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Rated: 13+ · Book · Young Adult · #2255848
A girl with an amazing intellect moves to a new school. But can she handle the change?
Seven teen year old Graybourn is about to get ready for another school year in Maple Valley Washington. However, that all changes when she gets a letter asking her to join a school for intelligently gifted students called Silver Maple Academy. Dara is reluctant to go at first, since the change from a big city to a small town like Silver Hill, wasn't really appealing to her. In the end, Dara agrees to go and, by the time the school year starts, she's in her new school. At first, things are normal. Dara makes some friends, and she's doing well in her classes. However, when one friend turns into her enemy, and Dara finds a book that indicates the school may have been founded on a cult, everything goes upside-down. Can Dara doge being expelled from the Academy before the end of the year? And can she figure out what's really going on at the school?
August 27, 2021 at 4:57pm
August 27, 2021 at 4:57pm
I awoke to the sound of my phone beeping loudly. I sat up in bed and rubbed my eyes. I looked at the black walls with unrecognition as I didn’t remember where I was.
“You’d better get ready soon if you want to be on time for testing.”
I turned my head to the left to see my roommate Annika already out of bed and picking out her clothes. Then it all flooded back to me. The tour, Professor Walker, Victor…
“Come on abeamus! Let’s go!” Annika said as she walked out the door.
“Coming!” I called hopping out of bed and grabbing the clothes I had already picked out the night before. I hurried after Annika down the hall. I forgot to put my slippers on, so my feet felt cold against the smooth granite floor. I shoved past a few girls to get to the last available shower in the bathroom.
“Hey!” Said someone right behind me. I turned around to see a short girl with strait magenta hair, and squinty brown eyes. “That’s my shower, what do you think you’re doing?”
I rolled my eyes. “Look, it is my first day, and I would rather not be late. So, unless you want to share the shower with me, I suggest you wait.”
The girl crossed her arms but didn’t say anything.
I quickly showered and got dressed, although the shower was faster than the dressing. I had never worn a uniform before, and I had a hard time navigating the layers. The shirt sleeves had to buttoned at the elbows which was fun. The leggings kept sticking to my damp body, and the tie took me a good five minute to figure out. Once I was finally finished, I quickly put my hair up in a ponytail, letting one lock dangle free in front of my face.
“Not bad for your first try,” Annika said as she was standing out side of the bathroom doorway.
“Thanks,” I said. “So, I’ll see you later then?”
She nodded. “Yup, I hope you do well.”
As I made my way to the auditorium, I heard someone call out to me.
“Hey, wait up!” I turned around to see a dark haired boy, slow to a halt in front of me.
“Can I help you?” I asked raising an eyebrow.
“You’re going to the auditorium, right?” The boy asked
“Why yes, how did you—”
“So, am I. Would you mind if I walked with you? I would feel less awkward here if I got to know someone.”
I was about to say no, but one look at his pleading soft brown eyes changed my mind. “Sure,” I said smiling sweetly.
There was a moment of silence, when the boy said, “Forgive me, I haven’t even introduced myself. I’m Will.”
“Dara,” I said curtly. As we both fell silent again, I looked Will over. He was a few inches taller than me, with thick, messy dark brown hair and thick eyebrows. His skin was just a bit lighter than Annika’s and he had the same sturdy build as her. His attire was the same as mine, except the boots were replaced with sneakers and the leggings replaced with dress slacks and a belt. “So, how did you know I was headed to the auditorium?” I asked.
“You’re lack blazer,” He replied. You only get one once you’ve completed your first Function Evaluation Test.” Once we were right outside the auditorium, Will asked, “You think you’re ready?”
I shrugged. “I don’t know, are you?”
Will looked at me curiously. “What?” I asked giggling.
“The test doesn’t’ scare you?” Will asked raising an eyebrow.
I shrugged. “Not really. It’s just a test like any other.”
“Not really. This test will basically determine your whole experience at this school.” Will said frowning.
I smirked. “You know you’re the second person to say that to me.” I patted his shoulder. “Just relax. I’m sure the both of us will do great.”
Will nodded and smiled. “Thanks, I hope you’re right.”
We walked into an auditorium that reminded me of the one’s that the ancient Greeks used. The place was dark, and the only light was coming from the stage that the dozens of seats encompassed.
“Welcome my new students!” Said an enthusiastic voice coming from the stage. It was Headmaster Walker.
Will and I looked at Headmaster Walker, surprised he was the one up on the stage.
“Please sit in this section of seats here,” Headmaster Walker said as he guided us like a Shepard would do with his sheep. Once we were seated, Headmaster Walker continued. “Right, as some of you know, I am Headmaster Walker. Today you will be taking your Function Examination Test, also known as F.E.T.”
“That sounds like fat!” Yelled a boy behind me. I glanced back to see a largely built boy with red and black hair the same as Annika. That must be Annika’s brother, I thought.
Headmaster Walker slightly scowled. “Yes well, It’s F.E.T. not F.A.T.”
I raised my hand. “Headmaster, can we start with the testing now?”
Headmaster Walker looked at me and smiled. “Of course. I never like to keep eager students from their studies.”
Headmaster Walker stepped to the side, revealing the magnificent computer I had seen a week before. “Alright, may we have Alex Wicker step up here first?” the Headmaster asked looking at a clipboard.
Alex, a boy with blond hair and only a few seats away from me, slowly stood up. His hands were shaking, and his legs wobbled a little as he step up on stage. I saw Headmaster Walker whisper something in Alex’s ear then pat him on the back before walking away. Alex stood there motionless for about a minute. “Come on hurry up Wicker!” Cody yelled from behind me.
I scowled and turned around in my seat. “Shut your mouth!” I hissed at him.
Cody scoffed. “And what’s your problem?”
I just shook my head and turned back around in my seat to see Alex place his feet into two foot shaped clamps in front of the large computer. A second later, two arched metal walls closed over Alex and the computer making a thud.
All the students gasped, and Headmaster Walker chuckled. “Don’t worry kids, everything’s fine.”
For about five minutes we sat in complete silence. No one dared to move a muscle, as they didn’t know what would happen. Finally, the outer shell of the computer popped open and Alex stepped away, a little shaken but happy looking. Alex handed two of something that was strapped around his writs then went to sit back down.
“What was it like?” Will asked him as Headmaster Walker called upon the next person.
Alex scratched the back of his head. “Not too bad. Everything was a little fast passed, but I think over all I did well.”
This happened a few more times before I was called. A brunet girl named Barbra Willis was ok after her test; she was actually super happy and smiling. Cody on the other hand was terrified once he was don. It was actually kind of sad to see someone that big so scared of something that wasn’t even real. Another boy with black hair and dark skin named Deric Albic did alright. He had about the same reaction as Alex did, which wiped any fear out of my mind since, from what I could gather, Deric seemed to have a temperament close to mine.
