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Messages - Alexander Raven

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Climax Control Archives / Perverted, Profaned and Cleansed in Flame
« on: June 22, 2022, 12:26:26 AM »
“The most unassuming persons are some of the most horrific monsters this world has ever seen. Ted Bundy, Pee Wee Gaskins, Jerry Brudos, hell even Edmund Kemper was unsuspecting. Horrific human beings, who did things that no monster would ever even think of. Yet the truth remains, that just like Dahmer was ignored, so too are the rest of the unsuspecting monsters of this world. Max Burke, learnt a lesson. Max Burke learnt that a cornered bird will peck the eyes from the face of its aggressors in defence of itself. Max Burke learnt a very important lesson. A lesson that all need to understand. That the unsuspecting monster, is usually the most violent and depraved. That the one who you turn away from, ignore and forget, may in fact be sitting upon his own throne of carrion and carnage.”

Lanterns filled with ebbing flames illuminate a small circular area. Hardwood floors, dull with a lack of care, dirty with the same ambivalence. A small claw foot table sits in the middle of the area, carvings of birds emerge at points of an octagon. In the centre of the odd shaped table, a spinning wheel. A roulette wheel, brightly coloured cells of red interlinked with spots of black. The light clatter of a ball skittering across its surface as it spins. Alexander Raven sits at the top end, his eyes focused on the spinning wheel.

“Danger comes in many forms. Danger comes in many ways. It’s a curious thing, danger. Just like the wheel of fate turns, so does the threats of violence and danger in our lives. Actions chosen can influence the outcome, and defending ourselves becomes foremost paramount in our own success. I broke a streak of losses last week, I broke a streak of failures. In doing so, there was an acknowledgement. An acknowledgement, that the eyes so focused on me, are for reason. That the disappointment people felt, may not have been so sincere. It’s a cruel thing to beat the dead horse, but when the wounded beast stops feigning. Yes, when the horse bites the hand of the whipping jockey, then there is a shift. Suddenly fear of the beast becomes far more than it once was. The threat of a buck is suddenly more threatening than ever. The blood flows and the fear builds. The beast, even in this dilapidated state, beaten and broken, has still caused distress. Now the wheel of fate has changed. Raised back to health, the noble steed strikes fear into all those who once would’ve happily poked it with sticks. They now regret their barbed words. They regret the poking and prodding. The real question we have to ask, is where does the wheel of fate land now? Despite the failures I’ve experienced, I am chosen to be the one to shift the entire landscape. A match filled with men, all of who wish to take the crown of chance and lift it up high. A Bulldog filled with anger at his stolen toy being held out of reach. Now in the corner of the bird it once tried to kill. Now given the role to ensure that said bird remains safe. Does the bulldog, ensure the bird flies high, knowing that it can once again break the birds wings? Break the wings and take back its favourite toy once more?”

“It becomes a matter of questioning. Is the bird truly one to fear, or is it the better option gift the toy to the bird? The danger becomes the question of chance. Have I been put in this position, because I am the least likely to win? Have I been put in this position because outside eyes see the potential of the steed, rather than the broken beast that has laid before them? I ask this of you Bulldog, and I will ask this of you too, Miles. Impartiality means a fair fight. Yet in a fair fight, does the champion keep the floundering bird grounded? If he does, what does that spell for you? The Bulldog who lost his favourite toy to the Saint. The Virulence of danger that keeps the Bulldog frothing at the mouth with a debilitating rabies. The Saint that does not weep for the collapsed dog. Do you want to leave it to chance, Bulldog? Or do you bend the hands of fate, to ensure that the bird soars with the toy in hand. The toy that you so desperately want. I wonder.”


The ball slowly comes to a clattering stop. A red square, a bulldog head emblazoned upon the square, foaming at the mouth. Raven smiles, collecting the ball, and running a finger across the symbol. A black mark obscuring the symbol. Once again, he spins the wheel, and flicks the ball into the wheel. He pulls a cigarette from his pocket and raises it to his lips, his eyes focused on the spinning wheel, the ball clacking away as it rolls through the world of options before it.

“Interesting how fate comes to us, isn’t it Miles? I am a man, who does not like leaving debts unpaid. The fees continue to climb, yet I fear not the cost they will reap. Perhaps, this match is a test for me. Can I, the one so focused on the past, see beyond the veil? Can I forget the scars I wear from the mighty Bulldog? Can I forget, the humiliation of losing to yourself as well? Is this match a test for me, to see if I can ignore those debts, and reap a new reward. With one aggressor at my back, and two in front, do I find myself trapped in the jaws of an inevitable fate? Do I forsake my crown, to ensure the blood debt to me is paid? I wonder, Miles. Who do you think is being tested here? I ask of you, the same I ask of Barnhart. Who do you think, is the easier target? Do you see me as a broken beast, who has just a small bit of light left in his eyes? Was my victory over Max Burke, a whimsy of fate? Or simply something of luck? Do you wish to leave it all to fate? Do you wish to play the game? I wonder, Miles. Is impartiality the truth, or is there a chance for you, to change the odds. Will you stand idly, will you break the wings? Or will you cure this virus that plagues us?”

“The reality is this, Barnhart and Miles. The reality is that destiny can be influenced. The odds of the game can be changed, and in doing so, a new truth emerges. Four can indeed become three, but who do you fear more? The Saint or the King? Or do we leave the odds as they lay? Impartial and accepting of the way the wheel spins. I wonder, can any of you truly be turned? Seeds of doubt lay in the minds of the weak, and I intend to lay those seeds. Good and bad? Good and evil. It doesn’t matter how you see it, the truth remains this. This is our reality, and the odds can be influenced. No game of chance ever plays in the hands of the player, yet you can become the dealer. Barnhart and Kasey, do you want to be players? Or do you want to win with the house? I offer you only thought, for I do not pretend to know the truth of the world.”


Once again the ball comes to a slow and skitters to a stop. A square of black, a red wolf head emblazoned upon it. Raven smiles as he blows smoke from his mouth onto the table, obscuring it behind a cloud. Slowly the smog clears, and the wolf head is now marred with a streak of black, obscuring it. The ball now back in the hand of Alexander Raven, his eyes fixed upon the table, watching as it turns slowly, never-ending.

“Finn Whelan. A man who knows how to speak with his fists. A man, who I can see the anger in. Someone, who like myself knows the power of aggression and weakness it exposes. The Seattle Saint. Interesting, isn’t it, Finn? The Broken Messiah, the False Prophet, the One True King, stands across from the Saint himself. Prophecy, fate and destiny, all words for gambles of life. Gambles of truth. Gambles of our reality. Do you understand what I’m saying, Finn? I need you to understand me. I need you to follow. You see, Finn. I respect a man who knows his place. I respect a man who looks to the sky but understands the blood that holds him aloft. The ground is just another thing to fall to, and blood will only soften that blow. It is interesting, those we find ourselves surrounded by however. These incestuous mixing of this Sin City refuse to let up. Every way one turns there is another link the underlying pervasive nature that finds its roots in the depths of this business. Cleansing this business takes more than just rattling the foundations. It takes more than just neutering the dogs. Max’s eyes were focused elsewhere, and his mind slipped because of it. The ironic symbolism of him being collared and shocked into submission in a land filled with men obsessed with their animal monikers is not lost on me. Wolves and Dogs every which way once turns, and yet we cannot shake it. The world conspires to illicit responses from us, and to keep us marred and buried. To keep us under, and force our hands to do the dirty work. To throw the stones in the stained glass houses, and burn this damned place to the ground.”

Raven drops the ball once more onto the table, more flames igniting and jumping to life. Four braziers illuminate more of the circle, throwing shadows and images across the area. A light murmuring pervades the air, and the seemingly empty scene is filled with untraceable sources of sound. Animal sounds, the screeching of cicadas and the croak of settling birds. The sounds un-matching to the hard wood world. The clatter of the ball sitting above all other sounds.

“We are innocents in this world of perversion. Without intrinsic links to everything that is going on from the ground level. You too, throw stones in this glass house. You too carry the torch of flames ready to burn it all down. This masquerade of filth. Holy men, Saints and Prophets alike, it falls to us. The cruel irony Finn, is that as much alike as me are, a severe divide exists between us. Whilst we fight with our fists, and illicit the rage that boils deep within to keep us moving, our similarities are profaned even in this. I do not seek to cure the disease that pervades this Sin City. No, I seek to purge it. To cleanse it in flame and to enact my truth upon it. The One Truth. My reality, as it stands. No more lies, no more incest, no more perversion of reality. Disconnected no longer, people will have to acknowledge the truth. This is my truth, Finn. Blood, pays for blood, and all will understand that. I will bleed the Bulldog, I will slit the throats of all wolves, and I will clip the wings of all winged beasts, bird to dragon. In my Kingdom, Finn. There is no space for Saints. In my reality, there is no space for those who would remain disconnected from what I am bringing forth. No more games of chance. No more mockery of fate. I will become the house, I will become the dealer. In my dealing of the cards of fate, truth becomes what I deign it to be. The odds become my odds, and with that Finn, no more will we need people like you. In my reality, Finn. She will forgive me. For love is one of the greatest motivators, and I will show them all. I will show, everyone, my love. I will be forgiven. I will, forgive.”

“Are you listening to me, Finn? I need you to listen. I need you to understand what I’m saying to you. I need you to follow. Follow me, Finn!”


Once more the ball comes to a rolling stop. A green square, A hand distending from a robe, holding those of another. Marred and pocked hands. Diseased hands. Raven suddenly lifts and flips the table, throwing it at his feet. He kicks violently at the top causing the claw foot base to separate from the roulette wheel top.

“This is my time Finn. No more will I be the one who people turn their noses up at. No, I will not be the pitied beast, clinging to life. I will be the majestic bird that flies the souls of the dead to my kingdom. My kingdom of truth. My kingdom of reality. My Conspiracy will feed upon the destruction I reign, and with that. Peace! My peace, will no know ending. Forgiveness holds the hand of peace, and secured in violence and decay it will be. I will collar the rabid animals. I will collar the Bulldog. I will tame the wolves, and I will cage the birds. Slay the dragons. We live in a fucking fantasy world, and yet, I’m the one that people think has lost his marbles? I’m the one who sees things as they are Finn. Do you understand? Do you follow? Are you listening? I need you to listen to me, Finn. Nobody ever listens. I don’t want to hurt people anymore, but nobody listens. They don’t understand that I’m trying to show them the truth. That their profaning of the world is not reality. That they are more disconnected than they realise. Analogy, symbolism, whatever you fancy. It doesn’t matter. Love, is a great motivator Finn. Love is what I will show you. Love is what I will show everyone. Love comes in many ways, shapes and forms. I talked about some despicable monsters. The Dahmers, Bundys and Kempers of the world. Men who perverted the idea of love. Yet they acted because it was their motivator. Violence, and love, Finn. I love, violence. I love, love. I loved her. She wouldn’t forgive me if I stopped. She wouldn’t forgive me, if I didn’t love you. She wouldn’t forgive me, Finn.”

His face softens slightly. The anger and rage subsiding a little, as he looks down at the broken table, then away to the left. Staring off into the shadowy darkness beyond the light of the lanterns and braziers. The creak of floorboards. The sounds of the world beginning to dull away, before silence became deafening.

“I am, focused, Finn. Whilst I will forgive, Miles and Barnhart. I will blood them, and in their bleeding, they will be cleansed. They will be, forgiven. Their debts paid, and their future in my Kingdom, secured. As the food that feeds my Conspiracy. Ravenous, hungry and demanding. My Conspiracy are insatiable Finn. I have to keep them cared for, and if that means that I must illicit the carnage they demand, then so be it. For I am Broken, but not longer false. I am a King, but no longer false. I am truth, for I have become it. I am, the One True King, Finn Whelan. You are holding my rightful crown, and I will tear it from your skull if I have to. Love is a great motivator, Finn. Do you love what you do? I do. I love every single second of it. I cannot give up. I’ve come too far. I’ve broken, too many promises. Collar the dogs, tame the wolves, cage the birds and slay the dragons. You will become, my past. Fear not, for that is not forgotten. No, it seems my past remains part of my present. I cannot escape the humiliation that Bill served me. Miles served as a turning point for my mind, but I need to cleanse him still. You hold my crown, and in doing so, you become a war I need wage. Griffin Hawkins, a man of my past. One who skates away from me. Who ignores my existence, spits in the face of that determination. I need take you down, Finn. I need take you down, and then, in one swoop. I take the debts owed to me. I will collar the dog, I will tame a wolf, and I will make him see. I will make him acknowledge that I am still here. You will be the banner I raise, to make him see that. None of you, will stop me. I cannot be stopped.”

“She will forgive me.”


Raven slowly drops down onto his knees. Staring off into the far distance still, before lowering his head. His arms dropping to hang limply at his side, as the embering cigarette hangs loosely in his left hand. The embers dropping to the floor, and then the eruption of fire. A streak of flame from near his hand stretches into the surrounding area. Fire stretching into the air, surrounding Raven in a circle of it.

“Knox once talked about cleansing in the flames. He’s right. We need to cleanse this Sin City. I will cleanse it in flames. Finn, I will cleanse you, in flames. Just like I too, once was cleansed.”

“Do you understand me, Finn?


The clatter, the crackle and snapping of wood and flame. Raven’s body is slowly obscured until he vanishes behind the growing inferno. Flames crackle and snap, filling the space. And then.

Nothing.

Darkness.

Silence.

2
Climax Control Archives / She Wouldn't Forgive Me
« on: June 09, 2022, 10:08:36 PM »
“In the eye of the beholder, we realise the truth. In the truth, we become one again. The false becomes real, the real becomes a lie. Stained glass shelters the lies from the harsh reality. No more can we ignore the truth. No more can we ignore the reality. Understanding, focus, reality.”

“The eye, is important. It sees everything. It sees the truth of the world, the detachment from reality, the disillusionment of the battling peasants that paint the streets of this city. Sin City is a stained glass kingdom, where nobody throws rocks. Nobody interrupts the status quo, for in its interruption comes discontentment. A new king being crowned rattles the foundations and fear creeps its way through the underbelly of the city below. They talk of the potential, yet none truly wish to see it. For in my success, in my achievement, the kingdom shakes. Yet the glass here is thick. Stones would not break the steel foundations that hold them in place. The reflections of the great mirrors are marred with the misdeeds of the incestuous obsession of its inhabitants, yet nothing changes it. Nothing stops the filth from breeding and breeding, further solidifying the mockery of the detached reality before them. In the eye beholder, we realise that truth. For the truth comes from those who would seek to rattle the foundations. From those who will throw the stones and shake the muck free. From those whose mirrors are free of the taint of the detached reality around them. They will look, they will listen. They’ve been listening, they’ve been watching. They all know who I am, despite their mockery otherwise. They will acknowledge who I am. They will acknowledge the truth. Alexander Raven plays no games. Alexander Raven does not gamble. The odds must be fixed, and they will be. I will fix my odds, for I refuse to play these games of chance any further.”


A lighter clicks, a flame ignites. A bar top, pristine, shining, made of a sturdy dark wood glistens in a low light. Dim faux lanterns hang from the ceiling, casting a dull but warm ebbing glow over the small bar area. A lone person sits hunched over on the far end, a bottle of sweet Tennessee Whiskey joined by two empty glasses. The person flicking the top off a zippo lighter, then closing. Open, close. Open, sharp close.

“Lost in my own mind. I’ve said it for months now. Refocusing is what I need. Years ago, I was but a baby-faced deer, dewy eyed and ready to fight the world to get what I wanted. Full of anger for the treatment I’d received, with nothing but opportunity before me. Time passes, and I became, jaded. Stuck in my ways, and focused on manipulation of the mind. Instead of acting and winning with my fists, blood and sweet. I tried to win the mental war. A knack for having the sharp tongued wit and silver steps to accompany. Mind games are half the battle, and I’d managed to win wars with them. Wins and losses were irrelevant when the whole world was watching you. Every eye focused. Every would be king and queen wishing to dethrone you. Even when the crown was cracked and rusted, stained red with the blood of the fallen, they wished nothing more than to grind it into nothingness. The centre of the world, and the focus of many. I was, Alexander Raven, the one truth. Alexander Raven, the King. The One True King. Phraseology is an interesting thing for it is in these phrases we cast our greatest meaning. I never fawned for the crown, yet it was placed upon me. I rose to the mantle, and those around me did nothing but throw poisoned barbs in an attempt to ruin me. For taking in stride the mockery they lost their power and deigned to want to be my friend.”

“It’s interesting, how now that I am no longer the centre of the universe, I become perplexed by the incestuous mixing of those who want to be. I’ve become slowly aware of how intrinsically linked almost every person I’ve crossed paths with, have been with each other. Senor Vinnie, Bill Barnhart, Matthew Knox, Fenris. Hell my past even haunts me here. Griffin Hawkins, a man who will pay his debt to me, is tied up in the fascination these people have for each other. And in this, I’ve become aware. I’m no longer the centre, and I am glad for it. On the outskirts I can scale the mountain without the assistance. No man will focus their attention on lowering me from my apex, and that is where I wish to be. Yet, I cannot help but constantly feel like I’m being used. Used by those who have nothing but gripe with each other, to bravado themselves. Taking advantage of the loss I feel, they’ve manipulated that into success upon themselves. Which brings me, to you.”

“Max. Burke.”


Laughter escapes the mans lips, as he slowly unscrews the cap from the bottle. He lifts and pours one glass, three fingers high. The other he fills to the same, lowering the bottle back onto the counter once more. He rose the nearest glass to the air and took a deep drink, a slight hiss as it burns its way down the throat. He then tapped the rim to the other glass, lightly muttering, “Cheers.” before placing it down on the bar top once more.

“Another to the mix of incest that pervades every deep recess of this company. Sin City is accurate for full of the sins is this city. Max Burke, I am no stepping stone for your realisations. This match is my pathway to my redemption. The Roulette Championship, again and again mocks me. Swings like a pendulum of undulating fate. It mocks with the personification of its name. Roulette is a game of chance, and I’m sick of the odds being stacked against me. Sick of being the battering ram, I refuse to allow another to stumble themselves over me. Everyone talks about having had their eyes on me. Disappointed in the failures that have followed, yet they keep watching. They all keep watching, they keep looking, they keep listening. Have you been listening, Max? Have you been watching me too? I need you to follow me on this. I need you understand what I’m talking about.”

“For this is the reality of this situation Max. I could care less about your problems with the rest of the people who trade their flesh and blood for adulation and success. I do not care to be your microphone moment, I will not be the body you stand on to make your address. I cannot be that person anymore. I need to actualise the reality I’ve painted in my mind. No more lies, and no more stained glass kingdom to protect myself. No more hiding, no more running. I need to face my reality, for my reality begs this of me. My reality begs that I understand the truth that I so desperately have been running from. You, Max. I really must understand that you, are my focal point. Not the championship opportunity that I received from beating you. Not the satisfaction I get in beating you down, and you having to acknowledge that the man who came short against Senor Vinnie and Fenris, beat you down like a whipped dog. Like the longing woman who sits at the bar come lights on. Like the depleted wine drunk who sits in the gutter begging for a modicum of understanding through mumbles, slurs and gripes. You Max, will have to acknowledge that. I am no speed bump in your road to wrapping your fingers around Senor’s throat. I am the god damn wall, and I will not be toppled.”


The flick of the light once more, the sizzle of a cigarette igniting. The deep inhale of the first heavy drag, clink of glass on glass, then the hiss of reaction to the burn. Alexander Raven sits himself up right, lowering the cigarette from his mouth. Smoke wafting into the air, his other hand gripping the glass tightly. His eyes focused somewhere in the near distance, his hands quivering just slightly.

“I cannot keep failing, Max. As much as delude myself otherwise, I need to know that I am what I have been shown to be. That the eyes upon me are not in pity, but in fear. That those who have been talking about me, acknowledge the threat that is upon them. Our current World Champion had faith in me. I failed him. I failed that faith, I failed to succeed upon the gifts that have been given to me. I will not become the truth that Alexander Remington has spent years building as the reality for all those who will listen. I cannot let you be another tick in the column of loses for me Max. No longer can I hold onto the reality that the second time round, I’ll be better. The first time round I must be dominant. I must dominate any who think themselves in any way superior. Max, are you listening still? I need you to follow what I’m telling you. Are you listening to me?”

