Static covers the screen as a Play ► symbol appears in the bottom right-hand corner.
The static of the screen slowly blurs and distorts until it focuses on the charred inside of a Church. A disgruntled and ash covered Bishop sits in one of the damaged pews, his eyes going from side to side as he examines the immense amount of damage that remains inside of the place of worship.
“It was amazing you know.”
His head shoots up, looking back towards the sound of a new voice entering the scene. He stands up, but it seems he came prepared today as he unholsters a Colt 1911 from his side! He points the weapon towards the shadows, watching as Pyre slowly reveals herself, a smirk on her face.
“What was amazing?”
The witch chuckles at the question, flames dancing between her fingers as she answers.
“The flame. The intense burning blaze that swallowed up this church. It felt amazing.”
Bishop advances onto Pyre! The church has already been burnt and he has no fear of another fire! But the witch holds up her hands in defense, letting flames form, threatening to incinerate Bishop.
“Don’t step any closer and I make you and this church match.”
Bishop narrows his eyes, staying in his spot but not lowering his pistol.
“Fine, I won’t come any closer. But while we’re at an impasse, I just have to know. Why? Why did you burn down the church, why do you care about their wedding?”
Another chuckle slips from Pyre’s lips.
“I told you, it isn’t about the people, it’s about the concept. There’s something so… delicious about what I did. The feeling of letting my flame swallow up their hopes, their happiness? It brought me joy that I haven’t felt in what feels like years.”
“And so you took it from other people? You’re pathetic.”
Pyre shakes her head.
“No, I’m an opportunist just looking for her happiness.”
Bishop fires off a round but as soon as it leaves the chamber Pyre is nowhere to be found, gone in a cloud of smoke! The marine scowls as he holsters his weapon, contemplating his next move.
We’re greeted with a click as the lights come on, revealing our location to be inside the rebuilt office of Doc D’Ville…who has a look of terror on his face as he sees a body laying facedown on the floor. He calls out for his men, who immediately rush into check for danger as the Doc checks the body for a pulse.
“Not dead, just unconscious.”
He cannot help but sigh in relief as he turns the body over, revealing a young man who looks worse for wear…and a name tag with some green scribbles on it. He checks the nametag…John. He reads the scribbles…8:32. D’Ville doesn’t have a chance to process this before his cellphone rings, prompting the Doc to direct his men out of the office before answering the call.
“What do you want now?”
“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
The somber message is immediately cut off by laughter from the man on the other side of the call, The Laughing Man himself enjoying his twisted clue…forcing the Doc to lose his composure as he shouts.
“Leave us alone, Nygma!”
“Oh, come on Doc…you know as well as I do that Andy isn’t a complete idiot. He’s going to figure out you’ve been hiding something from him eventually…after all, hiding is what you do. You hid away from your son, you hid his brother away from him, and you won’t even tell him…”
Nygma stops himself, simply laughing some more before ending the call abruptly. D’Ville slams his phone on the desk, distraught as he checks the file drawer. Sure enough, a single folder is missing…causing the Doc to shake his head, a mixture of sorrow and anger on his face as he notices someone at the door…SeeSaw.
#1 CONTENDERSHIP MATCH
Six competitors, one winner. One #1 Contender for the VHS Championship. Who will step out on top when all this chaos is said and done?
As the match begins, Reaper, Redwing, Junkrat and Brooks all make a beeline for the centre of the ring and wind up in a four way battle of fisticups. Sweet Alice waits for a moment before charging the brawling pack. She steps off the knee of Reaper and DRILLS TYLER BROOKS IN THE SKULL WITH HER ELBOW!
Tyler is sent sprawling backwarda and topples out of the ring. All eyes turn to Alice, just as she is BLINDSIDED BY ANONYMOUS! The trio about turn and continue their brawl. Junkrat picks up the advantage by kicking Reaper in the balls while the ref’s back is turned and wrapping Redwing up into a STANDING SLEEPER HOLD!
This doesn’t last long, as Anonymous picks both men up. ELECTRIC CHAIR DROP DRILLS BOTH REDWING AND JUNKRAT! Anonymous just sent Junkrat back to Gary with that one! Alice is still down and Anonymous goes for the sneaky pin, but it is quickly broken up by Tyler Brooks!
Brooks grabs Anonymous by the scruff of the mask and flings him turnbuckleward. He then repeats the process with Alice. EYE OF THE SAVIOR TO ALICE! SHOTGUN BLAST TAKES OUT BROOKS BEFORE HE CAN FOLLOW UP! Reaper is looking to take this one… NO! GUNPOWDER PLOT! ANONYMOUS OUTTA NOWHERE! Redwing is scrambling to the ring with Junkrat after him but they’re too late! One! Two! Three!
