Author Topic: MASQUE v JESSIE SALCO  (Read 291 times)

Offline Christian Underwood

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« on: March 07, 2022, 03:18:50 PM »
Post all roleplays for this match in this thread.
Limits: 1 roleplay per week, 7,000 word limit.

Good luck!

“To err is human - but it feels divine.”
? Mae West

Offline Jessie Salco

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    • Jessie Salco
“Final Girl.”
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2022, 02:24:28 PM »
(Keira was used with permission from her handler)

Jessie hasn’t been in action since her loss to Diamond in the Rock N’ Roll Death Match that served as the Main Event of the second Climax Control of the action but she has made her voice heard on the shows, including pondering what was next for her as Blaze of Glory neared, well the bosses would answer her question come the announcement for the Blaze of Glory X card and it was not an easy match for her.

She was facing the mysterious and terrifying Masque in singles action! Masque was coming off the second win in her SCW Career having defeated Adrienne Beaufort after the French Bombshell took to Twitter wondering if the bosses had forgotten about her but whilst that gaff was a big one on Adrienne’s part, Jessie had made no such gaff in the weeks leading up to Blaze of Glory X, meaning that it was likely that the bosses had booked the match to give Masque something to do on the show! Can Jessie win?

Backstage at Climax Control 325, Las Vegas, Nevada
Sunday the 6th of March 2022, 00:34am

Here’s to another lousy cycle.

If I seemed directionless throughout the past cycle, well, congrats on spotting the obvious! I knew that places on the card were going to be harder to come by thanks to the Blast from the Past Tournament taking priority but I’ve only been booked once this whole cycle, way back at the second show no less and yes it was the Main Event of that show but there is a key difference here, namely that the Rock N’ Roll Death Match was one of the weirdest matches I’ve ever competed in.

And as a four time Bombshell Roulette Champion, that’s saying a lot.

Off course there were other stories coming out of the cycle, from the sudden, meteoric rise of Jaycee McDonald and Levana Cade to Krystal’s reign as Bombshell Roulette Champion being cut short of the three hundred day mark under controversial circumstances things were bound to get interesting heading into Blaze of Glory X but there was only one thing that I cared about heading into the show.

Namely, whether or not I’d get a chance to bunce back from the loss to Diamond.

”Krystal’s definitely going to feel the effects of that street fight in the weeks to come.” I commented to myself as I glanced towards the medic’s office where Krystal had spent most of the night at after the Street Fight against Amber, I spotted Team Hero and Cassie heading towards the medic’s office and paid them no mind as I walked off in a different direction. ”They are probably off to make sure Krystal’s okay following the Street Fight, I can check on her during the week I guess.”

”I told you Katie, I’m not terrified of Masque!” I heard a French Feminine Accent ring out and, well, there was only one Bombshell that that accent could belong too. ”I lost to Andrea and Myra as well and I’m not scared of them!”

[font=color=#8A2BE2]”And I’d believe that if it weren’t for all the reasons I listed during the show!”[/color] Katie’s voice rang out unintentionally confirming my suspicions as I rounded the corner and spotted Adrienne arguing with her manager. [font=color=#8A2BE2]”Besides, Masque is a completely different beast compared to Andrea and Myra!”[/color]

”Yeah, for one thing, Masque wears a, well, mask!” I responded as I neared the two younger women and they looked up in time to see me approaching them with an amused look on my face. ”You know, and a few other details such as the cryptic as fuck tweets! Also, you guys were arguing so loud that I’m pretty sure the only reason why the bosses haven’t come to break it up is because they are dealing with the aftermath of The Troll’s attempted bear-napping.”

”I still can’t believe that idiot actually tried that stunt! Is he actively trying to beat Andrea for the Most Hated award at the Year End Awards?” Adrienne wondered aloud and I shook my head with a chuckle in response, though I personally wouldn’t be surprised if this year’s “Most Hated Award” ended up being a tight race between Andrea and The Troll, if not a tie between the two. ”And I’m sorry for disturbing you Jessica but I’m trying to prove that I’m not as easily scared as Caleb!”

[font=color=#8A2BE2]”Okay, first off, that’s my husband you’re talking about! Watch what you say about him!”[/color] Katie grunted in annoyance and Adrienne put her hands up apologetically in response. [font=color=#8A2BE2]”Second, he was terrified of Fenris after he competed against him in the 2018 Blast from the Past AND watched him knock out another guy with a kick, Masque hasn’t even had her third singles match in SCW yet!”[/color]

”Blaze of Glory X is the next card, if she is going to be booked it’s going to be on that show.” Adrienne commented before letting out an annoyed huff. ”Speaking off, how is Chloe Benton qualified for that Bombshell Gauntlet and I’m not? I beat Chloe in our debut match!”

[font=color=#8A2BE2]”Probably because you keep putting your foot in your mouth? Just a thought!”[/color] Katie pointed out and almost on cue I got the “new card announced” text and I checked it. [font=color=#8A2BE2]”Besides, there’s plenty of other matches on the card, I’m sure you’ll get booked in some other match!”[/color] Katie added and I had to do a double take when I saw my match. [font=color=#8A2BE2]”If not, we’ll figure something out!”[/color]

”You’d better start brainstorming, because Adrienne’s not on the Blaze of Glory card.” I informed the two younger women and Adrienne let out an annoyed huff in response. ”But I think you’ll be interested in my match! For one thing, I’m facing the same woman you faced in your last match!”

”Masque?!” Adrienne asked as all colour drained from her face and I nodded in response. ”Look, if you want my help preparing for that match I’ll be happy to give it! But I don’t know how much good that’ll do against a woman like her.”

”Well, Kaiju Rainbow hasn’t been seen since Ms. Jon slammed her through the matt, I don’t know Kat Jones that well aside from the fact that she’s Amber’s sister so yeah, you might be my best shot Adrienne.” I nodded in response after thinking back on all the other Bombshells who had faced off against Masque since she signed with SCW during the holiday break. ”I take it you still remember where my house is.”

”It’s not that far from Caleb and Katie’s home and she can pick me up from my apartment, so yeah getting there shouldn’t be hard.” Adrienne nodded in response as she let out a deep breath. ”It’ll at least help me prepare for my next match. Whenever that’ll be.”

”Just don’t make any dumbass tweets like the one you did that led to your match against Masque, otherwise you’ll probably team up with Chloe to take on Ms. Jon and Tempest on the first show of the cycle.” I responded and Adrienne shuddered before nodding and I walked off.

I had faced so called “scary” bombshells before, I was one of the first to take on Twisted Sister on PPV after all, but Masque was a different breed compared to the likes of Twisted Sister and Maki.

Difference was, I was able to beat Twisted Sister and Maki, Masque wasn’t going to be so easy.

Jessie’s home gym, Las Vegas, Nevada
Monday the 7th of March 2022, 18:00pm

Back to business as usual.

Now that I’m back in action at Blaze of Glory I have to start training, though let’s be honest I think the only way I can train for a match against someone who’s a horror movie come to life like Masque is to enter the world of a horror movie and try to make it to the end.

And frankly? I like my chances against Masque A LOT more than I like my chances against the likes of Jason Vorhees or Freddy Krueger!

”Okay, weight machine needs fixing, looks like Jake went a bit too hard on that when we get back from the Bahamas.” I commented as I looked over the gym equipment, basically trying to make sure that everything was in working order before Adrienne and Katie arrived. ”How do I go about fixing this thing? Granted I’m the only one in the house who doesn’t use this thing but still.”

“I noticed that earlier, already have a guy coming out to fix it.” I heard Shane’s voice from the stairwell and I looked up before nodding. “Also, Adrienne and Katie just arrived.”

”Send them down!” I called back to my husband who nodded before stepping out of the way to let the two women passed, by the time Adrienne had reached the bottom of the stairs I was already waiting for her in the ring. ”You ready for your training Adrienne?”

”Ready as I’ll ever be.” Adrienne nodded before she rolled into the ring and started warming up. ”Even though I’m not in action at Blaze of Glory I do need to prepare for my next match, whenever that is!”

”Maybe but you do need to set some time aside for your social life, otherwise you’ll get burned out fast.” I pointed out and Adrienne and Katie nodded in agreement. ”It could be something as simple as baking or even going out on a date with Emerald!” I suggested before noticing almost immediately that Adrienne’s mood had soured the moment I brought up her girlfriend. ”Something happened between you and Emerald, didn’t it?”

”It was less to do with me and everything to do with Emerald, just to set the record straight.” Adrienne told me before we started sparring, as fast and ferocious as her kicks were, it was obvious that her anger was affecting her performance. ”I was furious at Emerald for helping Diamond screw Krystal out of the Roulette Title, there was an argument and to make a long story short, I slapped her after she tried to justify her actions by saying that Krystal wasn’t championship material.”

[font=color=#8A2BE2]”Adrienne didn’t slap Emerald nearly as hard as she could’ve, for one thing Emerald’s head was still attached to her neck.”[/color] Katie continued and I nodded as I got the idea. [font=color=#8A2BE2]”Adrienne also gave Emerald an ultimatum, either she leaves the Gem Stones or their relationship is over.”[/color]

”We’ve only talked once or twice since that night, neither time was in person.” Adrienne continued and I frowned as I started to get the idea. ”Frankly I don’t know what to do with her.”

”If you ask me, it was only a matter of time.” I commented as I shook my head and Adrienne gave me a surprised look whilst we continued to spar. ”Don’t get me wrong, you two made for a hot couple but considering the rivalry between Jet City and the Go Gym? It was bound to blow up at some point and if I can be blunt it reminds me why I made the right choice by not dating another wrestler!”

”Oui, I guess you’re right, I just wanted it to work because Emerald is my first serious girlfriend.” Adrienne admitted as she backed away from me. ”But I guess I was naïve.”

”No one’s saying that it couldn’t work, hell the school you trained at is ran by a husband/wife team that started dating when they were active wrestlers.” I pointed out and Adrienne nodded as she got the idea. ”But cases like Gabriel and Odette, Team Hero, Evie and Ben? More often than not, they are the exception rather than the rule.”

