Sam lifted her head and focused. The world isn't here. It's just me- her hands lifted and balled into half fists. And the target. Her right hand blurred forwards into the punching bag. She pulled it back and threw her left hand into it. She kept alternating hands, progressively getting faster and harder. 1, 2, 1, 2. She subconsciously changed the combination of the blows. Left, left, right, left, right, right. She performed uppercuts and hooks, her hands going where they needed to. Beads of sweat formed across her forehead and dripped down her face. Her teeth were gritted in concentration. She visualized the punching bag as a fighter. She ducked and swiped, maneuvered and struck. A hand rested on her shoulder. She stopped moving immediately and her mind allowed the distractions to flow into it again. She turned and saw Graham smiling. It was a small, thin smile. But it was still a smile.
'Yes, sir?' Sam asked, masking her pleasure.
'Come with me.' Graham turned and walked out of the training room, through the spotless corridors of the facility and into an unused locker room.
'How long have you been training here?'
'A little under a year, sir.'
'In what areas of combat?'
'And how long have you been boxing for?'
'Since I was twelve, sir.'
‘So, you mean to tell me, that you have been boxing for six years, and you have perfect form.’
‘If I have perfect form, then that would seem to be the case, sir.’
‘Have you fought anyone?’
‘In six years? Not a single fight?’
‘No, sir.’ Sam was quietly wishing this conversation would end. Graham may have been her trainer, but she hated having to call anyone sir.
‘Why is that?’
‘I’m not competitive, sir.’
‘I’m putting you in a practice fight with Logan.’ Graham finished. Without giving Sam a chance to object, he was out of the room.
‘But- Wait, wait! I don’t want to fight!’ She shouted. He was gone, and he wasn’t coming back. And, of course, she had to show, or risk losing all the cred she had gruelled over earning. She sighed.
‘Logan!? I have to fight Logan?’ Sam leaned against the wall behind her. Not only was Logan taller than her, stronger than her and faster than her, but he was also the most experienced boxer in the facility. And ripped. She trudged back into the training room and resumed beating the punching bag. She was just settling into the rhythm when a shadow fell across her punching bag. She repressed a growl and faced the owner of the shadow. He had dull green eyes, tanned skin and short, brown, curly hair. His hands were wrapped in bandages, and he had removed his shirt due to overheating.
‘Hey Logan.’ Sam mumbled.
‘Today, right after lunch. I’m looking forward to it.’
‘Okay, thanks Logan.’ Sam kept her head tilted slightly down, a few strands of her own black hair falling across her face.
‘See you then Sam.’ Logan turned and walked away. Sam faced the punching bag yet again and pulled her hair out, talking to herself softly.
‘Okay, okay, Logan. Weaknesses. He dislocated his left shoulder last month. Which means he would favour his right side.’ She thought deeply as she tied her hair back into a loose ponytail. ‘Strengths. Tall, fast, experienced, strong…’ Sam trailed off and focused on trying to destroy her target.
At lunch Sam got her food and sat down. Someone sat next to her.
‘Hey Sam, what’s up?’ the person asked. Sam jerked her head up to see her friend, Tara.
‘Oh, nothing, I just have my first fight in… twenty minutes.’
‘Holy cow, really!?’ Tara exclaimed. Sam rolled her eyes.
‘Yes. I’m fighting Logan.’
‘You’re filling me with hope Tara.’
‘Well, good luck!’
‘Thanks. I’m going to need it.’ Sam groaned. She finished her lunch and stood. She walked briskly to the ring. The ring was in a room that could only be accessed from training room. She walked around the ring a few times, analysing it. She slipped her sleek black boxing gloves on and swiped at the air, ducking and weaving. Sam had watched Logan competing, so she had a basic knowledge of his typical pattern, but she also knew he had a record of switching styles abruptly. The door opened and Logan walked in. Sam stopped and nodded to acknowledge that Logan had arrived.
‘Is anyone watching?’ Sam asked.
‘Only Graham, I think. Unless you invited anyone.’
‘Then it’s just the three of us. Nervous?’
‘Would it be a bad this to answer yes?’
‘You would think so, but not necessarily.’
‘What does that mean?’
