“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process, he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you…”

-Friedrich Nietzsche

November 2007

Boone, North Carolina

“Wakey, wakey, hands off snakey…”

I wake up hearing the voice coming from above me. At first I think it is Abel, but after rolling over onto my side and blinking a few times, I see it is not Abel. It is none other than the newly crowned SCW World Heavyweight Champion, Josh Hudson. He stands above me, a smile on his face. I rub my eyes, “What are you doing here?” I ask as my eyes rest upon what he has in his hand.

The SCW World Heavyweight Championship belt…

Hudson smirks, “I came here to bring you something.”

I sit up in my bed, “Oh yeah? What’s that?”

He looks down at the belt then back at me, “I want to give you this. This is the real deal. It’s not some toy. They are making me a new one since it’s my first title. I know most people put these things in trophy cases and what not. That’s not my style. So I figured I’d give it to you.”

He lifts the belt up and hands it to me, dangling it over my legs. I stare at it in amazement and awe as I slowly reach up, gripping my hands around the golden plate. I look down and see the name plate. It doesn’t have Hudson’s name in it. It has mine. I look up at him, “Why’s my name in here?”

Hudson shrugs, “You were talking to me a couple of weeks ago about getting into wrestling. I am all for it. Hell, I told your dad that I’d train you…”

I shake my head, “My dad doesn’t give a damn and you know that.”

Hudson looks down, lets out a sigh before looking back at me, “You know James, you may be right. It’s not my place to say yes or no. But if that is the way you feel then look at that belt and see it as more than just some championship. Look at it as more than just some trinket as your idiotic cousin likes to repeatedly call it. Look at it as an escape. Look at it as a goal. Look at it as a reason.”

I look back at the title. Seeing my name in the plate brings a smile to my face. I gently rub my fingers over the belt, then they trace the letters of my name, as I close my eyes and let my mind run free. I see myself stepping into the ring against Jason Wheeler and wrestling him before pinning him one, two, three. I see myself climbing in between the ropes and going toe to toe with Damian Angel. I even see myself going the distance with CHBK before hooking his leg and getting the three count. I visualize the fans exploding out of their seats as I climb onto the top rope and lift the title I am holding right now high into the air for the entire world to see. I exhale and open my eyes, “I appreciate it, Josh but it is nothing more than some dream. If I made it there, I’d get looked down upon. I am sure I’d be mocked by my cousin and many others because I am so closed off. You know that. I barely talk to you or anyone.”

Hudson shrugs, “Who cares what Chad thinks? He’s an egomaniac. That’s why he held that belt for a month. He couldn’t get his head out of his own ass. People talk about me all of the time but I don’t let it discourage me. The wrestling industry is very cutthroat. I’ve learned that but I haven’t allowed it to slow me down. Someone like Wheeler who thinks he is God’s gift to this industry made me out to be weak but I showed him, didn’t I? I beat him for that…what you hold in your hands. You could do something like that as well. You could go out there and beat anyone for it. You could go out there and change things. You could shock the world. You just have to want it, James. You just have to want it and be willing to do whatever you have to do in order to get the things you want.”

I take another look at the belt before looking back at Hudson, the only real friend that I have, “Sounds like it could make someone go crazy.”

Hudson laughs, “You’re right. It’ll probably drive me crazy but even then, I think I know what to do.”

“Which is?”

He smirks, “When that bell rings, I become something else entirely. I feel unstoppable. The rest of the world doesn’t matter. I live in that moment and give it my all. If you go this route,” He says, pointing to the championship while keeping his eyes locked with mine, “It will take everything you have. It will take and it will take. Others will try to take from you. Some will succeed while others will fail. You just have to keep your focus. You have to stay sharp.”

I nod my head, “I’m sure you’re right. I will thank about it, Josh. Really, I will. It’d be nice to be able to do something that isn’t all that ordinary. To be able to travel the world, to get away from all of this…” I say, my voice trails off as I look around my plain room, staring outside my window for a few moments before I continue, “It’d be nice to have a dream come true for me.”

Hudson nods, “I understand, kid. Just let me know alright…” He then turns and heads towards the bedroom door but he stops. He then turns and Hudson walks to me once more. He pats me on the back, “Making any dream come true takes hard work. I know you have it in you. You deal with a lot here. You can handle it. You get stronger every day. I’ve seen it. You could do great things in the ring,” He pats my back once more then heads to the door. He opens it and steps outside before turning, “James…just remember I am always here for you if you need me.”

I nod my head, “I know…I know…” I watch as he goes. I listen to his footsteps as he heads downstairs. I lean over and close my bedroom door before returning my attention to the championship belt, telling myself how great it would feel to win this for myself. I tell myself that it’d be like smacking Chad in the face, especially after he found me watching SCW matches. He told me that I wouldn’t amount to shit in the business because I’m just an idiot. I said nothing but if I were to ever win the SCW World Championship, it would send the message loud and clear. I grab the leather straps of the belt and I lean back while lifting the belt above my face. I just stare at it, unable to take my eyes off of it, wondering…

…What if?


Modern Day, Exact Date and Time Unknown

New York City, New York

The heat beats down on me as I wake, blinking my eyes rapidly, taking everything in. I figure out where I am, but not why I am here. I am in an old cemetery that my family owns. Many graves here to bury many family secrets so to speak. I look down to see that I have dug a hole in the Earth, and I am unsure as to why as well. I stare down at it, my eyes searching in what appears to be a bottomless pit.

I tell myself that I must have lost time, which has been the case for awhile apparently. I try my best to ignore it. I try to think of what I could have possibly done. I try to remember. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. This is one of those times that I don’t. I shake my head, telling myself that I am sure I will figure it out sooner or later. My days are running together and it is hard to keep most of the time. My Angel and my Devil have been fighting for control over me. I don’t know which one led me here or why.

I tell myself that all will be revealed when the time is right. I let out a sigh then pull my shovel away from the dirt and I walk over to my car, placing the shovel in the backseat, lying it on a towel. Another mystery, I think to myself. It seems that I planned this at some point. I roll the shovel up in the towel, remove the gloves I am wearing before climbing into the driver’s seat and pulling out of the cemetery gate.

I have a feeling that I know what is going to happen. It is only a matter of when. I am not sure how I feel about it. Everything just seems grim right now.

And I know that there is no way around it.


July 9th, 2016

New York City, New York

“I know you’re there, James.”

With the phone pressed to my ear, I can’t help but laugh. Ace Marshall is on the other end, and this appears to be the beginning of the conversation I have waited for. After sending the video of me with little Ace Jr., I wondered when Ace and I would talk. I wondered if he would call me or find at a Breakdown show to attempt to beat me mercilessly. I sit here now, in my apartment, not saying anything as I imagine Ace squeezing his phone, that irate look on his face as anger pumps through his body, thoughts of hurting me running through his mind, “Hello, Ace. I was beginning to lose faith in you…”

“Well don’t worry, James, I’m here. What exactly were you thinking?” My grin remains.

“I wanted you to see what it was like, Ace.”

“To see what it was like? What, to be creeped out by some asshole?” He booms into the phone.

“I have had to see your face in photographs with my daughters plastered all over the internet. I have had to have it rubbed in my face that they love you. People claim you’re a better father than me, yet you abandoned your only child. I wanted you to know what it is like to have some sort of failure rubbed in your face.”

Ace lets out a sigh, “I live with that every day, you fail to grasp that concept,” He pauses for a moment, “However I would have never used Kelly or Keira against you, James. I would never use them to get under your skin or piss you off. Not out of respect. Simply because I am not that kind of jack ass.”

I chuckle, “Ace, don’t lie to me. You would do anything to piss me off or annoy me. You always have and you always will. Don’t play that bullshit with me. You have taken any and all opportunities to make me look bad. You’re lucky I didn’t make this public. I kept it between you and I. Unlike you, I am not an attention whore.”

Ace fires back, “"You're not fit to be where you are, James. Paint yourself in every shade of misunderstanding your heart desires, that's the bottom line. At this stage? If you wanted my attention, you got it. I don't want you in a padded room or a cell. I want you right in the position you're in."

I roll my eyes before giving my response, “I am not painting myself in any way. If my actions are understood or not, that makes no difference to me. I can be placed under a microscope by anyone and everyone but their opinions will mean dick to me. That is what you fail to realize, Ace,” I say with a smirk, “But I am glad that I finally have your attention. Attacking you physically apparently wasn’t enough to get through to you. It’s tragic it had to down to this.”

"I don't know what your intentions were supposed to be, whether to humble or scare me. If one hair was ever touched on that boy's head there is no voice in your head that would save you. Any illusion you ever had that I went out of my way to take from you? Wait until it is my mission in life to take every smidgen of hope, every little good thing that comes your way, I will truly make it a point to be there and there wouldn't be a damn thing you could do to stop me."