“My ears are burning.” We looked up in surprise and saw Keira waiting at the top of the stairs with a grin on her face. “Shane let me in, I’ve got a proposition for you Jessie.”

”You guys okay with waiting for a bit?” I asked Adrienne and Katie who nodded without hesitation and I left the ring. ”What’s this about Keira? Gotta be pretty important if you’re not telling me over the phone or via text.”

“I’ll tell you about it upstairs.” Keira informed me and I nodded before leaving the basement gym.

Jessie’s home, Las Vegas, Nevada
Monday the 7th of March 2022, 19:00

Once we were upstairs I made myself comfy in the living room and Keira sat across from me on the chair whilst I sat on the sofa.

“Okay, I take it you heard about everything that went down at the PTA Gym last week?” Keira asked and I nodded bitterly. I would’ve given Matthew a piece of my mind if I was confident that Krystal could handle the situation. “As of an hour ago, Jenny Tuck brought the gym and PTA HQ in my name, it’ll take a while for it to get set up but I’ll be running it as my own training school.”

”That already sounds like a major upgrade over the old boss.”! I nodded as I made myself comfortable and Keira gave me an appreciative nod for the compliment. ”But what does that have to do with me? The most I’ve done at the PTA Gym was help Cassie after the Travis incident.”

“Krystal told me about it when she, Cassie, Makayla, Rachel and Garrus were spending the week with me and Roxi in Tampa, if I was there he wouldn’t have left the building in one piece but that’s beside the point.” Keira nodded before she passed me the piece of paper that she had been keeping under her arm. “I’m going to need trainers to help me run the school and you were one of the first names that came to mind.”

I was not expecting Keira to tell me that and when I looked at the paper it was confirmed, it was an employment contract for Keira’s new gym. ”Keira the most training I’ve done is with Krystal, Ari, Adrienne, people who have already graduated from training school, I have no experience training raw rookies.”

“I had a feeling you’d say that, but neither dud Andreas, Lizzie or Cyrus and they helped train Cassie, you and me both know that she’s a natural in the ring.” Keira responded and I nodded as I stared to see where Keira was coming from. “You won’t be working alone, I managed to get Cyrus, Andreas and Lizzie to return to the gym under my employment and I’ve got a few other names in mind, including Krystal herself.” Keira explained and I had to admit that I was coming around to the idea. “So, what do you say?”

”Where do I sign?” I asked and Keira turned the contract over to the third page before pointing to where I should sign, once she passed me a pen I quickly wrote my name down. ”At least I’m not signing my soul away to Sin or something.”

“Oh no, that’s coming later.” Keira joked and I laughed in response. “And don’t worry, I will run it a lot better than Matthew did.”

”Well the bar’s already super low so you can only really go up.” I responded with a grin and Keira nodded with a chuckle.

Jessie’s home gym, Las Vegas, Nevada
Monday the 7th of March 2022, 21:00pm

*promo time*

How did I get myself into this mess?

”You know? I have had my arguments with Mark and Christian in the past, I mean for fuck’s sake I’ve been in SCW since the Climax Controls were in the double digits! But as I’ve gotten older I do like to think that I’ve learned how to stay on their good side for the most part, which is why I’m wondering what I did to piss them off enough to get booked against Masque at Blaze of Glory X in two weeks!”


”Masque hasn’t been in SCW long, she made her debut at Inception V two months ago, but in that short amount of time that Masque has been a roster member she’s earned one hell of a reputation to the point that Mark Ward himself flat out admitted that she scared the piss out of him when he was announcing the Blast from the Past Teams with Christian at that event! Granted Masque’s team was eliminated in round one but then again she had to put up with Bill Barnhart and that’s something that no Bombshell should have to endure, just ask Andrea Hernandez!”

But enough triggering the current Bombshell Internet Champion.

”So Masque, who’s in your path of destruction this time? You went from debuting against a wrestling veteran who’s done fuck all since that match to your aforementioned first round elimination against Mark Cross and Kat Jones to a French Rookie with a bad habit of putting her foot in her mouth, that rather eclectic list of opponents leaves you with me, someone who has been in SCW for a little under ten years, someone who made her debut at the age of eighteen in a high school gym in Florida against the Slamazon, someone who has held all but two of SCW’s titles that are available for the women, someone who won’t get scared as easily as Adrienne Beaufort!”

I commented as I shook my head.

”Did you think that you’re the first scary wrestler to arrive in SCW when you signed that contract Masque? I hate to be the bearer of bad news but the Metal Maniacs have you beat in that department by several years! Only real difference is, the Metal Maniacs are a joke and you’re actually effective, both as a wrestler and as a scary wrestler! But there’s one thing that you need to know about me Masque and that’s the fact that I’m someone who doesn’t back down from any challenge that’s put in front of her.”


”If you don’t believe me Masque, why don’t you ask Mark Ward? He’s known me for most of my wrestling career and he knows that it takes a lot to scare me! Now granted, the conversation will probably be a little bit awkward because you’ll be asking Mark those questions whilst he’s hiding behind his desk shaking with fear but you get the idea. Kaiju was your first victim, Adrienne was the plucky girl who put up a fight but was struck down in the end, but you made one mistake when you agreed to their match Masque.”

A big one.

”You went straight for the final girl because out of all your victims, I’ll be the one left standing once the carnage subsides and the action dies down! What I mean by that Masque is that it’ll be me who deals you your first singles defeat of your SCW Career and once the monster is slain, maybe then we can move on with our lives? I doubt it, because any horror franchise has the killer come back for a shit ton of sequels, usually of dwindling quality but the point stands that you’ll bounce back from this loss.”

It's that simple.

”But the real question is Masque, will the rest of the SCW Roster still take you seriously after I beat you? “Oh, the mysterious masked lady that Mark is terrified off lost to the wrestling veteran with the worst win/loss record in SCW History? Well, I guess we can’t take the masked lady seriously anymore!” that’s likely what the other Bombshells will say when I beat you Masque and if you want the specific numbers on my SCW record, just ask Mercedes Vargas because she’s the historian around here, just be sure to leave her soul in one piece if she gets details wrong, she’s going a little nit senile.”

And with that I decided to wrap things up.

”Masque, right now you are a name to be feared and respected, if you want proof of that just look at how Amber treats you, but will that same respect remain after I beat you at Blaze of Glory X? There’s only one thing to find out and that’s to get into the ring with me, SCW’s original Heavy Metal Bombshell Jessie Salco and once I strike you like Blood Lightning Masque, then we’ll know for certain! See you at Blaze of Glory!”

I started training as the scene fades.

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Offline Terrorfexx

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« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2022, 06:03:06 PM »
Symphony of the Iron Underbelly, Movement No. V – Tired Tales and Stories of Glories


[The Past –  North Palladium Hospital, Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana, USA, Autumn 1998]

There are no guards to thump a meaty fist on the rain-streaked window anymore, free hands pressed against the brown leather holsters strapped to their thighs and suspicious eyes staring out from under a visor-slashed peaked cap. Heavy cast-iron gates are permanently chained open, rendered surplus to requirements after weary hinges, long since failed, dropped their rusted snouts down deep into the mud. The single-track access road is open and empty, its asphalt surface dotted with ruts arranged side-by-side like eviscerating claw marks and filled with pools of stagnant, brown water recharged by the occasional storm.

Where potholes cluster together the perimeter of their thin aggregate walls crumble, forming lurching craters and pits that span the entire width of the road, making it almost impassable.

Doctor Markus DeLune reached down, twisted the jangling keys between his bony fingers and fired the engine back to life, making the only noise for miles around. Somewhere over his shoulder the autumn sun gave up in late afternoon, sinking below the horizon in sullen red and moody orange. It made silhouettes of the avenue of bare trees lining the road ahead, except where the years and the neglect had seen some topple over and left to rot. Broken suspension springs groaned and clunked with every divot as the car bounced and jerked forwards, metal grinding on metal with every revolution of its balding tyres.

The hospital itself hid behind lawns now surrendered to the wild – spindly branches left to their own devices to grow out of control and into each other, forming thick knots of gnarled, twisted woodland. A central spire, pockmarked by gaping attachment holes where intricate ironwork reliefs of accusatory angels and stern saints once scolded their patients – now removed to prevent them falling on the latter – wept iron oxide tears as it crept above the chaotic treeline.

DeLune carefully picked a path up cracked stone stairs and through the open double-set doors, sidestepping gouges and rents wide enough to swallow a foot whole. Behind, the cooling engine of his car thumped as worn parts cooled at differential rates, banging against each other in clashing discord with his steps.

The final-year student sat at the Nurse’s Station didn’t so much as look up from her textbook as he passed by, her entire face contorted and compressed hard against a palm as she stared at, or more accurately through, the pages. Her free fingers dredged a fork through the congealing remains of a chicken salad, and DeLune didn’t bother to even pull the delaminated identification card from his pocket.

It’d expired months ago, anyway.

On his way through the wards he occasionally passed a room that suggested a patient might still call it home – a bunch of bound, red tulips yet vibrant enough and bright on a bedside table; the odd pair of shoes carefully set down just inside the doorframe or a cup of tea still steaming gently in the cool afternoon sunset. Those were the exceptions to the rule, however, and that rule was one of deterioration and decay.

Snaking lines drew vast shapes made from cracks in the plaster of the walls and where those discontinuities met they broke free chunks of paint, sending them scattering across faded lime-green floor tiles. Overhead strip lights flashed in staccato pulses, their voltage regulators burnt out, stuck in a perpetual start-up loop which made migraine-inducing transitory shadows that hurt to look at.

Marcus walked all the way unopposed to Critical Care, through unlocked doors propped open with life-expired fire extinguishers turned from emergency red to washed-out pink by crowns of thick dust. The vast armoured door which should have blocked his path into the space-age security airlock-of-sorts welcomed him through, inch-thick safety glass dividing the holding room from the controlling security station beyond dark and smeared by grime.

