Hello everyone! Welcome to my 4th games! My last games -sadly- took me a very long time to write, in fact so long that I lost interest for them. So I am starting out again.
I learned from my mistakes, I now know that it's important for me to update frequently and sometimes having to force yourself to write is not a bad thing. Sometimes writing is like going for a run. You have to pull yourself together to do it but once you get going, it's awesome!
There will be no Reapings, Group Training or interviews. I will give private training scores and then head straight to the games.
As always, please bear in mind that English is my second language, so there will be grammatical and spelling mistakes. But I am sure Jade will remind all of you of that as well.
After president Snow's death the land of Panem grew more and more peaceful. The 76th annual hunger games were held but as a dissapointment to many, President Snow grandaugther, Rose Ana Snow, wasn't reaped. People slowly grew careless about their freedom and tried to put the days of the rebellion past them. After 12 years of controlling Panem, President Paylor passed away from a heart disease. Her dauther Megan was elected but sadly she wasn't a good leader.
Rose was furious of the way the country was ruled and wanted to lead Panem like she was promised by her grandfather, Snow, himself. She formed a rebellion group of people from the Capitol who thought they were mistreated. She made a plan, with her fellow rebels where they poisoned all of the food in the president's mansion. Many of the new rulers of Panem died and one dark night, Rose snuck in and assassinated Megan Paylor her self. A year after President Rose Ana was in full control of Panem and had crushed every single enemy standing in her way.
- I don't use random.org, nor do I pre-select the victor. The victor is selected on the final day of the games. So please, cheer your tribute on, send them stuff and advice is greatly appriciated (although not required).
- Two tributes per user
- Only spam if you make a tribute in these games
- I will not accept "on my profile". Links to THGRP are alright but I would appriciate if you post the tribute in a comment instead of just a link.
- No tributes that have already been in my game
- If info to your tribute is missing I will not let them in my games, so follow the template.
- Add "Rain in the pool" to your comment if you read these.
- This contains a very small amount of cursing, but nothing too wild.
- Reservations will last for a day. Preservations will last for 3 days.
Weapon: (One or two)
Strength: (Besides weapon, two)
Weaknesses: (Atleast two)
Fears: (Atleast one)
Personality (don't underestimate the importance of this one):
Backstory (don't underestimate the importance of this one):
Reaction when reaped: (Optional; This will not be used but are still good for me learning about the tribute)
Interview angle: (Optional; This will not be used but are still good for me learning about the tribute)
Strategy for bloodbath/games:
Token: (Optional but recommended) Alliances: (Specific preferences, such as gender, age, number of allies or specific tributes).
|Ella Massey||1||Female||17||5'10||Dagger, Throwing knives||Accuracy, Speed||Swimming, Strength||MissRandomStuff|
|Dior Kenzo||1||Male||16||5'10||Spear, Dagger||Speed, Aim||Climbing, Swimming,||Jrussell01|
|Claudia Smythe||2||Female||16||5'7||Spear||Fast, Stamina||Overconfident, Easily frightened, Climbing||Lawman12435|
|Michael Kaizer||2||Male||18||6'4||Swords, Knives||Hand-to-hand combat, Strength||Hunger, Loner||LeonKaizerWolff|
|Madoka Artemisia||3||Female||16||5'5||Eyes, Dagger||Intelligens, stealth||Strength, Allies, OCD||XxXMidgetInABikiniXxX|
|William Webster||3||Male||16||6'0||Dagger, Mine traps||Smart, Fast||Weak, swimming||MyWorld|
|Lucy Perch||4||Female||15||5'5||Trident, knife||Sprinting, swimming||Hunger, doesn't like killing, can go sadistic||HawkWD|
|Lynx Striker||4||Male||16||5'10||Steel claws, knives||Agile, Strong||Swimming, Arrogant, Feline, Common Sense,||Hybrid Shadow|
|Fiona Valoran||5||Female||16||Sword, knives||Instincts, Duelist-skills||Arrogance, agility, endurance, clumsy, emotional breakdowns||Mineraku Rhyuabi|
|Yul Zhu||5||Male||17||5'7||Throwing Knives||Alliance, running||Survival skills, swimming||Wesolini|
|Ophelia Carlile||6||Female||16||5'2||Brass Knuckles, traps||Stealth, camueflage||Allies, blind on left eye||Madgeical|
|Train McBrige||6||Male||15||5'5||Blowgun with poison||Smart, fast||Emotional unstable, trust||TheFireJay|
|Sorcera Spectrus||7||Female||17||5'8||Dagger, Crossbow||Poison, Seduction||Slutty, Overconfident||Mistfire333|
|Kodai Hitogoroshi||7||Male||17||5'10||Barbed whip, teeth||Fast, Hand-to-hand combat||Quiet, hiding, dodging, insane||MistFire333|
|Araneae Web||8||Female||15||5'7||Blowgun||Quick, Smart (memory)||Dyslexia (sight), Making allies||Mineraku Rhyuabi|
|Polyester Astro||8||Male||18||6'0||Machette, Staff||Strong, Fast||Swimming, dodging long range attacks||LivesInDistrict1|
|Bailey Starshine||9||Female||15||5'6||Spears, Sythe||Sly, evasive||Confrontation, losing dog||Nightlock Kryptonite|
|Fabian Matthis||9||Male||17||6'0||Blowgun, Slingshot||Smart, Traps||Close combat, Strength, Running,||Lawman12435|
|Helena Krisp||10||Female||18||5'9||Kartana||Heartless, strong willed||Water, being friendly, arrogant||Nightlock Kryptonite|
