Status: Setting up for the next act.

All out and Over

Chapter Twelve: The Hand Mucker.

Rickets stubby legs moved faster than most people gave him credit for; Malory gave him enough credit, though, to make up for all the doubts in the world. Her wide, diamond shaped brown eyes never turned to check on him as he stayed on her heels. She knew he’d be there, or maybe she didn’t care. Mal cares; she knew I’d follow. Her long legs looked lean and dangerous in her tight black jeans, and that black corset showed off curves every woman in this place would die for.

“What’re we gonna do?” He asked. His lit cigarette hung between his index and middle fingers as he drew in deep breaths.

“I’m going to beat some sense into that friend of yours. How you talked me into letting him help is still beyond me, but he needs to be dealt with!” Her voice was gravely. Rickets only heard her speak like that once. She’s pissed! Almost as mad as the night she found out about…

“And he told her he knew!” Malory growled.

“Freddy is in for it,” Rickets said with a slight childish chuckle. The knife thrower said he needed some extra cash, or at least a name to throw around to keep him out of trouble. Rickets took pity on the boy and begged Malory. She said no the first few times, but when he showed up with a bloodied and broken Freddy in tow Malory gave in. The queen of hearts may be considers cruel, but she’s not a monster. Not yet.

Malory threw open the tattered, stained red curtain that hid the weekly circus poker game. Most of the freaks from the freak show were there along with the raunchy acrobats and the druggies. A thick cloud of cigar and cigarette smoke filled the air above Ricket’s head putting Malory’s head and shoulders in a mist. She covered her nose and mouth with a perfectly manicured hand while her brows scrunched together in disgust.

“The things you people do to yourselves!” Malory half coughed. Rickets couldn’t hold back the smile. She had made him a better person by making him quit the drugs, but he couldn’t give up his hand rolled cigarettes.

“It looks less smoky over there.” He pointed his offering and Malory hurriedly followed his suggestion of moving. As the cloud dispersed a little, Rickets found Freddy sitting with his cards in one hand and his drink in the other. The clown wanted to warn his friend, but he dared not interfere with Malory. He both loved and feared her, which coincidently were the same reason he would’ve followed her to the ends of the earth if she’d ask him.

Freddy’s eyes nearly popped out of his head, although his body managed to exude the appearance of calm. His crooked smile never faltered, but Rickets could see it. He could see it in everyone’s eyes as they turned to see her standing in the medium sized tent.

“Well, well, well,” Freddy said, “look what the cat drug in.” He took a long sip of his drink as Malory made her way next to him.

“It’s not what the cat drug in,” Malory said in her icy tone. “It is what the cat is going to drag out and rip apart if the ignorant, imbecile of a mouse won’t behave!” More than a few people sitting near Freddy flinched at her tone and the way she leaned toward him; his body never moved, but his eyes seemed to widen like a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming car.

“You need me,” he said calmly and threw down a card. “It’s your turn.”

Malory shoved the man Freddy spoke to out of his seat, taking his dealt hand and studying it for a moment. “I’ll make you a deal, Knife Thrower.” She said with a coy smile. Rickets snapped his fingers and a chair appeared for him. Malory may be the Queen of hearts to the rest of the circus, but here Rickets ruled. Gambling was his game, and he always won. Maybe that’s because I never bet against Mal?

Rickets took his seat between Malory and Freddy. If fireworks were going to explode tonight, he made damn sure he got the front row seat. Malory’s lips twisted into the sweetest smile Ricket’s had ever seen; it was as beautiful and majestic as a bear standing on its hind legs preparing to lash out. He forcefully pulled his eyes away from her to glance at Freddy. His cool posture and free spirited, lopsided smile reminded Rickets of the guy with the tea from the same story that Malory’s nick-name came from. He’s as mad as a hatter!

“What could you possibly have to offer me?” Freddy asked. His tone held a secret laugh, and Rickets knew then that Malory would destroy him with delight if he kept pushing. They call me a fool; he should be the one wearing the clown suit!

