By Rafique Shabbir
The storm was at its peak. Not a single living person dare set foot on ground that night. The winds were howling, the branches were cracking, and trees leant back and forth again and again.
At the heart of the dark forest, there was a wooden cabin which illuminated the entire area around it. Entering the cabin doors, to the left there was an old couch and TV, in the right-hand corner a small kitchen (which also served as the dining room), with a table and two sets of chairs occupied by two human beings.
One of them was an old, wrinkly, short man with a small build. The other, a young, tall and lean man. The two men were both staring down, concentrating on the chess board. They were in the middle of an intense game.
The old man sat patiently, yet eagerly, as he waited for his next turn, looking to put a conclusion to the game. The younger one sat nervously, sweating as he tried to figure out how he was going to get out of the mess he had fallen into. As he raised his hand, he put it towards one of the chess pieces. The storm seemed to have also calmed down at that moment. The young one grabbed the piece, about to lift up, he looked at his opponent who didn’t show any sign of interest. On the inside, though, the old man could hardly contain his excitement. He had fallen right into his trap, victory felt so close… The young man, just about to finish his turn, was interrupted by a loud knock at the door.
“Who on earth could that be?” said the old man, frustrated.
Little did the two men know that the events that would follow would change their lives forever…
“Who could be at the door at this time of night, George?” asked the old man.
There was another knock at the door.
“I don’t know, Greg. Should we open it?” asked George, looking worried.
There was another knock at the door.
“Go ahead. Open it” said the old man.
George was about to go towards the door, but turned around and looked at the chess pieces and then to Greg. “Don’t mess with any of the pieces. We don’t want you to have an unfair advantage, now would we?”
“Why would I have any reason to change them when I’m already winning?” Greg smiled.
“Yeah, right. But seriously, though, don’t do anything while I go answer the door” replied George. Greg still sat there still smiling.
Just then, there was a louder knock at the door.
“Alright, I’m coming!” yelled George towards the door. He took one final glance at Greg, and proceeded towards the door. George made it towards the door. He put his hand on the doorknob and twisted it and pulled it towards him. The wind forced its way through the door, and the cold air set about the room. There was a violent pattering of raindrops, thunder erupted several times, each louder than the one before it.
There stood on the front doorstep a man who wore dress shoes, a black suit, and tie, his black hair drenched so that they covered most of his eyes and his white pale face. He stood in a slump, and his hands were playing with something in his pocket. He craned his neck to look up at George, who was at least half a head taller than him. He didn’t say anything.
“H-Hello,” said George. “Can I, uh help-” He got no further. In a fraction of a second the man in front leapt and took his hands out of his pockets. George found his neck was being clutched by cold, frail hands, the nails digging into his flesh as he was violently shoved forward into the cabin.
The man quickly kicked the door behind to close it. He made a movement with his hands towards his pocket again and then out.
George could feel something icy cold touching the bottom of his neck.
Greg sprang up from his chair but stopped.
“Hands in the air!” The man yelled. “Or I’ll shoot him,” he said gesturing towards the gun pointed at George.
Greg did as he was told. Both he and George stared at each other with terrified expressions. How were they going to get out of this one, their expressions were saying.