Post by destroyer. on Nov 12, 2019 18:59:46 GMT -5
Time is the great destroyer, it erodes and decays all things. It strips the flesh from our bones and corrodes our minds. It bludgeons our bodies and cannot be stopped. Inevitable. Irresistible. Incorrigible. It flows ever faster until the waves fill our throats and we drown in the flood.
The Ark rises.
THINGS FORGOTTEN, REMEMBERED
Sharp rain lashes the rotting timber hard enough to strip splinters from the shutters. They rattle in a chaotic rhythm that sounds like the whole place might collapse any second, and truthfully the hovel looks like already has, at least partially. Moonlight fights a losing battle through the monsoon, just barely managing to reflect in the raindrops that ricochet off the roof, giving shape to what remains. So faint it could almost be an apparition, so ugly that it hides itself in the shadows. It’s impossible to know how long it has been neglected but it somehow stands, emaciated. Black rust has torn into the hinges which limply hold mouldy planks over the doorway. As if recognising their redundancy, the door falls away revealing a spark of light almost completely choked out of existence by blackness. Quivering now in tired defiance of the wind, the flame of a candle makes its stand. Two oily black silhouettes draw near and the fire rises – for just a moment – then almost completely fades, exhausted. As the first foot slips through the doorway, its strength grows. The flame builds itself up and tries to make sense of these visitors, but finds only two impossibly black shapes. The embers search for features to distinguish, but find none. The fire regroups and lashes out, for a second illuminating a cold, blank white face riddled with cracks. The empty, unblinking eyes behind a porcelain mask focus on the candle and snuff it out with unnatural speed.
There is work to be done here, things nobody should ever see.
The structure yawns in the gale, the winds themselves try to tear this abomination down. The forces of nature seem to rise up against it, in protest of its very existence. Yet it stands. A symphony of rain and wind batters at the crumbling remains but it holds defiantly. What remains of the roof barely offers any shelter from the elements as the figures drag their cargo through the exposed doorway. The heavy sack catches and snags on the nails, screws and splinters left by the collapsed door, tearing a hole. For a moment the moon is reflected in a lifeless eye, peering out through the burlap before being engulfed by the dark of the cabin.
The soaked wood lets out a sigh of relief. It is impossible to say how much time has passed, but the rain stops as suddenly as it began. Against all odds, the elements have failed. The structure seems to have absorbed everything nature could throw at it and was emboldened. The rainwater gives the timber a dark, slimy glow and as the moon claims the skies for itself, the cabin seems bigger than ever. The silence is broken by movement inside. The sound of wood being dragged; the slow, deliberate thud of what could be footsteps or hammer-blows. The forest surrounding the cabin held its breath, so still and quiet that there is no frame of reference to gauge the passage of time. Just the moonlight, waning slowly over the cabin. And then it happens. A gloved hand lifts the remains of the cabin door a reattaches it to the hinges.
Night turns to day turns to night turns to twilight
As everything in the forest feels the tightening noose of time, the cabin resists. Its frame seems sturdier, its foundations stronger. Gaps in the wood appear to fill themselves and the structure smothers its surroundings. It breathes and stretches itself across the forest floor, hungry to build itself up.
turns to night.
The sun is vanquished.
The flame crackles. It has room to grow now. Shelter from the storm and fuel to burn. The moon cannot compete with its light. It dances across two shadows as they work away, but it can never seem to catch up with the new man as he slips towards the door.
It opens, and for the first time in what feels like forever, it can breathe.
The hunger grows. Still weak, but that only makes him more dangerous. Desperation burns in his eyes. He ventures out to mark his prey. He focuses his eyes on the sign and lets the thrill of the hunt linger in his chest for a moment.
|Welcome to Minneapolis|
Where the cabin once stood is a looming monstrosity made of wood so dark it snuffs out all light around it. Its walls seem to strain and shift as the seconds pass, almost as if trying to expand. It claws upwards at the treetops and strangles the faint rays of moonlight before they can have any effect. This part of the forest now belongs to the black structure. No longer a crumbling shack, it is now a sharp, angular house with no windows.
Two figures in broken porcelain masks pass by, collecting more wood for their eternal task.
Destruction to create.
A man appears out of the void. He almost appears to be out of focus at all times, making it difficult to distinguish anything about him clearly. He appears to be hunched over in pain. He squats in front of a small bonfire and warms his hands.
