Excellence Award in the 'Poetry & Short Story Writing Competition 2020' competition

A soft melody of jazz overtook the colossal room, pleasantly reaching the ears of each individual. The sound of wine glasses clinking together, mixed with the soft murmurs of participants chatting excitedly echoed throughout the casino. The atmosphere screamed extravaganza.

This was the night that plunged me into a hole of insanity. The line separating reality from fantasy became vague… the phenomenon… still haunting me. Scars were formed, gracing my debilitated physique. They acted as a momentous symbol of my change, creating a menacing yet emotive look of imperfect beauty.

One year ago, I was seated at a uninhabited table, my crisp black suit in full view. My neck, embellished with lustrous jewels, multiple rings proudly displayed on my fingers. I didn’t just think I owned thousands, I believed I was worth millions. My eyes scanned the room, challenging the meritless that were near. I could sense my cool temper start to disintegrate when no one stepped up. Dejection. Confusion. Resentment. The feelings I’ve endured over the years. People that promised to stay had left, claiming that I let myself be drowned in wealth. They were right. I hated that. No one wanted to gamble against a man that never lost. But soon… that all changed. A girl approached my table… no older then six. It wasn’t abnormal to see kids in these parts. After all, no matter the age, gambling is just a game. Outsmart your opponent and the win is yours. She bet 1 million. Amused by her confidence, naïve me accepted, desperately wanting to play.

I was defeated. Not surprising when you see my current state. I failed to win against a mere child. The room began to fade from my vision as my lost began to sink in. I forgot how much it hurt to loose. Years of bottled up emotions came flooding back as I openly lashed out, severely damaging the surrounding property. No one stopped me. My dramatic performance was cut short as a black fog tackles me to the ground. Its sharp teeth hovering above my arm, red eyes penetrating into my mind. She let out a small giggle, turning away from the situation. “Exterminate him, and make sure it’s a clean elimination.” You could hear the material of my suit rip as the fluorescent colour of red began to seep onto the once pristine ground. The crowd, screeching at the atrocious sight. The pain consumed me. I dreamed of her dancing down the unilluminated street in a drunken manner, lugging a briefcase full of cash. Humming a mellifluous tune to the sound of my screams. Her shadows… tainting my soul.

The soft beeping of the machine broke me out of my daze. I began snickering hysterically. My body, twitching all over as my vision began to blur. Blood red tears, staining my face. She challenged me when no one else would… fulfilling my only desire. I aspire to meet her again… one day.
Too bad it won’t be in this lifetime.