Vivere, Scrivere, Morire – An Autobiography

A single, clear Voice was heard over the excited chatter: “You may begin.”

We picked up our tools, and began our hour-long massacre. With every sweep of my weapon, I carved vast canyons in the once-living ground. With every blow, I slaughtered, crushed and mutilated the insignificant organisms that made up the Kingdom Monera. I glanced up at my peers; they too, with their every strike, butchered the helpless Prokaryotes. One of them was lifting a container to her blood-red lips, guzzling the water-dwelling Protists of the Protista Kingdom.

I was enjoying this immensely; however, some of my colleagues, evidently, were not. Every stroke was measured, every stroke was hesitant. It was clear that they were not as efficient as I was; their armaments were vastly inferior to my own. My weapon was made of metal, crafted in the best forges in the world, and it left a trail of blue destruction upon whatever surface it touched. Their ‘weapon’ was merely wood, and only left a thin layer of carbon which was effective in smothering the Monerans but was easily removed using an English invention. I watched in glee as the Voice snatched them out of their hands shouting, “Why are you using these? You’re much too old to be using them!” And so, the black-and-blue grooves of devastation as large as the trenches of the German Atlantic Wall continued their long, torturous slaughter.

The Voice, above the voices of the thousands, no, millions, no, billions of tortured, maimed beings, cried out, “5 minutes”. The atmosphere of the room visibly thickened and my friends’ swipes and blows were rapidly becoming faster and faster, until tens of billions of lives were irreparably disfigured. I smiled at the thought. Having destroyed enough powerless Monerans, I put down my weapon of mass destruction, inadvertently smashing another million –odd Prokaryotes.  I gave my work to the Voice, so that it could further annihilate the Kingdom with its own fiery-red implement. I left the fortress of knowledge with a glowing grin on my face.

But it wasn’t always like this. I remember one day, the very first day, I entered the building with a heavy heart. The weather was overcast and gloomy, and the air, humid and disgusting. I sat on the too-hard chair and felt every bump, groove and irregularity on its seat and back. There was a particularly bad crook in the backrest, jutting out from the plastic chair into my back, almost puncturing my skin. I gazed around the room, and saw the dull, green carpet. I saw the faded, cracked ceilings. I saw the jaded, moth-bitten curtains. I waited, in a cold sweat, for the Voice to start. It was perhaps the most feared, but also the most revered (and the most weird), voice in the entire school.

It said “Begin!”, so I did. While I was hesitantly scratching at the surface, wincing at every cry for mercy, the Voice was busily snatching pencils out of the students’ hands, replacing them with the more sophisticated pen. Barely 10 minutes after I started, my arms grew weak, my wrists cramped up and I grew faint. I was new, so my work was disorganised. My eyes refused to look at the mess I had made. I glanced at my friend’s work. Hers was so beautiful! It was neat and every delicate stroke was planned with perfection. She did not winge at her failing strength, nor did she falter when the screams of the dying reached her ear. If her works were the straight streets of Auschwitz, then my work was the spindly, tangled lump of barbed wire that surrounded it. The time was soon up, and I was overcome with what I had done.

I looked at the Voice, and in desperation, wailed, “Why did they have to die?”

The Voice, mockingly, replied, “Because you are being assessed on it!” No one cared about them.

In anguish, I yelled, “Will you make me do this again?”

The Voice, cruelly, replied, “Oh, yes, many more times. And you WILL like it! I shall make you like it!” Cackling, it departed.

And, eventually, I did.

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