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 TCW Freestyle Feuding 
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Linda McMahon
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Post Re: TCW Freestyle Feuding
The nurse shook her hand firmly and smiled a little too broadly. He was cute, with a sweep of blonde hair tumbling artfully across his forehead, but a little small for her taste. “This is an honour, ma’am, a real honour.” He had a mild Midwest accent – she was getting better at picking out American dialects after being here for a few years now.

“It is?” She couldn’t help but sound surprised at that. She wasn’t used to strangers caring about her, not any more.

“Oh yeah. Boy, I tell ya, I was a big fan back when you were on TV. Big fan. My kids used to stay up with me and watch you all the time.”

“That’s sweet.” It still freaked her out a bit. You could have twenty thousand people chant your name in a packed arena, but being recognised on the street would never feel normal. “I wish I’d brought some photos to sign or something, or I don’t know, one of my action figures.”

He smiled disarmingly as he finally released her hand. “Well, they aren’t into wrestling any more. I guess they grow out of it after a while.”

“It happens to all of us.”

He laughed and started to lead her down the corridor, away from the reception area. “I must seem like a crazy mark, ma’am. You think I’d be used to it, what with him being here.”

“Hm. Yes.”

“He doesn’t really get any visitors. Kinda strange, given how big he was. You’re actually the first other wrestler who’s stopped by. We thought it was gonna be some kinda freak show in here when he first showed up.”

She raised her eyebrows. “The first? Really?”

“Uh huh. It’ll be good for him to speak to a friend though, I think. Most of the time he just stares into space, not saying a word.”

“I wouldn’t say we were friends exactly…more like colleagues.” And even then, only briefly.

“Is that why you’re here now? On business?” He looked genuinely curious, but she thought she sensed some concern from him too.

“Kind of. I’m doing a favour for some people who helped me out a long time ago.”

“Thinking of getting back into the ring?”

“I hung up my boots a long time ago, when we went off the air.” They were at the door to the suite now, both standing a little awkwardly outside. For some reason she was reluctant to go in. “It was a shock, you know? And it didn’t seem right trying to carry on. The recession hit everyone hard.”

The nurse made a strange face. She was getting used to that around here too. Talking politics with Americans was difficult these days – remembering the disgraced MacDonald administration that had almost dragged them into a Third World War, trying to wrap their heads around the bizarre circumstances that had led to the end of the ill-fated jaunt in the Middle East, it penetrated even Americans’ shared culture of cocksure buoyancy. Now, nearly five years after it had all happened, it was like the whole country was waking up from a terrible hangover, trying to see their way clear through the thick fog of the night before. Collective amnesia. It was a strange thing.

“You should be careful,” he said. “He’s not the man he was.”

“I understand. I think.”

“When you see him, you certainly will. I’ll be right out here.” He put a warm hand on her shoulder and she gave him a tight smile before opening the door and walking into the suite.

The curtains were closed, and it was quite dark inside. The summer sun, bright outside, was trying its best to fight its way in, but it wasn’t winning. As she closed the door quietly, she saw him sitting in the middle of the room in a comfortable chair. He looked different than he had the last time she’d seen him. His hair had started to turn grey, and his face looked drawn and thin. His broad shoulders were noticeably slumped and his once taut musculature had now started to turn slack and even a little flabby. He looked like what he was: a man approaching fifty who’d had a hard life. She walked slowly towards him. He didn’t look at her. In fact, he didn’t look at anything. His cold grey eyes just stared into the gloom, and his gaze seemed to go right through her. She squatted down near his chair and put a hand on his wrist. “Darkness?”

His eyes turned towards her very slowly. When she met them, she felt a jolt go through her. Not because they looked unusual, but because they didn’t. A tired, broken man stared at her, with almost no recognition. He frowned slightly. “Do I know you?” he asked in a hoarse voice. He spoke like someone who hadn’t voiced a thought in years.

“Yes, you do. We used to work together. Back when you wrestled. Do you remember that?”

“I remember…I remember some things, yes.” He looked at her more intently, perhaps trying to place her. “Indigo,” he finally said.

She smiled and hooked a tress of her bright red hair behind her ear. “That’s good. I’d heard…I’d heard your memory wasn’t what it was.”

“It isn’t. I know it isn’t.” He waved a hand in front of his face. “So much is shadows, now. Shadows and dreams. Every night, I go back there, living it again, but when I wake up it’s gone. Lingering phantasms.”