Anonymous, somehow, came out on top tonight. Another two steps ahead, they took advantage of the opportunity and are now the #1 Contender for the VHS Championship!
On a flat-screen TV, a news anchor smiles at the camera and prepares to address her audience.
But the headline text beneath her–well, it tells the whole story.
“ALTON WHITLOCK SUFFERS HISTORIC LOSS IN THE U.S. ELECTION”
“Of all the most shocking storylines coming out of the 2020 race,” the anchor says, “the most unexpected, by far, was Whitlock’s dramatic dropoff and defeat.”
She briefly reviews the paper sitting in front of her.
“If you look at the numbers–I mean, it’s shocking. He’s down across demographics. It’s one of the most major downward trends between final polling numbers and ballot results that America has seen in recent years.”
“What caused it?”
“Why did so many rapidly turn their backs on Whitlock?”
“How could this happen?”
“Political pundits and researchers will be searching for the answer for years. But tonight, the fact remains. The people have spoken. Alton Whitlock will not be sitting in the Oval Office come January 2021. Instead, that honor goes to–”
The television turns off. And for the first time in hours, Alton Whitlock forces himself to move.
He stands. Stretches. He’s in a stained shirt and boxer shorts, scarred face covered by thin stubble. Food and booze litter the lavish apartment surrounding him. He’s been hiding from the world.
For days, he’s been asking himself the same questions as the news anchor. Ever since his senior aide came to him with the initial results on election night.
Every moment since then, he has been a haze. Furious. Depressed. Hurt. Barely spoken to anyone at all. No press bothered calling, anyway.
But now, he’s standing. And he’s looking out at the cityspace. The sun, somehow, is shining.
The questions and the weight of it all have nearly destroyed him.
But truly–the real question has been burning in the back of his mind since the moment his downfall began. A question he didn’t want to ask.
It’s a query that Alton Whitlock already knows the answer to.
He’s been waiting for some dramatic change, not wanting to believe this could happen. Arrogance, pride, or denial. Or an even more horrible truth: maybe, in the end, he isn’t as strong as he thought. Maybe that’s why Berkshire is locked in some dungeon waiting to be beheaded right now.
Perhaps. But maybe not.
He picks up his cellphone; punches in a number.
“I need a favor,” he says.
We may be a week removed from Halloween, but the spooks and scares don’t end as we see some of the creepiest and most terrifying team up in trios action!
We start things off with Cody and Punchout, the former doing whatever it takes to avoid the latter’s punches before laying in some hard strikes. This seems to barely faze Punchout, so Cody catches him with a chop block taking the big man to a knee before tagging in Bastard!
Bastard ramps up the violence as he sends Punchout reeling back with some heavy strikes of his own, but Straight has had enough and gets the blind tag, catching Bastard with a drop toe hold before working the arm…only for Cody to land a swift, stiff kick to Straight’s head!
This sends the match into chaos as Punchout comes back in, landing some hard punches on the Reflection of Perfection as Bastard and Straight continue to go at it. Eventually things settle down, just as Sandman and SeeSaw find themselves tagged in! SeeSaw looks delighted, charging at the Dream Demon!
DEEP SLEEP! SANDMAN CATCHES SEESAW WITH THE DEEP SLEEP! Bastard and Cody run in to take on Sandman, but are both thwarted by the Night Terror…WHO GETS CAUGHT WITH A WOODY’S ROUNDUP BY SEESAW! A wicked smile is seen on SeeSaw’s face as he makes the cover: ONE! TWO! THREE!
SeeSaw catches the Dream Demon by surprise tonight, earning a win in this trios match!
“Banzan, where is my mind?”
“At this precise moment?”
“It’s difficult to say. All that may be said for certain is that, at the moment, we are traversing it.”
At a campground on a high mountain, Banzan and Sweet Alice sit meditating beneath the sun.
But in Sweet Alice’s mind? They are hopping from mushroom to mushroom across a field.
“Don’t you find this all very curious?” Alice asks as she leaps.
“Actually,” Banzan says as he lands on a mushroom. “I do. It doesn’t seem like it’s hiding from us, does it?”
“No. It seems much more like it’s screaming for me to find it.”
“How do you figure?” Banzan asks.
Sweet Alice lifts an eyebrow. “You can’t hear it, Banzan?”
Distantly. . .
Where am I? I’m lost! Please, someone help me!
Banzan nods, “Well, we’re on the case.”
“Yes,” Alice replies. “And perhaps then, we can solve your own case.”
“Of course,” Banzan says. “But currently, my prime suspect is lost.”
Alice frowns. “Utterly,” she continues. “Banzan, do you smell burning?”
“No,” he replies. “Do you?”
