The room was dark, despite the light the fire threw out. He sat hunched over his game, folded into the armchair and forgotten. His hat sat by the table, watching its owner lose, conferring with the umbrella that lay beside it. His dull grey eyes stared at the board, as if willing the next move to make itself known. Nothing changed.
On the board, the battle limped on, nearing an end. A single pale knight sat protecting his king, nearly overwhelmed by a sea of dark forces. Behind him, two castles tried to provide shelter for their king, but to no avail. The pale knight’s dark opposite was waiting, ready to capture the king and end the game.
There was a knock on the door. He ignored it.