Have you ever heard that saying, "Don't kick a gift horse in the mouth"? We like this saying. WE believe in it because it lends itself to the belief that if something were to happen to a kind hearted individual that means well by their gift bearing...
There would be consequences.
We have warned you countless times. When Loki was a thing, she wanted nothing more than to prove you to be nothing more than human. A human that has accomplished extraordinary things, don't get us wrong.
But still human. Frail, weak... Mortal.
Unable to leap over tall building in a single bound, but their impersonation of a lawn dart? Imagine the noise a missile makes as it streaks through the air toward its target. That was you as Loki threw you threw the air, went and fetched you, and pinned you with one finger. She was on top of the world and untouchable. The CWF's hero of lore, the one and only MJ - MOTHATRUCKIN' EFF fallen at her feet and out for an "indefinite amount of time." No one could take Loki on and no one was able to topple her reign of terror.
That is, until I, Cheshire, stepped in and put Loki in her place, locking her away with a key hidden where the sun don't shine. Don't get any ideas MJ, we know how much you want at her, but don't get THAT desperate... While we, meaning I... Cheshire, don't like this idea, there is another that even you have forgotten about it seems. The wise man Shadow seems to have forgotten as well, only cursing my name when we meet each other in the ring.
You though? You are an interesting one and your child sized boot to the face certainly did leave an impression of sorts. However, much like the size of that boot of yours, the impression we receive is a bit childlike. One of, "You! Pay attention to me and give me what I want!" Insert a harrumph and a petulant stomp off here. But again... This is no longer in my hands.
Have taken the decision out of our, Cheshire's, hands. Loki is still bound and gagged, rest assured to the rest of the people who don't have a death wish on the roster, because we certainly assure you, she isn't happy by her conditions, and we can't promise any happy endings if she were to come out and play again. We shackled her away, deep, dark, and GONE, for the people like you, Mariella. The people who think they are invincible and don't know their limits, the people who think they can topple someone who has already been toppled and only serves to topple everyone else with them. Trip. Fall. Done.
You played Loki's game and you were shelved for months. We take her down a peg and you come back asking for more? What kind of self deluded hero tale is this?! But no...
Cheshire's time is almost at an end. Almost. There is still one trick up the sleeve of ours though... Have you guessed what it is yet or have you not been paying attention to the answer that has been lying in front of you this...
"Every breath you take.
Every move you make.
Every single day, every time we pray...
We'll be watching you..."
Did you think we were done? Oh no, we're just getting started.
Picture... Well, the locale here doesn't matter. What does matter is that there is a TV. On this particular TV plays Doctor Who, Season Nine, Episode whatever. Captain Jack has just had his blaster swapped with a banana, courtesy of a Doctor who abhorred violence. Detested it.
Ironic considering his placement in the mythology of The Doctor and all the various reincarnations. Everyone seems to forget the War Doctor, and who can blame them? The War Doctor has a lot of blood on his hands, was responsible for the destruction of his race in order to save the existence of others, and forgotten through time because of the consequences of that one fateful decision. To push the shiny red button, destroy all the baddies, but also your entire race of people. No threat to anyone left, but at the cost of an entire race of people. In the end, they did an entire anniversary special on it, The Doctor enlists the help of other incarnations of himself and together they make peace with pushing it.
It’s insane to think about how a show, based in science fiction land, has such a poignant message about the consequences of our actions. Full disclosure MJ, we honestly aren’t sure what is happening anymore. We…
We sacrificed a lot to take Loki out. You should know this. You claim to have “dibs” and “unfinished business” with Loki Synn, the Janusian Jester of the CWF, the former world champion, and the woman that put you on the shelf. Made you feel vulnerable and human when she threw you through the air and subtracted however many months that was off of your career. We all knew you would be back MJ. It wasn’t a question of IF, but of WHEN. We, Cheshire, have no issues with you and don’t understand why you look to undo all the good that we have done.
We got rid of Loki Synn, for you.
We gave Mia our power so she can better understand everything that is happening, so she knows everything we already know. Every second, of every day, of every year that she spends in this state, she gets stronger and stronger, to the point that you would WISH Loki is the only one that you had to contend with. That isn’t right now MJ, our history, our story, deserves more before that firework display finish. The time is soon whether you like it or not, whether you feel it in those bones of yours or not.
We have infected you with our Madness MJ. Do you see what we see? Something in the clouds, shepherd boy…
We crack us up and the punchline of this joke isn’t what everyone thinks it is. That’s the beauty in Madness MJ. One sees it all, they experience it all, and everything just starts making sense in the weirdest and best of ways possible. We are almost positive that you are following along with each and every one of these words Mariella. We know that you are soaking it in and we can sense your trepidation of the unknown. It isn’t because you’re afraid of the contents of this particular rabbit hole. You’ve proven time and time again that fear isn’t a factor for you.