|Evan Hawes||10||Male||15||5'9||Throwing knives, Daggers||Speed, swimming||Climbing, weak||MyWorld|
|Janu Wong||11||Female||12||4'11||Dagger||Charm, Stealth||Running, ropes, stupid||XxXMidgetInABikiniXxX|
|Brock Olsen||11||Male||17||6'6||Mace||Strength, Stamina||Childish, Slow||LeonKaizerWolff|
|Riven Exile||12||Female||18||6'0||Sword||Running, Climbing||Rage, Allies||PumPumPumpkin :3|
|Wolf Fang||12||Male||15||5'9||Chained Sickle, Throwing knives||Identification, Accuracy||Mentally unstable, logic, loner, climbing||Hybrid Shadow|
|Ruby Hyrglass||13||Female||15||5'2||Throwing Knives||Speed, Intelligence||Insecure, too trusty, close combat, random depression||EvilHariboMadness|
|Dyna Ploson||13||Male||18||5'11||Sword, bombs||Strong, stealthy||Allies, ranged attacks, swimming||Wiress21Fan|
|Hester Riva||C||Female||17||5'8||Claws, knives||Strength, cunning||Swimming, climbing, Getting food||Wesolini|
|Quintus Hase||C||Male||15||5'6||Knife, Awl||Stealth, Medicine||Strength, Hunger||HawkWD|
Dior Kenzo (D1M), Claudia Smythe (D2F), Lucy Perch (D4F), Helena Krisp (D10F), Hester Riva (CF), Lynx Striker (D4M)
William Webster (D3M), Sorcera Spectrus (D7F), Kodai Hitogoroshi (D7M), Bailey Starshine (D9F), Dyna Ploson (D13M), Train McBridge (D6M), Fabian Matthis (D9M), Evan Hawes (D10M), Ophelia Carlile (D6F),
District 5 and 11 Alliance
Yul Zhu (D5M), Janu Wong (D11F),
District 3 and 8 Alliance
Madoka Artemisia (D3F), Araneae Web (D8F)
Ella Massey (D1F), Michael Kaizer (D2M), Fiona Valoran (D5F), Brock Olsen (D11M), Wolf Fang (D12M), Quintus Hase (CM), Riven Exile (D12F)
Looking for Allies
Polyester Astro (D8M), Ruby Hyrglass (D8F)
District and Gender
|Private training score||Odds|
|Ella Massey||District 1 Female||10||16-1|
|Dior Kenzo||District 1 Male||9||15-1|
District 2 Female
|Michael Kaizer||District 2 Male||11||14-1|
|Madoka Artemisia||District 3 Female||8||19-1|
|William Webster||District 3 Male||4||39-1|
|Lucy Perch||District 4 Female||9||17-1|
|Lynx Striker||District 4 Male||10||14-1|
|Fiona Valoran||District 5 Female||8||18-1|
|Yul Zhu||District 5 Male||6||28-1|
|Ophelia Carlile||District 6 Female||4||38-1|
|Train McBridge||District 6 Male||4||35-1|
District 7 Female
|Kodai Hitogoroshi||District 7 Male||9||18-1|
District 8 Female
|Polyester Astro||District 8 Male||6||29-1|
|Bailey Starshine||District 9 Female||5||31-1|
|Fabian Matthis||District 9 Male||4||36-1|
|Helena Krisp||District 10 Female||9||17-1|
|Evan Hawes||District 10 Male||5||37-1|
|Janu Wong||District 11 Female||3||48-1|
|Brock Olsen||District 11 Male||9||19-1|
|Riven Exile||District 12 Female||8||19-1|
|Wolf Fang||District 12 Male||7||27-1|
|Ruby Hyrglass||District 13 Female||5||34-1|
|Dyna Ploson||District 13 Male||7||22-1|
|Hester Riva||Capitol Female||10||15-1|
|Quintus Hase||Capitol Male||4||40-1|
Private training money bonuses
So some of you guys may know that I let a slight bit of your money be affected by your training score, to simulate how higher scores get more sponsors. Now, high score will give you more money while smaller scores will make you lose a bit of money, but it isn't too much you win/lose, so don't give up just because you may have lost a bit of money!
|Scores||Money received or lost|
These are all money bonusses that can be obtained within the games. Want more money? These things will give you more and are still achieveable after game-start:
|Receiving green odds||$25|
|Killing a tribute||$50|
|Making it to Top 15||$50|
|Making it to Top 10||$100|
|Making it to Top 5||$200|
District and Gender
|Ella Massey||District 1 Female||-|
|Dior Kenzo||District 1 Male||-|
District 2 Female
|Michael Kaizer||District 2 Male||-|
|Madoka Artemisia||District 3 Female||-|
|William Webster||District 3 Male||-|
|Lucy Perch||District 4 Female||-|
|Lynx Striker||District 4 Male||-|
|Fiona Valoran||District 5 Female||-|
|Yul Zhu||District 5 Male||-|
|Ophelia Carlile||District 6 Female||-|
|Train McBridge||District 6 Male||-|
District 7 Female
|Kodai Hitogoroshi||District 7 Male||-|
|Araneae Web||District 8 Female||-|
|Polyester Astro||District 8 Male||-|
|Bailey Starshine||District 9 Female||-|
|Fabian Matthis||District 9 Male||-|
|Helena Krisp||District 10 Female||-|
|Evan Hawes||District 10 Male||-|
|Janu Wong||District 11 Female||-|
|Brock Olsen||District 11 Male||-|
|Riven Exile||District 12 Female||-|
|Wolf Fang||District 12 Male||-|
|Ruby Hyrglass||District 13 Female||-|
|Dyna Ploson||District 13 Male||-|
|Hester Riva||Capitol Female||-|
|Quintus Hase||Capitol Male||-|
Burn Cream: $175
Camouflage Paints: $150
Chains (length of it is irrelevant, once it bought, you should have chain enough for most): $100
Cooler bag (for spraints) $50
Darts (10): $50
Dried Meat: $75
Dried Fruit: $75
Empty backpack: $50
First-aid kit: $200
Fishing root: $125
Instant Relief (heals any wound immediately): $400
Jacket (for warmth): $125
Neosporin (to prevent infection in open wounds): $200
Night-Vision Glasses (allows your tribute to move at night): $175
Quiver of Arrows (10): $50
Sleeping Bag: $100
Brass Knuckles: $150
Shurikens (5): $150
Throwing Axes (3): $225
Throwing Knives (3): $175
Wooden Club: $150
I have added a simple picture to give you an idea of the layout of this arena. However, if you want to understand the arena, you will have to read the describtion or just read along in the POV's.
