Five Years Ago
“Let me show you what happens when you disobey me,” Maureen says. She looks towards Instructor Matthews. “Take her to the board.” Instructor Matthews grabs my wrist and drags me towards the target, as I am trying to run the other way, but I am too small to overcome his strength.
“Don’t be scared. You won’t be too terribly hurt. Mik knows not to aim at a lethal spot. Don’t flinch. If Maureen sees weakness, she’ll take her aim. You can do this.” Instructor Matthews whispers to me. He wants me to put all of my trust into this person that I don’t know; which is what I have to do to stay alive. Instructor Matthews buckles my arms and legs to the target board, which still has dried blood on it from yesterday’s live target.
I breathe slowly as my instructor walks to the safe area, which is behind the throwing line. Maureen calls Mik over. Mik doesn’t look much older than I am. I will be eleven in a week - if I don’t die today.
Mik picks up a knife, aims and throws. I made a mistake. I flinched. I was frightened and I flinched.
“Try again, Mik,” Maureen says, “She flinched.” Mik picks up a throwing star. Again, Mik aims and throws; I do not flinch. It misses me by five inches.
“Mik, one more time. You missed. At least nick the skin.” Maureen says to Mik. This is absolute torture. Once more, Mik picks up a dagger. He aims it, and I see him release it. It grazes my upper arm. It stings. I look down, and I am bleeding. Please, I think to myself. Let it be over. Please let Maureen have mercy.
“My turn. You should be ashamed, Mik. Go. Practice your aim.” Maureen says. She picks up a dagger. She takes her aim. I close my eyes and pray under my breath. I can’t use my powers because I am a good - for - nothing healer. With the exception of other telepathic abilities, like telekinesis. But I couldn’t even use that. They put an ankle monitor around my ankle that stops me from using my powers. It pulses to stop me from using them. They don’t trust me because I like to rebel. I hear someone yell. Then I open my eyes. I see the sharp point of a dagger, two inches from my face. And the person holding the dagger is Mik.
“I'm sorry. She is cruel. " He says as he gently puts down the dagger. He unbuckles the straps of the board, my limbs relaxing as each is freed. I linger at the board, scared of what Maureen will do next.
“I'm Mik, by the way. What’s your name?" He asks.
“I’m Nova,” I reply. He then holds his hand out, so I assume that he wants to shake my hand. I grab his hand and he drags me to where Maureen and Instructor Matthews are standing. He presents me to Maureen.
“I still have to choose a partner, right?" He asks. He is standing next to me and he is about an inch taller than I am. His dark blonde hair is ruffled and crazy. The way he speaks to Maureen makes it seem like they are close.
“Yes, Mik. The deadline is one month from now." Maureen answers. She basically growled at him. She was livid. Mik smiles and takes a step towards her.
“I choose her,” Mik says, with a slight nod in my direction.
“You cannot do that, Mik. She is two years younger than you. Plus there’s the fact that your partner has to know and trust you.” Maureen replies with a smile.
“I know who Mik is,” I say, “I trust him.” He grabs my hand and squeezes. I actually don’t know him that well, but something tells me I will.
“If that is your choice, then you are stuck with this girl,” Maureen says, angrily.
“The girl’s name is Nova.” He says, looking at me, with his bright green eyes.
“Nova! Wake up! We’re gonna be late for training!” I say, pulling the covers off of her. She is already dressed because she gets up early and goes back to sleep. Nova springs out of bed. Her tennis shoes are on, along with a pair of athletic leggings and a tank top.
“I’m up!” She said. She flashes her famous grin and walks into the bathroom. She brushes her light brown hair into a ponytail.
My bed was already made. I decided to start making her bed while she was in the bathroom. I made her bed as fast as I could, so we won’t be late.
“Ready to go, Mik?” She asked. I nodded my head and we went for the door. We started sharing a room when she became my partner. Since Nova is two years younger than I am, she goes through my classes, instead of those with her age.
We are graduating this year, and we are going to join The Salvationists, as partners. The Salvationists are an organization of skilled agents who try and do stop evil in the world. We know personally not to join The Revengists, of which we were educated because they do evil. Their leader is Maureen Vincent. That is just enough for us to leave.
Today we are going to be designing our uniforms for The Final Test. The Final Test is the last test before graduation. It starts in two weeks. The Final Test is where they throw you in the woods, and you have to battle against each other, and nature, all while you make camp in the woods. Teams that survive after one week pass. The people who survive that, graduate.
Two Weeks Later: The Final Test
Right now, we are all on a transport vehicle to the woodlands where we will take part in The Final Test. I am sitting between Mik and Joline Reveria. Joline was annoying and she hated me for some reason. I never even talked to her. She has the ability to control the movement of someone, where their mind isn’t telling them to do it. It’s Joline telling them to do it. One time, she made me jump into the pool, and I was down so long that I nearly drowned.
“I like your uniform. Nova.” Joline scoffed. The uniforms we designed were reversible. It was chilly outside, so we wore the black side. We made thick coats that were heated. There is a setting button on the sleeve that can change them to air-conditioned. Joline and her partner were wearing camouflage army uniforms. They weren't as clever as our suits, but they were adequate. At least they didn't have sparkly pink uniforms like the Unity Twins did.
