Descension

By: Sahara

Writing Prompt: No

Date: 26th Oct 2021

Ascension.

It should have been perfect.

It should have marked the moment of my arrival.

I was humiliated.

I was embarrassed.

My worst fear was realized.

I have become everything I hate about professional wrestling.

…and the human mind can only stand so much…

FIGHT Tower Infirmary – Lobby
Immediately Following Ascension…

Sahara burst through the swinging glass doors to the Infirmary lobby, stumbling across a row of chairs in the waiting room. As she collapsed to the floor, glassy eyed and heaving for breath, the on-site nurse receptionist immediately jumped from her seat and came around to assist. Blood covered almost every inch of her face and was still oozing from multiple lacerations on her head and face, which turned her platinum hair into something of a strawberry blonde.

”I need some assistance here!” The nurse cried out as others in the facility rushed to lend a hand. On nights like this, the Infirmary tended to be an absolute madhouse. As they stood Sahara up, with her arms draped over their shoulders, spatters of blood continued dripping onto the white laminate floor. As they dragged her toward an open treatment room, the tips of her boots “Victory” and “Valhalla” left rather unpleasant streaks in her wake.

”Dr. Vincent”, Sahara mumbled through her labored breaths. They propped her up against a bed as she repeated, ”James Vincent. I only wanna see James Vincent…James–”

As the blood covered blonde continued mumbling for her favorite FIGHT physician, the nurse turned and nodded to one of the assistants, ”Get Doctor Vincent in here. I don’t care what he’s doing. Go get him! Now!”

The nurse-assistant immediately scurried off, and it wasn’t but a minute later that Dr. Vincent came rushing through the door as the nurse receptionist held an ice wrapped towel to Sahara’s lacerated head. The second she removed it for the Doctor to see what they were dealing with, blood began pouring down her face.

”Get her up on the table. We need coagulants to stem the bleed–” It took him a few moments to assess the damage. ”We have to get the glass out of her face and head. I’ll need a saline drip, a magnifier, tweezers–”, as he rattled off orders, he took out a pen light and tried to force it across her eyes, but she instinctively resisted.

”Sahara, I need you to look at me–” He snapped his fingers in front of her face. ”Look at me, goddamnit! There we go. Good girl. Did you thin your blood?” He asked as he shined the light in her eyes, seemingly satisfied by the dilation response, he tossed the flashlight aside. She merely nodded at the question he had asked.

”Thin her blood?” The attending nurse questioned.

The Doctor nodded, ”Yeah, it’s something they do to increase the visuals on television…she took a handful of aspirin before the show, which is why she’s bleeding so bad.”

”Up on the bed!” The Doctor demanded, ”Get her further up on the damn bed! She’s lost a lot of blood here, get us a couple units of O-Negative, we’re also gonna need–” His voice trailed as he continued barking out orders for a bunch of crap she either couldn’t discern or even understand, but she suddenly felt tired.

