Ashlyn is different. She is the only member of Zone 3 who still dreams, which means she must hide her secret so the Government don't find out. On her 16th birthday her mum sends her to FREAM, a rebellion against the Government, here she must learn how to fight and decide whether she will stand up for what she believes in or just continue dreaming about it.


12. Pushed to the Limit

~~I moan as my alarm buzzes loudly waking me up from my heavy sleep. I punch the pillow as I rise from the bed and see its 7:50 not 6:50 I must have been so tiered last night that I didn’t even notice I’d set my alarm wrong. I horridly rush around the room pulling on some shorts and a t-shirt wishing that I had time to have a shower to wake me up. I brush my hair back into a messy pony tail and quickly wash my face. I rush out of the door and it slams shut behind me then check the time on the clock in the corridor 8:07. I curse under my breath and sprint down the corridor and over to the training hall.  “Nice of you to join us Ashlyn” Julie barks at me as I run into the hall, that a tall skinny man with a shaven head and no eyebrows showed me to, red faced and out of breath “Sorry” I mumble
“It’s important for you to be punctual, this class is only for the best and the best are never late” She continues scowling at me. “It won’t happen again” I reply noticing ever one’s eyes have fallen onto me. “It better not, this is your first day so I’ll let it pass” Julie says then turns to face everyone else and I stand at the back of the crowd. “We’ve split you into 2 new teams, because the other ones didn’t work, mixing your abilities equally, no team is better than the other and nobody can switch. You’ll train together and put aside any personal feelings, it is compulsory that you remain a team and not a group of individuals” Julie tells us sternly looking at each person briefly.  A tall man with greasy hair and dark stubble starts to call out names and I listen nervously but don’t hear any names that sound very familiar. He pauses then says “Group two, stand over there” and he points to the corner opposite the group that must be team 1. I walk over to where he pointed and see that basically everyone who was in my group for the scout is here, including Marcus, and so is Ethan. He doesn’t look at me and is busily talking to someone in the group I don’t know the name of. “You need to learn to trust these people, your life could be in their hands” Julie says then leaves the hall, her heels clicking loudly on the concrete floor.  The greasy haired guy steps forward. “I’m Orave and me and Felix over their are your new instructors,  at the end of the week we’ll be going a game of capture the flag so you’ll be spending this week training and getting to know each other’s strengths and abilities. Today one team will train in here with the weapons and punching bags and the other team will be training on an obstacle course working on their team work.  This afternoon  you will switch over. I’m warning all of you, this is not a game; we’re training you to be sent out to the front line. Keep that in mind.” He pauses for a few moments to let the instructions sink in. “Team one your with me on the obstacle course and team two you’re with Felix in here” An older man with grey hair walks over to us while the other group walk out of the hall. When they’ve left he clears his throat then looks at us with his grey eyes “I’m presuming you all know the basics of weaponry” His eyes hover on me for a few moments “So today we’ll be testing your limits, so I won’t be looking at how you shoot the gun but how long can you hold it and shoot accurately and how far you can run. You are not all at the same level of fitness” Again his eyes waver on me “You have been put in this team because of your strengths and not all of them will be physical ones” He then splits us off into smaller groups, one at the punching bag one at the shooting range and the other one is sent off to the running track and I’m amongst them. I’m relieved to see Ethan’s not in it and Marcus is. He slows down for me to catch up with him as we walk over “Well those instructors seem really nice” I say sarcastically and I crack a smile.
“They’re laughing on the inside” Marcus says as we reach the track.
I laugh “At us I bet” Marcus cracks a smile but his attention is somewhere else. The grade 2 class are here, I watch Teel barking orders at them from across the track and Sina Tamara and Jaylyn all have their back to me and haven’t noticed that we’ve walked in. Clora has though, her ice cold stare sends unwanted shivers down my spine, and I look away not wanting to see all the hatred pouring out of her. Teel suddenly turns around and annoyance flashes across his face for a moment but it disappears just as quickly as it came. “Are you in here too?” He shouts across the room and I notice Sina giving me a questioning look and nudging Jaylyn, he turns and I smile at them from across the. They wave and quickly give me a thumbs up then turn back to their lesson “Don’t worry; we’re just here to use the track we’ll stay away from the field” Marcus calls out to them and Teel nods then turns back to the class gesturing behind him at the track and barking some instructions. I follow the small group over to the start line and butterflies start forming in my stomach, why do I get the feeling that I’m going to embarrass myself? We gather round in a small circle on the start line and quickly utter our names. There are 2 other males in the group and a striking woman covered in piercings and tattoos. She’s called Sinda and the two men are called Cody and Finn. Cody holds up a timer “I’ll time you for your first lap” He says but Marcus shakes his head “Dude weren’t you listening to that old guy, we don’t have to run fast just for a long time. Note down the time we start then everyone can note down the time we finish at” Cody nods then looks up at the bug clock on the wall.
“Let’s wait until its half past” I say when I notice that its 26 minutes past so we all stand watching the clock then when the hand hits half past we all set off. Running has never felt so intense before now; usually I do it for fun or to clear my head now I feel like I’m in a race. For some reason my arms and legs start to hurt a lot quicker than they normally do and I can already feel my lungs struggling to breathe. They others start to leave me behind and after about 5 minutes Cody and Marcus have already over taken me. Marcus gave me an encouraging smile as he passed but it didn’t stop me feeling like a twat running at a snail’s pace. Now after 25 minutes my whole body is screaming at me to give up, I notice that Finns pace has slowed so it gives me hope that I won’t be the first to bottle out. He doesn’t stop though and I reach the finish line yet again but my feet can’t seem to move past it so I collapse on the floor breathing hard with my ears ringing loudly. I force myself to look up at the clock and see that I’ve lasted for 27 minutes. I shake my head as I write it down on the sheet we were given and watch the others in frustration. Finn finishes shortly after me with 34 minutes as his time but Sinda Marcus and Cody keep going for a long time, none of them want to give up. Sinda finally does with 56 minutes on the clock and Cody collapses after an hour and 10 minutes. Marcus keeps it up for an amazing 1 hour and 34 minutes. I walk over to him and pat him on the back. “You’ve done well” I say to him passing him a water bottle and smile at his sweaty face and floppy hair. He winks at me before he empties the bottle with a few big gulps. “Is it boxing now?” I say and he moans at the thought of it.
By the end of the morning my arms feel as though they’re going to pop out of their sockets and my legs feel like lead. I didn’t do too badly on the boxing or shooting, in boxing I came second to last after Finn who’d obviously used up all his energy for the run and in the shooting I beat Finn and Sinda who both gave in after half an hour. Now we all stand back in the training hall with Felix flicking through the results quickly. “Well done today get some rest and be ready for tomorrow” He barks at us then waves his hands in a dismissal. I walk outside the hall feeling relieved that the day was over.  I look at the canteen and feel my stomach rumble and the urge to eat is greater than my need for sleep so I force my legs to walk me over to the busy food hall. I grab a plate of bolognaise and scan the hall for everyone. I spot them sitting at our normal table and walk over. “Hey guys” I say as they look up. Sina smiles at me “Check you out; you’re on the elite squad” She squeals as I sit down next to
“How is it? What do you do?” I roll my eyes as the questions start slipping out of Sina’s mouth one after the other. I take a deep breath and go into every detail the others want, we sit in the canteen way later than I intended to be there but I don’t mind, you can’t complain when you have real friends to talk too.

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