Alex’s face contorts in frustration, his hand gripping tighter still onto the glass. A guttural scream of frustration rips from his throat, the glass loosed across the room. The shatter of it against the wall, the clatter of shards of glass falling to a timber floor. His fists banging down upon the bar top as he stands up, the chair he was sat upon toppling and flying backwards. The second glass dancing upon the bar top precariously, wobbling closer to the edge.

“No more games, Max. No more mind games, no more mockery. No more manipulation and fanciful words. No more the master of manipulation, the purveyor of broken analogy. The Conspiracy screams for blood, screams for food. The Conspiracy is hungry, they crave carrion to satiate their hunger, and I’ve been failing them. The mother bird who cannot feed her baby birds, will come to a nest of bones and death. The people, they scream for retribution. The people scream for belief. Those who believe in Alexander Raven know that it is only a matter of time. I know it’s a rhetoric that repeats, over and over. I know it’s something that every person in a spat of bad luck will tout. Yet this is the reality as it stands Max. No masks shall hide my face. No mask shall protect yours. No level of frustration and anger for others will stop this. Come Climax Control, this is the only extending reality. Come Climax Control the lies stop being lies. The torturous streak I have left in my path for months comes to and end. Seeded by the fall of you, Max. You will fall beneath my boot, and I will break your god damn spine. I will wrap my arm tightly around your throat and choke the living out of your soul. Feel as every last bit of life escapes in the form of spittle of struggle. Choking the life from you to make a point. To make it understood that I am sick of being less than. I am sick of being mocked and teased. No more will I be the disappointment in the eyes of those around me. No more will I allow for others to ignore and speak of Alexander Raven’s potential in a past tense. I will cement my path forward with your god damn corpse, Max.”

“I will break you!”


He lifts the bottle off the counter and lifts it his lips, drinking deeply from it. The liquid disappearing slowly, before nothing remains. A pristine, empty glass bottle. Once tainted dark, now clear. Alex drops it beside him, the loud sound of it clattering to the floor reverberating off the walls. His eyes slowly lowering to the remaining glass on the bar top, his eyes softening. The cigarette, somewhat crushed but still embering, coming up to his lips once more as the fingers of his left hand fall upon the rim of the glass. His face slacking, and frustration fading.

“There is someone I owe a many promises to. Someone who I’ve failed beyond all others. Death pervades the world around us, and it is something that has become more and more. Love is a strong motivator for those in this sinful world. There is people who are angry from the damage done to their loved ones. There is others who are hurting others to ensure that those they love and are kept far from pain. Even you, Max. You wish to get your hands on Senor Vinnie to pay back the damage he inflicted upon Fenris. Love is a powerful motivator. None of us are immune to it. Romantic, platonic, familial. It doesn’t matter the origin, any love will hold even the most wild of boars to heel, but will invoke the most placid of hounds to incitement. I made many promises to someone I loved once, Max. I owe her more than I can ever repay. I’ve broken many promises to her, but I know. I know she would not hold it against me. For none saw as clearly as she did. It was never a gamble with her, Max. It was never something that could be used against me. It never will be. She sopped the bloody wounds and kissed the bruises away. She was my crown, and the world took her from me. The world is unfair. The world is cruel, this is truth. That is why Max. I cannot allow you to simply walk over me. It is why I can no longer allow anyone to talk about me like my importance is long gone. I will not be known as the failure who had potential. She would forgive me, no matter the failure. But she would not forgive me, for giving up. Do you understand Max? Have you been listening to me? Have you been following? No word is insignificant. No thought without reason. Everything has a meaning. Everything happens for a reason. Climax Control, you will become a reason. A reason for my success. A step towards redemption. Miles Kasey is a man who owes me a debt, one I intend to collect. You Max, you will never be above me. I cannot allow it.”

“She wouldn’t allow it.”


He slowly grips the glass and lifts it to eye level. His eyes locked with the shimmering liquid within. The cigarette now gone out, the butt hanging loosely between his fingers. A twitch in his cheek, before he tipped it down his throat, shaking his head. Slowly he replaced it upon the bar top once more, leaning down on his elbows. His hands covering his ears, digging his fingers into his hair.

“I don’t want to be a loser anymore. I’m tired of being less than I can be. I will feed my Conspiracy with your corpse, Max. I’m sorry you have to be the victim, but I am not sorry that it will happen. Do not get in my way. I am not as forgiving as she is.”

Slowly he straightens himself out, dusting the shoulders off his coat slightly. Footsteps echo into the darkness, muted voices indistinguishable address Raven as he leaves. A door closes, a lock latches.

Then, darkness.

Silence.

Nothing.

3
Climax Control Archives / Alt Kids and Death of Reality
« on: May 27, 2022, 11:25:52 PM »
“It’s an interesting turn of events when you really think about it. We become so focused on the idea of our disillusionment, that we lie ourselves into truth. This was something I spoke about before stepping into the ring for the King for the Day match. Mark Cross, the man marked for martyrdom, took the crown. Like the man hung upon it before him, he wore it and made decisions. The decision to recognise the threat that was made upon him. To put his own slayer before me, to see if I can bury his demons. Thoughtful. Mark Cross understands the truth before him, and does not deflect from it. Like the Dragon of my own pass, he is one to stand above and dictate. The wings of the unfurled beast cast a shadow further and deeper than I could have expected. A shadow over the land of the king leading the peasant deeper and deeper to their own doom. I understand well why he conquered the kingdom of the foreign land. For I once too, met a conquering, ravaging, murderous dragon. The Black Dragon, Stygian, was the dragon of my own world. The conqueror of my own slayer. I understand the Dragons, because I have walked among them for many years.”

“Yet the more I talk, the more I realise something. Lost in my own analogy. The comparisons I make only work to further solidify the glass house that I build around my own mind. A reflective, stained glass house. Mirroring that of which I paint into it, for the world outside is decaying and dying. The end of the One True King and the emergence of the False One in his stead was not a collapse. It wasn’t a failure. Through failure came the understanding of the truth of the False Prophet. Understanding that the glass kingdom in which the One Truth stood in, was in fact, nothing but his own delusional dream. In both being the truth and lie, I was both the King surrounded by his fragmented and false reality, and the prophet that would bring about its end. The Broken Messiah was my truth, because it was not founded in this world of fancy words and lies. It wasn’t founded in the deformed reality I had created for myself. By becoming the Broken Messiah, the False Prophet, The False King, I shattered my own false facade. I became the truth I so desperately fought against. The truth is this. I am a liar beyond my own righteous belief. I am a liar because the reality of myself is not one I crave. The truth is this.”


Alexander Raven, sitting in a beer garden, cigarette hanging loosely from his lip. A pint of amber liquid settled before him. A few others gathered around the table, laughing, talking, bringing the world to life with their muted interaction. Alex had a smile stretched from ear to ear, nodding away as he indulged in the smoke and booze. The world is a twisted amalgamation of amber and red lights.

“I’m no king, I’m no martyr. I’m not the supernatural, smooth talking and manipulative creature I apply myself as. I’m simply a man. Alexander Raven. The truth of my reality is that I am everything I’ve said, and none of it. Mark Cross can see through the facade, like so many before, and so many after. The truth of it, is no matter how much we twist and manipulate our world, we are who we are. Goth, I wonder if you even truly comprehend the origins of your own chosen moniker. I spent the best years of my life working taps in dive bars and hospo derelict hotspots in Melbourne. Hats and Tatts, Loch and Key, The Croft, hell even the Royal Melbourne Hotel on a Saturday night. I spent my nightlife rubbing shoulders with the alt kids of the world. I spent my every night pouring beers for mates who would bend over backwards for me at the drop of a hat, but looked as unapproachable as you make yourself out to be. The truth is, I was nothing more than another alt kid. Another dude wearing timbs, flannels and tall tees. Tatted up and drinking nothing but Jack and Coke every night. Yet even then, the truth of the world is shrouded by the facades they wear.”

“The girl dressed head to toe, wearing makeup to slay the gods themselves, was insecure and afraid of her truth. The guy who sharked everyone at pool was the one who didn’t have any faith in his own abilities. The guys who covered themselves in ink, beards and cigarette smoke, hiding from their own insecurities. One of my best friends, so uncomfortable in themselves, that their one bit of truth was the painting of their own nails in the loveliest shade of purple. Humans. Flawed and real, and I was one of them. I was just another man walking among men, for that is the truth. We lose ourselves to the arrogance of our own delusion and self belief. We lose ourselves to these ideas that we are in any way, shape or form, superior to those who scream and shout. I took the mantle of the Broken Messiah, the False King, the False Prophet, not for myself. Not to feel like I was superior in any way, but to recognise. Recognise my own mortality. Recognise the truth of my world, and the truth is this. I am just like everyone else. I am no king, I am no superior. I am just myself. Alexander fucking Raven. A beer drinking, cigarette smoke, whiskey swilling, swearing and yelling alt kid. Friends with goths, emos and alike. A victim of my own mentality. A victim of my own distortions and delusions. I am as sick as any other, with a mind constantly scrambling for answers.”

“That’s the truth of my reality, Goth. I want you to understand that. That I am aware of who I am. I am aware of where I come from, and I am aware of my own distortions and manipulations. The grave does not scare me, for I shall return to the earth on the day of my death. I am nothing, you are nothing. I’m tired of these games, I’m tired of pretending. I’m tired of listening to my own rattling and rambling. Distortions of a truth that I no longer believe in. That is my truth Goth. I have a soul seeking to do, and I will continue to do it. Shaped by many, yet governed by one. You, Goth, are just as fractured as I. As the girl, as the boy, as my friend. As the pool shark and the drunkard sitting in the gutter. Melbourne, Victoria, Australia was my training ground for the world. The bars were my kingdom and my people, the wayward souls that would seek me for a way to escape themselves through the boozy glasses of drunken minds. A city that lives in the night and fears not death. Fears not the grave, for death is not the end. Not for all, and not for us.”


A small plot of land, several lanterns littered around a large hole in the ground. A mound of dirt and torn up grass besides, and a shovel struck deep into the dirt. A headstone sits at the top, split in two down the centre with a deep crack, yet not broken. On one side, the name Goth. The other, Alexander. A man stands, hand on top of the headstone, his bare feet hanging over the edge of the hole, his other hand wrapped around the shovel handle.

“A Buried Alive match is fitting for the death of our realities, isn’t it Goth? A loss to me, paints a painful picture for you. The man who cannot score a victory, breaks his loss streak by burying the opposition of the chosen King. If I lose this one, do I lay in the grave eternally? I’ve been wondering about that myself, Goth. I made a promise once to a woman I loved dearly. That I would no longer bleed. I would no longer hurt, and that I would leave this industry in the dirt. I made that promise, when she nursed me back to health. When she tended to the burns that covered my body. When she changed the dressing on my exposed scalp, and helped me learn to function again. Death does not scare me Goth. For nothing in that grave is any more terrifying the reality I’ve lived. To be beaten by a group in the middle of the ring, and set aflame. To watch my own father crucified as he hung from the screen. To have the man I betrayed return and exact his own vengeance upon my failure to live up to the expectations he left. He was happy to walk away, if I made due on the opportunity his destruction gave me. Yet I failed. Like I failed to keep my promise. Like I failed to help those lost souls who came seeking. I do not fear death, for death is nothing in the life I live. You, Goth, do not scare me. You do not frighten me. You do not make me quiver or shake. To me, you’re another delusional, misguided liar. Just like me. You’re just like I am Goth, and that boils my blood. It ignites that flame inside me, because it sickens me. It sickens me that the world we live in allows for our reality to be so heavily poisoned. To become the truth that we speak, rather than the reality that we live. False Kings living in our stained glass kingdoms, believe ourselves to be true.”

“So again, I question the situation we find ourselves in. Are you afraid of death, Goth? For I am not. Be it me, or be it you, the dirt will fall. I will settle in the grave if I need to, but I will take you with me."


The man starts to shovel the dirt into the hole. Grunting and heaving as he fills in the hole. The lights flickering as the wind blows.

"Are you following me, have you listened? I need you to listen."

Darkness.

Silence.

Nothing.

4
Supercard Archives / Re: King for the Day Ladder match
« on: May 10, 2022, 12:57:12 AM »

Scene One
Kings and Failures

On Camera | 07/05/2022


“To be King, is not just to rule. It is to lead with divine right. How fitting that in the land of failed rulers, marred by the murk of conquested restructure and manipulation of history that our own King shall be named. King for a Day? How apropos that is. There is none that stand among us as the true king. Much like the much contested origin of the Macedonian King, Alexander the Great, so too is the conflict for the meaningless mockery of a day title. No, we stand here in the land of risen and fallen kingdoms, empires and failed experiments of human sacrifice, bloodletting and oppression. A true king leads by example, rules with empathy and understanding, but is chosen by his divine right of birth. Luck plays as much as conquest.”

“To be King for a day, is to mock the very tribulations that I have overcome. I will ascend the ladder, as my own broken prophecies have deigned. I will take the crown, but for a day? No, I will make them see the folly of their ways. Empty words some might say. Perhaps. Yet my mind has not been focused has it? Obsessed with the past. Obsessed with the direction of where I have been, compared to where I am. Where I am meant to be. The one true king, yes. The most successful of generals know the sting of defeat. The most successful of kings know what it is to lose. Forged in fire, is the path of success. Focused is what I have become. Understanding of the shortcomings that lead to this. Lessons taught by the lesser are still lessons to be understood.”

“I mocked the dog, and caught its bite. A mangy mutt to be put down, and avenged I shall be. Yet lessons taught must be learned unless willing to accept the insanity of a returned fate over and over. The pigeon man will control his birds only so far as he draws breath. To keel is to allow yourself food for the birds themselves. Ravens are loyal, but food is paramount. I have felt the sting of the beak, the peck of the mind. I have felt the crown snap from the brutality of what is presented. Broken body brings us to this fate. The wolf howls and the pack mangles. Yet the head will always protect the lesser first. To be mangled by the jowls of the prime pack animal is a blessing and a curse. Like the spartans of old, to become a man, survival is key. Understanding that the wolf is not as dangerous as the man. Understanding that the bite is far worse than the bark, and your bite must be more. Kings are no more than the lesser man with the power to lead. King for a day? No, King eternal until the final dawn breaks.”

“Listen to this, and listen well. Bulldog, Knox, Fenris. I thank all for the lessons taught. Lessons that have opened my eyes. Lessons that will be passed on, and forced learning begins. I am Alexander Raven. I will open the eyes of the world. I will make them see. The crown of bone and flesh that rests upon mine own head, is not one of fiction. Yet one born of a necessity. I will make them understand. I will make them follow. I will make them see. My eyes are open, and with open eyes there is but one thing to do.”

“Five men stand before my rights of retribution. Five men will battle for the right to be king, yet they do not understand their folly. Focused and ready. The bird soars high. A ladder acts as my mountain, and atop that mountain the crown I seek. Ken Davison, Mark Cross, Ben Jordan, Austin James Mercer and Agostino Romano. The Godly Ken Davison seeks his divine right as the king of kings. The king of the track, the jovial Romano seeks to be master across many. To Cross the king is to leave yourself Marked. Like many before him, King James seeks to be the next, and like many others a Jordan who fails to live to the success of the master. Reality, gentleman. Understand that this is not your day. This is not your night. This is not your time. In this, the land of mythos and kings, you will face this one truth. Alexander Raven is here to stay. Alexander Raven will not be laughed at anymore. Alexander Raven is the king of your future.”

“In this land of foregone kings and failed revolutionaries. I will make a stand. There will be a King they can be proud of. There will be a reality that they can acknowledge as the one truth. No more will their failures. Even the greatest of kings one day fell. Like my namesake before me, and the kindred bird of my family name. I will stand as king, and I will return greatness to it.
Alexander the Great, will be known as the One True King, for I am great, my name is Alexander Raven.”

“All hail the king.”


Scene Two
Eye Opening

Off-Camera | 01/05/2022


“I don’t relish this Mr Raven. I don’t relish this at all. Yet you need to be broken, you understand? For only from a broken mind can you be built back up. From a broken body you can mend the bone and sinew. From broken, you can be full once again. Let me help you, Mr Raven. Let us help you.”

The sound of flesh on flesh. The crack of the knuckle to the stomach. Raven heaved, coughing violently. Pleasant and Rines were anything but gentle. Yet they always got him to where he needed to be.

“Again.”

Rines grunted, his white pressed shirt beginning to spot with sweat. Alex was unsure how long today’s lesson had been. Hell he wasn’t sure how long most of the lessons were. His body was sore and bruised. Impressively they never managed to hurt him too much, but it was enough to remind him. Remind him that pain could be overcome. That nothing was too much. Yet at the same time…

The smack of the fists to his stomach began again, the crack of a fist across his cheek. Then again. And again. Blood caked his face, yet he was no longer sure what was his, and what was that of Rines. His knuckles bloodied themselves across his flesh, over and over.

“Who are you?”

“Alexander Raven.”

Alex managed to croak out, Sullivan’s knuckles clashing against the side of his head. The backhand hurt more than almost any of the other strikes. His eyes blurred and his mind dizzied. Water thrown over his head, bringing some momentary relief.

“I asked, who are you?”

“I am Alexander Raven.”

Again the smack of Rines fist into his stomach, he leaned forward as much as he could. Being tied to a chair, arms restrained. It made it difficult to really lean into the pain. Sullivan grabbed and yanked at his hair, pulling his head back, straining the neck.

“Who are you?”

“I’m the fucking king. I am Alexander god damn fucking Raven!

Sullivan smiled, letting his hair go. Rines loosened the binds, and he could finally keel forward, holding his stomach in agony. Water was placed beside him. He took the bottle and drank deeply, heaving and struggling to catch his breath. Today was harder than normal. Sullivan slowly dragged a moist towel against his face, cleaning away the blood.

“Never, ever forget who you are, Mr Raven. Never again will you forget. Open their eyes. Open their damn eyes.”

Sullivan smiled, his taut features pulled tightly across his sharp bones. The ghoulish smile was never really reassuring. A man of discomfort at the best of times. He placed the towel upon his shoulder and lightly tapped him on the side of the face.

“We’ll be watching.”

With that, the two men, Pleasant and Rines, turned and left their lesson. Alex lay on the floor, the cold cement of the warehouse floor was soothing on his burning aches. Recovery time. He would become King. A king must be in fit shape.

Scene Three
Pecking Order

On-Camera | 07/05/2022


“We in this world have a bad habit. We establish a hierarchy in our minds.”

“We speak things into existence and believe them the truth. I am not innocent of this. I speak of myself as a messiah, a king, a leader therefore I am. I am a messiah, a king, a leader. The truth of reality becomes obscured by the actions we take. Competition breaks the mental barriers we build and we reconstruct our own narrative to suit that of which we tell ourselves so as to keep moving forward. We lie to ourselves in lieu of the truth, for only in the lies does our reality stop bending to this false nature of this narrative. I am a liar among liars. Pathological in a sense. I cannot remember the real truth I spoke, yet in this. I have forced my own narrative to be as such. I do not just say I am a messiah, king and leader. I become a messiah, king and leader. Many tyrants across history do the same. They wish so much to be the one above all others that they believe. They become true to their lies, so that they no longer lie. That is what differs a true king from a false one. The pathological liar will become true, yet the false will fall asunder to allow the way for the next. Just like the gods fell, so too, shall we.”

“‘Ken Davison. Godly, in name. A proclamation more grandiose than even my own. Yet backing it up is your truth. A king among kings, one used to the slaughter of birds.  Yet in this, the land of many gods, I ask you. When you stand in Athens, do you feel akin to Athena? Are you the giver of grapes, or the provider of salt water? Athena in her infinite wisdom did win the contest of the king of the seas. A gift to the people, to name the land on which they rest. Will you provide salty water to the people who look upon you. Souring their taste and purging their appreciation? Or are you a giver of the grapes? The one who they will thank and honour? Do you want to know what I think Ken?”


