Inside the 9th Street Asylum
August 30th, 2019
The first Chaos of this era has just gone off the air. Crash Rodriguez is limping slowly through the corridors heading towards the locker room to grab his things. As he rounds a corner he hears footsteps drawing closer and closer. The thought fills his head that this may be an ambush, so he turns around ready to strike only to stand face to face with Darin Zion.
Crash Rodriguez: “You should announce yourself. Especially after a fucking war like that, might’ve got yourself hurt there.”
Darin Zion: “My bad, man.”
Crash shakes his head, and lets out a small chuckle.
Crash Rodriguez: “What do you need, my man? I’m about to head home.”
Darin Zion flashes a grin at Crash, a bit of worry in his eyes. He hopes he can pull this off a second time. He understands why Noah freed The Crooked Man, they needed him in that war, strength in numbers. Yet it set his plans back and added a new obstacle. How can he do this again?
Darin Zion: “Lemme buy you some drinks. You like Tequila, right?”
September 4th, 2019
How long have I been here? The walls are taunting me. Drilling my shortcomings into my brain with a diamond bit. The number. It’s plastered on the walls of this white padded room. I can’t scream any longer. No, rather I can’t scream louder than the number plaguing me like rats eating the decaying flesh. My eyes hurt, but closing them seems to only increase the dread when they open next.
A night. Everything can change in a single night. We can turn a bunch of respectable wrestlers into nothing more than crying children with one night of chaos. A night of drinking can get you stuck in a padded room. Do I hate him? Should I hate him? What potential could he possibly see?
I feel my throat closing in on itself. It’s been doing that more and more. I open my mouth and let out a groan. It’s weak. I’m weak. Why am I here? That number that floods my room, drowning me and filling the lungs with nothing short of madness, all the while it brings me hope for a better tomorrow. It’s bittersweet. It’s 9. How did I get here?
He sees something in me. Noah saw something in me. The Order claims they see something in me. HOW claims they see something in me. I see nothing. Just a man at the end of his rope. How much more can I take? HOW MUCH FUCKING MORE CAN I ENDURE?!
Stop. Breathe. Listen.
I know I shouldn’t be able to hear anything, not inside here. Yet I do. Footsteps, nails on a chalkboard…. And screaming. So much screaming. Judging by the screams, the pain must be unbearable. Where am I?
September 5th, 2019
Am I awake? Where am I? These walls aren’t the ones I remember? It’s gone. What’s gone?
Was it a letter? G? No. I can’t remember. That melody, it’s beautiful as it fills the air. I always loved her voice. Wait! NO! COME BACK! She’s gone, just as quick as she came.
Wait a minute, who is gone? I can’t remember anymore. Hold on, where am I?
Home? Who’s there? Who are you? I look around me, but I’m all alone, the voice speaks again.
“I’m you. Rather, what’s left of you. You have to remember, lest you forever forget.”
Her? Who is that?
Silence fills my brain.
September 7th, 2019
The walls seem to be caving in. This bright prison being the only thing to bring me solace. Like a woman with Stockholm Syndrome, I feel loved and at home. Yet these same 4 corners keeping me in check are ripping and burning each fiber of my brain. Is this my punishment for taking part in the destruction of HOW’s beloved Yuengling Arena? I hear something. Loud. Pungent. I stare forward as a familiar face enters into my room. Darin Zion.
My arms bound in front of me, as the straight jacket performs its job to perfect. He flashes me a small, worried smile. Is he regretting putting me in here? Does he see me as a fool, walking into his trap? I await his greeting. Hoping. Praying it may silence the… Silence. What a troublesome existence.
He hasn’t spoken yet. It’s felt like hours has passed, yet the heavy door has just now shut. He opens his mouth, I can tell his coming words are carefully formed.
Darin Zion: “Crash, search your feelings. You may feel like you’re drowning but search within yourself. What are the 9’s telling you? How are they speaking to you?”
The 9’s. I can’t make out a word they say. Whatever message lies within them is too distorted. Zion. When can I leave? Why won’t you answer me? Why aren’t my lips moving?
Darin Zion: “Crash? You in there? I know fear can cripple a man, but you need to embrace it. Fall deeper into those feelings. Search your past. Do whatever it takes. Embrace your inner demons Crash!”
Why can’t I talk? I’m sitting here like a lobotomized racehorse. I’m definitely here Zion. You brought me here. LEFT ME HERE! For what? Why embrace my “inner demon”? To make me a monster? Wait… my past. Her.
Yes, I remember now. Her hotel was a dump, she was the best thing about it. Wait! No! Where am I? Who is this before me. I’m drowning. I feel the water collapsing my lungs. Somebody help me. For fuck’s sake, get me out of here.
