People filter out steadily and reluctantly as Mrs. Oscar comes round ringing the bell.
We used to have a normal electric one before the Sparks and Scramblers started turning up and figured out they could set it off whenever they wanted. So now Mrs. Oscar, the “student assessor”, walks around the school ringing the bell when she’s not interviewing potential new students.
To be fair it’s tough trying to be sure the new kid generally has a Quirk, and isn’t just delusional thanks to the popularity of the sci-fi and supernatural genre.
We have “vampires” and “werewolves” trying to get in all the time. As we haven’t yet had a Shifter who could change species, and vampires in that sense didn’t exist, they now discounted any information they were given regarding such things.
It was pretty easy with me.
After the, uh, incident at my previous school my parents had quickly started looking for a new school. Then, one day, we’d gotten a letter through the door offering me a place at a prestigious but notoriously exclusive boarding school.
I just had to pass an interview.
My parents had been thrilled, I remember my mum reading the letter and then throwing her arms around my dad crying “St. Bart’s! They want her at St. Bart’s!”
I had been more sceptical
I did good at school, but not brilliantly and I’d just been expelled from a state school, why would some fancy posh school personally ask for me?
I’d turned up in uncomfortable black work trousers and an itchy blouse and sat on the reclining leather chair Mrs. Oscar’s had offered me.
She’d asked me the usual.
Name? Rose Silva.
Current working grades? B’s and Cs, the occasional A if I was lucky.
Future aspiration? I’d shrugged.
Then suddenly, not taking her eyes off her clipboard, she’d cleared her throat softly and said, “Any special abilities?”
It was the way she’d said special that told me I couldn’t answer with “I can roll my tongue.”
I’d blinked, unsure what to say, I couldn’t tell her. Could I?
“I’m sorry, how rude of me,” she’d said, giving me a smile. “Would you like a drink?” And a glass of crystal clear water had floated up from the hard oak table in the corner to come and hover in front of me.
A clever trick apparently, those who delusional always bragged about it, desperate to find someone who believed them and, when asked to demonstrate their ability, they weren’t able to.
Mrs. Oscar had been confident enough in my ability to use her telekinesis on me. Still I’d been so stunned I’d knocked the glass of water all over me.
We are the first three in the assembly hall due to the wide space that clears in front of us. Students practically dive out of our way in order not to get too close.
We sit in the back and stare coolly at the suit standing at the front, hands folded behind his back, feet separated and in line with his firm shoulders. A military man. Or a trained man at least.
He doesn’t scare us. In fact, he’s the one who casts our Terrible Trio a cautious glance.
As could be expected, us three are particularly well known by the government. We are watched carefully and guaranteed future jobs protecting various people.
So they say.
Once the rest of our year and the year below have sat down, roughly a hundred of us, and the teachers have spread out around us, keeping a watchful eye, the suit at the front nods and gives us a smile.
“Hello Gifted Teens.” He brings his hands out in front of him and claps them together. “As you know, many of you, if not all, will go on to work in our government, and governments allied with us, to protect your country and fellow man.”
Leo daringly yawns, Roan, more subtly, sinks further down in his seat and I begin to fiddle with a loose thread on the bottom of my black shirt.
This is nothing we haven’t heard before.
You are vital to us….very important…..aspirations…..blah, blah, bloody blah.
The year twelves’ below us however, are hearing this the first time and look intrigued if not excited.
The best he’s getting from our year is polite interest.
“As I’m sure you’re all aware of, there have been some leaks that, if not dealt with properly, could lead to your existence becoming public knowledge. Somewhere in this school, we suspect someone is letting titbits of information slip. We are telling you this not to turn you against one another, but because we want you to be wary, please tell your teachers any suspicions you have. Do not act on them yourselves. This will not be well received.”
He nods again, gives us a “thank you,” and ducks out, leaving the hall buzzing with whispers and curious glances.
Among us is a mole.
Things are going to get interesting.