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Chapter 4 – Battle

Today I enter the catacombs with intent. Today there will be a battle.

As I walk into the entry, I see the coliseum door is open – they always now when there’s a fight.

As I enter the coliseum, everyone is already there – waiting in anticipation – waiting with confidence. I get booed as I walk in. The noise is loud and intimidating. But more than the sounds, I notice the stench. The stench is of failure – of blood – of death. The floor is dirt stained a crimson red – red from blood spilled in the past.

Hate sits in the best seat – front row middle – staring – that never-ending stare. The demons are in the stands based on family size around Hate. The Dead Friends hang near the walls of the battle floor playing war drums – right next to the pictures of resentment. Even the statues are here – right below where Hate is seated. The Lost Loves are casually sitting on the battle floor, barely paying any attention to anything at all.

I see my opponent – Jealousy – standing in the middle of the coliseum – glaring at me. Jealousy stands half my height and less in weight. Jealousy is an opponent I fed a lot when I was younger – now it just gets ridiculed by Reclusion – who keeps me away from Jealousy. I want to battle a weak opponent – one I believe I can beat. Compared to the others, Jealousy is smaller, weaker, and a less skilled fighter.

Even though Jealousy is small in stature, it looks confident – looking through my eyes.

I walk to the middle of the coliseum. The boos continue and fill the arena. I see Hate looking at me with the fiery eyes and the stoic look – a look of confidence that the battle will go their way. The war drums get louder and stronger as the fight nears.

There is no referee – any fighting techniques are available. No weapons – just the armaments and strength we bring to the coliseum. There is only one outcome possible – complete defeat.

One of the Lost Lovers walks between us – I can’t tell which one – they all look the same. The sign she holds is mocking – Round 1, it says. Round 1 is the only round – as the fight only ends when the battle is over. Ugliness lets out a cackling laugh, and everyone else joins in – slapping each other on their backs. The Lost Love looks at me with a dark smirk – she is also confident in who will win.

Just after she has passes, I lunge at Jealousy with intent to strike a blow with my right fist. Jealousy anticipates the move, quickly moves to the left, pulling my right wrist and cracking their elbow down onto mine – then it tosses me to the ground face-first into the dirt. The crowd roars with excitement. The taunting continues louder and more deafening than before.

My right arm is not broken, but most of the tendons are snapped – all its strength is gone – gone in a single blow. My confidence drops – one of the weakest opponents – and they execute a vicious first connection. I stand up and gently brush myself off. Jealousy remains still – just standing there – glaring at me – waiting for my next move. I ponder my step for a moment and then execute my attack – I lunge with my left arm as a decoy, stop just before I reach Jealousy, and then kick my right leg towards Jealousy’s left leg to disable its mobility. Jealousy feels the lack of confidence in my attack, recognizes the decoy, and anticipates the kick. Jealousy lowers its body and brushes the kick away with a sweeping motion from its arms and delivers a devastating strike to the upper inner thigh of my left leg. After the attack, Jealousy grabs my right foot, swings me around, and tosses me 30 feet in the air. While in the air, I hear the crowd squeal in delight. I land hard on the ground – the wind knocked out of me. I am slow to look up as the crowd continues to taunt me – continues their cackling laughs. I look up to my opponent. Jealousy remains standing in the same spot – no longer glaring – just looking to see if I will get up. I stand up and attempt to diagnose the damage. Right arm disabled. Left leg nearly immobilized. My body reeling from that last toss – tightness and soreness all over.

Jealousy continues to look at me. The crowd cheers in anticipation of a victory – standing, yelling, waving their arms, waving their wings. All of them except Hate. Hate remains seated – no noise, no antics – Hate just stares. The war drums continue their steady beat – filling the coliseum with a thunderous racket.

I ponder my next move – believing it is my last shot to disable Jealousy and have a chance at victory today. My left leg screams in pain – speed is not available. My right arm barely moves – upper power is not an option. I sense only one move remains – one final grasp at victory.

I slowly walk up to Jealousy, who doesn’t flinch from my approach. I stare into Jealousy’s eyes – and the stare is returned. I get within 3 feet of Jealousy and lunge for its body – a wrestler’s move. I wrap my arms around Jealousy’s body and drive with my right leg, trying to push Jealousy back. I twist my weakened left leg behind Jealousy’s right leg to help destabilize Jealousy to the ground. But it is all to no avail – I am unable to budge Jealousy even an inch. There is too much strength, too much power, too much resistance – and my attempt falls flat. Jealousy wraps its arms around me in a suffocating embrace and looks to Hate for guidance. The crowd silences momentarily and all look to Hate for the decision – even the war drums stop. Hate slowly blinks its eyes just once – and the loudest cheers of the event coming raining down, Ugliness laughs his obnoxious, piercing braying laugh, the war drums pick up where they left off – just with more enthusiasm. I know what is next – I have been here many times before. I remove my embrace and surrender to Jealousy. Jealousy pushes me back and strikes quickly and violently to my throat, both with its fist and outstretched claw on its extended thumb. The blow draws blood, which comes spurting out of my neck as I fall back onto the ground. Jealousy stands on my hips, digging its claws and drawing blood. Jealousy then leans down and shoves its mouth deep into my chest. As Jealousy stands up tall with arms out wide, my heart rests firmly in its mouth. Jealousy flings my heart into the air, and it drops directly into Jealousy’s mouth. Jealousy doesn’t even chew – just swallows lowers its jaw to face Hate, raises its arms, and lets out an ear-piercing screech. While the screech emerges from deep within, Jealousy’s body grows. Every muscle pulses and gets more massive, its legs lengthen as the muscles grow, its arms and torso stretch. Jealousy nearly doubles in size and even more so in strength. Victory is absolute, and Jealousy is fed – fed with my heart, fed with my soul, fed with my weakness, fed with my defeat, fed with my fantasy I could win, fed with my humiliation. Jealousy squats down and shits all over me – shits until I am completely covered.

Jealousy steps off my hips and starts walking to the door and onto the lounge. The war drums cease as the entire crowd starts filtering towards the exit – all still buzzing about the quick and decisive victory. Reclusion congratulates Jealousy’s victory by hoisting Jealousy on its shoulders. There is pride as one of the weaker members has grown stronger. The band starts warming up in anticipation for an extended party – the lounge will soon become a scene of complete hysteria and tremendous debauchery. The lustful onlooking between demon and the Lost Loves can be tasted in the air.

All the while, I lay on the ground. One last task remains. A Dead Friend walks over, takes out a long knife, and decapitates my head from my limp, useless body. With a single wave of a hand in front of my face, all the shit, all the flesh, all the blood disappears – leaving just my skull. The Dead Friend takes my skull to the far end of the coliseum and places it on a shelf – the victor’s wall (picture – only see the single skull). With no emotion, Dead Friend walks away and heads to the celebration (multiple pictures here – the front angle of Dead Friend walking away and slowly seeing that the wall is covered with first several, then dozens, then hundreds of skulls on the wall).

(Shift pictures to lounge – a massive orgy. The last one has Jealousy on back fucking a Lost Love while another Lost Love sits on its face as Humiliation and Ugliness look on close and many others watching).

Chapter Five