“Psst… Zac!”

Receiving the signal from his sibling, the toddler rolled towards the mysterious chest, which was fixed on the west wall of the oblong room in the form of a cupboard. The bubble around his head had started to slightly suffocate him but he knew better than to rip it off. Jaz, his sister had described to him in detail how toxic the air was in this part of the spaceship.

“83 and 3/4 percent, to be exact”, he recalled his sister’s words, “another of her ways to kill us.”

Zac peeked at his sibling from his hunched position. She was running towards him at full speed. Swift, he thought admirably.

“Now don’t you dare make a noise, Zac”, she whispered to him as she put her left foot on his back, “Bear the pain, my brave comrade, for today we will defeat the foe and earn our eternal freedom.”

Zac wasn’t sure what eternal freedom they were after. The foe his sister was referring to was Abgelia Rozando and except for her few moments of wrath, she had always been rather nice to them — more than nice, actually. Yet, Jaz was confident that she was their enemy.

The only way to find the truth is through unlocking the chest, he thought. He didn’t entirely trust his sister either. These are dark times, after all, he used to justify his suspicions at night, right before sucking all his fingers and thumbs and falling asleep.

“Ahhhh…”, Zac couldn’t control himself. The pain was unbearable as usual and the fact that Jaz had recently gained weight didn’t help either. He realised with the usual sorrow that he had betrayed his sister again.

Jaz was standing on her brother’s back, all set to unlock the chest. This chest, she knew was a time capsule holding the secret weapon, which was to earn them their freedom from the tyrannical rule of Madame Abgelia Rozando.

If only her stupid brother had a little more patience!

“What in the world did you do that for?”, her voice was not a whisper anymore. She hesitated before adding, “You, traitor.” She knew it was a bad thing to say and the harshness of her words reflected in Zac’s eyes. She could see them brimming with tears beneath his transparent head wrap.

Before they could clear the premises of their rebellion, Abgelia had arrived.

“For the thousandth time, Jezebel, this is not a time capsule”, barked Abgelia, upset that her siesta was ruined.

“Then why don’t you let us open it?” demanded Jaz, mustering all her courage.

“Because I have just sorted this cupboard and you two will ruin it”, Jaz knew the woman was being evasive. “And for God’s sake, have some mercy on your poor brother”, she continued to shout as she hurriedly removed the plastic bag that was tightly secured around Zac’s small round head.

Trying to win him over, thought Jaz.

“Jezebel”, Abgelia was clearly struggling to keep her tone calm, “I am your mother and this is not the future.”

Jaz looked extremely disappointed.

“I think you need to take a break from your unhealthy dosage of Dr Who and intensive sci-fi reading.”

Jaz hung her head, “Ok, Mom.”

“Kach”, a chuckle in baby lingo escaped Zac but nobody noticed it. She will be back tomorrow, he thought. Apparently, he knew his sister better than their mother did.

“By the way”, their mother stopped Jaz as she was about to leave the room, “Who exactly is this Abgelia Rozando and why do you hate the poor woman so much?”

“Just a character”, mumbled Jaz as she wondered how mothers know everything about you!


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