This blog contains material I wrote and posted on between the years 2005 and 2011 only. It does not contain any new material. For newer writing, please check my main blog (Bill the Butcher).

Thursday, 11 October 2012


“Check,” he said.

I squinted at the board. “You’re a Russian inside, aren’t you? You must be, the way you play this damned game.”

“Checkmate in three moves,” he said imperturbably. The light was failing fast, and he glanced up at the ceiling. “You’d better resign, if we’re to have time for another game.”

I listened to the distant rumbling far overhead. “To think we sweated blood to get into these things,” I said.

“That’s the way it goes,” he said. “Are you going to make that move or just stare into space?”

I moved my king. “Do you remember the time we had the glass of sea water?”

“Who can forget?” he wiped away the condensation from the bulkhead behind him. “Hardly matters much now, does it?”

“Maybe,” I said, “they’re going to rescue us. Maybe it’s still possible.”

He laughed. “If you believed that, you’d be lying down trying to conserve oxygen, not sitting here with me playing chess.” He looked at the water sloshing around the deck at our feet. “If you lay down, you’d probably drown though, like the rest of the crew back there.” He pointed at the watertight hatch, behind which unknown tons of water pressed against the metal. “Though it happened fast for them, after the explosion.”

“What about your girl? What’s she going to think about this? Maybe she’s up there now, in one of those ships on top.”

“No point trying to distract me.” He moved a knight. “Check.”

The lights flickered again and almost went out, only a dim glow remaining, and the air was foul. I knocked over my king. “All right,” I said. “Game over.”

Copyright B Purkayastha 2009

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