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Psychic Chapter 7: Exam part 2
Knox lay on the wooden surface tiredly as he thought of a plan. He shifted his eyes towards the rope closest to him, which was on the verge of snapping. We don’t have much time left, thought Knox. How the hell are we supposed to survive this?
The other examinees crowded together towards the other 2 ropes that were still in tact, but they were all aware that it wouldn’t do any good after the second rope snaps. Blake, who stood in front of the crowd, turned towards them and said, “Listen dudes and other contestants of this deadly exam. I propose that we all pacify our disorderly emotions and devise and plan to escape this catastrophe.”
The dark skinned man replied, “Talking smart isn’t going to do anything, kid, but you might be on the right track. Freaking out is just going to waste time.”
“So what should we do?” asked a husky man from the crowd.
“Our best bet is to get a leader. If there’s anyone smart and brave among us, now would be a great time to speak up.”
The crowd starting swinging their heads in all different directions, looking for the one who would lead them. A fair amount started to stare down Blake, judging him due to his rock solid abs and buff muscles. “D-don’t look at me!” said Blake, worryingly. “I don’t apply to being smart or brave!”
“I’ll do it.” The crowd simultaneously looked at the voice, which came from Knox. He was still laying down, but no longer breathing heavily or having sore muscles.
“You must be joking,” muttered the man with the baseball cap. “Are we seriously going to trust a teenager to help us pass? This kid probably can’t even run a mile without collapsing, let alone save all of our lives.”
“Well,” said the dark skinned man. “he did risk his life to save that one man’s life, so he definitely qualifies for being brave. He also doesn’t look too stupid, Vic, so he’s not a bad choice.”
“Tokar, you’re being just as retarded as the blonde haired kid.” Vic turned to the crowd. “C’mon, one of you guys got an idea, right?”
The crowd remained completely silent. Some people awkwardly shrugged their shoulders while others avoided making eye contact. After a minute of no answer, Victor sighed and dangled his head in despair. “Great, we’re all going to fall to our death.”
“Actually,” intruded Knox. “all we have to do is raise ourselves to the higher rope and climb it to the top.”
Blake laughed and patted Knox, who was now standing, on the back. “Man, who would’ve known that some 14 year old kid was smarter than all of you goofs!” Vic started cursing quietly to himself. I’m such an idiot, he thought. How did I not think of such an easy plan earlier?
“So,” continued Knox. “the rope looks like it’s going to snap pretty soon, so let’s not waste any time.” Immediately after speaking, Knox barged through the crowd and approached the sturdiest rope. He gripped the rope tightly and climbed it until he grabbed the fat vertical rope. “Aren’t you guys coming?”
A man from the crowd shook his head rapidly. “Are you freaking nuts? It’s practically suicide climbing up a rope that long. We’ll fall for sure.”
Before responding, Knox took another look at the top left rope, which was threads away from breaking. “Use your heads for a seconds,” said Knox. “We’re stuck thousands of feet in the air on an elevator that’s about to snap, and your only option of making it out alive is to climb this rope. Please be wise.”
A moment later, some of the crowd slowly burst into tears, believing that their life was over. “This isn’t fair,” whimpered a young woman. “Damn MCG, they tricked us into killing ourselves.”
Knox gave the crowd a disappointed look. “Normally I’d feel bad for you guys and would try whatever it takes to save all of you, but I’m pretty sure that Mia specifically said that you’d be putting your lives at stake. Everyone that stepped on an elevator today should’ve known that they might not be alive to see another day. Honestly, your ignorance is killing me.”
The crowd slowly started to quiet down, ending their crying and complaining. In the back of them, Blake started to smile nervously. “Well, uh, you got a good point, dude. I think I know the best path to take.” Blake started to climb the rope and in seconds reached the same point as Knox. Following him came Tokar, and then a few other examinees. From the bottom of the elevator, everyone could hear another thread snap. Only one thread remained, and it was unraveling fast.
Knox noticed that a majority of the examinees, including Vic, were still making their choice. They stood still, shocked in place by fear, knowing that the decision was a tough one. Blake and Tokar could feel the streams of sweat run down their face. Despite having a poker face, on the inside, Knox was just as nervous. What were the chances that they’d all listen to Knox and start climbing?
S***, thought Knox. What am I doing? I’ve been chosen to lead these people and all I’ve done is scare them even more from what I said earlier. “Listen,” said Knox. “I apologize for what I said earlier, but we don’t have much time! Snap out of it an-” Before Knox could continue speaking, he felt the rope shake at the same moment that his stomach dropped. The examinees on the rope could feel the final thread snap. Below them, the elevator lost its sturdiness, and the group started to lose their footing. One by one, people fell off of the elevator and plummeted to the ground. Some caught grip on the now vertical floor, but a majority of them fell soon after. The screeching sound of their screams echoed throughout the sky was painful for the survivors to listen to. Knox watched in terror as he saw the examinees fall further down to the ground. The sight of them getting smaller and smaller as they got closer to their demise hurt Knox inside, but at the same time, he felt like they deserved it after seeing them cry. He just couldn’t decide.
