The Immortal Game

Why are we in England stalking a secondary school teacher?

Dogs as rule can’t roll their eyes. However, Halligan might just learn if the drunk Texan makes another whoop. The tickle of his mind he could feel Andy’s Discomfort after losing another hand. Poker was boring when they wouldn’t let him play, drinking was kind of boring, never enough to affect him, and why they were in this shack that smelled of alcohol, hops and stale peanuts Halligan wouldn’t ever understand.

He was helping Andy earlier till someone remembered Andy and him were telepathically linked by the ancient hunter’s magic. They demanded he sit behind Andy and not move. The sleeping Vulture next to the large dog would freak out every time Halligan so much as yawned, so he had to settle to listening to people tell stories while Andy continued to lose. Boring, but Andy made a point that it was a bonding experience.

The Texan was handed the cards and shuffled them out, “Alright no wilds, right fellas?”

Cards were shuffled out, after a few chips were thrown down for the blinds.

“Believe we it is the lady’s start for the bet”

“And I fold,” the lady in question was the largest person in the room, largest human, Isabella. A Huitzilopochtli scion made her pre-visitation life as a Luchadora. The shadow jaguar or some other silly cat thing. She smelled like a predator and that was before the undercurrent of blood all Aztec have.

“Ah, come off it,” the odd pronunciation of an English accent from a man that smelled too much like boiled cabbage and soggy sheep, “it’s the starting round, I will raise.” Andrew, a scion of the Greeks, he smiled too much. Andy and he had an annoying habit of confusing everyone that worked with them for the last day and a half.

“I am terrible at cards, especially when this man deals” she gave the Texan a look, he simply smiled dipped his hat, “give me something large and hard to handle and I can take of it.”

“Maybe later,” Texan winked, “in private”

“Cochon” Aimé, a scion of Guanyin, hissed out as she threw in another raise.

Andy called the raise. His hand was decent starter, better than the last at least.

The Texan just laughed, “Alright fine, story then, weirdest thing you ever saw before you learn what you are and now it makes total sense.”

“What like pre-visitation?” Andrew asked.

“That I believe is the better way to say what the dealer wants.” Aimé said.

“Pop stars” Isabella said.

A chorus of “Seriously?” sprang from around the table.

“Yea, take that world tour non-sense. Only Scions could that make any amount of sense as to why everyone is tripping over themselves to help a group that doesn’t even speak the same language. I mean when they rolled through Mexico City it was a nightmare in more than one way, only scion can bring that much chaos.”

Andy and Halligan snickered, for their own reasons.

“You do have a point.”

“What about you Andrew.”

“It’s going to sound crazy.”

“Crazier than being the son of a god?” asked Isabella

“Than a talking dogs?” the Texan asked.

“Than pop stars?” asked Aimé smirking as Isabella made a rude gesture.

“Than playing poker with several people who can use literal magic?” asked Andy.

Everyone looked at him after the comment then each other than glared at Andy between glaring at each other.

“What? I didn’t start to use Halligan until I realized all of you were cheating. Tex here has been the worse and worse he isn’t even trying to pretend that he isn’t.”

Glares turned to the Texan who had the decency to look sheepish. Several stacks of cards were thrown at the Texan who collected the cards and began to shuffle them, everyone else began rearranged chips, stacks of currency and various knickknacks. Undoing in a matter of moments what had been the labor of several hours.

“Fine,” Aimé started as she took the deck giving it to Isabella, “we start again, no cheating, no magic and Tex never deals.”

Isabella cut and shuffled the cards in one large, dexterous hand before throwing out cards by using her thumb to launch them at everyone. She picked up her own cards in the opposite hand before looking at everyone expectedly. Blinds were shifted in the shuffle and they threw out chips as needed.

“Fine by me,” the Texan picked up his cards, his mustache wiggled, “But Andrew tells us his crazy theory.”

Andrew sighed as he threw his cards down, “Alright since I fold anyway, so right something that now only makes sense that the world is crazier, more fucked up than everything we ever thought.”

A mummer of confirming accented with the sound of plastic chips being casually thrown in a growing heap.

“Right, so I went to a boarding school, in the south side of London, kind of an older more run down part of town, train stop nearby, some parks, typical lower end bourgeoisie.”

“Sounds charming,” Isabella spoke from her “dealer is taking two since everyone seems content to just stare at their cards.”

“So proper middle class English?”

Andrew nodded.

“What were the woman all the same?”

“Weird rituals that no one spoke about?”

“You clowns want me to finish or just list grade B movies everyone keeps trying to remake?”

Aimee rolled her eyes, “Let him finish.”

“Well I would be he is dragging this out.”

“Fine, I had this English teacher, my brother, my mortal brother had him and my uncle swears he had him too.”

“And?”

“That’s the thing the guy would have to be in his 90s for that timeline to make sense. That’s not the weirdest part, the weirdest part is he is nearly every night at the pub, drinking everyone under the table. I know because I was there last week clearer than I remember him, drank me under the table”

“Halligan would drink you under the table”

“Halligan would drink Dionysus under the table.” Tex said sagely.

Andy nodded in agreement, calling for one card. Halligan snorted, the vulture eyed him with one partially covered eye.

“My inability to hold my liquor is not the point. The point is that this man should be ancient not drinking and singing pub songs with a bunch of blue collar yolks. That’s not even to say how he looks.”

“Let me guess Brad pit”

“Almost though he doesn’t have that classical look to him. More Germanic dream, blondish hair, pale skin and eyes of a grey blue sky. He looked to be in his late thirties on off days and early twenty when he tries. He still looks like that today.”

“Okay so Immortal?”

“You know that would makes sense but there is something else. He’s got an odd fetish for sagas. I mean he will go on and on about them, except one, Beowulf.”
The Texan raised the pot, “He doesn’t like Anglo-Saxon Christian revisions of Pagan Scandinavian and Saxon folk heroes, most people don’t.”

Every turned to look at the Texan.

He return the looks with a sweeping glare, “I went to the University of Texas and have a masters in Medieval Studies.”

Andrew’s words came out in a frantic wild rate, “Well that’s weird but my point, and maybe you’d have to see him teach. I mean he picks apart Beowulf. Like every little details, names and why they were there and weren’t. Scholarly research and sometimes he does this weird thing where he uses first person pronoun instead of Beowulf when talking about events in the story. He had this weird understanding of the cultural nuances of each of these cultures. He speaks these dead languages, perfectly. Is coach of the swim team and the fencing team. I mean he is always doing some marathon”

“So time traveler,” the Tex wiggled his eye brows.

“Nah he is suggesting something worst.”

“Yea? And what am I suggesting?”

Aimé raised again, “Your English teacher is Beowulf.”

The laughing that broke out hurt Halligan’s ears and startled the vulture. Only two people were not laughing, Aimé and Andrew. Everyone sort of quieted down and looked between the two.

“Like I said, sounds crazy but then only thing that makes sense.”

“Crazy story, so who is still in this hand?” Aimé asked.

Halligan felt Andy reach across his mind trying to make sense of the idea, the fictional hero Beowulf teaching English, it was madness. Halligan tried rolling his eyes, not sure what it looked like, before he reminded Andy he is the mother of a woman who is according to most a fictional character and he was having a telepathic conversation.

“Full house,” Andy displayed his pair and three of kind as everyone who was still in groaned. First pot of the night, Halligan was sure it wasn’t the last.

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