September 1, 2021
The Journey to HOW
David Noble turned over in the stained, hardly washed sheets that covered the bedbug-infested mattress in the middle of some town he vaguely recalled arriving in. As his face stuck to the sheets due to the drool that had vacated his mouth throughout the night, he felt like this would be a great time to simply not live this life. Yet, that would require motivation, and David was more than happy to simply put up no motivation or actual effort to better his life.
Slowly, he sat up and looked to his right to see what could only be described as a door, though chunks of it were missing to the point that you could possibly look through it if you were at the correct angle. Noble felt a dull headache as it gnawed impatiently at the back of his skull and he tried to shake it off as if that ever worked.
Only going to make it worst, dumbass, he thought to himself.
David slowly stretched his muscles, felt each one of them unfurl with bitterness towards him. As he glanced up straight ahead, he caught himself in the mirror and grimaced at the sight of himself. Noble knew he wasn’t bad-looking physically, but it was everything underneath that top layer that caused him to react as he did. The self-doubt, self-loathing, self-pity that caused him to squirrel his way into any bottle of alcohol he could muster up which usually led to many bad mistakes and far too many random hookups that he couldn’t even remember the next day. Those usually resulted in apologies of some sort though he was never certain as to the reason why.
An empty cough caught hold in his throat and as he worked to expel it, he felt as if a lung was bound to burst out of his throat at any minute. It would be the understatement of the century to say that David hadn’t been taking care of himself. Since the day he walked out of DEFIANCE, he’d spent the last six years on the road, doing whatever he felt like simply to feel anything different than the usual feeling he had when he was in his skin. This led to drinking, drugs, and dumb decisions.
Noble slowly moved his feet until they hit the floor of the room and tried to sit up, but found himself temporarily unable to do so. He looked down at his legs and thought about cursing at them, but he was afraid of what they might do back to him and decided against it. He wiggled his toes, which always feels good against vomited stained carpet, told his brain to work this time, and tried to stand up again, miraculously accomplishing what seemed like a Herculean task.
David once again stretched out his arms and felt the anxiety as it went from his toes up through his calves and exploded out of his fingertips. Life had blessed him with one more day and he was going to do everything he could in his power to ensure life regretted giving him another day to exist. Dressed in only a pair of blue boxers, even with the shitty lifestyle he led, it was a miracle he was as fit as he was. He was still toned and cut, with abs that most women drool over. This shouldn’t be, but he figured since he drank enough vodka that it had turned into an elixir for his body that actually worked the opposite of how alcohol works.
He took a few steps forward, stumbled, and placed the palm of his left hand against the nearby wall. His muscles were still stiff and fighting with him at every possible step. He took another step, balancing himself in the process, and made his way into the hotel room bathroom where he caught another look at himself; namely, the bloodshot red eyes.
Six years on the road, not giving a fuck what others thought of him, had proven to not be the recipe he needed. Instead, it had just caused him to spiral further down into his depression to the point that six feet of dirt were sitting on top of him, but no one wanted to quite let him go yet. David took a deep breath in and let it out, partially thankful he lived for another day and hopeful that today might be the day he finds the energy to fight out of his lethargic haze.
Then, his phone vibrated. As he looked over at it, he didn’t see the text message that came through, but instead noticed the date at the top of it, reading September 1, 2021.
Fuck, he muttered under his breath. His eyes closed for a moment as his chest heaved up and down. Anger coursed through his veins, his fists balled up, and he was ready to hit something, anything. His lips start fluttering slightly and to most observers, they would assume that David Noble had finally walked off the deep end, but the reality was he was simply trying to get a hold of his anger like his doctor had told him to do.
As David’s eyes reopened, he looked at himself and shook his head. Today wasn’t just September 1, 2021. No, it was also the day of birth of his biological father, the one who tormented his every thought, the one who laughed behind his back because David was making the same mistakes his father made even though he swore he wouldn’t.
