The crowd roared from behind the barricades. Slips of paper and bank notes waving about in their greasy hands. Little flags of fortune that would either be raised or burnt. Many were laughing and drinking from unlabeled bottles, others were shouting encouragement or insults, whilst some were stubbing their cheap cigarettes out on the railing, a cold, miserable anger on their faces. A lot of cigarettes had been stubbed out on the railing over the years, long since staining it with ash and nicotine. Someone threw a bottle against the pit wall, shattering glass over the arena and spraying the remaining liquor over the hounds.
The two beasts snarled from their cages, eyes narrow and teeth bared. Muscles tensed and throbbing. They slashed at the flimsy bars, eager to steal away a treat from the other. One reached through a wider gap, bent from years of abuse, and started to dig scratches into the gravel. A scrawny man with bleached hair and in an ill-fitting suit stood at a podium overlooking the pit. A microphone was at his chin. His voice exploded into action. Shooting off in a rhythm long since mastered.
“Ladies and gentleman, I hope you have placed your bets, because it’s time for the final match of the night and wow is it going to be good one! Our two best boys, you know them, you love them, you have all won big on them! A rival match like no other! Raise your voices for the vicious Mr Rabid and the ruthless Wrexley!” Before the announcer had finished his piece, the crowd already had become much louder than they had been before. Their bloodthirsty cheers nearly drowning the loudspeakers in their cacophony.
The doors swung open on mechanical springs and the hounds leapt out. Pit dust scattered behind them as they both wasted no time in their battle. They swiped their claws and crashed their skulls together. They kicked and they spat, landing heavy blows on one another. Mr Rabid rammed into his opponent’s chest, cracking a rib. Wrexley responded by slicing his ragged nails across Rabids’s leg, leaving a cut that quickly began spilling precious blood. The crowd was still deafening as the combatants broke away, circling around in a deadly staring contest, judging the other for the first flinch of weakness. Mr Rabid missed a step, faltering his glare. Wrexley took the chance and lunged for the other hound. The tackle crushed one of Rabid’s legs and he was knocked into the pit wall. A burst of adrenaline kicked in for the battered creature as he forced himself up and threw his body back into his opponent, pinning him to the ground.
There was gasps amongst the crowd as Wrexely struggled. He hit at the others face and clawed at his cheeks and chest trying to knock the chomping jaw back. A nail caught Mr Rabid in the eye, and he howled as he pulled away. Wrexely pushed forwards and they both tumbled over, him on top, striking at the other with piston like blows. The attacks were relentless, and his teeth quickly met flesh as they buried themselves into Rabid’s throat. Half the crowd instantaneously died down in groans. Rabid thrashed around but Wrexley’s slightly heavier bulk kept him down, his struggling slowing with each passing moment. Wrexley feasted a while longer before dropping the limp body of Mr Rabid.
“Well folks it looks like we have an obvious winner! The ferocious Wrexley has once again held his title! He looked like he was struggling in there for a bit, but he overcame his opponent with such grace and tactics that we have all come to expect! I must say it’s sad to see Mr Rabid go but that’s how the game works folks, I just hope this victory doesn’t go to our top hound’s head!” he briefly chuckled to himself before continuing “Remember to collect your winnings before you leave and make sure you come back next time!” the announcer finished as the mike clicked off. People left the pit-side quickly, leaving nothing but their litter and wisps of hanging smoke. Wrexley’s trainer quickly muzzled him and led him away. He did not struggle or bark as he knew he had won a reward.
He was led into the back rooms where many cages were sat stacked atop one another. A lot of the new hounds untrained, whimpering and crying as they passed by. They would meet Wrexley one day in the pit, possibly one would beat him, but he didn’t care. Old scars amongst his mottled hairs showed a tally of all his fights, a fatal one wouldn’t mean much.
They arrived at the masters dining room. It was neat and bright unlike just outside of it. The master sat in his throne at end of the long varnished table. He was a plump man in a clean blue suit who smiled somewhat kindly at Wrexley as he entered the room. Sitting all along the table were his favourite dogs. There coats were groomed and clean, their collars glittering. They were pampered infinitely beyond what Wrexley would ever get, but he hoped for just a crumb of that adoration. The master idly scratched the ears of the silken haired dalmatian sitting next to him, its snout buried in a dish. He then spoke directly to Wrexley.
“So, I heard you won again Wrexley? We’ll have to keep you back a bit to let others have a go. Don’t worry though, we’ll have you checked over before your next match. However,…” he snapped his fingers and a chef emerged from the kitchen carrying a covered tray. “Before any of that, I think you’ve earned a special treat.” The chef placed the silver tray in front of an empty chair and removed the lid to reveal a freshly cooked steak. “This time you can sit at the table, go on, you’ve earned it.” Wrexley stared momentarily at the meat, vapours pricking his nostrils with their gorgeous stench, before clambering on to the padded seat. He straightened his back the best he could and picked up the knife and fork in front of him.
Credit : W.S.
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