Darkfall #3: Neve Campbell vs. Allison Mack by The Walkin Dude

PROLOGUE: The wind and rain were howling outside the R'lyeh Club, but Neve Campbell paid the weather no notice. The brunette was deeply engrossed in the novel she was reading, a real eerie page turner called The House of Leaves, that she'd borrowed from Fannin. Relaxing after her match that evening, Neve was dressed for comfort in old denim cutoffs (which she regretted having to change out of when it came time to leave the club) and a black Miskatonic University sweatshirt. Stretching luxuriantly, she lay on the battered leather couch in the small room, thoroughly enjoying the simple pleasures of reading Stifling a small yawn, she was just about to turn the page when a low, cautious knock came at the door. Not expecting any visitors, Neve was startled out of her reading and shook her head.

"Stupid book. Can't believe Rich talked me into reading this!" Marking her place, she put the book down and stood up, heading toward the door of the room that served as a makeshift library for Fannin and anyone else with some free time on their hands. Reaching the door, the brunette said, "Just a second!" before pulling the door open. Standing in the hallway was someone Neve hadn't met personally but had heard a great deal about in passing, blonde Allison Mack.

Allison watched Neve as she opened the door, smiled widely and said, "I was afraid no one was around. But Rich said you'd be here and he was right." The blonde seemed to be on the verge of saying something else before she caught herself and stuck out her hand. "Oh sorry, I forgot we've never been introduced. I'm Allison. It's a pleasure to meet you."

The pale brunette extended her own hand and shook the newcomer's saying, "Neve. The pleasure is mine. Were you looking for something to read? I didn't mean to lock the door but usually I'm the only one in here. C'mon in."

She stepped back and allowed Allison to walk in. Watching her move, Neve studied her visitor quickly and silently. Clad warmly in jeans and a leather jacket, Allison was sturdy, compactly built. It was easy to see why she'd been having success in her short time in the promotion. With a build like hers, it was no wonder the blonde had been crushing submissions out of everyone she faced with a simple Bear Hug! Neve was so intent in her scrutiny that she was a bit startled when her gaze met Allison's and she found the blonde had been studying her just as closely. Smiling a small smile, Neve said, "You're not here for a book are you?"

Now it was Allison who looked surprised. She said nothing for a second and then broke into a wide grin, "Rich also said you were remarkably perceptive. He wasn't kidding."

"He's a joker is our boss," Neve said quietly. "What DO you want?"

The blonde's smile was replaced with a serious, but slightly nervous expression. Taking a deep breath she said, "It's not just about what I want. It's about what you want too."

"And that would be?" Neve asked, one eyebrow raised slightly.

"I don't know if you've been following my matches since I've come here, but I'm undefeated. There've been some close calls, but no one has been able to pin me, let alone make me submit. To be perfectly blunt, I want a match. With you."

Neve smiled again, "And how is this what I want?"

Allison responded quickly, "I heard what you said in your recent interviews. You said you were sick of beating opponents more concerned with what happened AFTER a match than IN the match itself. You said, and I quote, 'Just once I'd love to face someone interested in having a great wrestling match. I've beaten too many girls that are more hung up on what happens after a match than during.' Well Neve, I have no interest in what happens after the match either - except for hearing the announcer declare ME the winner. You say you want a straight forward, no bullshit, WRESTLING match? Step in the ring with me and that's exactly what I'll give you!" Allison fell silent, intently waiting for the brunette's response.

"Lets say I believe you," Neve answered. "Why me? You say you want a wrestling match and that's fine, but there are plenty of other girls in the league who would give you the same thing. I have no problem facing you, but nobody volunteers for a match out of the kindness of their hearts. So I ask you again. Why me?"

Neve expected a bit of hesitation, but Allison's response was immediate, "Two reasons. First is to prove myself, both to the locker room and to myself. If I can beat you - hell if I can even HANG with you - it'll give me that much more cred. And secondly..."

But Neve interrupted her and there was the tiniest bit of ice in the Scream Queen's voice, "I'm nobody's stepping stone Allison!"

"And I'm not treating you like one!" Allison interrupted. "If I wanted to do that I could have gone to the ring and called you out, just like so many of the no-talent hacks you've put down. But I came here and asked you personally. I don't care if there's an audience. I'll face you in an empty arena if you prefer. This isn't about testing you. It's about testing ME. You ready to hear the second reason?" The blonde's tone that was vaguely challenging.

"I'd love to!" Neve said, her demeanor still intensely calm.

Allison didn't respond with words, instead peeling off her jacket to reveal the simple black tank top beneath. Draping the jacket on a chair, she turned to Neve and tensed her shoulders and arms ever so briefly, letting the brunette see the power in her upper body. Smiling slightly, she said, "I've only been here for a little while but I'm already convinced there's no one here who can out squeeze me breast-to-breast. You may call that arrogance or overconfidence, but it's not. Ask anyone I've beaten and they'll tell you, I squeeze HARD!" Pausing for a second, she looked pointedly at the Scream Queen's bare legs. Fixing her gaze back on the brunette, she said, "I want an opponent I can squeeze who won't give up immediately; an opponent who could squeeze back just as hard. Even if she has to use her legs."

Neve's smile got a little bigger. "Your Bear Hug vs. my Scissors? An interesting concept.....you're on! And I'll face you in front of a crowd - if that's what you'd like. But let me give you a little advice. If you pull any funny shit during the match, try to get yourself over by embarrassing me or some other lame stunt, I'll make you pay! Don't doubt for a second I won't."

The brunette had finally stopped smiling, her face a set, determined mask.

Allison's face was equally cold, "You don't have to worry about any of that crap from me. The only time your face will be red is when I'm grinding you down in my Bear Hug. Don't worry though. You can rest your head on my shoulder before you submit." The blonde's smile was arctic now, but there was no malice in it. Only a frigid sureness.

Neve returned her rival's veiled threat, "You should know that a face can get pretty red when it's being scissored between my legs. But I wouldn't mind if you wanted to lay your head on one or both of my thighs right before you choked out your submission." Neve's expression was equal parts ferocity and supreme confidence.

The coldness suddenly left the blonde's face and she was the same cheery girl she had been when she'd entered. Grabbing her jacket, she slipped it back on and said, "This is going to be good. Win or lose, I'm going to give you the fight of your life.... And mine." She extended her hand once again and said, "Normally I'd give you a hug, but I think in this case a handshake is more appropriate."

Neve extended her hand for a second time and shook with her new rival, "I'm looking forward to facing you Allison. But if you want to hug me....you'll have to earn it," she smiled.

Allison let her hand fall away, "I wouldn't have it any other way. Well, I have to go; let Rich know we're on."

Neve's face twisted into a mock scowl. "Just how much did Mr. Fannin have to do with this little meeting today?" she asked

Allison smiled back, "A little. If there's anybody who appreciates a pure wrestling match more than us, it'd be our boss. Bye Neve; I'll see you in the ring."

