I tossed and turned in bed, my stomach tied in knots, dark circles lining my eyes. The Highlander payed premium price for me. He wouldn't throw me out, would he? What if he finds out I'm not a Messian? Would he throw me out then?
The morning alarm interrupted my thoughts. I kicked off the blanket but didn't get up. Banging on my door sounded only moments later.
"Today's the day, Saskia! We have to be on time!" I could hear the nervousness threaded through his muffled voice.
Ugh. I dragged myself out of bed, taking my time to get dressed. First the undercloth, a black piece of clothing that clung to my body with a second skin, it covered everything apart from my head and hands. The material couldn't be cut by any normal means and was good at absorbing impacts. Over the top; combat boots, long pants, a t-shirt and a jacket.
I hit the button to open the door, and Emil paused in his pacing, "oh thank gosh." Relief washed over his face, "For a second I thought…"
"That I was going to run away or something?" I snorted. "There's not really anywhere for me to go, Emil."
A sheepish smile crossed his face, before it was again placed with worry. "We have to go, now, or we'll be late."
"Relax," I rolled my eyes. My stomach twisted further. What a hypocrite I am.
We joined the others just in the nick of time. Emil was starting to sweat from the stress. I barely talked, as I tried to look calm and collected.
Everyone in the room, Applicants and Handlers alike, all fidgeted nervously, barely speaking a word. The Highlander was here for the examination. You pass, or you get thrown away. If you begged, The Highlander might let you live, work in exchange for food and a bed.
Emil ducked away to mark my name off on the register. I caught Raven glaring me, and quickly realized why as Dušan sauntered over.
Dušan put a hand on the wall, next to my head, trapping me between him and the wall. "I wasn't sure you'd show."
I smirked, "Awww, were you worried about me?"
He huffed. His free hand reached up and brushed a strand of hair away from my eyes.
"Careful, your girlfriend is getting jealous."
Dušan didn't turn away from me, "She's my applicant. Nothing more."
I drank in Dušan's good looks; strong jawline, sharp eyes, and black hair that complimented his brown skin. Not to mention, the muscles that I knew lay hidden under his clothes. I smirked at the memory.
Dušan narrowed his eyes, almost as if he could read my thoughts, "Don't die out there, Saskia." He stood straight and walked away just as Emil returned.
"I can't leave you alone for two seconds can I?" He shook his head in disbelief.
"He just wished me good luck is all."
Emil narrowed his eyes, "Looked like a make-out session."
I lightly shoved him in the shoulder, "C'mon. I only did that one time! And you didn't even know about it until last week."
Our banter was interrupted, "Celia. To the arena."
A blonde girl and her handler disappeared beyond the doors. The examination had begun.
The group dwindled. Raven and Dušan passed through the door ages ago. Between each name, sometime an hour had passed, sometimes only minutes. More and more passed through the doors, until only Emil and I remained.
"Saskia." The instructor looked up from his clipboard at me. His eyes looked tired and weary.
I felt like I was going to throw up. I still had no idea if I even had an ability.
I walked through the doors, Emil trailing behind me. I followed the instructor into the Arena, Emil had turned left, to the seating area. He couldn't help me anymore.
I'd practiced in the arena before. It was large, but typically empty. Now, I felt small. The seats beyond the barrier were filled with people looking down on me. Staff, Applicants and Handlers, but most importantly, potential buyers, filled the seats. Straight ahead, above the opposing entrance, was a special seating area. The Highlander, a tall muscular man wrapped in robes sat front and centre. His long beard, although braided, still touched the ground. Beside him sat galaxy leaders looking to buy soldiers and guards. Or that's what I presumed, I didn't recognize their faces. One chair to the Highlander's left remained empty.
A siren sounded, and the opposing door opened. A man, twice my size entered. One glance and anyone could tell he was from the Plebisitian galaxy. Practically giants, they towered over everyone else. Their brute strength and unwavering energy made them some the harshest warriors across space. However, they were slow and notoriously stupid.
The brute charged towards me without hesitation. All of my training, all of my hard work, led to this. Nothing I had learned would hurt this guy, so I ran.
He chased after me, and I ran circles around him. I didn't know what else to do. I searched the stands for help, Emil stared back wide eyed. He looked as scared as I felt. Raven smirked. Beside her, Dušan sat with his arms crossed. He looked indifferent at first glance, bored. But his eyebrows drew together slightly, and his lips were a tad pursed. He was worried.
A fist hit my stomach, sending me flying. I hit the ground hard. I eased myself up, and proceeded to throw up. On the plus side, my stomach no longer felt like a pretzel. Instead I only felt pain.
I rose to my feet and a sharp pain jolted through my ankle. I tried to run but fell again as pain shot up my leg. I pressed my back against the wall of the arena. The brute barreled towards me. This is it. I shut my eyes. Sorry Emil.
The expecting pain never came. I heard a soft buzz, and opened my eyes. The warrior had stopped. A collar around his neck sending off sparks.
Relief washed over me, I knew it. He doesn't want me dead. I can work as a maid. Just please don't kill me. I never wanted any of this. A circled glowed in the center of the arena, and I scrambled over as fast as my sore ankle would allow.
I looked up at the Highlander, a frown no doubt hidden behind his beard. The empty chair beside him was filled. My heart stopped. My kidnapper.
The man was bald, an ugly gash crossed diagonally across his face. I unconsciously placed a hand on the back of my neck and rubbed at the spot. Bile threatened to rise again.
The Highlander's voice echoed through the Arena, "Do you, or do you not, have a known ability prepared for us?"
My mouth went dry. I could lie. But I had no ability to show, the punishment would be worse. I meekly shook my head. I didn't dare turn to look at Emil, as I felt his eyes drilling into the side of my head.
The whole Arena was silent. The highlander and my kidnapper talked. No one outside their viewing box could hear.
The Highlander stood after several tense minutes, and walked to the right, towards his control panel. His voice echoed through the Arena once again, "I have no use for you." He pressed a button.
Pink smoke started to fill the Arena. No, no no no.
"Please!" I shouted. "I can work! I'll do anything." My lungs started to burn. I started to cough, and my eyes started to water.
Emil's head rested in his hands. He looked broken. Raven no longer smirked. Dušan tapped his chest with two fingers and waved them toward me. Goodbye.
I screamed out, my voice came out strained and hoarse, "Please. I don't want to die."
Coughing racked through my chest, and body gave out on me. I hit the floor. I shut my eyes, wet tears streaming down my face.
I tried to go back, to remember my sister. Alysia. I wonder what dress she picked. We were shopping for her year ten formal dress. She was such a fashionista. Confident in her clothing choice, but so nervous that people were judging her, when she went shopping alone. I always went with her, distracting her from anyone else in the store. I took her to the cinemas that night. I couldn't get any phone reception to call Dad. The movie had finished earlier than I thought it would. I went outside, told her to stay. I never did get to call Dad. I never got to see Alysia's formal dress. I never saw home again.
Even the memories began to fade, and I couldn't feel my body anymore.
So this is what death feels like, huh? Floating in an endless abyss.
Here is the second part to the Applicants! Review/comment and let me know if you enjoy it so far. Hopefully more to come!