?

Log in

No account? Create an account
 
 
09 October 2012 @ 11:36 pm
Original Fiction: "Miscalculation"  
Title: Miscalculation
Fandom: Original Fiction
Author: HalfshellVenus
Rating: PG
Summary: Don't bargain with Death…
Author's Notes: For the writerverse Quick Fic #6 challenge ("Luck of the Draw").

x-x-x-x-x

You didn't bargain with Death, they said, not via prayers or desperate promises or even a future gambled on the outcome of sequences hidden in a deck of cards.

Richard knew that, of course, but his wife was hopelessly ill. None of the consequences could possibly be worse.

He chose poker, noticing how coolly the man with the merciless eyes agreed. Two hands up, then three down, and finally everything rested on the next round of play.

"Triple aces," Richard crowed, laying down his cards with unbearable relief.

The other man nodded, presenting his own cards with no flourish but finality: "Royal flush." He watched Richard tremble and break out in a sweat.

"What—"

"Your wife is already dead, with your fingerprints on the knife, and the police have been summoned to your house.

"So tell me, Mr. Weitrecht… what will you wager now to keep your situation from getting worse?"


-------- fin --------

 
 
 
theun4givablestheun4givables on October 10th, 2012 07:00 am (UTC)
Motherfuckin' oops.

I love "deal with the Devil" stories. They never cease to amuse me and you did a good job with this one, especially since it's so short. People sometimes love to draw these sorts of things out, to really have the reader be on edge -- but you manage to do that without having to draw it out, either. And I really like that.

Also don't mind me 2:30am posting because my child decided now was a good time to throw a fit. :D
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on October 10th, 2012 05:07 pm (UTC)
They never cease to amuse me
Same here!

First there's the idea of entering into a trust-agreement with an inherently untrustworthy being.

But second, the human involved usually tends to think "too small." What you're betting to win is not necessarily the obverse of what you'll lose. There's a tendency to assume that (simplistic thinking), but really... what's in it for the Devil if your losing leaves things at the status quo. ;)

Ack, 2:30 fits! Was this the baby, or an older child? Not that it really matters when you're up and all o_O anyway.
theun4givablestheun4givables on October 10th, 2012 05:13 pm (UTC)
Yes, exactly! That's exactly why I love these types of things. :)

A three year old, and teething, I suspect. He has one more 2 year molar to get. He's a slow teether and always has been, but this one is taking foreverrrrrrrr.
Lose 10 Pounds of Ugly Fat...  Cut Off Your Head.n3m3sis42 on October 10th, 2012 11:08 am (UTC)
Whoa. That didn't go the way he expected at all. I really liked how you took a "rock bottom" situation and made it swiftly worse with a very small number of words. Brevity is not a thing I'm good at and it always impresses me.

One thing I wondered, though - does a man whose wife is desperately and terminally ill even care that much if he ends up in jail? She would've been dead anyway. In the long term, he probably doesn't want life in prison and will want to move on. But in the moment, how much would it matter to him? It probably depends on the individual and also I haven't had my SynthBrew so feel free to ignore me. :)
(Deleted comment)
Lose 10 Pounds of Ugly Fat...  Cut Off Your Head.n3m3sis42 on October 10th, 2012 11:51 am (UTC)
I still think it depends on the person, in the moment. Do they have kids? I mean, if my kid were dying I wouldn't care about anything else. There is no way you could make that worse in the moment unless I didn't get to be with him until the end.
(Deleted comment)
Lose 10 Pounds of Ugly Fat...  Cut Off Your Head.n3m3sis42 on October 10th, 2012 12:40 pm (UTC)
Yes, that's why I said it depends on the individual. If kids are involved, then you would immediately worry about them. If not, it depends on the person whether there is anything worse in the moment than your partner dying. For some, I don't think the thought of jail, suspicion, not being abke to date again, etc would make it any worse in the moment.

Edited at 2012-10-10 12:41 pm (UTC)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on October 10th, 2012 05:11 pm (UTC)
One thing I wondered, though - does a man whose wife is desperately and terminally ill even care that much if he ends up in jail?

Rebecca pointed out a lot of arguments I could have made, so I'll stick with the sense of implied shame on top of the trouble awaiting him. The public perception of the situation will rob him of his chance to grieve, and it will put him in a place where if he hits the rock-bottom desire to vacate life... it will now be MUCH more difficult for him.

As sad and miserable as the outcome was already going to be, this twist removes all his forward choices. To me, that would definitely be worse!

This is brief, but longer than the drabble I was first aiming for. But it had all the details I wanted, and the setup, so there was no point in trimming it by 50% more.
(Deleted comment)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on October 10th, 2012 05:17 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Unfortunately, brevity is more my skill than length, which makes big stories SUCH a challenge.

I was aiming for 100 words with this one (an exact drabble), but decided there was too much important detail I would lose in shrinking it further. Still, at 152 words, it's a micro-story all the same.

Thanks for reading!
cindytsuki_no_bara on October 10th, 2012 05:46 pm (UTC)
yeah, death always wins, one way or the other. this read like it wanted to be a drabble, but there's slightly too much for a hundred words. it's good the length it is!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on October 10th, 2012 05:57 pm (UTC)
It DID want to be a drabble, but it ran over and there was too much detail I didn't want to sacrifice.

So instead, it's an awkward length of no significance. BUT... it has all of the story I wanted to tell. :D
cindy: misc fictsuki_no_bara on October 10th, 2012 06:57 pm (UTC)
if you'd been able to cut out a couple of words, it could've been a drabble and a half.... at least "ficlet" covers a lot of ground.
whipchickwhipchick on October 10th, 2012 09:18 pm (UTC)
I always thought The Devil Went Down to Georgia was a little too pat :)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on October 10th, 2012 11:50 pm (UTC)
:D Me too. I mean, traditionally he has neither been stupid nor especially honorable.

Why would he enter into a deal with anyone where, should he win, he gets nothing more than he already had to begin with? ;)
unwritten_museunwritten_muse on October 17th, 2012 05:23 pm (UTC)
Miscalculation indeed. :) Not that I get satisfaction out of someone else's troubles, but it always works for me when the person who thinks they've worked everything out suddenly learns they really didn't. It's the kind of thing where you see that someone honestly believes nothing could be worse than their current situation, and you're sitting there thinking lots of things could be worse but you know they're still going to go down the wrong path because their emotions are too strong to see straight. The creep factor carries through the entire piece really effectively.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on October 17th, 2012 05:31 pm (UTC)
The creep factor carries through the entire piece really effectively.

That is especially nice to hear! We know Richard thinks he knows who he's dealing with, but I was hoping readers would realize that he was dangerously, horribly wrong.

Thanks so much for reading and commenting! You're doing team_prose proud!