The Sound Of Violence

The Sound Of Violence

Posted on July 7, 2023 at 9:17 pm by Shane Reynolds

As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster.

As far back as I can remember, I’ve wanted to break Bobbinette Carey.

Now, when I say break, I mean that in every sense of the word. I want to break every bone in her body. I want to break every good thing in her life. I want to break her mind – even though it would seem as though I’ve been beaten to the punch in that regard. I want to break her career. And, if such a thing exists, I want to break her soul.

That is the sole reason that I came back from the dead.

That is the sole reason that I deigned to set foot back in High Octane Wrestling.

That was the one and only purpose in what remained of my life.

As such, when I signed on the proverbial dotted line of Lee Best’s Faustian bargain of a contract, I made myself a vow. No complications. No distractions. No being blinded by the gleaming prizes, the quest for which often dictate every move and decision in this place. No, there was nothing in my gaze but the destruction of Bobbinette Carey and the destruction of Bobbinette Carey was all.

And that remained the case…until it didn’t.

People often say what a difference a day makes and now I appreciate that phrase more than ever. This time yesterday, my mind was set ablaze by Bobbinette Carey’s actions. With each strike of that baseball bat, she earned her wish. She wanted to choose violence, well, I would show her violence like nothing she had ever seen before. The kind of violence that would make early days Chris Kostoff and Maximillian Kael in general weep. I had been content to wait until the pay-per-view…but Nettie Carey had officially moved Bobbinette’s fate forward.

And the card for the next edition of Chaos came out.

In the hours since, Steve Solex’s face has more and more begun to replace Bobbinette’s in my mind. More and more, it’s his body that lays broken at my feet. More and more it’s his blood pooling beneath him after I transfer all the vengeful rage from Bobbinette Carey to him. Just this once. Yesterday, I had scarcely even known the name Steve Solex but now I couldn’t stop picturing myself scratching that name off the HOTV championship. And I couldn’t stop hearing the cheers that would ring out as I took the misogynist asshole’s prized possession.

And I couldn’t stop feeling the smirk rise up within and spread across my lips, as I welcomed all the women from my masked disciples (yes, some are women), and others from the crowd of the front row of the crowd. Welcoming them into the ring, so that they may all spit in Steve Solex’s unconscious face and kick him in his presumably tiny balls. All as I flip Benny Newell the middle finger. I didn’t know Steve Solex, but I already didn’t like him. Worst still, I didn’t yet respect him. And I’d have no qualms about doing anything and everything necessary to take away his title – even bending the rules if it became necessary.

Steve Solex had consumed my days, watching every scrap of footage I could get my hands on – much to the increased frustration of my followers. All so that I may learn everything about him and conceive of how to use his own style against him. He had even consumed my dreams, my subconscious working out ways to counter his various moves, as well as his general l weight and height advantage. Not to mention his military training, which no doubt offers him additional power but also a regimented style. Things, I hoped, that could be countered with some specific creativity. Such creativity as tying him up in the corner and just peeling the skin from his face…

No, wait…that I will definitely save for Bobbinette. That will be the violence she so brazenly – and foolishly – chose. For Solex, I would just have to use every trick in the book and try to wear him down, and hope that his age gets to him before mine gets to me. I may be rusty but I’m going to give it my all, as befitting one Hall of Famer versus another (whenever the heck that happened) …but, see, here I go again… I could honestly ramble for an age or two on this subject. But, as the hour of Chaos marches closer and closer, the time for rambling is at an end. It’s time for me to finally wake up. Equally, it’s time for the world to wake up and remember that Shane Reynolds is a dominant force within High Octane Wrestling. And Steve Solex is going to be the perfect vessel to demonstrate that. For Bobbinette, for the fans, for every single person.

Though I’d held higher titles throughout my career – the World, the ICON, and the LSD championships – the desire for the HOTV suddenly seemed to eclipse them all. I didn’t just want to win this match, this title… I needed to win, no matter what it takes…

…And nothing on this spinning celestial rock we call Earth…nothing borne of heaven or hell or High Octane Wrestling…is going to stop me.


