I quickly compose myself and smile.
"Welcome back to Tier one of Monster Bash. Last night, we saw a quick and dirty match, but there’s more to come. Who will win tonight’s fight? Stick around to find out,” I say, adjusting my suit as I lean against the fence. “Now, it has come to my attention that some viewers are a little upset that we are being disrespectful to these grounds, but let me assure you, first of all, that Horton-Meier was made fully aware of the content and extent of what Monster Bash entails, and willingly offered the grounds, fully informed. Second of all, know that we here at Monster Bash Conglomerated are not heartless, and part of our contract included a restoration of these grounds, not only of any damage we inflict, but also a renovation of the pre-existing site. When we leave here, it will be as peaceful and pristine as the day they first opened their gates”
I stand up and adjust my headphones as I once more approach the commentator’s desk.
“Yet again, I am joined by the lovely Miss Jayalaw, to help us comment on this evening’s proceedings. Now, Jaya, with media these days portraying vampires as sparkling juggernauts, it may seem like vampire is the obvious choice. But I am going against type this evening, and I think I’m backing mankind. What do you think of tonight’s competition?”
“Human beings can be quite nasty,” Jaya replied. “Though I do hope that he knows what he’s getting into. Vampires can be killed in numerous ways, but the favored choice is a wooden stake through the heart. Wood does happen to be everywhere, even in the pencils we use. So theoretically, the human would just have to get close enough to the vampire to destroy them, unless he’s allowed to use a bow and arrow.”
“Well, none of the contestants are allowed to bring a weapon onto the field, but there’s a reason we picked a graveyard instead of a boxing ring,” I say, looking out upon the churchyard. “If it’s a case of a one, two, punch, then it’s not much of a fair fight, because it’s not a realistic setting for any of these creatures to occupy. And vampires, although fast, they’re really fragile, so I think that if our human plays smart until he can fashion himself a club or a stake, then it’s game over. Of course, that’s a really big ‘if’.”
“It’s a shame that people weren’t buried with sharp sticks, although a human digging for one would be desecrating remains. Would garlic be considered a weapon? In theory, could the human bide his time until dawn hits? If so, then the vampire would either have to forfeit or burst into flames.”
“I sense a little trepidation on your part. I don’t think it will be that hard for our man. With trees, crumbling gravestones, the vestments in the church, I think there’s plenty he could use to defend himself. Vampire’s greatest defense is that we can’t tell them apart from humans. But walking into this arena, our guy is ready to fight. And hey, Hitler, Napalm, Clowns. . . I think mankind really is the greatest monster in this fight. Oh, and here come our contestants!”
Over at the fence by the tree line, was a tall, pale-skinned man in a straight jacket and a muzzle, but he walked calmly, and casually, glancing around and standing tall, his slicked, black hair shining greasily in the moonlight. He was being lead from behind, a stagehand holding the buckles on the spine of the jacket. After entering the field, the stagehand unbuckled the straight jacket and the muzzle and the two of them ran back and closed the gate behind them.
In one swift motion, the vampire threw his arms back, and the straight jacket slipped off of his body onto the ground in front of him to reveal a white shirt and matching pinstripe vest and trousers. He casually removed the muzzle the way a rockstar would remove their sunglasses.
“In this corner, we have Samuel Bergstein, originally a bank teller, he was bitten by a vampire at the age of twenty-nine, and is our oldest and wisest competitor having walked this earth for one hundred and fourteen years.”
On the other side near the church, a black man with long daggy hair, wearing an open shirt with a singlet and a pair of jeans walks towards the field, with two stagehands holding each arm. They walk him inside the graveyard, stand him a few metres away from the fence and shut the gate behind them. The man looked a little anxious, but hopped on the spot and flexed his muscles, which were well-toned and athletic.
“And against him, we have Jerome Ratray, he is thirty-six years old and standing at six feet - or one-point-eight metres - and weighing in at one hundred and ninety pounds - or ninety kilos - he is an electrician and in his spare time an amateur kick-boxer. Alrighty then!”
I stand up and scream “It’s Predator versus Prey, who will win? Let’s get ready to RUMBLE! Three . . . two . . . one, FIGHT!”
Jerome starts jogging down the centre path, and the vampire, Samuel, chuckles as he begins to swagger towards his opponent.
“How old are you?” asked Samuel. Jerome doesn’t answer, instead he stops in the middle of the path and puts up his fists, waiting for the vampire to meet him half way.
“That’s right, thirty-six . . . so young. I hope you’ve lived a good life, because it’s going to end, tonight.”
Jerome didn’t respond, he was focussed, breathing steadily, fists clenched.
“Do you have any idea how many people I’ve killed in my lifetime?” asked Samuel, but again, Jerome doesn’t answer. “I’m talking to you, son. Do you know how to speak?”
“I ain’t here to talk,” said Jerome coldly.
“So he does have a tongue,” says Samuel with a chuckle. “Why so stoic? I want to enjoy this, savour the moment, because it won’t last too long otherwise.”
“You tryin’ to scare me, sucker?” asked Jerome. “I didn’t come here for compellin’ conversation, I came here to kick yer ass. Vampires are only dangerous because they look like us, we don’t see ‘em comin’. Well, I see you sucker . . . you ready to dance?”
Jerome took two steps forward and threw his fist. The vampire dodged left with amazing speed, but it was a fake-out, Jerome swung a right hook and got him in the neck. Samuel stumbled back, but Jerome advanced quickly, almost hopping forward, since he was so light on his feet. He swung three more powerful punches, left-left-right, twice in the kidney, once in the forehead. Samuel fell onto his back, and scrambled backwards.
