MONSTER IN ME -------------- Tamsin Rhodes, prom queen. Tamsin Rhodes, cheerleader covergirl. Tamsin Rhodes, the girl next door. "Hi mama, hi papa, I'm just calling to say I've got to fill in at the library tonight, so I won't be home or able to answer the phone. Love you!" Ending the call, Tamsin quickly dialed another number that she knew would put her through to another voicemail inbox. "Hi Bradley, it's your honey pun'kin. I know you're at work right now, but I wanted to let you know I got called in to work and won't be home 'til late-late. Hugs'n'snugs!" After a click and a very long pause, Tamsin dialed one more number. "Dee Dee, it's Tam Tam. I'm doing it. If you don't hear back from me, I-I...I'm doing it." Hanging up, Tamsin put her phone back into her duffel bag and began to change clothes. Her cute white blouse, her pink capris, her sparkling jewelry and her thong sandals all went into the bag. Tamsin Rhodes, Colosseum pit fighter. Now wearing only a shining pink swimsuit-style leotard, Tamsin pulled her luscious hair back into a loose ponytail. Her body was slim and strong, built from years of gymnastics in the very tights she now wore into combat. Still made up from the day's activities, Tamsin's nails were glossy and eyes were glittery. Even as she warmed up to do battle, Tamsin looked stunning. Heading out into the sandy floors of the Colosseum's arena floor, Tamsin walked with the other fighters in a single-file line around the edge of the large venue. She avoided looking up at the crowd, keeping her eyes on her feet as she thought about what she was about to do. She had to keep walking until she finished a lap, and then follow a line in the sand. That would lead her to one of the outer rings that had been drawn in the sand, and she would fight an opponent. After that, she would follow the victor's line from that ring, until she got to the next one. She repeated the last part to herself under her breath, because she knew she had to win. It wasn't that she couldn't lose, she told herself, it was that she wouldn't lose. Finally arriving in her first ring, Tamsin shook her arms loose and wrang her fingers as she limbered up. Across from her, a japanese girl in a white tank-top and gi pants stared daggers at her until they received the signal to begin combat. The japanese girl rushed towards Tamsin, who found herself charging right back at her opponent. The fighters slammed into each other and immediately began grappling, as Tamsin applied her mixture of both greco-roman and sumo wrestling techniques. But, as she tried to figure out what her opponent was doing, Tamsin found herself suddenly flipped through the air before she crashed headfirst into the ground. The japanese girl dove onto her, trying to lock in a headlock choke as Tamsin scrambled to roll over. Getting her arms around her opponent, Tamsin turned and threw the japanese girl off of her. "Judo," thought Tamsin, slapping the ground in frustration before she stood up. Her opponent charged into her again, and Tamsin quickly reached her arms under the japanese girl's in order to lift her off her feet and dump her onto the floor. Stepping around to stand by her opponent's head, Tamsin reached down and wrapped her arms around the japanese girl's body. Gritting her teeth and planting her feet, Tamsin exerted all her strength to pull the girl up and onto her shoulder. Now carrying a wildly-struggling girl over one shoulder like a sack of potatos, Tamsin's legs wobbled as she barely stayed standing. Then, she threw the japanese girl down onto her back with a loud impact. Catching her breath, Tamsin noticed that her opponent was still on the ground even after she had stopped sucking in oxygen. Seeing an opportunity, the wrestling gymnast bent down to continue working over her opponent. The japanese girl then sprang to life, kicking her legs up and swivelling to wrap herself around Tamsin's arm. Locking in the armbar, the judoka pushed her feet against Tamsin's jaw as she leaned back to crank up the pressure. Tamsin's arm and shoulder felt like they had suddenly burst aflame, the pain causing her to scream. She clawed at the hold before simply trying to bludgeon the japanese girl off of her, but to no avail. Tamsin felt tears in her eyes as the pain intensified, and she tried her hardest to not fall to her knees. As adrenaline filled her sinews, Tamsin suddenly grabbed a handful of her opponent's hair with her free hand and yanked up. Heaving audibly, Tamsin lifted the judoka straight up into the air as the girl held onto the armbar hold for dear life. Then, Tamsin smashed her opponent back down onto the ground. The japanese girl sprawled instantly, releasing the armbar and staring stunned at the ceiling. Tamsin cradled her shoulder, knees buckling as she continued to refuse to fall. She shivered as she sobbed for a moment from the pain, and then turned her eyes to her opponent. The fire in her arm spread through her mind, and she bared her teeth as she leapt upon the judoka and began beating at her head. As the japanese girl finally tried to cover her bruised face and turn over, Tamsin locked in a rear naked choke. She felt her opponent wriggle and squirm, and then felt two hands desperately slap against her forearm. Tamsin held the hold firmly as the hands ceased to tap out, and continued holding tightly as the japanese girl's entire body began to shudder. Throwing her head back with a feral yell, Tamsin