The Test | Teen Ink

The Test

February 4, 2015
By halloween15 BRONZE, Stafford, Virginia
halloween15 BRONZE, Stafford, Virginia
2 articles 0 photos 0 comments

It’s a gray morning. The stone and steel of the building looms precariously over my head. I am one of the many youths here who have reached the age of seventeen. It is time for us to begin the rest of our lives, and it rests on what we are about to do. The sun has barely risen over the bleak horizon as we stand in the bitter wind of an autumn day. Our hands are wrapped tightly around our #2 pencils and our identification paper rests in our pockets. No one speaks. We are all too afraid. Many come from the other institutions in our section of the district. I was assigned to this one with approximately a hundred more youths. Building 1009-4X5, it’s not one of the oldest institutions here, the foundation hasn't cracked and the walls aren't warped. Yet, it stares gloomily back down at us, beseeching us, run away, flee; only fear and worry exist here.
7:30, the doors automatically burst open. All the youths line up single file and enter. One by one they reach the desk where they roll up their sleeves to reveal their ID code on the inside of their left forearm. The secretary scans them and a picture of their face shows up on the screen. The youth places his or her paper ID on the table with their finger prints and an eye scan taken at birth. The secretary scans their eyes again and sends it through the scanner. It comes up positive and he or she is sent in.
I walk up to the desk and roll up my sleeve, JQ1097-BK101. The secretary’s artificial gaze looks at the picture of me on the screen. I carefully lay down my identification papers on the table. She holds the scanner to my right eye and presses the blue button. I hold my eyes as open as I can. My return is positive and I go through the large set of doors. All the seats are labeled with our names. I quickly find mine and sit down. With the speed and accuracy of the secretary running through the identification process, the entire population of youths are seated ten minutes later.
From the audience a gentleman walks onstage and grabs ahold of the microphone. He is dressed in a suit and wears a smile on his face. He is hiding fear. His eyes give him away. He knows after today most of these youths will not pass and many will become part of the drop-out population.
“Attention boys and girls! Welcome to your…”
I stopped paying attention. We know where we are. We know what we’re doing. We've been told why, but I know that’s not really why. This is a test. This is a test designed to weed out all those who won’t be an asset to the state.
“The  government is very proud of you for all your hard…”
No they’re not. They just want to know who to fear and who to absorb.
“Remember we can all pass if we are…AS ONE!”
The crowd responds, “AS ONE,” myself included. I don’t know why. I just always have.
The youths are led into rooms divided by their last five serial digits. It’s a small room, the carpeting is fading and the desks are crooked and rickety. I sit down at the desk with my name on it. I look around at all the other bleak faces surrounding me. I recognized another boy that I know from my institution.  He is the same level as me, only he is not as smart as the other kids we know. His face is pale and his eyes sunken. He probably didn’t sleep last night. I doubt any of us did. The girl to my left is white-knuckling her pencil and trying not to cry. Unfortunately, she is unsuccessful and tears begin rolling down her cheeks, at first slowly, then faster, her low whimpers turning into sobs. My heart should break for her, but I only feel ashamed of her. She is too emotional, she needs to control herself. Crying is for toddlers and fools. I stare straight forward pretending not to notice. The proctor picks up the packet of papers from her desk and holds them tentatively. She glances over the students, offers a weak smile and begins placing each packet on a desk. When she was done she started a timer and told the class to begin. The large clock in the front of the room, with blazing red numbers stared down at us with contempt. 4:00 hours. Four hours to decide our fate. We break open the wax seals and begin our test.
Section 1---ten minutes, Section 2---fifteen minutes, Section 3---ten minutes, Section 4---ten minutes, Section 5---twenty minutes
The fatigue is wearing on us. My hand is cramping I can hear the sounds of the clocks ticking. Louder and louder, tick, tick, the sounds of pencils are deafening in my ears as they scribbled across the paper.
Section 6---twenty-five minutes, Section 7---twenty-five minutes, Section 8---twenty-five minutes
They are a blur. I can’t do this anymore. My eyes are aching and my hand screaming, my body is doubled over from exhaustion. I’m done. I give up. I’m going to bre---  Then, it dawned on me. This is what they want. The institution that has dominated my life only wants me to collapse and break down, in hopes that they can break me, throw me out like a piece of garbage. They want us to stop and fail, that’s why so many do. It’s a mental wear that that eventually wins out…
“Oh God, it’s a system run by sadists and lunatics! I hate them. I hate them so much…”
Pencils down.
The timer has stopped. I sit there smiling smugly down at the test in front of me. In bold big letters, SAT, stands written across the front page.  I have taken my SAT. While part of me died in this little room of faded carpet, something new was born in me - Hate. Raw hate of the institutions and systems in which we live. They can all go to hell, I will not break. I will not cry.
The day is bright, without clouds in the sky. The blistering wind has turned into a gentle breeze, carefully cooling us from the warm sun. In the distance, leaves of gold and orange rustle and a bird calls out, “Victory, victory!” I did it. In submitting to the institution, I found what they feared most in the youth - the curiosity of “why?” I know where I am. I know what I’m doing. I know why.

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This article has 1 comment.

on Feb. 6 2015 at 9:43 am
UltimateZeldafan SILVER, Conneaut Lake, Pennsylvania
9 articles 0 photos 16 comments

Favorite Quote:
"light is only a brighter dark, while dark is the only thing that will remain."- Jay Johnston
"Its not about the mask you wear to fit in, but about the face underneath"- Majora`s Mask 3DS
"Here`s for all who died, and to the next man to die to!"- N/A

This artical is amazing. It shows pure creativity, and realistic truths. I honestly you make a sequel to the first.