The Chessboard’s Glory

By Jadel Andreetto

Treason doth never prosper: what’s the reason?
Why, if it prosper, none dare call it treason.

– Sir John Harington, Epigrams

Open your eyes. Open your fucking eyes.

The eyelids are heavy. They are like a waterfall of stones. They are pebbles, rocks, boulders that weigh on my eye sockets.

I could feel their hands dragging me, their grunts of effort, their sneering, their breath reeking of alcohol. Even they are part of the plan. I couldn’t figure it out immediately. All that talk about the power of treason, about its narrative power, about its ability to transform history into a myth. An unavoidable factor, he told me. A factor from which strength can be obtained, second only to death and to the challenge of the abyss. Here comes the solution. The essential ingredients for building our dream. He said our. Only now I understand his madness. I couldn’t believe he could push himself so far. I dared not to believe it. He has always had a devious look and a shifty smile. I didn’t recognize the signs. I didn’t think they attested to a lurking madness, insidious like that of someone who has decided to sacrifice everything for an ideal.

I’m a fool. I didn’t see the whole picture and now I’m right here, but it’s just my fault, it’s only my fault. I’ve allowed it, I’ve played along. I just didn’t expect an end like this. That poor madman is ready to die, I know, but I couldn’t have foreseen that he would drag me to the end as well. Treason needs two pawns and both are expendable for the chessboard’s glory.

I can’t regain control over my body. They have done a very good job. A jab on the neck. A flash and then darkness. Where did he found these kind killers? Romans, perhaps. What had he promised them? I hear their words as if they were underwater in a boiling ocean. Broken speeches and disconnected phrases.

Suddenly they stop and put me on the ground. I breathe sand. I hear their footsteps walk a few feet away. What are they doing? Open your eyes. Open your fucking eyes.

I have nothing left for him but scorn. Scorn for a friend, my best friend, who betrayed me for glory.

What end did they come up with for me? Will I wake up in an arena full of ravenous beasts? Will they crucify me or will they slit my throat like a dog, here and now?

My ears are ringing. A rancid taste in my mouth. I could catch some scraps of conversation. My killers are talking about money, they talk and laugh. Thirty pieces of silver. A mere pittance. Thirty pieces of silver to rewrite human history… For the treason of treasons. If only I could explain and say that it was just a farce, that we have done it all only to improve our lives. We wanted to play revolution. It shouldn’t

have to end like this. If only we hadn’t set aside our confusion, our doubts. If only his belief hadn’t gnawed away at him until driving him to the Absolute, the Truth, to delirium. I didn’t succeed in stopping him. I played my part until the end, like the simple man I am.

Thirty pieces of silver. I spit on his thirty shitty pieces of silver.

They grab me. My muscles don’t respond, my legs can’t carry me. They stand me up, my back is supported against something hard, maybe wood. Then they lift me up, a gust of wind caresses my shoulder. A little solace.

I hear a jingle jangle, they put something in my tunic. A noose squeezes my neck. Betrayed to betray.

Open your eyes Judas. Open your fucking eyes.


Jadel Andreetto (Italy, 1974), writer and journalist, lives between Italy and Argentina. He is part of a four-person writing collective known as Kai Zen ( that has published several novels and short novels, among which are La Strategia dell’Ariete (Mondadori, 2007, the first ever published copyleft novel for Mondadori), and Delta Blues (Verdenero, 2010, a cover of Conrad’s Heart Of Darkness).  He also writes short novels, reportage and essays on his own. “The Chessboard’s Glory” is a ‘bonsai novel’ written in English and is part of a large work in progress titled Cimiteri (Graveyards).

1 comment
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