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The following is the story from our Collaborative Writing Project which took place in late 2014. A big thanks to all the talent who contributed to make this story truly unique and unsettling. All authors have been credited after the parts they submitted.
The story will be open to edit for any mistakes that might've not been spotted (and to keep the spirit of the community intact), but please remember that this story is from many authors in our community. Edit lovingly please. Any vandalism or pointless editing will be dealt with swiftly and harshly.
Lastly, on a personal note, I was skeptical about this idea when I first heard about it. The idea of so many minds coming together to make a cohesive end-product seemed ludicrous to me as I had never done it before. I'm glad my skepticism was unfounded, and I had fun contributing to this story and seeing how the many "players'" fates were met. Hopefully we can do this again.
So, without further pause...enjoy.
Where had it all gone awry?
Once a man without equal, Chester had long stood at the pinnacle of his craft. He had fortune... power... women. Anything he desired, he obtained, and by any means. What glorious days those were. It was hard to believe that the same man now lay, decrepit and sickly, cursing his own fate with what little power he had left to speak.
"It was that damn die... everything fell apart the moment I rolled that damnable thing!"
His voice was like sandpaper, his mind all but gone. No man was meant to live to such an age. Chester had long forgotten the details of that fateful day, but what he did remember lingered in his mind as one of the few things he held dearly to, if only for the dwindling hope that he might one day have his revenge on whoever, or whatever, it had been that left him in this miserable state.
He remembered... it had been a particularly invigorating day of business. What that business was, he had no memory, but certainly his net worth had doubled over the course of those few short hours. He was quickly becoming one of the wealthiest and most influential men on the planet... for reasons entirely under the table, of course. No one on the surface knew that he or his associates even existed, much less the kind of pull they had over the world of business. With seemingly bottomless wealth and fortune enough to make the gods of Olympus green with envy, Chester's only regret was that he would one day lose his empire to the bitter hand of Death. If only, if only he could live forever!
As fortune would have it, this wish of his did not go unheard.
"Ah... what was it..." As he lay, wishing to die, the crippled old husk of a man tried so desperately to remember how the whole incident had taken place, but his memory failed him. Senility had overtaken his mind long ago, leaving nothing but dust and rot in his poor, empty head. Chester remembered... a man? A being? Perhaps it was just his imagination that approached him and made that fateful offer. A peculiar object, a small cast die capable of granting him everything... or of leaving him with nothing.
There were few things Chester retained in this state of his, but if there was one thing that he remembered fondly, it was his love of gambling. Truly there was no greater thrill than facing the risk of losing it all... and coming out victorious. Lady Luck had smiled on him in every way, and on every occasion thus far, and he saw no reason she would stop now. He had no idea at the time how right he was. Whatever origin that mystical object had risen from, he had eagerly accepted the gamble, and wasted no time throwing his fate to the wind. If life was willing to gamble with a man so fortunate as he, he would be more than willing to oblige.
"Health." Be he man or illusion, this was the outcome represented by such a roll, as he revealed to the high-rolling youth. This young, foolish Chester was only disappointed that his gamble had not paid off by any financial means. Surely a roll of "Wealth," or something similar would have been preferable. A warning echoed faintly in the old man's mind, a warning of some... wealth lost?
"No, that wasn't it!" he moaned, frustrated with his own deteriorating mind.
Life had continued as normal past that point, unhindered and largely uninfluenced by that then-thought wasted gamble. And so it continued. And continued. Years. Decades. When Chester found his associates aging and withering around him while he remained in pristine health, he was overjoyed. Here he was, now a man of 80 years, with the vitality of a man half his age! What magnificent fortune he had! There would be no end to his reign of power and luxury. Some men achieved immortality through their work, their legacy; but he had achieved this feat in earnest! What a brilliant show of fortune that fateful roll had turned out to be!
Chester failed to realize that nothing truly lasts forever.
Several decades later, Chester and his present associates lost everything in a stock market crash. The economic depression drove people away from their line of work, and without any means to sustain himself or the vitality to work in this downturn, Chester found himself destitute. He endured wind and rain, and poverty, and miserable loneliness... days became months, months became years. Years became centuries.
Chester had heard tales of others who had encountered that fateful artifact that had cursed him to this wretched fate... but now, as he lay on what he so fervently wished to be his deathbed, he could do nothing to warn them of its power. He hadn't the ability to lift a finger, or even to feed himself. His body was dying. And yet, despite his greatest desires, he knew that Death's sweet embrace would never come for him. He was too fortunate for that. He cursed the reaper. He cursed his luck. He cursed all the forces of the universe, taunting them, prodding his death... but still, it did not come.
"That die is still out there..." he thought, resting his weary body once more. "Someone, somewhere, is in possession of it now. The poor fool." He laid himself to rest once more, hoping and praying that it would be the last time. He wanted never to wake up, but knew that he would, just as he had yesterday, and the day before that, and the day before that.
How many years had it been? How many years since those glorious days of revelry and riches? He supposed it didn't matter. It had taken this long, but... finally, it seemed, his luck had abandoned him.
Written by Xelrog T. Apocalypse
Is this what he had been reduced to?
A pitiful representation of what ought have been a man. Damn that die and the man with whom it traveled!
Jack had had no equal, being the first and perhaps last true king on the throne which he had built. Life after the world had gone to Hell was the pure embodiment of anarchy. Yet, Jack, a man whose life stood on the verge of itself crumbling, stepped forward and became a pillar of hope. A man who came from poverty and rose to be the greatest man in this post-apocalyptic world. But even Jack, seen by all as a man of integrity, had his secrets.
Jack had been a young man when the die and its master had appeared to him. He would never forget that feeling. The man instilled a feeling of complete hopelessness in Jack's very soul and even in the burning hot wasteland of what used to be the land of the free. His very presence chilled Jack to the bone. He had stood there, a menacing image of black.
Then he spoke. A voice that one cannot hope to accurately describe, for it was booming... yet quiet like the hiss of a snake, and seeming to echo across the entire world, as if having risen from Hades itself. The man introduced himself as a traveling salesman who had recently been allowed to start up his business again since, as he put it, “The boss man wasn’t as strict now.” He didn't partake in pleasantries for long before making his offer.
He had handed Jack the die, and told him that if he wished to rule the world and return it to its former glory, then all he had to do was roll the die and sign his name on a list which he produced. The list had but one name written upon it at the very top.
Jack had wondered what deal that man had made. Riches? Love? It did not matter. All that mattered at that moment was that Jack would soon bring “peace” to his world. With a signed name and a flick of the wrist, Jack's fate was cast with the die.
4. "Power." Jack could not have asked for a finer demonstration of divine providence.
It had been decades since that fateful day. Jack had won many battles and many wars, conquering most of the North American continent. He had brought some peace to his kingdom, and actually managed to somewhat reboot civilization. Yet, Jack had always felt empty. No matter what he did, the people he saved, or how hard the human spirit drove him to take one step further than he was yesterday, the drive that he felt as a young man had all but faded away. The die had granted him all that he had desired and more, but now... what was there left for him to gain?
It had taken him a lifetime to realize it, but in reality, Jack didn't much care about the fate of the world. He had no desire for riches, fame, or even power. Why had he embarked on this path of conquest? Did he even have a reason? As time passed, it became clearer to him: Jack lived for the thrill of conquest. Never did he feel more powerful, more significant than he did upon receiving notice of another enemy's surrender. Another stepping stone in the path of a conqueror, another goal reached, each readily paving the path to the next.
Now that all the world fell before him, though... what, then, was left to conquer? He had chosen this path long ago, and yet, not once had he taken a moment to think of what he might do were he ever to realize his ambition. It had always seemed so far away. But now, suddenly, Jack was without a purpose. He was the most insignificant being of all. Even the insects crawling across the dirt had the will to survive, to populate. Jack... he had nothing, no purpose at all. The world was just as well off without him in it.
These thoughts consumed Jack, until finally, he could take no more. Not only did he lack a reason for living, but he lacked the will to pursue one. He had lived a good life, but now, he had done all that he had to do on this earth. The people were strong and independent... they needed no king. As he prepared his final resting place, he decided to take the object that had cursed him so to the grave; never again would another be tempted by its cruel power.
He could feel the die in his hand, pulsating. Always pulsating, like the tempestuous beat of his heart. This would be the end of it, as well as his own. With one final look at the crashing tides below, he summoned his courage, and took the plunge. And as he plummeted, the final thought that occurred to him...
How the die had disappeared from his grasp.
Written by Peppers246
Tiffany Entwhistle. A woman with numerous self-confidence issues, as well as a very curious mind. She had recently inherited her father's estate. Unfortunately for her, that estate was comprised of an asylum. Yes, Tiffany had been left to run the 'Entwhistle Asylum for the Insane'. She dared not disrespect her father's wishes, God rest his soul, and thus felt the need to continue the family business.
Leaving her old life behind was, of course, a grueling decision to make, but in her eyes, it was one that had to be made. Her glamorous four-story lodge was no longer within her sights. What now faced her was a dark brown fortress, with two towers on either end of its face and a pair of rather shoddy looking wooden double doors at its center. At the peak of the roof was a large grey dome, atop which a raven-shaped weather vane spun around in the cold breeze. This was to be her home... forever.
The smell of cleaning fluids never seemed to dissipate. The dingy grey box of an office that Tiffany was now confined to made her feel claustrophobic. The patronizing staff never failed to keep Tiffany miserable as sin. They looked down upon her with utter disgust. Tiffany was supposed to be the boss. The roles were reversed. How could this sweet young woman be so upset? The thing was, deep inside, she didn't want to be there. She couldn't shake the feeling of her father's ghost taunting her through the maze of corridors that she walked so solemnly. His smug personality had challenged her throughout life. Why not in death?
