The Darkness Within

October 16, 2015
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“What do you think would be in the third stage?” asked Anglea, a pretty blondie who is tougher than she looks. Scott shrugs.
  “Who knows? They come up with these weird tests, it’s so unpredictable. What do you think, Raph?”
  “I don’t have a single clue. For now, they’ve tested out our weaponry skills and field operation techniques. It’s impossible to tell what will happen next,” I said.
  “Really, the tests they’ve given us had been really tough. Could there be anything more difficult?” Roy, stuffing his mouth full of chicken nuggets and fries.
  “Be careful of what you say, Roy. You never know what’s going to happen next,” I warned. Roy rolled his eyes.
  “Right, I’ll just shut up, then.” Just at that moment, an agent walked in, wearing one of those unreadable, grim expressions.
  “Raphael Santiago. The deputy would like to see you,” said the agent, his voice emotionless. I sighed and got up from my chair.
  “What did I do now?” I muttered to myself. Roy smirked.
  “Who knows? ‘You never know what’s going to happen next’, right?” The others laughed. I cast one last glare at him before following the agent towards the deputy’s office.


   “Come in,” called the deep voice of the deputy from inside the room. I opened the door and slid inside. The deputy had a cigarette dangling from his mouth and a piece of paper in hand. “Please, take a seat,” he said without glancing at me. I dragged the chair out of the table across from him and sat. With his other hand, he removed his cigar and blew an air of smoke out while studying the paper.
  “I see that you’ve have done pretty well in all areas of your required skills,” he complimented.
  “Thank you, sir,” I said, humbled by his praise. He nodded, waving a hand dismissively. Then, he turned and met my gaze.
  “Are you ready for the next stage?”
  “Yes,” I reply without hesitation.
  “Good. Bring her in.” I sat, puzzled, as one of his personal bodyguards signaled the agent stationed outside the door. Seconds later, a girl, bounded and gagged, was carried inside the room. She struggled against the restraints, but too weak to be able to free herself. The agents pushed her roughly into the seat at the head of the table we were sitting at. “Ungag her,” the deputy commanded, and she was ungagged. Streams of tears rolled down her cheek while she sobbed without control. A cold sensation creeped its way up towards my spine and I forced down a shiver. I looked to the deputy for explanation, but he ignored me, and to my disbelief, he pulled out a pistol from his drawer and placed it on the table between us.
  “Kill her.” I blinked.
  “What?” I exclaimed, astonished and terrified. He blew out another puff of smoke.
  “My dear boy, I tend not have the habit of repeating myself.”
  “Are you mad?” I demanded, half-rising from the chair. “Why-?” I stopped mid-sentence. This is the test, I realized as I looked at the deputy who was observing my every move. After a pause, I reached for the gun, and curled my hand around its handle. Never in my life had I ever been so unsure of myself. I stood slowly advanced towards the girl and pressed the gun barrel against the girl’s temple.
  “Please,” she gasped, her tears flowing rapidly. “Don’t.” My grip on the gun trembled slightly.
  Do it, a voice urged inside my head. I tried to steady my arm, but it kept shaking uncontrollably.
  I can’t.
  Yes, you can, the voice hissed angrily. You’ve come all this way to where you are now. Are you willing to throw everything away?
  I can’t. She was so young, so innocent. She must had friends, a family, dreams, a future-
  A future? How about your future? Your dream as an Elite of the agency?
  My knuckles whiten as I tighten my grip on the handle, my hands wet and slippery from the sweat breaking out within my palm. I closed my eyes and imagined myself as I shot the girl and the blood pooling underneath her…
  Bang. A shot rang out from the room next door. I flinched in alarm and my eyelids flew wide open. I hadn’t fired the gun. Then the realization hit me. One of the selected had fired the gun. Horror rushed through me as the truth weighted down on me.
  Someone had. One of my friends.
  Another sound of gunshot rang from farther away. Then another. Three people, three friends of mine have killed someone they were assigned, and only two others remained alive. Mine. And whoever was left.
  Do it, the voice pressed harder, making me wince. One more step and you get everything you’ve ever lived for, the one thing you’ve ever wanted-
  And kill an innocent while I’m at it?
  Raphael, the voice growled. You know very well yourself that this is the one and only chance you’ll ever get to be an Elite. Or the last novice will beat you to it, SO GET ON WITH IT!
  “Please,” the girl croaked, pleading me with the pair of large, deep blue eyes. “Please.” I took a deep shaky breath and closed my eyes.
  Kill her, kill her, kill her, the voice echoed unmercifully. I gritted my teeth and managed to make the voice subside. I gave myself a full ten seconds before I came to a final decision. I stood, lowered my arm down, and placed it back onto the table.
  “I’m sorry, sir. I can’t do it,” I said staring at the floor, afraid to meet the deputy’s penetrating eyes. I turned and walked towards the door while the numbness and hollowness settled inside me.
  I twisted open the door knob, stepping out into the hallway as the voice screamed accusingly at me for failing myself. I continued onward without a backward glance.
  Bang. The last bullet was fired.

