Killzone: Chapters 1&2

Chapter One


Katy walked into the meadow, eyes peeled, chest pounding. She had done this many times, but everytime she still got nervous. Her head would pound with her chest, ready to fly out of her brain. She felt as if she was about to explode, the butterflies were making a break for it.

Her opponent had not arived yet. The quiet was overwhelming. A soft breeze carried her hair across her face. She looked around the small meadow again. She had the feeling that she had been here before. All the places seemed to meld together after awhile.

The meadow had soft light green grass that looked as soft as a thousand pillows. If she could of she would have layed down and slept right there. The way the light hit it was magical. The trees filtered it just right. The perfect amount of shade and dawn. She wondered what it would look like soaked in red.

She was so busy looking at her surroundings she didn’t notice the boy walk up across the way. “So we meet again,” he said with a smirk in his voice.

She looked up. He was about 16 years old, same as her, and 6 feet tall. He had a medium build, and dark wavy hair. His face was attractive, an obvious favorite with the female viewers. He looked easy enough. “I’m pretty sure we’ve never met,” Katy replied smirking. “If we had you’d be dead.”

“Ah,” he said starting to circle her, “we’ve got a cocky one. Good thing I’m cockier.”

“This isn’t about cockiness,” she said moving away from him, moving with his circle. “It’s about skill.”

The circled for another minute. Katy pulled her knife, the boy did the same. “My name’s David,” he said twirling his knife, trying to intimidate her, “what’s yours?”

“Katy,” she responded trying to ignore the knife.

She knew what he was doing. She had fought his type before. Trying to get her comfortable, yet scared at the same time. But she knew better. She wouldn’t fall for his tricks, she had come too far to do so. “It’ll be a pleasure to kill you Katy,” he said, his knife twirling faster.

Katy eyed him. She didn’t trust him. She didn’t trust anyone. He was the perfect candidate for sponsers. Probably one of the main reasons he had gotten this far. She worried how popular she was in this fight so far. Her eyes darted, looking for the camera. When she couldn’t find it she gazed back at him, his knife. It was twirling, even faster than before. “Ladies first,” he said nodding at her to make the first move.

“I wouldn’t want to take that away from you and your viewers,” she said cracking a sly smile.

More conversation meant more ratings, and she needed that. She felt that was the reason she was up against him, low ratings. “They like it better when the other person starts,” he said matter-of-factly. “And besides, how would my ratings be if I attacked a girl first. Most important rule of this game sweetheart, give ‘em what they want.’

That was it. Anger boiled inside her. He had called her “sweetheart”. She had come to far to be called “sweetheart”. She felt she earned at least that much. She braced herself to attack. She would give him what he wanted.

His knife stopped twirling, he knew what was coming. Of course he did, it was exactly what he had wanted. But if it meant ratings, she’d give him what he wanted.

She started across the meadow at an alarming pace. She wanted to do away with him as painfully as possible, for him. She aproached him, knife raised. It got inches to his face when his kife shot up deflecting hers, throwing her off balance for a second.

She quickly bounced back, bracing herself for the next attack. He came at her and she quickly deflected it. Her blade hit his making a metallic sound that echoed through the meadow. She sliced her knife and hit skin, an arm. She heard a sharp intake of breath. She saw the red on her knife. This was good.

She backed up a little, give him room to make the next attack. He held his arm and glared at her. She had made him mad. Good.

He gripped his knife firmly and ran to attack her. She dodged him and slashed at him with her knife. She missed, but some of the previous blood from his arm flew off her knife. She looked over and he sneaked and slashed her on her thigh.

She screamed out in pain. The gripped her thigh but her hand was soon drenched in sticky red blood. “Nice meeting you Katy,” David said standing over her.

This was it, she thought. All of her hard work, down the drain because of this one boy. How many people she had killed to be here. It didn’t matter anymore, her time had come. He was about to finish her off and there was nothing she could do about it.

