Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Entry #195

Snake Charmer
by Ryn Cricket


She was born in the year of the Cock –though she preferred to say Rooster. They sat there playing chess in the dark because the storm had knocked out the electricity and neither could be bothered to get up and light a candle. She moved her queen’s pawn two spaces forward.

I got offered a promotion today.” She said after officially letting go of her piece.

He didn’t lift his head, but his fingers went back and forth between his bishop and his rook. “Did you now?” He finally chose the rook.

“Yes, but they want me to move to Portland.” She said as she brought her bishop out to stand watch on his king.

“I can’t move to Portland.” He said still not looking up as he captured her pawn.

“I know,” she said. Slowly she slid her queen out to guard the other side. His queen was gone. He had no protection.

“I’m going by myself.”

She couldn’t see his face in the dark. He knew she wanted to scream at him. Maybe she wanted to say she knew about the girls. Maybe she knew what he did to them. But she moved her queen quietly forward, and simply said, “Checkmate” before she got up from the table to pack.

“I’ll help you.”

He was born in the year of the Snake; a natural predator.

30 comments:

Laurel said...

Fantastic use of the board and pieces. The dialogue is great and I like the image of strategy in the dark. Lots of effective symbolism here.

Good job.

Michael Solender said...

taking flight..like it Ryn, elegant.

Bernita said...

I think she won more than the game.

wrath999 said...

The opening line captured me and this was a brilliant story

Jean said...

Sad, and I wanted to know more about the girls. And, I don't think I like him very much!

Jean Ann

Preeti said...

Wow.
Beautiful. Beautiful.

There is something extremely compelling about chess. And to combine it as well as contextualize it with a grim issue was just incredibly awesome, Ryn.

the different chess moves have actually added a certain kind of length to the narrative. Amazing! Loved. Totally. :-)

Liz S said...

I loved the way the conversation moved like the chess game did. Not to mention the awesome first and last lines. Great piece!

lena said...

Love the dialogue. When I started reading I wondered why does it matter which year she was born, but you explained everything in your last sentence. Great work!

Aniket said...

Oh this has so many good things in it. Killer lines that envelope a great piece.

Great setting with the use of chess. Nice pacing that allow the story to unfold at a gracious pace.

Awesome!

laughingwolf said...

bloody brilliant, including the chess moves!

kashers said...

Great first and last line. The game of chess echoes the game of life. Clever.

Antriksh Satyarthi said...

that was amazing...being a fan of symbolism myself, integrating chess with the whole plot was great....

CJT said...

A great use of phrasing and metaphors here Ryn. Nicely done.

My Blog 2.0 (Dottie) said...

Does she make it away from the predator?

Dottie :)

Kartik said...

The rooster beats the snake!(I hope)
And yes the juxtaposition of the chess with the plot is so wonderfully done!

Craig said...

The way you wove the chess game into the dialogue was absolutely brilliant.

truevoid said...

wow! lovely interplay of dialogue and the chess game. this is a checkmate entry :)

James R. Tomlinson said...

I loved the subtlety of your characters, how their actions matched their game of chess.

pjd said...

The pacing, action, and simple dialog are really good. The symbolism is a little hit-you-over-the-head (it could be more subtle), but it all works really well.

Deb Smythe said...

I like the symmetry between the opening and closing lines.

Aerin said...



Caveat

Something I Would Keep

the punch in the stomach that was "maybe she knew about the girls" - ACK! I thought it was just a chess game between a disgruntled couple! Nice!

Something I Might Tweak

I might have missed this because I don't know chess, or the Chinese zodiac, but why was he not a threat to her?

Addie Hurst said...

I liked the use of the chess game, the whole metaphor thing you used. How did they see in the dark?

Sarah Laurenson said...

Wow. I'm not sure she made it to Portland. Sounded like he was going to help himself and not her.

Chilling tale. Love the mood lighting and the chess moves. Adds a nice depth to it.

Aimee Laine said...

That was awesome! I can only wish I knew more about what comes next!

Ryn Cricket said...

Thank you all. Your comments are constructive, and encouraging. I will say that I don't like to say too much, I would rather the reader bring something to my stories and come up with their own conclusions. I have worked really hard over the past few years trying not to give too much away. So all of those questions can be answered by you. When I saw that picture I immediately thought of Asia, which brought about the idea of the Chinese Zodiac. Thank you everyone!

JaneyV said...

Ryn - I commend you on your use of dialogue and how you wove the backstory into the chess game.

I'm interested in why they played in the dark. You said they couldn't be bothered to light a candle. But why not? Had the relationship deteriorated so far that they couldn't even stand to see each other or was there perhaps too much they'd like to keep hidden?

quin browne said...

there is a great nugget here... i'm also going to echo others who have asked the same thing--the dark.

how did they play the game? if it is to the point candles should have been lit... how do you see to play, to look at one another's expressions?

aside from that bit of continuity, it's well done.

Ryn Cricket said...

As is the advantages (or disadvantages) of posting on the internet, I will break from my personal protocol and kind of answer some of these questions. When this contest was sent to me by a friend, I was first inspired by the picture, and in the back of my mind I had the "clarity of night" in my head also. SO realistically, I don't think it's ever been dark enough without lights to play chess, but this is fiction so some beliefs must be suspended anyway. I like the clarity in darkness that people can sometimes say things they can't say in light, and also that facial expressions can't be seen and must be guessed at. She could have been crying, but we will never know. I love to make my stories a bit interactive. You fill in the answers with what you bring to it. What did he do to the girls? You decided. Why did he follow her? Was he her true predator? Was he being a cockold? Did they lose all care? This is up to what the reader wants to read into it.
On an interesting note, since I wrote this story, I found out that my husband is a snake and I am a rooster, and also that they are most compatible with each other. That adds it's own twist to me.

illyriataylor said...

Good job Ryn (alisa)

catvibe said...

Funny, because I'm a rat and was married to a dog. Bad. Really bad. But I enjoyed this one. Wasn't sure if the girls were killed or simply sex toys, but either way, was glad she was dumping him. Hoping she made it. The chess board would work fine in the dark if it were lit from within. :-)