Hope Prayers

Two men, one enmity. Two teenage contestants, one love. One scientist, one contestant, one secret. All intertwined into one.

Pad, pad, pad

Brad Shair’s boots hit the ground as he walked towards the laboratory. His
briefcase bumped against his legs. Rain dripped onto the pavement in a gentle
rhythm. “This had better be correct.” He mumbled.

Shair was a scientist. He studied the works of the human brain. He had graying
hair that was once dark and wore small glasses. His white lab coat was soaked
by the time he walked into his laboratory. His periwinkle tie was draped across
his shoulder from the wind. His dark pants clung to his legs and his leather
shoes sloshed across the floor.

Every year, a competition was held for all the different laboratories
that studied the human brain. It had a small game, much like Solitaire. Each
lead scientist, Brad Shair, for example, picked somebody to play. There were a
total of twenty contestants, so, twenty laboratories. One leader, San Bloch,
was Shair’s antagonist. He was considered a cheat. Every year, he entered a
robot into the competition, and every year he won. The robot met all the
requirements of the entrants. Though, no other scientist could make a robot
that could have the same understanding of solitaire as Bloch’s robots do.

Shair rushed down the hall, water dripping off his body. He came to the
end of the hallway and pushed through a pair of double doors. Three people were
sitting in front of three computers: two women and one man.

Mackey Lynden was one of the women. She had blond hair and thin black
highlights running through it. Her long hair was pulled back into a long braid
that draped around her shoulder, lying across her chest. She wore a frilly
white blouse and tattered, blue jeans.

Kristi Mildew was the second woman. She wore a slick, black dress that
ended halfway down her calves. Black hair was cut halfway down her neck and she
wore black heels at the end of her ankle-crossed legs.

Matt Roush was the single male of the computer users. He had slightly
spiked hair that was a color between auburn and rust. He had a red T-shirt with
thin white stripes running horizontally across the shirt. He wore black slacks
and black tennis shoes.

“Welcome back, Shair.” Mackey greeted, not looking up from the computer.

“Thanks Mack. Have we kept an eye on the subject?” Shair answered.

“Yes sir.” Matt confirmed. “She’s playing the test we programmed to the

“Her parents know about this, right?”

“Well, herparentknows.”

“Right, right. Just the father. How has she done?”

“She’s won five out of five games. One more and she’ll meet the third
requirement.” Kristi reported, looking up from her screen. “She’s halfway
through the final game.”

“The music habits?”

“She tends to have more upbeat music. Occasionally sad, but she makes bad
decisions then. The music is usually about love and or family.”

“Hmm. We haven’t had a subject like that before. She had better win this,
or we won’t be able to enter!” Shair sighed. He realized he hadn’t done
anything but stand at the doorway. He walked to a small set of stairs and
climbed them swiftly. He set his briefcase down on a table next to a coffee
machine. He took a cup gratefully, drinking the hot beverage. It warmed him as
it passed through his body. He walked over to a small screen on a bulky
computer counter. Lights flashed and buttons flickered. He typed in a couple
codes and a huge screen lowered from the ceiling.

“Want to see the subject, sir?” Matt asked.

“Yes and the current game.” Shair sat into a chair and pushed back into
it like a recliner.

Two projections appeared on the screen. The projection on the left was of
a girl looking down into the camera. She had hair that fell slightly past her
shoulders, a nice, golden brown color. Her eyes were a light, baby blue with a
tint of gold outside the pupil. She had small, pink lips that were in a slight
frown. Her brows furrowed together as if she were deep in thought.

On the other side, it showed her game. Eight octagons were sitting on a
green screen; four on the first row, four on the second row. The octagons were
all cards of sorts, and the whole premise of the game was very similar to
Solitaire, or otherwise known as Klondike.

“Progress?” Shair asked, never quite understanding the game.

“90% complete.” Kristi replied.

“So, Sila is just about finished, if she completes this?” Shair
questioned, gesturing to the girl on the screen.

“Yes. Now, approximately three moves could give her the win.” Kristi

Sila took a 9 card with 8-2 on top of it and moved it to an open 10.
Next, she moved a king with a queen-3 on top of it to where the 9 had been. She
opened turned over a single card and a small flag appeared in the top middle of
the screen. She smiled and clicked on it: an automatic finish. The cards zipped
to the correct places on the aces at the top of the screen.

“YES!” Shair cheered. He leapt from his chair, fists in the air in
triumph. The computer crew clapped with smiles on their faces. “I’ll go get
Miss Sila and get her into a quick training session.”

“But sir,” Mackey protested. “The competition is tomorrow. She should
just get used to the surroundings, not training. She didn’t even know she was
being observed. Plus, she handled all six games perfectly. As long as no sad
music is played, she’ll do fine.”

Shair sighed and considered the proposition. “Fine.” He agreed. “You’re
right. I’m just overly worried about Bloch. I haven’t entered anyone into the
competition in years. Whoever we observed could not finish the games. I guess
I’m just anxious.” He shook his head and picked up his suitcase with was still
dripping rain water.

“Take the car this time sir.” Matt offered, tossing a small ring of keys
to the professor.

“Thank you, Matthew.” He called over his shoulder as he caught them and
walked out the laboratory.

The End

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