A well sits in the middle of a small field. Its body is decaying, yet it still stands. In front of the well is a small table, upon which a plate of grapes sits.

“You’re the Poseidon here. So cocksure that you will give the people a well of salt water, and aggressively declare yourself victorious. Yet when you open your eyes. When you finally see what I’m saying, you will understand. Athens was never yours to own, and it will never honour you. The gods will fall to the power of man, and the king of kings will stand above the others. Godly, is laughable Ken. Humanity needs to acknowledge their own humanity, and that extends for us who are most deluded. I ask you not as a worshiper but as an equal, to bow out. Open your eyes, and look. Do you see me now Ken? I will make everyone see me.”

“Everyone will see me, Ken. I am Athena. I am Ares. I am Zeus. I am the king, and I am the leader. I am the One True King, and I will bow to no more. Reality has come, and I will not be ignored. Everyone seems to think little of me, yet everyone has my damn name in their mouth. Everyone is obsessed with putting me out, and that is telling Ken. Who is the real danger here, but the Raven himself?”

“Open your damn eyes.”


The sound of thunder booms, blinding light obscuring everything. As the world returns, the well lays crumbled and in tatters, the beam that holds the pail alight with fire, embering slowly. The grapes however, remain untouched. Bright and purple, they stand immune to the destruction that surrounds them.

“Agostino. We cross paths again it should seem. In a manner befitting a repeat of the first.  A plethora of bodies stand between us, and perhaps for the best. You know better than most in this match, that my words are backed by a real pound of flesh. You’ve been lucky enough to have your eyes opened already . You’ve seen, but you have not listened. For if you had, you would not be standing across from me again. If you were following, you would be face down at home acknowledging your own failures. Yet, here you stand once more.”

“Championships have bonded us together before, and I would believe they will again. For if you were king for a day, I wonder where you would place yourself. In the path of the Roulette title, the opportunity I took from you? Perhaps another shot at your coveted Internet championship, one you have failed to retain, over and over. Or, maybe you think yourself a true king. Maybe you would place yourself in the pathway of the main events victor.  Who will it be? Perhaps thoughts not meant for this time, for the reality is this Agostino. Though we share initials, we are nothing alike. You are a worm in my world. A worm that won’t die no matter how much it is stepped upon. So I will feast, like the raven does upon the worm. I will feast and I will win. I will throw your carrion to the flock and the reality will become tantamount. You are nothing before me. You will remain nothing before me. You are… nothing.”



A championship belt, sitting upon a velvet cloth atop a small podium. In the centre of a wrestling ring. The initials AR curved into the face plate in large cursive letters.

“Yet history tends to repeat doesn’t it, Agostino. The champion will win again, just as he will lose again. Just as you have won the Internet Championship, you continue to lose it. Repetition of fate is unfortunately the cruelest mistress of destiny. Forever doomed to repeat Agostino, you will happily throw yourself down the stairs, over and over. A fool seeking new recourse for a repeating insanity. Yet this is also where we differ, isn’t it my fellow? Whereas you will forever throw yourself down into your own delusional reality, fractured and separated. Yet as insane as the nature of it all. I won’t repeat a mistake. I refuse to repeat mistakes. I hope you understand Agostino, that where you and I differ, is a victory for me will end differently to the last, whereas the next loss shall not be the same the one before. Keep your eyes to the sky my friend, for night comes for you. Open your eyes.”

A leg from the shadows beside the spotlight. The table knocked over and the belt was thrown into the darkness. Nothing but a toppled table remaining in the light. The leg disappearing back into nothingness.

“Mark Cross. I do not know if you understand the symbolism of your own name here. Marked for the cross, like the King of Jewish persons. Like Jesus was crucified, you too are marked for death and rebirth. Will you willingly take the crown, knowing it is the thorns of it that cut into your flesh? Will you reach for the success that you feel yourself marked for. I wonder, Cross, if you understand anything here. Are you listening to me? Are you following me? I need you to understand. I need you to follow. I need you to listen. Open your eyes, and look at me.”

“You are marked by me, Cross. The crosshairs are fixated upon you, and the fixation will put you in the firing line. Symbolism is rampant in this here, land of the gods. The city of the Goddess herself. This is a reality that you need to acknowledge and understand. I don’t care to know you, Mark. I really do not. Yet, like the false deity, and the laughable petulant child, you too, stand in the way. I wonder Mark. Are you a man of analogy yourself? Metaphor? Do you accept your own reality, or like all of us, do you stand here as a liar? A liar about his own reality. A man who deserves to stand beside the rest of us false idols, looking to realise ourselves, if only for a day. Will you be the marked one by fate? I wonder.”


A podium, a stained glass window illuminated behind it. A man with a black cloth draped over his face. A goblet in one hand, a crown of barbed wire sitting upon his head.

”Ideology will lead many men to do many things. Mark Cross, you are blessed with an unfortunate name. To be marked for the cross, is to crown yourself. To be marked for death, is to be the one held for martyrdom upon the cross. Whilst not the king and god of this land, the truth is ever the same. The Romans were not the natives of Israel, yet it is they who passed judgment upon him who was born of Nazareth. Such as he was marked for the cross, you too, shall be marked for my ascension at your sacrifice. Mark Cross, please know, I harbor no ill will. I am a forgiving tyrant. I am a pleasant dictator. Yet I am also a vengeful ruler. I will lead, and it will be the blood of those who mock who will pave the way to my success. There is but one dragon in my work, Mark. You are not the one who wore the title of Stygian. You will never be the Black Dragon himself, and I refuse to acknowledge you as anything but another false idol among many. A liar amongst liars. A man marked for my cross.”

The sound of a gun firing. The glass window shattering, shards of glass exploding out of the window frame. The coloured rain of glass falls upon the man standing at the podium, slowly tearing at his clothes and cutting the flesh beneath. The goblet catching many shards.

“Austin James Mercer, King James III. Names hold such power, do they not? I wonder King James, if you know the power of your own? My best friend, the Barracuda as he was known, shares your namesake. King James. He too was a king, a king for many and himself. The king of the bar, the king of the ring. A true king among men, with a tongue as slick as ice. A man I could respect, a man I could look up to. A man who would climb any ladder put before him and stare down at the filth that lay beneath it. A true king, for any man who requires people to worship, is closer to a king than almost any other. Do you demand the respect and adulation of those around you, Austin?”

“Time proceeds onwards, regardless of that. Like the many kings before, they too shall fall. King Leonidas of the Spartans would rise and fall to the armies of Persia. Alexander the Great too, was the Third of his line. Alexander III of Macedon. Yet do we acknowledge the insidious passings of the brother here? Do you fear a friend taking that of which you hold dear? Who would be your Ptolemy, King James? I wonder, do you even understand the symbolism? I never used to think myself one for analogy, for metaphor. Yet it turns out my whole existence is about it. About making connections, questioning those on their unknowns and asking the most obvious. Are you listening to me, Austin James Mercer? Are your eyes open? Open your eyes to me.”


Two men, faces covered in cloth once more. Sitting at a small table, goblets in front of them. Laughter, joviality, happiness. They tip the goblets over their heads, allowing the red wine to cover them, soaking the cloth.

“Bathe in it, Mercer. The possibilities before us, are endless, are they not? You stand in a ring with kings innumerable, and have the chance to seize the crown above them all. Champions, winners, and men of violent success. This is the reality that is before us, and it is ours for the taking. Yet I know, deep down, just like you know. Just like Agostino, and the godly one. Just like the one marked for martyrdom and the one who shares greatness. Insanity will break us, and it will enslave. You are just like the rest. Eyes closed, and unable to lead. Not yet ready to the be the truth that stands above. Symbolism is important, for the king who rules for a day can carve a lineage that none others will touch. The king who stands above the kings will be the truth. I am the One True King, King James. I am, not you. Not any of you. You will fall beneath the boot, I can damn well promise it. Open your damn eyes to me.”

“Open them to me!”


The two men throw their goblets aside, and launch at each other. Tumbling and wrestling as they grab at each others throats, attempting to suffocate the other.

“Ben Jordan. Another, like Mark Cross, to be a recent king. Ben, I hold you last for no qualm. There must always be a last, mustn’t there? I wonder, Ben. Did you hope to be last? No there is a reason, I hold you last Ben. For a man once took my crown, as he did yours. Griffin Hawkins owes us both a debt of blood, Ben. Like he stole your crown, he once stole mine. Yet I almost feel he neglects the fact I ever existed. Perhaps because his own friends once spat upon him too. To forget the life that he once had was easier than accepting the life that is. Just like you, and I, he too is delusional. Yet in this, I feel a kinship, Ben. A kinship of failure. A kinship of building disillusionment and anger. Rage builds and dwells in my breast like it would any man, woman, child, any one. Any person, any being. I harbor hate against you Ben, for you too, know my pain.”

“Anyone who knows my pain, knows that failure is unacceptable. That to avenge the losses of the past, one must ensure those that failed equally, fall beneath their own boot. You, Ben. You must fall beneath my boot to assuage the anger that builds in my heart. I must be better than the one who took my crown. If that means I must beat every person who also fell to the kingslayer in my existence, so be it. For I will be the truth at the end of the day, and I can guarantee that. For you know what this allows me? Redemption. I get one step closer to breaking Hawkins. If Knox wins in the main event, my choice of my own future match is clear. I will become king of Sin City. Not for a day, but for life. This match is far more to me than the ascension of a ladder. This is magnum opus of my words. Of the things I’ve stated. Of all the promises I’ve made yet to come true. Ben Jordan, are you understanding what I’m saying? Are you watching me?”


Alexander Raven sits upon the top of a ladder, straddling the top of it. Upon his head sits his broken and cracked pointed crown. A small raven skull at the very front of it. A smile stretched across his face, his hair pulled back tightly. His face clean shaven, his eyes focused, bubbling with an under lying anger.

“Athens is where I begin my path. Finally begin my path. I hope Knox doesn’t let me down. I hope that you give me the challenge I need in preparation for my pathway to redemption. I will snap the beak of the bird, rip the wings of the mythical beast, neuter the bitch and snap the wolf’s jaws. You will be the stepping stone of my pathway to my eternal ascension. This is finally the day that I know. The truth I know. Ben Jordan, the victim of the mythical creature such as I. You will fall to my boot. Open your eyes Ben.”

“All of you. Open your eyes.”


Alex takes the crown from his head, and lifts it high above himself. Holding it aloft. Slowly tilting his head back,and closing his eyes. He grips it tightly before pulling it in two, snapping it cleanly in half.

“Do you see me now?”

Darkness.

Silence.

Nothing.

5
Climax Control Archives / Failure
« on: April 01, 2022, 08:09:43 PM »

“Failure. It’s become part of me, hasn’t it? The reality of my situation, is a lot of bluster, and few actions to back it up. I’ve been champion before. I’ll be champion again. You can guarantee that. I will put the Bulldog down, champion or otherwise. I don’t like leaving the book open. I always get my receipts, one way, or the other. Yet, I must acknowledge. Failure. Bluster and hot air flows from the mouth of the confident false one. Yet I seek the truth and attempt to be more than what I should. I attempt to dig into the minds of those around me, yet there is a shift. The mind has become tempered to the slick words of the manipulator. The snake of the garden of Eden has been silenced by the power of the alien mind, if you will. I am old in that regard, despite my youth. Similarly to Bulldog. Whereas he talks straight out of the 90’s and wrestles it too. I talk through the visage of a snake. A tried and true technique, it crawls under the skin of all but the most tempered. That is my downfall. That is my failure. I’ve become reliant on a technique, that by oneself, is failing. Lessons. Even the most ascended figures, need learn. Lessons to be learnt, to avoid failure. Truth to myself. To the son of a boxer, rather than the spawn of the snake.”

“Reality takes this as it’s one truth. Only the psychopaths are truly unaware of the world around them. Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over and expecting a different result. I have done the same thing for ten god damn years, and wonder why the result does not change. Failure, upon failure. I’ve done nothing but crawl in the skin of the weak willed and simple minded, and in doing so, disconnected myself from the very reality I spew. I have disconnected myself from the existence I pretend to emanate. I am but a simple man, of simple focus. Fists of flesh, blood and bone. The hammer of the body, doubled. I grew up, knowing the power of a boxer’s fist. I learnt on streets of violence and solved altercations with the hammers of the body. I was, if nothing else. A consistent, violent, individual. Guidance was given to me. A guidance for the anger, the rage. James showed a world that accepted that rage. I didn’t hide behind fancy words, and manipulation. I didn’t need to. I could fight, and so I did.”


The click of a lighter. The spark of flame. The sizzle of a cigarette lighting. The clink of glass on wood, a glass rested upon a table. The deep inhale, then the exaggerated exhale. Alexander Raven was sat a small round table, high set. Planted upon a high stool, cigarette hanging loosely from his mouth. A spotlight illuminated the scene, the world around him blackened.

“I will get my receipt on you Bulldog. Champion or otherwise. I will grow, and I will learn. For the One True King must do so. I am the messiah of the broken, and the messiah, must know the truth, to guide his Conspiracy. But that leads me to this weeks Climax Control. Miles Kasey. Someone who mirrors me in some ways. Failure at the apex. Failure at success. A failure, who needs to learn. Climax, we will learn together, won’t we? Development, is important for men like us, Miles. Development of mind. Development of thoughts. We will, develop. We will learn. Yet in this, there is one thing that will be true. That will remain the truth. That will remain our reality. Miles.”

A smile spreads across Raven’s lips, the smoke billowing from his mouth. Obscuring his face. He lifts the glass from the table, to his lips. Swallowing down the contents in one, deeply inhaling once more, before another slow, exaggerated exhale.

“Miles. I don’t have much to say this week. I’m sore. I’m tried. I’m exhausted. Yet, that doesn’t matter. I will step into the ring with you. I will beat the flesh and blood, against flesh and blood. I will focus, I will learn. I will develop. My mind is elsewhere. My mind is on, other things. My mind, escapes me. A break, Miles. You will be my passport stamp. You will be the last stop before I find my focus. Before I find my own apex. Win or lose, it doesn’t matter. I will use you, Miles. For my own improvement. I don’t have to much to say this week. My mind is elsewhere. I apologise for being less than. I will make up for it, Miles. I will make up for it, I promise you. So please. Do not hate me, for the pain I will bring. Do not hate me, for the loss that I feel. Do not hate me, for giving you something less. It is not intentional. It is not your fault. The truth, Miles. Is that I just don’t care about you. I don’t care about any of this. I just, don’t give a damn. I need, to refocus.”

The click of the lighter one more time. The sound of bulbs smashing. Then…

Darkness.

Silence.

6
The Ebb and Flow
Scene One | Off-Camera | 05/03/2022


“It’s been a long time, Alex. What brings you back to us?”

A slender gentleman, a purple tinged suit clinging tightly to him. Pinstripes running the surface, the pristine black of the leather shoes almost shimmering in the low afternoon light. They found themselves sitting out the front of a quaint and quiet bar, Alex in the usual scruffy attire. Skinny black jeans, a regular crew tee, all black vans. A stark contrast to the well-dressed man that accompanied him.

“I’m surprised the both of you are still around. It’s been a long time, Sullivan.”

The short laughter, the crackle of a lighter, a cigarette placed upon the well-dressed man’s lips. Almost in a delayed mirror movement, Alex pulled one from his own pocket, placing it to his own lips. The offer of a flame from his companion.

“Of course we are, Alex. We’re your Conspiracy, are we not? Pleasant and Rines, the left and right hands of the Raven King. We do not forget our friend so easy. Even if you might have forgotten us.”

The sound of heavy wood sliding, the door opening. A larger man, imposing, heavy set emerging, also adorned in a suit. His a deep maroon colour, a deep black undershirt to stand out against it, three pint glasses in his hands. He strides over, placing one before each of them, then in front of an empty seat that he settles himself in.

“Poisonous words, ever the snake, Sullivan. I did not forget, so much as I needed to be free. Do not mock me, I’ve come to you with a deal.”

“Your deals are hardly even beneficial to us. Last time, you got beaten so badly you went into hiding. Last time, you didn’t pay up. We collect on our debts, bird boy. We collect, and you pay.”

“Ever the humourless one, Harrison. Please, Raven has his reasons. I suppose the memory of our dues leaked from his skull with the blood that ebbed from it. What do you need of our humble services, Raven Lord?”

Harrison grunted in irritation, raising his own glass, matched by the other two men. A cheers, the clinking of glass, and then the rapid drinking, all three draining their glasses in moments. Harrison’s eyes were hard and irritated. Deep circles belayed a troubled man who did not know good rest. Firm, to match the man who always seemed uncomfortable in his suits, yet never wore anything else.

Sullivan’s eyes were happy, and glimmering. Deep, deceptive blue hues. A snake hidden behind a happy mask, his face almost as rubbery as his morals. Alex always knew where he stood with Harrison. He was never quite so sure with Sullivan.

“I need you to find me, Leon Trucose. If you can’t find him, I need you to find out what caused James to lose his cool. James would never tell me, but I know him. I know that he wouldn’t hide it for no reason. I need to know why. Why it hurts him so. Why it is related to me. He said it was for my benefit.”

Mocking laughter, the leaning back in their chairs by his suited friends. Harrison lifted a finger, and shook it at Alex. Just the one, waggling back and forth.

“No. We’re not detectives. We don’t do dirtywork, and we don’t betray paying customers. No deals on this one, Alex.”

“I’m afraid my short-tempered friend is correct. We were involved with James and Leon, and alas. We cannot help you. You’ll just have to ask him again, I’m afraid. Now, my liege. Is there anything else?

Alex huffed in frustration. Of course they were involved. James was the one that introduced him to them. He’d trained with them for years, as had James. Veterans in their own right. Harrison the big man meat, who bulldozed through any who stood in his way. Sullivan the sly technician, the man of unlimited suplexes.

“I need some training partners.”

Harrison crossed his arms, leaning back in his seat once more. His eyes locked with Alex’s. Studying him, working him over. Sullivan raised a hand, and placed the back of his palm against Alex’s forehead. Alex went to brush his hand away, before Harrison’s hand rapidly shot across the table, grabbing at his wrist. Alex grimaced at the sudden sharp grip, Harrison’s fingers digging into his wrist. Sullivan tapped his hand against Alex’s cheek a few times, a smile spread wide across his face.

“Of course you do. The One True King needs a helping hand from his own left and right. The Conspiracy back together once more. Isn’t that right Harrison?”

“He’s better than he was. Still sloppy. Still no explosive power. Can throw a punch, but no force behind it. Talks about being a fighter, yet can’t fight through the pain. Oh, this one needs us, Sullivan.”

“What do we get out of this?”


“Come now Harrison. Tonight is a tonight for celebration and libations. No need to taint the good spirits with talk of business. I will think of some way Alex can pay us back. He owes us a debt, after all.”

Harrison released his grip, his arms crossing over once more. Sullivan leaning back, tapping the ash off his cigarette. That insipid smile fading from his face finally, placing a $50 on the table.

“Our shout, Alex. We’ll be in contact.”

Sullivan gave a half smile, before standing up. Harrison huffed somewhat as he got to his feet, his knees giving him some trouble these days. Alex nodded and closed his eyes. The sizzle of flesh sparked him back to life, as Sullivan put his cigarette out on Alex’s forearm. He knocked his hand away, the cigarette scattering to the floor. He held his arm where there was now a burn.

“Learn to fight pain, Alex. You’ll never succeed otherwise.”

“Toughen up, little bird.”

Alex just inhaled sharply, as his friends smiled and bowed ever so slightly to him, before turning on their heels and leaving. The thud of their dress shoes echoing, the disparity in height still an amusing sight. Alex groaned gently as he looked at the rather nasty cigarette burn on his arm.

The Opening Act
Scene Two | On-camera | 07/03/2022


“Are you ready for this, Bulldog?”

A desolate, empty arena. House lights were on, illuminating the ringside area. Empty seats, half set up, half packed away. A raised ramp. Almost eerie in his devoid quietness. A spotlight shines down on the centre of the ring, a small podium sitting in the middle. A red velvet cover over the top of an object, a hooded figure standing beside it.