Barney had been a real stickler for process and procedure behind that glass – but he hadn’t worked here in four years and so DeLune kept all manner of potential weapons: pens, keys and spectacles on his person and kept walking.

Time and dilapidation had delivered just one, singular benefit as far as the Doctor could see. Quite literally; fading the agonising hue of psychedelic pink intended to calm, or blind, the hospital’s most challenging patients to a warm shade of rose that seemed almost welcoming … If he were walking the halls of anywhere but a supposedly secure psychiatric facility.

The heavy door to room Echo-Seven – it hadn’t been a cell in a long, long time – stood open, thick rings of corrosion circling each of the deadbolts retracted deep into the flaking metal interior. DeLune stood on its threshold for a moment, rocking forward and back on his shoes as he listened to the unmistakable tinkle of a piano, interspersed by low-bitrate rasping strings and harking, sampled trumpet.

“Yes, just follow my feet with yours,” Sister Superior Esmarelda nodded, holding her left palm out for the girl to take, right hand resting on the small of the back. “Let’s try it again.”

They moved awkwardly together, grace and the graceless, smaller feet trying to keep up in three steps what their opposites could manage in a single fluid one, all to the tinny backing of the portable stereo and its crackling speaker.

The girl stopped abruptly. “I cannot dance,” She said, pulling free.

“Not yet,” Esmarelda smiled, wiping her hands on the folds of her dress. “But if you keep practising …”

Turning towards the sound of scuffed shoe leather on threadbare carpet, the Sister Superior’s smile widened. “Abigayle, please go and get ready for this afternoon’s session.”

The girl wavered for a moment, forehead creasing, lips parting to resist. They hung open for a few moments, wordless, before she thought better of it and turned on her heels, stopping only to collect the red book sat on top of the nearby desk.

Esmarelda’s smile instantly dissipated. “You’re late.”

“You’re dancing,” DeLune replied, raising an eyebrow. “With practiced ease, I might add. A hobby?”

Rolling her eyes, Esmarelda stepped closer, her voice dropping. “A past vocation,” She said in a tantalising half-story that would never be fully told. “Did you get what you needed from Baton Rouge?”

He shook his head. “No.”

Esmarelda blinked, eyes narrowing. “ … No?”

Marcus tipped his chin up to look over the bank of three defunct monitors suspended overhead, the fourth lying on its shattered side where ceiling clamps had given way years earlier and sent it plummeting down against the carpeted concrete. “There was a positive, though – I just about came away with my licence to practice medicine intact. Appropriating huge numbers of controlled antipsychotic drugs on the flimsiest of pretences isn’t as easy as it used to be.”

“How are you going to maintain the stability of her brain chemistry with that alone?” She asked with a gesture over her shoulder to the former containment room left open to come and go. “We can’t go back to how things used to be.”

The Doctor just nodded, and his eyes flickered down for a moment to watch the other woman subconsciously rub at the thick, impressed line of scar tissue circling her left wrist and climbing up to disappear underneath the sleeves of her gown. A relatively fresh gift from Abigayle, six or so months ago, before the latest medications had finally, blessedly, shown some sort of effect. “No … We can’t go back and throw away so much progress and research–”

“And the health of a damaged young girl,” Esmarelda interrupted, her low voice cutting him off completely.

He nodded again, his eyes once again glued to screens incapable of conveying any useful information. “No, of course. Did you have any success with your petition to the State?”

Irritation drained out of the Sister Superior’s face and she brought the hilt of her scarred palm up to press against tired eyes. “If anything, I think I made it worse. Brought scrutiny when before we just had disinterest and ignorance. They’re going to carry out a full review.”

“Oh?” He mumbled, mind mostly occupied someplace else. “Sounds promising?”

Esmarelda shook her head. “Not a funding review – a requirement review. As in a need to have the facility open … At all.”

DeLune frowned, clicked his tongue, and finally made eye contact with her again. “Yes, I think you’re right. That’s much worse.”

Between them, distorted strains of the tinny piano tinkled and weaved a counter-melody against crackling horns, providing a soundtrack to the building tension. Folding her arms across her chest, the Sister Superior cocked her head to the side. “You know how this works. First come the budget cuts, then the miraculous recoveries as every patient spontaneously improves until someone - anyone with a pulse and your precious medical licence – signs them as fit for discharge and they disappear into the community to …”

Esmarelda grimaced. “She can’t just walk out of here, Marcus. It’ll be the start of a bloody road that takes a detour to Baton Rouge and then ends in the Electric Chair up at Angola.”

Fingers quested around twisted, knotted skin, pressing down on the badly-healed wounds. “She’ll kill again–”

“Murder requires intent,” DeLune abruptly cut-in, his voice quiet but angled side-on to present an edge in the words. “Like last time, diminished responsibility, at best, is not a capital crime in the State of Louisiana. Given her extensive medical records, unlikely to even equal time in the Penitentiary–”

It was the Sister Superior’s turn. “Are you seriously suggesting we wait to be shut down, let her out of here, and wait for it all to happen again? Her family are gone – off to DC with new political ambitions. We’re on our own.”

He said nothing for a long while, until eventually stepping over to the tape recorder and shutting it off with a thumb pressed down hard on the plastic button, worn smooth and shiny by years of use. “Of course not. That wouldn’t be ethical.”

Esmarelda laughed, but her eyes didn’t support the gesture and made the sound as hollow as the low bit-rate music, now silenced. “You stopped caring about such things a long time ago. So what are we going to do?”

Reaching into the folds of his jacket, Marcus pulled out a pair of steel-rimmed spectacles, unfolded their bent arms, and pushed them onto the bridge of his nose.

“Without the medication, Abigayle will regress and all our effort will be undone. Even with access to appropriate pharmaceuticals, if this facility closes she will cease to be under our care and will almost certainly regress. So we have to do something while we still have time and resource. Something permanent.”

She began to shake her head, but DeLune took no notice. “Psychosurgery …” He nodded as if reaching a satisfactory conclusion there and then, “ … Still has its place in psychiatry.”

Esmarelda got no further than bringing a pointed finger up in the air when Abigayle slipped silently through the doorway to stand by her side, red book tucked firmly in hand.

Marcus looked over and down. “Are you ready for your session, Abigayle?”

The young girl nodded, and DeLune smiled, pressing his thumb down and bringing the bad magnetic-spun facsimile of a half-orchestra back to life. “Now …” He began, settling into the creaking chair opposite and crossing one leg over the other. “Tell me how you feel when you dance.”


[The Rapture]

Jessica: I have gone to such trouble to make preparations worthy of the veteran status you so eagerly reminded me of, redoubling my efforts after making the mistake of offending in failing to show that proper respect. She is lying. In my eagerness to present you with an opportunity to convince the rest of the company of your unassailable might – to offer myself up as a sacrifice – I did not pause with due deference to the so-called dues you apparently paid, temporally in terms of purely time itself, which elevate you above me in all things based on the distinctive, incredible achievement of simply having been here longer.

It can only be a temporal function of course, because in getting to know you before we come so closely together, before we dance, I cannot find anything meaningful in your achievements and accolades that justify such polished confidence. Arrogance. It shines so bright for someone who has had such a fleeting glimpse of success and the corresponding metaphor of her time in the associated, brilliant sun.
Turn away from it before you are blinded.

Have you been standing under the bright fluorescent lights in washed-out arena corridors, pretending they shine the same? Let me read your story and understand where such internalised greatness springs from.
It is a trap.

Four distinct if unremarkable reigns as Bombshell Roulette Champion, in which you successfully managed to retain that title once for more than thirty days, generating a return of three-quarters forgettable to one remainder middling; just at the cusp of recollection. Threatening to edge into relevancy before being shuffled out to make way for those with something more than simply time to burn.
Success burns so briefly.

An equally forgettable stint as Internet Champion, being consigned to its namesake’s digital archives alongside faded pop-culture references and viral memes.
Why do they always involve cats? Securing a few future dollars in royalties when your momentary successes become a handful of frames spliced into a History Of series to bloat the company’s streaming library.

It fascinates me, Jessica, to see that for the many years’ service you have accrued in this company you have achieved so very little, taken so very long to do it, and talked so loudly about it. You first threatened to impress with Championship success in March of 2013, before taking over three years to follow up with a second effort at an impression of competency or, indeed, any significance at all. Thoughts turn to what it was that consumed the prestigious quantities of time you have in place of success at SCW?
Real life.

Were you pursuing other opportunities in the multiple years between your fleeting title reigns? Is it reasonable to assume you were as completely average at those as you were and are in this company today, explaining your repeat return(s) to the wings, craning your neck at centre stage reserved for those deserving?
It is so hard to watch others win. Oh, how things must have changed between the rare stipend checks marked a little larger for your momentary accolades and successes. I do hope you saved for a rainy day, given how little time you seem to have spent in said sun.

How the world has changed so much since the last affirmation of your worth on a cool October night, in 2020, for a brief few weeks until Miss Krieger took the Roulette Championship back into relevancy from whatever limbo you kept it in for a while.

I wonder how those solitary moments as a Champion made you feel. Did they make your feet float, light and airy? Did you beat the alarm clock to rise every morning, Imposter Syndrome cured by dint of the golden pill taken three-times daily from the bed stand table?
Like an addiction. Angled up to catch your name in its shining reflection with the pre-dawn shine of the motel lamp?

Did you feel like a someone? Validated. Affirmed. Maybe loved, for a little while.
Appreciated. It must have hurt to be returned so soon to what you really are. Down in the mud and the shit with your cackling harem, swapping backstage stories in almost, could-have-been and nearly-there.

Tell me, do you think your girlfriends pity you? What do they say when they are not whooping and bickering around catering tables, backstage and you are nowhere to be found?     

In one tiny increment of the time you have rattled around these arenas and cherished any actual achievement of note, getting older and slower while your tired tales and stories of glories get longer and longer, I have made a more significant impression and meaningful contribution.
Hurt more people. In less than three months I have eclipsed with action the sum worth of your seven years’ plus talking. You wax lyrical about a so-called career as if it is anything worthy of footnoting, let alone highlighting.

