Duality. The heads and tails of a coin. Yin and yang. Good and evil. There are many things in our world that have two sides to them. We are one such example. Before you get confused, allow me to explain. I am Ria Nightshade. My other half is Ria Lockhart. In most aspects of our day to day lives, she’s in control. She’s polite, kind, compassionate and just really wants to be liked. She’s the opposite of me. That’s by design, with her being the one holding the pencil. See, Lockhart just doesn’t do well with negativity. Anger, depression, sadness… She struggles to handle these emotions.
So she created me. I haven’t always been here. I can’t even give you the exact time I was created. Maybe we were about nine or ten? I don’t fucking know and it doesn’t really matter. At first, I didn’t come out unless it was extreme circumstances. Hell, I didn’t even have a name at first. I was just a piece of her. As the years went on, I became more. Her struggles, her inability to deal with life helped me grow. She was feeding me without knowing it.
I want to say we were about seventeen or so when I took more of a full form. I gave myself a name. I started taking more control for us. If I didn’t like a situation, I reacted to it instead of waiting for Lockhart to relinquish control. More and more, I did this. When she lets her weakness win, I am our strength. We’re codependents, as much as we might hate each other. Lockhart can actually operate in normal society. She takes care of all the mundane, normal bullshit people have to deal with.
The funny thing is that Lockhart refuses to acknowledge I exist. She knows. We’re covered in tattoos, piercings, and half our hair is green for fuck’s sake! That wasn’t her idea, so how could she not know?! It’s a defense mechanism. If she acts mostly ignorant to my existence, she still gets to carry on being a ‘good person’. I take all the blame for the nasty things we do. I don’t really give a shit. I enjoy doing it, after all.
She’s not perfect. The truth is she’s suicidal. She has been since we were teenagers. Lockhart is too worried about others to ever really go through with it. I wouldn’t let her anyway. Besides, that’s stupid and lazy. Why hurt yourself when you can piss others off and have them do it for you? Maybe someday, I get someone angry enough that they go too far. Even still, I smoke way more than she does, drink way more than she does and do drugs she would never touch. I might kill us before we even hit fourty. Wouldn’t that be something? As much as I like to say I’m toxic to others, I’m the most toxic to our existence.
Without me, we don’t last in PRIME. This place is a pressure cooker. It’s far too stressful for Lockhart. Why do you think I’m the one running things? She’s active elsewhere, so it’s not like she’s incapable in the ring. You need an edge to survive here. We’re still surviving because of me. I’m done dicking around. I hate losing, even the weak bitch does. I’ve been lacking focus, too preoccupied with making jokes. We will do more than survive now. We will conquer! I will conquer!
I told you to get this fucking room cleaned yesterday! When I say something, it means now! Not later! You think I like beating your ass? It’s starting to hurt my hand! I’m gonna use the belt from now on, so get your shit together!
Fear. It can be a powerful emotion. One can use it to inspire or control. You inspire by fear through consequence. ‘If you don’t do A, then B will happen’. It’s an age old tactic used by many a tyrant. You can control through fear as well. ‘John Doe questioned me, so my guards killed him. Anyone that does will suffer the same fate’. Again, this is a favorite of tyrants.
Fear has two natural enemies. She learned this at a young age. Courage and apathy can cancel fear out. A child getting battered by a grown man isn’t likely to embrace courage. After all, what could one do? Standing up for yourself will only earn a worse beating. Apathy, though… She helped me become familiar with that in time. If the consequence doesn’t inspire fear, then what? What do you have? You have an ass beating that’s more a waste of energy than any kind of lesson.
He has a crush on me?! Ew! That’s so gross! He’s weird… I like his friend much better.
Heartbreak. I think everyone experiences it at least once in life. It can be from love scorned, the death of a loved one, even not getting accepted to your favorite college. Heartbreak has many different forms. I’m of the opinion that there’s two ways to handle it. You let your heart heal and refresh. You let it grow anew. You can also let it scar. Eventually, there will be so many scars and so much damage that there will be no pain.