Indigo smiled and rubbed his arm reassuringly. Truthfully though, she was disappointed. Disappointed and scared. The rumours didn’t do justice to the state this former legend had been reduced to. She’d hoped he’d still have some fire in him. That’s what the boys at UCWA had wanted her to find here. “Well,” she said, looking around, “you’re in the best place if you’re feeling under the weather, you know?”

“Hm. Maybe.” He fixed her with another stare. “Why are you here?”

She couldn’t lie to him. They’d shared things, odd things, things she still didn’t quite believe were real, not really. But even so, she remembered who and what he’d been. “I’m working as a road agent for some old friends of mine. Of ours, really. They’re trying to put something back together. They hoped you might be interested in playing some part in that, Darkness.”

“Old friends,” he murmured quietly.

She wasn’t here to help him, but what the nurse had said concerned her. “Is it true you never get any visitors?”

He seemed to give it some thought. “I believe so.”

“What about the others? Your friends? The Children, that Revenant girl, Freya?”

He shook his head. “No. They don’t come.”

“Do you know where they are?”

“I don’t even know if they were real.” When he looked at her now, there was real fear in his eyes. It was profoundly discomfiting.

“They were real,” she assured him.

“I can’t be sure of that.” He looked away. “I can’t be sure of anything. A lot of people appear in this room, talking to me, telling me things, but the nurses tell me they aren’t real. Just more phantasms. More dreams.”

“Maybe.” She wondered if she could do anything for him. She wasn’t a therapist though. She couldn’t see into his head. Except…she could, if she wanted to. She had that power. She just didn’t like using it, not these days. “Do you mind…do you mind if I take a look?”

He frowned. “Look?”

“At the dreams. I can do that. Do you remember that I can do that?”

“Show me…”

She reached out and placed her fingers gently against his temple. She took a deep breath and closed her eyes, opening herself up to whatever was inside his tortured mind.

Fire.

She nearly pulled her hand away as the raging inferno filled her vision. She could feel the heat coming from it, smell the stink of brimstone, hear the roar of something ancient and terrible in the depths. But she pushed through it, into the ruin of Darkness, to see what was hidden within. Fragments of thought and memory spun around her, broken images of people half-forgotten. She saw men and women she recognised, and some she didn’t. Some were amalgamated, or split into many parts. Places and events mingled and merged. But this was a waking mind: it should be more coherent than this. There was no sense of continuity, no order at all she could discern, just pieces of a shattered mirror. She saw Dante, flames pouring from his open mouth in a silent scream. Freya with blood matting her hair, lying motionless on parched ground. A man with eyes like black fire being cast into an endless abyss. A creature with a twisted, corpse-like face falling to his knees. A non-descript man laughing as fire consumed him. A great rocky vista beneath a starry black sky slowly cracking apart and revealing the rippling, scaled shape of…

She pulled her hand away. It took her a few seconds to gather her thoughts and then she said, “It’s like they smashed you to pieces and tried to put you back together again afterwards.”

“That’s exactly what they did,” he whispered.

She noticed something she’d missed when she walked in. “Your hand,” she said, “how did you get your hand back?”

He looked down at all ten fingers, spread out like it was the most normal thing in the world. “They gave it back to me. When I returned.”

“Returned from where?”

“Beyond. I had to go first, you see. I had to leave this place, and when I came back I could do what I needed to do. I had that power, then. The power to be victorious.”

“And what then? What happened after you were victorious?”

“This.” He held his hands apart. She noticed how they shook. And how gently he moved, like he was scared he might break his body into as many pieces as his mind.

“You told me once you were fighting a war. A lot of soldiers, they don’t have a place to go when their war ends.”

“I know.”

“I would have thought your friends would understand that. Why did they abandon you?”

He smiled slightly. “They didn’t abandon me. I was dead. What they brought back wasn’t the man they’d known before. It was better this way.”

“Better? To be in a mental hospital?”

“I was made for one battle. I have no place in the world anymore.”

Indigo nodded. “I understand that. It’s not easy, moving on. But, you know, there are still people who remember you. Who might want to see you.”

“See me?”

“In the ring, Darkness. You were a wrestler. Whatever else you were, you were one the greatest of all time. An icon.” She pressed a card into his hand and he looked down at it stupidly. “If you want to be somebody again, there’s a place for you.”

