Author Topic: The Rapture.  (Read 349 times)

Offline Terrorfexx

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The Rapture.
« on: December 27, 2021, 10:00:48 AM »

That's the only word that could have described the World Bombshells Champion, Amber Ryan, as she staggered slightly whilst making her way through the backstage area. Title clasped firmly in her arms, as though it could be torn from her grasp at any moment and take anything of value from her chest with it.

A sheen of sweat covered her skin as ragged breaths rattled her bones, but she was still upright and still champion. That was what really mattered now, although she couldn't quite swallow the indignation in the back of her tongue, that dissatisfaction painted across her features that sent backstage techs scurrying for their lives. In truth she had no qualms with them and their stares, the way they regarded her with equal awe and uncertainty.

It was becoming more and more apparent that the World Champion might be losing her grip a little. Ten successful defenses was something to be celebrated and admired, but it took its toll physically and emotionally. Amber would never speak of the sleepless nights before defenses, her brain rattling through every worst case scenario that saw her walking away without the title she'd worked so hard to keep. All the ways she might lose everything in a split second …

It was enough to send anyone mad.

She wasn't though, reconfirmed with a small shake of the head as she stepped up to her locker room door. She wasn't mad… just tired.

… And just a little pissed off.

Even now, despite still holding the belt, Amber swallowed hard in recollection of Masque and her disrespectful insertions into her business. Veiled threat after veiled threat after… No, she'd buried that demon back in Atlantic City - so why was it now doing a fucking jig on her doorstep drawing irritated glares from the neighbours?

… And to show up at the end of the match. God, what if it had cost her the–

No, that couldn't be dwelled on. Sighing aggravatedly, Amber wearily pushed the door inwards towards sanctuary and solitude. Away from prying eyes. Away from distraction. Away from expectation. She knew Mac would be out there trying to reclaim his title by now, so that gave her just enough time to take a deep breath and–

A forearm snaked around Amber’s neck and pulled tight, lifting her off her feet even as soles screeched against wooden floorboards, tracing jerking patterns for desperate, instinctual purchase. Something lithe and bony pressed against the back of the Bombshell’s skull, forcing her head forwards as her larynx was compressed back tight; making agonising differential pressure. The Championship title spun away from arcing, grasping fingers,  and clattered to the ground. More weight tilted back, forcing Amber’s spine in a painful curve. She looked up and struggled to tell the difference between lights made by incandescent heat and lights made by oxygen deprivation. Both of them spun.

Suddenly, the pressure released and she felt herself thrown forward. Fingers splayed out against the brickwork opposite to stop a jarring collision, chest rattling with the sweet, sharp intake of unrestricted breath but a strong hand clamped around the base of Amber’s neck drove her headfirst in.

She fell back and down, skull rebounding painfully - again - on the worn wooden floor. Amber tasted hot iron.

The sharp metal rim of her title belt, angled just right to eliminate the protection of the leather backing, pressed in deep underneath her chin. A knee pinned her left hand down and every time her right swung up to punch something, the Championship bit down harder on her throat.

A crimson mask with a face drawn from darker, washed-out shadows looked down. “Congratulations on your victory tonight …”

Rasping, putting up the best facade of nonchalance that could be mustered under the circumstances as a dribble of something warm traced around her left eye, Amber forced a smirk that she didn't believe in.

"You know what would have made it better?" A hypothetical posed as something genuine, a pause that left no time for an answer that wasn't coming. "You not being there … Turns out we all don't quite get what we want."

Shifting her weight, Amber wriggled for the chance at an extra breath and a moment to regroup.

"So how about you do me a favour and fuck off… Before I put you through the floor." A threat made from an underneath position carried little weight, even being spat from a woman more than capable of making it happen. "I might even get them to mark the spot of your final breath when I'm done, you know for memorium and giggles…"

Another wriggle, another extra breath and another chance to turn the tide against an opponent who'd taken victory potentially for granted.

Masque leaned in and with it, gold-plated metal cut further into taut skin. “You are unique, which makes you precious …”

The palm of her free hand swept tangled hair out from Amber’s eyes, lingering on her temple. Loving, and made all the more shuddering for it. “ … Valuable, maybe. But everything tarnishes, becomes lesser. Devolves. And look at you, my Painted Hurricane. Look at you now …”

Suddenly, the palm pressed down. Hard. Compressing flesh and bone; driving her skull into the floor, holding her head steady while the title belt began to cut upwards.

“Faded,” Masque spat, her tone shifting brutally from inquisitive, almost wistful to serrated and barking. “Like artwork left to spoil in the wind and rain. A parody of everything you once were …”

Despite her best efforts, the squeak in her voice as the compression took its toll echoed loudly between them. Amber tried to adjust her breathing for the change in oxygen levels, only finding herself a little more lightheaded as the belt’s edge seemed to pinch further into her skin, threatening to leave her asunder at the mercy of her greatest achievement.

"I think you…" A sputter followed as the words trailed off. "I think you need your eyes checked. Whatever you're wearing on your face has seeped into your skin, lead poisoning if I should be so fucking lucky."

