Excerpt – “The price of a mistake”

I sat at my kitchen table, the mixed perspiration of waking from a cold sweat with tear trails down my cheeks making everything react to the cold night air in the kitchen more then normal. The counter was warm as my hands didn’t move from their marble resting place cradling a glass of dark amber whiskey. My heart was pumping fast as the dream haunted over me like a cloud of evil.

It started first in the familiar shape of the octagon. Roars from the crowd were loud despite being hidden from view. All of the light as well as the focus was in the ring. My corner was making sure my wraps was tight and our plan was set. This was where I first woke up with little problem and every night since then. After the first few days we had determined that I should hit and run as the opponent was a heavy hitter with the ability to take punishment. I had done this time after time, being the champ one had to fight on all comers. Seven days passed before things had begun to get weird.

First it was the music he came out to a song I had never heard with no lyrics mimicking more of classical music then anything. Normally fighters would pick music that would give them energy, but this was different. The tone was slow without draining energy from the audience. Violins played against piano and drums that would mimic a beating heart before the strings screech marked a supposed flat line. Every time I got to his music I could feel something saying how I should remember it. Vaguely familiar I applied myself in the days to see if anyone made an entrance to such music. From my agents to the fight bookers to my friends who recorded no one had heard about the haunting melody stopped by the sudden flatline. It was then my guess to figure what kind of person would use such a track. Intelligent yet comfortable within the confines of the cage.

Someone who preferred their normal nature then one aided by adrenaline. Overall it painted someone strong enough in their craft despite everything that began to creep me out. I was beginning to feel excited about my dreams wondering what little tidbit would appear next. People started noticing it too as I begun to train harder in efforts to properly tire myself out. Sick as my mind had been I was getting better shape after every night.

Finally tonight came despite training so hard I was feeling like a kid at Christmas. Closing my eyes my heart begun to race like my first fight only for the music to hit like a bucket of cold water. The first sounds of the keys and strings working through the melody did not slow the crowd. Someone from my corner saw him before I could to immediately get in my line of sight. Disgruntled I couldn’t arc my head to see as hands rested on the sides of my face while my cornerman spoke.

“Listen, this may be something we need to walk away from.”

I shook my head at such a notion. Whoever this was clearly was skilled in their craft. The look in his eyes as I replied filled me with something I didn’t know I felt for a while.

Fear.

The music had made me so eager that I didn’t notice the fighter enter the cage. My cornerman was looking down on me with what I would call a look of mournful pity. Watching my guy leave the cage I soon turned my head forward. A moment later I was kicking my sheets while my apartment filled with screams of terror. No champ could face the opponent and win. It was impossible.

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