Bite The Hand That Feeds You, Pt 1

Bite The Hand That Feeds You, Pt 1

Posted on June 20, 2024 at 11:38 pm by Darin Zion

Prelude

“Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the GOD of HOW. “Utterly meaningless!  Everything is meaningless. EXCEPT THE WORLD TITLE”

–The Book of Ecc-LEE-siastes 1:1, or some bullshit Zion made up in his head again…..

Darin Zion stirred within his luxurious suite at the Caledonian Hotel, groggy and disoriented after a full night of debauchery. The opulent room, with its rich fabrics and elegant furnishings, seemed to close in around him as his mind grappled with the remnants of the night before. Whether it was gourmet feasts, endless drinks, or the alluring company of women, Zion had indulged in it all. His nights were a whirlwind of excess, from partying with royals to passionate encounters with stunning women.

Faint flashes of memories swirled through his groggy state: laughter echoing in grand halls, the clinking of crystal glasses, and the touch of soft skin. Squinting, Darin caught a glimpse of the digital clock on his nightstand, casting a faint blue light: 6:00 AM. The early morning light seeped through the heavy drapes, hinting at the dawn breaking outside.

With a groan, Zion pushed himself up, wincing at the relentless grip of his hangover. The room smelled of cheap perfume and champagne, a stark contrast to its refined elegance. His bloodshot eyes focused on the horizon, where the first blush of dawn painted the sky in brilliant hues of pink and gold. Edinburgh’s silhouette emerged, with the castle standing as a majestic sentinel.

Despite the breathtaking view, Zion felt a familiar emptiness. He had lived out his wildest fantasies, but as the morning light bathed the city, he realized once again there was a gnawing feeling in his stomach.

Again, he felt nothing.

All his hedonism still couldn’t fill the void left empty in his heart.  Even all life’s pleasures couldn’t fill the void in Zion’s heart, a void left gaping by the past few weeks after the GOD of HOW had forsaken him. As Zion stumbled towards the balcony to rest against it, the inexplicable hollowness began caving in around him. The early morning light faded, and sweat poured down his body as he collapsed to his knees. Zion’s body trembled as the faint tint of #97Red swirls began to envelop him.

His lungs struggled to draw breath, his heart pounding hard against his chest. He strained to make sense of the ordeal. Was this a trick of the mind or something more profound? For a moment, reality and illusion blurred, leaving Zion to question everything.

As reality came crashing down around Darin, he did the one thing he could to quell the chaos.  Zion started whispering under his breath. “Yes, it’s been 9 long years since that faithful night.  You were the one that got away from me.”

In the midst of exhaustion and regret, everything became to materialize for Zion.  With his eyes closed, the bitter aftermath of his actions began to unravel in a flurry.  The haunting memories of his first War Games PPV flooded his conscience.  He’d run himself down to the core to fight off those worthless Boardwalk fucks relentlessly.  He’d desperately sought after the hero’s welcome from the HOW roster.

Yet that one-tracked mindset made him overlook the one who truly mattered:  HER.

On that night, she was the one who got away from him.

He let her slip away from him—the only true love he’d have in life:  the coveted #97RED, the HOW World Heavyweight Championship.  He’d dedicated himself to friends who never reciprocated the same feelings he’d shown them.  He failed to show his one true love his full devotion.

For years, he’d harbored resentment towards figures in his life like Brian Hollywood, Jatt Starr, Mike Best, Noah Hanson, Scott Stevens, and GOD himself.

But in a moment of clarity, The Prodigal Son of HOW felt the blame settling squarely on his shoulders.  Years of self-doubt and missed opportunities began to transform into an insatiable anger.

Right now, the weight of personal responsibility painted a vivid portrait of his shortcomings and each brushstroke stared him squarely in the eye.

Without skipping a beat, Zion smoothly collected his midnight blue tuxedo from the burgundy-upholstered chair, its fabric cool to the touch against his fingertips. As he swiftly dressed, the luxurious material cascaded over his frame. His movements were precise, fastening each button with ease. With a purposeful stride, he quickly tiptoed towards the door, making absolutely sure he did not disrupt the slumber of his two new lady friends.  As he strolled out towards the door, a verse sprung into the mind of Zion.  He muttered it under his breath as he left to calm his uneasy heart.

“What do the nerds gain from their futile labors at which they toil under the sun?  Generations come and go, but the MACHINE remains forever.  No one remembers the former NERDs and the Nerds to come will not be remembered.  But the MACHINE and HOW transcend them all, bringing glory to all professional wrestling.”