I laugh a little bit more, enjoying every single minute of this. After I calm down, I let out a sigh myself, “Oh Ace, I wouldn’t hurt that poor boy. He’s been hurt enough…by you,” I say, as if I am God and I have elected to condemn Ace, “And you speak of hope. Ace, just stop. If you believe in hope then you are the one with illusions. Hope is an idea that people cling to when things are going wrong. They cling to hope because they have to repeatedly tell themselves that everything will be alright. But Ace, nothing will be alright. This fight, this match, this WAR between us, we will walk away from it completely changed. We won’t be the same men we were walking in. You do realize that don’t you?”

I picture Ace lightly pounding his fist against a nearby wall, ready to explode, ready to hurt me. I grin at the thought as he replies, “James, preach it until you're blue in the face, until the sun burns out and the stars disappear one after the other. I will continue doing what I am doing. I will walk in and walk out as champion. I will prove that once again I am better than you. After Rise to Greatness, I don't care what you do. Cry, mope, be like every other Evans in SCW. Go near anyone I care about, you won't have to worry about it so much. Otherwise, me? I will just continue to live my life."

My grin fades, “Oh yes, you will continue to live life. You will continue fighting off all of your demons. You will continue to put that fake smile on your face, living it up, trying your best to hide all of your mistakes and all of the crimes you’ve committed against those you’ve come into contact with such as your son…little…Ace…Junior…”

He cuts me off, “Is this it? Are you expecting me to cry, fall to a knee and sob over the reality I've been living in? Yeah, I am a shit father but I would still throw you over the side of a cliff to protect him. If you value anything about yourself…even though I’m not sure what it’d be…but if you value anything, you’ll never utter another word about him. He is better off without me, just as everyone you claim to care about is better off without you. With the people you're scaring, the bar shit, this stupid video thing, what else are you doing at night? Do you even know with the state you're in?"

“Oh Ace…Ace…Ace…” Rolling my eyes, I think about how many times people have talked about this state I am in and I think about how it used to make me mad, but now I just shake my head and roll my eyes, “This state I’m in…this state I’m in. I’m where I need to be. I am where I have always needed to be. It may scare some people and that’s all well and good. Maybe they should be scared. I know you’re not scared, Ace…at least that’s what you say…”

Ace cuts me off again, “You’re damn right I’m not scared of you. You don’t intimidate me, James. I haven't exactly cared over what happens to me in a while, hell self-destruction is a beautiful thing. Think I care how it goes for you? My biggest fear is something you're completely incapable of bringing down on me. I’m not afraid of you. You haven’t humbled me. All you did was light a fire under my ass. I am done playing around, James. I’m not fucking with you anymore. You wanted the jokes to end? You want me to be serious? I've got something for you, mother fucker.”

I laugh again, “Yes! Yes! That is what I’m talking about, Ace. This is what I have wanted to see this entire time. I have wanted to see that fight. I have wanted to feel that fire. Hit me with your best shot, Ace. I need it. I crave it.”

Ace chimes in, “You deserve a lot worse, James. Proving what everyone already knows, all of the writing that has been on the wall and in your face for years. Embrace the inevitable.”

“I am ready to dance whenever you are, champ. But before that happens, I have to ask you a question. Don’t you think its funny?”

Ace sighs, “Do I think what’s funny?”

I lean forward, “Don’t you think it’s funny that you are a lot closer to being like me than you realize? It took seeing me with your son to light the so called fire. It took me seeing you get praised, being around my daughters, being loved by the mother you USED to fulfill your needs, to light a fire within me…You’re just one really bad day away, Ace…from being like me. All it’d take to change you would be a little much liquor, the sight of cocaine to have your body in twitches. Just a little bit of pills being shaken in a bottle right in front of your face. It would take just one little thing to send you over the edge, to send you running back to your demons with open fucking arms, Ace,” I say, pausing for a moment, trying to put myself into his shoes for a moment, wondering what he is feeling right now before I continue to speak, “A man can only take so much, Ace. You’re not as strong or as smart as you constantly claim to be. Sooner or later, you will break. It could be today. It could be tomorrow. No one knows, but all it takes is one bad day, Ace. One bad day and everything you’ve worked for, everything you have accomplished in your personal life as well as in wrestling, it will all be undone. It will be spit on and shit on. It will be looked down upon and people’s heads will shake. All of those you care for now will lower their eyes and shake their heads in disgust and disappointment…” I pause once more, waiting to hear if he says anything, before I say, “Enjoy it while it lasts,” I finish my statement and before he can respond, I hang up. I toss my phone down on the floor as I lean back into my chair, as I sit in my rocking chair in the living room of my apartment. With the lights out and night falling over the city, I just rock back and forth, as Kismet and Abel sit across from me on the couch.

Two metaphors of my relationship with my enemy, Ace.

One praises.

One condemns.




For some time now, I have been seen as strange.




I’ve been labeled an idiot. A moron.

A racist.

I’ve heard, “Cant wait to see how long this run lasts…”

I have heard these things. I have listened to them. I replayed the statements, the murmurs, every single word over and over in my head. They generate thoughts of cutting the tongues out of mouths so the words are never spoken again. Thoughts of cutting off hands or just fingers so these words and statements couldn’t be written or posted on some social media app. I’ve even wanted to cut out my own eyes so I didn’t have to see the people behind the words, because…I am not sure if I am capable of controlling myself at all times. I have wanted to cut off my own ears so I didn’t have to hear any more of the bullshit being spewed in hallways, in circles of friends, etc…etc…

I have never been seen as much of anything in this industry. I’ve been a punching bag. Hell, I have been the punchline for so many of my fellow co-workers that it is a surprise I haven’t grabbed a gun and made Columbine look like nothing more than child’s play. I could do it. It would be that easy. I am not one to take the easy way out, despite the way I beat Rachel Foxx a few weeks ago. Despite the few shots I have taken on Ace Marshall. They have had it coming and they were going to get what they were owed, they were going to reap what they sowed one way or…another…

Just as the gimp who sits in his fancy office, paying me no mind, will get what he is owed. He ignored me when I asked for opportunity and now, he gets to sit back and watch as a screw up such as myself, a man he never trusted with the ball, gets to walk into the main event of his baby and compete for the World Championship of his company. I stopped asking for opportunity. I went out and earned it, by BLOWING EVERYONE ELSE OUT OF THE WATER, showing him and the rest of the miscreants in the back JUST EXACTLY WHAT I….am capable of doing. I will continue to do so. Taking Hold of the Flame was just the beginning. What I have done leading up to Rise to Greatness isn’t even beginning to scratch the surface. Win or lose, my presence will continue to be felt, like that VIRUS that just won’t go away…

It can’t be cured, no matter how many times Rachel Foxx kicks me in the ribs. No matter how many times Ace Marshall manages to crack me with a chair. I will continue to evolve. I will continue to force those around me to take heed, to eat their words as well as my fist. People can laugh but when I am in their face, I will ask if they think that this is all just some big joke. If I look like I am laughing with them.

And when I inflict pain, when I torture them, crippling the heroes of the moronic, brain washed masses…everyone will know that James Evans is…

…No laughing…matter…


“He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby becomes a monster. Is not life a hundred times too short for us to bore ourselves?”

-Friedrich Nietzsche

July 14th, 2016

Memphis, Tennessee

Sometime After Midnight…

Taking the taxicab to her hotel, Abel is yelling at me, “I can’t believe you allowed that to happen, James. You let us look weak. You should have known he was going to do something to you. Why did you let your guard down? In fact, the better question would be why did you take your eyes off of him?”

Abel is referring to the fact that Ace Marshall, my opponent at Rise to Greatness managed to get one up on me. I am not happy about it either, but it happened. And in a way, I am thankful for it. It seemed like Ace didn’t care as much about our match, like he didn’t see me as any sort of real threat, but just a few hours ago, I saw a different side to Ace. He actually showed that he had some bite to him instead of just barking on a consistent basis. I let out a sigh, “I know Abel, but now I know that he’s taking this seriously. It’s shitty that it took me sending him a video of me with the son he abandoned in order to get his blood pumping, in order to get some sort of emotion out of him but it was worth it.”

I finish speaking and I turn to face forward, away from Abel who is sitting beside me, to find Kismet looking at me from the rear view mirror, “So what if he had used your kids against you? Would you have cared, James or do you think you would have just brushed it off?”

I let out another sigh then shrug my shoulders, “I honestly don’t know, Kismet. Some of the motivation I’ve had when I’ve hurt Ace has stemmed from seeing him with my children. It stems from the fact that their mother showcases them with Ace all over social media, not giving a good goddamn how it effects me in any, way, shape or form. Had he done that to me, I would have taken it a step further and probably ended his life.”

