Sunday Scribbles Week 19: Gambling is more fun when you’re winning…

Welcome to Sunday Scribbles!

Today marks week 19 of the 52 week writing challenge!

Introductory post: Sunday Scribbles announcement post
Past prompts: Sunday Scribbles past prompts

The prompt for 14th May is ‘Games’:

ssbanner 14th May Games

This week, I decided that the villains in my work in progress, Tales from Dragonspire, needed to be thought out better. I haven’t sorted them yet, but I’m getting there. I consider this weeks attempt a practice at writing characters with bad intentions. Warning: mentions child abuse.

My Attempt: (excerpt from new work in progress idea: A Blaise of Glory)

The house was dark as he crept down the stairs, but it was not quiet. Hushed voices could be heard from below him. Clad only in pyjamas, and feet bare, Blaise stretched his foot out towards the third step from the bottom. Gingerly, his foot connected with the wooden floorboard. It gave a small creak. Blaise froze, ears pricked for the sound of movement: The tell tale scrape of the chair that meant his mother had heard him.

It did not happen, and the sound of voices did not falter. The click of chips on their rickety wooden dining table gave him courage. The game was still in full swing, but there was no telling for how much longer. Blaise let his feet carry him quickly down, and he winced as they connected with the cold, concrete floor at the bottom of the stairs.

Memory flooded his senses. His eyes slipped shut as he remembered how his toes had curled in the lush carpets that lined the floor in the brightly lit hallway of his classmates house. He remembered his innocent question to his mother when he returned home that night.

‘Ain’t got no money for carpets,’ his mother had yelled.

Blaise had scowled. She always had money for a game of poker.

‘Don’t look at me like that. I work 12 hours a day to keep a roof over your head, you ungrateful brat.’ 

Blaise had fled from her ire and barricaded himself in his room.  

He flinched at the memory and clutched at his pendant, a flickering flame, around his neck. At least his mother wasn’t violent, not like Barry’s father. Barry had bruises from his fathers fists, poorly concealed with his mothers makeup. At school at least.

As soon as the bell rung, and they were out on the streets, Barry wiped his face and wore them like a badge of honour. Blaise had taken to him like a moth to a flame, when he couldn’t return the other kids invitations to dinner and they stopped asking him round. They hung out on the streets and in shopping malls, with the other kids who didn’t want to be at home either.

Blaise glanced at his mothers badge as he passed her coat in the hallway. His mother was as crooked as they came. She turned a blind eye to shoplifters and pickpockets, and the other kids knew it. Barry’s dad was part of her inner circle. Barry, who hadn’t been seen since they robbed the liquor store last week.

Smoke filtered out from under the door as he passed on his way to the kitchen. He covered his mouth and stifled a cough as he chanced a glance inside. Chips covered the table, and each man and woman had a joint in one hand and a hand of five cards in the other. His mother, like the rest of the corrupt cops at PCPD, smoked pot and gambled away her earnings nearly every Sunday night.

‘King, Seven, Three, Nine, Ace?’ Blaise muttered under his breath as he glanced at his mothers hand. ‘All separate suits. Terrible.’ He watched as his mother pushed a large stack of chips towards the centre of the table. ‘Huh?’

His mother’s head snapped around to face the door. Blaise recoiled and plastered himself against the wall. His heart thudded in his chest, and he squeezed his eyes shut tight. The scrape of the chair legs on the floor was louder than a gunshot to his tightly wound nerves. He held his breath, tensed every muscle in his body, and wished that the floor would swallow him up.

‘You walk away, you forfeit that,’ a gruff voice demanded from inside the room. Barry’s dad.

‘I thought I heard something,’ Blaise’s mother replied, but there were no footsteps towards the door. Yet.

‘Probably just your dumb kid,’ another voice drawled.

‘I told him to stay in his room.’ His mother sighed. Her chair scraped as she pulled her chair back towards the table. ‘All right, I’ll leave it.’

‘Punish him later,’ Barry’s dad said. ‘Raise.’

