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Lakewood Times

Home Away from Home Madison James

It was cold and dark here. The poor lighting cast shadows throughout the room. I focused on the red “X” at the center of the mat. I felt the chilling touch of the mat at my bare feet. I straightened my posture. Directly across from me was my opponent. He was tall, dark, and mysterious. I wonder what tricks he held. Behind him was a tall rock wall. I had mastered it at the age of 6. My first attempt at the wall left me defeated, with two large bruises on my knees. My 

pride was hurt, but I wanted nothing more than to reach the top of that wall. I balled my fists as I released all of my anxiety with a breath. I waited for the “go.” I could walk the outline of this map with my eyes closed; I am too familiar with it. Above my head was a fire sprinkler that I had set off my first week of training. I crashed into our fire pits, sending flames rushing towards the walls. I spent a week in solitary confinement for that mistake. It wasn’t the worst punishment though. I learned to concentrate on my surroundings. I learned to master my senses. My heart rate increased as I anticipated the starting words to come from the trainer’s lips. With a quick glance at my opponent and me, he gave us the cue to begin. I immediately pushed off my right leg with all of my strength, sending me flying towards the air. I extended my leg, kicking my opponent directly across the face. His body hit the floor with a thud. To the right of me was a weapons rack. They had us become familiar with each weapon and its purpose. It took me two hours to memorize the names of each weapon. I learned them each, down to the parts they were made of. When I found myself getting bored I took apart the weapons and put them back together again. I extended my foot towards my opponent’s face, who was still lying on the surface of the mat. He rolled to his side and quickly regathered to his feet. His posture was balanced and his demeanor was calm. He swept my leg from beneath me, sending me swiftly to my back. I felt the cool chill of the mat spread through my body. It was quite down here; peaceful. My mind drifted back to my past. I remember being a little girl walking down the sidewalk of the street. I had a pink bookbag hanging off my shoulder, with an mp3 player in my hand. I remember being scared as I was hauled away into the back of a black van. I remember it being dark, quiet, scary. I came to find peace in the silence. Chaos was the only thing I knew now. I lived for the three seconds of nothingness. I jumped to my feet as I lunged towards the men across from me. He dodged my attack, countering it with a swing. The contact landed directly on my cheek. I felt the fire fuel inside of me. When I first began my training they informed me of the importance of always remaining calm. “Never fight with fire,” the trainers would whisper into my ears before a match. We had to have a clear mind at all times. I threw two more punches back, landing one on his ribs, the other right across his face. He stumbled back. I anticipated his attack. We were both equally matched in strength, but he had a size advantage on me. I reached around grabbing his arm, twisting it behind him. I rushed forward, sending all my power to the weak point in his elbow. I heard the chilling sound of the crack echo through my ears. His scream lingered in my mind. I looked forward to my trainer, whose eyes gave away what needed to be done next. I mustered up all my remaining strength and sent my foot flying towards the center of my opponent’s face. I watched as the blood trickled down his nose, and his body aroused slowly with faint breaths. His eyes were sealed shut. This was my home now.

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    TinaMar 3, 2022 at 6:31 pm

    Wow. Amazing detail. I loved it.