“The opening act. The pace setting fight. A championship to be determined, a chance at redemption. We are the ones that will set the night on fire. That will ignite the blaze of glory that all will seek to claim on this fortuitous night. I wonder, Bulldog. If you feel as confident this time, entering into this second round. I do, Bulldog. I actually feel more confident this time. Things become more apparent as you get used to yourself. The more rust shaken off, the more the wings spread. Connections, old friends. I find them all, and I remind myself of who I am. I remind myself, of who the hell, Alexander Raven is. Do you know who I am, Bulldog? Have you been listening? Have you been following? I need you to understand me. I need you to listen.”

“I am the god damn True King of Sin City. I am the god damn True Messiah of the broken and beaten. I am the voice of those who cannot stand. I am the voice for those who cannot lead. I am the leader for those who want to be led to a better place. A silencer of the mocking elitists who litter our sport. I am a man who is focused. I am man who does not lose twice. I am a man who reconnects people with their reality. Do you need a reality check, Bulldog? I think you do. I learnt a lot about you, Bulldog. I learnt a lot about who you are. What kind of wrestler you are. What kind of fighter you are. I learnt who I am standing against. I learnt many things, Bulldog. The one thing beyond all others that I learnt, is this.”

“You’re as lost as I am.”


The hooded figure throws back the hood, Alexander Raven beneath. His hands gripping either side of the covering of the object on the podium. His eyes gazing over the empty arena around him. His eyes fixating on something far into the distance. The lights click off, darkness engulfing. Silence and swirling blackness filling the area. More and more time in nothingness, before the lights come back on. The ringside seats all now occupied with people. Nameless faces, a variety of clothes. Alternative metal-heads, suited up business types, typical jocks. All walks of life.

“The broken come in many shapes and forms. They walk all aspects of life. Those disconnected are in all areas of the world. They wear the faces of your neighbours, your co-workers, the person who makes you your coffee. Nobody is immune from becoming disconnected. Nobody is safe from the dangers of the world. Like you and I, Bulldog. There is a world of people who just as lost as we. Who fight their internal demons, who share a variety of names. Envy, Sloth, Gluttony, Greed, Lust, Pride, and Wrath. The seven deadly sins, as deigned by long held tradition. The cardinal sins, the capital vices. Wrath and Pride, they hold power over us, don’t they Bulldog? A very proud man you are. A very wrathful person. Yet in your pride, you are lost. In your depths of rage, you too are lost. I know this, for I am lost too. I am disconnected from reality, and seeking more. My ambition borders of greed. My ambitions border on envy. My ambitions are almost lustful in their pursuit. I am a proud man, and I am a wrathful man.”

“Semantics, isn’t it, Bulldog? Words of illusion. There is one consistent in the words those who’ve faced me have used. Knox, Fenris, the Branded Hen, and the soon to be neutered Bulldog. All have acknowledged the venom in which I speak with. The dripping of potent disillusionment. The bending of the mind. The manipulation of thought. The crawling into your skin. I do not pretend to be anything but that. A man, who knows their words can win the battle. A man who assures his odds, by fighting the mental war. Powerful men, with weak minds, will fall to the smallest of breezes. Tacticians of war have been deciding factors in the entirety of human history. The silver tongued serpent has forever bent the knees of the most powerful kings to their whims. Suggestion and thought, manipulation of sin. It’s a reality, Bulldog. It’s a reality that I know all too well, for it is my reality. No word is without its place. No word is without its meaning. Symbolism, metaphor. These are things you pride yourself on, are they not? A man of genius IQ such as yourself would know. He would know the power that such words hold. He would know the history that leads to the ends of these roads. More powerful men than you and I, have fallen to the serpent’s suggestion. Weaker men than us, have climbed that mountain and donned the crown. Sin, Bulldog. Sin is what separates us. Focus of our sin, is what guides our paths. Both lost, yet with only our truth guiding us. Do our roads end at the same place? Are we simply at a crossroads, refusing to budge, to give way to the other? Where are we, Bulldog? What are we?”


Alex releases his grip and holds his hands up. Palms to the sky, stretched above his head. The people sitting around the ringside area beginning to stamp their feet. A steady drumbeat rhythm. Boom… Boom… Boom…

A smile spreading across Alexander Raven’s face, his eyes closing as he tilts his head back. Appearing to be soaking in the behaviour of those around him. Soaking in the world around him.

“The Conspiracy are my lifeblood, Bulldog. Men, women, children and persons. Any who are lost, yet wish to be guided. Any who are disconnected yet need that guidance. Any who are broken and need a voice. I am, a king, amongst the birds. I am the lord of my flock. I am the One True King of Sin City. You are holding my crown, Bulldog. A cracked crown, with a fate dictated by odds and gambles. A cracked crown dictated by the whims of the wheel. I like the odds in my favour, Bulldog. I am not a gambling man, we’ve discussed this. For I do not enjoy the aspect of potentiality. Yet there is truth I know all too well. One truth that cannot be ignored. One truth that remains true. There is only a select few men who hold two victories over Alexander Raven. Two men, in fact. The Stygian and Alexander Remington. The odds are you will not join that list. The odds are, you will not become the third of that list. The odds are, that Knox will not become the third of that list. The odds are, that Fenris will not become the third of that list. The two men that hold that prestige are far and beyond any other I’ve ever stepped in that ring with. They are far and beyond any other man who has ever squared off with Alexander Raven. They are far and beyond you and I. Men who knew this sport in and out. Men who knew the business better than any other. Men who would move in, and take the world by storm in their first few breaths. You are not one of those men, Bulldog. Yet we owe receipts to the same men, who threaten the same spot you do. I owe a long held receipt to Griffin Hawkins. I owe a new found receipt to Fenris. Men you dreamed of matches with. Men you requested matches with. We are similar in so many ways, even if you are little more than a scared, old man. I will get my receipt on Griffin Hawkins. I will get my receipt on Fenris. Knox will get his receipt.”

“I will get my receipt on you, Bulldog.”


He reached down to grip the fabric covering the object once more. With a sharp tear away, and a final echoing stomp from those around him, a skull sat upon that pedestal. It’s sharp features reminiscent of that of a wolf’s. It’s snout blunted short, an over-size bulldog skull by the looks. Engraved into the centre of the forehead was the red and black of the roulette table. He lifted the skull, and placed it upon his own head. The eye sockets resting perfectly over his own, the blunted snout squashing his own features somewhat.

“Just like the lord saviour of many the world over, once wore a crown of thorns. I too, wear a crown of relentless and unabating violence. I wear a crown of bone, to sit upon the throne of flesh and blood, Bulldog. I wear this crown, to remind myself of the beating heart and pulsing veins that flow beneath the surface of every man. For every man will bleed, and I will be the one that lets the blood flow. I will ensure your demise, Bulldog. I will ensure that you collapse beneath my boot, for the reality of everything is this. I won’t fail again. I cannot fail again. For in failure there is total loss of self. My mind cannot allow for Alexander Raven to fail again. Collapse, reality, disconnection. Disconnection, Bulldog. Are you too, ready to be disconnected from reality?”

“I only ask, for the end game is clear in front of us, don’t you think? The odds to be played, the games to be won. Another loss, puts me back to the bottom of the heap. The heap that does not deserve Alexander Raven’s blessing. The heap that does not deserve my presence. I will not be the building block upon which another star emerges. I will not become the building block of your career, Bill. It blows my mind, that someone so young, can be so old in mind. It baffles me, that you Bulldog, possess the mind of a genius, yet cannot see the truth beyond your nose. Failure, Bulldog. Failure is not something that is allowed within my kingdom. If I am to fail, then I shan’t be granted the crown of bone and ash that I so deem myself worth of. You will fall short, Bulldog. I can guarantee it. For this time, there is no argument to be had. For this time, there is no excuse. For this time, Bulldog. I will lift you up, and bring you down for the final blow. The Raven’s Spine will break yours. The Conspiracy, my murder, my flock. We will choke you out. We will choke your life essence free.”


Alex raised his hands above his head, the lights dimming further. The stomping of the feet resuming again. The rhythmic drum beat of feet hitting the floor. More light fading, until only the spotlight upon Alexander Raven remains. He clapped his hands together above his head, and raised the skull off his face, holding it aloft. Slamming it down rapidly, it split in half, as flames erupted from around the edges of the ring. Their flickering light illuminating him from every angle, sharpening his features. His eyes focused, angry. The beat continuing.

“I will burn you down, Bulldog. In the flames of my ascension, all will be burnt to the ground. All kings will perish in the inferno that I bring. All lords will bow and kneel. Take the knee and accept that the One True King of Sin City has arrived, and with each week, focused. Focused and watching. Listening, understanding. Are you listening to me, Bulldog? Are you following me? Do you understand me? I need you to listen, I need you to follow. I need you to understand me, Bulldog. For in understanding, you will realise the truth. That this is not a mere game to me. This isn’t just me standing across from a man who lives his gimmick. This isn’t a joke to me. I lose myself to the disconnect that I allow into my life. For there is only the one truth for, Bulldog. You will be the building block to my success. I promise you that. I promise everyone that.”

“I will neuter this bitch.”


The smile stretching across his face, his right hand raising. The click of the fingers.

Silence, darkness.

“I’m coming to engulf you, Bulldog. You will be my Blaze of Glory. I promise that.”

Nothingness.

7
Climax Control Archives / Guidance
« on: February 17, 2022, 03:38:13 AM »
Agostino & Brandon

Redemption
Scene One | On-Camera | 15/02/2022


“Redemption looms on the horizon once more. Yet this one holds more power than any other. Brandon Hendrix, Agostino Romano. Reality beckons. The redemption I seek extends further than the minute and forgettable missteps of recent. Redemption offered with two giving hands. The Branded Hen to collapse beneath my boot once more, and silenced, permanently. Opportunity to silence the old dog. Surrounded by a chance at redemption, I cannot allow this to slip. For this is the pathway to my greater ascension. Patience, it’s all about the patience.”

“Bulldog, you loom on the horizon of my eyes once more. You loom in my future once more, and you know, just as I know. We will stand against each other in that ring once more. Blaze of Glory X looms as the inferno that beckons the bringing of the True King. The Broken Messiah, Alexander Raven will be the one truth again, and you know Bulldog. You know, redemption looms. For reality is as reality will be. Two men in history own two victories over Alexander Raven. Two men alone, and no more will be added to that illustrious list. All get one chance, all get an opportunity to show their power and teach a lesson I will heed. A lesson that leads to ultimate and eternal redemption. Bulldog, my eyes are set upon you, for beneath my boot you will be the path of my ascension. Dogs, hounds, beasts and animals. Surrounded by the mystical and the obsessed. Animalistic nature pervades SCW. Obsession with beasts of power. Mockery of the nature of those blessed with the names. Mockery. Pathetic mockery.”


A crown, illuminated by a spotlight. Shimmering, golden and cracked. Broken yet not destroyed. Threatening to split in two. Resting upon the red velvet podium, wooden floor beneath. Hands slipping around the sides gripping the crown. Holding it tightly, pointer fingers looping the peaks to grip, the metal cutting into the flesh.

“Sickeningly, this business is infested with cliques and bodies of association. Unable to stand upon own feet, everyone is mixed in a gross orgy of connection. You know this better than any, Bulldog, don’t you? It’s impossible to be one of your own here. Association is everything, and history more so. Interestingly, my own history does not escape me, even now. All these years removed. Griffin Hawkins is one I am owed redemption for. A man who broke my crown. A man who dethroned me in a showing better than any other in his career previously. A dream match for you, wasn’t it? A dream match against Hawkins. The double bird himself. It’s a dream match for me too, Bulldog. It’s a dream match for me too. Redemption. It starts with the silencing of the Branded Hen. It continues with my victory and claiming of your own crown. A fresh, gleaming and clean one. With your collapse comes my journey to taking what is owed. Hawkins, Knox, Fenris. Men who own one over me. Men who threaten to add themselves to an all too short list. Men who wish to stand over my limp frame twice.”

“Never again will there be another Remington or Stygian.”


The jagged edges of the crown continued to slice into the flesh. Blood beginning to seep from the flesh, the red mixing with the shimmer gold and silver of the peaked crown. Crimson beads sliding down the face, dripping down on the velvet. Added stains to the gentle material.

“Bulldog, stand tall. Stand proud. For my redemption does not begin, nor does it end with you. You are the pathway to my ascension. You are the pathway, and you will fall beneath my boot. You are no Alexander Remington. You are no, Black Dragon. You are nothing but an old dog, lashing out and biting at any who come near. Lacking the gentle touch, you’re becoming bitter and old. An angry old bulldog, frothing at the jowls. Focus, Bulldog. For I am coming again, I promise you. This time, there is no contest. There is no battle. There is, one truth.”

“The crown of redemption, will rest upon my head once more.”


The crown lifted, the figure of Alexander Raven stepping into frame. The Cheshire grin spread across his face. The crown being placed upon his own head. Gems of crimson sliding down the face of it, onto his own. His hands stained of the same colour as the velvet.

“Redemption, Bulldog. I’m coming.”

The click, the shatter of a bulb. The sounds of glass raining down.

Darkness.

Silence.

My King
Scene Two | Off-Camera | 15/12/2015


“No more, please Alex. No more blood.”

The wounds were still fresh. His body racked with pain, numbed by the drips that flowed into him. They’d removed a part of the skull to relieve the pressure on his brain. Injuries similar to that of a severe motorcycle crash. Her hand was gentle on his face, light caressing of the skin. He smiled just slightly, as much as possible through the swelling. Jamilyn and Remington had done a number on him.

“You might be right, lover. You might be right.”

Grumbles, hardly formed words. Her free hand linking fingers with his, placing a gentle kiss to his face. The momentary pain was worth the sweetness that came.

“No more blood. No more violence. No more, please.”

Alex tightened his hand in hers. Turning his head slightly to look at her. Eyes closed gently, lifting a hand to her, gentle running his fingers along her arm.

“I’m sorry. I just wanted, to be the king.”

A smile crossed her face, strands of red falling across his features. Her sun-kissed face creasing with a mixture of pain and sadness.

“You’re always going to be my king, Alex. Always. I don’t care for the gold, the glitz, the money. I don’t care about any of it. Just you. You’re always going to be my king.”

“I love you, Loz.”

She kissed him again, holding his hand tightly, the one on his face cupping just slightly tighter. He was okay hurting for her. If he was never to return, it would be okay. If he was her king, that’s all that mattered.

Branded Hen
Scene Three | On-Camera | 17/02/2022


The waft of cigarette smoke, the clink of glass on glass, the silence of the night sky. Illuminated lightly by a string of fairy lights, Alexander Raven sitting on his decking, eyes looking out into the night sky. A small table to his side, ashtray, bottle of that Old Number Seven, and a tumbler. Glass half full, whiskey stones sitting within.

“Once again, we cross paths, Brandon. Once again, for an opportunity at success. Once more, Brandon, you stand in my path. Not for the first time, you stand between me and a crown. Between me and my ascension. Not for the first time, I will have to walk through you, to get what I want. Brandon, I showed you once, and now I will show you again.You are beneath me. I proved it when we both arrived here. Luck is what gave you a win over me. Luck. No body beats me twice, Brandon. No one stands above the king. No one holds my crown aloft my own head, except for me. No one runs me out of town. No one, Brandon. Not you, not the bulldog. Not Agostino. No one.”

“The stakes are different this time, aren’t they? You’re no longer on top of the world. You are focused elsewhere, and you do not have your eyes on the prize. Offered similar trajectories, yet you’ve fallen short of myself again. Yet they offer you the same, over and over. Yet they give you opportunity to stand against me again. Do they doubt me so? Or do they have such admiration for you, that they are willing to overlook your failures? Constant and continuous failures. I wonder, Brandon. Do you understand my words yet? Do you understand what I offer to you? You do not. You do not understand and you do not follow. Failure is your meta, and I understand that. I will not allow myself to slip to your level.”


A deep sharp inhale, a spike of pain across his face. Lowering the half smoked cigarette to the ashtray, laying it on the edge. Lifting the half full glass, swallowing deeply of the liquid. Draining every last drop in one large mouthful.

“The Branded Hen, do you know why that is your name? For you a branded naught but a chicken in my life. Clucking and pecking the ground. Looking for success beneath you, rather than raising your head to the sky. Short flights of obsession, wishing you could match the birds of prey that fly above. Branded with failure, to be the first pecked to death. Yet there is more to this branding, isn’t there? A reality that if you fail again, Brandon, you’re exactly what I’ve accused you of. Being nothing but a liar. Nothing but a complete failure, who got lucky. That you couldn’t beat me then, you couldn’t beat me now. Reality, Hen. Reality. I am your reality, and in that reality you are beneath me. You will always be beneath me. I proved it when I got you one and one. When you couldn’t run from me anymore. I got my opportunity against the Bulldog. I came up short once. I won’t come up short again. What have you done? Offered multiple opportunities at a crown. Failed to even get to the coronation ceremony.”

“Yet, here we stand, with a man to have donned that crown that eluded you. Does it boil your blood, Branded Hen? I wonder. Does it boil your blood that despite every acidic word you spewed my direction, you failed. Not only yourself, but every one you pretend to be a leader for. No one respects the fallen, do they Hen? No one respects that man who cannot succeed. I know this well. I spend a lot of time with no respect for myself. I spent a long time, with no respect for myself. Beaten and broken. I often hurt myself. But, there was a guiding hand for me, Branded Hen. Someone who helped me see my potential. Who laid the unbreakable truth on me. I will never, ever, forget her. I do not fail, for I cannot. I will not fail, for I will not ever let her down. Do you have a guiding hand, Hen? I do hope so. Dearly, I do. For that guiding hand, will guide you out the door.”


The cigarette now a trail of ash, the filter falling limp just to the side of the tray. The glass placed lightly on the table, his opposite hand going to his head, running through his hair, before holding his own head. Lowering it slightly, leaning forward in his seat.

“Agostino. A man to be crowned, looking for a new kingdom. A man who laps in the admiration of the dying fans. The thrill of the rev of an engine. A happy man. An ignorant one too. Success is in your blood, isn’t it, Agostino Romano? Success is your achievement, your reality. I respect that, Agostino. I respect it. A three time champion here, strong, powerful and yet a failure in of itself. Three victories, three losses. Failures to hold your kingdom together. Now you stand at the precipice of a new land. A new journey to power. You stand in my path. My trail. You do not know the fallacy that, that is. You are nothing, Agostino. A failure of success. A failure of a king. A failure. I resent failures. I resent those who mock what I do. I resent those who stand to mock everything I do to make myself great. I resent all of it, because at the end of the day, there is no success in you. Happy, and ignorant. Do you understand what it takes to bleed your own people, for success? Do you even understand pain?”

“I wonder, Agostino. I wonder what drives you. I wonder what makes you tick. I wonder, I wonder. For you are my virtual unknown, despite everything I do know. You are new to me, you are fresh blood. One look on you, one look on me. A world of difference. Scars and pain that separate. I’m sure you’ve experienced the hurt of loss. I’m sure you’ve experienced the physical pain of being hurt and broken. I’m sure you think yourself capable of being successful. Yet, reality dawns quickly for the ignorant. I ask you, Agostino, are you following me? Do you understand what I’m saying? Are you listening? I need you to listen to me. I need you to follow. I need you, to understand.”


Alex slowly stands up, slipping both hands into his jeans pockets. His coat hanging loose over his shoulders. His eyes fixated off into the sky, moving to stand at the end of his deck, leaning upon a railing. Left hand removed, gesturing slightly at the open night sky. The light rustle of trees in the wind. A quiet, devoid area.

“I find solace in the night time sky. I find solace in the empty nature of the dark. I find solace in the peace. Where does your solace lay, Agostino? Do you too have a guiding hand? Do you too have someone who keeps you grounded? Promises made to a person you love. Promises made to the sky. Promises made to the ether. Do you make promises? I have broken many, but I am reminded by the little things. The twinkle of the stars, the ash that drops from my cigarettes, the harsh burn of the liquor that satiates the demons. I am reminded when I look at the scars, fading but forever there. I am reminded when I look at them, at the person who helped heal them. I am reminded of who I do this for. What I do this for. Why I do this. I promised to always be her king. Forever, and a day. Even in my lowest times. My periods of self-hate and disrespect, I know. I know that when I look upon the world beyond me, that she is there. That she holds my crown, and caresses my flesh. That for every drop of blood, blood she begged not to spill. She wipes it clean, and kisses the wounds. Do you have that guidance, Agostino? Do you understand what I fight for?”

