The rumble of engines greets our ears as our scene opens in an otherwise serene suburban area of Las Vegas, Nevada known as Summerlin South. The quiet of the street almost feels displaced by the rumbling engines as a Harley-Davidson motorcycle coasts down the street. Astride the iron steed is Jacob Mephisto, Patriarch of The Family. A faded green pickup truck follows behind, carrying the Montgomery Twins.
It’s odd to see these three in the civilized world. Well, at least for those in the know. The world knows that Mephisto and his twisted family live out in the Mojave, a nomadic tribe that finds solace wherever it can. The Patriarch preaches that the rough living will strengthen their collective mettle.
It’d be a shame if they saw this.
The bike and the truck pull into one of the pristine driveways, complete with manicured lawn and an honest to goodness white picket fence. The All-Father kills the engine to his bike, setting the kickstand down and taking in the pastel colored rancher. Moments later, the truck engine dies. The night air allows a slight breeze to break the temperature slightly as the truck doors open with a creak and the twins step out, each grabbing an overnight bag from the bed of the truck.
Without a word among them, they walk up to the door and let themselves into their home. After all, even the leader of a desert-dwelling family needs to be able to relax every once in a while.
The interior looks like something out of a sitcom. The furniture is well cared for and everything looks so… normal.
The Twins wander off, presumably heading to their rooms to relax in an actual bed. Mephisto wipes at his face, light bags under his eyes providing a contrast to the alertness behind those pale grays of his. He’s tired. He aches. He hasn’t had a night go by since Redemption that’s given him a full night of sleep yet.
He can’t show that weakness to The Coyotes in the desert. He certainly can’t allow The Twins to see it. So, he comes home. He brings the twins with him because he knows their loyalty runs deeper than anyone will ever realize. He gives them rest. He provides them a peace that only a Father can. There are times he almost forgets they aren’t his actual children. Almost.
Jacob wanders into the den of the home he’s owned, hidden in plain sight, since at least 2012. He sinks into his favorite armchair, a plush little number he bought a few years back. Just as he’s getting comfortable, he hears it…
You are sixteen going on seventeen…
“Son of a bitch.”
He knows what he’s about to hear next.
“Welcome home, oh brother of mine.”
The voice is eerily familiar. It’s like a female version of Jacob’s own tones. He turns to see her sitting in the high-backed chair he used to use to cut promos in his earlier SHOOT Project days. Her long, black hair hangs loose, but elegant about her shoulders and her pale, gray eyes are mirrors of Jacob’s.
He sighs. “Hello, Kara. I would say I’m surprised to see you, but of course you’re here.”
Jacob Mephisto’s twin sister smirks, an all too familiar gesture. Though, her smile reflects in her eyes, unlike her brother’s. She produces a cigarette and lights it, the blue-gray smoke rising in tendrils.
“Hope you don’t mind. Old habits and all.”
His eye twitches for a half second before he simply gestures to the ashtray he usually reserves for his cigars on the table next to her.
“And, to what do I owe the honor of this visit? Come to warn me off my beaten path? Maybe you’re going to lecture me about the bonds of twinship? Whatever it is, make it fast. I’m tired.”
She takes a thoughtful drag of the cigarette, letting the smoke roll out of her mouth like a storm cloud.
“You haven’t been around in a while. You know I keep tabs. After all, I’m twelve minutes older. I’ve gotta look after my baby brother, right? You know, because twins should be there for each other… always.”
The way Kara Mephisto says the last word sends a shiver down Jacob’s spine. In that small, minuscule moment, he’s not the All-Father or the Patriarch. He’s… something else entirely.
“I’m fine. I’ve built a family out there in the Mojave. Those twins in the other rooms? They sit at the head of the table with me. We’ve got everything under control.”
She nods along as he speaks.
“So under control that you retreated back here to get away from it all? All I’m saying is don’t fall apart, little brother. You’ve seen what happens to our family when that happens.”
Real anger flashes in Jacob’s pale eyes.
She holds her hands up in a placating gesture and it’s like looking in a mirror for Jacob. He knows that’s a feint. He knows what’s coming next. Kara shrugs her shoulders.
“Don’t worry. I’ll always be here for you, Jakey. Even if you weren’t for me. You’re the reason I’m gone. You’re the reason I’m… still… fucking… here.”
Her voice rises an octave with each of those final words, causing Mephisto to leap to his feet.
“Listen here! That wasn’t my fau-”
Mephisto stops in his tracks, turning to look over his shoulder at Patience, who is standing at the door.
“Who are you talking to?”
He quickly pulls himself together, controlling his breathing and turning back to look at the now empty chair. Of course, it was always empty. The smell of cigarette smoke fades as if it were never there… and of course it wasn’t. The astray still sits empty on the table. The Patriarch masks his emotions before smiling warmly and turning back to Patience.
“No one, dear. Just preparing for a promo. I’ve a match in PRIME coming up, remember?”
She pauses for a long moment. She’s smart enough to know he’s lying, but she doesn’t care. She trusts her Father.
“Ok then. Goodnight.”
“Goodnight, dear Patience.”
She turns, once more aloof, and walks out the door. Mephisto sighs, standing and opening the bottom drawer of a cabinet nearby. The HD camera still has plenty of battery left. Perfect.
Hello, Larry. You and I have had a similar road here in PRIME, haven’t we? Neither one of us has seemed to be able to grab that foothold we need to build our brand. Our records reflect that, don’t they? Both of us come from accomplished backgrounds elsewhere. We’ve built our own followings outside of PRIME.
But, that doesn’t matter here.
See, I could sit here and tout my accomplishments. I could shove my SHOOT Project Iron Fist Championship into the camera lens. But, it wouldn’t do any good. Don’t get me wrong, if you’re a professional wrestling fan in Las Vegas, you probably know good and well who I am and what I’ve done.
Still… doesn’t mean I’ve done anything here.
I’ve thought about that a lot, Larry.
At ReVival 11, I put down a monster. For me, that was par for the course. For PRIME? It was an eye-opener. At least, it should have been.
Our roads converge at ReVival 11. There we’ll stand, two men wanting to do something more.
Sadly, only one of us will improve that record.
It won’t be you, Larry.
I can sit here and count the ways as to why. But, I’m not going to do that. You’re a smart man. At least, that’s what I’ve been told. I’m sure you can figure out why you’re not going to win.
I’ll give you a little hint. It’s because I know you, Larry Tact. At least, I know your type. You see, you’re certainly not the plucky underdog but, in a way, you’re so much like one. You’re the guy that values competition. You have this drive to be the best. You’re no hero, but you reek of the qualities a hero has. You fight on. You persevere. You have the stench of the protagonist all about you.
Well, I make no excuses for who and what I am. I’m the bad guy. I’m the villain. I don’t care about competition.
Larry, I break people. Physically, mentally, emotionally. I’ve built an entire career out of it. I’ve built an entire Family on those principles.
So, Mr. Tact, while you come to ReVival searching for victory? I’m coming to put you down. It’s not personal, really. I don’t take any joy in it.
Well, maybe a little.
So, you can keep that moral code of wanting to just be the best and wanting to beat the best competition. That will fade away eventually and you’ll be nothing more than a shell. There are three simple facts you need to know about me to understand what’s about to happen.
One: everything rots… even you. Two: it’s really only a matter of time, and time is on my side. Three: the dark horse always wins.
I’m the Dark Horse, Larry. It takes three seconds to learn those facts. You’ll know you’ve learned them all because you’ll hear a bell sounding. You’ll see the lights on the ceiling. And then? You’ll hear my name called.
It’s just… well… it’s just how your life goes, isn’t it?