Tyche’s Dice

(This is the story I wrote for my English final in my junior year of high school. Hope you like it!)

“She’s doing it again.” Theodore digs his nails into the couch armrest.

“Who’s doing what, Mr. Horla?” Dr. Crane asks, glancing up from his monitor to peer at his newest patient, a forty-something businessman, over his glasses.

Theodore glares at the doctor, annoyed. “The dice! She’s rolling those damn dice again!”

“Who, Mr. Horla?” The doctor asks again.

“She says a three year old girl is gonna get hit by a bus in Calcutta. Her mother will hang herself and her dad will drown his sorrow in booze. Oh, why did my last name have to be Horla?!” He puts his head in his hands, sobbing.

“What on earth are you talking about?” Now Dr. Crane was becoming alarmed.

Theodore dries his eyes with a tissue and looks up.

“Sorry… I get a little worked up when she tells me stuff like that… What was your name again, doc?”

Dr. Crane turns toward the man, sipping his morning coffee.

“My name is Doctor Jack Crane, Mr. Horla. Now, who is this woman and what does the act of her tossing some dice have anything to do with a toddler in Calcutta?”

Theodore leans back into the couch and sighs. “I guess I should start from the beginning… Ever heard of Guy du Maupassant?”

“I have not, unfortunately.”

“Ha!” Horla lets out a halfhearted laugh.

“Figures. Maupassant was a French naturalist author in the latter half of the 18th century. His career only lasted ten years before he went nuts from syphilis in 1892, attempted suicide, got locked in the nuthouse, and died a year later, but he wrote over 300 stories in that time.” At this point the doctor interrupts him.

“He sounds like a fascinating man Mr. Horla, but what does this have to do with you or the woman with the dice?”

“I’m getting to that. Now, naturalism was a literary movement counter to romanticism that started around the time of the civil war. Basically, the idea was that we humans have no control, that the world is run by forces we cant see… sheer dumb luck, in a nutshell. Anyway, one of Maupassant’s most famous stories is about a guy whos haunted by an invisible thing that feeds off his life energy and drinks water and milk. The guy tries everything to get rid of it, even going so far as to burn his house down, but in the end, he decides the only way to end his suffering is to off himself. Now, can you guess what the title of that story is?”

Dr. Crane shakes his head. What was he getting at?

“‘The Horla’! Horla! My name! And just like the poor sap in the story, one of these things is attached to me!”

“Interesting… Can you describe this entity, Mr. Horla?” Dr. Crane leans in closer, eager to hear more about this mans psychosis.

“She looks like a winged woman in a Grecian dress. She has light brown hair that’s partially pinned up with gold hairpins that look like rudders. She has a ships wheel pendant around her neck, a sword tattooed on her left forearm, a coin bracelet on her right wrist, a pair of cornucopia earrings, and a pouch at her waist where she keeps the dice.” He stares at the other end of the couch, as if someone is there.

“That is a rather vivid description.”

“Well, you asked.”

“That I did… Does she have a name?”

Theodore is silent for a moment, as if listening to a reply. “Tyche. She says her name is Tyche.”

“Tyche…”

“I thought she was imaginary at first, but remember that earthquake that happened in Nepal?”

The doctor nods.

“Well, the day before that, Tyche kept complaining that her dice kept coming up eleven! Eleven means danger or death!”

Theodore quickly stands upright. “Don’t you see?!” He shouts, staring at Dr. Crane with crazed eyes.

“SHE makes everything happen! Whatever her dice roll BECOMES REALITY!!! She tells me all these things knowing I can’t- HURK!”

Theodore Horla collapses, hand on his chest.

 

As soon as the EMT’s have left, Dr. Crane brings up a Wiki page. “Tyche…” He quietly reads to himself.

“An ancient Greek goddess commonly said to represent luck or fate. Carries a ships rudder or wheel, symbolizing her steering the fates of men, and a cornucopia, meaning fertility. Is sometimes shown on a ball or die, showing luck or chance. Sometimes confused with Themis, Goddess of Justice, who carried a sword in one hand and a bag of coins in the other…” He shakes his head and chuckles slightly, bringing his coffee cup to his lips.

As he tips it back, his face pales and he drops the mug, shattering it.

“What on earth was that Dr. Crane?!” His secretary barges into his office,

“Oh, nothing Mrs. Stephens…” He has a disbelieving look on his face.

“A goddess just drank my latte.”