The Fighter

Chapter 1

Chapter 1

I remember flames. The tree was too high up for me to jump, so I started tree-jumping. I got onto a branch that stretched out about halfway to the tree beside it. I counted to three, and jumped. I made it onto the other tree with a thud, only to find that they had set this one on fire too. The flames were coming at an alarmingly fast pace. I had to jump again. I found a branch, and just as the flames licked my heels, I jumped. I reached out my hands for the next tree, but fumbled and missed. I fell fast, and hit quite a few branches, some on fire. As I landed, I saw a flash of red, then everything went black.

I woke to the sound of a gunshot. Screams and yells echoed across the forest. They were close, but not enough that the guns were a danger to me. I took a minute to take in my surroundings. Burnt trees and a black ground were everywhere I looked. This was the forest I used to call home. The Flaming Forest. It got its name for the amount of wildfires here. Only its inhabitants knew that they weren't wildfires at all. A group of people known as the Thex were starting them. The people who live here have been at war with the Thex for years. And all everyone who was 13 years old and older was trained and had to fight. I am 14. I was the top of my training class. And I was on the forest floor, after I had fallen ont of a tree. I stood, surprised I hadn't broken something or even died, and began walking. I walked away from the gunshots, trying to find food and water, a shelter, and possibly a gun or knife. I just needed to survive. I walked for a couple hours, until I couldn't hear gunshots anymore. I sat on a burned out log and rested. I knew I needed to keep moving, but I couldn't walk any farther yet. In the past two days I had been beaten, burnt, I had fallen out of a tree, and I had been on the move for weeks. I needed to stop for a minute. After about 20 minutes, I started walking again. I walked alone for 3 hours, finding nothing. When I was just about to stop again, I found a place where the trees formed a circle around a pond. Here there was water and food, and the trees covered the area to where I couldn't see the sky. If I was careful, the Thex couldn't find me here. The only problem: there was already someone here. A boy, probably 15 or 16, was setting up camp on the other side of the pond. "This place is already taken. Move along." He said. "Forget it. I'm not moving." I retorted. "I said move along. I was here first." He told me. "There is plenty of room for both of us. I have been walking for hours, and I'm not moving." I insisted. "...Are you gonna kill me in my sleep?" He said. "No. The only people I intend to kill is the Thex. And that's only if they attack me." I explained. He nodded. "We must think alike. I have the same intentions." He said. "Who are you?" I asked. "My name is Mason Remman. Who are you?" He said, seeming a little too cautious. "I'm Asha Lanning." I said, putting my backpack down and setting up. "So, why are you here anyway?" Mason asked. "When I was 13, just before I went to the training complex, some Thexes burned my house down. My parents didn't make it. Neither did my brothers. My father always said to do the best I can, so I fought my way to the top of my training class. I've been fighting in the war, but I was cornered in a tree and they burnt it, so I started tree jumping. I missed the tree, and fell. So now I have to wait a little while before I can fight again. I'm not quite sure if I want to." I told him, finishing my work. My camp was a small tent, barely big enough for me, a sleeping bag, and an empty canteen. "Have you tried the water or identified the berries and stuff?" I asked him. He nodded. "The water is drinkable. Most of the food is edible, just not the bush with the purple berries." I nodded and filled my canteen. "What happened to you? Why are you here?" I asked. "I refuse to fight unless my life is on the line. My parents tried to force me to, so I left." He said sadly. "Oh." Was all I said.

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