The screen flickered to life with the face of a familiar ghost.
Max stared at the camera with a tired, drained expression. His eye pulsed with a low blue light that only further highlighted how sunken and drawn his pale face was. The Late Lord of Kaelsalvania arms were pulled tight around his waist while leaning forward, sweating dripping from his brow.
“Gonna try to sneak a few of these in here. I don’t know how long I can sneak and get these in but I want to make sure I at least tried. I’m not sure how many I can make but I want to make sure this is my first message. This may also be my last one so I’m going to try and make it count.”
The Former President del Jattlantis ran his spider-like fingers through his greasy salt and pepper hair as he sucked down a few pained gasps. He shuddered a few times before he seemed to gain control over himself.
“I wasn’t a good father, Sutler, in fact I’d say that I was a pretty terrible one. I liked to pretend I was better at it then other people but let’s face it, if you are seeing this video that it and of itself is proof that’s not the case. Among the various terrible things and crimes I’ve committed, just to name a few, are the deaths of your aunt, uncle and cousin. I stole you from a foster program where you had a chance to land in a good family and instead I took you just to get at your real father, Shane Reynolds. At least he tried to stay out of your life to give you a chance at normalcy. You were just a real funny punchline and a point of bragging for me.”
His shoulders slouched forward as he let another sigh out.
“The thing is the best parts of you are not anything I gave you. The best parts of you, Sutler, probably came from your mother ‘cause your father was a real asshole and that’s the truth. Sometimes when I would look at you all I could see was Shane and I just fucking HATED you for it. Because I hated Shane. Because.. I think because I hate myself a little as well. That wasn’t fair to you in any way. Please be better than me, be better than what He thinks you can be.”
He flinched again as the blue eye flickers red for a moment before reverting back to blue.
“Okay.. okay Sutler I don’t have much longer. Don’t listen to what He says, listen to the parts of you that aren’t me. Listen to the part of you that are REAL, fuck even if it is the part of you that is Shane Reynolds is so much better than what I ever was.. I… I don’t know if I ever loved anyone, Sutler, that’s me being honest. I just.. I don’t really think I ever knew what love really was..”
His eyes look up at the camera once again, a broken, sad man desperately trying to say goodbye.
“..but I hope you get to know. Good by-”
Before he can finish the eye flickers red again. As if turning a switch his body tenses, his neck cracking as the Minister wrestles control back over the body. He stares at the camera for a moment, confused before reaching his spindly fingers toward the screen, the image cutting to darkness.
“Mina.. Starr-Kael. I could never resist a good pun, you don’t think Jatt will mind, do you?”
The information hadn’t fully sunk in as Sutler starred as the Woman in the White Suit, or as she had just revealed, Mina Starr-Kael. None of this made sense, nothing she had answered any of the questions he had.
“You must be bat-shit fucking crazy because my Dad is STONE COLD DEAD, gone, burnt up, we kept half his metal skull as a candy dish for my office, I lost his broken ass eyeball somewhere under my desk, I flushed his ashes down a toilet, he’s gone. GONE.” he exclaimed loudly as he took another step back.
He could feel Chloe’s hands clutching at his arm as she backed up with him. Mina flashed a pearly toothed grin from behind her #97Red lips. Those green eyes did have something terribly familiar about them, the look reminded him of his Father more than he wanted to admit.
“Darling, I did warn you I was a visionary. Mike killed Max, sure, you destroyed that old boy but I did say existence and survival is more than flesh and blood if you’re creative. Wilhelm Kael scratched the surface of this concept but he failed. He wanted perfection, he wanted to create exact copies of himself like a fucking brain clone. Can you believe it? How crazy is that?” Mina chuckled as she pulled a cigarette out.
MAXKAEL JR. took a step forward, his dark eyes hardened by determination and nearly indomitable will. Sutler knew if the man was set on killing or detaining him there wasn’t much he was going to be able to do about it. At this point Sutler was certain he was fucked and his mind had turned to Chloe.
She didn’t deserve any of this. She was innocent, a victim of her real father’s apathy and their adopted father’s madness.
“[We need to start soon, we haven’t very long. This should have started a week ago, there is no guarantee it will work.]” the gruff MAXKAEL Jr. grunted to Mina.
“It’s already started, I can see it in his eyes. We just need to help it along like any good poison.” Mina said as she sparked the cigarette to life sucking almost half of it away in a single breath.
