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Bring Me the Head of Dario Cueto: A Lucha Underground Story
So soft now. I lie here, running my fingers through her hair while she sleeps the way I wish I could. How did I get here? How did I get so lucky to find her in my arms? A sigh of relief engrosses me, and I turn away from her, eyes glued to the ceiling above. How did I get here? Perhaps I shouldn't think so hard on it. In some situations, maybe it's best to just let things lie, to accept your fortune in the face of questioning. Maybe I'm just paranoid. Maybe I'm so happy I can't lie straight. I look back over to her, and my conscience debates falling asleep for just a little while or holding off just so I can lay my eyes on for just a bit longer. Such a warm dilemma to have. There's just one problem; what if I'm already asleep?
In a flash, she disappears from me, replaced with a cold sweat, the blinding gaze of streetlights and the hot, heavy grasp of the steering wheel. I was asleep; she was merely a figment of where I want to be, not where I am. Where I am is at the wheel of this blazing inferno racing through this empty city, with a goal I cannot comprehend, with a purpose I can’t remember. I turn to right next to me and see him looking straight ahead. His face is full of shock and misfortune, a look of blankness I imagine one has when an out of body experience takes hold. Fitting, for there is no body to him. Just the head. Just the head. I gasp and suddenly spot the dried blood on my hands and shirt. Could I have killed this man? What have I done?
And then it hits me, like a bolt of lightning. Images flash out at me. I am walking through a dimly lit hell, shoving aside Satan’s minions as I do. A man in the distance plays on a pinball machine. I stroke her hair as she sleeps. Wait, why is she here? I try to shake her awake, but she doesn’t move. Suddenly she is gone again, and I am looking up at shadow, swinging wildly towards me. And yet I feel nothing. She appears again. Gone. More swinging from the shadow above. Am I dreaming again? Hallucinating? I take a breath and try to put the puzzle back together. And as I slide the final piece in, it all comes back. The shadow is me, swinging his mighty weapon wildly at the victim below, the same victim sitting next to me. I remember. These pieces tell the story of how I came to kill him, the owner and promoter of an underground fighting ring, and how I am now taking his head to the highest bidder.
Relief washes over me, but does it really? The images fade and the road beckons again. I know what I have to do, even if this is unbecoming of me. I look back over at his lifeless head, trying to decide if I should feel better about this. He was indeed a thief, a terrorist and in his death I absolve myself from my sins in order to unlock the door to start again. He was no angel. My employers deserved their revenge, and he deserved to die. So why do I feel my soul damaged so much? I try to keep my eyes on the road, but they keep turning back to him. Focus dammit, focus. Deliver the goods. Get back home to her. Forget this night. Forget it all. I try to calm myself down, but it doesn’t loosen my grip, doesn’t cool my body. And then he turns to me, his blank expression replaced with a sick smile, and he speaks to me. The man with no temple speaks to me.
I recoil from the shock, only for my head to explode like a flash bang. The images zap through my head, more painful then the next. She is still sleeping. I am still swinging my weapon. Still walking through that club. Still recoiling. I finally gain control of myself and roll down a window, only to discover that I am really not alone. The colors flash across my car, and I look back to see two cars with neon lights burning towards me. They know. They are coming for me, coming to take me away for the evil I have brought upon this city. The flashes gain control again, only this time I cannot see her. She is gone from my bed, leaving me alone with the reminder of my deed. I force myself out of my head for good, only to find my passenger is still staring at me, still speaking to me. Even if death, he does not escape this world.
He begins to taunt me for my sins, for the sirens wailing in my rearview mirror, for not being able to do a job correctly. I tell myself this isn’t real. Then I tell him this isn’t real, that he’s dead and gone, a lifeless, body less stain on my car seat, a figment of my imagination. He taunts on unphased, his evil grin driving me further into insanity. He tells me that I have spoiled my unique opportunity., that his people will find me and do the same to me, that I’ll never see her again. Whether it’s the sirens, the monsters or my own people, I’ll never see her again. He begins to laugh. I begin to lose it. The flash bang goes off in my head again, and once more, she is no longer there. I lose control and I swerve right into the sirens.
Everything slows down. The sirens react to try and avoid me and collide like lovers in dead sprint. They fly through the air on fire, and I watch them flip and twirl all while my head battles itself. Everything is happening all at once. Metal meets pavement with a sticky sound. I see her in my bed again, only this time she’s attacking me. I’m still swinging wildly at my victim, still covered by shadows. All of this plays, like a montage of evil in my brain, set to the soundtrack of my passenger’s sinister cackle. I don’t know if I’ve gotten away from the sirens or not. All I see is attacks; her attacking me, me attacking me, him laughing at me. Eventually my head pushes most out and gives way to me wildly swinging away. The blows become faster and faster, as if they are trying to keep up with the maniacal laughter. I don’t where I am anymore. I don’t know who I am anymore. How did I get here? And how can I leave?
Suddenly, everything grinds to a halt. The car is parked and I am sitting in the fetal position, scared out of my wits end. It’s a joke, it was all a joke. I am fine, the images are gone, the sirens are gone, the destination lays right in front of me and my enemy’s head sits dead on the seat, the same glazed over awe he sported before I went crazy. I don’t take too long to think. I grab his head and head into my destination, an empty arena. Or maybe a factory. It’s hard to tell, as the broken, empty ring and the lifeless surroundings echo something that hasn’t thrived for years. I make my way closer to the ring, and see someone in the ring. It must be my employer. Not much longer now. I can hand him the head, collect my reward, and disappear from this night for good, to her, to sanity, to a better world. I crawl into the ring and look at my employer, but he keeps his back turned to the shadows. I tell him it’s done and hold out the head, relief once again entering me like two old friends meeting for the first time in years. He turns around to accept it, and my heart dies. I cannot believe it. How is it that my employer can look at me and smile, so full of twisted life, as I hold out his head for him to take?
It’s then that last flash bang hits, and I realize I’ve been deceiving myself. With each image, whether it be of the attack, of her, of the ride in, I begin to understand. It’s this understanding that makes it easier to accept it all when the shadow lifts from the attacker, and I see that it’s not me. I did not kill him, and I do not hold his head in my hands. It’s my head that is held, being given to him as a gift, and all of this is just the last few moments of activity before I shut down for good. Slowly, the attack disappears. Sadly, so does she, no matter how much I reach out for her. I go into darkness never seeing her again, with his laugh screaming in my ears, and my life and death being summed up by one and only truth; El Jefe always wins.