Trademark… Some guy on some show.
No… You fear something completely different MJ. You fear the one thing that has been eating away at you since you first tangled with Loki and everything that she exuded. You began to wonder as we mentioned infecting you with it. You aren’t concerned what many people think of you, and you let it get to you easily in rare form after our match last Evolution. Were you surprised at how easy the Madness takes over Mariella? How easy it just molds itself into the very fiber of your being and just kind of… Shows you what’s what? Everything makes sense and the nonsense becomes law of the land. Rules become obsolete and anything you knew previously about the world in and of itself, becomes wrong.
You’re curious because you’ve felt it gnawing at your consciousness and you are reacting just like any other “normal” human would. Challenge the different thing that made you feel something outside what you would consider, “normal,” force some hands, undo the balances that were put in place for. Her. Protection. We suppose that’s the funniest joke of all. You don’t see the dangers in calling out Loki Synn. You’re on the precipice Mariella, but you don’t quite see it yet. You will, but we wonder if it will be too late. There is always a price to be paid for your actions MJ. For The Doctor, the greatest time lord of all, it was the guilt of being the destructor of an entire race of species. For Cheshire, it has been holding Mia back while she regains her strength and not being fully honest of her true capabilities.
Mariella, you’re prying open Pandora’s Box and we don’t think that there is a more apt comparison for what you are trying to do when you beg for Loki Synn to come out and play once more.
It isn’t just “once more.”
It’s as many times as she feels fit if Mia becomes too tired and falters even the slightest. If she decided to fuck it all, the resulting implosion would be immense. There would be no survivors and CWF will become nothing more than a bunch of lawn darts, used for our amusement. Not ours...Her’s.
We want you to understand Mariella that this isn’t just some trip down memory road that you’re asking for. This isn’t about retribution for title belts won or lost through “dubious means.” What you’re asking is for someone who has undergone a lot, to once again done her armor and go to war against an entity that almost devoured her in the first place.
However, like all stories have a beginning in “once upon a time” or even “it was a dark and stormy night” so to do they have middles…
Loki’s story has been told Mariella. It is over and done with. What you’re demanding is a sequel to be made after the baddie went belly up six feet under. For what it’s worth, we are happy that you’re ok. We also offer our sincerest apologies for what your mind is going to endure when you come down this rabbit hole with me. You won’t be fighting now, we will start this journey hand in hand, we promise you that. Whether or not you accept the Madness and embrace it is something for you to decide on entirely. We can show you the way, it is up to you to remember it.
This is our story Mariella. This, all of it. Breath it in, take it in. Focus your energies, not that you need to be told, we can feel it radiating from you, like a beacon of… Something eager to get your child like hands around my throat. The question becomes, are you ready for the bends and twists this particular rabbit hole has to show you, or are you ready to wake up from this nightmare and go back to being the CWF World Champion. Our hand is extended, are you ready for the journey?
Three bar stools stand by themselves, each surrounded by inky blackness, each holding a pedestal with a single banana standing upright on it, and each underneath a spotlight. Her voice comes out from the shadows to stage left, no the other stage left you mook! There you go…
Cheshire: We know people like to give into scenery. We know people like the lights, colors, sounds, people, and the like that vivid imagery provides you all with. We… Don’t necessarily agree with that perspective.
The clicking of a headlamp can be heard. Once, twice, three times in rapid succession before a blinding LED floods the sense of sight with momentary blindness. The smile can be heard in her voice.
Cheshire: Another reason why imagery isn’t necessarily always the best approach. It can sometimes be your biggest enemy.
Our eyes focus and see past the LED headlamp that Cheshire wears around her head. She walks over to each of the bananas and looks at them in turn.
Cheshire: Shadow is a master of words and of imagery. Countless times he has proven this and each time we tried to show him the light, he refused and stayed in the shadows of his own misery, beating me in the process. This isn’t about him though and we have made it evident that our methodologies are so far from being the same, that we don’t believe that even we can make a joke about it.
Yikes, that’s quite serious. She picks up the first banana and unpeels it, unsheathing… A picture. Perhaps the picture is relevant, maybe it isn’t. Cheshire just told you that what you are shown can be used to deceive you. Perhaps you should listen to her words instead?
Cheshire: We love the concept that Schrodingglehopperschmitt, his name is our name too, came up with. If a cat is put underneath a box and left there. Is it alive, or is it dead? Present? Or not so much? Over the years we’ve chewed on this bit of philosophy and have enjoyed getting lost in the sheer conundrum of not knowing the unknown. Hence, the bananas. Have you wondered about it yet? Sure you have. The thought of where you are, your safety, any pretense about what is going on around you is erased by the presence of everyday fruit. Weird how you can’t really trust what you see right now isn’t it?