“I don’t know if I remember how to wrestle,” he told her softly.

“So just show up. Talk to people. Reminisce with old friends. Acid Misfit is involved. I think he’d like to see you.”

“Misfit…” he said the name like he wasn’t sure what it meant. “We…that reviewer gave us five stars for our match…it was a draw…”

“It was a good match,” Indigo smiled, “one of my favourites.”

“It might be…nice…to see him again…”

“Just think about it, yeah? My number’s on the card.” She stood up and looked him over one last time. He definitely looked smaller, and those shakes in his hand hadn’t stopped. Whatever power had once sustained him had left this world, or at least the part of it he was in. He was just a man now.

But the fans didn’t need to know that.

She turned and left him to his strange waking dreams.

_________________
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Wed Aug 07, 2013 8:04 pm
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Post Re: TCW Freestyle Feuding
EndGame 2007.

Wrestling show names don’t often live up to their billing, but that scintillating event on a hot July night in Las Vegas certainly did. Mutaaz “The Hammer” Tareef had the perfect ending to the game he‘d played for almost four years.

He won the match.

He got the girl.

He exited to “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye”. for crying out loud.

Hammer appeared on one special occasion for FWRFed in order to work with an old friend he‘d never had the chance to. FWRFed officials wanted Hammer to go over in the match and wouldn’t have minded if he won their title tournament, but the Muslim Megastar wasn’t interested in that.

Wrestling was a thing of the past.

His goal was to star in movies. Just after he retired from TCW he began filming a picture with his spiritual advisor Muhammad Jabbar. The idea of the psychologically damaged religious guru writing & directing movies was a pretty ridiculous one, but Hammer hoped that his good looks & eloquent speaking would stand out amongst the rest and his physical gifts would establish him as the next great action hero.

Unfortunately that role went to another wrestler, and Hammer wound up starring in a series of ludicrous films that made less money than the 99 percent. Hammer vs. Godzilla, Hammer vs. The Infidels & Hammer vs. Hammer all bombed at the box office. Not surprising.

The mosque he built in Los Angeles has seen more success. Convincing his wife to raise a family there wasn’t easy, but Hammer & Alexxx Tareef are finally expecting a child in the coming months. Needless to say, the argument over names is ongoing. Hammer’s Muslim-based suggestions don’t exactly jibe with Alexxx’s Ghetto Grass-based suggestions.

I mean, who names a kid Ghetto Fire?

Anywho, Hammer spends most of his time at the mosque praying & speaking with fellow believers. He doesn’t speak with his former colleagues often, which made the following conversation from the other day an interesting one. I’ve only included Hammer’s side of the conversation to increase drama.

Yup. That’s my story & I’m sticking to it.

----------

“What’s up?”

“A proposition…”

“Man, I closed that door a long time ago. Ain‘t nowhere worth working except WWE, and I pretty well burned that bridge with Hunter & Bisley.”

“Never heard of it.”

“Misfit? Not bad, he’s an old buddy of mine.”

“Sure he is! We teamed in that 8-man, remember?”

“Well it went pretty well for me.”

“Darkness? Figured he’d be in some hell dimension by now.”

“Yeah, I know that usually doesn’t stop him. Anybody else I know?”

“Acolyte?”

That match with Acolyte would have taken years off of Hammer’s career if he had planned on continuing his career. He hadn’t seen the man since EndGame…Alexxx had insisted on not inviting him to the wedding even though they invited everybody else that had worked with them in ECF & TCW. Infinity & Ghetto Grass showed up en masse, but Pyro was the only other wrestler that showed up, much to Hammer’s dismay.

Not that he wanted the other wrestlers there, it was just that Pyro was quite annoying.

“Well, let me know if anything comes of this. Flying out from LA ain’t cheap, you know.”

_________________
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Sun Aug 18, 2013 3:52 am
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Can thou not hearest? Let me turneth it up!
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Post Re: TCW Freestyle Feuding
"–and they try to make hate into a dirty word! Well I'll tell you what: I hate! I hate sin! I hate evil! And my hate is strong!

I hate the gays who want to take marriage away from us! I hate those baby-killers in Washington! I hate the thugs who come into our neighbourhoods and threaten our families!

Most of all, I hate those filthy Satan-worshippers who pray to a child molester and want nothing more than to kill us all and turn our great country into a third world pit!

