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Colors of Rage-Chapter 1

Chapter One

 

Summer of 2272 CE in an urban area of North America, just inland from the northwest corner of what had been the United States of America

 

“That should be all for today. You’ve done very well.”

 

Sensei Jayanta DeKendran placed her hands together, palm to palm, and bowed to her students as they bowed to her in old-world reverence.

 

“Arigato,” she thanked them in the language of the discipline. The students thanked her in turn. They turned to each other, bowed, and then happy banter started softly as the twenty students moved toward the locker rooms.

 

“Anna,” Jayanta called to stop one of the students in the class. The student, a woman of just over thirty years, with medium length, medium brown hair, stopped and turned back to her.

 

“Yes, Sensei?”

 

“May I speak with you for a moment?”

 

“Of course,” Anna replied, walking back to her teacher. “Is something wrong?”

 

“Just one small thing. When you move to your left, you leave your right side unprotected.” Jayanta repeated the move as Anna had done it so that Anna could see her mistake. “You need to turn back and guard that side. Bring your shoulder forward just a bit more.” She demonstrated the correct move.

 

Anna repeated the correction. Jayanta stepped forward and copied the move to reinforce it. They both repeated it several more times.

 

“I see what you mean, Sensei,” Anna said with a smile. “It’s just the same as the kata. I’ll work on it for next week. Thank you,” Then she corrected herself and used the old Japanese word of appreciation. “Arigato.”

 

“You’re welcome. Now please, do practice. You’ll be testing for your next belt in two weeks.” Jayanta watched as her student’s eyes opened wide.

 

“Really? I’m not sure I’m ready,” Anna said nervously.

 

“Then you’ll have to work extra hard, won’t you?” Jayanta raised one eyebrow in a sly questioning expression.

 

“Uh... yes... Sensei,” Anna stammered. “I will.” She sighed in resignation.

 

“I think you're more ready than you realize. You'll do fine, but you’d better head for the showers. Don’t you go on duty in an hour?” Jayanta smiled for the first time in the session and patted Anna warmly on the shoulder.

 

“Yes, I do. Thank you again, Sensei.” Anna bowed once more, turned, and headed for the locker room.

 

She works much too hard, Jayanta thought as she watched Anna walk away. She’s much too serious. Just like my sister used to be when she was in her twenties. Jayanta chuckled to herself as she reached for her gym bag that contained her street clothing. She laughed aloud. Good goddess!  I must be getting old. That was twenty years ago.

 

Her sister, Kailyn, was five years older than she was but had always viewed life much too critically. She worked very hard and very long and was always the one anyone turned to if they needed help. She was always ready to help, many times at her own expense. Jayanta was glad Kai had changed, at least a little.

 

Jayanta sat down on the mat and bowed her head. Yes, just a few moments to relax, and then she'd be ready for the rest of the day. She counted slowly to forty-nine in groups of seven, took seven deep breaths and was on her feet again.

 

As she picked up her duffle bag, she looked back into the dojo, really an older warehouse in use by the security forces for physical training. She’d been teaching here for the past two years, ever since she’d attained the highest level black belt. It was the first indoor job she’d had that made her happy. The outdoor air with sunshine was the place she’d rather be working. Maybe in the spring, if she could finally gather the credits for her own training facility, she’d be able to do some training outdoors. The open air would benefit the students and provide free advertising as passersby stopped to watch.

 

She took out a towel and a clean set of clothes and tossed her bag onto the upper shelf in one of the small casings in the locker room. Quickly she stripped off her gi, hung it on the hook on the inside of the casing door, and put her clothes on the lower shelf.

 

She walked into the shower room. She usually waited until her students had gone to take her shower but she had a lot of errands to run today.

 

As she entered the shower room, she found Anna and another student, Chell, discussing something that seemed to disturb both of them.

 

“And no one knows what caused it?” Anna asked.

 

Her companion shook her head.

 

“No, it was totally unexpected. By the time we got more security forces there, it was totally out of control. They ended up arresting fifteen people.”

 

“Is something wrong?” Jayanta asked as she took her soap out of its container. “Fifteen people are quite a lot.”

 

“Most of them were released this morning,” Chell answered when she realized who had asked the question. “I think only three or four were detained for litigation.”

 

Anna started to explain when Jayanta’s expression told them she had no idea what they were discussing,

 

“There were riots in the northeast part of the city after a rally last night. Several people were hurt, several more arrested. No one seems to know what caused it.”

 

“Didn’t anyone see what happened?” Jayanta asked as she stepped under the streaming water.

 

Chell shook her head and waited to reply until Jayanta had completely wet her short dark hair.

 

“The kids just remember that everyone was angry but no one knows why. A special task force was appointed this morning to investigate it.”

 

“I hope they find out what happened,” Jayanta noted as she lathered her shampoo. “There hasn’t been a riot in the city in years. It would be a shame to have them start again.”

 

“It certainly would.” Chell reached for her towel and wrapped it around herself. “I’ll see you tomorrow morning, Anna. Good day to you, Sensei. Your class was wonderful today, as usual.” With that, she turned and left.

 

“Doesn’t your sister teach at the health center?” Anna asked.

 

“Yes. She teaches Sound Therapy.” Jayanta spread soapsuds all over her body. “Are you thinking that there was something in the music that caused this?”

 

“No one knows what to think,” Anna answered with a deep sigh. “Nobody seems to know what happened. There wasn’t any one incident that sparked it, but all the kids had music discs with them. Everyone just suddenly felt angry and afraid.”

 

“Wasn’t there something like this that happened last century?” Jayanta asked, trying to remember the history her sister had taught her.

 

“That’s right!” Anna exclaimed as the memory came back to her. “I remember reading something about it in school. Wasn’t that when all those laws about synthesized sound were passed?”

 

“I think it was,” Jayanta agreed. “I’ll have to ask my sister about it. She’d know. Has anyone else thought of that?”

 

“I haven’t heard anything about it. I'm sure someone at the station would know. There must be lawyers there who know those laws.”

 

“Yes, I imagine there would be.” Jayanta stepped back under the shower to rinse off.

 

“I have to rush, Sensei,” Anna excused herself. “I’ll let you know if anyone learns anything.”

 

“Yes, thank you, Anna. And practice your katas!” Jayanta watched as the younger woman left the shower room

 

Jayanta sighed and turned up the pressure on the shower. Turning her back to the shower head, she let the hot water pound down on her shoulders and back. She hadn't realized how tense her shoulders were. Crossing her arms, she put her hands on the opposite shoulders and hugged herself tightly until she could feel the stretched muscles over her shoulder blades. Then she brought her arms back until her elbows almost touched each other.

 

Upper body stiff. I must have slept wrong last night. Maybe I should stop going to bed. She laughed at the thought.

 

The stiffness was not usual. Ever since she'd started her martial arts training, she had slept peacefully all night. When she went to bed at night, she was too tired to roll around into odd positions. When she was younger she had been plagued with nightmares that she couldn't remember, but she'd wake up crying almost every night. Her sister-in-law, Rhyannon, had helped her through regression therapy to get rid of what bothered her, but her problems were buried so deeply that one session had not brought up much of anything. She had never wanted to try again.

 

Turning the shower off, Jayanta reached for her towel and dried off. Then she brushed her short dark hair back to let it dry naturally. There was a lot to do today.

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