Her knife was right there, but it was no use. She would bleed to death anyway. But she grabbed it. Better to die with it. Then again, she thought grabbing the knife; we might as well both die.

He leaded down to finish her off. She felt his breath on her cheek. “Nice knowing you Sweetheart,” he whispered.

This got her. She mustered up all of her strength and plunged her knife into his chest. She heard a thud from him falling backwards and several coughs. She turned around to see him coughing up blood, grabbing at the knife in his chest. “Goodbye, Sweetheart,” she muttered.

“No,” he gasped. “This can’t be happening. I can’t die like this. All my hard work.”

“Too bad,” Katy told him.

She pulled her knife out of his chest and took his from his hand. “Nice knowing ya, David,” she called back as she limped away.

She got out of the meadow quickly. Her leg was still bleeding, but she didn’t want the cameras to see her slowly bleed to death. That was David’s job. She collapsed next to a tree about 15 yards from the meadow. Her leg was killing her and her pants were now drenched with her own blood. She gripped at them getting handful after handful of the warm sticky red liquid. She pulled her pant leg up to examine the wound.

To her luck it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. It was about an inch deep, but even that could kill her. The blood rushed out just as quickly as if the wound was a foot deep. It was official, she would die here. At least she would die by herself and not at the hands of that terrible David.

Her mind and vision started to fuzz. The blood loss was too much. She only had a few minutes left. Her surroundings started to spin, one fuzzy blur after another.

She heard voices, a lot of them. Coming from all different directions. Surrounding her. She knew she was in trouble, it could have been anyone. But she was too weak to defend herself.

The voices came closer, and they also came with footsteps. The shouts all sounded like one, she couldn’t tell voices apart from one another, but she knew there were a lot of them. The last thing she remembered was them surrounding her and eventually picking her up. Then she passed out.
Chapter 2
Katy’s mind was foggy. She didn’t know where she was or how she had gotten there, but she knew she’d be in trouble. Always stay sharp they would tell her. She had done the opposite. How she wished she had watched herself out there.
Her vision was blurred and she couldn’t think straight. All she could think about was how she got there and why. How was probably the bigger question. How could anyone have gotten her here in time, she was practically dead already.
She heard footsteps approaching, accompanied with faint voices. She strained to hear what they were saying, but her mind was too blurry for that. They were approaching quickly and she would be able to hear them soon enough, she just hoped it would be something she wanted to hear.

She could hear rushed whispers at that point, but no clear voices. She recognized a women and a man, but still the words were blurred in her hearing. If her head wasn’t so foggy she could probably make it out.

They approached her bed, their whispers continued. Now she could barely make out their words, her head still in a fog. “This still wasn’t planned,” the man said, “I don’t care if she made it, we need to watch it. If another stunt like this occurs we could be out of a job.”

The women sighed. “They don’t care,” she replied to him. “Ratings are through the roofs. This is one of the most view videos on the web. People want to watch it over and over.”

“That is what I don’t care about. It’s my job to make sure she doesn’t die. And this was not part of the plan.”

“Plans are for bad ratings. She’s alive isn’t she?”

“Sure, sure. But I really don’t care. She could have died and then we would have for sure been out of a job. They don’t need as many of us anymore. And I don’t have a back-up like you. We need to watch out for each other, you know.”

“I have other clients. Her safety is the least of my concerns. I just need her to put on a good show.”

“Way to be considerate.”

“Consideration will get you nowhere. It’s all about popularity in this business. And the sooner you realize this you may get more clients.”

The women walked about, she recognized the sound of heals clacking on the linoleum floor. But she didn't hear the man’s shoes on the floor, and she could still feel his presence. She heard him walk across the room and heard the sound of the chair moving a little as he sat down in it.

He sighed. “What am I going to do Katy? I have no more clients. I can’t lose you right now.”

