Fate and destiny are all words that I found lacking meaning in this world. As far as I could see it, everything relied on chances. Past actions influenced the present and future. People became more predictable with age, all you need is someone with the ability to tell you the odds that something will happen. The odds are that the man sitting across from me will bluff with his hand of kings and a wild, but the odds told me that if I raised the stake, pushed a larger bluff, he would back down with the three-of-a-kind.
“Raise,” he murmured, pushing a stack of hundreds towards the pot.
After a moment it came down to me, others folding in quick succession.
“Raise,” I replied in confidence, not in the cards, but in his fault. His eyes tried staring mine down as he was now being pushed to call or raise.
“Fold,” he muttered after a minute of perspiration.
I revealed my hand and the table was livid.
“You didn’t have a damn thing,” one of the other spat.
No reply was necessary, only a collection of the winnings as I bowed out. It was an interesting experience, but the winnings were at their highest in my favour. The longer I played the more the chances of the others winning increased, especially with the same man receiving five-of-a-kind. I had to watch moments like those, keep my calculations ticking away at each twitch and blink.
Exchanging my winnings, I soon left the casino, this time the house lost. Of course, that increased the odds of being followed, so I hailed a taxi and jumped in. I asked him to take me around the corner quickly while the casino goons mobilised some wheels. I handed the taxi driver my money, leapt out the taxi once out of sight and dashed into an alley. Lighting a cigarette, I watched as a back car turned the same corner and began to follow the taxi. Safe in the shadows, I took off my coat and inverted it. Different colour tone and different style after quick folds here and there.
I stepped out onto the sidewalk and jogged across the street. I heard footsteps, not in pursuit, but they were careful. Numbers spun like slot machines. Chances are I would be followed on foot, despite my quick disguise. I was too close for the jacket change to be of any use. He could see the side of my face.
There it was...steps across the street in my direction. My odds lowered with each step, so there was no time to waste now. I broke forward into a full sprint. It was amazing how keen these employees were as the steps behind me rocketed forward after me. Of course, I had the headstart and I knew that there was a limit to what they could do in the open, even if it was a quiet night.
I approached the trash can, slid to a stop, shooting my hand inside, grabbing the gun. Turning to face the pursuer I aimed right between...her eyes?
It was a woman, phone in hand, whispering to someone with a smile, eyes not even watching me as she stared down at the screen. Within seconds I pocketed the gun. Numbers were still spinning in my mind. She laughed, giggling at the mans jokes on the other side of the video call. Something felt off, she was in a rush, but her shoes…
Once arms length from me she twisted, knife slipping from her sleeve into her hand. The odds predicted it, but it wasn’t entirely expected. I avoided the thrust, twisting myself in the motion, raising my gun. A knife in the air met the gun, cutting my hand, forcing me to drop the gun. The phone followed, but I dodged it.
In a fight I could predict the next moves, but in the beginning stages there is plenty of room to be unpredictable. The woman followed with a few more strikes, each with deadly intention, testing the waters and I followed with some of mine. Once done with the first throws we distanced ourselves from each other. Not a single blow landing, but eyes were now narrowed.
Someone else like me had challenged me. She wasn’t trained, her attacks informal, but practical for their worth. The strikes were incredibly defensive as well, causing me to rethink counters, just like my attacks. The realisation dawned on her as well. I was someone who could predict her moves and she knew it.
Now we stood there, catching our breaths. We lowered our hands and changed our stance. There was nothing that made sense in that moment. The next logical conclusion for both of us was to be unpredictable, to attack with strength, not with mind. Her feet seperated a little wider, ready to dodge to either side. We stood in an empty street, it would be hard to corner her.
However, it paid to predict something unpredictable, which meant having a backup that trumped the problem. I heard hers, a car engine revving behind me as it charged forward. I leapt in the air as she dove from the street. The car collided with an ankle, but the flip worked out in my favour. I landed, painfully, but solidly. Both the car and my pursuer were distracted. I snatched up the gun and ran.
A crowded area was all I needed and I soon found it. WInter Solstice festival around the corner, losing myself among stands and tired people. Too many hiding spots for the woman to predict where I would be. Streets too crowded for a squad of goons to follow me with their car.
My jog became a limp, but it only took a moment to fall through a doorway into an apartment building. Making my way through to the otherside of the lobby I reached for the doorknob and paused. I heard steps on the other side and launched a kick at the door. The door popped forward, striking my female pursuer and knocking her to the ground.
I took my gun in hand and pointed it at her bleeding, confused face. It would be quick and unheard amongst the festivities. That easy.