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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5. Swords

I pick up the sword conveniently placed at the side of the room and throw it from hand to hand. It's quite heavy and bulky, but seems practical. I walk up to the dummy and take a swing. Unfortunately I miss and end up swinging around in a circle, narrowly missing Roberta's face which has appeared out of nowhere. I drop the sword, embarrassed. Oh no...

"Jesus Christ girl, are you trying to kill me?" She says looking stern. I gulp and struggle for an answer, but then she laughs, surprising me, and she takes the sword from my hands. "You have to hold it like this or you will never get a nice swing." She hands it back to me and positions my hands. “The way you were holding it was too low so you could not get control of it properly. Try swinging it now.” This time the swing hits and chops the dummy's leg clean off. A recorded scream plays from the dummy and a bunch of cheesy fake blood dribbles out from the ‘wound’. I feel quite pleased with myself and look back at Roberta.

"Wow, it made a massive difference. Thank you Roberta."

“No problem there. I just want to make sure you can do it right. I want you to do well in the Trials, after all.” She smiles at me, but I can see it’s just a mask. Somewhere inside her she’s full of pain. Why could that be? “Try swinging it again a couple times. See if you can adjust to the new way to hold it.” I do as she says. I remove the limbs and head from the dummy as it quietly screams, which makes me chuckle as I do so. Roberta nods and smiles every time I swing; obviously impressed with me. As the ragged head flies off the dummy I put the sword down. It feels uncomfortable in my small hands and I feel clumsy with it. I take the opportunity to ask Roberta about it.

"The sword doesn't feel natural to me though.”

“You have not even used it for a day yet!” She laughs. I giggle nervously.

“Is there another weapon I could try?" Roberta looks at me carefully and I fear a punishment coming, but luckily she's supportive.

"Alright then, let me see how you naturally want to use this weapon." She stands back and crosses her arms, so I do what I feel like: I take a few steps back and throw it at the dummy. It goes straight into the head. Roberta nods, looking impressed. "You threw it high."

"That's where I was aiming for." I reply. Roberta smiles, and looks me up and down.

"So what do you think about the shape and size of this weapon?" I'm a bit puzzled over what she means, but I answer the way I interpreted it.

"Well it seems a bit big and heavy, but the shape is okay." I wave it around to prove my point. “If it was smaller that would be better. Like a knife, maybe.”

"What is your name?" I'm taken aback by this sudden request.

"Tamara, miss. Tamara Elizabeth Hensworth."

"Ah, Elizabeth Hensworth, that makes a lot of sense..." I'm about to ask what she means but she walks away before I can protest. Elizabeth Hensworth? What’s so important about that part of my name?

"Elizabeth...”

 

"Hey Tamara!"

I throw the sword just as Eleanor shouts, and it ends up missing its target and it cuts off the finger of the dummy next to me.

"Ellie!" I yell impatiently at my slightly dim friend.

“Sorry, Tamara...” She says innocently. I sigh, and I walk over to the next station and quickly grab the sword.

"Sorry, um, I got distracted and..." I turn to see Alexis, the boy stealer. She doesn’t deserve an apology. Instead of continuing what I was going to say I end up mumbling. "Yeah, sorry about that..." I hurriedly shuffle off and mumble "Not sorry you bitch." hoping she doesn't hear.

“Next time, get my attention after I throw the sword!” I call to Ellie and laugh. She makes a face like a child in trouble.

"Sorry, I just wanted to ask you why you were throwing the sword, not slashing it like everyone else." I don’t blame her for asking. I thought people would be wondering, as I don’t see anyone else doing it.

"Well, Roberta told me I could use it however felt comfortable. Didn't she tell you that?"

"Well, no. She hasn't actually spoken to me yet. She hasn’t come over to our corner. I don't want her to though, she speaks funny."

"Ellie, that's kind of rude you know."

"So? She can't hear us!"

"Yes, but..." I struggle to think of an answer. Eleanor always means well but never seems to really think about others. I'm not entirely sure why I'm friends with her to be honest, but she hangs around with Stephanie and sometimes Lana so I guess I pretty much have to be. Not like it's such a bad thing though; I've never been on the receiving end of Ellie's naivety so she must think I'm all right."It's just not nice, that's all."

"Well I guess so. See you then!" And before I can say anything Ellie gallops off towards the corner of the hall, going to gossip with her friends. Our friends, I mean. It then occurs to me that there is a large amount of people who aren't actually working. Georgina Revel. Jayce-Anne Collins. Maria Pentlow and Abigail Knight my ex-best friends. Matthew Denton. Amelia Mercury. Jacob Barnsworth. Petal Lycome. Hayden Anderson. Even most of my current group of friends! Most of the year are standing around laughing and joking and everything but working. It shocks me a little. Why would they be gossiping rather than using swords? Come on people, they are swords! We never get to use swords. And surely it must be obvious to Roberta? Why hasn’t she done something about it?

Then something wakes me up out of my thoughts.

"Please can Abigail Knight go to the Heads Office. I repeat, Abigail Knight to the Heads Office, thank you." It was the announcer. We go silent. Nobody has ever been to the Heads Office before. Abigail Knight, my Primary Division friend, the first one to be called to see the headmaster. The headmaster we’ve never met... Has she done something worse than slacking? She stands and walks the walk of shame out of the hall. Maybe it was just a signal, to shock everyone else into working. An extreme one, but an effective one. I smile a little and mentally thank Roberta for realising and possibly motivating everyone. And like I predict they would, everyone gossiping slowly returns to - or begins, rather - their work.

After a few silent minutes Roberta calls for our attention. She is standing at the back of the hall. She stands in a strange fashion, with her hands behind her back and her legs far apart like she's hiding something. She’s holding something, but I can’t tell what it is.

"So, you have all done a very good job today at slashing and killing and all that. But there is something that I should show you all." She says awkwardly, not sounding like herself. Something is going on.

She pulls her hands out from behind her back quickly to show us what she's holding.

It's Abigail Knight's head with a bullet hole in it, dripping with fresh blood.

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