Part 5: Shattered
The last night Taker went to see Macy was the last night he went to that hospital for a while. It was just too painful after she left. Hope began to visit him after she got off work at the hotel he stayed at. Weeks had gone by and the two became very close friends. She also began to garner a friendship with Kane as well. Taker had begun work out again at Titan, though the other superstars did not take too kindly to his return...least of all two people, X Pac, and the Big Show. Rumors began to float around.
"Well well well, so the Lord of Darkness returns from the grave. Took ya long enough." Belted the voice of the Big Show. Taker turned around to find his over 7 foot former partner staring him in the face. "As far as I'm concerned, I have nothing to say to you." Taker growled. "Oh I think you do have a lot to say...you got a hell of a lot of explaining to do. Like where you've been for the past few weeks. People around here thought you were dead."
"If I were dead, would I be standing here now? Now get out of my way."
"What's the rush? You finally realize you can't take me down?" Big Show boasted. "Everyone knows you couldn't take me in a fight fair or fixed. Face it Taker...you don't have it anymore. You're old, your beliefs are old, your body is old, hell, the way you talk even is old. No one cares bout you anymore. So why don't you just save us all the speeche and leave. We don't need you here, we don't want you. This company will do just fine without you. You're history dead man."
Taker's eyes narrowed until they were just slits burning into those of Big Show. "Listen up boy. I might not be as young as I once was, but so long as there is breath in this body and the immortal soul within that fuels it, I can still do damage to you. So don't try my patience, because I don't have very much left."
"You don't get it do ya? Your threats don't mean anything around here anymore. YOU don't mean anything anymore. So do us all a favor and crawl back into your grave." Big Show huffed and lumbered off. The other superstars just looked at him and then looked away. Then, to add to his trouble, X Pac showed up. "What...you got some nerve coming back here."
"Don't start with me. I am not in the mood for your nonsense, so leave me be." Taker growled. X Pac decided he would not take the advice. He shoved Taker in the back. Kane saw the commotion and rushed over. "Don't hold me back Kane! I can take him!"
Kane pushed X away from Taker sternly. Pac just looked at him, somewhat stunned. "What are you doing Kane? I'm gonna lay his...." Pac was interuptted when Kane again pushed him away. "I don't belive this man! You're defending him...HIM, a damn murdererer! He killed your family! He damn near killed you!"
Kane looked down not knowing what to think. "That will be quite enough. My brother has the right to make his own descisions." Taker said sternly. "Oh.....so now you come back here and all of a sudden you CARE about your brother! Give me a break! You don't care! You don't care about anyone else but yourself! I don't understand how you live with yourself! You killer!"
"I never killed them!" Taker suddenly yelled. "It was a lie! It was all a damn LIE! You hear me! I was pissed off at Kane! I was angry, jealous, so I told him I set the fire! There! I said it! I said it damn you!" Taker roared and put his hand through a wall. The others stood back in stunned silence. "Don't you stand there and tell me you little punk my motives where my brother are concerned! I would trust him to Paul before I trusted him to you! But I never forced him to leave you. I told him I would not make him choose!" He turned to Kane. "and I won't now. I don't want trouble. I'll leave." Taker said lowering his head. He began to leave. "No......." Kane called and reached out for his older brother. "Let him go! He's using you!"
"Brother......" Kane called again. "All right Kane! You listen and you listen up! It's me or him! Right now! Me or your brother!" Pac yelled angrily. "Don't you make him choose!" Taker yelled. "Me or Taker! And if you want to align yourself with this liar, then you're out of my life! I want nothing more to do with you!" Pac yelled and stomped off. Kane suddenly flew into a rage. He took a bench and hoisted it up through the air. "Kane No!" Edge yelled as Kane threw the object at a locker. He then started punching the lockers. "Kane! Kane stop it! Stop it!" Taker yelled trying to restrain his younger sibling. "What's going on...Kane!" Screamed the voice of a very shocked Paul Bearer. "Kane! Stop it! Listen! Listen to me!" Taker yelled. He pushed Kane against the wall trying to restrain him. "Kane!" He yelled one last time before his brother was finally still. "Listen to me. I know I've screwed up, and I've screwed up bad. I admit that. I know the way I did this was wrong. I...I only went with the Big Show to get back at you...to make you see how wrong you were for chosing Pac over me. I knew what he was about and what he'd do to you. But I know now I screwed up. I messed up major time. But going off like this is not going to help things! You've got to get a hold of yourself brother! Look, Big Show and I are through. No more. We are no more. You and I are family. We need to stick together like a family. You, I and Paul. We have both made our mistakes. We tore us apart...we can put us back together. You can't him. X Pac is out for himself, Kane. Look, you know the talks we've had. It's time for us to heal this family and make things the way they should be. No more story lines, no more lies. We are going to be a family again! I promise you, we will heal our family."