yanked back as hard as she could. Tugging over and over, Tamsin stopped when she felt and heard something break in her opponent's neck. Releasing the japanese girl and stumbling back to sit next to her, Tamsin looked at the deathly-still body of her opponent. The judoka lay facedown, and Tamsin did not want to turn her over. "I...I won," she thought, "and that means I...that means..." Tamsin looked around at the other fights that were going on around the Colosseum. Many had already ended, with the final match finishing on the opposite end of the arena. Tamsin could not make out exactly what was going on, but heard a crack that still made her wince. As she was led out of her circle and onto the next winding path in the floor of the Colosseum, Tamsin wiped sweat from her brow as she pushed loose bangs back from her eyes. "I really have it in me," she thought, "the monster I always knew I had." She eyed other surviving fighters as she passed by them, seeing warriors that would have left her in awe. "I'm one of them," thought Tamsin, looking at her hands. "I can stand with them." She arrived in the next circle, and began to quickly stretch and warm up. Seeing her opponent approach, she began to overcome the immediate chill in her stomach as she thought, "I can stand with any of them." ----- She had taken her time to ensure that hers was the last match of the first round to finish, just so she could hear the sound. Mercer Khan, a muscular blonde woman in a jet black swimsuit with a silver chain wrapped around her midriff, dragged her barely-breathing opponent into the middle of the circle. The bald thai boxer's eyes were unfocused, but bugged out wide as Khan's hands began to squeeze the sides of his skull. After some agonized noises, the first crack echoed all the way across the arena. Khan smiled, and let the rest happen naturally as she finished off her opponent. ----- While Tamsin Rhodes did not know that she faced a fighter named Mercer Khan, she did know that she faced a powerful woman whose swimsuit left little to the imagination about her physique. "I can stand...over her," thought Tamsin, ignoring the dull burn in her shoulder as she prepared to do battle. Raising her eyebrows as her opponent headed straight for her, Khan raised her arms and stepped forward as well. The two fighters locked up, their bodies flexing as they wrestled with one another. Tamsin gritted her teeth and slid her arms around Khan's waist, digging her toes into the dirt as she strained to lift her opponent. Khan pushed her hands against Tamsin's chin, tilting the girl's head back until her neck muscles began to hurt. Tamsin began to moan before releasing Khan, but then charged right back in to grapple with her again. Trying the same maneuver a second time, Tamsin felt Khan's hands against her chin, pushing back. As her neck began to ache once again, Tamsin immediately shifted her momentum and leaned back to use Khan's push against her. Khan was thrown overhead, receiving a belly-to-belly toss that was supported by Tamsin's toned gymnast legs. She hit the ground heavily, staring up at the lights. After catching her breath and rubbing a growing pain in her shoulder, Tamsin approached Khan as the woman began to get up. The blonde grappler shot forward, grabbing Tamsin's waist and lifting the girl up into the air before throwing her onto the floor. A hard stomp to her gut forced an awful noise out of Tamsin as her body curled up around the foot that sank into her belly, the heel twisting once before stepping away. Gasping as she balled up in a fetal position, Tamsin felt an arm slide around her neck before she was yanked to her feet and into a front facelock. Every muscle in her upper body strained against Khan as she tried to get free, her feet sliding in the sand as she was dragged forward by the hold. Khan planted herself to begin tightening the hold, and immediately found that Tamsin's legs had kicked up and wrapped around her body. Folding her body, Tamsin began to bodyscissor her opponent while her head was trapped in the facelock. Her legs flexed, squeezing hard enough to force Khan to release her head. Beads of sweat ran down Tamsin's skin as she panted, leaning forward to hug her arms around Khan's neck and continue squeezing despite the growing ache in her shoulder. Khan pried at her legs, but could not get her fingers between Tamsin's skin and her own body. She tried to lock in a bearhug, but could not get the right leverage with Tamsin's body literally wrapped around her torso. Beginning to breathe laboured breaths, Khan could hear her opponent's lungs working many times harder to keep up the desperate attack. The blonde woman reached her hands up and grabbed hold of the sides of Tamsin's head, and began to push her palms together. The pressure closing around her head made Tamsin began to whimper through her heavy breathing, before Khan was able to pull her halfways off and look at the girl's face. Tamsin began to scream in pain, soon releasing the bodyscissors and kicking wildly against Khan's chest. Khan's grip slipped, dropping Tamsin. The wrestling gymnast landed on her feet, but immediately fell backwards as she clutched at her own skull and rolled away. Still feeling a titanic throbbing around her brain, Tamsin tried to retreat but found herself locked in a grapple with Khan once again. She strained madly to fight back, her brow furrowing deeply as the elastic in her ponytail came