That fury built up in his throat and he sighed. He reached to his right, found a bottle of vodka with no cap on, and placed the lip of it against his mouth before taking a long, long, swig.
As the contents emptied down his phlegm-coated throat and deposited into his empty stomach, the fury that was in his chest dissipated just enough and settled him down. Within moments, David placed the bottle of vodka back onto the counter, threw on a wrinkled white t-shirt and blue jeans, and walked out of the motel room. Parked on the sidewalk outside of his motel room was a Magpul Ronin motorcycle with a black helmet attached to the side. Noble wasted no time grabbing the helmet, slinging it over his head, and firing up the motorcycle.
The rumble of the engine screamed as loud as it could before Noble shifted into gear and raced off down the road. In his motel room sat his phone, vibrating on the dark brown nightstand next to his bed. On the caller ID screen, the name read ‘Samantha’.
February 18, 2006
The Journey to Destruction
David paced frantically around the hospital waiting room, potentially growing unhinged by the moment, as he looked at the white-painted walls with frustration building in his arms and fists. There were several open seats around him, but he wasn’t interested in sitting in any of them. The other people in the room looked at David, recognizing him from television, but also slightly unnerved at the sight of a larger-than-them male pacing around the hospital waiting room with muscles bulging from the sleeves of his shirt.
After a few moments, a nurse appeared around the corner and her eyes instantly met his. He raced over to her, impatience filling every inch of his mind. His eyes locked upon the older black woman’s face, wrinkles filling in every available space as a reminder of everything she’s seen during her time working for the hospital, but her expression gave nothing away to David.
“Is Samantha okay?” the words flew out of David’s mouth as quickly as vomit does after his twelfth shot of bourbon. The bleeding that led to his fiancee being here had been profuse and she fell unconscious during their drive to the hospital. Once the adrenaline flushed out of his system, he was left with just fear and worry. He’d been able to fix all of his other problems in life with his fists and determination. This though, there was nothing he could do to control the situation.
“Susan—“ the nurse began.
“Samantha,” David quickly corrected her.
“Sorry, Samantha,” the nurse continued, slightly annoyed by the needless correction. “The doctors took her immediately into surgery. They were able to find the cause of the bleed and took care of the issue. We had to remove her uterus though,” the nurse informed David.
“And what about—“ he began to ask the nurse only to be cut off by the speaker system, paging another doctor in the hospital.
“Would you like to see her?” the nurse inquired and he quickly nodded his head. Without hesitation, the nurse turned around and led David down the hallway. As he walked through, he heard heart monitors every few moments, the hushed concerns of family members as they discussed their own situation, and conversations between doctors and nurses about the correct course of treatment.
Finally, they reached their destination. The nurse knocked onto the heavy wooden door and slowly opened it. The lights were dimmed low and the nurse was quiet in her movements as David followed behind her to see his fiancee laying in her hospital bed, groggy, but with her eyes slightly open. There was pain etched into her angelic face as she seemed to be in some discomfort.
David walked up to her and grabbed her hand, a smile appearing on his face.
“David—,” she managed to eke out as she looked over at him. “Hi.”
David chuckled. “You okay? Is—“, but before he could finish his question Samantha cut him off.
“Do you want to meet her?” she inquired and David looked at her with a mix of nerves and excitement in his eyes. “She’s perfect.”
David ran his fingers through Samantha’s blonde hair and a smile appeared on his face. “Yes,” he managed to force his throat as he felt his palms become sweaty and his throat run dry. At that moment, the door to the hospital room opened again and the nurse from earlier walked in, pushing a cart. As she turned the corner and brought the cart to David and Samantha, David’s eyes grew wide as he looked down at his daughter for the first time.
“David, this is Lorelai,” Samantha forced out through her grogginess and raw throat as David reached down and held the tiny baby in his arms. He just looked at her with amazement and awe as she slept in his arms.
