Surrendered Stalemate


aaron_icon.gif samara_icon.gif

Scene Title Surrendered Stalemate
Synopsis Aaron plays chess with his illusion.
Date November 7, 2010

Psychiatric Facility

The blonde therapist peeks at the screen of the security footage. "I can't make heads or tails of it," Dr. Sydney Falkland admits as she crosses her arms over her chest. "But I would hardly call the behaviour dangerous." Her eyebrows arch at her superior rather non-confrontationally. "He hasn't had a violent episode in ages, and I was skeptical that he was dangerous when he first came in. Playing chess by yourself can hardly be deemed dangerous, can it?" Doctor Falkland shifts in her spot.

Inside Aaron's Room

The red-headed girl in the strategically placed mirror shakes her head. Irritably, she places a finger across the mirror writing in some text that is, inevitably invisible. She leans up to the mirror and signals that Aaron follow her actions to read her words— a dead woman's breath doesn't leave any sign of moisture, but her fingers leave behind oils (oh the rules of death!).

When Aaron deciphers what the apparition has written it'll read, KNIGHT TAKES YOUR ROOK (muahahahaha — imagine this as evil laughter) NOW. That's the move Samara wanted, and it's the one she intends to make.

Nope, no violence, self-directed or otherwise. He's almost tranquil and most of his anger is directed into working out in the gym. Endorphins make people happy, or so they say. While Aaron wouldn't call himself happy, he's not depressed anymore. Not that he doesn't still have issues.

"Ha ha ha," Aaron says both quiet and sarcastic as he knocks his rook over with Samara's knight all lackluster before he removes his piece from the board. Once it's set aside, he reverses the board and carefully assesses the new tactical situation with an air of deviance, until he realizes that his formerly brilliant set-up is in jeopardy in absence of his queen-side castle. That was not the sacrifice he was planning to make.

His eyes scan the board once over again as he searches for a means to recover from this setback. "I really should have joined the chess club back in school." He brings his only bishop across the board and knocks over one of Samara's pawns. "Check."

When the rook is knocked over, Samara's arms are raised in the air victoriously— triumph is hers; the life of the ghost is awesome! She even jumps in the air and does a little victory dance; all things considered she's a good dancer, but then she always had been in life, why wouldn't she be in death? She smiles broadly at him. Until that word.

While she may be a victorious winner, Samara Dunham is not a gracious loser. Her mouth gapes open at the latest ploy. Her tongue clucks inaudibly as her eyebrows and lips pull into a very prominent frown. Ironically, even her frown produces dimples, she is just that level of bubbliness.

With a very visible sigh that pulls on her shoulders she tilts her head and inspects the board all the while taking her time with it, deciding which piece to move next, but thanks to Aaron, she's pretty confined. Instead of writing on the mirror, she taps on the king (and a little through it thanks to her incorporeality) and then the square next to him, taking the King out of the line of fire.

And that level of cuteness.

Aaron rotates the board and then makes the directed move before spinning it back around for him to make his next play. He deliberates moving his bishop into a safer position or bringing his knight up for checkmate in two moves, provided nothing unexpected happens. He tries to avoid that, generally, but you know … shit happens. In the end, he chooses to back his bishop off to make sure it's still around for the mate.

Samara hmmms silently, contemplating her next move. Her finger taps absently on her chin while her eyes scan the board for potential plays. Her lips twitch to the side, pulling into a strange side-purse before sighing heavily. She stares at the moved bishop, curious what Aaron is playing at and altogether unconvinced by the move. Her gaze turns up to him, eyes narrowing at him skeptically, a silent question: 'What are you playing at, Michaels?' Her arms tighten across her chest, moderately defiant in her stance.

Her lips press together into a sly smile (the ghost of Christmas past does NOT have a moderate pokerface) as she points to her queen, poised to take his knight, but in turn setting the Queen up to be taken by the bishop. What on earth is she playing at?

"You should see my poker face," he says quietly. Aaron rotates the board and nonchalantly ends the life of his knight and follows up with the destruction of the Queen by his bishop, once again checking the King. Not that it'll be hard for Samara to dodge that one. It will be made more difficult when he pulls his own Queen into play by knocking out the pawn two spaces in front of him.