"I'll be waiting!" Neve returned as the blonde left. Watching her visitor head back down the hall, Neve closed the door to the little library and headed back to the couch. Flopping down, she shook her head and smiled, "Rich, you dork. You're not very subtle. We're going to have to talk."

She picked up her book and began to read, enjoying the non silence of the rain, wind, and most importantly, the whispering mental anticipation of testing her mettle against an incredibly skilled opponent.
It was late January and in the small Florida town of Darkside, the weather was unseasonably cold and rainy. The precipitation wasn't all that heavy, but it was dreary and unrelenting, putting a damper on the mood of the little hamlet. But inside Richard Fannin's oddly named R'lyeh Club, the weather wasn't bothering anyone. It was the first Women's Wrestling show of 2005 for Darkside, and the club patrons were eating up the action (along with copious amounts of pretzels and beer.)

At this point of the evening, the show had been running for the better part of two hours and the crowd was getting restless for the main event. For tonight in Darkside, the viewers would get their first in person inspection of phenomenally powerful blonde rookie Allison who would be taking on a woman who had a remarkably loyal following in Darkside, "the Scream Queen" Neve Campbell.

The events leading up to the signing of this match hadn't been made public knowledge, but it was generally believed in locker room gossip that the undefeated blonde had sought out the brunette and made a slightly odd request, challenging Neve to pit her legendary Scissors against the fearsome reputation of Allison's Bear Hug. By all accounts the brunette had agreed to the match much more readily than most veterans would have. After all, Neve had paid her dues in the promotion and could have easily turned down Allison's request. The blonde after all was only a rookie. But if the Scream Queen had a weakness, it was an inability to turn down a challenge. Thus the match was made and the citizens of Darkside reaped the rewards, a battle testing some of the best arms in the business against some of the best legs in the business.


'Fly From the Inside' pulses through the club and Allison pushes the curtain aside. The blonde is sporting a big grin as she heads down the aisle, slapping hands with her fans, getting herself psyched up for the biggest match of her career. Allison is clad in her usual attire of lavender sports bra and matching lycra shorts, showing off both her powerful legs and upper body. Her boots and pads are the same lavender, going nicely with her pale complexion and the shaggy look of her blonde hair. Reaching the edge of the ring, she climbs in through the middle rope and poses for the audience one more time before settling down and heading to her corner.


'Black Hole Sun' eases to life and the fans sing along with the opening verse as the brunette steps through the curtain. Standing calmly at the top of the ramp, Neve surveys the ring with a small confidant smile. Rolling her shoulders, the brunette begins walking down the ramp, lightly slapping hands with the fans cheering her. As is her custom, the brunette is clad in a simple two-piece black tankini that stands out well against her pale complexion. Reaching the ring apron, Neve slides under the bottom rope and comes to her feet all in one motion. Standing in the center of the ring, she raised her arms, posing for the crowd before heading to her corner to await the bell. Both ladies waited calmly in their corners during the brief seconds that it took for the Announce and ref to switch places, but it was obvious they were eager to start the battle

The normally rowdy crowd was oddly muted as the bell rang and the match began. Striding from the corners, Neve and Allison moved slowly from to the center of the ring, stopping when there was only a few feet of clearance between them. Allison looked the brunette up and down carefully and then smiled. With no trace of sarcasm she said, "This is going to be fun. I want you to give me everything you've got."

Neve sized the blonde up and returned her challenge, "Only if you promise to do the same. Shall we begin?"

"Lets!" Allison said quietly. She lunged forward, locking up with Neve in the classic Collar and Elbow tie-up. Blonde and brunette pushed and shoved against each other in this early encounter, both hoping to find some small crack in her opponent's defenses. After several seconds in the lock up, Allison suddenly surged into the brunette and began pushing her slowly but steadily towards the corner. Neve thrust forward with everything she had, but it was quickly becoming apparent to both her and the audience that Allison was winning this initial contest of strength. Several seconds later, the brunette felt the thin padding of the turnbuckles pressing into her back; Allison had forced her back into the corner with relatively little effort.

Still locked in the clinch, Allison wanted to make a silent but strong point very early in this match. Holding Neve by the shoulders, the blonde stepped in as close as she could, really pushing her chest into Neve's, letting the brunette know that she could overpower the Scream Queen this easily. Allison didn't say a word, but Neve got the message loud and clear as she was pressed tightly between the blonde and the corner. As the ref came in to force the break, Allison released her grip and backed off slowly, waiting in the center of the ring. Keeping her eyes locked on the blonde, Neve rolled her shoulders and cracked her knuckles. Stepping out of the corner, she raised her hands and silently dared Allison to try and overpower her a second time.

Reading Neve's defiance clearly, Allison stepped forward to meet the incoming brunette and they locked up a second time. Again, shortly thereafter, the strong blonde rookie slowly began forcing Neve back into the corner. But this time, when Neve's back was almost against the buckles, she changed tactics and with one smooth twist of her hips and torso, she used Allison's momentum against her and switched positions with her. Now it was the blonde with her back to the corner and Neve was pushing her into the steel. Allison's first statement not forgotten by the brunette, Neve made a statement of her own, pressing one hand hard against Allison's shoulder and the other under the shelf of the blonde's chin. As the ref moved in to break them up, she leaned forward as hard as possible, pushing Allison's head awkwardly back and to the side. Seconds later, she released the pressure and stepped back, letting the blonde come to her.

Allison stayed in the corner for a moment, not pleased about how Neve had been able to so quickly take control of the situation. Fixing a hard glare on the brunette, she walked forward and faced off with the Scream Queen.

Before she could speak, Neve addressed her coolly, "You're going to need a lot more than power if you hope to beat me Allison."

Not missing a beat, the blonde shot back, "And you're going to need a lot more than a cool, dry wit if you want to beat ME. I respect you Neve, but don't think that respect equates to fear. You're a big tree, but I'm gonna chop you down." She fell silent, waiting for Neve's response.

"I'd love to see you try!" Neve said curtly.

Allison responded with action, arcing a hard Knife Edge chop right across the brunette's chest. There was a crisp snapping sound as the chop connected and Neve staggered a bit, taken aback by the power of the blow. But Neve was not outdone so easily and as soon as she had regained her balance she launched a chop of her own, a blow that sent lighting racing through Allison's assets and down the length of the blonde's spine. Fighting back a small grimace of pain, Allison responded with another chop and Neve returned the favor. For the next 30 seconds, blonde and brunette went about destroying each other's breasts with little more than the edge of their hands. The crowd ate the silent contest up, WOOing and cheering as the two women exchanged the stiff shots. Only after an extremely hard chop from the brunette sent her stumbling back several paces did Allison elect for a new mode of attack.

