TITLE: FIGHT CAMP
GENRE: YA Science Fiction - Dystopian
From across the crowded mess hall, Neriya, my bunkmate, leaves a huddle of campers. She marches over. I avert my eyes to the untouched plate of slop on the table in front of me. She’s the only person I’ve spoken to since dawn- me saying good morning and her laughing in reply.
Neriya places both hands on either side of my tray and lowers her face to mine. With a sharp smile, she stares into my eyes and asks, "Wanna fight?"
It doesn’t look like I have a choice.
I study the plateful of grey mush, not daring to return her gaze. Replying to this question is almost as difficult as understanding how I arrived at this camp in the first place. Neriya’s strong arms brace the table not allowing me a way out of answering her question or trying to understand my own.
“Aran, there’s only one answer,” she hisses. Neriya pushes my face into the plate of food. “Eat. You’ll need your stamina.” With that, she saunters back to the tittering crowd.
The table fills, shielding me from their scorn. I use my t-shirt to wipe my face. Four words crack into my mind. I. Don’t. Belong. Here. I woke from a poetic dream of apple blossom nectar on the trees in my backyard, my mother’s soft humming in the background, and my father’s fresh pastries, into this violent nightmare of angry campers, some with bruises and scabs peppering their faces, and all with vicious attitudes to match.