The House Always Wins

Nicki was my favourite friend, but she was being stolen from me. He thought I could not see him, but the truth was, I had known about him all along.

Harald was a nice boy, until he tried to steal my friend and ruin my games. I had first seen him around the neighbourhood when my brother and I were hunting. He was giving a gift to every lamp post and post box, decorating them with pictures of beautiful Nicki, telling all of the world that she was missing.

She wasn’t missing, of course. She was playing games and having fun! Harald didn’t know that though, but I knew, very soon, he would know the truth. I could see it in his smile.

Harald smiled, even though there was a great sadness in every smile he shared with the people that he passed in the street. He wanted to see Nicki, and though he smiled, his plight made him so sad.

I thought and thought and thought about it, wondering what I should do. I asked my brother and my sister, wondering how we could fix his smile and make it sparkle again.

We decided it would be best to let him play a game. He couldn’t play with Nicki and myself, of course, because she was MY friend, but I sent my lovely little sister to cheer him up.

That was the first moment that I knew that Harald was not a nice boy.

He should have made great fun with my sister. They could have been best friends forever but he would not kiss! He would not kiss and he would not play! He ran and hid! My sister does not like to play hide and seek and so it was not fair! We were letting him play, but he was changing the game!

She came home with lots and lots of tears. She could barely speak! So I decided to be the best big brother and sort him out.

I settled my sister with a friend to play with, and told my brother to make a start on dinner. We were going to have a special guest, but I needed time to get him.

Harald just needed to understand how fun his life could be with us.

I sharpened my axe and took the bus to his house. People stared and screamed but Mr Smiles did not mean any harm.

People are so silly.

We played a little peek a boo to make the time pass quicker, but then those mean people spoiled things. They ran from the bus and began to play hide and seek!

I was beginning to hate hide and seek.

The streets were so empty and quiet. I walked to Harald’s home and as I opened the door, with my axe, I called out to him. Harald didn’t know me very well, but I knew him. Despite his bad behaviour; I was sure that we could be friends if he gave me a chance. I’d been watching him for a little while, and there was something very special about his smile.

I think that the secret ingredient to Harald’s smile is deceit.

Harald does not play fair and as much as I tried to smile, he was making it very difficult.

I broke through the door, only to find an empty house! There was nobody there. Harald was once again playing hide and seek and it was so unfair!

I get to choose the games! It is always my choice because it’s my game!

At that moment, I began to give up on Harald. I thought he was good. I thought he was fun. He was nothing of the sort. He was a bad, mean boy who wouldn’t play fair!

I went home and for the first time in a long time, much like my little brother, I wore a frown.

I almost cried, but Mr Smiles must stay strong for all of his friends that depend upon him. Instead, I got angry.

Harald had to pay.

People cannot just ruin our games, you know. Many have tried, but it is such a mean, mean thing to do that everyone wants to give up and just throw them away, but there was still something special about our new friend Harald, and I was determined to discover it.

Harald could see it too. He knew he was special, and he also knew that deep down he wanted to play. I know that because he went back to our house to join our games.

I was a little upset at his behaviour, as when I arrived, Harald had beaten and tied up my brother and sister, but it was a start!

I untied them and off we went to the playroom. We passed the toy cupboard as we made chase, and so many of our old friends cried out in jealousy. I suppose they missed the fun, and were envious that all of my attention was on Harald, but my other friends would have to wait.

I ran down to the playroom, and I could see him carrying Nicki out the door. He had nowhere to go! There was no way out! I laughed and laughed. My sister laughed and laughed. My brother laughed through floods of tears, but Harald just smiled.

The three of us raised our axes with a grin, but still, Harald’s smile stayed firm, as he placed Nicki over one shoulder and reached into the waistband of his jeans. He pulled out a grimy gun.

It was totally unfair!

Harald may have been new to the game but it’s pretty obvious that it is unfair to bring a gun to an axe fight. I refuse to believe that he did not know that!

He pointed it at us, and we were in shock at his rudeness. He pushed past us, waving his gun wildly in the air, and we had no choice but to let him go.

I watched Harald help Nicki to stand and as they began to leave, Nicki turned back, and for just a second, I saw her smile, just for me, as Harald stole her away.

As they ran, they laughed, like they had won the game, but they didn’t know…

Mr Smiles ALWAYS wins the game. Harald and Nicki just didn’t know how to play. I found some other friends to join our game. Our new friends were very motivated, because they were very tired after playing lots of games, and so I promised they could go home after we played one last game with Harald and Nicki.

I unlocked the toy cupboard, and all of my friends came pouring out.

Each of our friends was given a sparkly, shiny axe, and off they ran to play a little game of maim chase with naughty Nicki and horrible Harald.

Such fun!

Out into the city they spilled. So many friends with just one purpose. Myself, my brother and my sister each took some friends and we spread ourselves all over the streets, knowing that soon, we would seek out our prizes and take them home to celebrate.

Slashing and screaming with delight, we cut through every obstacle in our way, no matter how nicely they asked for mercy. It’s just a matter of time before I win the game. Mr Smiles ALWAYS wins the game.

I have a feeling that Harald and Nicki will be back soon for more games. I can see it in their smiles.

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