The Focus

What if there was a world with no choices?
If you were born with a certain gift, you were scarred and scolded.
Your two choices were to live a poverty and pain, or survive and rebel.
One choice can change it all.
Break a rule and it's death, unless you get away.
Learn to focus, survive, and keep the flaw in the system


4. Chapter 4

I sat on my bed with my knees in my chest. 1… 2… 3… 1… 2… 3…

I began to whisper to myself "Cathal it's over. No need to think about it. They won't-" my breathing hitched… they… "won't take you." 1… 2… 3… "C'mon, Cathal, it's just an episode." I had not realized my fingernails were digging into the skin of my legs. I kept telling myself I was safe here yet I couldn't stop the violence in my mind. Nightmares were a usual to me, ones of my attackers, my parents, but mostly my brother, the ones that terrified me the most. "1…2…3…" I was now counting aloud.

When I was finally calm enough to move again, I made my way to the bathroom where I stood still in front of the mirror to see my face soaked with with tears and sweat. I raised my t-shirt and looked at the wound that was no longer bleeding unlike my now red clawed legs. I washed my face and treated my legs before going back to my bed where I lay wrapped in the covers tightly gripping my legs that were now tangled in the sheets, but I couldn't fall back to sleep.

After about an hour I crawled from the covers and slipped on my shoes and throwing my nap sack over my back along with the only weapon I had at the moment; my knife. I shoved it in my waist band and opened the metal door before quickly shutting it. I could sense someone that was large and powerful coming my way. I listened to the thuds of his feet and someone else. "She's stubborn, but with enough negotiation, she'll stay. We just need to be patient." He spoke quietly, like he knew I was listening. "We watched her, Cad. She took down three cops by herself not even a week ago. She's able to camouflage herself. She's dangerous." A man's voice I didn't recognize boomed off the walls though he was talking in a low tone. Cadarn chuckles, "isn't that the type soldiers we need?"


I almost busted through the door and screamed that I was not a weapon of his, but instead I leaned back against the wall and listened as they continued their stroll down the hall. When their voices were no long audible, I opened up the door and merged close to the wall and peered around the long hallway to see a glowing clock that read 02:00. My steps were quiet and my senses were focused on everything around me. I came to a T in the hall and turned right, where I believe Cadarn went.

The hallway was dim with lights that lined the walls unlike when I first arrived and the large bulbs that hung over the hall were lit.

I then heard someone speak, "… generators are all solar powered…"

"… we're secure, sir. No sign of any of the capital people."

Then Cadarn's voice came in range, "thanks, Lucas. You're free for the night. I'll take over."

"Thank you sir."

He was walking my direction; I found a door with the word STORAGE scribbled on it. I slid myself in and waited until he was gone. I was as quiet as possible when finding my way into the room in which Cadarn stood leaning in front of a wall of computer screens that displayed the grounds in which we were under from canopies and rocks where they probably were camouflaged.

"You can't sneak up on me." Cadarn mumbled.

"I'm not staying." I growled. He finally took his eyes off of the screens and peered back at me before stretching his back and arms. He turned my direction and smiled almost believably. "Why not? We have food, shelter, whatever you need."

"Tell me, Cadarn, how long have you been watching me? You know, when I fought off three grown men?" I leaned up against the wall and strands of my dark hair fell into my face before I swept it back. Cadarn just grinned and leaned against the same wall just about a foot in front of me. I glared up at him, "I didn't kill those men."

"I know. The boys don't know that though."

"I'm not a soldier and I'd like to leave." I growled.

"Just stay until you're healed and healthy again. I promise we won't force you into doing something you don't want." Cadarn was convincing in his proposal. I sighed, "two days."

He once again smiled, "Great. Now get some sleep, Cathal. You look exhausted." And I was. I was bruised and bleeding, but it was going to be hard for me to find my way back to sleep. I begin walking and realize Cadarn is walking with me to my room. "I don't need an escort." I spat. Cadarn just gave that same annoying smile that makes me want to just tell him to knock it off. "Sleep well, Cathal."

I open the door and take one more glance back at Cadarn as if he was going to do something but instead he just smiled and turned away. After he began to open the door next to mine, I finally closed the door. When I passed the bathroom, I noticed something that definitely wasn't there before.

A pile of sticks.

