Super short original tales to snack on
by Rebekah Postupak
He loved to play the game. No. Loved sounded too weak, too soft. Loved was for hunting. For a night of poker with skilled partners. For snuff. For his aunt. Yes; even her.
But the game… ah, the game transcended all else. He obsessed over it, devoted night after sleepless night to plotting strategies, calculating his next move. Each opponent he analyzed with relentless fixation, his notes bleeding across the pages in feverish scrawls. Sometimes he wondered if he were going mad, and what the game might cost him before the end.
Still he played. He played, holding nothing back. He played, knowing deep in his bones how each round would unfold, always certain of his ultimate triumph. He despised his adversaries, watching them fall in his mind long before the game began; the players might change, but the outcome never did. And he was never wrong.
From within the crowd, the eyes of a Master met his, unflinching, unafraid—knowing. Those eyes measured him, claimed victory, and dismissed him with a little shrug of amusement. Dismissed him!
For the first time in his life he tasted fear.
He would not show it. He could—yes, he would—make the first move. The game could still be his. It had to be.
He crossed the room in an instant. A mocking, elegant, confident bow as the opening gambit, daring those eyes to dismiss him again.
“Fitzwilliam Darcy, at your service,” he said.
“Elizabeth Bennet at yours,” she said, and in those four words he knew himself lost forever.