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

Q for Quilt

There once was a queen, pretty and wise. Her husband was a king, just and nice. They ruled over a land far far away where faces were bright and the sky never grey.

The Queen was happy, but she was afraid. She wouldn’t always be young and her face not always fair. She rummaged through her heirloom and found a quilt.

The Quilt was magical; it made things true. She wrapped the Quilt and closed her eyes. She held it tight as the Quilt came to life.

“Tell me a wish and I shall make it true,” the Quilt spoke.

“Anything at all?”

“Just make the wish, my Queen, and it shall be yours”

“I wish for eternal youth”

“Are you sure, my Queen?”

“Yes! Yes! Please. Everything is perfect as it is. I wish nothing ever changes”

“I will do as you say, my Queen, but there’s a catch. To grant you your wish, I will need to steal a few years from a few people”

“Do I know these people?”

“No, my Queen. They are complete strangers”

The Queen thought hard. “Will they suffer for a wish of mine?”

“No, my Queen. They will not even notice the years they lost”

“Then pray make my wish come true. Make me a queen who will never grow old”

“As you say, my dear Queen,” said the Quilt as it shone bright. “Ten years from a young woman who has it all. Ten years from a mother, proud and tall. Ten years from a woman adored by the big and small. Ten years from a woman who has been through it all“, chanted the Quilt and tiny stars filled the hall. A minute later, the stars disappeared and the Quilt fell on the floor. The Queen, on the other hand, was never seen again.

This is a part of Peatoozee™ challenge for April. Today's letter was Q.

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