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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11. Distraction

"Today you will be learning how to use a knife. They are very similar to swords, just they are smaller. Apart from that they are almost identical. Also, they can be used in more than one way; you can use them for melee combat or for throwing. Today we will concentrate on the first."

Roberta paces in front of us speaking in her gruff voice, not even phased by yesterday’s announcement and yesterday’s loss. It's not like many of us are listening anyway, we are still broken and torn. We all know that one of us is going to die because they can't get to grips with the weapon.

Roberta stops talking and sends us off to train and everyone frantically dashes to the first station they can see. They don’t want to be the last one working. Instead, I walk slowly; my legs are too weak to run. By the time I reach the side of the room I can only see three empty dummies. As Alexis Tyler is next to one (just my luck) and Lucas Martin (who always stinks of sweat) so I take the middle dummy. Wise decision, Tamara the genius. Soon, two people come either side of me, the two worst troublemakers in the year: Cameron Cain and Bradley Cunningham. They are both even worse than Alexis and Lucas combined times 10, and I don’t normally say that people are worse than Alexis. I take a deep breath and let myself become the priority. I’m going to live today, no matter what it takes.

I try and concentrate on holding the knife correctly, but the boys distract me with their shouts and laughter. Again and again, I hear them make fun of the people either side of them or take verbal swipes at each other, making them collapse into peals of laughter. How can they be jokey on a day like this? I try swiping the dummy with the new weapon – it is much easier to use than the sword in my opinion – but each time I turn around they are laughing their heads off about drawings of penises and throwing vulgar remarks all over the place. I finally crack after accidentally chopping my dummies nose off and turn to Cameron, who is now laughing about a pair of boobs Bradley carved into his dummy.

"What the hell are you playing at?" I feel my face go red as I shout. He turns to me and laughs even harder. I never speak out to the cocky boys like them. Am I being brave again? "Shut up, you dick-head, I'm trying to keep myself alive. Because if I let you distract me I could be executed. Bam. Dead. And you? You could be too. Because what are you actually doing right now? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. In fact, I hope you get executed." His laughter stops dead. I may have said some harsh things, but I certainly got his attention. I see the realisation come over his face and he shakes his head. I feel triumphant, and I turn back to my own dummy. I take another swing, feeling at peace, but just as it hits I hear both Bradley and Cameron chuckling. I look in their direction and see Bradley's dummy has a new carving: my name on its tummy. Pictures of penises and wacky eyes and hair in certain places decorate the bloody piece of fabric.

They think I’m joking.

They think I’m joking?

And before I can take another breath the knife is out of my hand and in the side of Bradley’s dummy’s head.

The two stare at me with genuine fear in their eyes, their mouths quivering and their knees shaking. I calmly walk towards my knife, their eyes following my every move, and carefully pull it free. I ignore the fake blood that spills from the 'wound' and I silently go back to my practice with the boys still shaking. This time, I throw the knife at my target, instead of slicing it like I should be doing. Every single throw is perfect.

 

Hours later, Bradley and Cameron were still laughing and giggling, but quieter and trying not to look at me. Every so often, when my knife hits the target they jump, scared that I may all of a sudden decide that I don’t want them around anymore. Trust me, I am tempted, but I am worried about what the consequences will be. Plus, the knife wound would only be temporary. That damn Patch.

My aim has increased dramatically over the hours I was training for. Now, instead of hitting multiple ‘body parts’, I was always hitting the head, right between the eyes above the nose. It was no longer a challenge! This was getting way too easy. Without thinking, I step backwards to challenge myself. Unfortunately, I should have thought a bit more. I crash into Roberta.

“You definitely have a knack for almost hurting me severely, Tammy!”

“Never call me that. Ever.” Leaps out of my mouth before I can stop it. “I mean, I was, um, I need to apologise...” Roberta just stands and laughs at my attempts to speak.

“It’s fine! I have a Patch too, so you can’t kill me. I won’t call you Tammy again, I promise. Now, back to business. You are aware that we’re meant to be swinging them today?” I laugh. Usually I would be tense when a teacher challenged me, but Roberta is so easy-going that I feel comfortable talking to her. That and she’s a human, so she can actually understand my point.

“I was miss! But Cameron distracted me, and I got a bit angry, so I threw it at him. And it turns out I can throw it very well” Roberta smiles at me.

“I thought you would be a great knife thrower. I just knew it. But you’re getting used to that knife. That’s a bad thing.”

“Why’s that a bad thing?” I ask, puzzled.

“The knives for chopping and the knives for throwing are designed differently. So you should be practising melee with this. Okay?”

“Okay. Thanks Roberta.”

“Anytime.”

Just as Roberta turns to move on, a loud laugh echoes through the room, coming from Cameron’s mouth. The already quiet room goes silent, as everyone turns to the source of the noise.

Cameron Cain has drawn more obscene pictures on his dummy, and this time it has Roberta’s name at the top.

“Cameron Cain, I think you should come with me.” Roberta says to him, white hot flames in her voice. He looks down and walks out of the room with her, ashamed.

At this point we all stop working. We know what’s coming. As we put down our weapons and congregate in the middle, Cameron is being executed. He’s dying. And while he suffers and has his life brought to a close we stand in silence.

Roberta walks back in with his head on show.

“You all know it was coming. Today, we took Cameron Cain.”

When I said I wanted him to be executed, I only half meant it.

We walk out the hall in silence.

Nobody cries.

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