Option 3: Meet the OutsiderBy: Elsa Aarden
The Hot Outsiders 3
“Next up is Leo,” a demon announced on the microphone.
Another fight already? Leo stood up from the cold concrete ground of the abandoned warehouse. He raised his bandaged, bloody fists and scowled at them. When would this all be over? He’d been fighting for his life for over a year. These demons wanted humans like him to almost kill each other, and the best ones, who had no choice but to fight, would have to do it more often.
The echoes of the demons demanding a fight reverberate against the cold, rusty iron walls. Several spotlights glared from above the ring ahead of him. The moist air was stale. All he’d been taking in was the scent of mildew, especially from the scummy standing water on the uneven ground. But most of all, he was surrounded by the intense stench of sweat. The warehouse was as big as a mansion, but there were only the walls and the ring in the center.
“Come on,” another demon told him, shoving Leo’s back. “If you don’t fight, you know what will happen.”
Yes, they would break each of his limbs in various places until he would beg them to kill him. Leo sighed. Hopefully, this time he would get an easier opponent. The last one had skill, but fortunately, he’d been able to win. Before all of this happened, he worked at a dojo and taught karate to kids. All those years learning the craft as a kid were now keeping him alive. He just hoped that the kids were fine.
Leo took a deep breath and made his way toward the ring. While the other fighters tried to rest as much as they could away from the ring, countless demons stood at ringside to watch the fights. Each pair of fighters was chosen by popular demand. He wasn’t the most chosen and he wished that he wouldn’t end up fighting that person.
“And here he is, ladies and gentlemen,” the demon seated at a table told them as Leo climbed the three steps. He always wore a suit and had a strange smirk on his lips, which revealed his sharp fangs. His hair was black, short, and slicked back. Since Leo had first been brought to this place, the demon had never changed his style. “Give him a round of applause. He already fought three matches today!”
Leo fixed his jeans, which had been the only clothing they’d allowed him to wear besides underwear. He could rarely take showers, but he’d long since gotten used to his own stench. The demons also didn’t allow him to wash his hair as much as he would like. It was greasy and the sweat from the fight he’d had just a couple of hours ago had made it stick to his skin.
He finally moved his foot over the middle rope and got into the ring. Leo narrowed his eyes. What was such a small guy doing here? Had he been the one who’d won the last fight? Unlike Leo, the new guy only had a few dirt stains on his blue T-shirt and dark green, fitted pants. He didn’t look scared in the least. Moreover, the newcomer seemed disturbingly relaxed.
“We have a newcomer against Leo,” the polished-looking demon said, motioning his hand toward the small guy. “His name is Malcolm and this is his first fight. Let us all give him a round of applause as well!”
Leo looked away. This wasn’t going to end well. He’d had a tough fight against someone small before, but they had been tougher than this newcomer. Leo glanced around him. The demons cheered for him and booed the other guy. Demons must have watched too much human television and thought that fights were supposed to be like this.
The new opponent approached Leo, making him take a step back. There was no referee. Whoever won had to make the other person unable to get up anymore. That had made Leo give the demons a short show before he knocked out his opponent with the least amount of pain he could deliver.
“Hey, pretend that you’re fighting me,” the other man said, looking up at Leo. “My name is actually Shawn Maddox. I’ve been working with the fire demons to catch these idiots in the act. For now, I need information.”
This was a first. Leo frowned at Shawn, or whatever he was called. Of course he would say anything so he wouldn’t get hurt. Leo shook his head. He raised a brow when Shawn slumped over.
“I’m being serious, okay?” Shawn said.
Leo glanced at the demon at the microphone when the bell rang. There was no way he would fall for Shawn’s trick. Leo moved his foot back and raised his fists in a fighting stance. If he won, the demons would give him food and water. Winning more often than others, he shared his food with the fighters that had the most losses. Now wasn’t going to be the moment that he would lose.