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K.

 

K. sat on an old wooden bench in a shabby little shack, his ‘locker room’. After three days, which he spent here, the stale air didn’t bother him anymore. It was very warm inside, although it was early in the morning. Welding drops formed, on his forehead. The game will start in an hour, his third Guild Ball game ever, and this one will be the finals.

 

He felt dizzy. Slowly he lowered his head in his hands taking a deep breath. The day his life changed completely, comes to K’s mind.

A few days ago he arrived in Nohste, late afternoon. The backpack full with his equipment layed heavy on his shoulder. He wanted a drink, a meal and get rid of those heavy boots. The guild house was easy to find, a sure thing for a surveyor. After the registration he handed over his maps with the newly measured topographies. Suddenly a big man stood in front of him, shaking him back and forth. “Finally someone’s coming.” He grinned and took his big hands from K’s shoulder. “I was so close to giving up hope, didn’t think someone would come to this goddamn city.”

Everything went quickly. The Nohste Cup would start in two days. Mountain was injured, so a sixth player was missing and K. was the only guild member that showed up here. Of course, he knew the stories: Old Bill’s goals out of nowhere, Captain Rivers capability loosing an almost won game, the one final they played fifteen years ago. They were the worst team in the minor league, although he couldn’t say a word as River asked him to join the team. “Two games”, River thought for a second, “probably just one, or only till Mountain is on his feet again.”

What should he say? Yes. He was a fan of the surveyors, since childhood. He’s got it from his father. “You stick loyal to your team, no matter what”, he always said.

While he thought back, in the last games he really went off. He scored four goals over the two games. Not even the legendary Old Bill scored four goals in such a short time. “It’s a dream, yes it’s a dream”, he muttered.

 

K. bent down to tie his shoes, but the dizziness came back. He leaned back up again, holding onto the edge of the bench. The sweat trickled down his nose, beneath his feet, a wet spot began to form. His head was dizzied.

 

The noises from the near field came muffled inside the shack. Suddenly the noise became louder. The door opend. The Captain came in, behind him an old men with a grey woolly beard. He was well dressed and looked around with a slight of disgust. “May I introduce Mr. Blight, our guild master.” River made a gesture that looked like a bow. K. sat quietly. The bearded man fully stepd inside the shack and started going around. “You will not know me, young man, but let me say, you can become a star. Your winning goal in the last game was a revelation: engaged by two players, with this big dude chasing you, and you just dodged away setting you free and then that shot. I was very pleased.” He stopped walking around and looked K. in the eyes for the first time. “It’s very promising. “ K. could only whisper, “thank you”, his heart beated faster. River started to say something, but Mr. Blight hushed him. “So, I would like to give you a contract. Let’s face it; you could become a well-known striker. Maybe as famous as this red-headed one, what’s her name”, he looked around, “the weird one?”

“Anyway, we will speak again after the game and seal everything.“ He went away without a goodbye. River grinned all over his face and gave K. a gentle smack on his shoulder. K. shrugged breathless. “Winning is a good feeling lad. Wow, first final since fifteen years.” He took his arm from K’s shoulder and said, “You don’t look that good, boy. Relax.” He stopped at the doorstep. “Good news by the way, our goalie Mountain, you know, is playing today, but you also will.”

 

K. really didn’t feel so good. In fact, he felt crappy.

It's a dream, he didn't think for the first time. Just an hour ago, Old Bill was standing in front of him. He gave him a gentle blow to his neck and said it was an honour for him to play with K. He couldn’t belief it. As a kid, K. watched him play, a real legend, a significant man. Now they played together.

 

K. felt bloody awful right now. He wanted to stand up, but he was too weak. His shirt was wet all over.

 

“Where is he, the game is starting in a minute.” River was yelling outside the shack. Old Bill replied with a calm voice, “I take a look, maybe he has a bit of stage fright.”

He went inside, closing the door behind him. K. was lying on the ground his eyes looked hazy. The old man sat down on the bench. “Kiddo, you don’t look good at all.” He leaned back a bit, glaring at the roof. "You know what, I like you, I really do, I've never seen anyone who came out of nowhere and influenced the game as you did, and I've seen a lot of things.” After a pause he said, “You were at the right place at the right time.”

“It’s easy, boy,” he leaned down to speak in K’s ear. “I will not sit on the bench while a little bastard takes my place on the field. I missed the last final, but not this one.” He took a bit of wet earth onto his fingers and covered the inflamed puncture site, on K’s neck. Old Bill stood up. “You will get your Showtime, Kiddo” He gave K. a last look. “But maybe not.”

He went outside, shouting, “River, come here, the boy seems lost his consciousness. Stage fright I told you. “

 

 

 

 

 

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