They have agents of evil everywhere, hiding in plain view, right here, in our country! But they expect us to just let them be, expect us to be tolerant.

Well I say that tolerant is the real dirty word!

Just down the street from this very church, there is something they expect us to tolerate. A mosque, an evil place full of those Satan-worshippers! Run by one of those agents hiding in plain sight. Forced into our faces, onto our television screens, called a movie star.

I'll tell you what he really is! An agent of the devil! And it's time we showed these wicked men just how strong our hate can be! It's time for us to shut down that house of evil, to protest the thug who runs it, and anyone else who expects us to tolerate this evil man!"


"Shut that shit off already. Damn." Bam grabs the remote from the side table and the screen turns to black.

"Back so soon? I thought those cartel boys had you tied up in Mexico."

"You know me. I work fast. Got any beer?"

"... Are you new here?" Slowly rising from his recliner, Lance Canada stumbles towards the fridge. Hitting the kitchen tile, his foot slides a little.

"Gotcha. How many have you had, brah?" Lance steadies himself against Bam's large frame, and pulls out a couple cold ones. The men head out the back door and onto the back porch.

"You know that's not what this is."

They take their seats at the small patio table.

"Guess you lost your sense of humour when you were out, huh?"

Nothing but an eyeroll in response.

"Anyway, I didn't just come here to drink all your beer. I got an interesting phone call the other day. You ever heard of a wrestling fed called... UC... WA?"

"I haven't paid much attention to any of that…"

Bam's already heading back to the fridge as he pours the last few drops into his mouth.

"Doesn't exactly flow off the tongue, does it? Anyway – this shit is the bomb, by the way – apparently there's some talk about getting some of our old friends back into the ring, and–"

"Let me stop you right there."

Bam freezes in the doorway, a fresh beer in his hand, as Lance struggles to his feet.

"Even if I was interested – which I'm not – I can barely walk, let alone wrestle."

Lance steadies himself against the railing. Bam leans against the door frame.

"Don't just write it off, LC. You were one of the best!"

A sigh.

"No. I was good on the mic, maybe. Maybe. I was good at sticking my nose where it didn't belong. I was good at starting trouble. And I worked hard. But one of the best? Never. Especially not after shit got dark."

He's turned around now, facing away from Bam, looking out over the lake, arms resting on the railing.

"I don't need to remind you of anything. I started to lose my motivation then. When all you're running on is vengeance, you don't last long. And that coma's taken its toll. I'm not the man I used to be, in any sense."

The big man starts his exit, making his way towards the back steps.

"Just thought I'd run it by ya. I gotta go deal with a thing."

Lance has made it to the end of the porch now. Bam pulls open the door of his silver Mustang, nearly tearing the thing off its hinges.

"Well, hey. For whatever it's worth, I was always a fan. Catcha later, Canada."

_________________
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I have no money, I am a failure, my leaders have led me to ruin, and I welcome the absolving embrace of death.


Fri Aug 30, 2013 7:25 pm
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Post Re: TCW Freestyle Feuding
The long row of endless doors and lights was forever burned into Izumi's mind. It was the most important part of her life...a turning point in who and what she was as a human being. One could not quantify or explain most of the horrors that hid behind those doors once...but they had no names. They were meaningless to Izumi. The only thing that mattered to her was the door on the end of the hall, standing there like a gate to Hell. Only, she knew, Hell itself was far tamer than the reality.

Three years.

Three years, give or take, since she'd been back here. When you're growing older, transitioning from the initial young adult phase...three years is a lot of time. Sometimes, you're just that naive college student that thinks everything needs to be a certain way and if the government would just do this, everything would be solved.

And then you start learning about the truth, how the game is all rigged, how people with money already have everything paid for, including the media war between politicans...

But this wasn't about politics for Izumi. A lot had changed for her. She'd grown just a little older, but a lot wiser...and a lot more humble.

She tapped some buttons on the keypad next to the infamous Caution door, the same code as always, and the metal doors hsssssed and whrrrrrred out of the way, as a bright spotlight shone on the middle of the room of insanity.

There, in the middle of the room, was a pile of gray, often shapeless manner. The stench of death permeated the air, as if a hundred corpses were being kept in here. Tentacles, eyeballs, cancerous tissue, brains...but mostly just shapeless goo with no real rhyme of reason to it. But even just looking at the mass, Izumi's mind was already putting it back together in her mind. It was a sight that stayed with you forever, the sight of insanity given flesh. And, little did she know, it was a small, naked truth of what was actually threatening their existences.

