Ruby and Jackson are two typical teenagers until they fall into the hands of The Vortex.
Kick, punch, kick, kick, duck. Kick, punch, kick, kick, duck. Kick, punch, kick, kick, duck.
“Looking good Ruby!” Ethan appeared from behind the punch bag, “Try and put more effort into that punch, it’s looking a little slack,”
Kick, punch, kick, kick, duck.
“Better! Now come over to the mat and try it out against Jasmine,” I left the boxing bag and stretched out my arms before poising ready for a one-on-one fight. Jaz was usually an easy win, she fought hard and had more strength than me but she let her guard down too easily and I was faster than she was. I had always been fast. She came at me, landing a kick in my thigh; I blocked her second attack and used my right arm to land a fist in her shoulder. She grunted and kicked me with her left leg, it made contact with my hip and I was able to grab her ankle, I swung her down and pinned her arms to the floor.
“Very good Ruby; Jasmine, remember not to leave any time for anyone to think,” I let Jaz go and shook her hand, she gritted her teeth and landed a fist in my jaw, I flew back and landed on the mat, my teeth both closing down on my tongue, she took my legs and dragged me off the mat.
“Ruby, always be aware of repercussions,”
“Yes sir,” I mumbled, blood filling up in my mouth, I spat it out as Jaz dropped my legs and went back to the boxing bags. We had never really got on since I had joined Vortex, but then again she wasn’t the most popular girl in the building.
“Saw you fighting,” said a voice I recognized, “you’re getting good,”
“I lost,” I told Jackson,
“You shouldn’t have, she was out of order, you were obviously finished, you’d shaken on it,”
“I should have been ready,”
“You’re new, they’ll forgive you,” Jackson smiled his crooked smile,
“I know, but I really don’t want to be cancelled,”
“Alexander wouldn’t let them do that to you, he likes you, I heard him say you showed potential, you know that he wouldn’t kill you for a small mistake like that,”
“I don’t know anything, don’t you remember Aaron? I can’t trust anyone in this place,”
“Do you trust me?”
“Well then you have someone to trust, and I’ll do anything in my power not to let you get cancelled,” he blew me a kiss and jogged back to the running machines. I was still lying on the cold concrete floor next to the mat,
“Get up or get hurt,” boomed Christopher, I scampered back to my room where I saw to my bleeding tongue, looking in the mirror I would hardly recognize myself from six months back. Six months ago I had been an average teenager with long blonde hair and blue eyes to match, I’d had tanned skin and a twinkle in my eye. Now I looked at myself and I was disgusted, my hair had been cut to the length of my chin and dyed brown, the brown contact lenses made my eyes water and the lack of sunlight had made me pale. I had a thin sheen of sweat over my forehead and constant bags under my eyes. What had they done to me? How had I changed so much in the past six months? And the big problem was I had no where to run, no one to turn to… to everyone else, I did not exist.