Reddit Writing Prompt #35: Checkmate?

As it turns out, Death has no idea how to play chess. –Ae3qe27u

SO, THE LITTLE ONES CAN MOVE FORWARD ONE OR TWO SPACES-

“Pawns, and they only move two spaces if they haven’t moved before.”

YES, RIGHT. THE ONES WITH THE HATS-

“Bishops.”

-MOVE DIAGONALLY, THE CASTLES –

“Rooks.”

-YES, I KNOW – MOVE IN STRAIGHT LINES, THE HORSES –

“Knights!”

THERE ISN’T A KNIGHT. IT’S JUST THE HORSE, AND YOU CAN’T KNIGHT THOSE. THEY MOVE IN L SHAPES?

“Yes, and they are knights.

AND THE LAST TWO… ONE OF THEM MOVES HOWEVER SHE PLEASES, THE OTHER CAN MOVE ONE TILE IN ANY DIRECTION. I CAN’T TELL WHICH ONE IS WHICH. WHY DON’T WE JUST PLAY CHECKERS?

Marcus would have gotten a headache if he still had a physical head. Checkers was starting to look appealing, but he wasn’t ranked as a Grandmaster of checkers by the FIDE.

Death, the robed skeleton sitting across from him at the table, wicked sharp scythe leaning against his chair, tapped his bony fingers on his chin. AND THE OBJECTIVE OF THE GAME IS…?

Rather than waste his time explaining check and checkmate, Marcus just responded, “You have to kill the king.”

AH, said Death, his mouth not moving. I AM QUITE GOOD AT THAT.

“I’m sure you are,” Marcus said. “I’ll let you go first.”

THANK YOU.

Death stood from the table, took his scythe, and with one surgical swing that didn’t make any other pieces so much as wobble, decapitated Marcus’s king. The wooden head rolled off the table and through Marcus’s ghostly lap.

THERE. THE KING IS DEAD, Death said, taking his seat again. I QUITE LIKE THIS GAME.

“You have to kill the king using your pieces,” Marcus said, moments from crying.

Death looked over his side of the board. I DON’T SEE A PIECE WITH A SCYTHE, THOUGH.

“No, you know what, forget it,” said Marcus. “I give up. You win! Death always wins in the end, ha ha. Reap me now, or however you do it.”

One smooth swing, and the ghost of the grandmaster was gone. Death stood alone in the empty, gray expanse. He sighed – lack of lungs notwithstanding – and dispelled the chess board with a wave of his hand. Playing dumb, he had found, was the best strategy for dealing with chess players. He was a busy anthropomorphic representation, and chess was not a fast game.

He much preferred checkers. Or tic-tac-toe. That was a real thinking anthropomorphic representation’s game.

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One thought on “Reddit Writing Prompt #35: Checkmate?

  1. Great to get another story today. Even when I find them depressing, like today’s, I admire the writing, the originality, etc. You understand that under present circumstances I’m not too good with “noir” stuff. But Checkmate led me to President Threkids, which I hadn’t seen before. I found that charming and funny and it lifted my spirits. Mica mentioned one about the Donald, which I don’t remember seeing. If it’s light-hearted, could you forward it to me? Thanks.     Will be thinking of you at noon tomorrow. Lots of love, Oma

    Like

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