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Rated: E · Fiction · Contest Entry · #1892209
Absorb the wisdom, then decide.
Cade pushed open the heavy door and entered a world of darkness, relieved only by a metallic glow in the corner, where a solitary figure sat, angular face and dark beard turned toward the shifting light. Cade waited. The figure sat silent. Cade moved a step closer and decided to risk a word. “Forgive the intrusion,” he said. “Have you decided?”

The figure remained immobile, then slowly turned toward Cade. “Come closer,” he said with an abrupt nod. “Come.” Cade approached. The figure raised a hand weathered by experience and extended a long, imperious finger toward the light source. “Lie with the enemy, expect blood,” he said.

Cade stood in a pool of uncertainty. “I’m not certain I understand,” he said.

“Feel no empathy, express no sympathy,” said the figure. “Do not identify with your enemy’s intentions. Impose your own. Exploit your enemy’s weakness. Press your advantage, and do not relinquish it, ever. Ever!” The figure turned back toward the light source and Cade followed his gaze.

“Yes, I believe I understand now,” he said. “Shall I make an assumption about what you want?”

The figure turned suddenly and fixed Cade with a fierce gaze. “Yes!” he thundered. “Apply what you know of me! Think! It is unnecessary for you to ask me this question. As I have told you, the key is intelligent anticipation. As it is with your enemy, so it is with me.” The figure turned again to the light source, and Cade knew their exchange was complete.

Cade emerged from the den. Across the room stood his sister, cell phone in hand. “Well, what did he say?” she asked.

“You got me,” Cade replied. “But never ask Dad what kind of pizza he wants while he’s watching a football game.”

(Word count: 294)
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