‘Moments Lost In Time’ by Jack Tromans, age 15, Year 10, Fallibroome Academy

The air was thick with the scent of pencil shavings and the palpable tension of a hundred minds in a sprint against time. In precise grids, rows of identical wooden desks stretched out, each married to a single chair. Tom locked eyes with the seemingly sisyphean task glaring back into the deep dark pools of his pupils.

45 minutes.

Suddenly, his mouth was parched. He desperately reached for the translucent cylinder of water on the corner of his desk. A monotonous metronome clicked, and clicked, and clicked. As the seconds ticked away, time became an elusive shadow slipping away from Tom’s grasp. A fog of nothingness swept over the vast abyss of his mind.

‘What am I going to do,’ An exasperated Tom conceived, as a malevolent drop of sweat was absorbed by the blank sheet before him.

30 minutes.

Rhythmically, the clank of leather shoes on a wooden surface got closer, and closer, and closer. A gargantuan shadow loomed like a panther over him, trapping him in its dark, watchful presence. As she moved closer, Tom’s pulse matched the escalating volume of her steps, each sound driving a fresh surge of adrenaline through his veins, until the anticipation became almost unbearable.

15 minutes.

Each tick tock of the clock began to merge into one. Frantically, he glanced back at his blank paper, the whiteness mocking him with every subtle glance he took. Reluctantly, he picked up his pen in a futile attempt to salvage the dying minutes of his exam, only to become indignant and scribble out his answer.

1 minute.

Finally, Tom’s mind sputtered like an engine on the brink of ignition. His hand furiously raced across the page, as the invigilator’s distant voice cut through the air and slashed his tires.

‘Time is up, can you all please put your pens down’