Another rasp as Amber laced her free fingers at the edge of the belt before it might sink any deeper through her. A vain attempt to mitigate further harm perhaps, a show of small defiance otherwise.

"I'm more successful than you ever were. I'm at the fucking pinnacle of this place, whereas the only reason anyone knows you exist is because of me… by all means try to kick the shit out of me all you want, but I make you real. Not the other way around..." Allowing her eyes to roll back slightly to relieve the lightheadedness, Amber's words were briefly punctuated by a small albeit forced laugh.

"... And nothing you say or do here changes that."

Abruptly, Masque pulled the title away and turned it back to face its owner. Red gleamed around its bottom edge. She cocked her head to the side. “Do you really believe that?”

“I can count the bruises,” She said, bright blue eyes taking Amber in. Her free hand reached out, and a thumb ran against the dark smears underneath the Champion’s eyes before she jerked away from the touch. “You’re worn out, spread so thin. Did you think tonight would be it?”

Masque tilted the title belt alongside her so-called face, so Amber could catch her reflection in the shining faceplate. “Did you think tonight would be the end of your reign?”

Amber didn't answer, the stare remaining dead as the silence lingered. In truth, Amber didn't know. She'd been moments from losing it all at every single defense. There had never been a guarantee, never a moment to breathe from bell to bell. Tonight was another near miss, not a shot on target for champion - another scrape by on the road to eventual heartbreak.

Everything had to end, but she wasn't nearly ready to give it up quite yet. Damn the records, damn the achievements and awards… she'd worked too fucking hard, for too fucking long to let it slip between her fingers because of a mistake… Because of something woefully avoidable.

Even now, with the faceplate so achingly close to being taken from her - and threatening to take everything she'd invested with it - she couldn't muster an argument against the obvious.
Masque was right. To hell with saying it though… Amber would have rather died on the spot.

Her voice dropped to a whisper, dripping with the kind of pride reserved for a parent towards their child. It sounded like velvet but felt like oil. “That’s okay,” Masque cooed. “You’ve already said it ..”

For several seconds, stretching out to make a minute, she stared at the World Championship, her mask cast in some odd golden light by its own reflection.

“What a powerful thing …” She mused. “I can see the appeal.”

Folding the straps, Masque placed the title down on the floor, next to Amber’s head. “ … But now is not the time for that. I am not here to take this from you …”

“I am here to make you mighty beyond any conceivable measure. You are caked in corrosion, a weapon of war made blunt by peace, but …”

Masque ran a gloved finger down to cup Amber’s chin. “I will sharpen you such that you will cut heaven and bleed the divine. They will beg you to stop and you will not even hear them, because goddesses do not concern themselves with how the grass feels underneath a hot sun.

Her hand drifted down until two fingers pressed lightly against Amber’s sternum. “The engine rumbles to life again, but it will run so much more sweetly with stronger, purer fuel …”

Amber turns to find her reflection in the metal’s glow, the woman staring back almost hollow. A diamond formed under pressure but continued to be pressed until crumbled to powder… a dust on the wind to be remembered fondly for what she was before she broke down into nothing.

How long could she possibly continue this way, defense after defense. Match after match where the cracks were showing, the indomitable facade crumbling at its very foundation, because the inevitable chipping away had actually left her riddled with holes.

God, she was tired…

… But being the world champion meant far more than the toll this exhaustion was taking.

Amber's gaze slowly traced back to the brilliant blue peering through the porcelain edges. A state between forces of nature that seemed to last beyond the edge of the world, beyond the lives to be sacrificed for something more.

"Fuel, huh… I suppose the next thing you'll tell me is that you're doing me a favour for nothing."

“Oh, my Painted Hurricane, no,” Masque said as she climbed to her feet, picking up the World Championship and unbuckled its straps. She reached down a free hand, offering it to Amber.

“ … It will cost you everything, eventually.”

With only a moment of hesitation as her hand touched against where the metal had cut in against her neck, coming off with the faint glisten of red, Amber used the same hand to grasp Masque's with an oddly serene smile.

"Now, that sounds like the kind of deal I'm used to making…"

Cocking her head to the side, Masque nodded as she draped the title belt over Amber’s shoulder, wiping away the last vestiges staining the inside rim with a fingertip. “We are all in service to something greater.”

“They …” She motioned with a jerk of her head beyond the locker room door, “Are in service to you. They will be the fuel that powers your reign. Charnel, mass. Meat. You will stack them high and on their broken challenges make a summit on which only the Sun will have the right to look down upon you. And it will look down in fear of when you will come for it.”

The pitch of her voice climbed an octave. Sing-song. “They will come to challenge, and then they will fear and they will stop. Then you will come for them, and write a legacy in their thrashing misery, blessing them with the privilege of being another body broken on the way to building something …”

Masque took a loud lungful of air. “ … Beautiful.”

She traced a fingertip down the title faceplate, leaving a red smear. “Welcome to the Rapture, my Renewed Hurricane.”
D̶o n̶ot b̶e fri̶ght̴e̵n̵ed. M̷i̵n̵e i̵s t̴he̵ la̴st vo̷i̵c̶e yo̴u w̶ill eve̴r h̸ear.