Here’s what I got for you today:
One by one, they came up and placed their papers on the desk. The two boys from behind shoved at each other, trying to make their way up to the front. When they came back to their seats, Gregor heard them once again whispering to each other.
“I bet you I’m the first one called.”
“Yeah right! I’ll be waving to you from S.M.A.R.T.’s signature bus for the special kids.”
“You’re about as special as a flea, pea-brain.”
“We’ll see when I’m king of the world and you’re still here.”
The boys sat up, alert.
“You two are dismissed.”
The teacher waved his hand. The waiting participants watched as the pair stood up with slumped shoulders. Gregor swallowed hard and faced the teacher bravely. Gregor knew that her test and Lucy’s had been the fifth and sixth from the top. The thirty-three tests remaining looked like a stack of doom next to the red pen. They watched as he quickly moved through each test. The first test was marked with the pen and put to the side. A girl burst into crying on the left side of the room and a man nervously cried out. They were both sent away. The second test was scanned swiftly and marked as well. The third and fourth were read in the same manner. The teacher picked up the fifth, Lucy’s. Beside her, Lucy grasped Gregor’s elbow, squeezing it in an uncomfortable position. The teacher nodded and opened the drawer, tossing it in without a single glance. Lucy let out a breath, shivering from both excitement and the cold. Gregor’s breath caught as he looked at the first page. Uncapping the red pen, he marked it and tossed it into his drawer. Surprised, Gregor looked at Lucy. Was she in or out?
He continued grading, tossing tests either into his drawer or marking them. Seven people were sent away for breaking the silence of the room. Gregor’s heart thumped loudly as the plump woman that had stood in front was ushered out. Finally, the teacher stood.
“Jeanette Lee, Jake Spade, Willa Grey…”
He rattled off a list of names, none including hers or Lucy’s. They exchanged a disappointed look until he said:
Lucy squealed, but the teacher merely raised his eyebrows. Gregor’ heart thumped wildly as he looked at her as he stated the fifteenth name.