~~It’s cold and I’m sat on a metal bench inside zone 3 police station, alone and scared. I blink hard to stop tears from falling because if they do I won’t be able to stop, I start tapping my foot on the ground nervously. “Ashlyn Jones” a police officer calls from the door way of the questioning room. I get up and slowly scuffle over to the door keeping my eyes on the floor, I can hear my parents shouting down the corridor demanding to be able to see me, I don’t look at them, unable to face to suspicion in their eyes. Inside the room I’m told to sit in a cold metal chair and answer the man’s questions truthfully. Its dark and I can’t see his face very well which makes the screaming in my head louder and more haunting. “This convocation is being recorded, anything you say will be used as evidence” The man explains in a deep voice from the other side of a small desk, and I see the small red light coming from the POD. “Earlier this evening you were out with Harper Wilder, what is left of her body has been found at the bottom of Agra Cliffs. Do you know anything about her death?” As he tells me that Harper is dead his voice grows cold and stiff, I don’t need him to tell me softly though, I already knew. I stare at him and with all the confidence I can muster I say “No” It comes out as a squeak and I can hear the inspector leaning forward in his chair “I will repeat the question, do you know anything about Harper Wilders death?” I can feel his breath on my face and his patronising, angry tone sends shivers all over my body, but somehow I manage to sit up straight and look directly at his silhouette “No”
I fly out of my bed as quickly as I can before the dream can haunt me anymore. Breathing hard I run a hand through my tangled hair and hold the necklace my mother gave me. I haven’t taken it since I got it and it’s become a part of me. I have a quick shower but it doesn’t wash away my dreams so get dressed and look at my map, there’s a running track that Teel told me about that I find and make my way over to. I look at the time on the huge clock on the wall and notice its only 6:30 so nobody else is here. I take a deep breath and start running, I used to go running regularly with Mirax, it used to help clear my mind of whatever my latest worries. This time is no different so after 20 minutes of continuous laps I sit on the floor and put my head between my knees exhausted. Instead of feeling scared of the dream anymore I just feel angry and lonely, I have friends here but I miss my old ones and my family. Mirax always used to tease me when I’d collapse like this after a long run “Beat you again?” He’d say then, he’d squirt water at me from his water bottle to cool me down. I look around for him and his laughter, but of course he’s not there.
Other runners start entering the track so I get up and leave to go to the canteen. Jaylyn is already there, drinking coffee and reading some sort of magazine or something. He looks up at me and frowns “What have you been doing?” He asks and I realise I must look a state, my face must look like a tomato and my hair like a hay stack. “I went for a run” I say and Jaylyn looks at me, impressed “Didn’t have you down for a runner” He says as I sit down, deciding not to have any breakfast. “I needed to clear my head that’s all” I say trying to steer him away from the topic “Ready for today?” ask with a fake smile. “We’re doing self defence, you know the kind that we aren’t likely to use, the one with no weapons” He says shaking his head “Its’ a waste of time in my opinion” Is stare at him, confused “I thought we were doing weapons?” Is say, I’ve only just managed to shoot the yellow circle with a hand gun and I’m hopeless with a bow and arrow. Jaylyn shakes his head “We move on quickly” He points out. Sina suddenly appears behind me rubbing her eyes and letting out a small yawn “How are you not tiered?” she asks sitting down and resting her head on the table. I smile at her bed hair and black bags; she looks less fierce like this. Jaylyn just shrugs and I shake my head “I’m just used to it” I say, leaving out the part where I tell her that I’m used to it because I’m always woken up early by my dreams. We eat breakfast quietly due to Sina not being up to filling the silence with chatter. Tamara joins us in a similar condition but she just smiles and doesn’t moan like Sina is.
In training I start feeling the after effects of the running when I start stretching, all my muscles are screaming in protest but I ignore them in the same way I’m ignoring Ethan who walked in a couple of minutes ago. Teel marches in “Pair up” he orders and starts tapping his foot impatiently. I’m expecting Sina to want to go with me but she pairs up with Tamara so when Jaylyn asks me if I’ll go with him I nod and stand with him. Teel starts to demonstrate moves that we’ll have to copy and I try to pay attention but images from my dream keep slipping through my defences so I can’t concentrate properly. When Jaylyn waves a hand in front of my face to ask if I want to go first I have no idea what I am supposed to be doing and have to ask him to show me. He shows me how to defend myself if he tries to punch me. I watch and I think I have the hang of it. Jaylyn says that he’s going to try and punch me for real this time so I have to be ready. I nod and stand how he showed me and run through the move in my head, but when I see his fist flying towards me I forget everything he told me and act on my instincts from zone 3. I move to the side and before I know it I’m lifting my fist, Jaylyns on the floor and I’m staring down at him. “Dam it!” I say under my breath and kneel down beside him “Jaylyn? I’m so sorry, Jaylyn are you alright?” I say staring to panic, what have I done? Relief runs through me when Jaylyn lets out a low moan and brings his hand to his face. “Are you alright?” I ask and he moans again. Teel storms over and sighs, picking him up off the floor “There’s always one” he says shaking his head “I’m going to take Jaylyn to the hospital, Ethan come and work with Ashlyn and make sure you don’t end up in hospital” Ethan nods and walks over to me. I can feel everyone’s eyes on me and start to feel the burn of embarrassment cover my face. Out of the corner of my eye I see Sina mouth “Lucky!” At me when Ethan reaches me, what I want to say is you can have him, the last thing I want to do is work with Ethan after what he said last night. Who knows what I’m going to give away about my dreams. “Well that was something” He says when everyone goes back to what they’re supposed to be doing instead of watching me. I scowl at him “It was an accident” He has the cheek to laugh!