“Damn,” muttered Blake. “These MCG assholes aren’t screwing around.” He raised his head up and sighed, knowing that it would be at least a 20 minutes climb to get to the top, and that was if he actually could make it. “Yo, Knox.” Knox was still dazing off at the ground. “Listen, we can mourn for them later or whatever we want to do, but we’re not at safety yet, man. We still got this big ass rope ahead of us.”
Knox snapped out of his doze and nodded. “Right, let’s go.” Knox began to scale the rope at a steady rate. Behind him, Blake followed along with Tokar and the others. The 3 highest examinees climbed with ease after the first 5 minutes, but it was obvious to them that the others were struggling with their heavy pants every time they advanced. The first 5 minutes went by fast, but it still felt like forever until the end.
Knox glanced down at Blake, who was still going strong and asked, “Blake, do you think I did something wrong?”
Blake gave him a confused expression. “Did what wrong? S***, if you ask me, you did everything right. If it weren’t for you, these people would be 6 feet under.”
“I know, but that’s not what I’m talking about. I meant when I yelled at those people after they started to cry.”
“In my opinion, you were just speaking the truth. You were just restating the rules. Those people were the dumbest of the dumb if they thought that this exam was going to be some happy go lucky s***. Of course, killing off fifty or more people before this damn exam has even started is kind of scary, don’t you think?”
“But, they’re killing so many people. What’s wrong with them?”
Blake started to laugh obnoxiously. “Man, you haven’t gotten out of the house much, have you? This world’s not the one you thought of it as, and as a matter of fact, a good example has been at the top of this pillar for a hell of a long time.”
Knox gulped. “I guess my dad was right, then.”
“Yeah. He always use to tell that hell lives right here with us.”
“Well, maybe hell is a place that I want to visit, then.”
“I don’t know, really. It’s kind of just that I don’t want to sit around in this city for the rest of my life. Why would I just sit around and go to work over and over again until I die when I could go around the world and see what’s really out there.”
“So what does that have to do with the exam? Why don’t you just leave?”
Blake frowned. “I wish I could, but it’s not that simple for me. My parents are all strict about me leaving. They’re worried about me getting into trouble or getting myself killed. Anyways, I made a deal with them that if I could pass this test, they’d let me go off.”
“You’re really determined,” claimed Knox, in a tired tone. They were a little more than halfway there, but the soreness in their arms begged them to stop.
“Well, I’m not gonna just let my psychic powers go to waste, you know?” Blake looked up at Knox, who remained silent. “What about you? Why are you here?”
“Uh, you know, just helping out my city.”
“Bullshit,” yelled out Blake. “I can tell by your looks that you hate those MCG pieces of trash. With all of those years of them bashing psychics because they aren’t ‘normal’, you couldn’t be serious about actually wanting to help them, right.”
Knox sighed. “Yeah, you’re right. The real reason I’m here is to get back my little sister.”
“Your sister?” asked Blake. “What the hell is she doing up there?”
“I met up with Mia a few nights back after I got in a fight. She asked me to come, but I declined, so she took my sister, and the only way to get her back is to help them out.”
“Man, I don’t want to piss on your parade, but do you think they’ll really return her?”
Knox clenched the rope tightly. He felt the tiny threads of rope dig into his palm as he thought about what Blake said. “If they don’t,” said Knox. “I’ll slaughter every last person inside of the Blessed House.”
Blake felt goose bumps run up his arm. The seriousness in Knox’s voice frightened him, and he wasn’t even the target.
“S***, man.” said Blake. “This is only the first phase and it almost took us out. I don’t even want to know what’s next.”
Knox gulped with the thought of it. He couldn’t imagine what could be next, and the exam technically hasn’t even started! He glanced down at Blake, who was sweating a little bit more as he ascended up the rope. “Blake,” said Knox.
“I’m not sure what’s up ahead, but I can’t risk going alone. I think we should team up.”
“Really?” asked Blake. “You don’t think I’ll slow you down or anything?”
“No, not at all. We both need to pass this exam, and that’s what we’re gonna do.”
“Right,” said Blake, confidentially.
Suddenly, another screech ran through everyone’s ears. Another man fell, and his scream of fear could be heard for what seemed like an hour to everyone, but was only a few seconds. “S***,” said Tokar. “
There goes another one.” Everyone tightened their grip as they advanced. Knox could feel his arms about to give out, but he was so close. Only a couple more minutes, he thought. I can’t afford to lose.
Painful minutes slowly passed by as the climbing continued, and despite the affliction that everyone was suffering, they were so close. Knox was only a few inches from the top edge of the pillar. He quickly shot out his arm and took hold of the side. Despite the tough grip, Knox swung the rest of his body to the edge, and with the rest of his strength, he pulled himself up.
As much as he needed a rest, Knox assisted Blake up, and continued to pull the others who climbed as well. Only 5 people survived the first phase. The rest were certainly dead. Knox lay on the ground with the rest of the survivors, wheezing heavily for a while. A minute passed before Knox regained enough strength to get up. His vision was blurry from exhaustion, and his limbs wobbled as he arose, but that wasn’t enough to stop him. He was ready to finish the exam.