==========

9:00 AM

A few blocks north of the Caledonian Hotel, Darin Zion stood at the threshold of St. Mary’s Cathedral, its Gothic spires reaching heavenward in supplication. The weight of centuries pressed upon him as he entered through the weathered wooden doors, their intricate carvings bearing swiftness to countless prayers and penances. Inside, the cathedral’s vast hallways stretched out before him, echoing with the hushed footsteps of patrons and the soft flicker of candlelight.

The high vaulted ceilings soared overhead, adorned with delicate carvings of angels and saints whose eyes seemed to follow his every step. Sunlight filtered through the majestic stained-glass windows, casting a regal red hue upon the polished pews. Each pane depicted a biblical narrative, not merely illuminating scenes of piety and devotion, but offering glimpses of redemption and hope for the future.

On this solemn day, Darin felt the weight of his past transgressions like chains around his heart. The flickering candles seemed to light the path towards the front of the congregation.  His footsteps echoing softly in these revered halls.  Amidst all this sacred beauty, Zion came to atone for his sins.  It was time he reconciled himself with the GOD of HOW people thought he easily discarded

As he nears the pews, he drops down towards his knees, preparing to bare his soul in this hallowed ground, hoping he can once again hear the audible voice of GOD.

“Father,

Forgive me, for I have clearly sinned against you. I pray you can find it in your heart to forgive my actions. In truth, leaving that generous $99 Final Alliance replica jacket in the desert was not meant as a sign of disrespect towards your kindness. Rather, I held onto it as a symbol, clinging to a shred of hope that you still saw some worth in me.

It became an idol hindering me from realizing the true potential you intended me to have amongst your ranks.  Let’s be clear here, Lee: I want Teddy Palmer’s jacket. It shouldn’t be sitting in your mansion gathering dust, waiting for another disappointment to enter the Final Alliance. You’ve always been quick to bestow your jackets upon old Hall of Famers or promising newcomers without truly testing their commitment to you.

And LORD only knows I’ve sold myself out towards you, Father dearest.  Anything I’ve done is for you.”

As Zion knelt in prayer, he paused with his hands clasped together in entreaty. His gaze fixed on the flickering candlelight, taking a moment to reflect on his journey for his adoptive Father. Along the road, amidst triumphs, Darin also encountered profound struggles.

Pride surged within him as he recalled his recent victories against the LBI Winner, the Most Dominant HOW World Champion, and the revered champion of the Final Alliance—all achieved in Lee’s name. Each triumph was a testament to the countless late nights of sacrifice and unwavering dedication, validating every hardship endured along his crusade.

However, amidst all those victories, a human element persisted in Zion’s heart. For the first time, he felt vulnerable, haunted by the sins he had committed against Lee’s most cherished players. Rather than seeking solace and clarity, a deep-seated anger welled up within Zion. Impatience now gnawed at him in the presence of his fellow Alliance members.

“Wrestling and exposing your Final Alliance this past cycle wasn’t a betray for me.  It became a rite of passage.  We had to expose all the kinks and flaws to secure another flawless victory in YOUR name, Father. It’s crucial that iron sharpens iron; we must eliminate imperfections to achieve greater strength and unity to successfully win War Games.

For the past four years, I’ve lost every War Games match because I was completely disconnected from your grace.  I suffered embarrassing loss after loss at the hands of the Final Alliance.  Even when I teamed with fellow Alliance member Steve Solex, I not only embarrassed myself but also forced him to reckon with my past transgressions.  All because I embodied the nerd I once was.

You humbled me this year, giving me a stark reminded of what failure yields me when I stray from your teachings and guidance.  Once again you made me walk among the nerds and it opened my eyes to just how far we have fallen.

The Final Alliance cannot afford Christopher America operating at 75% strength, struggling with amnesia.

The Final Alliance cannot afford the LBI winner losing every time he wrestles.

You can’t afford John Sektor to take his foot off the pedal once and lose his HOTv Title.

You cannot afford to have your own flesh and blood coasting as a pathetic waste of roster space.   Let’s face it’s he’s openly blaspheming your top title.  He’s dangling it down in the nerds faces, practically pawning off to worthless nerdy fucks who don’t care about your MACHINE.  He lacks the focus and intensity he once held because he can’t be bothered with his own father’s creation and his own inheritance.