Just being in the room with an Abyssal Spawn, behind protective barriers, was enough to drive a person insane. She'd seen it, and she'd...survived it. Maybe not intact. Maybe the truth was she had gone just a little insane from the whole thing...maybe that's why she'd been so foolish. Who the hell knew what these things did to you? For her, it robbed her of her innocence forever. Marcus Cain could have shown her werewolves, vampires, demons...but no, he'd chosen the worst thing in the world, an affront to existence itself, to break her.

There are some things that shouldn't be done to another human being. Izumi realized that now. She'd gone through the files...saw what Cain did. All the executions...all the people not just shown this thing, but thrown to it...it was enough to make her physically sick. There were even records of the executions...no doubt shown as warnings, or maybe kept as keepsakes...

To think she'd worked for a man like that, even viewed as a father figure...and then dared to try and step in his place. The Vindicators wouldn't have that...in short, she was left with nothing.

"And now you want back in, is that it?" her voice echoed in the empty chamber.

"What?" Her voice spoke, replying to herself.

"It's why you came back here...You tried to forget, but you can't forget the War..."

The misshapen blob of mass wriggled.

It made sickening squelching noises as part of it turned a deathly black, rising up into a shadowy, fly ridden, disgusting form...that mirrored the young woman's in many ways...but with a sick smile on her face.

"And you can't forget me..."

Izumi took a step back. Her face went pale, shivering.

"You are not the Spawn...it's dead."

"Is it? You don't know what an Abyssal Spawn really is, do you? You don't even know anything about yourself! Or perhaps it's better to say you won't admit it..."

The Spawn-Izumi continued, flies covering her quivering, fleshy face now. "You miss everything. You miss the action. The glory. Fighting in a war with demons and Antichrists and werewolves and vampires...You miss the attention! The truth of the matter is, you just wanted attention! Fancy thinking you could ACTUALLY have a hand in defeating the greatest threat to the universe's existence...you're not even fit to lick the boots of a common demon."

"F..fuck you! I fucking tried my hardest! It's all I knew since a young age! My parents were Yakuza bosses, I wanted a better life than that! Marcus Cain, the bastard that he was, gave me a purpose...misguided as I was, I fought as hard as I could to find the AntiChrist, and I did. And then I had everything turned upside down on me."

The flies were swarming the living, undead flesh. A horrible buzzing was filling the room.

"No," it said. "You just wanted to feel important. That's why you got into wrestling. You wanted to be somebody that people could love, but the truth is, all you did was annoy the fuck out of everyone that surrounded you. A big know it all that played herself up, like she was in on some kind of secret. You thought you had it all figured out, because you scratched a surface of the truth..All you wanted to do was show off. That's why, even when you walked away from it all, you went to EPW. You entertained the offer of the UCWA recruiters. Even now...you're just a show off..."

"I'm not a show off...My intentions..." The flies buzzing was becoming deafening.

"That's right. Close your eyes. Ignore me. Avoid the pain..." Spawn-Izumi's face was entirely obscured by a mass of flies, that seemed to form their own, disgusting face. "Go back to a normal life. Forget the war. Forget wrestling. You will die if you come back. Do you understand? You can be on top of the world...but you will die. You will die...you will die..."

A fly covered hand slowly reached for Izumi's throat. She couldn't move.

"There will be no Heaven or Hell. There will simply be Nothing."

"N...no!" Izumi cried out.

The buzzing began to drown out an insane chant.

"Nothing...nothing...nothing..."

"Never! It cannot be!"

"Nothing...nothing...Nothing! Nothing! Nothing nothing nothing nothing..."

bbbbzzzzzzzzzzZZZZZZZZZZZZZZTTTTTTTTT...

The buzzing...

The buzzer.

The doorbell.

Doorbell?

Izumi's apartment doorbell was ringing.

"The fuck?"

Her average apartment was in her view once more. Did that...How? How could that have been a dream? She had made a point of going to Japan, down to the Warren, down to that chamber, to reminsce...How was it that she could wake up in her home in America?

Was she still dreaming now? Was this the dream? Had she passed out on the floor of the chamber, or eaten by that thing with her face, now locked in a Hellish existence of some sort?

No, she was over thinking things. Sometimes, the line between dream and awake was truly blurred...