They sat in a messy pile that were tied together with a thin twine. I looked around the room to find no one. I plucked the knife from my pocket and began flaking off the bumps in the thick bark until the blue-black began to show.

Ever since the world changed, the government had began performing experiments on animals, plants, even humans to make weapons. The tree this wood was taken from was a hybrid called Nightjude. The inner part of the tree was an almost black blue with a smell of cedar. The wood was modified to be 10 times stronger than a normal cedar tree. Yet some experiments turned uncontrollably dangerous, like the bestia. A large animal that resembled a bear but was stronger and had a mouth like a piranha; jagged teeth shot out of its jaws like splinters of wood from a fallen tree. Their glassy eyes stared at you like death itself. I only encountered one when I was hunting one night several months ago. The beast stared at me in the warm spring night, sensing my fear, but I sensed it's fear more. I knew to just stand still and let the large beast continue its journey through the wooded area. The hybrids included many, like mountain lion with a venomous bite, or a catfish that gave off electrical shocks and had the jagged teeth of a shark. Yet some of the hybrids were beautiful failures. A horse that could change to the colors of a chameleon.

My favorite was the phenoglim though. A large owl-like bat that had a wingspan of ten men. It was strange; the way the bat could not die easily. The bat was beautifully painted with a gold body and as if black flamelike motions sparked by it's eyes and the ends of its wings. The bat would sing like a bird in only three songs for three emotions; joy, danger, and depression. The tunes could be distinctly recognized through the tone and beat in which they carried. The bat reminded me of my brother; the way that they carried themselves was as if he was there with me.

After a few minutes, I was able to construct a straight shaft of an arrow. I continued the same with each stick until I have 15 carefully carved arrows. I tossed them onto the floor along with my knife and began to lie down on the cushioned bed in which I soon began to doze into a slumber that could only be taken by exhaustion.

When I woke the next morning, there was a loud banging on the door of my quarters. I quickly pulled open the door to come face-to-face with Greece. He smiled a cheerful smile that only a morning person could posses.

"Good morning, Cathal. It's 9:00 A.M. Which means that breakfast is almost over, and I was going to make sure you had something to eat-"

"I'm not hungry, thank you." I interrupted, "I'm not hungry."

Greece gave an uneasy look before peeking behind him.

"Listen, I know you don't like it here, but we need to see you. You're the hope."

"What hope?" I ask.

He sighed and leaned up against the door frame, "we didn't think there were anymore of us out there, at least not dauntless ones. See, Cathal, since the boys have heard of you, they've gotten some cheer back in them; they need to see that you're real."

I half nodded. I understood what he meant. I felt a spark of hope when I had them hold guns up against my head, though I would've killed them before they killed me.

Cadarn is going to kill you if you don't.

No, he's too afraid to.

But he will make sure they know you're here.

"Fine." I answered making Greece smile once again.

"Well come on!"

I followed him down empty halls that seemed to weave through countless corridors until we reached a large cafeteria-like room. Row after row were teenage boys sitting at long rectangular tables with plates of food in front of them. One group stood out though. As it was Cadarn and some older men I should say; they all looked around the age of 25 or 30. When Greece and I had made our entrance, the room seemed to grow unbearably silent as everyone stared at me. At that one table in the corner, I could see the smirk that grew secretly on Cadarn's face.

"Follow me." Mumbled Greece as he brought me over to a table with Roman, Ares, and Toshiro. Ares glared at me as I did the same to him.

I heard a chuckle slip from Roman and I snapped my head in his direction to glare him down as well.

After a while, everyone's conversations began to spark up again, and it all was new to me. Everyone was laid back, laughing and happy; they were nothing like the Normals. They were unique.

The only one in the room that held a stone face was me. There's wasn't a way for me to be comfortable; I was meant to be alone. Toshiro rolled an apple across the table to me. It's red skin was red as blood and had a glass-like texture showing that if was another one of the Capital's experiments. I knew as soon as I would bite or cut into it, that the Apple would become a red powder. I plucked it from the table and gripped it with such force it crumbled into its new form.

"Looks like Mountain Cat isn't completely oblivious of what the big heads are capable of." Toshiro smirked.

I scoffed and listened to the others question why Toshiro had called me Mountain Cat.

"Because Cat is in Cathal, and hell, isn't she sneaky like a mountain cat?"

I raised an eyebrow at the peculiar group of boys.