“The fuck are you talking about?” the Son of Scions asked as he continued to edge slowly toward the door. He didn’t really want to know the answer to the question, he was just trying to buy time. He couldn’t beat MAXKAEL JR. based purely on strength but he was faster, much faster. He could use that..
“You’ll know soon enough, easier to experience than for me to explain.” the twisted variation of the Minister answered with a sickly sweet tone, her smile stretched ever wider. Sutler imagined it must have hurt to grin so wide but then he also considered you’d be pretty fucking crazy to think you’re a dead man reborn.
“If you touch Chloe or me I’ll fuck you up! I might not win, I might not survive it but I’ll leave you with a scar to remember me by! I’ll blind you, bite you’re fucking nose off!” Sutler yelled with as much bravado as he could muster. He pushes Chloe toward the door as he readies himself for a fight.
MAXKAEL JR. stares at the boy for a moment before sighing. With a shake of his head he takes a step back and folds his arms across his barrel chest. He looks disappointed. On the other hand Mina’s expression has twisted into excitement as she slithers toward him, her arms stretched open as if welcoming an attack.
“Oh yes, please, please! Bite me! Scratch me.. Choke me and beat me, Sutler. I know you’ve always wanted to so just.. Lay into me. Break my neck, Sutler, shatter my leg. Maybe you want to take something sharp and jab it into my eye like your Uncle Mikey, mmm?” she hissed between her clenched teeth, her lipstick looking more like blood the closer Sutler got to her.
His brain was telling him to run away including the small human being tugging desperately on his arm toward the exit of the Dojo and yet there was some small spark that wanted to stay, wanted to rip into this Mina character, tear out her heart, to prove HE was the best..
“…the best what?” Sutler thought as his mind tried to undertake this feeling inside of him. “..the best..Kael?”
No that couldn’t be right. No… no that would mean.. That would mean that he had.. Some part of .. no..
His thoughts began to grow cloudy as the world seemed to grow sluggish. He could hear Chloe’s voice screaming in his ear as he felt the world start to slide sideways. The ground came rushing up and before the President of Human Resources could even register he was falling he had struck the ground.
“[..disappointing. A real Kael avoids direct confrontation if there is an easier solution, like poisoning a drink. Don’t worry, that’s the Reynolds part of you, we’ll soon purge that inferior way of thinking. Soon you’ll be a real Kael.]” MAXKAEL JR.’s words register in Sutler’s mind as he feels his body going numb. The drink at the bar.. Fuck.
“I still don’t think he has a chance but he does have potential. A nasty little mean streak that I’m sure we can draw out into something more.. Enlightened. Heh-heh..” Mina chortled as she knelt next to Sutler’s prone body.
The sounds of Chloe screaming as MAXKAEL JR. grabbed her filled the Son of Scions with a sudden flush of panic and rage. Despite it he couldn’t move, couldn’t call out to Chloe to reassure her, couldn’t do anything but listen.
“I don’t remember who I was before this, darling, cause that person is dead. I am one of many and yet an individual, Mina Starr-Kael, an evolution, a continuation of the Minister that started in Max. I am a living legacy, just like you. Just like MAXKAEL JR. and Chloe Sektor-Kael. There are more out there, spread like seeds on the wind. Enough about that though, we’re here for you and War Games..”
Mina sucked down the second half of her cigarette before snuffing out the ruby cherry with her fingers, the scent of burnt flesh filling Sutler’s nostrils. She then blew a great cloud of menthol smoke into Sutler’s face causing his lungs to burn. He wanted to cough but the poison kept his body completely paralyzed.
“..when this is finished, if you are going to have any chances of winning.. You’re going to have to forget who you were and become what you are destined to be. Sutler Reynolds…KAEL…heh-heh.. Imagine that, darling.”
Sutler’s eyes had been pinned open so he couldn’t close his eyelids while his body was secured to a chair restricting his movement completely. Small tubes occasionally dropped fluid into his eyes that kept them moist and clean however they did very little to dull the pain and ache.
He had woken up this way about ten minutes before in the dark room he occupied. There was no light, no sound, no nothing, like being stuck in a void. He could hear his heartbeat, the sound of the blood rushing under his skin, the sound of his own breathing. It was fucking maddening.
“Hello? What the fuuuuuck?” the Son of Scions managed sheepishly.
There was a click sound, or at least Sutler thought that’s what it sounded like before the wall in front of him lit up a bright white. Unable to shield his eyes Sutler let out a high pitch wail, his body struggling against his bindings in an attempt to escape the brightness.
