At times when I have time to sit down and write a short story to share with my creative writing group I draw a blank. This is where a deck of inspiring oracle cards is priceless. As a visual person one card or art work can spark an entire story. Other times it may just get the ball rolling and then the ball rolls into oblivion. That’s what happened with this story, Chess. Never fear there is a solution, I whipped out a tarot deck and created a character for the woman in the below picture and her unseen opponent (for more ideas on how to use cards for characterisation read my earlier posts). To get the plot sliding along I used a string of random cards as I got stuck. Here is my unplanned, on the fly flash fiction. (For tarot lovers, my technique notes can be found after the story).
Tarot of Visions by Ciro Marchetti
Sun shone into Selina’s dream eyes. With a stretch, the rose silk sheet was discarded. Ranger, the kitten, caressed her feet. A gift. The fine décor of the room, a poor girl’s dream. Naked, Selina tiptoed to the door and twisted the gold knob – it rattled. On toes she followed the light. Her palms suctioned the window. No budge. Ranger purred from the windowsill. Storeys below, an exception garden and beyond, the wilderness.
Defeated and accepting the feline’s comfort, Selina brought the ball of fluff to her chest. Her eyes capture the chess board in the centre of room, the sun glinting from the crystal pieces, beckoning for her to play her turn. Kingsley had obviously made his move while she had been sleeping.
The game was nearly over. Nearly lost. Perhaps she should have known better when she had accepted the wager. Chained to her work desk 9-5, she craved adventure. Kingsley rode into her life on a steed and offered the world. Eagerly she agreed and her day job disappeared. No more abusive phone calls and imbecile co-workers who didn’t know how to take their calls, thus creating more work and general public vileness.
Kingsley provided his girls with the best. Thrust out of the world of poverty and into the realm of luxury, Selina was positively in awe, her dimples constantly dancing. Her role, a regular Charlie’s Angel. At mask parades, she danced, she spied, she seduced, her eyes bewitching behind masks. Her sex, her power. As enticing as Kingsley’s world was, constant fun grew tiring. A junky always chasing that next best hit. Leaving the status quo wouldn’t be easy. Plotting against the master had consequences; perhaps a simple run was in order, an act of impulse.
Blinded by desire, Selina was caught and locked away in her room. At night she would stare at the moon and old dreams returned; her price would come and save her, after all there were enough songs written about such things. Let men be men. Granny says that the problem with girls today is they want the balls, which is ok for a dyke or bloody feminists but if you want a real man let him juggle balls, he can be manipulated that way. Good things come to good girls that wait. But, what of the naughty girls? Were they destined to be locked up or did they simply help themselves? Kingsley’s world had toughened her, there was a thrill to be had turning back on antique notions. Power. The self. True inner strength. The question was could one gain too much strength?
Yet the opportunity for stability and family was denied. Skills gained undeniable; she was an agent of many faces and bloody talented fighter. But life reaches a point where more than money and prestige satisfy the soul. The soul needs something to fight for, the need to be alive, upset the granted obit of the status quo. Life revolved around Kingsley. Sometimes that 9-5 job isn’t so bad.
Taking a new road, Selina sealed her fate. Her defiance lead to her entrapment. To rebel against the patriarchal demands punishment. Now as Selina sat staring at the chess pieces an internal debate raged; does she fight, remain honest to herself and the world around her or resort to dishonest tactics. Women mastered the skill of faking, along with the skill of making him think her will was his idea. Who was the more stupid of the sexes? Gullible men, driven by their egos or women, playing the game, passing on their hand from one generation to the next? Why not ask which came first; the chicken or the egg?
Now the real question, Selina thought to herself with a smirk as she contemplated her game, checkmate or do I let the man win?
It should be noted that at times, I disregard the meaning of a card all together; I may use a number, a symbol, something obscure, for example I drew the Moon card so I named the heroine Selina and for the protagonist I drew King of Pentacles so I called him Kingsley. This frees up my time as I tend to agonise over details that really aren’t important.
Prompt Card: Oracle of Visions (24)
Tarot: Gilded Tarot
Age: 6W = 16 or 26
Appearance: 10C = very beautiful with a stunning smile
Occupation: 8P = Mundane job chained to a desk
Free time: KNS = Fantasy game player
Hopes and dreams: KC = the perfect man: love, truth & honesty – passion (might have been the KS colours are switched in this deck)
Fears: Fool = being taken for the fool
Wild card: Temperance = lack of balance, reality vs fantasy
Age: 2W = 20s
Appearance: 10C = perfect, eyes that hypnotise
Occupation: 1S = keeper of the rules
Free time: 6P = wealth. Power. Gives money to charity to promote his image.
Hopes/dreams: QP & Magician = a queen that equals his mastery
Fears: Strength = loosing to his opponent
Wildcard: 2C = didn’t count on falling for Selina
String of cards
5S, 3C, Tower, 6W, 2S, KNC, 4S, 8C, STRENGTH, 4W, 9P, PGW, 1P, 5W, SUN, HERMIT, EMPEROR, 4P