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by tsshare2003 

Posted: 13 August 2003
Word Count: 2716

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“Ah!” a shrill voice screamed out, fighting to be heard above the heavy breathing that filled the room. Another cry soon followed, but only to be stamped out by the cheers of the academy’s students whom swarmed two of their own. Martin cautiously mirrored the movements of his attacker trying to recover from the assault. Chris wasted little time before renewing his aggression on his advisory. He threw a series of punches and an elbow strike that barely missed their target before a sidekick found its mark.
Martin curled into a ball as he hit the ground. His momentum rolled him up on one knee and he stared coldly at the boy who stood in front of him. His shoulders bounced, nostrils flared, and mouth stretched, as he drew in large amounts of air with each breath. He focused his mind on the pain that bit his thigh, stung his flesh, and spread like a forest fire the longer it lingered. He concentrated on the pain; controlling it. He forced it to move throughout the entire sixty inches of his body until it dissipated. Now, free from pain, his mind centered on the image standing within the sights of his eyes. The figure was blurry at first as it moved back and forth. The boy faded into a shadow that was almost surreal as it paced; like a jungle cat assessing the damage inflicted upon its prey before it pounced and finished the kill.
With his vision adequately restored, Martin stood up and took a defensive position. He wiped the perspiration from his forehead, wincing slightly as he grazed a small purple bruise above his right eye. He had extremely pale skin for an Afrikan-Amerikan and from a distance he appeared to have a Sicilian descendent. The mark stood out against his creamy skin; like a lighthouse conquering the relentless night. He quickly moved his sweat soaked hair from his eyes that hung like stage curtains sweeping past the end of an act. Chris continued to rock before him fueled by a surplus of adrenaline. The boy flexed then loosened each muscle in his body as a smile crept onto his face.
Martin loosened his fists and relaxed his body allowing his defensive stance to fall limp. Then he began to weave a series of delicate movements around his opponent that resembled a straw broom dancing across a dusty floor. He showed perfection in every movement that was made. His body glided, spun, and repositioned itself in a ginger yet mellow sweeping motion. Martin always stayed the same distance away from his opponent and kept the same passive disposition. To any observer his movements were easily identified as a basic kata called Leeps, even though the boy threw in a few variations.
This kata was calming, soothing, and unfortunately for Chris enchanting to anyone who didn’t recognize it soon enough. The adrenaline rush began to slow, as his body became drowsy and sluggish while his eyes continued to dance along with Martin. His senses were dulled and mind drifted to a land of counted sheep and sandmen. Just as he began to lower his guard Martin landed a palm strike to his solar plexus. Chris was pulled to the floor, as if he was at the end of a taut bungy-cord. A tall man stepped in between the two boys signaling the end of the fight as the floor’s contact helped wake him from his short slumber.
Chris rolled over on his elbows looking up at his opponent still dazed. “Lucky. You were just lucky this time.” His mumbles barely made it past his lips as tears threatened to darken the sky in his eyes. He turned back towards the mat fighting his emotions with pride and embarrassment. With a few strong breaths he steadied his heart rate and damned his feelings. He bit hard on his lip changing embarrassment and frustration into a different kind of monster. His face turned crimson and he looked up at his victor before tightening his fist and thrusting it in the boy’s direction. “This isn’t over yet small fry.” Chris jumped to his feet and tightened his body causing his muscular definition to become pronounced. He paced slowly in front of Martin reducing the tiny boy to a mouse in the presence of the king of beasts. He pulled at the sandy blond ponytail that had been cemented to the base of his neck by the sweat that coated his body.
Chris stopped his movements allowing his body to relax and stand at earf. Earf is one of many stances in DURA; the most important one. It is the stance of respect that takes place before and after a fight, even one to the death. Respect was the most important principle of DURA. A student of the academy was taught to respect his or her opponent. Without respect the student couldn’t achieve victory in a match or any other part of his or her training. This was a lesson Chris never agreed with. No one was worthy of his respect, least of all Martin. He now looked at the boy with such contempt that Martin turned and quickly disappeared.
Charles walked through the students that lingered after the fight making his way to Chris. He deceptively weaved his six foot six inch frame through the masses of drone that flocked to their queen. As soon as he was recognized the crowd moved away from Chris and gave him room to speak. “Hello,” he said allowing his gaze to fall on Chris’ face. He paused, waiting for the boy to recognize and respond to his presence. Then his vacant eyes glared a warning that was certain to keep anyone from interrupting him. Most of the academy’s students felt that Charles’ mind and body never occupied the same space at the same time. Yet, he was always aware of the slightest movement around him. This made him dangerous, unpredictable. It was this quality supported by his unquestionable fighting ability that made him feared.