Surging forward, she caught Neve's head in the crook of her elbow and wrenched down, bending the Scream Queen in half with a simple Side Headlock. Allison worked the hold like a veteran, alternately relaxing and tensing her forearm while simultaneously grinding the side of Neve's head into the point of her hip. The brunette grumbled in pain and shot a hand up, again getting her palm up and under Allison's chin but the blonde turned her head away and cinched the hold tighter, forcing Neve to one knee. Looking down, Allison was mildly pleased to see Neve's face turning red from the pressure of the hold.

Wrenching the Headlock again, she said, "You shouldn't be so quick to dismiss power Neve; I don't care how good your technique is, if I get a hold of ya, you aren't going anywhere!"

Hearing the mild condescension in Allison's voice irritated the brunette to no end and she decides it was time to show the blonde some of her power. Quickly dropping her hands, Neve wrapped both arms around Allison's sturdy middle. Before the blonde had a chance to react, Neve bent at the knees and thrust upward taking Allison off her feet. Falling back, Neve dropped Allison hard on the back of her head and shoulders, her Back Drop Suplex connecting beautifully. When the blonde hit the mat, she uttered a little gasp of pain and immediately let the hold go, rolling away to tend to her injured head. To her credit though, she was on her feet only seconds later and facing off with an equally recovered Neve.

Getting up in the rookie's face, Neve said, "I don't care how strong you THINK you are. When I get ya on the mat, you don't go anywhere unless I say so."

Her competitive streak really fed by Neve's subtle taunting, Allison shot back testily, "We'll just see who ends up on the mat FIRST!!"

With her last word, she brought her hands up and lunged, meaning to grapple with the brunette again. But Neve wanted nothing to do with a head to head duel with the compact blonde and she reacted accordingly, snagging one of Allison's incoming arms and slinging her over her hip, taking Allison to the canvas with a perfect Arm Drag. And when Allison hit the mat, Neve didn't let go of her captive's arm, instead she twisted it painfully and knelt, placing one pad covered knee against the side of Allison's face. Working her makeshift Arm Bar, Neve's face was an expressionless mask, the brunette enacting her usual coldly methodical game plan. Gritting her teeth against the pain in her arm, all Allison desired was to get up off the mat. Focusing on her goal, she put her free hand against the canvas and slowly maneuvered around until her knees were under her.

Knowing that was the best she could hope for, the blonde pushed up hard, forcing Neve off of her. Instantly the blonde was on her feet and looking to capitalize. Seeing that Neve was hadn't completely regained her equilibrium, Allison scooped up the lithe girl and slammed her down as hard as she could. Neve groaned and arched her back when she hit the mat, but much as Allison had done before her, the brunette recovered quickly and popped to her feet, moving forward to meet Allison again. The blonde was ready this time and as Neve moved forward, she did too, picking up the startled veteran a second time. Not wasting a second, Allison tossed Neve down again, the second Scoop Slam keeping the brunette down a little longer. Hearing the cheers in the crowd. Allison smiled to her fans and flexed her biceps, making a point of showing how easy it was to toss the Scream Queen around. Neve had just gotten to her feet as Allison finished posing. Not letting the brunette regain her senses, Allison stepped forward a third time and hauled Neve over her shoulder. This time the blonde made a point of showing her strength to the audience, slowly turning around, letting the crowd see the ease with which she held her brunette opponent up.

Tensing her arms a bit, Allison said calmly to her captive, "As soon as you get tired of getting up, I'll get tired of slamming you down, Neve. Think about that when you hit the canvas."

She tossed down, intending to drive Neve into the mat with a third Body Slam but Neve had picked up on Allison's strategy and was ready. Before Allison could complete her toss, Neve wriggled free and slid down the blonde's back, landing behind her. Before Allison could even comprehend what had happened, Neve had tied her up in a painful Abdominal Stretch, putting tremendous pressure on the blonde's hard middle. Smiling slightly as she listened to Allison grunt and fight against the pain of the hold, Neve engaged in a little taunting of her own.

Running her free hand slowly and lazily along Allison's stretched belly, Neve said, "As soon as you get tired of whimpering, I'll get tired of stretching you. Think about that when you're tapping out."

She finished with a light slap of Allison's belly, followed by another wrench of the hold. Fueled by Neve's jab, Allison uttered a low, guttural growl and put all her strength into escaping the hold. Ignoring the temporary flare-up in the pain in her middle, the blonde pulled forward violently, tossing Neve up and over her hip, breaking the hold in one quick burst of power. Neve hit the mat tailbone first and she grimaced in pain as lighting raced up her spine. Still wincing, she had just gotten to her feet when Allison pounced.

She came at Neve with arms spread, meaning to lock Neve up and slam her around a bit more, but Neve's ring experience came into play and she nimbly slipped under Allison's grasping hands. Getting behind the blonde, Neve wrapped her arms around Allison's middle and bridged up, preparing to drop Allison with a German Suplex. But the blonde would have none of it. As Neve surged upwards, Allison gripped both of Neve's hands tightly and planted her feet, effectively blocking Neve's throw. The sudden stop caught the brunette off guard and she was easy prey as Allison broke the Waist Lock and spun around to face her foe. Before the Scream Queen could react, Allison shot forward and spread her arms wide, threading one between Neve's legs and another over her shoulder. With Neve cinched up, Allison twisted her hips violently and took Neve off the canvas, spinning in a tight little half circle she drove the brunette into the canvas with a Power Slam.

Knowing that her landing had driven the wind from Neve's lungs, Allison hooked a leg and pressed down hard, hoping to get a quick win with her surprise counter but although the Slam was a powerful move, the seasoned brunette was nowhere near done as she proved by kicking free with authority after just a 'two' count.

Hands on her hips, Allison realized she was still in control of this match and she wanted to do as much damage as possible before her opponent had a chance to recover her senses. Getting to her feet, she grabbed a handful of Neve's dark mane and pulled the brunette up as well. Scooping the Scream Queen up, Allison held her victim perpendicular across her chest. Turning around, Allison kept a good grip on Neve's shoulder and butt as she displayed her captive to the audience. Tired of the anticipation, Allison rose up on her toes and then dropped to one knee, slamming Neve's ribs painfully into her knee. Holding the position for only a moment, Allison stood up again and wasted no time delivering a second Rib Breaker to Neve's beleaguered middle. When the second Rib Breaker hit, Allison bounced ever so slightly, forcing her knee a little deeper into Neve's side. Satisfied with the brunette's quiet groan of pain, Allison pushed Neve off her knee, letting her go rolling across the mat, coming to rest on her stomach.

