The Midnight Gamble – A Halloween Flash Fiction Story

Ten minutes to midnight”, the dealer reminds me.

A warning. At midnight the doors will close and if I’m still here, I will be trapped in this cursed place until next Halloween.

A calculated risk. Now is the time for the game I came here to win. “Deal me one more hand.”

“Sir, you have already lost your soul and your firstborn. What more do you have to offer to the house?”

“Call me Michael.”

“Michael”, she agrees with impatience. My heart sings at hearing my name again from her lips. “Your bet, please.”

“My creativity, my Muse. I’m a writer.”

She closes her eyes and seems to confer with the house through the twisted connection I’m here to end.

“The house accepts. And your prize?”

“You, Miriel, with your memories intact. And all the claims of this place and all connections to it severed.”

She blinks in surprise and opens her mouth but no sound comes out. Then the power takes her over again, and she shivers and whispers. “The house accepts.”

“Then deal.”

And she does. Her hands are steady even though she refuses to meet my eyes.

She reveals her hand, one card at a time. Ten of Hearts, Knight of Hearts, Queen of Hearts, King of Hearts. Sweat beads on my forehead and my hands tremble. Her last card, Three of Spades.

And I have a pair of Nines.

I won. I fucking won.

“Mikey”, she breathes and finally looks at me. A smile blooms on her face, and she is radiant, more beautiful than ever. She remembers. She’s my Miri again.

A deep gong sounds. And again at steady intervals. Fuck. It’s almost midnight. I grab her hand and we run for the door like our lives depend on it. The house trembles like the earth is shaking but our momentum keeps us upright.

We rush through the door and halfway to the gate. Only then I dare to look behind me. The house is there one moment, then it blinks away. It’s over. We’re safe.

Miri stops us and pulls my head down for a desperate kiss. I crush her to me and never intend to let go.

I hold and hold until she finally pulls away.

“I love an idiot”, she groans. “Your soul, Mikey. You should have left me there.”

“Never. I love you, baby.”

“You promised away our firstborn”, her voice breaks. “The whole reason why…”

“I’m so sorry”, I say quietly. “We will find a way.”

“No! No. It isn’t meant to be. We get your soul back, and that’s it.”

“New try next year?”, I ask, only half joking.

She gives me a withering glare. “Don’t be a total dumbass. But we’ll find a way.”

I take her hand. We walk away, together, and right this moment all is well in the world.

Thank you for reading. And Happy Halloween!

If you want to hear the story read out loud, listen to Rebecca Galardo’s and Holly Lisle’s Halloween episode for their podcast Alone In the Room With Invisible People. My story starts at 2:02:17. I highly recommend you to listen the other stories too. They’re stellar.

I’d love to hear from you in the comments. What did you think of the story? And how are you spending your Halloween? Do you dress up? What has been your favourite Halloween costume?

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