Lage’s Game ~ Chapter Five Part One

Trigger Warning: Violence!!!

The next morning was the doctor. If I had listened to Kayla on the drive there, I would have realized we weren’t going to school.

Instead, we drew up to the hospital. It was squat, dirty cream colored, and essentially a glorified square. There was some attempts at grass and greenery, but it remained a cement cube in a city.

The doctor was somewhat like that. He was dusty, old, white, and seemed to just stare at me. I tried to tell him about the man in green. I tried to tell him about the board game. The words choked up in me and I didn’t know how to start. How to begin, how to let it out.

I found tears streaming down my face and I pulled a tissue from the box.

“I’m upset,” I managed to say.

I got excused from final exams. My marks would be tallied from those of my year. I left the office, threw my tissues into the garbage, and sat in the waiting room with my unicorn. Kayla had said to wait for her here. She was doing some phone calls and would be with me soon.

I looked up when the door opened. It was not Kayla.

“Hey,” said the big man that was recognizable even without the ski mask or suit. He was in plain clothes and had a chiseled face that spelled danger. “Let’s go.”

AS the door swung shut behind him, I saw several other men out there. They had come for me in force. All four of them, for one little girl? Cowards. What more did they want from me? I had probably already digested the card and rendered it useless.

I guessed then that they wanted my death. They wanted to punish me for destroying the card. To make an example of me of sorts.

Well. I rose to my feet without thinking. I glared this big man down. Coward.

To my right, across the waiting room, the secretary was busy with her official business, picking up the phone to dial someone. I took a deep breath.

“Come, on,” said the man in a dangerous intone.

I marched out the door, a cold sense of purpose coming over me. I wanted revenge. I wanted to slaughter, main, kill, so badly it felt like I would burst from it. It was like a rising tide, a super-sense coming over me and making me tingle all over, like a volcano about to blow.

Out of the door I walked into the other three men. One placed a hand on my shoulders and, as a group, they began walking me out of the building.

“Hey! Hey!” Kayla had not been far, was just down the hallway. I heard her cry from behind us. In a glance over my shoulder, I saw her begin to run towards us, phone in hand and eyes wide. I could hear her shoes clop-clopping, but the men were faster. The one who had me by the arm took off, darting forward. I was lifted up in his arms. My unicorn fell out of my grasp, tumbling away.

In a blurr I saw the ceiling, was pressed into the mans’ shirt- and saw the two other men stay behind.

Something snapped in me. They were going to hurt Kayla. Innocent, stupid Kayla. My rage boiled over.

I heard myself screaming, and began kicking. I kicked the man who was carrying me in the face. I bit his hand. He did not slow. The exit sign flashed above us, and we were darting down the stairs.

I thrashed, but was over his shoulder now. The second man was in tow, and now we were bursting out the stairs into fresh air.

In the sprint across the flimsy grass, I screamed for all I was worth. I thrashed, bit wildly and gouged my fingers into eyes. The man stumbled. I was thrown and landed in a tumble and scrape on the asphalt.

I was on my feet, the world reeling into sharp focus. There was the man before me clutching his bloody face, another marching towards me, and two more coming out of the building.

Then, to the left, observing, the man in the green cloak.

I drew my keys from my pocket and gripped them tight. I was going to take out eyes. I was burning with my success, was powerful in my rage.

“I’m going to make sure you can’t hurt anyone else!” I heard myself declare. In a rush my vigilante streak was coming out. I’d get them for what they had done to mother. I’d get them so bad.

The man in green was walking over, just slightly faster than the other men. “Get behind me,” I heard him say as he stepped between me and them.

I hissed between my teeth, jumping to the side just in time to see the men collide.

The first man threw a punch, and the green-cloaked intruder dodged, then punched the first in the gut.

I gaped as the henchman doubled over. I was unhurt. The figment of my imagination was… fighting? I stood there and watched as the medieval man threw punches and my kidnappers landed on the asphalt.

Then, he turned to the man who was clutching his face. Bloody and still covering his face with a hand, the wounded man tottered up.

I screamed. “Kill him!”

The green cloaked man did not. Instead he stood back as the wounded man tottered towards the car. He was going to get away!

With a yell, I lunged forward, keys in hand like a knife. The wounded man grabbed my wrist and threw me at the car. I slammed against the back door. Hands gripped at me, and I was yanked forward and back, jolted between the two men who wrestled for me.

“Let her go!” growled the medieval man, and the henchman gave up. With a shrug he threw me towards the other, and jumped into the car. With a rev of the motor, he backed up the car out of the parking spot. I was pulled back and away, turned into the folds of the green cloak. In the distance, I heard the car driving away.

I squirmed and was let go. Stepping back in a stumble, I looked up at my rescuer. He was frowning down at me.

“You’re real!” I declared.

He paused. My gaze jumped from him to the henchmen on the asphalt. Where were my keys? Right there, where the car had been. I grabbed them up and –

“What are you doing?” the man asked, grabbing my shoulder to stop me.

I wrestled myself free only to be grabbed again. “They’re unconscious!” he insisted. “Don’t attack them!”

I wrestled, but he held me back by the scruff of my collar. I was almost out of my jacket when I heard the wailing of a siren. Security!

Then, I fell forward so suddenly that I hit the ground on my hands and knees. I looked up – and the man in green had vanished.

