full screen background image
  Table of contents Issue Twenty AHEAD OF THE GAME



lastic figurines stood in front of Tom on black and white squares not much wider than his pinky. If white won the game, he would plant a loving kiss on Sarah’s head, which rested on a pillow matching the light pink walls. But if black won, he would get off the edge of the mattress resting on the floor and take the baby for an early morning walk. He played both sides.

Playing a game of chess to make small decisions, he had decided long ago, would keep him in good shape; it is too easy to forget the game. Good practice makes for a good player, Tom remembered reading when he first met Sarah. She was a waitress at a local burger joint, earning less than minimum wage, and he her customer and admirer.

Sarah looked like the popular girl in high school that everyone wanted to know. She looked perfect to him, even after the birth of her baby which, when Tom noticed it in its grandmother’s arms in a nearby booth one afternoon, only made him want Sarah more. He was always the fatherly type, and something about the young waitress assured him that she was different than the other girls.

Now the two were together in a dingy room decorated with cheap, floral photos, the best Sarah could afford. Tom didn’t avert his gaze from the board, realizing that black had the game when the first pawn fell. The current game, he decided, should be ended promptly with white surrendering. His travel-sized chess set, the only one he owned, had seen disuse in the months between this break-in and the last.

A damn shame, Tom thought, putting the set into his knapsack.

Stepping over Sarah’s dismembered body, he went in search of the baby’s room.




Alexander Slotkin is a short story and flash-fiction writer living in South Florida. His work has been published in Literary Juice, HelloHorror, the Mulberry Fork Review, and Blood Moon Rising. Follow this link to see his other published works: https://alexanderslotkinblog.wordpress.com/

The authors published at HelloHorror retain all rights to their work. For permission to quote from a particular piece, or to reprint, contact the editors who will forward the request. All content on the web site is protected under copyright law.