Tiffany had never fully gotten used to running her father's business. Thoughts that she deemed negative would flood her mind, and these thoughts distressed her deeply. It was during this incredibly long and dubious battle that she received a note from a staff member one rainy afternoon.
“This came for you this morning,” the horrid staff member barked while looking down upon her.
Tiffany gently withdrew the note from the woman's hideous hands and patiently waited for her to leave the room. Once she had done so, Tiffany rubbed her hazel eyes and read the note.
"You want to change things. I can see that. Meet me in the grounds at seven. Do not pass up this chance."
She read the scrawled ink over and over again. Her curious mind could not resist the temptation of meeting with this man. Tiffany couldn't tell how she knew the writer of the note was a man. She just knew. No one could tell her otherwise.
That evening was an abnormally cold one for that time of year. Tiffany stepped out of her fortress in her grey fur coat. She felt like a wolf. Some distance in front of her, there stood the man. She did not see his face. No, no. That was hidden. A silhouette stood there watching her. She knew that. He stood dead still. An icy chill crawled all over her body. She could not tell if it was the cold that made her feel that way.
The sound of her boots hitting the gravel startled her as she walked. It was very quiet outside that night. When she reached the man, his face did not show. He still remained just as shaded as before. The man proceeded to take off his hat, all the while looking in Tiffany's direction. He placed his hand into the hat and he pulled out a small cube-like object. He then gave it to Tiffany by shoving it into the palm of her hand.
“Roll when you have the time,” the man whispered through serpentine lips.
With that, the man reached into his hat a second time and withdrew a list. He extended his forefinger and tapped the bottom of the paper, indicating for her to sign it. Her foolish, peculiar mind did so. Tiffany did not think much of her actions. The man then popped his hat back on, and he walked briskly past Tiffany, wandering off into the darkness. She said nothing. She merely looked down at what he had placed into her hand. A die. That's what it was. A silly little die.
She thought over what the man had said while she strolled back to her office. Tiffany sat at her desk, completely exhausted. That mind of hers, however, would not tire. She gazed at the object before her. How could this possibly change her life? Interested as she was, she decided to roll the die. She tossed it from her hand in one swift motion. It hit the desk repeatedly as it decided which number it was going to give poor Tiffany. The noise stopped. The die had landed on a dreaded pile of paperwork that she had yet to do. Her hazel eyes peered at the die as she leaned closer to it.
5 was the number that revealed itself to her. Her mind spat out a word almost instantly. The word that came to Tiffany's mind was 'Discovery'. She certainly conjured up the most specific things. She merely stared at the die for a long while, contemplating everything the man had said to her.
These thoughts continued over many weeks. Paranoia began to set in. She could have sworn that shadows were following her. The weeks turned into months. She carried that die around with her wherever she went. She dare not trust the staff members. The patients were easier to talk to. They seemed to understand her more than anyone ever did. Nothing had changed. Tiffany felt cheated. She felt as though her time had been wasted. A part of her had leapt out and so wanted to get out of this place, but now it had been rudely dismissed back to its home.
It was 5 months to the day that Tiffany Entwhistle rolled the die. She was searching through stacks of files in the archives room. The room was utterly freezing. She even considered fetching her fur coat. As she pulled open a metal grey locker, she reached in and grabbed the paper that was sitting there. When she glazed her eyes over the fine print, she found herself tearing up. A terrible truth had revealed itself to her. Her father was not just the smug man she thought he was. He was a deceitful liar who mistreated his patients and ensured their perpetual suffering. The fine print was right there in front of her. Statements and letters from previous workers, hidden away never to be read again. At least, that's what they intended. Stumbling across this had released a side to Tiffany that had not revealed itself for a long time.
She could have tried to stop the asylum from existing. She could have fought for the patients that resided there. But she did not. That would have taken years to do. She did not have the time nor energy to do so. She fled. Fleeing was the first thing she thought of. Upon leaving the dreaded fortress that she had lived in for so long, she threw the die into the river, and drove off in a hurry. She left a note on her office door for all to see.
"If you see the man with the hat, thank him for me."
Written by Elliot Cowling
Oh. Where has this fortune gone to? James thought to himself silently, sitting in the small room of his dilapidated apartment—the latest of his many homes.
James had been born with a silver spoon in his mouth, so to speak. He was birthed into a family where wine and money were plentiful and he grew up with anything he wanted. That is, until he found that accursed die.
As a rich boy, James paid very little attention to the slums of the city, and rarely granted himself the time to go there. The place was filthy. Beggars lined the streets—if you could call them that. But, on one of these rare visits, he encountered the die.
He had been riding through in his expensive vehicle with his all-too-well-paid driver, when something caught his eye. A fortune teller's house—or rather, musky building. Though he wouldn't usually venture into the scummy buildings that lined the ghetto, this time he changed his mind. He had yet to visit a fortune teller.
The inside of the house was a musky, dirty, and incredibly scummy place. A simple table sat in the middle of the room, and sitting in a chair on the other side was a woman—as scummy-looking as the building itself.
He stepped up to the table, frowning, with his hands in his pockets.
"How much to tell my fortune?" he asked the woman.
She looked up at him. "Fortune-telling has no true price. To seek the rolling of the mystic die is a priceless art. It determines you, not the other way around." She briefly glanced at the small, cubic item in disdain; her eyes lingering on the swirled parts of the die that had been marked by the river water.
James immediately interpreted this as free.
"Okay, then. What do I do? Just sit here an-"
"No! You...you must roll the die! I cannot do it for you."
James felt irritated, but took her word as she gave him the die. He shook it in his hand a couple times and let it go on the table.
"Ah. 2. Karma."
"Karma. Your past actions will determine your fate."
"I see. I'd best be leaving, then."
"Remember. Remember your fate."
The irritation of such a time-wasting visit brought a frown to his face as he went back to the mansion.
A few years passed. James inherited his father's estate after his death, and lived in content. He became the owner of the local meaderies, invested stock wherever he could, and gained profit beyond which a normal person could ever see.
Then the stock market crashed. James lost millions of dollars of stock and bonds. But that was only the beginning.
His meaderies began to get shut down one by one, for everything from health violations to outdated equipment, to even simply not having the finances to keep them running. Soon, he became broke, left only with a small trust-fund left behind by his mother. A small trust that would only last a while.
His house was liquidated, his assets were frozen, he was sued repeatedly and lost money to the settlements.
And now, he was here. Oh, where had that fortune gone? Karma.
He had been greedy. He had been selfish. He had been judgmental. He was a bad person. And that brought him here. That die exacted justice. That die brought him here.
He left his apartment, quickly running towards the old slum where the fortune teller had been, hoping to set things right.
And he found nothing. The house was even further dilapidated, and when he stepped inside, the woman and the die were gone—and they took his last chance with them.
Written by Steam Phoenix
Harry rolled the die around between his palms. It was cold, as he had just fished it out of the water. He had been out playing with the other boys when it washed up from the stream. He gripped it in one palm, feeling its now unnatural coldness. It was as if he were holding an ice cube.
Setting it on a small table, Harry walked across the dirt floor to his cot, lay down, and pulled his mother's tattered quilt over himself. Later in the night, his father came staggering in through the front door. Thinking he wasn't being watched, Harry's father took a long swig of the flask he had hidden in his coat pocket. He then practically fell in his cot across from Harry's. Harry waited until his father was asleep, then sat up and walked back over to the small table.
His mind hadn't left the die ever since he had lain down. Sitting with his legs crossed, he picked up the die. It was still cold.
This was very strange. This die had been sitting in their hot shack all day and still felt like it came out of the creek only minutes ago.
Harry stood up and brushed the dirt off his bottom. He put on his father's slippers and made sure his father was still asleep. Then he left.
It was dark out now, but Harry didn't care. The other villagers spread legends of ghosts or midnight men who would snatch up children who were out of bed after dark. Harry knew these weren't true, but he couldn't not be spooked by the eerie silence of the village.
Reaching the creek, he walked over pebbles and stones and stood with his toes in the ice cold water.
But then, he heard a noise. It was a voice, almost like the echoing hiss of a serpent. When he turned around, he noticed it was a man encased in darkness. At first, he wondered if the legends about midnight men were true, but then the man spoke again.
"The die will decide your fate, shall you choose to roll." He hissed. He outstretched his arm that held a piece of paper and a pen. Harry signed his name, assuming that was what he was supposed to do. He noticed more names on the paper:
The man took back the paper and pen and turned away, receding into the darkness until he was no longer visible.
Feeling a mixture of excitement and fear, Harry raced home. He had heard legends about special dice that could determine a man's fate, but he never thought such fairy tales were real. When he got home, his father was still snoring on the cot. Eagerly, he sat down cross-legged once again in front of the small table.
Without consideration, he rolled the die.
One. He had rolled a one. What did that mean?
Suddenly, a word popped into his head, almost like an epiphany. Wealth. Wealth? Wealth.
He had literally won the jackpot. The next day, bags of money arrived at his doorstep. He bought a mansion to live in, overlooking the village. He left his drunken father behind.
He had it all now. Silver platters, expensive furniture, servants. He hosted a party every other weekend.
But it was all fake. None of these people were his real friends, they just wanted his money. His parties became more and more lackluster until he eventually stopped inviting people over. He fired his servants, as they kept stealing his things. And it was one night, fifty years after he had found that die, that several drunkards from the pub in the village decided to rob Harry.
They broke into his room, and slit his throat. In his room, they found a safe with a lock they easily smashed open. Inside, they found a die that disappeared as soon as they laid eyes on it.
