“Why do I have to go?” he asked.
“It’s your birthday present. Why wouldn’t you want to go?” his mother replied with a smile.
“But I like the school I’m going to now,” he said, ready to start whining.
“Don’t you dare start young man, Xion academy has better facilities. It’ll make you better and more ready when the time comes,” his father quickly joined in on the conversation.
“But I heard they will make me do things, things I dont want to do.”
“You need to toughen up boy. I’ve already pulled some strings to make sure you have a place in the 74th games.” His father then turned to him and looked him in the eye. “I paid a lot of money for this.”
Sighing, he nodded in reply. If his father had paid a lot of money, he should go and try to make his parents proud. And since he was finally thirteen, he told himself to start acting like a responsible adult.
The following day, he put on his new black and silver custom tailored suit. And before he entered the car, he shook his father’s hand, and gave his mother a kiss.
“We will see you during the weekends, O.K honey?” his mother said as she smiled broadly at him.
“Bye,” he replied, sliding into the backseat and waving at them as his driver drove further and further away from the gigantic mansion he called home.
Xion Academy was a one hour drive from home, in the heart of District 2. It was a huge school, with superb and detailed stonework, one of which he had not seen before.
As the car pulled up the driveway, a woman in black ushered him into the academy and led him straight to the headmaster’s office. After waiting briefly, a man walked into the room and took his seat.
“Before you start classes, we need to give you a test,” the headmaster, a balding middle-aged man, spoke.
“Sure. I’m ready. What do I have to do?” he asked confidently.
“Follow me,” the man said as he got up. Quickly following after him, he found himself walking along hallways and down staircases. By the time he reached a small room, he started to wonder how big the academy was.
As the headmaster pointed to a glass door in the marble walled room, he said, “Behind this door is an arena.”
“You want me to fight someone?” he asked excitedly.
“I want you to make sure that THAT someone doesn’t get up again.”
“What do you mean?”
“The person you are to face is a no good-er. You know what to do with these kind of people, don’t you?”
He finally understood what he had to do, but he still wasn’t sure. Was he being asked to kill someone?
“You want me to kill him?”
“There are nicer ways of putting it. Let’s just say we want you to terminate him. Good luck.” And with that, the headmaster left the room.
Unsure on what to do next, he slowly headed to the glass door and pushed it open. Taking a step into the big arena, he spotted his opponent.
His opponent was a tall, rather skinny man. His eyes were bloodshot red and when he turned to face him, he looked very ready for a fight.
Hesitating on his next move, he eyed the skinny man.Then taking a quick glance around the arena, he spotted weapons laying on the ground near him, and glass panels a storey higher, that made him sure he was being watched.
Straightening up, and putting on a brave face, he picked up two long blades and charged towards the man. To his surprise, the man didn’t charge back, but he ran instead. And being that he was younger and in better shape, he caught up with him and pounced onto his back, pinning the man on the ground immediately.
Then, as he placed his blades below the man’s throat, ready to slit him dry, the man pleaded, “Please boy, don’t do this. I have a son at home, just like you.”
For a brief moment, he hesitated. He thought about his father and his mother, and then he looked up at the glass panels. And as though he could see through it, he imagined the people in it nodding at him to finish the job.
“Please boy, you are not a killer,” the man said, trying to hold his head higher up, away from the blades.
“How do you know?” he asked with a laugh.
“Wrong answer,” he said as he pulled the blades across each other, slitting the man’s throat before he could finish his answer.
In all honestly, he didn’t want to hear what the man had to say. He was rather afraid of the truth, because all his life, he was told what to do and how to do it. He never knew who he really was, just that he was made to kill and to bring his family glory.
As he stood up from body of the man, lying in a pool of blood, he hoped that someone would reassure him that he was doing the right thing, and when the voice over the speaker spoke, he got what he had hoped for.
“I’m proud of you Cato.”
“Dad?” he asked immediately.
“Yes. And your mother is here too. Lets celebrate shall we?”
Smiling to himself, Cato didn’t care if all he knew was murder, because it made his parents proud.