Not done by a long shot, Allison regained her feet and stalked over to where Neve was laying. Bending down, she pulled the brunette up and grabbed hold of her wrist. Taking a deep breath, she whipped Neve to the ropes full speed, hoping Neve's dizziness would make her an easy target. This was not to be however as Neve put on the brakes and reversed Allison's momentum on her, trying to toss the blonde to the ropes. But again, Allison's strength advantage made it's presence felt and she planted her feet, halting Neve's toss. Instead, the blonde pulled Neve into her and fired a short, hard punch at the stumbling brunette's face. The punch connected and Allison followed the first with several more, her fist hammering off Neve's cheek and jaw. The blonde had just pulled back her hand for a vicious Haymaker when the fog cleared from Neve's eyes and she blasted forward, burying her knee in Allison's gut!

As the wind rushed from the stunned blonde, Neve looked to dish out a little hurt of her own. Standing chest to chest with the blonde, Neve wrapped one arm around her rival's waist and threaded the other between Allison's legs, that hand gripping her just under her butt. With one sadistically smooth pop of her hips, she tossed Allison up and over her, the brawny blonde landing high and tight on her head and shoulders. Neve's T- Bone Suplex caught Allison completely off guard and for the first time in the match, she didn't immediately pop top her feet. Instead she lay groaning on the mat, chest heaving, eyes half closed. At this point, simply breathing was a struggle for her.

Neve, on the other hand, was feeling rather refreshed and she wanted to put a hurt on her powerful rival. Grabbing a handful of Allison's short blonde locks, she pulled the dazed girl to her feet. Standing face to face with her foe, Neve wrapped her arms around Allison's midsection and clamped down, looking for all the world like she was going for a Bear Hug. Instead, Neve lifted and spun Allison in one smooth motion, driving her into the mat with a Belly to Belly suplex. Landing with all her body weight across Allison's chest, Neve hooked both legs and went for her first cover.

As the ref began his count, she whispered, "I may not be as strong as you Allison, but I can toss you around when I need to. It's all about leverage."

She was mildly irritated (but not really surprised) when Allison kicked out at 'two'. Getting up off the blonde, Neve went to her opponent's ankles and grabbed one in each hand. Lifting them up, she tucked them under her arm pits before slowly turning over and sitting down, torturing the blonde's lower back with a Boston Crab. Allison writhed in agony as Neve leaned back on the hold, bouncing her butt on Allison's for added pressure After an especially hard pull forced a pained squeal from the blonde, Neve said, "Wanna give it up Allison?"

Her face a portrait of defiance despite the pain, Allison hissed through clenched teeth, "I don't think so!" Neve didn't respond with words, only another hard pull on the hold and more slight bouncing, the Scream Queen enjoying the use of Allison's butt as a cushion. Slapping her hands futilely against the mat, Allison knew she had to get free. Biting her tongue to fight the pain, she planted her palms firmly on the canvas. Biding her time, she waited until Neve relaxed the pressure on the Crab a bit and then she thrust up with all her strength. Her gambit paid off and Neve was tossed forward, landing in a most unwelcome position, flat on her back with Allison sitting on her chest.

Realizing she had Neve down in a makeshift pin, Allison remembered the bouncing the brunette had done on her ass. Feeling a bit vindictive, Allison scooted forward and sat down, her purple clad ass resting heavily against Neve's upturned face. Hands on her thighs, Allison bounced hard on Neve's protesting features as the ref made his count. His hand was coming down for 3 when Neve got her hands on Allison's butt and thrust her forward, breaking the pin. Both girls got quickly to their feet and neither wasted anytime getting in the other's face.

Shaking some hair from her eyes, Neve's voice blazed a cold fury, "What did I tell you about trying to embarrass me? Are you looking to get yourself humiliated?"

Allison returned the question with one of her own, "You think you're the only one who can play mind games? Well fuck that! And as far as getting humiliated goes, I'm not the one who just had her face ground down by some woman's ass!"

She stepped forward then, really pushing her chest into the brunette's. Angered by the blonde's challenge, Neve bulled into Allison and wrapped her arms around the blonde's middle, looking for a second Belly to Belly Suplex. But before she could lift Allison, the blonde brought her head smashing forward, catching Neve on the bridge of the nose. The brunette cried and fell back, clutching her injured nose. Allison went on the attack then, burying a boot in Neve's gut to double her over. Stepping forward, she wrapped both arms around the brunette's damp waist. Pulling up, she tossed the Scream Queen halfway across the ring with a brutally simple, brutally effective, Gut Wrench Suplex. Neve hit the canvas and groaned, her hands flying to the small of her back. She was a while in getting up and when she did regain her feet, Allison was there waiting for her. Stepping behind the injured brunette, Allison wanted to give Neve a taste of her own medicine.

Stepping forward, she locked up the brunette's arms and legs, securing an Abdominal Stretch of her own. Wrenching back on the hold, Allison brought her free hand into play, delivering whistling smacks to Neve's pale middle. Soon the brunette's pale stretched skin was turning an angry shade of red in the telltale shape of Allison's hand.

Pulling the hold a little tighter, Allison asked, "Ready to tap out Neve?"

The brunette shook her head no and hissed, "In your dreams Allison. You'll have to do a LOT worse than this if you wanna make me tap."

"How 'bout something like THIS then?" Allison asked coldly.

Using her free hand, she leaned down and grabbed Neve's free hand before pulling it back tightly between the brunette's thighs. With Neve bent even more awkwardly, Allison hauled up, bringing Neve off her feet, positioning her stomach down on Allison's shoulder. Then Allison shifted her grip so that one arm was looped over Neve's back while the other held the brunette's head in place. When her grip was secure, Allison slammed herself forward and down, driving the Scream Queen into the canvas with a vicious Pump Handle Slam. On impact, Neve tried to arch and roll away, but Allison shoved her back down and went for the cover, hooking both of the brunette's legs. Neve still managed to kick free at the 2 count but it didn't have the authority of some of her earlier breaks. Clearly the blonde's strength was starting to wear on her.

Looking for an even more impressive way to display her power, Allison brought Neve up and stood behind her. Hooking the brunette's arms, she pulled them back and then pulled up, jerking Neve off the canvas and holding her aloft. The Double Chicken Wing put intense pressure on Neve's arms and shoulders, but the brunette would not give up when the ref asked for her surrender. Kicking her feet wildly, Neve fought to escape, but Allison held her secure and for several moments the Scream Queen was forced to wail helplessly as Allison bounced up and down, putting more pressure on her twisted arms. Finally Neve's weight began to wear on the blonde and she tossed Neve roughly down, the brunette landing hard on her stomach and chest. The battered Neve could only groan as Allison bent down and snatched a handful of hair, pulling the brunette to her feet. Standing with Neve wobbly before her, Allison just about to force the brunette into position for a Powerbomb when Neve ducked low and hooked the blondes ankle.

