A girl with an amazing intellect moves to a new school. But can she handle the change?
| 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.