I mean, look what happened at ICONIC, Father.  Mike took his fuckin’ eyes off the God Damn prize and toyed around with Scott Stevens and lost the HOW World Championship.  He stopped caring a long time ago about what means to hold your precious #97Red prize draped around his shoulder.  Hell, that worthless flesh and blood son of yours couldn’t even put Noah Hanson down during this cycle…”

Once again, Zion paused, his brow furrowed in thought, but as he tried to speak, he felt his words caught in his throat like a lump.  He was overcome with emotion, his mind racing with thoughts and unprocessed emotions. For a while, he struggled to find the words to articulate them, letting the silence surround him as he searched for clarity. Frustration flickered across his face, a deep-seated feeling of indifference growing within him.  That’s when it all hit him.

“And honestly, Lee, if I’m being frank right now; I’ve been indifferent during this cycle too.  Honestly, I’ve been indifferent for a helluva lot longer.  I wrestled with the notion of ascending to the mountaintop and shouldering the responsibility of #97RED. Everyone knows I’ve been languishing at the bottom of the HOW roster for too long, simply coasting. These days, I don’t have a leg to stand on with my abysmal win-loss record and countless last-minute appearances.

It’s incredibly convenient to focus on the low-hanging fruit in my life. I could spend hours justifying it with excuse after excuse. It’s disturbingly easy to weave a tangled web of lies with a silver-tongued, deceptive charm.

But the reality is, I’ve despised who I’ve become over these past nine years. I’m a caricature of the man who once stormed through these revered doors, poised to demolish them and set the entire place ablaze. These days, I can’t face myself in the mirror without overanalyzing and questioning my own worth before stepping through those arena doors and giving you my all.

I struggle to find my own words and voice, often putting it off until the last minute because, truthfully, I’ve allowed others to define who Darin Zion was all along. I sought to win everyone’s affection while neglecting my own self.

And now you’ve taught me father, that it’s high time I become selfish for a change.  When you handed me that Final Alliance jacket, it wasn’t just about fitting in—it meant more than that to me.  It was the gesture that I could take off the damn gloves now and stop playing in the fuckin’ kiddie pool with all those nerds.

Throughout this cycle, letting go of the past has been challenging. I’ll be honest with you—I’ve wanted to embrace the utter absurdity of calling you daddy and watching people cringe.  It’s hard opening up about how much I let my own failures in 2016 impact me today.”

Relief flooded through Darin Zion as he finally unburdened himself of those long-held struggles. Each word spoken released a weight he had carried for far too long, like shedding layers of armor that had grown heavy with time. The air around him felt lighter, as if a storm had finally passed and left behind a calm, refreshing breeze.

After confessing his sins, a wave of liberation washed over him, lifting his spirits. Yet, a knot of tension still gnawed at his stomach. Zion’s face twisted into a grimace, his expression contorted into a maniacal sneer, showing off a renewed sense of purpose and authenticity.

“But now, I’ve grown weary of celebrating mediocrity. I’m tired of indulging in self-pity and succumbing to my own sins. I’ve become the 2024 version of Brian Hollywood—constantly promising a fresh start and a new perspective on life. Yet, when it truly counts, you know what happens? I choose to not show up and act recklessly. I tarnish my reputation and squander all the goodwill I painstakingly build every single time.

I piss away those opportunities you’ve given me father and act like those ungrateful nerds you employ out of pity. I embrace my laziness and apathy as virtues, demanding that the whole damn world accept me for who I am.  I’m tired of being a soft, worthless pile that cries any longer.

This is the ultimate War Games, where bragging rights are at stake. It’s my final opportunity to prove myself in a match I’ve dreamed of winning.  It’s the last chance I have at beating a plethora of HOW legends.

Father, I promise you—if you show your face, if you favor me—I will give every last ounce of energy left in my tank. I will pour out my heart, my soul, and everything within me in that ring to claim your ultimate prize.

Just please no longer forsake your faithful servant.  Please do not leave me in the dust with the other nerds.”

With that final plea, Zion leans against the pillar, quietly praying with the unwavering faith he once possessed. Yet, as the moments pass in silence, Lee’s lack of response weighs heavily on him.  Deep down he missed the sweet nothings his adoptive father yelled at him, begging him to take things fuckin’ seriously.

With each passing minute, Zion sank deeper into prayer, fully surrendering himself to the universe.  But as he continued to lose himself…

HE STILL FELT NOTHING.  He only felt the vast emptiness of space engulfing him. His eyes twitched uncontrollably, and his head snapped from side to side in agitation. Gradually, his expression turned cold and lifeless, a stark reflection of the sanity slipping through his fingers.

Zion’s body convulsed with uncontrollable laughter before everything faded away, leaving an empty shell of a man once filled with love.

