The rangy warrior looked around the room, checking out his rivals. Who would he be pitted against? A half-dozen hopefuls were seated sporadically about the space, each eyeing the others with suspicion. In a short while, they would be chosen to pair off. "May the best man win."
In another room, the warrior's true Nemesis sat doing the same. Different contestants, different audience, similar battle to be faced.
When the time came, they went out onto the field of battle, each man armed with his wits and whatever strength he carried with him. His opponent was not as strong as he, but had long legs and great speed. It would take all his wits to lay traps against the tall man and so level the playing field.
In the next arena, Nemesis was doing similar maneuvering. They would see each other at the end, no doubt.
A grueling hour passed before the judges determined who would move to the next level. This time the warrior bested his opponent with no trouble. He was on fire. Not because of his opponents in this arena, but because he knew his Nemesis was doing the same elsewhere. Winning each contest didn't matter as much as making better times and more points than that Nemesis did.
And he couldn't find out how they fared until both arenas closed for the night. That was the passion that kept him going.
Exhausted after a day in the arena, the warrior returned to his car. He had done well for himself. It only stood to see what happened in the other arena. He drove through the vast parking lot to where she awaited him outside the rival arena. Natali bounced over to the car with more energy than she had a right to have if she had fought half as well as he had.
She took the passenger seat and leaned across to kiss him. "Hi, honey. How did you do?"
"Took second," he growled, waiting for her summary.
"That's great!" she gushed. "I mean, I won, but second is awesome!"
"Not again!" She hadn't asked about his time. It didn't matter yet. They'd compare times over the newspaper in the morning. If he had beaten her time it would be her turn to say "Not again!" She, his greatest love and worst Nemesis.
Thanks for visiting my #AtoZChallenge! All month I'll be writing flash fiction, with the theme "Audience Participation".
Now it's your turn, lovely audience member. Do you have a writing prompt to suggest? Don't worry about choosing a letter of the alphabet, just leave me a word, a thought, a place, a concept... anything! and I'll add it to the list.