Things have to exist in order to be broken. They cannot exist until they are created. There is a natural order which is followed. Create. Use. Destroy. Dispose. The boot of time is always hovering, and when the universe is done with us, it crushes us from above, grinding us into dust. We are powerless to resist.
Once upon a time I mattered. Now I’m a forgotten relic. A legend that nobody remembers. Surpassed by a new generation.
The man snaps into focus yet is still somehow difficult to define. His face is a paradox, it is unfamiliar and different to what we remember, but is still unmistakable. The face of the Destroyer.
He leans close over the fire and inhales the thick black smoke. He holds it in as it tries to choke him.
Everything I achieved, the acclaim and accomplishments have been supplanted, and the world has moved on without me. It doesn't want me any more because I no longer fit.
Implausibly, his face seems younger than it did decades ago, while also being weathered and weary. This is not the six-time Champion of the World, this man is broken and weak. His petulant tone belies the defeat in his eyes. A man trying to defy nature, having already been decimated by it.
I was a champion. Then I was an owner. I called the shots and broke my enemies until I had my fill. I walked away from it all at my peak, knowing my name would be feared forever.
But they forgot me.
Bitterness contorts his face as he spits out the words.
Vanity is not a vice of mine, but to be erased from the memory of something I built cannot stand. So I set out to reassert the natural order of things.
His head drops, the words shrink to almost a whisper as they escape from his mouth.
Pride betrayed me. Time has taken its toll. I was not the force I had been. I was left embarrassed by youth and determination. My legacy was left tainted, and what was left of me was scattered to the wind. All that remained of me were forgotten words in history books. My home moved on without me.
The Destroyer’s face is wracked with pain and regret. Then a crack appears. The beginnings of a smile, followed by a glint of fire in his eyes.
But I had forgotten myself.
I started to believe I was like them. A man, fighting on their terms, by their rules. I forgot that I have never been like them. I saw beauty in destruction and I became used to breaking their bodies and spirits to get to my goal. I have never been so… mundane.
In reality, I never fought to win gold. I never needed glory, nor was I sadistic. My goal was to pick them apart through their insecurities, their fears and their secrets. Men were afraid to face me. I was fascinated by how I could gently pull on a thread and watch a man unravel. Men would promise me violence and pain, they would threaten me and curse, and I would laugh in their faces. Their impotent, empty words were borne of desperation as they realised that their time was up. And now I realise. Now I understand.
The beauty was never in destruction.
The beauty always lay in creating something new.
I could change them by taking away their power. Like seeing time accelerated, I watched as strong, violent men became weak and scared. They decayed in front of my very eyes until all they had left were desperate punches to throw at me. And then I could really destroy them. Then I could take away their strength when they felt weakest. Humble and humiliate them and know they would never be the same again. That was the real strength I had.
He runs his index finger along the gilded frame of an hourglass. The sand within falls erratically. Grain by grain, then in handfuls, back to a slow trickle. He looks down mournfully at his hands, the smile drains from his face and clarity sets in.
I have to rebuild. Create. Destroy my past.
Break the rules and create new ones.
Destroy. Dispose. Create. Use.
He glances back over his shoulder at the shadowy figures working in the twilight.
Creation from destruction. Building my way back.
A second pair of figures appear beside the masked shapes.
The Black Ark.
Destroyer pulls himself to his feet and walks over to the newcomers and for the first time we can see them clearly. They stand perfectly still and silent, dressed in black suits, shirts and ties, with blank, expressionless white porcelain masks over their faces.
Destroyer snatches one of their masks and spikes it into the ground, shattering it into hundreds of pieces. A shard of porcelain ricochets at the now maskless figure and imbeds itself in their thigh. They do not flinch. Destroyer pulls it out and slips it into his jacket pocket. It is then that we realise there is a void where a face should be. An empty black space where the mask had been. The empty suit swoops down to gather the broken pieces of the mask, then takes them into the Black Ark.
These… broken things. I call them the Anointed. Pieced back together from broken men, forgotten by time. Like me, once upon a time they were titans in the WFWF, but the hourglass’ sands stripped their names away and the fickle fans clamoured for new, lesser men.
They couldn’t be fixed. They were so shattered that inevitably all the pieces couldn’t be recovered. So I made something new. Improved them.
The empty suit glides out of the Ark, mask back in place. The mask has been put back together, though cracks creep throughout the surface like spiderwebs. A thin shock of gold fills the space around the left eye where the discarded shard of porcelain should have been.
Something beautiful created from destruction.
Elegance from pain.