Oh, right, the doorbell.

-----------------------------

"I gotta tell you, it's refreshing to have someone else contact me that isn't the WWE or TNA. The WWE would just dress me as a stereotypical Asian girl and make me pretend to speak broken Engrish, and TNA would just book me in nonsense."

"That's exactly why we contacted you," the dark haired recruiter said. "Thanks for taking us here, by the way. I love Japanese restaurants! I haven't had food this fucking good in years! Plenty expensive though."

"Not for nothing, but Japanese cuisine is a major reason why we have such longetivity. I can understand why not all Americans are fond of it...it's not always very filling. It doesn't pack that much on, in terms of size. Triple H would rather eat a hamburger than a sushi roll, I'd bet." Izumi replied, taking a very showy bite of her dragon roll and munching on it, rice sticking to her chin. "So let's get to talking, Mr. UCWA."

"Mr. Raine."

"Right," Izumi said. "I have to warn you, though, you still need a good offer. I won't just roll over and hop on board for any old money offer. It's not as if I'm itching to get back in the ring for peanuts. There needs to be a reason..."

"I'm glad you asked," Mr. Raine said. "You may very well get to wrestle some old faces."

"Oh?" Izumi said, shrugging as she munched on her roll further. "There's two wrestlers I want to face. One of em I bet you've never even heard of, and he's dead..."

"I'm sorry to hear that...enlighten me?"

"Lost Soul," Izumi continued. "Was EPW World Champion at one point. The toughest opponent I'd ever faced there. A real cold hearted bastard. He damn near killed me in the ring... Only ever lost once. And then somebody just up and killed him in the ring. Just like that..." She looked a bit crestfallen, despite not exactly singing his praises. "Dropped him on his neck. I never got to face him again... And then the fed folded after that, just like the two other ones I was in before. And the video archive just went poof, too. Only records left of the fed are fan tapes now. Maybe you shouldn't hire me, I seem to be cursed," she said, with a half serious tone and a nervous chuckle.

"And the other guy?" Mr. Raine said, leaning back in his chair.

"Nobody who'd ever want to face me again, but...Darkness, the former star of TCW," Izumi said, sipping her juice.

"I can do that."

Izumi literally spit her drink out.

"You WHAT?"

"Actually, that's the kind of people we're targeting right now. All former TCW wrestlers. I can't guarantee 100% you'll face him, and maybe not in a one on one, but I can guarantee you at least one match against some of your old 'friends'," Mr. Raine said.

"One match?" Izumi questioned.

"It's a sort of provisional thing. We need to see how this works out. It depends on who signs up, who's available...if it all works out, we're going to have a hell of a card. You may very well get to face guys, like, not just Darkness, but Dante, Freya, Misfit, Lance Evans..."

"And you can pull this together?"

"IF it works out." He slid the clipboard with the contract over to her. "You don't have to decide now, of course. Read it over, and think about it..."

Izumi began thumbing through the pages, skimming. "...There's a 'Creative Control' clause in here, right?"

"Huh? Er..."

"I'm not getting booked to job to Kelly Kelly or be a valet for some racist Japanese heel gimmick guy. I don't expect to pick my matches, but I want to be myself. No corporate image, no stereotypes..."

Mr. Raine chuckled. "Don't worry, Izumi. You get full control over your portrayal. So, give it some thought...You want a shot at the Hellfire Club again? This could be your chance."

Izumi took the contract from him. She read it over and thought about it for a long time.

_________________
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Sun Sep 01, 2013 1:00 am
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Linda McMahon
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Post Re: TCW Freestyle Feuding
The chamber was open to the sky, and the baleful red light of Earth’s new sun shone into its heart, focused like the beam of a laser on the parched ground, carpeted in polished bones. His boot crunched on a skull and the creature bathing in the light turned with a feral snarl. Its face was contorted into a permanent rotted rictus of hate and fury, its desiccated flesh drawn back, revealing pitted, mouldering bone. It was a haggard thing of papery white flesh and wasted muscle, all clad in corroded armour that had once been lacquered black, but was now little more than plates of rusted metal hung together by some dark power. It looked like a carcass that had lain exposed to the elements for centuries, but it moved with power and grace, for now its dark master’s strength was at its zenith.

“You’re dead,” it said.

