The Game #36

Edward stared at Darius.  His gaze was not as intimidating as George’s, but most players still wilted in its light.  Some players had said they could feel Edward getting inside their heads.  It could be very unnerving for an inexperienced player.  Edward was not sure how long Darius had been playing, but he didn’t remember seeing him in any of the major tournaments. 

Darius sat and studied the board for a few moments, then said, “I call.” 

Edward turned over the two kings showing the ace high flush.  He had to force himself to breathe as Darius turned over his cards.  Queen-jack of hearts.  Edward’s flush was better.  That took Darius down to less than two thousand chips.  One more good hand should just about do it.

“Well done, Mr. Teraneau”, said Darius.  “Very well-played, indeed.  It would seem you have me at a grave disadvantage now.”

Darius’ tone never changed.  He could just as well have been wishing Edward happy birthday.  Edward found it annoying and a little unsettling.  The man had the emotional range of a jellyfish.  George was known for being stoic, but there was still the flash of a smile when he won or the way his brow furrowed on a bad beat.  Darius didn’t seem to care about the game one way or the other.  Edward’s reverie was broken by the rumbling of water filling the pipes to the cells.

Ginger and Angela both ran to their loved ones’ cells as the water began to rise.  Scott had taken off his Doc Martins to tread water and Gary had slipped off his wingtips.  The two women were both screaming for Darius to stop the water.  Angela hit the glass hard enough to shatter several bones in her right hand.

“Darius!” Angela screamed.  “Stop it!…… my God, he’s only a boy…. take me instead”  Her sobbing rendered the rest of her words unintelligible.

Ginger put her hand on the glass and Gary matched it.  She watched until the water rose over his head, then turned away, fell to the floor and hid her face in her hands.  She could not watch as Gary’s life ended in a telltale burst of bubbles and he joined the previous victims.  Angela pounded and clawed at the glass of Scott’s cell, her hands bloodied and battered.  The water reached the ceiling and Scott’s struggles became frantic, then ended.  Angela turned back toward the table.

“You killed my son”, she said.  “You killed him, in cold blood for your own amusement and now I’m going to kill you.”

Angela almost made it to the table before the bracelet went off.  Where it had completely incapacitated the other players, Angela bent over a little, but continued walking toward the table.  Edward looked at Darius.  His expression was largely unchanged, but the tic was back in his left eye.  She had him worried.  His fancy pain bracelet was not stopping her as it had the others.  Edward saw Darius give a nod in the direction of the doorway and four men entered the room.  Two of them picked Ginger up off the floor and carried her away.  The other two grabbed Angela’s arms as if to escort her out.  As soon as the first man touched her, Angela spun around screaming and caught him with an unexpected elbow to the throat.  He went down to the floor in a heap.  This surprised the second man who then took a step backwards.  Angela lashed out with her right foot and caught him solidly in the groin.  He joined his partner on the floor. 

Edward looked again at Darius.  There might be ever so small a chink in the armor.  Edward had to admit he was surprised at the turn of events as well.  Surely Darius knew more about them than their poker histories?  He had managed to kidnap not only the top poker players in the world, but their family members as well.  Surely somewhere in Angela’s file they would have noted that she was a black belt in several martial arts disciplines.  The combination of her training and the loss of her son had turned her into a one woman wrecking crew. 

Several more men came through the doorway.  For their trouble, one was given a broken kneecap, one several broken fingers and one a broken jaw courtesy of a spin kick from Angela’s left foot.  The electric bracelet was barely slowing her down as more of Darius henchmen poured into the door way.  Angela, it would seem, was a force to be reckoned with; one Darius had vastly under estimated.


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