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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4. Roberta

I can’t quite believe it. We’re going to be learning to fight! With weapons!

I turn excitedly to my friends. They all have massive grins adorning their faces. There’s stunned silence for a moment while it all sinks in.

“No. Flipping. Way.” Clarissa says, way before any of the rest of us are ready to speak. “We are going to be using weapons.” We all scream excitedly and start talking at once. My mouth just stays open, soundless, and I end up listening to fragments of many conversations. Whenever someone looks at me for my opinion I just nod; my vocal chords don’t move whenever I try to say something.

“...which would be so cool...”

“...I can’t believe this...”

“...sword play or archery? I can’t quite...”

“...this, I mean, not ever would I have dreamed...”

“...I hope we learn to use hammers, like the big ones...”

“...what would we use this for? I don’t care, it seems too fun to...”

“...so I’m so pleased that the Trials weren’t boring like schoolwork...”

“...I don’t think so, I reckon...”

The cheering suddenly dies down, and we quiet down too. We turn to the front, expecting to see more information, but instead the screen had gone back up again. They are making us wait. Again. All the boys at the back from room M9 begin to boo and stand up. Then M5 joins in. Normally, I would turn around and give them all evil glances to make them shut up again, which would never work anyway, but this time I agree with them. It’s not fair. We deserve to know. I stand up too, and jeer at the screen; causing surprise to ripple through the hall. It’s out of character for me, but it causes more and more people join in. Shy people, quiet people, all standing and voicing their opinion. I smile. I’ve started something. Soon, the whole school is booing and jeering at the screen, and the screen comes down in response. The boos turn to cheers as it switches on and a recorded message plays to us.

“Please evacuate the school seating. The Trials will begin momentarily. Please evacuate the school seating. The Trials will begin momentarily.”  It says over and over. We oblige. Anything to get the Trials to come quicker.

“I can’t believe you did that.” Belinda whispers to me as we file down in our usual lines. “But I like it. Brave new Tamara, fresh for the Trials.”

“Thanks Belle. I wouldn’t usually do something like that, but I thought that it was so unfair that they kept leaving gaps in the information we were given.” I explain. She laughs.

“I totally understand. You should be brave more often!”

“Well, I don’t know about that! I might have used up my bravery for the year!” We both giggle, and then look back at the seats.

As soon as the last person steps off we are greeted with our next surprise. The school seating begins to move down and fold up. We all gasp. I turn to my friends in excitement, and then glance back up at the seating that is doing some sort of strange origami movement. Everyone marvels at the sight before them, it's something we have never seen happen and will probably never see again. It carefully tucks itself into the wall, and then disappears from view. A couple people walk into the space cautiously; a space we never knew existed. I decide to take a small step, but as if on cue, as soon as my foot touches the floor hundreds of spaces open out all over where the wall touches the floor, and a fabric dummy pops out of each one. There looks like there is hardly any space between them! Is there enough for each of us?

"You think that is magical, you have not seen anything yet!” A voice we've never heard before comes from behind us and surprises us. So we turn around and look in silence.

Our next shock of the day.

In front of us is the first adult we have ever seen.

The woman is of muscular build and is very tall. She has olive skin that seems to go pale at the tip of her fingers and nose and chocolate coloured hair tied up in a huge bun, almost bigger than her face. She has a nose piercing and a small locket around her neck. She is wearing a light grey jumpsuit with an olive belt stone, which seems to be a little tight for her wide hips. We stare in wonder at her, until she breaks the silence.

So we don’t all die in the Trials.

She is living proof that people can survive Year 11.

You could never know, you could never understand, you could never perceive how much of a momentous event this was for us.

"Hello Year 11, my name is Roberta Wilson and I will be your trainer for the first part of the Trials. I will be teaching you fighting skills, survival skills and how to use a magic wand." All of our faces light up. Magic? I thought that only existed in stories! We get to learn magic! "Please, do not get your hopes up; ‘wand’ is a code word for a special piece of tech equipment, sorry guys, but there is no Harry Potter here!" She gives a hearty laugh. We give a disappointed groan. Although weapons, survival skills and special equipment all sound cool, we would have liked magic to exist in our world. Ah well. We still have our imagination.

Roberta starts the register after that, and we all stand around marvelling at both her and the equipment that is being brought in by the ArmBots. Roberta speaks differently to any of us, but not in an entirely other language. She sounds gruff and rolls her Rs in funny places, which none of us have ever heard before. She also doesn’t use word shortcuts, which is slightly odd. She’ll say “do not” instead of “don’t” and “it is” rather than “it’s”. We pretend we know exactly what she is talking about, but we really have no idea.

"Now then class, today we will start with weapon skills, and the focus of today is the sword. The sword should be pretty easy to use, but I will walk around and help anyone who needs it. If you need me just give me a shout. As I am human I don’t have a question button to press if you need me, so you will have to come find me instead! Anyway, enough waiting, you guys all look so excited! So, it is finally here: it is sword swinging time Year 11!" We give another cheer and she shoos us off to go work. I notice that the ArmBots have brought the swords in and placed one next to each dummy. Everyone scurries to a station, but I stand still, everything in a blur.

"Wait a second there, class!" She suddenly calls us all back. Not like I’ve moved anywhere, anyway! “Please do not hurt anyone okay? We want everyone to survive today." She jokes. Everyone laughs and nods, and sets back to work. It seems obvious to me, but I know that not everyone is smart enough to understand. I turn around to join the others, and as I do I just catch something Roberta says under her breath:

"We want everyone to survive, but one unlucky soul..."

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