A man puts his soul on the line in an attempt to save his wife from an evil entity.
|Jack peered over the five cards he held in his slightly trembling hands. The black and red colored symbols on each card seemed to dance before his eyes. A full house. Jack felt his heart skip a beat in his chest as it looked like one of the kings drawn on the card that was at the farthest left of the five seemed to wink, and then continue on with its blank stare towards the ceiling. He shook off the strange thought and slowly shifted his gaze from behind his cards to the three others around him. To his left was the clown, his face covered in pasty white paint oil that seemed slick and shiny under the single burning florescent light above the round oak table. Bright orange hair puffed out from beneath a tall black top hat too small for his head; looking as if it had been forcefully smashed down in an attempt to hide the hair. A round and ruby colored nose hung about a centimeter above a sloppily painted on blue artificial grin that hid the clown’s real lips which were straight and unemotional. The clown’s silver eyes darted around the table, then back to his hand of cards, and then made their way to the enormous beard owned by the man across from him. The beard was home to small twigs and rotting leaves that looked like small creatures trapped in quick sand. The beard sat on the bow of the man’s bulging gut and slithered past the top of the table and lied limp on the dusty concrete floor. The man breathed heavily through wide gaping nostrils, each breathe seeming to make his plump cheeks redder. Jack tried to see the man’s eyes, but the thick framed glasses smudged into his upper face reflected the light from above and all there was were two white circles pointed in the direction of the cards in his thick and callused hands. The man blew out one his huge breathes and it picked up a single dry leaf that had fallen from his beard to the table. The lonely leaf was whipped wildly in the air for no more than a second before landing back on the table in front of the man across from Jack. Jack could not yet make out his face, because he had his five cards up so high that all Jack could see was the identical art painted on the back of the cards. One of the hands that held the cards contained a finger in which a great gold ring sat. Suddenly, the man lowered his cards and looked at the leaf. He had dark eyes which reflected no light. They seemed like tiny black holes which had sucked up his pupils. The man had a thin face with a hard jaw line that looked freshly shaved. His face was slightly tanned and glittered under the light as if he were at the beach on a hot day. At the top of his head was jet black hair that flowed towards his right ear and looked as though it had just been cut. Jack then noticed two small stumps the color of bone surfacing from beneath the man’s hair. Jack could not help himself wonder whether or not at some point those stumps of horns had been much longer, only to had been intentionally cut for this game of cards. Jack felt the man’s gaze move from the leaf to Jack’s transfixed eyes and Jack felt his entire body jolt as if he were in an electric chair and with no hesitation he buried his nose back into his hand of cards.
The silence in the room was so heavy that Jack felt as though he could choke on it when he breathed. A miniscule bead of sweat formed near his temple and he felt his pulse grow faster in his wrist. He knew this was the last hand, all or nothing. Jack had heard millions of stories about people who had gambled away entire life savings on this silly game. He thought back to Mr. Grinnell who had lived across the street from him when he was a young boy. The talk around the neighborhood was that Mr. Grinnell had taken a trip to Las Vegas, and on one wild night he had bet his only son’s college fund on one hand of black jack and lost. Jack knew gambling amounts of money like this was insane, but he wondered if it compared to gambling his soul. At this point he was more desperate than ever and had nothing to his name higher of value to bet. He wished he had a way to communicate with his wife Nicole, and grimaced at the thought of her tied down in some dark pit surrounded by grinning skeletons. He wanted to tell her that everything would be fine and that once the game was over he would take her on a week-long trip to Hawaii and they could lie together on the white sand, listening to the water gurgle and rush up the shore. But he stopped himself from any more positive thoughts because although he had a descent hand, one of the men at the table could have a better one. He had the confidence of a student who did not study for the final exam of a class, but had received A’s on all the tests prior. There was certainly room for an unexpected hand. “We shall now play our final hands.” The man across from Jack spoke. The man’s voice carried well beyond the table and it came out cold enough that the hairs on the back of Jacks neck sprung up like a frightened cat. The final play had come soon enough. The clown looked towards Jack, Jack turned to the man with the glasses as he turned towards the man with stub horns. Each one of them sat still for a moment, then with or without their own self will, all set down what each of them held in their hands. The clown had nothing but a few number cards and one Joker smiling back up to him. As Jack realized the irony of his hand, the clown burst into millions of colorful confetti’s. They glittered for a short while in the air and then slowly descended to the unforgiving floor.