Not my story, just reposting as requested in the Looking for stories thread.
Her classmates filled the small room, packed tight against one another but leaving some space around her. All their faces glowed with anticipation; the whole graduation day had been filled with a spirit of camaraderie, the students all excited for each other. Even if they had never known one another over the last few years, every soul was happily congratulating his or her peers, cheering for them and egging them on as they stepped up to the mirror to complete their final test.
As she stood before the mirror, she looked down at the objects in her hands: a knife in one, the handle warmed by the hands of all the students who had used it before her; and in the other hand a small glass jar filled with an antiseptic solution. Below the mirror was a sort of lectern with a socket in the center just large enough to hold the jar - rather like a cupholder. The mirror itself loomed before her in that intimidating way in which only a mirror can, her reflection staring back with all her anxiety on full display. Behind her she could see the expectant faces of all her classmates; unbelievable as it may have been, every one of them had passed the test and was waiting on her to follow them.
She placed the jar into the socket and raised the knife to her face, taking a deep breath. For the last three years she had been preparing for this moment; she remembered all the classes, the new language she'd had to learn, the training she had undergone to use the new tools she was soon to start using. She was completely ready, and yet, now that the moment was here, it seemed so intimidating. She glanced at the knife; this close to her eye, its every detail was sharply visible. The blade had of course been cleaned after every use, but a single ominous drop of blood remained on the handle. The knife itself curved gracefully both parallel to and perpendicular to its edge, its form following its very specific function. The edge was immaculate, not a single tiny kink, notch, or dull spot having been allowed to exist on it.
With the glowing faces of all her peers clustered around her into a solid wall of anticipation, she inched the knife blade closer to her face. Her heart was racing and time seemed to crawl like the slowest of snails, but eventually she felt the cold metal prick her skin. Now was the moment of truth - she had to execute her task perfectly. She pressed the point deeper into her flesh, the smooth, sharp edge slicing easily through it. She could feel sensations in places she had never felt anything before - the sharpness and coldness of the blade even as it penetrated deep inside her head. She rotated it in the well-practiced circular motion she all her classmates had been taught. When it completed a full circle, she felt her eyeball tip ever so slightly out of its place, touching her hand gently as if to kiss her farewell. She put the knife in her other hand and then grasped the eyeball - this part she knew was best done quickly, before the dryness of her hand made it too painful. Thus, in a swift motion, she plucked it away from her face and dropped it into the jar.
The pain was almost unbearable, but, she told herself, if everyone else had been able to take it, so could she. Her friends' cheers bolstering her, and her mind resolute, she brought the knife back up to her face again. Through her remaining eye she could see that it was now covered in blood, from the tip all the way down the handle to where it was dripping down the length of her arm. The fluid was warm and tickled slightly. She again pressed the point into her skin - it was easier the second time, the adrenaline rush making her motions swifter and less hesitant. She repeated the circular motion, and again her eyeball tipped out onto her hand, the world seeming to whirl around her as it did so. For the second and last time, she held it between her fingers, and then yanked it out and dropped it into the jar. The moment she did, the lights in the room went out - well, they hadn't really gone out, had they? As she thought about it amid the congratulatory cheers of her classmates, she started to feel both proud and incredibly turned on at the reality of the situation. She could scarcely believe she had done it! She had passed the test and graduated! All those years of lessons and practice were finally complete, and soon she would receive her very own cane and glass eyes.
She felt a hand take hold of hers, that of the assistant teacher who had been assigned to lead her to the clean-up room. There, her face was wiped clean of blood, and she was given bandages over her newly-vacated eye sockets. Then she was led back out to rejoin the other students. They cheerfully received her, patting her on the back and congratulating her. The last of the students finally ready, the crowd bustled out into the auditorium to be awarded their diplomas and canes. The diplomas were written in Braille, but as for the canes… Every year a new color was chosen, and the students graduating that year wouldn't get to see them before the ceremony. Unless someone told them, they would never know what color their canes were.
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