"So what do you think, Cat?" Toshiro leaned towards me, his face right in front of mine.

"How are you like a mountain cat?"

I didn't reply. Instead I stared at the taunting green eyes in front of me.

"Forget it, Tosh, she's not going to talk." Ares said.

Toshiro's lips curled into a smile, but his eyes didn't break contact. I just leaned back in my chair and propped my booted foot up in the chair causing my knee to be near my eyes.

"C'mon. Do I intimidate you? Tell us." He continued.

His arms laid on the table in a lazy pile.

"Tell me, how are you like a mountain cat?" Toshiro continued.

"You're aren't so-" his words stopped as soon as my knife had pierced the fabric of his jacket a centimetre from his skin thus causing his arm to be stuck in that one spot. I moved me head up next to his where he sat breathing heavily and staring at the steak knife in disbelief. It was now my turn to speak, so I very clearly pronounced the word next to his ear: "Tough."

I then plucked the knife from the table that now showed the scar of a small attack and made my way down the hall. Someone grabbed me by the arm and yanked me into an office-like room. Cadarn towered over me with a look of frustration.

"What?" I ask innocently, as if nothing had happened.

Cadarn had a sensation of irritation burning through his eyes, yet he pretended to be calm:"You know exactly what,"

He doesn't understand.

He didn't see the fight.

He didn't see the taunting, the bullying.

"He was attacking me." I growled.

"Cathal, he was just funning around. It's a thing people do to socialize."

"There's a difference between funning and attacking. Just let me survive today and tomorrow, then I'll be out of your hair."

I began my way out the door to see Greece standing a few feet from the door; he gave a bashful half smile and pulled at the laces of his brace on his arm.

"You didn't hear that, did you?" I asked.

Greece shrugged, "just the ending."

I half nodded before Greece was sudden to change the subject.

"Hey, if you want, you can come with the boys and I down to the shooting bunker."

"Sounds great." I replied and following the boy down the hall to an elevator in which I stepped into hesitantly. When Greece assured me it was safe, I made my way to the corner of the elevator to grab the railing. Greece peered over at me when I flinched at the tug of the elevator. He smirked slightly, "you're afraid of elevators."

"More of a phobia of small enclosed spaces in which are moving and could plummet to the depths of death below or suffocate to death if one thing goes wrong." I had my eyes closed but I still felt that little grin of his as he thought to himself about my strange problem.

"I thought you weren't afraid of anything." Greece States.

I replied, "And what caused you to believe that?"

Greece was about to say something until the elevator slammed to a stop making me grip the railing hard enough to make my knuckles go white.

"Here we are." Greece said with joy.

I open my eyes to see a large concrete rectangle of a room extending in almost the width of the whole sleeping quarters above us.

"How many stories are we from surface?" My voice echoed slightly and the sounds of gunshots rang out.

I snapped my head over the to see a dark-skinned boy holding a smoking gun aimed at a target in a distance.

"Seven stories," Greece said after the ringing escaped my ears.

I nodded and followed him to a side of the room that contained several shapes and sizes of blades.

"This is usually what I find Cadarn doing in his spare time; knife throwing." I picked up the small blade off a stand; it was painted yellow and black like caution tape. Chips of the paint were gone around the edges where the knife had been sharpened.

I twirled the blade between my fingers when I hear someone clear their throat. I can sense Cadarn, Greece, and Toshiro stood behind me, Toshiro glaring at me while Cadarn stood with his normal stern look. "What? Did I piss someone else off?" I ask in annoyance. Greece chuckled and Toshiro rolled his eyes. "No, we're just going to shoot some things and stab other things if that's not a bother, Cathal." Cadarn was clearly losing patience with me, but I felt somewhat accomplished.

This is the first alliance company you've had since your brother.

But they can't always be your allies.

Don't trust.

I turned the knife in my hand I point up where I could properly throw it. I pointed at the target and threw the knife. The next second the metal was lodged into the middle of the man shaped target's throat.

"Not bad." Cadarn commented.

"That could've been you last night." I answered.

"Or Toshiro at the dining hall."

I heard Greece chuckle a little giving me a smirk to slowly creep along my lips.

"She needs the attitude worked out of her." Toshiro snapped.

"Quit being such a baby about it, Tosh. You brought it on yourself." Cadarn replied.

I threw another knife that landed straight in the heart of the dummy.

Not bad.

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