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Short Story 52


“The itsy-bitsy spider crawled up the waterspout.” The soft sound of shoes against a cement surface, “Down came the rain and washed the spider out.” They stopped, the dark room coated in a film of silence, “Oh there you are.”


“You weren’t supposed to find me so easily.”


“Wasn’t I? Well, you should have hid better if that was the case. Now come out, it’s time to finish our game.”


He crawled out from under the fringe of the bench dusting off his clothes with a rather hostile look for his finder. The man smiled in return with a keen glint in its tilt. He was the sort of person that reminded of anything sharp. A long nail. A stake. Most of all a knife.


“Why must we always play like this?”


“Like what?”


“Like this.”


“It is a tradition, that’s why.”


“But why have we made it such? I don’t understand.”


The other man was cunning, his eyes always searched and like a predator he fished for a weakness.


“Great tactician, you should very well know. It would be a waste of time to once again discuss what we have already communicated a thousand times before this.”


They took a seat on two crates, another two of varied sizes were set between them making up the table. The man with the knife-like appearance took a checkered board of black and red putting it on the makeshift table between them.


“And why always checkers?”


“We’ve already discussed that as well. There is no need to revisit.”


“You say that as we revisit the game.”


“Ah and that is where you’re wrong. Every time the pieces are assembled it is only for a new game. We never replay the same one. So, your argument is moot.”


“You would say that, but if it were you asking the question you would expect an answer.”


“I would never ask the question, so no answer would be needed. Now, shall you have black or red?”


“Red.”


“I knew you would say that.”


“Really, but I chose black last time.”


“You may have, but you always covet red.”


“And how exactly would you know that?”


“I can tell by the look in your eyes.” And here his sharp eyes leveled with the predatory eyes of the other. They were silent for a moment, their odd understanding a continuance from a history detailed and long laid behind them.


The pieces were placed before them red and black matching the board. At once they began to move them, thoughtless and yet in perfect concert. Shortly they began to remove each other’s pieces, one taking the others and then one getting crowned. A seamless and silent dance, their eyes never leaving each other, their fingers just knowing where the pieces should go and what they should be doing as though it were as simple as breathing. They continued in step until at last the pieces crossed and the winner stood victorious over the loser, with his last piece left whole upon the table, the remaining knight of the bloody battle.


Gathering the pieces, the man much like a knife stared back at his companion, “So was it quite as bad as you thought? You always make such a fuss and look, it is already over.”


“It going quickly is not a suggestion of deserved appreciation. I can hate many things that are quick to finish. It is not a requirement to hate merely because it is slow.”


“Must it always be that we argue over the petty.”


“You would think it petty, wouldn’t you? I suppose that is nothing more than I should expect.”


“Knowing one another so well is the fun of it.”


“Is that a direct quote? Should I clap my hands for you?”


“Now you are being catty. Well, you’ve won. It’s your turn. Why linger if you’re not enjoying yourself.”


“It’s my choice whether I do or not.”


“Then go on and stay if you prefer.” The one with the sharp presence gathered the board and put everything away into a small bag beside his box before standing.


“What exactly do you do,” The one much like a beast asked standing, “While I’m in control?”


“I linger where I’d like. Nothing more, and you? Do you get up to much mischief when I’m away?”


“Not at all. I spend all my time resting. It’s nice to rest, but not half so nice as to be out.”


“Then go already and come back quickly. I would like a second chance to vindicate myself.”


“You would.”


And here the one much like a beast traveled down the line of wooden crates. It was not a long way through the lines of boxes to the door, and when he took the handle, it shifted easily allowing him access to the dark exterior where night had just fully set in, and the stars were lightly buffered by the faded streetlamps around the old building. With a long breath he took in the air and with a smile like poison and eyes glittering with venom he disappeared into the night.




End



Thank you so much for reading everyone!!



Prompt Sentence: The bug was having an excellent day until he hit the windshield


Word Count: 555


©DecemberKnight 2023


Special thanks to Bob Price from Pexels for the use of the image!


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