“I often lose myself, to myself. Lose myself to the anger. Lose myself to the disconnect in my own brain. My own loss of reality. I lose myself regularly. I lose myself in the bullshit I spew at times. There’s a hard line that I walk between my reality and the next. I am a king, I will be the one true king again. I do believe in my Conspiracy. These are my truths, and that they say remain. I do believe that words I offer, give guidance to the broken and the lost. I am living a reality close to the bullshit I spew, but I do lose myself. I lose myself to a place that she guides me free from. I lose myself to a world that she reconnects to this one. Guidance, in love. Guidance in understanding. She is the one I speak for, you understand, Agostino? I have my faith, and my mission. I have my crown to achieve, and I have my blood to take. You stand in the way of me getting that. In the way of me taking the blood of those who will not get the best of me. Hendrix, Bulldog, Fenris, Knox, Hawkins, Stygian and Remington. I will not be bested, and you will not be added to a list of names far beyond yourself. You will not become another thorn in my side owed a beating. You will not become another who is owed violence. I will end any who stand in my way. Know this Agostino. You and the Branded Hen are naught by parasites suckling upon the gifts of this world. Suckling upon my reality.”

“Do you understand me?”


The smile spreading once more, eyes closing. The lights beginning to blink out, one by one. Slowly casting the world into a moonlit night time dream. His hand still outstretched, palm up turned, fingers tensed and curled. Gripping an invisible object. Pulling down the scene begins to fade into darkness. All light fading, everything dipping into that pervasive blackness.

Darkness.

“Hendrix. Agostino. I am, Alexander Raven. The Broken Messiah and the future True King of SCW. Failure, I will not allow. She will not allow. Failure is not allowed in this path. Be the bones beneath my boots that build my throne of porcelain white. The bleached bones that adorn my armour, that signify my victories. Be those who fall, and rise again as my Conspiracy. Guidance, salvation. Reality. I offer these gifts. For you, Hendrix, an escape. For you, Agostino, a taste of true violence. No more, no less.”

“I will guide you, as she guides me.”


Silence.

8
Climax Control Archives / Rebuild, Love and Reality
« on: February 12, 2022, 05:01:50 AM »
Listen to me
Scene One | Off-Camera | 08/02/2022

“You need to listen to me, rockstar. You need to listen good. I’m going home, and if you aren’t coming, that’s on you baby. But I ain’t staying to watch you burn up. Rebuild, refocus, whatever you wanna call it. I ain’t here for it. Good luck Alex. I love you, rockstar.”

Raven hung up his phone, having listened to the voicemail for a final time. His eyes fixated upon the picture of him and his best friend that filled the lock screen of his phone. It was an older photo. Real old. Alex had short hair, his old red pads and tights. James had the sunglasses, his hair greasy, and the purple trunks. They were fresh, they were young. They were hungry.

“I’m sorry James.”

He raised his eyes up to the setting sun. The cigarette raised to his lips, a slow inhale. Lost deep in his own mind, watching as a plane takes off through the sky, his eyes watching as it goes.

“I can’t come back. Not yet.”

Another deep inhale, settling back into his chair, eyes closing slowly. Slowed breathing, the cigarette going limp on his lips. The world going dark, and the darkness blinding behind his eyelids.

The sizzle of flesh burning, a sharp inhale of pain as he sat up. The sun had gone, the world plunged into darkness. The cigarette ember had fallen onto his hand, burning it. Shaking his hand off, he dropped the filter into an ashtray, and blew on the burn.

“You’re pathetic.”

Alex’s head snapped back, looking around. A familiar voice in his ears. A voice that couldn’t exist. A voice that belonged to the dead. Yet, he was alone. Nobody was there.

“Failure, upon failure. Always a failure.”

“Shut up.”

Alex grunted in frustration. The voice wasn’t coming from around him, but deep in his own mind. The voice of his tormenting father. The voice of the man he had buried. Forever buried.

“Shut up, shut up. You never listen, you just shut everyone up. Pathetic, Alex. James offered you the world and you let it leave.”

“Shut up, shut up, shut up!”

His knuckles dug into his temples, shaking his head back and forth in frustration. Leaning forward, pressing his elbows hard into his thighs, slowly opening his palms to cover his ears and sides of his head.

“You’re lost in your own instability Alex. I’m not even real anymore, and you still can’t silence me. You’re lost, and you can’t admit it. Hiding behind masks. Hiding, hiding.”

“You don’t understand me. You don’t get it.”

“I’m not the one who bloodies a dead man in their dreams, Alex. I’m not the one who cannot believe their own false words. False King, False Idol, False Messiah. Everything about you is false, Alex. You can’t separate fact from fiction.”[/I


A deep breath in. A deep breath out.

In.

Out.

“I am not lost. I am not broken. I am not a liar. I know who I am. I know.”

“You’re pathetic, Alex. Pathetic.”

“I will rebuild. I will refocus. I will be champion. I will be the king. I am the fucking King.”

“Don’t fail again, Alexander.”


Focused.

Rebuild
Scene Two | On-camera | 10/02/2022

“Instead of the bulldog being neutered. I got my wings clipped. It’s a reality. One I do not appreciate, but it is the truth. The truth is, I failed. The truth is, I didn't lead anyone. The truth is, the conspiracy went hungry. The truth is that I failed. That I lost my worth. That I became pathetic. There is no excuse for one loss, yet two? Two losses, unacceptable. I cannot accept this. I must rebuild.”

“I will rebuild.”


A chair, spotlighted. A man upon it, bare chest, tattered jeans, bare feet. Hair cut short, rough stubble. Eyes closed.

“Rebuild.”

“I am, Alexander Raven. Who is, Alexander Raven? A man lost, a man found. Tortured by demons of the past. Tortured by his own failures. Tortured by a desire to succeed. I was once The King. I will be the The King again. Ascend the mountain, and claim the crown once more. No more failure. No more loss. No more mockery of the path that led me here. I am, Alexander Raven. I will be the One True King again. Those who follow, will always follow. My congregation, my conspiracy. They will always nip at the heels for food. They will always eat the carrion I leave for them. Acknowledged or otherwise, they will fall in line, or become the feed of the masses. Lost, I am. Pathetic, I will not be. A failure, no longer.”

“Thank you, Knox. Thank you, Bulldog. A bird and a dog. Locked jaws, fluttering feathers, bleeding and limp. Tear the throat and release the essence of existence. Freed by the pecking of the beak. Revived by the lapping of the tongue. Understanding, accepting. I will, rebuild my kingdom. I will, rebuild my crown. I will, rebuild…”

“Alexander Raven.”


The spotlight flickers, then clicks off. The click of a lighter, failing. More clicks, sparks of light emanating through the dark. Then a lantern hanging from a pole ignites. Then another, and another. A trail of lanterns lighting, illuminating a path.

“I am, the true and the false. I am the leader of broken, and the messiah for them. I am, the king. I will sit upon the mountain top because there is one reality. The reality of Alexander Raven. Disconnected from it, is everyone. Disconnected from the truth. I will show them all. I will show them all my truth! Fenris! You will be the one that falls to make the steps to my ascension. No more, no less. I will not fail again. I cannot fail again. I won’t allow myself to fail again. Losing may be inevitable, but if I need to hurt someone. I will ensure I hurt them sufficiently. No more will I let the odds be stacked. I will level the playing field, and I will do it anyway I need to.”

“Blood will flow if I so demand it. Bones will break, if I so want it. Reality will become what I make it. No more disconnect. No more lies. My truth, is the only truth. Complacency in being acceptable is no longer so. I will not be content until I stand above all others. Free of the cliques and social circles that make up this world. Independent of the drama that inhabits all that surround me. I am, Alexander Raven, and I am going to be the one that sits atop that mountain top.”


The wooden floor between rows of pews glowered with the lantern light. A steep stop, and then the pulpit. A click and the rush of flames. Stained glass suddenly illuminated, the image of a raven wrapping a mountain in its wings. The world chaotic around it. Flames flickering behind the glass, keeping the image dancing with moving light.

“Blood. Blood is the flavour of existence, and it is with blood that path is forged. Blood is the essence of life, and it is in that I find solace. The loss of life, the stilling of blood, feeds the scavengers. Feeds my conspiracy. Like vultures they pick everything clean. You’re a man with trained fists, Fenris. You’re a man who knows how to fight. You’re a man who knows how to hurt and let the blood. Bloodied knuckles are a constant of my life. I’ve always been far too eager to settle with violence what should have been solved with wit. Words have become my power, not because I cannot fight, but because I choose not to. Yet, understanding is important. Understanding that blood sometimes speaks words that no wit can muster. That no professor of manipulation can succeed on. Failure to hone my fists has let me down. No longer, Fenris. No longer, will I fail.”

“I made a promise, that I cannot keep any longer. Yet, they will forgive me. They will forgive that I cannot just allow myself to be mocked and belittled. They will forgive, for they always understood. They always understood, even when I couldn’t. I was their king, and I will be their king again. Though their blood no longer flows in their own, I will let their soul exist forevermore in my own.”


The pinstripe blue suit, no tie, shirt unbuttoned just slightly too far down. Rough stubble, messy hair. Alexander Raven, Cheshire smile spread widely across his face.

Lost Love
Scene Three | Off-Camera | 24/01/2019

“She’s gone, James.”

Alex was sitting on the run-down couch. The tiny apartment felt even tinier today. His eyes bloodshot, red raw. Face stained with tears, agony deep in his eyes.

“What do you mean, she’s gone? What the fuck do you mean, Alex?”

James knew what he meant. Alex knew he didn’t really want to hear the truth. But he needed to. Lauren was gone. The shining light of stability in Alexander’s life, gone. Deceased.

“It happened last night. She didn’t wake up. She just… didn’t wake up.”

James placed a hand on Alex’s shoulder, and squeezed. He squeezed so hard he thought it might pop it right out. Heartbreak in both of their eyes. She may have been Alex’s lover, but she was James’ best friend as well. Three peas in a pod, living their life.

“She told me, how proud she was of you, all the time, Ravey. All the time. You know, she wanted you to give it one more go. She could see it baby, she could see it. You, on top of the world again. This time with a guiding hand, sugar. A guiding hand and a loving one too. Someone to ground you, rockstar. Someone to keep you from losing yourself to yourself. She was proud of you. Don’t you forget that.”

James, ever the man of macho, dropped the sunglasses onto his face. Not letting his tears flow. Not yet. They’d come, just not yet. Not whilst Alex needed to hurt. Not whilst he was dying inside.

“I can’t do it James. Not without her. I can’t do it man. I promised her. I promised I wouldn’t become that guy again. I promised I wouldn’t hurt people, again. Not like that. No more blood. No more violence. No more.”

“I know rockstar. I know. But you gotta trust me on this. She wanted you happy, she always did. She showed you a way, baby. She showed you a way to do it, without being you. Without the blood and guts. Without the violence, rockstar. Words, Alex. Words. You got the gift of the gab my friend, and a mind of clarity now. Manipulation of the mind will always be your asset. Not like me. I ain’t one for chattin’. I’m action baby, all action. But I can’t do it no more. I don’t want it. But you do, don’t you? She loved you Alex. Even with your brains pouring onto the cement. She wrapped you up each time, and she kissed your wounds healthy. Trust me Alex. When you’re ready, you do her proud. You do her proud, rockstar.”

   James loosened his grip and turned away, leaning against a window frame. Alex looked on in despair, lost and hurt. Yet truth rang. Truth always rang deep. One day, he’d step in that ring again. Not for him. Not for anyone. For her. And he’d anything to ensure he reached the peak, just to brush her greatness.

“Get some rest. I’ll come by later.”

Alex nodded, and laid himself down on the couch. A blanket draped over his body, the light tapping of shoes as James walked away. The click of the door. Then silence.

So much damn silence.

He was alone, and he hated it. It was quiet, and he hated it. Without her, the world was bleak and dark. Without her, he had no love.

Reality
Scene Four | On-Camera | 10/02/2022

“Fenris.”

“You’re something of a boogeyman here, aren’t you? A man who knows how to get it done. A worker among workers. Someone who, like me, is gonna climb that mountain, one damn body at a time. I respect that Fenris. I do, I respect a man who works for what he gets. It takes a lot to step from one cage into another, I know that. It takes a helluva lot more to do it, and do it well. You’re not the first man of trained fists to step in the ring with me. I doubt very much you will be the last either. It does not frighten me, Fenris. The aura, the danger. It does not scare me in the slightest. The reality is this. I need to beat people like you, to prove that I can do what I say. I failed against the Bulldog, I have no excuse for that. I failed against Knox, I have no excuse for that. I fail again, I can’t even pretend that I deserve the attention being given my way. That’s my reality, Fenris. Rebuilding begins at the bottom, and the bottom of the steps to ascend to my throne need be the sturdiest.”

“No bones are sturdier than those of the wolf who will devour the sun. No bones more fitting than the one who will eat the chief god himself, and swallow him whole. None are more so deserving than the Wolf-Giant god himself, wouldn’t you say?”


The sound of a whip crack and more lanterns ignite. The room suddenly ignited in warm yellow glow of flames. Upon the pulpit, a candle sits upon a skull-like object. Elongated jaw, sharp teeth. A wolf skull.

“Iconography, it is important across most cultures. Symbolism is rampant in the icons of culture and faith. I enjoy obvious symbolism, Fenris. Pagan religion, being discussed in the house of god. Yet very satanic is the symbolism on display here. A wolf’s skull, lanterns and candles, the messenger of death emblazoned on glass, protecting the world the chaos around it. Symbolism, Fenris. Symbolism is my arena of safety. Yet in this symbolism there is more to be seen. There is more to be understood. There is more to know. My kingdom is not clear at first, but you will understand. If I need to run your own blood into your eyes, I will. If I need to break your neck, I will. If I need to hurt you, to appease, I will. Fenris, do you understand who I am? Do you understand, Alexander Raven? Are you listening to me? Are you following me? Are you understanding me?”

“I need you to understand me, Fenris. I need you to follow. I need you to listen to me. How in touch with your reality are you? I wonder. Many people think themselves the truth, and I understand that. Disconnected, yes. Many are disconnected from the truth of their own reality. Bleeding out slowly, and unaware. Blood, Fenris. How are you with blood? How are you with taking it? How are you with giving it? I wonder, Fenris. How ready to bleed for your cause are you truly? How ready to lose all you love, for the sake of your reality, are you? I ask only to know Fenris. I want to know, because I am aware of what I would give, for my reality to be different. To give my blood for the sake of anothers. To give my life, for the existence of another. Memory, Fenris. Memory.”


Alex struck a match, and ignited the candle that sat upon the wolf skull. Oversized skull. Lifting it, he raised it to sit upon his head, his head slipping inside it. Eyes looking through the eye sockets. The snout and jaws covering his nose. The candle flickering on top.

“Love soothed my once burning heart. Love soothed the anger, and satiated the lust. Love brought me down from my mountain, yet showed me happiness in my small shack next to the river. Being king, no longer mattered. Yet… she was a queen. She deserved a throne that I no longer wanted. She deserved a reality where the mountaintop was our home. A reality, where I could be the king without the blood. Without the violence. With word and wit, symbolism and manipulation. Words of power. She no longer exists in my world. No longer exists in any world. Yet I know. I know this deeply, that the river that bubbled beside our home. It will run red with the blood of those who stand between me and the dream we dreamed. The river, the snow and skies themselves will be painted crimson if I so deign it, for that is the reality I accept. That is the reality, I want. That is the reality of my world. Ascension to my throne and my reality is the only truth. My truth, the only truth. Do you understand, Fenris? Do you follow what I’m saying? I need you to understand, I need you to follow.”

“The second match of the night. Does it offend you, like it offends me, Fenris? The follow on to the powerful opener. The filler, the cooler. Mockery of my talent, and yours. Mockery. They mock us, Fenris. Making waves and impressing, yet not enough to be anything but the cheese of the sandwich. The ice in the bourbon. Necessary, usually. But without it, nothing is missed. Mockery, Fenris. Are you mocking me? I hope you are listening. I hope you are understanding. Do not mock me, Fenris. Do not mock me, like the world has mocked us. Words, Fenris. Words. Do you understand? Does the wolf understand that it will feed the birds? That the creatures that fly, will soon devour its collapsed body? Are you hungry, Fenris? Are you ready for the end? To swallow your own Odin? Or are you naught but that of your namesake? A myth. Mockery, Fenris. Your pure existence is a mockery. Death comes to all. Be it quick, or slow. Blood dictates the flow of it, and with the ebbing, comes the end. A river of red, bones and decay is all I need to ascend.”

“Reality, Fenris.”

“Reality is this. I will hurt any who attempt to bring me down again. I will hurt any who stand in my way. I will hurt any who try to slow my ascension. Messiah of the Broken, Leader of the Lost. My flock, my Conspiracy, my Murder. Whatever you wish to call it, will lap at the carrion I leave. For they know, that in my ascension comes their own. An uplifting of the broken. An uplifting of the lost. Guidance to a better reality. Rambling, I get it. I get that you probably are sick of listening. I get that the world is sick of the words. I’m sick of the words. I’m sick of hearing myself, but the truth is this. Nobody is listening. Nobody is understanding. Yet they still follow. They always follow. Symbolism, Fenris. Symbolism. Disconnection. Loss. Confusion. Reality. They are words for symbols, symbols I take heed in. Do you understand, Fenris? I hope you do. For I know what I’m saying will only make sense to those who listen. To those who follow. Will you follow, Fenris?”


The candle wax had begun to drip down the candle and onto the skull. Streaks of red wax standing raised again the off-white of the bone. Sliding down into the eyes. Drying on the edges and against the flesh beneath. Eyes focused. Alexander Raven, focused. A hand raised, the snap of fingers. All light doused bar that which lit the glass, and the candle flickering atop the skull. Glowing, and solitary. The raven wrapped around the mountain, and the skull of the wolf at its base.

“You, are my first step. My true, first step. Thank you, Fenris. For your blood and bones, will be perfect for my ascension.”

“Are you understanding, Fenris?”


The clap of his hands, the glass disappearing back into darkness. The single flickering flame dancing in the world of dark.

The sound of extinguishing.

Silence.

Darkness.

“Are you alone, like me?”

Nothing.


9
Glass Raised
Scene One | Off-camera | 16/01/2022

"Forgive me Father, for I shall sin."

A man lost in his thoughts, eyes fixated on the green tinged bottle sitting in front him. The smell of hops wafting up from the neck, two fingers loosely wrapped around its neck. The light chatter of a bar in the background. His back to the world, facing a blank wall. The heavy hand of another slapping down on his shoulder. The cool smile, the strong scent of cigarettes and bad decisions. A loose singlet hanging off this person's frame as he took a seat opposite Alex.

"Doomer Boomer got you thinking too heavy rockstar. Head up, bottles back and drink with me. Escape the reality for a minute. Escape the world, sugar."

"Do you think he yells at busy bartenders when they don't serve his pompous ass at the click of his figners? I bet he yells at fast food workers when his meals are wrong too."

James' raucous laughter filled the air. Loud, happy and full of actual humour. It wasn't often James was really this loose. He was as reserved and tightly coiled as Alex was. Maybe the change in lifestyle had really done him well. The 6'4" slim and toned man that was James Pasilno commanded attention wherever he went. Powerful features, a booming voice, loud laughter and a diamond shattering stare. Tonight he was loose and happy. Tonight he was just his friend. No barracuda, just James. His best friend.

"You know, I think you might be right there Ravey. If you don't lay his old ass out come Sunday, I can always flatten him in the pub. Drink up. We party tonight."