So very very tired…

~~~~~

FIGHT Tower Infirmary – Recovery Unit
Some Time Later…

”Welcome back!” Dr. James Vincent picked up a clipboard on the end of her bed and flipped through it. ”You know, we have to stop meeting this way…”, he said with a jovial smile.

Of course, this was a throwback to what she had once said to him. But this time, it brought no reaction from the blonde as the fog of drug induced sleep lifted. She barely whispered, ”What happened to me?”

It wasn’t quite clear if she was asking herself, or asking the Doctor…

”Well, unless the Occhi system is lying, you took a bottle of liquor over the head from someone dressed like a … Dinosaur? I don’t know. I won’t pretend to know, but it cut you open pretty deep in about fifty places. You lost a lot of blood, and it didn’t help that you were thinning.”

Turning her head to the side, Sahara reacted with complete apathy.

”It was stupid of you to come down here on your own, you should have let the staff bring you down. I was told by facilities you left a trail of blood that spanned multiple floors. Every door and window you leaned up against or touched along the way had to be sanitized. If you had passed out before you made it here…”

There was still no response. As a matter of fact, there was no reaction from her whatsoever. The usually defiant blonde simply lay there as the Doctor’s words seemingly went in one ear and out the other.

”Well, look on the bright side, at least you don’t have to go find a Halloween costume this year. You can probably go as that girl from iZombie or something given how long it’ll take these wounds to heal. And don’t worry, it won’t scar your pretty little fa–” ”Can you script me some Oxycodone?”

Though she never actually turned to look at him, he heard her question loud and clear. The request gave him pause.

”Oxy? Are you feeling okay, Sahara?” The Doctor approached and held the back of his fingers to an area of her forehead that wasn’t bandaged, as if to gauge for any sudden spike in temperature.

”Never been better.” There was an absolute dearth of emotion in her voice. ”Can you script it for me or not?”

”Narcotics like that are usually reserved for people that are actually in severe pain…”

”Look at me.” She slowly turned her heavily bandaged face toward the Doctor. ”Do I not look like I’m in pain?”

The doctor shook his head ever so slightly. ”For you? No. This isn’t the first time I’ve treated you, and I know how high your tolerance for pain actually is–”

”Fine. My neck hurts. So does my back. Can you script it now?”

Again, her robotic response gave him pause. ”Sahara–” The Doctor sighed. ”It’ll come up on your toxicology report, and you know what’ll happen.”

”It won’t matter if it’s scripted out by my doctor–”

”–I’m not writing you a prescription for a substance I know you were addicted to.”

As the Doctor gave the answer she didn’t want, she began pulling wires and various attachments from herself, throwing them to the side. She even pulled the IV from it’s port on the back of her hand.

”Sahara…you haven’t been discharged. You have to remain here for mandatory observation–”

”The hell I do. Where’s my stuff?” She asked as she pulled the hospital gown over her head and flung it to the side. She was stark naked and didn’t seem the least bit interested in who might see her, least of all the doctor. She stumbled when she put weight on her feet, but held herself up on the edge of the bed and grabbed for a bag filled with her laundered ring gear. Tearing it open with her teeth, she started putting it on in any sloppy fashion she could muster.

”Where exactly do you think you’re going to go?”

After pulling up her tights and taking a seat on the bedside chair, she took out her boots. As she pulled the ‘Valhalla’ boot over her right foot and quickly began lacing it up, she responded rather coldly– ”There’s other ways to get what I want, James.”

”That’s great.” There was clear disappointment in the Doctor’s voice. ”And when it comes up on your test? They’ll be forced to take action–”

”–and?”

That’s when he noticed the despondent hollowness in her unbandaged eye. This wasn’t the same girl he’d treated in the past. This was someone else entirely.

Wrestling wasn’t supposed to mean this much to a person. It’s just a profession like any other. You do it, and if you do it well, you get compensated. That’s it. That’s all it was. Most would be happy just to be a part of FIGHT, but apparently that wasn’t enough for her. The Doctor thought she was exceptional at what she did, and didn’t understand why she was so distraught over what had happened to her at Ascension. But it was abundantly clear this wasn’t just some profession to her…

”What is it you’re afraid of?”

Finally, it seemed he’d reached her.

”Is it that important you know? Fine. I’m a joke, James.” She let out a distant laugh as she continued lacing up her boots. ”A fucking joke. Two weeks ago I got beat up by a giant Panda Bear. This week, on the season ending event for FIGHT – in front of the entire wrestling world – I got beaten up and eaten by a fucking Dinosaur. And that’s how they’ll remember me.”

She looked at the doctor with her one good eye. ”You can’t even make this up. I’m. A. Fucking. Joke. The laughing stock of wrestling. The laughing stock of my peers. After all I’ve done to get to where I am, I’m nothing more than a fucking punchline.” She pulled her other boot on and began lacing it. The mere sight of the word ‘Victory’ scrawled down her boot brought a sudden look of disgust to her face. She began grating the side of her hand against the word, as if she were trying to wipe it from existence. The more she rubbed, the angrier she became that it seemingly refused to come off–

”I’m the clown that takes dick flips for a living.”

She rubbed harder.

”I’ve become everything I fucking despise about this business.”

She rubbed even harder, and faster. Finally, a streak of blood suddenly spread from the side of her hand across the word Victory, effectively crossing it out. Though her rubbing motion slowed at the sight of her blood, she continued to cover the word until it was drenched in red. There was no discernable reaction to the fact she’d just split the side of her hand open. Not a grimace. Not a look of pain.

Nothing.

Finally, she looked back to her Doctor.

”So please, Doctor James, don’t bother with the ‘little engine that could’ speeches. I don’t care anymore. And if you wanna know why I don’t care anymore? It’s cuz I don’t plan on taking another drug test of any kind, ever again. So I won’t be failing it, cuz I won’t be here anyways…”

Standing up, she grabbed her top and pulled it over her head, almost tearing the various bandages from her face in the process. She readjusted her top around her bare breasts.

”What’s that supposed to mean?”

Sahara looked the Doctor in the eyes.

”Use your fucking imagination.”

”Lauren…” This was the first time the FIGHT Doctor had addressed her by her real name, but it didn’t even register. Without another word, Sahara grabbed up her remaining belongings and stormed out the Infirmary doors. He followed her out into the lobby, pleading with her to stop.

”Lauren! Think this through. You aren’t thinking straight!”

There was no response.

The doctor turned to the nurse receptionist, ”Get me whoever she listed as her emergency contact. And contact human resources, let FIGHT know one of their own just discharged herself against my orders, and–”

He paused for a moment, prompting the nurse to chime in, ”–and?”

”Tell them her physician thinks she’s a danger to herself…”

