Glory Is Fleeting, Death Is Eternal

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Austin is an elite gladiator in the distant future, but has he met his match?

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Submitted: July 16, 2012

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Submitted: July 16, 2012

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Adrenaline was pumping through his veins as he stepped out into the arena. He could hear the crowd baying like dogs, he could feel the cold metal floor under his feet, but he could only see one thing. Across from him, emerging from the other side of the arena was a man. His opponent.

Austin was a gladiator, and a good one at that. He enjoyed his job. He made good money and was loved by the crowd for his flamboyant style. But he'd be kidding himself if he told himself that's why he did it. He was a gladiator because he loved violence. He loved the thrill of the fight, the adrenaline rush, the smell of blood. But most of all, he loved death. The feeling he got when he killed his opponents, when he saw the light extinguished in their eyes, there was nothing to match that in all the world. He was a big man, with cropped hair and violet eyes. His face was scarred from his years of fighting, one particular scar ran from the corner of his mouth up to his ear, giving him a permanent lopsided smile. He wore armour on his legs and shoulders, and down his left arm. He kept his huge chest bare to reveal a tattoo of a skull that went from his clavicle down to his navel.

He let out a huge roar as the crowd cheered, his opponent remaining motionless and silent. A hologram of the Viscount appeared in the centre of the arena, the man responsible for the games.

“Ladies and gentlemen, this will be a match to remember! The rules, as always, are simple. Whichever man leaves this arena floor alive, wins! Let the game begin!”

His hologram disappeared, a bell rung, the crowd cheered again. Austin was still focused on his opponent, and began to move slowly towards him. His opponent had already begun to run, a stupid move that would leave him tired and winded. Austin lay his mace down, planted his feet and waited. His opponent didn't slow down, and when he was close enough began to swing for Austin with his blade. Austin took two quick steps forward, grabbed the man by his waist and slammed him into the arena floor on his back.

The man was like a landed fish, gasping uselessly. He tried to scramble away but Austin was too quick, and began throwing punches into the man's face. The man kicked out and although it was a pathetic attempt, Austin backed away. He turned his back on the man and faced the crowd, raising his arms. Their cheering was deafening. He could hear the man had got up behind him and turned to face him. Austin smiled, he was enjoying this. The man released a cry of rage and came at Austin again, his blade lying forgotten on the floor. He aimed a kicked at Austin's chest, Austin sidestepped it, grabbed the man's leg and broke his knee. The man fell down with a scream, the crowd loving every second of it. Austin put a hand on the man's head and kneed him in the face, his metal armour smashing the man's nose.

Austin picked the man up, lifted him above his shoulders and looked around. The crowd were chanting his name in anticipation. Austin smiled again, and brought the man crashing down on his knee, severing his spinal cord. He put his non-gloved hand on the man's face, put his thumb into the man's eye socket and popped his eye out. The man screamed in pain as blood fountained out the socket. He held it up to the crowd before tossing it into them, some lady shrieking with delight as it landed on her. He walked over to where his mace lay. It was a brutish instrument, a slender handle going into a spherical head, layered with spikes. He picked it up and walked back over to the man. The crowd was hushed as Austin stood over him, the mace over Austin's head, held in two hands. This was the moment he lived for. This, above all else, was what got him off. With a savage grunt he brought it down on the man's head, hot blood spraying everywhere, sending the crowd crazy. He turned and walked back to the door he'd come in by, the Viscount's hologram appearing again to announce him as the victor.

He left the arena and his mood immediately became sour. His trainer, Ralph, came running up to him. “That was a good fight out there!”

“Bollocks. That man had nothing, that wasn't a fight, it was a fucking execution.” Austin snarled.

“I know, I know, but that's what we're given. I'll see what I can do for your next fight.” Ralph replied. Austin unstrapped his armour and proceeded to wash all the blood from it. He piled it carefully next to his bed before inserting an IV. He lay down and the sedative took effect almost immediately, making him sleep almost as soon as he hit the pillow.

His next fight Ralph promised would be a challenge, he just laughed as he put his armour on, picked up his mace and ascended the ramp. Challenge. Nobody was a challenge for him. He'd had almost six hundred matches, he'd never had anything broken or even come close to defeat. It wouldn't be a challenge.

The crowd cheered once again as Austin stepped out, the Viscount made his usual speech and then the fight began. Austin began walking towards his opponent, who was doing the same. Austin's opponent might be a little more savvy than the last one but that wouldn't save him. Austin stopped, he always let his opponent make the first move. His opponent did the same. Austin waited, ready to defend himself from the man's strike, but nothing came. The crowd had begun to get restless, they wanted a fight, not a staring contest.

Austin decided he'd make his move. He swung his mace at the man's head, the man easily blocked it, but that was the point. Whilst the man was distracted Austin brought his left hand round and slammed the man in the gut with an armoured fist before backing away. The man barely even flinched. And then a strange thing happened, he laughed. It started as a chuckle but before long the man was roaring with laughter, and then Austin realised why it was so unsettling, the crowd had gone silent. The man looked at Austin, and smiled.

Austin bellowed at him, “Do you know who the fuck I am?”

The man looked at him for a moment, “Dead,” he murmured.

He didn't show it but Austin was taken aback by the man's confidence. No matter, he'd crush him like he crushed everyone else. He took his mace in both hands and swung it in a diagonal arc at the man's shoulder. The man grabbed the shaft, and looking dead in Austin's eyes he bent the metal, before wrenching the the mace out of Austin's grip and throwing it aside. He dropped his own blade, flexing his hands. Austin jumped at the man, aiming a kick for his face. He was met with a savage uppercut into his stomach, knocking him back and winding him. The crowd were still silent, holding their breath.

Austin recovered quickly, the blow had been more damaging to his pride than his body. He circled his opponent trying to find a weakness he could use. The man was big, bigger than him, and barely armoured at all. He had no tattoos, no scars, no visible markings of any kind. His eyes had no iris, or if they did it was white, Austin couldn't tell. He had a shaven head, and a cruel, cruel smile. He punched Austin in the chest, sending him backwards. Austin felt a stab of pain and heard one of his ribs crack. He was shocked, the man had moved so fast he hadn't been able to block it, he had barely even seen it coming. He recovered again, realising for the first time he could die, and determined not to let that happen.

The man threw another punch, which seemed clumsy and slow compared to his previous one. Austin stepped it and slammed his dagger into the man's forearm. The man didn't even register it, merely twisted his arm and removing the dagger from Austin's grip. The man removed it from his arm and looked Austin dead in the eyes, Austin felt fear go through him, a different kind of adrenaline. The man head-butted Austin in the face, shattering his jaw and removing several teeth. Austin was angry now, and his rage began to blind him. He stood up, delivering a flurry of punches to the man's chest as he did so. The man took it all, before flooring Austin with one punch to the throat. The crowd were no longer silent, cheering insanely. Austin felt betrayed, they had loved him. But a fight was a fight, no matter who was winning. Austin could barely breathe. He tried to sit up before falling back down, he felt a huge boot placed on his chest, and looked up into his opponents eyes. He knew he was as good as dead, he hurt too much all over to continue, and the man had completely decimated him so far. He lay back and whispered “Just fucking do it.”

The man smiled again, raised one giant fist and pounded it into Austin's face. With a spurt of blood his skull shattered. With a second punch, his head collapsed, brain matter and blood leaking from the cracks. The man lifted his body into the air, the crowd once again going wild, and he threw Austin's corpse down onto the arena floor. In just a few minutes, an undefeated champion of years had been reduced to a bag of meat, a certain victory had turned to a crushing defeat. And Austin, would be forgotten forever.


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