Abel throws his head back and laughs, “Oh, James…I’d love to see that. In fact, I need to see it. The images popping up in our head don’t do the actual act itself any sort of justice.”

I shake my head, before speaking back to Kismet, “But to me, it was worth it, Kismet. Ace knows that I am not fucking around. I wonder how many times he’s watched that damn video. Just thinking about him watching it over and over, getting more and more pissed with each viewing…I have to admit…I take pride in that. I get some sort of pleasure from it.”

Kismet lowers her eyes from mine and shakes her head in defeat before turning facing forward. I lean back in my seat as Abel leans in closer and whispers in my ear, “She’s trying to turn you against me, James. Just remember who’s been there for you. Don’t forget all that I’ve done for you.”

I smirk, “How could I? Even if I did, we both know that you would find a way to remind me.”

Abel replies, as the cab comes to a stop outside of the River Inn of Harbor Town hotel, “I hope that some day soon, I won’t have to remind you of anything. You’ll have given into your true nature and everything will be right in the world. You have to want that just as much as I do,” I don’t reply. I hand the driver his dues before climbing out of the cab and heading inside. I check my phone to see which room told me she was going to be in and then head upstairs. Along the way, Abel follows, “Are you going to fuck this up even more, James or are you going to allow yourself to have some actual fun?”

I groan, “I get so sick of hearing that word. Fun. Fun. You sound like Ace,” I say as I stop, turn and stare at Abel, who seems none too pleased by my comment. I then reach her hotel door and I knock.

I hear, “It’s open…” I push the door open and step inside, to find Kennedy Street standing there, a glass of wine in her hand, as she parades around in a silky black robe, which makes me think about what is underneath, as she says, “Oh…it’s you,” as she takes a sip of wine before walking over to the window next to the double doors leading to the balcony. She stares outside after taking a seat next to the window, “What did you want to talk about?”

I close the door behind me, keeping my eyes locked on her, “I think you know what I want to talk about. The other night…you stayed in my apartment,” I replay it in my head, the dream I thought to be a dream where we had wild, violent sex, “I thought it was all in my head. Like a dream.”

She shoots me a look, “You thought it was a dream, honey? You’ve got to be kidding me.”

I let out a sigh, “But the way you talked…that told me it may not have been a dream. So…” I pause, hating myself for asking, the look on Abel’s face when I discovered the truth told me all that I needed to know. There is just a part of me that needs to hear her say it, “Did we have sex?”

Kennedy gets up from her seat, slinging her glass across the room, as she storms over towards me, her legs swaying back and forth with power in them, matching the power in her eyes, “So you fuck Keenie then you don’t remember. Honey, when you hook up with Keenie, you ALWAYS remember.”

I smirk and shrug my shoulders, “I don’t know what to tell you. I don’t remember…”

As soon as the words escape my mouth, her hand goes across my face, “Keenie doesn’t know about you but to her, that is nothing more than a slap to Keenie’s flawless face,” I run my hand over my face, enjoying the slight sting occurring within my skin as I lock eyes on her. The next thing I know, my hands are on her, lifting her up. She wraps her legs around me as my right hand is around her throat as I slam her against a wall. I continue to glare at her. Her face turns red, but even then Kennedy challenges me, “We’ve done this already honey. You’ll have to do better…”

I hear Abel laughing in the background, “Keep it up, James. Kill her. Choke the fucking life out of her. I’d rather experience that with you than fucking her stupid again,” I feel a burning sensation going through the muscles in my arm, as Abel’s laughing is replaced with a slight ringing in my ears. I don’t even hear Kennedy choking or gasping for air.

The ringing continues until I feel a rapid tapping on my shoulder, followed by the voice of Kismet frantically pleading with me, “James…James…Stop…Stop…STOP IT!!!” As she yells, I quickly let go. I let Kennedy drop to her ass while Kismet berates me, “What the hell are you doing? You could have killed her James. Had that happened, everything you have worked for up to this point would be ruined. You’d be in prison. You’d get the fucking gas chamber. Is that what you want?”

In my mind, I am telling Kismet I am sorry…I am sorry…I am sorry…

I drop down to my knees to check on Kennedy. Abel is telling me to get the hell out of the room. He is telling me not to touch her. And at first, I feel fear, thinking that I have killed her. I try my best not to panic. My hands run through her hair, over her face, and I check her pulse as my fingers reach her throat. There is a pulse.

And then she opens her eyes, with a smile forming on her face, “Is that all you got, honey? Keenie expected so much more from you…” Next thing I know, she clocks me in the face. I fall onto my back and it isn’t long before she is on top of me. Our lips lock up while our tongues clash back and forth in an intense battle. My shirt is being undone as well as my pants. At first I don’t know what to do. This feels so strange. So wrong. So awkward. I ask Abel to help me. I ask Kismet to help. I ask somebody, anybody…as everything slowly fades into a blur.

And then, “Oh honey…you were fantastic…”

I blink a few times. We are no longer in the floor. We are in the bed. She is still on top of me as her chin rests on my abdomen, her tigress eyes beaming at me, with the Cheshire grin on her face. I look down and see the small of her lower back as well as the top of her ass, which tells me that it happened again. I don’t know what to say. I feel nothing. I just smirk back, “You weren’t so bad yourself.”

Kennedy rolls off of me and onto her back as she sits up in the bed, “Kennedy doesn’t know what was better. Getting fucked like that or shutting that icy bitch up.”

I sit up as well, “Yeah seemed you had a pretty good night,” I say, doing my best to make some sort of conversation. I feel like I owe it to her. It could be Kismet’s voice of reason controlling me, but I do feel I owe it to her. I tried to fucking choke I don’t know how long ago. Kennedy likes it but I don’t know who liked it more. Me or her… “You definitely fared better than I did…”

Kennedy leans over, resting her head on my shoulder, “Don’t worry. Ace is just a little boy in a man’s body. He got lucky. He’s just worried. Deep down he knows that you’re going to become SCW World Champion.”

I smirk, “I don’t think he’s afraid of me. I know he’s pissed. He showed me that last night. He fired off his shots and I loved it. He hurt me. It needed to be done otherwise, he was becoming nothing more than a rag doll. A toy that I could play with then throw away.”

Kennedy asks, “So you showed him the video after all?”

I nod, “Yes. He needed to see it. Just as he told me, just as he showed me and the rest of the world that he craves so much attention from…I have his attention now. But that is just Ace. He lives in this era of “now”. I have his attention “now.” He cares about this sport and his career “now.” Sooner or later it will end, and I’d love nothing more than send him a downward spiral at Rise to Greatness.”

Kennedy grabs my face and turns me to face her, “You can,” She kisses me. I kiss her back, assuming that is what I should do, “You will,” She says before kissing me again. I follow suit once more before she says, “Keenie has faith in you…Keenie believes it…” She kisses me again then laughs. I assume it is because she mocked Selena Frost who I’d love to maim myself with a real glass shard, letting her know that having belief doesn’t always amount to something. Kennedy and I look at one another. I say nothing. I just nod before climbing out of bed and I begin getting dressed. I stand in front of the mirror in the bedroom while I pull my clothes on and Kennedy says, “So you’re leaving…”

I don’t look at her, “Yes…” I pause, trying to think of something to say, “I have to leave early in the morning so I can get back to New York. I have a few things to attend to.”

Kennedy moves then lies nude on the bed, as I see her reflection in the mirror, exposing her flesh to me. A part of me wants to fuck her again. The same part of me that wants to choke her, gag her, taste her flesh while the other part of me wants to be nice to her, comfort her, give myself to her, open up and make love to her. Our eyes lock as she says, “You could just stay here…”

I turn and face her, “Some other time, Kennedy…” I lean down and kiss her on the forehead, hoping this appeases her before I make my exit from the room. On the way down the hallway, Kismet is hot on my heels, “Yes Kismet…”

She says, “James, you nearly killed her. Does that not concern you?”

Before I can answer, Abel speaks up, “Why would it concern him?”

I turn and see Kismet roll her eyes, “I wasn’t talking to you, Abel. I was speaking to James,” She and I lock eyes, “Are you going to answer me?”

We step into the elevator. Abel tries to follow but I press my hand against his chest. He lifts his hands in surrender, “Fine. I’ll take the next one,” He says with a laugh.

On the elevator, Kismet speaks again, “I wish you’d answer me, James. You’re really starting to worry me. This is why I said that we may be doing you more harm than good.”

I lower my eyes to my feet, “I don’t know what I’d do without either of you.”

She fires back, “James, you almost lost control back there. I am doing all that I can to protect you from Abel. At first, we both wanted what is best for you. We wanted you to be successful, but I think Abel has much more in store for you. If you go that route, terrible things will happen. You will lose your career. You will lose your daughters. You will lose your life.”

