Attempting to stop yourself snarling, hateful of that dreadful phrase that keeps running through your story, you watch helplessly as a ticket-master steps out the fog.
“Do you have a ticket?”
You think that you have misheard him, but no, those dreadful words have come back to haunt you.
“I…no. I didn’t know how to get a ticket.”
“You’re a stowaway!”
“No, I’m not!” you cry.
“You are a stowaway. So, unless you can show us a ticket, you should be thrown off the train this instant.”
And he begins to advance towards you, the sounds of everything, from the diners to the communications-system, are pounding your ear-drums again. You back away from the ticket-master, but all you collide with is the thin wall of train, slipping past you even as you put your hands to it.
All is lost, you think, before a hand is suddenly placed upon your back.
“I’ll take it from here…” says a masculine voice from behind me.
“You should be covered with stamps and posted to your place,” points out another voice. “Then we’ll see how you can cope.” You turn now to see the exquisitely-styled white royal, raising her eyebrows.
Beside her is a taller figure, broad-shouldered with a curtain of hair as black as his charred suit falling across his face. However, he has a kind voice and you are grateful that he is on your side.
He ushers the ticket-master away, and, before you can open your mouth to speak, has already ushered you silent.
“No thanks necessary. We need you, and that’s why we allowed you to get onto this train. It’s a difficult skill, you know.”
You look between the two figures as, out the corner of your eye, you notice the train beginning to slow. They too exchange one glance between them, but the broad-shouldered man continues to address you alone.
“I’m Spadey, and I’ll be your guide for now. Welcome to our world…” Here he spreads his hands out towards the windows, clear, which begin to display a land chequered with red, black, and white squares. “Welcome to our world of chess, where you’ll be playing as, to start, a white pawn. Slowly, as time goes by, your game will advance and so will you authority. Soon you could be anything as almost as a queen.”
“Chess…?” you stutter.
“Chess,” replies the lady with the tiara. “You might become almost as princess-y as me,” she adds with a chortle.
“This is the lady who will be your mentor,” Spadey continues. “L has been the white pawn for years. She knows everything about playing chess for these parts- and it’s you we’ve been waiting for.”
You are stuck, frozen with these new shocks.
What have I got myself into?