Zion. Please take me home. I don’t want to do this anymore. Please, Darin.
Darin Zion: Something’s surfacing! Excellent. I see that look in your eyes. You desperately want freedom. That will come soon enough, I promise you, Crash. But for now…Crash…now it’s time to embrace that number…so you can destroy Ward.
Evan Ward. I know so little about the Ground Zero member. He’s squeaky clean. He’s the definition of a ‘good guy’. He is walking proof that I’m not a good guy. Wait. I am a good guy. Deep down. No. That’s bullshit. People are only what they do. I hurt people so I feel better. I hurt myself to feel better. He’s a technically sound performer. A wrestler’s favorite wrestler. I can be likened to an unhinged dumpster fighter. I have been.
Shut up! I’m more than just that. I’m counting myself out before I even try. I’ll win this. I’ll kill him. For me. For Zion. For The Order. For all of HOW. For her… her… Stop. Stay focused. Zion is on his knee. His eyes staring into mine like fire. Does he see me? Can he see what is inside my maggot-infested brain?
Can you see me Zion?
Darin Zion: “I only know the legends of Evan Ward from Brian Hollywood. Ward had Hollywood’s number at each turn. He looked past Hollywood’s ego in each encounter. Evan doesn’t allow himself to fall for any bullshit around him. His heart stays focused on his family. He’s blinded for his love for Aiden. Such an innocent, loving, family man driven to be a good role model. It sickens to watch that love. Some would say it makes him stronger. But it weakens him. He’s attached to that love. It holds him back. Crash, you’re suppressing something and I can feel it in my soul. But what…what is it?”
I don’t know myself. Maybe I am what I have always feared of being. My father’s son. A ghost of a sad child, turned into nothing more than a spirit of rage and anger. An unstoppable force of hatred. I’m just… A crash that takes away everything we love. Everything you love…
Darin Zion: “Come on Crash…tell me! WHAT…HOLDS…YOU…BACK?!”
I don’t want to admit to what I am. A modern day psychologically twisted individual. Just say it. Say something. Why haven’t I been able to speak? Instead, I’ve been sitting here, staring dead ahead. I have to say something to show him I can hear him.
Darin Zion: “Damnit Crash blink twice if you hear me!”
Did I blink? I feel like I did. Zion shakes his head. No, wait. Where’s he going? I can hear you, Zion.
I CAN HEAR YOU!
He turns around. I can tell whatever he’s about to say is from the heart. That it’s important.
Darin Zion: “Look I know I’m going hard on you. I know it’s overwhelming you, Crash. But 9 keeps speaking to you. It’s something to do with your past. You have to embrace it full-hearted. The death in your eyes tells me you keep holding on to your sanity. You’re repressing it. Dive deeper! Farther! COME ON!”
The world is spinning. It’s turned upside down. Everything is so distorted. The shiny white walls are being consumed by the dark 9’s that spot the room randomly. Everything. Is. Black.
Wait. It’s all coming back now…
September 8th, 2019
Evan Ward. I only found out he was going to be my opponent when Zion came by. I must admit, as much as I’ve racked my brain coming up with a plan of attack, I’ve only arrived at one winning solution.
To completely lose my mind.
To be the berserker.
That’s what I’ll do. Yes. I’ll drag him to the pits of hell, where i will cut him piece by piece. I’ll torture him in front of the world. In front of his family. I’ll let his screams ring out, like a beautiful hymn to fill the arena. Like a twisted song, with a chorus haunting enough to strip this man to his foundation.
After all, I’ve decided there is no such thing as good people. Just men and women in costumes. He’ll be nothing more than a wounded animal, clawing for salvation that will never come.
He will receive no mercy from me.
September 9th, 2019
I can smell the footsteps as they walk into the lobby and up to the front desk. I can feel the walls vibrate as the words escape their mouth, happy to finally be able to see the fruits of their “labor”.
Darin Zion is here. And it’s almost time to wage war.
I have become a warhorse. Bred for one thing only. Win by any means necessary. To ride into the plains of death, fueled by the blood-stained rocks I pass by with each stride.
She’s looking for you.
I don’t care anymore. Whoever she is.
The 9s that have plagued me since I arrived has become my solace. The number is mine. I alone, understand it’s banshee-like cries of pain and joy. I am its prodigal son, the man who will watch the world burn to see it satisfied.
I can taste the door opening before me, this time held open as Darin Zion, the man who has guided me to find what I am. He stands, uncertain if this has worked. His thoughts seem to fill the air as if they were honest to god words…
Darin Zion: “What did you learn?”
Crash Rodriguez: “What I am… Bring me to Ward…”