Stonewood Academy

Stonewood Academy, A prestigious boarding school in Bath, England is not all that it seems. What happens when three americans except full ride scholarships to this mysterious school?

Characters:
Reign as Thea
Sophia Fletcher as Juliet
Angelo W. Chute as Oliver

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8. The Training Rooms

Oliver Reed: Play with the schools toys? Sweet! I don't mean I'm fully onboard with what Mr. Whaver is saying, but hey, if he is letting us play with these rooms that help us discover our powers, whether or not I have one, I can't see it being anything but fun. I wait patiently to see if Mr. Whaver says anything else, and if not, wait for the students to disperse so I'm not the first to leave.

 

THEA:  I shrug and walk into the room closest to me. When I enter, I get an unexpected rush of energy, like a shock of electricity. Which makes sense as I’m standing in a room filled with everything electronic, from security cameras in every corner, to every type of computer known to mankind.  A tall woman stands from what appears to be an electric chair. Why would she sit there!? “Why hello, you must be one of our new scholarship students. I’m Professor Lingue.”

I smile as I gaze around the room. “Hey, I’m Thea Gray.” she raises an eyebrow.

“The Thea Gray who snuck out of the Academy undetected?

I smirk. “The one and only.” She gestures to the seat behind her.

“Would you mind taking a seat?” She laughs at my expression of horror. “Don’t worry, I won't electrocute you, I just want to run some tests on you…”   I shrug. Why not?

 

JULIET: I was going to just follow Thea to whichever room she chose, but she seems to have altogether disappeared. I look around a bit, confused but soon set a course for a room in the distance, all solid concrete with one long, thick, glass-like window through the side. It looks like some sort of shooting rage. I’ve never shot a gun or any sort of projectile for that matter, but would it hurt to try? I walk to the room’s entrance and find a student inside, shooting with a compound bow at an impossible target. “Uh, hi!” I say, opening the door to the range.

    “Oh hey! Old Mr. Whaver told us new scholarship students would be coming in to try out different courses today. Would you like to give the bow a try?” He asks kindly.

    “Sure, although I’ve never shot anything before,” I say uneasily.

    “Aw, don’t worry about it! It’s easy! Just hold it like this,” He says, helping me get accustomed to the bow. After some vague instruction, I’m finally able to hook a arrow in the bow string. I breath in deeply, almost instinctively and pull the bow back as I was taught. Suddenly, It’s like I’m seeing a whole new world. My vision has blurred and sharpened only onto the target, focusing and zooming in like a camera, but with more dimensions. It’s an extremely dizzying feeling. I set my sight on the exact center of the target and line up the arrow’s point. Somehow, for reasons unknown to me, I am able to let my fingers slide from the bowstring, releasing the arrow. My vision slowly returns to normal and I lower the bow. I let out the breath I had been holding in. Out of the corner of my eye, I see the boy from earlier holding some sort of remote in his hand, pointed at the ceiling. He’s frantically clicking buttons on the control and suddenly, a bright light flashes above my head. There’s a bright tv screen mounted to the ceiling with a grid like diagram of the target I had just shot at.

    “That was amazing!” He says as he works the remote. “Are you certain you’ve never shot a bow?”

    “Never,” I reply with slight unease.

    “Hah! You wouldn’t believe it, but hit the target perfectly! Well, almost perfectly. The formulas in the program give a readout that you were. 0.0001 centimeters from the dead center. That’s unbelievable!” He pauses, when suddenly his eyes light up. “Have you ever used a machine gun before?”

 

Oliver Reed: The class seems to disperse into every which way. It's like they all have a calling, they walk like bugs to a light. Is that how is should work? One room should, like, call my name? I look around, and frankly, I know nothing about any of them. I take another look at the course that one guy... Parker, that's the name... At the course Parker was running.

  I take a few unsure steps toward him, nobody else seemed interested in this room. Upon my approach, Parker jumps off the hamster wheel suddenly, landing no more than two feet from me, with an extended hand. "Name's Parker, I'm super agile, blah blah blah.... I'm not gonna go through all the introductory steps we are supposed to go through for noobies, instead, I'll just ask you to hop on." He extends his arm to the hamster wheel. Dang, that went from zero to a hundred fast.

 

THEA:  “When you snuck out of the school, how did you avoid the security cameras? The trip lasers? How did you disable the alarms?” The electric chair is actually quite comfy, and I lounge in it as if it's my throne.

“I don't know, I just kinda… left. Wait- you have trip lasers!? That's wicked!” She nods absentmindedly, consulting a tablet in her hands.

“What did you touch? How did you get out.”

“The front door, duh. What, did you expect me to climb out a window?”

“Well… Yes. That's what students who tried to sneak out before did. Keyword, try. They never made it out without triggering every alarm. But you did. You didn't even show up on our hidden cameras.”

I shrug. “I just opened the door and walked out. Nothing to it.” Her brow becomes crinkled.

