Companion Piece


The pair were so alike, yet so different.

The Queen stormed regally up and down the chessboard, cutting down anything that stood in her way, knowing that if she fell the battle was all but lost. The King was pathetic, scuttling fearfully in a tiny square area like a mime artist trapped in an invisible box.

The rest of their army were little better.

The knights staggered in random directions, filled with wine, wearing a suit twice their weight and carrying a sword the length of their leg. The bishops veered off to the left or right in search of natives to convert, usually painfully.

The rooks kept to the outer edges of the battle. The Queen would sometimes swap places with one, just to see if she could find out what they actually did.

Then there were the poor pawns. The Queen had more respect for them than for all the rest. In peacetime she would visit them at their workplaces and ask “and what do you do?” and try to be genuinely interested in the answer. She felt it was the least they deserved, because she knew that in wartime they would be sent to the front.

Sometimes one of them would make a break for it and actually start a battle, as the other side would think that it was the beginning of a charge, but most of them would line up stoically and resignedly, a shield for their supposed betters.

If the King got into trouble he simply surrendered, and to the Queen’s horror the battle would then be considered lost. She’d have fought on ferociously forever, an ivory Joan of Arc standing side by side with her brave pawns, urging them forward so that one of them might take her place if she fell.

She was supposed to be his companion, but she knew she was so much more.

The King was in charge in name, but the Queen was in charge in fact.

Like most households.


Word Count 332. This was written for the Trifecta Writing Challenge, to the prompt “Companion”.

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