“What do you suggest we do?”

She shakes her head then Kismet shrugs her shoulders, “I don’t know. We need to figure out a way to get rid of him. To shut him up. You could do what you did with your father and grandmother. Kill him. That seemed to help.”

I sigh, “It’s not as easy with Abel. I know it wouldn’t be. Our bond, our connection is very strong. A lot stronger than I would have ever imagined.”

“Stronger than ours?” She sadly asks.

“I don’t know, Kismet…”

She leans into me, as she has done many times before, and this feels more normal than it did when Kennedy did it just a few minutes ago I think to myself, “I don’t want to lose you James. I will do whatever I have to do. I’d love nothing more than it to be just the two of us. Don’t you think that’d be nice?”

I close my eyes, “It would be, Kismet. Just me and my destiny…my guardian Angel…” I open my eyes to see a smile form on her face. It matches mine.

She looks up at me, “I am willing to do whatever, James. You just need to figure out what you want.”

I reply, “I know what I want.”

“You do?”


“What is it?” She asks.

“I want what’s best for me…”


July 18th, 2016

New York City, New York

“So you’re afraid, Heath? Is that what you’re telling me?”

I nod my head yes, “Yes Vaughn. You have no idea what it is like. It gets worse and worse every day. There is no telling how much longer it is going to be before James…”

Vaughn leans forward a bit in his chair, locking his eyes with mine, “Before James what, Heath? I need to know what’s going on. Tell me everything that you know so maybe we can help him or stop him together. If there is a chance we can help him then I am more than willing to take that chance. If he is becoming a menace, I need to know that as well.”

I run my hands over my face, shaking my head in the process. I let out a sigh, “I feel like it is only a matter of time before James hurts someone. I am not talking about hurting them in wrestling. He, whether James truly knows it or not, is responsible for the attack that occurred a few weeks ago with that poor innocent couple. I feel there’s a strong chance that he will continue to lose his grip and he will continue taking it a step further each time he gets the urge to hurt someone.”

Vaughn looks away as he jots notes down on his pad, the concern radiating off of his face. He lets out a sigh, removes his glasses for and pats the back of his hand against his brow, telling me that he feels the same way that I do about the situation, “Alright Heath, thank you for this information. So you know for sure that he attacked that couple or are you just saying that because you want James to get into trouble?”

I shake my head, “I know that he did. There is no one else that it could have been.”

Vaughn cuts me off, “This is New York. It could have been any number of people out there who hurt that poor young man and woman.”

“You’re obviously not listening. James is dangerous. He had a woman in his apartment a few weeks ago. There is no telling what happened to her. He could have hurt her. He could have hurt her like he did my sister,” I say, lowering my head, trying to hide my sadness. I wait a few moments before looking up once again, “Something needs to be done about him, Vaughn. You and I both know it. He needs to be stopped before he really gets going. If we can’t stop him now then it may be too late when we actually try.”

Vaughn replies, “We are trying, Heath. We most definitely are. Don’t think that we’re not. I don’t want anything to happen. If something happened while James is in my care then I would beat myself up. I hope you understand that. I am doing my best to help him, to ensure nothing happens.”

Hearing that, I can’t help but laugh a little bit as I sit here, staring across from the good doctor, the man who has tried to nurture James, trying to corrupt James into being some sort of normal human being when I know that he knows…it’s just not possible. Hearing my laughter, I can tell it sends a shiver down Vaughn’s spine as he leans back in his chair, “Who am I talking to? You’re not Heath are you?”

I laugh a little bit more, letting it die down before getting dead serious with Vaughn, “You know who I am, Doc. We’ve talked a few times before. Go ahead and say my name. You know me so well.”

Vaughn sighs, “Abel…”

I nod my head, “That would be correct, Dr. Vaughn. So I see you’re working with old Heath in here…” I say, pointing to James’ head, “What are you trying to accomplish?”

Vaughn chuckles, but I do not find his response amusing in the least as he says, “Patient-doctor stuff, Abel. It is all about confidentiality. I figured you would know that by now with how much time you’ve spent in my office, using James like he is some sort of puppet.”

I close my eyes, trying to maintain control, “I am not using him like a puppet, Doctor. No more than you’ve tried to use him with all of those fucking meds you’ve thrown his way. Luckily, he listens to me so he doesn’t take them.”

Vaughn shakes his head, “But those medicines could help James, much more than you know. A lot more than you know. You are keeping that from happening, Abel. Don’t you want what is best for him?”

I roll my eyes, “Do you listen to yourself when you are giving your quack therapy, Doc? There is nothing wrong with James. He isn’t one of these cry babies that come in and out of your office. He isn’t some regular Joe off the fucking street. I am sorry if that bothers anyone walking the planet today and if it is then they can go and get fucked.”

Vaughn jots notes down, which makes me sick. He then looks up at me, “You’re awfully angry at the world, Abel. Why is that?”

I crack a grin and shake my head again, crossing my arms, “Are you trying to analyze me, Doc? You don’t want to get inside of this head. James and I…we are far above your skill and pay grade.”

Vaughn’s lips form a grin, “I am just trying to get a better understanding of you, Abel and what your relationship is with James. He is my patient after all.”

I uncross my arms and lean forward in my seat, baring my teeth at Vaughn, loving the very idea of sinking them into his jugular and tearing out his goddamn throat, “I am James’ anger at this world, the world that allowed him to be molested. The world that allowed his mother to put cigarettes out on him, and beat him whenever his father kicked her ass before leaving for months at a time. The world wants to call James crazy. Well the world made him crazy and now, with me backing him up, with me by his side, he will be ahead of the curve.”

Vaughn leans forward as well, where our foreheads are nearly touching. I smirk, knowing that he is trying to challenge me, “How is he going to be ahead of the curve? By surrendering to you, letting you have full control over him? Doesn’t sound fair to James if you ask me.”

I chuckle again, “James and I are one. He is slowly getting there. He just needs a little push,” I say with a smile, “That’s all. With me backing him, James will be able to stand back and watch this whole fucking world burn. And with whatever is left, insects such as yourself will gather around and claim James as your king…your Lord and Savior…your fucking God…”

“Do you believe that this is what James wants? I’ve talked with James and I don’t think this is what he wants. I don’t think he wants to live in a world like what you’ve described. I think James wants peace mentally, physically and spiritually. You are doing nothing more than hindering him.”

“You don’t know a damn thing about James,” I hiss, “He told you last time that he could manipulate you and he has. You’re just too ignorant to realize it. You sit there with your pen and paper, eating up everything he says because it puts money in your pocket. You’re not saving James. You are the hindrance. You and that little bitch, Kismet.”

Vaughn asks, “Where is Kismet?”

I shake my head, “In the dark where she belongs. She needs to stay as far away from James as possible. I don’t like her being anywhere near him.”

“And why is that?”

“Because she hinders him like you. She tries to manipulate him as a way to get back at me for manipulating her. She wants James all to herself and that just isn’t going to happen. I refuse to let it happen.”

Vaughn cracks a grin which irritates me further, “You sound afraid, Abel. Do you think Kismet can take you out of the picture? Do you think she can drive a wedge between you and James?”

I rub my hands over my face, growing angrier by the minute, “If she knows what’s best for her, she won’t. Just as if you know what’s best for you…you’ll stop trying to push my fucking buttons, doc.”

Vaughn speaks again, “What happens when your buttons are pushed, Abel?”

I grow silent, bringing my hands together, to stop my body from shaking with anger, fighting the urge to jab Vaughn’s pen into his jugular. It’d be so much fun. But there are so many people here that I’d have to kill everyone else in the office building. That’d be fun to but James needs his strength so he destroy that Ace fucker. I lock eyes with Vaughn, “You don’t want to find out, doc. Trust me on that. In fact, I am done talking with you.”

I blink a few times and look around, not knowing where I am. I feel scared at first but then I see him, Doctor Vaughn staring at me, concerned as he asks, “James?”

I shake my head no, “Kismet…”

A smile forms on his face. It is sort of like the smile I imagine a parent gives their child as they come down for breakfast in the morning. Vaughn speaks, “Hello, Kismet. Are you alright?”

I look around nervously, “I think so. Is he gone?”


I lock eyes with Vaughn, “You know who. Abel…”

Vaughn nods, “Yes he’s gone. Are you afraid of him?”

I feel my head move up and down very quick, like in a panic, “Yes, yes, God yes. He scares me so much. And it worries me. I feel like he is getting closer to James. Closer than he needs to be. I wish I hadn’t listened to him when he pushed me to help James open his mind as Abel likes to put it.”

Vaughn asks another question, “What do you mean by open his mind?”

