Vanguard #12:Fight Night

By: Percival Constantine

CHAPTER 1





William Blake’s head snapped to the side, pain radiating from the point where his opponent’s fist struck his jaw. A metallic taste filled his mouth and he spat, the crimson splotch of blood adding to the multitude of dried stains that covered the once-white floor.

Blake turned his attention just as his opponent, Copeland, charged into him. Blake’s muscles rippled beneath his skin, growing larger and straining against the limits of his flesh. He met Copeland’s rush with an uppercut.

Copeland flew across the ring and his back struck the heavy cage surrounding them. He fell to the ground, but was on his feet again almost instantly, his body also reacting in the same way as Blake’s did.

The cheers of the crowd outside the cage grew louder. Blake wasn’t here for their approval, but he found himself appreciative of it at the same time.

The two behemoths charged into each other, bare fists striking bare flesh. Both men were without shoes and shirts, clad only in their jeans. Blake struck a blow at Copeland’s chest, and he smiled as he saw Copeland’s face contort in pain.

Their enhancements made them incredibly durable. It took a lot of damage before they could even feel pain. Which explained Blake’s satisfaction at Copeland’s reaction.

But Copeland wasn’t about to go down without a fight. Blake felt a similar blow against his chest, a blow that put some distance between the two fighters. Before Blake realized what had happened, Copeland closed that distance and Blake’s head rocked back.

Blood leaked into his eyes, his vision obscured. Blake couldn’t see Copeland’s attacks coming. The roar of the crowd and the slapping sound of wet flesh was deafening. He couldn’t focus his senses on anything.

He struck the ground hard on his back. A heavy load dropped on his chest. Blake blinked to try and clear the blood from his eyes. His sight came back and he saw Copeland straddling his chest. Copeland’s hand wrapped around Blake’s throat and his free hand struck Blake’s face repeatedly.

Blake raised his fist and slammed it into Copeland’s. A crack rang out in the ring and Copeland retreated, holding his mangled hand. Blake jumped back to his feet and tackled Copeland, slamming him against the cage.

His right hand grabbed a fistful of Copeland’s short brown hair. Blake drove Copeland’s face against the cage’s metal bars. With each sound of ringing metal, the crowd hollered and whooped.

Blake pulled Copeland from the cage and, in a feat that took incredible strength, lifted a man as massive as himself over his head. That sent the crowd into a frenzy. Blake accepted their cheers and shouted back at them.

“You want it finished?” he asked. “You came here for a show?”

The crowd erupted in a chant of “FINISH HIM!” Blake cast a quick glance up at Copeland, his face full of fear.

“Sorry pal,” he whispered. “Gotta give the people what they want.”

Blake brought Copeland’s body down and raised his leg. Copeland’s back struck Blake’s knee and the crack was quickly drowned out by the cheers of approval.

He dropped the crippled Copeland onto the ground and stood in the center of the ring. Blake raised his arms—lined with bruises and cuts—to thunderous applause. The people in the crowd were on their feet, clapping and shouting.

But Blake felt his heart pounding against his chest. His muscles still ached for more action. For more fuel. He’d need another charge soon, he could already feel the desire creeping up on him.

***

Blake exited out the heavy metal door into a damp, darkened alley. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a roll of twenty-dollar bills. With the roll wrapped in his hand, he counted each bill, thumbing through them and once satisfied, placed it back in his pocket.

“Good night tonight?”

Blake looked over his shoulder and saw an imposing figure in the shadows. He stepped closer. His hair was buzzed short and he had a thin beard. There was an intensity in his eyes.

“Pretty good,” said Blake. “Surprised I didn’t see you down there, Desmond.”

“I had other matters to attend to,” said Desmond, folding his arms over his massive chest.

“Yeah well, see you next time,” said Blake, turning away and stuffing his hands in the pockets of his jacket.

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