You talk like a Resplendent Hurricane, mighty and unassailable for almost a year as World Champion, and yet your name does not appear anywhere on the list of those who paved the way for her terrible storm.
You are better for missing that misery.

You could never have been World Champion because you are not even a contender. The works of the mighty are built on the backs of the meek, and it is obvious that you do not even form the aggregate mixture upon which the foundations of that greatness rest and sit and crush under the weight of expectation.
Such a heavy burden to carry. There is only one thing – one solitary aspect – I consider you sufficiently qualified to pass an absolute opinion on.

You are an expert in failure, Jessica. A story long on exposition and short on meaningful plot; butter scraped over too much bread or flesh pulled tight against bowed bone. The metaphors come as liberally as the years between your solitary moments of success. Tell me again why I should respect you?

Because you have been here for longer? Do you hear the things you say? You must, as a deafening, reinforcing wall of hyping noise, because it is obvious to me that you exist inside an echo chamber outside of which the reality of the world and its ways cannot penetrate in, and the delusions projected out find immediate reflectivity back.
Trapped in a box of mirrors. Is it because you have watched while others did? Because you eked out a thimble’s volume of relevance as an utterly transitional Champion on a handful of occasions? A single hand, while the sands of time you so proudly proclaim to have spent so much of, to no effect, slip through wide fingers?

Speaking of time as if it is an investment in and of itself, rather than a vehicle to achieve great things, speaks far greater and damning volumes on your behalf than those momentary flickers of realisation of potential, guttering out in the hand-me-down winds of a Hurricane way up high on a summit you cannot see, even if you tip your chin all the way up to scratch the sky.
You would not like what you saw if you could.

Bragging about having spent more life than me in objective waste is a zero-sum game you have won week-in, week-out. It is perhaps the only thing you can truthfully claim to be unassailable in.

A Bombshell Failure Champion on a reign of such length and strength that nobody can touch you. Why would they, when you wear that accolade down there with a mint ice-cream smile, covered in shit.
Waist deep in the mud.

Perhaps it is no surprise that your past is littered with evidence of your inadequacy when you plan for the future so equally poorly. Tell me – of what value is it to consult with My Rose, Adrienne, on preparing for how best to slay me when she was recently welcomed into my Rapture so comprehensively, so utterly as to have virtually wished it to be?

Unless, Jessica, you are simply developing the most efficient means by which you can move beyond the painful lesson you will learn at Blaze of Glory and be so similarly welcomed by my thorn-painted hand?
Do not ask her for mercy.

The way will not be so easily cleared for you, as it was for Miss Beaufort.
A multitude of agonies. She is newly sprung from the rich earth, turning her face to the sun and unfurling those soft, colourful petals in the warm light. You are well-established, with roots that run deep and you have had many seasons to blossom. Where are your flowers, Jessica?

Still, my celestial machinery now standing in burnished brass and polished quicksilver at the core of this company, slowly but surely connecting to everyone and everything, will take you and make you something new.
Something awful and twisted. While its great shaft turns ten thousand times a moment in support of a Hurricane at its summit, there is a little energy to spare and while I orchestrate and guide and shape, I have a little attention for you, too. A little gift.

Do you remember stepping on your Husband’s toes, graceless and clumsy on the night of your wedding?

I will do something for you and Shane. I will teach you to dance.   

Welcome to the Rapture.

[The Now]

She is squeezing the folder so tightly it depresses under her fingertips, making concentric circles that dimple the plastic. Her hand trembles slightly and yet, there is no obvious sign of discomfort across her face or posture. She looks every bit the professional. It is surface deep.

Still, Cassieopia does not put it down on the desktop. That alone is equally telling.

Her attention wanders, down to the red book perched at the very edge of the table. Her lips flex – she reads the cover silently, making silent words as she goes. Something children do, that she evidently still does. It could be considered endearing.

Or naive.

“Dictation for Ladies,” She says out aloud, eventually. “It looks old … Quite an unusual subject.”

It is old. A stupid observation. “First edition, originally published in 1905.”

When I do not add anything more, she walks around the desk to stand where I am sitting, bent over the partially dismantled prosthetic resting in multiple subassemblies under a bright spotlight. The plastic phalanges of every finger lay in three distinct pieces each on the utilitarian workbench, their silver endoskeletal members pulled out from restraining clamps inside. A small pile of plenary gears, picked out in other rare earth metal alloys, slowly depletes where each is carefully reinserted into place after cleaning. A beautiful machine.

Bundles of coloured electrical cabling run in wide spirals, circling a grey plastic box. Green printed circuit board, trimmed and scribed with silver-spot solder peek out through a missing lid. It is all ordered in groups arranged around the workbench. Everything with purpose and place.
Still, Cassieopia’s eyes are on the book. Take them off it.

Picking up the tip of a plastic forefinger and carefully fitting it back onto its assigned digit, I give her what she is so desperate for – permission. “You may look at it.”

Eagerly, she scoops it up in both hands reverently, as if some ancient treatise or scripture that might turn to dust if she breathes on its hallowed pages too loudly. There is nothing incredible or particularly worthy about its contents, per se. No, its value is in who possessed it, not what is written inside.

Cassieopia does not even get beyond the brief, handwritten inscription on the first blank page before asking questions. “Who’s Kataryn?”

Silence her. I fit the completed forefinger back into the empty socket underneath a waiting plastic knuckle. “My Mother.”


I pause, because that name does disrupt my concentration. Enough. “My sister.”

Curiosity radiates from her like some palpable heat at my back; flushing her skin scarlett with the burning need to ask. And she does. “Do you keep in touch?”

“She is dead.”

For just a moment Cassiopeia takes a step forward and without looking I know she has reached out to offer me a comforting touch. Break her. Thankfully, for her bodily integrity and my concentration, she reconsiders and her questing fingertips retreat back. Still, the sorrow in her voice is as genuine and real as any physical contact. “I’m sorry to hear that. Was it sudden?”

With a twist, I refit the last finger and turn the prosthetic over to reattach its palm plate. The rubberised grip is soft in my natural grasp. “Heart failure.”

It takes a few moments, but the other woman works through the obvious implications. “You have–”

Do not answer that. “Yes,” I say simply, and she does not press it again. “Did you bring the file?”

Now it is time for Cassieopia to lose her focus. The plastic wrinkles and creases sharply between her fingers. Satisfied, I climb up to my feet and turn back to face her. She does not step back, another sign of continued progress. Another sign of defiance.

“Yes, but …”

“You are worried about what I will do with Miss Ryan’s privileged medical records that you have taken without authorisation from your employer.”

She frowns, tries to speak, frowns again then simply nods.

“ … But you still took them.”

She nods.

“ … And brought them to me?”

Another nod.


Cassieopia looks away now, courage exhausted and unable to hold eye contact. Weakness. “You said you needed them, to help Amber …”

“I do, and I will. Now put them down here. Now.”

It is too late now for her to resist – not effectively, not truly. She is already sworn to me, given to me. Cassieopia has entered into this and cannot get out. She knows this, understands but her virtue, her greatest asset and the reason she is of any use at all in my grand design, proves stubborn in its refusal to go to its work and destruction quietly. Eventually, she acquiesces and places the folder down on the workbench.       

Perhaps looking for something to distract, she continues to flick through the pages of my red book while I refit the prosthetic. Servo motors and actuators buzz and whine with the effort of cycling each finger. Test them around her neck.

“You talk like this book teaches,” She says. Not a question, a declarative statement. A fact. “Why?”

“It belonged to my sister.”

Nascent understanding, she begins to nod. “She talked like that?”

I shake my head and that embryonic comprehension dies in-utero. Another frown, she thinks about pushing further – a significant sign of progress in her development but it is still too early and she shrinks back within herself. Tame; disappointing.

Holding out my hand expectantly, she hands me the red book and I return it to the bookcase opposite which takes up the entire length of the wall. As I pass I run a plastic forefinger against the spines of an entire shelf of jewel cases – dozens and dozens of audio CDs interrupted by a multimedia player nestled between two banks of large, felt-wrapped speakers. This one. Stopping at random, I pull free the disc, load the tray and twist the volume upwards.

“Will you help me?” I ask, and she nods before she has even stopped to fully appreciate the question. Because knowing is not a fundamental prerequisite for compliance. Obedience.

Holding out my prosthetic, I motion for her to take it. “I need to practice my dancing for Miss Salco.”

Some day, when I’m awfully low, when the world is cold …

Our bodies move together, fingers entwined and as I lay my hand against the small of her back, she presses into me. Her cheeks flush, heart rate quickens. Cassieopia swallows, spending a difficult few moments trying to decide where to put her gaze, but like most things she is subsumed into my will and her eyes stay fixed on mine. Her perfume fills my lungs with a delicate hint of summer sweetness. I like this particular scent, though she rarely disappoints with other choices.

I will feel a glow just thinking of you, and the way you look tonight …

Our movements lack fluidity initially; her muscles tensing at the wrong moment in opposition to mine as she reacts to me instead of anticipating. Quickly, she feels my underwriting rhythm and makes a connection in spirit that moves us both in perfect, beautiful unity.

Yes you’re lovely, with your smile so warm, and your cheeks so soft …
Unexpectedly, I feel her head drop onto my shoulder. It threatens to tip me off-balance, impact my turn, upset my centre of gravity but in that moment she relaxes so completely our connection intensifies, and her body takes commands from mine. We move, we dance, as one.

It is almost a regret that before my grand design is complete, this young woman will be left with nothing, and a subsequent desire to be nothing more. She will beg you to stop, and you will not. Still, there is no other way and so we dance a little while longer, and I give her a little more peacefulness. A little more ignorance of what is yet but certain to come.

There is nothing for me but to love you, and the way you look tonight …


[The Rapture]

It is almost time … I think I have butterflies in my stomach. Do you?

Jessica, I have worked tirelessly to create a new world for us to share in California next week, a place tethered in reality to Los Angeles – a gateway through which we will experience something wonderful together.
A path to hell. A new plane of existence, where all your inadequacies and failures can be left behind, stripped away with the neuroses and the character flaws and dropped down into the shit from whence you came to leave the best possible version of yourself free.