Samara's mouth forms into a tight circle an 'O' as if signifying the gauntlet has been truly dropped; for a hallucination, she certainly has a lot of personality. Her fingers then peek up on either side of her head like little devil's horns. She's deemed herself the shoulder devil, for two people now; only one of which can actually hear her, but c'est la vie.

She taps the spot next to her king to pull him out of check, flashing a mischievous smile.

Aaron spins the board and moves the King out of the way, then moves his Queen into play, setting it up to take the pawn next move — a move that will subsequently line her up to take the King out provided it's not stopped. As he waits for Samara to direct him in the making of her next move, he assesses the battlefield. "I foresee a stalemate. Just about as bad as playing myself …"

Shock and horror! Samara may lose this match! Her mouth gapes at him as her King is again put into check. Her expression is so telling that her gasp is implicit as she stares at the chess pieces; she's momentarily stuck. Her lips press tightly together, but her thoughts are quickly interrupted by the scrape of the door against the floor. Someone is coming in. And as such, Samara steps away from the mirro, eliminating herself from the room, or at least from the eyes in the room.

Sydney peeks in. "How are you feeling, Aaron?" there's a smoothness to her voice as she steps into the room, tapping on her clipboard as she does so. "I thought I'd come in to tell you we've drawn up your discharge papers. You'll be able to leave when you're ready any time after today." She flashes him a smile, professional, but equally bright, she's the kind of therapist who gets too involved in the lives of clients.

The ghost, however, is less than pleased at this news. Most sane people have no interest in talking to the dead.

Of course, Aaron still thinks she's a hallucination. He figures she'll probably follow him wherever he ends up. She hasn't really caused him any trouble, so it can't be a bad thing, right? Certainly not something he's going to mention to either of his therapists.

"I feel … like playing chess with myself is not how I want to spend my days." Not that he's ever taken a day pass before, even though he's been allowed. You get privileges like that when you're a useful, productive member of society, even if it's the niche society that is the mental institution. It could certainly be worse.

The Hallucination stays out of view to the living, padding the room and taking care to avoid entering the mirror. Curiously, Samara watches the interaction between the therapist and patient.

"That's fair," Sydney says warmly, before peeking down at the chess game. "Looks like white," Sami's pieces, "is going to get checkmated soon. You should find a more challenging opponent when you get out of here." She chuckles lightly.

Samara's hair and temper match. She floats closer to the pair without thinking, fully prepared to stare the therapist down, it's moments like these that being virtually invisible has its plusses. But then Sami remembers herself, retreating back, away from the mirror.

Yet, in Sydney's periphery, she could've sworn she saw someone in the mirror. Her head turns as she jumps a little, only to find nothing there. Strange. "Well…" her eyebrows strain together as she slowly turns her head to face Aaron again. She forces a slight smile, "…will be good to get out, won't it?"

Aaron's eyes follow Dr. Falkland's as she assesses the board, which is how he notices Samara again, better so than her only because he was actually watching the mirror at the time. He doesn't think much of it until Sydney flinches and even then figures she wasn't expecting the mirror, maybe saw herself and thought someone else was there. "Gives the illusion of an opponent," he mumbles in explanation. Having a mirror propped up just so is definitely on the weird side as far as he's concerned.

Leaving? Oh sure, a blast. "That … Well, I guess we'll find out now, won't we?"

"I could've sworn— " Sydney murmurs quietly as she stares at the mirror again. Her eyes narrow a little at her reflection before turning back to Aaron and issuing him a semi-bright grin. "I suppose I could see that. Well… I guess I'll leave you to it then," she stands at attention, glancing back at the mirror before turning on her heel, shaking her head just a little on her way out.

As Sydney disappears, Samara pads back towards the mirror letting herself be exposed. She shrugs a little, indicating her feelings on the matter. She overmouths the words, 'That was weird,' before settling across from Aaron, letting herself hover. 'Who is she?' she mouths again, although, arguably, the redheaded ghost isn't the best at lipsyncing or overemphasizing her own words.

Which makes her hard to understand. Aaron looks at her blankly. "What?" he asks her quietly. "Don't mind her, she's just one of my head shrinkers." Because he has more than one therapist. Isn't he special? He wishes he didn't need either, but c'est la vie. Now, where were they? He looks over the board and recalls his last move.

"Oh, right. Your move."