Before she could even shot a protest, Neve had yanked Allison's legs out from under, leaving her dazed on the mat. With one ankle still in hand, Neve tucked it under her armpit and fell to the canvas. Before Allison could blink, the brunette had scissored both legs around Allison's right leg and cinched tight. Pulling back hard, Neve squeezes her Scissors tight, the surprise Leg Bar putting hideous pressure on Allison's trapped limb. Until the first jolt of pain raced through her, Allison had no idea what was happening. One moment she had been in complete control of the match and now, seemingly only seconds later, she was on her back writhing in agony as Neve attempted to tear her leg off.

"Give it up Allison!" Neve commanded. "This could really hurt you!"

Allison choked back a cry of pain and shook her head ferociously 'no' as she began to drag both herself and her tormentor toward the ropes. "No way Neve! You knew you couldn't out-squeeze me so ya slap on this desperation joint lock trying to break my leg? No FUCKING way am I tapping out! When I get free I'm gonna wring every last drop from YOU!"

As she said the last word, she drew within reach of the ropes and shot her hands out, clutching at it like a lifeline. As the ref began his count, Neve gave Allison's ankle one final twist and then released the hold. Getting to her feet, she didn't give Allison the time to regain her vertical base. Stalking over to where the blonde was recovering, Neve grabbed a handful of hair and marched her for to the center of the ring. Trapping the rookie in a Front Face Lock with one arm, Neve used the other to grab a handful of Allison's lavender tights. Not saying a word, she lifted Allison off the mat in a Vertical Suplex. But when the blonde was extended directly over her head, Neve didn't fall back. Instead, she held Allison inverted, letting the blood rush to her head.

The crowd was impressed by Neve's display of strength and they cheered loudly before counting off the seconds until the Scream Queen would send the blonde crashing to the canvas. They had just gotten to ten when Neve had enough. She simply leaned back and fell, sending her foe crashing to the mat. Sitting next to the gasping Allison, Neve took a deep breath and thought about her next move. Deciding Allison had had enough, Neve pulled the girl to a sitting position and slid around behind her. Extending her long legs, Neve pressed in tightly against the blonde and snapped her legs shut, crossing them at the ankles. She planted her palms on the mat and gave a huge squeeze, sending a pulse of pain through Allison. But the tough newcomer didn't wail and immediately voice her submission when Neve locked on the Body Scissors. Instead she tried to claw her way free, digging and tearing at Neve's pale thighs. Not pleased with Allison's insubordination, Neve squeezed harder, forcing a moan from the injured blonde.

Leaning in close to Allison's ear she said, "You made a great showing Allison, but now it's time to give up. I don't want to hurt you." She squeezed tighter to illustrate this point.

But Allison just shook her head and said., "I'm not tapping to your Scissors Neve. I'm going to BREAK them. And the whole world's going to see me do it!"

With that, she thrust both arms down, her elbows digging in hard right above Neve's knees. A set, determined look on her face, Allison began to push out in both directions, in what appeared to be an attempt to break the Scream Queen's legendary Scissors by arm strength alone. And incredible as it may seem, it was working. Slowly but surely, Allison forced Neve's legs apart, relieving the crushing power on her waist in the process. Just behind the blonde, Neve was trying not to let her shock show. No one had ever broken her Scissors the way Allison was doing right now. It seemed the girl really was as strong as she said. Neve put one last desperate squeeze in the hold but it was too little, too late. Allison had broken the hold and gotten to her knees, effectively escaping Neve's hold. Incredulous as she was, Neve wasn't willing to just let Allison regain her feet.

Shaking of her dismay, the Scream Queen popped to her feet and tackled the blonde from behind. Landing hard on top of her rival, Neve slid around so that she was laying face to face with Allison on the canvas. Targeting the blonde's neck, Neve snaked an arm up and around Allison's head, trapping her in a seated Front Face Lock. Digging her arm in, Neve pulled up as hard as she could, trying to choke the fight out of the blonde. Allison's jubilation at escaping from Neve's vaunted Scissors was soon replaced with dull fury at being trapped in another hold so quickly and easily!

Pressing hard against the mat, she bellowed a little cry of anger and forced her way up, getting to her knees before Neve could stop her. With another primal cry, she got to her feet, all the while with Neve clinging tenaciously to her head. Desperate to get the brunette off of her, Allison wrapped her arms around Neve's waist, squeezed tight and lifted her up off the mat. Before Neve had a chance to counter, Allison charged forward, running blindly across the ring, hoping to get to the ropes or a corner, anything that would offer sanctuary from Neve's heartless choke. As luck would have it, Allison bulled Neve right into a corner turnbuckle, ramming the brunette's back painfully against the thinly guarded steel. Neve tossed her head back and cried out, her hold broken by the unforgiving impact. Stunned, she slumped back in the corner and sat there breathing hard as she massaged her smashed back. When Allison looked up and saw Neve prone in the corner, she fought off the fog in her brain and went on the attack.

Dropping low, she rammed her strong shoulders into Neve's defenseless gut over and over again, each new impact drawing a winded cry from the trapped Scream Queen. Eventually Allison began to tire and she knew she couldn't keep up the maddening pace of the Shoulder Blocks. Lifting herself up, she grabbed Neve by the hair and pulled the weakly protesting brunette to the center of the ring. Grabbing Neve's wrist, she whipped the brunette towards the ropes. But instead of releasing her captive's wrist like normal, Allison maintained her grip running beside Neve as she hit the ropes. When the brunette turned around, Allison was there to meet her with a big knee to Neve's gut. The pale girl doubled over and wretched but Allison wasn't done with her yet. Keeping her grip on Neve's wrist, Allison repeated the maneuver, throwing Neve to the opposite ropes before burying a second knee in her injured middle. Allison allowed Neve to bend over this time, but not for long as she buried a hand in Neve's hair and pulled her toward the center of the ring. Stepping behind her foe, Allison wrapped her arms around Neve's sweaty waist, intent on locking on a crushing Reverse Bear Hug. She hadn't even locked her hands yet when Neve stamped down on her foot, forcing Allison to hobble back.

Quicker than one would have expected, Neve was behind Allison and locking on her own Waist Lock. While Allison was still preoccupied with her foot, Neve bridged up and back, absolutely throwing Allison onto her head and shoulders with a Release German Suplex. The blonde hit the mat with an undignified thud and she lay folded up like a matchbook on the canvas, her ankles thrown over her head, boot clad toes brushing the canvas. Extremely winded from the abuse her middle had taken, Neve was bit slower in following up than she normally was. Sitting gingerly beside Allison, Neve extended her legs again, this time Scissoring them across Allison's heaving chest. She hadn't even got to the first squeeze when Allison thrashed to life, jerking wildly and punching hard at Neve's constricting knees.

Exasperated at the rookie's toughness, Neve abandoned the Scissors and got to her knees as Allison was getting to hers. Locking eyes with her foe for the first time in a while, Neve was startled by the intense determination flaring in Allison's eyes. She was even more surprised when she found herself wrapped up tightly in Allison's arms, gripped by the blonde in a kneeling Bear Hug. Allison had her grip secure and squeezed hard, crushing Neve's breasts and middle against her own. The brunette moaned and leaned her head back all the while struggling desperately to escape the blonde's python like grip.