James touched the rim of his glass to Alex's raised bottle. The both of them knocking them back, drinking the fluids down. Alex looked around the bar, his mind floating back to the earlier years. When the three of them were making their mark. Leon and James. He idolised them, both in life and in the ring. Leon reminded him a lot of himself. Abusive father, anger problems. Mainly difference being, Leon didn't channel his. He just hurt people. Everyone and anyone who gave him the wrong look. In and out of prison, probably still with warrants out. Alex had never really asked. He didn't want to ruin James' good mood, but he wanted to know.

James caught the look in Alex's eyes and sighed. Throwing up a signal to the barstaff, 'on it', echoing from the bar as he did. James drained the last of his bourbon, and placed the glass back on the table. One hand falling to his side, the other resting upon a leg. A foot resting upon the stool's rest.

"I should've killed him, Alex. I wanted to. I was gonna blow him backwards. I put him down, and I made sure he knew who had done it. I put him down, rockstar, and I don't regret it. Leon was a hazard, and he was gon' hurt you and me. He was gon' get us in some major shit. I put him down, but I shoulda put him in the ground. I don't know where he is these days. Probably screwin' someone else's life up. I don't really care, sugar. I really don't. You done right by me, Alex. You done right by me, and I'll do right by you. You fall again, I ain't picking you up. I'll break the bitch who ruins you. I swear on it brother. You can bank on it."

A server placed two glasses of amber liquid in front of them. Neat doubles. Two shots of silver tequila. Espolon was James' go to drink of regret. James' hard face faded almost instantly. The depth of the conversation seemingly slipping from his mind instantly. A smile stretching again, as he picked up the shot glass and nodded at Alex.

"Mazel tov."
"Salud."

Shots up, back and down. The harsh burn still turned his face sour. The raucous laughter echoing once more as the hard hand came down on his shoulder once more. He didn't need to ask, and Alex no longer wanted to know. Leon was as good as dead to James, and that's a scary place to be. Not much in this world made him worried, but James. James could scare him. He couldn't ask for a better friend.

Old Men Deserve Nothing
Scene Two | On-Camera | 18/01/2022

"The absolute dribble that spills from your mouth, Bulldog. Do you listen to yourself, when you speak? Do you actually hear the crap that you spew? The only scammer here, is you. The only one living a lie, is you. The one one being exposed come Inception V, is you, Bulldog. When the bitch is neutered she becomes complacent. When the male is knackered, he loses his bite. You never had the balls to lose in the first place though, did you Bill? It takes a brave old man to distract someone. It takes a brave old man, to yell at a person down the phone. It takes a brave old man, to think any person gives a flying damn what he thinks. I know the truth though, Bill. We all can see the truth hidden behind your bravado and bluster. Fear, Bill. Fear. Knox said it, I know it, and we can all see it. You're a scared old man, who is afraid he can't keep pace with the world that is evolving around him."

Alexander Raven, pinstripe blue suit, tan brown shoes. A white shirt, and a crimson red tie. Sitting in the front pew of a small church. Long since desolate, empty and hollow. Upturned pews, leaves and dust covering the surfaces. A small hole in the roof allowing natural sunlight to stream in. Alex's fingers laced together in a type of prayer. Eyes closed, forehead resting upon his hands.

"Forgive me, Father. For I shall sin."

"Bill Barnhart. It's a name that speaks to the era of birth. The Bulldog, Bill Barnhart. A man who likely screams at young teens working their first job. A man who thinks it's at all respectable to belittle and insult people doing their job. A person who thinks that any of the scam callers are actually going to be punished by the law. Ignorance. Bill thinks himself smart because he knows they are scams. Yet the biggest scam, is the Bulldog's bite. All gum and no teeth. Jowls shaking and drooling, yet nothing of consequence. A boulder barreling, yet nothing happening between the ears. Ignorance is not bliss in this case Bill. Ignorance is the fuel. Ignorance is what makes the inferno leap. Your ignorance is disturbing my bliss. Your ignorance is causing your fear. Collapse is coming, Bill. The beating that Mac Bane put on you, will be nothing compared to the beating I have for you. Short work? Bill, I've never been anything but the mountain that cannot be toppled. I am the immovable object. I need you to listen to me, Bill. I really need you to focus and understand. I need you to realise what I'm telling you. Are you listening? Are you following?"

"Do you understand me, Bill?"


Alex's eyes begin to twitch slightly, his nose flaring. Irritation rolling across his face. Slowly raising to his feet, hands separating, a cigarette sliding from his inner breast pocket, the click of a lighter. The flame igniting the tobacco, the ember flaring. The irritation flaring more. A guttural scream of frustration, spinning and kicking the pew, knocking it backwards and upturning it. The screech of heavy wood on old creaky boards.

"Are you listening to me, Bill?"

"I need you to god damn listen to me. Scammers, Reps, other wrestlers. I am nothing like any of them. I am not like Mac Bane who put you in your place. I am nothing like the nobodies I put down to get here. The ones that I beat with a goddamn slingblade. Senility fading your memory I take it Bill. I made that match a triple threat. I'm the reason. I ensure the odds are in my favour, because I do not gamble. I play to win, and I ensure victory is always mine. You stuck your damn nose into my business. You wobbled out to the ring to distract me, not because you wanted a closer look. Because you were damn scared. The fear emanates from within you Bill, I can see it. I can feel it. You're nothing but a scared, old man. You talk about an 'inner demon'? Horseshit. Own your own god damn anger Bill. Acknowledge who the hell you are. Acknowledge the fear and anger. Acknowledge that you hide behind a mask, and call it something else to justify it. Fraud? The only fraud here Bill, is you. A man of analogy aren't you? I'm not one for analogy. I'm not one for metaphor. I make it pretty damn clear what I mean, Bill. When I say, the bitch is getting neutered, I mean it. I'm going to break you, Bill. You'll have wished the doctor had worked on you harder. You'll have wished that Mac Bane put you down for good, because I will."


Alex began tugging at his tie, slowly loosing it from his neck. Undoing the button of his jacket, slowly pulling it free from his body, folding it over an arm. The tie being hastily stuffed into his left front pocket. The cigarette hanging loosely from his lips, as he began to pace the floor slowly. The tap of his shoes echoing in the empty halls.

"Nobody listens, do they? I don't know how many times I can reiterate this. Maybe I should make a damn shirt out of it. Whatever it takes to make this sink in. I will do anything it takes to get what I want, Bill. You're in my crosshair, because you hold gold. You hold a championship, and I need it. In any possible scenario, I walk out the victor. Do you know why, Bill? You should by now. There is no perceivable situation in which your scared, old ass can keep pace with me. Can match me blow for blow. There is no perceivable situation in which you can inflict enough pain to make me submit. There is no situation in which I lose, because you cannot step to the plate. You'll hide behind your delusions. Behind your disconnected reality. You'll continue to believe the lies you spew, because you have nothing else. I'm going to remind you one more time, Bill. Remind you of the man I am. Remind you of the lengths I'll go to, to win. Remind the world of who I am."

A large cloud of smoke exhaled.

Grainy, noisy.

The click of footage.

The blacked out window behind the podium suddenly filled with an image. A ring, a much younger Alexander Raven and another man standing in it.

'We have brand new UECW Tag Team champions! Alexander Remington and his new protégé Alexander Raven!' a voice echoes, the cheering of a crowd. The two men holding their new gold aloft, smiles spread across their faces. The steel chair still in Raven's hand. Remington's back to him. The belt dropped and the chair gripped tightly. Crack. The sound of metal against flesh, as Remington's head was met with the chair. Then again. His body slumping to the mat. The chair coming down again, and again, and again. The bloodlust in his eyes, the blood starting to leak out onto the mat.
'What the hell is Alexander Raven doing? They just won the championships?! What the hell is going on?'

The steel chair dropped, Remington's body twitching unconscious on the mat. Sliding from the ring, grabbing another belt, a second plate of gold. Alexander Raven picking up the two tag title belts in the other hand. A booing crowd, ravenous and aggressive. Alexander Raven standing over the unconscious body in the ring, holding the two tag team titles, and the big gold belt, the UECW title above his head.

"I respected that man. I still do, respect that man. He guided me when I was lost. He guided me to a place of success, and I cannot ever thank him enough. One day, we will bury the hatchet one last time. Be it with my blood or his, is irrelevant Bill. We will end it one day, and that's why I know this one truth. You cannot beat me, and you will not. I did that to a man I respected. A man I had just won gold with. A man who took me to new heights quicker than anyone ever would have expected. A man of ambition and focus. A man with a plan. My mentor, Bill. If I'm willing to nearly kill him, what the hell do you think I'll do to you, when you stand in my way? I need you listen to me, Bill. This is me, Alexander Rabenschwarz talking directly to you. This isn't Broken Messiah leading the broken, my conspiracy. My conspiracy will feast upon you, this I know. Right now though, Bulldog. I'm talking to you directly from my heart. Are you listening?"

"Are you listening to me, Bulldog?"

"Reality is fickle Bill. We're all disconnected from it. My reality is a shattered world, disconnected. Your reality is one surrounded by walls of fear. Refusal to expand, refusal to move forward. I will break you, Bill. I will put you down and I will take that championship. Not because I want to, because I need to. You insulted me, on a very direct level. You think you can expose me, Bill? Make short work of me? I'm going to expose you as the scared, old man you are. I'm going to exorcise your inner demon, and put you down. The history books will read. 'Alexander Raven ended Bill Barnhart's career at Inception V to become the new Roulette Champion.' Wherever the wheel lands, doesn't matter. This isn't a game of chance Bill, this a cold hard truth. A true reality. I don't respect you Bill. Not now, and not ever. You can spew your analogies. You can spew your truth. You can yell at poor men in desolate conditions who turn to scamming to try and make a living. You can scream at the sales reps trying to bring you to the modern day all you like. You can pretend as much as you want that anything you do matters. I need you to understand this. I'm going you burn you down."


Throwing his jacket and tie to the floor, he takes his lighter to them. The fabric almost instantly going up in flames. The old creaky wood quickly absorbing the flames. The crackle of flames, as Alexander begins to walk away. The spread almost instant, accelerant clearly at play. The church going up in flames. The pews snapping and breaking.

"At Inception Bill. I'm not just going to neuter the bitch. I'm going to put the dog down. Rabid dogs cannot be allowed to hurt others. Did you understand Bill? Did you listen?"

"Have you followed?"


Large flames, the crackle of a raging inferno. Burning, the ghostly wails, distant, of men and women.

And then.

Darkness.

Silence.

10
Remember Yourself
Scene One | Off-Camera | 11/01/2022


“Old mate looks like he stepped right outta the 60’s don’t you think, Ravey baby?”

James always did have a way with words. Research, tapes, an understanding. It was important to research people who have as much to offer as Bill. Purely to see their weaknesses. Purely to see their failures. So why James was the one watching, and Alex was lost in his own world, only he knew for sure.

“Billy boy doesn’t know what he’s done, James. You don’t fuck with me. You don’t get involved. You don’t step into my world, and alter its course. He’s old school, he’s old. He’s stupid. He’s built like a brick shithouse, but he’s dumb. Do you know why he is dumb, James? Do you know why?"

Raucous laughter erupted from James, a hand slapping down on his thighs. It wasn’t his usual laughter. It sounded jovial and joyful, but it was different. That was the Barracuda’s laugh. Thinking, thoughtful. Dangerous.

“You don’t fuck with the Barracuda, and you especially don’t fuck with Alexander Raven. Death, Taxes and a Raging Raven. You better neuter this bitch, rockstar. You better put him in his place. I ain’t  picking you up outta that rut again, boy. You neuter him, or I’m gonna neuter you, rockstar.”

Alex clicked the power button on a remote, turning the TV off, and got to his feet. A cigarette slipped from behind his ear, and placed it to his lips, sparking it. The strike of a match, the light puffing as James followed suit with a cigar. Alex strode to the kitchen, followed in suit by the looming shadow of James Pasilno.

“Arrogance, James. Arrogance. He’s arrogant for thinking he can involve himself in my affairs, and get away with it. Knox is good, real good. Probably one of the best I’ve stepped with since Remington. Yet Billy boy, he involves himself. He involves himself in my affairs. You don’t get involved in my affairs, unless you’re ready to face the repercussion. Old men James. He is an old man, and I’m going to break his fragile flesh. I’m going to tear open his paper skin, and put him in his place. I’m going to make sure he understands that there is no gimmick in this. That I’m not just a joke. That I’m not a man hiding behind a persona. That the Alexander Raven that thinks himself the leader of the broken, is more than just that. Unhinged, James. The Bulldog will get to see the unhinged.”

A hand came to rest on Alex’s shoulder. Flinching, his body tensing as James’ grip tensed up. His other hand ruffling Alex’s hair before he strode past him and opened a cupboard, pulling a few glasses out.

“You’re losing yourself sugar. Don’t lose yourself to it. Focus Ravey, focus. You need to focus, not get lost in the waves of rage. Lemme talk to ya, Ravey. Lemma talk to ya.”

Alex let the tension slip from his shoulder, pulling a chair at the table. Setting himself down as James poured a couple glasses of the classic #7, taking a few cubes of ice from the fridge, dropping them in each. One slid in front of Alex, the other held in James hand as he paced the table.

“Do you remember rockstar? Leon was just like you. A harder boy I never knew, but he reminds of you. Zig and zag, he took them boys years before you did, and he failed. Bravado, confidence, and anger, Ravey. We were all angry, young boys. Boys! We were god damn children, Alex. The difference, is Leon didn’t get outta that river. He swam in the waves of the anger and he let it take him. He turned on you, he turned on me, he turned on himself. I put him down rockstar. I put him down, and he ain’t ever getting back up. Don’t lose yourself, rockstar. I’ll put you down, and I told you. I ain’t liftin’ you up again.”

“But I’m gonna give you some advice I didn’t give Leon. You gotta walk that line rockstar. But you gotta know the difference. You’re the Raging Raven, the Broken Messiah in that ring. Out here, you’re my rockstar, you’re my best friend. You’re the one who slings the beers when I’m too cock-eyed to sling’em straight. In that ring, rockstar. I’m the Barracuda. I’m THE James Phenomenal. Out here, I’m just me, rockstar. I’m the gravy boat lover. I’m the king of the bar. The Barracuda is always lurkin’, ready to slice and dice, and chew ‘em all up. But when it’s us, you remember yourself Alex. You got that, rockstar?”


The words weren’t menacing, but the old school brawler in James was ever present. They weren’t so different. Walking a line between losing themselves to the images they make for themselves. James wasn’t kidding about Leon either. He didn’t know the full story, but he knew there was a shooting. Who started it? He wouldn’t ever know, but James was free and alive, and Leon was long gone. Not sure if he was breathing, but he’d been long since out of their lives. He missed him sometimes. He was fun-loving, jovial. His demons ate away at him, but he had a good side. James was a good friend, but there was always that danger. He was hard to read. Maybe that’s why they got along so well.

“We’re going to neuter that bitch, James. That’s all there is to it.”

The raucous laughter once more and the slap of his palm on the table. They both clinked the rims of their glasses together, downing them in one.

“You better, rockstar.”

Drawing Board
Scene Two | On-Camera | 12/01/2022


“Back to the drawing board.

Back
to
the
drawing…

Board.


An empty office. A board room table, surrounded by empty chairs. A single whiteboard standing at the head of it, text written across it. Red marker ink, and a name. ‘Bill Barnhart’. A person stood with his back to the empty audience, staring at the board, marker in hand. ‘Bulldog’ now being written above it. Then a line slashed through the name. Only bulldog left unmarked.

“The Bulldog. A confident, yet dumb, old man. Confident and old-school. An old town Georgia pro. You stuck your nose in my business Bulldog. Like the untrained mutt that you are. You took your nose and you stuck it where it does not belong. Interrupting my match. Interfering in my match. Mocking the good faith I had put in you as champion. Mocking the faith I had in you to keep to your goddamn self. Champion? No, that’s a mockery of the word, Bulldog. You’re nothing but the bitch you mark yourself as. I don’t believe in letting a dog run rampant in heat. It’s unbecoming.”

“So I need you to understand what I’m saying when I tell you.”

“I am going to neuter you, Bulldog.”


The sound of flesh against the board. The thud ringing out dully in the empty space. Then again, and again. The sound of cracking as the board begins to break under the beating of the fist. Again and again, and then, it broke. His fist punching straight through, his knuckles cracked and bleeding. His forearm scratched up as it slides back through the hole.

“Violence is the language of my upbringing, Bulldog. Violence is what beget my existence, and it is what will continue to control it. Abusive, alcoholic father. Manipulative, aggressive mentor. Ungrateful friends, and emotional abusive protege. Violence begets violence, Bulldog. Do you know what it’s like to be bred in violence? Perhaps you too, had a father who taught with fists? I do not know, I do not truly care to know. For I know this, Bulldog. That the spin of the wheel is daunting for many, but not for me. For any instrument of torture that is lending to oneself, becomes a tool for my success. Broken, unhinged and disconnected as I may be, I can see forward and I can see clearly.”

“For when you stepped to me, you made a mistake. For when you put your nose into my business you deemed it necessary to break an unspoken given of truce. Respect, Bill. A man of your tenure should know it. Yet here you stand. Mocking the traditions that founded the world we walk in. Violence Bill. Violence is in your future.”

Darkness.

Then the flicker of flames. A field replacing the office. A firepit leaping with somewhat larger than normal flames. Another whiteboard. The word ‘violence’ slathered across it. This time in black ink. A small drawing of a bat, a chair, and a collar and lead.

“I need you to understand what I’m telling you, Bulldog. Are you listening? Are you following me? I need you to understand. I need you to follow me. You need to understand this.”

The slap of a palm against the board, Alex’s face illuminated by the flickering flames. His face contorted with anger. His eyes blazing with a similar flame of passion. His teeth gritted, a heavy coat draped loosely on his shoulders.

“Broken, unhinged, disconnected. Disconnected, unhinged and broken. You’re a confident man Bill. This I know. Yet your confidence is founded in a loose fallacy. A fallacy of supremacy. A fallacy of arrogance and over-confidence. An old mentality. I’ve stepped in the ring against many an old man like you Bill. Dated, old-school. Living a life that emulates the character. Over-confident because you don’t believe in the power of change. You’re afraid of it. I know it, Bill. You’re set. You’re old. Yet that is entirely the issue here. Roulette Champion? A person whose every night fate is dictated by a game of chance. It is wasted upon the old. It is wasted upon those who cannot adapt. Who cannot grow.”

“Yet not all is lost for you, Bill. In the enlightening, you can learn. In the violence, you will bleed. In the violence you too, will see what it means to be broken. In the reality that I present to you, your disconnected nature will be exposed. In that exposure, you will be made to understand. You will be made to understand that you are lost. Lost and without direction. The broken are guided. The broken are helped. I am the Messiah for the Broken, Bill. Yet, my Conspiracy is insulted. You stuck your damn nose where it doesn’t belong, and the only thing that will remain, is the carrion I leave. You, will be the carrion that feeds. Not the bird that follows. Traditions must be upheld, and you spit upon them. An old man afraid of change, yet unable to appreciate the traditions laid before them. Mockery, Bill. Mockery.”

Alex smacks the board once more, before turning to face into the flames. Placing his hand above the flickering licks of fire. His eyes fixated, his jaw still clenched. Frustration etched into ever wrinkle and scar. His beard sitting dangerously close to the fire. Moments from being set alight.

“Gambling Bill. Are you a gambling man? I would think so, with how loose you like to play it. Do you know what is interesting, Bill? The Roulette title has changed hands in Las Vegas, more than it has anywhere else in the world. Nevada seems to be a good state for it, wouldn’t you say? It makes sense, doesn’t it? The belt of chance, to change hands in the city that is known for it. Reno will be the home of our battle this time. Not quite the same feeling, is it? Yet the reality maintains. Nevada is a state that demands change, Bill. It’s unfortunate for you, that will be a victim of the odds. I’ve made clear, since day one. I do not gamble. I ensure victory. You ruined my victory, and now I will pay you back for it. I will put you down, Bill. I will ensure that you fall beneath the boot. Violence, Bill. Violence.”