Shane awoke with a jolt – more specifically a jolt down his right arm, stemming from his shoulder as he assumedly rolled over during his broken sleep. He sat suddenly upright, swinging his legs over the edge of the luxury king-size bed. He instinctively rubbed at his bare shoulder with his left hand, the wrist of which also creaked. A moment later, the alarm on Shane’s phone went off, blasting the tones of ‘I Miss the Misery’ by Halestorm. He let the music wash over him for a moment and then deactivated it and pushed himself slowly up. His back immediate joined the chorus of aches and pains plaguing his admittedly aging and slow-to-recover body.

“Fuck!” Shane lamented, before dragging himself over to the window.

He opened the curtains, not quite with a throw but a slow dragging on his side. It was one of many times in the last few weeks that he briefly considered that returning to High Octane Wrestling might have been a mistake. Suddenly, that famous phase from the Lethal Weapon movies sprung to the forefront of his mind. I’m too old for this sh—

“No,” Shane spat forcefully from his lips.

He refused to let such a notion to sink in. Others older than him had still managed to thrive in this career – be it in other organisations or even High Octane Wrestling. Heck, even Steve Solex were a year older than him and look at his achievements of late. If they could do it, then he could. He just needed to remain focused and keep up with training on the more technical elements over the high-flying routines of his youth. And he needed to hold on to more than a little stubbornness, which time had taught Shane actually went a long way.

Instead, Shane forced himself to ponder the view out of the window. The sun wasn’t up yet, which appealed to his most famous of attributes, but the light was starting to creep out on the horizon. In the foreground, the Christ the Redeemer statue stood tall and silhouetted. It’s outstretched arms seeming to personally summon the sunrise in order to banish the shadow. Shane grimaced.

“That’s enough of that,’ Shane spat, turning his back on what most would consider a stunning view of Rio de Janiero.

Shane didn’t consider himself a villain but he knew that he also wasn’t a hero. He’d done plenty of things during his career and knew he would do plenty more before the end. Regrettable things. But redemption was not something he sought. What was done had to be done, and the same would go for the actions yet to come – towards both Bobbinette Carey and Steve Solex, as well as anybody else that dared to stand in his way in the interim.

Shane’s shoulder once again twanged, sending a shooting pain down his right arm. Within a few seconds, a pins and needles sensation claim dominion over his fingers. “Fuck!” Shane repeated, this time louder and with a lot more of an exasperated bite.

He rushed to the bedside table and grabbed a glass before staggering into the bathroom. He didn’t bother with the light, instead rushing straight to the sink. He filled the glass and groped blindly for the painkillers where he’d left them the night before. He popped two and washed them down with the full glass. He thirstily refilled it as he contemplated taking two more. He hovered dangerously on that decision for more than a few moments…

“No,” he muttered, unconvincingly as he looked towards the mirror.

With only a little light pouring into the bathroom – courtesy of the increasing sunrise spreading its rays further into the world – Shane was almost as silhouetted as the Christ the Redeemer statue had been. But it was enough. He stretched his arms out to the side in a mocking tribute. And, in truth, he felt more like the actual Jesus than the statue. After all, though he’d not let anybody see, and he himself could scarcely see now, he was still covered in marks and bruises. Each of them symbolising the toll that Zach Kostoff had exacted. Each of them on top of the lifetime of scars and marks he had garnered over the course of his career.

“No,” Shane said again, this time as the doubt once again began to creep in. “Screw it!”

Shane went to reach for the painkillers, throwing caution to the wind. It was at that moment that he realised his right hand was shaking. The glass rattled in his grasp but he managed to switch it into his left hand before he dropped it. That’s not good, he thought. Though the shaking had immediately stopped, the tingling numbness returned. He dreaded what it meant for his upcoming training session. If he could barely hold up an empty glass, how was he going to manage his usual weights? Not to mention trying to block the fists of Steve Solex and catching him in some swift technical moves. Maybe I’m gonna have to resort to sacrificing my body after all…

“It’ll be worth it,’ Shane muttered, imaging all the top rope moves he was going to have to bust out. As well as how he’s have rely on his legs – with hurricanrana moves and the like – rather than his arms. He winced in advance at all the additional bumps and bruises such a tactic would accrue but he forced himself more to think about the HOTV championship. “It’ll be worth it,” Shane echoed.

