Author: Brendan Sheehan | Banner: Landon Soto
Cold. It was the cold he noticed first.
Cold was not something new to him. The depths of lakes that he had plunged his fist into to catch fish had brought cold, as well as the winds of the peak of mountains. This was different though. The very air seemed to have never held any warmth, not of the sun or of rains bringing humidity. It made him shiver, tensing his fists and goosebumps to form in his fur.
Eventually, the great ape opened his bleary eyes as he pulled himself up from the ground. He attempted to stand straight but was pulled down causing him to glance down at his arms. Chains of metal remained trapped around his wrists. He snorted and began to pull them, attempting to free himself. Despite all of the king’s great strength, they would not budge. He tugged and tugged, and yet he stayed! Rage began to build up within him and he bellowed in anger. A roar that shook the very concrete that surrounded him.
A low whistle echoed after that. The mighty simian looked up, where he made out lights near the top of the concrete structure, with the smallest shape of a man blocking one of the small window struts. He roared and ran forward to grab the human, sensing he was responsible for his plight, before the then forgotten chains snapped back. He crashed to the floor upon his back, with a groan. The shadowy man laughed.
“You getting feisty, ain’t ya? Don’t worry, we should be starting riiiiiiight…”
A pair of neon lights suddenly bathed the concrete cage in green.
A slow grind began, one unlike anything he had felt before. The very structure was moving. The king roared and pulled himself up, bellowing at whatever strange force was causing this. The higher he got, he saw the flash of bright lights and heard the roars of fellow creatures, answering his own. Soon, the structure slowed and eventually came to a rest, sitting next to a metal door. He was soon aware of three things: a loud raucous sound, a subtle click which followed the relief of the chains finally snapping off, and above all, a voice that echoed.
“Ladies and gentlemen! We’ve got a real treat for you tonight, something this little club has never had before. All the way from Mondo Island, the untamable! The powerful! The wondrous! Kinnnnnnnnnnnnnnnng Kong!”
The door slid back with a clank and Kong quickly had to cover his face as a blinding light and a cacophony of yells overwhelmed his senses. Eventually, the giant stumbled out. Kong looked around. He was standing in a jungle but not a normal one. The sand was too bright, the trees too straight, and it was too small. He could cross it in only a few steps. Not only that but it was flanked by massive metal walls, each holding box-like structures in which he could make out cheering humans flanked by glass. He snarled. Not freedom. Another cage. Kong bellowed and ran forward, easily yanking one of the false trees out of the ground and slamming it into one of the walls.
The crowd in the offending wall gasped and pointed, their fun spoiled by their captor’s resistance. Kong whacked the plastic tree against the barrier as hard as he could until it snapped, at which point, he used his own fists to pummel the wall. The crowd began to scream at the primal beast’s rampage, some even fleeing from their hard won seats. Suddenly, a small hatch opened and a beam of energy zapped out of a turret, causing Kong to howl and jump back. The crowd slowly calmed as Kong rubbed his palms, smoke burning his nostrils. Looks like he couldn’t crash his way out.
The announcer laughed. “Sorry, folks. Seems he’s a bit excited to get started. So let’s not keep him waiting, right?!?!”
The crowd, easily reassured in their mostly inebriated states, cheered in response.
“Alright! In this corner, comes a terror from the East! He trampled Tokyo, he terrorized Thailand, he bit Bangladesh, and he hurt Hawaii! But now, Mr. Spiel and his associates have him here to test his crown against one of the kings of all kaiju! Ladies and gentleman, we give youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu……..King Cobra!”
King Kong turned and snarled. Now that the unnaturally loud human had stopped, his ears picked up the sound of squeaking metal, the same sound that had precluded his arrival. On the other side of the arena, the door opened and a lithe shape quickly slithered out. The massive serpent raised itself up, its piercing yellow eyes locking with the audience. King Cobra hissed and spread his hood, blue and maroon combining to give him a truly intimidating profile.
Kong didn’t care though. He’d killed serpents everyday on Mondo. What was one more? He roared, causing the cobra to snap back and turn the threat display on him. Kong slammed his fists upon the ground, before roaring with everything he had, causing the entire arena to shake and the crowd to go silent. The two royal monsters locked eyes.
A breathless moment passed.
And at once, they charged! King Cobra cleared the distance first and lunged forward, attempting to grab Kong’s shoulder, but the massive ape quickly sidestepped. He slammed his fist into the back of the reptile’s head, causing it to crash to the ground. Kong quickly attempted to plant his foot upon the snake’s back, but instead slammed down on sand. The eighth wonder looked across the arena to see the snake’s long tail quickly disappearing into a rapidly growing hole in the sand. King Kong roared and quickly cleared the distance, snatching the end of the snake’s tail before it completely got through.
