Mists of Time

As the mists swirled around them they joined hands and staggered forwards....or was it backwards?

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9. Over the Chess board

In the library Mai and Tom faced each other over the inevitable chess board. Tom was studying the board with interest. He could see a way to get checkmate in a couple of moves. Smiling he looked up. He saw the faintest glimmer of realisation on Mai’s face. She’d just realised it as well. Her face settled back to that stare, the one that made fathoming her out more difficult.   

Tom’s hand hovered over the board, he looked down. If he moved his pieces now, she’d lose. However if he moved the other way he’d be out of position and might lose. In his mind two thoughts passed through. He looked again at Mai. Then he moved his piece the other way. Mai’s face changed to one of consternation. She looked up at Tom, who quickly lowered his head.  

‘Why did you do that ?’ she asked.  

‘What ?’  

‘You could have won there, but you didn’t’  

Tom looked up and saw the anger on her face.  

‘Sorry I didn’t realise’  

‘Ok’ Mai said still looking into his face. Her facial expression changed back to its usual hard to read state. She sat silently for a moment contemplating the board. Then she looked down at her watch. Mai was one of the few girls who ever wore a watch.   

‘I’m off’ she said raising herself up from her chair and walking towards the door.   

‘Bye, see you later ?’ Tom almost whispered.   

He continued to look at the closing door. What had happened? He’d obviously offended her by not winning. He felt as though he wanted to kick himself.  

‘Shit’ he said rather too loudly. Suddenly Tom realised what he’d said. Every face in the library was looking towards him. A few Year 7 started to laugh. He looked across at the librarian who was shaking her head.  

He quickly cleared everything into the box and quickly placed it on the desk before nearly running towards the door.   

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