“Wake up Steakhouse”
Kobe was woken by a violent shake from John.
“Yo, where am I?”
“You’re still in the Jungle Gym, kid, and you don’t have time to be resting.”
As he pulled Kobe onto his feet, Kobe noted that none of his limbs seemed to hurt anymore.
“You kept your word, goddamn.”
“I would never dream of breaking a contract, Mr. Steakhouse but we have more pressing matters.”
He pointed down the corridor at the two black furred dogs looking at them with ravenous eyes, drool slopping down to the floor from their hanging jaws.
“Wait a minute…”
Kobe knew who this was, the student he had picked out as the biggest threat out of any of them, a man who consumed life itself. Those dogs weren’t two separate dogs but instead they were parts detached from what constituted this man’s body. Unvoreable they called him, the one, the only Nrvnqsr Smith. Kobe still didn’t know how to pronounce it.
“Don’t try and fight these things, we have no chance, they’ll just reform.” Kobe said to John.
“So, Kobe Steakhouse knows who I am.”
Nrvnqsr slinked around the corner and stood between his dogs.
“And, uh, who might that be?” John asked.
“Only dead men and dead men in waiting have never heard the name Nrvnqsr Smith.”
“Sorry, how did you just pronounce that?” Kobe asked.
“???” Kobe replied.
“The ‘E’ is silent.”
“’E’? What ‘E’?!” John exclaimed
“EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE.” Nrvnqsr screeched as he and his dogs charged down the corridors towards the two.
“RUN JOHN, IF YOU WANT TO LIVE YOU HAVE TO RUN.”
He chased them down the corridor, Kobe turned to the right and yanked John along behind him.
Nrvnqsr and his dogs chased them down this corridor too. They took a left.
Nrvnqsr was gaining on them. Kobe took evasive maneuvers and rolled himself and John into the open chute of a slide to their left.
The ‘E’ echoed down the chute behind them. There was going to be no escaping from Nrvnqsr, the man had entered the jungle gym with essentially limitless energy and had eaten numerous people since then. Kobe knew that the longer he kept running, the worse his chances got, but he needed time to formulate a plan.
Kobe and John fell out of the chute and landed with a thud on the brick below them. This level of the jungle gym was a recreation of a public park, and Kobe saw no obvious place to run to next, he was going to make his stand here.
As the two picked themselves up off the ground, Nrvnqsr burst through the chute, taking the entire ceiling with him as hundreds of different animals of shifting forms crashed through with him like a tsunami of death.
Kobe took of his shirt and handed it to John.
“Take this and hide behind one of the bushes, if I lose here, you’ve lost as well. If that happens, find a way to kill yourself if you don’t want to become a part of that thing.”
He pointed across the open section of park towards Nrvnqsr, lit by the artificial lights around them. As his animals slammed into the ground around them they turned into a liquid, scurrying in between the cracks in the bricks across to their main body and forming him back to full strength.
“You better win, we have a contract.”
With that, John ran off to hide.
“Ha… ha… hahahaahahah.”
“What’s so funny Nrvnqsr?”
“It’s a laugh of respect Steakhouse, I don’t think I’ve ever known a man crazy enough to stop running from me, knowing what I am.”
He took a step towards Kobe, but Kobe didn’t budge.
“How do you want to die Steakhouse? Ever dreamed of going out fighting a lion? Maybe you’d like to be trampled by a herd of buffalo? Got a Dolphin fetish? I’m sure I could do some weird shit with the dolphins.”
“I know how I’m going to die, and I refuse to let it be here.”
“You don’t have a choice.”
As Nrvnqsr said this, Kobe looked down to find his feet tied to the ground by millions of pitch black ants swarming over his ankles. While he was distracted, he was taken down by a dog and then a bear mounted him. Animals of all manner flowed from Nrvnqsr’s body and began to vore Kobe.
“This is why the called you ‘All Sizzle’, you were fun to watch but you were all flair. Coming up against real ability, you never stood a chance. Fundamentals will only get you so far, without a signature move, you were finished before you even stepped in here. You will die, Kobe Steakhouse, you will die and I will kill you. I will vore you and you shall become part of me.”
Content that he had won his battle with Kobe given he was currently being devoured by his animals, Nrvnqsr made a move to go and find John. Only two steps off the spot he was standing and he had frozen. There was a sound emanating from the mass of black where Kobe had been. A distinctly human sound, a familiar one, maniacal laughter.
Nrvnqsr’s eyes went wide as all of his animals that had been eating Kobe melted in an instant. Amidst the storm of black flesh and blood, Kobe rose, shirtless and with many a wound but, somehow, still standing.
Nrvnqsr could scarcely comprehend what had just happened. Whatever had happened, it was not the result of a signature move. Beyond the fact that Kobe had never demonstrated the ability to use a signature move, when someone did use one, the air changed in a subtle but perceptible way.
This time, things were different. By the way his raw charisma hung on the wind, it seemed Kobe had eviscerated Nrvnqsr’s animals by sheer force of will.
Kobe’s crazed eyes finally caught on to Nrvnqsr’s and his laughter began to ease off.
“Ha ha ha ha! You wanna kill me monster? Very well.”
Kobe cracked his knuckles and rolled his neck as the animals he’d so thoroughly destroyed a moment ago began reforming around him.
“C’mon then, let’s die together…”
Kobe got into a fighting stance and spat the blood out of his mouth.