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juwairiyah surti

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juwairiyah surti

Action Others

The First Day

The First Day

18 mins

“Whoa,” I whispered. Ethan let out a low whistle, running his hand through his black hair.

The really huge room was lined with huge spheres on each side. There were about twenty in total, with one person in each. A few people in lab coats walked around briskly, taking notes on their clipboards.

A woman with her soft brown hair tied up in a tight bun was passing by. She wore glasses and she was scribbling something on her clipboard.

“Excuse me,” I started, walking towards her. She didn’t bother looking up.

“We don’t mean to interrupt. We would like to get back to our dorm.” I continued, assuming she was listening. She wasn’t. She walked on. I looked at Ethan, who was as confused as I was.

I ran to catch up with the woman, Ethan hot on my heels. I walked next to the woman, hoping she noticed me.

“Hello?” I said. No reply. She was still scribbling something on her clipboard. Ethan started walking backward in front of her.

“Earth to a random woman with a clipboard.” He said, waving his hand in front of her face. Still nothing. We both stopped walking, completely shook.

“Are we invisible?” Ethan whispered.

“I’m not sure,” I said, frowning.

“YEEEEEEEEHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAW.” Cried Ethan suddenly, at the top of his lungs.

I flinched and turned to glare at him.

“Shut up!” I hissed.

“Wouldn’t make much of a difference. No one noticed.” He replied.

I looked around. It was true. No one batted an eye when Ethan decides to become a cowboy.

We went to the nearest sphere. A person was inside, wearing what looked like a wet suit. His face was slack and I almost thought it was a robot or something. He stood tall, his shoulders set and his back straight. He looked so familiar. I racked my brains, trying to recollect.

“Isn’t this guy from that talk show?” whispered Ethan.

“Yeah!” I cried.

“My foster dad couldn’t get enough of it.”

“Logan loved it for some reason.”

“Of course he did.”

I turned to him, crossing my arms against my chest, “What does that mean?”


And before us, the man turned invisible. I gasped and Ethan inhaled sharply.

“He vanished?” I said, bewildered.

Next to us, a man with a lab coat started jumping up and down, screaming “Eureka! Eureka!”

I stared at him, my confusion growing.

“I guess this some crazy lab with all these hoots trying out some random experiments.” Observed Ethan.

I swatted his arm. “This is amazing! Turning someone invisible! Who knows what else they can do?”

“Not make fireproof suits.” Ethan grinned, pointing at the sphere opposite to us. Two guys in lab coats were desperately trying to douse one woman whose sleeve was on fire.

“And that’s our cue to leave,” I said, dragging him towards the end of the room where there was a door.

“But I wanted to try some of those things. They can’t see or hear us, can they?”

“I’m not sure,” I said, biting my lip.

“What do you mean?”

I stopped and turned to face him. “DUDE! No one over here seems to hear or see us. We can still see and hear each other. Josh was right there, well his hologram was, asking you to blast my face off!”

“Okay, I see how weird this is.”

“Ya think?”

“Easy tiger. I didn’t ask for this either. Keep your hair on.” Frowned Ethan.

“Sorry,” I said, realizing how much of a drama queen I was being. He probably hates me now. Ugh, why does mouth keep running like a bus like this! I should probably take lessons on how to shut up.

“Let’s just focus on getting back to the dorm,” said Ethan gently.

“Yeah. Yeah, you’re right. Onward!” I said, smiling. We reached the door and pulled it open.

A huge hallway lined with doors greeted us.

“Wonderful. About fifty doors to pick from. What could go wrong?” cried Ethan, sarcasm dripping from his voice.

“The odds really are against us.” I sighed.

“What’s the time?” asked Ethan.

I looked down at my wristwatch and my stomach immediately did a few summersaults and flips like a professional gymnast.

“Well?” probed Ethan, raising his eyebrow.

“It’s 8:50,” I whispered.

“Great. Our first day and we’re already in trouble.”

“Move it, Gray. We don’t have all day.” I said, grabbing the nearest door and flinging it open. A huge cafeteria was in front of me.

On the right, there was a small line waiting to get food. On the left were circular black and white tables, with people of all ages stuffing their faces.

“There’s Al!” Ethan cried, pointing at the far end of the cafeteria.    

We both jogged towards Alissa and the others who were all seated at one table. I didn’t notice it immediately, but literally, no one even glanced at us. We reached the table, glad we found our fellow dorm mates.

“Hey, Al. You won’t believe what happened. We were in a tank, then a maze, then some crazy lab, and- “Ethan stopped speaking, realizing Alissa wasn’t listening.