“I came back.” He raised his sword and it shone like the morning star in the red light of this ancient temple. His eyes glowed silver and his flesh was so pale it looked translucent. Gone was the black, now replaced by radiant white. “I am Darkness,” he said, “and I am wrought in light.”

“Pathetic,” Skaar – Lord Abortion – snarled. He held out one withered talon. The very air crawled away from his grasp, every microbe and germ in open rebellion against the power of entropy he flung forward.

It reached Darkness and faltered. He lowered his sword slowly. “You have no power over me: I have passed beyond the veil.”

Skaar lunged again, willing Darkness to fall, willing his flesh to bubble like plastic in a flame, but nothing happened. One who has returned from death has no cause to fear it. “You are still just one man,” he said, hefting his glaive.

“No,” a voice said coming from the entrance opposite the one Darkness stood in, “we are two men.” He walked into the red light, and his katana gleamed in his companion’s reflected light. “And I too have passed beyond the veil.”

“Defend yourself!” Darkness roared as he launched himself into the heart of the chamber where, even now, Apophis’s dark glory pulsed down from the heavens.

* * *

A dream, nothing more. That’s what they told him. But every night he woke in a cold sweat, convinced that what he’d just seen was a memory, not some fiction concocted by his shattered mind. He pawed the starchy covers from his body and rolled out of the bed, stumbling slightly as he made for the sink and poured himself a glass of water. It was tepid and tasted foul in his mouth after just waking up. He spat it out and then looked up, trying to focus on himself in the mirror. He didn’t recognise the man looking back at him. He was old and tired. Spent. He knew – or thought he knew – that he’d once been strong and healthy. They told him he’d been a wrestler, an outstanding physical specimen. He wasn’t sure he believed that. He dreamed about that too sometimes though: about being in a ring while thousands of people chanted his name. He remembered fighting, and not just with a sword. Sometimes, unconsciously, he played out the movements when he was feeling well enough to wander around the institution. The names of the manoeuvres would float in and out of his brain: clothesline, suplex, DDT, moonsault…

None of it meant anything now though. He wasn’t that man any more. If he ever had been. The truth was he had no idea what had happened to him, whether any of it had been real, or just a gimmick or… He splashed water in his face from the still-running faucet and unwittingly sent the glass clattering into the sink. It smashed and he looked down at it. His left hand confused him, and he was forever knocking things over with it. He definitely remembered his arm ending in a stump, but how could a hand just grow back? Sometimes he’d stare at it like it was a totem. Because, if that part wasn’t real, how could any of the rest be? He thought it was a link to whoever he’d really been three years ago, rather than this strange, mythic figure that lived in his dreams.

He looked down at the glass, gleaming harshly in the moonlight. Jagged, sharp, deadly. He reached out with that unfamiliar hand and then jerked his fingers away as they brushed against it. Pain, and blood. He sucked on them, tasting the iron in his blood. It was real. This hand, at least, was real.
He sat back down in his chair to wait for morning. He often did this. His sleep was a fragmentary as everything else, and he could never banish the nightmares. The waking world was no better though. Who was that woman who’d come to find him? He’d known her, but now he had trouble recalling anything about the encounter. People from his past often came back to him like that. Strange people in black clothes with tattoos and weapons. They asked him how he was feeling, whether they were treating him okay here. He didn’t know what to tell them, and he didn’t understand who they were or why they cared. One day, a beautiful woman with a strange face and hair as white as moonlight had come and spoken to him gently. Her eyes were yellow like molten tree sap. He’d just stared at her until she’d left with a sad expression on her odd, angular face. Then there was a younger woman with dark hair and a pointed, defiant jaw. She’d seemed angry at him for some reason. He’d tried to apologise for doing whatever he’d done to offend her.

Then there was this one. He came most often, and tonight was no different. When he arrived, the air stank of hot brimstone, and his hand tingled. He’d taken to screwing his eyes shut and curling up into a ball, willing him to disappear. This one he feared most of all, but he had no idea why.

“You can’t hide forever, Darkness,” the pale man said.

“Leave me alone…”

“We were brothers once. We could be again. You just have to remember who you were.”

“What do you want from me?”

“I want you to be whole. You won; why won’t you share in your victory? The world didn’t stop turning when you defeated him. There’s still work for you to do. For us to do.”

“No.” He only knew one thing, and it was this. That the world had no use for him now.