The arena consist of four zones and a cornucopia arena.
The Cornucopia Arena: A somewhat big tiled platform with the golden cornucopia in the middle, and the ring of pedestals surrounding it. Supplies are scatered around here.
Water Zone: The water Zone consists mostly of water. The salt water streches through out the entire zone and the only type of land is islands, which are connected by small pathways in the water, that are not very deep, so the tributes can walk on them. There is some foliage on the islands, so you aren't completely visible to everyone. There's quite a lot of mutts roaming around in water and on the islands.
Fire Zone: A zone consisting mostly of dirt terrain and mountains and volcanoes. This zone is dangerous, but also filled with cover like caves and huge boulders to hide behind. However, other than a few warm water mountain springs there is no source of water or food. The heat in this area is also quite exhausting. However there are no mutts.
Earth Zone: A zone consisting mostly of dirt and the plants that grows in it. This zone is covered by trees, and provides pretty good cover, although there's a lack of hiding places. This place has some water sources, but is mostly rich on food. However there's also a lot of poisionouse plants and it's probably the zone with most mutts.
Air Zone: The air zone is an abyss. It's shrouded in fog and so, no one is really able to see how deep down the earth is. All one knows is that if you fall, you're gonna die. However, there are pillars and platforms sticking up from the abyss, which tributes can walk on. Bridges and pathways connects these to each other. The thick fog clouds the pillars and platforms so it's unlikely to spot a tribute or be spotted. There are no mutts. There is no way of getting food in this zone.but some platforms pools with completely clean water.
The status is essential for good advice. It shows where the tribute, what they have, and who they are with. Now some quick explanation to it:
- Normal text in "possesions" means that they own it.
- Bolded text in "possesions" means that your tribute own this item, but will share it with his/her allies if needed. If you do not wish for your tribute to share, you have to advice it.
- Cursive text in "possesions" means that one of your allies own this item and will share it if needed.
- Needs will still show that they need "water" or "food" even if another ally have it and is willing to share.
|Dyna Ploson||Third Runner-up|
|Wolf Fang (D12)||Victor|
|Wesolini||Yul Zhu (D5M)||Water, Bread||$175|
|MistFire333||Kodai Hitogoroshi (D7M)||Dried Meat||$75|
|LeonKaizerWolff||Michael Kaizer (D2M)||Night Vision Glasses, Water||$275|
|Nightlock Kryptonite||Helena Krisp (D10F)||First-Aid Kit, Throwing Axes, Brass Knuckles||$575|
|Nightlock Kryptonite||Bailey Starshine (D9F)||Antidote, Spear||$400|
|MissRandomStuff||Ella Massey (D1F)||Water||$100|
|Mineraku Rhyuabi||Fiona Valoran (D5F)||Bread, Water||$175|
|Mineraku Rhyuabi||Aranaea Web (D8F)||Water, Bread, Darts (10), Blowgun,||$375|
|Madgeical||Ophelia Carlile (D6F)||Brass Knuckles, Water, Dried Meat, Empty Backpack||$375|
|Wiress21Fan||Dyna Ploson (D13M)||Water||$100|
|Wesolini||Hester Riva (CF)||Matches||$75|
|LivesInDistrict1||Polyester Astro (D8M)||Water||$100|
|HawkWD||Quintus Hase (CM)||Camueflage Paints, Water||$250|
|TheFireJay||Train McBridge (D6M)||Night Vision Glasses, Water, Bread||$350|
|XxX Midget In A BikiniXxX||Janu Wong (D11F)||Water||$100|
|Madgeical||Ophelia Carlile (D6F)||Painkillers,||$100|
|MistFire333||Kodai Hitogoroshi (D7M)||Painkillers, First Aid Kit, Bread||$375|
|LeonKaizerWolf||Michael Kaizer (D2M)||Dried Meat||$75|
|WiressFan21||Dyna Ploson (D13M)||Bread||$75|
|MissRandomStuff||Ella Massey (D1F)||Dried Meat, Poison, Throwing knives|
|MistFire333||Kodai Hitogoroshi (D7M)||Dried Meat||$75|
|Mineraku Rhyuabi||Aranaea Webb (D8F)||Bread||$75|
|Mineraku Rhyuabi||Fiona Valoran (D5F)||Bread||$75|
|Hybrid Shadow||Wolf Fang (D12M)||Water||$100|
|MistFire333||Kodai Hitogoroshi (D7M)||Water||$100|
|LeonKaizerWolf||Michael Kaizer (D2M)||Water, Brass Knuckles,||$250|
|Mineraku Rhyuabi||Araneae Webb (D8F)||Water||$100|
|XxXMidget In A BikiniXxX||Janu Wong (D11F)||Water, Matches||$175|
|WiressFan21||Dyna Ploson (D13M)||Water||$100|
|HawkWD||Lucy Perch (D4F)||Wire, Trident||$425|
|Madgeical||Ophelia Carlile (D6F)||Water||$100|
|Hybrid Shadow||Lynx Striker (D4M)||Instant Relief||$400|
|WiressFan21||Dyna Ploson (D13M)||Shovel||$100|
|Hybrid Shadow||Wolf Fang (D12M)||Dried meat, Bread||$150|
|HawkWD||Lucy Perch (D4F)||Bread||$75|
|WiressFan21||Dyna Ploson (D13M)||Instant Relief||$400|
|Nightlock Kryptonite||Helena Krisp (D10F)||Night-vision Glasses, Knife||$250|
|Hybrid Shadow||Wolf Fang (D12M)||Instant Relief, Throwing Knives, Poison||$650|
|Nightlock Kryptonite||Helena Krisp (D10F)||Instant Relief||$400|
