Denominator was the name that was given to me. It made little sense, like “Number 43” or “Blitz”, but it was at least better than being called “Nemo”. Because half of the world (or what was left of it) was called as Nemo.
A letter had come from the “More Human Org” about symptoms that the traitor among us will display on the slightest hint of stress. There were eight of us sitting around the fire on that cold evening, waiting for test and judgment. No Nemos. Number 43, the eldest man among us opened the enveloped that had MHO embossed in the right bottom corner. The letter contained three questions. “This letter contains three questions!” A dramatic, booming voice that emerged from Number 43 said. Most of us rolled our eyes at each other. “We know that,” Said Blitz, “What are the questions this time?”
“Maths equations again?” I asked. Everyone looked at me. I hated that limelight.
“No.” Said Number 43. “Yes.” He said again. More eyes rolled. “Where is Time Traveler’s Portal?” He asked.
These were textbook questions. This was a conspiracy. If the MHO really wanted to find the cyborg among us, they wouldn’t have asked us questions which everyone knew. I searched for the answer, but before I could reply, a chorus of “Never Land” emerged through the group. The Time traveler’s Portal was indeed in Never Land. Mother of Dark Star, everyone knew about this. “What’s the point?” someone asked, “How will we recognize this traitor?”
“I’ve heard his head will catch fire and explode.” Another voice replied. Everyone laughed. “Head catching fire,” Blitz screamed, laughed and rolled on the ground, “that will be precious!” The scene was hilarious.
“What is 36676534 divided by 8876?” Number 43 boomed in that inaudible voice again. “Hurray,” I screamed, “Maths Equations!” Everyone clapped around the fire. I loved, I mean really LOVED maths equations. “4132.101622,” I said and held my hand out as an instinct, but I retracted my hand after a few seconds, not wanting to look like a fool. My memories told me that every time I scored in a maths equations, they used to hand me a sugar cube, or that’s what it looked like in my head.
The fire was dying and it was getting dark. Everyone waited for the next textbook question so this could be over with and we would retire for rest. Someone threw a twig in the fire which got swallowed without resistance.
“How does a leaf taste like?” Number 43 asked.
“Another simple question,” I muttered and turned towards Mr. Cuttershut who was sitting beside me.
“You know the answer?” he whispered to me.
“Of course, I do…” I began talking but before I could complete I noticed everyone’s eyes on me. I hated this limelight. Mr. Cuttershut started inching away from me and pointed at my forehead.
“Denominator!” Number 43 screamed my name and spat angrily at me. “Everyone, get away from him.” He pointed at me. I really, really hated this limelight.
But my head was on fire.