“Darkness…”

“NO!” He bellowed it at the empty room, forcing all the air from his lungs, then slumped down in the chair, head bowed. His hand throbbed worse than ever and, as he looked down, he could see he wasn’t just bleeding from his fingers. Dark fluid pulsed from a ragged cut on his wrist, slowly forming a pool on the linoleum floor. He was starting to feel light headed.

* * *

“Okay,” Indigo said, “thanks for letting me know. I’ll pass that on.” She put her phone down and looked at Eubanks across the locker room.

“What is it?”

“Have you been using Darkness in any of the promotional material for this show yet?”

“Uh…not directly. Just dropping hints. Why?”

She grimaced. “I don’t think he’s going to make it. That was the institution he’s staying at – apparently he tried to kill himself last night.”

_________________
Serial Writist - lots and lots of short fiction, written by me, regularly updated.

The Ajax Legacy - it's a space opera novel I wrote.

I have some shit on Kindle too: UK link, US link


Sun Sep 01, 2013 6:03 pm
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Post Re: TCW Freestyle Feuding
Freya sat at her large desk. The sun shone in through the open window, a gentle breeze rustled bits of paper. Outside birds called from the trees and bees hummed their way around the small garden and back to their hives. But Freya saw nothing but the numbers on her computer screen. She sighed as she picked up another piece of paper, entered the digits she found on it into a spreadsheet and moved to the next piece of paper.

“So how bad is it looking?”

Freya looked up. Gwen who stood in the doorway. “Well, if people stopped eating, wearing through clothes, and learned to live without electronics then we'd be fine. For a bit.”

Gwen came and leaned over her shoulder to look at the screen. “What's this one?” she asked, pointing at the screen.

“That's what the government want.”

“I thought the panels and turbine helped.”

“They do. But...” She was cut off by a high keening call that came from the corridor outside. It got louder as the source came closer, the sound of tiny bare feet slapping on the wooden floors as they ran. “Gawain, what are you playing at?” she shouted as she leant back in her seat.

The noise stopped, and a small face peeked around the door frame. It had familiar golden eyes but in a face framed by unruly black hair. It giggled before disappearing, followed by the return of the call and running feet, slowly getting quieter.

“Gawain...” Gwen walked to the door quickly and picked up the small boy that was still in the corridor outside the door. She balanced him on her hip and wiped some dirt off his nose. “What was all that noise about?”

The child squirmed to try and get down but Gwen held him firm, trying to flatten down his hair, the black a stark contrast to her own white. “You know where you could go for money,” she told Freya, “They've always offered to help.”

“No. I don't want anything from them. I've told you that before.” Freya stood up, wincing as she did so, and hobbled to the window. Outside the New England forest was starting to change, the leaves on the trees were still green, but the green of late summer, the red wasn't going to be long in coming. And then after that the snow would start. Her leg throbbed at the thought of it. “I won't have this place tainted by the Shadow Slayers, either by their presence or their money keeping us going.”

“You don't really think of them as...corrupted.”

Freya spun as quickly as she could to face Gwen. “Even you, after all we've lost, after the people we lost, want them interfering in our lives?”

“Those people aren't all lost. You just won't see them.” A tall man now stood in the doorway. The boy in Gwen's arms started struggling towards him.

“Makya, this is none of your business.”

He took the boy off Gwen, who immediately started fiddling with one of the braids in the man's black hair. “I think if you're going to beggar us out of stubbornness then its all of our business.” He untangled the child from his hair and absent-mindedly turned him upside down as he spoke. “Pride is a terrible thing, you lose more by keeping friends away because of an imagined slight than you would if you just accepted their help.” He put Gawain on the floor who immediately tore away up the corridor, for real this time. “Dinner is almost ready, by the way.” He gave Gwen's hand a quick squeeze before leaving.

“Just think about it, Freya.” she said, “I know we've been through this a thousand times, but the Slayers only want to help.”

“I will,” Freya said, slowly returning to her computer. Gwen gave her a small smile before leaving her room.

Freya clicked one of the open windows along the bottom of her screen and opened an email as she absently played with the scar that ran from just above her left eye, down onto her freckled cheek. The UCWA logo was emblazoned on the top of the page.

_________________
Freya's Bio - Updated 25th July

Indigo's Bio

R.I.P Wild Pegasus and Black Tiger II

"Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so." DOUGLAS ADAMS (1952-2001)


Mon Sep 02, 2013 8:17 pm
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