“But there is something to it!” She tapes her keyboard for a moment before, setting it down and handing me a new blank one.

“Turn it on.” Weird, but whatever.  I hold down on the power button, but nothing happens. Professor Lingue heaves a sigh.

“Turn it on with your mind, silly girl.” What? How do I do that!? I gaze down at the dead device, and think, Turn on.

And it does.

 

JULIET: The boy disappears through an adjoining door, smirking. I peer through the entrance to find a room filled with weapons, all mounted on racks or placed in containers. He retrieves a large black gun from a rack and what I think looks like ammunition. “So you’ve seriously never held a gun before?” He asks me curiously.

    “No, most certainly not. My parents are pacifists. Dad’s a scientist and Mom’s a history professor. This sort of activity doesn’t quite settle well with them...” I reply and the boy only smirks.

    “Figures. Here, take this,” He says, handing me the weapon. It’s extremely heavy and bulky and feels quite uncomfortable. Nonetheless, I take it up in my arms and follow his instructions on how to shoot it. I get positioned and focus on the target. Again, my world is spinning and readjusting, straightening and blurring. It’s an awful feeling. Suddenly, the chaos in my head slowly calms down and all I can see now is the enlarged target in front of me, crystal clear in my head. I can see the details of it, the woven white fibers of the meshy fabric it’s made of, The hundreds of miniscule sensors built into the back of it. I try to calm myself, forcing my eyes to zoom back and only focus on the center of the target. That’s all I see. The tiny black dot. Everything else is shrouded by hazed blur. I open up on the target. I watch each bullet whir through the air, blurred by the speed at which it travels, but somehow, I can still see them moving. Each hits the target dead center, somehow sliding through the slick woven fibers of the target, and then I’m released. Although I have a bit of a headache, I can now properly see again at a normal level and focus. I click on the safely and heft the gun up in my arms, where I find the boy staring at me in shock. The readout is already displayed on the screen: 0.000001 centimeters from the center.

    “I figured your shot with the bow might just be some dumb luck, but now I realise... well...” I looks at me and grins. No. No. This is dumb luck! I tell myself. That couldn’t have been some crazy manifestation of power. There’s plenty of people with good aim, just like what I had accomplished. I’m sitting down now on a bench against the wall, head bent over a bit from the headache. I only look up momentarily to see the boy entering the weapons room and returning with roughly a dozen items.

 

Oliver Reed: "Aaaand... Go." Parker presses a button, beginning the course. I hear a small speaker somewhere close to this hamster wheel speak. "Level three Begins in three, two, one... Begin."

  Parker already told me how it works, the hamster wheel spins, and you try to stay on your feet as long as you can. Obstacles pop out from the right wall and sometimes the floor and ceiling, the left wall is so everyone can see you. The obstacles spin against the rotation of the circle's so the obstacles come at you faster. "Just stay on your feet," he says. Great advice.

  The hamster like wheel begins to spin, and I begin to jog to keep up with it. It's fun, who wouldn't want to run in a wheel this size? But the speed continues to pick up, and I begin struggling to keep up. I'm practically sprinting. Then poles and obstacles come from nowhere. First one is just a pole in the middle of the course, which I avoid easily. Next is a two foot high hurdle (when in a circle, a jump like this is harder than it looks). I barely make it, the moving floor doesn't help my jump up right. I almost trip, but regain my balance. Now a wall appears on the the right side of my path, and to avoid it I take a heavy, careless step to the right, avoiding the obstacle, but running into the wall to my right.

  I stumble, and before I can recover, there is a pole ahead of me. It's horizontal, maybe three or foot feet high. I know I'm supposed to duck or jump, but I need some sort of balance to do so. And this hamster wheel seems to keep picking up speed! Inevitably, the pole slams me solidly across my waist, and I flip over it, landing on my back.

  The course doesn't stop though, I'm doing complete loops around the circle on my back, to a point where I feel like I'm sick. I am sick. I just keep spinning! The course comes to an immediate stop, and I slide another ten feet before stopping. Fortunately, I stopped on the bottom side of the 'circle,' instead of the top, in which case I would have fallen thirty feet.

  Parker calmly approaches me with a paper and clipboard. I can't stop groaning, I swear that pole bloody impaled me as it passed. I feel little shame for my heavy breathing as I try to force myself to my feet.

  "Am I hired?" I ask, trying my hardest to keep my breath under control. He just laughs.

 

THEA: I look up at the professor in suspicion."How did you do that? where is the magic little button?" She has to be controlling the tablet, and this is just some joke played in every new student. But Professor Lingue doesn't laugh, instead, she takes the tablet from my hands. The moment I lose physical contact with it,  the screen goes black.  An eyebrow rises on the Professor, and she hands me back the tablet.

"Turn it on again." She orders.