|28th||William Webster (D3M)||Lynx Striker (D4M)||Head smashed into rocky grounds - skull cracked||1|
|27th||Dior Kenzo (D1M)||Michael Kaizer (D2M)||Sword pierced through chest||1|
|26th||Evan Hawes (D10M)||Fiona Valoran (D5F)||Knife through chest||1|
|25th||Brock Olsen (D11M)||Hester Riva (CF)||Claws through forehead||1|
|24th||Sorcera Spectrus (D7F)||Yul Zhu (D5M)||Throwing knife through stomach - Blood loss||1|
|23rd||Madoka Artemisia (D3F)||Dyna Ploson (D13M)||Beheaded with a sword - Instant death||1|
|22nd||Train McBridge (D6M)||Fabian Matthews (D9M)||Throat cut with sword - Instant death||2|
|21st||Riven Exile (D12F)||Wolf Fang (D12M)||Chained Sickle through face||2|
|20th||Ruby Hyrglass (D13F)||Claudia Smythe (D2F)||Tortured to death - Pieces of the body slowly cut off with knife||2|
|19th||Bailey Starshine (D9F)||Aranaea Web (D8F)||Darts through chest and throat||3|
|18th||Claudia Smythe (D2F)||Lucy Perch (D4F)||Stabbed in heart with trident||3|
|17th||Polyester Astro (D8M)||Janu Wong (D11F)||Head beaten repeatedly - Skull cracked||3|
|16th||Fiona Valoran (D5F)||Lynx Striker (D4M)||Tortured to death - Skin ripped off chest||4|
|15th||Fabian Matthis (D9M)||Kodai Hitogoroshi (D7M)||Throat bitten - Airways cut||4|
|14th||Yul Zhu (D5M)||Michael Kaizer (D2M)||Sword pierced through chest||4|
|13rd||Quintus Hase (CM)||Wolf Fang (D12M)||Chained Sickle through stomach||4|
|12nd||Hester Riva (CF)||Dyna Ploson (D13M)||Sword through throat||5|
|11st||Ella Massey (D1F)||Helena Krisp (D10F)||Major arteries slit - bloodloss||5|
|10th||Araneae Webb (D8F)||Lucy Perch (D4F)||Trident all the way through head - Instant death||5|
|9th||Janu Wong (D11F)||Michael Kaizer (D2M)||Beheaded||6|
|8th||Ophelia Carlile (D6F)||Ophelia Carlile (D6F)||Throat slit - Self-sacrefising||6|
|7th||Lynx Striker (D4M)||Kodai Hitogoroshi (D7M)||Steel claws through chest||7|
|6th||Michael Kaizer (D2M)||Lucy Perch (D4F)||Trident through chest||7|
|5th||Kodai Hitogoroshi (D7M)||Lynx Striker (D4M)||Claws through stomach - Bloodloss||7|
|4th||Helena Krisp (D10F)||Wolf Fang (D12M)||Chained sickle through face||8|
|3rd||Dyna Ploson (D13M)||Lucy Perch (D4F)||Stabbed through aborment multiple times with trident||8|
|2nd||Lucy Perch (D4F)||Wolf Fang (D12M)||Mercy kill: Throat slit||8|
|1st||Wolf Fang (D12M)||-||Victor||8|
"Let the 102nd Annual Hunger Games Begin!"
Day 1 - "Only weak tributes have mercy," - Fiona Valoran
The words echoes as the plate I stand under finish rumbelling. This is happening. It's really happening. The games, despite being so horrible were still "just" an approaching nightmare in the future. But not anymore. No more silly interviews, sparkly dresses, training scores or creepy career glares saying: "I am gonna murder you really soon, weakling" (I received quite a lot of those) are not just something which may or may not happen. A murderous glare is no longer a promise. It's a death sentence.
The nightmare has begun. And I may never be able to awake from it.
51... 50... 49...
"Don't doubt yourself. You're smarter than they are. Use it to your advantage." The words of my best friend, Leia, echoes inside my mind. Even after the accident, where I blinded my best friend, she stayed with me. Even in these games, she's still with me... Maybe not physical but... I believe we're still connected somehow. Still together in this.
A slight flick of guilt washes through my body thinking of her, and I shake my head, almost as if to shake it off. I can't let that be a distraction now. I owe her that. Instead, I watch my surroundings, trying to take in where exactly we are. To my left, a sea spreads out from the tiled platform which holds the shinning, golden cornucopia. To my right, a rocky wasteland. In the distance I see trees in the right side of the horizon and in the left... nothing... or maybe fog. It's hard to tell.
I glance back up at the counter. 35... 34... 32...
"Don't leave me..." I whisper, as if Leia closer, and then I turn towards the abyss.
Looking around, I quickly lock eyes with Hester (C). Both being career recruits we have become quite close to each other. She sends me a confident smile and I smile back. Truth be told, I was slightly worried at first. Both Ella and Michael refused to join us, and even with me and Hester, we're lowered by one man. And the fact that Michael got the highest training score of all of us doesn't exactly make the case any better.
But I feel better about it now. Dior (1) is alright, but Hester, Lynx (4) and Claudia (2) and me are amazing with our weapons. The Anti careers would send us so many glares, as if they actually were something. But just look at the name. I mean seriously? "Anti careers"? Like as if they could actually work against us. Like they actually believed they stood a chance, when infact the only thing they did was volunteering as our victims. But I guess that's pretty good.
27... 26... 25...
