Chosen 3/5

Reading duration: short

Seeing Axel so nervous tends to make me nervous too. I don’t understand why though. Why should I share the suffering of others without a real motivation?
What a nuisance …
I jump on his bed and see what I can do to cheer him up. I rub on his legs first, then start meowing and licking his hands. It may seem like a useless process to inexperienced eyes, but doing so should lower his stress level.
<<Toffo, you are a pain in the ass.>> he tells me after a while.
I jump on his chest and blow right in front of his face, just to let him know that a little gratitude would be appreciated.
<<What is it? What do you want?>> he replies pulling himself up slightly <<Are you hungry?>> I blow again <<What an ugly obese cat, you ate two minutes ago!>>
If only I could talk … I would tell him so many things …
I lie down on his chest to make him know that I don’t want to eat, and he finally understands my intentions and starts stroking my head; even this may seem like a useless process, but in reality even his caresses lower the stress. The more he caresses me the more he relaxes.
<<Toffo … >> he then says with a thoughtful tone while he goes back to look at the ceiling <<what will you do without me, eh? If I ever leave, who are you gonna annoy? House will always be empty, my parents work.>>
I meow, but not to try to communicate something in particular, I do it only to make him understand that I am listening to him, so as to push him to continue talking and share his thoughts with me. He’s been doing it more and more lately.
<<I may not return, you know? If I pass the exam as Sofia did, I will go to the study center. And I will have to stay there for five years … if all goes well.>> he continues to speak with a thoughtful tone.
From what I understand he is not afraid to go there anymore. The idea actually excites him, and this news has also made him slightly more “famous”. He had about 10k followers on his social profile, but since he said he was invited to a DSC they have tripled. All of this makes him feel quite special.
What he is afraid of is the examination though. His structuring is secret, and the secret is kept too well. Theoretically those who take the exam sign a secrecy contract, where they promise not to talk about it with anyone … the problem is that tens of thousands of people have taken this exam all over the world and it is very strange that none of them have blurted anything, not even under payment.
Really weird. How do you prevent information from leaking out in an age like the one of the internet and smartphones?
Axel does not understand, and this is making him very nervous. But what made him much more thoughtful and suspicious than normal was the examination of his cousin.
It happened a few days ago, and ever since she got back… she’s weird. The first thing he noticed is the almost astonished way she looks at things, as if she were seeing them for the first time, but the thing that struck him the most is the fact that she too is keeping the secret.
No matter the pressures Axel puts her on, she remains silent. And this is very strange, because Sofia is not a “reliable” girl. She makes promises left and right she can, and breaks them whenever she can. Telling her a secret is like disclosing it to the press.
Yet this time she isn’t speaking. If the exam has the power to reduce a girl like Sofia into that state, who knows what it could do to Axel. This is why he is afraid.
<<Axel! >> calls the mother from the other room.
<<Yes?>> the boy answers.
<<Are you ready?>>
<<There are still five hours to go!>>
After a while the door of the room opens and the mother enters only to cast a disconcerted look at her son <<Are you still sleeping?>>
<<I’m not sleeping, I’m just>>
<<It doesn’t matter, get ready! This is an important thing! Come on, get up, review, study, do something! Don’t stand there like a corpse!>>
<<Come on, come on, come on! The more you stay still the worse it is. Get up and do something. You need to move to make your brain into work!>>
He snorts and jumps out of bed.
<<Okay … let’s do something then.>>
Today is the day of his examination.
Today he will finally understand what is so special and secret about it.