Karina, the Math Wiz: Part Four
“Please take out a pencil, class,” Mrs. Yimps squabbled. “And take everything off your desk.” The teacher began to hand quizzes out to her class.
Karina’s heart beat fast and uneasily. She hadn’t studied. She was going to, but then she got angry at her siblings, and then she fell asleep. The Mynci’s cheeks were ever flushed, but she tried to hide her anticipation.
As the Gelert passed, Karina forced a smile. She snatched a quiz and put her name at the top. It was three pages, back to back, she could tell. She took a deep breath.
From her seat, Graphie snorted. “Chill,” she said.
“You may begin,” Mrs. Yimps declared, taking her place in the front of the classroom. Nervously, Karina’s eyes began to move from left to right as she skimmed her test.
The first five problems were easy; basic. Karina happily went through them, neatly printing her work, sure that she would get 100% on this quiz, too. Her eyes scrolled down to the next problem. Her jaw dropped.
Then, desperately, she examined the other pages of her quiz. Diagrams. Algebra. Geometry. Word Problems. She had no clue how to do at least half of the problems. She glanced to Graphie, who was tapping her pencil against her desk.
“Eyes on your own paper,” snapped Mrs. Yimps. “I expect more out of you, Karina.” The Mynci hung her head as she scribbled guesses to most of the problems.
Time seemed to go by quickly. Mrs. Yimps noticed many of her students were staring at the clock blankly. “Any section of the quiz you have not finished will count as a 0,” the Gelert snorted, crossing her arms.
Everyone began writing again. Karina began to sweat, as she nervously scribbled numbers all over her test. Finally, Mrs. Yimps announced that time was out.
“Pass your quizzes forward.” The Gelert was cross, angrier then usual. Karina passed her test forward, still breathing heavily. Graphie glared, her stare saying “You got what you deserved.”
The bell rang and Karina sadly gathered her things, heading for history. Mrs. Yimps pulled her aside. “Everything all right?” she asked with concern. “Getting a little stressed?” Tearfully, Karina nodded. “Nothing to be ashamed of, dear. Don’t let it all get to you.” The Mynci was about to walk away once more, when her teacher stopped her again. “Are you sure you want to compete?”
“Yes,” Karina set flatly. “I have to get to history.” Karina left the classroom, not at all sure that she really did want to compete anymore.
“I think I need to go to the nurse,” Karina said, holding her stomach at lunch. She was sitting at a table empty except for Em. The Eyrie was prodding her school lunch, a juicy hamburger, and occasionally taking a bite.
“Sorry,” she grunted, not really paying attention. “What’s the fuss?”
Karina looked down at her sandwich in shame. “I think I...” Karina stumbled for a moment. “I think I failed my math quiz.” Em dropped her hamburger on the floor and gaped at Karina, her face pale.
“No!” she screamed, staring at Karina. “Karina364, the intelligent red Mynci, and my best friend, does NOT fail at anything.” The Mynci winced uncomfortably when Em called her “my best friend”. Was she really Em’s best friend?
For a moment, she just sat their, disappointed with herself. “I really don’t feel well,” she said, standing up from the table, tossing her lunch away, and running out of the cafeteria.
“Karina?” Christine asked, an odd look on her face, as her Mynci sprang into their Neohome. “School isn’t over yet.”
Karina was sweaty and breathing uneasily. She ran to her owner and gave her a hug, trying to hold back tears. “Christine,” she gulped, putting her paw to her mouth, as if she were going to throw up. “I...” She couldn’t continue.
“What is it?” the girl asked, her face concerned. “Are you aright?”
In a hushed whisper, Karina muttered, “I think I failed.” Christine chuckled, but Karina hid her face in her paws.
“Failed what?” she asked, looking her pet square in the eyes, pulling her arms back. After a moment of hesitation, the Mynci replied:
“Math quiz,” she said, her cheeks burning. Christine blinked, as if she did not believe her, and then gave her paw a squeeze.
“Karina!” she smiled. “I’m sure you got an A! You’re a good student, you understand concepts, and you always study very hard.”
Karina hung her head. “I didn’t study.” She bit her lip as her owner eyed her.