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This article has 11 comments. Post your own now!

writer-violistThis 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. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Oct. 30, 2015 at 12:13 pm
Wow! I really like this! I like how the character decides to follow her one feelings about ethics and how she chooses to do what's right even though her other friends shot the girl. I would like to see more and what comes next? A part two? I thought the beginning was kinda confusing with the word choice. Very great job! I like all the details. Please keep writing! God bless! :)
A-C-Y replied...
Oct. 30, 2015 at 8:57 pm
Thank you! I'm sorry that I caused so much confusion for so many of you. I didn't give too much information because, like I mentioned before, I had a word limit of 1000 words. Raphael is a "he" not a"she, again, sorry if it wasn't clear. I promised a second part, but I'm not sure when I would be able to write it. I could tell you then if I finish it. Thanks again for reading and commenting. God bless you, too :)
writer-violistThis 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. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Nov. 2, 2015 at 8:35 pm
Sorry! I don't know why I said she.....your welcome! :-)
thisEmilyda1 said...
Oct. 28, 2015 at 10:35 am
Great job! I loved it. I do think it's kinda confusing at the beginning, I didn't know it was in first person, "I, and me." Or who was talking, maybe just work on that a little bit. I also agree with Ellwist about the title. And the grammatical mistakes kind of broke the spell at certain point.the only other "flaw" I can think of is that you see this kind of story often. I mean asking trainees for secret agents or something to shoot innocent strangers. So it is slightly unoriginal, but you worke... (more »)
A-C-Y replied...
Oct. 28, 2015 at 6:24 pm
First off, I really want to thank you for writing this awfully long comment, I love criticism on my work, especially those as such. I will work on my grammar, it has never been my strong suit :D And I will think about the last part as well as the first part. Also, if there is a continuation of this, I will certainly think about putting the perspective of the Elites in. Thanks so much! Really appreciate it!:)
ellwist said...
Oct. 28, 2015 at 9:16 am
A prologue for a bigger thing, it seems. I quite like it. I don't understand why the Elites would want to kill bound girls and boys, or if Raphael died in that last scene because someone shot him, but I do understand good writing when I see it (did he die in that last scene? Or did the deputy finish the job for him?) The only thing I have to protest is the title, I think. A little too broad, doesn't fit a work this special. But I liked it, nonetheless. Good job!
Chrissiana1320 replied...
Oct. 28, 2015 at 9:20 am
I did not see the ending coming!But like Ellwist said the ending was a bit confusing. Good job!
A-C-Y replied...
Oct. 28, 2015 at 9:39 am
Thank you, I would think of something to do for the ending. You guys weren't the only ones who were confused. Thanks for reading @Chrissiana1320 !
A-C-Y replied...
Oct. 28, 2015 at 9:54 am
@ellwist , I was writing this for a short story contest on a community online, with a 1000 word limit, so forgive me for the lacking of information given in this article. And the ending is confusing, I'm going to change it, or else everyone would think he got shot in the end. To answer your first, the Elites only wanted to test what each novice would react to the situation, the bullets inside weren't real. And Raphael didn't die, it was the last novice that fired the gun (forgive me for causing ... (more »)
ellwist replied...
Nov. 6, 2015 at 10:19 am
I'd put something like 'The Elites' just to make the Elites seem unique, but personally 'A Life For Another' popped in my head at the last scene. Go for whatever you want, though. It's your story.
A-C-Y replied...
Nov. 8, 2015 at 7:41 am
Thanks! It's quite a neat title...mind if I use it?
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