She tried to follow the first path in our youth. She still tries her best to this day. It’s a fool’s errand. The scars piled up. Healing isn’t possible without time. The truth is the second path becomes easier to walk once you’ve felt enough pain. Turning your heart black and calloused solves the problem permanently. Why put yourself through that pain when you know how it’s gonna end? It’s much harder to break a heart of thick ice than it is to break one made of thin glass.
He’s such a loser! I doubt he even has any friends. Who would want to be friends with that freak?! It’s like he doesn’t even know how to fit in!
Rejection. Children can be cruel. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking elementary age or teenagers. Teenagers might even be worse. Most small children won’t tell you to ‘go kill yourself’. Adolescents don’t tend to consider the weight of their words before letting them leave their mouths. It’s much easier to speak freely than to actually think beforehand.
She is weak. She was even weaker in our formative years. There was a period of time going into our teens that she considered suicide daily. Sure, this is an action you can’t reverse. Would it make them feel guilt? Would they regret the words that they spoke? The few friends she had helped her hang out, along with a few select family members. Really though, I couldn’t let them win, even if they really didn’t want to win in the first place. They could shun her all they wanted. It was our life and we were free to live it however we wanted. I would be our strength.
Oh my god, did you see what he was wearing today?! I think he even had a bra on! What the hell is wrong with him?! Like, you’re a boy! Why are you wearing girl’s clothing? Why did your parents let you dress like that? Do they even know?!
Intolerance. Some people confuse ignorance with stupidity. Ignorance is a lack of knowledge. Stupidity is a willful lack of knowledge or an incapability to retain knowledge. While ignorance pisses me off, she can forgive it somewhat. I have no time for stupidity. Ignorance can breed stupidity. That varies from person to person. There’s an old saying, ‘Ignorance is bliss’. It might be for that one individual, but it’s not for anyone that has to deal with them.
We’ve dealt with our share of ignorance over the years. It was hard for her in school. It was even harder dealing with it from her own family. Instead of looking for a solution, it was easier to ask why she was a mess. It was easier to make jokes behind her back. There’s a good chunk of her family that found that line between ignorance and stupidity. They went rushing right over it more often than not.
I don’t want to share a bathroom with him! What’s next? The locker room?! It’s just so wrong… Can’t he just find somewhere else to do what he needs to do?
Disgust. It came from all sides. Boys, girls, men and women. It came from all races and a number of religions. Some people didn’t even want to be near us, let alone interact with her. Transitioning might have been helping us feel like who we weremeant to be. That didn’t mean others had to accept it or be happy about it. It offended their sensibilities, after all!
The funny thing is that while they might have been disgusted by us, I was just as disgusted by them. The things we did to and with our body was our business. As long as we weren’t hurting anyone, why did it matter? Oh, a book with a bunch of bullshit stories that’s been rewritten countless times and has I don’t know how many versions says it matters? I could go into that further, but why bother? My words won’t change their minds. It’s just easier for both sides to have mutual disgust for each other.
It pisses me off! He, she, it, whatever… You know it’s gonna look for special treatment. Their type always does! Oh yeah, because you’re fucked up, I have to walk on eggshells. Such bullshit…
Anger. There’s times where if you can’t wrap your head around something, it’s easier to get angry rather than try to understand. There’s stupid people out there that believe special interest groups are looking for special treatment. They don’t realize asking for better treatment is a means for equality, not superiority. Diversity is never a bad thing, but you can’t lead a horse to water if it refuses to move.
It doesn’t help that some idiots in those groups do actually want better than equal. They feel their identity makes them super special and they deserve special treatment. They fail to understand that this attitude leads to resentment. It comes from the outside and even those in their groups. After all, it stunts the actual growth and progress others fight so hard for. There are morons on both sides, believe me.
He’s not a real woman! His little masquerade just undermines the struggle real women have to deal with! Fuck him and those other sickos like him! Somebody should just beat it out of him!
