I stepped out of the showers, my blonde hair dripping a trail of water behind me. Sitting down at the bench, I started to pull on my shorts and T-shirt. The muscles in my arms screamed for mercy as I held my hands up to wriggle into my white T-shirt, and I stifled a grimace. There was no way I would admit to being half wiped out by the ridiculously taxing activities that was part of the Venatore’s curriculum. Shoving my feet into runners, I stood up from the bench and balled my dirty clothes under my arm. I walked out of the changing room, my thighs burning with each step.
I guessed I really shouldn’t have shown the Venatore’s headmaster what I could do. Once he saw that I was exceptionally strong for a girl of my build, he had promoted me to the next level in Strength Training. The thing was, not many girls actually made it to this level. Along with me is one other girl who was so bulky that she may as well be in the running for the next Iron Man. Me, I was the lean type who was much more suited to endurance work rather than pure strength exercises. That was why after a whole day of sprinting alternating with hauling myself up a rock wall I was exhausted. I put up a hand to rub my upper arm, trying my hardest to delay the painful moment when my body finally realised that I had totally overworked it.
“Jamie! You heading back to your room?” asked Natasha Fielding as she fell into step with me.
“Tasha! Yeah I’m heading back for a bit before dinner. Got to finish up my assignment and all,” I told her, when what I really planned to do was to crash in my bed for the next half hour.
“Ah ok. I was just going to ask you to join a bunch of us down at the entrance,” she said, “There were words about how another boy’s been Chosen.”
“Thanks for asking,” I said, “I really would love to join you, but my assignment’s kind of due tomorrow.”
“Ah well,” Tasha said, “Jamie Sparks is always busy. I’ll catch you at dinner then.”
I waved at her as she turned the corner to head towards the entrance. Holding my bundle of sweat-soaked clothes securely, I began my climb of the three flights of stairs up to my room. As I passed by the laundry, I dropped the clothes into a basket marked “Third Floor” and continue the excruciating journey up the stairs. My legs were about to give out when I reached the door to my room. Pushing the wooden door open, I slipped in and slammed it shut. At last I could get some rest.
Lying spread-eagle on my blue doona, I reached over to my bedside table to grab my iPod. Putting it on shuffle, I waited as the iPod tried to surprise me. ‘Defying Gravity’ from Wicked came up, and I chuckled softly. It was the perfect song for today, for I was surely defying gravity when I attempted to pull myself up a rock wall. I closed my eyes and let the high soprano of Idina Menzel’s voice wash over me.
“Hello?” said a timid voice from outside the door.
I turned my iPod off and detoured by my desk to flip open a textbook. I wanted to look as though I’d been studying, true to what I told Tasha earlier. Running a hand through my damp hair, I pulled open the door.
“Hello, is this room 137?” asked a shy looking girl, her timid eyes framed by brown curls.
“Yep,” I said, “Do you need something?”
“Umm, I’m Claire,” she said, looking at me expectantly.
“And I’m Jamie,” I said, waiting for her to actually tell me what she was doing here.
“I’m your new roommate,” she said after an awkward silence, “I’m the new girl that got Chosen.”
A new girl? Sharing my room? But I swear Tasha said that the new kid was a boy...