As Harry slipped away from life, he felt the cold embrace of the man with the serpent voice. And he was happy.
Written by Ameagle
Not that he was scared or anything, but the odd presence and strange aura this artifact gave off... seemed to unnerve him.
Leon was always known by his friends and loved ones as the adventurous one, the one that sought danger and vowed to conquer it. Whatever it was, if it came with a warning label, he was all over it.
This, however, made Leon reluctant. A feeling he was unfamiliar with. Never in his life had he been so unsure of what he was about to do. This strange man in front of him, holding out a die and a piece of paper with a list of some names. He thought to himself, were these the others that rolled this die before me? Who were they, what did they roll, and what fate did it bring?
"What was it this die was supposed to do, again?"
The man before him chuckled, and as he spoke, his deep voice vibrated in his chest.
"This die can change your life, your hopes and dreams can be fulfilled... if you roll wisely."
Leon continued thinking long and hard. He loved a good gamble, but this, this seemed like something he would surely regret in the future. He decided that, before he rolled, he would ask what different effects the numbers would have on his life.
"If you roll, you'll find out." And with that, he ceased answering any questions that Leon asked him.
It was at this point that his curiosity piqued, and Leon took the pencil and signed his name under the last one already on the paper. Harry.
He took hold of the die, and rolled it around in his hand a little bit. It was cold, which was strange because the heat of the man's hand surely would have warmed the die. But no, it felt much more like an ice cube than anything. Leon closed his eyes, gave a long sigh, and rolled.
Leon smiled. Surely a 6, the highest number on a die, would mean something great! He felt good inside, but at the same time, butterflies began to appear in his stomach from the pure excitement of what great fortune was to come of him!
"So, what do I get? What does a six mean?"
The man smirked a little bit, and turned around, beginning to walk away.
He couldn't believe his luck. Love! This must mean he can have any woman he craved! Anyone he wanted, he could have, surely that's what it means. When Leon looked to the strange man to thank him, he was gone. Odd, he didn't even ask for the die back. Well, it must be one use then, he thought to himself as he walked towards his home, eager to try out his new luck.
As he approached his street, he figured that he would stop by his best friend Elijah's house. He approached the door, and knocked in the special code they used to identify when it was one of them at the door. However, this time, nobody answered. This was unusual, because their car was in the driveway, and he could see the living room lights on. He knocked a few more times, and finally, somebody answered. It was his mother, who seemed confused.
"Oh, hello, might I ask who you are?"
What? Did she just ask who I was?
Leon seemed more confused than she was. She must be playing some sort of game with me, he thought.
"Ms. Ferst, it's me, Leon. Elijah's best friend."
She seemed even more confused.
"I'm sorry, but I don't know any Leons, and I don't think that Elijah does either. Do you have any business with him?"
Leon's heart practically stopped. Surely she can't be serious. What was happening? Was she playing games with him? What did she mean, why was she pretending that she didn't know him?
He left without responding, millions of questions flying around in his head, as his heart started pounding in his chest. He walked down the streets he was so familiar with, and as he walked, he noticed that none of his neighbors whom he had been friends with for years acknowledged him. Nobody said hello or anything, nobody even looked in his direction, as if they were ignoring him. At first he was confused, but then he started to feel anger. Of course, Ms. Ferst is pulling some elaborate prank on me and now everybody in the whole neighborhood's in on it.
"Good one, Dean, real good one, I see what you're doing! Reeeeal funny, man, real freakin' funny!"
The person he was referring to, Dean, his long time friend and neighbor, merely looked at him, with that same confused expression that Ms. Ferst had. He didn't respond, and just went back to the activity he was currently engrossed in.
Leon suddenly began feeling massive amounts of fear flush throughout his entire body. All the blood in his body began flowing up to his head, and he started walking home faster and faster, almost sprinting. There's no way nobody knows who I am anymore. They have to be messing with me, they just have to. All these thoughts ran around in circles inside Leon's mind, clouding all other coherent thoughts within his psyche.
He practically burst through his front door, and up straight to his room. He closed the door behind him, and locked it. As he turned his head to look into his room, his mouth dropped open, and he almost fainted. His fears had been confirmed.
The bedroom in which he had been currently standing, was not his own. Nothing that was contained inside his living space was what he had owned. It looked like a hotel room, in fact. 2 twin sized beds, a nightstand between them, and an entertainment center with a generic boxed television. A guest room, perhaps? That was of no importance at this point. All Leon cared about was the fact that none of his friends knew who he is. He decided, after taking some long breaths to calm down, to see if whatever was happening had happened to his family as well. Even though it was obvious that it did, he still wanted to make sure.
He slowly stepped down the staircase into the living room. Everything else seemed to be the same as it was before all this started happening. The only difference was the family portrait. He saw his mother, father, and his older brother. What was strange about this, was the fact that his parents were divorced 3 months after he was born. He silently stepped into the kitchen, and saw his mother. He hid behind the doorway, spying on her. He knew that if she saw him, she would call his father, who would then proceed to shoot him with the revolver he secretly carried with him at all times. He had only seen his father use it once, and that was when his brother was being attacked by some gang members when he was young.
But, being the danger seeker he was, he continued watching, willing to go through whatever came next, which came much sooner than expected. One thing Leon failed to do was watch the clock. It was almost 6:00, and Leon knew that when 6:00 came, his mother's soap operas came on. She stopped what she was doing when she saw the time and dashed towards the living room, crashing into Leon and sending them both falling to the floor. He immediately decided he didn't want his own father to shoot him, so when his mother began screaming, he darted for the door, almost busting it down, and he ran for his life down the street.
Hours later, he was on the highway, almost out of town. What happened, what was this? Why did this happen, what could have done this to me? These were the thoughts that repeated in his head for hours upon hours. It took him a few days and about 100 miles to realize that the die did this to him. He rolled the highest number, which gave him what could be the worst fate any human could ever have. Living in a world where you don't exist. Where your friends and the ones you love don't know you, because they never knew you.
A few nights later, at around midnight, he tried to hang himself in a hotel room. But, nothing was happening. He was unable to breathe, yes, but at the same time he felt nothing. He tried many more times, but nothing. Why was this happening? Was he forced to live his life in a world where he never lived in the first place? Did he have to die naturally, in order to die at all?
He lived in the town where he ran away to for years. However, he realized that after every 10 years, everyone would forget again. Time didn't restart, just their memories of him. This went on for 90 or so years, he lost count as his body began to ripen and age. He lay in a hospital bed, about 2 minutes from when he knew they would forget. Hopefully he would die before he watched it happen again. He knew if he told them what was going to happen they wouldn't listen. As he lay dying, he held that die in his hand. And as he closed his eyes for what he dearly hoped would be his last, he dropped the die, and the nurse in front of him forgot.
Written by SuperMarioman11
What sorcery was this?
Here stood a being, not of the world of man, smugly holding his contract before her... desperate for truth, she had signed, just as so many others had. One roll of the die, and her wish had been granted.
"You are curious. You seek knowledge... that is good," the man had commented, failing to introduce himself upon their first meeting.
"Who are you?" Veronica asked bluntly. The man smiled. It was not a warm or friendly smile... there was something insidious there. He was hiding something. And if there was one thing that you did not do to Veronica Ramsfeld, it was try to hide something from her.
"I am but a man, no different from yourself," he insisted, insincerely. Clearly he was toying with her.
"Don't lie to me!" Veronica was approaching anger at this point.
There was a long, unsettling pause between them. Her behavior irked him nearly as much as his did her. A clash of extremes, it would seem. What audacity this woman had, speaking as if she were the one in control of the situation. This would be an amusing case, indeed.
"If you wish to know more, all you seek is but a roll away..."
His cold, gloved hand stretched out to her, in the center of it resting a small, cubic object. She knew it had not been there before... he hadn't even reached into his pocket. Was he really trying the old "hidden up the sleeve" routine with her?
"Give me that," Veronica half-shouted at him, seizing the mysterious object. She examined it closely. It appeared as if it were... well, an ordinary die. It appeared normal, anyway, but it felt as cold as death. There was something ominous, an aura of dread that surrounded it... Veronica had always eaten this paranormal stuff up. She had to know more.
"So what does it do?" she inquired, suspiciously. The man replied with only a hand motion signalling that she should roll it. Obviously this was going nowhere. Veronica was on edge, but knew that there was only one way to gain knowledge, and that was experimentation. Without a further thought, she cast the die onto the cold pavement below.
"All right, I rolled it," she said to him, impatiently. She wanted to know what this all meant, and asked as much.
"Read it," he commanded. Reluctant, Veronica began to bend down to the street below, but was stopped by some unseen force. "But first..." the man continued, his hand in front of her. He wore gloves, but it was somehow sickening to have one of them directly in front of her face. This man unsettled her.
When Veronica rose, he had produced a sheet of paper. He must have been keeping this up his sleeve as well, she thought. Holding it before her, he motioned to sign the topmost vacant nameplace. There were several names already written on the paper... what did it all mean? She was more curious than ever, and wasted no time affixing her own name, then returning to check the die.
"5. What's that supposed to mean?"
"Discovery, knowledge, enlightenment... whatever you want to call it," he replied solemnly. "It seems you've been lucky."
Veronica rose again, unsatisfied. She was superstitious, but not stupid. She might be crazy, though. The man... the being she saw before her no longer looked like the well-dressed gentleman she had seen before. His skin was now leathery, and his features inhuman... what sort of being was he? He still held the contract in his hand, having not yet returned it to wherever it was he had summoned it from. He kept it out willingly as her curious eyes fell upon it once again. She saw numbers affixed to each of the signatures. Those hadn't been there before.
