The darkness can be welcoming for some people. Half would embrace it as a comforting friend, whilst the other would use the element to seek shelter from the sharp reality the world was inhabited with. Of course, it does depend on how you come in contact with it. Sleep, the warm comfortable conditions, would be the most ideal, but arguably one of the worst ways to enter the realm would be to experience a blow that knocks you through the black gates.
Such was the method inflicted upon Silas during his match with Dan Ryan. The champion had caught him whilst executing a hurricanrana, and slammed him to the mat like is was a sack of meat. The resulting shock certainly knocked him out, and here he was within the darkness of his mind, alongside one inescapable element that lived within him
PASSENGER: Did you miss me?
He certainly didn’t.
PASSENGER: Understandable, considering you’re little friendship with the man from across the Pacific. You’re so...infatuated with him, aren’t you?
SILAS ARTORIA: And you’re jealous?
PASSENGER: Being forced to live within a man whom is pushed in the opposite direction to what would be beneficial? Boy, you’re making it flattering for yourself.
Silas couldn’t help but let out a chuckle, and it echoed throughout the pitch darkness he was present in.
SILAS ARTORIA: You feel ignored, don’t you? It used to be so easy for you, didn’t it?
There was no answer.
SILAS ARTORIA: I’ll put it in a way that you’ll understand. Since last year, I’ve spent maybe most of my time with you--most of my attention on you. The two of us would idly indulge in conversations mostly surrounding how much we would brutalise and powderise our opponents.
The subject was certainly satisfying to the entity in his head.
PASSENGER: Something along those lines.
SILAS ARTORIA: And what success has that brought you? Specific success, mind you.
SILAS ARTORIA: It inflicted major injuries to the point of being unable to compete for a matter of weeks, sent me into a shock after several ribs were shattered, humiliated me in several high profile matches against Shadow and Autumn Raven--where is the success in that? In the amount of pain I received? I was barely awake to absorb the pain, it was that unrelenting? Since I’ve turned my back on you, or as much as I can, I’ve received the adulation athletes like myself crave!
PASSENGER: And yet, you’re here.
A strong breeze blows strong towards Silas’ senses, as his face suddenly gets hit with a quick, stinging pain.
PASSENGER: We’ll talk later. Now...wake up.
The breeze was getting stronger, and the impact on his face more forceful.
PASSENGER: Wake up, Silas.
Soon the breeze became too rough and strong to handle.
HIDETAKA ITO: Wake up!
Slap to the cheek, and the sight of Ito-san filled his vision. The place he was in was warm with a slight draft, and was overwhelmed with the noise of construction. His vision was blurred but it only took a few moments for it to sharpen. The sight of white lines and some spotlights surrounding him made it clear where he was.
SILAS ARTORIA: I’m still on the mat?
Hidetaka let out an entertained sigh as he stood up and offered his hand. Silas immediately took it, and rose to his feet.
HIDETAKA ITO: The paramedics were nervous about moving you, since the last time you were knocked out by a fall.
The thoughts that the paramedics would take care of him by not taking care of them elicited an amused chuckle. God bless Doctor Leggett. Should probably send him a gift, considering the arrival of Ito has redirected Silas’ attention. He gave them grief for several months, and has yet to pay them back.
SILAS ARTORIA: So they just left me here?
HIDETAKA ITO: They figured it would be best.
Ito passed Silas his coat, before walking over to one of the ropes were the Paramount Championship was perched. They look upon the championship, it’s reflection showing only the house lights, since the glitzy setup the CWF build weekly had finished its purpose in the arena. Ito unclipped the title, and held it in their hand as they curled their lips.
HIDETAKA ITO: You got over confident.
Silas looked down in disappointment.
SILAS ARTORIA: He was waning.
HIDETAKA ITO: You got too repetitive.
SILAS ARTORIA: It was working!
HIDETAKA ITO: And that’s exactly what he saw.
Ito started to walk towards Silas.
HIDETAKA ITO: I know it’s a slow climb but you shouldn’t rush yourself, otherwise you’re going to expose yourself. You’re going to gas out, you’re going to run out of moves to surprise them with, and you’re going to run out of options much faster.
He stops in front of Silas, and simply looks at the top of their head, pointed down from the disappointment he brought himself.
HIDETAKA ITO: You got too aggressive, and you paid for it. You’re just fortunate enough that the title wasn’t part of the stakes, but it’s not a luxury you can rely on.
He holds out the belt as an offering.
HIDETAKA ITO: You need to wisen up, like I suggested, and defeats like this are going to be learning experiences. You’ve got Autumn Raven to face next week, and I can assure you that she’ll be a tougher challenge. You have to be ready for opponents that’ll know you inside out, and just firing on all cylinders won’t help you.
It is at this point that Silas finally looked up at Ito, with an expression that implied disgrace, a look that Ito immediately discouraged.
