c3childs: (domino)
Title: High Risk, High Reward
Prompt: sunrise
Word Count: 711
Rating: t
Original/Fandom:original
Pairings (if any)gen
Warnings (Non-Con/Dub-Con/RPF etc): Implied character death
Summary:It’s a game for people with nothing to lose.


A puddle was forming. It dripped from the ceiling, soaking between the hardwood floors and sheeting onto the round table and over onto the floor. It was deep red, almost black with a metallic scent to it.
Play the game until sunrise. That’s all they had to do. Follow the rules. Don’t cheat. At the very least, don’t get caught. That was the real rule.
Ian had gone upstairs during his turn. Now the puddle of blood was dripping over into his seat at the large table. Ian, obviously, had gotten caught.
Kelly stared at the game board, a fine tremor running through her body. There were five chairs around the table. Three were empty. They’d been playing the game for hours. For days. It was hard to tell.
The white and black dice were as simple and ordinary as other pair.
“It’s your turn.”
She would have jerked less if Bobby had slapped her. He sat opposite her, looking as bad as she felt. A bruise colored his pale jaw purple. It made her wince to look at, and that was just the one she could see. His shirt was ripped along the sleeve, and the collar had been stained red. He looked in pain. He looked tired. He looked almost nothing like the defeated man who’d first stepped through the door.
“I can’t,” her voice was half of a whisper. “I can’t. I don’t want to play anymore.”
“So you want to sit here forever?”
“I want to go home.”
“Then play the game.”
Terror held her back. Or stubbornness maybe. Whatever. She kept her hands folded tight in her lap, knuckles turning white. Bobby held her gaze for a long while then cast them deliberately at the clock on the wall. It had stopped at two twenty-seven.
“Take your turn or I’ll do it for you.”
“No! You can’t do that,” she cried.
She shook her head furiously, blonde hair flying around her.
“You knew what would happen. You knew that this game was for people who didn’t have any more chances. A game that would change your life by sunrise. You can’t just stop playing.”
“I don’t want to die.”
“Everyone dies. You just don’t want it to hurt. And you might end up dying painfully, or you might make it to the end, but I will definitely throw you out of your wheelchair and beat you within an inch of your life if you don’t take your turn. I don’t have a lot of strength left or stamina, but I’m persistent.”
There wasn’t a hint of anger or hesitation in his voice. He spoke with the calm of a man who’d already seen the entirety of a matter, or at least more than the rest, and didn’t have the time for someone else to eventually come to the same conclusion. And she knew that he meant it.
“You’re insane.”
He shrugged.
Kelly felt the sob climbing up out of her throat and shook from the effort to hold it back. She didn’t know why she even bothered. Appearances were the least of her troubles.
In one swift movement, the blonde snatched up the dice and tossed them back onto the table. She rolled a five. The silver figure of a ballerina slid forward that many squares, the fifth requiring her to take a card.
Go back one hour, she read. Proceed one more square.
Her game piece moved forward. Tears spilling over, Kelly lifted her eyes to Bobby. He didn’t look at her. He was looking between the two people who’d returned to the table. Madison clutched her arms, nails digging in hard enough to draw blood and teeth clenched hard enough that they creaked. Ian’s hands flew to his throat, and he drew them away just as fast, holding them up for inspection. He slumped in apparent relief, bowing over the table. The table, where a moment ago, had been flooded with his blood. Not a drop remained.
One chair remained empty. Philip had been out of the game for well over an hour.
Bobby cleared his throat.
“Maddie.”
With aching slowness, the dark-skinned woman turned to glare him down.
“Glad to have you back. It’s your turn.”
The clock was running again. One twenty-seven.

June 2012

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