Unfavorable Ground – Sunday Photo Fiction

Photo by: Alistair Forbes

Unfavorable Ground

Professor Angus Donahue of the Imperial War college sat in the shade of an elm. Carefully, he examined the game board on the table before him. Leaves in the nearby trees rustled in the gentle breeze and flowers bloomed beside the sprawling trails of the park. Colorful birds sang sweet songs.

Donahue moved a game piece, considered the board, then moved another. Each move was carefully calculated by his brilliant strategic mind. Recently, that same mind triggered considerable consternation when his most recent work was leaked by his housekeeper. His theories, it turned out, closely matched the plotting of an ambitious nation.

A tall man approached him wearing a grey hat, long grey coat, and grey gloves. He moved calmly and casually as though the setting fell under his complete control.

“About time you arrived,” said Donahue, moving another piece.

“You know why I’m here?” said the grey man.

“The move was not unexpected.”

“I’m not cruel, you know. I’m efficient and quick.”

“I would expect no less,” said Donahue. He gestured at the board. “One last game before we conclude our business?”

“What sort of game is it?”

“A game of strategy. The winning method is to maneuver the opponent onto ground unfavorable to him, yet make it appear as though he directs his own actions.”

“I prefer the direct approach, myself.”

“Most do, and that’s why the strategy I outlined works.”

The grey man smirked. “You have no guards and no watchers. I checked thoroughly. You’re unarmed and defenseless. It seems your strategy has failed you.”

“It’s working handsomely, I assure you.”

The grey man grimaced, suddenly ill at ease, “Enough talk.”  He drew a silenced pistol.

The park’s automatic defense system, detecting an armed assault, came alive. Laser turrets emerged from the ground and fired. In an instant, the grey man was consumed by heat, becoming even greyer dust.

Donahue sighed. “It’s an ancient strategy. Maneuver the opponent into unfavorable ground.” He shook his head and moved a game piece. “No one ever learns.”
Written for Sunday Photo Fiction. Each week, Alistair Forbes offers an original photo as a writing prompt for flash fiction. This is my story inspired by the photo above. Look to see what others wrote here: https://sundayphotofictioner.wordpress.com/2015/06/07/sunday-photo-fiction-june-7th-2015/

About EagleAye

I like looking at the serious subjects in the news and seeking the lighter side of the issue. I love satire and spoofs. I see the ridiculous side of things all the time, and my goal is to share that light-hearted view.
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22 Responses to Unfavorable Ground – Sunday Photo Fiction

  1. phylor says:

    Lovely twist at the end — I figured that the Professor was up to something. Thought perhaps he’d play the game with the visitor over the right to assassinate him.
    Last paragraph really made me smile.

    Liked by 1 person

    • EagleAye says:

      Thank you! I tried to make the professor disconcertingly calm. I hoped folks would figure he was hiding a trump card. Anyone that calm, has to be hiding something. I’m glad the last paragraph earned a smile. I was hoping for that. Thank you kindly! 🙂


  2. didn’t see this ending, great twist, I thought the professor was going to be locked up.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. phylor says:

    The give-away was in your first line for me Imperial War college. I know folks who study/teach war policy, politics, strategies, tactics, etc.
    If you hadn’t said where he taught, the calm, and your title would be hints that the hit-man underestimated his quarry.

    Liked by 1 person

    • EagleAye says:

      Smashing. Yes, that was the strongest hint. I continued on with more to insure his credentials as a strategist were well-established. The first line alone could’ve done it, I suppose. I wanted it to appear that this deadly killer was no more than a game to the sharp strategic mind of the professor. The assassin never really had a chance. Anyway, thanks for being such a careful reader. I really appreciate that.


  4. This is brilliant! Enjoyed every word!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. List of X says:

    I guess it would just take someone of a similarly strategic mind to assassinate Donahue. Unfortunately for Donahue, it’s much easier to plan assassination than to defend against one.

    Liked by 1 person

    • EagleAye says:

      Oh yes, someone who analyzed Donahue carefully could do it, perhaps by maneuvering him into ground unfavorable to Donahue. For now, the typical assassin won’t have a chance against Donahue.


  6. The Voice says:

    Well done. Engaging from the beginning with an excellent twist. I really enjoyed that.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Dave says:

    Age and treachery always wins.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. OnChi says:

    What a fantastic story! It’s like a fantasy with a huge, delicious battle at the end where the brilliant mind wins! Excellent!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Francesca Smith says:

    I had a niggling thought there was going to be a twist, as Professor Donahue seemed quite calm. It was as though he was waiting for the right time to strike. I too like it when the smart person wins.

    Liked by 1 person

    • EagleAye says:

      I usually like to provide a hint of what’s coming. I don’t care for it when author’s bring the solution of of the blue. Well, this time I did that, but I hoped his unnatural calm before a killer suggested something was coming. His calm alone was a hint. I’m glad you enjoyed this. Thanks kindly! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. loricarlson66 says:

    This is brilliantly written… I love the setting and intensity of both characters. Strategists always fascinate me! The ending was a great twist, but with that calm setting at the beginning, I had a feeling nature would have something to do with the demise of this assassin! again, strategically placed lasers 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • EagleAye says:

      Aw, shucks, you got me blushing. Glad the finishing twist worked for you. I could easily have made Nature the instrument of the assassin’s death. I guess I was in a laser mood during this one. 😉 Glad you liked this. Thank you kindly! Your words are much appreciated. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • loricarlson66 says:

        Oh I think the ending worked well.. who would have suspected lasers amongst all that calm nature! You are most welcome 🙂 I really enjoyed it!

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Pingback: Compelling Posts — Week of June 22 – June 28 2015 | The Rattling Bones

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