“Where is it?“ Lightning illuminated his face. Harsh light revealed first wrinkles and greasy hair. Wind blew the window open and knocked his trophy from the sill. He picked it up, cleaned a bit of dust from it, and placed the cup on a higher shelf. He cursed. How come he, the Dragon Slayer, the Unchallenged Champion of the Three Kingdoms, could not find a thing in his study?
It was not the first time he browsed the drawers. They contained many treasures just pushed there from the desk, or hidden in a hurry, like random nails and screws, rubber bands, but also dirty plates and beer bottles. Sun went down hours ago and he was running out of time.
He kicked the table. Three mugs fell off, but only one of them shattered, spreading the last drops of coffee across the Turkish carpet. On his knees, he picked the pieces. Then a thunder rolled across the room. He startled and knocked his head against the table corner.
“Do not curse the darkness,” he remembered his mentor’s favourite advice. He got up and decided on a systematic approach. “Come on, Mark. Think.”
The last time he had seen it was before the battle. He had put it away to remove any distractions. He wanted his moves to be totally unrestricted, fast and deadly effective. Every twitch of a finger mattered. His right hand clenched a mouse, fingers of the left on a keyboard. His team was facing an army of dwarfs. He was so prepared: soda on the right, crisps on the left. Monitor height adjusted, headphones on, lights out. Game on.
Now, when the battle had been won, he had to face his own demons. He stood behind his desk, closed his eyes, took a breath in. “Focus, Mark. You can do it. You will find it. You’re not only the best player ever, but a warehouse operator by day. There is nothing that can hide from you.” He scanned the room. There was nothing at the window, under the radiator, in a paper bin. Another lightning brightened even the space under the desk. For a fraction of a second, something glittered in the dark.
“There it is.” He lifted a wedding ring, rubbed it against his shirt and put it on his finger. He fell onto his gamer chair, wiped his forehead and said: “My wife would have killed me dead.”