Free to be comprehensively dismantled and rebuilt in an image that pleases me. A testament to unearned hubris and unjustifiable arrogance. A warning to fools and other degenerates that rush where ironwork angels once feared to tread, before they were torn down and turned to scrap.

The preparations are all but complete. A fine hall has been rented in the form of the Galen Centre, where over ten thousand people will come to watch us dance together. I have tuned all the weapons of war; written a symphony which blends their arts and terrible agonies together, to be conducted by my thorn-painted hand and in that a great band – an orchestra made in bruises and concussions and fractures in place of piano and strings and trumpets – is prepared to play.
To sing your end. There is only one thing left uncertain, one single element still unknown.

Can you be taught to dance?

Will you lay your head on my shoulder and drift off in submissive silence? Unconsciousness brings a wonderfully refreshing compliance all of its own, after all … But no. That is insufficient. There is more to be taught here than a mere two-step, or soft shoe shuffle.
A lesson in suffering. No waltz or tango, regardless of complexity, will give me enough satisfaction to limit our time together to the business of winning a bout and moving on. 

It is not simply enough for me to inflict the requisite physical suffering required to ensure you do not answer a mere Referee’s concern for your health, or ability to compete.
Winning is not enough for her. These are wounds you can recover from, eventually, and then continue your merry, ignorant way retelling the same tired tales and stories of glories. It would be irresponsible of me to put you down in such a way that you will eventually get up again, none the wiser.

If nothing else, it will earn me the thanks of a future Bombshell Roulette Champion when I by action now, prevent the possibility of you interrupting their future title reign six years’ hence with a fifteen-day blip and associated pyjama party with your girlfriends.
There is comfort in friendship.

Despite your expertise in failure, there is one thing you have achieved that Miss Rainbow and Miss Beaufort did not – you have piqued a personal interest. A specific and powerful motivation on my behalf to derive a permanent solution to the challenge set: how do you solve a problem like Jessica Salco? I enraptured a Strange Beast and a Rose because my grand design demanded it, but you are different. You annoy me.
A first not to be welcomed

Still, I am very much looking forward to dancing with you, despite your admitted clumsiness and the resultant frustration you cause.
They say that hard work can, to some extent, bring success when talent is having a bad day. Perhaps you are the ultimate lampooning; a cliche spun out on a tenuous thread to make a parody of itself. Living proof that if you exist long enough, eventually, you will be accidentally successful.
It is better to be lucky than good. Truly a remarkable tenure fully deserving of your much-vaunted veteran status.

Have I been sufficiently clear? Is my verbiage transparent, understood?

I am sorry you have found my words too mercurial, too mysterious – too cryptic – to easily comprehend.
They are poison pen. Like Old Blue Eyes himself and his easy listening, allow me to be Frank: At Blaze Of Glory, you are going to suffer so very much for every year of your tenure here and every moment you showed such absurd pride in existing without achieving in it …

… And I have more than enough misery to go around. You will not be allowed to meet your end peacefully, like your friend Adrienne. I will make an example of you and in the sweetest irony made a bitter tang on your tongue, finally deliver unto you the relevancy and historical importance that has eluded you across multiple meaningless title pseudo-reigns and years of showing up and expecting talk to equal action.

Consider me the living incarnation of your long service award, received in recognition of your unrivalled ability to do so little with so much time, and somehow – some way – find this an affirmation of your ability and significance and not a fundamental undermining. Like any good acknowledgement of a long career, it is always immediately followed by the end.
Thank you for your contribution.

I am your termination for services no longer required. I promise they will all remember what I do to you in Los Angeles, even if you do not.

The venue is rented, the band assembled, tuned and ready. I am waiting for my partner, thorn-painted hand outstretched with a single spotlight shining down upon us. There are motes of dust floating in its bright beam. Do you see them shimmer and reflect like a constellation made to shine as we move together? Now it is time to see if you can dance.

Welcome to the Rapture.

« Last Edit: March 13, 2022, 05:16:37 AM by Terrorfexx »
D̶o n̶ot b̶e fri̶ght̴e̵n̵ed. M̷i̵n̵e i̵s t̴he̵ la̴st vo̷i̵c̶e yo̴u w̶ill eve̴r h̸ear.

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« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2022, 07:12:56 PM »
Symphony of the Iron Underbelly, Movement No. VI – Champion Hearts and their Engines of the Soul


[The Past – North Palladium Hospital, Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana, USA, Autumn 1998]

The final-year student got as far as craning his neck up to peer over the lip of the Nurse’s Station, frown creasing his face as a blinding shaft of light pierced the early morning gloom of the vestibule, swinging wildly from side to side until it settled painfully over him.

“What the fu–”

The words are chewed up by a whipcrack snap of something hard crashing against his jaw, and he stumbled backwards, sending reams of folders spinning to the faded green tiles where they spilled hundreds of loose sheets to flutter and float on their way down. He retched, spitting out thick ropes of pink saliva that stretch under gravity and the weight of fragments of broken teeth.

Sinking to one knee, the student groped with a shaking hand underneath the rim of the desk until his palm slid over the panic button and slammed it up. The contacts clicked with every desperate repetition, but the solenoid inside had long since broken – just like everything else. An irresistible hand clamped around the back of his head and drove it down to crash against the oak tabletop. The last vestiges of instinctual, autonomic reflex brought him back up to level for just a moment, before consciousness bled away to join the mess dribbling out from slack lips.

The torchlight followed his body down to the floor, but moved quickly now and where it pointed, the contents were rifled and turned upside down. Drawers are wrenched out, cupboard doors torn from their hinges as they are flung open.

Suddenly, the beam swung away, lured by the faintest echo of music drifting through a large wooden door wedged open at the end of the vestibule. The sound of boots thudding against the floor drowned it all out as they followed, leaving behind the rasping gasps of a ruined throat and the gentle cascade of paper silently gliding down to land in the blood pooling between tile grout.

Esmarelda shrugged off the arm draped over her shoulder, leveraging the other body away until he turned over with a grumble and settled back into a droning snore. She rolled her eyes, equal parts amused and exasperated by the notion that somehow, Marcus managed to demonstrate more closeness and warmth unconscious. Swinging her legs over the edge of the bed, mattress creaking on perished springs, she levered herself up and snatched the dressing gown neatly folded on top of the nearby chair.

Slipping it over her shoulders, the Sister Superior of what was left of North Palladium Hospital padded barefoot through the hall until she stepped into the living room, staring out at the enormous mirror dominating the far wall, quicksilver finish glinting in the dull lamplight. Fluctuating with the degraded magnetic reel, a synthetic and lilting orchestral melody frittered through popping speakers mounted high up in the corners.

It had taken months to get used to the same badly-recorded effort repeating all night, every night, but attempts to replace it with white noise, silence – even other pieces of music – had ended in failure. Sometimes violent failure. So, they’d gotten used to it.

They. She scoffed – it only seemed to bother her.

The mirror was two-way of course; dividing what was once a self-contained living area, designed to keep their most sensitive patients safely and comfortably contained, from the observation room containing all manner of audio and visual reporting devices to allow continuous monitoring and psychometric analysis. Next to the mirror a smaller alcove stood, taken almost entirely up by a single chair facing a shuttered window. Thick reams of dust clung to the slats angled to block the window’s view – there hadn’t been a need to use it since they stopped observing Abigayle and started living with her.

They came through the open, interconnecting hatch silently while she mused and only the narrow width of the doorway gave her the half-chance she ended up taking full advantage of. Esmarelda was across the space between them in a second, before the torch could finish its pan right to left and even as it lit up her face she was already burying a tight fist into his gut. He doubled over and as he retched, she drove her thigh up and crushed soft cartilage against a dancer’s proud kneecap.

The torch dropped to the carpet, rolling in a lazy spiral and as the Sister Superior swept it up, she lashed out with the flat of her bare foot and sent him sprawling backwards, crashing into the other bodies desperately pushing to get through an impossibly narrow gap.

With a grunt of effort, Esmarelda took hold of the hatch with both hands and tried to force it closed. Hinges coated with thick bands of corrosion screeched and groaned, and the heavy steel door inched shut with agonising reluctance.

Then a black-gloved hand snapped around the doorframe, took a hold of her head by the hair and wrenched down. Her half-chance ran out.

Stumbling backwards, Esmarelda held up the torch and blinded the second body in through the door as it creaked back open, swinging the polished silver cylinder in an irresistible arc that caught the groping, blinking thug upside the jaw and sent him spinning away and down. She turned to run, numbers not in her favour when a strong grip caught her around the ankle and pulled hard. The Sister Superior stumbled, falling hard and in time to look up at Doctor DeLune as he stepped into the room, the hilt of his palm rubbing a tired eye.

“Marcus get out of here–”

A heavy rubber sole pressed down on her skull and forced Esmarelda to finish her sentence with lips ground into the carpet, words lost to fibre and lint on her tongue.

DeLune was brought down by a swift blow to the gut without response, slumping to his knees.

Rolling onto her front, Esmarelda looked up into the hard eyes of a powerfully-built man; sporting a familiar torch in his hand and a ruined mass of shattered cartilage that painted his lips and chin bright red.

“Where’s the fucking pharmacy?” He spat, spraying the floor and her chest with flecks of blood and spittle.

She scrambled backwards, craning her neck around to see Marcus unsteadily climb up to one knee only to receive a swift boot to the back and end up sprawled forward in the stained carpet. “It wouldn’t do you any good, there’s nothing worthwhile there.”

He stalked forwards, reached down and hauled her up by the collar of her dressing gown. “You in charge here?”

“I’m … The senior physician,” DeLune wheezed, risking another lesson by sitting up using his forearms. He was the only physician.

Unceremoniously dropping Esmarelda down to the floor, the thug motioned for two of the others – large, burly men – to haul Marcus up to his feet, thick arms pulling his own behind, painfully tight until the shoulder blades threatened to point backwards.