I shrug, “I don’t know for sure. I just know that Abel has helped James remember all of these bad things that happened to him when he was growing up. James was pretty content with believing he was a drug dealer for the longest time and that his father was a criminal as well. And now, with everything Abel has shown him, I don’t think James knows what to think. I think he is lost and confused which only pisses him off even more.”

Vaughn jots some stuff down on paper before looking back up at me, “I know that James is confused. I don’t think he’s lost. I believe I can help him. I am glad he is here and I am glad that I’ve had you and Heath to talk to. Abel is fighting against you two as he wants full control over James. But together, I think we can prevent that from happening.”

I nod again, “I hope so. James is a good person. He just needs help. I don’t think he’s ever meant to hurt anyone, even me.”

Vaughn leans forward in his seat, “Has James hurt anyone recently?”

I let out a sigh, feeling nervous for talking about any of this, “He attacked a couple a few weeks ago. He has also written notes to a female co-worker of his, and he's grabbed her wrist. I am pretty sure he hurt her as well as scared her. Her name is Amy, but it is Abel who was in control of him when these things have happened. I don’t want James to be in trouble. He doesn’t deserve to get in trouble. It’s not his fault,” I say, trying not break down into tears. I look down and take in a deep breath, calming myself before looking back up at Vaughn, “I don’t think James would do anything to anyone. I just want him to be alright.”

Vaughn nods, reaching out and gently patting my shoulder, “I know, Kismet. You mean a lot to James. I know his daughters do too. And believe me I don’t want anything to happen to James either. That is why when I talk to you, it is very important that you tell me anything that has happened. Has anything else happened with James and someone else?”

I nod my head again, “There is this girl that seems to really like James. James doesn’t know how to deal with it. When James doesn’t know how to deal with it, he runs to Abel and lets Abel take over. This girl and James…they’ve had sex but it was violent. Like it looked like James was hurting her. And then the other night, James choked her really hard. I am surprised it didn’t leave any bruises on her neck or kill her. But she seemed to like it.”

Vaughn’s next question scares me even more, “But Kismet…do you think James liked it?”

I shrug, “I honestly don’t know, Dr. Vaughn. That is something that really worries me.”

Vaughn nods his head as he cracks a soft smile. He lets out a sigh then asks, “Is James in there? I’d like to talk to him.”

I nod, “Yes, he is. I just need to wake him up.”

Vaughn asks, “Could you do that for me?”

I blink a few times, looking around as everything comes into focus. I blink a few more times and then it all becomes clear. I see Dr. Vaughn sitting in front of me. I see that I am in his office. The only thing is that I don’t remember coming here. I didn’t want to come back here. I stand up from my seat, “What the hell am I doing here? I don’t want to be here. Why am I here?” I look down at Vaughn, glaring, “Tell me what I’m doing here! Did you hypnotize me? Did you?”

Vaughn shakes his head no, “No, James I didn’t. You came here on your own free will. You were a mess when I found you. You’ve been in and out consciousness for the last hour, James. You're worrying me. Do you remember anything such as something you’ve done today before coming here?”

I nod my head, “Yes, of course I do.”

“Can you tell me what you’ve done then?”

I nod my head again as I try to think back, but nothing comes to mind. I close my eyes, squeezing them together tightly. So tight that it almost gives me a headache. I open my eyes and shake my head for a few moments, “I can’t remember. What the hell is wrong with me, doc? Seriously! You have to know something by now. I need answers. I want answers. Tell me something.”

Vaughn nods, “You’re right, James and you deserve answers. You are seriously mentally ill, James. You’ve experienced so much trauma throughout your childhood that those scars have been reopened and now, they have taken on a life of their own. You’ve tried to bury these things that have happened to you but they’ve come to the surface.”

I rub my hands over my face and shake my head again, growing frustrated the more he talks, “Stop speaking in riddles, Dr. Vaughn. Just level with me. Tell me what is wrong with me.”

Vaughn adjusts himself in his seat, keeping his eyes locked with mine, “Alright James. You have dissociative personality disorder.”

I begin to pace back and forth in Vaughn’s office, trying to unscramble my brain in order to process everything, “And where did you get that conclusion?”

Vaughn gets up from his seat and meets me in the middle of the office, “It’s another term for multiple personality disorder, James. You have one or more distinct identities. Each of those identities has its own way of thinking, its own traits. Those traits, those ways of thinking seem to stem from different parts of your psyche, James. We’ve done testing on you, but I doubt you remember it.”

I shake my head no as Vaughn continues, “That is another symptom of it, James. It is hard for a patient to recall certain things. Suppressed memories are hard to recall, but sometimes they come to the surface as I said just a few minutes ago.”

Before he can continue, “STOP! Just…stop. I’ve heard enough, doc. I don’t want to hear anymore.”

Vaughn shoots back, “James, we know what you’re dealing with now. Now that we truly know the state of your diagnosis, we can move forward in treating you.”

I shake my head, “You’ve been giving me pills.”

“Yes I have, to try and help you cope with your anger, but it is much more than that. I’ve been able to gather evidence to figure out what is going on with your mental stability.”

“Stop, Vaughn…stop…stop…STOP!!!” I shout.

Vaughn takes a few steps back, placing his hands in his pockets, “I’m sorry, James. I have never tried to make things difficult for you. And I am sorry it has taken so long to figure everything out but at least we have. This can be treated and it can be balanced, James. I told you that you’re not alone, nor are you beyond saving.”

“This isn’t true, this isn’t true…” I repeat over and over, as I bury my face into my hands. I didn’t want anything to be wrong with me. I just want to be normal.

I hear Kismet whisper, “James, calm down. It’s okay. He’s just trying to help. All you have to do is let him. Let him in…”

Abel whispers in my other ear, “You are normal. The anger, the rage, the urge to hurt others…that is normal for YOU, James. Don’t let him take that from you. He wants you to be a guinea pig. He wants you to walk around like a fucking zombie. Don’t do it.”

“James…” I look up to find Vaughn standing above me. My knees are pressed against the floor of his office, yet I don’t recall kneeling down. We lock eyes, “Talk to me, son. Are you alright?”

I shake my head as I climb to my feet, “No. I need to get out of here…” He tries to call after me but I am already out of the door. I blink and I am outside, the city swarming me like a nest of bees. I continue to hear Kismet and Abel talking to me, telling me to do this and to do that. I begin to run, doing my best to outrun Vaughn and his goddamn diagnosis. Trying to outrun Kismet and Abel, trying to leave them all behind.

I run and I run.

I run until my legs burn, pumping fire through my veins and my muscles. I run until I finally collapse and my hands and knees meet the pavement. I gasp, trying to catch my breath. When I finally do, I look to my right to find a church beside me. I blink a few times, gathering my bearings. I push myself off of the pavement and I make my way inside. The church is empty as I fumble down the aisle, my eyes locked in on the statue eyes of the Lord and Savior. I glare at it as I continue getting closer. I feel my teeth grinding against one another and my teeth clench together. I reach the front of the sanctuary and I go to speak but then I hear, “Can I help you my son?”

I look to my left to find a priest walking towards me. I shake my head no, glancing at the statue of God from the corner of my eye, “I came to have a chat with God.”

The priest nods, “Alright, my son. I can help you with that. I am a man of God. I am a student. The Lord speaks through me so I believe I can be of some assistance.”

I shrug, “Alright, I want to know why God has done to me what he’s done.”

The priest looks at me confused, “What do you mean?”

I smirk, “I was told a few months ago when I came into a church like this one that God has a divine plan for all of us. Well, so far his plan has resulted in me being abused and molested before being abandoned. His plan also cooked up a new scheme against me where I am apparently mentally ill. What sort of plan is that? That’s why I’m here. I’m here because I want God to tell me why He decided to conjure up such a fucked up plan for me. I want to know what I DID to DESERVE to be dealt such a bad fucking hand. Can you tell me that or do I need to look elsewhere?”

The priest seems to be taken aback by me, but fuck him. Right now, I don’t care. He lowers his gaze from mine, “God does have a plan. He tests us all. He doesn’t put us in any situation that He doesn’t believe we can’t survive. And if we don’t survive, then it is because the Lord was ready to call us home.”

I shake my head, “I don’t buy that. Not one fucking bit.”

“Then tell me my son, why do you think God has chosen this plan for you?”

My smirk fades, “I believe if God exists then he truly is a jealous God, but not if we worship something else. He is jealous of his own creation. He has hated the fact that we get to live and enjoy things, that we get to break rules as well as follow them. He is jealous that we are able to experience things that He truly can’t.”

“So you believe God is jealous of you?”

I nod, “I think He had a different plan and He saw that I was going to do great things so He decided to take it upon himself to fuck my life up. He wanted me to follow a different plan. He placed me on a different path that has made me into some sort of fucking lunatic.”

“Why do you feel that you’re a lunatic?”

