a game. in real life, the dimension that we call home, it was just a game. one of wit and cunning, requiring a sharp mind and quick reflexes. white squares, simple cards, were blotched and painted with bits of red and black. they formed special designs. hearts and clubs, diamonds and spades danced together in an effortless display of skill. there was no greater purpose for this show, it was exclusively for fun and sport. the cards captivated their eyes, and their eyes in turn began to see something else. in a flash, she imagined a different scene. it was similar to the one she had just witnessed but it had been altered. the light that shone was natural, it came from the sun. there was a smell to the air, one that elicited memories of summers past. she looked down and saw that she held a blade in her hand. it glistened as she examined it. when she looked up, her enemy ahead of her held a similar sword. armies of crimson and charcoal gathered behind them, ready to strike. raising the sword, her command was plain. attack. rushing forward with great speed the masses collided in an explosion of color and noise. the skill of battle requires a sharp mind and quick reflexes. face to face with her foe, she readied her weapon. her sword clanging and tearing away at the masses of paper like soldiers, she felt a sense of subtle sadness. these martyrs were but pieces in their violent game. a game. she awoke, and peered down at the cards in front of her. carried away by her fantasies, she suddenly realized that in real life it was just a game. a game she won.