Lage’s Game ~ Chapter Two Part One

After the Lion King movie I retreat to my room, leaving the door slightly ajar. Like this, I am able to hear the reassuring tones of mother and the cousins talking around the kitchen island. I burrow under my blankets with my stuffie and stare at the walls. The light from my window played on the wall, the tree on the front lawn lending moving shapes to it.

I watch as the light slowly dims and dims some more. The shadows grow thicker and still the voices talk on. It’s a dangerous time now, the evening. That’s when it had happened, the evening.

I must have fallen asleep. When I wake, there are no more voices and everything is dark and still. My heart is pounding in my chest and I think that something is wrong. It didn’t even occur to me that it could not be happening again.

I hide in my bed, shaking. I hear no sounds. Was mother dead? I screw up my courage, and take my unicorn stuffie with me just to be sure.

I pad through the house. It is dark, but I know the way. I make my way across the kitchen, to the living room that is dimly lit by a single light. There, mother is sprawled on a couch, dead.

I freeze. No! Mother! But again, as with the man, I cannot move. It is only when mom snores that I realize that she is merely asleep. Oh.

Feeling a rush of relief, I look around. Nothing of our new setup is disturbed. The TV is still there. There has been no break-in this night.

I let out a sigh, dropping my stuffie to the end of my arm. Before mom, on the coffee table is a bottle of wine and one glass. But there is also the board game, spread around as if she’d been searching through it for something. I pad forward, wondering what she was searching for. The rule book? The reason behind the numbers on the cards?

I find myself beside the board game, just out of reach of my mother. She is somewhat alright. No wound on her that is fresh or bleeding. But even so, with the shadows her bruises look garish and her face distorted. I turn to focus on the board game, not wanting to think of mother’s bruises and how she got them.

The cards are spread across the board, fanned out carefully in three rows. There is the language cards, the people, and the items. At the top of it all sits the d20.

A thought strikes me. There was nothing left here of value except for this board game. Whoever came tonight, during the night, they would be coming for it. Maybe this game, maybe this was the real reason for the break-in. Maybe it was all about this game. After all, why was it hidden in a wall?

I scoop up the cards, piling them neatly back into their stacks. I place them back into the box with the dice. Then I fold up the board and place it all together in there snugly.

Determined, I take the board game back to my room with me and my stuffie. Burglars left children alone. They had left me alone, locked in my room. If they came back, they wouldn’t hurt me, that I knew. So I had to keep the board game with me, safe.

I tuck myself back into bed. I was hungry for supper, but it was too late and mother wasn’t about to wake up. I knew I could go into the fridge for a snack, but the sound of the door opening and its light might wake her. Besides, now that I was back in bed, the rest of the house was too large and vulnerable. I couldn’t leave the somewhat safety of my bed, not again. The burglars would be here soon.

I press the board game’s box against my chest, half tucked under my pillow. It would be safe with me.

For some time, I watch the shapes on the wall, the shadows of the tree from outside. I watch, and listen. Every breath shallow and too loud. I listen, and wait.

Then, a click of a door being unlocked.

I freeze. Did I hear what I thought I’d heard? Really? Were they back?

Another click, the door being softly shut. They were back.

My heart has stopped. Ice covers me. They’re here for the game, they’re here for it.

In a cold rush, I realized I’d made a mistake. They were never going to stop until they got what they wanted. They wanted the game, it was too precious to leave behind. They knew it was here.

I hear a muffled shriek. Mother. She’s whimpering.

“I don’t know where it is!” she cries out.

I had to think.

Whump. Thud. Mom is crying.

I sit up. Heart is pounding again, too loud. I had to give them the game. I had to save mother.

The box is in my lap. It’s the last thing from father.

Thud! The sound of mother hitting the floor.

The world turns black.

A muffled shriek bring me back to my senses. There are footsteps all over the house. Thuds all over of things being knocked over. The basement- they were in it. They would see the hole in the wall.

I step out of the bed, covered in ice. Determined, clutching the board game to me, I walk across my room. The floor is so cold against my feet. I push the door and it stops against something, someone.

“Stay in there, kid,” a man’s voice growls out.

I push on the door again. The door jerks open and a huge man is facing me. All in black, face covered in a ski mask. He laughs.

“The kids’ got it!” He reaches out. I clutch the game to my chest, taking a step back. “Give it here,” he says, chuckling. Another big man appears behind him.

Mother starts screaming.

I hand out the game. Just take it and go.

He takes it, his hands gloved in black too. He hands it to the other man, who nods. “Good kid,” the second man said while taking the game. Then they close the door to my room.

I come to with a light being flashed in my eyes. A blanket is on my shoulders. Police are everywhere. The lights are on, chasing away the dark. In the living room, I hear mother talking through sobs, her voice high-pitched. There are so many other voices, but I hear hers above them all.

The EMT is talking to me, patting my shoulders. I stare at him.

Then, blackness. They are shaking me gently when I come back to.

“We’re going to go to the hospital, okay?” the EMT is saying kindly. “We’re going to go.”

I turn to my bed. My unicorn. I couldn’t leave the house without it.

The Emt walks with me as I go to my bed and pick up my stuffie – and a card falls out from its grasp. It was probably lying on it, but in my head right then, it seems as if my unicorn had been holding the card, keeping it safe.

The card flutters down to my feet, but I recognize it. The only card with a black backing dotted with a diamond. The ridiculously overpowered card.

In the back of my head I think that the game is probably ruined without that card in it. I hope it is. No rule book, no trump card – I hoped it was now unplayable.

Leaving the card on the floor, I was turned away and taken to the hospital.