Lucky Joe.

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: The Dark And Suspenseful

A tale from beyond the shadows.

Submitted: August 13, 2018

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Submitted: August 13, 2018



Lucky Joe! That is what everyone knew Joseph white as; in truth he was lucky beyond most people's expectations. During active service he had twice been the sole survivor from his combat group, he had stood amidst the carnage of his comrades without as much as a scratch on him. Covered in the gore and blood of others yet unharmed himself, yep there was a certain truthful ring to his knick name. Sometimes when he was in one of his more pensive moods, Joe would wonder when or how he had begun to live this charmed life.

 The only thing that he could honestly point to was the strange ring he had found when he was a kid, he considered it his lucky charm. It had always been too big to wear on his finger, even when he was fully grown. But Joe never went anywhere without it hanging on a chain around his neck, once he had become desperate for money and tried to pawn it. However the guy in the pawn shop would not even handle it, he pushed it back across the counter as if it were unclean. Later that evening Joe had found a wallet stuffed to bursting with hundred dollar bills.

The one drawback about his uncanny luck was the fact people began to shun Joe, in the army no one wanted to go on patrol with him. Those that were forced to do so became fearful and distanced themselves from him as soon as they could. On civic street people who played cards with Joe never came back for a second game. At work accidents happened around him but always to someone else, so Joe was becoming persona non grata in most aspects of life. Still he supposed most blessings came with certain drawbacks and he was more than willing to accept this.

 However at times Joe felt isolated, even in his romantic life things happened that caused his women friends to move on. Joe found himself becoming more and more obsessed with the ring and pushing his luck to the very limit. At night he would sit for hours studying the strange ring. Surely no one had hands and fingers that big that the ring would fit, he would take crazy chances to test the limits of the lucky charm. His whole mind became obsessed with just how long he could be lucky Joe.

A chance encounter at a gambling arcade set Joe on a new quest to test his luck; he was playing the one armed bandit when he overheard the conversation. Two men of oriental extraction were discussing card games; apparently a game took place on the out skirts of the city at the start of each month. An urban legend had grown up around this card game, the legend had it that a strange man sat at the game and had never lost a single game. Joe was immediately hooked; here was his chance to put his lucky charm to the ultimate test.

 He would know for definite if the strange ring really was the source of his lucky streak, he had not felt this elated in many years. It took Joe another couple of weeks before he could track down this elusive gambler who never lost, actually it was another stroke of luck for him and bad luck for another that led him to the gambler. He had come across a tragic scene a jumper from the cross town bridge, a cop was going through the deceased mans coat for I. D. A witness giving a statement to his partner mentioned the man who jumped kept babbling on about a mystical gambler who had taken everything from him. Joe hung back and spoke to the witness, turned out the man had told him enough for Joe to find the game.

Every last dollar Joe had accumulated was packed in the leather hold all, all his winnings for the last twelve months and it made a pretty penny.  He arrived at the ware house to find two burly security men turning most of the queuing people away. Only one at a time was let in and the rest waited for another player to be knocked out of the game, Joe waited in queue as the hours ticked away. How long would the gambler continue to play he wondered, again lady luck smiled on Joe as a fist fight broke out at the head of the line. By the time the two security guards had sorted out the melee and escorted the culprits from the vicinity, Joe found himself at the head of the queue. Another stroke of luck he thought as he fingered the strange ring, he fancied he felt the ring vibrate as he waited.

The man opposite Joe wore a wide brimmed hat and dark glasses that all but concealed his features, but what struck Joe was the size of his hands. He had never seen anyone with such big hands; the cards looked like postage stamps in his grip. Over the last couple of hours the rest of the players had been knocked out, no more replacement players had been allowed in.

 The moment of truth had arrived it was down to him and the man with the huge hands, he was about to learn if the ring was truly a lucky talisman.  Joe breathed a sigh of relief as he peeked at his last card, the nine of spades this made a straight flush. He pushed his remaining pile of money to the centre of the table, watching and waiting for the strange mans reaction. “You are going to need more than that" a sinking feeling in his stomach followed the man's words. Every buck he owned was now in the pot, was this how it was going to end?

 In desperation Joe removed the ring form the chain and held it in front of the gambler, his heart skipped a beat when the man nodded silently and smiled coldly at Joe. The pounding of his heart felt like a drum in his head, his lungs burned as he held his breath. The stranger turned the cards painfully slowly and Joe felt a wave of nausea wash over him, a royal flush stared him straight in the face. Joe watched the scene unfold in front of him as if in slow motion, the stranger pushed the pile of notes one side and reached for the ring. He slowly placed it on his finger, a perfect fit as if it had been made for him. Later Joe walked aimlessly through the deserted streets; his mind replayed the game over and over. Guess the ring wasn't lucky after all he thought as he stepped from the sidewalk, Joe never even heard the delivery truck that hit him.

© Copyright 2018 Patrick G Moloney. All rights reserved.

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