==========

6:00 PM

In the shadow of Arthur’s Seat, where the rugged cliffs and ancient caves whispered tales of forgotten kings, Darin Zion stood clad in gleaming armor, a modern knight in an ancient land. Beside him, Shawn Lester, a loyal companion amidst the eerie silence of twilight, watched with concern etched on his face.

Darin’s eyes darted back and forth, his gaze scanning the surroundings with a paranoid intensity, as if he believed someone or something was stalking him. The look in his eyes remained devoid and dehumanized, reflecting the turmoil within. The weight of the armor exacerbated these feelings, pressing down on him like a suffocating cloak. Yet, paradoxically, he also felt a sense of protection, as if the armor formed a tangible barrier shielding him from unseen threats lurking in the shadows.

“He’s always watching us, Shawn! He knows our hearts!!” Darin muttered urgently, his voice strained and intense, attempting to draw the attention of his faithful best friend from their PWX days. As Darin tapped incessantly on Shawn’s shoulder, Shawn remained focused on hammering out an important text message, seemingly oblivious to his friend’s distress.

“SHAWN!   SHAAAAAAAAWN!  PAY ATTENTION!!!!”

Darin delivers another punch to Shawn’s arm, causing his best friend to yelp in pain and drop his phone.  Shawn begins to grumble under his breath before he lectures Zion sternly.  “That was our only way to keep Big Mack updated on our War Games training regimen. You know he thinks you’re nuts for camping out near an inactive volcano. Let alone deciding to build your own round table…”

Darin surrounds Shawn Lester in a tight embrace, his arms encircling his best friend’s shoulders with a mixture of affection and awkward tension. He chuckles softly at the sight of the slightly built, blonde, stubbly figure standing beside him, gently shaking Shawn to lighten the atmosphere. Despite their closeness, an unspoken unease lingers between them, evident in the hesitant glances they exchange. Darin’s laughter holds a hint of nervousness, a reflection of the unresolved issues that sometimes surface between old friends, cutting off his friend mid-sentence.

“Eh, I’ll deal with the Big Guy later. Sometimes, you just gotta soak in the natural beauty of a place. Besides how often do you get to go to Scotland let alone the actual place where King Arthur gathered his round table.  It’s the perfect place to strategize War Games.”  Darin tries to reassure Shawn Lester, who continues to balk at the former ICON Champion.

Shawn rolls his eyes before trying to chime back in.  But Darin Zion cuts him off continuing rambling off more benefits.  “It can improve my physical conditioning, mental toughness, give me insight and personal character development…need I continue?!”

Zions eyes continue to dart around as his head twitches before Shawn Lester relents.  “Whatever!  You know I hate camping out here.  But if it gives you an edge…”

Darin’s eyes glow, almost possessed with a cause.  Something’s sitting at the back of his mind.  “It’ll definitely give me the edge, Shawn.  It’ll allow me to bite the hand that feeds me…”

Shawn quickly does a double take, noticing Zion’s more violent tendencies starting to expose themselves.  He flashes Zion an awkward stare, but Zion’s quick to correct himself.  “Errrr, I mean train with out being observed….I mean distraction.  I need to train without distraction if I want to win the biggest match of my career.

Shawn blows off Zion as they continue to set up camp for the next few days.  “Suuuure, whatever, man! I’m here supporting all your wild ideas and escapades. Just remember how much I care about you to go along with this.”

As the sun dipped below the horizon, casting long shadows over the rugged terrain near Arthur’s Seat, Darin Zion and Shawn Lester continued to set up camp amidst the quiet solitude. The crackle of the campfire punctuated their conversation, its flickering light dancing across their faces as they discussed the impending stakes of War Games.

“Thank you, Shawn,” Darin said, his voice tinged with determination, “You know this is our last shot to earn this feat.  I only have one arrow left in the quiver.  If I miss this time…”

Shawn nodded solemnly, adjusting a tent pole with focused intent. “Relax, man!  I know the stress is getting to you.  But you need a good night sleep tonight.  Tomorrow’s gonna be hard.  It’s going to wear on your psyche.”

Zion rocks back and forth to relax his soul.   He nods in agreement with Shawn.  “You’re probably right.  All the cocaine and booze probably hitting me different after I’ve been trying anything and everything to escape the pain left by not hearing from GOD himself lately.  It’s like I’m forsaken or something.”

“It’ll all work out, Zion.  Let’s eat some dinner and get some rest.  This week’s gonna be one hellacious test for you man.”

With a shared glance of mutual understanding, they settled into their camp, their minds focused on the challenges and triumphs that lay ahead at War Games.