"Yes, if I have to." growled the beast of a man.
The lady placed a lemonade first in front of Jack. Then she served her uncle and lastly the two big men watching. She then leaned the tray against a large flower pot on the ground and perched on the edge of table to watch.
Jack was grateful for the lemonade but only took a sip after one of the guards had gulped his down in one breath. You can never be too cautious.
She smiled when Jack won.
She was grinning ear to ear at his next victory.
“He’s good, isn’t he, Uncle?”
“Shuddup or leave.”
The lady, whose name turned out to be Daryl, didn’t shut up, but instead got very into the game, cheering her uncle on when she thought he was winning, and giggling and cheering Jack on the rest of the time. Aside from being a bit obnoxious, Jack thought it would be fun to have her around to watch chess games because she got so into it. Chess must run in this family.
The sun was getting low in the sky and Jack was getting tired. His nerves were wearing out and he was not used to being this hungry. Mom would be wondering where he was. He wished he had told someone where he was going. His eyes and hands played chess while his mind was elsewhere.
“Again.” said his opponent, causing Jack to realize that he’d won again.
But as they were arranging the pieces, Daryl interrupted. “Let me play him, Uncle. Just one game. And you can take a short break.”
“Oh, alright.” The big man got up and Daryl took his place.
Her strategy was less refined than her uncle’s, less predictable. Though she was less skilled, Jack always found her type of chess player a tiny bit harder to beat. So he played more attention. He noticed after a few minutes that her queen was taller than usual and made a special effort to capture it before winning.
A small folded scrap of paper way stuck to the bottom of the queen. When the girl’s uncle wasn’t looking, he unfolded and read the small handwriting on the scrap.
When I make a scene—run away through the house it read.
After two more games between Jack and her uncle, Daryl said, “Oh, I don’t feel so well.” Her uncle ignored her.
A moment later she gave a little gasp and an ‘oh—ohhh’ and fell to her knees looking pale. Her uncle jumped up and the guards rushed forward and Jack ran.
But one of the guards saw him and was after him.
Jack flung open the back door of the porch and found himself in a large hallway. Before, the man had led him onto the back porch from an outside gate. The house was a mansion and Jack had no idea which way to go. He paused long enough to close the door behind himself.