking the time to wash his hands and his face before rinsing his mouth out thoroughly. He looks up from the sink at his reflection again and scowls before pushing himself away from the mirror, leaving a water streaked handprint on the glass. He trudges out of the bathroom, aiming a kick at a gym bag as he emerges into the bedroom.
Paradine: “I guess this is it, then.”
He surveys the room, his hands on his hips. The bedsheets are tousled and there’s an empty bottle of Canadian Club poking from between the pillows. His wrestling gear is scattered around the room, and his sunglasses are sitting on a desk situated underneath a television showing a replay of the Hostility Bruise Cruise. Nine years, and this is what professional wrestling has gotten him. A dead girlfriend, a comatose ex-wife, several shattered friendships and an economy suite at the Goodfellas Casino that he’ll be kicked out of in the next few days now that the Sanctioned Violence Organization is gone. Not that he plans on giving the hotel staff that opportunity.
That isn’t to say he doesn’t feel guilty. He climbs onto the desk chair and takes a deep breath, then another, composing himself. He looks up. The roof is paneled, however the pale white square directly overhead has been knocked askew and a gnarled strand of wiring hangs down, twisted into a makeshift noose. Paradine slips it over his head and secures it around his neck, yanking on the wire several times to make sure it’ll hold. He takes another deep breath and steps off the chair.
The chair clatters to the ground beside the bed.
Paradine’s body spasms as it hangs, and he can be heard gasping for breath.
Cut to black.
Nathan Paradine’s Home
December 1st, 2018
We fade in on a fairly standard home gym; mirrors, weights and a treadmill. A man is performing pushups on a mat in the middle of the room, grunting as he lifts himself and exhaling as he drops again. Finally, he lowers himself and drops to the mat, remaining face down and breathing heavily before he rolls over onto his back and wipes the sweat from his brow.
The last five years have been kind to Paradine at first glance. His colour is healthy and the dark circles around his eyes are gone. His hair, previously buzzed scalp-short, has grow out into a high and tight hairstyle and his beard is now groomed and trim. He remains on his back breathing heavily for a few more moments before reaching out and grabbing his sunglasses. He blinks in the light before sliding them onto his face, his breathing now under control.
Paradine rolls over onto one elbow and grabs a water bottle that he drinks from deeply before continuing.
Paradine: “Loyalty. You know, I think it’s funny that James Milenko used that word when he asked me if I’d return to the ring on behalf of the Hostility Wrestling Federation. These people put us out of business, he said. I always appreciated your loyalty to Hostility, and I need your help to get a bit of payback.” His memory might be getting a bit hazy after all the chair shots, because I was never loyal to Hostility. I was only ever loyal to one person, and that is myself."
He laughs as he holds up his hand, all his fingers outstretched. He lowers his fingers as he speaks, one by one.
Paradine: "Cody Williams learned that lesson when I dropped him on his neck for the third time. Xander Daniels and Pat Fullam learned that lesson when I cut off their dead weight. Paul Riley learned it when I kicked him out of Hostility, his three week career just another statistic in a long list of people who couldn't quite go the distance. Every single man and woman on the Hostility roster should have known I didn't give a shit about that company when I put on a mask and started attacking people indiscriminately. I wanted chaos and I wanted violence, and I got what I wanted."
Another long drink from the water bottle. He toys with the bottle cap in his hands, suddenly thoughtful.
Paradine: “But when Hostility was gone, I found myself… almost adrift. Sure, I went back to the Sanctioned Violence Organization and I won titles and I had a lot of success, but I was empty. It wasn’t fulfilling me like it should have been. Something was missing. It took me a long while to figure out what it was and when I couldn’t replicate that, I attempted to end my own life when I was at my lowest point.”
He raises his hand and rubs at his throat, remembering that morning in the hotel room. The wire snapped before he could lose consciousness and he was left gasping on the floor. The bruising around his neck has long since faded, but the memory of the floor remains as painful as ever.
Paradine: “I survived, because that’s what I’ve always done. And I made peace with what I was missing in my life. Hostility was like the wild west where anything went. Everyone was equal, until they weren’t. And most importantly, only the truly hostile survived. I fought, I scraped and I bled to reach the top of that mountain once, and it was all taken away from me before I had a chance to climb it again. I couldn’t fit in properly with any other wrestling promotion. My desire to wrestle died with Hostility, though it took me years to realize it. One day I just stopped, and I came home.”
He gestures around at his surroundings.
Paradine: “But I never stopped training. I held out some glimmer of hope that maybe one day I would find that want, that need to wrestle again. I’m older now, but I’m faster than I ever was. I’m stronger than I ever was. And I am ready to fight.”
He slaps his chest hard and grins. This is a fire that hasn’t burned within Nathan Paradine for a very, very long time.
Paradine: “I’m not loyal to Hostility. I’m loyal to the idea of Hostility, the idea of a place where only the strongest will thrive, unbound by rules or limits. Hostile Intentions will be our battleground and we will show the Championship Wrestling Federation that we aren’t fighting for some past glory or honor. We are here to show that our way always has and always will be the only way.”
Paradine slaps his fist into the palm of his hand. This is an impassioned speech, one he has been waiting to make since he first call the call from James Milenko. Whatever Hostility was at the end of its life doesn’t matter; what Hostility could have been, and should have been, is most important to him.
Paradine: "I do not doubt that Dorian Hawkhurst is a capable man. I do not think he has what it takes to beat me in the traditional sense of a wrestling match, but this is no ordinary match. You see, if there's one thing that truly embodies the spirit of Hostility, other than competition, it would be a ridiculous gimmick match not unlike the one James Milenko has cooked up. A Tug of War match where we will be connected via a length of chain is certainly... interesting. There will be no running. There will be no hiding. There will be no escape. When all four of Hostility's flags have been raised, and I am victorious, I want to you take comfort in the fact that if nothing else, you tried. You might have failed, but you tried at least. That's more than I'd expect from what I've seen of the rest of the CWF roster."
He drains off the last of his water and wipes his mouth with the back of his hand.
Paradine: "In just a few days, our Hostile Intentions will be known to the world. I hope the CWF is ready. I hope Dorian Hawkhurst is ready. This is the start of a new era, one that I am happy to drag this roster kicking and screaming into if I must."
Paradine picks up his water bottle and towel, flashes a smirk, and walks away.