~~~~~

Somewhere in New York City
Some time later…

It was years in the making…

That old familiar sting. Sahara closed her one good eye and repeatedly sniffed in deeply as she tilted her head back. Grabbing hold of her nose, she grit her teeth and felt that tingling burn spread up through her face and her entire system. She hadn’t felt it in years. It was like running into an old friend, and for the life of her, she couldn’t remember why she ever kicked him out.

She bent over and another deep sniff was heard.

Standing up, as the initial burn subsided, she opened her eye and looked at herself in the mirror. She was oddly still wearing her FIGHT ring attire. She quickly straightened up her hair and checked her nose, making sure her nostrils were clear. Although they were rimmed with irritation, they were otherwise clean. A slight smile crept across the blonde’s face as she felt her skin begin to itch.

…and all the pain in the world simply melted away.

She leaned against the sink in a rather dingy looking bathroom as the intoxicating effects consumed her.

”Can you get more?”

An unfamiliar voice responded from beyond the bathroom door, ”It’s a controlled substance, bitch! You’re lucky I had that! You got enough there to last you a while anyways, I’ll get more soonish. I’ll hollar at ya…”

Picking up the little orange bottle of pills, Sahara gave it a shake. Yeah, this wasn’t gonna last, but whatever. I just gotta head back to the apartment and grind the rest of this shit up. It’ll get the job done for now. Besides, it was the only dealer her Chicago hookup knew of in the area.

”Alright, whatever!” She absently responded as she opened the bathroom door and saw her way out of the unpleasant looking apartment. She stuffed the bottle into her handbag. Glancing down at her phone as she walked toward the exit, it listed a number of missed calls and text messages. She simply swiped the notifications away, not wanting to be bothered. Not by Dane. Not by Allison. Not even by her little lion…

As she exited the apartment complex out onto the street, the evening sun was hovering just above the horizon of the dimming New York skyline, casting amazing hues of orange and red. It was gorgeous. This time of year, the temperature tended to cool rather dramatically in the evenings, but somehow, the cold evening air felt amazing against her skin.

She felt amazing.

Everything felt amazing.

She couldn’t help but flash a jubilant smile as that familiar heat spread throughout her body. It was the first time in years she hadn’t felt any pain.

Meanwhile…

Slightly down that same street, Dane Preston glanced down at his phone and looked around to scan the street. He had received an alarming call from the FIGHT Infirmary, where the attending physician called a code red emergency on one of his patients.