loose. Tamsin's gorgeous hair was slick with sweat, sticking to her messily as she gave a desperate battlecry and tried to throw Khan. The blonde woman resisted, waiting until her exhausted opponent's muscles slackened. Tamsin's strength was utterly depleted, and she knew it. Her injured shoulder felt as though it were on fire. "No..." she stammered, seeing her opponent bare her teeth, "N-NoOOO!!" Khan scooped Tamsin and turned her upside down, holding her over one shoulder in a bodyslam position. "Can't fight anymore," thought Tamsin, audibly worried as Khan walked with her a few steps. "G-Gotta fight but I-I..." Khan suddenly hugged Tamsin against herself, pointing the girl's head towards the floor before driving it straight into the ground. The wrestling gymnast's body flopped, landing on her back. Khan lifted a leg, and then dropped it down onto Tamsin's face. The girl flopped again, writhing as Khan spent a few moments seated next to her, a muscular leg pressing down on her face. ----- Feeling her helpless opponent shift around beneath her leg, hearing the muffled moans and knowing that her victory lay before her, Mercer Khan calmly rubbed a small ache in her back. She looked from side to side, seeing where the other fights were going. Disappointed, Khan only saw one victory so far. She began to get up, quickly taking hold of her opponent's forehead in one palm and lifting Tamsin by it. Khan smirked as the pathetic and beaten girl was only able to claw at her wrist. Even though it was not time yet, Khan knew it would be soon. ----- Crying out as her body whipped through the air, Tamsin was powerslammed to the floor with a boom. Khan lay on top of her, adjusting her grip before getting to her feet with Tamsin collected in her arms. The wrestling gymnast struggled weakly as Khan lifted her overhead. "Couldn't stand with her," thought Tamsin, kicking her legs and waving her arms as she was suspended in the air. "P-Playing with me...when I lose...that means..." A look of terrified despair fell over Tamsin's face as Khan continued to display her to the cheering crowd, turning slowly to walk back to the center of the ring. There was a rush of air as Khan finally threw Tamsin down. The girl gasped deeply after hitting the ground stomach-first, convulsing as Khan slammed a palm down on the back of her head to hold her down. ----- Another fighter fell, and Khan smiled. It was time. ----- Feeling a hand on either side of her head, Tamsin was suddenly pulled up onto her knees. The vice-like grip around her head began to tighten, and Tamsin began beating at Khan's arms. Her feet kicked against the floor as she was held down on her knees, Khan's hands beginning to force miniscule creaks out of Tamsin's temples. The girl's eyes were wide, her mouth slowly opening wider as her moans turned into howls. "C-Crushing...crushing me!!" thought Tamsin, her thoughts turning to words as Khan began to lift her up by her skull. "N-No no NO NO NOOOOAAAAAUUUUUUWWWGH!!" Her feet kicking wildly in the air, Tamsin was held several inches off the floor as Khan continued to crush her skull. All she could feel was a splitting pain, and all she wanted was to survive. Tears ran down her cheeks, before her eyes bugged out at the sound of a loud crack. "Gu-GAW! HAUUUUUUUUUUGGGGGH!!!" The pain was excruciating. Tamsin's mind began to blur but she knew what was happening. After another crack, Tamsin's body tensed, her arms and legs shuddering as they curled up. Khan lowered Tamsin back down, pushing her onto her knees. Tamsin was forced to look up, her eyelids held open by Khan's thumbs as the woman hungrily glared back at her. "GUH!! GLAUGH!!" Tamsin's tongue hung over her lower lip as there was another crack, this time causing her arms to spasm. "AUUHHNG...GAUWH! UH!" The cracking noises began to happen more frequently as Tamsin convulsed and stared pleadingly at Khan, the light glitter that was around her eyes now mixed with the tears and sweat on her face. Rearing her head back, Khan delivered a brutal headbutt that forced a wet crunch from inside Tamsin's skull. The gymnast wrestler's forehead was visibly dented, her eyes lolling slightly in different directions. As Khan released her, Tamsin remained upright on her knees. Her arms were limp at her sides as she wobbled slowly in place, making a few gurgling sounds as what was left of her consciousness wanted the hurting to stop. Khan's fists then slammed down on top of her head. Blood sprayed out of Tamsin's nose and mouth as her head was dented further, a long string of drool falling from her mouth as her throat made two wet noises, and slowly slumped forward. ----- Mercer Khan used one foot to roll Tamsin over onto her back, before pushing it down onto the defeated girl's chest. Spreadeagled and deathly still, the once-beautiful young fighter was finished for good. Her head was misshapen, and her eyes were a little too far apart as they blankly stared off to either side. Mercer raised a fist in victory, inhaling deeply as she felt the rush of crushing another opponent's skull with her bare hands. She twisted her heel into girl's body until she felt something break, before turning to walk to her next match. Once, Mercer Khan was frightened by the monster within her, until she learned to feed it and become one with it. "You were delicious, little monster," uttered Mercer Khan, smirking as she took one last look at the mangled body she left in her wake.