He grappled with it for minutes, as the snake could only writhe and attempt to escape his grip. Kong’s legendary strength was slowly winning out though, and bit by bit, more of the snake began to be pulled back to the surface. When enough was enough, Kong quickly attempted to grab the rest of the snake as he gripped the tail with one hand. This proved to be a mistake. The cobra finally broke free with the loosened grip and smacked the primate straight in the eye. He let go and the snake slithered back in as Kong stumbled. His head spun, the whole arena blurry.
“Incredible! Folks, this is gonna be one to bet on. Can Kong escape the serpent’s coils? Especially without the aid of electricity? I guess we’ll have to see if Kong truly is k-”
Any further blustering was cut off when a boulder shattered the speaker lodged on the far wall of the arena. Kong snorted in both dismissal and relief after his throw. Finally, maybe now he could think. He quickly began to scan the arena. His clever mind told him the snake wouldn’t be allowed to just burrow out. It still remained there, no doubt waiting for him to lose his guard. Kong slowly walked forward, watching the sand. He could feel it. It was there. But where?
The answer soon came when the sand next to King Kong exploded, as the viper hissed. It lunged for the ape, but Kong had planned his steps carefully. He quickly moved his hands to grab one of the trees in the grove behind him and shoved it in the snake’s mouth. King Cobra hissed and choked, trying to dislodge the tree, giving the bestial king ample time to charge forward, grabbing his neck and causing both to drop to the ground. The two rolled around on the ground, the great ape beating upon King Cobra and the snake coiling around him in an attempt to suffocate Kong as cheers filled the air. The king of Mondo Island movement began to grow slower as he began to choke. King Cobra hissed in satisfaction and lifted his head to finish the job with a bite at Kong’s neck.
He lunged forward….straight into Kong’s waiting hand! The thinking animal had tricked him by faking a loss of strength. The primate would not hold back on a chance this good either. He lurched forward and bit the snake’s hood. King Cobra squealed as the brown colossus tore a chunk out of it. Kong roared in triumph and then slammed his fist into the snake’s head once more. Bleeding and stunned, King Cobra fell to the side. The gargantuan ape crawled out of the coils and knelt next to the serpent’s head before beginning to beat upon his foe, as he hissed and weakly thrashed around until eventually, laying still. Kong snorted. He gave a glance at the serpent, daring it to move. It seemed as if it had truly perished, but doubt left him unsure. He slowly trotted over to a fake pond and hefted a mighty boulder before trundling back. Only one way to make sure.
Just as Kong lifted the boulder to slam it down, King Cobra awoke! With a spiteful hiss, the cobra spat a glob of venom into Kong’s face. Dropping the boulder, Kong roared and clawed at his face. But as he did so, he began to feel his fingers getting caught up in it. Not only was it burning his skin, but it was also an adhesive! The ruler of beasts stumbled around, eventually pulling his hands free, at the expense of some of his hair and skin. He felt around blindly. The situation had turned. He was helpless now. Just as King Cobra wanted. The massive snake moved slowly through a grove of trees, watching Kong trip and whip his head around. He knew silence was the essence. He had done this many times before with much smaller prey. He waited until the perfect opportunity and then….. he struck!
Kong choked as King Cobra’s fangs punctured his neck. He scratched at his foe but the serpent had prepared, quickly coiling around Kong. The king of Mondo Island was helpless, as he felt breath leave his body. He twitched helplessly as the snake tightened his grip, his mouth foaming. The crowd was silent for a moment, but soon, they began to boo. King Kong had endeared himself to them, whether through his intelligence, the legends of the beast’s kind heart, or his more human stature contrasted with the cold reptile. They no longer wanted to see him fail, even if they had spent a lot of money thinking he would. After several minutes of jeers, a crackle filled the arena as a hidden speaker opened, well contained in a wall after the last one’s fate.
“Don’t worry, folks! We’ll shoot King Cobra with a beam, make sure Kong has a fighting chance, yeah? Remember, all bets are final though!”
A panel opened, and the same type of turret that blasted Kong poked out. It soon fired off a volley of magenta light, aimed right at King Cobra’s torn hood, causing him to let go with a growl of pain. The snake snarled and glared at the wall. Even now, he had to fight for his hard earned meal? This was too much. Uncoiling, the snake lunged at the turret, snatching it and tearing it out of the wall before crushing it. The crowd gasped, not only at this brutality, but at Kong. The ape lay unmoving. His mouth lay slack and his chest lay still. It seemed the royal serpent had succeeded. King Kong had died. Finishing with the turret, King Cobra flung it and caused it to crash on the lifeless body. Letting out a roaring hiss, the snake declared his win. He would now feast upon the primate, no matter what the humans did.
