Chess: No Concession

Panic clawed at my belly. A drop of sweat slid into my eye, burning fire.

I blinked, rubbing my eye with the ball of my hand, then turned my attention back to the board. There had to be a way out of this mess. There was too much at stake. She was at stake. If I lost, she would lose more.

Do you concede? The demon’s smile was knowing and malicious.

I shook my head, not trusting my own voice enough to speak. I would never concede — and I think the demon knew that.

I examined the board, playing out as many moves in my head as I could, calculating probabilities and positions. Almost without exception, each result ended in loss for me. I tried to keep my face expressionless, but some of what I felt must have reached my eyes because the demon’s Chesire grin widened.

And then, I saw it. A slim hope, but it was enough for a plan to take shape in my mind. It was risky, but then this whole damn game was risk. It was time to go for broke.

I reached out my hand.

The demon’s eyes narrowed.

I made my move.

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