Instruments: Deck of Cards
Relive your memories, find out how they connect, and exorcize who it is that haunts you.
Game Content Warnings
Playthrough Content WarningsThese are content warnings specific to this playthrough only.
Word Count: 1,473 Played: Nov 22, 2020
Card: 8 of Spades,. Fear, intimate moment,
I was sitting on the steps outside the library, eating a small pastry, waiting for Zuzanka to finish her studies and emerge. I waited for what seemed like an hour before she arrived. She apologized to me, made some excuses and we were on our way.
We walked in silence for a long while before we reached the entrance to her home, a small little house sandwiched between two stores.
She unlocked her door and hesitated before asking me inside. I’d never been in her home before; I was nervous, excited, and from the look on her face, knew exactly what we both wanted. I smiled and nodded.
Zuzanka took my hand and brought me into her kitchen, then up the stairs and into her bedroom.
Card: 10 of Clubs , Isolation, you lost control of your emotions and lashed out at someone you care about
I was seated at the table in our home, and my brother was standing across from me. His hands were on the table and he was leaning forward into my face.
His voice was quiet and harsh. He berated me over and over, reminding me of my mistakes. It wasn’t my fault I had a bad few fights. I told him this over and over again but still he leaned closer and closer, alcohol on his breath and venom in his words.
He pointed his finger at my chest and blamed me for dad’s death. I grabbed his arm, twisted it around him and slammed his face to the table.
“You can blame me all you want, but you and I both know it was your fault,” I released him left through the front door. I could hear him sobbing from behind me, but I never wanted to see him again.
Card: 9 of Diamonds, Guild/Shame, you experienced failure, what were you trying to accomplish
Zuzanka was holding a cold fish against my bleeding face. I couldn’t look her in the eyes.
She was humming softly for a while before she grabbed my chin and turned my face towards her. “You need to go to the doctor,” she stated plainly.
I shook my head, “You know I can’t afford it.”
“No, I can’t let you do that,” I take the fish from her hand and look away from her. “I just gotta get better. I’ll take a few days off, then I’ll be good. I know it.”
She snorted but didn’t bother to argue. “You lose again and you listen to me,” she poked my chest. I grumble and remove her hand.
Card: King of Clubs, Isolation, You lost someone close to you
I was in my home again, the night my father died. I had covered all the mirrors, and pulled the drapes shut. Leonce, my brother was pacing back and forth through the small kitchen.
“I want to go see,” His arms were behind his back when he looked up at me.
“No,” I am hard and commanding.
“I have to see if he is there.”
Leonce made for the drapes but I grabbed his waist. I am stronger than him, but I did not want to hurt him, so he wiggled free. We both grabbed for fabric, him the curtain and I his shirt, but he succeeded.
He ripped the drapes from the window and the rod came crashing to the floor. Outside we see them: the nightly procession of ghosts passing through the streets.
He looks and scans for our father. I try to grab him one last time but he slaps me away.
“I need to know if he will pass on,” Leonce doesn’t look at me when he speaks.
“You don’t even know if he will pass this way,” I stood in front of him. “What will you do if you don’t see him? You can’t know.”
He shoved me aside, “He’ll come this way, I know he will. I saw a vision…”
“You did not, you were drunk,” I breathed heavily through my nose. “If you saw a vision of him coming this way then you know he will pass on.”
“He could stay with us,” Leonce won’t look at me.
“We are alone now, Leonce,” I told him more angrily than I wanted.
Card: 4 of Spades, Fear, you were at an important family event, why did you feel the way you felt?
Zuzanka invited me to her sister’s wedding. This was a week after my father had passed and I didn’t want to attend.
I knew she would understand if I did not go, but she needed me there and I needed to not be alone.
Her family had never met me and asked questions about the mourning band around my arm. I waded through the condolences and judgement as best I could before meeting her mother.
Her mother was small, barely taller than my knee and had a cold stare. “You’re Zuzu’s partner? The boxer?”
I nodded to her and she nodded to herself.
“Condolences for your father,” her voice sounded warm but her eyes remained cold. “I’m sure he’s already passed on.”
I thanked her, hoping to end the conversation, but she continued on.
“Mine didn’t go quickly, you know. He stayed around for a year, re-living the last day over and over again, stuck in an endless loop until he wore himself out.”
I didn’t know what to say, the thought of my father returning each night filled me with a sharp hot dread and I downed the rest of my drink and a single gulp.
Card: Jack of Diamonds, Guilt/Shame, supposed to be a moment of victory
I stood, exhausted, blood smeared across my face from my broken nose, sweat on my brow. The referee held my hand in the air, proclaiming me the victor and I gave the customary battle cry.
I looked around the faces in the crowd. Some were cheering, some were cursing, but all were strangers to me.
My chest pained and ached as I left the ring. Why was I here? I should have been out looking for Leonce. He had been missing for two weeks. I told myself he wasn’t my responsibility, but I couldn’t stop myself from caring deeply.
People pat me on the shoulder and offer to buy me drinks but I turn them all down. I needed to return home.
Card: 8 of Hearts, Anger, an especially intimate moment
I was sitting again at my table weeping. Zuzanka stood by my side, hugging me and rubbing my back.
She was telling me things will be fine, and that it wasn’t my fault. I shook my head because I could not speak.
She says she knows he must have already passed and there was nothing I could do. She tells me she knows how I must feel.
I slammed my hands on the table and told her she could never understand to have two people die because of you.
She looked frightened for a moment, then angry. I apologize to her, I didn’t mean to hurt her. I tell her I didn’t mean what I said, but I do, and she knows it.
Zuzanka took the seat beside me and took my large hand in hers. “You wouldn’t have found him, even if you went looking.”
I looked up into her face, and shook my head, “You don’t know that. I knew where he liked to go, I could have checked behind every bar in the city.”
“No, you couldn’t have,” She squeezed my hand tight, “you would have frozen too.”
Card: Ace of Hearts, Anger, You were young and immature, you didn’t understand what was going on.
I was seven when our mother died. I don’t remember the funeral except for the fight I got in with my brother.
I kept asking when she was coming back. I had seen the nightly ghosts and I knew she would come back to us if we wanted her. I thought they were looking for their bodies and we just needed to keep her from being buried.
I screeched and screeched when they lowered her into the ground until Leonce hit me. I hit him back, hard enough to make him bleed and my father had to take us away.
I know why Leonce haunts the foot of my bed. He does not believe that the others have passed on, so he will not either.
I see him staring past me, looking for something he will not find. I do not know if I can help him, but Zuzanka holds me tight and I have started to forgive myself.