I look up from the ground, where supplies lied scattered around temptingly. These could safe your life... or bring you to an early grave. We agreed as Anti-careers, we would get some supplies before leaving the bloodbath. We would be doomed without them, when we are so many. But if we want weapons -which we do- we will have to go into the mouth of the cornucopia. Being so many and only 5 careers, it's not the biggest thing to be conserned about. I feels good to outnumber the careers. Show them a thing or two. Usually the careers stomp on the outlying district. I hope we can stomp on them, this time.
Lifting my gaze, it's first now that I see her. I wish I hadn't. Claudia (2), the innocent-looking career with a vicious tone of voice is staring at me, her glance filled with so much hatred that almost it itself had been enough to kill a tribute. I shiver, and look away. Better stay near my allies....
19... 18... 17... 16...
I almost wanna throw up. Almost. I.... Liked this. I enjoyed this, I enjoyed watching this sickening countdown back home in the safe Capitol on my flat screen television that was bigger than myself. I enjoyed these games... But I can't just stop and throw up. This isn't the Capitol where everything is served to you on a silver plate. I can't just stop because I feel sick. I have to keep going.
Knowing that, those thoughts are probably the only thing keep me from throwing all of my meger breakfast up all over my pedestal. How could I be so blind? How can anyone enjoy watching this...? How could I think of this as "just a game? I remember the excitement I would feel as each second passed, waiting for what felt like ages to see the slaughter. Now the only think I feel is dread, knowing that each second is counting down to all of our way too early graves.
The games are no longer just a games.
They're dark mind's twisted fantasies turned to reality.
9... 8... 7...
Looking directly into the mouth of the cornucopia, I finally find the blade I long for. The weapon that shall shed the enemies blood. The time is almost down, and I look around, seeing weaker tributes unsure of where to run to, like the cowards that they are. They can't even make a decision when their life depends on it. I made mine long ago. Fight the enemy, no matter who they are. Fight those who judge me for my eyes. It may get me killed... but I would rather die than bend.
...3 ...2 ...1 ...0... GONG!
The countdown is done and I step onto the battlefield.
At once, the battlefield is turned into chaos. Some tributes rush straight towards the cornucopia, in a hunt for weapons like the idiots they are. I'll let my allies take care of them for now though. Right now I only want one thing. The first kill. The kill that will set the tone for the rest of the games. The kill that will show the Capitol just how dangerous the career are... or rather, just how dangerous I am.
So instead of rushing to the cornucopia, I jump off my plate, looking for a victim. The tributes wanting to reach the cornucopia are -of course- already running, but there's plenty of tributes staying in the outskirts because they thought it was safer. They couldn't have been more wrong.
And that's when I am find him. A weak boy with blonde hair and blue eyes, and also an anti career, which is just perfect. I believe he is from District 3. I never understood them. All their gadgets, and technology. How could anyone find pleasure in sitting and puzzle with a machine when you can fight instead? But I guess this is what makes him the prey and me the predator.
I pounce on his back, feeling the thrill of the attack rush through me with the adrenalin. Pushing him down towards the ground, I hear him scream in shock and surprise, not even able to see what hit from behind. Still keeping him facing downwards, I grab his head and let my sharp long nails pierce through his eyeballs, preventing him from resisting by pinning his arms with my legs. Gooey liquid (which I assume is either blood or eye-ball-juice) drips onto my fingers and he screams in terror. It's almost hard to resist the urge to roar, as I grab his hair and bang his head towards the ground a couple of times, killing the prey. BOOM!
It's hard not to stop running. Had my life not been at risk, I would have. But just witnessing the way Lynx, the career from 4 killed an innocent boy, by piercing his nails through his eyeballs makes me want to kill them. The careers, all of them. Not that I pity the boy, he was gonna die anyway, but causing unnecesary pain to a human being that way, just to show off... It's sickening....
... How could anyone wonder why I choose loneliness over the company of the careers?
But still, I don't stop running towards the golden cornucopia. I can't effort it, I can't effort pity or disgust. At least not now. A have to keep going if I don't want to die, and so, I do keep on running.
I finally reach the mouth of it. Looking around me, it seems like I am one of the first to reach there. I put my hands around the first bigger sword I lay my eyes, look up, ready to run back out.
"Too bad you didn't join us, huh?" His arrogant voice echoes inside the cornucopia walls. Dior is standing, in the opening of the mouth with an confident smirk on his face and a dual spear in his hand.
"You're in my way," I spit at him, charging towards him. He sticks outwards with his spear in a horrible predictable way. It's almost sad to kill him... his predictable fighting style is quite amusing. I think to myself, while diving out of the way of the spear. But I don't have all day. And with that, I slash downwards with my sword, on the spears handle, almost slashing through it, causing to fall out of Dior's hand. The frightful expression on his face is quite amusing too though, as I let my sword pierce through his chest. Luckily for Dior, I am not like the him. Not a career. So he gets a quick death, which is more than he deserves. BOOM!
I feel the wind rushing past me as I run, straight towards the cornucopia. I have to reach there before too many careers arrive. Luckily for me, being a dualist not only gives you good techniques in sword fighting. It also makes me quick on my feet, at least in short sprintes. Yet, it still feels as my heart is exploding through my chest, knowing that this sprint can either safe my life or end it.
I am one of the first who reaches the center of the cornucopia field, where the pair of slender, long dual knives are lying waiting for me, their edges glistening in the sunlight. Those will be all I need really, to stay alive.
Not bothering with supplies, I look up to see if anyone has noticed me. Doesn't seem so. Most of the careers are either killing in the outskirts or still running to get a weapon. I had originally planned on killing someone to show my strengths, but as no one is around, it's foolish. So instead, I rush straight out of the cornucopia, making my way towards the air zone.
I almost run right into him. I had reached the outskirts of the field, without any trouble which was almost a miracle in itself. But seeing the weak tribute from District 10, unarmed, crouching before me, as he was reaching for a backpack was almost too good to be true. He is looking up on me now of course, but it's already way too late.
"P-please... H-have mercy..." He whispers,
"Only weak tributes have mercy," I tell him, feeling the emotion slowing leaving my body.