“Alright, Dara Graybourn you’re up next,” Headmaster Walker said smiling at me.
I walked slowly up to the computer. “You know take as long as you need to calm your nerves before entering, the computer measures stress levels, so I wouldn’t want you to get an improper score,” Headmaster Walker whispered in my hear as he handed me two straps of Velcro.
“What are these?” I asked, seeing two red boxes on either strap.
“They help you interact with the simulation.” Headmaster Walker replied. I put the straps on my wrists and the Headmaster patted my shoulder. I placed my feet in the clamps and watched at the metal halves raised over me to create a dome.
The huge monitor lit up, and I noticed that there wasn’t an assortment of buttons and levers like I’d seen Victor working with. I panicked a little and had to try and calm myself.
“You got this Dara,” I mumbled.
Suddenly there were gun shots behind me and a scream. I turned around to see a woman lying on the ground with a gunshot wound in her leg. “Help me please,” she begged.
I looked around for something to help the woman with. The place was a desert, but there was a nearby flag of some sort. I also saw some string laying close to my feet. “Don’t worry I’m gonna help you,” I said in a calm manor.
I helped drag the woman over to a nearby rock. The bullets were coming from the north, so I hid us on the southern face of the rock. I stopped for a moment to count how many bullets were used before reloading. It was ten, and I waited again for ten shots to fire. Once there was a quick silence, I then sprinted over to the old flag and grabbed the twine on my way back. I skidded behind the rock and looked at the stuff in my hand. I had what I needed to patch the wound, but how would I get the bullet out?
I hear another screech from the woman. “Look behind you!”
I turned around to see a rather large sorption crawling towards us. I looked down at my waist to see a dagger attached to a belt. Instantly, I grabbed the dagger and stabbed the sorption in the back, killing it. I then picked the thing up and cut off one of its pincers.
“What—what are you doing?” The Woman asked.
“Hold still,” I said as I used the pincer to grab hold of the bullet.
The woman clutched my arm and tried her best to hold back her scream.
“I’m done. The bullet is out,” I said smiling at the woman.
The woman smiled shakily back as I used the flag and twine to stop the bleeding.
“Thank you,” She said. I stepped back an inch and immediately started to fall. When I hit the ground, I looked around to see that I was in some sort of lab. Red light was flashing all around me and a voice from a speaker was telling everyone to evacuate. The ground shook and an explosion of flames burst through one of the doors. I was thrown against a glass refrigerator causing it to shatter all around me. It took me a few seconds to regain my senses, but I did. I looked to see a door with an exit sign above it, however fire was blocking the path to it.
I looked around. The first thing I noticed was a plastic bottle half filled with water. I grabbed it and poured some of it onto a bandana that had been wrapped around my wrist. I then tied that around my mouth and nose. Still holding the bottle of water in my hand, I looked around for any kind of chemicals I could use. On a counter close to me was a powder. I tasted it and it tasted like potassium bicarbonate. I then saw a pink liquid in one of the unbroken freezers. I smiled as I realized that it was fluorocarbon. I grabbed the two chemicals and mixed them with the rest of the water into a large beaker. I got a white foamy substance. I then ran over to the fire that blocked the exit door and dumped the foam on top of it. The homemade fire extinguishing foam put out the fire, and I shoved the exit door open.
The exit door didn’t lead outside though. I was now walking through a dark hallway. I put my hand to my face and realized that the bandana wasn’t there anymore. “Where am I?” I mumbled. I froze when I heard voices to my left.
“I can’t wait that long. I need the money now!” Said a deep voice that echoed throughout the hall.
“Well you’ll just have to. We wouldn’t want that detective girl finding us out, now would we?” Said another voice, which sounded female.
Instinctively my hand went to my waist. Clipped to my belt was a badge. I didn’t bother to examine it since it was way too dark to see anything. I kept walking to see light streaming in through a doorway. I peeked my head around the doorway to see a tall dark haired man and a tall blue haired woman. They kept rambling on about how much they hated me, but I wasn’t paying much attention. I was looking for a way to get these two caught, and fast. Scanning the rest of the room, I saw many potential ways to entrap the thugs or whatever they were. However, a plan didn’t really form in my mind until I noticed a ladder the right of the doorway. Looking up I noticed metal bars all along the low ceiling. “I got it,” I though excitedly. I crept behind a barrel and grabbed the thick coiled rope that sat on top of it. I then squeezed behind a rack containing bars of gold. I grabbed two and made my way back to the doorway that I had entered from. Tying the two gold bars to one end of the rope, I slung the coil onto my shoulder and traveled up the ladder. There was an extra ledge that surrounded the entire room, so I was able to get right above the two thugs. I un coiled the rope and slung the end without the gold over a metal bare overhead.
Not even blinking, I dropped the weighted end of the rope onto the head of the man, knocking him out. The gold being heavy enough to hold my weight, allowed me to swing on the unweighted end of the rope over to the other side of the room. I then landed on top of another rack, and kicked it over causing it to fall on top of the woman. I used the rope to break my fall, and voilà! The thugs were down, and I was ok.
Everything went black, and just a second later, light came pouring in from above me. The walls came down, and Headmaster Walker came to my side. “Well done Dara,” He said smiling.
I looked around for a moment, confused. “Wait, that wasn’t real?” I asked.
Headmaster Walker chuckled as he removed the Velcro bracelets from my wrists. “Good havens no. You were in a simulation.”
Then I remembered. What felt like ages ago, I was sitting next to Will, awaiting my turn to take the F.E.T.
“How do you feel?” the Headmaster asked.
I looked up at him and smiled. “Refreshed, and calm. Like I just woke up from a really good nap.”
Headmaster Walker raised an eyebrow at me. “Really?”
“Ok, you definitely got into level amazing,” Will said as I sat down next to him
“Is that the highest level?” I asked.
Will shook his head. “No, Domineering is, but no one’s ever gotten that high before.”
“How do you feel?” Alex asked me as another girl went up to the computer.
I shrugged. “Fine, the same way I felt the entire time I was in there.”
“Wait, you weren’t stressed? Or nervous?” Barbra asked her eyes widening.
I shook my head. “No, at least not enough for it to affect my performance. I actually had fun,” I replied smirking.
The other kids looked at me curiously for a moment, then turned their attention back to the computer.

“I’m sure you did awesome Will, it’s not like you were acting like Cody,” I said at we walked out of the auditorium.
“I guess, but I didn’t do as well as you that’s for sure,” Will sighed.
