Future Gladiator

Seventeen year old Burnet is brutally taken from her home to become the face of the Government Gladitorial Division. Her story will unravel both her past and her future and force her to make decisions with both consequences and rewards. Friends will become enemies and enemies may be the exact opposite of what they appear.

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1. Prologue: Goodbye Daddy

I curl up tightly under the sheets as guns go off outside my window. Gut wrenching screams rip the night in half as bullets dance through the wreckage of the village. I know now that when I wake up in the morning I will find more than one person missing from my class at school. I wonder how many they’ve taken. Will they come in here?

My eyes flash open at the thought of being dragged from my bed into the cold air outside. What happens to them when they go missing? Mummy says I shouldn’t ask and Daddy says it will never happen to me. He tells me that I’ll always be safe. I press my fist to my mouth as a door slams open downstairs.

Did Daddy lie to me? Have they come to get me?

Screams and shouts echo downstairs and my door swings inwards quickly. My heart thunders as footsteps tread nimbly to my bedside. Before I have any time to scream or yell I am tossed into the wardrobe with such force that the whole wardrobe shakes. The door slams shut behind me but it doesn’t close.

I grab a blanket from the floor of the wardrobe and cower under it, pressing a corner of the material in my mouth to stop my teeth from chattering before I press one of my eyes up to the crack where the door of the wardrobe is ajar.

I can see the back of a figure, legs and boots stand in the centre of the room as the thundering of feet up the stairs begins to shake the wooden room. Guns click as three men enter the room to face the one who had thrown me in the wardrobe.

The lead man surveys the room with his eyes before stepping forwards away from his group. That’s when I notice it. Mr Flopsy, my toy rabbit lies casually at the intruder’s feet and I watch as he is lifted into the air by the man.

“Where is she? I presume this belongs to your child, sir. I should like to give it back to her.” The man drawls with a smile.

The men behind him laugh but I don’t. What’s so funny?

“Beggin’ your pardon, sir. I ain’t got a child. That’d be my niece’s, that would.” The man replies.

Daddy?

I watch as Mr Flopsy is dropped to the floor. His arms flail about and his head hits the floor softly, almost as if he were dropping off to sleep.

Daddy doesn’t move to pick him up. Daddy would never leave Mr Flopsy on the floor, never.

“And where does your niece live then, sir?” The lead man asks.

What’s a niece? Does Daddy mean Aunty Margaret’s daughter? But Aunty Margaret’s daughter died last year of pne-pneum- of a really bad cold.

“Fifty Sickle Avenue. 5 minutes from here.” My dad answers with his head hanging low.

It is Aunty Margaret’s home! Has Daddy forgotten that she died?

A chuckle follows from the man and I watch as he spits at my Daddy’s feet.

“Pathetic.” He laughs, before leading the others from the room.

I continue to huddle under the blanket as Daddy checks that the men are gone before running over to the wardrobe.

The door is slammed open and I am picked up and hugged. I love Daddy’s smell. He smells of boot polish and wood, just like his workshop.

He places me down on my feet and puts his hands on either side of my face.

“I have to go now my little moth. Daddy has to go away for a while, but can you do something for me?” He asks.

I nod and he walks over to the corner of the room. Giving me a small smile he lifts up a few of the panels away from the wall to show me a small space full of blankets. I gasp and clap my hands together in delight. I notice a sippy cup in there too with squash in. It’s my favourite flavour, blueberry. He beckons me over and I huddle in amongst the blankets before he hands me Mr Flopsy.

“You need to stay in here Burnet. Mummy will get you in the morning. I’ll be back soon but you need to hide here. Daddy will always keep you safe.”

I smile and put my head down among the blankets as he shuts the hole up with the panels.

But Daddy never did come back.

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