I've been here before.

I fell from the back of a respectable theatre into some arena that was entirely other. I went from slinking in the shadows to standing in the spotlight, or near enough to it, bloodied from the fall, afraid, confused. All eyes in the house witnessed my arrival, and now they were all watching. There was someone else on the stage with me, and I understood, as one does in dreams, that we were meant to fight. The stage fright was quickly replaced by a more primal sort of fear: we were going to fight, and I'd never fought anyone before.

The lights focused on me and there was a moment of silence. I was already bloody from falling onto the stage, and I know I looked grim. Perhaps I wasn't here to fight after all. Then I spat blood and dropped into a fighting stance, and they cheered. My fear had faded into what I can only call the thrill of the fight. My opponent and I weren't enemies at all, and the crowd wasn't here for something so trivial as entertainment--and as far as we were concerned they weren't there at all.

Then it was over. There were no more lights, no more crowds, just us, bleeding and bruised and alive. Just an abandoned old theater with bits of ceiling open to the stars above, just our blood and bruises to mark that it had happened at all. We could have stayed, maybe even should have, but the moment passed, and the night moved on.

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