“I don’t think anyone can top Dara,” Alex said from behind me.
I looked back at Alex. “Thank you for the compliment, however, I’m sure I did just the same as both of you.”
“Doubt that” said Barbra walking past me.
I laughed nervously. It hadn’t been even a full day yet and people were already noticing me.
The group of kids slowly thinned until it was just Will and me.
“So, do you want to hang out for the rest of the day?” Will asked crossing his arms.
“If you do, I hope I’m still involved,” Said a girl’s voice from behind me.
“Annika!” I exclaimed turning around.
“Hey, I was one of the first people to get retested, so I was able to bounce early.” She then looked will up and down. “Who’s this?” she asked.
I put a hand on Will’s shoulder. “Annika, this is my friend Will. We—well we only met a little while ago.”
“And yet, you’re already calling him a friend?” Annika asked raising an eyebrow.
“I don’t mind,” Will said with a smile. Will, this is Annika my roommate, and also my friend.”
Annika rolled her eyes. “Sure you don’t.”
I smacked Annika in the arm. “Hey, chill! Besides, you haven’t known me for much longer, and I consider you a friend.”
Annika perked up. “Wait really?”
I shrugged. “Sure, I do. Now Will, this is Annika my roommate.”
“Nice to meet you,” Will said nodding.
“Same here,” Annika replied.
“That’s better. Now do either one of you have a suggestion of what we should do?” I asked looking from Annika to Will.
“I do. But you’ll need to follow me,” Annika said smirking.
Will and I exchanged glances and shrugged. “OK,” I said.

“Where are you taking us?” Will asked looking around. We were in the school’s huge backyard. Even though there were two soccer fields back there, a large amount of grass was still available.
“Just a bit longer, come on,” Annika said grabbing my arm and picking up her pace.
Just a minute later, Annika stopped. “I don’t see anything,” I said looking around.
Annika rolled her eyes, “You don’t see the huge tree right here?” she asked pointing.
I looked at the tree. “Sure, I see the tree but why would you—” I stopped mid-sentence upon looking up. About seven or eight feet up in the air, there was a wooden picnic table stuck in the tree’s trunk.
“What in the world?” Will asked looking up as well.
Annika rested an arm on my shoulder. “This, for your information, is the tree that the school was named after.”
I turned my attention to Annika. “But how? If you’re saying that this school is named after this tree, then the tree is a silver maple.”
“So?” Will asked.
I now looked at Will, “So, as beautiful as silver maples are, they’re week. If snow was to fall on this tree, loads of branches would come crashing down,” I replied.
Annika smirked. “Sure, it would. That is, if the tree wasn’t mixed with a sugar maple.”
Will’s eyes widened and his mouth dropped open. “Really! They did that?”
Annika nodded. “Yep, there used to be a whole orchard of these trees, but once the school bought the place, most of the trees were cut down. Except for this one that is.”
“But why?” I asked coking my head and raising an eyebrow.
“Well, you see that table up there?” Annika asked pointing up to the picnic table.
Will and I nodded.
“That was the only picnic table built out of the wood of these trees. In fact, it was built by the owner of the orchard himself, Jack Silver,” Annika explained.
“Ok, so the guy built a table out of sugar and silver maple wood. Big deal,” Will said shrugging.
“It was probably a big deal to the owner. He most likely said that he would only sell the orchard if this tree and bench could remain untouched,” I said thoughtfully.
Annika looked at me with surprise. “That’s right. How did you know that?”
I smiled at Annika. “Most people don’t like to give up there property especially if something like this has been made,” I replied gesturing to the tree and table.
“Alright, but what was so special about this tree and table?” Will asked scratching his head.
“It was the first tree Jack Silver planted. It’s also the wood that he used to make the picnic table out of,” Said a voice from behind me.
The three of us turned around to see Victor standing there smirking.
“Why hello Mr. Know it all. What kind of insults would you like to dish out today?” Annika growled, glaring at Victor.
I looked stunned at Annika for a moment but didn’t say anything.
Victor rolled his eyes, “You athletes always thing the world revolves around you.” Then his gaze rested on me. “I actually came here to congratulate Dara.”
“Right, because you’re such a gentleman,” Will said crossing his arms.
I looked at Will with confusion. I could understand Annika knowing about Victor, but Will? He’s been here just a day or so. How could he possibly have such a negative attitude toward Victor?
Victor chuckled. “What’s the matter cousin? Angered that someone doesn’t actually hate me?”
My eyes widened. “Wait, what! Cousins?” I blurted out in confusion.
Victor and Will seemed to ignore me and judging by the look of bewilderment on Annika’s face, I don’t think she knew what was going on either.
“Victor please, I could never be jealous of you,” Will scoffed.
Victor crossed his arms and squinted his eyes. “Of course, you can’t. You have everyone wrapped around your little finger. The teachers, our family, our friends…”
“You mean my friends, right? Since the last time I checked, you can barely talk to your own parents without them getting agitated,” Will said smirking.
“Alright that’s enough!” I yelled and placed myself in between the two boys. I looked at Victor. “Victor, what’s going on? Why are you guys even fighting?”
“Mr. egocentric has the delusion that I purposely take the—”
“I didn’t ask you!” I growled glaring at Will.
“I’m not egocentric you dimwit. Do you even know what the means?” Victor interjected.
“Victor not helping!” I said glancing back at Victor.
“Why don’t both of you knuckle heads just shut up, and let Dara talk,” Annika said crossing her arms.
That made both boys shut up. “Thanks, Annika,” I said smiling slightly.
Annika smirked. “Don’t mention it. Now ask what you want to these idiots.”
“Victor. You and Will are cousins?” I asked my full attention now on Victor.
He nodded. “Yes, our fathers are brothers.”
“So, you both are Stones! Oh, have mercy on us!” Annika said shaking her head.
“Ok, and you hate each other why?” I continued.
“I already told you Victor—”
“Will, so help me if you interject one more time I’ll…” I tried to think of a meaningful threat that wasn’t too over the top, but I couldn’t. I just threw my hands up in the air. “You know what, I don’t care! What ever family issues you two have, I don’t want to here about them.” I then walked off.
“Hey!” Annika called. “Come back!”

Back in my dorm, I sat on my bed reading. Annika then burst into the room. I glanced over the top of my book. “You seem upset,” I said carelessly.
“You left me with two Stones, who are complete whack jobs I might add!” Annika seethed.
I only smirked.
“Oh, you think that’s funny, do you?” Annika fumed, her face turning the same color as her hair. “After you left, they started going at it again, and I was right in the middle of it!”