Pulling Neve a bit closer, Allison spoke quietly, "Remember my offer Neve. You can rest your head on my shoulder while you tap out. Just make sure I can hear you say it!" she grunted as she squeezed the hug tighter.

Not yet willing to concede the match, Neve groaned, "Thanks….but I prefer…MY plan!"

Neve stole a play from Allison's book and rammed her head forward, butting the blonde between the eyes! Allison was unprepared for resistance and the blow caught her unawares. Crying out, she released the hold and fell away blinking tears from her eyes. Several seconds later they were both on their feet and circling the other. By now each was quite perturbed at the perceived easiness with which their opponent had countered their best holds. It had been a long time since Neve had been in the ring with anyone who had broken her scissors that easily, and Allison had never faced a foe that had been able to escape the Bear Hug more than once. Eyes tossing sparks, the brawny blonde and the limber brunette charged each other, looking to end this fight.

Neve struck first, firing a high knee at Allison's midsection, but the blonde had anticipated the attack and she got her hands up, knocking Neve's blow aside. Before Neve could blink Allison fired her own knee up and caught Neve right in the navel. With Neve doubled over it was an easy thing for Allison to trap the brunette in a standing Head Scissors. Holding Neve prone, Allison couldn't resist delivering a sharp, derisive slap to her foe's derriere. Through taunting, Allison wrapped her arms around Neve's waist and hauled her up, holding the Scream Queen up for a Powerbomb. Allison held Neve for only a moment before slamming her down with tremendous force. As the ring shook with the impact, Allison kept her grip on Neve's thighs. Taking a deep breath, she pulled up with all her might and brought Neve back up, pulling her back into the Powerbomb position. Turning 90 degrees so another side of the club could witness this remarkable display, Allison slammed Neve down again, taking sick satisfaction in the fact that the second Powerbomb took even more out of the brunette.

Extremely winded, Allison paused as the crowd chanted, "ONE MORE TIME! ONE MORE TIME!"

Gathering her reserves, Allison pulled Neve up once more and delivered a third spine destroying Powerbomb. Believing Neve to be completely out of it, Allison released her grip on the brunette's legs and fell forward simply laying on her abused victim. The crowd counted along with the ref, but they didn't get to chant 3 because Neve got her shoulder up microseconds before the deciding slap of the mat.

Not believing what the referee was telling her, Allison decided it would be poetic if she could finish the brunette with her own favorite hold. Sitting herself beside Neve, Allison grabbed the brunette's head and forced it between her thighs. Crossing her ankles, Allison locked on a Head Scissors of her own, trying to pop Neve's head like a grape.

As she abused Neve's skull, Allison said, "How do ya like my Scissors Neve? They aren't as famous as yours but after you tap to them, they'll be right up there!"

Unable to face the fact of submitting to her own hold, Neve gripped Allison's knees and dug in hard. Using all the strength in her upper body she was able to twist just enough to maneuver around and get her knees under her. Before Allison could force her back onto her side, Neve pushed up and forward, somersaulting onto Allison's chest, while simultaneously pulling roughly free of the Scissors.

Remembering the fun Allison had on her face, Neve returned the favor, scooting forward and pressing her crotch roughly against Allison's mouth and nose. Neve put her hands on her knees and ground down hard, rubbing her center from side to side on Allison's features. As the ref went to make his count, Neve's eyes never left Allison's, the Scream Queen enjoying the humiliated, angry look glaring up at her as the veteran taught the rookie a few things about the proper way to grind a face. But Allison was able to shove Neve off her before the 3 and the blonde was up in no time furiously scrubbing at her mouth and nose, trying to relieve herself of Neve's scent. Turning her attention to the brunette, Allison lunged with a feral snarl and tossed Neve hard into the corner. Giving her foe no chance to breathe, Allison rocketed toward the corner hell-bent on smashing every bone in the Scream Queen's body. As the blonde sped towards her, the glaze in Neve's dark eyes seemed to lift and she suddenly tensed. When Allison had halved the distance between them, Neve exploded out of the corner and pistoned a knee up, impaling Allison's abdomen. The force of the blow spun Allison over Neve's knee and the blonde could only sit on the canvas retching as Neve stalked her.

Aching all over, but still not willing to let up on her rival, Neve pulled Allison to her feet and wrapped her arms around the groggy blonde's waist. Their noses brushing, Neve whispered, "Just give up now Allison. No one will think any less of you."

Allison's eyes cleared briefly and she said, "You wouldn't give up in this situation. Why the hell should I?"

She tried to buck free but Neve only tightened her grip. With a sigh that was part groan, Neve popped her hips and tossed Allison directly over her, an Overhead Belly to Belly Suplex. Allison hit the mat with a wet thud and Neve stood over her for a second, getting her breath back and trying to figure out what to do next. Deciding she was also a fan of poetic justice, Neve hauled Allison to her feet and pulled her close. In the blink of an eye, she had Allison wrapped up in a Bear Hug of her own and she poured everything she had left into it, intent on hearing the rookie submit to her own vaunted submission.

Her face twisted in pain, Allison focused her thoughts on escape. When she'd gathered enough energy, she pulled up in one hard burst, freeing her arms. Before Neve knew what hit her Allison had slammed her palms against the Scream Queen's ears, boxing them painfully. As a vile ringing exploded in her head, Neve dropped Allison and brought her hands to her aching head. Surprised and angry at the blonde's wherewithal, Neve grabbed a dual handful of Allison's damp gold hair and hurtles her into the corner. Approaching slowly, Neve grabs the ropes on both sides of her foe and uses them for extra momentum when she begins driving Knee Lifts into Allison's middle. The blonde gapes and gags with each blow to her abdomen, but she can't fall out of the corner, because Neve won't let her. Finally, after almost a dozen Knee Lifts, Neve grabs her by the hair and pulls her toward center ring. Trapping Allison in a Front Face Lock, Neve slings the blonde's arm across her shoulders as she bent and hooked Allison's left leg with her right arm.

Holding Allison in position, Neve whispered, "You like things that come in threes do you Allison? Well here's a little something I've been working on; tell me what you think of it."

Neve pulled Allison up and off her feet, bringing the blonde crashing hard to the mat with a Fisherman's Suplex. But instead of releasing Allison's leg, or simply bridging into a pin, Neve twisted her hips and rolled to her side, getting her feet under her. With a loud groan of exertion, she brought herself and her captive to their feet. And Neve delivered another beautiful Fisherman's Suplex. Yet again, she managed to bring herself and Allison up into position for a third Suplex. This time, when she hoisted Allison up, Neve held the blonde over her head for as long as possible - a kind of Hanging Fisherman's Suplex! After several seconds of holding Allison in the demeaning position, Neve's legs began to waver and she fell back, driving Allison into the canvas one more time. This time when they hit, the Scream Queen bridged up, as she knew that Allison wasn't kicking out of this! But apparently nobody had told Allison because the compact blonde managed to break free at the last possible moment. Exhausted and incredulous, Neve got to her feet as Allison was getting to hers. Locking eyes with the Scream Queen, Allison offered a pained smile.