There was silence except for the whirls and beeps of the machines Katy was hooked up to. She wished she could respond to the man, but she couldn’t even remember who he was. She knew he was obviously important to her, cared for her, but she couldn’t put a name or face to him. Not that she would probably be able to put a clear sentence together. Though she wouldn’t know if she never tried. Luckily the man filled the silence again. “And how could I not care for you. It’s my job to keep you alive. Keep you fighting. But I can’t if you keep getting hurt,” he sighed. Then he chuckled, “Why am I even talking to you? You’re knocked out cold. I guess that’s my fault though. Not enough training. You’re legs have always been your weak spot haven’t they? Your Achilles heel. Should’ve trained you better.”

He and Katy sat there for another minute or so. Him sitting, watching her, and her just lying there, halfway between consciousness. How she wanted to talk to this mysterious man, to comfort him, tell him it’s not his fault. But she wasn’t able to, and even if she was she couldn’t because it could have been his fault. But if she had no clue who he was she had no way to blame or not blame him.

Another person entered the room and the man got up from the chair. “Hello doctor,” he said. “Is she going to make it?”

“Of course,” the doctor replied, he was also a man. “She had traumatic blood loss and was near death, but with the technology today we got her back in tip-top shape. You know, back in my day she would have had to have a major blood transfusion. Luckily we’re not back in my day or she wouldn’t have recovered for battle this quickly.”

The man and doctor laughed. “I understand,” the man said chuckling. “So when will she be fully recovered?”

“When she comes to, which should be any time now.”

“That quickly? Oh good.”

“As I said before, recovery now-a-days is a lot faster. She could go have another fight right after she wakes up,” the doctor had a good laugh. “Whether or not she’s up to it or not is your problem, am I right?”

They both laughed at that. Katy didn’t find it particularly funny, being as they were talking about her and her fighting. She always considered that a touchy subject. “I saw the fight, you know,” the doctor said striking up conversation. “It was really good. Do you watch them?”

“Yes, I watch them live.”

“Well so did I!” The doctor exclaimed a little too loudly. “Always tune in for her fights. She’s one of my favorites. Great kid.”

“She really is,” the man agreed. “Very nice to work with as well. Very polite and willing to work on things that need improvement.”

“I see. Well, when I was watching this fight I noticed she was a bit off, did you discuss this with her at all beforehand?”

This got Katy angry. She hated when people insulted her fighting. They were she even did this for them, even though she had no choice. But the fact that they even had the nerve to insult her when she did it all for their entertainment infuriated her, but there was nothing she could do about it at that moment. Her mind was still fuzzy and she wasn’t completely conscious. “I thought she was spot on,” the man said, defending Katy’s honor. “Her leg happens to be her weak spot.”

The doctor was silent for a minute. “Ahh,” he said finally. “Well, I think you might want to train her a little more on her legs then. Now that she had that fight more people might realize that’s her weak spot. May have a tougher competition after that.”

The man coughed, clearly offended. “Well, thank you for that… advice. But I honestly think that I can train her just fine on my own thanks. She didn’t get this far on her own, now did she? And really, if I needed anyone else’s opinion I would hire an assistant. And trust me, it wouldn’t have been you. Now I think you should get back to your job and make her better to fight. Do I make myself clear?”

This made Katy very happy. He actually defended her. She could tell she liked this guy even though his name still couldn’t come back to her though she could tell she was definitely coming to. “Well,” the doctor said coughing, “I understand you have been through a lot in the past few days, her not being conscious and all. Just trying to help a little so I will never have to see her in person again. Hopefully you can keep her on TV for a while and not have to have her come in here again.”

She heard the doctors fading footsteps and the man walking over and sitting again. “What a jackass,” he said to himself. “You know Katy, even though you can’t hear me, I just wanted to let you know I think you’re amazing and that even though you got hurt out there I still think you’re a great kid and that you’ll definitely get far in this business. And I know you never wanted to do this, none of you guys did, but you still turned out being great at it. And I hope I’ll have the pleasure of training you for a long time to come. Or until you 18, whichever comes first. Hopefully the 18 though.”