Charles looked back at Chris, wet his lips, and began to speak. “Chris, it seem that your actions over the past few days were completely ignorant and incomprehensible.” He slipped into a defensive position, watching for the hostile response that the boy was known for. “I have to say that it shouldn’t have taken me so long to understand your motives,” he continued moving to a more relaxed stance. “I should have seen your reason from the beginning. It should have been obvious. I have to admit it; you do conceal your prejudice better than most of the others in the academy. I guess your true nature reveals itself when it comes to your sister.”
Anger sprung a leak in Chris’ mind as he clenched his fist and stared savagely at the speaker of the accusations. His sweat soaked clothes wrapped themselves around his flesh so snug under the force of his tightened muscles that it gave the impression that he had been wearing a body suit instead of a gee the whole time. Charles once again slipped into a defensive stance. This time his stance was different. It alerted the boy to the consequences of taking an aggressive action. Chris calmed down when he recognized the stance to be the Ulturev. This stance is incredibly difficult to strike from and only a learned student of DURA could master it. Despite its difficulty, if a person was able to strike successfully from it the result was almost certain death. Charles exhaled once he realized the frustration abundant within Chris’ eyes. He imagined how helpless the boy must have felt. Imagine wanting to strike someone down with all of the rage in your soul but not being able to because your mind is restricting your bodies motions with caution.
Charles loosened his body and returned to a natural stance. He softly flashed his teeth and his rich; baritone voice gave his warning a subtle melody. “Chris, I don’t think that it would be in yours or the academy’s best interest for you to continue this feud with Martin. Do you realize how easily he defeated you here today? Don’t you think that the same outcome will result in another fight? What about in a more serious fight?” Chris said nothing allowing a blank expression to resonate across his face.
Charles sighed as his eyes searched the air for understanding. His body felt heavy. Pity had soaked him and its weight had begun to pull him to the ground. The tree of good intentions rarely bears fruit, in acknowledging this he continued. “Despite what I am saying to you I can still see the anger in your eyes. I feel your hatred and I do understand that I may not be the best person to deliver this message but someone has to. I know you’ll eventually challenge Martin to the fight of Ifel. I warn you that such an action can only leave you in death. I ask you is hate worth it?” With that question uttered he left the crowd before most of the students awoke from the trance that his voice had placed them under.
Martin was lying down on his bed when his guest arrived. His eyes were lightly closed and his lips seemed to battle a smile. Charles quickly swept the room. “Where’s Melissa?” he questioned throwing a pink dandelion embroidered blouse at Martin’s face. His tone was different from the one used earlier. It was calmer, relaxed, and sounded like that of a brother. Martin tried to continue the charade for a little longer but soon sat up allowing a smile to conquer his face as he realized who was speaking to him.
“How do you always know these things?”
“Don’t know, just do.”
“Anyway! She left a few minutes ago. Said she wanted to see her brother. I told her I kept my promise and didn’t hurt him. At least not too badly. But I could have though.” The smile on his face widened as if he had just received a gold star from his teacher. “By the way, what brings you here?”
“Well,” he began, “I’ve been watching what’s been going on between you and Chris and I don’t like it. I don’t like what I feel is going to happen.” Charles paced in front of the door. He rhythmically beat his fingertips against his leg pausing every now and then to clench his fist. “I’m worried that your safety is in jeopardy. I fear that he may challenge you to another fight.” Before Charles could finish his plea Martin reached in his dresser and pulled out a white threaded sheet. Centered on the sheet were the letters I-F-E-L.
Charles backed away from his friend defeated and turned to leave the room. “Charles,” Martin said grabbing the boy’s shoulder, “I know that you may still be able to stop the fight.” He nodded and made another attempt to leave but again was stopped. “Don’t,” Martin asked sheepishly. “Don’t do anything to stop the fight. Please? People have to fight these battles sometimes and this is one I have to fight. Besides once I beat Chris; I want a rematch with you.” Martin’s emerald eyes search Charles’ dimmed ones for something that would keep the boy from intervening. He released his grip unsatisfied and disheartened.
Seven gongs called out in unison as the audience settled into their respective positions and awaited the night’s entertainment. The arena was organized so that the supporter of each fighter was facing the supporters of the other. Ironically, Melissa was nowhere to be found. Martin stepped into the arena first and walked to his designated spot in front of his supporters. He was dressed head to toe in a blue Uits, the traditional outfit for such a match. Chris soon followed dressed in a similar styled outfit, except his was red. As he stood at his position he smiled bright and the hunger in his eyes was a reflection of his clothes.