Samara's eyes narrow at the words. Even though she knows Aaron can't hear her, she mutters with a shrug, "She seems… pretty." Oddly, for someone who's dead, her cheeks flush a bright red as she refocuses on the game; although, she's less than focused on the game. With another sigh she taps a square adjacent to her pawn— the one Aaron is set to take— indicating she wants her Rook moved there.

Aaron's no lip reader, so he has no idea what Samara said, let alone why she's blushing all of the sudden, which only makes him re-iterate the question he just asked her: "What?" His gaze traverses the board as he tries to somehow recover his game. At some point, he'll probably question his sanity in engaging in conversation with a hallucination — and for that matter, playing chess with one — but for now he seems content to play. In the end, he settles for moving his Knight into position to take out the Rook, which will be troubling for Samara if he does, since it will allow him to take the pawn with his Queen and then mate her King.

The what causes Samara to rethink her original words, but with a small shrug she floats to the mirror and traces in a single word with an arrow under it— pointed towards where the doctor had stood. The word? Pretty. It's in cutesy girlish handwriting. Go figure. The whole ordeal with the living doctor throws her off just a little. A flicker of a smile spreads over her lips but fades as she glances at the chess board. Thanks to her own distractibility and current level of attention, she doesn't catch the Knight; instead she focuses her energies on cornering Aaron's King, using a Bishop to do so (although she's two moves away from putting him in check).

It's Aaron's turn to blush as he gets all sorts of strange thoughts from the girly writings and the preceding blush. He, on the other hand, doesn't get distracted, instead diving deeper into the game to avoid having to own up to his emotions. As he glares at his pieces, he rubs at his head and the coming headache.

Emotions are a funny thing …

He tips his Knight back and forth on its square before bringing it up to snare the Rook. Off the piece goes to the side with all of the other remains of the two armies. His next target will be the pawn in front of the King. The kiss of death.

Samara's mouth opens like a fish breathing in water. How could this be? How did she not see that coming. There's no easy way to take out the Knight. If she moves the pawn, she's hooped. If she moves the King, it puts her in line with the Queen. How can it be that she missed that vital move?

Her nose wrinkles irritably as she questions her last few moves. How did this happen? How could she let it? Exasperatedly she turns her gaze to her opponent, eyeing him carefully. Maybe he doesn't see it? Lest this be his entire goal all along. Her lips press together as she points him to move her Bishop to take out a pawn. It all depends on whether Aaron actually sees what the board yields; it's a gamble. But then Samara always liked risk.

Aaron scratches at his stubble as he spins the board and moves Samara's Bishop into his pawn, setting the piece in the graveyard. Settling the board back into position, he moves his Queen into the pawn ahead of her King. "Check," he says. So few choices this time around. The only place she can move her King will then be checked by his Knight thanks to the Bishop and Queen that block all other routes of passage.

All of her marvelous plans of taking over the world — er, the chess game — are foiled by this one move. She's hooped. With a sigh, Sami reaches over and concentrates just enough (which takes more focus and energy than she'd like to admit) to knock over her King. The King is dead and she has lost. Her shoulder slump rather sullenly as she tilts her head at him. Not only is she dead, but so is her King. Fail. Major fail.

"Oh, you're surrendering are you? Good. I don't want to be chasing you around all day. As I said, stalemate." Aaron starts collecting the pieces and setting them back into their case. "I have some packing to do so I can get out of this place tomorrow." Whether or not that's going to be a good thing he's still unsure.

The question earns Aaron a shrug. Samara may as well lose rather than be chased across a chess board for hours. She shoots him a gentle smile through the mirror; even if she's surrendering, she was literally in an unwinnable way on her end. She shrugs again at the notion of packing before turning to the mirror again and using those wonderful oils from her pointer finger to write a question, "Where will I find you?" Her friends are few and far between and crazy or not, she doesn't intend to lose another — dying is terribly inconvenient to one's social circle.

"If you come by tomorrow you can follow me," he says as he sets the board on top of the pieces and closes the case. "Otherwise I … honestly couldn't tell you. I might still have a place to live overlooking Central Park." He has no idea what's going on with that situation, though he's one hundred percent certain it will be awkward no matter what.

Sami's lips press together in a hmmm as she nods. She'll be back tomorrow and has no intention of losing another friend. With a small smile she shoots him a two fingered salute and mouths the words, "I will see you tomorrow," not that he can tell, they're as much for her benefit as his, before walking through the wall, heading home for an evening of rest. Who knows where she'll wake up tomorrow.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License