I plugged in my laptop and logged on to my usual websites - checking my facebook, updating my blog and deleting the 93 junk emails that had accumulated during the 2 days I hadn’t been online. After staring at the screen for a good 40 minutes, I sat back and tried hard not to think about the days events. I glanced at my calendar and shivered. I really, really, did not want the evening to end. So I carried on sitting at my desk, idly typing an email to one of my friends that I had left behind. 11pm drew near, and I started playing chess against the computer. Advances were made, and blocked. After pausing to consider moving the knight to E5, I remembered my marble chessboard that my dad had given to me as an 11th birthday present. I kicked aside my hoodie that lay strewn across one of the suitcases, and carefully took out the gilded case that the chessboard came in.
The room grew darker.
I spun around, and breathed a sigh of relief as I realised that the screensaver had popped up on the computer, enveloping the room in a dim light. I switched on the lamp light, and blinked dazedly as the room brightened in a hazy orange glow. I took the chessboard out of its case and set it down next to my laptop. I carefully took out the wonderfully sculptured pieces, and placed them on their designated squares.
“Liam! Darling, wake up - it’s your birthday! Daddy’s got a surprise waiting for you downstairs!”
I sleepily put on my Homer Simpson slippers, and blearily go downstairs. My dad was sitting in the living room, holding what looked like a very heavy present, wrapped in blue shiny paper with gold stars printed on it. I launch myself onto the sofa next to him, and eagerly take the present from him.
“Wow, what is it? Daddy you didn’t get me that playstation did you?? Ooh it’s a…chessboard?”
My dad beamed from ear to ear, and took the case from me.
“ Look Liam, I bet none of your friends will have one of these! It’s real marble, and-”
“But I didn’t want a chessboard! I hate chess! Everyone hates chess! All my friends will laugh at me, and I’m 11, so I should get what I want! And I wanted a playstation!”
My mum stormed into the room.
“What’s all this about? L:iam, you are an ungrateful little so-and-so. Go to your room, and when you’ve spent some time thinking about how lucky you are, come back down and apologize!”
The memory dissolved as a little whirring noise from my laptop made me start. Brilliant. Overheating already. I shut it down, and started to get ready for bed. Midnight already? Mum would probably be asleep by now. I quietly got ready for bed, and made sure to turn the taps off fully in the bathroom next door. Dripping taps would be most unwelcome in my current state of mind. I switched off the lights, and got into my stone cold bed. What was it with this house? Everything was so…cold. As I slowly drifted off to sleep, halfway between reality and dreams, a sudden crash jerked me awake.
I leaped out of bed, and fumbled for the light switch. Damn this house, everything was on the wrong side of the door! I clicked it down, and nothing. I clicked it back up, but the darkness remained. I muttered a curse under my breath, and tried to remain calm. It was just a power cut…these things happen, don’t they? I switched on my laptop, the only source of light I could think of. It eerily lit up half of my room, the other half coated in a deep black.
One of my pieces had fallen onto the floor and shattered. My king. I looked at my board, and saw the queen in the place where the king should have been. The marble glinted in the bright light of my laptop screen, and for a moment, it looked as though the queen was sneering at me.
I picked up the cracked pieces of my king, and bit back a yell as one of the pieces pierced through my skin. I put the broken king back onto the chessboard, and dashed to the bathroom to wash my hand. I came back into my room, and saw the board. The kings pieces were covered in a deep red, and I looked closer.
A wobbly red C.M was written out on the board.