Dark Red Mask

“If you can guess what I have in my pocket, you can have it!”

Billy glared at the judge’s pocket with an intense stare, trying his hardest to decipher the contents of the small, pant-leg container. The audience watched in anxiety as Billy stood in the center of the octagon ring, thinking with every bit of brainpower he could muster to analyze the pocket.

“I believe it is…” The audience leans closer. “A red pen that is two-thirds out of ink?” The audience waits. The judge reaches into his pocket.

“You are… correct!” says the judge, as he pulls the red pen out of his pocket. The crowd roars with deafening cheers. Ben Michael stands up in disbelief from the commentary section.

“Unbelievable! Billy Steel has done it! Billy Steel has become the number one contender for the World Pocket Guessing Championship of the Pocket Guessing Federation! He will challenge the world champion, the “One-Man Armageddon”, Father Ezekiel at the seventh annual Pocket Guessers United at Madison Square Garden on October 26th! My name is Ben Michael, and join us next time for another edition of PGF!”

Billy Steel walked to the backstage area, being swarmed by interviewers and

cameramen at every turn, all desperate to ask questions.

“Billy, Billy Steel! You are now the number one contender to the world championship! That’s great, but how are you going to beat the undefeated Father Ezekiel?”

Billy smirked. “How am I gonna beat him, you ask? For the last five years, I have shown the whole world what the Billy Steel Spectacle is all about! I’ve watched this federation grow from being held in high school gyms in front of a hundred people to being held in world-famous sports arenas in front of thousands. And if you think I’m gonna back down from some creepy bastard with an undefeated streak, you’re dead wrong. The One-Man Armageddon is gonna face his own armageddon at Pocket Guessers United.”

Billy Steel may have been erupting with confidence, but Father Ezekiel was no joke. The man, if you would call him that, wore a metallic, dark red mask with a black hood to cover the rest of his head, as well as matching chest armor and black pants as dark as his own soul. And on top of that, he had a three-year undefeated streak. This would be Billy Steel’s first time challenging him.

The night before the big showdown was the pre-show press conference, where both competitors would take pictures and exchange words, hyping up the guessing match as much as possible.

The conference room garnered a crowd to watch, while Billy Steel and Father Ezekiel stood side-by-side at a table on stage. The crowd had some sort of division, based on whom they were rooting for. Half of the crowd wore long, blonde wigs and “Billy Steel Spectacle” shirts to imitate their favorite competitor. On the other hand, some fans dressed in black cloaks with white and red face paint. This was the so-called

“cult-following” Father Ezekiel had attracted over the years. The media liked to call them the “Sons of Ezekiel”.

After pictures were taken, it was time for the two men to speak. Billy fired the first

shots.

“When I first heard about pocket guessing, I thought it was stupid. I thought it

was a foolish game kids would play to pass the time. But after learning what this sport is all about, there isn’t one thing I’d rather do. I would devote my life to guessing the shit out of every pocket I saw, and damn sure I did. But now, my biggest challenge awaits.

The undefeated Father Ezekiel. People ask me if I’m scared, they ask me if I might back down. But how the hell could I back down from someone who is as much of a coward to hide behind a mask?” The crowd could feel the tension in the room growing. It was now Father Ezekiel’s turn to speak.

“The face that’s behind this mask is enough to make any man back down! Be thankful I don’t show you… What I will show you is the evilest thing on Earth itself. Come tomorrow night, I will call upon the desolate power of Satan himself, and every bit of sin and chaos this universe has to offer, and I will sacrifice your soul to the darkest depths of hell!”

The crowd gasped. Father Ezekiel had sacrificed a man before, and we had never seen the victim again. The young, 18-year-old kid, Danny Duke, standing at 5 foot 10 and 130 pounds, was sacrificed in his debut match after losing in the first round. In seconds, his body was evaporated to dust, and absorbed by a red beam of light.

Billy retaliated. “You’re gonna sacrifice me, huh? Well let me tell you, that’s not gonna make me back down from the biggest night of my life. And you know, I remember the first sacrifice, I remember Danny Duke, and I remember seeing a fire in his eyes that burned for pocket guessing! That night, you stripped him of his passion. You stripped him of his passion, his pride, and his heart. But come Pocket Guessers United, I’m gonna strip you of your Pocket Guessing World Championship!”