"I can... T-tell them... The Anti's.... T-tell them n-n-not to ha-ha-harm you," he stammers, desperately.
"Thanks but I think I will pass," I tell him, coldly. Then, raising my knife, I pierce it right through his chest. BOOM!
Finally I reach the cornucopia, breathing heavily after the run. I walk around the side and into the mouth of it where I see Dior lying in the middle of it, his chest covered in blood. Truth be told I didn't have much faith in him, although I hadn't figured he would die THIS early. Oh well, he wasn't very useful anyway.
Hester (C), the blue career recruit from the Capitol runs into the mouth of the cornucopia as well, quickly grapping a pair of steel claws. At first I thought "You can't be serious," when she asked to join the careers. I mean, for the love of god, she's blue! But that opinion changed as soon as I saw her with the claws. She's a born killer. And so, I greet her with a smile. She smiles confidently back at me.
"Hey!" Both me and Hester look up and see the male from District 11 running towards, still quite away from the mouth of the cornucopia. "I wish to join!" He yells, still running. "Don't shoot!"
It's hard to resist facepalming. Had he wanted to join he should have asked when the training was happening. Then maybe we would have considered letting him join... maybe. But it's too late now. Besides, he's a threat. May as well get him eliminated instead of allowing him to the alliance which would force us to keep him alive until the late games.
Hester is looking at me, and from her blue raised eyebrow, it's easy to see that she's thinking the same thing.
"Can I handle this?" She asks me, whispering to make sure he doesn't hear.
"Go ahead." She sends me a sly smile. Then, like a mask slipping onto a face, her sly smile it replaced by a friendly one, as she faces 11.
"Don't worry!" She yells at him, waving him over. "We won't shoot!"
I stand back, watching the scene as he finally reaches the mouth of the cornucopia. "Thanks guys," he mutters, walking into the horn. "You're welcome," Hester smiles, "Take a weapon of your preference," she continiues.
"Thanks! The name's Brock, by the way" Brock exclaims happily, as he walks towards the swords, with Hester trailing behind him. I look at her, feeling stressed. What is she doing? Or rather, what is she waiting for? She should have killed him long ago... Has she changed her mind? Cold feet? Does she wants him in the alliance? How dare she go against me?! Brock is about to pick up a big vicious looking sword when Hester speaks again.
"Oh and..." She says, making him turning around to face her, not picking the sword. He should have picked it up though. Because the same second he faces Hester, she raises her clawed hand, with the speed of a cobra bite and pierces all three of the claws right through his forehead.
"... You really shouldn't trust us," She finishes her sentence, although Brock will never be able to hear the words. BOOM!
Finally, in the chaos, I manage to see what I have been looking for all along. A backpack lying in the outskirts so I won't have to go far in. Being the youngest tribute is both a curse and a blessing for me. I am barely noticed as a tribute, as I am no threat. But if one decided to kill me... Let's just say I wouldn't put my money on myself in a battle.
I finally reach down to the backpack, and pick it up. Now all I need is a dagger, then I can find Yul and get the heck out of here before someone decides to stick a spear through the 12-year-old's body. And as if sent from heaven, I see the dagger, only about 15 meters away. This is easier than I thought...
I get up and make one last riskfull run, desperate to get the dagger. Just let me get this... Please... Just... This dagger... I think to myself. Just let one more risk be alright, and then, I won't challenge fate anymore. Then I'll find Yul, run to safety and...
She appears out of no where. The creepy girl from 7, I think her name was Sorcera? She crouches, reaches out, stretching her arms, grapping the knife right before my face. She turns to me, her creepy multi-colored eyes staring at me, her eyes filled with fright. But then she realizes who I am. The 12 year old, who scored a 3 for my training score. Her fright is replaced by a sly smile suiting her multicolored eyes.
"Why, hello there..." she almost whisper, her tone of voice mixed between being sly and seductive. I am not sure if she can help the ways she speaks. She spoke like that all the time, even when she was just ordering dinner in the training center. I remember, because me and my ally, Yul, would sit by our own table and make fun of her over-the-top-seductive way of speaking.
"Small little girls like you should know better than to play with knives..." She slowly raises the knife in her hand. Running's pointless. My short legs aren't gonna get me anywhere before that knife is stuck between my shoulder blades. May as well get it over wit―
The pointy silver tip on the end of most knives and swords appears in the middle of Sorcera's stomach, and she falls, on her face first, with the shaft of a knife sticking out of her back. BOOM!
Behind her, Yul is standing, wielding another throwing knife in his hand.
"Get up and get the dagger," he tells me hastingly, while dragging the throwing knife out of Sorcera's lifeless body and I obey him thankfully. Then, we both get up and run straight toward the water zone. Taking a single look behind my back, I see the male from 7, with his pointy long fangs, staring at us. The message is in his glare is clear as a bell. I will kill you both.
The chaos dances around me, so quickly barely feels real. Like illusions, images in dreams that appear and then quickly slips through your mind so that the next morning, you can't remember anything. I don't really know why but... It's harder for me, than is for the others. The careers, I mean. Hester backstapped an innocent guy, Lynx tortured a boy with his bare hands. A boy with vicious looking fangs, looks like he's going almost mad, as he's sitting by his dead-by-now district partner. It almost feels... wrong, all of it.
I eye the anti-careers. I am not exactly sure who all of the cannons has belonged to, but only one career is dead, and most loners are smart enough to ditch the bloodbath. They got to have some loses... I am almost embarressed to admit that I feel slightly bad for them. They actually thought they had a chance...