“Your life, for starters, but we’ll go with something a little less dramatic for now.” She practically purred. “If I win, you do as I say and stop causing me trouble or I’ll of course refuse our previous deal.” Several people turned hungry eyes on Freddy. More than the strong man wanted to taste that boy’s blood, but they stood down because Malory knew every dirty detail of their lives. “If you win, you can name your price. Whatever you want and it’s yours.”

Freddy sat up in his seat. He took another long sip of his drink before rubbing his cheek as if his jaw hurt. “I want Cara,” he stated. Even Malory gasped at his stupidity.

“I thought it went without saying, she’s off the table.” Malory hissed.

“Not like that, you old witch!” Freddy laughed.

“Mind your words, Boy.” Malory growled.

“Just a taste. I won’t interfere, but you know I’ve always had a little crush. Just a taste will satisfy the want.” Freddy shrugged and leaned back. “Those are my terms.”

“She’s busy with other things, Knife Thrower.”

“Well, Fortuneteller, foresee this; if I don’t get what I want, you can’t have yours.”

Malory rearranged her cards in her hand threw down one which beat the card Freddy threw down before. He put another card down, and Malory showed the last four cards in her hard. “Four Aces. If I’m not mistaken the Ace, especially the Ace of hearts, beats everything you could throw at me.” She stood, nearly throwing her chair backward. “Stop messing with me, little boy, before I show you exactly how much pain you can endure.”

The crowd made a loud ‘oh’ sound as Malory stormed out of the tent. This time Rickets stayed seated beside Freddy trying desperately to figure out what just happened. He saw the cards in the hand Malory took, there were no aces when she took it. She had no long sleeves to her shirt to hide cards nor did she touch any in the pile on the middle of the table. How the hell did she get aces?

“What just happened?” Freddy asked in pure awe and confusion. His back was flat against the chair; it looked like someone knocked the air out of him. His last four cards were three queens and the four of clubs. Out of the queens, the only one he missed was the queen of hearts, which was the first card Malory threw on the table.

“That woman is a true vixen. She always gets what she wants,” Rickets answered. No matter who she has to destroy in order to get it.

“Why do you follow her blindly, Ric? She’s only using you, man.” Freddy’s eyes watched the clown carefully. Rickets’ face paint cracked around his mouth and eyes as he grinned.

“Because she is the only one in this god forsaken place that ever tried to act like they cared about me. “ Rickets shrugged his shoulders and motioned for the dealer to do his job. “Truth is that woman is practically a saint. She doesn’t drink much, she doesn’t smoke or do drugs, she doesn’t even gamble, until now. Why wouldn’t you follow someone like that in a place like this?”

Freddy’s brow creased as he listened. “Because, Ric, she’ll chew you up and spit you out like gum before she lets someone else step on you so you’ll stick to their shoe instead of hers.”

“Maybe that’s true, but I’d rather be the Queen’s jester than her prey,” Rickets said. His grin faded as he looked at Freddy. “And you, my friend, are very close to becoming that gum you talked about except she’ll make sure you won’t move again when she’s done with you.”
♠ ♠ ♠
Hand mucker: A card cheat that specializes in switching cards.

Freddy might have a dangerous gig, though knives are not what he should worry about right now. He should watch his back and do as he's told. Nobody crosses the Fortune teller Queen!

Would you risk a game with the one who holds the cards? If you want to give your luck a try and join the illegal poker game please comment and wear you heart on your sleeve. Does Malory have all the power? Will she succeed with her plans? Or will Freddy, Xavier or maybe even Cara get in her way?

Please share your thoughts! It's an open stage!

PS. On a side note a Leanne (Alex Moore.) has recently made a layout for a new mibbian. She's called Jessica (Red_Zyx6661) and this is her story and the layout; Kill or be Killed. As any new member, she could use some love and Leanne is just thrilled to show you all the layout she made!