Death matches

This is a re-post from r/WritingPrompts.

I forgot when was the first time someone challenged me to a chess match. It's safe to say I lost and I have to spare his life.

I certainly forget why I agreed to such a deal. Whatever my opinion about it back then certainly no longer apply now.

They call me the Grim Reaper. The grim part is very much a projection. I'm in the business of taking sorry lives and I'm the grim one? You people need to take some responsibility.

Over the decades words got out and anyone worth their salt wanna takes me on to a chess game so they get to live.

When I first started playing I didn't get the concept of kings, queens, pawns and such. Only later did I realize that's how they've been organizing their social hierarchy. That's a real stupid system putting a lot of power in so little hands. That explains why I've always enjoyed killing those who think they are larger than life.

It didn't take long for me to get good at chess. There's something about this game that's unique to me, I wanted to play more. So I started joining tournaments.

The sights always started out awkward. Sometimes I arrived unannounced, the humans dunno how to react to me. Of course they wonder if I'm here to take them, so I often have to relax them first.

So people got nervous playing against me not because I'm good at the game but for the added stake of their life. It felt almost unfair.

Joining chess tournaments changed the whole life-taking business for me. For the first time, taking lives makes me feel something. Ending a human life after a victory feels earned. I'm no longer doing it because I can, but because I get to.

Sometimes I'd throw a game just so I get to meet them when they are much older. Maybe even beat them later with better satisfaction.

The way someone handles a game shows you how much they wanna go on living. Some moves are so bad you can't help but notice the kinda fatal mistakes in life they end up making.

There was a match with old man called Chip. He didn't mind being dead, but he wanted to stick around for his dying wife so she gets taken care of before him. He fought way harder in the game than he had the skill to.

I let him win.

By now I pretty much stopped caring if I win in tournies. It matters more that I've played a game well.

I now realize why I enjoy doing this: chess has clear rules, every pieces is laid out bare. There are no elements hidden from view. If I can't see a plot brewing I have only my self to blame. Too little things in this world are such.

Given that I go on forever, I appreciate things that are finite. Chess is a finite game that gives me a momentary taste at living a finite life.

It's an honor to bring something to it's rightful end.