A Few Quiet Drinks Interlude: Sand
Rating/Spoilers: G/Technically for "They keep killing Suzie", but everyone knows it anyway...
Summary: There was nothing but black sand as far as the eye could see.
Part 1: Myfanwy & Fish
Part 2: Hex
The sand under her was firm, a deep black under the bleak whiteness of the sky. She got to her feet slowly, lifting a handful of the sand and letting it run through her fingers. It was dry and warm. She brushed the last of it from her palm, looking around her new surroundings.
The light was bright and harsh although she couldn't see the sun. The sky was just a solid, blinding white, illuminating the blank canvas of the landscape. There was nothing but black sand as far as the eye could see.
Slowly, she turned, following the horizon, eyes straining in the emptiness. Halfway round, she stopped, smiling at the objects that had been behind her all the time. Two chairs were arranged either side of a low table, on which sat a chess set. As she moved closer, she was vaguely disappointed to see that the pieces were plain, not ornately carved in strange and grotesque figures as she'd expected.
She took the seat on the white side of the board, reaching out and running a finger down one of the pieces. It was as cold as ice. She sat for a while, staring at the horizon and waiting.
She raised her eyebrows at the cowled figure. "Well, you're more or less what I expected."
"I didn't see you last time, though, did I?"
"And this time," she gestured to the board, "we have a game to play."
The cowl dipped as Death bent his head to look at the board.
"AH, YES. CHESS IS TRADITIONAL." Somewhere in the deep blackness of his eye sockets, a blue light flared. "UNFORTUNATELY, I DO NOT PLAY CHESS."
Suzie smiled. "Does that mean I'm going to win?"
Death tilted his head.
"AH. YOU MISUNDERSTAND. I DID NOT MEAN THAT I CANNOT PLAY CHESS."
He reached into the recesses of his robe and pulled out an hourglass which he set in the middle of the board. Looking at it, Suzie saw that it was in fact two hourglasses, held side by side in the same frame. The sand in both of them had run out.
"I MEANT THAT I WILL NOT PLAY CHESS," Death said, reaching down and retrieving his scythe from the sand.
"I thought there would be a game," Suzie protested. "A final game. A last chance to win."
"THERE WAS," Death told her, "BUT NOW THERE ARE NO MORE GAMES."
A flicker from the board caught Suzie's eye and she looked down. One of the black pieces was moving, its tiny robe fluttering as it stood upright. Before she could react, it leapt onto the top of the hourglasses and down again, grabbed the white queen and retreated as quickly as it had come.
"Hey!" Suzie shouted, as the tiny, skeletal figure took up its perch on Death's shoulder.
Ignoring her, Death rose, black cloak unfurling around him. He turned to go, then paused, looking back at the board. Carefully, he reached out and lifted the black knight between two boned fingers, moving it three squares forwards and one to the side. The skeletal rat nodded.
"THAT'S WHAT I THOUGHT. VERY CURIOUS." He looked up at Suzie again. "YOU DO NOT HAVE TO STAY HERE."
"What am I supposed to do?"
"THAT DECISION IS NOT MINE," he said, "BUT, THIS TIME, IT WILL BE FINAL."
Suzie watched as he stalked away, his robe fluttering in the non-existent breeze. Then she got to her feet, turning round slowly again as she'd done at first, as though assessing the empty scenery. By the time she turned full circle, the table, chairs and chess board were gone. Nodding to herself, Suzie lifted her head, fixed her eyes on the horizon and began to walk.
Part 3: Ook