Once we got to the woodlands, they escorted us to the middle of the wooded area. We got a countdown from ten, then we could split up to find and make a shelter. We found a deserted bear cave. It was built into the side of a small hill. There were a few other caves that people found, but most of the groups got stuck with building lean-tos, a-frames, and tee-pee style shelters. I guess we just lucked out.
The Next Day
We didn’t luck out. It was not a deserted bear cave. Nova put the bear into hibernation with her telepathic abilities. She really is something, I thought. Nova could do anything. She was convinced that she was useless. But that was only because Maureen made her believe that she was useless. Maureen was evil, and she was full of it. Nova had everything she needed; plus a healer wasn’t useless. They could heal.
The day was fading away as we ate the wild pig that we had hunted and cooked for dinner. It took forever to prepare. That is the reason that we are eating so late. We used rocks that we had cleaned in the river, for plates. Nova used her telekinesis to skin and tear apart the pig. We then put thin pieces over the fire to cook them through. That was the part that took forever.
“Mik, what should we find for breakfast tomorrow?” Nova asked. She was finishing up her meal.
“Let’s search for berries and bird eggs. Those sound breakfasty, right?” I replied.
“Yeah! Sounds good!” She answered. She finished up the last bite of her meal and set down her rock.
“I am going to wash my hands in the river. Wanna come?” She asked me. I nodded my head and stood up. We walked side by side to the nearby river. It was freezing cold - perfect to drink, but it would be so cold that her hands would be chapped. She kept her hands in her heated pockets, so she wouldn’t get too cold. I washed my hands too because they were greasy from my dinner. We walked back to our cave and waited for our fire to go out. Then we retired to bed.
When I wake up in the morning; the sun is rising. I wake Nova up so she can find food with me.
“Good morning, Nova. How did you sleep?” I ask her. She sits up and stretches. She smiles at me.
“I slept pretty well. How about you, Mik? Did you sleep okay?” She asks. She combs through her shoulder-length hair and tucks a piece behind her ear.
“I slept okay.” I say, “Are you ready to go find breakfast?” I get up and hold my hand out to help Nova up. She takes my hand with a smile. We head out of the cave and decide to split up. I will go looking for bird eggs. She will go pick berries and other fruits, to make a fruit salad.
I look up into the trees. I see a nest. The tree isn't too tall. It is an easy climb to see if there are any eggs. I peek into the nest. There are no eggs, so I keep looking.
Once I find two bird eggs, I start heading back to our site. Nova is already there. She has a stone heating up over the fire. She used the knife that we were allowed to have to cut fruit that she found.
"How long has that stone been on the fire for?" I ask, wanting to know when I could put the eggs on it.
"About thirty minutes. Give it a few more minutes." She replies, cutting an apple. She already has the tops cut from some wild strawberries, she has mulberries, apples, elderberries, and some blackberries. She found plenty of fruit for breakfast. She is so brilliant. She can figure things out so well. I'm scared for the day that she doesn't need me. Because I need her.
Once the stone was finished heating up, I cracked the eggs onto it. Again, Nova was spot on, in estimating when the rock would be hot enough. It took the eggs about eight minutes to cook fully. Once they were done I used our knife to serve the eggs onto our eating "dishes." Nova put fruit on both of the plates. We then started eating.
It was about nine in the morning. The sun was a golden ray, just above the horizon. I looked over at Nova, who was eating a piece of apple. Her hair fell over one side of her face. The other side was tucked behind her ear. Her brown eyes glowed gold from the sun. She was beautiful.
The Last Day
We are going back to our dorms tomorrow. The instructors will pick us up in the morning. Today is the last full day in the wild. I am tired. I am in need of a shower, but Mik doesn't seem to notice. It was time to go hunting for our dinner. This would be our last dinner in the wild. Whoever survived today, would pass The Final Test. I can only hope to survive tonight to pass.
Mik and I walked side by side until we got to the clearing of trees, where we usually split up to look for supplies. I hate splitting up from him. I worry, especially when the other people participating in The Final Test are cruel. But I know that he is very capable.
After fifteen minutes of looking for more sweet berries, I hear someone yell out. I run toward it and I see Mik near the river. He is splayed across the ground, like sleeping except, something is wrong. His chest is bleeding. I feel a tear fall from my face. Why did it have to be the last day, I think to myself.
"Mik! You're going to be okay. I will heal you." I tell him through my worried tears. His eyes close, and I press my hands to his chest. Please, heal. I think to myself, please.
He stops his breathing and my heart skips a beat. I press my hand to his chest harder thinking that it will help. It doesn't work.
"I am so sorry I couldn't protect you, Mik," I say, and reach for his hand. "I love you." I hold his hand between two of mine. This was the worst part of the test.
I think of all of the good times we had. I think of how he knew that Instructor Daniels was my father and that Instructor N.D. was my mother. I think of how I know that his parents are Maureen and Instructor Vincent.
I suddenly see a twitch in his eye after about forty minutes. His eyes open. He looks up at me from where I sit. The gash in his chest wasn't bleeding any more. I throw my arms around him, happy to see that my ability works and that Mik is alive. I kiss Mik on the cheek. At first, I think that I made the wrong decision when he pulls back. He kisses me back. He pulls back again and looks at me as if he wants to examine my face. "I love you too, Nova."