The Test

I don’t want to go in. There are monsters in there, waiting for fresh blood. Monsters who can finish everything within minutes if they detect any trace of weakness.

My mentor’s words  ring in my ears.

“Go in and face them. Stand amidst them and look them right in the eye. Keep them silent. If you last for 30 minutes without breaking down, you pass.” 

Its all right for him to say that; he’s being doing it for 25 years. That’s more than the total time I’ve spent on Earth. I’m fresh out of training. And these monsters can smell fresh blood, they can see the fear in your eyes. 28 of them, if I go by the identification label pasted on the door. The door looks sturdy. I am glad of that because it is the only thing standing between me and the monsters. There is a small glass square embedded in the door from which you can peep in if you want to. I don’t want to. I would rather be anywhere but here. But I have no choice. This is my last viable option for earning a decent income.

I take a deep breath, turn the doorknob, and walk in. Looking down at the hostile faces, I say firmly:

“Good morning, children.”


Published by Leena T Pandey

I have been reading voraciously since the age of five when I first discovered the joys of reading. I would lap up anything in print. Unrolling an emptied newspaper cone with one hand, stuffing roasted peanuts in my mouth with the other, all the while devouring the printed content on the cone with my eyes, was one of my first experiences in hedonistic pleasure. In fact, sometimes I feel that I am on an adventurous journey through the secret dreamworld of other people's imaginations, interspersed with occasional visits to my own life to attend events like graduation, first job, marriage, and so on. As a true-blue reader, I think I am uniquely qualified to comment on and critique other people's works of labour. I can tell exactly what puts the average reader to sleep, what sets their pulse racing, and what has them salivating for more. Write to me at

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