Death on an Island

Crap.
This world is absolute crap.
I'm screwed, and that darn Machine knows it.

Tammi has been chosen. Chosen by the Machine that doesn't know her, doesn't like her and DEFINITELY doesn't care if she lives or dies. She is now part of the Mission.
Death awaits.

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1. Congratulations

In sit on my bed, trying (and failing) to control my rapidly-quickening breathing. I twiddle a ringlet of my jet-black hair between my fingers, wincing as I accidently create a knot and get it stuck on my thumb.

My face has gone red- I can feel it- and my heart beats in my chest, as though a woodpecker might tear through the skin at any moment.

It is the day of the Choosing. The day two boys and two girls from each of the 196 countries in the world are 'wisely' selected by the Machine to be marooned on a specially-designed island in the middle of the ocean. The Mission is to survive for 18 months, but each time you kill another of the Chosen, your Mission length is reduced by a single day. Before being sent to the island, the 784 teenagers (my maths teacher will be proud) are trained in combat skills, and their skill evaluated- so the members of the Government of Earth can take bets on who will survive their Mission. The whole point is to demonstrate to the power of the Government, and 'highlight' the inferiority of the normal people to them. The Island is controlled by the Makers in the First City, where all those high-up people live.

The whole thing is, of course, biased. When the Government was formed, they replaced every culture on Earth with their own- there is now only one language. There is no religion. Countries are to the world like States or Counties were to each country before. The Government have their favourite countries; America and China- the richest ones. They are trained from birth for the Mission. Every. Single. One.

I'm not from America, or China. I'm from England. Yes, the little country up north from Europe, where rain falls for half the year and clouds smother for the other.

Now I sit here, rain attacking the little window of my dark bedroom, waiting for a bloody little letter that will determine whether I live until my 16th birthday or die aged 15. I can hear the agonising 'tick... tock' of my circular red clock- the most expensive thing I own- which my parents gave me last year, practically sneering at my shaking body.

147 torturing seconds later, the rhythmic ticking is joined by creaking, as someone slowly makes their way up the stairs leading to my room in the attic. I stop breathing. My face turns purple. My lungs begin to scream.

Click!

Someone turns the door-knob and cautiously pushes the door open.

Creeeak...

In comes my mother, looking suspiciously paler than usual, her usually bright eyes looking red and puffy. Her short brown hair is messed up, sticking out in every possible direction, as it once was when she had depression. She forces an annoying-fake smile onto her face as she takes one step towards me, and I know what has happened.

"NO!" I scream, throwing myself under the torn brown cover on my bed. "NO! NO! NO!"

In the darkness under my cover, I hear my mother sniffle, and lay something gently on my bedside table. She puts, what feels like her hand, on my shoulder and leaves. I hear her burst into tears as she descends the stairs again.

Hesitantly, I reach out and grab the object from the table. Paper. Just what I hoped it wouldn't be. I sit up and the duvet falls to the side, messing my hair up- but I don't care, I'm too absorbed by the writing on the letter.

'Dear Tammi Thorpe,

It is my greatest pleasure to inform you that you have been specially selected to participate in the 2076 Mission.

You shall be collected at 2pm sharp on the 2nd July and will then travel with the three other Chosen of your country to the Training Centre at a secret location in the First City, America.

The Four Chosen of England are as follows:

Troy Cantrell(M), Blake Danell(M), Ebony Browne(F), Tammi Thorpe(F).

I look forward to making your aquaintance,

yours truly,

Lyra Lockheart

XXX'

 

Screw you, 'Lyra'. Blurgh, it's one of those First City names. I bet she'll meet me dressed all in pink, and she'll have little silver sequins on everything and-

Tammi, stick to the point...

... I'm a Chosen.

This can NOT be happening. I'm dreaming. I'll wake up and I won't be a Chosen, and I'll go to school tomorrow and see my friends, and joke about the History teacher's moustache, and I'll walk home with my older brother and actually have food in the evening, and sleep in the knowledge everything will be the same the next day.

If I'm sent on the Mission, I won't survive a single day- I mean, we have compulsory survival lessons at school, but what use is the the knowledge to make a fire if I've been stabbed within the first minute and lying dead on the floor?

I look at the letter again, just to make sure it actually has my name written on it. It does.

Crap.

This world is absolute crap.

I'm screwed, and that darn Machine knows it.

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