Game of Life

The Ace of Spades, the most elite card of the deck. It was no surprise that anybody familiar with that unique deck of 52 cards would know the significance of the Ace of Spades. Like any other Ace, it was the highest in its suite, yet it was superior to any other card. It held the power to supersede any other like it was the King of the world, like it was God. Spades – the suite of Kings. It was the suite that held its authority far above the others. At a single glance, anybody would know the significance of the Ace of Spades. It was the best and nothing else.

That was how the world viewed him.

Alexander looked down at the exact same card between his fingers as he played with it. It was lonely at the top. There was no competition, no friends, not even enemies. In short, there was only him and him only.

Truth to be told, anybody who claimed to be a friend was most probably there because they wanted his money, power, fame or simply wanted to suck up to him. Enemies were too afraid of Alexander to even dare go against him and family… He never actually had one.

Alexander was born to his destiny, his fate. He knew his ability to draw from others their life essence to feed any other use of his would bring about himself fortune and a lot of wealth. The life he absorbed kept him young and healthy, even more so, powerful. His power grew with the life he absorbed and yet he felt no remorse at his cruel actions.

He grew up on the streets, being an orphan, and he had fought his way to the top. By the age of eighteen, he had built around himself a reputation of a king and he was worshipped like a god.

He found out that people always wanted the same few things. They begged him for fame, for fortune, all which he already had without even lifting a finger. The deals he could make because of his abilities made him corrupt beyond compare. The price he requested in to satisfy the materialistic desires of others were more than exorbitant, it often affected his customer’s life and death. He would absorb the lives of others at will, sometimes even more than he required, decades at a time, just to satisfy their greed.

The house he had was a castle and he still had sufficient money to last him a lifetime, considering that he would live forever as long as he continued abusing his powers.

Then there came a woman. Like any other stories, the woman was the cause of his downfall. The woman melted his cold uncaring heart and opened his mercenary mind. He knew not what made him change but the coldness within his soul had started to warm itself with a new found feeling that he had blocked out years behind on his road to eternity.

Who she was, was a complete mystery to him up to this day. She came up to him one day at the casino, asking to speak to him with those glistening blue eyes, pleading for his help. As usual, Alexander put down his cards to attend to this new client. He had lost the game. It was queer that he should have lost the game; he rarely did, taking into account that he was always tipping the scales to his advantage. Frustrated, he got up and led her up to his meeting room.

To him, she was just another customer in need of his power. He sat her down in the extravagant room while she begged him for help.

“Please, please, just help me cure my husband of his illness! I will do anything, pay any price!” She was on her knees.

Alexander merely nodded his head and contemplated what he should take in exchange for his service. He was still thinking about the game. He had never lost a single game since he opened this casino.

It must be because I wasn’t using my powers… he concluded.

“2 million dollars and 15 years,” he finally demanded. His voice came off as one that allowed no room for negotiation and he looked at her, emotionless.

The look of utter shock at his high price made her break down in tears and pleas. Alexander looked at her with no more than disregard and was about to call the security to bring her out when he hesitated. He looked upon her frail body and her pitiful whimpering, and he hesitated. The first time in his entire life he hesitated at utterly disregarding a person.

“15 years only then,” he reconsidered his offer. He had no use for the money anyway.

She looked up at him and wiped her tears away.

“Alright, I’ll give it to you!” She quickly agreed.

He sighed and picked up her hand, preparing to slowly absorb the life energy from this woman who would have many more years to live in bliss with her husband if not for him.

He paused, hesitating and reconsidering what he would be taking away from this woman, what his deeds were leading him to. For the second time in his life, he was uncertain. He did not know what was getting into him today.

Must be the lethargy, he mused to himself.

He focused back on absorbing the life force of the frail, needy woman.

“It is not the lethargy, my dear one,” she spoke, suddenly.

Alexander’s eyes flew open. He did not understand what she just said. She had just read his mind!

“What are you?!” he quickly let go of her hands but she clung on, her grip like steel.

“What am I?” she mused to herself, “Don’t think you are the only one with these powers. Are you so complacent that you are blind to those around you?”

His eyes widened at her words. He always thought he was unique, the only one with such phenomenal powers!

“It’s impossible! It can’t be true!” he exclaimed in utter shock and fright.

She looked up at him with glowing red eyes, “Oh it sure is… You were too celebrated that you became so full of yourself! I knew about you. I heard your name wherever I went! I planned so hard for this day, to catch you off guard.”

“The game I lost today! The hesitation! It was all you!” Realisation dawned upon him.

“Yes it was, and you didn’t even notice. I am much more powerful than you and tonight, I will be getting your life.” She smirked and he started feeling the energy drain out of him.

His entire life, he never knew what it would feel like for him, King of the world, to experience his own powers upon himself. Now, the roles were reversed. He was no longer the predator, he was the prey. He fell to his knees as he felt his life slowly seeping away into the woman. She looked rejuvenated yet he was slowly fading away.

It was as though the winner was finally pulled to his knees and he was kneeling down to a superior. He was no longer the greatest. He was finally bowing down.

Alexander thought that maybe this was the day. He, after so many decades alone, had an adversary, and he was losing the fight. He was no longer lonely at the top, he had another. Yet, he would not live to experience the companionship or competition. He could feel his vision blurring as he fell to the ground.

It was finally the end. The Ace of Spades had been trumped. The game of cards he had played so long and so lonely had finally been won. He closed his eyes as he felt the last of his life fade away.

BANG!

The last thing he heard before he lost consciousness. At least his life had ended spectacularly.

He woke up on the floor of his meeting room. Before him was a bloody body of the woman. She was shot straight through the heart. Security had rushed up when they realized the suspicion in his call that he put down halfway through. They saved him in the nick of time. He quickly got up and stood before her.

Alexander merely gave her one last glance before he stepped over her.

“Clean up the body. I want her out by the time I come back,” he ordered his security personnel.

Closing the door behind him, he mused to himself at his near death encounter. The ace of spades was still in his hand and his life was to go on. The best was yet to be defeated and the game has yet to be won.