“Hi, Lorelai,” he whispered, knowing this would be the happiest day of his life, no matter what else happened in his life or the accomplishments he had in his professional life. Everything would pale in comparison to the tiny bundle of joy that fit perfectly in his arms.
November 1, 2021
The Journey to Redemption
“HARDER!” screamed Joey Patiliano, his voice directed towards the sweating body of David Noble, who continued to lay fist after fist at the heavy punching bag that was his target today. For the past two months, David had spent his time training and getting to where he needed to be to return to the ring on a full-time basis. The jump from that day to now was marked as Noble poured everything he had into each punch he slammed into the red punching bag.
The smell in the gym was rancid for most people, but for David, it reminded him of what he lost, of what he gained, of what the next steps are for him. With each thought of what could have been, of what would still be, he felt the pain exit from his abdomen through his fists until eventually, Joey stopped him.
“Good going! Man, that is what I like to see,” Joey raves as David looks over at the nearly seventy-year-old man, his original trainer nearly twenty years ago when he needed someone to just give him some direction in life. With two teeth missing from his bottom row, some guys would make fun of Joey, but that would end when Joey headbutted them and forced them to cry. As Joey threw David a bottle of water, he grabbed his phone and began looking at it.
“Holy shit,” Joey muttered while David took long swigs from the water bottle, thankful for the cold water that was replenishing him. As he wrapped up and put the lid back on the water bottle, he looked over at Joey
“What’s going on?” David inquired.
“You’ve got your first HOW match.”
David nodded as he looked at the bag and began to light it up again.
“Okay,” David started, his mind focused upon the bag again. “Who is it? What’s the game plan?”
David connected with a trio of punches before he threw his knee into the bag.
“Well, looks like the management at HOW heard what you had to say. They just gave you the main event at the Refueled in Aberdeen next week.”
David nodded his head as he continued through his workout.
“Sounds good. Flight leaves tomorrow, we ready to go?”
Joey shook his head. “David, you’re not listening to me.”
David stopped and looked over at Joey. “What’s going on?”
“You’ve got the main event. In less than a week. Against Jeffrey James Roberts for the High Octane Television Championship. You’ve got a title shot in your first match.”
As the words left Joey’s mouth, David shook his head. “Stop fucking around with me. We’ve got training to do.”
Joey walked over to David and handed him his phone. David looked at it for a brief moment and a confused look came on over his face.
“What the fuck are they playing at?” David muttered. “This has got to be a typo or a mistake.”
Joey shook his head. “No, this is your chance to come back and be right where you were before you left.”
“I don’t think I deserve it,” David responded as he turned back towards the bag.
David spun back around. “What?”
“Who the fuck cares if you deserve it or not? Do you think you deserve every bad thing that has ever happened to you? How about instead of whether you deserve something or not, you take the challenge that lies in front of you and destroy it at all costs. How about instead of caring if you’re in a title match or not, you simply go out there and win the fucking match. If you get the title along with it, then great. If not, then who cares?”
David let out a long sigh as he put his gloved hands on his hips and looked up at the roof of the gym.
“Maybe you’ve got a point,” David eventually mutters.
“A point? You’re fucking right I got a point, boy. You don’t know when chances are going to come so this is the time to take it and remind them that you’re not the person to fuck around with. Like you told me, you didn’t care if you won matches or not, didn’t care if you won titles or not, you simply cared about fucking some people up. Well, you got a chance, and if you succeed, instead of having to chase after people to fuck up, you get to fuck up every single person who comes across your path.”
David hated when Joey made a good point, but this was definitely a good point to be made. Then David sighed.
“Jeffrey James Roberts,” David said under his breath. “HOW Management is trying to send me a message, that’s for sure. They heard what I had to say and are trying to get me to fall in line. Roberts, he is serious business. He might be one of the only people on this roster that is as sadistic as I am, as depraved as I can be, as twisted and barbaric as anyone in this industry. Management wants to silence me and if that’s their goal, they picked the right person to have do it. They picked a person that has no fear, no qualms, in giving everything he has in that ring, in leaving every part of himself in that ring. They picked a person that will leave me dead in the center of the ring and walk out without a single ounce of remorse. He will do whatever he can to walk out the victor and that is going to be the difference-maker.”
