It was an average Saturday morning. The two brothers, Jamie and James, stared out of their window in the wealthy suburb of Pleasantville, Chicago. They could hear the birds chirping and flying gracefully from tree to tree. They could see their massive lawn and the sprinklers shooting water.
“Jamie,” the older brother at age twelve said, “come on, James, let’s go downstairs and get some breakfast.”
Jamie looked old. He had dark brown hair and brown eyes, and he had a faint caterpillar esque mustache and a small nose. He was rather tall for his age, around 5 10” and very skinny.
James who was Jamie’s complaisant nine year-old brother, replied, “Okay Jamie.”
James was tall like Jamie, but he didn’t look or seem older. He had a very high pitched voice with chubby cheeks, and he was always around his mom. All of the kids at Chicago Academy Private School for Extremely Gifted and Talented Students would make fun of James and call him a “momma’s boy.”
Unlike James, who was often the butt of the jokes among his group of friends, Jamie was incredibly popular. Though he was just in seventh grade, he was invited to most high school parties. Everyone knew Jamie Jenkins at C.A.P.S.E.G.T.S.
The two brothers went downstairs to the kitchen. Both boys look very confused. It was 9:07 a.m. and usually their mom, Julia, was downstairs at 6:15 a.m. on weekdays and 8:00 a.m. on weekends making a suitable meal for the two hungry boys and their father Clyde.
Julia Jenkins was only thirty seven years-old. She had dirty-blonde hair and large blue eyes. She was about average sized. She looked much younger than her age. She was very beautiful. Julia was from a small town in Oklahoma. She never went to college and instead became a housewife when she was just twenty three years-old.
Clyde Jenkins was the son of a wealthy businessman from Chicago. Clyde was fifty seven years-old and he owned part of Coca-Cola as well as a part of the Chicago Cubs baseball team. He worked very hard for his family and was rarely home at night. When he was home he was usually sleeping. His own kids barely knew him.
The boys were slightly disappointed that there was no breakfast, but they were more worried, where was their mom? They ran back up the steps and into their parents room. Usually Clyde got annoyed whenever his kids went into his room, but this was a slight emergency. Jamie pulled the large brass handle and hesitantly opened the door. The boys looked in and saw their father and mother engaging in some strange activity — chess. Not once had either of them seen their parents up playing chess.
“Good morning boys,” Clyde said as he moved a pawn.
Each boy responded, “Hi, Dad.”
“Boys, I just purchased this new chess board from some antique store,” Clyde said in his Chicago businessman accent, “draw.” Clyde said.
Jamie and James looked down at the chess board and saw that sure enough, two kings were left sitting on the board. Suddenly, a bright light from the board shone around their parents.
“What’s happening?” screamed Julia.
Both of them flattened out and were sucked into the chessboard in a matter of seconds. The brothers could hear them screaming in the distance and then they were gone. Silence. At first the boys looked plain confused. They knew not of what had happened, why it had happened or how it had happened.
Then after about three minutes of silence, James said in a sad yet puzzled tone, “Where’s Mom and Dad?”
“I have no darn clue.” James said.
“James, we’re going to find where this board was made, how it works, and how we get Mom and Dad back.” Jamie said.
James looked very frightened of the chessboard. He stood close to the door while Jamie moved the two kings off of the board and on to his parents bed along with the rest of the pieces. Then, Jamie picked up the board.
As he picked it up Jamie grunted. The board was unexpectedly heavy considering it wasn’t particularly big in size. It had a very nice finish on the sides where there were two handles carved that looked like dragons. On the top of the chessboard, where the actual game was played, Jamie could see that each square was made of a very fine marble — 32 black and 32 white squares. He turned the chessboard over to see the bottom and on the bottom there was a sticker that read, “Agnes’ Antiques.”
“Bingo,” Jamie said.
“What?” Replied James.
“I found the place that sold this thing to Dad. We should go there and ask the shopkeeper about this thing,” Jamie said in an impatient tone.
“I mean, are you sure? We’re just two kids…alone,” James said.
“James, shut up,” said Jamie, “we are going to this antique store.”
Jamie said, “Put your shoes on.”
“Okay Jamie,” James replied obediently.
James laced up his checkered Vans, a Christmas present from his father. He could not stop thinking about his parents. Would he ever see them again?
Then, James started to cry.
While James was crying, Jamie carefully packed each chess set. He put the pieces in a shoebox of his new Kobe’s. Jamie never threw shoe boxes out because they always could be put to good use for something. He put the chess board in a Trader Joe’s bag. Then he double bagged it, and then he triple bagged it. The board was very heavy and he did not want it to break. This chess board had just taken his parents INSIDE of it and he did not know what else it could or would do. Jamie wasn’t about to be taking chances with something he knew so little about.
As he walked down the stairs and into the family mudroom, Jamie could see James crying. “James, I know it’s hard, but there is a chance that we CAN get Mom and Dad back. But, only if we learn more about this chess board at the antique store,” Jamie said.
Jamie was really good at comforting James. James felt that Jamie was the only one around his age who could empathize with him.
