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

Melody

Wordcount: 100
Genre: Fiction

    A dying father brought the brothers back in the same room on a smoky Diwali night. Vikram sat curled up in a corner, while Atul and his wife nervously fidgeted around on the sofa.
    “Get up. Grab a guitar,” Vikram said suddenly. He started to play a tune and Atul joined in. Like old times. Before the fight.
    Vikram looked at Atul’s wife. “I guess we are all just mortals… humans, no matter what we believe in. I was not very thoughtful before. I am sorry. Welcome to the family, Shazia.”
    Shazia nodded in agreement, and wiped away a tear.


To anyone who is confused by the story, 'Vikram' and 'Atul' are Hindu names, while 'Shazia' is a Muslim one. Interfaith marriages are still not common in India.

This is a post for Friday Fictioneers  A weekly picture-prompt for hundred word stories. This is my very first post for them. Hopefully I keep posting in the future. :)

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