Posts

Showing posts from March, 2017

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

X for X023

Sheena Zavheri was in the bathroom touching up her make-up when she heard the muffled explosion of a gunshot from the corridor. She instinctively grasped at the gun hidden expertly under her saree and slid towards the entrance--instincts one would hardly expect from the socialite wife of an a-list actor. Sheena, born Hridi Quazi and codenamed X023, was a sleeper operative for the Bangladeshi secret agency. Hridi had married Toufique Zavheri--recognized popularly by the pseudonym: ‘Milan’--after a short affaire planned, funded and effected by the agency in coffee shops and fancy restaurants. More than fifteen years later, Sheena and Milan were at a resort on their wedding anniversary at her insistence trying to resuscitate their gasping relationship.

Hridi spied through the fisheye a muted tussle going on in the large corridor between two dark figures almost out of her field of vision. It could be an unrelated murder attempt on another guest. It would have been risky to step out. But…