Her Exam (Not What She Expected XLIII)

17 Jun 2023  C. chou  5 mins read.

Stepping foot out of the vehicle, Xev looked up at the building before him. A building that he’d visited countless times now. Adjusting his coat, he walked up to the building with his badge held out before him. After a brief pause, the doors clicked and slowly slid open. With a sigh, he tucked the badge back into his pocket and headed inside toward the dark staircase.

Standing on the stage, with nothing but a sword held out before her, Xiyana did her best to keep calm. If Kestyn wasn’t wrong, she’d soon be facing one of the creatures that had, for five years, endlessly haunted her nightmares. Her hands were already growing clammy at the thought. Knitting her brow, she tightened her grip around the weapon’s handle. She had to win this.

Taking a deep breath, she tried steadying her hands. But it was no use. At the sound of the gates rattling open, she found herself quavering again. Biting her lip, she forced herself to look up at the thing emerging from the now unobstructed opening, before immediately grimacing at the sight. The creature was exactly as she remembered. Her last memory of Sylin flashed before her eyes. The way that she helplessly watched as tens or hundreds of them closed in on him.

She clenched her fingers. She couldn’t be afraid. Not if she wanted to give him a proper grave. It’s been over a year since she’d stepped foot into the forest. For all she knew, similar creatures were still rampaging the place. A shiver ran down her spine. Sylin’s last moments must’ve been terrifying. Tears filled her eyes. All the more reason she couldn’t let her fears overwhelm her.

Although this was the first time in five years that she’d directly faced one of them, it wouldn’t be her last time. She gritted her teeth. As long as she lived, that nightmarish location would not be Sylin’s final resting place.

Taking a deep breath, Xev pulled open the door and stepped inside. The room was just as cold and unwelcoming as always. However, that wasn’t what bothered him. Standing by the exit, it was obvious that something was missing. Though its absence probably hadn’t meant anything in particular, the emptiness still gave him a sense of unease that he couldn’t shake.

“You’re here.” A male voice said behind him, as a hand rested onto his shoulder.

“What’d you do with it?” Xev asked, without turning to face the man. He didn’t need to turn to know that it was the head scientist. There weren’t any scheduled experiments on the beast this week, yet it was gone without an explanation. Clasping the hand over his shoulder, he suddenly felt infuriated by the man’s mock friendliness and delayed response. “I said, what did you do with it?”

“No need to get worked up.” The head scientist responded. “It was safely shipped to the other camp.”

“It was what?” He demanded, turning to face the man. There was a reason that he’d personally monitored their experiments. There was a reason that he’d kept quiet about any discoveries and experimental progress.

“The superiors have requested it in anticipation of your sister’s second examination.” The small man answered.

“What did you say?” He exclaimed. It took everything in him to stop himself from reaching for the man and lifting him by his collar.

“She may be fighting it now, as we speak.” The man pointed out.

Without another word, Xev stormed out of the lab. She couldn’t be matched against that thing. It’d taken her a while to let go of Sylin. If she saw it, all of his efforts… all of everyone’s efforts at helping her let go of the past, would have been in vain.

Furthermore, to keep her from returning to forest, she didn’t know. As far as she was aware, petrification cases were no longer a thing. Ignoring the scientist chasing him, he threw himself into his car. As far as she was aware, petrification was no longer a human concern.

Like the general public, she’d been deceived into believing that vaccines had eradicated the problem. But, if she went into battle with that belief in mind… Turning his key in the ignition, he quickly turned his vehicle in the direction of the camp and slammed on the gas. The vaccine only prevented minor infections caused by light scratches that were common around the city.

Those things… Without someone like Sylin around… those things with their claws… this match may as well be her death sentence. His hands tightened around the steering wheel. He had to put an end to that battle before it began… before things fully spiralled out of control.

C. Chou
C. Chou

A writer that loves cabbages and bamboo, but also enjoys writing and sharing fiction (particularly the fantasy genre). Find me on Medium at: https://chouxherbe.medium.com/