Chapter 5

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"No, Nikki!  You're supposed to kick them in the stomach first, and THEN break his nose!!!!!!!"  Coach Woodruff shouted in my face.  "Gosh dude, say it don't spray it."  I thought disgustedly to myself, as I wiped some of his spit out of my eye.  I didn't dare to say it, though, because I have no doubt in my mind that if I did, Coach Woodruff would make me run another 50 laps.

Yes, I used to be one of those people who LOVED P.E.  It was my favorite part of the day, back in my old school, because it was the one thing I was good at.

Now, I despise PE with all of my heart, after the coach made me run 50 laps, do 250 pushups, and then hang on a bar for 45 minutes.

I could sue him for child abuse!  That is, if I had any money, which I don't.  Well, it was a nice thought, at least...

Finally, I heard something that sounded like thousands of angels from above singing.. the ring of the bell.

I grabbed my bag and ran out of that classroom so fast that  Speedy Gonzales himself would be amazed.

"Nikki!  Wait for me!" I heard Rosie's voice calling out over the noise of the other kids' voices as they walked to their next class.

Panting, she finally caught up to me.  "We have our next class together, Covert Ops, or as they call it around here, CO."

I found it a tiny bit hard to believe that loud, talkative Rosie could ever be in CO, where the whole point of that class is to be quiet and sneaky.

As if she was reading my thoughts, Rosie grinned evilly, and informed me "I can be quiet when I need to be!"

Well, that would be interesting to know.  Rosie seemed devious by the sound of her voice, and I would have been a little freaked out, if she didn't have a friendly sparkle in her eyes that she always gets when she's trying to be serious, but failing.

"Great!  So, do you know the way to the classroom?"  I asked her, and she nodded, dragging me over to an open doorway.

I walked inside, and I felt excitement build up inside of me, as I looked around the room.  It was defiantly not like any other classroom I'd ever seen.

The walls were lined with posters such as "Don't be caught-it's not cool."  and "If you're not good at sneaking, you're not good at anything".

On the floor was a sort of obstacles course, surrounded by a high tech security systems.  It was just like in those movies, where there were laser beams all over the floor, and you had to get to the other side without setting the alarm off.

Oh yeah, I was going to rock at this!

The teacher walked in, and he grunted in a gruff voice "Alright ladies, let's see what you got today!  We have a new student, in case you haven't noticed."

He had very dark skin, with tattoos all over his ripped arms.  He was huge, he had to be about 6 ft 7, and this would normally seem very scary, but his eyes were twinkling.

I realized that everyone was waiting for me to introduce myself, and so I stood up, and announced "I'm Nikki."

I heard murmurs from all around, saying things like "That's the fire one."  and "She's the one who BLEW UP the testing room!!" 

I sighed.  Well, first day of school, and I already had an awful reputation.

I could see the teacher looking at me with curiosity, and I could tell that he knew about the whole testing room "incident" too, but he didn't say anything about it.

Instead, he boomed "Well,  my name is Mr. Hulk, and you're going to be in this class for the rest of the year."

I started giggling to myself, I couldn't help it.  I mean, Mr. Hulk?  It was just so ironic!!!!

"Am I amusing to you?"  Mr. Hulk demanded, and that shut me up really fast.

"Alright then."  he continued.  "Today's lesson is going to be using an obstacle course.  The goal of this activity is to give you balance skills, and for you to understand the feeling of pressure when you have to do something like this in real life."

Mr. Hulk made us get together with a partner, and then he had us line up by the entrance of his little obstacles course.

"Oh my goodness!  I hope we do good at this!  I bet I'm going to mess up, and then I'll feel so bad, because I let you down, and-"  I tuned Rosie out, and focused in on what Mr. Hulk was saying to the first set of partners.

"You're each going to be carrying a large briefcase, with a fake bomb in it."  he explained.  "If you hit the briefcase against any of the obstacles, or if you bump into them, then the mini bomb will explode, and you'll lose.  You're trying to make it to the exit, over there."  he pointed to a set of doors on the far side of the room, about 100 feet away.  "Oh, and you're timed, so if you go too slow, you fail."

"Alright, GO!"  he shouted, and the first set of people started, going as fast as they could.  One by one, mini bombs started exploding, and before we knew it, the first group of people were all out.  There were five groups, and I was in the fifth. 

I watched as the second group went, and all of their bombs exploded before they even made it halfway through.

Then the third group went, and then the fourth, and soon, we were the only group still standing there, and not a single person had made it yet.

"GO!"  Mr. Hulk shouted to us, and I started to run through the maze of obstacles, avoiding everything I saw.

I can honestly say it was the hardest thing I'd ever done.  There was obstacles everywhere, and most of them were hard to see, like the clear bubble wrap that was lined up on the floor, almost hidden completely.

I tried holding the briefcase over my head so that it wouldn't nock into anything, but that messed up my balance, so I was back to just holding it by my side and praying that it didn't hit anything.

I was so close to the ending of the maze that I could see the doorknob.  If only I could make it that last twenty feet...

Suddenly I heard a shout from behind me.  "Twenty seconds!"  hollered Mr. Hulk.  I gasped, and started running towards the door as fast as I could, still trying to avoid the objects in the way.  I felt the briefcase slipping out of my hands, and I threw it into the air to keep it from touching the bubble wrap on the floor.

Sadly, I threw it a little too hard, and it soared away, heading right towards a large pile of wood.  Not thinking, I hurled myself into the air, and grabbed it right before it hit the wood.  I rolled to a landing, avoiding the bubble wrap in my way, and started sprinting towards the door.

It was like everything was in slow motion, as I raced closer and closer to the door, listening to Mr. Hulk counting, "5 seconds, 4 seconds, 3 seconds, 2 seconds...."

I leaped through the open doorway, right as the buzzer went off.  I lay there, panting, on the floor, trying to catch my breath as my classmates surrounded me, and lifted me into the air.

I couldn't keep the smile from creeping onto my face, as I heard them shout "NIKKI!  NIKKI!"  over and over.

Maybe going here wasn't going to be so bad after all.


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