Sahara.

Having heard the rather alarming details of her departure from the FIGHT Infirmary, Dane immediately pinged her phone and set out to find her. Some random street in New York City a few miles out from FIGHT Headquarters. Thankfully, he didn’t have to roam around very long as she was a relatively easy person to spot.

That shock of platinum hair– The boots, the tights … the whole damn ensemble.

There was something about her. The way she walked. The way she moved–

”Lauren! What the hell do you think you’re doing?!”

At first, she simply walked past Dane Preston without a second glance.

”Lauren! What the hell is with you?!”

”Jesus fucking Christ, are you stalking me or something?! Go back to your goddamn wif–” Again, the bandaged up blonde walked past him as her voice trailed off. Dane quickened his pace to catch up to her. Sahara tried not to acknowledge his unexpected appearance as she turned down a much busier street. She had every intention of disappearing into the crowd, but Dane finally reached out and grabbed her by the arm. He yanked her toward him. She squirmed and tried to pull away, but he held tight.

”Stop. Lauren! STOP!”

Various bystanders on the street immediately took notice of the situation, but Dane quickly alleviated any concerns. ”It’s alright, she’s a friend.” She had a rather angry look in her one good eye, but stopped struggling against his grip.

That’s when she started laughing for seemingly no reason.

Dane took one look at her and knew by the miosis in her eye. The pinpoint pupil was a dead giveaway. Years of sobriety flushed away–

Fuck… ”How many?”

”How many what?!”

”How many of those Godsdamned pills did you crush up and stick up your nose?”

”What the fuck do you care?! You helped make me the joke I became. Join the FYA, Lauren, nobody’ll be able to stop us!” She mocked. ”Yeah, well, they stopped us. I got nothin’ left there, so fuck you, and FIGHT, and everyone else!”

It was obvious she’d taken far too much after that many years of sobriety.

She was growing increasingly jittery and frantic by the second.

Her tone was both angry and defiant. Sahara again tried to tear her arm free, but Dane grabbed her handbag and held her at bay with his shoulder as he rifled through it. He pulled out what looked like a prescription bottle of pills, but it had no label on it. He fought to keep his emotions in check having his fears confirmed.

”Do you even know what’s in these?!”

She shrugged.

”Lauren, how many of these did you take?” ”I don’t know. Enough. Give ‘em back.”

”No!” He held the bottle up and away as he repeated the question. ”How many, Lauren?!”

”Give ‘em back to me, you fucking loser!”

She lunged at the bottle, grabbing his arm and trying to pry his hand open. Her handbag hit the pavement and its contents spilled out, but she didn’t care. Her mind was only on one thing–

Sahara suddenly began to scream– ”Help! He’s hurting me! HELP! HE’S HURTING ME! SOMEBODY HELP!”

Bystanders cautiously approached the unfolding scene, phones in hand, recording his every move. Dane instinctively let the blonde woman go and held his hands up and backed away, knowing exactly what she made the situation appear to be. When he released her, the bottle of pills went skittering into the street as cars drove past. It was like watching an entirely different person. Sahara had never purposefully tried to hurt Dane like this. Ever. Until now. It was heartbreaking to watch her relapse, and for all his raw physical strength, he felt powerless to help.

As cars continued to zip past, the little bottle spun this way and that, barely being missed. She was trying to time it, but when the bottle finally exploded into tiny shards of plastic as a truck drove over it, her precious little pills skittered out onto the street in every direction.

She paid the traffic no mind.

In her mind, in that moment, it may as well have been life itself spilling onto the asphalt.

Sahara went after them, falling on her hands and knees on the street trying to pick them up as quickly as possible.

A horn blared and tires screeched across the pavement–

Dane opened his mouth to scream her name.

”Lauren!”

But somehow, it came out like a silent cry. It simply happened too fast.

She never saw it coming.

Dane swore his heart had stopped as he saw her body come to a rolling stop. He charged out into the street as traffic came grinding to a halt. Horns blared as traffic quickly backed up on the busy New York street, doors opened as people emerged to see what was going on.

