On a table in the street, a man and a boy play chess.

Or this is what everyone sees. This is how their minds process the unprocessable. All of space and time ripples around them; the whole universe rests upon a knife edge.

The boy smiles and makes a move. If you could see him without going mad, you would see a dark, timeless thing spreading through eternity.

“Your move,” he says.

The man leans forward in thought, contemplating his move. He can see what is beneath the chessboard, the real challenge that he is facing. He can see backwards and forwards and sideways and a hundred other ways that you cannot.

The universe holds its breath.

And casually, he moves his queen.

“Checkmate,” he says.

The boy glowers and stomps away, his tantrum shaking the heavens.

The universe has been saved and all anyone saw was a chess game.

Word Count: 150

This is for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers. Thanks to Priceless Joy for running the challenge and Iain Kelly for providing the prompt photo!

  1. yarnspinnerr says:

    Excellent take. Loved this one.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Iain Kelly says:

    Nice take, leaves the reader with lots of possibilities as to who they were….

    Liked by 1 person

  3. sailajaP14 says:

    A potential disaster averted! Leaves you wanting to know more.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Very creative take! The readers don’t realize what is at stake until the end. Great story J.A.!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. milliethom says:

    Wow, what an imaginative piece. I’ll never be able to watch a chess game again without wondering… So much at stake, and all being played out unseen. So glad the ‘man’ moved the correct piece and saved the universe! Love the boy’s /dark things’s tantrum at the end.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great use of imagery and loved the words dark and tantrum, both very appropriately placed.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Ameena k.g says:

    “All that we see is not all that there is”, I love the dark undertone this story took. Brilliant!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. michael1148humphris says:

    A great story, loved the undercurrent.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh wow! Now I wonder who that boy is.

    Liked by 1 person

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