I spot one of them, the boy with the long vicious fangs who were sitting by his district's partner's corpse. I think his name was... Kodai (7). Yeah, Kodai it was. He yells something at his group. Because of the caoticness, all the Anti's haven't found each other yet, and they're still missing some people. A timid, small looking boy from 6 with black hair nods, and then he runs away from hiz allies, futher into the cornucopia field. Very brave of him. Brave, and stupid. I get my trident ready, expecting him to go for a weapon, but he stops about 20 meters from the mouth and graps a bigger looking backpack. 20 meters... I can hit him from there. Kodai looks up and see me. I know he sees me. We stare into each others eyes, me watching the weird blue multicolor of his'.
I throw my trident, and watches it land exactly one meter away from him. Jumping in shock, he looks up at me, his glaze clearly telling: Why did you miss? As if he knows that I purposely didn't hit him. Then I see him do... I don't know a bow in thankfulness or something, then he get's the backpack and runs off to meet with some of his allies, leaving me wondering whether sparing his life was a very good idea or a very bad idea... But even if really was a bad idea... I am happy, happy that I didn't end his life.
The field is emptying. Most of the loners has gotten their stuff by now and has left the place. Careers, fully armed are either roaming around or chasing fleeing tributes. It's time to get out of there.
I myself though, are in a pretty good position. Most of the careers are chasing, so the center of the field with all the good stuff is barely guarded. A few other tributes has noticed this too, but we don't mind each other, too desperate to try and get our hands on the good supplies.
I look up, trying to see my fellow allies. Having so many allies... it's a bit scary. Although, we're not gonna be as many when this bloodbath is over. I haven't kept track of all the careers, but from what I can see, only one of them has died. Meaning that the other cannons belongs to either loners or us.
I lay my hand on a sword, big and vicious looking when I see her. She's one of the tributes I remember quite clearly. How could you, when she has those creepy eyes? Eyes that seems to make people crumble in pain and fear by just a single look? Madoka is her name, and she's appearantly one of the other tributes using the career's chase to get her hands on some kind of weapon.
Consiously, I walk around the other side of the cornucopia, trying to avoid her. I got my sword, that's what I need, now I just have to get out of here. So I turn around and are almost about to run away, towards my alliance when I hear a scream in pain coming from the place where I saw the devil-eyed girl from 3.
I should run away. It's the thing to do in these games. You should think about yourself, and only yourself. However the nagging feeling saying: "I know that voice; They're someone you know," pushed me forward, back towards Madoka. Running back around the cornucopia where I came from, I see them.
Bailey, my allies wriggles in pain, staring straight into Madoka's evil eyes. She must have been the girl who screamed. Madoka is slowly walking towards her, with her dagger raised, ready to kill Bailey as she can't even move, because of the painful glace. I should go... Leave her. If Madoka were to turn around, she could kill me...
... So of course, because I am such an idiot I run straight forward, charging at her. Save Bailey! It's as if every single cell in my body screams it to me. Madoka hears me of course and turns around, just barely reaching to look into my eyes. It feels like a layer of flames is just quickly lit onto my skin and through my body. Sadly for Madoka, it was too late, and my sword was already lifted before she looked into my eyes.
Before even reaching to freeze in pain, my sword swings through the air, beheaded Madoka. Blood splashes over the ground like a fountain of red wine. As the blood spills, the burning sensation goes away as quickly as it appeared. Madoka's evil eyes stares empty up up into the sky, dead as dead could be. BOOM!
"Get up!" I yell at Bailey, who quickly graps a bigger backpack near her. I run up to her, hold her wrist and almost drag her towards the Alliance who finally got gathered. I guess I know she could walk herself but... I want her to be safe. I guess she reminds me a bit of Charlotte... Is that good or bad?
I have no idea... All I know is that we need to get out of here, and that is now.
I gasp as I feel the cold water surround my body, running on the small lifted paths, that connects the island in the water zone. The water is actually quite warm, it's more... the feeling of it. The only times I would get to "swim" back in 8 was the few trips we sometimes made to a lake (one of the few nature locations that the government hasn't destoyed... yet.) I am not the best swimmer, but I am better than someone who has never been in water. And on the connecting paths, the water is shallow enough for walking. I think this zone was a good choice... I think.
I finally reach a small island, and I decide sit down quietly, under a tree, somewhat invisible to others. My original plan was to go back to the cornucopia after the bloodbath but... I guess... I guess I am afraid of it. At least now, because I am without Madoka to provide me cover...
... Madoka... Despite her eyes, she was actually... alright. At first glance she looks like a demon with human skin but... She was nice to me. Had my back, in the training. At one point, Dior was sending me death glares. Madoka simply responded by sending him a death glare back... and let's just say they left us both alone after that. She was an alright person, but of course, no one would discover that, all because of her eyes. Poor girl...
She didn't deserve such fate, getting beheaded. I saw it happen right in front of me, we used the lack of careers to get some supplies quickly. I got a little backpack, but Madoka went in for a weapon. Bailey (9) from the Anti's came close to her, Madoka glared at her, hindering her from attack and was then beheaded by Bailey's ally...
Ugh. The so called "Anti" careers, and their annoying attitudes. Thinking they have a chance against the careers is stupid in the first place, and what's even worse is that they are just like the careers... or maybe not just like them, they didn't train or volunteer. Yet, they still gang up on all of us in an alliance. How noble. They're no more innocent than the careers... but then again... are any of us innocent?
I shake my head, not wanting to think anymore, and take out my smaller backpack to check my supplies.
The heat is exchausting. Our heavy breaths creates unsteady rythm which we march to, tiredly. We just reached a cave, walking around in the mountains. "We can stop now," Fabian exclaims.
"No, we should keep on going. Get as far away from the careers as possible," Dyna is the only one who speaks up. His age and positure gives him the confidence, I guess cause he seems like quite the quiet person. Most of us are. Me, Ophelia, and Dyna barely talks. Bailey talks a little more, but still not much. But I guess Fabian makes up for it.
"Are you soft in your head? Look at them!" He points at me, and Ophelia, who seems to be weakest, just physcially as we're both all exchausted. The heat of the firezone is not exactly nice and the fact that we're marching around in mountains makes it even worse.