“Hello?” I said, waving my hand up and down.

“This cannot be happening.” Groaned Ethan dramatically.

“It’s okay. It’s okay,” I said, more to myself than Ethan.

“It is not.”

“I realized it! What the heck is going on!? Why is this-?” I stopped.

“What?” asked Ethan impatiently.

“You don’t think this is all a big joke or something?” I said, frowning.

“Like Josh’s hologram?” asked Ethan, sneering at the thought.

“Kind of.”

“Well, IT’S NOT FUNNY!” He screamed this into Alissa’s ear suddenly and she flinched. She flinched.

“I knew it!” I cried.

Nu Chan groaned.

“Al!” scolded Adelaide.

“He screamed into my ear!” protested Alissa.

“You had one job.” Sneered Natalie.

“All right, calm down. They look like they passed, right?” said Zed, the peacemaker.

Everyone eyed us and I was suddenly aware of the fact that my clothes were damp and wrinkled, my hair a jumbled mess, and I was on the whole very, well, untidy.

“You’ve got five minutes till Geography with old Rogers. You better hurry.” Said Lily.

“Shoot!” cried Alissa. She grabbed both Ethan and me, leading us out of the cafeteria. Zed followed, waving goodbye to the others.

We took a few doors and turns and suddenly we were in front of dorm 009. I couldn’t keep up with the directions and I was about a hundred percent sure I would get lost without someone with me.

“Go! Get ready. If I get in trouble with old Rogers, so help me, I will kill you.” Ordered Alissa. Zed didn’t seem bothered, though. He casually waved his hand over the door and it slid open.

We ran towards our beds, grabbing the fresh set of clothes on them. Frankly, I’m not sure where they came from, but I didn’t have time to ponder over it.

I jogged to the washroom, and just changed my clothes. The moment I came out of the washroom, Alissa handed me a pile of books, a notepad, and a pen.

“This should help you get started.” She grinned. Yeah, this is not going to be fun.

About five minutes later, we barged into a classroom, panting, and heaving. A young man with soft brown eyes and a square jaw dressed in a pair of jeans and shirt looked at us apprehensively.

“Take a seat,” he sighed his head in his hands. Alissa and Zed frowned. Clearly, they were expecting something else entirely.

Alissa and Zed sat down near the middle. The only seats available were at the end of the class. Ethan and I hurried back. I plopped my books and everything on the table, and so did Ethan next to me.

“Now, as I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted,” continued the teacher, Mr. Rogers. “the amazon jungle is called the lungs of the earth. Why?”

Everyone looked at me. Wait, was he asking me?

“Me?” I stuttered.

“Yes, you.”

“Uh, because there are a lot of trees?” I offered.

“Correct,” said Mr. Rogers.

I let out a relieved sigh.

“But that was too easy,” scowled Mr. Rogers.

I sat up straighter, blushing. A few people tittered, but the rest looked at Mr. Rogers. I pulled out the book labeled geography and pushed the rest down quickly. I opened the notepad and poised the pen to write. I was ready.

I was not ready. The first question may have seemed easy, but the rest of the class went in a blur. After thirty minutes, I was staring at the board filled with random marking with my mouth open and my notepad empty spare a few random words I scribbled down. It was all I could do to not cry.

Alissa and Zed slammed their books shut, smiling slightly. Apparently, they didn’t think this was a crying moment. Alissa walked over to my seat and patted my shoulder sympathetically. Behind me, Zed ruffled Ethan’s hair. Ethan looked like a lost dog, ready to die.

“That was us last year.” Said Zed, not able to keep the grin off him.

“Well, I’m glad you find it amusing,” I said while Ethan buried his head in his hands.

“Aw, don’t worry. You’ll do fine in Spanish.” Said Alissa, rubbing Ethan’s back.

“Spanish?” said Ethan, looking up in horror.

“Hey, you were good at Spanish back in Clayton High,” I offered.

“And you were good at Geography.” He said miserably.

“That doesn’t mean anything.” Said Zed.

“No, no. He’s got a point.” I said, scratching my head and squinting at the board.

I heaved up all my books, ready for another terrible class. Alissa and Zed led the way, chatting on and on. Ethan and I trudged behind them, dreading the next few hours.

Alissa and Zed stopped in front of a pair of lockers, with their names etched on them. Next to theirs were two blank white lockers.

“Your lockers.” Said Alissa. I opened the one next to Alissa’s and dumped everything in except my Spanish textbook and my notepad.

“Take math, too.” Advised Zed. I did.

“How do you go through every day?” groaned Ethan, slamming the locker next to me shut.