I turned to the next page of my book. “Yes, actually I do think it’s funny. I’m always stuck babysitting everyone around me, and I’m sick of it. If you really wanted to leave Will and Victor, you have two feet, you just needed to walk away the same way I did. I’m not gonna call after you like you’re my pet or something.”
Annika didn’t say anything to me. In fact, she started to calm down. I think she realized I was right.
“So, you actually managed to hit it off with Victor?” Annika asked once she was calm again.
I shrugged. “I would say we hit it off. We’ve only had a few exchanges.”
Annika sat on my bed and stared at me. “But how did you manage not to get on his nerves?”
I sighed and put my book down. “I treated him like a human being.”
Annika scoffed. “Yeah, well I tried that once and it didn’t work.”
I looked at Annika curiously. “What do you mean?”
Annika rolled her eyes. “In our first PE class, I had done really well and he—well he sucked. I went up to him and tried to give him a few pointers on how to get better, but he blew me off. Said he didn’t need advice from a stupid jock like me. After that I just treated him how he did me.”
I rubbed my chin. “And are you the only one he acts nasty towards?”
Annika shook her head. “Nah, I’m just one in a thousand.”
I looked at Annika curiously. “But he wasn’t like that with me.”
Annika shrugged. “Look, I don’t know how his wacky brain works. He probably just thinks you’re pretty or something.” There was a moment of silence then Annika place a hand on my shoulder. “You know, I can guarantee that this peace the two of you have wont last. So a piece of advice, don’t let your guard down when he’s around.”
I nodded. “OK.”

A few hours later I was back in the auditorium with the rest of my group. Only it wasn’t just us in the room this time. The entire school was in the room, and it seemed like every seat was filled. I noticed that the F.E.T. computer was gone, and a silver metal table covered in white and black jackets was there in its stead. Me and the rest of the kids who took our F.E.T. in the morning, were last to enter the room and were told to sit in the same spot we did earlier. I paused for a moment, seeing the empty seat next to Will.
“Well, aren’t you gonna sit?” he asked raising an eyebrow.
I scowled and sat away from Will and in between Alex and Barbra.
“Hey,” Alex said.
“Hi,” I said smiling. I realized that Victor wasn’t the most amazing person on the planet, but the way Will had acted wasn’t any better. And the fact that he expected me to sit next to him only made me even more discussed.
A huge roar of applause erupted in the auditorium as Headmaster Walker appeared on the staged smiling. He held up his hand, and the clapping died down. “Welcome students of Silver Maple Academy,” he started. “Today, we are welcoming several new students to our school.” The professor’s eyes rested on our small group. “We will be determining which class they will be a part of today, thanks to their F.E.T. scores!” Again, the room filled with applause, and I felt like I would go deaf as Cody was shouting a few seats away from me.
Once more, Headmaster Walker put his hand up, and the commotion stopped. “Alright, we’ll start with the people assigned to Lower White, going from lowest score to highest score. When your name is called, please walk up on stage and receive a white blazer,” he said, and then glanced down at the clip board in his hand. “Cody Red, you got into the F.E.T. category of Passing, your exact score being eleven.”
I wasn’t verry surprised that Cody got such a low score. But he seems happy anyway. He bound up the steps and received his white blazer. I was surprised when I saw that the person handing out the jackets was Victor. “Congrats, Cody, go join the others in Lower Whit please,” Headmaster Walker said still smiling. I only really caught the names of the people that I was vaguely familiar with, as Victor keep staring at me, causing me to get distracted.
Deric got into Upper White. His score being, a well-done score of twenty six.
Barbra and Alex got into the class Lower Black, having scores of thirty-three and thirty-five, respectively. They received black blazers from Victor instead of white.
When it was all sed and done, there were only two people left in our area of seats. Me and Will.
“Alright, let’s now move on to the highest class, Gifted,” said Headmaster Walker once more glancing down at his clipboard. “William Stone, you got into the F.E.T. category of Amazing. Your exact score was a thirty forty-one. Congrats.”
Even though I was a few chairs away from his, I could see the utter shock on his face. Will made his way slowly up to the stage. I could see that both Victor and Will were doing everything they could to stay calm. However, you could easily see the tension between the two boys as Will snatched the black blazer out of Victor’s hand.
Once Will was seated with the others in the Upper Black class, Headmaster Walker called my name. “Alright Dara Graybourn, you got into the F.E.T. category of…” his voice trailed off.
Muttering and whispers quickly spread throughout the crowd, as Headmaster Walker tried to find his words. He cleared his throat. “Um, excuse me. Please, everyone quiet down now. Thank you.” Headmaster Walker cleared his throat again, and even Victor now started to look worried. Finally, the Headmaster was able to say something. “Dara Graybourn,” He started slowly, “You—you got into the F.E.T. category of—of Domineering,” Headmaster Walker finally managed to get out. The crowd started muttering and whispering again as he continued. “Your exact score was a perfect fifty, as you got ten points from each aspect of the test,” the Headmaster finished, and immediately took a handkerchief from his pocket and dabbed his forehead with it.
I was still in my seat and found it next to impossible to move. A perfect score? I thought. How is that possible?
Although he seemed to be in just as much shock as I was, Victor got off the staged and came over to my seat. “Come on, let’s get you your blazer,” he replied anxiously.
I took Victor’s hand, and walked onto the stage. I took a deep breath and grabbed my black blazer. The next instant, I heard the loud crash of one of the auditorium doors opening. I turned just in time to see Victor dash out of the room, with the door banging closed behind him.
Frowning, I slowly made my way to the other Upper Black class students.
“Well, that’s it for the announcements. Pl—please make your way out of the auditorium in an orderly fashion and enjoy the rest of your day,” Headmaster Walker stammered and speedily walked offstage.
“Hey, come on,” said someone tugging my arm. I followed the group of black blazers out of the auditorium and outside into the night.
“Where are we going?” I asked a girl next to me who seemed to be a year older.
“There’s a huge bond fire for each of the classes at the end of the announcements. It’s so that everyone can get to know each other,” the girl replied.
I sighed. Great, I thought. A crowd is exactly what I need to deal with right now.

I sat huddled on a log alone, watching the fire burn beautifully. I heard laughing off to my right and saw Will talking with three other kids I’ve never seen before.
“You know this bonfire is meant for people to socialize at. Not pout by themselves.”
I glanced over to my life to see Annika sitting down next to me.
“I’m not in the mood to socialize,” I said still watching the flames.
Annika chuckled and put an arm around my shoulders. “Why are you so glum? You got the best score possible on your Function Evaluation Test.”