And yet, here she now stood, staring directly at them.
...and finally, affixed to her own name...
1947... that was the date. But that couldn't be the case for all of these names. 1992, 2013... 2598?! There was just no way!
"Who... what are you?" Veronica asked the... thing. She was growing somewhat fearful. Perhaps the paranormal was not to be underestimated after all.
"Still, you have questions unanswered, do you?" he sneered. It was the only word she could think of to describe this new form's smile. "You know what you must do to learn more."
Veronica hesitated. The die was still in her hand... did she dare roll it again? If she did roll another 5, as she hoped, what horrible things would she learn next? Did she want to learn them? For the first time in her life, she had to question her own desire for knowledge. Was it worth risking her own life? She struggled with these thoughts for several minutes, but the man waited patiently... eagerly. Eventually, curiosity once again got the best of her, and throwing her fate to the wind, she again rolled the die.
Another 5. Surely this die was weighted.
But lo and behold, upon rising again, the man had taken an even more monstrous form. Not only that, but upon looking around her, the world she now saw was distorted, hideous... was this the reality of things? Was this what she was supposed to believe?
"What is this? What have you done to my world?!" she cried.
"Nothing at all. You've been blessed with the ability to see things unseen. All that walks the streets at night, those nightmares you humans flee from... and your own ugliness, as well."
The man produced a mirror, far too large to fit in any sleeve. One glance within it and Veronica was horrified. She looked just as hideous and monstrous as he.
"No... no!" Veronica cried. She was not herself. Something was very wrong, and she wanted it all to go back to the way it was. In a panic, she threw the die, unwittingly casting it yet a third time. It bounced and clacked through the night, breaking the silence with each contact. Finally, it came to a stop. Silence.
"Look at it," the man commanded.
"N...no. I can't..." Veronica turned around, hoping to run from this situation. She didn't want to look at it again. She didn't want to think of how things could possibly be made any worse. But upon turning around, the man stood before her, not inches from her face. Veronica screamed, and leapt back in a panic as the man stood firmly in place, towering over her, blocking her path. She looked beside her. There on the street lay the die. It must have been a hundred feet away, she was sure, but somehow it had appeared right next to where she had fallen. Her eyes fell upon it instinctively.
The man looked satisfied. "How fortunate for you," he said. "Karma is an excellent roll, if you've lived an honorable life. But... judging by the look of you..."
She thought back to her hideous appearance. Was this a reflection of her soul? She had always been a good person, certainly as good as any other, she thought. She wondered how others might look through her new eyes.
"...well, you should be happy," he continued, in his deep, ghastly voice. "Now you can share this knowledge of yours with others. Isn't that splendid? Surely your undying curiosity has been rewarded."
Veronica was bereft of words. She had nothing more to say to this situation. She simply wanted it all to end... and clearly, the man felt that he had finished his business, as well. A tip of his hat, and he disappeared. That monster would forever haunt Veronica's nightmares, and that die... that cursed die had been left with her.
Veronica returned to her normal life thereafter. Or at least, she tried to. Everything still looked hideous and distorted, through her eyes... but everyone else acted as if nothing was wrong, and continued merrily. At least, such was the case when they weren't looking at Veronica. She was the only one they could see in her truest form. She was the only hideous monster, through their eyes. What life, then, was left for her? She covered herself. She became a recluse. She lived where few people dared visit, and even made a profession out of her hobbies in the occult. But that die... no matter what she attempted to destroy it, she would always find it waiting for her at home, intact.
Years passed. One day, a brazen and foolish young man set foot in Veronica's shop.
"How much to tell my fortune?" he asked her.
Written by Xelrog T. Apocalypse
He had been in this dimly illuminated room for as long as he could remember. For any other man, that might've been a long time. For this man though, it extended all the way back to when he opened his eyes a mere second ago.
What was his crime, if one was even committed?
That question lingered like a foggy parasite as he made his way to the large, reflective, and circular alcove in the wall opposite him to see what he could of his reflection. The face looking back at him was distorted; in fact so distorted he couldn't remember what his true face looked like anymore. The view he was presented with only offered the malformed and bearded face of a shell of a man. The strange, pale light that illuminated this room offered him sight only a few feet from him, so he had to squint when he looked at his strange reflection.
That's right! He would only remember the small, cubical item at this point when he looked upon his almost-reflection; never remembering it when he would intially waken. The daily memories would claw their way from his amnesia-blanketed memory like a mouse trying to escape a dry-rotted wall.
That was so long ago. He slowly began to remember the brief amount of time before he cast the die that horrible day.
Jude walked along the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was another night of drinking, gambling and whoring. He had made quite a bit of money tonight which afforded him a one hour romp with Cassandra. She was pretty, wasn't cheap, and hadn't paid attention to him until this night of winning everyone's money. She was to money as flies were to honey and shit. If it was there, she would be the first to take her piece. Since his winnings outweighed the rest of the table's, he took his cash and went upstairs for an hour-long session with her.
He scatched at his groin and turned the corner. The cold wind hit him hard since the building he had been walking adjacent to had blocked it. He couldn't wait to get back to the warm confines of his room.
Suddenly, he heard a commotion from across the street. Squinting and using his left hand as a visor, his drunken vision afforded him a view of several men huddled around something. Flexing his whiskey-muscles, he half-stumbled across to see what the excitement was about.
"What are you gentlemen doing?" he asked.
"One coin down. Everyone who plays puts their coin down. You roll the die, and as it is rolling, you call the number. If you're right, you get everyone's money. If you're wrong, you lose your money to the pot and everyone adds another coin to their pile, including the loser who makes themself a new pile. The winner gets the pot and everyone's money. Feeling lucky?" the frail, old man said.
Jude found it peculiar that a man with such a frail frame could produce such a booming, lively voice. Through the drunken haze and the taste of Cassandra's nether regions on his nostrils, yes, he was feeling lucky, as a matter of fact.
"Absolutely. However, what happens if no one wins? Do you all just get your money back and start over? Surely the laws of averages makes this next to impossible, but it is possible," Jude said, surprised at his quick response.
"Ahh. Not next to impossible, but impossible. In my 84 years on this Earth, I've never seen that. This game always reaches an end, boy. However, in the unique event that the scenario you presented does rear its ugly head, the youngest of us rolls the die and makes a silent wish. Then we all get our money back and start over! Haha!" he boomed, followed by the strained laughter of the other men. In the dim light, Jude noticed that these other men were of equal, if not older, age than the speaking man.
"Seems a bit unnecessary. In fact, it seems childish to do something like that. Why don't I raise my eyes to the heavens and wait for a shooting star too? None of my wishes came true after doing that so many times," Jude said.
"Childish indeed. Among us, that's exactly what you are, son. Now, introduce your ass-cheeks to the dirt and let's start another game, eh? I'm tired of taking these other fools' money. Time to expand my business!" he said with laugh.
The other men grumbled their disdain as Jude slapped his money in front of him. The man two down to his right rolled and lost. Everyone put another coin down. The man's cash went into an iron pot. The man to Jude's right lost. Three coins sat in front of all men now except the man to Jude's right and the previous loser with a single coin in front of him.
Jude was handed the die. He looked at the nonchalant thing and said a silent wish for the sheer hell of it.
Just let me have a simple and carefree life in which I can have control and influence people.
He threw the die, but in his moment of reflection failed to call out a number. The thing landed with a skitter in front of the Speaking Man, and situated one of its corners in a small hole in the dirt, proclaiming no number lying face up at all. The thing looked odd perched there; one corner in the dirt, its counterpart aimed at the sky.
The men looked at him with fear in their eyes.
The Questionable Present
So this was the wish realized? Certainly a wish was granted. His life, though seemingly mundane, was simple and carefree as his memories of the past years came upon him in sudden horror. This had been his life. To wake up day after day, ultimately remembering that he remembered the past days and years repeated, only to forget them when he woke up in here and repeat again.
Yes! This place, in the past, trembled for some reason from time to time. At the edge of his memory, he knew this foreshadowed something terrible, but he couldn't quite place it.
He touched the large, single, circular area he had used as a makeshift mirror before his Philadelphia memory. The room trembled more violently, then suddenly Jude was violently thrown against the walls by an unseen force. Bones began to crunch every time his body was forced to conform to the chaotic thrusts; a zigzag of tiny, painful, protusions breaking through his skin.
Before he expired and realized he would not only perish, but live this again and not even realize what was to come when he awoke, his gaze looked to the circular area he was staring into a mere few seconds before; now directly above him. He wondered how rich he could've become that night so long ago, had he played by the Speaking Man's rules. The wealth that he could've accumulated.
Harry rolled the die, the "1" lying face-up; occupied by his new thoughts of wealth. He didn't realize (had anyone realized?) that the tiny, doomed soul he had just unknowingly killed again, living inside the die, had already determined his fate.
Written by Mystreve
Howard Entwhistle stared at Rogers in shock. Rogers stared back.
"Rogers, dear god, you can't possibly mean..." His voice trailed off, frightened by the bustling noise of the coffee shop around him.
"Listen, Entwhistle. Your asylum won't last much longer. Your daughter, man, think of your daughter! You'll run out of money, and just be one of those bums on the street!" Rogers said loudly, pointing at a young woman in battered clothes begging for change across the street.
Rogers' tone of voice frightened Howard. As if he'd pull out a revolver and shoot up the cafe if Howard didn't agree. Rogers spoke again, this time softly.
"Give us control of the psychiatric 'treatment' and we'll compensate you greatly," Rogers said.
"I'm not letting you do experiments on my patients," Howard replied with a false sureness.
