The Oral Examination Game

Lilla Kassai

“Welcome, students, to the Oral Examination Game,” said a female voice in the loudspeaker. “You will need to get out of this labyrinth. At the end of every segment you go through, you will have to answer a question shortly. If a student doesn’t know the answer, the student gets disqualified.”

After the announcement, the loudspeaker started to play the Blue Danube Waltz as the 33 students stood in a circle, each facing a door, an entrance towards the labyrinth. After a gunshot, every door opened, and each student stepped into the labyrinth.

As the students walked into the endless corridor, the lights grew dim. As they approached the first corner, the lighting instantly became so bright that they had to hold their hands before their eyes. When they reached the end of the corridor, each of them found themselves face to face with a tall, hooded figure.

“When did the Battle of Mohács take place?” asked the man calmly.

“Ts … I have no clue.”  Student Number 6 started laughing nervously.

“Wrong answer,” the hooded man said, then pulled out a gun.

“Man, are you kidding me? ” Number 6 started to shiver. He knew that this wasn’t a joke anymore. He turned and started to run towards the entrance, when suddenly he heard a gunshot and began to feel an immense pain in his back throughout his chest. Then he fell on the floor and never got up again.

“How do you define (a+b)²? ” another hooded man asked Number 32. She was about to anwer, when she heard a gunshot, and not much later, another one.

“Student Number 6 and Student Number 8 couldn’t answer the question. They are now disqualified. According to the rules, if a student can’t answer a question, this student gets disqualified,” the toneless wobbly voice professed.

Then chaos broke out:

“Wait, what is happening here?” Number 9 and Number 11 started to panic, but tried to remain as tranquil as possible.

“Why did we hear gunshots?” Number 1, Number 3 and Number 4 cross-questioned the hooded man in front of them.

“I am the only one asking questions here,” snapped the disturbing figure in a throaty voice “So how do you define (a+b)²?

“Someone’s been shot?”

“What is happening with the others?”

“Is everyone okay?”

Interrogations started to multiply exponentially. Slowly, everyone started to yell and demand answers. The chaos grew like dark clouds in the sky before a summer rain. And then, as sudden roaring thunder, guns were fired,and bodies collapsed.

“Student Number 12, Number 1, Number 2 , Number 4 , Number 5, Number 9 , Number 11 and Number 16 couldn’t answer the question and got disqualified. If a student can’t answer a question, they get disqualified,” announced the female speaker, whose voice seemed just like a regular announcer’s in an aeroport, but now it rang like a toneless demonic chant.

“Who was the musician who composed the Ode to Joy?” creaked the hooded man.

Many eyes almost toppled out of their sockets. A lot of students knew that they were going to get shot. The only thing they could find in their minds was a blank sheet of paper.

“Uhmm…Mozart?” asked Number 18. And the hooded man took his shot among eight similar looking disturbing figures at the expense of Number 18 and many more students.

“It was Beethoven,” answered Number 13 in a cold voice, with which she tried to hide how scared she was.

“Correct answer,” mumbled the hooded man, letting Number 13 continue her way towards the exit. There were only two questions left. Whoever answered those correctly, passed the test and survived.

“By which quantity should we divide the voltage to get the current?” the next question echoed.

“By the Resistance,” replied the students like a choir.

“Correct,” nodded the scary man, and let them go.

As the last question and the chance of getting out of this hell grew bigger and bigger, big rocks fell off of everyone’s heart.

“I will get out of here.”

“I’m not gonna die!”

The last question was announced to all.

“What does Deus ex machina mean in an epoch?”

Silence. Gunshots. Five collapsed bodies. The last ones standing were forcing themselves to stay calm and cool-headed.

 “It means: Godly intercession,” said a student in a toneless voice, one step away from breaking down crying.

“Correct,” said the hooded man. “You passed the Exam. You are free to leave.”

The remaining students sprinted out as fast as they could. At the end of this straight labyrinth they met in a circle-shaped room again. Before they could actually realise who had survived or not, the demonic female voice started to speak again.

“Fifteen students have been disqualified. Congratulations to the winners”.

As her announcement ended, the only thing that could be heard was the hysterical crying breakdown, almost as loud as the Blue Danube Waltz coming from the radio.