TITLE: White Lilac
GENRE:Young Adult Science Fiction
If I do this I will only have a week left to live. I stand near the edge of the practice aquarium unable to step forward. My heart pounds in my chest at the gray water and I think I might hyperventilate again.
“Caryn, you need to focus,” Seventh Official Anderson says from somewhere behind me. “Are you listening?”
I swallow and nod, but I can’t take my eyes off the water. He steps between me and the aquarium and my focus readjusts to his dark blue suit and buttoned shirt. His tie is missing, like usual, probably stuffed in his pocket and his brown hair has been brushed through with his fingers one too many times so it sticks out beyond the dress code allowance.
“Listen,” he says. “Both May and Janissa want this, so if I look at the scoreboard and your scores are below theirs I will understand. The other officials may not, but I will. This is your life and I am not going to tell you what to do with it. But you are faster, stronger and more agile.”
“And I’m older,” I say.
“You are older, which is why we hold the Tournament, so the others have a chance and you have an honorable excuse to forfeit. Who knows maybe they could beat you, but you need to remember you’re not responsible for what happens to them.”
He has said this a thousand times and yet I still feel it is my duty to protect them, even from themselves.