"What's happened? Why is Kane acting like this?" Paul asked, his eyes wide. "X Pac...he's left Kane. Paul...we...we need to find some place private and talk." Taker said trying himself to calm down. Paul looked at the two brother, knowing he was right. "Yes..it..it's time for the truth to be known. Kane, son...calm down. X Pac is just another little dime a dozen punk." Paul said as he and Taker began to lead Kane from the locker room.
"Brother..." Kane said falling to his knees. "Enough! Enough of this!" Paul shouted. "Look at what this has done to us.."
"Paul don't shout. Kane has sufferered enough of this already. We've all suffered. It's time for us to start healing our wounds."
"Yes...this whole story line was a disaster from the start. I didn't want Kane brought in like this...but the writers thought differently."
"None of that matters now. I never meant for this to go as far as it did...I never meant for you or anyone else close to me to get hurt. I..." Taker looked down, his heart as full of regret as it had ever been. "I...I miss them...my creatures...my dear creatures of the night who stood with me. I sacrificed them for this...for...a belt... a stupid belt. Austin, Machamon...none of this was worth it. I've reconciled with Paul, I must reconcile with you Kane...and my creatures...they've suffered through this as no one else has. I must make things right with them. I can't believe I did what I did. I'm ending this charade. They were my power...my strength...our strength."
"They can be again. It's not too late for us three to reconcile the sins of our past and make things right with those who stood with us. We can make things right...it's not too late." Paul said. "Kane, let X Pac go. I know you believed he was your friend...but there is only one group, one entity you can call friends...and they are those who were with me and you...and they are the creatures. There are still those out there who believe in us...and they are the ones we must now draw upon. It's time for us to go back to what we know..what we never should have abandoneded in the first place. There is somewhere I have to go..I I need time to be alone. This will not be easy..but it's time for the truth to come out. I need time to think on this first. I will join up with you both later. I...I just need time on my own for now." Taker said. He made sure that Kane was calm enough to be left alone. Paul, and eventually Mankind came to keep him at bay. It was time for Taker to do some serious soul searching upon his career, especially the past year. He had a lot of reflecting to do.
He rode on his Harley to a quiet field. It was a dark, clear night. Taker stood in the field. It was quiet as he stood letting the night air blow over him. He stood, gazing into the dark horizon..thinking back on the years gone by, the people who had come to love him...but then the masses that turned their backs upon him. There was the joy he felt when those who loved him stood up and cheered, but also the sorrow and anger that so many of those who loved him, or at least claimed that they loved him, had forsaken him for another. The jealousy he felt towards his own brother...the anger he had spouted at those who had once been his own. The words...the angry words filled with bitterness and hatred. The lives he had shattered. He hung his head down. He was alone when he came in, and alone he stood again.
He was in the midst of his reflection when something happened. Before his eyes stood a figure...a silohette of his former self...the long coat, the wide hat. Was he hallucinating...or seeing a ghost of his past before him. Then, the figure that had once been him in the past changed....into a much grimmer image. In his left hand he held a large sicle, and in his other was the reigns to a spectral horse. Taker's eyes widened in horror. The Grim Reaper himself stood before Taker. "Has he come for me?" He asked himself. Then he saw another vision...the shadow of a small female form beside the Reaper. Macy...no...not Macy. But Taker looked closer..the form was too tall to be a child...who else could be female that meant so much...."no...No...NO! HOPE!" Taker yelled suddenly as he finally realized what the vision meant. He rushed to his cycle and hopped on and spead to Hope's place. But...he was too late. He saw an ambulance wheeling what appeared to be a body out of the house. "HOPE!" Taker cried. "Please, I have to get in there! She's in trouble!"
"Were you a friend of Hope?" An officer asked. "I AM a friend of hers yes. What's happened?"
"I'm sorry. She was found dead in her home. Someone appearently broke in and killed her."