"Suit yourself," Rogers said as he drained the rest of his coffee and got up, "but I suggest you consider it again, for the sake of your daughter."
When Howard was sure Rogers had left the cafe, he put his head in his hands. What had he gotten himself into? Howard looked up and across the street at the young lady who was begging for change.
She was now talking to a well-dressed business man, who held out something for her with a gloved hand. She took it, and after talking to him, dropped it on the ground. The man held up a piece of paper for her before she picked it back up, which she signed.
Howard sighed. He was probably some kind of pimp, signing her up to be one of his whores. Such a pretty young woman, too. But it wasn't out of the ordinary. Prostitution wasn't that uncommon around this area.
Howard decided to look away. He knew what he must do. He didn't want his daughter to grow up on the streets like that. As he left, he missed the woman scrambling on the ground for the object she dropped, screaming, and overall being dismissed as a crazy person. The businessman smiled and continued walking.
Howard arrived at the Entwhistle Asylum for the Insane at 1:00. Walking inside, he saw his daughter sitting in one of the armchairs in the lounge.
"Why aren't you in school?" Howard demanded.
Tiffany looked up from her book. She was about to make an excuse, when Miss Hallie spoke from behind him.
"She was suspended for starting a fight at school," She said.
"Is that true?" He asked Tiffany.
Tiffany nodded, frightened of what her punishment would be.
"OK, then. Change out of your school uniform and into your pajamas. You're going to skip lunch and dinner, and go to bed straight away. But not before you visit me in my study," He barked.
She nodded again, and ran to her room. Howard spun around and talked to Miss Hallie.
Miss Hallie was Howard's secretary and Tiffany's nanny. She had been with them since the beginning, and was a part of the family.
"When did she get home?" Howard asked.
"Around 11:00," Miss Hallie answered.
"Who did she fight?"
"This boy who was picking on her. She slammed his head into the lunch table, and kicked him in the groin."
"Ouch. Listen, I'm going out for a drink later. I need you to stay up and watch Tiffany. If you help me out here, I'll give you something extra," Howard said.
Howard entered his study, panting from his climb up the stairs. The office was small and gray, but it was sizable enough to fit two chairs and a desk into. He sat in his chair, and put on his reading glasses. Before he could pull out a book, however, Tiffany opened the door.
"Sit down," he said, gesturing to one of his chairs. Tiffany climbed up into one of them, and looked at him with big eyes. But she was not sorry. If she was sorry, she would be crying.
"Why did you hurt that boy?" Howard asked.
"He was making fun of me," Tiffany said, looking at the floor.
"What did he say?"
"He said that I was weird 'cause I live in a crazy person house."
"And that gives you the right to smash his head in the table?"
"I don't know. I just got really mad and did what I wanted to do, I guess."
Howard was surprised at how mature she was being about this.
"You're impulsive," Howard said. "That's because you're an Entwhistle. Do you know why we used to have so much money, Tiffany?"
She shook her head.
"Your grandfather was impulsive, too. He robbed and killed this rich old man in his sleep and took his money away from him. He bought this asylum, and gave it to me when he died. And asylums cost a lot of money to run."
Tiffany looked horrified.
"That's the reason we are bankrupt. Impulse. Now get to bed."
She got out of her chair and walked out of the study crying.
Howard got to the bar at 5:00, looking around for Rogers.
"Ah, there you are, Entwhistle!" yelled Rogers, motioning him to the barstool beside his.
Howard sat beside him, noticing that Rogers had a folder in front of him.
"Have you made up your mind yet?" Rogers asked.
"I suppose I have. I accept your offer."
"Excellent!" Rogers said, rubbing his hands together. He opened his folder, giving him several papers to sign from within.
It was the standard fare for a business deal such as this one, with signatures, initials, and a lot of reading. Howard worked on them while Rogers ordered himself a beer. Rogers was just finishing it as Howard reached his last paper.
This paper was unlike all the others. It was just a list of signatures and years. Some that hadn't even arrived yet.
Howard noticed the name of his daughter, but simply assumed it was someone else. He also noticed the latest signature was signed this year. Shrugging it off, he signed his name.
Howard handed Rogers the papers and Rogers looked through them to make sure everything was in order. Reaching the last paper, he made a strange face.
"Huh. What is this doing in here?" he asked as he discarded the paper of signatures on the floor.
Stacking the papers up, he shook hands with Howard, and left the bar. Feeling sick from having sold out his patients, Howard ordered scotch. Another patron of the almost empty bar appeared along with Howard's scotch. The new patron sat next to Howard, and ordered the same as he did.
It was the businessman from the morning. Now that Howard was up close to him, he felt uneasy. The businessman lit up a cigarette, puffing smoke that drifted into Howard's face.
Howard tentatively decided to start a conversation with him.
"How is it going?" Howard asked.
The business man turned and smiled at him. "Not too bad. Just taking a break before I get back to work."
"You work this late in the afternoon?"
"Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week," He said proudly.
"Really? What do you do?"
"I travel through space and time, reaping people."
Howard laughed. It wasn't a particularly funny joke, but it was enough to lift his spirits.
The man finished his scotch before Howard did and started walking out of the bar. Howard noticed a die laying where he had been sitting. He picked it up and yelled after him. "Sir! You left your- er- die!"
The man stopped, but didn't turn around. "Keep it. I'm sure it will come in handy." With that, he left.
Howard pocketed the die, and drank another scotch. Getting up to leave, he noticed that the list of signatures was gone.
Returning to the asylum, he stumbled into the study. He opened one more scotch as soon as he sat down. Nothing he drank could get rid of the guilt he felt for giving away his patients' potential sanity. Feeling the guilt weighing him down into his chair, he remembered the die. Taking it out of his pocket, he realized how cold it was. Flipping it in between his fingers, he finally decided to roll it.
"Huh," he said. With that, the man in the business suit appeared in his study.
Only, he wasn't a man anymore. His skin was like leather. His voice like a serpent.
"Karma. My, my, this won't be pretty for you."
When he woke, he was in a straight jacket.
"Oh my god... where am I?" Howard screamed.
The business man appeared in the corner of the padded room, lighting a cigarette. "Hell. Or, at least, the hell you sentenced your patients to for money."
"What about my daughter?"
"She'll be okay with Miss Hallie. As far as she knows, Howard Entwhistle, her father, killed himself in his study two days ago. When she's old enough, she'll take control of the asylum. Right now, you are Marcus White. Schizophrenic. Mentally ill. One of your patients."
The door to the padded cell opened, revealing Rogers and a team of scientists. Their skin was leather, their voices high-pitched garbles. Everything they said were screams in his ear. And the pain... dear god, the pain. The experiments were unspeakable.
The businessman smoked and watched. He must have smoked a whole pack, smiling at the tortured screams of Howard. When his last cigarette burned out, he disappeared.
Written by Ameagle
Adolf Hitler stared down at the cyanide capsule, his gun in hand. The Allies had advanced upon Berlin; it would only be a matter of time before they located the bunker. His life was already beginning to flash before his eyes—memories from long before he became Fuhrer.
He looked up from his hands. A die lay on the table, watching him. At least, it seemed like it. He remembered that night he had gotten it. That was what had put him in power. That was what had gotten him here today.
He remembered the years he had spent in prison.
He had sat on the cot, looking out the barred windows, remembering the people who had fought for Germany and died in their attempts. Such a shame that the other, inferior countries were able to force his great nation into this corner. Then, suddenly:
"Hitler, stand! You have a visitor!"
He stood, walking over to the bars of his cell. The prison guards stood by the cell, as a man in a business suit and cheap tie stood in front.
"Heil, Mr. Hitler."
"And who might you be? Another parole officer here to give me a piece of their political mind?"
"Oh, no, by no means. You could say I'm the one who will give you, well, one of two things: Erlösung oder Tod."
"Salvation or death? Do not speak riddles with me. What are you here for?"
The business man smirked as he smoked his cigarette. He fished into his pocket and held up a clipboard. A dozen or so names and numbers decorated it.
"To offer a contract, of course. A gamble, you could say. One that may free you, or doom you."
He pulled his hand from his pocket, pulling out a small die.
"Give it a roll, Dolfy. You don't mind if I call you Dolfy, do you?"
"I would prefer if you didn't. What is the gamble that you speak of?" Hitler stared at the die.
"One roll, Dolfy. One roll of this die can free you from these cells. You could vie to bring Germany back to its former glory. Roll it when you have the time. Hold on to it. When your fate is finished, I will come and retrieve it."
With that, the man left. Night came, and Hitler pulled the die from under his pillowcase. He shook it in his hand, his face stone cold straight, and let it go to the floor. He checked the number quietly.
"Power. 4 is power." He picked up the die, and leaned against the wall.
Time seemed to fly in every direction, and the next thing he knew, he had conquered all of Europe. Germany had come to its finest days. The National Socialist party reigned across Europe, and the Third Reich struck vengeance against the enemies of Mother Germany. He had become its leader. The center of it all.
Because of a die.
But he made one wrong move, and the fates quickly turned against him as he was pitted into a two-front war. His generals were all cowards, liars, and traitors—Himmler had been negotiating with the Allies, and Steiner had ignored his direct orders for a counter assault that would have saved the Reich! Fegelein had gone AWOL and been executed, and the body count of his most trusted advisors was rising. There were even rumors spreading of his own involvement with the occult... word of his deal with the businessman?
He had lost his power. Because of the same die. It expected perfection. One wrong move would quickly come back to bite him—and it had.
He put the cyanide cap in his mouth and swallowed, and put the gun to his head. The last thing he saw as he pulled the trigger was the business man, smoking a cigarette in the corner of the room.