There was the clink of more chips being added to the pile. Blaise released the breath he’d been holding and the tension in his muscles left him. He peeled away from the wall and licked his dry lips as he sent a longing glance towards the kitchen, but his mothers next words made him freeze in place.

‘Don’t know why I had him, he’s nothing but a nuisance.’

Blaise swallowed down against the bile that rose up in his throat and squeezed his eyes shut.

‘Cos you wanted to look like a model citizen!’ Barry’s dad laughed. ‘You an’ your husband both.’

‘Yeah, well, he’s never around to look after the little bastard is he?’

Blaise bit back a cry, and his hands flew to cover his ears. It was no use, her harsh words had already settled deep within him, and his hands could not block out their words.

‘Think yourself lucky,’ the drawling woman complained with distaste. ‘My husband’s around all the time, an’ he’s a straight cop. Least with yours always away on business, you can get away with whatever you want.’

His mother barked a harsh laugh. ‘I suppose there’s that. I just wish Blaise wasn’t so useless. I was up the school four times last month. He fails every test, he gets in fights, he hangs around with thugs. Brat will never amount to anything.’

Blaise’s chest tightened and his eyes began to water. He clutched at his pendant, and, not for the first time, wished he were anywhere but here.

‘Maybe he would be better at a more… manual pursuit,’ the drawling woman suggested.

‘Could always use a small pair of hands to disable security systems…’ Barry’s dad said. 

‘He doesn’t know how to do that,’ Blaise’s mother retorted. ‘An’ the clumsy brat’d probably ruin the whole thing!’

Blaise tensed and moved away from the door. He had only taken one step before the drawling women’s words caught his attention.

‘Well, isn’t it time he learned? Boy can start earning his keep. You know we’re short since Barry got caught, and my fingers aren’t as nimble as they used to be.’

Blaise tilted his head to the side. Barry? Had he been running heists with Blaise’s mother? Was that why he trusted Blaise so easily?

‘Not enough time. We pull the heist tomorrow night,’ his mother said. ‘We’ll have to manage with what we have.’

‘Get him ready for the next one,’ Barry’s dad insisted. ‘I’m out of sons.’

‘We’ll see,’ his mother replied. ‘Come on, show me what you got.’

Blaise took a few steps towards the kitchen. A sudden cry from the dining room and the scrape of chair legs on the floor had him changing direction rapidly.

‘Lost again!’ his mother exclaimed. ‘What the hell?’

‘You suck at poker!’ Barry’s dad retorted.

‘That brat distracted me!’ his mother yelled. ‘When I get my hands on him…’

Blaise did not wait to find out what she intended to do to him. He fled up the stairs, thirst forgotten, and ignored the creak of the floorboards as he ran along the hallway to his bedroom. The door slid shut behind him, and he slipped into bed. He pulled his thin raggedy blanket around him and shuddered as the wind whistled in through his broken window.

The harsh pants of his own breath and shouting from downstairs were the only sounds. No footsteps followed him up here. He huffed a relieved sigh and curled in on himself. His stomach growled, empty and barely audible over the commotion. He’d not eaten since lunchtime, when he’d intimidated some younger kids into giving up their lunch. He hoped his mother was successful with this heist, then maybe they could eat for a while.

But then what? What if she got caught like Barry did? Yesterday, the PCPD had come knocking when his mother was out. They suspected her of more than just drug dealing. It was only a matter of time before she got herself arrested. Maybe he could take care of himself, become better than her. Determination settled within him. Blaise would become the best criminal mastermind the world had ever seen, and when he ran a heist, no one would get caught.

End Prompt.

Thanks for reading! I’m interested in writing a darker character with a redemption arc. This will be part of that. This is the fifth new story idea that I’ve had since I started Sunday scribbles. Writing to a prompt each week is inspirational when looking for new ideas!

Next Sunday’s prompt:

The prompt for 21st May is Digging.

ssbanner 21st May Digging

If you try next weeks prompt yourself, let me know how it goes. Post your attempt on your blog on the 21st May, and leave a link in the comments below this post so that I can read it 🙂

If you can attempt the prompt in less than 140 characters, you can also #sunscribbles on Twitter. I am super interested to see what you all come up with 🙂

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