They sat in silence again. Katy was touched by this. She could make out his face in her mind. She remembered his curly brown hair and round friendly face. His big brown eyes and huge, white smile. She just wished she could remember his name. She also wished she could thank him, for all that he had done.

She heard him sit up. “What did you just say?” he asked alertly.

She wasn’t aware she had said something. But maybe she had. So she tried it again. “Thanks,” she muttered.

“Oh my God,” he exclaimed. “You’re okay! You’re coming to! Oh Katy I knew you’d make it out! Doctor, doctor! She’s coming to!”

Doctors rushed into the room, she heard their feet shuffling on the linoleum. She felt the man’s presence next to her, he grabbed her hand. “You’ll be okay kiddo,” he whispered in her ear.

She felt that her head had become less fuzzy, but she had been so concerned in listening to the various conversations she didn’t realize it. Various doctors were testing her pulse and opening her eyes while shining different lights in them. “Could you stop that?” she asked. “It’s really annoying.”

“She’s good,” a female doctor said.

Katy opened her eyes by herself and watched the doctors leave the room. She was glad the poking and prodding was done. “Thanks for coming through, kiddo.” The man said.

Katy looked at him. She was welcomed by his big brown eyes and bright smile. He was exactly as she had pictured him in her mind. “I should be thanking you,” she still couldn’t remember his name.

He laughed. “No, I owe you one. You saved my ass by pulling through. Wait, you do know who I am right.”

“Of course,” Katy laughed. She recognized him, but if only she could remember his name.

The women, she assumed, from early walked in holding a phone. “Come on you two, enough of this little reunion. I’ve scheduled a press conference in one hour. You get to explain yourself to the public on live TV little missy.”

The man sighed. “Really Veronica? She just came to.”

“Exactly,” she women said as if he should have gotten her, “perfect time for her to not entirely remember what happened. Which means she can’t tell the whole story. Which means more people will want to download it. Plus she can play victim and make people feel sorry. Perfect publicity.”

“I still don’t think she’s conscious enough.”

“She better be. Looks like it to me.”

“I’m fine… Jake,” Katy said, remembering his name. “Really, I do this all the time.”

Jake sighed. “Okay. Get dressed.”

He tossed Katy a bag and started to leave the room. “Great,” Veronica said typing on her phone. “Be ready in 10. Press conference starts in 55 minutes and we need to get there 30 minutes early to get make-up done.”

Katy nodded watching the two adults until they left the room completely. She opened the bag and found her uniform in it. She sighed. She always wore this, to everything. For once she hoped she could one day be able to dress pretty, like a normal teenager she would see in those old fashion magazines.

She noticed that her uniform had been sewed in the leg and they had gotten most of the blood out of it. There was still a big splotch on the leg where the blood had drenched it, but she guessed it was the best they could do. She had even hoped she would get a new one since she had had this same one since she had started 4 years ago.

