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Day 20 of The National Service Journal is a day of regret in Aimée's perspective. It is on this day that the entire drama begins to unravel in Camp Point-Neuf.

StoryEdit

Cursed be the day of my selection!Edit

I wish I had never been selected at all!

Alix has been made Head Girl, and someone else from Charlie would have to take her place. Dyane, the girl I chose the other day, has been made company commander in my place, and now I’m nowhere. The appointment ceremony has taken place, with everyone seated in the hall, and with Major Zulkahar placing the rank badges on the epaulettes of the chosen ones. Well, Dolores has got what she wanted. I wanted responsibility, and before I could even do anything, it was denied me. Well, who cares about my phony life anyway...? I was only a phony company commander for the few days that I was in office. I know that throughout the election, Sakina and a few others were looking at me, hoping that I wouldn’t cry. I kept my composure throughout the election ceremony.

But at the very moment we were dismissed and allowed to have our break, I ran to the quarters, grabbed my commander’s uniform and looked for any one of the Bravo trainers. I finally saw Senior Aaron seated at the front-most table of the dining hall. I couldn’t contain myself anymore. I ran towards him, with tears in my eyes, and flung the uniform onto the table.

“Some hope for the company I am!” I yelled. “All I ever hoped for was a responsibility; all I ever hoped for was to undertake a task to lead the company and make them win, and this is the thanks I get!”

He was speechless for a few moments. But after some time he said,

“I thought they put you through as Head Girl?”

Oh for the love of God and neighbour, how could he be such a tube light?

“Only for two days! And none of this ever meant anything to me! I’m fed up of this place. I’m stuck with a bunch of ingrates here, and there are just as many ingrates in Lumine! There’s never a place for me!” I sobbed.
“Now, now… Dry those tears. You can’t remain in the hall looking like that.”
“How the hell do you expect me to calm down already? I TRUSTED YOU!”
“Look, sometimes we have dreams for the people around us but for some reason or other, they’re broken. I know how demotion is like, and I know you’ve done nothing to deserve it. I’m not going to ask you to trust me, because, as you said, I can’t be trusted. I’m going to urge you to trust in the Lord. Your moment of glory will come.”
“I doubt I can ever be of use to the company in my present position. Just look at me. I’m so weak. You’d have probably seen the physical training the other day. I’m the weakest in the company. I’d be nothing but a hindrance to my company mates. I doubt my talents can ever be put to use. My company mates used to look at me with esteem; now I’m nobody.”

By then much of the crowd had dispersed. I felt more at ease, but I didn’t know how people would look at me throughout this stint. Senior Aaron spoke again,

“Don’t let people get the upper hand. I know you see yourself as weak, but I see you as a strong person. That weakness of yours will prove to be your very own strength.”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“You’ll see when the time comes. Now, wipe those tears and run along. I bet your friends are waiting for you.”
“And about that uniform… you can give it to Dyane. I don’t deserve to wear it.”
“Well… if you must, I’ll give it to her. But you looked just fine with it.”
“Please, don’t get me started.”
“Alright.”

I went to the back of the dining hall. There was a small basin and a mirror. I gave my face a good wash and looked at myself. When I was positive that there were no tear stains on my face, I ran to the quarters. I first stopped to say hi to Leah and Juliette, who were outside drying their clothes, and then I returned to 5A with a heavy heart.

I have to voice this outEdit

Something doesn’t feel quite right. I don’t know; I have a funny feeling in my heart.
When we were dismissed, I spent time in the Delta quarters with Tatienne and her bunch of friends. I couldn’t bring myself to voice my uneasiness, so I tried laughing it off as I recalled the old jokes that people used to tell me.

The lights were turned off at 11:00 sharp, and I couldn’t sleep. Not yet. I looked at the room outside ours – Senior Théophile’s room, the outside of which was illuminated by a glaring fluorescent light. All I could hear were the whirring of fans and the sound of crickets. I tried to lie down and close my eyes, but to no avail. I looked at Sybil, Sakina, Melilla and Dyane. They were all fast asleep. Everything seemed calm. My eyes strayed to the ceiling.

From the corner of my eye I could see a tiny white light, and then, that light faded. I initially thought that the night patrollers were observing us, but I soon realised that Dolores was missing from her bed. I assumed that she went to take a pit stop, so I closed my eyes and went to bed.

It was only when Sybil woke me up, telling me that she needed to go to the loo, that I realised that something was amiss. I checked the clock. It was 3-something in the morning, and Dolores was still missing. For some reason, her absence sent a chill down my spine. I presumed that the night patrollers would have already taken note of this by now, so we hurried to the toilet, and went straight back to bed.

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