Memories in Glassdust
Glass clinks on glass, frosted castles slide across the checkered tiles. A seeming eternity of silence passes by as my hand hovers above its destination, my mind uncertain as to the choice I intend to make. I settle on my move and the bishop glides from its square to pin the enemy rook to its position guarding the king. Silence follows as she ponders her next move, pale amber irises fixed on the board, her left hand absent-mindedly twisting the frayed edges of her hair.
The board state is nearly empty, only three of the pawns remaining, myself with a knight, bishop, queen and singleton pawn of frosty white facing off against the transparent pair of castles escorting the enemy king and two pawns. My knight is committed to the edge of the board, preventing an enemy infantryman from promoting while my bishop and queen maneuver to keep the enemy regent locked in place. A quick glance her way prompts a quick flash of a smile, not quite reaching the edge of her lips. After a moment a smirk reappears on her face as she slides her second castle over three squares to attack my knight whilst defending its fellow.
Sunlight pours in from the window, sending scintillating rays flashing across the glass to scatter into dozens of miniature rainbows before a passing cloud shrouds the board once more with subdued greys. The barest hint of a breeze has the curtains by the window fluttering ever so slightly, and she seems to stare off into nothing as she waits patiently for me to ponder my next move, chin resting comfortably in her palm as she leans against the arm of the couch.
I stall for time, mobilizing my queen and bishop to keep her king pinned in check, forcing her to respond while I search desperately for a way to free my knight from its impending doom. The felled pieces scattered lazily on the table seem to stare at me with gazes of infinite intensity, as though reminding me not to repeat the mistakes of the past as they lie idle in their places, waiting for the game to reset. Three times I force her to respond to my aggression, and three times she casually slides her king away with the slightest motion of her wrist, her hand constantly hovering over the towering pieces' cross.
It takes just a single mistake from me to break the stalemate; an oversight has her forking my bishop and knight with a rook. As I bite my lip and move the bishop to safety her hand is already zooming across the board to knock the knight over, sending him spiralling off over the edge of the board to join the fallen. A ray of sunlight sneaks through a crack in the clouds turning her king into a shining gem, and for a single instant the grey of the room is flush full of colour.
Then the moment is gone, and the cunning general is sitting there facing me again, a slight smile slowly forming on her lips as the inevitable end begins to play itself out. Piece by piece she chips away at my forces until all that is left is my queen and king; in the end my queen is knocked from the glass board and I am forced into submission, the checkmate undeniable. I stare glumly at the board; yet again I am defeated. As per usual she sits and waits, but at the first sign of any outcry she laughs and leaps up running off for me to follow.
I sit there in that same chair looking upon the glass board, glinting in the sun, thirty one pieces standing in silence. The wind still drifts by carrying its gentle breeze through the room, and the light still shines its brilliance through the pieces, but the shattered queen of crystal lies where you left her. Like each time before, I play through the motions, looking desperately for the mistake, that one single flawed decision.
But as always, the chair where you sat is empty; the queen is gone.