I jerked awake, surprised and irritated at the same time. A blinding light pierced my eyelids forcing me to look away, and only then did I realise that the comforting darkness had disappeared from our room. It was dawn, perhaps.
I felt another sharp jab in my ribs before I saw the cause. My cousins around me mirrored m uncertainty. Two large plump fingers reached out and grabbed three of us by the neck.
I’d dreamt of this moment, I won’t lie. For months shut up in that room, I’ve wondered what the outside looked like, and each day the plump fingers came, I wished to go along. I was disappointed every time. Until now.
Now, however, I was anxious. Are all three of us going, I wondered. What if they threw me back in, casting me away with the rest of my family? Oh, the shame of rejection. I can’t bear to face my cousins again.
But I needn’t have worried. The fingers took all three of us, and before we could absorb our surroundings, dropped us into a large glass jug.
Everything was so massive. I now saw that the fingers were attached to a big red arm and a round body. A speck of dark hair rested on a what looked like an inverted pot, stiff handles for ears.
I turned to the other side. From my place in the jug, I faced brown tables spread across the room. More round bodies with potheads. Some were big, some small. There was even one clutching something fluffy to its chest. A few sat while most stood, holding cups or bottles and fiddling with flashy cards between their fingers.
I couldn’t see much clearly. They were all mouthing at each other. I heard nothing, of course, but apparently they did and understood too.
I still couldn’t comprehend my place in this situation. What was this place? The moment I was picked, I knew I was about to fulfil my destiny—whatever that was. All along I’d dreamt of getting out of the box, but only now did it dawn on me that I’d never imagined what I’d do once I got out. Perhaps deep down, I never saw beyond the inside of that dank room.
Just then, the familiar red arm approached our jug. I opened my mouth, ready to ask what it all meant. Before I could utter anything, though, boiling steam hit my eye and water crushed my lungs siphoning the air out of me.
I inhaled in panic, and I felt myself rise towards the jug’s rim. I hadn’t seen this coming. Then again, I hadn’t seen anything. Beside me, my silent cousins were struggling too. We’d never spoken before, but just then, our eyes locked for a fleeting moment before I saw their colours vanish. They descended, swaying as they sunk to the bottom.
It was too much. I had no air left, and my organs were weighing me down. They felt heavier than I ever thought they could. My breath rasped as the world spun. My heart was telling me to give up. My brain already had.
And so I let go of my limp body, floating away with the water’s steam. The wind was pulling me further from the jug, but I managed a last glance before being swept away. As the arm fished our bodies from the jug, I saw what we’d left behind: a reddish concoction with a tinge of mint. And I understood. Perhaps that was my destiny—refreshing the sore.