Written by Steam Phoenix
Hunter paced back and forth in his dilapidated rented room, a glass of whiskey sat long forgotten on the table. He had more important matters on his mind. He had more important matters in his hand. The die felt cool to the touch, like a stone that had been fished from the bottom of a pond. To be perfectly honest, he wasn’t exactly sure how or why he came into possession of the object. All he knew was that the mere act of touching it sent a shiver through his very soul.
He mused grimly, “If I even have a soul.”
Hunter knew something was wrong with him the moment he walked out that door, leaving behind his wife and sick child. He didn’t even have the courage to tell them he was leaving. He wasn’t sure where he was going or what he would do. All he was sure of was that he couldn’t be there. He couldn’t bear to see his daughter waste away from the Leukemia to nothing but wispy blond hair and bones clinging to sallow skin. He had to leave, even if he would be branded a coward, he shouldn’t have to watch that. Couldn’t
He remembered bits and pieces of the man who gave him the die and wisps of the man’s whiskey-washed whispers. The man smelled of cigarette smoke and was dressed neatly in a suit that seemed out of place in this day and age. Even in the sweltering night, he didn’t shed a drop of sweat. He remembered names being spoken: Veronica, Leon, Jude, but was unable to attribute them to anything. The man had explained the die, what each number would entail, but Hunter couldn’t break through his drunken daze and remember everything it could provide. He remembered grasping a pen in his hand and drunkenly scribbling his name below the others. The only thing that mattered to him was the man’s parting message:
“With a single roll of this die; you could regain the love of those you betrayed, you could meet the fate you so desperately deserve, or perhaps even gain untold wealth.”
Hunter was incredulous at first, when he woke up the next day and found the die resting on the bedside table. How insane would someone have to be to believe in a die that could impact someone’s life so much, but as he held it in his hands and felt the persistent cold and its radiating power... he knew that every word the man had said was true (even if he only remembered fragments).
Hunter reasoned with himself, “Crazier things could happen, right? Hell, we just elected the actor who played a villain in The Killers into the white house. The world couldn’t be any stranger if it were the fevered dream of a mad man, so why would the idea of such an object existing be so absurd?”
Hunter abandoned the whiskey inside and stepped out onto the sidewalk in front of the hotel. He hoped the night air would bring him the clarity the stuffy apartment could not. He lit up a cowboy killer and drew the acrid smoke into his lungs. He blew it out and watched it mingle with the exhaust of the passing cars. As he clutched the die in his fist, he caught wind of a new song from a passing car. It went:
“I'm stuck with a valuable friend.
‘I'm happy, hope you're happy too.’
One flash of light,
but no smoking pistol.”
Hunter smiled grimly. He found the courage that he had lost in the apartment. He knew that rolling this thing was effectively the same as spinning the chamber of a revolver, putting the gun to his head, and pulling the trigger. But in that moment, he knew that he had to roll the die and he had to roll it here. In the safety of his shitty room, his drive would evaporate like water on the sidewalk during a hot day.
He prayed silently to a god he knew didn’t exist. After all, what kind of god would visit such suffering upon a family? What kind of god would let a little girl slowly and painfully waste away in front of her parent’s eyes? What kind of god would let him walk away from them when they needed him most? Hunter made up his mind then and there. He knew the outcome of the roll he needed and he knew why he needed it. He needed it for them.
The once busy street was now devoid of life. He opened his hand and let the die fall from his palm. It hit the concrete like a gavel striking wood and rebounded off the ground. A one, I need a one. It spun in the air and his eyes tracked it as if he could alter its trajectory solely through sheer will power. Not for me… The die caught the edge of the curb and went careening into the street. I can give them the life that they deserve. I can give them happiness.
The die could accomplish the goals he once thought out of his reach, money to buy medication that his daughter desperately needed, wealth and stability for his wife so she would never want for anything. The die came to a stop. Please God, just give me this one thing… Give me wealth.
He stepped off the curb and approached the die lying innocuously for him to see his fate. He knelt down and with trembling hands, Hunter read his fate. He held the die in his hand and read the number.
One! Oh thank Go-
He was enveloped in a flash of light. At first he thought it was the die’s doing, but the sound of squealing brakes and a blaring horn violently dispelled that thought. He was crouched in the middle of the street and the car was bearing down on him like a wave. He raised a hand to shield himself as if it were enough to stop a speeding car. It wasn’t.
The car hit him as he knelt in the middle of the street and sent him skipping across the pavement like a stone thrown on the surface of a pond. Each bounce broke bones and tore tendons. He came skidding to a stop in a nearby gutter. The car skidded a few more feet and Hunter heard a woman screaming, a child crying, and a man trying to calm his traumatized family. His hand reflexively opened and the die fell into the sewer below to be carried on by the flow of sewage to its next owner.
Hunter wheezed through ruptured lungs and shattered teeth, “This can’t- This can’t be happening! I was going to give it all to them. I was going to finally fix the mess I made.”
An image visited him in his final moments as he lay there dying in the gutter. It felt surreal, like it hadn’t happened yet, but in those final moments, he knew that it would happen. It would be made true by the die. He saw a man in a business suit, the same man who visited him and had originally told him about the die’s power, talking to his wife.
He handed her an envelope from the company that manufactured brakes. A defect in their line had rendered them unable to sufficiently stop. The envelope was their apology and attempt to make things right. “Leave it to a business to put a price on human life,” he thought. Hunter’s wife looked at all the zeroes on the check and she wept. Not out of sadness, but joy. One hundred thousand dollars was far more than Hunter ever thought he was worth. It was enough to get his daughter the medication she needed and provide his wife the life he could not give her. Hunter died in the gutter, knowing the price of the die. His life for theirs; there were no regrets, to him it wasn’t a bad trade-off.
Written by EmpyrealInvective
The collection of dust and cobwebs underneath Lucas's bed hinted that a good cleaning was in order. After some careful persuasion by his mother (which involved the use of a frying pan), Lucas proceeded to clean his bed, trying to avoid a familiar fate.
After what seemed like an eternity, Lucas stumbled upon a few childhood items, including: a limited edition holographic Pokémon card, some Spider-Man comic books, and a kazoo he loved to play. He laughed at the thought of him being fifteen years old already.
A sad disposition showed itself upon his face, and he was caught in a flashback.
"Dad, how long are you going to be gone for?" the small child asked.
"I'm not exactly sure," the man replied.
"Where are you going?" the child bit his lower lip and tears started forming in his eyes as he asked the question.
"Overseas, to a far away place," the man replied. The child turned away in sadness and after a few moments of grief, gave his dad a hug. The hug felt like it lasted a lifetime.
"Come home soon..." the boy sniffled out. The father started crying as well.
"Hey...hey buddy! Don't be so sad, I'll be back home in no time...and we can go on a fishing trip! How does that sound?" the father reassured him.
"I'd like that," the boy blurted out, tears rolling down his cheek. The father hugged and kissed the boy one last time and proceeded out the door.
This was the last time he was seen.
Eventually, Lucas snapped back into reality, realizing he was in present day, underneath his bed, cleaning. After choking on what seemed to be the thousandth dust bunny, Lucas felt something... a familiar texture. He gasped with excitement, as he unearthed a pair of dice from his bed. Surprisingly, they were still intact, with a few loose strands of dust dangling on.
Lucas laughed and rolled the dice, just to see what they would land on.
12, the highest possible number. He rolled the dice several more times, both landing on six each time.
"Twelve, how 'bout that?" he snickered.
Unbeknownst to him, his mother stood at the foot of his bed, watching Lucas harmlessly fritter around with the dice. She let out a loud throat clearing. She leaned down and yanked him by the collar of his shirt, tearing it slightly and bringing him to his feet.
"I told you to clean your room and you're sitting here playing with dice!" the vein on her neck pulsated with rage.
"I was cleaning, but I was just tak-" She slapped him across the face before he could finish the rest of the sentence, and proceeded to do so several more times. Lucas fell to the ground in shock and the mother laughed.
"Such a disgrace of a son..." she said as she triumphantly exited the room. She mumbled several more things, a few cuss words involved. Lucas heard keys jingling a door slamming shut. The faint hum of a motor could be heard and it seemed to stop after a minute. She had left for work.
Lucas, still reeling from the attack on his face, stood up and headed over to his computer and leisurely browsed the internet. After checking several of his favorite sites, Lucas saw an advertisement: "Dice of Fate!" Amused, he clicked on the link and was taken to a page with a black background and white text. Several pictures of dice with numbers shown: 1-12, each with a word shown next to it. He scrolled down to the last entry: 12.
He raised an eyebrow inquisitively. Names of people, who Lucas believed were just examples, littered the screen next to the numbers. Chester was next to the number 3, Veronica at 5, this continued all the way down the screen. As inquisitive as he was, Lucas looked over to the number 12 and noticed his name was next to it. He laughed nervously. Intrigued, he clicked Revenge and was redirected to another website.
Revenge was written in a blood-type font.
Lucas had never been more interested in this word in his life. Revenge. He stared down at the dice and then looked back at his computer screen.
"Revenge," he laughed as he shut down his computer for the night and went to bed. Minutes, which eventually turned into hours, passed, however, Lucas did not sleep. He stared up at the ceiling... Revenge played over and over in his mind. He then remembered the stinging pain of his mother's ferocious slap-fest earlier in the day. He shook his head in disgust... she should be home any minute now.
"I really hate that woman. No... she's not even a woman. She's a monster. Boy... would I like to get some revenge on he-" he cut off mid-sentence as he sat up in bed. A nervous sweat rolling down his neck. Glaring at the walls surrounding his bed, a sly smirk spread across his face.