I looked over at Annika. “I didn’t really want to come here in the first place. I was happy with my life and coming to Iowa didn’t sound all that exiting. But I convinced myself to come because I thought that I wouldn’t stand out. I mean that’s the perk of being in a school where people’s IQ are all 120 and up right?”
Annika looked at me with sympathy. “And instead of you blending in, you go the best F.E.T. score and stuck out like a sore thumb.”
I nodded.
“Hey Dara, can I talk to you for a moment,” I heard someone say.
I looked up to see Victor standing before me with a scowl on his face.
My heart sunk into my stomach. I just topped his score in the F.E.T. There was no way that this conversation was going to be good. I stood up. “Sure thing.”
I thought that Victor was planning on moving away from the group of kids, but apparently not. “You got a perfect score on the F.E.T.” He said coldly.
I quickly began to speak. “Victor, I’m sorry, I know that you were the highest scorer, I didn’t mean—"
“We can’t be friends,” he said bluntly.
Alarmed I looked Victor in the eyes. though his voice was firm, is eyes seemed to be filed with regret. “W—what?” I stammered not really processing what I just heard.
Victor stared at me hard, and said, “You scored higher than me, therefore we can’t be friends.”
I blinked a few times, my mouth half open. “Are you kidding me?” Annika fumed standing up. “She did better on a test than you so now it’s impossible for you guys to be friends?”
Victor looked at Annika angerly, then back at me in the same way. “Yes, it is.”
I was speechless. I knew Annika had warned me that something like this could happen, but I thought Victor would understand. “Victor,” I began again more slowly. “I didn’t mean to score higher than you, I just—”
“Oh just shut up!” Victor exclaimed. That got the attention of a few kids who were now staring at us. Victor stared at me hard. “You know, I’ve been working at this my whole life. Then you show up and just destroy everything!” Victor smirked. “So now, I’m going to make you pay. I’ll make sure that you don’t even make it to the end of the school year.”
“So you’re saying that you’ll get me expelled?” I asked in utter shock.
Annika stood up. “Are you done?” She growled. “Because this poor girl just got here. She doesn’t need a bunch of flak from you.”
Victor glanced from me to Annika. “Yeah, I’m done. For now.” He then stormed off whacking into his cousin as Will made his way toward us.
Will looked back at his cousin. “Is everything ok? I heard Victor yelling.”
I glanced at Will. “Oh, so now you’re mister nice guy again?”
Will scratched the back of his head. “Right. Sorry about before. It’s not how I usually am.”
I sighed and sat back down on the log. “Don’t worry about it.”
Will and Annika sat on either side of me. “You’re cousin just threatened that he’d expel Dara.”
Will scoffed. “He won’t go through with that threat.”
I looked at Will. “How can you be so sure?”
“Because, his bark is bigger than his bite,” Will replied.
Annika placed a hand on my shoulder. “Will’s right. Victor said something similar to me when I got him angry, but he never went through with it.”
“Yeah, but was he that angry?” I asked gloomily.
Will put an arm around me. “Don’t worry, I won’t let him do anything to you.”

Finally, all the kids want back to their dorms. I was exhausted from the fright and craziness of the day, so I completely forgot that Allen was going to facetime me that night. That’s why I nearly tumbled out of bed when my laptop started vibrating at twelve midnight.
I groggily answered the facetime. “What?” I said annoyed.
“Hey Dara, I’ve been waiting for like a half-hour, why didn’t you call?” Allen asked.
Immediately I was awake. “Shoot I’m so sorry, the day just got away from me. (I paused for a second) Wait, we said that we would facetime at 9:30, why are you calling me at midnight?”
For a moment my brother just stood there frozen, then his cheeks singed pink and he smiled awkwardly. “Oops, I forgot that there’s a two-hour difference. Sorry.”
I rolled my eyes and sighed, “It’s fine,”
“You know I can hang up if you want, I know you must have had a pretty rough day if you forgot to call.” Allen said.
I glanced over at Annika, who was still sleeping soundly. “No, I guess you can stay for a few minutes. I kind of need to get some stuff off my chest anyway.”
Allen shifted in his seat. Something he always did when getting ready for a long talk with me. “Cool, so what do you have to lay on me?”
I chuckled. “Oh, where do I begin.”
August 4, 2021 at 8:07am
August 4, 2021 at 8:07am
Everything was dark. My heart was thumping so loud that I could hear it in my hears. I wanted to scream, but I was too drowsy to do so. I wanted to thrash about, but instead I let myself be dragged along the cold hard floor.
Suddenly, my body dropped. Something was ripped from my face and whit light filled my vision. I blinked and moaned like someone in a drunken stupor. Someone bent over me.
“Now you’ll see why it was a bad idea to mess with the Shadow Society,” the figure said. They then preceded to pull off their mask, and I was shocked to see who it was.

A few months earlier...

“Dara? Hey, are you ok?”
I turned from the window to see my brother standing there, a worried expression on his face. I smiled. “Don’t worry Allen. I’m fine. I’m—I’m just thinking about the new year.”
In just a few hours, my siblings and I were going to start the next school year. But things wouldn’t be the same. I glanced down at the letter in my hand. It was vanilla in color, with silver decorating its edges. My eyes rested on the silver maple tree insignia and I traced it with my thumb. Silver Maple Academy, I thought. It was a school for breathtakingly smart people. People like me. Just a few days ago I had gotten the letter that was now in my hand, stating that I was eligible to attend this school. At first, I didn’t want to go, but with a little convincing from my brother, well…
“Allen?” I asked.
“Why do I have to be so smart? Why am I not like the rest of you guys? Why can’t I just be normal?”
Allen sighed. “Oh, Dara. Why would you ever want to be normal?”
I shrugged. “Isn’t it obvious? I want to be normal so that I can be with you guys.”
Allen chuckled and put his hands on my shoulders. “Dara, look. There are millions of people who are like me and our family. Normal, basic, average—whatever name you give it, we’re all just nobodies that do their best to make some difference in this world. But you? You are different, different enough to change this world drastically. And if you need to go to a school in Iowa to do that, then so be it.”
I smiled. “I guess you’re right.” Suddenly, there was a jumble of footsteps, and I saw the rest of my siblings in the doorway of my room. A knot began to form in the pit of my stomach. “There here, aren’t they?”
My older sister Alice nodded. “Yeah.”
All five of us walked into the living room to see our parents, and a blond-haired woman.
“Dear, this is Clarisa. She will be taking you to the academy,” my mom said gesturing to the woman.
I looked Clarisa up and down. “Nice to meet you,” I said.
The woman smiled brightly. “Likewise.” All of us then followed Clarisa outside to where a limousine was waiting. “I’ll let you say your goodbyes. Come in when you’re ready to leave.” Clarisa then entered the limo, leaving me alone with my family. I looked at all of them and smiled a little. Everyone of them had the same look. Golden brown hair, dark brown eyes, and peach skin.