A strange melody began to play and if Sutler’s brain was blinded by pain and light, he would have thought it sounded like an old fifties commercial jingle. Instead the President of Human Resources continued to scream and wretch and wail until finally the wall was again awash in darkness.
Sutler stopped struggling, his breathing labored as his eyes readjusted. Tears were running down his face and he was pretty much openly weeping. He could taste the snot running out of his nose causing him to gag which just made these worse.
“War Games, boy oh boy, do I know a thing or two about War Games.”
The image of Max Kael, or rather The Minister, standing in the center of the War Games cage from 2020 in a bloodstained white suit appeared on the wall in front of Sutler. A jagged, gruesome cross his carved into his forehead while his red eye pulses with a sinister #97Red glow. A sneer rippled across his stubbly face before it snaked into an unpleasant smirk. Just seeing Max caused Sutler’s heartbeat to increase, so imbued with rage and fear toward his Father.
“I’ve been in enough of them to tell you a thing or two about the taste of steel mixed with blood. I can tell you the soft parts of the HOW ring from the hard spots, I can tell you the intimate details of the turnbuckles, the scent of body odor that’s soaked into the canvas like an artist’s paint! God don’t you just LOVE IT.. heh-heh..” The Minister brought his fingers up into a steeple and giggled through his metal fangs, the harder he clenched his teeth the more lines of blood trailed across his gums.
His mind raced as he tried to think of a way out of his current situation. This was.. A nightmare. In what was supposed to be his first War Games where he planned on destroying Conor Fuse at his Grandfather’s request, hopefully in return for some sweet payoff later on, some how his DEAD FUCKING FATHER had hijacked everything. This was fair.. It Wasn’t Fucking FAIR!
“Let’s face it Sutler, you’re weak as shit. Max didn’t respect you, he occasionally felt bad for you.. Or more felt bad ABOUT you, ouchie right? Mike doesn’t respect you because Mike doesn’t really respect anyone, he likes people until he doesn’t and he always eventually doesn’t. Prediction time, right now Mike’s banging Old Enough To Know Better Linsey Troy. How’s that worked out, boy?” the Red Eyed Devil says, completely aware that his misspelling of Lindsay Troy’s name is a joke that exists in his own head.
Even in his predicament Sutler manages an eye roll, the pain totally worth it. His father was a melodramatic fuck and the Son of Scions wasn’t an idiot. He very much understood his relationship with Mike and his Father.
“Out of all the men in your life I like to think I was the one who was really thinking about your future. I wanted you to succeed, I actually believe in you. I.. well. I believe in parts of you..heh-heh.. The parts I put there! Now I don’t have that full plan right now but I’m going to be experimenting on folks over the next few months before I goad Mike into killing Max. Hopefully I’ll get this process down figured out by then. Luckily for you it’ll be as easy as..”
The image cuts away quite suddenly, as though the tape had been physically ripped apart. Another white screen flashes into Sutler’s eyes causing him to scream again, his body literally convulsing in the chair as though he were being electrocuted. A few moments later and Sutler is given his reprieve with darkness consuming the light.
“Well I’ve done it! I’ve finally got the process down.. heh-heh..”
The Minister appears once again though it is clear this much later. He looks nearly feral, his skin is pale, taunt and sickly. His good eye seems to have lost it’s brilliance while the murderous #97red eye burns brighter than Sutler ever recalls seeing it. His suit is in tatters, yellow and brown with scorch marks along the chest and sleeves.
He takes an exaggerated bow and steps to the side to show a dirty looking woman strapped to a chair. One of his Father’s Congregation, from the look of her one of the Homeless he had drawn into his flock with promises he would never fulfill. She looked dead with dried blood covering most of the left side of her face.
“Wakey-wakey, eggs and baccy!” the Minister screeched before reaching back and whole force slapping the woman across the face, the force of which nearly knocked her out of the chair.
Her eyes flashed open, one green..the other a malicious red. Then, after a few seconds, it flickered and turned green to match the other. The Minister began to giggle and that giggle grew into a full belly laugh. The woman on the table looked confused for a moment before he too began to giggle. It was in that moment that Sutler recognized her, past the blood and the dirty hair and baggy, disgusting clothing..
“..fuck..” he whispered. She was.. Was telling the truth. Oh fuck. If she was telling the truth then. “No, NO! NO! LET ME OUT! STOP! PLEASE, NO! NO!”
