“I’m sorry,” the doctor said, stoic. Rehearsed. This was not his first time giving this speech. They were the words of a man who had steeled himself over decades of exposure to sickness and death, the dark wrinkles in his eyes both compassionate yet unmoving. 


“But the surgery, it only costs…”

“No,” said Randy, interrupting his wife. He couldn’t hear it. He couldn’t listen to the back and forth. Not about this. If the doctor had made the trip to their home in person to tell them this, then everything else had been considered. His hope was withering like Jaden’s blood, unable to be fixed. And Jaden, their son. What could Randy say to him? Son, I’m sorry, we don’t have the money to…


“Randy, how can you be so cold?”

Cold? Me? He thought to himself. I’m not…cold. I would do anything. Anything for the boy. 


The doctor left and Randy sat down in his chair, his wife sobbing alone until she walked out the door. And in his chair he sat, shaken by the visit. 


 Then suddenly there came a knock at the  door. 


Randy sat in his chair. Listening. The knock came once, twice, three times, and kept knocking every minute for the next hour. Randy didn’t move. He thought about Jaden. About his family. About his life. 


The door slowly creaked open and a man in a tall black suit with dark features stepped in. Randy looked at him but didn’t say a word. He didn’t have any words left. If he had only done better in school, if he had only went to college instead of practicing this stupid talent of his, maybe his son, maybe Jaden, would be ok. 


“Randy,” said the man as he took a seat in the chair opposite him. Randy felt his wet face slowly crane up towards the man, those dark features blurred through Randy’s old and puffy eyes. 


“Id like you to show me your talent,” he said, pulling out a small device that now sat on the coffee table. 


Randy didn’t move a muscle. “What’s that?” He asked. 


“It’s…a toy,” the man said, a subtle grin spreading over his face, concealed by the dark collar of his jacket. 


Randy didn’t recognize the device, but decided it didn’t matter. Nothing here mattered. 


“Your talent,” said the man again, this time pulling a thick envelope out of his jacket pocket. “Please.”


Randy eyed the envelope that now sat on the table beside the device. The man opened the seal and green bills rustled. Dollar bills. More than he had ever seen in one place. Maybe even hundreds in that envelope. 


Randy felt his eyes go wider at the sight. He looked up at the man, who glanced at the money and then back and Randy and nodded. 


Slowly, methodically, Randy’s hand moves towards his tummy and started rubbing in a circle. 


“And…the other.”


Randy’s other hand came up and started patting his head. He started feeling…happier, for some strange reason. Almost involuntarily so. 


The device started glowing white, and the man in the suit snatched it quickly from the table with a grin on his face. “This will do,” he said, and placed a card on the table in its place. “Come to this address tonight when the sun has set. There’s plenty more money where that came from. And if you do well in our games, then maybe, just maybe, you will have the chance to save your son.”


He left the envelope of cash on the table and walked out the door, leaving Randy to stare blankly ahead at the cash and the card. The money here…it was more than he had ever seen, sure, but not even enough to pay the current medical bills, let alone the surgery. 


He heard Jaden cough from the bedroom next door, and Randy’s mind was made up. He didn’t know what this tournament was, or who the man was or who he worked for, and he didn’t know what he would be doing tonight at this location. But if there was a chance to save his son, he would use any talent at his disposal.  

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This cliffhanger is JoJo worthy.

Oh no! His poor son...

Extremely good plot

I need more chapters of this, I'm giving this everything so it gets to round 3.