“We’ve only gone through the first class,” I grumbled.

“You get used to it.” Grinned Zed.

Nu Chan walked past us, his eye twitching and his face had a haunted look on it.

“Most of us do,” laughed Alissa.

The four of us entered the next class, where I was certain I would meet my doom.


“I cannot do that again,” I declared, throwing myself on my bed dramatically and lying on my back.

Ethan and Zed sat at the foot of my bed while Alissa sat next to me.

“I don’t see the point of doing this. We’re spies! We need to learn how to fight and spy and stuff.” Cried, Ethan.

“That’s at five,” said Nu Chan, sitting down next to him.

“Say what?” I said, rising sharply.

“Training is at five.” Repeated Nu Chan, a hint of a smile on his face.

“Why are you so happy?” asked Ethan.

“See, that’s something Nu is actually good at.” Said Alissa, rolling her eyes.

“I hate to admit it, but it’s true.” Agreed Nu Chan.

“Okay, what time is it?” I asked, plopping back down.


“Two hours to rest,” I sighed.

“Actually,” said a new voice, “Josh wants to see you and Ethan.”

I got up, eyeing Nicholas, who was the crusher of my hopes and dreams.

“Special treatment,” said Natasha said in a sing-song voice.

“For once in your life, Natasha, shut up,” snapped Jackson.

“Yeah. All newcomers get called to Josh’s office during their first day,” said Lily, pushing her glasses up her nose.

“Let’s go, then.” Sighed Ethan, pulling himself up. I groaned dramatically and literally dragged myself out of bed.

“Watch out Natasha,” grinned Zed, “you have competition for the world’s biggest drama queen.”

“Funny,” I said. I wasn’t smiling.

Ethan and I walked out of the dorm.

“Any idea where Josh’s office is?” asked Ethan.

“You might need me,”

I turned to see Nicholas walk out of the dorm.

“Thanks,” I said, shoving my hands into the pockets of my jacket.

“Chin up. He probably wants to know how our first day went or something,” said Ethan, though he didn’t sound too enthusiastic either.

We walked in silence for some time, Nicholas a few paces in front of us. I couldn’t help but notice the confidence Nicholas took around with him. I mean, he was wearing a suit and I didn’t find it weird because it looked right in him. He was wearing a suit.

“Are you related to Josh?” burst out Ethan all of a sudden. I gave him a look.

“I’m his nephew,” said Nicholas, his chest swelling with pride.

“You look a lot like him,” I said.

“Thank you!”

“Did you mean that as a compliment?” muttered Ethan under his breath.

“Not exactly,” I whispered. We exchanged smiles as we followed Mini Josh to Original Josh’s office.

We stopped in front of an elevator. With a ding, its doors slid open. We went inside the spacious elevator. The buttons weren’t marked by floors, but with names. Lab, copper, bronze, silver, gold, office, and Josh. Funny how he got a floor named after him.

Nicholas pressed the button marked Josh and the elevator lurched upwards, throwing me off my balance. I grabbed Nicholas’s arm to steady myself. He seemed unfazed by the sudden movement and smiled at me. Ethan was clutching the sides of the elevator as it zoomed upwards. I held tight on Nicholas’ arm.

The elevator halted as suddenly as it had started. The doors slid open and Ethan and I walked outside, a little unsteady on our feet, but otherwise unharmed. Nicholas didn’t follow us. We turned to see him wave goodbye just as the elevator doors slid shut.

“Next time, I’ll take the stairs.” Said Ethan.

“Me too,”

There was a small hallway with only one door at its far end. We walked towards it. Suddenly I felt very nervous. My legs were shaking and my stomach was doing flips. Then again, that might have just been from the elevator.

We reached the door.

“Ready?” said Ethan.

“Heck no,”


I raised my hand and knocked three times.


The doors slid open slowly. I swear it was just to give some more drama or something.

“Come in,” called a deep voice.

We walked into the darkroom, trying to adjust to the darkness. I couldn’t see a thing. I narrowed my eyes, trying to make out a few dark shapes.

 “You’re late,” said the same voice. Someone clapped twice and the lights suddenly turned back on.

“Dude!” I cried, covering my eyes from the blinding lights. This guy was getting on my nerves. Not to mention the time where he asked me to shoot Charlotte. I made a solemn vow to hate him.

“Not cool,” said Charlotte.

I blinked a few times, trying to adjust to the light. Josh sat behind a white desk on a white chair, grinning.

“Why do you like white so much?” I asked.

“It’s much easier to have everything white than picking out other colors.” He replied.