Hate. It’s quite remarkable that one could hate another without even actually knowing the person. Why take the time to get to know them on a personal level? Their race, religion, gender identity or whatever else just irrationally pisses you off. That’s enough, isn’t it? What’s wrong with hating what’s different from you? Animals cast out oddities more often than not. Shouldn’t we have the choice to do the same?
There are sadly people that genuinely feel this way. She’s always tried to be understanding. When that doesn’t work, she tries to be apathetic. Eventually, it fell to me to just throw the hate back. Why the hell should you get to be a piece of shit?! Why are we obligated to be the better person?! Fuck that! Fear, heartbreak, rejection and intolerance. They gave way to disgust, anger and hate. When she finally gave in and let me handle things, my god was it liberating! I plan to keep the fire of that liberation burning as strong as a supernova!
A woman walks down the hallway of a hotel. Her pink PVC dress is both tight and short, quite provocative. Her matching pink heels are stilettos and at least five inches tall. She has a small black clutch purse, with a gold chain as a strap. Her blonde hair is done in an intentionally messy style and her makeup is rather heavy. The woman’s nails are long, though not to the point of ridiculousness, and match her dress in color. To anyone that saw her, it appears quite obvious this young woman is a sex worker.
She continues her walk, her heels clicking away on the floor as she does. She finally draws to a stop in front of a door. She reaches into her clutch, producing a smartphone. She taps on the screen a few times. She looks closely at the phone, then at the door. Room 346. She puts her phone away and knocks at the door. She waits for a few seconds before the door flies open. Standing in the open doorway, wearing a black cami tank top and pink camo sleep shorts, is Ria Nightshade.
[Ria] HI! You must be Roxxi! Come on in!
The woman looks confused, but slowly makes her way into the hotel room.
[Roxxi] Yeah, I’m Roxxi… Are you… Cecilia Ryan?
Roxxi asks this as she’s looking at her phone for confirmation.
[Ria] Oh yeah, I’m totally Cecilia Ryan! Feel free to tell your friends my name!
A smirk crosses Ria’s face as she retreats deeper into the room. She walks over to the messy bed, jumping up and spinning to land back first on the bed with a slight bounce. She grabs a nearby remote for an Amazon fire stick. She makes a couple of quick clicks, pulling up Friday the 13th Part 3 onto the TV screen. Roxxi tentatively moves next to the bed, where Ria is laying on her back messing on her phone.
[Roxxi] So are we gonna go out? Stay here? What are-
Ria cuts off the questions.
[Ria] Burgers or pizza?
A dumbfounded look crosses Roxxi’s face as she’s clearly caught off-guard by the inquiry.
[Ria] Burgers or pizza? Which do you want to eat?
The look hasn’t left Rossi’s face.
[Roxxi] Uh, I dunno? Burgers, I guess?
[Ria] Good choice! Toppings?
[Roxxi] Um… Ketchup, mustard, mayo, pickles, lettuce and tomato.
Ria’s face scrunches up in disgust.
[Ria] I’m sure you’re used to putting gross things in your mouth, but pickles and mustard?! BLEH!
Ria sticks out her tongue before returning her attention to her phone. Once she’s done, she sets her phone down before looking at the sex worker.
[Ria] Well? You gonna keep standing there awkwardly? Sit your ass down!
Ria playfully pats a spot on the bed next to her. Roxxi wearily follows Ria’s instructions. The two watch the movie mostly in silence until there’s a knock at the door. Ria goes to answer, returning with two Styrofoam containers. She opens one slightly before closing it again and handing it to Roxxi. Ria takes a seat with hers and the two start to eat. As they do, Roxxi seems to start relaxing.
[Roxxi] Okay, so why is the masked guy killing all these people?
[Ria] Look, it’s real simple. As a kid, Jason here may or may not have drowned at the nearby lake. His mother wanted revenge since she felt the camp was negligent and started killing counselors. One of them killed her, which Jason apparently saw. He killed that girl and now patrols the nearby area, killing anyone encroaching on his territory as well as in memory of his mother. Like I said, real simple!