I am not from this world anymore. So I'll make it mine.
The sands reverse.
Jacobs Street. A car idles in an alleyway. Sharp crystals of glass glint in the moonlight. A silhouette steps out of the dark and hands an envelope to the driver. As he turns to leave, the pale streetlight catches a gold seam on his face and dances for a moment.
Later. A dive bar of the worst kind. The air is so thick with anger, fear and regret that it seems to drip from the ceiling and make every surface sticky with hate. The kind of place that could just as easily end your night or your life. Two naïve students from the nearby University of Pittsburgh have rooted themselves in the corner of the bar, trying to guzzle as many cheap drinks as they can without catching the eye of the down-and-out regulars.
Even in this cramped, godforsaken place, the patrons know enough to keep their distance from the man at the bar wearing sunglasses. No sane man wears sunglasses at night and he’s on a tear.
The barman wonders to himself what he will say when all the whisky is gone. And then it happens. Another man sidles up to the bar and buys what is left of the last bottle. The poor kid on minimum wage looks on nervously as the man in sunglasses tosses the last drops of Jack down his throat.
A cold sweat breaks out. Maybe he could pour something else? Would this wreck even notice?
In his periphery a hand slithers into view clutching a crisp stack of cash.
Glee bursts from his eyes. He unscrews the cap and pours the remains of the whisky bottle onto the floor.
On me. As much as he can drink, then more.
The man in sunglasses half-heartedly raises a glass and stares contemplatively at the colourless, odourless drink in front of him. He knows it is poison but he doesn’t care. He pulls his plaid hoodie over his head as his benefactor slips out into the bitter small hours.
The Destroyer shoves his hands deep into the pockets of his jacket. The final push. Now the pendulum is in motion.
Fate doesn’t so much hang in the balance as it swings, passing over every eventuality until it settles on the future. Tonight, the equilibrium needed some adjustment. A nudge to set things in motion.
Mounting momentum for my melioration.
A broken man trying to break another. The irony is not lost on me. But my goal isn’t just to destroy my opponent any more.
The Cleaner. A man that doesn’t know how to quit. As his life crumbles around him and he loses everything he loves, he continues to fight and win. I want to know what happens when the underdog tale ends, right as it reaches its crescendo. The people want to see him showered in gold and reunited with his family.
I want to see the killer in him unleashed. A man who truly has nothing to lose, let loose on the WFWF.
I want to see him drown in misery and turn to stone. A golem of my creation.
Liquid flows over the damage and makes canyons of the cracks in his soul.
Then all will recognise my destruction. My creation.
The pendulum is swinging and I wait to see where it settles.
Time will tell.
VATICINIUM EX EVENTU
A redemption arc come to life.
A Dragon slain by a sleepwalker.
This is not where the pendulum should have settled. Maybe a further push is required.
The lights go out. The Destroyer rises.
The somnambulist sleeps deeper than ever, even in his moment of glory.
More cracks form.
The janitor who can’t stay out of the dirt.
A Father who can’t care for himself.
What can be done with a man who has nothing left to lose?
Wait until he believes there is hope, then apply pressure. Yes. This is what was always meant to happen.
The pendulum settles.
Back. Further this time. A bedroom fit for a princess. A warrior sits on the bed, trying to push the horrors of battle back into the space behind his eyes. He gathers himself for the first time in days and regales the princess with the tale of a valiant knight.
THE RACONTEUR’S YARN
Flames lick the dragon’s black scales, flashing warm light into the sky. It roars and thrashes about, but the Knight appears to keep the townspeople safe.
The Knight’s armour is so highly polished that it glimmers like liquid.
A veteran of battle, dents and scratches of the past visible on his armour.
Fire fills the sky and screaming projectiles rain down, but the brave Knight presses on, battle hardened.
The Dragon towers over the Knight, blocking out the sun. The odds are insurmountable.
But the Knight’s eyes focus on his true goal. The Princess, trapped in a cave by the Dragon. He knows he must slay the Dragon to stand a chance of being reunited with her.
So, he fights. The Dragon cuts at his flesh and the flames blacken his armour. The knight fights with unprecedented brutality. A man possessed by longing, failure and pain. He attacks with terrifying intensity, the watching crowd rejoice and bay for the blood of the Dragon.
But the Dragon is too strong. It scorches and slashes at this underdog.
Exhausted, the Knight falls to his knees in front of the mighty Dragon. It brings its great claws down on his helmet and smashes it to pieces, but the Knight rolls behind the Dragon at the last second and thrusts his spear into its side.
