What would happen if he got caught was about as mysterious as what horrors awaited man after death. He wore slippers to muffle his footfalls and he synchronized the turning of the knob with the roar of a passing-by car preluded by a sheet of light running across the walls. His parents would make him sleep outside for a fortnight if they knew he was out of bed. He dreaded their actions when they found out why he was there.
He twisted the bobby-pin with the skill of an expert thief even though his hands shook. If they would make him sit in a fucking closet for ten hours and eat some measly under-cooked steak for Christmas dinner, he will have his own fun. The lock clicked. His prize gleamed in the moonlight streaming in through the window. He reached out for it when the floorboards upstairs creaked; suddenly, light spilled out over the stairs. One of them was using the bathroom.
In the cabinet stood a bottle of gin, dark brandy and crystal-clear vodka. John lifted up vodka and examined it for any markings indicating the level of liquid. He found a black line just above the label. He erased it. He glanced upstairs and back to the cabinet before continuing.
John uncapped the bottle. It smelled of freedom and rebellion, bitter and strong. John took a good chug. A wave of warmth filled his body.
The wave drew back to reveal a burning in John's throat. He wiped his lips, popped a tic-tac and a drew a new line with black marker. All noise upstairs stopped, but John took no chances. He moved with the softness of a pillow, hoping those tyrants were asleep.
John's heart pounded like a heavy-metal drummer. John started hyperventilating and his vision blurred. He mounted the stairs while steadying his shaking legs.
Calm down. No one ever died because of a small sip, John thought. His hands shook as he clutched the banister to pull his faltering legs up the stairs. I'll pull myself into bed and never drink a drop again! He was nearly there. Just two more steps.
A paroxysm of pain shot through John's head and his legs gave out as he tumbled down the stairs and crashed against the front door. His parents stood at the head of the stairs, shadowed and unmoving.
"He's been a bad boy, has he not, dear?" John's mother said.
"Shame about the alcohol," her husband said, "now we're going to have to throw it out... There's nothing to counteract the toxin, is there?"
Written by Jake888