Resplendent Roulette

“Bull shit,” said Myke with his distinctive edge-world drawl. “I got ten coin and a brand new jacket that says you ain’t got the guts.” He held his hand to his eyes and squinted as the clouds passed and the twin suns beamed warmly on the three boys standing in the short silvery grasses.

“You ain’t got the guts neither,” said Sage.

“Naw, but I don’t need guts; I got half a brain. I know better than playing Resplendent Roulette.” The Resplendents, of course, were the long-dead former inhabitants of this arm of the Milky Way. Their portals still littered the worlds here, the moons and the asteroids, and the rogue protoplanets that sailed the sparkling black ocean between the stars. Some of the portals, rumor had it, still functioned. The one standing before these boys appeared to be no more than a thin metal ring on a raised pedestal, no more alive than its makers. But such a thing is hard to know for sure.

“What’s a matter, Sage? You chicken?” asked Adrian.

“No, I—”

“Yes you is,” Myke joined in, “yer like a chicken in a thunderstorm!” and he began to crawl around on his hands and knees and bark. Adrian did the same now, and the two of them crawled in circles around Sage, barking and laughing. Clearly none of them had the slightest idea what a chicken was, but they knew the expression, and that was enough knowledge to wield its persuasive power.

“I’ll do it; you’ll see,” said Sage. “Your jacket won’t fit me though; you’ve got baby arms.” Adrian chuckled at that until Myke silenced him with an icy side-eye. “What else you got?”

Myke put that half brain of his to work but came up empty and shrugged.

“My old man’s got a box of chocolate bars. I’ll give you…” Adrian ran the numbers, “two bars.”

“Five.”

“Three.”

“Four.”

“Three,” Adrian insisted.

“Fine, but I’m not sharing.” Sage looked thoughtfully at the portal.

“Are you really gonna do it?” asked Adrian.

“Hell no he’s not. Bark-bark.”

That sealed it. “Get ready to pay up!” Sage exclaimed, and he took off sprinting toward the portal.

Adrian and Myke stood up in the silver grass. “No way,” Myke said, “he’ll stop short.”

But Sage didn’t stop short, or even slow down. He ran up the little ramp, across the pedestal, under the edge of the ring, and—

Myke’s eyes bugged out of his head. “Oh shit!” he cried, his shrill voice cracking. “Oh shit, Sage, oh shit!”

But Sage was gone, lost among the former worlds of a fallen empire.

8 thoughts on “Resplendent Roulette”

  1. Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh … !
    Oh my gosh, a portal to where?
    A thin metal ring on a raised pedestal; could they see the sky through it?
    The boys should have tossed a rock in first! –or the skinny-armed jacket.
    Mr. Shocky, how can you possibly end this story here?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well sure they could see sky through it. And the rock trick wouldn’t work—it only transports organics. Of course, none of that was written in the piece because I just made it up now! Writing is all about making things up to bolster what you previously made up 😁

      Like

      1. ! thanks for the ad lib…
        I really liked this story and it seems to be like a prelude to a wonderful fantasy sci-fi novel.
        How much Ko-fi would a novel about “The Maker Takers” take, I wonder?
        🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That’s an interesting proposition, but I don’t know that The Maker Takers novel is something I have in me—despite the great title! In the meantime, spread the word; if I’m going to sell a book I need an audience haha

        Like

      3. Well, you’re an artist, Mr. Shocky. And because of that, in you there is all that ever was and could ever be… we’re all born of the infinite universe (some tuned in more than others) and in each of us is the sparkle of a tiny bit of real stardust, which is powerful stuff. How cool is that?

        Liked by 1 person

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