Taker's heart felt as if it would explode then and there. He watched the ambulance transport Hope's body to the hospital. He climbed on his bike, trailing far behind, he followed them. He pulled up to the visitors lot. He waited for all the commotion to die down. Then, he transported himself into the morge. He looked until he found where Hope's body was kept. He waved his hand and the drawer opened. Then, he unzipped the bag. His eyes sunk in horror at what he saw. Hope's face had been beaten beyond recognition. her throat slashed. He fell to his knees thinking he would throw up. Then...the memories came...the horrible horrible memories of the night his parents died in the fire. He remembered looking at his mother...what was left of her. He looked at Hope...her lovely face beaten, bruised. He did not even want to imagine how her last minutes were full of agony and pain. He looked away and stumbled out of the morge no longer able to endure the piteous sight. He disapeared from the hospital...vowing never to set foot in it again.
The days that followed were full of pain. Taker didn't sleep, he didn't eat. He wanted no one near him. His friend, the only true friend he felt he had in the world was gone. The day of Hope's funeral came. He stood in the shadows of a huge oak tree while the burial service was held. He waited til everyone left the coffin. Then, he walked silently up to it. Two others watched from the shdadows. Kane and Paul knew what had happened. It was painful for them both. For they had gone through this once before...now, history in a twisted sense, repeated itself. Taker knelt at the foot of Hope's coffin...tears streaming like rain drops from his eyes. "I should have been there. I could have saved you. If only I had known sooner...if only I had been there. I'll find whoever did this to you. I swear, I'll find the bastard...and when I do...he will suffer beyond all mortal comprehension."
That night, Taker returned to Hope's grave. The coffin now in the ground. A mound of red and white roses adorned the newly packed mound of earth. Taker looked at it...the grief, fury and confusion finally exploded from him. "What is it with you mortals! You don't have anything better to do that kill your own kind?! She was the best thing on this Earth! You people had Hope! She was an angel! And you killed her! You clipped her wings and you killed her! You're given something as precious as her...and all you know how to do is destroy it!" He yelled. Then, he fell to his knees, clawing his fingers into the dirt of Hope's grave. "Why? Why OH GOD WHY! Why her! Why could you not have taken me! I was the evil here! Look what I did to people! I was a menace! She was an angel! She did so much good for this world...she gave me back the one thing I thought I'd lost...and now she's gone. My Hope is gone." He sobbed as he beat the Earth beneath him. His face soaked with tears...the torents of emotion that has overcome him 20 years ago suddenly came again. For he had wept like this only one other time...over the grave of his mother. The fury of emotions and grief became so powerful that his body could no longer stand the thought of consciencess. He looked at Hope's grave stone...then...passed out.
Minutes after he collasped...the sound of what appeared to be hooves slowly trotted up to his huddled mass. The only time he remembered a horse was the vision of death. Had the Reaper come for him now, perhaps to take pity on him and reunite him with his lost friend. But this horse was very much real, very much mortal...as was it's rider...a young woman. She wore all black, black top, black fluttery mid way skirt, black tights, and black suede boots that went almost to her knees. She climbed off the huge black horse she rode and saw Taker laying motionless next to Hope's grave. She knelt next to him. Though Taker hadn't noticed..she had been to Hope's funeral. She looked at the stone, then at Taker. "Don't worry sister...he will be in good hands with me." The woman whispered. The woman, Hope's sister shook Taker's shoulders. "Go away. Let me die in peace." He said sternly in his grief. "Death will not come for you this night. Come with me. I can give you shelter."
"Come on...you can ride on my horse. He'll carry us back to my place."
Taker didn't want to leave Hope's grave. He just wanted to lay there til he died. But he knew deep down that is not what she would have wanted. But she and Macy were the whole reason for his turnaround. Macy was gone, now Hope was dead. "Tragedy...that's all my life has ever been. All my life will ever...be..." Taker slurred as his head slumped against the neck of the great black stallion the girl rode. She lived near the cemetary. She walked the animal with Taker on it's back to where she lived. It was a ten minute walk to her home. She took her horse to the stable...helped Taker off then put the animal in it's stall. Then, she helped Taker into the house. He stumbled and lumbered as she led him to the corner bedroom. He fell back on the bed. His head spun, his eyes stinging from the torrent of tears. Dizzy, full of despair, Taker fell into a dreamless sleep.
Part 6: Soul Journey
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