Dumb Luck – Stories from Nyth

Written for Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fiction Friday: Luck.

Enjoy…

Everything always seemed to work out for Luck. He was always so damned… lucky.

I don’t know how the other gods felt about it, but I hated him for it.

When you were Chaos, everything was so… unpredictable. I couldn’t stand not knowing how things would turn out. I wanted control.

I know it isn’t right to hate your best friend. For a long time, I didn’t. At least, I didn’t act on it.

One day, I whistled my way down the street. I had a date with Destiny. Perhaps I should have been more attentive to my surroundings. Things never go my way after all.

I walked along the edge of the embankment, river to my left and road to my right. A horse-drawn carriage made its way down the road, in my direction.

As it neared, I noticed it veering close to me. Closer. I waved my arms and yelled. By the time I realized that the driver was unaware of my presence, I had little choice but to escape down the steep drop to my left.

I jumped, rolled, hit my head on, presumably, a rock. A few seconds later, the cold of the river engulfed me. I flailed and kicked to no avail. I tried to make sense of my current head-spinning state.

I likely would have drowned had the river not decided to take matters upon itself, depositing me on its bank downstream.

Naturally, I was drenched. My best clothes were covered in mud. I considered going home to change.

No, I didn’t have time for that. I rose and began my hobble toward Destiny. Better to show up like this than for her to think she had been abandoned.

Nonetheless, I arrived late. I stood across the street, witnessing the meeting of Luck and Destiny. Why had I been such a coward? When I made my date with Destiny, it should not have been anonymous.

She clearly believed Luck had made the date. He appeared oblivious, as always. They laughed. They smiled. I tried not to cry.

Just go and correct the situation, I told myself. No, I would just look a fool next to Luck. That was always the case. It would be especially so looking as I did.

They walked away, arms linked. I made a decision that had been building for a long time. Luck would no longer be a factor in my life.

I sat at dinner the next night. I had invited Luck. He was running late, as expected. I could feel my smile stretching from ear to ear. I was giddy.

Our food arrived. I had taken the liberty of ordering without him. Why not? No use waiting for a dead man.

Luck walked through the door. I could feel the corners of my mouth reaching for my toes. I quickly took action.

If Life had taught me one thing, always have a plan waiting in the wings. I removed that plan from my pocket and sprinkled it over his steak…

In a restaurant full of people. It had been bold, especially with my… Luck. No one seemed to have seen. They made nothing of it if they had. It would make no difference. He’d be fast asleep at home before it did its work.

It was perfect, blended seamlessly with the seasoning. Tasteless as well, I was told, though it struck me as funny that someone could attest to that.

Luck reached our table. I turned on my exaggerated smile. His eyes held tears.

“Chaos,” though he used my real name of course, “I’m so sorry I’m late. It wasn’t… I saw a man die.”

Damn it. A lesson learned. When you hire an assassin, you get what you pay for.

I stood. I imbued my following words with the best tone of empathy I could muster. “My dear friend, that is terrible.” I embraced him for a moment. His body trembled with his sobs.

One count… two… three… that’s enough. I released him. “What ever happened?”

“No!” I said, interrupting myself. “I’m so sorry. You don’t have to speak of it.”

“Thank you.”

“Sit with me,” I said, urging him to join me.

As he did so, he removed his napkin from the table. A portion of it was wedged firmly beneath his dinner. The back up plan spilled across the floor.

He apologized profusely to the hastily approaching wench. One look at pitiful him and she was all, “No worries, Sweet. Accidents happen, don’t be so down. I’ll have another right out.”

He thanked her, wiping the teary mess from his face.

“It’s just the most unlucky day.” I found his phrasing… annoying, honestly. “I was walking and I saw a coin. Bent to pick it up. A man, he came from nowhere. He tripped over me and down the stairs. He… he…” Luck began sobbing again.

I comforted him. The rest of dinner was more of the same. The steak was excellent though.

It’s the walk home that holds more interest. If Life had taught me anything else, it was to have a back up for your back up. This one was messy, but it should do it.

As we walked, I fixed myself slightly behind him. I slipped my dagger from my coat.

Destiny was approaching.

Damned Luck! There was no overcoming his simple workings, even if he was unaware. That much should have been obvious to me from my years with him.

I quickly slipped the dagger back into its pocket. Destiny was informed of Luck’s terrible night. I watched them, disinterested, hating him. Hating her too, though I loved her so.

“I hope you don’t mind if I steal him away.” Her statement cut through murderous thoughts.

“Huh?” It took me a moment to register her words. “Oh, yes. Of course not.” I punctuated with my famous fake smile and a small bow.

If Life had taught me a third thing, it was this. Don’t stop until you’re done. Life won’t give you anything.

So I made a deal with Death.

The details are… unimportant.

The result? By the end of a month I had crafted a mask. One that, if it worked, would fool even gods. It would fool that impenetrable air of protection my friend had about him.

It had been a long, torturous month. Seeing Luck with Destiny. Forced smiles became harder.

But it was finished. I went all in. If this didn’t work…

I donned the mask and went to meet Luck. He waited for me in the busy town square. I approached him, stood before him.

He looked at me, not a care in the world as usual. “Hi! Can I help you?”

Yes! I don’t know who he saw but it wasn’t me.

In sight of everybody, I removed the dagger from my pocket once again. I plunged it into Luck’s gut before his surprised self could react.

I took no chances. I didn’t want to risk a lucky recovery. I knocked him down and climbed atop him. I repeatedly buried the dagger in him. Luck ran out, his blood was everywhere.

People screamed. No doubt I had little time before someone came to stop this Chaos.

But I was free. Luck would no longer be my bane. But… we were gods. That could be taken from us. I could be Luck’s master.

Hurriedly, I reached my hand inside the hole I had created. I wasn’t entirely aware of the details of what I rooted around for but when my hand closed around it, I knew.

I ripped the small stone that was a god’s soul from my closest friend.

The guards were approaching, I realized. Time to see how well the mask worked. I drew it from my face. I dredged up tears that I swear were entirely fake. “Help! My Dear Friend! He’s been murdered!”

My cries mingled with laughter as they looked about for the culprit. I was in shock, people would say. The mask worked perfectly. They never caught the killer.

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