Ghosts of The Past Chapter I

Ghosts of The Past Chapter I

Posted on May 22, 2023 at 11:59 pm by Darin Zion

Medical staff frantically rush through the backstage area of the Toyota center as Zion’s condition worsens.  REAL LOVE’S® body lies motionless on a gurney, neck brace tightly strapped to secure his neck.  A vacant stare glazes over his eyes.  Aceldama’s brutal assault left his mind reeling in anguish.  In a heart-wrenching whisper, he repeats “I’m a good boy, daddy;” a haunting reminder of the traumatic events he’s suffered.

As medics work to stabilize Zion’s condition, Vickie Hall bursts onto the scene.  Her heart drops into her stomach, sending goosebumps down her spine.  When she sees the vacant look in REAL LOVE’S eyes, Vickie springs into action.  She begins barking orders at the medics, trying to ensure every resource is utilized effectively.

Vickie’s voice pierced through the chaotic scene as she confronted the EMTs in a frenzy. Aware of Zion’s deteriorating health due to concussion, her words dripped with heartfelt concern, each syllable echoing her unwavering friendship and love for Darin. She couldn’t forget how Darin had come to her husband’s aid in his own moment of desperation, further emphasizing the gravity of the situation. With a deep understanding of the stakes, Vickie made sure her words carried the weight of the moment.

Vickie Hall: Listen to me! This is not a time to ignore me! .Darin’s condition is deteriorating rapidly, this is urgent.  I need to get him his medication right now.  It will make a substantial difference.  He’s depending on us, putting his trust in your hands.  You cannot afford to overlook this!

Vickie clutched the small orange vial tightly, the sound of its contents rattling in her hands as she desperately sought someone’s attention. Despite her persistent and coercive pleas, her words seemed to fall upon deaf ears. Vickie persisted in jostling the medical staff, praying to find someone who would truly listen to her pleas. Meanwhile, Darin’s heart rate continued to fluctuate erratically, adding an extra layer of urgency to the tense situation.

As Darin’s vacant eyes meet the swirling chaos around him, they glaze over with anguish. A familiar specter of terror seizes his mind, transporting him back to the haunting memories of his traumatic childhood. The room seemed to fade away, replaced by vivid images and sensations that flooded his senses.

His body reacts to this intense emotional revival, trembling uncontrollably as if ensnared by an unseen force. Every aspect of his being resonates with the profound weight of those deeply buried experiences, as if he is reliving the torment anew. Memories of every belt lash, every piercing yell, and every venomous thought from his father flood his mind, overwhelming him with their vividness. Vickie Hall’s horrified gaze fixates on Zion as his body convulses with fear, a visible manifestation of his overwhelming feelings of apprehension.

Medic #1:  His heart rate is significantly elevated… Aceldama has likely induced a cerebral lesion in his brain…

Medic #2:  This is bad…he’s fading fast….

Vickie’s face becomes a canvas for her frustration.  Her cheeks radiate a bright, red while the creases on her forehead deepen.  Her eyes begin to smolder with a fiery intensity, mirroring the smoldering storm of chaos unfolding right before her.  In a single, fluid motion, Vickie’s fist crashes on the metal table to her side.  The impact reverberates through the air with an authoritative thud, catching the attention of all the medical staff within earshot.  Vickie’s hands unfold with a deliberative motion, revealing the precious vial needed to help stabilize Zion’s emotional strife.

Vickie Hall:  For the LOVE of all things good, I’ve been trying to tell you all…

Vickie’s words are abruptly silenced by the resounding crash of the solid oak door in the trainer’s area swinging open. Her eyes widen in sheer disbelief.  The color from her face drains fast, leaving her complexion a chalky white tone.  Her jaw drops towards the ground as her eyes lock onto a familiar figure storming into the trainer’s area.

Vickie Hall:  Brian Hollywood?  What on earth are you doing here?

Driven by a sense of urgency, Brian Hollywood storms past Pretty Pink with speed and fever, his movements propelled by a deep understanding of Zion’s situation, which he has experienced firsthand nearly 5 years ago. Fueled by unwavering determination, he pushes through the bustling medical staff, deftly navigating the chaotic scene, until he reaches the bedside of his 

Zion’s face jerks back in response to Hollywood’s forceful slap, the jolt of the impact electrifying his body like a surge of adrenaline. In a split second, a whirlwind of emotions rips him from his comatose state, propelling him awake. 