Overwhelming sound filled Dane’s ears.

The whispers of bystanders gathering around the scene. The traffic. Every little sound felt magnified as Dane Preston knelt down next to the scraped up blonde, holding her hand in his.

Is she alright? Isn’t that Sahara from that wrestling thing? And Dane? Yeah, it is. Did he push her? What happened? I don’t know, I called an ambulance–

Sahara wasn’t moving.

Dane’s gaze fell to the tiny white pills that were aimlessly scattered around her on the pavement. Those tiny white pills that had suddenly meant so much to her that she was willing to throw everything away to get them.

Her career.

Allison.

Ricky.

Himself…

He wasn’t sure if he yelled it, whispered it, or said it in his own head…

”Don’t you fucking do this to me…”

And the sound of an ambulance echoed in the distance.

~~~~~

Mt. Sinai Hospital
Some time later…

Doctor James Vincent, one of the head physicians for FIGHT and primary care for Sahara, entered the waiting room where Dane and Allison had been waiting without patience. The second they saw him, they approached. Their eyes were red and bleary from the lack of sleep and endless worry.

”I don’t know how, but she’ll be fine. It’s a miracle she didn’t break anything, let alone get herself killed.” ”The drugs?” ”Looks like it was some form of Oxycodone. I put in the report that I prescribed them–”

”You what?!” Dane’s voice fell to a whisper, ”Are you crazy? You could wind up in jail or something…”

The Doctor shook it off, ”What choice did I have? She’s under a zero tolerance contract bound by the New York State athletic commission. Any failed tests and they pull her license. Without a license, she can’t compete. Nobody needs to know how or where she got them. She’ll get a pass on toxicology if they were prescribed. Get it?”

Dane nodded, breathing a sigh of relief.

The Doctor looked to Allison, who also nodded.

”I’m going to clear her for action.” The second the words left his mouth, both Dane and Allison went to protest but the Doctor held up a hand. ”I know. I know. Let me finish. Without this job, who knows what she’ll do. It’s the safest course of action. When I was in the Infirmary with her, I got the clear idea that wrestling for FIGHT means more to her than breathing.”

Dane just couldn’t comprehend it.

”Then why the hell would she do this if she knew it’d get her fired?” ”Who knows what was going through her mind that brought her to this point. She kept going on and on about how she wasn’t worthy anymore. How her worst fear had come true. How she’d become a joke. I mean, if she were anyone else, I wouldn’t be doing this. But … there’s just something about her that–”

Dane finished the Doctor’s sentence, ”–makes you do stuff you wouldn’t ordinarily do?”

Both the Doctor and Allison laughed in understanding, ”Yeah. It would seem she has that effect.”

”Trust me, we know that better than anyone. Can we see her now?”

The Doctor looked down, unable to look either Dane or Allison in the eyes. ”She doesn’t want to see you. Either of you. Or anyone else for that matter. She told me to tell you thanks for everything, but this is goodbye. Whatever that means. Those were her words, not mine. Look, don’t take it personal, I just think she needs some time to sort things out–”

Just then, Ricky Rodriguez burst into the waiting room and rushed up to Dane, Allison and Dr. Vincent the moment he saw them. He’d been appraised of the situation prior to hauling his ass over to the hospital the second he got the news.

”Where is she? Is she okay?!”

”She’s Sahara. She’s somehow fine after overdosing and getting hit by a Godsdamn car.” Dane gave Ricky a reassuring pat on the shoulder.

”Then where is she? I wanna see her!”

The Doctor held up a hand, ”You can’t. She doesn’t want to see anyon–”

”–tell her it’s Ricky!”

The Doctor continued holding up a hand to calm his rising hysteria, ”I told you, I can’t allow it. She requested that nobody see her. Including you. I’m sorry…”

Ricky looked lost and distraught. ”But I’m her little lion…”

Dane couldn’t believe his ears, ”Why won’t she see us? Or respond to texts, or phone calls? What the hell is going on with her, Doc?”

James Vincent sighed and looked around before taking them further to the side out of earshot of others.

”In my educated opinion? She suffered some sort of a mental break at Ascension. It devolved from there. Unfortunately, I don’t have enough information nor am I a trained psychiatrist. You could say this is not my area of expertise. I know she’s angry. Deeply so. And she’s dangerous because anger seems to be feeding her impulses. Hence the pills, and rushing headlong into traffic, and suddenly distancing herself from loved ones…you get the idea.”

The Doctor shook his head.

”I knew something was very wrong when she stormed out of the Infirmary after repeatedly asking for drug scripts, which she’d never done before over all the weeks I’ve treated her at FIGHT. It’s why I raised the red flag and contacted her listed emergency contact.” The Doctor motioned to Dane. ”That’d be you. Something was … off about her. Missing behind her eyes. I can’t really say I know what the hell I’m talking about, but … she was different than usual. Or indifferent. She laughed at nothing. She reacted to nothing. The only emotion she showed was anger when I told her no to the Oxy prescription. Other than that–” The Doctor stopped and snapped his fingers. “She also seemed to get incredibly angry at the sight of the word victory on her boot. It was the weirdest thing.”

Ricky shared in the confusion, ”The Valhalla thing?”

James Vincent nodded, ”Yeah. Back in the infirmary, when she pulled on her boot and saw the word ‘Victory’, she started scraping the outside part of her fist against it to rub it off. I mean … hard. Obsessive compulsive like. She literally rubbed against it until she peeled the skin from her hand and started spreading her blood across the word. It was di–”

Dane again finished his sentence, ”–disturbing?”

The Doctor nodded.

”Yeah.” The Doctor looked at the trio of Dane, Allison and Ricky with sympathetic eyes. ”Look, there’s nothing much you can do here. She’s refused to see anyone outside of necessary medical care, so I’d suggest going home and getting some rest. I’m sure she’ll come around in a few days. Just … give her some space, she’ll be her old self in no time.”

Dane looked at Allison and Ricky with a look of worry. He remembered the way she was back when they first met…

”That’s what I’m afraid of, Doc.”