“Yeah, because that makes sense.” Muttered Charlotte, still rubbing her eyes.

“Please, take a seat.” Said Josh, gesturing to a plush sofa which was, much to my surprise, magenta in color.

I sat down and immediately sank into it.

“Why is it so plushy?” asked Charlotte.

“Your comfort matters,”


“Of course not. It was half off, so I bought it.”


“How is your first day going?” asked Josh, getting up and looking out the huge window.

“Great,” I said, giving very little effort in being enthusiastic.

“Terrible, I’m assuming?” said Josh.

“Worse. How can we do that every day? Plus, we’re way behind everyone else in our dorm.” Said Charlotte, clearly frustrated.

“You’ll learn. Everyone does.” Smiled Joshua, turning around.

“Nu Chan didn’t,” I muttered.

“Nu Chan is, well, his strengths lie elsewhere,” sighed Joshua.

“Why does everyone keep saying that?” I asked.

“I suppose you’ll find out in another hour or so. Meanwhile, I have something for you.”

“Sweet,” I said, ready for some free stuff. Boy, did I get it?

Josh pulled out two sleek laptops from behind his desk. My jaw dropped.

“Is that a MacBook?” gawked Charlotte.

“Two of them. You need to do your assignments somewhere.”

“Hold up. Assignments?” I asked, frowning as I took one of the MacBooks, admiring the shiny top.

“Open them,”

I opened it. About fifty-word documents stared back at me.

“You have got to be joking,” grumbled Charlotte, looking at her own Mac.

“You have a week to submit these.”

“I don’t suppose you have coffee.”

“We do, actually. I’m sure Zed or your other dorm mates would be glad to show you. I have something else for you.” Josh produced two watches. He handed us one each.

“Nice,” I said, strapping it on at once.

“These will unlock rooms available to you. They won’t unlock all, I’ll tell you that.”

Charlotte and I nodded.

“Now, you must be off. You have an hour and a half to utilize.” Said Josh, clapping his hands.

“Thanks,” I said, suddenly remembering that I wanted to stay mad at him.

“Yeah, thank you,” said Charlotte, standing up.

I jumped up, too. The two of us walked out of the room and towards the elevator.

“Do we have to take that ride of doom?” I asked, scrunching up my nose.

“Would you like to take fifty flights of stairs?” asked Charlotte teasingly.

“Elevator it is,” I said, banging the switch to call it up. It didn’t take long. The elevator opened with a ding.

“Bronze, right?” asked Charlotte.

“I guess,” I replied, bracing myself.



“Too bad,” she slammed the switch and we dropped downwards. We reached our floor in a matter of seconds and the elevator slid open with a ding.

“I think I left my stomach up there,” I mumbled.

“Come on, drama queen.” Smirked Charlotte.

“Hey, you’re the drama queen. You were the one groaning and stuff.” I shot back, grinning.

“You’re the drama king then,” declared Charlotte, walking towards dorm 009.

“Sure.” I smiled, catching up with her.

We reached the dorm. I waved my watch across the number 009 and the door slid open. We walked in to see everyone on Alissa and Charlotte’s beds, talking or something in a circle. Even Natasha.

“Hello! Got your assignments, I see,” said Nicholas, sitting on the edge of Alissa’s bed.

“I had no idea you get so many,” I said, trying my best to look miserable.

“Hey, it’s not so bad!” said Jackson who was literally sprawled on the floor between the beds.

“So you’ll help?” Charlotte asked hopefully.

“We might,” smiled Alissa, leaning against the wall on Charlotte’s bed.

I went to my own bed and flopped down on it. I opened the Mac and looked at all the documents with distaste. Charlotte settled down at the foot of my bed, ready for an hour of doing random assignments we had no idea about.


“Training in five minutes, move it!” said a voice, making me jump. Alissa stood over me, wearing a yellow tank top and a frown.

“Coming!” I said, closing my laptop and jumping off the bed, nearly squishing Charlotte.

“Watch it, dude!” she said, scrambling up and going to her own bed to keep her laptop there.

We rushed out the door, following Zed and Alissa, who were running ahead. We ran toward the stairs and started descending. We ran down twenty flights of stairs. I was just starting to run out of breath when Adelaide pushed open a door.

“We’re outside,” I said, unimpressed.

“Yeah, that’s part of this week’s training program,” said Jackson.

“Of course it is,” said Charlotte, panting a little. Everyone else seemed fresh and like they hadn’t just run down twenty flights of stairs. I wiped some sweat off my brow, frowning. Exactly how was this training going to be?