“I find myself wanting to hurt people. When I get to hurt them I get the feeling that I truly enjoy it. I feel like I enjoy it so much that I want to do it some more.”

Concern slithers into the priest’s eyes, “Do you feel like you want to hurt someone right now?”

I look at him, coldly and nod, “Yes,” and then I look over at the statue of God, “I want to fight God. I want God to be a real life human being so He can suffer just as I have suffered. I want him to suffer more because He deserves for putting me into situations that parts of me hasn’t truly survived because I have never been able to shake the scars that’ve been left on me. But your God is a coward if He truly exists. He won’t fight me because He knows that I am dangerous. That is why I choose to hurt everyone else…”

“I am going to have to ask you to leave, my son…”

I step closer, “Don’t you call me your son. I am nobody’s son. I am a bastard because your bullshit God abandoned me just as my own father did. My father used me so he could have everything he wanted. God used me so others after me could experience happiness. I get my happiness from the suffering of others and that is because if your bullshit God exists…it is because that was His plan for me. He cursed me and now He gets to deal with everything that happens…” I smirk again before turning to walk away. I take a few steps away before looking back at the priest as I say, “And for that father, I could give a fuck about your or," I pause, my eyes glancing up at the statue once more, "His, forgiveness…”


“Monsters will always exist. There’s one inside each of us. But an angel lives there, too. There is no more important agenda than figuring out how to slay one and nurture the other.”

-Jacqueline Novogratz

A Few Hours Later

New York City, New York

Inside of my apartment now, I am standing in my bedroom, my eyes fixated on my reflection in the mirror. I remember what I told Kismet. That I wanted what was best for me. I replay what Vaughn said to me, telling me that I have dissociative personality disorder. I recall what Abel has been telling me ever since he came back into my life. That he’s wanted me to embrace my true nature, that he has wanted me to live.

I tell myself as I continue to stare at my reflection, looking into my own eyes, trying to find something in there…that this is no way to live. Too many voices in my head. Too many people telling me what I need to do or should do. I then ask myself…do I truly know what is best for me? Do I know what I should do or need to do? I have been asking myself this from time to time. I just can’t always remember those times or any answers that I come up with. The only answer that I remember is the one I’ve been repeating over and over in my head ever since I returned home.

I have a voice of reason, a guardian Angel. I have a voice that constantly reminds me of the darkness inside of me. A voice that shows me all of the harm I’ve endured, all of the terrible things I have been put through, but in doing so, the voice has shown me that I have the strength to survive and overcome. It shows me how strong I am. But this voice also wants me to do things that a so called normal person wouldn’t do. This voice is my own personal Devil.

The answer is right there in front of my face. It is something that I’ve probably thought about before. It is something that I will have to do to preserve what little bit of sanity that I have left.

I let out a sigh before walking back into the kitchen, where I find Abel and Kismet sitting at the table.

“Are you alright, James?” Kismet asks as I walk by them, going to the cabinets. I pull out a bottle of Jim Beam and a glass. I put it on the rocks then take a few gulps.

I let it burn for a few moments, “I don’t know, Kismet. I’ve been going through a lot if you haven’t noticed. The two of you…waging a war in my head…it’s really done a number on me.”

Kismet nods, “I haven’t been trying to wage any sort of war, James. That is all Abel,” She says. I glance at Abel who is rolling his eyes and shaking his head, as Kismet continues, “I just don’t want anything to happen to you, James. That is all. I worry about you going over the edge, crossing that line and not being able to go back.”

Abel chimes in, “There is absolutely nothing wrong with going over the edge. There is no line to be crossed when you are doing what you’ve always wanted to do. And don’t sit there and say you haven’t been fighting me. You’ve been fighting me since I came back. James doesn’t belong to you. If you had control of him, he’d be kissing babies and hugging fat women on national television. He wouldn’t be where he is right now. He’d still be whining. I refuse to live like that. I refuse to let James live like that.”

Kismet fires back, “And if you controlled him then he’d be out there killing innocent people. He’d end up in prison getting a lethal injection at some point. He would lose everything. And this isn’t about you. This is about James and what is best for him,” She says, turning away from Abel, glancing over at me before she buries her face in her hands.

I finish my drink then place the glass down on the counter, “You both keep saying that. You want what is best for me. I don’t think either of us has a fucking clue as to what is best for me. I know that I am reaching a level of success in wrestling that I’ve never even touched. I know that I am going to get a chance to win the SCW heavyweight championship of the world. I know you both want that for me. Would I be correct?” They both look at me and nod, “That’s good to know, but that doesn’t help me with the two of you fighting for CONTROL over me. Kismet is right, Abel…this isn’t about you. This is about me. Just as you are right Abel. If it wasn’t for you, I’d be crying my eyes out over a bottle of liquor, feeling sorry for myself. I’m fucking done with that. But Kismet is right once again Abel, that you want me to do things. You want me to hurt people a lot worse than what I normally do when I step into a wrestling ring. I’m not sure if that is the best path for me to take.”

Abel scoffs, “Have I ever fucked you over, James? Have I ever hurt you? Have I ever let US down? I don’t fucking think so. I have always been around to carry you to the very top of any situation you’ve ever found yourself in. I have kept you out of trouble. It wasn’t her,” He says, pointing a glaring finger at Kismet as he keeps his eyes locked with mine, “It wasn’t your father. It damn sure wasn’t either of your grandparents. It was me.”

Kismet speaks, “It was you that got him into those situations in the first place, Abel…”

Abel turns and glares at her, “Shut your fucking mouth. Where were YOU when James was having cigarettes put out on him? Where were YOU when he was getting hit? Where were YOU when that fat fucking piece of shit pervert was touching James and doing all kinds of other horrible things? You were nowhere to be found. I shielded James from those burns. I took those hits for James. I let that fuck touch me so James didn’t have to. It was me. Not you…” He then turns and looks at me once again, “I have always been here for you, James. No one else…”

Before I have a chance to respond, the voices in my head begin to wage war against one another. It reminds me of Ace and I. Always trying to one up one another. Always trying to prove the other is better. Always, always, always until there is only one thing left to do. Their arguing continues as I feel the rage build up inside of me. It continues as my eyes look over at the knife set that I have on the kitchen counter. Abel says this and Kismet says that as I focus on the knives, before reaching over and grabbing the one with the biggest blade. I hold it up, admiring the blade, gently rubbing my finger across it. As I am doing this, I notice that the bickering has stopped. I look over at the kitchen table to find both Abel and Kismet staring at me. I smirk before walking over towards them. I do not break eye contact with them as I stand at the head of the table, the smirk remaining on my face, “I have to be honest. I have grown attached to both of you. You have been there for me through a lot, in the past and even now. But now the time has come unfortunately, for me to move on. I have to move on. I have to evolve. This fighting between the two of you…it’s doing more harm than good, which is something that Kismet told me a few days ago. I agreed with you her in all honesty…”

I look down at the knife again, the sight of the blade sending a slight tingle through the course of my body, “But as I said, I have to move on. I can’t have both of you with me. Having two of you is becoming a bit too much for me to bear. One of you has to go. I have thought about this for awhile and it’s not something that I’ve been able to just decide on. I wish it was that simple, but it’s not. So we will do something that I used to do when I was a kid. At the end, whoever this blade points to…I have to kill you. I have to remove you from my head. I have to DELETE you from existence…” I say with a smile.

I lift the knife up, holding it in the center of the table. I look at both Kismet and Abel, “I don’t want either of you saying a word. Whoever I keep around can talk after all of this is over…” I make eye contact with Abel then Kismet before letting out a sigh, “Are you ready?”

I inhale, taking in a deep breath before slowly exhaling as I begin to move the knife’s tip back and forth, pointing at either Kismet or Abel as I say, “Eenie... meenie... miney... mo... catch... a tiger... by... his toe. If... he hollers... let him go. My mother... told me... to pick the very best one...” I begin to slow down with the knife pointing as I continue, “And you…” I point it, “Are…” And then the knife points at the best one, as I whisper, “It…”

I grab IT out of their chair, grabbing them by the throat. I shove them against the wall as I drive the blade into IT’S abdomen over and over. Their groans of agony ring in my ears. I hear their screams and I feel sadness at first, but it quickly dissolves as I repeat, over and over again, “This is what is best for me, this is what is best for me, this is what is best for me…” I keep driving the blade inside of them until I no longer feel their presence. Once that time comes, I take a step back and watch as IT crumples to the floor. I drop the blade as well and stare down at the lifeless body, the voice that ceases to exist in my head.

A few moments pass and then the other voice says, “You did the right thing.”

I shake my head, “We need to do something else. We need to bury the body. I don’t want anymore traces. I want all of it gone. Everything.”

“Are you serious, James?”

