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
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,
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
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
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
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
"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
"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
"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
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.