“Every second of every minute of every hour of every day.”
I’m lost! Please! Can anyone hear me?
Banzan rubs his chin. Curious.
Playing on a television, Sandy Roger’s puppet show has a group of children riveted while Jessie Williams looks on. The Prince watches with an amused grin on his face. What he once viewed as malicious intent from Rogers now just hits him as something to be pitied.
“Jessierino, are you ready?” Sandy calls, walking into the living room of the home they are stood in, handing Jessie a cup of tea.
“What did the coroner say?” Jessie asks before taking a sip.
“Natural causes.” Sandy responds, turning off the television. “Poor Ms. Ducksworth was having a psychotic episode of some kind. Once they got her calmed down, she went to sleep and never woke up. Our doctor speculated it could have been dementia, perhaps.”
Williams looks around the house, where we can see pictures of Mia Allen-Ducksworth on the wall. This must be her home. He drains the cup, but holds onto it.
“Thanks for letting me look around her house, Sandy.” Jessie says sincerely. “I was hoping there was… Well, there was nothing of note here.”
Rogers looks at him strangely, a mix of empathy and confusion.
“These things just happen sometimes.” He says. “I’ve found that letting life come to me has reduced my stress level and made me far more…”
“Content.” Jessie finishes.
Rogers nods warmly, and the pair head out of the house, Sandy taking the cup from Jessie.
“I’ll wash this tonight.” He nods up the familiar cul de sac. “Shall we head back to my house?”
As they walk, Jessie has a new line of questioning.
“Sandy,” he begins. “When you came to me, you told me to keep… it… from Mr. Sandman. What do you know about the Sandman?”
Rogers leads Jessie up the stairs of his home before answering.
“When I came here, I found a small town of people who were overwhelmed with their problems, but I saw potential in these people. They were good at heart, they just needed to learn how to conquer their fears.”
The pair walk through the door to Sandy’s very plain house.
“When I discovered lucid dreaming, I found I could face my fears in a controlled environment. What were once crippling nightmares became conquerable foes. I showed these people contentment, as I tried to show you, through conquering their fears. What you see when you walk through this town is the result of that hard work.”
Jessie nods, walking through the home as Sandy continues.
“It was in one of these sessions that I found something I could not control. Lucid dreaming is supposed to take place in your own mind, but something, some creature, has found a way to invade the mind of others.”
Jessie comes back to the main seating area to find Sandy sat comfortably in his chair.
“What did you do?” The Prince asks.
“Since our first meeting, the Sandman has avoided me. You’ll note that when he appears, he often makes me vanish first. I know what he desires, what he seeks from you. That’s why I came to you, to ensure that you didn’t give him what he wanted.”
Rogers takes a deep breath.
“And that’s why,” he begins. “I beg you to walk away from this place, and find a new path. Mr. Sandman keeps you pointed on a rescue mission. But he only cares about the book that you keep hidden. I tried to show you how to lucid dream, but I realized that was my enemy’s desire. You will not defeat Sandman in his playground.”
Williams shakes his head.
“That’s where you’re wrong. He doesn’t show up anymore because he’s already got you. He’s got this whole damn town under his sway. As long as he has you, he has everything he needs.”
Rogers tries to respond, but Jessie cuts him off.
“I’m going to save you, Sandy, going to free you from this prison you live in, whether you know it or not. You’re the key to all this, and somewhere in your mind is the location of my father. You’re the only lead I’ve got, and if I have to beat the shit out of you to save you, then I’ll do it. You’ll thank me later.”
Sandy turns cold, standing to face Jessie.
“To challenge the Sandman is to court death, Jessie. You’ll end up like Mrs. Ducksworth. He is one fear you cannot conquer.”
Williams heads to the door with a cocky snort.
“I’m not afraid of him. He’s afraid of me, or else he’d just take what he wants.”
The door shuts behind the Prince with a clang, leaving a disturbed Sandy Rogers alone.
In a re-match of last week’s encounter The Last Gunslinger will try to regain the VHS Championship from The Prince who wants to be king. With the belt stranded 20 feet above the ring, one of these men will have to scale new heights if they want to walk away with the gold.
Both men watch as the belt is raised above the ring. DING! DING! Bishop is on Jessie right away, big overhand rights, one, two, three of those and Jessie is on his heels. Bishop, whip into the ropes, big swing of the arm as Jessie comes back but The Prince ducks under, uses the ropes for momentum looking for…BOOMSTICK! NO! COUNTER! DEADEYE! Bishop catches Jessie with a rib cracking spear.