He would just have to remember to raise it victoriously with his left hand, lest everybody see the weakness and the shaking of his right. Regardless of what was to come, the mental images solidified his decision in the present. He refilled his glass and reached once more for the painkillers. Though they once did the trick, the potency of two now only served to take the edge off. As such, he didn’t think an additional two would do much harm. After all, it would just be this once…just to help him get through this morning’s training session.

Shane had just put his hands on them when there was suddenly a knock on the door. He tried to ignore it, focusing on the task at hand (shaky or otherwise) but whomever was there immediately knocked again. And then a third time. More emphatically and urgent each time.

“Fine!” Shane yelled, storming towards the door, remembering to grab a robe and fix his mask back on as he went. “What?” he bellowed, opening the door to find Jigsaw there. He took an instinctual step back, his piercing hazel eyes staring out panicked from beneath his handmade jigsaw-puzzle mask.

“You told me to make sure you were up,” Jigsaw explained.

“Well, mission accomplished,” Shane jeered. “I’m up and about to go and train.”

“Oh!” Jigsaw exclaimed insecurely.

“What?” Shane pressed.

“Nothing! It’s just…everyone is wondering when you are going to visit Rorschach in the hospital.”

The name came from the various interpretive blotches that adorned his own mask. And, though they didn’t move around and reconfigure themselves like the character’s did, Shane suspected that comic books had served as inspiration for several of his disciples. He couldn’t really judge, however, given the many increasingly-rote comments he’d received that compared him to The Crow. Shrugging that thought aside, Shane’s eyebrows furrowed, causing Jigsaw to take another slight step back.

“I was there yesterday,” Shane argued.

“That was nearly a week ago, the first night that he was taken there.”

It was then Shane’s turn to mutter, “Oh!” Shane paused to contemplate this for a moment and then threw his hands up in the air. He was suddenly thankful he’d remembered to put his own mask on. It allowed him to hide the pain as a fresh jolt tore through his shoulder and then down his arm. “Fine! Let’s go now!”

“I didn’t mean you had to go now. They just asked me to a—”

“Nope!” Shane interrupted. “You guys want me to go, so I’ll go.”

“It’s okay if you want to train first. They won’t mind.”

“Nope!” Shane replied, yelling back out into the corridor, having already moved back into the room. Jigsaw moved into the doorway as Shane used the remaining cover of darkness to slip out of the robe and back into his clothes, hiding each wince with every stretch and bend. “We’re going now and that’s final!”

“But—” Jigsaw attempted, once to be cut off once again.

“What part of that’s final do you not understand?” Shane asked, emerging from the ever-receding shadows and stepping back towards Jigsaw in an authoritative manner. “No buts! I’ll just do double training later.”

Before the words had even left his mouth, Shane suspected that they were a lie and he felt a phantom tremor roll through his hands at the mere thought of attempting even a push-up. Shane’s approach forced Jigsaw back out into the hallway as he swirled his trench-coat around him and slipped into the sleeves. The move took his everything not to groan but he managed it. Shane pulled and slammed the hotel door behind him.


The hospital doors slid open with a ping as Shane and Jigsaw marched into the reception area. They immediately drew odd glances from medical staff and awaiting patients alike. They paid it all no mind, however, not knowing nearly enough Portuguese to understand what the buzzing beehive was saying, or to explain their choice of style. Instead, Shane focused on how much closer to home the hospital felt. Maybe I should have just stayed here, he thought, or at least visited more often.

He’d long been feeling that staying in such luxury hotel accommodations ran the risk of making him soft. But trying to find a suitable environment that befit his strange standards would had cut into his match preparation time. And he couldn’t afford that, not on this occasion. Next time, however, he would at least downgrade a few stars. As they continued navigating the hospital, Shane and Jigsaw also distracted themselves from the stares but continuing their already-in-progress conversation…

“And you’ve been keeping tabs on Solex?”

