Test-Taking Time

What happens when time suddenly stops??

Zoe Ellis, Staff Writer

At the very front of the classroom, the teacher was writing out what was to be included on the scantron.

“The constitution test is a pass or fail test- you will have Friday to retake if you don’t pass the first time. If you don’t pass the second time, you are required to take the class again.”

The blonde in the second row sighed. “Jeez…this is gonna be rough.”

He grimaced, not knowing what to do. He studied, yes, but he was still unsure of how well he’d do. And the daunting warning of failure seemed to hang over his head like a guillotine’s blade. He gulped, nervous. Wish I didn’t have to take this test. I doubt forty minutes is enough time to save this one. He looked at the clock, and was focused on that instead of his teacher’s voice. He let the teacher ramble on in the background.

Suddenly, the clock stopped. He waited for it to move, but it didn’t. He shrugged, thinking the faulty wiring finally caught up with it, and turned to ask his knowledgeable friend a question when he saw his friend staring directly at the teacher, unmoving.

“Hey, Andrew,” he whispered. No response. “Andrew!” he tried again. Still nothing. “Andrew, come on! I need to know what the ‘continuous body’ is!”

He shook him, or tried to shake him, but Andrew was frozen. He wasn’t frozen solid — no way could that happen in such a warm classroom — but he was certainly stuck. “Andie, come on. This isn’t funny.” He tried to whisper, but his patience was wearing thin.

Andrew stood still, unmoving, and the blonde sighed. “Jessie to the rescue, I guess.” Jessie raised his hand, waiting for the teacher to turn around. “Mr. Atkins?” he asked quietly at first. He hadn’t realized how silent the room was until that moment. Nothing was happening, and Jessie got impatient. “Ugh, this is ridiculous!”

He stood, and nothing happened. He looked around, and then at the clock. The hands had stopped their ticking, and it was extremely unnerving. He didn’t realize how awful it was until then, and started to walk around waiting for someone to respond to anything he was doing. He tapped Mr. Atkins’ shoulder, but nothing happened. He didn’t respond whatsoever. Jessie had no idea what to do, and he didn’t plan on waiting around if he could just wander as the clock stayed frozen. He slowly left, eyeing everyone around him as he did, just to make sure that there wasn’t anyone looking at him funny as he left, and ran out the door. He couldn’t interact with people, so what about machines?

He nearly jumped at the cool steel fountain, and pressed the button. Nothing happened. “Guess machinery doesn’t bypass this, huh?”

He ignored the sudden feeling of misplacement in his chest, and looked at the clock. It was still frozen. The absence of the hands’ movement was somewhat saddening, as it meant that class was still going even if time had stilled.

He started to walk after being unable to use the fountain, and looked into the office. They were frozen, too, but it didn’t seem as if they were moving much anyways. He shrugged past them, into the hallway leading to one of the gym’s entrances. He peered inside, seeing then in the midst of a dodgeball game. He suddenly thought of something, and opened the doors. Dodgeballs were suspended in the air, stuck in time along with the rest of the gym’s players. He started to push things around, leaving people alone, pushing past the temptation to move people around to see what would happen.

He was nearly through the gym when something hit him, a stray dodgeball, which was going extremely fast to have hit him when time was frozen. He mulled it over, only for seconds, before seeing the rest of the gym. Everything was starting to move. It wasn’t fast at first, but …

The longer he waited, the faster it went. He fumbled for the door, pushing it open with clumsy strength, and started to rush back to the classroom as the clocks in the hallways started to move. Jessie’s heart pounded away at the beat of the clocks, and he worried that class would start and he’d have to explain somehow that he just appeared in class although time hadn’t passed in his absence.

He rushed past the few people passing in the hallway, swearing as a teacher looked at him from the corner of his eye, but flew past them without a care in the world. He’d have to deal with the consequences of ‘time medling’ later.

Mr. Atkins put his foot down, turning towards the class. “Any last minute questions?” he scanned the room, looking for any raised hands. When he saw none, he nodded. “Good. I will begin passing out scantrons and test packets — this means no more talking. Good luck.” He strode to his desk, picked up the two stacks of testing supplies, and started to pass everything out.

Jessie sighed quietly to himself, looking at the clock. So much for having time on my hands.