"Ten more minutes!" Eliza's brow furrowed as she stared at the paper. The numbers seemed to blur and the bright white of the paper made her blink. She read the problem again. Five people were eating apples, A finished before B, but behind C. D finished before E, but behind B. What was the finishing order? Uh, maybe the next question. A man has 53 socks in his drawer: 21 identical blue, 15 identical black and 17 identical red. The lights are out and he is completely in the dark. How many socks must he take out to make 100 percent certain he has at least one pair of black socks? There was no way she could pass this test. And the bad part about this was that this was a logic puzzle. She could get a math one, no problem. But these questions were WEIRD. And she stressed out on tests, which made it harder.
Eliza stared around at the room. Everyone was still working, their pencils scratching down, occasionally the smudge of an eraser cutting in. The girl in front of Eliza had long shiny black hair that would catch the reflection of the sun. She stared at it for a few moments then rubbed her eyes, berating herself for getting distracted. She glanced back at the paper and slowly lifted her pencil, not wanting to seem out of place with the other students.
This was the biggest test of the year and if Eliza wanted to get into Black Wood Academy, she would have to pass it. She had traveled all the way to the Stone Building just to take it. If she failed it would be all for nothing. She had even brought her most prized possession, a golden locket with the picture of a beautiful woman dressed in a golden dress with long auburn hair and blue eyes. Her father had gave it to her on her tenth birthday, saying that it was a picture of her mother, who had died when Eliza was young. The whole train ride to the Stone Building, Eliza had been paranoid, worrying that someone might steal it. She tapped it against her leg for good luck.
She looked at the timer. Six more minutes and 43 seconds to finish up four questions which she had no idea how to do. The teacher in charge, Mrs. Firm, was exactly like her name. She was tall and big and liked to stare around the room to catch students cheating. Right now however, she was focused on eating a granola bar, staring at it as though it was the most important thing in the world.
So lost in her thoughts, Eliza didn't hear the scraping of the chair behind her. When the person moved past her, she was so surprised, she almost fell off her chair, resulting in many curious stares from the other students. The girl who had gotten up strode to the teachers desk and slammed her test down. Hard. She bounced her annoying little blond ponytail around with the eyes of every student on her. Mrs. Firm looked surprised but told the girl she could leave anyway.
Eliza raised her hand to get a drink of water. Out in the hall, she concentrated on relaxing. It was only a test, after all. She gulped the cold liquid down her throat and almost went back inside, when a wonderful idea hit her brain like a missile. When the teacher wasn't looking, she could carefully move her desk over an inch and be able to faintly read the words on the person ahead of her's paper. But no. Cheating was wrong.
She went back inside
Mrs. Firm had just finished looking at the girl's test paper, which was now lying on the desk, the first in the pile, sticking out like a sore thumb.As Eliza slid back in her seat, Mrs. Firm spoke. "I would remind you all to check your work" she said. Wait, why was she looking directly at Eliza. Eliza's feeling of nervousness increased.
"Three more minutes" Mrs' Firm added
THREE MORE MINUTES?! Eliza frantically went into panic mode. The room which had been air conditioned, now seemed as hot as the inside of an oven. Her stomach growled which didn't help. ( she hadn't eaten anything since breakfast and skipped lunch so she was starving ). She scribbled away at the questions with whichever thought came into her mind. In doing so, she accidentally knocked her pencil over her desk with a clatter. The girl next to her bent down to pick it up. "Here" she said, handing it back to Eliza.
The girl had skin that was a mix of different colors. She could have passed for any race. She had wispy brown hair, the color of fall leaves, and her eyes were a startling green. She smiled at Eliza and then glanced at Mrs. Firm, who was busy looking at papers other students had sent in. She turned back to Eliza and leaned in. "I have them." she whispered. "Have what?" Eliza whispered back. "The test answers. I have them all. Just say yes and I will give you them." Eliza could tell she wasn't bluffing. And she was tempted to say yes. She was dying to get into that school. But cheating? She wasn't that low. "No" she answered the girl. The girl looked at her for a moment. The faintest of smiles crossed her lips. "Suit yourself" she said, and walked up to the teacher's desk.
Eliza bit her lip, a little unsure about her decision. But she filled in the answers with her best guesses, crossed her fingers, and added it to the stack on the desk. RING! The bell went off and the remaining students silently filed out the door, not daring to talk about the test, to review their answers and have their hopes dashed. Eliza suddenly remembered the girl and looked around the line, hoping to talk to her.
But she had disappeared.