“As much as I can,” Jigsaw answered. “But there’s been little sign of him since Independence Day.”

“Good,” Shane offered, though he knew an opponent being more or less off the grid was a double-edged sword. Without knowing what somebody is up to and what their mindset is, it’s hard to prepare a sufficient response. Shane just had to hope that, wherever he was, Solex had remained distracted by his hunt for Christopher America and celebrating the country. Shane rolled his eyes, however, recalling the tribute that Jigsaw had described. “He makes even the characters from Predator feel restrained.”

Shane allowed himself a little smirk.

“Maybe we should help him with that,” Shane added.

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, if he wants to obsess over finding Christopher America, then contact anyone and everyone you can and inundate him with tips. I don’t care who you have to bribe or blackmail, just spread false clues – through military circles if possible – regarding Christopher America’s whereabouts. The longer he remains on this wild goose chase, the better. After all, there’s no greater enemy to a champion than complacency.”

“You really think he’ll get complacent?” Jigsaw queried. “I mean, he’s won all his recent title matches.”

“Yeah, and how many of them were about rookies?” Shane fired back as the elevator does opened, also with a ping, and they both stepped aboard. Though there were at least three other people aboard, they carried on as though they were traveling up alone.

“Exactly.” Shane followed up before Jigsaw could finish calculating. “Trust me, I know what I’m doing. The fact he’s been on a hot streak only solidifies his potential for complacency. Especially against me. Despite being a hall of famer and having held practically every title that matters, I’m forever underestimated. If he wants to make that same mistake, then I’m not only going to let him but fuel that belief however possible.”

“I guess,” Jigsaw relented as the doors opened on their designated floor, everybody else onboard breathing a sigh of relief as the masked weirdos departed their vicinity.

Shane once more embraced the pure whiteness of the hospital environment, as well as the sterile smell that permeated the air. It was funny how their usual home in Boston had been decommissioned upon Shane’s purchase of the building and yet retained that very smell. It was one Shane had come to love over his many years of forced hospitalization. But that was a story for another time.

“But I don’t think you get to the top spot on the rankings by being complacent,” Jigsaw quibbled as they approached the private room that Shane had negotiated for Rorschach.

“True,” Shane relented, already noting the coterie of masked followers huddled together as the other end of the corridor. They immediately stood to attention as they equally noticed Shane’s approach. “But being at the top spot will itself breed complacency. After all, why would somebody in such a spot even care about holding onto the HOTV title? The chances are, he’s already looking forward to the upcoming match with STRONK that being number one will afford him. His eye will be on even bigger prizes like the World Championship. As such, he’ll probably be glad to have me snatch the HOTV title away from him. He will probably never admit it and may say otherwise, but somewhere, deep down in the dark recesses of his mind, he’ll know it to be true!”

“Unless he wants to be a double championship!”

“Enough!” Shane demanded, simultaneously raising his hand to usher in Jigsaw’s silence. It took all of Shane’s strength not to backhand him. Although, he also worried that such a move would somehow betray Shane’s physical struggles of late. “How is he?” Shane added, turning his attention to the rest of the group now.

“He’s doing better, Sir,” a female disciple wearing a skull mask answered, one that Shane had taken to calling Phantasm, in keeping with the current trend and in tribute to one of his own favourite fictional characters. “He’s just been waiting for you.”

“Well, I’m here now, though I’m sure he’s been grateful for your presence,” Shane consoled. “And, despite what you may think, I assure you that Bobbinette Carey, whatever she now chooses to call herself, is doing to pay quadruple in kind for her actions.”

In unison, the group broke out in applause. Shane allowed it to simmer for a little while, taking in the welcome adulation, before cutting it off.

“Is he awake?”

“Yes, sir!” Phantasm answered.

“Good,” Shane replied, smiling beneath his own mask. “Now go and get some breakfast. I’ll watch over him for a bit.”

The group immediately expressed their appreciation and departed in search of somewhere they could get some food. Jigsaw lingered by Shane’s side, once again drawing his master’s ire.

“You too,” Shane eventually commanded. “Anything said between Rorschach and I is to be strictly between us. Understand?”