Well huckle our berries she has a valid point. She unsheaths… Well, should we care what she unsheaths? She sets it down and goes to the next banana. The next. Wait… How many bananas did we start out with?
Cheshire: In short order, we have proven that your sense of sight, what most might say is the most important sense of them all, can not be trusted. It is easily deceived and once we break through that initial barrier, usually with shock value, the target becomes easily manipulated and here we are. You have all been fixated on these bananas but have you noticed at all what they have contained? Or are you trying to keep up still? Rabbit holes are crazy like that.
Another well placed point. She has us, right where she wants us. There are indeed only three banana peels, now literal skins of what they once were, propped up by the stands that once held them. Each one holds a picture. Loki holding the World Title up high in the air. Mia with The Forsaken. Cheshire taunting Shadow.
Cheshire: Mariella. You quest after Loki Synn because she robbed you of a title that you were proud to carry as well as months off your career. You are being selfish and this is why. You fail to take into account that while you were suffering Loki’s wrath out here, inside her head, she had YOUR FRIEND shackled against her will, forced to watch horrific acts committed in her name. Do you know the agony that she endured? The pain she felt and had to subsequently swallow until the time was right and she could strike back? You. Have. NO. iDeA. Loki wasn’t a plague on just The Forsaken and Mariella Jade Flair, Loki was the destruction of Mia Rayne as you knew her and what did you all do? Fought Loki and tried to play a game she was light years ahead of you on. You played her game and you lost. We came in and fixed it all quite right. We banished Loki, the person responsible for so much pain and suffering, and allowed Mia to find some redemption. That was our goal and we are painted as the bad person. We pushed Shadow to become a better person and prove himself as a champion. We are pigeon holed as the villain in that story. This is all ok to us because we were able to soothe the biggest wound that Loki left of all. Mia Rayne. Yet for whatever reason, you want to undo all of that, so what? You can have a moment of glory? Do you have something to prove by beating Loki one last time?
Her voice is pleading, sincere as a voice behind a mask can be. One last spotlight comes on revealing a yet untouched banana.
Cheshire: Schrodingerhopperschmitt, his name is our name too…
She caresses the banana because what else would a creepy chick in a mask do?
Cheshire: The thing about the unexpected is that if you play all of your cards, you still don’t know what’s going to happen, until the time comes for you to understand the full… Impact of your decisions. Do you have what it takes to stave off the guilt that comes with allowing Loki Synn to once again enter into that ring? Are you ready to accept the fact that should you get your own way, you are in fact endangering the well being of your beloved “friend” in Mia Rayne? Or is the juice worth the squeeze Mariella? The clock ticks down to the end game. Are you on the edge of your seat much like we are to see how this one plays out? Hehehehehehehehehe!!!!
Her giggle echoes in the darkness, the only thing left for our eyes to focus on as her laugh fades is the single banana that has been left by Cheshire, soon to be plunged into darkness as everything fades into the Abyss.
The sounds of a serene winter evening can be heard as Mia Rayne, no Loki mask, no Cheshire riddles, steps out into a clearing. She’s familiar with this spot, her favorite from a distant time long ago. She has come a long way since then, but who was really keeping track? The water rushes underneath a thin layer of ice down her favorite waterfall behind Shadow’s manor, deep into the woods that surround it. She couldn’t explain it, but this had always felt like home. Shadow understood and while no everyone agreed, she was given permission to come onto the grounds at her will, to visit this particular spot.
It is important to her.
Her reflection is in the ice and she can scarcely believe what she sees staring back at her. A face unrecognized but then again, maybe that’s why the idea of being behind a mask for so long appealed to her. Maybe it was the voices that continue to echo in her head.
They are all there, all a part of her. To not acknowledge one would be a mistake, a costly one. Together they are something more than what she can probably comprehend currently, but she is willing to go down that route. Ready or not, it is time to put up or shut up. The metamorphosis has to be put on hold. It has to be interrupted to make them all understand that what is coming down the road is far more important than a game of anything we can do, you can do better. Past pain and grievances can not be the focus going forward, but if they need to be played out to get everyone over their shit, so be it.
May as well ensure they’re all “committed” to the process at this point right?
With stunning speed that forces her to steady herself, she stands up to her full height. She taps lightly on the glass surface of the ice and takes a seat on a rock puffing on an all too familiar piece and exhaling smoke in tight circles. She smiles at the reflection of the ice…
Her gaze is fixated on her reflection as she takes puff after puff. A jagged crack runs down the center of her reflection, and all three entities have the same exact Cheshire-like grin on their face. Much like any other scene that involves Cheshire cats and talks of rabbit holes, this too all fades into a smoky haze.