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Testing Testing

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Tim was never the sort to dub tests as monstrous tasks designed to instil fear in the hearts of students. Rather, he fancied them as mysterious riddles one needed to solve. In his unusually sunny school tucked away in the lane of Lorley street, the day of ‘The Big Test’ was under dawn’s veil.

Tim sat on the edge of his bed, his bright green eyes twinkling with anticipation and a smudge of apprehension. His father’s soft snores served as a groggy backdrop to Tim’s morning lullaby, consisting of nervous whispers and apprehensive flips through the crisp pages of his textbooks.

As the Sun finally peeked through the ruffled curtains, painting his room in hues of warm amber and hopeful yellow, Tim headed towards school with a boundless spark of untamed determination swimming in his heart.

Upon arriving, his classmates stretched out in a spectrum of emotions. Some wore their nervousness like well-tailored suits, jittering and wringing their hands, reminiscent of the crumpled paper swept by the wind in the school courtyard. Others wore masks of perfect ambivalence, hiding any trace of turmoil under their skin.

In the far corner, under the watchful eyes of a portrait of the school’s long-dead founder, his best friend- wise beyond her tender years – Mabel, was hunched over scribbled notes. Mabel’s intelligence was akin to that of Professor Rosabel’s star pupil Margaret Hoodle, they would become legendary figures at their elementary school.

“You look like you’re off to slay a dragon, not to take a test,” Mabel observed, her ever-present wry smile in place.

Tim groaned, “Mabel, this is almost as difficult! The Big Test, remember?”

Mabel rolled her eyes, her smile never faltering, “Tim, it’s just a test. Remember, we’ve solved mysteries tougher than this.”

Their teacher, Professor Rosabel – a jolly figure with a twinkling gaze that could frighten even the bravest – strutted into the classroom. It was her firm belief that every test was, indeed, a mystery waiting to be unraveled.

Summoning the enthralling echo of her sonorous voice that seemed to hum with encouragement, she announced, “Faces up, young scholars! The joy of testing your knowledge is at our doorway. Embrace the mystery, view it as an adventure, not a challenge.”

Tim looked at his pristine white test paper, as intimidating as any dragon could ever be. It was a yawning maze, a Pandora’s box, a shapeless blur of black ink and formidable words. But then, something stirred within him, a pang of familiarity. He picked up his pencil, and it was no longer just a pencil, but a knight’s sword ready for the battle.

Questions unravelled themselves under Tim’s sharp gaze, as he swiftly steered through problems, filled blanks, and answered queries with newfound vigour. Each test paper was a different world, and Tim was the explorer.

Halfway through the paper, a question stopped Tim’s racing pencil. It featured a pumpkin growing contest in a faraway town that reminded him of an adventurous summer spent solving the Mystery of Giant Pumpkins in Aunt Elsie’s backyard with Mabel.

He smirked, remembering Mabel’s swear-by advice, “When we can’t figure out a mystery, we create our own solution.”

In that very second, the sunbeam scattered across the room, the ticking clock, the test paper, they all became a part of Tim’s solution. An air of optimism enveloped him, and his pencil resumed its dance, each stroke a step closer to solving one more mystery.

With a confounding mix of relief, satisfaction, and lingering apprehension, he handed over his test paper, earning a hopeful nod from Professor Rosabel. His classmates followed suit, their faces brightening with the optimistic glow of accomplishment.

Regardless of the result, Tim knew he had embarked on a thrilling adventure today. The worries of the test were now folded away like an old map after an expedition. And as he exited the school looking forward to another day and another mystery, he realized he was not just a student after all, he was a true adventurer.

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