Silence. The spectators are shocked. Their new hero has done the impossible.
Blood pours from the Knight’s head, claret as last night’s wine.
He falls – face first – into the puddle of red. It washes into every pore and stains him indelibly.
Time freezes, and for a moment peace reigns.
The dragon’s black blood spills from the wound and mixes with the Knight’s.
The reddish black of Jack and Coke.
The Knight survives the battle, but his head is forever scarred.
He wearily lifts his head out of the liquid and looks up at the Princess, who cannot tear her eyes away from the destruction. The brutality and suffering. Blood. Torn flesh. The horrors of war.
Cheers almost deafen her. Nobody seems to see the stain on him but her.
Suddenly the Knight does not seem so valiant.
As he crawls on broken limbs towards her, the Princess retreats into the cave
slipping away into the black, forever.
The Princess was never seen again.
He couldn’t close the book quick enough. More pressing matters await him.
His battle is won and now to celebrate.
The Princess sits alone in the dark and cries.
The yarn caught up on the same old familiar snag. The thread unravels and reveals the ugly truth.
THE VALIDITY EFFECT
Time changes all things. Exposure to pain and suffering makes them familiar. More bearable.
The Princess grows older.
Black and white become grey. The dirt on the Knight’s armour robs it of its shine. His actions justifiable. And just as she thinks of stepping out of the darkness towards him, he self-sabotages.
A pattern of self destruction can become bravery in the face of adversity if the lie is repeated often enough.
Drunk. Damaged by war. But still he fights and still he drinks.
As he puts the Dragon down, against all odds, she feels – for the first time in a long time – pride for her Father.
Maybe if he wins the war, his scars will heal. She hopes that the taste of success won’t be tainted by the bitter sting of the bottle this time.
She tells herself he’ll be better.
This time is different.
The same old tale.
The Black Ark spreads across the forest like a cancer. It reaches to the edge now, lurking between the dark of the trees and threatening to spill out into civilisation.
An army of broken man in shattered masks tend to its black beams, working in the perpetual night.
Two by two they come. They break down the trees and build them into something new.
Anointed form an assembly line, feeding wood into a roaring fire in front of the Black Ark. The Destroyer sits beside it, the embers are blown by gusts of wind against his cheeks. His face seems fuller, flushed and healthy. He works patiently to piece together sections of porcelain to make a face. Blank and waiting for guidance. He completes his work and runs a finger over the joins. Deep cracked ridges of damage.
The cleaner that can’t get clean.
All he has left in the world hangs by a thread.
He reaches down by his side and lifts a bottle of whisky into view. He twists off the cap and pours the contents over the mask. Each crack fills with liquid gold.
More than repaired. New. Bettered.
It frays and thins with each sip. Each act of violence. Each bad headline.
A life in flames everywhere but in the ring.
Destroyer shakes the excess off and holds the mask up to the glow of the flames. A perfect seam of gold lines the imperfections. He stands and places it onto a blank faced Anointed.
Let's fix that.
A marionette with a master at its strings, it picks up a broom and begins to sweep the entrance to the Black Ark.
It freezes in place as Destroyer passes the threshold, the resumes it’s work once he is inside the Ark.
Adjusting to the light, black marble splashes throughout the grand foyer. Baroque filigrees delineate the boundaries of the room. Destroyer's footsteps seem to echo into the void as he walks over to a door on the right hand side of the hall. By its side is a small table housing a candelabra.
Do or die. Tonight I put the final piece in place, the last move I make before facing down the Cleaner. What happens next will either reduce him to clay for me to remould, or set a fire in him that will burn what remains of me.
Destroyer waves his hand over the flames and they momentarily recoil.
It has taken everything I have to bring myself to this point, to regain my strength and prepare for this fight. My actions will remove the final shackles from my opponent and if I am not up to the task, he may be the one to destroy me.
Maybe I’ve created my own funeral.
He pauses in front of a previously unseen door at the back of the room, takes a deep breath and enters.
His foot lands directly in a puddle of rainwater on concrete. He looks up from the doorway at an apartment block. The sidewalk outside is lined with Anointed. A simple nod of the head is all it takes. They file into the building, two by two.
The building floods with faceless men.
Destroyer breathes in the moment before taking a photo out of his jacket pocket and studying it. A scream rings out.
A young girl walking into her apartment building.
A smile cracks across his face. The yarn spins and unravels.
The last thread falls away.
It’s do or die now.