How To Win At Scrabble – A Dark Tale

I laid down the first word.

“Okay, I admit, I got lucky, but… ‘unusual’. I clear my set, so that’s extra points, I think. So I start out the game ahead of ‘u’, and ‘u’, and ‘u’.” Yes, I started out cocky.

Jane, my love, just looked at me with her look, that look – I’m sure you understand what I mean – but the other two, Susie and Al, looked at each other with a different look entirely. Good thing we weren’t playing partners this time.

Al was to my left. “‘Atavist.'” He was not much for words. Well, vocal ones. At least, so I thought.

“‘Music’ – and speaking of that, what’s up with this music?” Jane didn’t mind a few odd songs here and there, but this was some sort of baroque darkwave goth industrial whatever hybrid. I loved it, but she wasn’t too keen.

“It’s Van Helsing. You like it?” Susie looked at Al and they both burst into laughter. I don’t know what about. One of those inside jokes a couple has, I guess. “‘Memory’, not that I cleared my tiles or anything.”

It was back to me. I had diddly. I was looking at ‘CAZXXCOJ’. “I don’t have anything. Not a thing, except a two letter. This sucks.”

Al looked at me. “Are you sure, Edward? Check again. Sometimes it helps if you rearrange the tiles.” Al was being unusually helpful for some mysterious reason. I looked again, and sure enough, it was right there. “Oh, yes, I see something now. ‘Zaxocoxj’.”

Al quickly went next. “‘Zixobrcg'”.

“What? Those aren’t even real w-”

“Look at your tiles, Mrs. Hotspur. You see anything?” Jane looked at Susie, and then back at the tiles.

“‘Yes, here we go. ‘Egjuxxp’. That’s got to be a triple-”

I stared at Jane, jealous of her luck. Susie went next, rather more quickly than Al, with ‘inqukkt’. It was odd that we were all clearing our tilesets each time, and that no one was keeping score. I turned to Susie to ask what the score was.

She looked different. She looked a little pale. Her hair was darker. Her clothes were different. And she was coming on to me, or so I thought. For some reason, my love didn’t object. She just laughed. Everyone laughed.

“So, you fancy our Mr. Hotspur, do you, Suspiria?” I looked at him, not knowing who he was talking about at first. He looked a little different too. White, with black hair and different clothes. I couldn’t quite place it.

“Alucard, there’s no need to be so formal in front of our guests, is there? Especially since we will soon be getting to know each other quite well.”

“True, dear. In fact, it’s starting already.” I looked at both of them, and then at my wife. But in the center of the board, between us all, some trick of the light made me think there was some sort of hole forming, like a gate, or a portal. Jane looked on in horror, which I didn’t understand until I saw the silver lines going from the portal to her head, face and hands.

“I thought so, ‘Susie’ and ‘Al’, but it won’t work. Each of us has a deflecting stone. Any action you take against us will reflect back on you and destroy you.”

“Ah, Mr. Hotspur, but you see, the runes you placed negated the stones.”

“Runes? I see no – wait, no, how can that be?”

“The word you placed – it is an ancient word of negation. It doesn’t matter that it worked against me. We only needed two spells. Alucard cast the one that gave you those letters. My spell made you forget they were runes, and forget what they meant. It doesn’t matter that we had the same runes, and that we forgot them. Once you placed your word, the spell was broken for us. And once Jane placed hers, the binding began. We only needed her. You will do our bidding with her in our thrall.”

I was caught. Why had I not foreseen this? I had to think fast, but my head was fuzzy. I felt sleepy. The dark couple were now quickly laying more runes, filling the board with power. I attempted to pull out my holy stakes, but they were deflected. I could not act against them. I just looked at my dear love, who stared at me expectantly, obviously in severe pain.

“I’m sorry, honey. I am so sorry I led you to this. I thought we could handle them. I don’t know what to do.”

She whimpered, regained some resolve, looked me in the eye and said “Just do what you always do when you lose at Scrabble.”

My first reaction was to be indignant. How could she mention that at a time like-

Oh. I realized what she meant. The two vampires may have done an end run around our deflecting stones, but they left the back door open. I couldn’t harm them, but…

I stood up, grabbed the board and flung it across the room. Jane recovered immediately, took out her holy stake, and tapped Alucard right there. She never liked him, not even a little. Suspiria looked a little shocked, but then, she shouldn’t have pissed Jane off. I, on the other hand, couldn’t leave it without a parting shot.

“You put a little of yourself in everything you do, don’t you, you bloodsucking Martha Stewart.” She was powerless, her power having mostly disappeared with the portal, but she had enough gall to give me a dirty look.

“Yeah, well fuck you too.” I tapped her. Twice. Once for each ventricle.

“I’ll miss you most of all, you fucking bitch.” Jane turned to me. “I wonder if they left us the house in their will?”

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