Sirens blared throughout the town. "Do Not Cross" police tape was set up around Lucas' house. News reporters lined up waiting to get the scoop on the latest story.
"Looks like a case of murder," one of the police officers said to his partner. They shook their head in disgust. After further investigation, the officers stumbled upon a point of interest: a single-worded note dangled in the breeze held down by a pair of dice, equaling 12, the word Revenge written in red marker.
They never found Lucas.
Written by Zmario
He looked up.
The other one was in a business suit. He had a hat on. In one of his hands was a cigarette, and in one of his shirt pockets a cigarette case. The other lay empty.
"Well," the businessman said.
"Well what?" he shouted. "What? What?"
"You'll depart on the ninth."
The man grabbed the businessman by the neck. "Depart for what?"
"I'll give you the coordinates. You will need to depart by the ninth, no questions asked."
"It's in the contract."
The man held his face in his hands. "Can't we do a re-roll? Can't we get another die and do it like that?"
"You know it doesn't work like that. We si-"
"To Hell it doesn't work like that! There aren't any r-"
"We signed a contract."
"But there aren't any rules!"
The businessman released himself from the man's grip, straightening his tie. "You will depart by the ninth. The die has been cast. You remember the rules: don't kill anyone by means outside of casting them a fatal die roll, don't-"
"Stop telling me that. I won't do it."
"Then the die will do it for you. Don't become attached to any one of the natives, don't call-"
"Fuck the die. Come on. There have to be exceptions."
"Tell that to the contract. Don't call back and say you're tired of your place because you'll be stuck in it until another unlucky soul back here rolls the same number you got today."
There was a silence. The man still held his face in his hands- this time he sobbed a little. The businessman swayed slightly to the left.
"Am I ever going to come back?" the man asked.
The businessman took off his hat. "Soon."
"What does that mean? What does 'soon' mean?"
"It means what it means. It's all in the contract. I'll give it to you later- per company regulations."
He looked up once more. He didn't know that this would be the last time he'd look at the businessman. "And... and my... family?"
"They'll be well compensated. They may not be... intact... by the time you return, but the contract states that those are the rules."
"And what will you tell them?"
"Same thing the town told my parents the day I left. Same thing everything tells everyone." He set his hat on the ground. "You'll be seen as a hero for your sacrifice. Your family will live the rest of their days out in peace, both physically and financially. Your past, no matter how bad, will be forgotten by everyone. Every one of your relatives will have enough power and authority to do what they want. And you will have the knowledge of everything that can be known." He took a drag on his cigarette. "And the cigarettes. Best part of the deal."
The man chuckled. "What if I don't smoke?"
"Then you better start, or you'll start turning to dust in no time." The businessman leaned in closer and put an arm around the man. "Listen to me. I know it's harsh, but you will get used to it. I did after a while. It's harsh seeing everyone get their fates chosen by a number, but it's just a job. A long job, at that. We take rolls around here all the time- it's probably not going to be long until someone else rolls a zero. And if they do... you're going to be telling all of this to the unlucky recipient." He took another drag and dropped some ash on the ground, then got up and put his hat back. "I'll be back tomorrow with the contracts and the rules. You need to sign all of them before I'll give you the suit. Then I'll go to the bar to relax a little. Then after that..." He smiled. "I think I'll take a long nap. I deserve it."
The businessman patted the man on the back and started to go.
"H-Hey, sir!" The man shouted.
The businessman stopped in his tracks and looked back.
"I- I know I'm not supposed to be saying this," the man stammered, "but... is life to you just a contract? Just a bunch of rules? You keep on mentioning these two words and... isn't there more to life than that? Don't we have the freedom to choose what we want? Is everything that matters to you just a list of things that have to be followed?"
The businessman stood there for a few seconds.
"We all follow a set of rules, don't we? We need to survive and our bodies follow a set of rules to do exactly that. Life is a contract. You sign it from the moment you're born that you agree to survive no matter the cost. But all of us have a spirit of adventure. All of us want to go down the beaten track and not follow our contracts." He looked back. "That's where people like us come in. That's why people like us exist. We sign a contract to de-sign the contracts of others. So if you don't want to do this, you can't. You need to do this. You're needed in worlds." Another drag. "It's all in the deal. We give you life, and in return we can tell you what to do with that life. And for people like you, there's nobody to come in and rip apart that contract. Maybe one day there will be. Maybe one day there will be people signing contracts to get rid of the contracts of people who don't want to get rid of contracts. But that day hasn't come." He started walking away. "Get some sleep. You'll need it."
The man blinked, and the businessman was gone.
The next morning the man woke up late and found a pile of papers in his mailbox. He spent the night signing them and woke up early the next morning to deliver them to the post office. By the time he returned home, he found a dark, ironed business suit in his mailbox. He spent that night putting it on himself and getting his wife to make it look as good as possible. The next day he sat in a bar, away from home, all day. He told the wife it was to make her get used to his absence. That evening in his mail, on his way back home, he found directions to a distant place called 'Earth'. He found, attached to the directions, a company-sponsored ticket to this place. He also found in the mailbox an entire carton of cigarettes that easily fit into his suit—in fact, inexplicably, he could easily fit anything into his suit.
The day before the ninth he received a hat and a die. The die had sheets of paper attached to it to record names, dates, and fates. There was also a note—'We sincerely apologize for having to provide you with the old 6-sided model for your extended stay at your destination.' We're still trying to get out the 12-sided models to all our employees, but due to time constraints, we are unable to give you the 12-sided model during your extended stay at your destination.
And on the ninth, he was gone.
Written by 41488p
Abraham Lincoln was dying. He looked down on his own body, in the middle of an out-of-body experience. Just hours earlier he was with his wife in Ford’s Theatre. After four long years of violence and bloodshed, he could relax. The war would soon be over, he had just won reelection. And yet his thoughts returned to the dice. He was not sure what made him think of them, but a sickening feeling entered his stomach. He broke into a cold sweat. He needed fresh air. He was about to stand up and then-darkness. He awoke looking down at his own body. He knew he was dying. He overheard the doctors speaking of an actor by the name of “Booth.”
“Was I murdered? Is this Booth the man who killed me?” Abraham thought to himself.
His thoughts then turned to his wife, his children. As soon his family came to mind, they walked into the room. Grief-stricken, his wife threw herself upon his dying body. His children could not even look at him. Abraham wanted to weep, but he couldn’t. His thoughts returned to the dice, and the day he rolled them.
He had only been eleven years old when his mother died. It was the first taste of tragedy in his life, a bitter taste he would find himself swallowing over and over again. He sat on a stump in the middle of the woods on the outskirts of his family’s property. After days of mourning his mother, he found he could cry no longer. His tears were replaced by the horrible, dreaded feeling of grief.
“Are you all right, my boy?” a voice asked.
Abraham nearly jumped off the stump he was sitting on. Not just because he was startled, but because the voice had been the most unpleasant thing he had ever heard. He could not describe it, only that it sounded like it belonged to a snake. But there was no snake standing there, only a man. He was dressed in an odd-looking black suit, one which Abraham had never seen before. He saw the man’s eyes and a chill ran up his spine. Like the man’s voice, they seemed to be serpentine. He wanted to run, but as much as he was frightened of this man, he was just as intrigued. Abraham finally worked up the courage to speak.
“Wh-who are you?” Abraham stuttered.
“I am a simple dealer, my good boy,” the man chuckled. “You look like someone in need of some good fortune.”
“Wh-what do you mean? I don’t understand…” Abraham trailed off.
The man pulled out a pair of dice seemingly out of nowhere. “With a roll of the dice, you can determine your own fate. Perhaps you’ll regain the love that you have lost. If you roll correctly, that is.”
Abraham was taken aback. How did this man know about his mother? The man answered as if he had asked the question aloud.
“Don’t concern yourself with such trifles; I simply go where I am needed.”
A mixture of emotions filled Abraham. Fear, confusion, and that nagging feeling of intrigue and curiosity. He was interested in taking the man on his offer, but he did not trust him either. Not to mention that gambling was a cheat and drunkard’s game. Still, curiosity got the better of him.
“How does it work?” Abraham asked.
“You roll the dice, and the numbers determine your fate. But I cannot tell you what the numbers mean,” the man said, cutting Abraham off before he could ask. “All I ask is that you sign your name."
The man produced a long sheet of paper and quill from seemingly out of nowhere. There was a long list of names and years. Abraham’s eyes widened as he saw years that were still centuries away. And the names, they seemed strange to him. One in particular had no name or year, just a series of symbols and characters. He began to feel a sense of unease and dread in the pit of his stomach, the cause of which he could not determine. He began to back away, he wanted to run.
“Come, my boy, what more do you have to lose?”
The words rang clear in Abraham’s mind. The man was right. He had already lost his mother, the person he loved and cared for most. He wished to have the love she gave him. Could a roll of the dice really give that back to him? Instinctively, Abraham grabbed the sheet of paper and a quill, signing his name with the year:
The man held out the dice to him. Abraham nearly dropped the dice when he felt the piercing coldness in his hands. It was October, but snow had not even begun to fall yet. He wasn’t quite sure how to handle the dice. He shook them in his hands twice and tossed them to the ground.
That was the word that entered his head. He was not sure why. He turned to the man expectantly, who had already turned and was walking away.
“What does this mean?” he called to him.
“With great fortune comes great cost. For a place in history, you will pay a price,” said the man, not even turning to face Abraham as he continued to walk away.
