“Testing is still in session. Please be calm when waiting for your exam.”
My trembling fingers nervously drummed rhythms on my thigh. The dark anteroom was filled with my fellow students, sitting in their assigned chairs, surrounded by large wooden desks that seemed to trap the students in place while they waited for their exam.
The feeling of stress was thick and heavy in the air. The smell of sweat wafted from every corner of the room. It seemed to have a choke hold on my throat, suffocating me as I sat in the same place for hours on end, wanting nothing more than to slam my hands on the table, so hard that it hurt, and leave the hall. I might have, if not for the guards precisely every 5 and 1/2 feet.
They stood tall, with guns on their hips, large staffs in their left hand, and lightweight, but strong armor protecting them. Their faces where blank, showing no fear over the fact that they were back in the same dank room where their fates had been sealed. Their eyes remained fixed on a point, far off in space, avoiding eye-contact with anybody, as many of them had children in my class.
I glanced up ahead, to the desks, each being monitored by a priest, scientist, and two guards. Each of my peers up there was hunched over their exam, filling out the questions as quickly and accurately as possible.
One by one, names were called out, bringing forward an apprehensive individual who wasn’t ready to possibly accept their doomed fate. As each person stepped forward, they were handed a piece of paper and an unsharpened pencil. Those two objects could change a being’s life in an instant.
“Cornwell, Timothy.” Came the somewhat annoyed call for the next person.
The scraping sound of a chair being pushed back reached my ears, causing me to flinch from somewhere deep within me. The awkward boy’s footsteps echoed throughout the hall as he went to take his test. He walked right past me, head forward, back straight, shoulders back, like we’d all been taught from a young age. His hand brushed my coat sleeve, and I had to stifle a shiver, even though the room was boiling.
This could be the last time any of us see him.
This could be the last time any of us see each other ever again.
The heaviness of what was happening settled, once again, into my mind, twisting my thoughts into the worst possible scenarios. Nobody knew what was on the test, as it was changed every year. All we were told was it meant the difference between a perfect life inside the walls or being taken to Nowhere.
I was startled out of my thoughts as a loud shriek sounded from the table farthest from me. My head whipped around to see Ames Johnson, a nice, quiet girl, being pulled up from her chair. She pulled against the guards, trying her best to reach out to somebody, anybody who would help her.
Those who were taking the test didn’t take their eyes off the paper for fear they would end up like Ames, the rest of us..well, we didn’t want to go with her. Ames hadn’t ever done anything to anybody, but in this instant, she was the enemy because she could bring us down with her. As a last, desperate cry for help, she looked me straight in the eye, “Please help me! Anybody please!”
The guards grabbed her by her hair, twisting until tears leaked out of her eyes. She grasped the men’s hands trying to free herself, but that only made the pain worse. She whimpered, her beautiful porcelain skin paling with fear. I watched as she was dragged away by her scalp, still crying to herself. My heart reached out to her, wanting to be able to help, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t risk myself and everything my family had built over the generations.
The room spun as I stood up and stepped to my right to leave my seat. Taking a moment, I wiped any excess sweat onto my pants before taking those fateful steps towards my future. I made it to the table in a matter of seconds that seemed like hours. I took my seat and picked up the pencil that was waiting for me.
The pencil Ames had used before she was taken.
Gulping, I kept my head down as the packet was passed to me. I blinked my eyes, and glanced at
the first question. I hadn’t even read it fully when the anxiety started.
How was I going to finish this?
Are you enjoying my ongoing story? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, Sweaterpaws_JinnieWrite a Review