Bishop sets up a ladder and starts climbing. Jessie grabs his leg but Bishop kicks him off. Jessie hits the ropes and then charges, using his shoulder to de-stabilise the ladder and Bishop is sent flying over the top rope and crashes through the crowd barrier onto the concrete. Jessie fixes the ladder and starts a climb of his own. He’s at the top and sees Bishop getting up. He looks at the belt that is right there, but screams CALL OF THE CHOSEN! HOLY SHIT! SWANTON BOMB FROM THE TOP OF THE LADDER TO THE OUTSIDE!
Both get to their feet. Jessie slides into the ring, Bishop pulls out another ladder and slides into the ring. The Prince is climbing again but The Last Gunslinger is soon on his tail. Jessie turns and stands throwing punches at Bishop below but the bigger man’s reach means he gets a hold of Jessie’s neck and starts slamming his head against the rungs of the ladder. Bishop moves up a few rungs, he gut punches Jessie and then…LAST RITES!!! FROM THE LADDER!!!
Bishop starts to climb but he’s making slow progress, still feeling his earlier heavy bump. It gives Jessie time to recover and set up the second ladder. Now they are climbing but on opposite sides. Bishop is at the top and reaches for the belt but Jessie kicks his ladder and it starts to rock. Jessie reaches the same height as Bishop and leaps across to The Last Gunslinger’s ladder. They are trading blows at the top of the ladder, it’s rocking and eventually gives way. Both men leap and grab the ring with the belt attached…HANGING 20 FEET ABOVE THE RING! They are swinging now, Jessie loses his grip and begins to slip but he’s clinging on to Bishop’s body. The belt is released and BOTH MEN CRASH TO THE CANVAS! WHO HAS THE BELT?
DING! DING! DING!
The referee calls the match as Bishop slowly raises an arm with the belt gripped in his hand.
The Last Gunslinger proves he’s still got plenty of ammunition here tonight as The Prince is usurped from his throne.
DO NOT FAIL ME
At first glance, nothing is visible to the naked eye. Soon, a faint red glow is seen, cascading around the form of a female body in a meditative posture. Her eyes are rolled back into her head, displaying only the whites of her eyes. Her body is shaking as if having multiple seizures. After a few awkward moments of silence, an ear-piercing noise sounds into the air. It is soon followed by a raspy voice that speaks to the young woman.
“Vex, have you fulfilled your mission of finding suitable life forms,” the demonic voice asks.
“Yes, creator, these two will be worthy of our cause. Their vessels will help usher in the new reign.”
A grimace falls upon the face of the woman as if being tortured by some unseen force.
“Do not fail me, Vex, there is too much at stake. You were specifically chosen for this mission. Our reckoning was foreseen to occur upon this time and place. Failure will end very badly for you, young one. Make sure their life forces become ours for the taking.”
At the end of the demonic voice’s rant, the girl’s convulsions stop and the color slowly returns to her eyes. The faint, red glow dissipates. The toll of the encounter is clearly seen upon her face.
“I will not fail you master, the ones they call Jac Bastard and Punchout will be ours. Their combined life force will bring forth the reckoning,” Vex whispers to herself, attempting to catch her breath.
In Studio Infinity, Monty Straight has been tied to a chair!
He’s surrounded by Terror Squad and Tyler Brooks is standing over him.
“So what did you tell them?”
Cody Williams speaks.
“Don’t play dumb Monty. It looks worse on you than that yellow jacket. How do you say it? You always tell it straight? So tell it straight! What did you tell Sigil and Voynich?”
Cody slaps him in the face and nods to Hayden Hardkore who has a kendo stick!
Monty winces from the pain!
Tyler Brooks speaks again.
“You know what we’re capable of so make it easy on yourself, what did you tell them?”
“I didn’t tell them anything.”
“We can make this a lot worse. What did you tell them?”
“I’m keeping it straight, I didn’t tell them anything, I don’t trust them with that knowledge.”
“So you do have knowledge?”
“Yes but I trust you even less.”
“Bad answer, we’ll get it out of you.”
Tyler nods to Cody.
Cody revs up his chainsaw!
“You won’t use it.”
“You need me or at least you need what I know.”
“Fine, you’re smarter than your tacky game show suggests. We will use it if we’re not going to get information either way though.”
Monty gulps but quickly comes back to his senses.
“Fine, I’ll tell you but untie me first.”
“And let you escape?”
“There’s three of you and one of me, I’m not going anywhere.”
“At least you know that, fine I’ll untie you but the moment I do, you tell us what you know.”
“I’m a man of my word if nothing else.”
“Alright but to make sure, stand in front of him boys.”
Cody and Hayden make their way in front of the chair while Tyler unties the ropes.
“Now where is the tablet?”
“Last I heard, it was in the world’s most expansive library.”
“Ah, The Library of Congress. A lot of artifacts there. To DC we go, now was that so hard?”