“Ask you again then,” The apparent leader snarled, letting a thick pink rope spill over his bloodied lips and lazily drop down to land on Marcus ’bare foot. “ … Where’s the fucking pharmacy and what’s the access code?”

“Don’t–” She managed, before the fat slab of a bunched fist reared back and made her cut her words short in a jerking flinch.

“One, Two, Three, Four, Five,” DeLune said. “Same combination as my luggage.”

Stepping forward, the ringleader took a rough hold of Marcus by his pyjama top and hauled him forward and behind, his two compatriots dragging Esmarelda likewise until they were both up against the two-way mirror, looking back at the invaders lined up ahead. Like a firing squad.

The same thug spat clear his mouth. “Pretty funny,” He nodded. “See how funny it stays when we make you watch what we do to her.”

Climbing up to her knees, Esmarelda swept her hair out and away from her eyes. “Fuck you.”

He smiled a broken-toothed grin. “Yeah, you will.”

From behind the lineup of awful, morally bankrupt men she watched Abigayle slide into the room. The Sister Superior opened her lips, to tell her to run, but the teenager simply lifted an extended forefinger to her own and bid Esmarelda to be quiet. The girl’s eyes flicked up for a moment, watching a stream of something clear run down her temple from the bandage wrapped tight about her head.

Then she lifted the electrical cable up from the tired tape recorder that had been piping in that same warped orchestral track for weeks on end, stretched tight across both hands. Esmarelda hadn’t even heard it stop …

“Go check the rest of this shithole,” The ringleader said with a thick finger jerked in the direction of two of his men. “ … And take Malone with you and find something to make him forget about that jaw.”

The trio filed out through the narrow hatch, the last thug gingerly holding the broken parts of his face in place as he streamed a constant red trail down onto the damp carpet. Then there were two.

Stooping down, broken nose still streaming, his grin widened to threaten to split his lips too. “You ready to wish you was dead already–”

The ringleader’s words died in his throat, as the latter was compressed by the shiny black cord thrown over and pulled in tight. Abigayle leaned backwards, one foot on the much larger man’s spine and pulled. And pulled. He scrambled, off-balance, surprised, eyes wide. The sole remaining thug turned but he couldn’t get a clear reach in at the girl, because whichever way he angled Abigayle just directed the choking man to shift through her makeshift yoke, using differential pressure to force him to turn left or right and cut-off a direct path.

Blood bubbled up from the ringleader’s lips and his face turned purple, red flecks swimming across glassy eyes. He gave one last jerking heave which briefly lifted the girl off her feet but instead of releasing the grip, she brought her knees up to her chest and made the most of the concentration of mass to tip him backwards.

He fell, spine crashing against Abigayle’s knees and circling the cord end over end, she gave a single, sickening twist and threw herself to the side. He slumped and never got back up.

Free from the body rolling limply away, Abigayle waited until the last challenger got close, too eager to put her down to care about stepping into her reach. She brought the flat of her foot up as he stepped in hard between the legs. Agony bloomed across his fat features and he spluttered, eyes turning towards themselves in painful disorientation, knees bending under the effort of keeping upright. From the cooling body lying face down nearby, she picked up the heavy metal case of the torch that still shone and climbed back to standing.

Abigayle waited until the thug turned his bright red, agonised face up to look at her. And then she swung the torch against the side of his skull so hard the bulb and its focusing lens shattered, sending shards of glass spinning through the air to land along with him.

Briefly looking into the broken end turned towards her face, Abigayle let the dented metal tube drop. It hit the second of two bodies at her feet in the back and rolled down to land on the carpet with a soft thump.

Esmarelda was already up, taking the teenager by the hand and pulling her towards the hatch. When she looked around to urge Marcus to move faster, she saw the Doctor pulling himself up with the help of a nearby radiator bolted to the wall … And smiling.

“What’s wrong with you?” She whispered, voice edged sharp. “We need to get out of here right now!”

Nodding dumbly, still cradling his stomach, DeLune stepped forwards. “It works,” He said simply.

Spilling out into the corridor, moving away and towards the open airlock acting as the only way out of Critical Care, she couldn’t resist the urge to find some logic to his nonsense. “What are you talking about?”

“The procedure,” Marcus replied, gesturing to Abigayle’s bandaged head. “It worked – she showed restraint, calculation, methodical rationality. Waited for the perfect opportunity …”

“ … To kill two people?” Esmarelda shot back.

“They might not be dead,” He shrugged. “It doesn’t matter. It worked.”

She didn’t say another thing, for fear it would escalate into leaving a third man face down on the floor in as many minutes, and they moved in silence through the ransacked halls of North Palladium Hospital.

Pulled along, the girl just listened. Analysed. Evaluated. Eventually deciding to agree.

… It was possible they might not be dead, she supposed.


[The Rapture]

My dearest Jessica …

Miss Beaufort did not make a mistake, or some ignorant error. She did what you have never been able to do outside of tired storytelling filled with hyperbole and could-have, should-have, would-have – seized an opportunity to confront something bigger than herself and see if such an act would change everything thereafter.
David meets her Goliath. And was it not right to do so? She will carry the wonderful things I have shown her for the rest of her life, choice gifts impressed on her mind and skin, explicit and carried inside and depending on your particular brand of faith, perhaps beyond. Dieu seul sait ce que je lui ai montré. Changed for all time. For the worst.

Compare and contrast. She talked an impressive game and when it came time to evidence that intent, prove her providence, stood opposite me for our dance as she said. There is a refreshing honesty, newborn and naive perhaps, in such an approach. It was just as she promised.
But not what she imagined. What did you do, Jessica, after you said without doing? After you talked, and nothing more. How did you look to make the world stop and listen? Force it to pay you the reverence missing when people spoke about your incredibly brief title reigns and transitory moments of relevance?

By standing on the sidelines, again, telling tales so repetitive and worn-out that they peel apart like laminate left in sunlight.
Faded and jaded. My Rose took note of a world she felt was not timely in giving the expected level of respect. So she demanded an opportunity to state her case; make it stop and listen too.

And oh, I stopped on behalf of this blue marble and I heard everything she had to say. So very brave. Such deeds are the reserve of Champion Hearts that beat strong inside hopeful, intense, determined chests.
The best of us.

What did you do in equivalency? Listen to your girlfriends caper and cavort? Rail against being left on the shelf, when you want nothing more than to dangle your legs over the edge up there with the rest of your sparse accouterments and prizes?

I am listening now, too, and I do not like what I hear.

A gaff?

Because she risked more than she knew? Because you would not do the same thing? That much is obvious, Jessica.
Roses rush where Angels fear to tread. How was it you described her boldness? In relation to your own lack of proactivity; spinning nothing as something. A laughable boast, that you made no such gaff. You made no such demand.

You took no such gamble. There is only one thing you and Adrienne share, and that is neither of you know what you risked by taking my thorn-painted hand in yours; the only difference being one did so naively in an attempt to seize the day, ironically close to your typical average Bombshells’ Roulette Title reign, and the other has stumbled into it by inertia.
By inaction. You hold this up as some sort of evidence of superiority, wisdom, and yet it proves only that you are a paper-thin appearance of a competitor. The idealised vision of someone with no substance or means to do anything but flutter around on the wind. Soar as a leaf. Distracting, sometimes curious enough to make people look up and watch and wonder, but incapable of impressing on something. No mass, no wherewithal. No import. Nothing.

Do not utter her name again as a means to elevate yourself for having achieved the distinction of doing nothing, as if that is something to be proud of achieving. Nothing.
A void.

What beats inside your chest, Jessica? A sickly pump cavitating and shaking under the stress of providing enough blood to fuel your mind to ever greater excuses?
Fears. A weak generator to power feeble mitigations and shallow justifications? It is delicious in a bittersweetness to see a four-time plus Champion without the associated strength of spirit and conviction – without her Champion Heart, while one of her juniors outshines and eclipses.

You worry about “the cycle” as if this is a recurrent pattern you have trodden before, merely so-called business, something to occupy the time you clearly have so much of in raw resource, but I promise the path you will walk with me is less formulaic and more Mobius Strip in its twisting, Escher-esque direction. I wear more than this mask well.
Terrible things.

The suffering to be inflicted on you in recompense for your undeserved, undistinguished, incredible arrogance will follow no linear path. A logarithmic agony is what waits for you in Los Angeles, Jessica.
The Angels in that city will weep. Pain that does not double for twice the repetition, but increases in multiple orders of magnitudes of misery.

You will find no opportunity to bounce against me back to where you think you belong. In this last week you have proven yourself subsequently unfit for a place at my side, regardless of the beautiful changes I had planned to make. Instead, I will shatter you. Unmake you, and unlike Miss Beaufort … You will not be refashioned in a new, pleasing form more serving of my grand design. Why remake something so patently unworthy?
You are better off broken.

You sell yourself short, Miss Salco. You have provided much in terms of training so-called rookies. After all, through you they have seen what not to be; who not to ape. You have stood as a wonderful example of all the things they should aspire to avoid, unless they wish to take years to accomplish what many of your peers have achieved in months, or even less.
The road never travelled. There is value in standing as a testament to failure, of which you are an expert in and master of beyond question or challenge.

Perhaps you could brag about this too, in the next enormous gulf of time between our dance and your next scheduled embarrassment? Another loss to avenge with empty words and an equally hollow chest, thumping weakly and timidly.
Barely breathing. I can barely even hear it beat, but I will be close enough to take the time to check so very carefully in Los Angeles.

Perhaps I am looking too closely at feeling or emotion – the qualitative – and should look to fact; reason. The quantitative. Take numbers and attempt to find certainty instead of divination or guesswork.
Numbers cannot lie, can they? It is a simple fractional game, with those numbers kindly provided by you in your weak-willed attempts to understand why something you have invited upon yourself can possibly be happening at all.

You have been around – again, such passivity, these things simply happen to you, not because you will them – since Climax Control became double-digits. Late 2014, if records hold true. Almost seven years later …

… And what do you propose to do with that revelation? You attempt to weaponise time itself, as if the passage of it somehow means anything without the achievements it should have been better spent on. Who do you intend to impress by simply having existed, having been around, for seven plus years?
Some do not make it that long.