The tall man who had ended the earlier fight now appeared and began talking to the boys. He stood in between them wearing a white Uits with Chris on his left. Within a few minutes he stepped outside the arena and held up his hands. The murmurs of the crowd stopped and all eyes focused on the man. The instructor bent over and picked up a jug filled with gasoline. He poured the liquid into groves that ran along the battleground. Next he raised two torches above his head. He pointed one torch at Chris and the other at Martin before uniting the two and igniting the gas. The internal soul of each boy would battle until only one survived to burn stronger.
Martin’s eyes moved from the fire and swept the crowd as he began to move in a pattern identical to the one he used earlier. He loosened his body and danced gracefully around his opponent. This time Chris refused to allow his senses to be dulled. He lunged at the moving body before him with his foot extended. Pain exploded in Martin’s left shoulder as he hit the ground. His eyes darted frantically in his head searching the crowd. He was searching for help, searching for Charles but he found neither. Only now, swallowed by the situation, could he realize its circumstances. An arrogant smile surfaced on Chris’ lips as Martin got back on his feet.
Without any further hesitation he lunged at the boy again. Martin shifted his body weight, pivoted his hips, and spun into a roundhouse kick. The kick hit its mark and shattered Chris’ kneecap. He fell forward awkwardly and released a scream as he hit the ground. Martin circled cautiously wondering how much damage he had inflicted. After a few minutes he rushed his opponent with a series of punches that were easily deflected by his opponent. He followed this attack by a lazy front kick that only missed by a few inches. Chris immediately dropped to his good knee and thrust his fist into Martin’s groin. Martin doubled over in pain stumbling backwards trying to regain his balance. Anger swam throughout Martin as he attacked its source with a furry of strikes that were blocked with so much force the he had to retreat.
Chris countered with a series of punches that missed his quicker opponent badly. Frustration rose in him causing a misjudgment of the damage done to his knee. He put too much weight on it and stumbled forward trying to move into a cat stance. Martin quickly positioned himself so that he would have maximum leverage for his next blow. He extended his foot and hit his vulnerable target in the upper chest. The kick was so accurate and executed with just enough force that he managed to crack the ribcage causing fragments of bones to puncture the lungs. Chris stumbled towards Martin who looked at his deed with the amazement of a baby who had just discovered its hands. Arms lowered, mouth open he was unable to defend against Chris’ final strike. With all of the power that his dying body could summon Chris’ closed fist reached out and kissed the front of Martin’s neck. Martin’s eyes lost their innocence and he began to fall.
The two bodies almost hit the floor simultaneously when Charles emerged from the outer flames. He dropped to his knees beside the boys taking there heads in his hands and checked their injuries. Tears streaked down his cheeks as his thick voice tore through the arena. “How many have to die? How many of us have to die before all the madness end?” He needed a response. He begged for a response. He looked at the crowd, from face to face but only found guilt. How else should they have felt? Each student stood cheering for the destruction of a fellow member. They felt the guilt that remains in each one of us. “If this is how we act I only see death for all at this academy we call Mericaa.” Charles looked down at the bodies that rested at his feet and then walked out of the ring of blood and fire that will be everyone’s tomb someday.

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Comments by other Members

stephanieE at 11:49 on 14 August 2003  Report this post
Mmm - interesting. I didn't really know how to take this piece when I first started reading - I wondered if it might be a simple story of a martial art display, but slowly realised that it was something a little more... sinister and futuristic.

Your opening paragraph was just a little confusing, so you may want to look at this sentence: Another cry soon followed, but only to be stamped out by the cheers of the academy’s students whom swarmed two of their own. Perhaps some description of the location - the acadamy arena? - would help the reader place the action in context.

I also found myself confused about Charles - is he also a boy? He's 6ft and seemed to act as a teacher, but then he is described as a boy in the para where he tries to convince Martin to stop the fight... then he seems to be an adult at the fight again.

There are some ingenious ideas here, and the fight scenes are well-realised, with a sense of poise and balance that seems appropriate. I think a few more clues might help the reader remain more fully-engaged wiht the story. (Oh, and there's a typo: taking there heads in his hands there should be their)

Keep writing, you've obviously imagination to spare...

Zigeroon at 15:17 on 07 January 2005  Report this post


There is a great story here. The fight scenes are very well executed but the story needs an edit to remove the overabundance of adjectives. The explanation of Dura moves could be integrated into the tale rather than explaining them in isolation.

Enjoyed it.


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