3. The test
I open my eyes but squint them due to the almost blinding brightness. I still sit in the reclining chair but I sit up. I take in my surroundings, making sure that I don't miss a detail. I'm in my school's lunch room. Other than the furniture around me the room is completely vacant.
"Choose" The woman's voice fills the empty space around me. I turn around in a circle, searching for the voice's possessor. But still, the room is empty. I look in front of me keeping a calm expression plastered on my face. In front of me are two baskets, one with a knife and one with cheese.
I take some time to think this over.
If I choose the cheese I'll be able to satisfy my hunger but save half of it for later. But if I grab the knife, I'll be able to kill animals for food AND defend myself at the same time.
I extend my hand out to the knife, pick it up and set it in the basket with the cheese. I grab the basket's handle and step away from the table.
But what's wrong with grabbing both?
I smile at my choice. Behind me I hear a growling sound behind me. I quickly turn around, staying on the balls of my feet. What awaits me is a menacing dog baring its teeth. I even see a bit of foam forming at the edges of it's mouth. I slowly approach the animal until I'm just inches away from it. I stretch my arms out to my sides and stand taller. If I appear larger than the dog it might show me mercy. And my prediction was right, the dog immediately changed from a threat to just a normal pet. I scratch behind the animal's ears and look into it's eyes. Something isn't right.
This isn't real. I think. This is just a test.
I reach for the basket behind me and grab the items in it. Right at that same moment, I hear a small girls voice. I whip my head to her direction.
"Come here Puppy" She means the dog. (Duhhhh) The girl's eyes shift from the dog over to the cheese in my hand. I stretch my arm over to her and set the small block of cheese on her hand.
"I had it, but you seemed to want it. its all yours." I say with a smile. I looked the girl over. She is wearing a simple white dress that she seems to like. The young child's big eyes shift from the cheese in her hand and back over to the dog.
The pet now returns to a menacing beast. I look at the animal's eyes which have no trace of white in them. Like two endless black pits that could swallow me whole. And as much as I hate to say it, I am completely familiar with the feeling. The dog lurches toward the girl as she starts running. Like a race car, I swiftly move my feet across the cafeteria floor to reach the dog. In slow motion, I push myself forward with the knife in my hand, landing on the dog.
I open my eyes (not knowing that I had closed them) and no trace of the action was anywhere. Confused, I walk to the door that somehow appeared in front of me. My trembling fingers touch the cold, smooth surface of the doorknob. I open the door and step nervously through it. But instead of being in the hallway at my school I find myself standing in the crowded bus I always go in to get to school. All the seats are taken so I grab onto a pole to keep my balance. I look over at a Candor man whose hunched over, clutching a newspaper as if it were to run away from him at any moment. I can't see his face but I glance at his hands, which are filled with many scars. I read the headline of the paper he's reading,
Brutal Murder Finally Apprehended!
I knew that it was rude to stare, but my curiosity got the best in me. Probably knowing that someone was staring at him, the Candor man turned around. He looked at me strait in the eye and spoke.
"Do you know this man?!" He said rather harshly. I stare at the glum looking man in the photo. Something seems awfully familiar with it's features so I look closer. My eyes widened. It was my father.
My heart beat quickened and my hands started shaking. I clenched them in fists to cover it up.
"Please" the man said. "You could really help me." I stayed silent debating weather or not I should tell the man that I knew the person on the cover.
Remember, I kept telling myself, this isn't real. nothing will happen to me.
"Yes, I-I do know of the man, I just don't know from where." Saying that the person in the photo was my father would make the man my enemy. so I said only half of the truth.
There was a silence between us so I look up at the ceiling, not having anything else to do. But instead of seeing the drab, gray color of the bus ceiling, I saw myself. But I didn't see my reflection, I saw myself with my eyes closed, in the dentist-like chair in the testing room. In a split second, I opened my eyes to reveal myself in the testing room.