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The Red Final – A Tale of Power, Betrayal, and Death

Weeks have gone by since the midterm. The midterm where everyone had seen the test the night before and prepared answers for it. One student betrayed the trust of the professor, and took photos of it during office hours while his back was turned. Since then, autumn has left the University of Toronto, and winter has come, bringing frigid weather, piercing wind, snow and white walkers. People who were once human, but took Engineering Science and lost their souls. Now they roam campus, their pale eyes and decaying faces searching for a place to study. Never sleeping, never stopping, slowly shuffling through the snow. The time for the final has come; the professor has since forgiven us, saying that it will be easy and his teaching assistants had only taken an hour to solve it.  So we went through the problem sets, re-solving the problems, the past exams. Anything we didn’t know we asked Robbert, and he was able to explain it easily, teaching us and instilling us with confidence. Feeling ready for the exam, we gathered supplies; sharpening pencils, putting new batteries in our calculators, donning our jackets, and marched on the exam room. Robbert led the charge, his confidence helping keep the cold at bay.

The exam hall was great, with tables neatly aligned in long rows, white papers adorning their surface. White walls and fluorescent lights gleamed throughout the room, the hearth keeping it heated. The TAs welcomed us as we walked in, their warm smiles calming our nerves, relaxing us, making us feel at home. We dropped our bags at the front, leaving our notes and textbooks which had served as our only defence against the vicious problem sets, and walked bravely to our seats. The exam wasn’t bad, the first few questions easily solvable. The first sign that something was wrong came from the head TA next to Robbert: he had his hand inside his blazer and refused to move outside a 1-metre radius of Robbert’s desk. I heard someone whistling something that reminded me of revenge. I couldn’t quite place the tune, but I recognized it from somewhere.

I raised my hand and got the attention of Susan, the TA for my lab section. As she walked towards my desk, a small glimmer of metal flashed from up her sleeve, but by then it was too late. A knife appeared in her hand from within her purse, and its hilt came down on the side of my head knocking me to the ground. Blood flowed from my head, painting the ground red, and probably not helping me remember my Laplace transforms.

Before my head touched the ground, screams echoed throughout the hall as the head TA plunged a sharpened piece of rebar into the heart of Robbert. His torso fixed to the desk, the TA  reinforced Robbert’s body and provided enough tension to keep him in place forever. Some tried to run, but the doors had been locked to prevent escape. As people continued to crowd around the exit, the rest of the Teaching Assistants advanced slowly on them, keeping them in a corner. Together they drew their swords, once amongst the aisles and now laid about, cutting down GPA after GPA, student after student, bodies falling atop each other like leaves from trees. As the wounded lay screaming across the ground, the professor walked over them, slitting their throats to put them out of their misery, a slight grin upon his face. I tried to crawl after the prof, with everything that was left in me. My friends, for my friends. I grabbed some scissors and dragged myself towards the professor. I will end this, I thought.

As I raised my hand to strike, a hand grabbed my scalp. Then the steel was at my throat, its bite red and cold.

My GPA after that semester was a 1.5.