She got the boring uniform on and headed out to go to the stupid press conference. She had done so many press conferences since she started when she was 12. She was trained in the art of staying alive and in saying right thing to press. She could make them believe anything and everything. Jake had called her a good politician, but Veronica said she just had a good game face. Katy didn’t really know what either of those meant, so she didn’t know if either was good, but she assumed they were.
She exited the room and went out to the waiting room and was greeted by Jake and Veronica. She kind of hoped her family would be there, but then remembered she hadn’t seen them in almost 4 years. Jake and Veronica were now her family. Well, Jake was at least, she wasn’t too sure about Veronica. “Come on,” Veronica said, still absorbed in her phone, probably checking about the press conference. “We have to go. Limo’s right outside.”
Katy, Jake, and Veronica all headed out the sliding hospital doors. “Wait,” Veronica said stopping the group, “there’s press outside. Go back and get her a wheelchair, Jake.”
Jake rushed back into the hospital trying to go as quick as possible. Katy wasn’t too sure about how Jake felt about faking her not being able to walk from the door to the curb, but she knew he had to do it. If her ratings didn’t go up, he would definitely lose his job.
Jake got back with the chair and Katy sat in it awkwardly. It was weird needing help when after all these years she would never really get it. Anything for press, she guessed. That was the name of the game, don’t die and entertain people as much as possible. It wasn’t about you, it was about your ratings.
Jake wheeled her down the walk to the waiting limo at the curb. “Act weak,” Veronica whispered in her ear.
Katy nodded. She might as well. As much as she wanted out of this business, she’d rather be in it than die, which is what would happen if she didn’t keep her ratings up. So she pretended to struggle getting up, Jake ran to help her out. “Nice acting,” he chuckled in her ear.
“Thanks,” she whispered back.
Jake helped her into the limo and she slid over to make room for him while Veronica got into the other side. The door shut and the limo started off to the press conference. “Good job,” Veronica said finally looking up from her phone. “I knew I could count on you to do a good acting job. You’re a natural darling.”
Everyone laughed. “Well,” Katy chuckled, “I am in show biz aren’t I?”
This started the laughing again. “With all this pretending you have to do I’d say that’s spot on,” scolded Jake. “Back when it started it was all about the fighting. That’s why I went into the training business, that and I couldn’t actually get in. Not that my mom would have ever let me anyway. But I always thought it was so cool how they would fight each other. How much skill they had. But now it’s all about how popular they are. It’s a shame really.”
Jake often when on rants like this. Always talking about how things were before Katy was born or in the business. He wasn’t that old, only 30-something, but he still had to rant about the old times. “Why would your mother have never let you?” Katy asked. “I was under the impression everyone had to try out, and if you were picked you had to do it. That’s what happened to me.”
“Oh,” Jake replied, a little uncomfortable. “Well, that’s how it used to be, when I was still young enough to do it. You only had to try out if you wanted to. A lot of people did, family honor and all that crap. But then a lot of people started dying, which was exactly what was wanted. But of course people didn’t like that, even though that was the whole premise. Well, a lot of people wouldn’t let their kids do it anymore, so trying out became mandatory by the time you had to do it. And if you made it, of course you had to stay.”
Katy understood. It made sense, really. The only thing Katy didn’t understand was why the government didn’t just end the program. But that wouldn’t be a good thing to ask since Veronica and Jake worked for the very company Katy despised. So she decided not to ask. She’d ask one day. Maybe when she was 18, just about to leave, right before she gave them a piece of her mind. If she did make it to 18, there was a chance she wouldn’t, there was still 2 years to go.
The limo pulled up to the government center where she lived. She thought maybe she would get to go someplace special, instead of the same place she always had press conferences at. She sighed and got out, there was no press outside so she assumed she could walk by herself. “Where is everybody?” Veronica asked when she got out. “I assumed they would be outside when we got here.”
“They’re all inside,” the doorman said. “The security sent them all in when they heard she couldn’t even walk out of the hospital. Guess that was an act then, or she magically got better on the ride over.”
He opened the door for them and they walked inside. There they were swarmed by the press. Jake covered her up and rushed her into a room over to the side where she would get her make-up done.

The room was nicely lit and small. It was set up as a make-up room, which it obviously was not. In the center was a make-up chair right in front of a vanity mirror. Pushed to the back of the room were the two bunk beds that came standard in each room in the government center. Whether or not anyone lived in this room Katy had no clue, she guessed it didn’t really matter since it would be a make-shift make-up room today. “Press conference starts in 40,” Veronica told them. “It took less time than expected getting here. Chill out for 10 minutes then we’ll get your make-up. There’s water and snacks over there. I assume you’re hungry, right?”

Katy got up and went over to the snack table. There were bottled waters all set in ice to stay cold. They had all sorts of snacks that all looked amazing to Katy’s grumbling stomach. But Katy decided to go with her favorite, chocolate covered pretzels. She only got sweets every once in a while, mainly on press conference days, so she liked to savor them whenever she did get them.