His veins pulsate on his forehead, mirroring the mounting anger that courses through his veins. With eyes ablaze, his gaze penetrates with an unmatched intensity, revealing his sheer determination to confront the situation head-on. Rising from the bed, Zion closes the distance, darting straight toward his best friend.  He meets Hollywood face to face, readying to unleash his pent-up fury.  Hollywood simply balks at his long-term best friend.

Brian Hollywood:  You’re fuckin’ welcome, buddy.  Glad to return the favor after what you did to me in our first War Games match.

The sheer dumbfounded expression etched across Zion’s face speaks volumes, encapsulating his profound offense at Hollywood’s actions. He does not need Hollywood’s half-hearted attempts at rescuing him from the clutches of his own demons. Zion is an independent person, fully capable of navigating his own struggles. The silence hangs heavy in the air, a visible manifestation of Zion’s smoldering rage.

Darin Zion:  Are you truly that oblivious, Brian? I could have been on the verge of death . So your best idea was to come storming  in here and slap me across the face?! Do you even comprehend the potential consequences? I could have ended up with a broken neck, for heaven’s sake! My brain could have been hemorrhaging blood! Can’t you see the gravity of the situation?

Brian Hollywood:  Our friendship has lasted two decades, Darin.  I know that damn look on your face.  It’s the same one I had in the 2015 War Games match after you dropped me on my fuckin’ head.  You know the one that left me completely flabbergasted that my best friend stabbed me in the fuckin’ the back for his own glory. 

The palm of Zion’s hand meets his forehead, gently pressing down against his brow.  Hollywood continues to grumble, oblivious to Zion’s gesture of exasperation.

Brian Hollywood:  It left my mind racing for MONTHS trying to comprehend why on GOD’S green earth my best friend betrayed my trust.  I kept staring off into space because I couldn’t fathom that the man who had my back all throughout our wrestling training days left me to rot in the biggest match in HOW history.  I kept playing all the trials and tribulations we experienced throughout our indy days, our dominance in HOW.   You HURT me, so naturally, I had to snap your ass back to your senses.

Darin Zion:  For fuck sakes, you’re still hung up on our past shit, Hollywood?  Seriously, you’ve got to turn my injury into something about you right now? 

Hollywood nods, striding up to Zion’s face with determined steps. A charged atmosphere envelopes them as their breaths intertwine, intensifying the unresolved tension between the two men.  Hollywood’s hanging on every word Zion’s speaking.

Darin Zion:  I did what needed to be done to preserve Sex and Money’s dominance.  I cut the anchor holding me down in that match so we could achieve our glory here in HOW.  Not only did I help us win against Boredom Walk Wrestling; I captured the ICON Championship for us.  I helped propel you into the main event scene–something you couldn’t do alone all those years in HOW.

Brian Hollywood:  HAHAHAHA!  Your betrayal saved my career?!  How fucking hilarious!  Keep tellin’ yourself them lies, Zion.

Darin Zion:  Look at what you’ve become without me, Hollywood.  I’ve continued to garner momentum in every loss, staying relevant around these halls.  All you can keep doing is talking about the past every chance you get.  You give the same boring speech about how you need to dig deep to find that old you…

Brian Hollywood:  I do!  I need to pull myself out of the gutter and win War Games…

Darin Zion:  And when you don’t…it’s the same tired song and dance of apologizing and floundering around in obscurity?!

Hollywood’s hand recoils back, poised to strike Zion’s face with authority. His eyes gleam with a volatile mix of hatred and anger as he takes aim at Zion’s mouth, ready to deliver a forceful blow that would shatter Zion’s fragile psyche. The air crackles with anticipation as the rivals come close to blows.

Brian Hollywood:  I’m warning you, Zion.  I’ll end your War Games chance right here if you don’t shut the fuck up.

Darin Zion:  Do it, Hollywood!  It’ll be the most relevant thing you’ve done in HOW the last 3 years.  Face it, you can’t escape your ghosts of the past.  You’re a hypocrite talking about how you’ll drop the dead weight of the past.  It’s killing you inside watching me succeed where you’ve failed in this era of HOW.

Brian Hollywood:  At least I’ve held singles gold this era.  You can’t escape those damn Tag Team Titles…

Zion’s fist clenches tightly, his muscles tensing.  He’s preparing to strike Hollywood with all his might.  Yet, in a remarkable feat of restraint, Zion takes a deep breath.  Channeling all his inner resolve, Zion maintains a stoic sense of composure, refusing to let his anger cloud his better judgment.