The two continue to engage in small talk until they’re done eating.
[Roxxi] So what do you do for a living, Cecilia?
Ria looks confused for a second before snapping out of it.
[Ria] Oh, right, that’s me… I’m a pro wrestler!
[Roxxi] Are you any good?
A smile crosses Ria’s face, but it’s different than her usual ones. There’s a hint of sadness to it.
[Ria] I thought I was…
An awkward silence hangs in the air for a moment.
[Roxxi] Well whatever. So why did you pay for me? It doesn’t seem like you’re looking for sex.
[Ria] I enjoy female companionship and I’m not exactly great at making friends. So here you are. I don’t give a shit about money. If we enjoy each other’s company, then great. If not, whatever, it’s not like I have to see your ass again.
The two continue their small talk until the end of the movie. Ria reaches into her purse and pulls out a stack of bills, counting out a specific amount. She walks Roxxi to the door.
[Roxxi] That wasn’t what I was expecting… But I did actually kind of enjoy it!
[Ria] Yeah, cool.
Ria takes half the small stack of dollars and hands it to Roxxi. She then folds the other one in half. She reaches over, tugging the top of Rossi’s dress and her bra back before tucking the bills deep in the right cup, underneath her breast. Roxxi has a look of shock on her face. She looks down at her chest before looking back at Ria. There’s something different about her. Instead of the mischievousness that seemed to radiate from her earlier, there’s an air of sadness to her. Her usually neon green eyes are instead ice blue in color.
[Ria] I know most people aren’t sex workers because of a sex addiction or whatever. It’s because they don’t know what else to do to get by. Consider that extra money a tip. Keep it safe until you can put it in the bank.
Roxxi fights back tears before embracing Ria in a tight hug.
[Roxxi] I won’t forget this…
Roxxi starts to slowly walk away. She pauses after about ten feet and turns around. The door to Ria’s room is already closed.
Flamberge… I’m not sure how I feel about this match. Good looking kid, has some deadly moves with a killer instinct, backed up with association football conditioning. I know how I SHOULD feel… I’m fucked. There’s not a single area where I have any kind of advantage on this guy, other than experience. On paper, there’s next to no chance I win this match.
That’s on paper, though. I might be severely outmatched, but there’s one thing I can do: Fight. It’s what I’ve always done. I don’t really have much choice. This French fucker is gonna cave my skull in otherwise. I don’t necessarily mind that outcome, but he’s gonna have to work for it. It’s kinda like boxing. A slugger will rarely beat an orthodox fighter. But if the slugger can land one big shot… If they slip that one punch when the orthodox boxer isn’t ready…
I don’t plan on throwing together any type of strategy for this match. I usually don’t bother anyway, but that’s doubly true here. What’s the point? Can’t outwrestle him. Lockhart might be able to kinda hang with him, but that’s not my deal. Can’t overpower him. Dude’s got half a foot and 40 lbs on me. Not gonna outlast him. Football players have stamina for days. Planning? Nah. I’m just gonna kamikaze this bitch and see where it takes me.
I might sound pessimistic here. I call it being realistic. Believe me, I have no designs on just rolling over and giving ol’ one name his first victory. I just have an uphill battle. That doesn’t mean I won’t bring every bit of arsenal I have available. I guess we’re gonna see exactly how durable this guy is. Is he like a tank? Or more like a fresh baguette? Not a stale one, you could kill a man smacking him upside the head with a stale one.
I don’t even have to look online to know what some people are saying. I’m sure it’s even on shirts at this point; FLAMBO’S GONNA KILL YOU! Maybe he will. Maybe I’ll be a bloody lump of flesh by the end of our match. But maybe… maybe being stuck in the ring with someone that has more than a decade of experience will be his undoing? Maybe going against someone that’s had to fight their entire life will overwhelm him? Maybe having to fight off someone that’ll do ANYTHING to win will leave him in shambles? FLAMBO’S GONNA KILL ME? He’s welcomed to try.