Cursed Roll

She found him in his workshop, hunched over a vice with small chisel in hand. She set a cup of tea down on a workbench and peered at the objects his fingers were prising carefully from the vice.

“What are you making?” she asked.

“It’s a wedding present for Ricky and Anjia,” he said. He extracted a small wooden cube from the vice and held it up to the light. “Three handmade dice.”

It was made from dark birch. Rounded edges, numbers of tiny holes drilled into each side. She took it carefully from his fingers, and set it gently down on the workbench.

“Did you test it?” she asked.

He looked surprised.

“I didn’t mean them to be played,” he said. “It’s just for decoration.”

She shook her head.

“If you give someone a die, they are going to roll it. Let me have the others.”

He extracted the other two and placed them next to the first. She picked them up, rolled them around, and let them fall gently onto the workbench. Three fours. She tried again. Three fours. It happened the third time, and the fourth.

“That’s very clever,” he said. “How are you doing it?”

She shrugged. “I’m not doing anything.” She tried again, and again, and yet again. Three fours each time. “Where did you get the wood from?”

“Out in the woods, near the old temple.”

Suddenly she felt very uneasy. Her skin prickled.

Something, somewhere, was watching them.

“We’re in trouble,” she said.

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