I turn and glare at my one and only voice of reason, “Do I look like I’m playing? Now help me…” we hold one another’s gaze for a few moments before moving. We grab the living room rug and drag into the kitchen. We then drop IT onto the rug before rolling IT up, “Now we need to get it to the car. We’re going for a drive…” We exit my apartment, dragging the rug cocoon down the steps of my apartment complex and into the parking garage. I pop the trunk and we throw the last remaining piece of the voice’s existence inside. I look over and I say, “Get in…” We climb into the car then pull out of the garage and drive off into the night.

“Is this really necessary, James? If something did you so much harm, why are you doing all of this?”

“I don’t expect you to understand right now, but this is important to me. It is something that I feel I need to do, now please…just stay quiet. Leave me be and let me do something for myself.” Silence falls over us as I repeat once more in my head…

…This is what is best for me, this is what is best for me, this is what is best for me…

I find myself driving the car to the cemetery I was at sometime ago, now knowing why the hole was dug. I get out of the car and open the gate before pulling inside. I drive around the graveyard, seeing names that disappeared due to crossing someone in my family. I also see unmarked graves, names that became nothing more than asterisks. I come from a family of monsters, I tell myself before eyeing the grave I dug. I bring the car to a stop and pop the trunk. I grab the shovel out of the backseat then remove the rug and the memory, the body of my IT. I drag it to the hole then unravel the rug. I look down at the voice that became IT and I can see the sadness on the face. I sense the pain IT endured, even if no one else can see or feel IT. I drop to my knees and let out a deep breath before rolling the body, the coldness feels so real to me as I shove the body into the open grave. I pause for a few moments, wondering if I made the right decision. I let out a sigh, telling myself that there is no going back now. I cannot change anything. I can only accept what I have done, just as I will have to accept the things that I will surely do at some point. Sooner or later, I am not sure. I just know it will be inevitable.

I look at Abel. I see his face. His eyes closed, head turned to the side. I then grab the shovel and I begin to shove it into the mound of dirt before dumping the Earth onto the fallen, the dead memory in my head. The voice that was there for a long time, the ghost that only I could see, the vision that only I had, slowly fading as the dirt begins to cover IT, as the Earth begins to open up and swallow IT whole.

I look at Kismet’s face, the emotion drained from her face, as my voice of reason no longer speaks. My guardian Angel lost her wings and has fallen into this hole. And here I am, filling the hole, covering her face that only I can see, burying the memories I have of her. Burying the memory of her face, letting go as I continue to shovel the dirt.

Burying my guilt.

Burying my shame.

Burying the last little bit of innocence I had.

Burying the remains of whatever love I have held in my heart.

Burying any goodness left within me.

Once the hole is filled, I toss the shovel to the ground. Abel walks over to me and stands behind me, “You may not believe it yet, but James as I said earlier, you did the right thing.”

I don’t look at him, keeping my eyes on the grave as I reply, “I know. It was something that I needed to do sooner or later. Keeping her around was going to keep me from being who I truly am, what I truly am. I was born, destined to be a monster, molded to be evil. She was trying to keep me from doing that. It was only making things worse for me. I couldn’t fight the inevitable. I tried, but now I know for sure. This is who I am,” I then turn to Abel, “This is who we are…”

Abel smiles, “I’m glad that you’ve finally understood, James.”

I nod then grab the shovel before heading the car. I repeat the motions with the shovel before climbing inside the driver’s seat. Abel and I leave the cemetery. I take a few moments to try and remember my destiny but instead of seeing Kismet, I see only Abel. I scoff, “It was you all along. Always you, wasn’t it?”

Abel keeps his eyes forward, “Yes, James. Kismet was your guilt. You’ve always known that. You just chose to ignore it. Now that you have removed her from the equation, you have removed your guilt. I have been your power, your motivation, your will. And now that we’re together, I will fight with you, by your side, until the very end,” I say nothing and some time passes before Abel breaks the silence, “So what’s next?”

I smirk, “Don’t you already know?”

He shrugs, “Maybe. I just like to hear you say it.”

My smirk remains, “It is time to hurt those who have harmed me in anyway, those who have turned their backs on me, and left me scrambling. I will hurt Ace. I will hurt the mother of my children. And that is only the beginning.”

Abel and I laugh before Abel replies, “I know I’ve said it before, but I have to say it again. I love what you are thinking…"


With the camera set up, I walk around the room of all of my accolades. Unlike my mentor, Josh Hudson, I have a trophy case. I did this as a reminder of what I have accomplished and to make sure that I remember that there is still so much more to achieve. I pace back and forth in front of my trophy case before beginning to speak,”I have been through wars. I have always survived, win or lose. That has always been the result. No matter who I was in there against, I was always able to walk out of the ring and into the backstage area on my own. Even after I stepped into the ring against future SCW hall of famer, David Helms…” I say as I stop in front of the very first wrestling championship I ever won, the first championship I captured in the SCW…the Adrenaline title. I look at it for a few moments before turning my attention back to the camera, “No one gave me a chance. I was still new and fresh to the ring wars, yet I went out there, fought with everything I had, working as hard as I could then just a little bit more…And despite the controversial finish, I pinned Helms, taking this title, this accolade…” I reach into my trophy case, grabbing the Adrenaline Championship and I lift it up, high above my head, remembering the moment like it was just yesterday, remembering how proud I was, “I held it high in the air just as I am doing now, as a way to send a message to the world, to the locker room, and to the suits in the office…to tell them that I had arrived, that every time I said I would be a force to be reckoned with…I damn sure meant it…And I proved it when I went out and submitted Jason Zero. When I went out and defeated Dillusion following this title win, defeating two former World Champions, two LEGENDS. I proved it when I defeated Aaron Rupp and his limited self to retain this championship, to maintain my hold on this accomplishment…” I bring the title back down, regaining my composure, calming myself, “But then I lost it. At first, I felt like a failure but I realized that there was much more out there, just as I would stare out of my bedroom window at night as a kid, looking out at the world, knowing that there was much more out there for me…” I smirk at the Adrenaline Championship as it rests in my hands. I hold it for a few moments longer before returning it to its spot in the trophy case.

“Do you remember looking at that belt when I draped it over my shoulder, Ace? You may not because your memory may be foggy from all of the drugs you have taken, from all of the choice mistakes you’ve made over the last seven years. But I remember. You came to my hotel, complaining about how you and I should have been given a tag title shot instead of Katelyn and Chad. It should have been us, not the Gospel. You kept looking at the Adrenaline title when it was mine. Your eyes rested upon it and no matter how much you tried to hide it…I could see it in your eyes. The envy…you were green with it, Ace. You tried to MASK it by saying that you will always be at least fifty percent better than me…Maybe on the microphone, Ace. I have always applauded your microphone work. You and I, if things had panned out, could have taken the tag team division by storm. We could have given Dark Fantasy a run for their money. Same with Karnivale and Kiss-Chester. But you had liquor in your hand and coke in your nostrils. I had my eyes on bigger and better things, things that truly mean something to me,” I say as my eyes glance over at the SCW United States Championship. I lean over, taking the title gently off of the shelf. I lift it up, close to my face, before continuing to speak, “While you were out partying and managing Shawn Winters, because you couldn’t do things on your own, I was in the ring, fighting the likes of Lucas Knight, Masquerade and Shilo Valiant, all former World Champions, taking them to their limits, earning victories, or hard fought losses, earning my main event stripes every single step of the way…all on my path to win this…to achieve this…” I say as I turn the United States title to face the camera. I then drape it over my shoulder, feeling just as proud as I did when I clocked Shilo Valiant with an elbow to the back of the head, knocking him out cold, “I overcame those who claimed to be EPIC, overshadowed God and embarrassed God before taking on the daunting task of stepping into the ring with this company’s Blood Stained Joker. No one gave me a real shot then, but I lived in the moment and I took the fight to Shilo Valiant, I tested him like never before. It was a test he simply could not pass, resulting in this coming into my possession. I carried it with pride, just as I did with the Adrenaline Championship. I gave it my all when the odds were stacked against me. I overcame a Riddick, an unlucky Thirteen and a Phoenix to maintain my grasp over this. It took the actions of a certain Loudmouth to get this accolade away from me. Even after losing it, I fought to regain, giving it my all, trying to make the most of what opportunity I had, opportunities I had to fight for, opportunities that weren’t handed to me, each time showing that I was worthy of more, that I was more than just a go to guy, more than someone this company could get a good match out of…” I glare into the camera for a few moments before removing the belt off of my shoulder and placing it back to its original position.

