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Alan Shore
01-11-2005, 01:39 AM
I had a very strange dream the other night.. decided to write about it. If there's sufficient interest, I'll continue.


The Chess Game

I was kayaking along a river in the twilight one evening when it happened. I often used to escape my preoccupations with a gentle venture down the river. It was as I remember a relatively clear evening, when quite suddenly, a dense mist began to wash over, obscuring my vision. Within seconds I had lost all bearings of where I am - I was quite disoriented and beginning to feel rather uncomfortable. Then, I saw something... a light starting to shine closeby. I started paddling towards it, the light getting brighter until something came into view.. an old woman in a white dress stood there with a lantern that lit up her wrinkled face, as if she was expecting me.

'You look lost.. won't you come inside for a bit?' she asked me.

I had no chance of finding my way out of that fog, so was happy to accept her offer and follow her inside an old wooden cottage resting along the bank.
It was sparsely decorated, with a crooked kitchen, a tattered lounge, stairs that led up to a loft and a wooden table. It was the table that caught my eye, for on it was a chessboard with some pieces scattered around.
The old woman must have noticed that my eyes had wandered toward the chess pieces.

'So, you're a chess player are you?' she asked, more as if it was a statement than a question.

'Well, I've played a few tournaments but I'm certainly no master player,' I answered modestly. 'I always enjoy the battle of wits that ensues when an opponent sits down to play me at the board'.

She looked at me with a curious expression. 'It's a game of high stakes of course.. glorious victory for the winner and death for the defeated king. Yes indeed..' she trailed off.

'Well, as long as we're here, shall we play a game?' I suggested.

She smiled, an eery smile. 'I'd enjoy that very much. Would you be so kind as to set up the pieces?'

I quickly complied, my swift hands deftly putting the pieces on their starting squares. I forgot all about the peculiarity of the mist and finding myself in the company of a stranger, as I often did when I sat down at a chessboard. All of my personal troubles were instantly discarded during a chess game, my sole focus on the opposing armies locked in battle.

I looked up, startled to discover that the lady had disappeared - I was alone in the room.

'Hello?' I called out.

Wait.. something was not right. The temperature had dropped considerably... it was so cold..

Then I heard something that chilled me to the core; cackling laughter that pierced my very soul.



... to be continued...?

Dozy
01-11-2005, 08:06 AM
Then I heard something that chilled me to the core; cackling laughter that pierced my very soul.

... to be continued...?Belthasar, if you leave it there I'm gunna add you to my ignore list . . . and since there's nobody else on it you're gunna be just as lonely there as you were in the wicked witch's cottage.

Alan Shore
01-11-2005, 11:47 PM
Belthasar, if you leave it there I'm gunna add you to my ignore list . . . and since there's nobody else on it you're gunna be just as lonely there as you were in the wicked witch's cottage.

Well, that's a big enough threat Dozy.. I'll continue.

By the way, for anyone following this, there will be a chess position accompanying this story.


2


It seemed to echo all around me and I couldn't pick its source. The light coming from the lantern, still resting on the table from when the old woman had set it down was changing to a deep blood red that now bathed the room in an eerie glow.

'W..what's happening?' I called out, but my voice shook with fear such that what came out was barely a whisper.

A hollow voice resonated around the room - it was the old woman's but it sounded much less aged and far more sinister.

'Why, we are beginning a game Dion.. you did suggest we play, after all.'

'What? How did you know my...'

'I have seen into your heart,' the disembodied voice echoed. 'And you have now reached the point in the game where you are losing your own personal battle with yourself'.

She had struck something of a chord with me there. When Sarah had died just last winter.. I had felt like my world had collapsed and had I'd become numb inside. My creativity had all but dried up and my work was listless and unproductive. I had stopped going to my chess club, stopped seeing my friends, or doing much of anything.

'Yes, that's right,' she continued. 'When you set out from home tonight, you had no intention of going back, did you? You've effectively resigned your life.'

I opened my mouth to retort but no words would come. There was a blinding flash from the lantern, I leapt up, stumbling around for the door to flee outside but the room started to spin and warp. In my haste I tripped over something, hitting my head against the hard wooden floor. The last thing I heard before the world slowly went black was the soft eerie voice of the old woman like old dry leaves utter, 'And so the game begins'.

Alan Shore
22-02-2006, 11:51 PM
Hey Dozy, this is what you reminded me of a few days ago, I'd forgotten.

But anyway...

3

I slowly regained consciousness, my head still spinning. The world looked so pale.. the white marble walls behind me were part of a majestic castle that rose skywards and I glanced down to see myself draped in white robes. There was a familiar mist about that seemed to penetrate through everything, that drained the world of colour. Gingerly, I got to my feet, trying to remember how I had gotten here. when an ear shattering blast made me whirl around frantically. I heard a scream as someone fell to the ground.

What was going on?

Sprawled out in front of me was a field where in the distance a fierce battle was raging, soldiers charging forward to meet with a clash of swords, the battle cries of men rising above the chaotic melee.

Amidst the turmoil something caught my attention through the gloom - it was a figure in the distance, that seemed to be glowing white, in a long flowing dress, a figure that seemed familiar, who at that moment looked around to meet my gaze.

'Sarah!' I called out to her.

She smiled at me and opened her mouth to reply but the muffled boom of a canon resounded throughout my ears, her words lost to the wind. A hail of fiery death seemed to rain down just in front of me coming from a huge black turret on the other side of the field.

Right where she was standing.

It was happening again.. I heard her screams just like before, smoke seemed to explode around in giant clouds obscuring my view but I ran forward through it, my heart pounding with every step.

But again, I was too late. My eyes filled with tears as I saw the unmoving body of my queen, my whole world, who had again been taken from me, the scene replayed in a different way but just as tragic to witness as it was the first time. It was almost too much to bear as I knelt by her lifeless form and wept. I felt as if I would never again feel any semblance of joy in my life, that the bitter taste of failure had eclipsed the ragged shreds of will that I still had.

It was then I heard a familiar raspy voice echoing, 'So, this is what you've been reduced to, a pathetic shell of a man. How disappointing.'

I recognised it immediately - the voice of the old woman. I was so incensed at her callousness that it surpassed my grief and my voice rose to a crescendo, 'How could you do this to me! Is this what your game is? To make people relive their lowest moments and taunt them in some twisted way for your perverse pleasure?'

She replied dispassionately, 'I offer nothing more or less to you than what you choose to believe. If you win the battle with yourself, I'll be waiting, if not, you will suffer the same fate as your predecessors.. and I shall take your soul.'

I whirled behind me just in time to see a whispy figure dressed in black making its way back through the carnage on the battlefield, leaving me behind.

I could give up now - it would be so easy to simply lie down and let fate take its course. But as I looked around at the blood spread around on the killing fields I realised.. this was about something more than just me and my own pain, that I was needed to fight and I had an obligation to do what I could to help.

Now was the time. I could see the forces dressed in white around me, brave knights with bushy moustaches mounted on horses, rugged footsoldiers ready to charge forward and powerful turrets at my command that could still fight. It all seemed so familiar.. the mist was beginning to clear around me and for the first time I could see into the distance, the shapes of dark armies spread out before me. I picked up a stick and scratched around in the soft dirt beneath my feet.. I had the beginnings of an idea...

What I saw, looking down at the drawing I had created, was this:

3r1rk1/pp1q1ppn/2p4R/8/3N4/1P3P2/PBPP4/2K3R1 w - - 0 35

This was an approximation to what I saw spread out in front of me.. but.. would it... could it work?