Jessica Liu

Twenty Thirty Two 

She was trapped. 

She was cursed with insanity, a horror movie she couldn’t stop. 

Desperately looking for any sign of weakness in the glass walls that swallowed her. 

She failed. 

The sensors took control of her mind again as its pulsating beeping sounds resonated in the canal of her ears. She clenched her jaw tightly in concentration as she felt her brain swell with the incoming flood of knowledge. It left her temples aching with a foreign pain that expended all the energy she had left. 


That’s what they called it. A place to cleanse of filth and clear up neural space for important information. Weekly, they would come to get rid of any straying thoughts in her head and replace them with important information. 

She watched as her perspiration fogged the glass cubicle. From ceiling to floor, thick sheets of amorphous glass separated everyone. The room was an unsettling sterile white. The kind stings your eyes like shards of ice. She sighed into her respirator and it shook and gurgled from the impact of the exhale. She squinted her eyes once again to focus on the blaring blue screen in front of her. Her eyes were so tired, the text looked like indiscernible alphagetti. 

All she felt was suffocation that ate her from inside out; a need so strong to breathe on her own, think on her own, live on her own. 

She was fighting herself. Her mind. 

Conveyor Day came around. The glass door panel violently shook and collapsed onto the floor. The conveyor belt she had been sitting on for 18 years began to shift. It moved with effort, clearly rusted after almost two decades of hibernation. Panic shot up and clawed at her throat like an allergy reaction.

What if they don’t want me.

18 years of torture all wasted. She stood up tall like she was taught, she looked straight ahead into the dark metal tunnel. All she could focus on was the eerie silence that encapsulated her. The next second, she felt a burning sensation on her head. 

A branding iron that stamped her value to investors: 4.0

The conveyor belt came to a painstakingly slow halt. Impatiently yet hesitantly she looked up at the projected message on the white screen in front of her. She dug her fingernails into her palm in anxiety. 

Congratulations on your acceptance. The world of possibilities awaits you. 

About the Author: Jessica Liu is a high school student from Toronto, Canada who enjoys spending afternoons getting lost in a good book. English is her third language, however, it does not prevent her from conveying her thoughts through writing. She has won several awards for her abstract Japanese art and spoken word poems. Her piece is a futuristic approach to the social construct of education and how it hinders creative growth.