“Are you listening to me, Bill? Do you understand what I’m telling you? You are a bitch that needs to be neutered Bulldog. Regardless of the stipulation, regardless of what we must do. I will put you down, over and over. I will blood you if I so well deem it necessary. I don’t intend to be quick about it. I don’t intend to be civil. This isn’t a matter of a man versus a man in a wrestling match. You made this personal by breaking a silent truth. You made this personal by sticking your nose into my damn business. Scared, Bill. That’s what Knox called you. Scared. You know what? He’s damn right too. You’re damn scared of me Bill, and you and I both know it. Behind the bravado and bluster. Behind the arrogance and confidence. Behind the old thinking, is one truth. You’re afraid that you can’t keep up, and it’s true. You can’t keep up with me Bill. There is no gamble here. There is one damn truth. The Broken Messiah is going to break the Bulldog.”


”It’s time to go to sleep, puppy.”

His shoe pressed to the barrel that contained the flickering inferno, kicking it forward. Flames leapt across the grass and engulfed the whiteboard. The flames devouring the board instantly. The words violence glowing as it began to melt and warp under the intense heat.

“We’re going down in flames Bill. I hope you’re ready. I’m going to break you. Neuter you, take everything you love.”

“And then.”

I’m going to burn you the fuck down.


Darkness.

Silence.

Broken
Scene Three | On-Camera | 12/01/2022

“I’ve been thinking Bill. I’ve been thinking a lot actually. Weeks I’ve had to stew on this. Weeks I’ve thought about every which way I intend to hurt you. That I intend to pay you back. That I intend to show you, your failure. My friend, James, he’s giving me some advice. Some advice I may need to follow. Some advice I think I will follow. To walk that line. To acknowledge who I am in that ring and who I am, outside of it. To acknowledge both Raven and Rabenschwarz. The issue Bill, is that, I can’t tell them apart myself anymore. James can’t separate himself from the Barracuda, in the same way that I can’t separate myself from the rage.”

“Raging Raven. Anger incarnate some had dubbed me. I never liked that term. Rage and anger, are two similar but different things. Anger is directed. Controlled, and accessible. Rage is an insatiable feeling. A boiling, bubbling, fiery inferno of feeling that rips through you from the depths of your very being. Do you understand rage and anger? I hope so. I need you to understand the difference, because it’s important to differentiate. I need you to understand that I’m bring to Inception isn’t controlled. It isn’t focused. It’s insatiable. It’s a necessity. It’s a force. It’s what breaks me, and in turn breaks those that stand against me. Disconnected from reality as we both are, you would understand this better than any other Bulldog.”

You will fall. You will collapse. You will feel the pressure of my rage. My Conspiracy will descend upon you, and it’s a feeling you cannot be ready for. Anyone can deal with a hostile crowd. It’s an existence we become used to. The reality however, is my Conspiracy are filled with the same rage. Like me, all that follow are broken. They look to me for guidance. They look to me, for understanding. They look to me, because I can lead the broken and disconnected. The unhinged and the rage filled. The Conspiracy are always at my back, ready to follow. Ready to hear what I can tell them. Ready to listen. To understand.”

“Are you listening?”

”Do you understand?”

“I cannot fail anymore, Bill. I don’t have the forgiveness for myself to do it again. This isn’t just a feeling of want or desire. This is a necessity at this point. A necessity to prove to everyone that I am who I say I am. That Alexander Raven is the Broken Messiah for a god damn reason. It’s been a long time since I’ve worn gold around my waist. The last time, I was the inaugural champion. The first ever. I’m a two time world champion, a former SOLO tag team champion. I rose from the ashes, and stitched my flesh back together. I rent a man’s flesh so heavily that he leaked his own god damn grey matter into the ring. What have I done since? Lost my chance at becoming the inaugural champion again, to a man who should have been locked up. Cheated out of a victory of being a double inaugural champion by a mouth little bitch, who couldn’t dust my boots when we finally squared off.”

“I earned my opportunity to fight you with a goddamn slingblade, Bill. Do you understand the damn ineptitude of someone to go down to a slingblade? Yet it proves something else. I don’t need to choke you out. I don’t need to hit the Raven’s Spine. I can beat you, with a slingblade. Hell, I could beat you, with a headlock takeover. Yet that’s not the point is it, Bill? No, the point is to hurt you. The point is to ruin you. The point is to make sure you regret having ever stuck your damn nose into my business. The point is to break and leave you to feed my Conspiracy. The carrion to my flock of Ravens. I will break you Bill, and that isn’t an empty threat. That isn’t a lie. That isn’t a mockery. It’s a truth. I am the Broken Messiah, and I will ensure you are broken. Your second defense, will be your last. I will put you down, and I will reign supreme. I am, the future Roulette Champion. You’re nothing but a roadblock.”

I will break you.”

“I will burn you down.”



11
Climax Control Archives / In Flames, Adulation and Symbolism
« on: December 17, 2021, 07:21:21 PM »
In Flames
Scene One | Off-Camera | 17/12/2021

Never mess with Alexander Remington.

“It’s been close to seven years. The man I had admiration for. Aspired to emulate, to replicate. We’d become even better enemies in the end. The hatred went deep, and even if neither of us would ever admit it. The other was founded upon the disdain held for each other. Blood and flames were the reality of the feud. A skull crushed with a barbwire bat. A father crucified and martyred, set aflame as little more than a warning. A final encounter elusive. A final battle never realised. In flames it was ended. In flames it was finished.”

Dear god, what is happening? They’re burning him alive! That’s a living breathing person they’re burning.

Never mess with Alexander Remington.


“Seven years I went away. Seven years, I left this business behind. I stayed out of the ring. I stayed out of the spotlight. So did he. Retirement for the man who tried to end me. For the man who returned the favour, twice over. Cleaving the flesh, splitting the skull. Then burning the man to ensure the final knell would ring for me. Seven years, in obscurity. Seven years licking wounds. Seven years, doubting oneself.”

Rockstar, you gotta give it up. You’re out of your depth.

Never mess with Alexander Remington.

“Matthew Knox. The Raven. A man who reminds me the person I once admired. A man who reminds me of the mutterings of the man who ruined my career, who attempted to put me on the shelf for the better part of close to a decade. Men, filled with bravado and confidence. Men who do not understand defeat. Men who, do not relent. Do not give. Do not, stop. Men, who do not need to listen, follow, understand. Men who demand to be listened to. Who demand to be followed. Who demand to be understood. Matthew Knox, though you aren’t the man I want. You will be the man, who falls. There is one truth in the world. One constant.”

Never mess with Alexander Raven.

Adulation
Scene Two | On-Camera | 17/12/2021

“The Raven. A messenger of tragedy, harbingers of tragic news. The death of a hero, cried from the croaks of the black bird. Yet, a bird mired in more than myth and reality. A bird who is more than the death it regales. A symbol of wisdom and affection. A representation of a change in consciousness. The bird has many meanings. I choose not to ignore the death it represents, but the offering of its knowledge of the world to the people for safe-keeping. My knowledge is on offer for all the world. It is on offer to any who would take heed of it. My conspiracy are always welcome in my arms. My broken flock, are worthy of my affection. The Raven is a messenger, but it is also a symbol. Death is tragic, when it is the hero who falls. Yet the wisdom that comes from the collapse of a hero, is worth more than all the blood that has flow.”

Gross yellow light, illuminating a grungy, decaying kitchen. Untouched, dirt and and dust covering all the surfaces. Rodent damage, peeling lino and flaking walls. The ceiling stained with water, sags in the foundations. A single halogen bulb, throwing out that sickly warm yellow light. Accentuating the collapse of what appears to have once been a nice family home. A small table against a wall, the wood sturdy if aged. Over-turned chairs on the floor, one upright. One occupied. A man, fingers locked, staring into the void. Straight at a small burn hole on the wall.

“Matthew Knox. The Raven. A man who has taken the moniker of my family name. Rabenschwarz, raven black. Alexander Rabenschwarz was my birth name. My familial name. A moniker of mockery of the name that belongs to me. I am, Alexander Raven, not by choice, but by god damn birth right. I embody the name, because I believe in it. I believe in the symbolism that it offers to me. I believe in the symbolism and meaning of the raven. The Harbinger of Tragic News. The spiritual symbol for the passing of knowledge. A change in consciousness. That is what I embody. A harbinger of demise, yet in that demise. A symbol of hope. Of affection. Of wisdom. Hope for those broken and dismayed. A symbol of wisdom for those who lack it. A symbol of progress.”

The man at the table shakes his head, sighing out. A ripped black tee, maroon skinny jeans, the classic black and white converse. His fingers slowly separating, moving his left hand to his face, scratching at it. His other hand slipping into his pocket, pulling a small green cricket lighter free. The hand at the face pulling a cigarette that was nestled behind his ear. The click of the flint, the flare of flame, the deep inhale of the first drag.

“There is a world of people out there, who think they understand me. A woman who thought in idolising me, she could help recognise the broken crown I wore. Who showed me the path from being the One True King, to being the False King. A man who took the rage filled youth, who was obsessed with comics and games. A man who took the rage filled youth and channeled it. Guided the wild aggression and taught me to harness it. A man who cleaned my wounds and soothed my burnt flesh, who took me across the globe. Who showed me a life free of the pain that exists inside the ring. A man who showed me, freedom. Rockstar, he calls me. The False King, she called me. A child, he called me. There is pillars in every persons life. There is pillars of guidance who help form the person you will become. A misguided abused youth, full of rage. Moulded into an articulate, specific and channeled beast. I thanked that man, by taking his own bat to his skull. Hit him so many times, it was lucky he woke up. It was lucky he didn’t suffer long term injury.”

The man slowly lifts himself out the chair, turning. Alexander Raven. His beard grown out quite thick. His hair messy, thinning lightly on top. A sense of loss in his eyes. The cigarette hanging loosely from his lips. His right hand slowly moving up to it. Placing a finger to the burning ember. The sharp inhale of pain as he held it there. Burning the flesh. Then a moment later moving it away, shaking the pain out.

“Do you know how he thanked me, Knox? He strung my abusive father up on a crucifix. He hung him above the stage, and he set fire to him. The fact that it was my father, is irrelevant. It’s the message that was most important. He took the man I resented. That even in my attempts to reconnect as an adult, he brought doom and gloom upon me. Remington took this man, strung him up and martyred him. He put forth a message I didn’t appreciate. That I had failed to put him down, and that we were no phoenixes. That in flame, we would no be reborn.”

“It was in this moment, a pact was forged. It was in that moment, I understood. Adulation and admiration would get me no where. That adulation and admiration would get me burnt. Yet, it was not anywhere near as painful as the lesson I was to learn. As lesson he would teach me. He repaid that favour, Knox. He took my preferred weapon. He took a chair to my skull. Yet leaving me in a pool of my own visceral carnage wasn’t enough. No. He wanted to make an example. To remind me, that the raven is not a phoenix. Just like my father before me, he lit that match, and surrounded by his new allies. They watched it all happen. My body go up in flames, my leaking blood sizzling in the inferno. They all stood and watched. They all saw, and none of them did anything. They laughed, they mocked. They made it reality.”


His eyes narrowed with frustration, staring down at his reddened finger. The flesh beginning to bubble slightly. Blistering. His teeth clenching, his jaw stiffening. A rough intake of the smoke, with a slow exhalation out of his nose. The light tap of his shoes on the peeling lino. Crossing through the kitchen, into a derelict lounge area. The walls moth eaten, the carpet filled with grime and dirt. An old couch sitting in the middle of the room, focused on a source of flickering light. A fireplace, burning away.

“I know men like you, Knox. Confident, untouchable. Focused. Elite. I know men like you, because I wanted to be a man like you. I wanted to be a man like Alexander Remington. In wanting to be a man like you, I lost myself. I became disconnected, and disillusioned with my reality. Fractured though my mind became, a guiding force led me to a safe place. My friend, James. He guided me through my recovery. He tended to my cracked skull, he soothed my burns. He took me far away, and showed me a life free of the pain. Free of the abuse. Free of men, like you. Yet…”

He slowly lowered himself down onto the dilapidated couch, throwing the filter of his cigarette into the fireplace. Allowing it be engulfed by the flames. His eyes focused upon the flickering flames. His fingers linking again, the burnt one sticking out, keeping it free.

“I couldn’t just leave. I came back, not for Alexander Remington. I came back, against the protests of James. I came back, not to admire men like you, Knox. I came back, to remind myself of who the hell I am. I came back, to remind the world, of who I am. Alexander Raven, the Broken Messiah. The man who will change the consciousness of all those who subscribe to my wisdom. To those who become part of my Conspiracy. A man, such as yourself would know. A group of ravens is known as such. A conspiracy. I am not man of all the people. I could care less for the doting of a child, and the hapless obsession of a crazed fan. I am here to lead those who have been so severely broken. Who have been disconnected from reality. Who are fractured.”

“I ask people to listen to me. To understand me. To follow me, for one simple reason. I need them their ears, mind and eyes to learn. I need them to see me, and in seeing me, see the reality that I offer. I need them to see that I am not a deluded and deranged fool, Knox. I am not a cult-like leader. I am not a wildly unhinged person. I am, disconnected and fractured, like them. I am one who struggles to find the reality because I too, am broken. Yet I know how it feels to be broken. I know it feels to be left in the eyes of everyone and helpless. To be burning in the flames of rebirth, that are not meant for you. To be leaking your life essence and watching the world fade. I understand the loss of reality, because I no longer accept it. I am the Broken Messiah, and I am Alexander Raven. I am the Harbinger of Tragedy. The tragedy that it your fall, Knox. There is no heroes and villains in real life. Just men, doing what they need. The ravens will hark and they will croak. One of us will fall. Of us will be left to the feeling of loss and decay.”


“Never mess with Alexander Raven.”

With a heavy breath, he slowly removes the lighter from his pocket. Clicking the flame to life once more, staring into it. The world around it beginning to fade. Darkness creeping in. Only the two flames dancing.

“I will extinguish your flame.”

The sharp breath, then.

Darkness.

Silence.

Symbolism
Scene Three | On-Camera | 18/12/2021

The flapping of wings. The croak of a bird. A roulette table spins in a spotlight. The clatter of a ball gliding across its surface. The laughter of disembodied persons, general murmur and chatter, indistinguishable.

“Knox, you are my first real test. There’s no doubt about it. The second match king was a joke I coined. Yet, there’s some semblance of truth in it. My first match, Branded Hen, dispatched, second match of the night. The four that became three, at my hands. The match I won with a god damn slingblade of all things. Second match, victory, dispatched, and my path forged. The Bulldog will be collared at my hands. The Bulldog will gamble with me, and yet. He will not realise the game is rigged. That I leave naught to chance. Consistency, odds and favour. I like consistency. I like to have the odds in my favour. I don’t gamble, Knox. I play and I win. There is no chance about it.”

The flutter of wings as a bird, a large black raven, lands upon the edge of the roulette table. Croaking loudly as it pecks at the spinning wheel, attempting to grab the ball that continues to skitter across the surface.

“Second match, Knox. Insulting as it is, there is a pride that comes with consistency. If I am, to be the “second match” guy, then I will make a spectacle of it. Consistency dictates that the second match of the night, belongs to me. The second match of the night, is mine to win, and everyone else’s to lose. There is more to this match than a need to win, Knox. For you, a loss is excusable. Battered, beaten, focused elsewhere. Less than your best. For me, there is no excuse. If I can’t beat a man in half state, on the match that I have deemed to be my consistency. Well, do I even deserve to collar the bulldog? Does my guaranteed odds suddenly become a bet that I am unwilling to play? There is more on the line here than a W or L, Knox.”

“Who is, the true Raven? Who will stand as the continued hot streak? Who will be undefeated in this reality? You may think these rhetorical. I know I do. The answers we have however, differ. I cannot lose here. I will not, lose here. I need you to understand that, Knox. That when reality calls, this isn’t just about maintaining my streak. This isn’t just about ensuring I go into my title match with the Bulldog with momentum. This is about avenging myself. For Remington may never be within my grasp again, but there are men who are. Men who remind me of him. Men who will behave no different and illicit a reality where they are the breakers. You are a breaker, the one who fractures. I will not ask you to follow, and I will not ask if you understand. I know you understand, and you know that I cannot lose to you. I need to win, Knox. You will see.”

‘We are broken, but we see clearly. We are fractured, but we are whole.’ Voices chanting those words. Over and over. In unison, bounding off the darkness that surrounds the table. Another raven, and then a third. All three pecking at the table, grabbing wildly at the ball. Continuing to skitter, to elude.

“You will see. I promise you. This is my reality, Knox. I cannot, and will not, lose. You will fall victim, and you will be the tragic news that we carry. I will end men like you. I will end all those who break others. I will end all those who burn others. I once was lost, but no more. I will bring my wisdom to the world. You will fall victim. I assure it.”

The snap of fingers, the flutter of wings as the birds take off. The ball slowly coming to a stop. Landing on double 00.

“The house, takes all.”

And then.

Nothing.

12
Climax Control Archives / Friendship and Privilege
« on: December 03, 2021, 06:30:48 PM »
Friendship
Scene One | Off-Camera | 30/11/2021


“Yo, Ravey, baby.”

The deep southern drawl of his best friend was even worse in person than he remembered. It’d only been six months or so, since he’d left Melbourne to come back to the states. It’d only been six months or so since he’d left his best friend James.

“You’re looking old bud. The beers finally getting to you?”

The tap of knuckles against his arm, a playful punch. Even when James was pulling them, his punches hurt. A man who never knew his own strength. Alex smiled widely. He’d missed James since coming back. Phone calls were never enough.

“You’ve been carving it up, sugar. Put down that mouthy little blighter. Ol’ Dollar slap some sense into ya?”

James took a long drag on a cigarette, placing a glass of amber liquid to his lips, sucking it down before blowing a cloud of smoke in Alex’s face. As much as he enjoyed the taste of smokey death to his own lungs, having it in his face was never a desire.

“Carl was… an awakening. No more false king schtick, you feel? We leadin’ these days. Preaching. I always was a little full of myself.”

Alex lifted his own cigarette to his mouth, taking a deep drag. He returned the favour blowing the cloud straight back into James’ face before lifting a bottle to his lips, taking a large mouthful and swallowing it down. They were seating on a porch of a house, a small table between them, angled towards the world.

“Ravey baby, you alright? This business, it does you dirty. You lose yourself son. You lose yourself. I won’t be able to pull you out next time rockstar. I can’t do it anymore.”

Raven nodded, the smile slowly slipping from his face. Another mouthful, another drag. Both men staring off, not looking at each other. James gulped down the remainder of his glass, and butted out his cigarette, leaning back in his chair.

“I got faith in you, rockstar. You’re a winner, I know that. This business gets to you. Slinging beers, puffing darts and rockin’ out. Chasing tail, working yourself up. You’re a superstar behind the bar, sweet tea. Come home, Ravey. Come home.”

Alex put his bottle of beer back down on the table. Lifting a bottle of JD that was sitting ready, refilling James empty. He replaced it on the table, and put out his own cigarette. The click of a cutter, the striking of a match. The cigar raised to James mouth, another handed another over to Alex.

“James, you worry too much. I know me, I know me better than ever. I know the life that exists. Doesn’t work out? I come home. No more. We call it, but. I gotta do it, ya know? I gotta try, redeem. I got to lead. I gotta, be, someone. You know that James. I don’t need the support, but I’d appreciate it.”

Another click, another match, and the cigar up to Raven’s lips. Both men slowly puffing away. Deep, raucous laughter erupting from James. The wheezing soon following, and then the coughing as he struggled to get the air back into his lungs. Raven’s eye cocked, looking at his friend.

“Rockstar, sugar, daddy dictator. I know it all already. I’m making sure you know, ya feel? Ravey baby, I’m always gonna support your dreams. Just this time, I ain’t gonna piss out the flames. I ain’t gonna wrap your head, and I won’t spoon feed ya. You climbing outta ya own grave this time, or you pissing in it. You feel me, Alex?”

Raven matched the laughter, raising his beer and clinking it with James’ glass. The smiles etching them across both men’s faces. Silence followed soon after, then the sound of light snoring.

“Sleep easy, cowboy. Jet lag is killer, eh?”

