Bread and Circuses
The coliseum announcer's voice reverberates throughout the auditorium. The crowd is ecstatic in anticipation - vying to catch a glimpse of the two gladiators: Arthur and Satan. Arthur wields Excalibur, forged by his father years before .. Satan wields Stormbringer, the sword that drinks souls .. Satan's eyes glint in the sunlight as he has no doubt whatsoever his sword will devour Arthur's soul. Arthur's head is bowed in prayer thinking about Excalibur: can it save his life? Or is it only his faith that can save him? He's read all of his father's writings - trying to catch the wisdom behind the words.. But sometimes Athena eludes him .. As a flirt coyly runs away from pursuit, Athena's not always willing to submit .. But over the years, previous to the battle, Arthur had never given up hope. He would catch that Dame - if it was the last thing he'd do.
The two meander towards the center of the arena. The crowd ambivalent about the winner - as long as they see blood. The blood of Christ or the blood of Lucifer - it doesn't matter - as long as they see blood .. This battle was advertised for years. Satan was reluctant to publicly accept. He knew if he lost this battle, he would have to leave Earth alone forever after .. He forged a sword in Hell to beat Arthur's Excalibur. The sword's made of virtual photons. Therefore, it's difficult to see .. But Satan assures everyone - it's There and Real - even though made of phantom particles.. Arthur's Excalibur was made from his father's spirit. Somehow, that 'demon-saint' put his very soul in the sword. Before he died, he claimed the sword would be made of anti-photons. But he could not prove of their existence and mostly people just ignored him.. They laughed when he said he would make a sword to defeat Lucifer. They laughed again when he told them he would imbue the sword with his soul and charged anti-photons.
The two raise their swords readying for battle. The crowd screams gleefully. The emperor, previously installed by Satan, signals they may begin. Unearthly metal clangs and a bitter fume creases the air above the two. The crowd swoons at expectation for sight of blood. The enemies glare at each other, swords pointed at the other's heart. Satan swings high Stormbringer smashing it down upon Arthur directly over his head. Arthur deflects with Excalibur to his left - the sword trimming his left ear. Blood at last! The crowd ejaculates frenziedly. The blow makes Arthur dizzy and disoriented .. Satan grins in delight. Arthur shakes his head but cannot clear the fog. Satan strikes again - this time swiping Arthur's left side - cutting into his left arm. More blood! The crowd orgasms again. Satan circles around behind Arthur and raises high Stormbringer, ready for his death blow - it's tip pointed into Arthur's upper spine. Before Arthur can react, Satan plunges his sword deep into Arthur's back. The splintering bone and cracking fragments can be heard throughout. Arthur's eyes glaze over. He stumbles forward - half of Stormbringer wagging above and behind him as he staggers. Satan stares in disbelief at his prey. He cannot believe this would be so easy - so fast. Arthur falls to his knees. He reaches behind his back and grabs ahold of Stormbringer. His hand bleeds as he wrenches it - prying it from his back. He throws Stormbringer away from him into the sand. He begins to fall over face forward. Satan moves to retrieve his sword. But Arthur's too quick: he plunges Excalibur into his own heart. "NOT by your sword I'll die!" .. He pants .. "Not by your sword.." He falls forward onto Excalibur and softly onto the ground. He expires. The crowd is silent. The emperor signals 'thumb down' indicating the winner must die since he did not make a clean kill. Satan looks desperately around for assistance.. But there is none to be found.