They push him and make him fall over the chair!
The Terror Squad leave the studio with a sense of purpose laughing at what they did to Monty!
Sigil and Voynich slink out of the shadows!
“You alright Monty?”
“Yeah, I’ve dealt with their type before, thanks for sticking around when I told you other unexpected visitors had made it through the back door.”
“Yeah, no problem, we expected it was them. So did you tell them the truth? Is it at the Library of Congress?”
“I told them the truth but the largest library isn’t the Library of Congress anymore. I knew that’s where their mind would go so that nugget of truth should buy us some time”
Voynich is skeptical.
“There’s a larger library and I don’t know of it?”
“Well it has been closed to the public for a while as its founder passed away but seeing as I helped create it, I can get us in.”
Sigil’s eyes light up for the tablet and Voynich’s eyes light up for the library.
They both speak up.
“Where are we going?”
TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS
The Judge & Blood Red Shark have been on a hot streak of late but can they continue their unorthodox partnership to hold off the emerging partnership between The Realm Walker and The Best Kept Secret and retain their tag team gold?
The Judge and Sigil start us off, these two cosmic warriors coming together. Sigil gets the first blows in with a flurry of blows but the much bigger Judge quickly overpowers his foe, clubbing him with tree trunk forearms before launching him into a neutral corner and nailing The Realm Walker with a crushing clothesline. The Judge arm wrenches Sigil and drags him across the ring, tagging in Blood Red Shark. The Predator climbs to the top rope and nails The Collector with a dropkick. Shark mounts Sigil and pounds away at his neck and shoulders. From his corner, Voynich is calling for a tag.
But Shark and Judge keep Sigil pinned down near their corner, rotating their time in the ring. Judge is in now, Irish whip into the ropes and THE VERDICT! SIGIL IS SENT FLYING ACROSS THE RING! The Realm Walker is trying to get to his partner but Judge cuts him off and whips him into the opposite corner, following up with a running knee to the guts. Judge tags in Shark, who grabs Sigil and drops him with a backbreaker, then follows it up with an elbow drop. Shark gives Judge his next turn with a tag.
The Judge is stalking Sigil now, who is really feeling the onslaught. Kick to the gut and Judge lifts Sigil onto his shoulders…RESTORATION! COUNTER! Sigil pounds at Judge’s head, gets loose and hits back with a shinbreaker. As Judge clutches his leg, Sigil crawls towards the corner. Shark and Voynich are calling for tags. Sigil and The Judge tag their partners at the same time. Voynich is quickest and drops Shark with a running lariat…ISHTAR GATE! Voynich runs over to The Judge and knocks him off the apron with a running dropkick! Shark is up, Voynich lifts him…MONOLITH!!! BLOOD RED SHARK’S HEAD WOBBLES WITH THE IMPACT! Voynich covers…ONE…TWO…THR-NO! JUDGE BREAKS THE FALL!
Now all Hell breaks loose as all four competitors are in the ring. PLANESWALKER!!! SIGIL TAKES OUT THE JUDGE!!! Voynich is distracted and that allows Shark to blind side him…BLOOD MONEY!!! HAMMERLOCK DDT!!! ONE…TWO…THREE-NO! Sigil kicks Shark in the head. The Judge comes out of nowhere…RESTORATION!!!! NO! WTF!!! SIGIL AND THE JUDGE HAVE JUST TELEPORTED OUT OF HERE!!!
That leaves Voynich and Blood Red Shark. The Best Kept Secret gets the advantage, connecting with…THE EIGHT WONDER!!!! Voynich hooks the legs…ONE…TWO…THREE!!!!
Voynich & Sigil add a new treasure to the collection in the form of the Tag Team Championship belts.
Dressed in a dark coat, sunglasses, and a black baseball cap, Alton Whitlock taps on the door of a trendy metropolitan apartment.
The young man who comes to the door wears no shirt, but has a long beard that hangs down to his hairy gut. He smiles at Whitlock when he sees him.
“Alton!” he says. “What’s up man? Eric Dolphy, at your service.”
“Nice to see you.”
They enter the apartment–it’s stylish and trendy, but littered with tech gadgets, marijuana paraphernalia, and various food wrappers.
“You know, I voted for you, man,” Eric says. “You know that. You got the donation. So I was happy when you called.”
“I didn’t know you had left Telegon,” Whitlock says, taking off his coat and glasses. “You loved that place. You were Gouldern’s right-hand man, at least when it came to tech.”
Eric shakes his head.
“When Mark went splat, man–I knew it was time to leave,” Eric says. “I fucking hated that guy, but he was a genius. I’m not working under anybody else. Trying to start my own thing now.”
“Good for you,” Whitlock says smiling.