You think the corporate hierarchy values you, Jessica, because you have been here for a while? Part of the furniture, the establishment. Good to have about the place? The reality is your potential is spent, possibilities worn out and there is little worse in the world of business than a prospect with zero forecast growth.
Difficult market conditions. Simply put, from the perspective of the company leadership, you offer nothing going forward and so you are nothing now. Unworthy of further investment. Time is money, after all, and you have frittered away so much of the first and by implication cost them substantial amounts of the second.

The answer to how you got yourself into this is obvious, Jessica. Having lived in the past through most of your future, never taking stock of the present until it has joined the former and assuming the latter would someday, somehow join up with the fleeting successes of history to make a loop of repetition, you are no longer of value to SCW. Usefulness outlived.
Good luck in your future endeavours. So it falls to me to inflict the same misery I gifted to Miss Beaufort, but for a very different reason.

Adrienne is the future, and you are the past. It is time for you to be changed by my thorn-painted hand.

Changed from being here, to being gone.

For them, it is not personal. Just business. You did not piss them off, you simply ceased to represent prudent financial sense, earning our scheduled, intimate time together this week in the City of Angels. On the subject of a title you held so briefly as to be worthy of an asterix appended to the record, do you know our resident Bombshell Internet Champion well? Perhaps I will take you up on your offer to ask Miss Hernandez.
It is not a social call. Perhaps I will make choice visits to all of your friends and acquaintances, and gift each one something special.

You are a silly little girl who despite getting older – potentially your first observation of use – has somehow managed to avoid the typical accumulation of maturity through experience and lessons learned, with the same effectiveness demonstrated in eluding successes and victories within SCW. Do you really believe you present some insurmountable barrier to me?
You cannot stop her. A towering obstacle that I will grind down the nails of my only remaining flesh-and-blood fingertips trying and failing to scale?

I have enraptured Strange Beasts and Beautiful Roses. I have uplifted a Hurricane and made her Resplendent and unassailable. Do not speak to me as if this is a meeting of peers, worthy of mutual respect and admiration.
There is no mutual respect here. No, Jessica. This is a simple exercise in the collection and disposal of detritus and offal. You are nothing save expired potential, still walking and talking as if there is more to come but your time is all but spent.

You denigrate your so-called friend because she overreached in her attempt to make something greater for herself. A French rookie by your mouth, a Champion Heart by mine. A specialist in failure, the only skill you have mastered in your pathetic ten years of virtually uninterrupted irrelevancy, punctuated by a handful of moments of transitional but ultimately squandered achievement, is the art of backing down.
When the going becomes hard ...

Do you hear the words you speak? Are they divorced from the life you lead that puts you here on this blue marble to subsequently speak them so ignorantly? Does the weak thing in your ribcage that pulses and burbles connect up into the meat stewing and ageing inside your oblivious skull?
Use it to think carefully. While you rant regarding Kaiju’s apparent waste of her veteran status, does the hypocrisy you spout not crystallise in the coldness of your underachievement and threaten to freeze your lips together, possibly giving us the blessed relief of your silence?

She had achieved nothing in her tenure? She talks a lot less than you do. Would you prefer more quantification? Picture a simple divisor. The numerator represents what you do, the denominator your talking about it.
It is a zero sum game.

If the number on the top remains constant, but the number on the bottom increases, then the overall value is smaller. Have I made this sufficiently less cryptic for you? Do you comprehend the relatively simple arithmetic at play?

While you both may be limited in how much you have achieved – for different reasons – Miss Rainbow waxes lyrical under significantly fewer phases of the Moon and so, the resultant value of her works, her career to date, is greater. With every passing week, made a month, become a year and excruciatingly a decade, your divisor outputs a number that has become so vanishingly small as to be virtually worthless.

Perhaps after this High School lesson, you better understand why SCW’s corporate hierarchy has no further use for you.

Those High School gyms in the Sunshine State; a handful of title reigns so perfunctory as to be utterly forgettable; a delusion of competency so complete that you genuinely believe fear is the only means I possess of ensuring you receive all the suffering due … Are these the sum weapons in your arsenal when we meet at the Galen Centre?
Are you ready to use them to wage war? Is this the complete list of achievements which make you a greater challenge than Miss Rainbow, or Miss Beaufort?

My Resplendent Hurricane does not fear me – you are looking up at lights which are too bright for your eyes, and in their blindness you are letting your feeble mind run away with itself as you stumble. Stay down there in the mud and the shit, cool and dark.
It is so peaceful there. Miss Ryan has stood on the summit and made it hers for almost a year, of which most was done without my presence, let alone intervention. What does she have to fear? She is a whirlwind, a terrible reaping – the Champion Heart of the great celestial machinery I have wrought at the centre of this company to enact my grand design. Untouchable. Unassailable.

Respect? Perhaps you have stumbled on a second truth, something right said for the wrong reasons. A Living Weapon recognises another of its kind, potentially. Even a specialist in failure can accidentally succeed given enough time … And you have had so much time.

You should have stayed in Florida.
Enjoyed the warmth. No amount of preparation in your home gym with those already kissed by my thorn-painted hand can make you strong enough, fast enough or resilient enough to resist what you did not even have the strength of character to ask for.

In the literal sense, you could be the heavy metal Bombshell you claim. The shattered fragments of a devastating detonation, sent spinning through the smoke-choked air to land in a broken mass of blackened splinters, charred and twisted.
Destroyed. Robbed of all their energy and promised malice. The remainder of something that might have been filled with potential once; the possibility of vibrant, deafening power and terrible reckoning. Now detonated, spent. Without purpose or value.

That truly sounds like you.

They say that the eyes are the windows to the soul, but in their desperation for romantic idealism over reality, they miss the truth travelling hidden in an undertow beneath the skin. The soul does not belong in the head, where thinking and reasoning have residence. No, it is found in the chest, snug and secure behind a prison of bone to keep it from fleeing on some flight of fancy. It is so easily broken if you are not careful.
They will not be practical until they are made unbreakable.

The heart is the engine of the soul, Jessica. To find the measure of a person, you must look to what gives them the drive to do their thinking and reasoning; which organ embodies the indescribable life force that puts us all on this blue marble to do different things.
Our purpose. Puts me here to enact my grand design, puts you here to provide your so-called rookies with an inverse role model to be avoided and ignored.

There are so many here with such strength. Such Champion Hearts. They are not all equals – Amber and Adrienne both have one, and yet no-one would seriously contend they are peers. Not yet. There are others of course – my Songbird, Matthew Knox. Mister Bane could not cope with a Resplendent Hurricane in the absence of one. These are all mighty engines of their respective souls, thundering with barely-restrained power as wonderful works of biomechanical perfection; slaved to intellects and drives and desires equally sharpened and strong.

Whatever weakly gurgles and twitches in spasm inside your chest does not even come close. Another testament to everything you can never be. Lacking in purpose, drive. Courage. The engine of your soul is worn-out, weeping viscous oils from between perished seals and rusted interfaces ringed with thick orange smears of corrosion.
Fit for scrap. Oxide streaks that draw the unmistakable sign of weakness and failure.

It had so very many opportunities to beat with purpose. You could have been like them, Jessica, if you had seized any of the multiple opportunities you allowed to pass you by. Because at those seminal moments, when something of remark or renown came your way, you chose instead to congratulate yourself instead of sacrificing more. Giving more.
Giving everything.

You attack what you do not understand, mislabelling the relationship I have with my beautiful Hurricane as something based on fear. A brutal summary based on the transactional, an exchange, instead of what it truthfully is. Transformational. Change. A great undertaking, a grand design.

A celestial machine.
An infernal engine powered by souls.

You cannot even comprehend what it is like to hold a gateway through which you must give everything, relentlessly – completely – to retain absolute victory and total respect. A poisoned chalice you are forced to drink from with every passing week. Something that will take everything from you. How could you understand? Such a chalice-by-proxy was ripped from your trembling hands on multiple occasions in the span of days or weeks.

That particular, sweet, opiate was never in your veins long enough to form a habit.
It is a blessing.

You cannot comprehend what it is like. If you could, perhaps you would know the kind of fear you think you are talking about.

Do you wonder if I think I have one? When I listen to your sickly heartbeat in Los Angeles, I will let you hear mine.
I cannot hear it.

Your time, wasted for a decade, used up to no good effect is over, Jessica. This is your end, and yet even here, you are given another reward you do not deserve from something greater.
Merciful. A third truth that somehow spilled from your panicked lips, perhaps liberated as the enormity of what is about to happen to you sinks in. This is your end …

… And so that indeed makes you my Final Girl. I am so very much looking forward to meeting you. Hurting you.

Welcome to the Rapture.

« Last Edit: March 18, 2022, 10:46:39 AM by Terrorfexx »
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Offline Jessie Salco

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“Unveiling the Masquerade!”
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2022, 09:51:08 PM »
It was the week of Blaze of Glory X and Jessie’s match against the mysterious and terrifying Masque! The bosses’ reasoning for booking this match wasn’t clear as Jessie hadn’t yet encountered Masque since her debut match against Kaiju Rainbow at the last Supercard but Jessie was determined to do better than Kaiju did, can Jessie get a win over the dreaded Masque? And what would come of that win if she did?

Jessie’s home gym, Las Vegas Nevada
Wednesday the 16th of March 20222, 18:00pm

This week has been interesting.

I mean yeah, it was kicked off with Krystal getting married to Makayla which me and the boys attended but opted to keep our distance from the happy couple, why? Well at the back of my mind I had my match at Blaze of Glory running rampant on me.

Facing someone like Masque tends to do that to you!

I’ve been training about as hard as I can for that match though it is difficult to train for someone like Masque to say the least, Adrienne has been as big a help as she can but considering that she’s an eighteen year old rookie who hasn’t even had ten matches yet? It feels more like I’m mentoring her rather than the other way around.