Jigsaw nodded, the motion a mix of frustration and reverence. As he moved off to catch up to the others, Shane walked towards the room door. He paused before opening it, watching Jigsaw go. Shane started to wonder whether the man was eventually going to be a problem, and whether he should just beat things to the punch and exile him. Lest he gain any sway over the others before he makes any moves of his own. Shane shrugged the notion aside for the time-being and, pushing open the door, stepped into the hospital room beyond.

Shane was immediately hit with the sound of machines beeping and the faint drip from within the IV bag. Shane remembered it vividly from several days before, when he’d personally carried Rorschach into the room. Though there had been resistance to cutting through the red tape that was the hospital’s protocols, Shane threw enough money at the issue to make it go away – and cut through the language barrier. Shane’s mind flashed his own, various hospital stays from over the decades and recalled his thought from that day: This is the sound of violence.

“Sir?” the voice of Rorschach feebly enquired as the door clicked closed behind Shane and his disciple opened his eyes.

“That’s right,” Shane replied, as he strode across the room and took a seat.

“I thought you might have forgotten about me.”

“Of course not!” Shane shuffled the chair closer to the bed. “Never!”

“I’m sorr—”

“No apologies!” Shane interrupted, holding up his index finger. He’d heard enough of them when he was last here. “It’s entirely my fault. I underestimated the mental freakshow that Bobbinette had become. I never should have tasked you with monitoring her alone. I won’t make any of those mistakes again. And, I assure you, every one of the injuries she inflicted upon you shall be visited upon her tenfold. She wants to choose violence, then I’ll deliver upon her violence so profound that the sound of it will be ringing in her ears for years to come. She’s going to have to break into 20 more different personas just to cope with what I have in store.”

“But don’t you have a title match this week?”

Shane’s eyes narrowed, already sensing where this line of question and from whom it had actually originated. “What of it?”

“Well,” Rorschach hesitantly offered. “Jigsaw said—”

Shane once again cut his injured follower off. “Did he now?”

Rorschach wasn’t sure how to respond to that, so simply said nothing and merely let his master’s evident venom hang in the air.

“Well, pay no mind to what Jigsaw has to say,” Shane reminded. “You listen to me and you listen well.”

“Yes, sir!”

“I do have a championship match this week,” Shane continued. “The lowliest of all the titles, maybe, but a title nonetheless. However, this will not hinder me in delivering vengeance upon Bobbinette Carey. On behalf of myself and, now, you. In fact, this title match with Steve Solex is part of it.”

It was then Rorschach’s turn to narrow his gaze beneath the mask he had insisted on still wearing. It served to cover some of the damage that Nettie Carey had inflicted – thus, in his piercingly blue eyes, bringing him closer to his master. United in suffering, they had become…although Rorschach’s had a long way to go in order to match Shane’s injuries and, thus, his dark purity.

“Really?” Rorschach asked.

“Of course,” Shane lied. “Steve Solex has been nigh on unbeatable these past few months. He is perched atop the leader-board and his grip on the HOTV title is made of iron. As such, imagine how much of an example he’d be if I was able to defeat him. Imagine just how much terror it would drive into the heart of Nettie Carey. I think it would be a fear so pure that it’d even reach right down to where Bobbinette Carey has, herself, been buried. Defeating the son of Kostoff is one thing, but being only the second person to pin Steve Solex in however long would send quite the message.”

“That’s true,” Rorschach replied, confirming his position at the centre of the web Shane was spontaneously choosing to weave.

“And just think about what it’ll mean if I become the HOTV champion,” Shane continued. “It would mean that the match between Bobbinette and I will likely become a title match. As such, the complete decimation of his at the PPV will become all the more perfect and poignant. This all began when she denied me the championship that was rightfully mine. And it’ll end with me denying her a championship in return. And now even the World championship but the HOTV, thus demonstrating just how far she has fallen. I’ve only just returned, so of course I am not at the level to compete for the World title. But she’s been here for an age and can’t even take the lowliest title from me. You see what I’m saying?”

Rorschach nodded, though Shane still wasn’t entirely sure that he did.