“Anyway, Alton,” Eric says. He shoves an empty pizza box off his coffee table, then produces a laptop. They both sit down on the couch in front of it.
“You’re not going to fucking believe what I found.”
He cycles through complicated trace maps, comprehensive logs, cellular data transfer read-outs, and other detailed visualizations.
“To be fair, there were several different groups, from what I can see, trying to get into the U.S. election system in any way possible on election night.”
Whitlock leans forward, squinting at the screen.
“Only one succeeded.”
Whitlock looks at Eric.
“And look–these guys? They are legit. They must have had people all over the country to do this. The scale, the amount of IPs they were using–it’s huge. Like they had an army. And I looked at the code they injected, too. Some crazy shit, man. It’s no ordinary nation-state crap. This is advanced.”
Whitlock’s gaze has returned to the screen.
“You’re sure about all of this, Eric?” he asks.
Whitlock keeps looking at the screen, starts slowly nodding his head.
A smile crosses his face: not just because he knows exactly who did it…
But because he hasn’t lost yet.
Las Vegas, Nevada.
Bill Kirby, private investigator, sits at the desk of an apathetic school administrator. She is staring at a computer screen with a look of annoyance on her face.
“I’m sorry, Mr. Kirby. Alexander Karrs, alias Axel, is no longer in our systems. His file should be here, but it’s not.”
“Ma’am, do you think it was maliciously deleted, or is it just an administrative error?” Kirby queries, trying to pierce the calloused administrator.
It doesn’t work.
“I don’t know.” She responds coldly. “If I recall, there was some kind of lawsuit involving him. But the only mention of him in our database is a bus assignment report dated two months before the date you are inquiring about.”
She scribbles down something on a post-it note before sliding it to Kirby.
“That’s the bus number he drove. It’s decommissioned, so you’ll find it in the lot out behind the school.”
Kirby raises an eyebrow as he takes the note.
“You keep decommissioned vehicles?”
“Mr. Kirby, money doesn’t grow on trees.” She says as she rolls her eyes. “We do the best we can, but hopefully Mr. Whitlock can win this presidency and get us more funding.”
Kirby nods and reaches out to shake her hand. He heads out of the office, and down the now-empty hall to a door leading outside. The private investigator finds himself in what looks like a junkyard. Dilapidated buses, vans, and other pieces of equipment litter the ground in various states of disrepair. Kirby gets to work, checking every school bus there for the number.
“You won’t find what you are looking for here.” A voice calls from behind Bill, who whips around quickly.
The Judge is stood before him.
“You removed the records.” Kirby accuses.
“I did not.” Judge responds. “The records were removed nearly four years ago by James Hunter, as was the bus itself. He, like you, was trying to unearth the past of the Shark. You had different motives, but your actions are the same. But unlike him, you have hit a dead end.”
Kirby shakes his head, pointing a finger at the Judge.
“Hunter wanted to destroy him. I want to save him. The world’s not black and white, Judge. People aren’t just guilty or innocent. Why are you here anyway?”
The Judge makes a sound that could be amusement.
“I have set my eyes upon the Reaper, tracking him.” He begins. “Tracking him to this city, actually. That’s why I have come. I assume to meet with you, even without your cowl you project careless heroism enough for him to find you.”
Kirby shakes off the diss, but the Judge isn’t done.
“Nevertheless, I am amused by your persistence, Bill Kirby. Perhaps this is not a dead end, but a bus stop for you to gain passage to where you truly need to go.”
“Where’s that?” Kirby fires back.
A blue portal appears behind the Judge, and he steps into it without a word. But when Bill Kirby looks down, the post-it note now contains an address.
“Maybe I judged the judge too harshly.” He mutters before walking away.
From a distance, we see Kirby walk back into the school from the scope of a rifle.
The Reaper stands to his feet, unsure of what he just saw.
DOUBLE FEATURE CHAMPIONSHIP
Can the silver-tongued politician talk his way out of this fiery debate?
Sporting the wounds of their Lost Tapes encounter, Pyre and Whitlock circle each other. Pyre grabs a headlock—looking to hold on to her newly-won title—but Alton shoves her off! He scoops her up – but she hits a headscissors takedown! Whitlock recovers and charges at her… Drop toe-hold into the ropes!
Queen of Flames hits the ropes – Alton spins round and snatches her into a powerslam! ONE… TWO… Kickout! The Candidate nearly stole a victory then and there. He whips her into the corner and charges in with a big splash! She stumbles forwards, right into a vertical suplex. Cupping his ear to his supporters, the Vermont resident lands a leg drop.