Turn on. I command, and the tablet responds, light flooding the screen. This isn't a joke. I'm- i'm really turning it on.  Lingue takes the tablet back, and sets it on the table, and it once again powers down when it leaves my touch. She picks up her own tablet again and taps a few things before looking up at me.

"I just turned on all the security cameras in this room. I want you to turn them off." I look around myself and count about 25 cameras throughout the room. A little much for a training room...  

I do what I did for the tablet and think, turn off. Immediately, my head erupts in pain and I cry out from the shock of it.

The professor doesn't even blink at my pain as she consults her tablet. "You turned them all off, congratulations. When you snuck out of the school, you must have been subconsciously turning off the security measures." She taps at her screen a little longer before looking up at me, still clutching my head. " I would take some pain medicine and explore the other rooms." She turns her back to me and I take that as my cue to leave. I stand, my vision blurring, and stumble out of the room.

 

JULIET: After trying out 12 different weapons, i'm exhausted. Just as the bow and machine gun, I had perfect hits each and every time. I'm just sitting down right now trying to keep my eyes under control. The boy, who I discovered is named Charlie, had been pushing me on for the last hour or so to keep on trying new weapons, but it had all just become too much. "Hey," I say to Charlie and he looks up from cleaning a gun barrel.

"What's up?" He asks in response.

"Could you just keep what happened here today just between us?"

"But-" he tries to say, but I cut him off.

"It would mean a lot. I'm not really sure yet if I'm able to embrace this whole powers thing yet. Maybe i'm just a good shot," I say, but I know there's more to it than that. It wasn't just that I could shoot a gun or bow well, it was that I could see so well. I hadn't told Charlie anything about my extreme vision yet, and I planned to keep it that way. "Hey. I think I might go head out and try a different room. Thanks for all your help. I really appreciate it, truly," I say and he smiles in return. I walk out of the room and take a seat at one of many metal benches stationed throughout the basement. If only mom could see me now! She would be all over this power thing. She is a professor of history, and has a deep love for Shakespeare, hence my namesake, however morbid it is. She loves all the magical elements that Shakespeare puts into his plays. She's even in an online groupie of conspiracy theorists who believe that Shakespeare's plays are documentaries of real events, however bizarre it sounds. However many quirks she may have, she is still my mom though.

I pull myself up from my stupor and try to look for a room to try out, but before I can do anything, my vision begins to blur, zooming and zooming in on the floor looming before me. It won't stop. I can see everything, the minuscule cracks in the ground, the small pores in the cement. It's so awful. It just keeps on going, and I begin to see things I don't recognize, blurry grey patterns and black flecks... And then I just let go and everything goes black.

 

Oliver Reed: "No chance agility is your power," Parker says. "Trust me, you are slightly more agile than average, but it certainly isn't your power. You see, that there was a level three. Someone with agility related power that power could finish the course, never trippin' or stumblin' on nothin. You made it six percent through the course."

  I try to laugh it off. "Yeah, I guess I just wanted to try it out." He laughs.

  "Don't worry about utterly failing this," he says. "Just so you know, many of the new students here try out most of the rooms, utterly failing by the way, until one of their last rooms. Then they find their nitch, but it's after failing at... Well, everything else." That's really what I needed to hear, that I wasn't the only one that didn't find their 'power' right away.

  "Say, are you that American Oliver fellow?" Parker asks.

  "Yeah, how do you know?"

  "Do me a favor bud, go talk to Mr. Whaver again. He will direct you to the proper room." I'm slightly surprised, but I say okay, thank you and goodbye. I now begin my search for Mr. Whaver.

 

THEA: My vision swims, and I lean against the wall, blinking to try to clear the black spots blocking my sight.  A drum beat is playing against my temples, so loud everything around me has been dulled to white noise. I slide down the wall and crumple to the floor. Pain meds, no duh. I see the outline of blurry feet stop before my face, and muffled words, rich with a British accent, reach my ears.

“Hey, are you okay?” A hand touches my shoulder, and instantly the pain and blurriness fades.

"It felt like my skull was cracking in two." I say as I struggle into a sitting position. Worried sky blue eyes meet my grey ones.

"You're a new student right?" I nod.  "You probably went over your limit on your power."

"But I just turned off some security cameras... Is that really my power limit?" The boy, who looks maybe a year or two older then me lets a smirk cross his face.

"Mr. Whoever tends to forget explaining some things. Most kids have some side powers, Minor powers. You probably just discovered one of them."

"Oh." Is all I can say. The pain has faded completely now. The boy removes his hand from my shoulder, and I feel some of the headache return with his absent touch.

"Yeah, sorry I can't take all the pain away. Healing is a minor power of mine, and if I overuse it, I'll burnout, like you."

"Oh, well thanks. I feel better then before, but I think I might just sit here for a little longer."

The boy smiles. "Anytime. What's your name, by the way?"

"Thea Gray."

"Well, I'll see you around, Gray." And with his farewell, he gets up and leaves. It's only when he disappears around a corner that I realize that never got his name.

 

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