And yeah, I get it, I’m the vet, Adrienne was four years old when I made my debut in a high school gym in Florida, but she’s the one who got left off the Blaze of Glory card and not me so what exactly do you expect me to say about that?

Speaking off everyone’s favourite French rookie, here she comes!

”Look Adrienne, I know our last session got a bit personal when we were talking about the situation between you and Emerald.” I commented as I watched the French red-head walk down the steps with Katie behind her. ”But sooner or later you will have to talk to her.”

”I know and it’s not a conversation that I’m looking forward too.” Adrienne sighed in response as she and Katie reached the bottom step and she made her way towards the ring. ”Off course, we both know the real reason why we came to this agreement.”

”Yeah, I’m facing Masque and you’re the only Masque opponent who’s still around and I get along with.” I commented with a nod as Adrienne rolled into the ring, I glanced over at Katie who was eyeing up the gym equipment. ”If you’re wondering about that weight’s machine, we got that fixed over the weekend.” I informed Katie and she glanced up before shaking her head.

“Actually, I was wondering if you’d let me use your equipment.” Katie responded as the New Yorker turned to me and I gave her a curious look. “The gym I usually use had to shut for the day because a staff member tested positive for Covid after working a long weekend shift, I didn’t use their facilities before you ask because I was busy making sure everything was in place with Adrienne’s SCW contract with that law firm Krystal hired.”

”I had heard that she came into some money recently thanks to Keira but I don’t know the details, and that’s fine but maybe get tested just in case.” I responded before I spotted Adrienne shaking her head. ”Did she already get tested for Covid?”

”She had to get tested to attend Krystal’s wedding, what with her daughter’s weakened immune system and all.” Adrienne reminded me and I nodded once I realized that Adrienne had a point and that Caleb, Katie and Adrienne had attended Krystal’s wedding on Monday. ”At least we can’t blame Krystal and Makayla for being cautious considering the circumstances.”

”I’ll be surprised if there is a Covid Case that results from that wedding considering how strict Krystal was about that rule, not to mention most of the roster having their covid jabs by now.” I responded with a shrug before I spotted Katie starting her workout on one of the rowing machines. ”Anyway, you up for starting now or do you want to wait for Katie to finish her workout?” I asked as I grabbed the kick pads and put them on having a good idea of what Adrienne’s answer was.

And no, just because I’m right doesn’t mean your getting the state lottery numbers. ”I’m ready when you are.” Adrienne responded with a nod and I motioned for her to bring it on before our sparring session started.

Jessie’s home, Las Vegas, Nevada
Thursday the 17th of March 2022, 21:00pm

We’re jumping ahead a bit I’ll admit but the past two sparring sessions with Adrienne have been atypical of the sparring sessions we’ve had since Adrienne joined the SCW roster last November.

However today something was definitely off about Adrienne in her mannerisms, don’t get me wrong her kicks still hurt like a bitch and she could probably judo throw Jake without much effort but she was definitely feeling down today and at the three hour mark I decided to take Adrienne upstairs and into the kitchen to let her talk it out with me.

Why? Well, that’s twofold really, I could tell that Katie had spotted it as well and because I knew from personal experience that keeping frustration bottled up was a terrible idea, especially in a business as fucking weird as wrestling.

What’s that? What’s so weird about wrestling? An internet troll passing himself of as a wrestler tried to steak a teddy bear from an SCW legend and that bear is now going to be suspended upon a role as said legend beats the shit out of that troll! You see?

”Okay Adrienne, what’s up?” I asked the French girl and Adrienne gave me and Katie a confused look. ”You’ve been down since you got here, we all know this isn’t like you?”

”I would say “it’s that obvious huh? Except you’ve been wrestling since I was a toddler, so off course you were able to pick up on that!” Adrienne admitted and I had to chuckle a bit at just how old that once sentence had made me feel. ”Since Inception V I’ve been wondering if I was doing that right thing, I’ve only won one match and that was my debut back in November against Chloe! Don’t get me wrong Chloe’s a sweetheart but she’s not exactly top tier competition!”

”I’ll take “Understatement of the Century for $500, oh look the daily double.” I muttered under my breath before I shook my head. ”Adrienne you’re doing fine, not everyone has a debut run like, say, Andrea Hernandez and you faced her in your second match so you know what she can do in the ring.” I assured her but it was clear that she was unconvinced. ”Okay, let’s take Krystal for example.”

”Comparing me to the woman who’s just coming off a record settling title reign? How is that supposed to make me feel better?!” Adrienne asked with an annoyed sigh and it was at that point that it clicked in my head. ”The only thing I have in common with Krystal, aside from the fact that we’re both gay women off course, is the fact that we’re both foreign graduates of the Go Gym!”

”I think you just figured out the answer to your problem.” I responded as I folded my arms and Adrienne gave me a confused look. ”Be honest, how often have you been comparing yourself to the other graduates of your training school since your debut match?”

”To be honest? It’s easier to list the times where I haven’t done that.” Adrienne admitted with a shrug and I shared a knowing look with Katie. ”Fenris had an amazing debut year, London Underground dominated the tag title ranks for years, Krystal’s one title reign set new records and new standards for that title, the list goes on and I’m wondering what I have to do to even match that!”

”You can start by not comparing yourself to them.” I responded and Adrienne’s confused look got even more confused. ”Fenris came straight from MMA into wrestling, London Underground are some of the earliest Go Gym Graduates and hell, Krystal was in your shoes this time last year, though admittedly you don’t have a pre-show gauntlet you can fall back on like Krystal did.”

”Oui, and Krystal freely admits that it was being left off the Blaze of Glory card that lit a fire under her and motivated her for the rest of the year!” Adrienne countered and if there was a lightbulb above her head, it would’ve turned on right about now. ”Are you saying that I should take Krystal’s example?”

”I’d say copy it as best you can but the Bombshell Roulette Division is a completely different beast compared to the state Krystal found it in when she won that qualifier match last year.” I responded as I shook my head and Katie and Adrienne nodded in agreement. ”Best I can advise you to do is try to use this as your motivation for the rest of the year like Krystal did, I’m not saying it’s guaranteed that you’ll get a title reign that lasts nearly a year but if nothing else Krystal’s example should be used as evidence that perseverance pays off in the end!”

”Yeah, you’re right.” Adrienne nodded and I grinned at the recognition that I was getting for that. ”Besides, there is part of me that’s looking forward to the trip to Greece, never been to that country before.”

”My last trip was 2019, before the pandemic fucked the world over.” I responded after thinking for a minute. ”I remember it being a lovely place for what it’s worth.”

”I’m sure it is.” Adrienne nodded before we shifted the topic towards other matters.

House of mirrors, local funfair, Las Vegas, Nevada
Friday the 18th of March 2022, 11:00am

*promo time*

Just my luck that a funfair happened to be in town! And right in time for this rather unique promo.

”In a house of mirrors, you’re never alone! That line is from a song called “House of Mirrors” by Arch Enemy and heading into the match against Masque on Sunday, I feel like that line is a fitting analogy for this match! Why? Because everyone is expecting Masque to enter this match undefeated in singles competition and leave the same way, all those voices saying the same thing.” I commented as I shook my head. ”I’ve proven the general consensus wrong many times before Masque, and no matter how scary you are, you won’t be the last name I’ve done that against.”

Not by a longshot.

”I noticed that you did your homework on me Masque, going back over the past ten years of my wrestling career must’ve been like a predator stalking its prey to you, right?” I asked before coming up to a mirror that showed a tiny version of myself, and by tiny I mean midget size. ”You need to realize something Masque, I’ve made a career out of proving people wrong! When I first debuted I was a skinny eighteen year old metalhead wrestling in high school gyms out of my home state of Florida, everyone who watched me back then said that I’d amount to nothing in the business yet here I am, fourteen years and eight championship reigns later which I know you just loved to pick apart.”

I commented before moving on to another mirror.

”You’re not the first to call each and every one of my reigns flukes Masque, you just had to be a bit spookier than the rest about it.” I said before stopping in front of a mirror that showed a distorted view of myself. ”Pick apart any one of those reigns as much as you want Masque, I don’t give a fuck to be blunt because no matter what anyone says about those reigns, I still earned each and every single one, whether it was my three Bombshell Tag Title reigns, the four Bombshell Roulette Title reigns or hell, even the one Bombshell Internet Title reign I earned them through hard work and perseverance, and I’ll be bringing that same worth ethic to our match on Sunday!”

I said before moving on to another mirror.

”Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the most underestimated one of them all?” I commented to myself as I walked through the house of mirrors before stopping in front of one that had the opposite effect of the first mirror stretching my body to the point that I was almost as tall as Jake. ”Let’s face it, unless I start wrestling on stilts I’m never going to be that tall but it’s fitting because as I said, I’m the woman who everyone underestimated the moment I decided to enter this fucked up business of ours, I would’ve thought that fourteen years of wrestling and showing the world what I can do would be enough to quell those naysayers but nope!”

It's that simple.

”I’m not blind to the fact that the SCW Bombshell Division is finally getting some new blood, whether it’s you Masque, Kat Jones, Adrienne Beaufort, Chloe Benton or Levana Cade it seems the division is getting the shot in the arm that it desperately needed.” I commented before stopping in front of the one normal mirror in the whole house of mirrors, must’ve been put here by mistake. ”Real question is, will the old guard like me be able to step up to the new girls or get stepped on whilst they rise to the top? That’s the question on everyone’s lips as we head into this match Masque but here’s the thing, I’ve been here for ten years and in that time, I’ve seen many women come and go over the years, they’ve all tried to step on me on their rise to the top.”

And with that I decided to wrap things up.

”Do you know how many have succeeded Masque? I can count them on one hand.” I said as I neared the exit. ”This Sunday’s match between us will be your first real taste of competition in the singles ranks Masque and I’m out to do one thing and that’s expose you for what you really are, a terrifying yet ultimately average wrestler and I’ll be unveiling the masquerade this Sunday at Blaze of Glory when I strike you down like blood lightning Masque! See you then!”

I exited the house of mirrors as the scene fades.

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