Clapping his hands to rally his constituents, Whitlock stalks Pyre. She gets onto all fours and he preps the PARTY POLITICS – but she evades the overdrive neckbreaker! Ducking a clothesline, she pops up behind him and locks in the AWAKENING! Caught in the dragon sleeper, Alton desperately thrashes. The gold is slipping through his fingers… He uses his weight advantage to throw them into the ropes!
Forced to break the hold, Pyre calls for the end and scales the ropes. Wheezing, Whitlock slowly gets back to his feet and turns round. All That Remains leaps from the turnbuckle… CORKSCREW STUNNER, AKA DANCING FLAMES! Pyre snaps Alton into the mat, and he springs backwards. She covers him – ONE… TWO… THREE!
Pyre blazes her way to a successful first defence!
Moments after the last match, Michaela Lane has entered the ring, a microphone in her hand.
“A lot of people have been wondering why Legacy’s intentions in OSW are.”
Michaela sighs, “But I can’t speak on behalf of Legacy, I can only speak for myself. And I’m about to ask for the only thing I don’t want…
“Brent Kersh… I want to face you at Heartbreaker. Not because I want to beat you, but because I love you.”
Michaela paces back and forth in the ring. She rubs the back of her neck. Her eyes well with tears.
“You see, I need to protect you, Brent. I need to protect you from OSW. And I need to protect you from yourself. See, we members of Legacy have had a glimpse of what’s to come. And Brent… You need to leave.”
She reiterates, “This world isn’t for you anymore. And deep down, you know it never was. So I’m demanding a match with you Brent. And if I win?”
“You leave OSW. For good. Forever.”
She frowns. “I never wanted this. But I never want to lose you, either. And because I know what kind of man you are, I know you’ll accept. You can’t back down from a challenge, and in the end, that’s always been your undoing.”
“I love you.”
Michaela drops the mic.
Somewhere in the underbelly of the city. Dark, foreboding, a Shark stalks the night. Sniffing the air, the predator senses something, the presence of another. A scent it has smelt before. Cracking a bloodlusted smile, it knows the scent all too well. So the Shark is not surprised when a figure steps out of the shadows and into its path.
“Don’t you think it’s all a little too… coincidental?”
The Reaper muses, slowly stalking the Shark, who does not move but keeps its predatory eyes on his foe. Reaper shakes his head, tapping his temple.
“I’ve been thinking. I’ve been watching. Biding my time. But it dawned on me…”
He closes in on the Shark, stopping moving and eyeballing the predator.
“… You’ve always seemed just so damned interested in me, haven’t you? First, the mist. And you failed. Then you captured me, and you failed.”
Reaper holds his arms out.
“You’ve been trying to kill me so badly, well here I am.”
Shark flinches, ever so slightly. He wants to do exactly as Reaper is bating him to do, but he knows a trap when he smells one. Reaper notices the desire to pounce.
“But before you do, you have to admit. Our stories are rather, parallel, are they not? Each of us with a tragic story, loss. The balance somehow restored. My only question is whether I believe The Judge or not.”
Reaper balls his fists.
“Because if The Judge is wrong, and you did have some part to play in that bus crash… Then maybe, I know the answers as to why you want to kill me so badly.”
Stillness. For a flutter of a moment.
Then all hell breaks loose.
Shark and Reaper snap simultaneously, an all out brawl that sees the Shark go for the juggular, only to have his head smashes into the brick wall of a building at the side of the alley in which they stand. Groggily, Shark turns around, the wounded predaotor ready to strike once more.
BLOODY MARY! NO! REAPER HITS SHARK WITH A SHOTGUN BLAST THAT SENDS HIM SOARING BACK INTO THE WALL!
Shark crumples in a heap, crashing through a stack of packing crates. Reaper stands over him, wiping his brow and flicking his sweat onto the downed Shark.
“You want my scent, you got it. I’ve got your number… Fish.”
Fresh off a night of horrifying ideals, two of the top champions in OSW go head to head inside the squared circle. Will the Storm rise or will pure calm reign supreme?
The bell sounds as Luke Storm circles the ring, looking for an opening against the much larger man who stares down Storm, waiting for the world champion to make the first move. Storm rushes forward, ducking under a clothesline, bouncing off the ropes as he ducks under another, before springboarding off the left hand side with a massive Enziguri to the back of the head. Banzan stumbles back, dazed as he catches a knee to the jaw before Storm rolls back, trying for the punctuation mark early on.
LIGHTNING…BANZAN CATCHES STORM’S FOOT! The Mountain pulling Storm in close before dropping him on the back of his head with a modified Capture Suplex. Storm stumbles to his feet into a flurry of blows from the mountain, a Shotei rocking Storm before a hard Roundhouse Kick nearly knocks him out cold. Storm stumbles to his feet, Banzan grabbing him from behind for a possible Dukkha but Storm flips overhead
LOCKING IN A REAR NAKED CHOKE!
