His Sneer by Marian Myers

I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I’m nervous. This isn’t the sort of position I usually find myself in. I’m locked in one on one combat with the dour-looking individual now facing me. I would say that it’s come down to just the two of us in this cavernous building, but he’s backed up by an impressive entourage of acolytes, each in thrall to him. I’m here facing him on my own, apart from the few impartial witnesses who have bravely gravitated to my side.

Remarkably, given the situation, I find myself wondering if anyone has ever seen him smile and, for some reason, I allow my gaze to roam over his face. He stares back at me, as if he can read my mind. I reflect that he probably can. That’s how he’s managed to survive for so long.

We wait. His blue eyes are as hard as ice and his pock-marked face twists into a slight sneer. I know he’s certain I’m going to back down. I’m equally certain I won’t have to. I’m also actually rather impressed with myself. People don’t usually manage to defy him for very long. That’s how he’s built his fearsome reputation. I take a deep breath and start to raise my hand.

Is it my imagination, or do I hear another breath from somewhere inside this building? You can certainly feel the tension in the air. No one else moves. I look at him once more. I know he believes I’m going to surrender.

“It’s not me, it’s you.” I say, answering my opponent’s sneer with a smile as I lower my hand.

Black Queen to H5. Check mate. And his sneer disappears.

Published in Issue #26

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