HIDETAKA ITO: Don’t be hard yourself. Take the loss like a badge of honor, and don’t let it hurt you! Don’t get aggressive, keep calm and learn.
There was a subtle, yet vocal thought within his head that tugged him towards the former, as the moments when he was overpowering Dan Ryan were some of the most exhilarating moments in his career. The temptation was there, but the addition would likely lead him down the same path that eventually leads to the cycle of failure and self-loathing. The thoughts flooded Silas’ head, before he nods affirmatively and takes the championship from Ito.
HIDETAKA ITO: Now…[let’s find you a sports spa.]
It was difficult to figure out exactly what he was saying, but he knew that it would involve a sports spa. Cold baths and physio, two sharp and painful teeth to pass through before his muscles recover and he can work out again. Ito started to leave via the half built ramp, as behind the curtain laid the exit and their ride out of the arena. Silas pondered on Ito’s words, drowned in self doubt, before he realised what they said about his next match.
SILAS ARTORIA: Wait...WHO DID YOU SAY I WAS FACING NEXT!?
A changing room entrance, male within a blue triangle. The wooden and polished door opens, and from the otherside emerges Silas Artoria, fidgeting with his coat with a smile on his face, whilst humming a familiar son.
SILAS ARTORIA: I get no kick, from champagne…
His head bobs to the invisible swing beat of the original song, as he carefully puts his hat on his head.
SILAS ARTORIA: ...mere alcohol doesn’t thrill me at all…
His hands in his pocket as he walks towards the frame, panning back to walk up the corridor decorated with sports photography and signed shirts.
SILAS ARTORIA: ...so tells me why should it be true…
He finally shoots a wicked look directly at the camera, with a mischievous grin on his face.
SILAS ARTORIA: ...that I get a kick, out of you.
A light chuckle.
SILAS ARTORIA: When I was much younger, when my mother was still on this earth, I was enlisted in a musical theatre class to perform for small crowds. Like, smaller than bingo hall crowds small. I wasn’t doing anything, I was causing some problems, and my mother thought that an expressive medium would be beneficial.
Turn a corner, his hands droop out of the coat pockets and dangle towards the floor, unstimulated.
SILAS ARTORIA: It was helpful for a time but there was a double edge sword regarding the lead performer in the shows. A boy called Lee Dummond, he would get the lead part in everything. Whatever the company was doing, he was at the front and centre of the cast. It was hard to argue, as he had been in the company for some time and had taken ever lesson they taught him to heart. He was a dedicated student.
SILAS ARTORIA: But at the same time the position he was constantly in drew resentment from everyone else. He would try to help out other but everyone, myself included, immediately took it as an attempt to sabotage anyone’s progress. Eventually he was forced to strike out on his own, found some success, but wasn’t welcomed as the top draw of the production.
The walk continues, but his hands become much more expressive, moving enlein with his speech.
SILAS ARTORIA: I can see some parallels with myself and Autumn Raven. For those not caught up, Raven was an...associate of mine. We would tag together, train together, even ate together at my home. And then one day, everything fell apart, and we were all forced to strike out on our own. Lost Boys now have the tag-titles, Autumn has the Impact title, and I have the Paramount Championship, so you could say our resume was certainly boosted.
Finally, the Paramount Championship enters the frame, carefully placed on a counter by a member of staff. Silas looks upon the belt, and smiles.
SILAS ARTORIA: I think she and I would agree that our experiences shaped up, even if we don’t get along...well.
He looks back at the frame.
SILAS ARTORIA: Autumn is a woman of commitment, drive, and unrelenting focus, something many people within the CWF know very little about. Cross her, and you should start counting your blessings.
His smile slowly fades, and he looks off to the side.
SILAS ARTORIA: And then one day, the two of us were bound to collide in a match where the last one standing wins. A brutal affair, and she tried to kill me!
He looks back at the camera, on of his iris’ red.
SILAS ARTORIA: And so, upon my defeat against Dan Ryan, they see fit to match me with my attempted murderer again. They saw an opportunity, and they take it!
Back at the Paramount Championship.
SILAS ARTORIA: A lot has changed since our last encounter. Two belts between us gained via different methods, back on a collision course that’ll likely end in another bloodbath.
Back at the frame, the other iris is now red.
SILAS ARTORIA: I know what you fear, Autumn, and I know that even at your strongest you are terrified on what lies within. You know it’s not the boogeyman, it’s the thing you send to kill the boogeyman. Will it emerge?
A wicked smile.
SILAS ARTORIA: Well….got you thinking, and that has you scared, because despite your attempts to silence me, I am still standing. I am still fighting, and I know that makes your blood boil hot enough to melt steel.
He takes the Paramount Championship and gazes upon it.
SILAS ARTORIA: The two of us are champions. Time to prove it! To the end of the road!
He immediately moves off frame as the screen fades to black.