"That was pretty cool," Allison admitted. "But not cool enough to finish me off."

Shaking her head, Neve responded, "Sometimes the simplest methods are the best!"

She lunged forward and slammed a punch into the side of Allison's head. The blonde grunted and wavered but did not go down. Indeed she responded with a punch of her own, bashing it into Neve's face. The two beauties exchanged blows in this fashion for several seconds until Allison's hands dropped and Neve pressed her advantage. Whipping out a move she didn't use all that often, she leapt off her feet and slammed both boots into Allison's jaw, a perfect (if not somewhat weary looking) Standing Dropkick. Allison hit the mat and lay spread-eagled on the canvas, looking at the lights. Realizing that both of them were dangerously close to empty, Neve went back to what had brought her to the dance. Sitting beside Allison, she slipped her legs around the blonde's tortured waist, one thigh under the small of Allison's back, the other resting over her navel.

Locking her ankles, Neve whispered, "This is it!" She began to squeeze, putting all her concentration into cutting Allison in half. It was a testament to her strength that the blonde was able to rise up on her elbows and lock eyes with Neve as the brunette continued her torture. Catching hold of Allison's pain wracked gaze, Neve spoke almost tenderly, "Just tap and I'll let go. No hard feelings, I promise."

The blonde seemed to consider this. "I hope we're both strong enough to feel that way after the match is over," she responded. Before Neve could reply, Allison brought her hand up and dug it deep into Neve's crotch. The desperation Claw caught her flat footed and Neve wailed in agony as Allison worried at her groin like a Grizzly trying to escape a trap. Neve closed her eyes to fight off the tears, but Allison's vicious grip was unrelenting and after a few more seconds of agony, she was forced to release the Scissors.

Much to her credit, as soon as Neve had released the Scissors, Allison released her Claw, wrapping her hands around her own midsection as Neve tended to her assaulted womanhood. Several second later, both were up and grappling again. Whether it be fate or karma or whatever force you choose to believe in, Neve was able to force the blonde's head between her knees and hold her there, prone for Neve's Sit Out Pile Driver. But before Neve could invert her, Allison gripped the brunette behind the knees and pushed up, lifting Neve off her feet. Draped gut first over Allison's shoulder like a sack of potatoes, Neve's face was hovering directly in front of her rival's purple clad ass. But she wasn't there for long because just then, Allison snapped forward and slammed the full length of Neve's back and head into the canvas, a diabolical variation on the Spinebuster. Neve's head whiplashed off the mat and she saw nothing but stars. The next thing the brunette knew, she was bring hauled to her feet and strong arms were being slipped around her middle, pinning her arms to her sides. Opening her eyes, she found herself staring into Allison's tired but determined face.

Giving her lethal Bear Hug its initial squeeze, Allison grunted, "I want you to know, it really will be an honor to have you tap to me. This has been the fight of my life. And I won."

With that she squeezed as hard as she could, bending Neve to the breaking point. The brunette bit her tongue and tried not to cry out, but with the tortured condition of her middle it was impossible. When Allison wrenched the hold again, she gave voice to a long tortured scream. Slumping forward, she lay her head on Allison's shoulder.

Arms hanging limply at her sides, her feet wobbly on the mat, Neve whispered, "No hard feelings?"

Allison had a split second to register her surprise but right after that, Neve's knee smashed directly into her unguarded mound. The blonde's strong legs turned to water and her iron grip turned to rust as she collapsed to her knees with tears in her eyes.

Normally the brunette would have taken advantage of her counter but in this case all she can do is stagger back a few steps before falling to her knees, arms wrapped tightly around her burning middle. Moments later, both ladies rose on unsteady legs and locked eyes for the last time. On both faces was neither rage, hate nor even sportsmanship; only the knowledge that victory was within her grasp; that after all the suffering the other had put her through, losing would be unthinkable!

Without a word the two charge, each extending an arm to Clothesline the other. If it had been earlier in the match, one or both of them might have ducked the fairly simple maneuver but at this stage neither had the energy and each took the other's Clothesline directly across the breasts. Heads snapping back from the blows, blonde rookie lays beside brunette veteran for the better part of the referees count.

At 'eight', Allison stirred and got to her feet. Moving like a broken robot, she pulled Neve to her feet and whipped her drunkenly toward the ropes. Neve bounced off the ropes and staggered back into Allison's waiting arms, the blonde gripping her around the waist and lifting up simultaneously, setting to deliver the Twisting Sidewalk Slam she'd dubbed the Deadline. As Allison was falling to drive Neve through the mat, the brunette managed to snake an arm over the back of Allison's neck and cinch it tight. Pulling back as hard as she could, Neve pulled the groggy blonde off balance and drove her face first into the canvas, turning the Deadline into a Makeshift Tornado DDT.

Allison hit the mat and went slack, all the fight seemingly erased in Neve's last attack. Very slowly, Neve got to her feet and pulled Allison up with her. Forcing the blonde's head between her thighs, Neve grimaced at the bright lance of pain that course through her when she lifted Allison up for the Sit Out Pile Driver. Giving into exhaustion, Neve sat out, spiking Allison's head into the mat for the second time in as many minutes.

Pushing the semi-conscious blonde over onto her back, Neve sat at Allison's head and extended her legs on either side of the rookie's sweat soaked head. Clamping her thighs shut, Neve crossed her ankles and began to squeeze. Reaching behind her, she placed her palms on the mat and pushed up, rocking up and down on her butt to add even more pressure. Allison's already red face began to flush an even deeper crimson as the Scream Queen robbed her of her air. Allison tried to claw at Neve's thighs, but the brunette only rocked harder, her heels digging into Allison's groin. Reaching the end of her reserves, the brunette put everything into a final squeeze; a long crushing constriction that tensed her whole body as she threw her head back, filling her vision with nothing but the hot overhead lights. Bouncing her hips gently, Neve was finally rewarded when Allison weakly reached a hand up and slapped her thigh three times signaling her submission.

The ref called for the bell and Neve immediately released the hold, collapsing onto her back, drinking in deep lung filling gasps of air. Several moments later, she got to her knees, then to her feet. Looking down at the still recovering Allison, Neve limped over and extended her hand. The flush fading from her face, Allison looked up and saw Neve's gesture. Holding out her hand, she let the brunette pull her to her feet. Standing in the center of the ring, face to face with the woman who had beaten her, Allison wasn't sure what to do.