“You have visitors,” a lady at the door told her. “Your roommates I believe.”

Katy looked. She could see her roommates trying to get in past the lady at the door. Katy laughed. “Let them in, thanks.”

Katy’s roommates pushed past the lady at the door and all ran in to smother Katy with hugs. “Hi guys,” Katy said giving each of them a hug.

“Never do this to us again!” Her roommate Liz said.

Liz was very pretty and very popular on TV. Everyone in the room thought Liz was the lucky one, because of how pretty and popular with the guys she was she always won her fights, no matter what. Liz had long brown hair, blue eyes, and a great smile, all on one just generally pretty face. “Yeah Katy,” Jenny agreed, “You worried us so much. You’ve never been that close to dying.”

Jenny was the strong one. Though she wasn’t that pretty her ratings were sky high because she always knew how to put on a show during fights. If Katy was good at that then Jenny was amazing. Jenny had short dirty blond hair and dull green eyes that even in the brightest light never sparkled. She had an olive complexion and was very buff since she made it her life to work out and improve herself.

Her other roommate was Alice, the quiet one. She was pretty and was short and quick with her fighting, which made her somewhat of a popular fighter, though most people liked fights long and drawn out. She was the one they all feared would go someday due to low ratings, so they kind of kept their distance, not that she was one to really be social anyway.

The girls all got food and such, it was great when someone got a press conference because it meant actual good food for all of the roommates to chow down on. Living in a government controlled housing unit meant terrible food for everyone. And the only time you ever got tasty grub was when you did something either good or bad and had to go explain yourself to the press, which really wasn’t all that often. “This sure beats what we had for lunch today,” Liz said grabbing a bagel. “It was porridge. I mean really, I didn’t even know porridge was real until I came to this place. I thought it was just made up in children’s books.”

Everyone laughed. “You’re so lucky you were out cold,” Jenny laughed. “Yesterday for dinner we had cold pea soup. Soup is not supposed to be cold.”

“You guys,” Katy started, “how long was I out for?”

“Two days,” Liz exclaimed with bagel in her mouth. “We thought you weren’t gonna make it for a while there. You scared the crap outta us.”

“Well,” Katy sighed, “I did lose a lot of blood I guess.”

“You gotta watch yourself out there Katy,” Jenny warned. “It’s tough, but you gotta do it. We all want you around when we’re 18 and get outta here.”

“Yeah,” Liz agreed. “But on the Brightside, that David kid was cute. And he was flirting with you. Too bad you had to kill him. If you didn’t you guys would’ve made an adorable couple.”

“There ya go Liz, always thinking about boys,” Katy laughed. “He was too cocky for my taste.”

“Those are the best Kates. That means they know their amazing.”

“You can’t just always think about boys, Liz,” Jenny pointed out. “We’re not here to find our next boyfriend. We’re here to stay alive until we’re 18. Then you can worry about that.”

Jenny and Liz started bickering while Katy sat down to relax. Her make-up artist should be here any second and then she would have to go out and tell her story to the press. She liked press conferences well enough, but she also thought they were a pain in the ass. Everyone always asking questions at once, it was hard to hear them and really stressful. But it was a necessity if she wanted to make it to the magic 18.

Her make-up artist arrived and Katy was ready for her. She hoped she wouldn’t be smothered in it since she wasn’t really a make-up person. That was Liz’s job. Veronica came in with the make-up artist as well. “20 minutes to show time. Clarice was a little late getting here so she’ll have to hurry. Jake I need you for a second.”

Katy had totally forgotten about Jake who was sitting in the back, being quiet and out of the way. He got up and headed out with Veronica. “See you out there Katy,” he said patting her on the back.

When he left Liz started up again. “You are so lucky Kates!” She squealed. “You have the cutest trainer. And he’s so young too! My trainers, like, 60 or something. And totally unattractive. But yours is totally hot! I’ll trade you, since I know you don’t care and all. And I mean come on, how come the girl who cares the least about relationships, besides Jenny of course, gets the hot one?”