“I guess I won’t be seeing you guys for a while,” I said, trying to break the defining silence.
The young twins, Nick and Natalie, ran and hugged me. “We’ll miss you,” they chorused.
“You know you can face time us any time, right?” Alice said trying her best to hide her tears.
“That’s right dear,” my dad said, placing a hand on my shoulder.
I looked around at my family and smiled. “Don’t worry, I’ll be back soon.”
Allen then pulled me into a tight hug. “I’ll hold you to that,” he said with a smirk.
I laughed and finally got in the limo. As I drove away, I continued to wave to my family until they were out of sight.
For a while the two of us sat in silence as I examined the interior of the limo. The seats were black leather and the floor was made of carpet. But the carpet wasn’t just the average stuff you’d seen in a mine van, it was thick black velvet. Any of the lights in the car were green, giving it an eerie feel.
When I got board of doing that, I then examined Clarisa. She didn’t seem to be much older than my parents. Perhaps in her late thirties or early forties, however that didn’t make her any less beautiful. She had incredibly light blond hair that flowed all the way down here back and her eyes were soft and light blue in color. She was quite tall for a woman, her gold-colored heels only exaggerating it even more. Clearly, she was rich, as she wore a white silk one-piece, and gold jewelry that could be nothing less than twenty-four karats.
“Nice outfit,” I said, in an attempt to start up a conversation.
Clarisa looked at me and smiled. “You like it?” she asked touching a part of the fabric. “My husband bought it for me this past Christmas.”
I smirked and now noticed an elegant engagement, and wedding ring on her left ring finger.
There was another long silence, then Clarisa said, “So, Dara, I have to say. I am quite shocked you don’t look like the rest of your family.”
I immediately stared at the woman. “What do you mean?”
Clarisa smiled politely. “Well, it’s just that I saw the rest of your family, and I see next to no resemblance.”
I glanced at the window across from me. Clarisa was right. I looked nothing like my family. My eyes were green, my skin a dark olive color, and my hair—a raven black that slowly morphed into a bright silver at the tips. “I guess I was just one of those kids that take after their parents’ minor traits.” I finally replied.
“And the same must go for your intellect as well,” Clarisa said still smiling.
“Yeah, it does,” I replied coldly.
Clarisa didn’t say anymore to me during the ride, and I was glad of it. The limousine drove us to a runway, with a magnificent plain on it. “Woah, is this plane the schools?” I asked looking at the magnificent plain.
“Yes, and we own quite a few,” Clarisa replied.
I raised an eyebrow when she said that. I followed Clarisa up the plain’s steep steps. Inside, was much like the Limousine, only in a privet jet version. The tables were dark oak wood, the seats were black leather, and the carpet was black velvet.
“This must cost about one fifty of my houses,” I said absentmindedly. “And that’s only if this cost a little over fifty million, which I’m sure still underprice.”
Clarisa turned and smiled at me. “That’s very accurate. Are you always like that?”
“Like what?” I asked still not really paying attention.
“Always accurate in your examinations,” Clarisa answered.
I now looked at the woman. “Um, I guess.”
Clarisa studied me for a moment then said, “Right, the flight will be about three hours but due to the time difference, only an hour will have passed. Try to get comfortable.” Clarisa then sat down, and so did I. Slowly, I managed to fall asleep.

When I awoke, we were at the school. It was verry large and reminded me of a boarding school. It wasn’t menacing however; it was bright had at least five stories. As we climbed the front limestone steps, I looked up to see the sign had the same logo as the seal on that envelope did. Above it, also in a silver color, were the words Silver Maple Academy for the Gifted.
As we walked in, It felt like I was in a mansion. There were curved pillars of granite on either side of the room, serving to hold up the balcony of the second floor. Beyond the pillars were hallways that lead to moor rooms enveloped in darkness. You could get a good workout just to get from one end of the room to the other as the amount of floor space was as large as a ballroom. The floor was of marble, with black and white streaks running through it. At the far end of the room was a large curving set of bifurcated stairs made of oak and a fancy looking runner. Upon a second glance, I noticed that both the runner and stairs were made of two different colors. The right of the steps were black oak, and the left part was white oak. In fact, as I kept looking around the room, I realized that the whole room seemed to be split in that way. To my right, everything was mad of dark materials, and to my left everything was made of light materials. It reminded me of that yin and yang symbol.
I heard an echo of footsteps, and a young man approached me and Clarisa. “Hello, are you a new student?” the man asked.
Clarisa nodded and placed a hand on my shoulder. “Yes, this is Dara.”
The man smiled. “Ah, ok. Dara, you might want to see the Headmaster. He’s in his office. Just enter one of the doors on either side of the stairs.”
I glanced at Clarisa. “Just me?” I asked.
The man nodded. “Yes, if you don’t mind.”
I sighed and walked over to the entrance right of the steps. I knocked on the door softly, but when there was no reply, I gently turned the nob and opened the door. The inside was like a freight car; long in with, but short in length. The whole back wall was glass and displayed a wonderful little garden. The room had much of the same feel as the one I had previously been in, although there was a normal pattern of black and white unlike the odd split I had previously seen.
I walked over to the desk in the middle of the room, where a man had his feet up and reading a book. He must not have heard me walk in, so I cleared my throat.
Finally, the man looked up at me. “Why hello there! You must be Dara Graybourn. I’m Headmaster Lewis Walker.” He said as he immediately stood up and held out his hand for me to shake.
I firmly shook his hand. “Nice to meet you.”
The headmaster was quite a peculiar sight. I would say he was about seven feet tall, and with me being five six, I had to really crane my neck to look at the man’s face. His eyes were a murky blue, and his skin seemed to be drained of its color entirely. His hair was the ugliest brown I ever saw, and, though he kept it rather long, his hair was still neat looking.
As I just stood there staring at the man, I didn’t know what to make of him. He was clean but messy, handsome but ugly—he was literally a walking paradox.
I must have been staring for too long since headmaster Walker asked, “Miss Graybourn, are you alright?”
I snapped out of my daze. “Yes, Headmaster. I’m ok,” I said smiling.
“Well, that’s good to hear,” he replied. Then he added, “Is Mrs. Stone in the main hall still? I need her help to arrange a dorm room for you.
“Yes, well—Um,” I stammered, looking around uneasily.
“First lesson at Sugar Maple Academy, never stammer,” Headmaster Walker said smiling.
I swallowed hard and organized my mind so I could manage to get out a proper sentence. “Sorry. Yes, she is still in the main hall. But what should I do?”
