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Chapter 32

I regained consciousness once more on top of something disgustingly slimy and horribly wet. I felt like I was drowning when I tried to breathe with my mouth pressed against the moldy material. My hands were bound once more and yet, I heard breathing. I thrust myself off of the mattress and allowed my eyes to adjust to the darkness for a moment before forcing the movement of my sore body. “Wow,” a voice said from somewhere beside a wall. “I’ve seen some crazy things but I have never seen anyone get thrown in here so hard,” they said, moving from their spot perched against the wall and coming into view. It was a tall and masculine young woman who looked about my age with dark skin and allowed her natural hair to stay beautifully untouched by hair products and people who tried to change her look. She held out her hand. I took it and allowed myself to be hoisted by her strong arm onto my feet. “What’dja do?” she asked, seeming to crave anything interesting at all.

I sighed, bringing back the memories from deep inside of my brain. “I’m pretty sure I assaulted the man, Dr…” I paused, unable to recall for a moment what Dr. Yellow-Tie’s actual name was. “Brown?” I finished after a while.

She laughed wholeheartedly and put her hand up high for me to hit with the palm of my hand. “Nice, girl,” she said excitedly.

I gave her the desired high-five she clearly thirsted for and introduced myself. “I’m Olivia James,” I said.

“That is the most perfect mild-mannered alter-ego name I’ve ever heard,” she said. I couldn’t help the look of pure terror which had paraded itself onto my face as I stumbled to tell her I didn’t know what she was talking about. She snorted. “Are you kidding me?” she asked. “You look exactly like that new superhero Riptide,” she said blatantly. I sighed. “Anyways,” she said. “My name is Zuri Sharp,” she said with great confidence. “I’m a junior at a gifted school in Arizona,” she paused for a moment as if checking to see whether or not I knew what she meant. After a few moments I hadn’t said anything, she continued to explain what it meant to be in a gifted and talented program.

“I know what a gifted school is,” I said. “I too go to a G.A.T.E school.” I said. She nodded and was clearly trying to hide the look of surprise on her face.

“Before or after he hit you with the serum?” she asked.

Why was everyone asking that question? I asked myself while absent-mindedly answering her question with the truth. Again, she tried and failed to hide her surprise. “Why does it matter?” I asked.

She looked at me like I was only born the day before but sighed and answered the question. “They’re looking for someone who was intelligent before they were given a serum to make them smarter for something,” she said calmly. I asked her what they needed me for but she simply shrugged as if sure I would be fine.

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