I look into the camera, staring at it through the blades of hair covering my eyes. I chuckle as the thought of Ace Marshall mocking me for trying to look intimidating or “creepy” as he has repeatedly put it, enters my mind. I shake my head before continuing, “You know that I left time and time again. I’ve mentioned it and you have too. I have spoken as to why. I have spoken my piece on that situation until I am blue in the face. I am not here to convince you or anyone else. I am not here to change your mind, Ace. I have never needed or wanted your approval. I relished in the cheers and the approval of the fans who love you and have clung to you like their hero, but I never needed it. I have never clung to anyone. I have never needed approval. So many times I have fought for it, but while I was away earlier this year, dealing with loss, not because the so called going got tough…things clicked in my head. The only approval I have ever needed is my own. You on the other hand, Ace…long for it. You crave it. You claim you want to have fun, but you want to be accepted. That is why you fight so hard to be the center of attention. That has always been your biggest addiction. When you’re not the center of attention, when you’re unable to get your fix…you leave. You weren’t getting it in the SCW, so you tried Majestic. You did really well in the God of Wrestling tournament, but when you realized that the people were clamoring for Shilo Valiant, that he was entertaining the masses that you only thought you were, you choked. And then you became nothing more than a memory. I never wanted to be the center of attention. I wanted opportunity. I wanted to be a true presence in this company. I’ve never claimed to be Perfect or Bad. I have never claimed to be entertaining or a champion of the people. I have always been a competitor. I have always been a wrestler first and foremost. I hurt people and I do a damn fine job at it. I make money off of it, but I’d gladly do it for free. You make fun of people, Ace and abandon people. That is your forte. You grow bored and focus your time elsewhere. I grow frustrated and take a step back, biding my time. Unlike you, I have always cared. I have always put my body on the line, giving my body, my heart, and my soul for this industry, for this company. I put it all on the line when I stepped foot into the Underground,” I take a few steps back, closer to the trophy case once more. My eyes dart from the camera to the SCW Underground Championship. I smirk at it, remembering the hell I walked through with Matt Auclair, remembering the pain he and I inflicted upon one another during our feud. I then grasp the title before returning my attention to the camera once again, “I was knocked out more times than I can remember when I fought to win this and when I fought to keep this. I went through tables, got clocked with chairs. I was hit and strangled with barbed wire. I shed blood, sweat, and tears over this title. The Underground was a cruel place, Ace. It wouldn’t have been “fun” for you. At least not as much “fun” as it was for me. I was at home in the Underground, Ace. Torturing Auclair and hurting your new partner in crime, Rachel Foxx…I took great pleasure in my work. Just as I have always taken great pleasure in my work, Ace. Be it in the opening match or in the few main events I was allowed to be involved with.”

“I…” I lay the Underground title on my desk. I turn around and grab the United States title, “was always grateful for any opportunity I was given,” I rest the title besides the Underground Championship. I then grab the Adrenaline title off of the trophy case and rest it on the desk as well before looking up at the camera, “I have been through wars Ace. Wars you have never experienced. Wars you could have been a part of, but you chose to battle your personal demons. I have battled my demons, Ace and I got tired of fighting them. People, these fans, those imbeciles in the locker room who kiss your ass and praise you, can and do applaud you for fighting those demons. Like I said, I grew tired of fighting mine. I embraced mine. I became friends with mine. And I am not talking about vices such as liquor, pot, or pills. I am not talking loose women. I am talking the demons…in…my…” I point to the side of my head, as a grin appears on my face, “Head...” My smile fades, as I stare deep into the camera, “The demons you will claim have made me psychotic. The demons you will claim that have made me insane. That is really all you have against me, Ace. You want me to crack a smile? With pleasure, Ace. I will each time I see pain on your face. When I see doubt in your eyes…I will smile so big and so proud for the whole world to see. Just as I did when I won all of these, showing that my hard work meant something, proving to myself that hard work does pay off, that I could only be ignored and denied for so long…And I have talked to you as well as the rest of the world about being ignored, denied, looked over…but I refused to be denied at Taking Hold of the Flame. I refuse to be denied at Rise to Greatness…” I turn and look at the trophy case, bringing the camera with me. The trophy case has five spots available, five spots for each SCW championship. I focus, however, on the spot that rests on the shelf, with no other slots around it, “This spot is for the SCW World Heavyweight Championship, Ace. It is above all else…” I turn the camera to my face, “Let me show you something, champ…” I rest the camera down then reach into my desk and remove the SCW World Championship belt that I received as a gift from my mentor. I look down at it with pride before continuing to speak, “This, Ace, was a gift from a man I have called a friend and a mentor. He gave this to me after he won it for the very first time. He fought long and hard for it, but he gave it to me as a symbol. He told me to see it as a reason to better myself. And I have, Ace. I have bettered myself. I have evolved. I have figured who I am over the course of the stories I have told. I have sorted out the fact from the fiction. I am all fine and well with all of that, with who I am and what I am, be it psychotic, or simply someone unlike any other person you have ever encountered in your life, or your career. I have constantly fought to achieve this, to have my name be etched into this name plate, to carry the belt you use to gain attention, using it as a tool to get you laid because Ace without some sort of possession is…nothing. But, that is irrelevant at this point. I have fought. I have gone through wars. I HAVE ALWAYS CARED…” I shout before turning and flipping the desk over. I step in front of the fallen desk, looking down at the titles lying on the floor before looking back at the World title now draped over my shoulder.

“YOU CARE NOW…but what happens when you lose the belt…even if it’s not to me. What happens when you lose it? Will you stick around or grow bored when the spotlight fades? If I lose to you, I will not walk away. I will continue to fight. I will continue to better myself. I will continue to evolve, because right now this…” I point to Hudson’s gift to me, lifting it to high level, gripping the leather strap as my hand forms a fist, “This is nothing more than a prop. A mockery. It laughs at me, reminding me of what I do not have. It shows me that is still so much more work to be done,” I slam fist against my chest, “It is a void, a hole in my soul…” I reach down, grabbing the Underground, U.S., and Adrenaline titles off of the floor. I hold them in my arms as I stare intensely into the camera, “All of these accolades, these accomplishments, all of them as I said are valuable, they mean something to me, I am proud of them but compared to the belt you wear around your waist, the accomplishment you claim to hold with pride, all of these mean very, very little…Ace,” I look down at them once more. The pride in my eyes and the sense of achievement I hold on my face both fade as I begin throwing each belt, one by one against the wall, into the glass of the trophy case, , “They mean practically…NOTHING…” The United States title crashes into and breaks the glass of my case. The Adrenaline and Underground titles put dents in the wall before crumpling to the ground, “That championship you covet is the most important belt in this world, it is the most important and meaningful belt in this company, it is the most desired belt to ever grace the history of professional wrestling. And tomorrow night Ace, I have the chance to become immortal. I have the chance to have my name etched in the history books of this company, of this industry by defeating you on the grandest stage of them all in Milwaukee. We want rid of one another. We both want to get through this war. We want it to be over so there is only one of us standing tall at the end of the night, with the fireworks going off and the confetti raining down, as one of us is declared the undisputed SCW World Champion…Just thinking about it brings a smile to my face. Just the very thought of how close I am to proverbial immortality…it gets my blood pumping Ace. But don’t think that I am getting ahead of myself, because I am not. Far from it. I know that I have to go to war with you. I am ready for it. I’ve been ready. I know that should I defeat you, that I will have to deal with the likes of bad, bad girls and sirens. I know that I will have to continue swimming with the sharks, dancing with hell-cats and red devils. I know that should I defeat you, that I will have to cross paths with all of them. I am ready for it. I live for it. I accept the challenge, Ace. Just as I accept that loss is possible. You on the other hand shrug me off, call me a psycho, call me an idiot, spouting words and hurling insults, playing the tough guy with that I don’t care mentality like some poor man’s Chad Evans. I can handle loss but can you? You will have to ask yourself that. I already have but I will do what I have to do in order to prevent loss because,” I reach down and grab the belt Hudson gifted me nearly ten years ago. I stare at it then glare as I spit on it before continuing to speak, “Because this simply isn’t good enough. And I always have been.”

“That is something you have always known. That is why you stared at my Adrenaline title with jealous eyes. That is why you had to step up and get involved with Katelyn, becoming her best friend and being around my children. That is why you had to get involved with Kennedy after she and I began to talk. I have always had something you have wanted. Be it titles or attention, somehow I always ended up with it and you couldn’t stand it. I deserved it by earning it. You got it by just taking it. I earned this spot, Ace. I deserved this spot, Ace. You have something I want and I am going to earn it just as well. In just a few days, I will rise to greatness or I will die trying…” I finish speaking, my shoulders moving up and down, my heart pounding in my chest as I stare into the camera, wanting Ace to see the determination and fire in my eyes. I tell myself even if he does, he will ignore it. I then tell myself that Sunday night, he will no longer be able to ignore me.

No one will be able to, I tell myself as a grin forms on my face.