The headmaster pondered this for a moment, then nodded. “How about you explore this place a little and get familiar with it.”
Together we walked out of the headmaster’s office back to the room where I had been before.
“Many times, the privilege of Headmaster is passed down from generation to generation. Have the Walkers always supervised this school?” I asked.
Headmaster Walker seemed to ponder this for a moment. “Well, no. It used to be the Albums who ran this place. However, their most resent descendant, was—unable to manage the task.”
“Then you must have been close friends with the Albums, if your family took it over,” I said.
Headmaster Walker rubbed his chin and smirked. “Yes, you could say that.”
Something in the pit of my stomach didn’t like that answer, but I tried to shake it off. “Must be nerves,” I though.
“Mrs. Stone, always a pleasure,” Headmaster Walker said, kissing Clarisa’s hand.
She smiled. “I’m assuming that Dara needs a room?”
“Yes, and while we do that I’ve permitted her to explore the school,” he replied.
“Wonderful,” Clarisa said, as the two headed back to Headmaster Walkers office.

As Clarisa and the Headmaster took care of where I would stay, I explored the school. First, I looked at a map that was graciously given to me by the same man who had directed me to Walker’s office. They didn’t waste any money on this school there were two outdoor soccer felids, as well as two indoor. And I noticed that there was double of everything. Two libraries, two cafeterias, as well as twice as many dorms, and classrooms then necessary. The only things that weren’t doubled were the auditorium, and the main hall. I walked around for a while and managed to wander into the auditorium.
As everything else in the school, the auditorium was big. The floodlights made it annoyingly bright, and at first, I had to squint in order to see. The place reminded me of one of those old Greek auditoriums as seats encompassed a circular stage in the center of the room. However, I noticed something strange on the stage. It was some sort of screen displaying an array of moving things. There was a boy in front of it, looking at the screen and manipulated the levers and buttons before him.
I slowly walked up to the boy and the large piece of technology.
The boy quickly glanced at me, and smirked. “Oh, hello.”
“Um, hi,” I said, looking the boy up and down.
He seemed very menacing to me. He was very tall, and not one light blond hair was out of place.
I swallowed hard. “You—you remind me a lot of the women that brought me here.”
The boy chuckled. “That is my mother. She is quite pleasant, is she not?’
I nodded, then ventured to ask him another question. “What is it that you are doing?”
“I’m testing the F.E.T.” Was his reply.
“The what now?” I asked confused.
“F.E.T. is the acronym we gave this computer,” he explained.
“And what does that stand for?” I asked.
“Function Evaluation Test,” the boy said, still continuing what he was doing.
“It’s incredible,” I mumbled. I was hypnotized. There were huge columns of white numbers rolling down either side of the screen, and what looked like a videogame playing in the center. But the scenario of the game kept changing: First a person had to be healed, next there was some sort of animal chasing the player, then the player was trapped in a burning building. “What are those scenarios?” I asked, my eyes wandering down to where Victor’s hands glided across the panel of levers and multicolored buttons.
“The scenarios are test to see how an individual would use their mind in any particular situation,” he replied.
I nodded again and kept watching the boy’s graceful hands. They seemed to know exactly where to go, and it amazed me how confident one person could be during something so stressful.
“You must do this a lot,” I said.
He nodded. “Yes, as well as taking it every year, I test the machine to make sure it’s working properly.”
I snapped out of my daze when he suddenly stopped and held out a hand. “My name is Victor.”
I timidly shook his hand. “Dara.”
Victor smirked and shoved his hands into his pockets. It was the first normal thing I’d seen the boy do. “You are a verry curious person Dara. Do you have any other questions?”
I looked up and stared into Victor’s steel grey eyes for a moment as I tried to organize my thoughts. “Um, what exactly is this computer for?” I asked quickly.
“It’s a test to set how well students can use their knowledge. And depending on their score, they will be placed in one of the school’s four classes,” Victor answered.
“And how is it graded?” I asked gazing at the computer again.
“People as well as the computer take into account your creativity, how fast you accomplished the task, how stressed you were, how cunning your ideas, as well as how efficiently you conducted the situation,” He replied.
“Ok, but why do we need to be sorted into four different classes?” I asked.
Victor shrugged. “Not sure. I guess it’s because they want everyone to get the best education possible. They do not want anyone to fall behind, or storm ahead.”
“Is that why there’s two of everything?” I asked.
Victor looked confused. “Pardon?”
I sighed. “When I looked at a map of the school, I noticed that there was double of everything. Is that because of this class system?”
Victor’s eyes lit up. “Oh, yes, it is. Even though there are four classes, there is a bigger split between these four classes. White and black.”
“I thought you said the classes were for intellect, not race?” I said looking at Victor curiously.
“Oh, I did. White and black do not mean race. If you look at the main hall, you can see that it’s split in half. People put in the white class usually have lower scores on the F.E.T. and people put into the black class usually have a higher score,” he explained.
I nodded. “Ok, I guess that makes minor scene.”
Victor suddenly smirked again. “You know, I got the highest score on the F.E.T?”
“Really? Was it a perfect score?” I asked not too surprised that someone who sounded like a robot did so well.
Victor shook his head. “No. I got a forty-five. The highest you can get is a fifty, but no one can get that.”
I looked at my watch. “Well, I’d better get going. They probably have my room ready by now,
Victor smiled politely. “Well, it was nice to meet you Dara,”
I smiled back. “Likewise.”

“So, everything is squared away?” I asked approaching Clarisa.
She nodded. “Yes, everything had been taken care of.” Then she added as she placed a hand on my shoulder, “Would you like to be shown to your dorm room?” Clarisa asked.
I nodded. “Sure.”
I followed the woman to an elevator that was in the right corner of the main hall. She pressed the button for floor three. Soon the doors opened, and I followed Clarisa to a door that had the number eighty-five on it in a glittering silver color.
“This is it,” she said handing me a key.
I nodded. “Thanks,”
“You’re welcome,” Clarisa replied, then she walked off.
I stood there alone, in front of the entrance to my new home. After taking a deep breath, I opened the door and slowly walked into the room. The first thing I noticed was the school’s silver maple insignia in the middle of the back wall, which separated the two sides of the dorm. The dorm was more spacious than I had expected. Both sides were furnished the same: Two twin beds, two wardrobes, two nightstands, and two desks. I was standing right in the middle of the two sides. The one to my right was already inhabited, as there were posters on the wall and clutter on the bed and desk. I wandered over to the other side of the dorm, which was now my side. The walls were black and silver roots, which wandered out from the tree, stretched all around the room. The carpet on the floor was also silver in color and was incredibly soft.