“No, come on, keep on talkin’!” taunted Jerome. “Weren’t you sayin’ somethin’ about how very old you are?”
Samuel clambered to his feet, then leapt through the air. Jerome stepped aside and watched as he flew overhead, landing in front of the church.
“You want to play rough, do you?” asked the vampire.
“I ain’t playin’, sucker,” said Jerome. “I’m gonna kill you.”
Samuel lept up and grabbed onto the edge of the roof, placing his feet flat on the wall as he hung from the church, then using all the force in his legs, he dove at his prey. He tackled him around the waist, and the force sent them both sprawling back. The vampire quickly got to his feet and kicked Jerome in the head. Jerome grabbed his ankle to stop him doing it again, but he jumped away, with a speed that whipped his foot out of Jerome’s grip. Samuel landed on top of the church, and sat on his haunches, looking down at Jerome as he got back up.
“There, isn’t that better? Doesn’t it feel more natural, to have you at my feet, and me standing above you.”
“Sounds to me like you’re hiding, because you know if you were standin’ down here, I’d rip yer head off.”
“Such a savage beast . . . how do you manage to even tie your shoes?”
“Seriously, how are you plannin’ on winnin’ from all the way up there?” asked Jerome, sounding frustrated. “What are you waitin’ for, old age? Stop hidin’ like a scared, little mouse and fight me!”
Samuel sighed, then leapt off the roof. He landed a metre in front of Jerome, but immediately tucked into a somersault, rolled forward and kicked with both feet into his chest.
He jumped up as Jerome stumbled back, and ran forward with inhuman speed. He crouched low and jabbed with a suckerpunch at full speed, that knocked the air out of Jerome, causing him to lose more ground, stumbling back. Then Samuel jumped to his feet with an uppercut, he was moving fast, to keep ahead of his opponent. Jerome managed to batter it away, with both hands, and tried to regain his composure; so instead Samuel changed the uppercut into a powerful slap that echoed like a thunderclap. He swung his other hand to try to slap him again, trying to knock him silly, but Jerome grabbed his fingers, squeezing the spindly fingers tight, and through clenched, bloody teeth he growled and gave Samuel a headbutt. The vampire was knocked back, but Jerome had a tight grip on his hand, he pulled him back and repaid the favour with a suckerpunch of his own, straight to the stomach. Samuel doubled over, and Jerome kneed him in the face, then swung a punch at his face, then another. Samuel let out a pained cry, as blood started dripping from his nose and mouth. But Jerome kept advancing. He swung an uppercut at his opponent’s chin that made a heavy sound, and knocked him onto his back.
Jerome stood there for a moment, sweating and breathing heavily. He was exhausted and he stopped to catch his breath, but then he looked over at the church and walked past Samuel. The vampire was a bloody mess, and he tried to look around, he groaned as he sat up. he cradled his face with a shaking hand and he rolled onto his feet.
Behind him, the human grabbed the wooden railing of the steps leading into the church and yelled out as he ripped it off, and brandished the makeshift club in his hand.
One end had two nails sticking out, which he elected as the business end, and he walked back towards his opponent to finish him off. Taking a running swing at the hunched figure, he knocked Samuel over again, the nails ripping two wounds into his side.
“No, stop!” yelled out the vampire, but Jerome swung downwards, and Samuel wailed in pain. As he lifted the bludgeon to swing again, Samuel got to his feet. Mid-arch, Samuel swiped at the piece of wood at astounding speed, and snapped it in half. Then he grabbed Jerome’s fist and dove forward, sinking his fangs into Jerome’s shoulder, to drink the blood.
“Argh! Get off me!” screamed Jerome. He used his free hand to punch the vampire in the head, throwing him off and in the process gouging deep cuts where the teeth ripped through. Seeing the snapped splinter in his hand, he angrily shoved it into the vampire’s chest. Immediately Samuel went limp. He fell onto his knees and looked up at Jerome, then at the makeshift stake in his chest. He was bleeding heavily, cold blood pooling on the ground around him.
“You got me,” he said, looking back up, “I think . . . I think I’m finally dying.”
“Mate . . .” said Jerome, shaking his head. “You talk too much.”
After a few seconds, the vampire slumped to the side, then finally Jerome sat on the ground, breathing heavily.
“Ladies and gentlemen, that was amazing, I think we have a winner!” I yell, running forward. “I knew it! Mankind, all the way! I think . . . what?”
I stop and put a hand to my headphones as the operators talk to me.
“Okay, I’ll check. Jerome? How are you feelin’, man?” I say walking closer. “Can we get a medic, here?!”
“That sucked,” said Jerome, wiping the sweat from his brow.
“We’re not done yet, man. There may be a technical knock-out here.”
“What?” said Jerome, he looked a little woozy as he looked up.
“You’ve been bitten. If you turn, that’s T.K.O., Vampire wins.”
“Vam . . . what? Vampire’s dead,” said Jerome. Once more, an ambulance comes flying through the gate and stops short, and two nurses come out of the back.
“Yes, the vampire’s dead. You will come back next tier. But if you turn, then you come back to fight as a Vampire,” I say. “Can we get some help here, please?”
A nurse straps his arm with a blood pressure bracelet and the other other checks his temperature, then puts a stethoscope to his chest. After a tense few seconds, the nurse shakes her head.
“No, he’s gonna be fine,” she says. “Don’t worry, you’re still human.”
“All-RIGHTY then!” I yell out. “That was touch and go for a second there, scary stuff, but it’s official! We have tonight’s champion! Please everyone, congratulate, the Human!”
The nurses both clap as I walk back towards the desk.
“That was pretty exciting, but there’s one more round for tier one. Come back tomorrow night, for some more, amazing action!”