“Terrific”, he spits out sarcastically. “I’m not even awake yet”.
“Like it would make any difference”, snipes Marty.
Karl is at Marty’s throat in a millisecond, holding him suspended a foot off the ground with one fiercely strong hand.
“Hey man…it was… a joke”. Marty’s words are barely audible through his constricted air passage.
Karl pauses for a moment, then lowers Marty to the floor and lets go of his neck, convinced he’s made his point. Saying nothing, he shoots a ‘dare-me’ look to the rest of the crew and heads for the secret passage that leads upstairs to the day school library and Dr. Murdoch’s exam.
Not until he’s gone does Marty let out a sigh of relief.
“Had you scared, didn’t he?”, Merrill snickers.
“Stuff it”, answers Marty and goes off to an adjoining room to be alone.
The moment over, Merrill, Essie and Drew settle down to wait their turn with Dr. Murdoch. Inside their stone fortress buried forty feet beneath the surface there is silence once again.
Karl enters the wood panelled library to find Murdoch sitting at his usual oak desk. His face shows no emotion.
“Nice to see you Karl.  Make yourself comfortable.”
“Will this take long?”, Karl asks.
“That’s up to you.  Get the right answers and you’re out of here in no time.”
“So who’s to decide if they’re right?”, Karl replies. “I mean, you’ve been preaching about developing judgement, about how truth is often subjective and that we have to learn to weigh our decisions based on our own perception of what’s wrong or right.”
Dr. Murdoch breaks into a slight smile.  “I’m impressed.  Seems like my classes haven’t been a complete waste of time.”
“ So, in my judgement”, Karl continues, “I am equally qualified to say whether I answer your questions correctly?

8
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