Halloween Story Contest: The Quiz

April Young

It was the stuff of nightmares. My alarm sounded five times that morning, yet I’d slept through each alert. By the time I was in my car, tying my shoes as I navigated the busy commute, I was already late for class. The professor had hinted at a quiz, and while I’d barely glanced over the assigned reading, I hoped to get by on my brilliant ability to guess and my artistic flair; maybe a smiling velociraptor at the top of the page would convince the professor to go easy on me.

It must’ve been Perfect Attendance Day on campus. Passing through the gates, I realized  the only thing less likely than earning an ‘A’ today was finding a parking spot. I circled each lot like an exhaust-spewing buzzard, begrudgingly giving way to a group at the crosswalk. My foot itched over the gas pedal.

I gave up with a growl and returned to the highway, flying through a yellow light and sliding into the Publix lot. I scowled at the brightly colored decal on my back windshield.

Greasy spots on the pavement don’t have to take quizzes, I thought optimistically as I put one foot over the yellow line on Nashville Pike. Someone must’ve fired a racing pistol. Every lane came alive! I made a mad dash across two of the five lanes, horns blowing from every direction. The turning lane opened just as I reached it. I closed my eyes and lunged across the final two lanes, surprised when I finally felt grass under my feet.

My heart beat wildly as I entered Ramer. It didn’t slow down as I noticed the ominous quiet. Were some of the lights out? Where was everyone?

A check of my watch gave me hope: only an hour late. My professor probably wouldn’t notice. I slipped into the classroom and took the only open desk, right in front.

“Quiz time!” my professor trilled.

I breathed a sigh of relief but immediately began to choke. I hung my head as I pictured my backpack tucked into the passenger seat of my car.

The girl to my right gave me a look of disgust when I asked for paper. The girl to my left threw the pen I requested at my head, narrowly missing my eye. I waited for the first question. It never came—at least, not in a language I understood. My professor made a series of sounds, and my classmates began to scribble furiously. “What are they writing?” a voice in my head screamed. I slammed my head against the desk. I was going to fail—at life!

I awoke with a cry. It had been a nightmare. I wasn’t late, and I wouldn’t fail the quiz. I was going to give the quiz. My students had no idea.

I giggled as I tucked my hooves into loafers and brushed my hair over my horns. I grabbed my pitchfork on the way out. It was going to be a great day.