Brian Hollywood:  It’s no wonder why Lee Best strapped that contractual time bomb to your chest…

Darin Zion:  You can keep taunting me with all this bullshit Hollywood; I don’t give a flying fuck.  At the end of the day…you’ll choke in your qualifying match.  You’ll choke when the pressure matters and wonder where it all went wrong.  You’re jealous that I’m inches away from ending the most dominant LSD Championship reign in history.  You’re jealous everyone’s talking about REAL LOVE® more than empty Executive Promises.

Taking a step back, Zion pauses and retreats back from his frenemy, surrendering all his pent up frustrations in one simple gesture.  His arms rise up into the air as an act of defiance towards Hollywood.

Darin Zion:  There’s a possibility we could stand on the same team, but I’m a man of my word.  If you make it into the match–I’ll show you love and compassion.  But I’m a proud man and don’t need YOUR help.  You might have slapped some “sense” back into me, but you can take that “kind gesture” and shove it up your ass.

Zion’s gaze shifts away from Hollywood, his visage etched with finality. With a determined stride, he turns his back on his lifelong friend, each footfall resonating with a resolute sense of his resolve. It is a silent statement, a deliberate act of distancing himself from the problem at hand. However, before Zion can make his complete exit, Hollywood’s voice breaks the silence.

Brian Hollywood:  Mark my words, Zion, in War Games; you’ll need me again. You’d better listen to this piece of advice because I’m only telling you once.  Stop being so defensive.  Everyone will work to exploit your weakness in that match.  You’d better get right with yourself before you step back into that ring.  Deep down, I know there’s something you’re hiding behind your injury.

Hollywood clenches his teeth tightly, his voice growing muffled as he struggles to find the right words. The weight of his emotions weighs upon him, evident in the strained quality of his speech.

Brian Hollywood:  It pains me to say this; you’re the best hope HOW has in ending the Final Alliance.  We still might have unresolved issues Zion, but I’ll be the first one to admit you’ve become HOW’s heart and soul.  Lee Best still hasn’t tainted that big heart of yours after all these years.  You damn well know I’ve spent a majority of my career trying to end all versions of the Best Alliance.  Come War Games–I’m the best chance you got at delivering a fatal blow.  If you need me, I’m only a phone call away.

A flicker of hurt and disappointment passes over Zion’s face, hinting at the countless times he may have tried reaching out to Hollywood recently, only to be met with silence. With a heavy heart, Zionsighes and turns on his heel and makes his exit, leaving a giant rift between the two best friends.


As the golden sun dips below the horizon, casting its final fiery rays across the vast Mexican landscape, a sight catches the eye—a vibrant pink-colored bus gracefully emerges on the horizon. The air carries a melodic chug, emanating from the muffler of this beat-up old converted bus, as it embarks on its journey across the Mexican border. 

Despite its worn exterior, the bus exudes a warm and enchanting aura, inviting one to step aboard and embrace the adventure that awaits. The sun’s fading light bathes the scene in a soft, ethereal glow, infusing the air with a sense of possibility and anticipation.

The bus interior is adorned with colorful hearts and hearts decorating the metallic walls.  The engine’s hum creates a soothing ambiance, complemented by the gentle snores of Vickie Hall and Tristian-Crispin Gladhappy, peacefully asleep on the benches.

Jonathan-Christopher Hall and Darin Zion sit across from each other, their eyes fixing on the screens of their handheld gaming consoles. The room is filled with anticipation as they engage in a riveting, competitive game of Super Smash Brothers. The beeping sounds from the consoles added a playful energy to the serene ambiance, momentarily breaking the tranquility.

Jonathan-Christopher, a casual gamer when needed, controlled his character with strategic precision. He expertly maneuvers through the virtual arena, executing a flurry of powerful attacks. With each successful move, he watches his opponent’s health bar climb, his confidence growing.

On the other side, Darin Zion, known for his unpredictable playstyle and relentless determination, fights back with equal fervor. He retaliates with well-timed counterattacks and clever evasive maneuvers, refusing to back down. Both men completely lost within their epic encounter.

