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Ryk stepped into the basement, the smell of blood and sweat and fear filling his nostrils. He saw two pale men fighting, surrounded by nearly a hundred others, cheering and throwing fists into the air. It got his adrenaline going and scared the hell out of Ryk at the same time.

They called this place the Dancehall. People came wanting to see blood, violence, some breaking bones. Good illegal bareknuckle fun. It was the undergrounds version of a game show. Winner takes all, loser possibly leaves in a body bag.

The fighters were both close to crashing out on the concrete floor. Both were covered in blood and their breath came in wheezing gasps. Ryk pushed his way through the crowd, got a place near the front, just in time to see the skinny guy go down in a spray of blood. His oponent stood over the unmoving form, a lead pipe clattered to the ground at his bare feet The skinny guy writhed around on the floor for a few seconds, the skin of his cheeks ripped and jaw laying on his chest. A pool of blood slowly spread from the back of his head.

The crowd went silent.

The skinny guy's lungs worked overtime, his breathing came out in sick gurgles, blood bubbled from his ruined mouth. His left hand was clutching, pounding against the floor. The opponent took one last look and walked off. There seemed to be a slight smile on his face.

A speaker hanging from the ceiling rattled as an announcer spoke. "Well, looks like the Reverend finally won a match. Someone drag that guy out and get him to a medic. We've got people waiting."

Ryk made his way back out and found the registration table. A kid with cat eyes and no fingernails took his info down, went over him with a scanner. He didn't seemed surprised at the amount of mods in Ryk's body. A full upgrade to the nervous system, strands of crystal lacing his bones, artificial muscles. Run of the mill Chiba job. Ryk didn't even try to hide the patterns of circuitry anymore.

"This your first night here?" the kid asked, his eyes changing colors under the flickering flourescent lights.

Ryk nodded. "I've been on the circuit for awhile, thought I'd give the Dancehall a shot."

The kid grinned, showing off a set of pointed silver teeth. "Yeah, thought I seen you around. Ready to throwdown?"


Ryk had been waiting a long time to get here, fighting in dark alleys under the moon, on rooftops under a setting sun, at school in a hallway packed full of kids. He'd gotten a nice chunk of credit from a console cowboy friend of his for his 18'th birthday, took a trip to Chiba city and got cruised the black surgeon shops, bought himself some nice new parts.

When he learned to control his body, Ryk was running with the best. Even the Razorboys from uptown and Street Samurai showed him some respect. They knew about his mods, and his edge. Everybody knows about the edge. Fighters, console cowboys, executives and fences all knew about the edge. It was what kept Ryk alive.

Down here in the Dancehall, edge meant everything.


Two fights went by in the blink of an eye, then it was Ryk's turn. The cat eyed kid, Thomas, was his cornerman for this fight. He taped Ryk's fists up and offered him some drugs; Hype, Angel, several other uppers that would augment his reaction time and help him out; or something to make the hits a little more painful if so desired. Ryk took a hit of low-grade Hype and felt it hit instantly. The flickering flourescent lights overhead exploded, nearly blinding him, everything was moving in slow motion. His stomach heaved and he threw up. Thomas laughed.

"Why are you here anyway man? You look young, don't you have school or somethin?"

Ryk took deep breaths, trying to clear his head. "Yeah."

"Then why the fuck didnt you stay there?"


Someone called the guy Jin, Ryk wasn't sure if that was really his name, and it really didnt matter. He was about two meters tall, 95 kilos. Big guy, but sloppy looking. Arms covered with scars and prison tattoos.

"I wouldn't worry about him too much. As long as you don't let him get ahold of you, you oughta be fine." Thomas said, rubbing Ryk's bare shoulders. "Just jump in, throw a few, and get out. Got it?"

Ryk nodded absently. The floor felt unusually warm under his feet.

"Good. Drink this, it'll help." Thomas opened a canteen and poured its contents in to Ryk's mouth, which instantly went numb. "Mint Schnapps, some super concentrated caffeine, a few other uppers that'll keep you running if it drags on too long."

The bell rang and Thomas pushed him forward.


Advice never worked in a fight. People forget everything they've been told and just let instinct take over when their lives are on the line. Flight or Fight. As soon as Ryk stepped forward and locked eyes with Jin he was running on the edge, dodging and jumping in at the right time to throw some punches at the big mans gut. His vision was jacked up to the point where everything moved in slow motion. He could see fat ripple and beads of sweat fly off, the twitching of muscles in his own arms as he rythmically opened and closed his fists.

He spent a few minutes feeling the guy out, making tentative jabs to his face and pacing himself. Jin was doing the same, albeit more aggresively. The crowd went nuts when Jin got ahold of Ryk's arm and tossed him across the room, leaving a trail of sweat in his wake. Before he could get up all the way, something heavy slammed down on his spine and he was down again, rolling to avoid another blow. Spectators moved out of his way, ran around to get a better view of the action. Someone helped him get up, just to take a shot in the face that would have knocked anyone else unconcious.