‘You think he’s willing to out-work you? To leave more of himself out there than you?’ Joey asked, shocked at this admission from David.
David shook his head.
‘Not what I meant in the least bit. He cares about walking out the victor, he cares about carrying that championship around England. I simply could not give a fuck. I don’t care about the title, I don’t care about the victory, and I don’t give two fucks about Jeffrey James Roberts. He has something he still cares about whereas I have nothing left. That is the difference between us. He will do everything to ensure he simply wins and I will do everything to simply destroy him, leave him as a broken version of himself, striving to recapture his past when he can never be that person again. That is my goal. He can pin me. He can beat me. He can leave me for dead, but I’m taking a piece of him with me no matter what and that’s the difference.’
‘So what, David? What is your game plan?’ Joey inquired.
‘I’ve only ever been good at one thing and one thing only, fighting for my life. In that ring, with Roberts, I’m in a literal deathmatch with him. HOW hired a fucking murderer. The thing is, I’ve met far too many people who wanted to leave me for dead. My father. My mother. Too many people in this very industry. Yet, through it all, I’m still here, I’m still standing, and my heart beats fucking harder than ever before in my life. These last six years should’ve killed me and they haven’t. If none of those things could put me down and keep me down, then Roberts can’t either. Because I don’t stop, I keep moving forward. Hit me as hard as you can and I won’t stop for anything. I will come back twice as tough, ready to do everything in my power to hit you with everything you’ve hit me with and then some. It’s all I know. Because any lesser version of me would’ve died when my father left me in a gutter, when my mother tried to smother me, when I shot up too much coke or when I finished one too many bottles. Any of those things should’ve destroyed me, left me for dead, and yet, I’m still here about to go face to face with the most dangerous man in HOW.’
David lowered his head.
‘If I didn’t let those things stop me, why would I ever let Roberts? The man that was in that ring six years ago, went out there looking to impress. The man today is simply looking for someone to take his agony out on. Roberts gets to be the first person on that list and he won’t be the last. Let him come with everything he has because when the night is over, belt or no belt, everyone will be on notice that Noble is a force to be reckoned with, and Roberts can walk out with the victory, but I’ll take everything else I can from him in the process. He won’t be the same after our encounter. Hit me, stab me, kill me in that ring, and I will find a way to come back just that much stronger, that much deadlier. Roberts wants his dance with the devil and I’m prepared to help him get there that much sooner.’
Joey came over and placed his hand on David’s shoulder.
‘Sounds like you’re more ready than I could’ve imagined.’
David allowed a smile to appear on his face. ‘He might have every advantage over me, but at the end of the day, there is one difference between us that will make all of the difference. Heart. I’ve got it. His will be tested.’
“Love it. But that means we’ve got some more work to do.”
Just as Joey said those words, David’s phone began to buzz. Joey walked over, grabbed it, and showed it to David.
“Recognize the number?”
David shook his head. Joey then answered it.
“David’s phone, he’s busy training. What’s up?”
There was silence for a moment as Joey’s head turned sideways and listened to the person on the other end of the phone.
“Are you serious?”
There was further silence as David looked at him, trepidation settling in.
“Yeah, yeah. He’s right here. Fuck. Yeah, hold on.”
Joey then placed the phone by his side as he looked at David.
“What’s going on?” David asked.
“Not good news. Samantha is dead.”
Everything around David began to spin as he couldn’t process the information he’d just heard.
Samantha was dead
The person who had ruined his life, who put him on this path… was no longer around. The person who broke things so badly that nothing was ever the same for David, was gone.
David sat on a bench nearby and buried his head into his hands, as he knew once again, moving forward, nothing would ever be the same again.