I finish the test early and have to sit staring out the window, listening to the clock behind me. Pulling at the threads of my uniform shirt, I draw pictures on the black screen of my tablet with my finger and the smears it leaves behind.
Maybe I should go back and check my answers. Tapping the screen, I log back into my tablet, but there's no fingerprint scanner anymore.
I couldn't correct it if I wanted to. So, instead, I put my head on my arms, smelling the lemon cleaner than Binns uses on the desks. My eyelids slip, and I snap them back open more than once.
"Head up, Quinn," Binns whispers at me, and I sit back up with as little speed as I can. He goes back to walking around the room, tapping on other desks occasionally to wake people up.
When we have thirty minutes remaining, he writes it on the white board up front in blue marker, ending the statement with an exclamation point.
Beside me, Lexi is still working on her test. I can't see her tablet through her hair, but her hands move over the screen. Her fingernails tapping against the glass is another sound in the quiet. Maybe she was smart enough to go back and check her answers.
"Please, stop," Professor Binns says in a hoarse voice. Clearing his throat, he continues, "This completes the first portion of your Intelligence Exam. Please leave your tablet on your desk and line up in alphabetical order."
On a normal day, the moment our chairs scoot back, the entire classroom would have erupted into noise, talking about the lesson, their plans, or what's for lunch. Today, though, the quiet continues. I find my place in the front of the line, with a very pale Lexi behind me. She's gnawing at her fingernails like a beaver, pieces of the white material scattered on the front of her shirt.
"Follow me," the professor says, leading us towards the elevators. How we all fit in is a mystery, but I'm pressed up against the back wall, thankful it's not too cold.
Binns waves the front out, and now we are in opposite order, walking like soldiers out into the school's front yard.
We drag ourselves all the way to the Ag District, where there are twenty-five white tents set up at different intervals. On the grass in front of us, white, green, and yellow lines have been painted, like mock trails. Each one must be a different length for the three different miles.
"Okay, we will do this alphabetically as well. Vann, you'll be in tent twenty five, down all the way on the right," Binns says, pointing on down the field. Nurses are beginning to come out of the tents, dressed in the navy blue scrub uniforms, their nametags rolling in the wind. Binns continues on down the line, directing each student on where to go.
"Stewart, you'll be in nineteen," he says, patting Naomi on the shoulder. She nods and gives me a smile before walking away.
"Peterson, you're eighteen," he continues, and it goes on and on until only Lexi and I are left standing. "I think you two are smart enough to figure out where you are," he says, smirking.
"Let me guess," Lexi says, tapping her chin, "I'm number two?"
Binns chuckles, nodding and shoving her towards the tent.
"Our number one," Binns says, crossing his hands over his chest, "You'll be in tent number one, of course. Feeling pretty good so far, Austin?"
I nod, feeling my pulse rise. This is the part of the test I won't do so well on. I've never been very athletic. I can run, if someone is chasing me, and normally Lexi is actually doing just that. When physical education hour comes at the end of the day, I barely make it through.
YOU ARE READING
Selected (Book 2 of the Immune Series)Science Fiction
"As far back as I can remember, I've been surrounded by water. The salt in the air even now makes it hard to breath, forcing me to squint. Sand clings to every inch of me, caking my pants and shoes. The wind from the ocean picks my hair up, sending...