Beyond the Zero

Written by Brian Davis and performed by Liz Pearse

I. Silent Extinction

She lays her hand on the table: Lens, Tower, Moon. Eyes too sharp, teeth too white, hair too dark. My reflection in a twilight waterfall. Homunculus on her shoulder bobs and twitters in expectation.

My turn.

The game is always fluid, never static, but offers only two endings. Victory is gray and lonely peace; defeat is pain and terror and dark.

I lay my hand on the table: Fish, Well, Swan. Hoping it is enough. That the rules favor me this time.

No such luck.

II. North-Without-End

Down a stony hallway, damp with age. A new game awaits. Chameleon cards flicker, flash, shimmer. She explains the new rules, but does not sit. Solitaire.

The teeth in her smile fight. Her eyes unfocused. Reflection disturbed by a stone. Glares at the homunculus as she walks away.

I lay one card upon another, and new shapes appear on them both. Fragments of landscape and sunlight. A third card casts light in strange glyphs. I begin my task.

III. Every Sunset is a Battle

Cards change, shuffle, multiply themselves, rules and goals constantly in motion. A tapestry weaves itself from the dance of images; the cards tell their story. Every new piece of the puzzle a victory.

She watches sometimes, as she does now. Her eyes, her smile, in flux too. Homunculus fading.

Two cards laid side by side, another on top. A new card forms; something not seen in the game before. I know it is not mine.

I turn and place it in her hand. Her smile shatters in shock, her eyes yearn for an answer why.


IV. The Silence of the Sun

No more walls. No more cards. The game is finished, the puzzle completed. I walk free, towards new games of my own making. A grand unified theory of me.

She sits at the table, playing her own game now. We exchanged one last look, one last card. A dawn reflection in a placid lake. I hope that the rules favor her this time.

No more cards. Only doors.

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