Z for Zero-sum (Part I)

Freida Dantas stepped out of the queue to look around. The machine wasn’t that far from here–only a few hundred more. She looked behind. The queue went on for as long as she could see. She too had started from the end of the queue many hours ago. The machine took only a second to judge, so the queue had kept moving continuously. But she worried if there were more hopefuls in the queue than seconds in a day. She had been queueing up religiously for her pronouncement every day since she had died.

She’d learned of the system the day she had arrived at the purgatory. Learned is probably not the best word to describe the process. She had woken up in the purgatory a week ago knowing about it instinctively, with no recollection of her prior life. She knew exactly when and where to queue up for the machine. The machine would tell her if it was her time to ascend to the heaven yet. She’d witnessed thousands of ascensions on her first day. The ascendants one after the other had stood under the

The First Drink

    Two little boys moved around furtively in their father's study room. The curtains were drawn and they moved around in the moonlight filtered through the large and ornate glass windows. It was still rather dark, but they did not want to turn on the light. Raju felt around the bookcase for the key. There it is!
    The duo made their way to the cupboard, inserted the key and slowly turned it. The doors of the magical cabinet opened. The brilliance of what they saw could almost have blinded them. Raju picked up the bottle, and Sanju walked behind him with the two glasses.
    They quickly ran upstairs to their room and placed the trinity on the teapoy. There was a solemn air about them as they stared at the bottle of elixir. The bottle elevated into the air, and fine scotch flowed into their glasses even as Sanju giggled with excitement.
    Both of them raised their glasses like perfect gentlemen.
    "Cheers!", they uttered in unison, put the glasses to their lips, and gulped down quickly. Yuck!!
    Smooth fire rolled down their throats and lit their insides. It didn't feel magical, just warm. Why do they even drink it?
    They walked back to the study room - a bit disappointed - and kept the bottle and the glasses exactly the way they found them. Hopefully their father wouldn't notice a couple of sips missing. As they moved back into to the kitchen to get some pickle to chew on, they heard a car engine roar. Their parents were home early!
    The brothers ran towards their room with pickle in their mouth, lest their parents sniff the alcohol in their mouths. Raju reached the room, opened the door, and jumped directly for the bed. He fell on the floor  a foot to the left of the bed. Sanju somehow made it to the room and dizzily climbed the bed.
    The scotch had felt terrible. Raju had hurt his head, and Sanju had too much pickle in his mouth. It hadn't been as they had imagined it to be. The only solace being, that the secret remained.

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.
Every weekend, we give out creative writing prompts for the love of writing.

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