Title: Light
Featuring: "The Provocateur" Arthur Pleasant
Date: 06/23/2022
Location: DYNASTY - Exam Room #1

“Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it.” ― Terry Pratchett, Reaper Man


Pulling off my right knee pad from the bench inside the locker room of DYNASTY — the Van Warren family’s gymnasium owned and run by my Father, Eryk Van Warren— I let it slide down my knee, all the way down to my shin. Rubbing my knee cap gingerly after the wear and tear of it from today’s limited workout routine (per doctor’s orders), I find myself chuckling at the idea of returning to the ring after it nearly came crashing down from the events that unfolded at DEFCON.

Through it all, I can still hear that pop from the audience when I lifted the Escape Artist up onto my shoulders and drove that punk-rock fucking prick down into the flaming table.

Unfortunately? That’s the last thing I remember from the match. After that? It all gets a little bit fuzzy. Considering I didn’t walk away with the Southern Heritage Championship, it’s probably for the best.

After thinking about it for the last few months, I needed to come to terms with the fact that I shouldn’t be risking my life every match anymore. I’ve wrestled enough deathmatches and hardcore splatterfests to cover three lifetimes. And now, it takes actually delivering a move to someone else for my brain to start rebelling against me?

Fuck.

Is it worth the risk anymore?

Is it worth the reactions from that bloodthirsty audience?

Is the excitement of carnage, calamity, and chaos in the middle of that ring worth the life-shortening end results?

I don’t know anymore.

But, still… goddamn did it feel great to drive that fucker through some fire and wood. 

With MAXIMUM DEFIANCE looming on the not-so-distant horizon, I am well aware that I do not have a place on the card yet. I’ve been out having tests done to my brain for so long that I may just miss my first PPV since joining DEFIANCE Wrestling. 

Uggggggh.

“Mr. Pleasant.” says world-renowned Dr. So and So as he watches me unlace my boots. I literally don’t even know his name because he refuses to wear a name badge and he mentioned what it was only once about five hours ago.

“Dr. So and So” I respond for a moment before removing the rest of my training gear.

Doc looks perturbed by my response and makes sure to correct me post-haste.

“It’s Dr. Youngblood. Dr. Floyd Youngblood.” he says. 

With a lightbulb going off, I snap a finger.

“That’s right! Dr. Floyd Youngblood. You know, you really should wear a name badge. Especially being a neurologist. Easy for patients to forget who the fuck you actually are and all.” I say, half-jokingly, half-seriously, and half-criticizing. 'Cause I'm a three-halves kinda guy and shit. 

Again, Dr. Youngblood looks annoyed. My give-a-flying-fuck pants were in the wash.   

“So, it looks like you did not suffer a Grade 3 concussion after all.” Dr. Youngblood says matter-of-factly.

Score one for the Plaguebeast.

“Nice. I knew it couldn’t be as serious as you idiots were first letting on." I say, standing up from the bench I had been sitting on since I sparred with one of Eryk's starry-eyed upstarts, "I mean, sure, I was experiencing headaches and thought I saw my dead Mother visiting me in my sleep, but that’s just another day of the week for ole Uncle Arthur!”

Laughing my full head off at my own unfunny joke, Dr. Youngblood shakes his head with much exasperation.

“You still suffered a concussion, Mr. Pleasant. It was a Grade 1. No matter the grade, though, TBI’s are still-”

Holding up my hand for him to stop, I sigh.

“Listen, pretend I didn’t get my PhD and I’m just some pro-wrassler from DEFIANCE. What the fuck is a TBI?!”

“Traumatic Brain Injury.”

“Gotcha. Continue.”

“So while you didn’t suffer anything more than a Grade 1 concussion, you still suffered a TBI. How your original licensed physician incorrectly diagnosed this is beyond me. Not that I’m in the habit of talking bad about my fellow colleagues or a-”

“-oh it’s fine. Because the person who misdiagnosed this was someone from the DEFIANCE Medical Team. So, talk all the shit you want, man. Fuck ‘em. Fuck 'em right in their goddamn eye sockets.”

“If I only received a Grade 1 concussion, then what was with the blackouts and that alleged seizure I had?!” I ask, interrupting him in the process.

Dr. Youngblood looks at me and shrugs.

“I’d like to say they were related, but they aren’t.”

I stare ahead blankly at Doc.

“They also said I had dark spots on my brain according to the CT scan. I guess that was fucking bullshit, too?” I say with my anger increasing by the second.

“It could’ve been the remnants of an older injury. Or maybe even a resolved medical condition that simply doesn’t pose a threat. Honestly? It could’ve been any number of things, but I wouldn’t fault the doctors that checked you out too much. Hell, I’ve even misdiagnosed-” 

“-save it. There’s no excuse. This… this was premeditated, unapologetic negligence. DEFIANCE Wrestling has been looking for ways to get rid of me since day one. Ever since I lit someone on fire.”

Dr. Youngblood’s eyes nearly bulge out of their sockets.

“I see.” he says, dialing back whatever else there is he wants to say.

“Anyway.” I say, grabbing my ‘Provocateur’ hoodie from the exam room table before continuing, “I trust this means I’m cleared to wrestle again? And that you’ll sign the necessary paperwork?”

Dr. Youngblood nods and folds a paper in half that he pulls from his clipboard. Sliding it over to me, I sigh with a sense of satisfaction as I place some of my things into the locker directly in front of me.

“Thanks, Doc. I guess it’s true what they say…” I say, trailing off, allowing Dr. Youngblood to marinate on the impending quote.

“What’s that?” he inevitably asks.

“The darkest hour of the night comes just before dawn.”

With documents in hand, I motion goodbye to Dr. Floyd Youngblood and begin making my way back.

If traffic wasn’t too bad, I could make the next red eye to New Orleans.

There would be hell to pay down in the Bayou. Rest assured.

 



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