She made three rotations, stopped at the fourth to glance towards Nikita.
〝Will you be here after? Hotel is cheap. But I didn’t pick up dinner yet.〞
One more roll across, and she tore the tape with her teeth, pinched, then balled the material inside her hand.
〝You can watch too. To see, I have changed.〞
〝You’re still hitting people. Objects too.” Nikita said with a raised finger, which earned Aculina’s smile, at least for a moment.〝You watch still, no? It will be a show.〞
There was an assured nod, and they both stood. Nikita pulled a smartphone from her pocket and showed the front-facing camera, and Aculina bent over to blink.
〝It is tiny mirror?〞
She asked, reaching to pull the straps of her black tank top, then pinched at her black pants to watch it move.
〝Pff… We’ll work on it.〞Nikita snickered in response. Afterward, the phone returned to black, and Aculina blinked twice before she stood tall once again, 〝Guess it’s time.〞
They’d leave one after the other towards Gorilla, where Aculina stopped to grip her wrist with a thumb suffocating her pulse. She’d meet the stares of peering strangers and shoot them cold with a seasoned glare. Sweat was tickling her nape and hairline. Her hand reached to swipe her hair back and readjust the strap that suspended her eyepatch. Then after a deep breath, she advanced with weighted steps like steel.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, tonight’s contest is a No Holds Barred Match, won by pinfall or submission… Our first competitor comes from Vladivostok Russia, standing at six feett and five inches tall, and weighing in at two hundred pounds, please welcome the returning….”
Just twenty feet away, the crowd was frozen as the sound of a howling gale brushed their ears, then fell silent once again. A second gale bellowed, followed by a three-time clash of symbols, drums before it ignited into the main instrumental brew.
Tonight, the clocks rewound to 1995. A ghost-like woman emerged from the curtain, greeted by a roar as nostalgia ignited the hearts of many, a fire akin to the one that sat within her cold-coloured iris. She stood tall and took slow steps down the rampway. A closed fist punched her open palm once she reached ringside, where she paused to stare at the ropes. Her hands folded over her chest, then she twisted to face the rampway once more, where a whisper urged her onward.
This was real. Despite the weaponry that lies beneath the ring’s drape, this was wrestling. She was performing, after all this time. It felt so unearned, yet she couldn’t help but scale the steps and coil her taped hands around the rope to lean back, then shoot forward with a timed leap and vault over. Her feet banged the canvas, and she did it once more before raising a fist. There was a wicked grin as she walked and leaned onto the ropes. A hand cupped her ear to gesture one more rally to her comeback, which they offered in kind. And as all simmered, apathy encroached like a virus, and Aculina walked into her corner and seated the top turnbuckle.