The tension in the room reaches its peak as the game reaches its climax. With a burst of skill and precision, Darin Zion executes a decisive move, dealing the final blow to Jonathan-Christopher Hall’s character. As JCH’s character soared off into the distance, Zion couldn’t contain his excitement. Leaping up from the bench, he celebrated his well-earned victory with a triumphant victory dance.

However, Zion’s vacant gaze alludes to something troubling him in the pit of his stomach.  Vivid images of his dad lashing him with a belt flare up in his head.  Clenching his forehead, Zion drops towards the ground, reaching for his medicine.  He pops a couple of pills to help lessen the swelling in his brain.

Jonathan’s keen observation skills allow him to discern the subtle signs of turmoil etched on Zion’s face, a reflection of the internal struggles he faces. With a mix of concern and understanding, Jonathan becomes privy to the depth of the situation, sensing the weight of emotions that Zion carried.

Jonathan-Christopher Hall:  Get some rest, buddy.  You’re gonna need to handle that drama with your mother tomorrow.

Darin Zion:  Truthfully, I’m in dire need to release all this built up frustration I’m harboring.  That unpleasant confrontation with Hollywood dampened my mood.

Jonathan-Christopher Hall, being a compassionate friend, notices the visible impact that the encounter had on Zion. With a heartfelt understanding, JCH approaches Zion and places a comforting hand on his shoulder, offering a silent reassurance. 

Sensing the heaviness in the air, JCH spoke in a soothing tone, expressing empathy, reminding Zion of his resilience and strength.  As they sat together, Jonathan-Christopher listened attentively, his eyes conveying all the support Zion needs for a safe space.

Jonathan-Christopher Hall:  Seriously, dude!  The dirt sheets wouldn’t stop talking about the encounter.  It’s like they gravitate towards ugly break ups.  I wish this world would understand our message of love better.

Zion’s shoulders sag under the weight of his burdens.  He forces out a loud exhale . He rolls his eyes, a mix of frustration and exhaustion evident in his expression. As he sits there, his mind becomes a battleground where the ghosts of his past taunt him relentlessly, each whisper a reminder of the obstacles he had overcome and the high stakes of the impending War Games, the pinnacle of his career.

Darin Zion:  Right?  Honestly, I’ve gained a lot of momentum upsetting former HOW World Champion and Hall of Famer Aceldama on the Go Home Chaos.  I took Jace Parker Davidson to his limits.  I’ve spent all year racking up win after win for this moment.  Yet they only want to capture all my flaws.

Jonathan-Christopher Hall:  Cheer up buddy.  You’re making some good strides right now confronting your demons.  Focus on taking that next step forward, shedding them demons of yours.  Meditate and lose yourself in…

Darin Zion:  Cut the 12 step crap out right now.  I’m not dealing with a meth addiction like you.  I can’t shake why I keep letting that jackass Jace Parker Davidson pin me right now.  I put out 110% right now, only to make one fatal mistake and lose.

Jonathan-Christopher Hall:  Jace shouldn’t be the focus of all your problems right now.  You’ve got a deep battlefield of competitors standing at your doorstep to stop you from reaching your greatest achievement–winning War Games.

Darin Zion:  Like Scottywood and Scott Stevens will pull their head out of their asses.  Mike Best said it best.  Their failure to evolve…

Jonathan-Christopher Hall:  Seriously?  The low hanging fruit, Darin?

Darin Zion:  I know, bad habits die hard.  But I can’t afford to let the entire field of competitors cloud my judgments going into this match.  I needed a little humor to cut the tensions.

Jonathan-Christopher envelops his friend in a tight embrace, a gesture filled with warmth and concern. However, in his eagerness, he unintentionally tightens the hug to the point where Zion’s breath is momentarily constricted. Realizing his mistake, Jonathan-Christopher quickly loosens his grip, apologizing while assuring his buddy that everything will be alright.

Jonathan-Christopher Hall:  Relax, I’m only holding you accountable.  Focus on getting some rest and clearing your mind.  Tomorrow, you’ve gotta first face your demons before jumping off the deep end and running your mouth off.  I get you’re eager to get this monkey off your back.  But I’m damn sure you’ll start learning more about yourself through this process.

Darin Zion rolls his eyes, a subtle gesture of weariness, as he reaches out to grab his covers, preparing to wrap himself in their comforting embrace. The anticipation of the significant day ahead fills his mind as he settles in, ready to find solace in rest before the momentous event unfolds.

Darin Zion:  God, I hope so, JCH.  God I hope so.