My feet graze the ground as I lean back in my seat on the subway.
It is always crowded on Working Days. That’s when my sister and I go to school, and when our parents go to the Career Building. The underground train shoots forward, and my body leans with it. We
are taking the tight turn needed to reach the school. Students are always let off first. I turn to look at Estelle. “Essie,” I whisper. Her head whips up. Her look is plain and bored. “What,” She
whispers back. “What are you gonna pic-” “Shut up, meathead.” She interrupts. “You know we’re not supposed to discuss this. Ever.” She snaps at me. “Whatever,” I roll my eyes. “Sorry for being
interested in your life.” I mutter under my breath. A sharp pain juts into my shin. I look up with annoyance plastered on my face. She’s motioning to mom and dad, who seemed to have noticed we were
So here’s how it goes. My mom is basically a brain-dead lemming who follows my dad’s every order and word, no matter if it puts anybody in harm’s way or not. My dad is strict, and put forth a rule
in our house, that if you spoke without being spoken to beforehand, you would get… beat. Me and my sister have both experienced it first-hand. But I doubt he would beat us on the subway, when the
whole of the community is aboard and silent, waiting for any small catastrophe to lighten up their dim, boring days. He wouldn’t satisfy them with that. He hates everybody. Even his own family. He
just gives us a look that says “When we get home.” Me and Estelle exchange a nervous glance, but thankfully, the bus screeches to a stop. I look out the subway window just as we come aboveground to
see my school in its boring white form as always. Estelle stands up after I snatch my bag from the seat and dash forwards to beat the crowd. I don’t stop to turn around and search for Estelle. I
need to figure out my maths homework before the Proclivity Tests begin.
The Proclivity Tests are hallucinations set up for everyone who is choosing their Division at the Ceremony of Flames. Proclivity Tests are taken individually in the Proclivity Room in the school,
but you walk with two other children from your Division. The tests are all taken in separate rooms, the trios are just meant for company in the long corridor before the test. It tells you which
Division you are most fit to be divided into. You don’t have to choose your result of the Proclivity Test, so as long as you pass Commencement. Commencement is where you overcome a series of
obstacles, training, challenges, and rounds in order to be a full member of the Division you choose at the Ceremony of Flames, at least, that’s what my dad told us when Estelle and I were little.
My mom just sat there, nodding her head and muttering “yep”s and “yup”s the whole time, as usual. I throw my legs forward in an attempt to sprint into school, and luckily, I beat everyone
else inside except for a few Cerebral boys who are early every day for school. I run to my maths class, and set up early, waiting for the day to pass.
My heart pounds and my whole body twitches with fear. The Proclivity Tests are about to begin and I’m not sure if I’m ready to be classified as Cerebral, Valorous, Veracity, Ascetic or even just my
current and origin division, Altruism. We are the peaceful. That is our division’s mask, anyways. The Cerebral are the intelligent, Valorous being the brave, Veracity the honest, and Ascetic the
selfless. These were decided 79 years ago by a group of trivial counsellors who were questioning the community’s peace with one another. Quite often, people would fight and blame each other’s
traits for the reason of the world’s anger and hatred. The Ascetic were formed by the ones who blamed the trait of selfishness. The Veracity were born with the blaming of dishonesty, Cerebral by
idiocy, Valorous by cowardice, and Altruism by malevolence.
I clutch the edge of my seat and strain my legs out as far as they can go. I stare at my painted toenails resting on the sole of my flip-flops. Pastel green like the colour of my division. They
have been this way for as long as I can remember, and now I think of them as boring. I would rather look down and see and nice medium blue on my toes, like the Cerebral, or better yet a fiery red
or coal black like the Valorous. I blink and I realize I have been staring into space as my gaze has shifted from my toenails to a tall black-haired individual with red pants and a black T-shirt. A
Valorous girl, by the looks of her dark makeup, three lip rings and septum piercing. She is slouching forward in her chair with her chin resting on her palm, her elbow on her knee. She glares at me
and I flinch back in my seat. She is picking at her stubby nails, which look as if she chews on them in the midst of her boredom. They are covered in a messy slab of black nail polish, which looks
as if a monkey painted on while blindfolded and back turned, and used its foot. I move a piece of hair out of my face and see Estelle, sitting unconventionally close to the Valorous girl I
inspected seconds earlier. As she turns and fixes her curly blonde hair, she catches my gaze. Her striking green eyes stare directly into mine. She mouths something I cannot decipher. I screw up my
face and she motions to come to her. I look around and see no trouble with doing so, so it shove myself out of the seat and kneel in front of her.
“What?” I ask. “You idiot! Can’t you read lips? I said Altruism is next.” She tells me. “What! No, I’m not ready!” I shriek. All the absent chatter stops and everyone stares at me, kneeling in
front of a girl in the Reception Room. My face goes pink with embarrassment, and I look up to see the school principal standing at my right. I stand up and dust off my jeans. “Well, Mrs. DeRio,” He
says, bending over uncomfortably close to my face. “You look quite prepared to me. How about you take the place of an Ascetic student who just threw up? He will start his Proclivity Test once he is
quite comfortable and not nauseous.” I gulp and my ears start to ring. “Well, go on then. Through the doors with you. Good luck with your test.” He smirks and shoves me forwards towards a tall,
bony blonde woman with glasses resting on her nose. “This way,” She says in a nasally voice, scribbling something on her clipboard before gesturing to two large glass doors. I nod nervously and
pace to the doors. I turn before I opening, catching the glance of Estelle, who’s eyes are glazed with sympathy. I open the door, and almost get trampled by a duo of Ascetic boys who are next to
take their Proclivity Tests. I guess I’m the lucky third.
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