“Now, make yourself useful and carry the pieces,” Jamie said playfully as he handed him the shoe box.
“Okay,” James said. He stopped crying and took the shoebox from Jamie.
James was the type of kid to cry or get mad and then stop, forget about it and go back to his normal self about three minutes later.
The two brothers walked outside of their large house. A couple rain droplets trickled on each of the boys’ heads.
“Look, James, a squirrel,” Jamie said.
“Where? Where?”James asked and panicked. He was afraid of squirrels ever since one bit him when he was six.
“Made you look,” laughed Jamie.
“That’s not funny,” James said as he punched Jamie on the arm.
Though it didn’t hurt, Jamie started grabbing his arm and said,”oww, James, I’m gonna sue you.”
The brothers walked down a small stone staircase and into their driveway. There were two empty cars sitting outside of the garage, the Land Rover and the Audi. They walked on to the street.
Jamie paused. “Hold up James, I have no idea where Agnes Antiques is, I need to google maps it.” said Jamie.
James placed the chess pieces in the shoebox down extremely carefully. “I found the route, it’s a twenty minute walk. I can get our rain coats from inside,” said James, “I think that it might rain harder as time progresses.”
James ran inside and picked up the two raincoats, Jamie’s was blue and James’ was orange with green polka-dots.
“Thanks James,” Jamie said as he grabbed his raincoat.
Each of the brothers picked up their stuff, James the pieces and Jamie the board. They walked through Pleasantville. On their block there were just large suburban homes. They crossed street after street, and avenue after avenue. The boys got lost for some time, but they found their way back. They eventually ended up in Agnes’ Antiques, though it was not a twenty minute walk.
They entered the shop, and it was quite cramped and dusty with old books on the shelves. There were old plates, coffee mugs, and utensils. Anything old one could find in this store.
“Agnes Antiques, how can I help you boys,” a man said.
James started to back away from the man while Jamie did the talking.
“Hello sir, our father recently purchased this chess board from your store,” Jamie pulled the chess board out and pointed at it, “ it sucked our parents into it, could you tell us a little more about it?”
“Ahh yes,” the man said.
He was average size and looked rather old with spectacles and a white mustache.
“Well this here chessboard has a lot of history,” said the man, “back in the Eleventh Century, this chess board was made for King Richard the IV. He loved chess. He loved playing with this chess board so much that he wouldn’t do anything else. His wife didn’t like this. So, to punish him, she told a sorcerer to cast a spell on Richard. The sorcerer did, he wasn’t too fond of the king either. King Richard was transported into the game. He was playing as white in his last game of chess, so he became the white king in the game. Nobody in the real world knew where he went. However, the sorcerer didn’t just curse the king, he cursed the chessboard. Anyone who played with this board and won or drew was transported into the game to fight in the war between the white knights and the black nights,” the man said.
“Why didn’t you tell my father of this?” Jamie yelled in rage.
“Good question. I did tell him this, however he said that it was complete nonsense. Look what happened,” the man replied.
Jamie was mad and James was scared. How could this man sell this knowing that it could trap people in it’s own world?
“Can we get them back?” asked Jamie.
“The game is complex. To start the war, each team needs an equal number of knights, and right now it seems that there are two spots left to fill on white,” the man said.
“Well,” Jamie said, “We can do this, I’ll play James and he’ll be trying to lose, and you’ll play James and purposely lose to him.”
“Sounds perfectly fine,” said the old man. He was a pretty nice guy and he wanted to help these kids get their parents back, even though the father was so rude to him.
“I have one question though,” said Jamie, “what will happen when the war is over?”
“Nobody knows for sure, but I have a strong belief that every survivor is transported back to the real world. Can you imagine? People have waited a little over 1,000 years to get out of there. You two have the ability to do this,” the man said.
Game one began: Jamie black vs. James white. James, who hadn’t said a word this whole time, was scared of the old man and of the board. Jamie started off by moving his pawns and having James capture them, it was working. Then James got his Rooks, then his Knights, Bishops, Queens, and then Jamie was left to just his King. James had nearly all of his pieces. Then, he took the King with his Rook. Any second now, the game was over and James braced himself for the worst feeling in the world. Nothing happened. He looked around the room in a confused state. Then, suddenly, the light came. It flattened James out to a pancake and sucked him in. Jamie and the man could hear his screams and it gave Jamie goosebumps down his spine.
The man slowly walked over to the table in which they had been playing. It was an old table made of wood and had red decorations around the edges. He sat down and wished Jamie the best of luck. He was even more scared than when he saw James going into the world. Jamie was white and the old man was black. Jamie easily won in about four minutes he used to play for his school chess team. Then, unlike James who waited about thirty seconds to be transported, Jamie was taken right away, flattened out and sucked into the board. The old man covered his eyes and Jamie was gone.
He knew now not to make the mistake of putting this out for sale. Even if he labeled it “cursed chessboard,” people would still buy it. He put the chess board in the back, he took the delicate pieces and smashed them with a nearby hammer. Now nobody could be trapped in the game because the ordinary pieces wouldn’t work. Also, those in the game who survived could get out because the board was still there.
END OF PART I