‘Well, being nervous is bad, but I’ve seen you working. You’re so focused. If you can get your mind there, you could take me down in an instant.’ He paused to pull his gloves on. ‘So, what I’m going to try and do, is prevent you from getting into that zone.’
‘Thanks.’ Sam finished. Graham walked in and nodded.
‘Get on with it.’ He grunted. Sam and Logan touched knuckles and climbed into the ring. Sam stood in the corner of the ring, swapping her weight from one foot to the other. Graham rang the bell and Logan and Sam walked to the centre of the ring. They raised their fists. Sam’s breath quickened. Concentrate. Logan was about to make a move when the door to the ring blasted open. It flew across room and splintered against the opposite wall.
‘What the hell?’ Graham roared, facing the door. Sam watched as a figure stepped into the room. He was wearing a dark grey overcoat, a scarf, gloves and bowler hat of the same colour and polished black shoes. The hat cast a shadow over his eyes, and the scarf came right up to his nose. He also had a shiny, black cane. Graham snarled.
‘This is a private meeting. Leave.’
‘Oh, don’t mind me. I’ll even pay for the door being fixed. I just wanted to watch young Samantha here fight.’
‘Sam, are you okay with that?’ Logan asked, ignoring Graham’s reddening face.
‘Oh sure, why not.’ Sam said sarcastically. The intruder nodded.
‘Good. I’ll stay.’ He said. Sam shrugged. Hell, this’ll be great.
‘Let’s go.’ Sam grunted. Logan and Sam raised their arms once more. Sam blocked out all sounds but the ones Logan and herself were making. She ignored the smells and the room. It was just her and Logan. She saw him tense the muscles of his right arm slightly. She ducked just as he swung his fist towards her. She came up and landed a blow to his left shoulder. He hissed in pain. It worked! The pair of them punched and dodged. Graham and the man in the overcoat watched. Graham was smiling. Still the tiny, thin, little smile, but a smile nonetheless. Sam could tell Logan was starting to tire. She waited for Logan to strike again. He moved to punch her jaw, she ducked down and returned his swipe with a boxing glove to the cheekbone. He staggered onto the ropes. He leaned against the rope and laughed. He pulled his gloves off and faced Sam.
‘I gotta say, you’re very good at this.’
‘Thanks.’ Sam said, pulling her own gloves off. They shook and hands jumped out of the ring. Graham walked out after congratulating Sam and glaring at the hatted man one last time. Logan lingered for a second, shrugged and left.
‘Samantha, you’re a very talented young person.’ Said the man in grey. Sam turned and gave the man her most fearsome scowl.
‘I swear, if you call me Samantha one more time… Call me Sam. For gods sake, call me Sam.’
‘Okay then. Sam, you’re a very talented young person. My name is Henry Wright.’
‘You mean my boxing?’
‘No, I mean you’re talented. Literally. Listen.’
‘Listen to what?’
‘Just be quiet, and listen.’ Henry said. Sam folded her arms and listened.
‘Can you hear me?’ Henry’s voice said. Sam jumped.
‘You didn’t move your lips. How did you do that?’
‘I didn’t. You did. All I did was think. Keep listening.’ Henry said.
‘Sam, can you still hear me?’ Henry’s voice asked. Sam nodded. ‘Okay, now it’s your turn. Say something in your head. Try and make it appear in mine.’
‘Um… Okay… Does this work?’ Sam thought.
‘Congratulations Sam, you’re coming with me.’ Henry said. Sam’s eyes widened.
‘And we’ll need to be getting that Logan as well.’
‘What?’ she hissed.
‘I’m sorry, if you expect me to be ordered around by a complete stranger, I think you’ll find you’re mistaken.’
‘I won’t be a complete stranger for long. And either you come, or you come.’
‘Or I don’t.’
‘I recommend you find Logan and meet me at the front of the complex.’
‘And if I don’t?’ Sam asked. Henry twirled the bottom of his cane and there was a crack of thunder.
‘Do not test me. Find Logan. Front of the building. Twenty minutes.’ Henry walked out of the room. Sam snarled. She walked into the training room, looking for Logan. She saw him on the far end of the room. She moved over to him, grabbed his wrist and dragged him out of the training area.
Yeah, I don't actually like this one that much. I have the concept, but no actually-y'know- plot.