Giving Neve a very small, very pained smile, she asked, "No hard feelings?"

Neve returned the grin, "Did you give me everything you had?"

"You're damn right I did!" Allison said, a fierce pride running through her voice.

"Then no hard feelings!" Neve said "You took my measure tonight Allison; you're going to be a FORCE in this business very soon." Neve stepped forward and gave the blonde a loose, one armed hug. "Not nearly as good as yours I'm afraid," she said. "But it'll have to do."

Allison returned the hug and said, "I never thought I'd be OK with losing the biggest match of my life; but this could've been a lot worse."

"It could," Neve agreed. "But you should never accept losing; otherwise what's the point of winning?"

She grabbed Allison's wrist and lifted it high into the air, raising the blonde's arm for the crowd's approval. The blonde was startled at the monstrous ovation she received from the crowd, the whole of the audience on their feet, cheering the amazing match they'd just seen and the almost unheard of display of good sportsmanship. Heading toward the ropes, Neve and Allison slipped through and headed up the ramp together, both wearily slapping hands with the still redlining crowd. As the curtain loomed up before them, Allison turned to Neve and said, "You know I'm not gonna let this loss stand don't you? One of these days, I will beat you." Her voice was calm and her words were deadly serious.

Stopping at the curtain, Neve looked at the blonde and suggested, "Best of three or best of five?"

Allison stopped to consider, then answered, "How about best of seven?"

Neve smiled and slapped her on the back, "I like the way you think, rookie!" as they limped through the curtain and disappeared from view.
There was a light rain falling as Neve headed across the R'lyeh Club parking lot. Reaching her nondescript rental car, the brunette quickly opened the door and threw her bags inside. She was just about to get in herself when a voice called out from behind her, "So that's it huh? You were just gonna leave without saying goodbye? I'm crushed."

Smiling, Neve turned around to see Richard Fannin. Closing the door, Neve said, "That's not fair Rich. I told you at Christmas that I needed a break and it's been nearly 2 years since I've had any time off. The promotion can do without me for a month or two."

Fannin stepped a bit closer. "I know," he said. "If anybody deserves a vacation, it's you. And I owe you one. That match with Allison was amazing. The crowd will be rabid to see another round between you two when ya come back."

Neve smiled again. "She's much better than I think a lot of people realize. You've got a potential gold mine on your hands with her. Now as much as I enjoy sitting here talking shop in the rain, my ribs are killing me and I just want to go to sleep. Now that you've harangued me for not saying goodbye, can I go?"

Fannin nodded, "Just one more question."

"Fire away," replied the Scream Queen.

"Are you OK? Not physically, but mentally? I know the war with Ashley took a lot out of you and, to be quite honest, I worried a lot about both of you at Christmas. You know I've followed both of your careers and I can honestly say that until December I'd never seen either of you acting like you actually enjoyed hurting opponents. But after what she did to you in that match....and what you did to her afterward...." He paused for several moments, looking quite troubled, "I need to know you're not turning into one of the very girls you used to loathe; the kind who enjoys causing pain more than winning. I've seen too much of that in the past few months," he added, eyeing the brunette carefully.

Neve's smile was very tired, "I'm no monster Rich. Ashley just brought out the worst in me. And I brought out the worst in her. But that's over now. As far as I'm concerned, the issue between me and the Huntress is settled. I'm better than her. Period!" The statement rang with a flat finality. "And while I'm resting, I plan on studying up on my tapes, practicing a few new moves and generally recovering from two straight years of being on the road. In six or eight weeks, I'll be back good as new; ready to take on anyone you throw at me...including a rematch with a certain blonde rookie. You're not very subtle Rich."

Fannin grinned and shrugged his shoulders. "I wanted to see you two fight, sue me."

"I'd rather just get out of here," she replied. Getting into her car, Neve started the engine and rolled down the window. "Hey Rich," she called.

The promoter stepped forward and leaned his head close to the open window, "Yeah?"

Neve was silent for a minute and then said, "Be careful. Something's going down or about to go down. I don't know what, but you need to watch out."

Fannin tilted his head questioningly. "Thanks, I'll keep my eyes opened. Enjoy your vacation Neve."

She smiled one more time. "I will," she said. "Bye now."

She rolled up the window and drove away, leaving the promoter alone in the parking lot. The brunette's words echoing in his ears, Fannin shook his head and went back inside.

At the same time that Neve and Fannin were having their heart to heart, an unobserved visitor was watching from a dark corner of the lot. Hearing footsteps approach from behind, she said, "Hello Kristin. Is Erica coming with the new recruits?"

"They should be waiting in the locker room. As soon as we're done here we can talk with them," Kristin answered.

"Are they on board?" asked Kristin's new mistress.

"Very much so. Neither of them have much love for Fannin or anyone else for that matter." Kristin paused for a moment, watching Neve and Fannin talk. "You know..," she said. "We could take her out right now. She's exhausted and there's no way she could take both of us down. And Fannin's no problem, we could take him out before Neve even knew what was going on. What do you say/"

"No," said the voice in the shadows. "I won't do that to her. I may loathe everyone else in this lousy shit-splat league, but not her. When everyone else wrote me off, Neve Neve actually treated me like a person. When and if the time comes we'll deal with her. But I won't jump her in a parking lot like some no talent mugger."

Kristin made a little disgusted noise in the back of her throat. "Damn, you sound like all the other skanks she's hypnotized with that 'Scream Queen' BS! I can't believe you've bought into that garbage!"

Kristin was going to continue her rant when her boss whirled and caught her around the throat.

Before she could even blink, she'd been slammed back against the wall, stars going off behind her eyes. Tightening her grip, the woman holding her said, "Don't ever speak to me that way Kristin...not if you know what's good for you!"

"Kristin gagged, " My apologies ma'am."

The hand on her throat fell away and she could breath again. "Besides, you're not seeing the big picture," the voice said. "By the time Neve comes back, our plan will be well underway. And she'll have watched it unfold week by week. I know more about Campbell than you realize. She's very close to being one of us. There's a strong possibility she'll be on our side when she returns. And if that happens, there won't be anyone who can stop us." She paused for a moment. "Perhaps even more importantly, it'll break Fannin's heart if she sides with us. If Neve makes the right choice, I want her by our side when we tear the miserable, festering heart out of this place."

"And if she makes the wrong choice?" Kristin asked with a raised eyebrow.

The girl in the shadows didn't reply for a long time, then she finally said quietly, "Then it will be an honor to have her lying broken and battered under my foot." Watching Neve drive away and Fannin retreat into the club, she turned to Kristin. "Come," she said. "With these last two, we've got all the firepower we need to burn Fannin's world down."

As they walked away, Kristin asked, "Then what are we waiting for?"

Her mistress smiled. "A spark," she said simply. "And Rich is the one with the matches; even though he doesn't know it yet."

Continue to "Darkfall #4"