#finishthatthought – “Doomsday… Check!”

Alissa Leonard has created the Finish That Thought” Flash Fiction compo, which usually provides an opening line and some ‘special challenge’ words to include, and must be less than 500 words. This week’s compo opening line was “One minute remained on the timer.” and the special challenge words were: twin[s], doctor[s], and luminescent[scence].

Here is my story, if you don’t want to see it posted in its original place:

Doomsday… Check!

by Dr. Mike Reddy (@doctormikereddy) [272 words]

One minute remained on the timer.

“Bishop to Queen’s Knight Four. Check.”

The US President gently switched the ticking to the other side of the table. The left hand clock still had four, maybe five minutes before the minute hand would let the metal flag fall. Under the dim lights, the twin luminescent dials glowed ominously, as the Soviet Premier’s doctor fussed over him.

“Nyet, nyet!” the most powerful man in the World said, with an impatient wave. “Queen takes Bishop. I am surprised at you.” He started the right hand clock again.

“I like living close to the edge, Comrade. Knight to King’s Bishop Three. Check.”

Still time. Still a tiny sliver of the hand holding up the red flag.

“Ahh… Bishop takes knight. You are being kind to me, I think.” The second hand started its slow sweep again, like Death’s Scythe reaping.

“Rook to King eight. Check.” Only mere seconds must remain. With every tick of the Premier’s clock, the President’s flag bounced a little. The most powerful man of the Free World willed it to stay up just a little longer.

The Premier laid his hand on the chess clock, pausing both clocks. “I see now the game you are playing. Each sacrifice. Each attack. Each loss. All meaningless. All done just to…” he searched for the right words.

“…to keep the Red Flag flying!”

The Premier slapped the table, spilling both his vodka and the President’s Jack Daniels.

“And so… we talk disarmament, yes?”

The President looked at both clocks, then smiled. His opponent had not noticed the red flag had fallen.

“I think we have time.”

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