~~~~~

Mt. Sinai Hospital
A few days later…

“You are afraid. But not of me.” -Ra’s al Ghul

Seated criss-cross style on her hospital bed, Sahara’s bottom half was mostly covered in blankets. These recovery rooms always seemed unnecessarily uncomfortable and cold. Scrapes and bruises covered most of the left side of her face. Though the bandages had been removed, the damage sustained from both Ascension and getting tagged by a car were apparent. Her entire left arm had a sprawling bruise of yellow, green and purple hues from where the car had made contact.

Her hair was now shoulder length, hanging loose and damp. Little droplets of water soaking from the dangling ends into the hospital gown that hung softly from her shoulders. Her eyes seemed distant and cold.

She held her phone out, using it to scan the room.

”Consider this a warning. All it took was a bottle over my head, a relapse, and an automobile to get me here.”

Her tone was soaked in venom.

”All it’s gonna take to get you here is … me.”

A sinister little laugh seems to escape her lips.

”Can you hear it, David? Can you hear the chimes at midnight? It’s a calling. A call to action. I hope you enjoyed it. Some would say it’s just the start of your fifteen minutes here at FIGHT, but it ain’t gonna last that long. You weren’t the first, but you were most definitely the last within this world to make a fool of me.”

”Fool me once, shame on me. That’s it. Just once. It’s the one strike rule. I think they usually say fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. But I’m tired of giving myself second chances to be someone’s fool. So I won’t be doing that anymore. I’m tired of taking a back seat to the less evolved amongst us. So I won’t be doing that anymore. I’m tired of kowtowing to … false Gods that fail to judge and punish the wicked without remorse. Or leaders that fail to lead us to the prosperity they promise. Or friends that fail to friend like only true friends can friend.”

”Or of lovers that fail to love … me … proper.”

Her gaze fell directly to the lens of her phone, but it somehow seemed as if she were staring through it, not at it. She slowly raised a finger.

