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Chapter 5: How About A Little Game

Victor stepped slowly into the cell, leaving the door open to let in some light.  Two guards with machine guns were in the doorway, so he had no fear of being attacked.  "Hello, Shane.  Happy Anniversary."

Shane lay on his back, and made no attempt to get up.  "Are we celebrating something?"

Victor shrugged.  "Survival, perhaps."  He studied the filthy man lying on the mattress.  Shane looked like he had not had a bath in weeks.  His hair was long and matted, and a beard covered much of his face.  He also had lost considerable weight; the prison rags he wore were far too big for his body.

From the bed, Shane laughed.  "Survival's nothing."

"I don't know.  A year in here is quite an impressive feat."  Victor made a point to glance around the cell.  There was something unnerving about this conversation.  He expected something different. 

A year?  Shane struggled not to react to what Victor said.  He thought maybe a few months, but a full year.  Instead, he gave an impassive shrug.  "I guess that means I missed an entire season of Law & Order.  Too bad."

"Very funny," Victor said, his tone displaying no amusement.  "Still with the jokes."

"What do you want, Kiriakis?"

There was a hint of anger that made Victor smile.  Shane could act like he was unfazed, but little things like using Victor's last name betrayed the act.  "I wanted to see how you're doing.  You didn't think I forgot about you."

"Actually, I didn't think about you at all."

"I'm sure you didn't."  Victor chuckled.  "So let's say I'm here to offer you a deal."

Shane's eyes narrowed.  He knew he would not like any deal that Victor Kiriakis was about to offer, but he knew Victor was going to make his speech anyway.

"My friend Presidente Vasquez is quite anxious to see you executed.  So far, I've convinced him to let you live, that it's better to see you suffer in prison for a time.  So here's my offer."  Victor paused for effect. 

"Beg."

Victor waited for a response, but got none.  "You heard me, Donovan.  Beg for your life and you can go free."

Shane laid his head back on the mattress and began to laugh.  He could not stop himself, even though the action caused his bruised back and ribs to ache.  "Oh, you must be kidding if you think I'm going to fall for that.  Are you so desperate to convince yourself I broke that you'd try to trick me into begging?  No deal."

"It's not a trick," Victor lied.  "You could go home, see your family.  See . . . Kimberly Brady," he said, emphasizing her name  Shane turned on his side and they locked eyes.  Victor took a step back.  It wasn't that Victor expected  to be attacked, but there was a defiant look in those sunken eyes that made him nervous for a moment.  But he recovered.  "Beg for your life and you can go home."

The defiant expression left Shane's face, and his eyes narrowed.  "How about a counter-offer?  You're such a competitor, but you know you've never beat me in a fair competition -- unless I've deliberately allowed you to win."

"My yacht beat yours in Miami," Victor pointed out.

"I said a 'fair' competition.  We both know you sabotaged my mast in that race."

He did have a point, Victor thought.  "So what do you propose?"

"The guards down the way have a chess board.  I've seen it when they pull me for interrogation."  Shane mentioned the interrogation lightly, without an accusatory tone.  "So here's your offer:  One game of chess.  I win and I get free passage out of Costa Blanca."

"And if you lose?"

"I give you what you want.  I'll beg for my life, so you can order my execution convinced that you broke me."  Shane stifled a curt laugh.  "We both know that's what you really want."

Victor had to concede Shane was right.  It was unsettling that the man seemed to read Victor's thoughts.  But the offer was tempting, to get the satisfaction of seeing Shane beg -- of seeing him completely defeated -- and then be done with him for good.  Victor wanted that complete victory.  "Very well."  He turned to the guards and told them to bring a table, two chairs and the chess set.  "I'll even let you be white."  They waited until everything was set up.  Victor took his seat and waited for Shane to get to his feet.  He moved slowly, hunched over like he was protecting sore ribs.  Shane finally sunk weakly into the chair, with a curt laugh.  "Is something funny?" Victor asked.

Shane nodded.  "This is the first time in a year that I've been in chair without being tortured."  He shifted in the seat.  "That takes a little getting used to."

They set out the pieces and Victor sat back to await Shane's opening move.  His opponent was studying the board intently.  Then something dawned on Victor.  "I forgot to ask.  About this deal of ours.  What happens if it's a draw?"

Shane's lips curled in a grim smile as raised his head and looked across the table.  "Don't worry, Victor.  This is one game that won't end in a draw."