“Yes, I don’t just want to defeat Steve Solex, I need to,” Shane carried on. “But not because of selfishness or greed or because I’ve become blinded by glory or complacent in my central quest. I need to defeat Solex and claim that title in service of the Bobbinette’s downfall…”

Shane reached out and took the hand of his younger disciple in his own.

“…Because, I am nothing if not a multitasker,” Shane offered in defiant conclusion. “She will suffer!!!”

Shane gently squeezed Rorschach’s hand, immediately regretting that he’d used his right. Shooting pains suddenly rushed up and down his arm. In their wake, the pins and needles returned, but Shane kept it from showing in his eyes.

“I promise!” Shane finished. He immediately wondered if he was actually telling the truth or whether everything he’d said had been a lie… whether he was just trying to further justify his decisions. Whatever the case, he wanted the HOTV championship more than ever and was already tiring of this conversation. Not as much as the recent ones with Jigsaw but enough for Shane to force himself back to his feet. Thankfully, Rorschach was momentarily resting his eyes and didn’t see Shane wince as his joints screamed out in resistance. Forget what I said before, Shane thought. This is the real sound of violence.

“Thank you for coming, Sir!”

“Think nothing of it,” Shane gently offered. “Are you doing okay?”

“Yeah,” Rorschach answered, nodding to the equipment beside his hospital bed. “They have me on the good stuff.”

“Good! We need you back as soon as possible… so you can witness the annihilation of Bobbinette Carey for yourself.”

“I’ll look forward to it,” Rorschach replied eagerly. “And I’ll be rooting for you on Sunday.”

Shane reached down and patted him silently on the shoulder before turning back towards the door. Beneath the mask, he subtly scowled. After all, that sounded dangerously like he was being wished good luck. Luck would play no part in his match with Steve Solex. Shane was determined to make sure of it…to make it crystal clear to everybody involved and, almost more importantly, to everybody watching, that his victory was borne simply of talent and skill. Shane opened the door and stepped back outside, allowing it to slam closed behind him.

He paused in the brightly-lit corridor. He sighed, suddenly aware that that meant training…and he had nothing to actually put off such activities. As if on cue, his right hand began to tremble. Shane quickly shoved it into his left hand, holding it tightly to keep it from shaking and rubbing his knuckles and wrist with his thumb. After a few moments, he set off towards the elevator, deciding not to wait for the rest of his followers to return. He’d contact them later, and would give him some time from the increasingly irritating Jigsaw.

Shane was halfway towards the elevator when a door suddenly flew open, almost hitting him. Shane instinctively threw his arms up to block it. A nurse suddenly emerged, carrying a bunch of different items in her combined grasp. She glanced rapidly at Shane with eyes as wide as a rabbit in headlights.

“Oh,” she exclaimed, panicked. “Eu sinto muito.”

Shane assumed she was saying sorry. The nurse didn’t wait, however, to see if her apology was accepted or if Shane had anything to offer in return. She simply turned and rushed off to the rooms at the opposite end of the corridor. It was probably for the best, as Shane’s motion to block the door sent fresh agony through his shoulder and arm. Equally, Rorschach’s words flowed loudly through his mind. They have me on the good stuff. With a second to spare, Shane gripped the handle and kept the door from closing. Shane looked both ways, making sure the coast was clear and then slipped inside.

“Bingo!” Shane celebrated, as he looked upon a treasure trove of medical supplies and medications.

Shane immediately began stuffing his coat pockets with various items he thought might be useful in the coming weeks – for a variety of different purposes and plans. Most importantly, however, he laid claim to several vials of morphine and some syringes. He paused for a split second to ponder whether this was the right course of action or a slippery slope…

…but then put them in his pockets as well, once again imagining the HOTV title being held up above him by a steady hand as his foot rested on the unconscious body of Steve Solex. More importantly, Shane imagined how much easier the last few days of relentless training would be with this new supply of painkiller. No more aches. Now more pain. No more having to cut his workouts short. With that hopeful notion, Shane slipped back out of the supply room and, more resolved than ever, made his way to the elevator. Fittingly, he headed down and immediately cut a rapid path out of the hospital and towards his hotel’s private gym.