Katy started laughing. Liz would always go on about this. “He’s always looking for more clients, you know. He might be able to get you, maybe.”

“That’s the thing,” Liz whined, “I have tried! But it’s impossible to switch trainers. You’re stuck with who you get at the beginning. Which I think is totally unfair since mine, like, sucks! She works me like crazy. Plus, I wish I had a guy, since, you know, I am so not a lesbian. The way they do this is just so unfair!”

“Just be quiet, Liz,” Jenny said obviously annoyed by Liz’s outburst. “It doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is that she trains you and helps you stay alive.”

“Easy for you to say, Miss naturally strong athlete girl.”

“My bad,” said Jenny very sarcastically, “I forgot you didn’t have to work hard to stay alive since you automatically win every time.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“It means that because you’re pretty you don’t have to worry about really fighting. They automatically give you easy people to save your stupid little face.”

“At least I have a pretty face Miss Ogre!”

“At least I have skills. Which is what this competition is really about.”

“If it’s all about skills how come I have higher ratings than you?”

“Hey!” Alice piped up. “You guys need to stop fighting! We’re roommates, we need to be nice to each other. If we want to make it to 18 we can’t get into fights with each other.”

Everyone looked at her, startled that she would ever yell at any of them. “What was that?” Liz snapped at her. “You don’t talk to us this whole time you’ve been in our room and then suddenly you speak up and have the guts to yell at us? What the hell is this?”

“I just- it’s just-“ Alice said lowering her head and backing up from Liz.

“Really Liz?” Jenny said. “She was just trying to get us to stop fighting and you have to pounce on her?”

“Of course. She has no right-“

“Hey!” Katy interrupted. “Stop yelling at each other. You guys are stressing me out. Just get along until after my press conference. Eat something if you must.”

All of the girls glared at each other. Alice went back into her chair in the corner, Jenny sat on the couch that Jake had once sat in, and Liz went to eat something. They all sat in silence while Katy continued to get her make-up done.

A few minutes later Veronica came in. “You almost done?” she asked. “I need her in two minutes.”

“Yes ma’am,” the make-up artist answered putting the finishing touches on Katy. “She’s ready for you.”

“Thank you,” Veronica told her, “you may go. Now Katy, you know what you need to do right?”

“Of course,” Katy replied. “I just need to lie.”

Veronica laughed. “No. Well, yes. But not entirely. Just say you can’t remember everything but you’ll answer as much as you can. That way people will want to download it.”

“Haven’t most people seen it already?” Katy asked.

“Yes, but if you give them the whole story they’re less likely to download it again. If you leave them hanging they’ll take what you say and apply it to the video when they download it again.”

“Makes sense. Okay, I’m ready.”

“Then come on. See you girls later.”

They left. When they got out of the room they were immediately surrounded by press. “Out of the way.” Veronica yelled at them. “She’ll talk to you all soon enough.”

The press parted and Kay and Veronica headed through. Katy had a hard time seeing, the camera flashing blinding her. They finally made it to the podium after much struggling through all of the cameras and people thrusting their microphones at her. Veronica went up to the podium. “The press conference will officially start now. And remember, she’s still injured, so try not to be too pushy.”

Veronica stepped aside and let Katy step up. She took a deep breath and readied herself to be bombarded with questions. “Hello,” Katy said to the waiting press. “Who has a question?”

This triggered the bomb that is questions. Suddenly a wall of sound crashed into Katy. She decided to go with the front first. She pointed to an eager looking woman in the front row. “Hello Katy,” she said into her microphone. “I’m Jenelle Wagner from United States Daily. Can you tell me how the boy snuck up on you exactly, and why you let him?”

“Uh,” Katy began, “I don’t really know how he snuck up on me. I guess if I knew then it wouldn’t have been him sneaking up on me, it would have just been me letting him cut my leg. And I guess I let him because I didn’t realize him coming, hence the whole sneaking up thing. I mean, isn’t the point of sneaking up you not knowing? Next question.”

