The Trials

When an insane Prime Minister reads The Hunger Games and Harry Potter, he gets inspiration from them and creates the Trials for every Year 11 student to face. Every year, one is held in every school. 240 go in, and 1 comes out.
200 years later, Tamara Hensworth has a good life. She has good grades, good friends, and her heart set on a cute boy. But as the year begins, her life falls into ruin. The Trials bring destruction, despair, and most importantly, death, meaning Tamara is most likely going to end up dead, along with her friends and her boyfriend.
Tamara needs to fight for survival, but it's hard against people she's known her whole life. But what can she do? Die saving someone else's life or live and be responsible for many other's deaths?
This Movella was shortlisted for Movella of the year 2012 :) thanks to everyone who nominated me or voted for me!
Cover by Zoe Nightshade from World of Covers :)

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13. Arrows

Somehow, I manage to find the strength in my legs to dash to the dummies to get first choice.

I didn’t want a replay of yesterday.

Today’s weapon is the Bow and Arrow. It is definitely my cup of tea. I take too long to position it and even after a long time aiming the arrow never goes where I want it to. While I quickly adapted to the weapon yesterday, today I can’t seem to grasp it. This could cost me my life.

Either side of me are Clarissa Cleariver and Alisha Lowe from F4, Rowan’s room. They were both very excited to hear that today would be spent with a bow. Clarissa had said before that she would love to use one in these Trials. I guess she’s finally got her wish. She is very good as well. She can aim very quickly and get much better results than I can. When I look to my other side I see Alisha doing the same, just not as well as Clarissa. Oh god. Everyone else is doing so much better than me.

If I don’t get better soon I could die.

I raise the heavy bow again, shaking, and I position my hands just the way Roberta told us to. I snatch the silver arrow from my quiver and it pings as I string it. I pull the string back to my ear, making sure to let it past my ear, and I stare at the target with my left eye shut. My arm keeps moving even though I try and keep it still. I breathe slowly, and I begin to stabilise. Come on Tamara. You can do this. One of my fingers fell off the string and my arm and the bow wobbled. I had to calm myself down again. Only 2 fingers were keeping the arrow steady. Tamara, you have to do this. Three, two, one, let go.

It zooms from the string into the wall just by the dummies crotch.

Missed again.

Clarissa comes with me to retrieve her arrows as I go to pull mine from the wall.

“I can’t do this Clarissa! I’m freaking out! This could be the death of me!” She tilts her head to the side. “I mean, you are amazing at this. So is Alisha. That means I’m crap. They don’t want someone crap to pass the Trials. They are going to kill me!” I start shaking again and she puts her hand on my shoulder.

“Breathe Tamara.” I do as she says. After a moment she speaks again. “On Monday you didn’t know we were going to die. On Tuesday you did amazing. You are a natural knife thrower. You don’t know what it’s like to be bad at something yet. Everyone is struggling slightly. You aren’t the only one. Look around.” I hadn’t looked past Clarissa and Alisha yet. I peered around behind me and saw people missing the targets all over the room. I even saw Alexis miss. It made me smile.

“By the end of the day you’ll be able to hit it, even if it is just the feet when you were aiming for the heart. The people that are dying are the ones that aren’t even trying. Let’s see if we can predict who is going. I promise it won’t be you.” The slackers are easy to spot. Room M9, Cameron’s room, are all together in a bundle acting the same way he had the day before. Do they ever learn? They are going to end up dead. No doubt.

“Wallace Cooke.” I say immediately.

“See? Not you. It won’t be you. Just believe in yourself. Anyway, think about what I was feeling yesterday when I kept dropping the knife and no-one gave me this advice!” I smiled. I guess I didn’t think of it that way. I wiped my face, to find that a lone tear had escaped from my eyelid.

“That really helped Clarissa.”

“Don’t mention it. Just try and get on with your work. You don’t want to risk it.”

 

Come on Tamara. This is going to be the one. Pretend you are Katniss Everdeen for a second.

Ha. Katniss Everdeen. Fighting for survival in a dystopian world.

Just like me.

This should be fun.

The string bends and I close my left eye. I focus on the dummy’s head and I start to breathe slower and slower, but not to a complete standstill. The sounds around me begin to quiet and the only thing I think about is that one, tiny, single, target. The only thing I need to think about. Three. Two. One.

I release the string.

The arrow lands in the dummy’s shoulder.

I hit it.

I hit it!

I might stay alive!

 

When I hit the target for the fourteenth time, Roberta calls for our attention. It’s time. Despite the fact that Clarissa’s words ring true in my head, and I’ve actually hit the target, I still am even more nervous than I ever have been.

I could die in the next 5 minutes.

I shudder.

Not a nice thought to be having.

“So whose time is it to die, I hear you asking.” The room is silent. Beads of sweat roll down the side of my face. “It could be any of you. Really. You all have made potentially life destroying, death inducing mistakes today.” Does she say all this to worry us on purpose? She says all this to worry us on purpose. I am sure of it. “So who will it be?” Not Clarissa. Not Alisha.

Maybe me.

“I am going to announce now.” My fists tighten. “Today’s under-performer...”

Her pause lasts a lifetime.

“...not in this room. They’ve already gone.”

It’s not me.

Somehow I guess I knew it

She raises another head as we scan the room to see who has disappeared. As I look around, I can’t see Helena. I haven’t seen Helena all day.

I can’t see Helena.

She could be dead.

Helena.

I look at the head.

Brandon Jarvis from Room M9.

I knew it would be someone from Cameron’s room.

The hall expected it. The whole hall lets out a huge breath of exhausted, grateful air.

We’re not dead.

Yet.

We walk away from Roberta, still holding the head in the air, in deathly silence. Brandon always that one kid that pretended to be a naughty boy, when we all knew that he’d always run away to cry after every bad deed. Everyone would pretend to like him, but in reality they thought he was only a child. That he was weak. We never knew that the stuff we gossiped about would become the reason for his death.

His dull brown eyes were bloodstained, with red surrounding the eyelid like gothic makeup from the 2200’s. The gunshot had been slightly to the side, so half of his ear was hanging on by a frayed flab of grey skin. His mouth was hanging open slightly, shocked at the sudden introduction of the bullet in his skull.

No matter how much I tried to forget about it, everywhere I looked that day there was an identical face on the head of my friends.

Soon, they wouldn’t look too different.

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