The crowd goes wild as Steel and Ezekiel stare each other down. Now the time has come. October 26th, Madison Square Garden, Pocket Guessers

United. The Garden was packed with fans at every corner at the sold-out show. The tron outside the arena produced the match-up screen between Billy Steel and the “One-Man Armageddon” Father Ezekiel. Underneath both names, the tagline read “Steel or Sacrifice.”

Several matches had passed by, as anticipation for the main event had continued to grow. And now it was time. The world championship match. The fans had grown into a slow chant of “Bil-ly Steel, Bil-ly Steel, Bil-ly Steel!”

The first man to enter the octagon was Billy Steel. The crowd cheered as the blonde-haired icon headed to the ring. He wore a crisp leather jacket, khakis, and Timberland boots, with a t-shirt reading “Billy Steel Spectacle.” However, the electricity of the crowd was warped away in a split second, as loud cheers turned into a hush silence as the world champion entered the arena. Being followed by about twenty Sons of Ezekiel, Father Ezekiel wore a massive black and silver cloak, as his red mask beamed in the Garden’s light. And it was time. Light vs. Dark, Good vs. Evil, Life vs. Streak, Steel vs. Sacrifice.

Looking into the eyeholes of Father Ezekiel’s mask, you could see his cold, dark eyes, guarding the most demonic and sinful soul Earth could handle. Most people would back down at the sight of Ezekiel, but Billy Steel stood tall.

The rules of the match are as follows: Each man had to guess the contents of the judge’s pocket, who wore baggy pajama pants to conceal the hidden item in the best way possible. When one man incorrectly guesses an item, the other competitor must guess it correctly to win.

The match had begun. The two enemies engaged in an epic and intense battle, guessing almost every item possible. They guessed Samsungs, switchblades, Disneyland postcards, a 1.5-inch piece of blue chalk, a half-eaten Milky Way, a bag of exactly twenty-six cocoa puffs, a Captain America action figure with the left arm broken off, a Cheez Doodle shaped like an airplane, and much, much more.

As round 16 begins, the judge picks up the microphone.

“All right, contestants! We are now in round sixteen! Billy Steel… if you can guess what I have in my pocket, you can have it!” Billy stared down the judge’s pocket. The crowd noticed on the tron that he seemed confused. Could he not figure out what was inside? Was this it for the Billy Steel Spectacle? Was he about to join Danny Duke and be the second competitor ever to be sacrificed?

“Is it…” the crowd leans in closer. “A pair of sunglasses, with green lenses, one side dipped in mayo, the other in ketchup, with a Floyd Mayweather sticker hidden inside the right lens?”

“You are… correct!” The crowd electrifies.

“Now… Father Ezekiel… if you can guess what I have in my pocket, you can have it!” Ezekiel began to mutter something under his breath.

“Is it… a Jetblue airplane ticket, departing November 17th, to France?” Billy smirked.

“You are… incorrect!” The Sons of Ezekiel were in disbelief. Father had never guessed incorrectly before.

“No!” he bellows.

“Sorry, Zeke,” Billy says, staring down at Father Ezekiel. “It was actually a Jetblue airplane ticket, departing November 17th, to Greece!” The crowd leans in. The judge places his hand in his pocket.

“Billy Steel, you are… correct!” The crowd stands on their feet and shakes Madison Square Garden with ferocious cheers.

Ben Michael stands up on commentary. “He has done it! Billy Steel has done it! He has finally won the Pocket Guessing World Championship, right here at the seventh ever Pocket Guessers United!”

Father Ezekiel drops to his knees. “Nooooo!” he yells.

Then suddenly, a red beam of light emits from his chest piece. Then from his hands, legs, and his eyes. Ezekiel begins floating in the air.

“Nooooooooooooo!!!” he screams, as he disappears into thin air. He was gone. Father Ezekiel had sacrificed himself. All that remained was the dark, red mask, that now lay dormant in the center of the ring. The crowd was in shock and awe. Billy walked over to the mask and picked it up. He takes a good look at the mask.

“Steel, OVER, Sacrifice,” he says, as he lifts both the mask and the world championship in the air. The crowd returns to their cheers as the Spectacle had stolen the show at Madison Square Garden.

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