Visit the project website: Click Here
ENDGAME: Act I
“My only question is why.”
“Why can be a powerful question, one that can’t always be so easily answered. You should know this by now. Sit and share one last game with me, maybe we will come to an answer.” the Old Man said, gesturing at the board and the empty seat across from him. I can feel the blood slowly trickling down my arm to my wrist and off each digit of my hand. The bleeding has slowed, but not enough.
Lowering myself gingerly into the offered seat is difficult, as you might imagine, and doing it with a loaded gun clutched in an unsteady hand is not helping the fact. I placed the gun on the side of the board, aimed to the right of the Old Man so as not to tempt fate. A black pawn is already sitting out on the board waiting for its competitor.
“I respect your choice to always be white,” sighed the Old Man. “Sadly, it is not an affectation many can afford to have.”
“You know just as well as I do it’s not a choice with me. I just don’t have it in me”
“Ah...that’s where you’re wrong my boy. You, more than anybody, should know that everyone has it in their nature to be evil.” The Old Man said, grinning sadly. “The human mind, and body, cannot exist without this opposition. Even when we play this game it is simply a distillation of the ongoing struggle we have inside our own shells.”
“We will see, that I can promise you.” I said moving my own pawn out.
“This very nature cannot help but express itself, even in this playful medium...we have played together many times, you should trust me by now on this.” The Old Man said, considering my play.
“Old Man, this will be our last conversation. I would hope that the least you could do was be honest with me.” I said, taking the glass of whiskey he handed to me.
“So this is to be the way of it then? Very well...our time together has meant a great deal to me, and I wouldn’t want you to think that I was not aware of your sacrifices.” He takes a drink, quiet now in his thoughts. I can see his eyes tracing the outline of the gun sitting next to the table. I wonder if he has one stashed away inside his coat; maybe under the table or behind the chair.
“First question: Was Bishop involved?”
“No. There has always been only me.” said the Old Man. He looks sadly at me. “There won’t be anything left of either of us after we’re done here will there?”
“No, there won’t.” I said.
Bishop (Choice 1, part1)
Earlier that day.
“It’s time” I said to Bishop.
“I’m sorry you got involved in this, I truly am. There was no other way.”
“I always had a feeling everything would turn out something like this. I hoped it wouldn’t though. Stupid right?” said Bishop, smiling ruefully.
“There is no shame in hoping for something better. No shame at all.”
“May I say a prayer before you do it?”
“What exactly do you think I brought you here for?”
“I figured I was on your cleanup list. You can’t be free until all the loose ends are gone, right?”
“True. But you’re not on the list. There will be enough bodies to go around, but you have things left to do, just like me.”
He laughs so loud and abruptly it almost scares him, “AHAHAHAHHAHA, Grant you never cease to amaze.” He takes a deep breath, “I’ll say goodbye then.”
“I think that’s a good start.” I said.
ENDGAME: Act II
“What did Castle offer you that finally tempted you to hand me over?” I said watching him take my knight. The play had been a bad one, he had called my bluff. Hesitation and meekness were costing me the game.
“They offered me my freedom. That is all that has ever been withheld from me these past 20 long years.”
“Do you feel no guilt? No sense of loyalty, or betrayal?”
“The day we first met, do you remember what I told you?” He asked without seeming to hear me.
“You told me that there are no constants in this world. Everything is always in a state of change, and the minds attempts at arranging and ordering this chaos are a waste of time.” I replied.
“Ah, it makes me happy that you remember our first encounter so well. And you are correct about what it was I said to you those years ago. But I wonder, did you ever take it to heart?”
“Defeat is not something I will ever ‘take to heart’.”
“You are still young, although you won’t live much longer. I am willing to bet that given enough time you would have eventually come to see the truth in what I taught you.”
“Try to convince yourself of that all you want, but it will never be the truth.”
“Do you reject everything you and I have done, everything we have seen? How can you say it has been anything but what I told you it would be?”
“Our time together is no longer valid...it was founded on loyalty, a loyalty that you broke.”
“Is that your answer?”
The Old Man considered the board and sighed. “Then let’s continue. There is no going back, not ever.”
Castle (Choice 1, part 2)
Earlier that day, again.
“I always knew you were a sneaky son of a bitch, but I never thought you’d manage to get the Old Man on board.” I said, confronting Castle.
“There are virtually no limits to what a person will or won’t do my friend. You should know that better than anybody” he said.
“Did you have approval from the Council?”
“Then you chose your fate.”
“I wouldn’t say that. I chose a side. Say what you will, but at least I’m loyal.”
“There was only ever one man who had my loyalty, and you managed to co-op him with false promises. You were a dead man the minute you chose to obey the Council.”
“There really isn’t any grey with you is there? Always black and white. I wonder if that’s what made you such a useful asset.”
“Your time is up.”
“Go fuck yourself Grant. I mean that from the bottom of my deep, dark heart.”
THE SYNDICATE COUNCIL
“There can be no further doubt as to the danger Heckler poses us. I will not have him underestimated again! Find him, neutralize him, and if it comes to it kill him. This matter needs to be resolved before the next full council session, is that understood?” yelled Council Member Odin.
The cowed heads of the other three council members nodded agreement.
“We can no longer handle this quietly. There will be collateral damage and unwanted attention.” said Council Member Freyja.
“This is of no consequence at this point in the game. Heckler must be dealt with, we cannot afford to let this situation continue any longer.” Council Member Loki responded.
“We are in agreement then. This will be handled and wrapped up by tomorrow evening. We can proceed with finding his replacement as soon as possible.” said Council Member Baldr.
“The Old Man is no longer an asset without Heckler. All in agreement?” Loki said.
A soft knock on the door reverberates in the small space. “Come in.” said Odin.
“Heckler!” screamed Freyja in fear, “You...how...you’re supposed to be dead you bastard!”
Grant approaches the head of the table and stands silently at attention.
“Say something!” Baldr yells desperately, “SAY SOMETHING!”
“You haven’t come to talk have you boy?” said Odin.
“No.” said Grant.
“Then do what you came to do, we can’t stop you. The angel of death visits us all I suppose, no point in crying about it.”
“Goodbye.” said Grant, and pulled the trigger.
ENDGAME: Act III
“They will come for you, there is no escaping that. Reality will come knocking at your door and there won’t be a damn thing you can do to stop it.” He said sighing into his whiskey glass. I almost caught a glimpse of my mentor in that split second, hidden away inside the husk of this beaten man sitting across from me. The thought would have put me in tears if I had any left to shed.
“The council is no longer a functioning entity. They can’t hurt me from hell, not yet anyway.”
“What have you done!?” he gasps.
“You may believe that trying to order the chaos of the world is a waste of time, but I do not. I will go to my grave trying to leave an ordered account of myself for everyone to see.”
“You can’t simply wipe out the council and expect there to be no repercussions. Castle will report this to Central if he hasn’t already.”
“Castle no longer factors into the equation.”
The Old Man smiles and breaks into laughter. “My boy, I’m so proud. Whether you accept it or not, you truly are my heir. A dubious honor, I realize, but there it is.”
“Yes, I see it.”
“Everything could have been so different. Yet you chose this. I would hope that that is punishment enough, but I know it’s not.”
His king moves one space to the right out of my reach again. “You shouldn’t worry about my punishment. I know I chose the wrong side, let my weakness take the lead,” he clasped his hands together and studied the board a final time, “but there is no reality but the present. Finish what you started. Always.”
All dreams must end.