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Book 3 deleted scene (More to come)

“Ah! I think we have enough people now,” Ms. Violet said cheerfully, waving at them to follow her into the hallway on the right hand side, and they soon scurried after her, posters of K.O.R.E. glued to the walls, making Ethan wonder whether they were going to the small room he’d met Gary in, but he didn’t have to wonder long, the thin door at the end of the hallway coming into his site once he was able to tear his eyes away from a picture of the man who’s legs and feet were blurred, almost missing from the picture itself.

He couldn’t remember the man’s name, eyebrows raised and a challenging smile on his lips, but Ethan could tell what his Gift was just by looking at the area where his legs and feet should have been. Super-fast reflexes, the same as Benji, or maybe Darren. He’d never really asked Darren about his Gift, witnessing it firsthand when they trained for the obstacle course.

Ms. Violet pulled out jangling keys out of her pocket before inserting one into the Lock, twisting it sharply before opening the door, motioning for them to head inside before her.

The walls on every side of the room now had no bookcases shielding them as before, left completely exposed while the window in the back was now covered in dusty blinds, blocking any thin rays of sunlight from peeking into the room, which reeked of moldy pipes minutes away from exploding, water seeping through the walls and out the roof, dripping onto their heads.

Already having prepared himself to see an old woman wrapped in silky scarves, beaded bracelets going all the way up her arms and humming softly, rocking back and forth on her sandaled feet, Ethan was somewhat surprised to find a screen hanging from the ceiling, accompanied by a wooden desk situated to the right of it, covered in two desktop computers, cushioned chairs surrounding the structure.

“Hmm,” said Ethan, a grin spreading on his cheeks, watching as Ms. Violet took her place next to the giant screen. “If this is all we have to worry about then there’s no way we’re not competing. She’s probably going to show us a video about how to behave, lessons for little kids.”

“And afterwards we’ll be expected to practice what we learned from the movie and apply it whenever we’re in class,” laughed Timothy, slapping a hand against his thigh, earning a couple of glares from I.V., Sam, and Silvia, Jessie focusing on the wall closest to her, lost in her own world. “What a relief!” he continued to cackle, drawing the attention of several more students.

“Alright, everybody’s eyes on the screen,” commanded Ms. Violet, tapping her foot, hands on her hips. “Before we start, would anyone like to volunteer to go first?” Several hands shot in the air, which Ethan thought was foolish, since they still had no idea what was going to happen. He kept his arms firmly at his sides, resisting the urge to smack Timothy in the back of the head when his hand also bolted upward.

“Let me see…” Ms. Violet rested her chin on a closed hand, eyeing each of the students seriously, brow furrowing, Ethan wishing she didn’t change her mind and pick someone who didn’t have their hand raised, particularly him. “I think we’ll go with…Maddox, how about you?” Heads turned to the boy standing in the back of the room, whispering to his friends, all of them forming a circle, not wanting to miss a word of the conversation.

Maddox sharply jerked his head up when hearing his name, forehead creased as he said, “I didn’t volunteer.”

“True, but I thought it would be best to start off with you, anyway. Now, can we get going?” Maddox nodded then rolled his head around his shoulders, stretching his arms briskly as if he was about to embark on a strenuous jog.

“Good.” Ms. Violet rubbed her sleeves so they lay scrunched on her arms. She cleared her throat before beginning, “Maddox, would you consider yourself a bully?”

Maddox huffed, smiling contemptuously as if the question merely insulted him, saying in disbelief, “I’m not a bully.”

“Is that so? Arlene, you can press play.” Ethan had been completely oblivious to the other woman’s presence, sitting behind the desk, only catching a strand of her hair, hearing the click of a mouse.

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