Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Exam (09/12/13)
TITLE: The White Room
By Sara Harricharan
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ADD TO MY FAVORITES
I couldn’t help but notice that my pajamas were whiter than the walls.
I was given The Test, to determine whether I was a suitable human being, fit for introduction into their perfect little world. A biased exam where only their favored candidates could venture beyond this sealed prison.
I sat in the room until things happened.
A clear pitcher of water appeared. I dared not drink it, I could not tell if it was poisoned. Food was a strange, mushy combination squeezed out from a silvery, squishy packet. Disgusting. Layers of sound washed over me. I heard the political propaganda, the public opinion and the legally verified version of our history up to now.
The machines were the friendliest. I didn’t even see how they appeared, one moment they were there and the next they weren’t. Or maybe it was the other way around.
I knew how to use them, how to access information from the central databanks. They rewarded my efforts with a scientific report to explain that I could drink the water, if I so desired.
The final test was always confusing.
I have failed it so many times, I still do not know why or what for. They present you with a bucket of soft, colorful modeling clay. I craft the image strongest in my mind. For some reason, mine is always two sticks.
One smaller than the other and laid one-quarter of the distance from the top. A cross formation, the database tells me. Sometimes I leave it plain. Other times I carve shapes into the smooth surface with the blunt tip of my fingernails.
This time, I made a ball.
I carved in the appropriate lines for the surviving continents and replaced it upon the table. The cross-shape haunted me. I could never forget it and yet, I could hardly remember why and what for.
The result was the same. As if they’d known what I hadn’t done. I felt their disapproval wafting down from the corners of the four-pointed ceiling.
I had failed.
The lights in the white room went out. The door unsealed from the far wall and cold air rushed in. My hands and feet froze in the unexpected chill.
Red lights flashed overhead.
I stumbled out from the testing chamber and into the corridor. Doctors and their white-coated friends ran and screamed. I did not understand what was wrong.
“Captain, Captain!” The soldier waved. “We found her.”
The Captain jogged over, half-flinching as another grenade detonated too close for comfort. “What is she doing? Usually she wanders out by now. Revival Corps can’t lose another team.”
“If they’d quit trying to brainwash her, our lives would be easier, sir.” The soldier offered a wry smile. “She’s trying to heal the head scientist.
“You heard me.” He held up a hand for, giving necessary signals to advance the rescue troop. “Memory serum?”
The Captain handed it over, a small silver syringe filled with purple liquid. “The usual dose. Catch her from behind.” He gave a stiff nod as his preferred team leader saluted and disappeared into the fray. He sighed.
The soldier soon returned, supporting a thin, pale woman clad in droopy pajamas. Her blue eyes shone with strength and relief. “Gerard!” She stretched out one frightfully thin arm.
The Captain caught her up in a hug, kissing her dirty hair. “Emmy.” He whispered. “What did they do to you?”
Her smile was painful. “The usual. Standard recalibration and purging, human edition 2.0. They upped the sensory deprivation and downgraded the physical interaction.” She shivered. “They honestly think they can control us.”
He swept her up in his arms, running under the cover of their little rescue team. “Fools.”
“Shh.” She soothed. “They don’t know. They don’t remember. They think everyone was born in glass tubes. They forget there is an eternity to be had. They forget about Him.”
“Ground cover, ground cover!” The Captain barked out. He readjusted his hold on his rescued wife. “Spare me the sermon,” he said, hoarsely. “Tell me when we’re home.”
Emmy smiled and let her eyes half-close. She felt the last of the drugs wearing off and knew the withdrawal would be terrible. She sucked in a shaky breath and focused her foggy mind, familiar verses returning to her blank mind.
Please forgive them, Father. They don’t know what they’re doing…
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