“Word of advice, save the punching for the punch bags later, they like it more than we do” Ethan says, completely oblivious to my glare. “I’ll keep it in mind” I say flatly.
“Can you remember what Jaylyn showed you?” he asks. I nod impatiently. Ethan looks at me and hesitantly raises his fist, I get ready to block it when it flies towards me and I do what Jaylyn showed me and block then try to secure Ethan the way I was showed but he stops me and I end up flying to the floor and landing hard on my back. I grit my teeth as a jolt of pain runs up it “You weren’t supposed to do that” I growl at him. Ethan laughs cockily
“First rule of combat, your enemy never does what you expect them to do” he says, making my bad mood even worse. I get up trying not to wince when me back feels like a million needles have been stabbed into it. “Fine” I grumble and tighten my pony tail before getting ready to do it again. Ethan floors me at least 100 times before Teel comes back and demonstrates different punches, as he does I imagine doing everyone of them to Ethan, then Teel tells us to move onto the punch bags to practice them. Jaylyn didn’t come back with Teel so I’m stuck with Ethan. He holds the punch bag while I punch it but my attempts are rubbish and I know it. This doesn’t stop me feeling angry when Ethan stops me “Ashlyn you can do better than that, put more effort into it” My arms feel like lead and I feel like collapsing, I doubt I’ll get many points in this unit so I just give up “Screw this” I say and pull the sweaty gloves off and my hands feel relieved to be free and breath. “Do you have a problem Ashlyn?” Teel asks from the middle of the room.
“I’m tiered” I say shrugging.
“Well you better wake up soon or I’ll ask you to get out of my lesson” Teel warns, with no sympathy, I hate the patronising look he’s giving me and see red. “Don’t bother, I was already leaving” and with that I march out of the room, feeling the weight of the whole classes eyes on me, I don’t care though, by this point I’m shaking with anger and I need to get out of there before I do something even more stupid. As soon as I’m out of the training hall I already start to calm down and feel foolish but I can’t go back in so I walk over to the cafe next to the bar I was at last night. I order a hot chocolate and sit stirring it instead of drinking it staring hard at the blue coaster on the table. “Well you know how to make an exit don’t you?” Says the last voice I want to hear, why is it always him? “Go away” I say, he sits down anyway “If you here to lecture me, don’t bother I don’t want to hear it” I say quietly back to being tiered instead of angry
“Good thing I’m not then” he says “Teel will do enough of that later anyway”
“Why are you here then?” I ask getting annoyed again. He’s sat casually leaning against the chair, looking frustratingly handsome “I’ve been in your position, angry at the world” I cough in surprise “No way do you understand what’s going on, do you think that having one convocation over some booze means you know me? Cause if you do you’re wrong”
“Enlighten me then” he challenges and I see the twinkle of amusement in his eye. I laugh without humour, “I’m one big joke to you aren’t I? Some messed up kid with issues. I’d rather not sit here and entertain you any more I’ve got better things to do” I start to get up.
“Like drawing?” Ethan calls after me, forcing me stop in my tracks and turn towards him.
“What did you just say?” I demand in a whisper then look around to check no one heard him. “You draw, I could tell yesterday, when you started to doodle, I could tell from the expression on your face that you were trying not to do anything to complex” Each word that falls out Ethan’s mouth stabs me like a knife, he’s figured it out, I can tell that he’s calculating my reaction and fitting the pieces of the puzzle together. “Drawings not a crime” I say.
“It is for someone from zone 3” He says “But you’re not the average kind of one 3 member are you?”I look at him, the horror I’m feeling obvious on my face “What do you mean?”
“Ashlyn, you draw, drink, and are better at solving logic problems than most of the people here, you are defiantly not an average person from zone 3” He points out.
“Why do you care so much?” I demand, desperate for him to stop thinking about it so much
“I don’t know, I don’t want to but I care and I defiantly don’t think you’re a joke” Ethan says standing up. I stare at him and my anger vanishes, he’s telling me that he cares about me, well I certainly wasn’t expecting that. “Are you going to tell anyone” I barely whisper.
“Why would I?” Ethan says looking down at me, baffled I shake my head.
“Just please don’t tell anyone” I plead, he nods
“I won’t” He says then looks up “good luck with Teel” He says and squeezes my arm and walks back into the training hall. I see Teel walk past him and over to me, “You better have a good explanation for why you walked out of my lesson”
“I’m sorry, it won’t happen again” I say flatly, not bothering to make an excuse he won’t believe. “It better not, you can come back this afternoon but instead of leaving at 5 you’ll stay behind and I’ll give you your punishment” Teel says then walks back into the training hall leaving me standing in the cafe rewinding this morning and moaning.