He slithered forward. Kong lay waiting, the turret still on top of him. As King Cobra approached, he suddenly slowed himself. Something was wrong. The ape’s face twitched. And, though his eyes weren’t made for it, he could swear he saw hints of blue appearing in the slack grey muzzle. If King Cobra had been a smarter reptile, he may have noticed how the turret he had flung lay sparking upon Kong’s chest, a tiny hint of electricity. And that little spark was all it took. Kong suddenly shot up and swung his fist, slamming into King Cobra’s head! A booming crack like thunder split the air and a spray of electricity fried the snake as it flew to the other wall. Kong stood and roared before using a single hand to yank off the glue like venom. The king lived, as the audience gave their approval with a cheer.
Kong turned and snarled, trying not to trip as he steadied. The electricity wasn’t enough to truly rejuvenate him, just bring him back to life. If he wanted to win, he’d have to use it wisely. King Cobra shook his head and hissed back at the revived devil of the south seas. Kong thought for a moment before nodding and charged. He grabbed a boulder as he ran, lifting it over his face. He could hear the splat as King Cobra’s webbing like venom splattered over the rock. Still, he stood resolved and ran forward until he felt the crack of the rock and a pained hiss as he and the snake finally collided. The snake lunged at the mighty beast, but he quickly wrestled his arms around the viper’s head, slamming it to the ground. King Cobra roared in fury, before he suddenly felt Kong grab his tail and then weightlessness before–crash! Kong proceeded to slam the snake into the ground multiple times as the audience cheered, losing their minds over the battle of titans in front of them.
Disoriented and in pain, King Cobra finally snapped his head around to blast at Kong with another bout of glue but the ape expected it. He dropped the reptile and covered his eyes with his furry arms, his left bicep becoming splattered with the venom-glue. He growled and quickly grabbed a tree, scraping the glue off it to create a mess of brown fur and glue. He looked back at the snake and roared once again. King Cobra seethed. How dare this monkey make a fool of him? He would make sure it would be his last mistake. He charged! Kong waited carefully, holding the tree and panting. He had to get it just right.
The snake was almost upon him. Not yet.
He could see the pale cold yellow of its eyes boring into him. Still, not yet.
King Cobra reared up and roared, fangs ready to pierce Kong’s brain. Now!
Kong slammed the tree into the cobra’s neck. King Cobra hissed and tried to move but his own glue was ironically stuck on tight. He shook around, the tree scraping the ground and leaving him trapped. As for Kong? He ran. Ran across the arena to the small glass box at the very edge of the false tropical jungle, the cobra hissing at him and trying to lunge at him, but left helpless as the tree remained firmly planted in the hole he had unintentionally made with his lashing around. Kong was almost at the box, the crowd within beginning to stir at the ape’s arrival.
Once he was almost there, Kong leapt! He grabbed the sheer edge of the viewing gallery, grabbing on like it was a ledge on Mondo. Using his momentum, he pulled himself up and swung to the top. He steadied himself for a minute before looking down at the arena. King Kong roared at the cobra, as he finally twisted himself around enough to see his foe. The snake sneered, still trying to dislodge the glue before noticing Kong.
The great ape stood upon the box, as it ominously creaked under his weight. The cobra had a flash of brilliance and realized what was finally happening. King Cobra squirmed harder, trying to move quickly, before Kong made his move but he was stuck tight. Kong beat his chest and gave an angry hoot before he leapt off of the box, causing it to shake. A truly massive leap, over hundreds of feet in the air, which nearly cleared the arena, right on top of King Cobra. The snake squealed as Kong slammed down, causing a cloud of sand to cover the two combatants.
Silence fell once more. All of Spiel’s arena watched, waiting to see what had happened. Eventually, a figure stood up though the cloud, obscured as it was. It knelt down and grabbed something at its feet. Eventually, the cloud dissipated to reveal Kong holding King Cobra’s head so the two were face to face. The cobra stared blankly ahead, his jaws twitching as if it wanted to hiss once more. However, it stayed silent. Kong yanked the snake and the entire crowd gasped as the snake came forward. The tree had impaled straight through the snake’s neck, piercing through it like a spear. Kong watched the serpent’s death throes for another moment before flinging it to the ground, where it slowly bled out and eventually lay still.
Kong looked around. He could not see the humans anymore, only the lights. He did not know why they remained silent either. A moment passed before slowly, one man began to clap. Then another, then another and soon there were cheers and before long the whole arena was filled with celebration, at Kong’s triumph.
The king snorted, passive despite the cheers. How could he be happy at their joy? This was not his home, but his prison. He wished for nothing else to go back to his mountains, his trees, his followers, his island. However, standing here, with a hard won battle over and his chest burning with that all too familiar feeling, the joy of being alive after one has come so close to its end, well, that was enough for now.
Kong looked up into the sky, locking eyes with the moon he always saw atop his mountain cave. He slowly lifted a fist before slamming it against his chest, and soon he lifted his left hand to join it in another slam. He beat his chest slowly into a triumphant beat, before letting a roar into the sky that silenced even the now overwhelming reaction of the audience, that reminded them this entertainment had a will of its own.
Despite everything, he was still the king. That would have to do for now.
Winner: King Kong (Showa)