Rough voice, stereotypical bad guy. "Ready to give up yet kid?"

No. Ryk pushed himself against the wall.

"Just forefit and get it over with, take some fucking tai chi classes, dumb fuck."

No. Burning defiant eyes, tensed muscles.

With a feral growl Ryk pushed himself off the wall and dove at Jin, bodies smacked together and they fell on the floor in a tangle of limbs. Brief moment of confusion and darkness, when Ryk opened his eyes he was sitting on the floor and Jin was on his knees clutching his stomach. It was a perfect opportunity to deal some damage. He rolled forward, tackled the man and started hitting him in the face. Everything streaked and became a mess of red and flesh when he moved. He swallowed blood and a few teeth, blinked to clear his head.

The crowd was a shifting blur of black and white, their shouts melded into a wall of white noise. Ryk crawled forward a few steps, fell down to his knees and held Jin's head in his lap while hitting the older man in the face.

He almost went deaf from the crowd. Excessive violence was always one way to make people happy.

Blood soaked his sweatpants, warm and shiny on his abdomen. He kept driving his fist down into bone and cartilage, bruising skin and splitting lips, he could barely feel the people trying to pull him off.

"Jesus fuckin' Christ." Thomas said, standing somewhere over his shoulder. "Calm down man."

Punch, punch.

"You hear me?!" Hands uselessly grabbing, trying to pull him off


Ryk stopped, looked at his hand. A tooth was stuck in his fist. He took it as a sign and stopped. The crowd moved closer to get a look at the damage, someone even brought Ryk water.

Thomas knelt down next to Jin, studied the unmoving form. "Damn. I don't think I've seen anyone just go off like that. Maybe you don't need that Hype..." Thomas knelt by Jin's head and pressed two fingers against his neck. "Still alive. Someone get him help, and mop this shit up."


"That was one hell of a show man. Not too stylish, but there was enough blood to get some people interested in you." Thomas took a drag from a hand-rolled cigarette of something extremely illegal, blew the smoke out through his nostrils. "Jin's gonna be pissed when he comes around."

Ryk watched several men in blue coveralls mopping up the mess of blood and vomit. One was picking up teeth and checking for gold. "It was fun. I wouldn't mind fighting him again."

The cat eyes blinked. "Everyone is gonna take a shot at you, Jin was pretty low on the ladder, just another bar brawler."

"Whatever. I know you just don't let anyone off the street down here. What'd he do?"

Smirk. "You hear about what happened at Shogun 'bout two weeks ago, Friday or Saturday?"

"Hard not to hear about. Some crazy fuck came in and just started beating people. Heard they shot him 6 times and he didn't go down."

"8. You just fought him."

Ryk looked back to the floor. "Serious?"

Nod, another drag and a sickeningly sweet smell filled the air. A moment of akward silence passed.

"What about you, do you fight here?" Ryk asked, changing the subject.

"Nah." Thomas dropped the cigarette and crushed it under his heel.

"Why not?"

"I'm scared I might kill someone, to be honest." To make his point, Thomas held out his hands, clenched into fists. Two inch long surgical steel claws snapped out from between his knuckles. It reminded Ryk of an old comic book character, something from his childhood. "Had a little incident with them a while back, thought I should stop while I was ahead."

Ryk nodded, suddenly feeling very tired and figuring the 'incident' was best left alone. "Well, I'm heading out, see you when I see you."

Thomas walked with him to the staircase and told him to be careful on the way home. Someone might try and take a shot at him, see if his preformance was a fluke, have something to brag about at the bar. He thought about following him but that wouldn't make much of a difference. After all, Thomas was just the kid who talked lots of shit and never had anything to back it up.

The crowd and cleanup crews gone, basement empty. Thomas's head was still buzzing from all the noise and weed. One part of him felt bad for not telling Ryk that he'd killed Jin, but the other though it was for all the better. Blunt force trauma to the head, several fractures. The cleanup crew accidently dropped the man once, his head split open like a melon. Ryk was too busy stumbling around and throwing up to notice.

Thomas walked to the top of the staircase and turned out the lights.

And another thing is, no matter how much you think you love someone, you'll step back when a pool of their blood edges too close.

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The following comments are for "Brawl"
by direb0y

'Pulp' Fiction
Good stuff! Has that nice semi-futuristic feel to it. I also enjoyed the level of description that you went into, it helped solidify the scene in my mind.

( Posted by: kross [Member] On: December 31, 2001 )

Good and Gory
Very descriptive, interesting characters and lots of violence. Sounds like a winner to me. Good job.


( Posted by: Richard Dani [Member] On: December 31, 2001 )

i liked it.
i liked the atmosphere you put into it. nice ending too.

( Posted by: Veruca Salt [Member] On: January 4, 2002 )

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