Not a First Round Knockout
This is just a two parter. So here is the last chapter. Same disclaimers apply.Not a First Round Knock-out
Sydney thought of her oldest ghost and said, “My fiance was killed because of what I did.”
The woman nodded. “My boyfriend became a serial killer because of what I did.” She took the shot. “I killed my boyfriend, but he was my ex at the time.”
Sydney smiled grimly, “Me too. Do we both drink?”
“Was he going to end the world?”
“No.” Sydney wondered if she was being metaphorical.
“My shot. Your story.”
Sydney thought of Vaughn. “I couldn’t be with the one I loved or everyone I knew would be killed.” Technically she could now, but in the past that wasn’t always so and the scars that burden made were still on her heart.
“I couldn’t be with my true love or everyone I knew and many people I didn’t would be killed.” The woman refilled the shotglass and drank it in one gulp. “My sister was regularly kidnapped by people who wanted to use her to destroy everything.”
I have her on this one, Sydney thought. “My sister was regularly kidnapped because she was the mystical key to discovering how some loony’s apocalypse plan.”
The woman’s eyes narrowed at Sydney’s description of her sister. For some odd reason, that wasn’t enough to win this round.
“She was kidnapped and tortured by her father.” Sydney added. The woman shrugged and pushed the shotglass toward Sydney. If the microbrew had kick, this had rocket fuel.
“What is this stuff?” Sydney gasped.
“You don’t want to know. Just be glad it isn’t the cocktail version.” The woman glared at Billy down the bar. “Your turn.”
“My best girlfriend turned evil, tried to kill me and my other best friend and became a terrorist.” Technically Francie hadn’t turned evil, she had been killed and a double been put in her place, but it still felt that way.
“My best girlfriend turned evil and tried to kill everyone living.” She reached for the shotglass.
Sydney stopped her. “Did she succeed?”
“What do you mean?”
“Did she succeed? How many people did she really kill?” That question seemed to hit too close to home. “Tie?” Sydney suggested. “We both drink?”
“Ok.” She took the shot, refilled and handed the glass to Sydney.
Sydney gasped again at the fire and croaked out her next story. “My best guy friend was almost killed more than once and finally had to enter the witness protection program because of me.” Sydney wondered where Will was.
“My best guy friend was almost killed more than I can count and lost his eye because of me.”
Will was still whole, so Sydney nodded in defeat. The woman threw back her winnings.
“I lived a double life. I tried to have a normal one, but I also had my job and I couldn’t tell anyone what it was.” More than a little self pity was in the woman’s statement. “I am down to just my job now.”
“There was a time I lived a triple life. My normal one in school, my job that I couldn’t tell anyone about or they would be killed and my second job that spied on my first job. But in all fairness, I am down to mostly one now too.”
“Triple beats double every game I know.” As Sydney took her shot, the woman eyed her as if trying to figure out if she was lying. Whatever she saw must have satisfied her because she nodded for Sydney to start the next story.
“I ended the biggest fight of my life and woke up three years later not knowing where I was. Everyone had moved on without me.”
“I ended the hardest fight of my life and woke up buried alive. I dug myself out and into hell.”
“I’ve been buried too.” Sydney tried to win the round, although why she wasn’t sure. What had gotten into her that she needed to prove her life was more screwed up than anyone else?
“Same story?” The question was asked with both sorrow and smuggness. At Sydney’s headshake, the woman declared, “I win,” and drank.
Sydney lost count of the rounds. Betrayal, battles, parents, worst case senarios, they covered it all. Sydney once or twice came too close to being specific when they came to the topics of government and prophecies, but the woman never batted an eye. It was becoming daylight when the bottle of extra special was finally empty, most of it in the woman.
Despite her size, the blonde was only now just drunk. “I see we have reached the end of our little game.” She jiggled the bottle to prove it was empty.
“Xanderfriend,” she slurred her words. “I won.”
The man in the corner got up and came over. Sydney’s mind catalogued that the black band she had noticed when she first came in held an eye patch over his left eye and she remembered one of the woman’s stories.
“Yes, you did.” His tone was sad.
“Don’t be sad. My life is good for something. I have proved to this woman that her life isn’t so bad.” The woman smiled drunkenly and then frowned. “Course that means that my life is probably the worst on the planet ‘cause man this lady got stories.”You have at that,
thought Sydney sluggishly to both of the statements.
“I’ve got to haul this one home. Can I take you too?”
Sydney nodded and mumbled her hotel’s name. It might not have been the smartest thing to do, but she wasn’t going to call Vaughn to come get her. Not in this state and not on this side of town.
Later, after a bottle of tylenol, Sydney wished she had gotten their names so she could look them up, see if any of the half-remembered stories the woman told were true. But after the hangover, she decided it was for the best it was anonymous. The woman had given her what she had needed – the realization that bad can always get worse and she didn’t have it that bad at all.
Of course, this was before the briefing a few months later about a new terrorist group calling themselves the Council. Two of the leaders were a short blond woman and a dark haired man with an eye patch.
If anyone wants to springboard into a story from here, please do so. Hope you enjoyed this little game.