A petite red curtain is shown as the entire stage seems to rock a bit upon settling. A soft, melody plays in the background as the curtain is drawn quickly. A wooden puppet is shown with a long, white beard and a potbelly.
“In a far away city in a town much different than Hope, a fortuitous man holds the wealth of ten as his lands are vast and his riches are overflowing. It’s his two sons who are to inherit his fortune and continue his legacy in their family name.”
Two more puppets enter the picture, smaller and more youthful in movements. One is the smallest wearing a red shirt while the taller one is wearing a blue shirt. The red shirt steps in front.
“The younger of the two brothers claims that he can’t wait until his father passes on to inherit his riches. He demands that his father give him his portion so he may venture into the world on his own. The father begrudgingly gives him his fortune and wishes his son well on his journey.”
The puppet in red joyfully skips onwards leaving just the older brother and father remaining.
“Months pass as the young man quickly squanders his fortune and returns, empty-handed hoping that his father, his home still had a place for him despite his transgressions. The father and his home welcome him back with open arms allowing him to resume his place as one of the inheritors of the throne.”
The eldest son’s arms cross as it looks over at his father and brother embracing despite him leaving with his fortunes.
“Yet jealousy runs rampant in the hearts of the unconfident.”
A moon rises on the set as if a small stand in the back of the puppet stage.
“The older brother waits until all is still in the night, and sneaks into his brother’s chambers with ill intentions playing into his head.”
The eldest brother is shown sneaking around the puppet stage as to avoid suspicion.
“’Who did he think he was trying to steal MY portion of the fortune?!’ thought the eldest brother as he crept into his brethren’s chambers that night.”
A door is presented as the older brother opens it quickly and steps inside. He stops, frozen in movement.
“It was upon opening the door that he discovered his brother was not sleeping, but seemingly awake with his eyes focused upon his elder brother. A smile creeps along the younger brother’s face.”
The elder brother quickly scrambles upon seeing his younger brother awake and leaves the scene.
“Panic struck the older brother as he quickly scampered back down the hall realizing his plan had backfired and that his brother had suspected his action all along.”
A loud and audible laughter is heard from offstage as Hysteria seems to be enjoying himself.
“What’s the matter with being a little jealous?”
The puppet set is brought down as Hysteria slowly raises to full stature inside of a home. He walks towards the window and stares out into the stormy night. Lightning streaks across the sky as his attention focuses on the rain.
“This is something that skips through the mind of Smiley every time he sees me: a vision of what his true potential could very well be. The elder son learned that his jealousy could get him into jeopardy and dropped the act upon learning he was caught. The elder son learned that no matter how diligent and no matter how loyal he remained, he was viewed no differently from his brother who left and returned.”
Hysteria turns so that just a little bit of the candlelight in the room shines upon his mask.
“The idea of this drove him mad.”
“Just as it did you, Lee.”
“This madness drove you to my family’s cemetery where you violated my family’s resting grounds.”
“This madness drove you to trying to bury me where you would once again fail to get the job done.”
“THIS MADNESS… drove you to me.”
A soft laugh begins to boil underneath the surface before Hysteria leans down and picks up the eldest son’s puppet and looks at it.
“The part of the story that I exclude is the epilogue where the eldest son is found dead, seemingly poisoned at the dinner table.”
He drops the puppet with a grin.
“The Tap Room opened its doors wide as Old School Wresting welcomed me back with vigor, yet there was no way I would allow the jealousy of Smiley to clout my return.”
Hysteria lifts up the puppet stage and rests it upon his knees.
“My road to reclamation is complete.”
“And now it’s time to conclude the final chapter of our saga.”
A sigh escapes as Hysteria’s head tilts to the side.
“I’m sorry I didn’t kill you years ago.”
He repeats the words said last week as if stewing over them.
“And I’m sorry you had to suffer this long in my shadow.”
A wild and raucous laughter erupts from his throat as the picture slowly zooms in on the puppet stage before another curtain is drawn with only four words written on the image.
“THY WILL BE DEAD!”