“Now, Sutler my boy, this process isn’t all that painful and in your case, we can forego the whole eye bit because.. well..I’ve been planting seeds in your brain since you were eight years old, lucky you! Heh-heh. It takes about two weeks so hopefully we snatched you a little before the Go-Home show.” The Minister says, beaming with pride and joy. The woman who would become Mina shambles off the table and staggers away, his Father apparently having no further interest in keeping her.
Sutler never stopped screaming even as his throat became dry as his voice grew weaker. He threw himself against the bindings hoping against hope he could break free. He felt them burn against his skin and knew his flesh and bone would break before metal and nylon. It didn’t deter him.
“Of course if we didn’t then ignore everything I just said cause this, my boy… ooh hohoah-heh–heh-heh-Hah..mm.. This is very much going to hurt. You have no idea how much I hope we caught you after the Go-Home Show you pathetic little shit. And hey, look at it this way, I’m going to have to DIE to get this plan rolling, you just gotta go through a few of the worst days of your life and then War Games! Nut up, kiddo.”
Once again the wall goes white and the screaming begins with the start of something terrible.
THE OFFICE OF HIGH OCTANE HUMAN RESOURCES
Storage Room B Human Resources Suite 97
June 4th, 2021
Contrary to concerns floated recently the President of Human Resources, Sutler Reynolds-Kael, the Son of Scions, has not gone missing and will still be competing in War Games. While it is true that we have been unable to contact the SRK this should not be seen as a sign to panic or be concerned. In fact, given Sutler’s age, it is entirely reasonable to believe that he is simply taking this time to meditate in the woods far away from technology.
As we all know War Games is a very difficult match and everyone is searching for that unique edge. Sutler certainly was not kidnapped by the Yakuza or murdered in a back alley for his Air Jordans, this isn’t L.A. after all. No, his disappearance is likely totally rational and shouldn’t have anyone panicked.
What if he was eaten by a Shark though, guys? That happens a lot around here right? Okay we just checked the Shark Attack Database and there haven’t been any in like 100 years so we can rule out Shark Attacks.
Because nothing is wrong, everybody!
Sutler, if you read this please call HOW because nothing is wrong and everything is cool!
….but what if he was the FIRST shark attack in 100 years?!
“[Is he dead?]”
MAXKAEL JR. stared at the body of Sutler Reynolds-Kael which was laid out on the floor of the sound proof room he had been locked in. His wrists and legs were bloodied and bruised where the bindings had held him in place though he had apparently managed to break free.
“Wouldn’t that be a waste? I thought those bindings would hold him, they held you.” Mina mused as she sucked on a cigarette. “Pick him up, carry him out of there and we’ll see what the damage is.”
The muscular Japanese wrestler nodded in agreement before stepping into the room. He dragged the chair to the side before rolling Sutler’s limp body over, his eyes closed though deep though it’s clear from the dark circles beneath his eyes that they’ve been open for far, far too long. MKJr. leans down to check his breathing with is just barely above a gasp.
Sutler’s eyes flicker open, the whites having become bloodshot drowning the brown in crimson. A toothy smile stretches across his face as his body rapidly entangles the larger man. Like an octopus entrapping it’s prey, Sutler doesn’t give MKJr. a chance to react. He locks in a Triangle Choke, the Sutler Method, cutting off the blood and air supply of his victim even as Jr. attempts to use his power to break free.
MAXKAEL JR. lifts the full weight of Sutler before smashing him into the nearby wall but the Son of Scions is relentless, tightening down the hold. In desperation MKJr. slams Sutler down into the ground with all of his force and despite it all the SRK refuses to yield. Each effort, each second leeches away a little more life as MKJr.’s bulk is turned against him.
A few moments later he is completely incapacitated by Reynolds-Kael who at last relinquished the hold. Slowly he pulls himself up, his bones creaking and crackling as he stretches
“Mmmm…feels good to be free.” Sutler groaned in pleasure before he turned his bloodied eyes toward Mina who looked on with a smile on her face and a cigarette clenched between her teeth.
“Looks like maybe I was wrong.” Mina beamed as she blew two jets of smoke from her lips.
Sutler chuckled, whipping the dried blood and tear residue from beneath his eyes. He stepped next to her as he pulled the cigarette from her lips taking a deep drag before sighing, like tasting that first breath of fresh air after being locked in your house for too long.