By Sara Codair
It was too late to turn back–for all of them. The test had begun. They would either collaborate and score at least 75% and become wizards, or fail, get their minds wiped, and live out the rest of their lives in a factory.
Gretchen didn’t want to spend her life as a mindless soap- manufacturing drone, but no one would focus. Unfortunately, collaboration was essential. They each had a different piece of the equation to solve on the Physics of Potency exam. Jack was so busy ignoring Ricardo that he missed an important variable, meaning that by the time Gretchen arrived at her portion, she had to redo his before she could answer hers. Felecia was distracting Pi; he messed up his portion. By the time the answer was put into the crystal proctor ball, it was wrong.
“You’re all idiots,” muttered Gretchen, but no one heard her.
“Just focus on your task,” she shouted, and they still didn’t hear her.
When they got five consecutive questions wrong, she lost it. It was statistically impossible to pass now, but she wasn’t going down without a fight. She’d prove she was a capable mage, one way or another.
Enraged as she was, gathering power was easy. She wrapped it around herself like a flaming cocoon. Equations danced across her eyelids; she solved them effortlessly. The numbers translated to words as she spoke, sending flaming energy out from her fingers to her classmates. It twined around their bodies, contorting their forms and until they were just a herd of baaing goats.
The exam board materialized. They were all grinning.
“That’s a pass if I ever saw one,” said the headmaster. The deans all nodded in agreement.
©2016 Sara Codair
An earlier draft of “The Final” was posted on last week’s Cracked Flash competition. It was the honorable mention, so it received some feedback from the judges, so I made some changes and posted the final version here. You can enter this week’s competition at http://crackedflash.blogspot.com/
One thought on “The Final”
Good short story. Bonus for me: it validates what I’ve been saying for years: self-empowerment trumps collectives… always.