Soon he was gone amongst the trees. Abraham picked up the dice; they were still ice cold in his hands. Abraham began to feel that sense of dread and unease. The man’s words disturbed him greatly. As he slowly made his way back home, he took one final look at the dice, and threw them into a nearby stream. Abraham continued his life, never seeing the man or the dice again. But that day never left his memory, and the man’s words echoed in his head. He heard them the day his sister died. The day he and his wife lost their son Edward. The day they lost their son Willie. The day the nation broke into civil war, just months after he was inaugurated as its President. He heard them with every report of a battle lost, of more casualties suffered. Every time it gave him that sick feeling and caused him to break into a cold sweat, just as he felt moments before he was shot.
Yes, he was shot. That’s what the doctors said. Sacrifice. Is this what had defined his life? The word raced in his mind over and over again. For the death of his mother, his sister, his sons, hundreds of thousands of young men, and now himself. Was it all necessary?
“With great fortune comes great cost. For a place in history, you will pay a price. ”
Abraham now understood. Everything he had gone through in life had been defined by his sacrifices. He was forced to swallow the bitter taste of tragedy over and over again to become the man who saved his country. The man who ensured that future generations of Americans would grow up under one nation of unity and prosperity, not under the fear of war and conflict. Did the fate of a nation really depend on a roll of the dice? Was it already pre-determined? Abraham looked down on his wife and two sons again. He knew he was breathing his final breaths. He thought he should feel pain, sorrow, regret. But he did not. He felt warmth, happiness. He was leaving. And he was finally content.
Written by Touch of Evil
She was 25. Still single, still looking for love. She'd never experienced true love, and, still somewhat fresh out of college, she was ready for it. She had always envisioned how she'd meet the one. They would meet outside of a bar, waiting for the same bus home. They'd start to talk about their shared love of literature, or their fondness of classic films. She dreamt about the shared life they'd lead as two soul mates in a world of her creation. It was coming out of work when she met the man who made several others' dreams, and nightmares, come true.
He was an unassuming fellow, wearing a black suit and bowler hat. He had a chain not unlike that of a pocket watch, but instead of a watch in his pocket there appeared to be a pouch. He walked up to Michelle. The man seemed friendly enough, so Michelle had her guard somewhat down. When they were within arm's reach, with a serpentine voice, he said, "Hello, Michelle."
Michelle replied, "How do you know my name?"
He responded, "The details aren't important now, what is important is that I have a proposition for you."
Michelle nodded, confused yet intrigued.
The man continued, pulling a small die out of his pouch. "What if I told you that, if you roll this die, your life will change? Each number on the die refers to an abstract. Whatever abstract you roll will become a dominant force in your life. Good or bad, I can't say. Some have been quite pleased with their rolls, while others... Again, that detail is unimportant."
Michelle pondered for a moment, finally mustering up the courage to speak. "What can I roll?"
The man replied, "You're just going to have to find out, ma'am."
Michelle thought for a moment. "This can't be serious. How can a die impact my life so much?" She agreed to roll. She picked up the die and signed her name on a piece of paper the man produced, which already had several names. Seeing those names gave her second thoughts, but she got past them and rolled.
The man looked at the die and spoke. "Ah, 6. Wonderful. You're lucky, this number stands for something you've always wanted. Love."
Michelle was overjoyed, but her joy was cut off by the man. "Don't celebrate just yet, I've yet to tell you the terms. Love could mean anything, really. I just need to gaze into your future." He paused for a moment, then continued. "Ah, I see. The terms of your abstract are as follows: You will meet your soulmate within six months of today's date. You are 100% guaranteed to meet him! And you will know that you've met your soulmate when you make any kind of physical contact."
Michelle couldn't believe it, but was still speechless. Could she finally have the chance at the love she always wanted? Before she could react, the man had disappeared seemingly into thin air.
One week passed, and she didn't meet him. Or her? The thought never crossed her mind, but she wouldn't be opposed to it. After all, a soulmate is a soulmate. This was her thought as she walked into her routine physical, but walking out, she had another thing weighing on her mind. One word, one simple word, that turned her life around. Cancer. Ovarian cancer, specifically. She was young for it. Too young. The doctor said that they would do all they could, but... She couldn't bear to think of an end to that sentence.
Five months passed. Michelle battled cancer as best as she could, but it was a losing fight. Hours from death, she thought about the life she could never finish. She would never get the chance to travel, start her own company, find love... love. The covenant with that man was a lie. In the months that passed, she never found that promised soulmate, and now, with death on the horizon, she never would. It was at that moment that she called a doctor in. This doctor was new; he had just started working at the hospital last week and had yet to visit Michelle's ward.
Michelle knew what she wanted to do. It was time for her it did with dignity. She told the doctor to kill her. The doctor knew that physician-assisted suicide was illegal, but he couldn't refuse the last wish of a dying woman. He couldn't outright kill her, but he did what he could do. He gave her several bottles of morphine pills, forty pills in total. If she took them all, she would overdose and die, which was her goal. She took them all, and now she would soon pass out and die. In tears, she told him to leave. Before leaving, he stretched out his hand for one final handshake.
The man from so many months before wasn't lying. When she grabbed that doctor's hand, she realized that her soulmate wasn't a man outside a bar, or looking at book at the library, or even waiting on the bus. Her soulmate was right here, in a white lab coat in a hospital, minutes from death. She knew immediately that this was the one from the man's prophecy, but whether or not he was, he didn't let on, and he left the room without another word. Too weak to even weep for herself, she lamented her true love, and how everything had been lost thanks to that man and the gamble she took on her own life.
Minutes later, she slipped into unconsciousness, one arm slumped over her bedside, and out of her unclenched fist fell a small die.
Credited to BRODY10123
His luck did not abandon him in the end, after all.
Many, many years had passed since that businessman last came. Chester saw him once more—this time he had entered a house across the street and, five minutes later, come back out. Chester didn't pay much attention to this until two days later, when he saw a Ferrari parked in the house's driveway. A day after that, the house was for sale. Word was that the owner had bought a mansion.
"Old friend," Chester grumbled as he lifted his hat off to resume his role as a beggar. "I cheated Death—but instead I got you." He looked down to shield his eyes from the sun.
A coin fell into the hat, its weight making Chester grunt as it landed.
Another object fell into the hat. Chester looked up.
There was no one in front of him but a few early commuters. Chester glanced to the right, and that's where he saw him.
The businessman began to cross the street. He was jaywalking, but cars didn't seem to notice. Chester never saw the businessman arrive on the other end of the street, almost as if the businessman had vanished while crossing.
Something was wrong. Chester tried to pinpoint it, but he couldn't place his finger on it exactly. Chester kept on thinking of cigarettes. Somehow, he associated the businessman with the noxious smell of cigarette smoke. Spitting onto the ground, Chester peeked into the hat. In it lay a nickel and a die. On the die was a piece of ragged paper. Chester placed the hat down and picked the paper up.
All the paper was was a list of names. Chester noticed that, despite it being so small, it could still hold a large amount of information, and Chester counted hundreds of little boxes with names and numbers next to them. The numbers, Chester realized, represented dates and...
Chester spat again.
Fates, or fortunes, if you had the gut to call them that.
After all these years, Chester could still remember his number. His dreaded number. Three. He grinned a bit. There were quite a few people who got their share of immortality, it seemed. Chester took one last glance at the paper, catching his own name and date on it, before flipping it around.
On it lay a single box at the top, and a hastily scrawled-out note. The box read, "Chester, 3019." The 'fate' box lay empty. At this point, Chester finally realized what had been wrong with the businessman. There was no rancid smell of smoke when he passed Chester. He had stopped smoking.
Chester shifted his focus to the note. It read:
You are my 176th and also my final customer. I knew the company had its plans all laid out, and so it didn't come as a surprise to me that you'd want your fortunes read again.
That dreaded word again. Fortune. Chester whispered the word, feeling it. How such a word with so many positive connotations could hold so much hate. He resumed reading.
I would imagine that your previous fortune did not fully satisfy you. I have gone through my job seeing so many peoples' lives get ruined, but it's regulation that we just walk away and not let regret cloud our minds. Well, I must be a bad employee then, because every person whom I've given the die to roll has added onto my guilt. It was bearable at first—it's an enjoyable feeling to have complete control over a person's life. But that wears down a man. If I carry on like this for one more person, I don't think I'll be able to live with my choices.
Chester let out a low sneer. "I wasn't able to live out my choices, dipbrain," he muttered. After a short pause, he added: "Didn't even ask for a fortune. Well, kinda. Maybe. I don't know."
That's why I have placed the die in your hands. I will make up a story when I go home. If I get home. But I have done so much already. I cannot bear anything anymore. I leave your fate in your hands. The die is yours to control now.
An Old Friend.
Control. That was one word Chester always liked to hear, whether it be from the stock market or some weird thing that went around deciding peoples' fates. Control. Power. How long had it been since he had not only heard those words, but he had those words?
Chester looked up, squinting because of the afternoon sun. "Y-yea, what'sit son?"
"I, uh..." the young boy murmured.
"Speak up- old ears like these can't hear nothin'!"
"Here," the boy shot out. He held out a dollar bill. Chester was about to grab it when the boy took the bill back.
"No, uh, sir," the boy said. He pointed to something on the ground.
Chester lifted the hat in confusion. "Ya want my hat?"
"No, uh, no sir." Then the boy reached into the hat and took out the die. "I need this for something. Can I borrow it for a dollar? I'll be back real quick with it—promise."
It was at this point that Chester realized the boy wasn't alone. Behind him a group of kids—probably his friends—were setting up something on the ground. Chester recognized the backgammon board when he spotted it lying on the ground next to the boys.
Chester stared at the boy. "Hey, uh, kid, uh-"
There was a pause between the two.
And then Chester smiled the widest smile he had smiled in a long, long time. In a deep, serpentine voice, he said:
Written by 41488p