Raven took the half smoked cigar from James’ mouth and putting it out. He tipped the remainder of the beer down his throat and leaned back in his chair. Slowly smoking his own cigar.

“Thank you, James. It’ll be different this time. I swear it, Mr. Phenomenal.”

Understanding
Scene Two | Off-Camera | 01/12/2021


Roulette. A game of chance. Gambling was never my forte, but I did enjoy roulette. The upside with roulette, is if you know what you are doing you can play to win. Manipulate the odds, read the table, understand. Roulette becomes a game that you can understand if you know the zones to read. No system is perfect, and the chance of losing is ever present, but. Roulette is a game that you can play to win, and win big. Roulette is my game of chance, and I know how to play the board. You learn to win more often in every aspect of life, when you learn to play the game. Odds become favourable, and you always walk away better.

Wrestling was the game I chose to learn. Wrestling is my roulette. The only difference, is I don’t ever want to lose in this game. The only difference is I play this roulette, with a bang. Losing to the house is unacceptable. Losing is unacceptable. I cannot do it. I cannot fail anymore. I promised James. I promised my late father. My mother. I wont ever let another Alexander Remington get the better of me. This game of roulette is life and death for me.

I’ve played this game, my whole life. On the streets, in my own family home. In the ring, behind the bar. It’s a gamble. It’s always a gamble. One that I cannot have bad odds on. One that I need to win the pot. I beat my father’s grip. I beat the starvation and poverty on the streets. I beat the overbearing mentor. Then I lost. I lost big. 7 years is what it cost me. A cracked skull, a body alight. Mocked, laughed at, and forever tainted. Alexander Remington won the game that night and I lost. I never expected to be back.

This is it. This is my game to win. This is my time to win. Roulette was always my game of chance.

Roulette. It’s a game of chance.


Privilege
Scene Three | On-camera | 01/12/2021


“I need you to listen to me. I need you to understand what I’m saying to you. Are you both listening to me? Are you both understanding me?”

The general murmur of a quiet pub on a Wednesday evening. Light chatter, the clink of glass against wooden tops, general life. People drinking away their problems, catching up with friends, enjoying an evening out that they’d come to regret with the headache in the morning. A door opened to back area beer garden. A few tables around, ash trays upon the high top tables. There was but one person in there currently, rugged up in a thick woolen coat, skinny jeans and a brick coloured pair of vans. Alexander Raven.

“There is comfort in places like this, wouldn’t you say? Somewhere familiar. Somewhere that reminds you of the safety of the past. Somewhere that reminds you of where you will go back to. Nightlife, hospitality, bars. They were my life for almost the entirety of my adult life. Before stepping back into the ring earlier this year, I’d hid away behind various bars. Sliding beers, and making cocktails. Listening to the troubles of the sad and broken. Knocking back shots with the regulars and those who paid my lifestyle. A reality that I had become quite accustomed too. A lifestyle that I still can’t get rid of.”

“It’s interesting how many of the broken find themselves toiling away in these places of creature comfort. The warm embrace of a glass of whiskey. The excitement of a shot of a tequila to keep the night going. The glass of vodka and soda to ply the girl you’ve been eyeing. Creatures of the night, and creatures of comfort. Life is about being comfortable, wouldn’t you say? I think so. So, like the broken creatures that haunt these places, I too will haunt them.”


His beard was ragged, his hair beginning to grow out and was sitting at an awkward length beneath the snapback worn on his head. Smoke wafted from a cigarette hanging loosely from his mouth. He shifted his weight on the stool, ashing some of the cigarette into an ash tray, lifting a glass of a dark brown liquid to his mouth. Taking a slow sip a small stream of smoke blowing out his nose.

“You see, the issue with this however. Is I find it hard to relate to those who don’t understand the difficulty that leads to this comfort. I find it hard to relate to the privileged. I struggle to understand those who think they are destined for greatness. Who think their genetics define their success. I struggle to understand those who spat upon the chances they were given. I struggle to comprehend those who think they are owed anything in life but the subservience and obedience they needed to to acquiesce to to have a perfect life.”

“A happy family, a happy life. To spit upon the success you were offered just by being born is one thing. But to think that your life is better than mine, for it? Repulsive. I stand to lead the broken for a very specific reason. I stand to lead the broken because the broken need the guidance to a better tomorrow. They need guidance to put people in their place and remind them, that we are not below them. We are not, beneath them. Neither are we equals. Through the adversity, reality is clear. Through adversity a strength is born. Through adversity, one becomes stronger, better, and far more powerful.”


He placed the half smoked cigarette on the edge of the ash tray. He lifted the glass up to his eye line, swirling it slowly. His eyes were distant, thoughts brewing behind them. Icy and cold. The slightest twitch of the edge of his mouth, the furrowing of the brow, creasing the space between his eyebrows just slightly. Frustration edging slowly onto his face.

“Brayden Hilton.”

A flash of anger, the tightening of his grip. Then, the flick of the wrist. His arm extended, the sound of glass shattering. Silence following. The indoor murmur quieting, heaviness in the air. Eyes sharpened, aggression in them.

“Third generation? Mocking. Brayden, you are the epitome of the filth I’m talking about. Your very existence does not dictate success. The father is not of the son, as is the mother of the child. Their success does not guarantee yours. Yet their failings will not be yours. I need you to understand what I’m telling you, Brayden. I need you to listen to me. I need you to follow me here. Are you listening? Are you following?”

“Are you understanding?”


Raven slowly lifts the cigarette from the ash tray, another drink being placed in front of him. The server nodding at him, and moving off to sweep up the glass. Alex gripped the new drink in his right hand, his fingers turning white as he squeezed it.

“I do not blame my alcoholic father for where I am. I do not blame my shortcomings upon the abuse he handed me. Yet I do not acclaim him my success. I do not rely upon his memory to hide my embarrassments. I stand as my own. I stand with myself as the peak of my own mountain. The myriad of masks I’ve worn, I’ve worn proudly. I’ve worn them because I know who I am Brayden. I know what I can do and I know where I come up short. I am not a gambling man, but I am one to play the games. I do not need a mouthpiece at my side and a parent’s success to dictate my opportunities. One match is all it took to get me to this opportunity for a chance at the Roulette Championship. One showing is all it took to impress those above to deem me worthy of a chance to put down the privileged pristine disconnected filth.”

“Brayden, you will learn. You need to learn. To stand on your own two feet. I am a leader, a teacher, a king. I am the Broken Messiah, with a message to lead the broken, beaten and disconnected. You Brayden, will learn. The lesson will be beaten into you. The lesson will be extracted from you. The lesson will be permanent. You will learn Brayden. I promise you. For stepping into that ring. Regardless of the match, we aren’t playing roulette. We aren’t gambling. I don’t play the odds, Brayden. I ensure the game goes in my favour, because I do not like to lose. I hide behind no one, and I will never pretend to be due anything but that what I earn. The sins of my father, will bleed upon you. I promise you this.”

”Do you understand me?”


A wash of calm sweeping over his face. His eyes relaxing, brow relaxing, his grip, relaxing. A slow exhale, a deep inhale and then another slow heavy exhale. A sharp inhale of the final drag of the cigarette, his eyes slowly closing.

“I have not forgotten you, Lincoln. Lincoln Daniels, Mr. Incredible. I wonder, Lincoln. Do you take the name to brighten the face of the small children who see you as their own super hero? Do you take the name, because you are so incredibly full of yourself that you think yourself just that? Incredible? I wonder Lincoln. I wonder. I wonder because I need to know the man who stands in front of me. The man who wishes to play the game with me. Whilst there once was four, there is now just us three. Better odds, but all the more stressful, no? Do you respect Brayden and his mockery of talent? A man so bound by the thought of himself being successful due to birth right alone? Does it infuriate you, as it does me? I wonder Lincoln.”

“Are you gambling man, Lincoln? Is roulette your game of choice? What is your poison? I know I’m asking a lot of questions. I’m sorry for that. You are the mystery man here, no? To me, you are. I don’t like mysteries Lincoln. I don’t like gambling. I like a set future. A set understanding so I can see where I need to apply myself. I need to see the reality as it is, so that I can understand when someone is disconnected from it. Fractured though I may be, and broken guaranteed. I need clarity to focus the sight. I need clarity to understand where to lead my flock. My Conspiracy. Did you know a group of Ravens is called a Conspiracy, Lincoln? Those who stand in my light, being led by the words of this Broken Messiah are all part of my Conspiracy.”


A look of mild confusion creased his brow once more. He swallowed down the liquid in his newly acquired glass, wincing just slightly at the burn. His free hand raising to the side of his head, tapping at his temples slightly.

“Brayden, Lincoln. I do beg that you do your best to stand up to me. I do ask that you leave your privilege behind. I do ask that you leave your self-entitlements and beliefs at home for the reality is this. I will lead you to the true reality. One where those full of themselves will falter at the foot of my Conspiracy. One where the fractured are the only ones with clarity of sight and mind to see the truth of the world around them. It does not matter, what the arrow falls upon for this is my reality. I cannot, will not, lose. Do you understand me? Are you listening to me?”

“I need you to listen to me.”


A smile. Twitching at the edge of hard line lips. Eyes opening, focused. Hard, but focused.

Then, nothing.

Silence.

Darkness.

13
Climax Control Archives / Broken and Resentful
« on: November 16, 2021, 06:50:35 AM »
Resentment
Scene one | Off-camera | 16th November


“It’s funny, you know? How long has it been now, dad? Seven, eight years? It’s weird to think, that every year I grow slightly less resentful of you. That I appreciate the time we got to spend together. But forgiven, you shan’t ever be. I’m not as angry as I once was. I’m at peace with myself. Or so I thought. The dreams, they’ve started again. They don’t stop, they plague my sleeping hours. Sometimes I break you, sometimes you break me. It’s not as therapeutic as I would like. They tell you not to read too deeply into your dreams, but I can’t help but wonder. Would you be proud of who I’ve become? Would you teach those harsh lessons once again if you knew how long I stayed hidden? Would you have hated me for going back to the ring?”

Smoke wafted from a half burnt cigarette, disappearing into the night sky. Quiet, the sound of the night world full of singing insects and chirping creatures humming lowly in the the space around him. A field, maybe a farm. He found himself sitting on a camping chair, alone. Staring into the sky. It was peaceful. A happy place to talk to the world around him. To talk to his father long since passed. He wasn’t much of one to believe in an after-life, but communicating with the memory of his father was soothing.

“It was a nice warm-up, that’s for sure. Strange characters in that place. Frustrating that Carl got one over me. Wasn’t expecting it. Honestly, don’t think anyone was. Well, you probably would have. I would’ve had the bruises to prove it too, huh? You never were a particularly efficient teacher. Never spare the rod, for the lesson of the bruising is stronger than that of the word. Old school, weren’t you? Not always though. Not always a brute, not always an alcoholic. I think I understand you more now. I understand why you turned to the bottle. I know what it feels like to be failure. I’ve felt like one for the longest time now. All the potential in the world, full of bravado and words, and yet. At the end of the day, it all falls apart. The chosen one to carry UECW, and I failed to beat the haired wonder. Gave up the other belts, because I felt no attachment to a memory of a man I had, in my mind, ended.”

The ember slowly faded as the cigarette went out. Dropped to the grass, another to the lips. He held the lighter in his hand, flicking the flame on. His eyes transfixed on the flames, the glow across his features. The small amount of warmth warming his chilled nose. His eyes distant, longing. Fixated.

“The inaugural champion, and I fell to my own teammate. Never redeemed. That’s the legacy I carry. The chosen one, who fails to live up to his own reality. I wonder, dad. I wonder if things will ever change. Will I always be the victim of a fate beyond my control? Full of bluster, yet a step short. The curse of the Rabenschwarz. Full of potential, but spat upon by the lady herself. I understand why you turned to the bottle, and your fists upon us. Traded the gloves for the strap. I understand now, more than I ever did. I don’t know why I let you back in. Hope that you were right? Hope that you would have changed after all those years. I was so very, very wrong, wasn’t I? James walked away from it all, and was happy. He’d achieved what he wanted. Fate smiled upon him, dad. Fate smiled upon him, whilst it spat upon me. The worst part?"

"The fire didn’t cleanse me.


He inhaled deeply, shaking his head ever so slightly. The flame flickered out and clicked off. The cigarette sliding behind his ear, as he leaned back into his chair. From the holder of the chair, he raised a glass bottle. Raising it up towards the waning moon, hanging high in the sky.

“It’s going to be different this time. I know it. I can feel it. Fate won’t spit upon me anymore. I couldn’t save you, and I didn’t ever say goodbye. The flames cleansed you, absolved you of your sins. I know that now. I don’t resent you anymore. I won’t ever forgive you, but. I think I can stop hating you."

"Cheers, dad.


He tilted the bottle to the sky, clinking an imaginary other. Drinking deeply, he leaned back in his chair, closing his eyes. Allowing his thoughts to wander freely.

Broken
Scene Two | On-camera | 16th November


The crackle of flames, embers flowing from the small fire pit. Smoke billowing into the late afternoon sky. Amber skies beyond the horizon, long grass swaying with a light breeze. Green, green grass. Sunlight piercing the branches of nearby trees. As pretty as the most loved of autumn paintings. A pristine oasis. Standing near the pit, hands stretched out towards the flames a person, a man. His eyes transfixed upon the flames, his mind elsewhere. Hands dangerously close to the leaping licks of the yellow dragons.

“Brandon Hendrix. It’s a quaint little dance that we do. You scream, you swear, and you belittle. You mock, and you bluster. Arrogance oozes from you, Brandon. It’s unfortunate that a man with such success, would be so ignorant to the precarious nature of it. Looks can be stolen. The mind can be ruined. It’s an arrogance to believe it infallible. Yet, you continue to bluster. You continue to scream, you continue to swear, you continue to run your mouth. Reality is a funny thing, Brandon.

You’ve listened to me throw it out there, over and over. Yes, I know you’ve been listening. Vanity demands that you listen to every word that comes out for you. Good or bad, you must know that you are being thought of. Being acknowledged. I understand it well, Brandon. I too once wanted the adulation of all. I too was unable to exist unless people knew who I was. I too, would scream and shout. Never as vulgar as you. I have some modicum of respect. I have some understanding of the necessity of strong language in logical sequence. I understand, Brandon. Yet, I too, can be juvenile.”


Just as the wind shifted and the flames threatened to catch, Alex lowered his hands to his side. His eyes unmoving, still focused. Deep in thought, voice gentle, soft. The gasoline grumble of his tone seemingly subdued. A slim fit woolen coat hung tightly on his frame, zipped halfway. His hands sliding into the pockets either side, the slightest shake of his head. Eyelids slowly closing.

“The Broken Messiah, Alexander Raven. I seem very lost, don’t you think? Formerly the False King, the False Prophet. Leading persons unwilling to a reality that deigned the truth. My false reality. Throwing them down, denying their connections. Refuting their disconnectedness, stretching the olive branch. Delusional, perhaps. I often think I think too hard. Would you agree Brandon? Would you agree that I think too much? Too much of myself, too little of others? My father, he thought so. He wasn’t a fan of the verbal joust. The battle of wits wasn’t his forte. The strength of the fist, that was his rule. Beat not the mind, if you can beat the flesh.”

His brow furrowed, creasing across the forehead. Frustration etching its way across his features, his left hand raising to his temple. His pointer finger tapping against his temple lightly, the rest of his fingers curled into a fist.

“You remind me of him somewhat. Wildly self confident. Unbelieving of a reality where he isn’t the superior. Disconnected from the truth. You’ve got yourself believing that you won our first encounter. The books will say that is the case, you’re right. Black and white is the world you exist in, but shades of grey are what I believe in. Shades of grey are where I lead my flock. Where I lead, my Conspiracy. I eliminated Wacky. I eliminated Holla. You eliminated us both. Tangled in a mess of your poor spear. You got lucky. Ended up on top, literally. Yet you would act as if you had conquered me in a contest of the ages. A flogging, where you trounced Alexander Raven. Broke him so badly that he cannot let it go.

Is it wrong? Maybe not. I will acknowledge that you have me fixated Brandon. I need the redemption. Not for me though, no. No, I need the redemption to silence you. I need to show that being slighted by anyone is a bad, bad decision. I need you to be the martyr for my cause. No olive branches anymore. No offer of solace. No, you’ve helped me realise where I was wrong, Brandon. You were successful in that regard. You broke Alexander Raven. No more cracked crown. No more prophecies. Just a leader. A leader of the equally broken. The equally ruined. The Messiah of the Broken. I am, thanks to you, The Broken Messiah, Alexander Raven.”


A smile stretched across his face, happy. Content. White noise buzzed loudly, the quiet of the world disturbed by the noise. The screech of birds, the croak of ravens mixing through. Grunts of exertion and pain.

“Silence!”

The frustration etched across his face, his eyes snapping open as he kicked dirt onto the flames. Then again, and again. The dirt slowly smothering the fires. The birds, the white noise, the grunts, all beginning to fade as the flames begin to die. Suffocated by the dirt. The glow of embers mixed with the brown of the earth. The sun slowly descending further behind the horizon line. The sky yellowing into blackness.

“I will relish this encounter Brandon. With you, a new beginning. A new start. A new understanding. My reality, no longer fractured. Clarity, as it were. Clarity, Brandon. Are you listening? Are you following me? I need you to listen. I need you understand what I’m telling you. Listen to me Brandon."

"Listen!"


A lighter clicks to life, a cigarette rapidly drawn from a pocket. Brought to his lips. A deep inhale, his tongue dragging across his lips as he slowly exhaled a plume of that white smoke. His eyes fixated on the glowing embers slowly fading as they too were suffocated.

“Juvenile insults. That’s what they have been called. Whack Ass, Dollar Hand, and you, Branded Hen. It’s juvenile, the name calling. Yet it gets under the skin, doesn’t it? Branded Hen. Branded, Hen. You reacted, just as all the others. It’s interesting how hot under the collar people can get, from the most mild of insults. It’s amusing to me, Branded. It’s apt too, don’t you think? You’re entire brand, is based on your assumption of superiority. Your delusion with yourself, and the world around you. Your disconnected nature, is your brand. You are branded, yet you do not realise it. Just like a Hen, you don’t understand you’re just a waiting meal for the curious fox. The hen house, it seems safe. The hen house, it does not stop the fox.

The Hen screams, and the fox feeds. Slaughter, Brandon. Slaughter and carnage. The unfortunate reality is that the carcass of the hen, becomes the nectar for those would feed upon the left over carrion. The fox slaughters and takes it due, the crows and the ravens peck the remains. Branded for slaughter by a predator it is unaware. You, are branded for me, Hen. The hen house awaits us. At the end Brandon, you’ll understand. I don’t expect you to get it now. I don’t think you could. You’re far, far too disconnected. Branded Hen, I am the fox that will feed the scavengers.”


The glow of the cigarette slowly burning down fills the air. The sun almost completely descended now. Darkness coming in, the waning moon throwing its eerie glow. Alexander Raven lightly illuminated. His eyes burning with a new founded passion. Focused, and attentive. His mind now close, his thoughts no longer distant. No longer a mind separate from the body. Flashes of anger.

“You dodged me once, not again. I will break you. There is naught else to it. I will put you down, like the humane farmer would. You will be the martyr of my cause. For when you step into that ring, understand this. The Conspiracy, my Conspiracy are always watching. Through the jeers and spewing of the masses, you will know. You will feel the eyes of them all. Those I have saved, those I will save, and those who follow willingly. Broken, yet wanting to be fixed. Do you want to be fixed Brandon? Alas. You’ve insulted me on a very personal level. You’ve made this, personal for me. It’s truly a shame, Hen. For once I am done with you, I don’t wish to ever hear my name if your mouth again. I don’t wish to ever hear you thinking of me again. For if I hear that you bluster again. I will ensure that you are silenced permanently. You truly upset me, Brandon."

"Were you listening?


With a final cloud of smoke, the sun disappeared completely. Night illuminating the world in a light glow. The cigarette dropping into the mound of dirt that hid the now silenced fire. The crunch of shoes churning ground, steps fading away.

Then, nothing. Darkness.

Silence.

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