My eyes rested on what was now my desk. It was made of a dark oak wood, smooth to the touch. I pulled a swiveling black leather chair out of the way so I could stand at the desk. There were two drawers on either side of the desk, which served as its legs. I opened one of them using a silver nob in its center.
The drawer was incredibly deep, and already contained books the spins of which were facing upward. I pulled out one book called, The Human mind: Why We Love and Lie by a Dr. William Sullen. There was no picture on the front or back of the book, however there was a latch keeping the book closed. I ran my finger over the small key hole. “I need a key,” I mumbled. With the book still in my hand, my eyes rested on a thin, wide drawer in the middle of the desk. I lightly took hold of the silver nob and opened the drawer. Inside was a little metal key attached to a string long enough to go around my neck. I grabbed the key and used it to unlock the book. “Weird,” I murmured, as I placed the key and book on the desk. There was a lamp clamped onto the side of the desk, it too being silver in color. As I ran my hand over it, I heard a voice behind me.
“Hope you don’t mind the colors silver and black, cause you’re gonna be seeing a lot of them around here.”
I turned around to see a girl leaning in the doorway and looking at me.
“Though I do find these colors pleasing, I could care less what colors make up this school as long as they are what they claim,” I replied coolly.
The girl smirked and made her way toward me. “They said you were stiff. (She held out her hand) I’m Annika, your roommate. Well at least for the not-so-distant future.”
Annika was somewhat of a frightening figure. She was taller than me and fairly sturdy looking. Her hair was mid-length and a natural red color, though the tips were died black. Her skin was bronze colored, and her eyes were green and extremely alert. And a little above the left eye ran a scar, that went just past her eyebrow which were both thick and coarse.
I shook Annika’s hand. “Dara. And what exactly do you mean by that?”
“Well, you need to sleep somewhere tonight, so the council makes an educated guess of where you’ll end up based on the E.F.T, and place you there,” Annika replied.
“E.F.T? What’s that?” I asked.
“The entry fee test. Most people can’t resist the urge to get something for free, so most of the students end up taking that test.”
“So, the students take the test, which then tells the council what their level of intelligence is at?” I asked raising an eyebrow.
Annika shrugged. “Pretty much, although there’s one student here who hasn’t taken the E.F.T.”
“And that is?” I asked.
“Victor Stone. His parents are probably the richest out of everyone. You know, I actually heard he’s been here since kindergarten.”
“So, you’re saying that Victor has gone to this school all his life?” I asked surprised.
Annika nodded. “Yup.”
I blinked a few times in shock. “Wow.” Then to myself I thought, No wonder he like a robot.
“What do your parents do?” She asked, suddenly changing the topic.
“Your parents. What do they do?” Annika asked again looking at me like it was ridiculous for me not to understand.
However, I didn’t understand. I just looked at my new roommate with a curious look. Annika rolled her eyes. “Are they bankers, athletes, CEOs?”
A lightbulb went off in my mind. “Oh, they’re teachers. My father is an English teacher, and my mother is a history teacher. However, both are part time authors.”
Again Annika looked at me weird. “So, there books must do well?”
I chuckled. “No, they have only sold a few copies.”
Annika scratched the back of her head. “Then how are you here?”
Now the full picture had come to me. Most people that went here had rich parents; she was wondering what my parents did that made them rich. Remember the E.F.T? Well, I had gotten a high enough grade to come here for free. However, I wasn’t about to tell that to someone I had just met. “Right well—I was—I was asked to come here for a lower price,” I said, trying to keep things as vague as possible.
Annika shrugged. “Ok cool. So, do you want to hang out for a bit?”
I nodded. “Sure.”
For the next few hours, I just talked with Annika. Turns out she’s not as scary or stupid as you’d think. Her dad was Marcus Red, a famous soccer player for the United States. I vaguely remembered the twins talking about him once or twice, but I never paid much attention.
“And what does your mom do?” I asked.
“She’s a figure skater,” Annika replied.
“Fiona Red, right? My sister Alice likes to watch her sometimes,” I said with a nod.
“You seem to like your siblings. At this school that’s almost unheard of,” Annika said with a smirk.
“Do you have any siblings?” I asked, not really wanting to touch on my very private personal life.
Annika rolled her eyes. “Unfortunately, I have a brother named Cody. He’ll actually going to be taking the F.E.T. the same time as you. (she shook her head) That idiot. I don’t even know why my parents are bothering to send him here.”
I looked at Annika curiously. “You know, I’m curious. Who was the highest scorer on the F.E.T?”
Annika scoffed. “Only the worst person you’ll ever meet. It’s Stone, the guy I told you about earlier.”
“And what’s wrong with Victor Stone?” I asked.
Annika rolled her eyes. “You’ll know once you meet him.”
I raised an eyebrow. The thing was that I already had meet Victor, but I didn’t see anything wrong with him.
Annika looked at her watch. “Yikes, we should get to bed if you want to be up by six tomorrow.”
“Oh, will you be taking the F.E.T. to marrow as well?” I asked.
Annika shrugged. “Sort of. I’ve already been here for two years so I’m just retaking the test to make sure that nothing’s declined. However, your test will be more important. That’s why newbies are tested in the morning, while us oldcomers are tested later in the day.”
I sighed. “So I won’t know anybody there? Great.”
“Oh, don’t worry, I’m sure you’ll find someone to pass the time with. You seem easy enough to talk to.” As Annika got into bed, she added, “Oh, and I would recommend picking out what you’re gonna wear now, cause that can be a little frustrating.”
I wasn’t about to question someone who had already gone through this experience, so I walked over to my wardrobe. Like the other furniture in the room, it was black oak wood, decorated with silver. There were a total of eight drawers, six set side by side, and two longer drawers underneath. I opened one of the drawers and raised an eyebrow. Inside were neatly folded shirts. I shrugged and started to put together an outfit.
First, I grabbed a white collard button-down undershirt, with sleeves that only went down to the elbows. I also grabbed a mini pleated skirt. It was plaid colored, the dominate color being dark grey. Then there was the grey sweater vest and black leggings. There was a closet with sliding mirror doors in the opposite wall. In it were a few ties all the same color as the skirt I’d mentioned. There were also about five different pairs of shoes on the floor of my closet, and I chose the almost knee-high grey boots with black laces. Finally, I grabbed the only blazer that was in my closet to complete the outfit. It was sliver and had the school’s logo on the right side of the chest.
I then glanced over to see if Annika was asleep. She was, so I quickly put on a pair of black silk pajamas that were in my wardrobe. “Goodnight, roommate,” I said just before turning out the light next to me. I then set an alarm on my phone for five AM and tried my best to go to sleep.

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