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The more I think about it: the more nervous I become. What if I can't do it? What if I fail? My entire life has led up to this. My mother has done nothing but talk about it for the past 14 years, so my entire life. These past nine months have of course been the worst though. Girls are obviously the only ones who can do it and it really isn't that big of a deal. Unless you fail. Unless you know what I know.

But anyway, I am the second child and only girl. Well actually, I am the fourth child and third girl, but it cannot be known that I think about them… or even know of their existences. I'm afraid if people knew I knew that I would receive The Consequence.

I know. This all sounds pretty intense but it could be worse. I mean if I succeed I bring a future to my family, but there is always that other possibility: the one I'm not supposed to know exists. That one could be the death of me. No, no, no I know what you are thinking. Don't worry: The Consequence isn't actually death. It is worse, much worse. But please forget I know that. No one can know that I know. I only know by accident and I am the only person, now that my sister is afflicted by it, who knows.

I am the sole witness: the sole burdened one. I wouldn't wish the mere knowledge of The Consequence on anyone. But I can't change what I've seen or what I know.

Today I will find out whether I will receive The Consequence or if I will continue to live as though it doesn't happen. I am going to have to face my second biggest fear, but I may also have to face the biggest fear possible. The fear that is the source to all fears here but no one actually knows about it. The fear I am burdened with knowing. The Consequence.

This simple task is why I was born. Every girl in the village knows what their life is for, so they all are excited because, well, nothing bad can happen, right? Wrong. Well, even if that is the case, it is impossible to fail, right? Wrong. All you have to do is give birth after climbing a cliff. That's not too bad, right? Wrong.

Both of my sisters failed. I don't know how: I never will. I never knew the first one and all I know is that she failed. My other sister refused to tell me what happened to her to spare me, but it was only so long until I witnessed it myself. I witnessed it happening to her.

We were really close or at least as close as two people who supposedly don't know about each other can be. We knew of each other only because she was curious. She was the only person who found it weird that her brother and parents only lived with her part time. So, one day she followed them and discovered our sister. Soon after, she found me.

After she found me, I never smiled or laughed around my parents or brother again. I could have, but I didn't. I hated them! I still can't believe that they can just keep people, family nonetheless, as secrets and immediately forget their existence when they are gone! My sister was different from me though. She loved everyone and was always laughing. Truthfully, I'm not sure how she was so happy considering she witnessed The Consequence.

She often lectured me about my lack of laughter and was a firm believer that you should embrace every minute. I should have listened. I should have laughed before I knew The Consequence. She also told me to forget about her when she had to climb the cliff in case she also failed. I should have listened. I would be capable or laughter if I had. I wouldn't be scared. I may even be looking forward to today.

I had wanted to tell her goodbye and see if she was successful. I went to the building at the back of the cliff where, as you learn in school, you go after completing the task. I skipped through a few hallways expecting to find her with a beautiful baby. I found her fairly quickly but she was not joyful with a baby as I had expected: she was completely engrossed in a terror and was chained to a wall. I had never seen her without a smile until that moment. She told me to leave with such urgency I almost forgot where I was. Next thing I knew, the wall she was chained to moved backward and The Consequence began.

The Consequence only takes half a minute. Thirty seconds is a really short period of time, right? Wrong. Thirty seconds is more like thirty lifetimes. Thirty seconds changed my life forever. I have lived in constant fear ever since.

But hey, giving birth is the happiest part of every girl's life, right? Depends on whether you succeed or fail. Honestly, I don't even know what I mean when I say fail. We learn about giving birth in school but we are taught that nothing can go wrong. Also, we climb cliffs everyday and it is obviously impossible to fail at that. Anyway, whether I know how to fail or not, I do know the punishment; therefore, I know that I must succeed no matter what.

My mother keeps telling me about what a great experience the first time is: how she will never forget climbing that cliff and finally welcoming witnessing the gift of life after nine long months. I know she lied about something though. She lied about who she birthed that first time. She had my sister: the one I never met, not my brother. So, she probably lied about it being so great too. I can't imagine that the success can be so great if the consequence of failure is so awful.

Well, I won't be able to avoid it forever. My entire life is for this. Nine months of anticipation and fear for this one task. My heart is racing and I am thunderously shaking. Success seems impossible while failure as easy to do as breathe.

I mean, maybe I will succeed. Most people do. Nonetheless, this could be my last minute before The Consequence.

But I won't fail, right?

Wrong.




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AgentKThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Jul. 6 at 11:37 pm:
this story is, well, intense. i like how you kepp the reader guessing the whole time, never truly revealing anything. it keeps people reading.
 
paigem replied...
today at 8:28 pm :
Thank you so much for the feedback! I greatly appreciate it!
 
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