Sunday, December 16, 2012

Fighters of the Damned, Part One

Matt heaved a sigh of relief as the roars of the crowd washed over him, raising his wrapped hands high as the referee called out his victory to the world. This had been what he’d been training for the last six months, and now that it was over he couldn’t be more proud of himself.
He’d taken on the United States Heavy Weight champion in Mixed Martial Arts and won. Not only won, but won through a landslide of a fight, tearing through his opponents defenses and getting under the man’s weak guard to deliver bone cracking blows in a hailstorm of regimented fury. According to the clock on the wall, the fight had lasted less than five minutes.

He’d trained to be a burst fighter; someone who can explode when needed and explode with a fury unparalleled by those around him. He’d spent weeks merely doing stamina drills, countless hours doing pushups on his knuckles or running mile after mile until his lungs burned with a primal agony that he grew to ignore. He’d spent weeks working on the speed and power of his strikes, focusing his blows against harder and harder material until he was certain that not even a properly executed block could save his opponent from injury.
And all of his training had paid off the third strike of his opening salvo, when he’d heard the echoing crack coming from the reigning champions arm.
A hairline fracture, but a fracture nonetheless.
From there the fight had only gone downhill, the champions defensive stance growing wider and weaker as the seconds ticked by, his pain blinding him to his need to tighten up his defenses, to stand firm against Matt’s onslaught.
Matt smiled as he recalled the champions face when he’d taken a wild haymaker into an armbar, quickly dislocating the pesky tool with a casual roll of his shoulder before slamming his side with an open palm, sending him sprawling to the mat. The crowd had gone wild over such a maneuver, and grown even louder when Matt descended to the ground with his downed foe, grappling him into one of the more painful submission holds.
Ten seconds later and Matt had been declared the winner, allowing him the glory of the title as well as the glory that comes with all warriors who claim victory as their own. Countless accolades from friend and foe alike streamed past his ears as he made his way back to the locker room, a tad worse for the wear as he limped and leaned against the wall.
Sitting now before a full length mirror, Matt can only smile at himself in the mirror as he rubs a soothing ointment into his growing bruises. he’d finally done it.
He was the best.  
“The best of what, pray tell?” Came a silky voice from the shadows of the locker. Matt quickly moved to his feet, eyes locked on the figure shrouded in shadows. How had he gotten in here, past security?
“Oh that seems to hardly be a matter of worry at this stage in the game, wouldn’t you agree my boy? I mean after all, here I am.” The figure moved partially into the flickering florescent light of the locker room, revealing himself to be wearing expensive silken robes and gaudy rings upon each finger. A ruffled violet blouse covered his arms and chest, and a high collared cloak covered the rest of him save for a scarf-wrapped face, a pair of twinkling gray eyes peeking over the dark cowl.
“Who the fuck are you?” Matt demanded, sizing the man up in case he was a threat.
“My name is of no consequence, but my offer is. You have just been declared one of the mightiest warriors in all of the world, and yet you seem content to relax on the laurels of victory like some lazy swine let loose amongst the granary.”
“Your point being?”
“My point being that there are plenty more adversaries for you to test your mettle against should you have the stomach for it.” The strange man concluded, folding his hands over each other before him. “My benefactor would love to test the mettle of the finest brawlers on the market against his own soldiers on retainer, to ensure they are indeed the best of the best.”
“And what if I prove they’re nothing but a bunch of weaklings like the rest of them?” Matt boldly asks, looking the man square in the eyes.
“Then you earn yourself a million dollars, per gladiator defeated. All of this will be kept under the strictest of confidentialities, the money being kept with the Swiss in order to prevent unnecessary taxes from becoming a burden.”
Matt stared at the strange man for a moment before shaking his head. “No deal. I don’t do this for the money man, just the glory. Plus something seems fishy about all of this, something I can’t quite put my finger on.”
“I’ve been authorized to offer you a flat payment of seven hundred and fifty thousand up front should you be willing.” The man says, a slight strain in his voice as he moves around the locker room until his back is facing the exit. Matt couldn’t help but notice that the garishly dressed figure now stood between him and the only exit.
“Well I’m not willing, so why don’t you just step off before I have to hurt you, alright?” Matt growls, standing from his seat on the low risers to move and face the strange man.
Surprisingly, the man just chuckles like a warm joke had just been told around a campfire. Quicker than Matt’s eyes could follow, the man’s folded hands flashed forward, a series of sharp pains radiating out from Matt’s midsection. Looking down, Matt’s brow crinkled in confusion at the sight of four gleaming steel needles that seemed to be protruding from his lower stomach. Looking up at the violet stranger, the smile in his eyes, Matt moved forward to strike the smirk from his face but found his limbs growing heavier by the second.
“A cocktail of Cobra and Sea Snake venom local to my benefactors home serves as a tool in the bargaining process should more pleasant means become less viable.” The man said conversationally, moving forward with a subtle grace, striking Matt in the shoulder with an open palm strike before ramming another metal needle into his shoulder. “While hardly lethal, this tonic makes even the most resilient man pliable.”
Matt swings wildly, to which his garishly dressed attacker deftly stops with a simple karate block, grasping him by the wrist and twisting his arm until it was raised painfully behind Matt’s back. Looking in the mirror before him, he watched as the violet stranger pulled a syringe from within his own voluminous robes, carefully squeezing the plunger to ensure no air was trapped within the tube, before carefully lining it up with Matt’s neck, seeking a vein. Matt gasped as the syringe slide beneath his skin and into his neck, his pulse rhythmically throbbing around the intrusive needle, and the fluids being pushed into his system.
“It’s a shame you didn’t take him up on his officer, my dear fellow. He would have happily paid you had you been more cooperative.” The man said conversationally, pulling the syringe from his neck and pulling an empty one from within his robes, dropping it to the ground. “With everything I’m going to leave here, you’ll never have a home to come to again. Not that one will be waiting for you, my dear dead man.”
Matt’s body was nothing but pins and needles as he struggled to respond, to move his sluggish limbs in hopes of fighting to keep the man away from him. The man let him go, allowing him to slump to the floor bonelessly. Kneeling over him to carefully remove the steel needles embedded in Matt’s stomach, the man hummed softly to himself as he worked.
After what seemed like hours of the man carefully working over his body, he moved to look Matt in his immobile face, a smile in his eyes as he spoke. “We’ll meet again my friend, just you wait and see. But for now enjoy your victory and take a well-deserved rest. For what’s in store for you, you’ll need all of the rest and relaxation you can handle.”
Part Two

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