Today’s Sunday Snippet is from The Games You Cannot Win by MK Williams.
About The Games You Cannot Win
Roll the dice, pick a card, tell a lie, hide the truth. Whatever the move, it’s all just part of the game. Follow the lives of four very different characters who are all trapped in an insidious game. Each story delves into the intricate web of misaligned motives and obscured half-truths.
In This Business
A career hangs in the balance between a wicked deal with a publishing company and a daughter’s loyalty to her mother. As she works furiously to meet her deadline, she debates the impending betrayal: her ambition, or her beloved mother.
In the middle of his quarter-life crisis, Randolf, a young reporter, stumbles upon a political scandal so dark and treacherous that it threatens the very fabric of our democracy. Will he reveal the truth before it is too late, or will the innate powers of human nature ruin his story before it is even printed?
Katherine Hertzfeld-Doll has just begun her term as a Supreme Court Justice. Before she can even get her bearings she is thrown into a scandal that threatens to compromise her life’s work and end her career. Will she cave under the pressure or will she use her political power to hide the truth?
Escaping Avila Chase
Agent Trevor Hobbertson is about to crack the most important case of his career with the FBI. As he pursues the criminal he is also taunted by vivid memories of his ex-girlfriend. Is that nagging feeling that he is being taunted founded, or is there an evil mastermind lurking behind the scenes and planning his demise?
Excerpt from Escaping Avila Chase, a story featured in The Games You Cannot Win
Without really trying to, I was walking by the book store. Closed and dark, the street reflected clearly on the slick glass of the storefront. I could see a stark reflection of my outline, with the empty park and the nearby lights. Behind the glass, separating me from the instrument of my insanity were the posters of Avila’s staring eyes and an artfully stacked pile of her book, Scarlett: Avenged. A thousand pairs of her eyes glared at me, like a giant arachnid with its prey ensnared. I was looking back into my doom.
I pondered my predicament for a while on that street. No one else was around, which was eerie and peculiar. I began to think of what last desperate acts I could make to stop the next day from coming. I could find a brick, a stray rock, or a heavy trashcan and throw it into the glass. I would shatter that clean and smooth poster and send the books tumbling. I could criminally maneuver a way into the back of the store and steal the volumes of the freshly printed novel and squirrel them away so that no one could ever read the words in my hoard. I could pile each of those books in the center of the store and strike a match to watch her words burn.
I went so far as to think of pulling a different book from the shelves. Perhaps one that had an inflammatory message, so as to avoid suspicion. If a crazed religious nut broke into the bookstore and burned every version of the latest romance novel or some magic-based series for children, and Avila’s book just happened to be burned up in the process, I would distance myself from suspicion. I envisioned the investigation that would follow and that the inspector would not be focused on those with a known aversion to Avila.
The plans unfolded in my head so easily, I could easily explain my alibi and make it home quickly to get a verified location at the time of the crime. I knew the master code to disarm several alarm systems. I figured that there would be a janitor’s closet or a storage room with some kind of combustible chemicals to spray over the books. I was skint on matches, but made a mental note to check for some in the drawers behind the cash register.
I would have gone through with it all too, if it hadn’t become abundantly obvious that I wouldn’t be able to destroy every copy in the city, let alone every copy in the state or country. The book would likely be available online as well; it would find its way into millions of homes on illuminated screens. I wanted to rip out the pages that would reference the fictionalized character that Avila had written to represent me. I wanted to read it now and brace for the impact. I was so certain that she would have used this opportunity to rat me out and write me in. My hands clenched into fists reflexively as my mind spun around this new idea. I began to look around me for something to throw at the window.
To my left and right the sidewalk was clear except for imperceptible pebbles trapped in the cracks between the sidewalk blocks. No large chunk of cement broken off, no slate rock to throw. No stray bricks from the road were popping up. The closest trash can did appear to be bolted to the ground, so I knew that would be a non-starter.
The lack of resources exasperated me and validated that this evil plan should not be carried out. I stuck my fists into my jacket pocket and turned to walk home. It was a day of ruined plans.
I turned the corner and kept my head down against the wind blowing between the buildings. I passed the alley that was lined with dumpsters, where the back door to the bookstore would have been. I passed the additional posters advertising the event and continued past other closed store fronts. I was almost to the end of the block, with a clear right-of-way to continue walking, when I almost tripped on it.
I was so eager to cross the street in time to make the light, that I missed the rounded and bulbous rock. It was sitting precariously in the middle of the sidewalk and appeared to have been carefully placed there. How could it have made its way onto that exact street and into that position otherwise?
I could have picked it up, ran back to the store, and hurled the object in a matter of seconds. It appeared to me as a gift from the universe, a chance to stop the clock on my deadline with perpetual embarrassment and shame. I pictured my arm arching back and chucking the rock. I could almost hear the last shards of glass tinkling as they rained down on each other. My arm muscles began to twitch, as though anticipating the force about to be exerted. But I couldn’t move. I was frozen between indecision and uncharacteristic action. Would my arm throw another blow to Avila, this time bruising and scaring her professional face? Would I find the strength to just walk away and move on?
What did you think about Escaping Avila Chase, a story featured in The Games You Cannot Win? Please leave a comment below. If you would like to read the rest of the book, you can do buy a copy on Amazon.