• Vol. 04
  • Chapter 10

I roll the dice

I roll the dice: a two and a five.

It’s no help at all.

Two is an even number, which is a good sign. Nature organises things in pairs. But combined with the five — an odd number and one that has brought me a lot of misfortune — it’s a bad omen.

The thick iron doors in front of me open slightly, the light beyond blinding me to what is inside. It feels like an invitation, but yet they don’t open all the way. Should I push them wide and walk in? It would only take me three, maybe four, steps and I’d be inside.

I turn and look back down the road that brought me here. It’s dark now and I’m a long way from home. I contemplate the dice on the muddy ground in front of me. A two and a five. Perhaps the people inside have food, a warm fire and a soft bed waiting for me.

Perhaps they do not.

It could be cold and damp and evil in there. The instructions that led me here tonight were not clear on what lies beyond the doors, only that I should come here and then decide.

Should I roll the dice again?

Yes, I think, I should. And so I do. A second roll and it’s a four and a three. Four is a remarkably good number. Even. Square. Solid. But a three? Bad things always come in threes — odd numbers are never good. And four plus three equals seven. Another odd number. My skin itches as I grapple with the meaning of it.


I roll the dice

I can’t decide and the dice refuse to help. I weigh up the options. I could go back home. I would neither lose nor gain anything — no one would know but me. I could go inside. I could either lose or gain everything.

But no one would know but me.

One last roll: a six and a four. Evens. A good sign. And six plus four equals ten. A natural number. I look at my hands and my muddied bare feet. Ten fingers, ten toes. Two hands to pick up the dice, two feet to take me wherever I go.

I make my choice. I pick up the dice with my two hands and I move my two feet.