”Do you hear it yet?” ”It calls to me.”

She runs her fingertips over the many scrapes, cuts, and bruises that cover the left side of her face. Damage from a car. Damage from the asphalt her face scraped against. And damage from a bottle of Ciroc, courtesy of a certain friendly neighborhood dinosaur. She seems to caress the wounds like a craftsman might lovingly stroke one of her creations.

”These serve as a reminder of my failures. My penance for accepting a co-starring role when I should be the fucking star.”

”At Venom, my dear Tyrannosaur, I will not be looking for an apology. Forgive me not, Father, for I am about to sin. I will hurt you, David. I have to rectify a genetic error that somehow survived the genocide that killed the rest of your kind. Dinosaurs … are supposed to be extinct. Dinosaurs … do not belong here. You are not on my level of the evolutionary chain. Your mere existence upsets the delicate balance of our fragile world. Under the New Status Quo … order … has become chaos. Which you helped create. Humans and dinosaurs were not meant to exist at the same time in the same world. I’ve watched Jurassic Park far too many times, and it never ends well.”

Again, she laughs a sinister little laugh.

”I don’t know how you … slipped through the cracks and survived in our world. Perhaps I should have hit you harder the first time we met. Perhaps I should have thrown you from the roof of FIGHT Tower and ended this before it began. My mistake. I won’t make it again. And now I have the opportunity to re-fossilize you for the sake of our existence.”

Sahara looks up, her mouth agape as she looks aimlessly around the room as if listening to something unseen.

”Do you hear them now, David?”

She laughs as she taps the side of her head.

”Of course you can’t. Because they’re in my subconscious. They’re not really real voices. Ah, but they tell me things. They tell me true things…”

”They tell me … that I’ve become a joke. A laughing stock. A punchline. After all the blood I’ve shed. After all the tears that have fallen from these eyes. After all the work I’ve put in. After everything I’ve ever done. They will remember me as the girl that got eaten by a dinosaur at Ascension.”

”Until Venom that is.” ”So share in the laughter while you still can. Because they tell me to embrace my greatest fear and admit that I’ve become a joke. This is the first step in my recovery.” ”I’m not laughing anymore, David. So it’s time I kill the joke. It’s all part of the process. They told me to trust the process…” ”What Miss F? Trust the process?”

”Yes, Sahara, trust the process.” She mimics an annoying voice that’s supposed to be Miss F’s, but is nowhere close to it.

”The process?” Her own voice.

”The process!” Miss F’s voice.

Her lip curls into an asymmetrical smile.

”But I’m not sure this is what they had in mind…”

She holds up two fingers, slowly turning them toward the camera, aloofly reminiscent of the Jennie Fenix pose.

”Then comes the second step. It’s probably … bargaining or something. Maybe it’s anger. It’s people like you that make a mockery of what I love, David. David the Dinosaur. David the dead … Dinosaur. You will be the first example I set as I reboot the system. Stand by. Sahara will be coming back online momentarily. Please be patient. Just like the computers in Jurassic Park, when I come back online at Venom, and the locks re-engage throughout FIGHT Tower … you will have nowhere to run. You will have nowhere to hide. And I will engage you. And you will beg me to stop.”

”But the running process cannot be stopped.” ”Trust in the process, David. Just like Miss F tells us.”

A devilish smile creeps across her face.

”They will have to drag me from your blithering carcass.”

Finally, she raises a third finger.

”Which goes hand in hand with the third and final step to my recovery. To confront my fear. And to dish out pain to that fear. Guilt. Free. Pain. You will feel the pain and I … will feel no guilt. No remorse. Everything you represent comes to an end at Venom. That’s when the laughter stops. You and your kind. Those that make a mockery of my beloved FIGHT. With your dick flips, blow up dolls, and your comedy cosplay bullshit.” ”Your fifteen minutes is up.” ”I am going to serve you up into the jaws of extinction.” ”You will be the first, dear David…”

”…but not the last.”

~~~~~

What have I become?
My sweetest friend
Everyone I know goes away
In the end