Banzan struggles under the hold as the world champion wraps himself around the much larger man, sinking in underneath his chin, trying to make the Mountain pass out. Banzan drops down to one knee, the lack of oxygen clearly getting to him as the referee begins to check on him, this could well be it here, Banzan looking to slowly fade as the referee lifts up his arm
Banzan’s right arm drops down by his side, the referee lifting it up a second time
TW…the right hand shoots up high, Banzan getting his second wind as he gets to his feet, Storm hanging on for dear life on the back of the Mountain, trying to put him back to sleep but Banzan refuses to give Storm the chance, running hard backwards as he drives Storm into the turnbuckles with ever one of his 343 pounds. Storm collapses in the corner, holding his back in pain before his lights go out from a stiff kick to the jaw, leaving him out on his knees.
The Mountain backs up, looking to put a punctuation mark in this contest as he rushes forward
MAGG….DROP TOE HOLD ONTO THE BOTTOM TURNBUCKLE!
Storm counters at the last moment, the world champ maybe playing possum here as he backs up, waiting for Banzan to get up to one knee
Taking a slight page from his brothers book with his own little flair added, the hard kick to the back of the head knocking the Mountain down and possibly out but Storm isn’t done, pulling Banzan out of the corner before scrambling up the ropes as the crowd roars begin to punctuate throughout the Slaughterhouse
AS DOWN COMES THE THUNDER! Storm hits that beautiful moonsault perfectly, staying down on Banzan for the cover
LAST SECOND KICKOUT!
Banzan just rolls that shoulder up but Storm isn’t ruffled, getting to his feet as he stalks a rising Banzan, the savvy Stormborn knowing a fundamental truth about OSW. That when there’s Thunder,
LIGHTING FOLLOWS…..BANZAN DUCKS!
The Superkick goes wild as Storm turns around into another Shotei
DUKKA! Storm gets flung across the ring right on his damn head and the world champion is in trouble here.
Storm slowly stumbles to his feet as Banzan rushes forward,
SAMUDYA! SHINING TRIANGLE!
And it’s locked in tight!
Storm tries to fight out but all of three hundred plus pounds is hanging off the world champion, his air ways cut short but as always, he refuses to tap out. But he’s fading fast, as his arm goes limp by his side, Storm slipping into unconciousness as the referee quickly calls for the bell
Banzan picks up a huge victory here tonight, dodging the lighting as he emerges the better champion against Luke Storm.
The clash of the champions is over, but the celebrations are shortlived. For moments after the match had concluded, a blood curdling scream pierces the air. The source, our OSW Champion himself, Luke Storm. Banzan casts a weary eye in the direction of Storm, unsure exactly how to respond as Luke grabs at his head, holding his temples as if suddenly inflicted with the worlds most painful headache.
“No! Leave her alone. Leave her out of this!”
Storm crumples to his knees, his usual stone-cold persona replaced by something much more raw and personal. He looks up, eyes cloudy, but a look of absolute terror on his face that we capture for but a fleeting moment before…
The lights return and Banzan has gone. But in his place stands none other than the hulking monster – Rain. He stands over Luke Storm, who practically pleads with him.
“She has done nothing…”
Rain simply smiles. He is the only one in the arena who seems to understand what Luke Storm is so terrified of. When he speaks, it is slow and methodical, yet each word is dripping with evil intent.
“You are the Storm Bringer, but a Storm without Rain is nothing more than hot air.”
He blows his breath at Storm and the effect is instantaneous. Storm’s eyes uncloud and he stands, looking extremely bewildered but equally as enraged. This only serves to add to Rain’s smirk.
“I am the Storm Taker. You are no different to countless others, Luke Storm. The way to take the wind out of your storm is the same…”
With that, Rain reaches forward and touches Luke’s head. We are transported, into the mind of Luke Storm itself, sucked into his very soul. There, we hear his voice as a scene unfolds before him. Scarlett, terrified, reaches out for her father… But Luke is trapped, paralyzed and unable to save her. Rain stands above the girl with the same evil intent in his eyes.
“No! Leave her alone. Leave her out of this! She has done nothing…”
But Rain does not leave her alone. He punches a fist right into the small child’s chest with otherworldly strength. The scene goes black as both the girl and Luke Storm scream out in duet. When we return to the Slaughterhouse, Luke Storm’s voice is still screaming. Rain simply lets go of his head and the father crumples to the ground once more, openly weeping.
Rain says nothing more. He leaves Luke Storm’s OSW Championship on the mat in front of his tormented victim, only it has the letters IWF written across the plate of it – written in crimson blood that still shimmers wet.
With that, Rain is gone. His message received.