The Game That Never Ends, Part Nine

Fiction here for a few more days. Then, back to it.

Over at Pastor’s Pal, Advent thoughts, some fiction and humor. Click here to go to http://aintsobad.typepad.com/pastorspal.

The Game That Never Ends, Part Nine

   The huband, his choice settled, slept the undisturbed sleep of a man. He would not second guess his decision. He chose his bride, again.

   The wife, her choice made, slept fitfully. Her head had not caught up to her heart. She felt the usual feminine regret, tinged with self-loathing. Still by her husband, she suddenly realized they were resting on the floor rather than on their bedding. He was on her left side, not her right, and this was all wrong. The game had taken the place he usually slept, leaving him no room on her right.

   "You have given place to something other," her dreams told her.

   "You made your husband choose," she heard another voice.

   "You have planted the wind," she told herself. "What will you harvest?"

   She was alone, in the dark, in the cold but wet with fear. Her day clothes clung to her tightly, beads of sweat ran down her breast. The fire had long died into embers. The night was cold and windy. Everything was wrong.

   "No, no," she heard a voice, much like that of the Game Master. "Everything is different. Nothing is wrong. You will be fine."

   "What about him?" she wanted to know. "What about my husband?"

   "You will be fine, fine, just fine…" the voice trailed off and she slept again.

   Dawn came and went. They rested together, he quietly, she fitfully.

   Finally, he stirred and she with him. They sat with the game at their feet, unmoving, unblinking, both fearful to go outside.

   "At least play the game with me," she told him.

   "I don’t know how to play," he said.

   "I think I do know now," she told him.

   "Tell me," he said.

    "Forces are arrayed from the center out," she told him. "You may face them any way. The most dangerous pieces may be those facing away from you, for they may move in any direction,though some may move more swiftly than others. Some are always on your side. Some of the pieces you choose will suddenly turn against you. Your closest ally will become your sharpest critic."

   "I think I see," he said.

   "The pieces will not move until you move them," she continued. "They can do nothing on their own but they will often not land where you want them. Also, when they land, they may not act as you hope. Your strongest warrior can surrender to the weakest piece on the board if it is to his benefit."

   "I think I see," he said.

   "You must constantly work on relationships with your pieces," she said. "They may not stand with you even on the second move."

   "I see what to do," the husband told the wife. "But what it is the goal of the game? How do you know if you win?"

  "I don’t know," she answered, after a long pause.

   "In fact, there may not be an end, as long as you are able to play."