“That’s a different story. Why not?”
“Well...” Karina began. “I forgot.”
Christine stood up and began to pace. “This isn’t like you,” she finally said, tapping her foot. “What were you doing last night?”
Her eyes shining with guilt, Karina looked away. “Neomailing Em,” she gulped. “She asked if we could talk, try to plan a sleepover. It isn’t her fault! It’s mine!”
“What homework do you have tonight?” Christine asked, her tone serious.
“Um.” Karina scratched her head. “I only made it to lunch, before I went to the Nurse. She sent me home. I have an essay in history, nasty one. Nothing in gym. Nothing in math. And a science paper due Monday.”
“You aren’t Neomailing anyone until all that is done,” Christine promptly retorted. Karina gaped, and pounded her fists on the table.
“It’s the weekend!” she hollered. “I’ve got days to do it! And Em was going to sleep over.”
Christine glared. “You aren’t playing with your sisters, reading any books, and especially not seeing Em until it's all done. Do it today, do it tomorrow, but my rule stands. This isn’t like you, Karina.” She stared down her pet with an angry look.
Karina nodded, feeling uncomfortable. She knew her owner was right.
Cutie, Snow Angel, and Graphie burst threw the front door, several hours later, each carrying a backpack and wearing a worried expression. “Where’s Karina!” yelled Cutie. “She wasn’t with us after school!”
“I’m worried,” Graphie said, tossing her backpack onto the floor, and walking into the kitchen. There, their expressions changed from concern to anger.
At the kitchen table was Karina, pencils and papers all around her. She was busy writing her history essay, and didn’t even notice her siblings.
“Well, look who ditched us,” snarled Snow Angel. “Did you sprint home with Em so you didn’t have to face us?”
Karina looked up. “And where were you in English? Mrs. Baxter didn’t even know. Were you cutting class?” Cutie glared
“And in art and music, too,” Graphie snorted. “What’s up with you?”
Their sister’s eyes swelled. “None of your business,” she tried to say, but her voice was so soft and shaky, no one heard her. She laid her head on the table. “I’m a failure.”
“We know that,” snapped Cutie, rudely. “It’s because of sweet little Emerald. She’s not such a good friend after all, is she?”
“Don’t say that,” Karina said. “It isn’t her fault. It’s mine.”
“What is?” Snow Angel asked, a slight smile across her face. Karina was glad that one of her sisters was a little sympathetic.
“I know I failed that math quiz.” Graphie, being the only one in her math class, just stared, the only one really understanding what that meant. “I won’t get an A in math, Mrs. Yimps won’t ever speak to me again, and there isn’t going to be any Math-tath-alon.”
“What?” her three siblings asked in unison, their expressions much different. “Why not?” Cutie asked timidly.
Karina glared. “That’s what you all wanted, anyway.” The Mynci got up, but Graphie grabbed her paw and pulled her to her seat.
“We...” Graphie stumbled. “I wanted you to compete. I wanted you to win.”
“No, you didn’t. You hate having a dorky sister like me, I know it.”
Snow Angel shook her head. “I like it. I’m a year younger. I have Mrs. Kelp for math, remember, you had last year. She likes me because she still remembers you.”
“And,” Cutie continued. “If you won, we’d all be so happy. And you’d be famous!” Karina just stared, wide-eyed.
“Really?” she asked.
Her siblings laughed. “Of course!” Cutie chimed. “You’re our sister. Sometimes... you just get a little annoying, but we still love you!”
“So, when’s the Math-tath-alon again?” Snow Angel asked, giving her sister and pat on the back and swaying her ears. “We better get practicing. Whip out those math facts, you know?”
Karina winked. “One week. I only have one week to prepare.”
“Then let’s get to it!”
Cutie, Snow Angel, and Graphie linked arms, all ready to assist their sister. “Sure,” Karina smiled, her eyes filled with happiness. “Let me finish this essay first, though.” She gestured to her homework and her sisters winked to her through giggles.
“You’re such a nerd,” Graphie snorted, patting her sister on the back. “But that’s why we love you, isn’t it.” The Bruce and Cybunny nodded, and Karina grinned harder than she had all week long.
To be continued...