They all laughed. Katy decided to call on someone from the second row. She decided on a mousy looking guy that wasn’t being as assertive. “William Arnold from Time Magazine. Can you tell us what it is like to fight these kinds of fights that you do?”

“Um, well. They can be hard sometimes. But other times they can be easy. It can be pressuring and scary, but sometimes after the fights I sort of feel… accomplished. It’s hard to describe really. Next question.”

She pointed at a man in the back row. “Hello Katy,” he said. “How ya doin’?”

“I’m good.”

“So, how does it feel to be so popular for this one small event?”

“Uh, it feels okay I guess.”

“Can you tell us why the h*** we have to be here?”

“I… don’t know. Next question please.”

“I’m not done yet,” the man said as Katy was choosing another person. “I want to know what is so special about you that we all have to come over here.”

“Next question please.”

“Answer my question please, Katy.”

“I have no answer for that sir.”

“Your publicity manager must have told you what to say, I’m sure.”

“No sir. Next question.”

“I’m still not finished. I saw the video and it just looked like any other fight. Not so special I’d say. Just because you almost died doesn’t mean you’re special. You killed another kid out there and yet you’re the one who gets all the publicity. What about him? I’m pretty d*** sure I’m not going to see a story in the papers about him.”

“That’s not up to me-“

“Then who is it up to then? Can you tell me that? My son just died out there 3 days ago and yet he gets no recognition. It’s just the little b**** who killed him! He showed up at our door dead 2 days ago! How do you think that made us feel?”

Luckily Veronica came up to save her or Katy probably would have passed out. “That’s enough. Get him out of here. Press conference is over.”

Katy collapsed in the chair at the back as she heard the man kicking and screaming as a guard carried him out. “Come on,” Veronica told her.

Katy stood up, but quickly lost her balance. She felt dizzy. She’d killed plenty of people before, but they had never come back to haunt her. She had never thought of how the families felt when they found out their son or daughter had been killed by her. She never knew that the bodies went back to the families. That they had to see their son or daughter with a bloody wound, dead.

Katy wobbled off the stage, it was hard to walk. “Just make it back to the make-up room,” Jake said steadying her. “It’ll be alright.”

Katy headed back to the room, trying to steady her breathing. Her friends rushed up to her. “Katy are you okay?” she heard one ask, she didn’t know who though.

They got into the room and Katy collapsed into the chair. Everyone surrounded her. “Are you okay?” someone asked again, she still didn’t know who.

“I’m fine,” she lied.

She really wasn’t fine. She couldn’t help but feel sick by what that guy had said. How could she not feel guilty when the guy who she killed 3 days ago dad had come back and scream at her, blaming her for his son’s death. She had no idea how it had affected people. Now she knew how some people could react to these things, and she never wanted it to happen again.

“That was… wow.” Katy muttered.

“Yeah, we know,” Jake said putting his hand on Katy’s shoulder. “Don’t worry about it.”

“How can I not?” Katy snapped. “Honestly, Jake, it got to me. I’ve never thought about the people I kill having families. I mean of course they do, but I’ve never thought of it. How it could affect them.”

“Katy,” Jake said, “it’s not your fault. You don’t choose to kill these people. It’s not like you just going around killing people nilly willy. You have to.”

“We all have to,” Liz said. “It’s not like it’s only you. That David kid did it too.”

“Please don’t mention his name,” Katy said squeezing her eyes shut.

“Look Katy,” Jenny said getting in front of her. “You had no choice. It was the only thing you could do.”

“I could have died.”

“No,” Jake said. “You couldn’t have. Do you know how many people you would have hurt?”

“Do you know how many people I hurt by killing him? Yeah, me either.”

“It’s over with Katy,” Jenny said. “You’ve gotta get over it.”

“She’s right,” Jake said. “You have a fight in 2 days.”
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