“FIFTY LAPS AROUND THE BUILDING. RUN, RUN, RUN!” cried a super loud voice. I gave a little yelp and jumped. I turned towards the origin of the voice, expecting to see a big burly man. A woman in her forties stood there instead. She was surprisingly fit in her dark green jogger’s uniform.

“DID YOU NOT HEAR ME, NEWBIE?” cried the woman, walking up to me.

Startled, I looked around. I was the only one standing. Everyone else was further away, jogging together in rhythm.

“What’s your name?” she asked, lowering her voice, but only a little. She wasn’t screaming, that’s all.

“Ethan Gray,” I stammered.

“Well, Ethan. I’m Miss Lock. And in my class, NO ONE SLACKS OFF,” she screamed at my face. I took off at once. Anything to get away from that woman. I ran to catch up with the joggers.

“Rough start?” smiled Zed.

“That’s an understatement. All the teachers I’ve met till now hate me.” I mumbled.

“Hey, it’s only your first day! You should’ve seen me on my first day. I collapsed after ten laps. Now I can do fifty laps easily.” Zed said.

“I doubt I can do five,” I said just as we completed half a lap.

“Seriously?” asked Nicholas who was right in front of me. He had switched from his suit to black joggers and a blue t-shirt.

“I know, I’m a wimp. Whatever.” I muttered.

“I bet you can’t do three,” laughed Nicholas.

“Nick,” warned Zed.

“Yeah? Let’s see, shall we?” I snapped, anger boiling inside me. I’d prove that twit wrong if it was the last thing I do.

“Yeah, we will,” grinned Nicholas.

“Don’t mind him, just jog.” Said Zed, shooting Nicholas a look.

Alissa and Charlotte fell back to talk to us.

“He’s not always like that. I wonder what’s wrong.” Frowned Alissa.

“He was nice at the elevator,” said Charlotte.

At this remark, Alissa and Zed exchanged amused looks.

“What?” asked Charlotte. The two of them burst out laughing.

“I don’t get it,” I said, scowling.

“OI! STOP CHATTING AND JOG!” cried Miss Lock. We had finished a lap.

“One lap over! How hard can this be?”, I said, smiling a little.

“STOP SMILING AND JOG!” screamed Miss Lock.

“Sheesh,” I muttered.

“You get used to it.” Muttered Zed.

We jogged in silence. By the tenth lap, I was starting to sweat. By the fifteenth lap, my side started to cramp. My breath came out in short gasps. I had lagged while everyone else jogged steadily. I stopped a few times, but Miss Lock kept screaming at me to buck up. Even Charlotte didn’t seem too bad. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that she was on the track team at school.

I pushed forward, determined not to give up. By the twentieth lap, I was done. No way I could go further. Even Charlotte started struggling. Finally, I gave up. Just as I finished the twenty-first lap, I stopped. I didn’t bother listening to Miss Lock’s screaming.

Charlotte had also stopped. She walked back to where I was, panting.

“Right, I’m done. I can’t do it anymore.” I wheezed out, bending over and clutching my knees

“Right behind you.”

“NEWBIES!” screamed Miss Lock. We turned to look at her. She had her arms crossed and was tapping her foot.

“I’m so in trouble,” I muttered, still trying to catch my breath.

“You mean we are. Partners together, through and through,” said Charlotte, panting.

I managed to smile. Charlotte offered her fist and I bumped it. We walked to Miss Lock, dreading what was next.

She glowered at us for some time. We stared at the ground, waiting for her to bark her head off at us.

“Congratulations,” she said finally. The two of us looked up in surprise.

“You lasted longer than most of these twerps on their first day. Nicholas was the only one who could complete thirty laps on his first day. Maybe you aren’t hopeless after all.” Said Miss Lock. I managed a weak smile, still panting.


I groaned as I got down on my hands and knees. Charlotte looked ready to drop dead. We started doing pushups.

My arms were literally screaming at me to stop by the time I was done. With a sigh, I collapsed. I didn’t care if the sand was sticking to my sweat and making me filthy. At this point, I was ready to sleep.

“ALL RIGHT TWERPS! YOU GUYS DONE WITH YOUR LAPS? DROP AND GIVE ME FIFTY!” screamed Miss Lock at the rest. They followed suit.

“You two. Twenty sit-ups.” She snapped at us before going to inspect everyone else. I let out a yell of frustration which was almost immediately muffled by Charlotte’s hand.

“Let’s just get this over with.” She said. I groaned but started with the sit-ups. Hopefully, we’re done after this.

“TWENTY JUMPING JACKS!” screamed Miss Lock at us.

“Okay, I’m going to go die.”

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