"We should get away from the careers," Dyna repeats.
"I heard you the first time, Dyna." Fabian says, before continiuing; "But try and consider this. Do you really think the careers would start here? This zone of all? Personally, if I was career, I would go the earth or the water zone first, as that is where I would expect the Anti careers to be." Fabian tells him. Bailey nods and speaks too:
"If we wait, we can nurse our wounds, check our supplies and get moving tomorrow. Then we can get more away from the careers. Besides... If one of passes out or get hurt we will have to move even slower and then we're never gonna get away,"
"But what if the careers decides to go to the firezone, figuring us out?" Dyna asks, still doubtful.
"Did you even bother to look at them? There's the girl from 2, who "thinks" she's being so clever and hiding her vicious side under a innocent persona. Then we have Mester-I-am-more-cat-than-human, who's probably jealous his own cat's IQ, then there's the female from 4 who barely says anything, the crazy girl from 10 with blood-colored hair and the girl who looks like she spent her life in an inkhouse. Do you really think they'll outsmart us?" Fabian spits, sarcastically. What's up with this guy's attitude?
"Fine..." Dyna mutters. Me and Ophelia sit down and crawl into the cave thankfully, while Fabian and Bailey sit down together and begin to check the supplies.
"Food!" I hear Bailey screech as she opens one of the bags, where a bread is store inside.
"Thanks, Miss Obvious," Fabian mutters, just barely audible enough for us to hear. Bailey waves her hand at him and breaks off small pieces of the bread for all of us, while still looking for us. Dyna, crawls into the cave and over to us.
"Sorry about wanting to make us continiue, I just... Wanted to get away. Didn't even know you guys felt bad," he says, dryly.
"It's fine, it's our fault really." Ophelia mutters.
"You can't help being tired, especially not in a place like this," Dyna responds. Ophelia smiles at him, thankfully. I say nothing though. Too busy planning how to escape this cave tonight...
"Finally!" Claudia screeches, as we get the last supplies stacked up in a pile, deep within the cornucopia. It was Hester's idea. This way, it would be much more easier to prevent someone from trying to come back and steal something. Most of us, opposed her at first, as none of us thought "cleaning" would be a skill we needed in these games but she did have a point and we ended up all going with on the idea. Some of us more willing than others.
"Does anyone know how to light a fire?" Hester asks, holding an entire uncooked leg of some animal (lamb, I think) up for us to see it.
"Not needed," Lynx says, while snatching the meat out of her hands. In the same movement, he begins to eat, or rather devour the lamb leg, the juice of the meat splattering out on his hands and mouth. Lucy looks questionly at him, and then at me.
"Could've been more gross, at least he didn't eat Dior's body..." She mutters. Lynx looks up, sends her a michivious smirk, before going back to the lamb leg, tearing of the pieces of fat (which he also eats) with his claws and teeth. Meanwhile Lucy get's out plates, cups and a delicious food was for us normal people... Or, considering that I colored my hair with blood, Hester looks like a grown smurf and Claudia's just... Well, she's Claudia. I guess I would have to change that to "somewhat normal people". I think Lucy is the only normal one of us, really.
"Hah, he could have Dior if he wanted!" I snicker, in a mocking tone of voice, "At least that would have made him more useful than he was today," Lynx looks up again.
"Is that an offer?" He asks, teasingly, opening his mouth in a almost sickening smile, on purpose so that we all see his fangs covered in blood, and meat. Hester pulls a disgusted face, while I stare fasinated by the beautiful drops of blood running down his teeth.
"The Aero-planes took the body already sadly," Claudia says, faking a sorry tone of voice. "We'll make sure to safe you a body tomorrow. Lynx responds by sticking his tounge out at her, before going back to lamb legs, which he cleaned for meat in less than 2 minutes.
We're.... quite a bunch. Still, I like the company, even if we're a bit weird.
Finally, after quite a while of running through the forest covered grounds I find a tree with long hanging leaves. I am not exactly sure what these are called, there weren't much nature back in District 8, but at least I know that it will provide quite good covers.
Although I like this zone, it's layout, it's cover... something's fishy about it. Like, why would the gamemakers make such a perfect zone? With food, water, cover and such? Of course, this zone is pretty much the gathering place of tributes. A lot of tributes will prefer this place... And a lot of tributes will often attract a lot of careers...Maybe it's not the best idea to be here...
But it's too late to change anything now. So instead, I climb up the tree, find a "somewhat comfortable" branch which should be strong enough to hold weight of a person for the night. The stars are out, and it would have been quite beautiful, had I not been aware of the fact that there was at least 20 kids out there to try and kill me.
The sky is gonna light up any minute, showing the death tribute's faces. I guess that's a point where I am happy that I am quite shy and choose to be a loner. None of the tribute I see up there, I will miss. Infact, every single face up there brings me one step closer to home. I want to smile, knowing how many cannons I heard. I want to be happy they died, but... I just can't. None of us deserved this.
I take out my token, the picture of my family, all smiling. I am standing in the middle of them. I was smaller back then, and a bright smile was plastered on my lips. I rarely smile like that now. They didn't deserve it either.
The anthem plays and the sky lights up in pictures. District 1 male, by the name of "Dior" appears first. That's odd... Usually careers doesn't fall on day one. Next face in the guy from 3, meaning that both from District 2 survived, as I expected. Then, the evil eyes of Madoka, the girl from District 3 stares down at me. Even though it's just a hologram, her eyes still give me the chill. Then Sorcera looks upon me. Even in her tribute picture, she looks slutty. Then Evan and lastly Brock appears. The sky fades out.
I am six small steps closer to home. And twenty two away from it. If I even want to go home, that is...
District and Gender
|Ella Massey||District 1 Female||16-1||16-1|
District 2 Female
|Michael Kaizer||District 2 Male||9-1||14-1|
|Lucy Perch||District 4 Female||16-1||17-1|
|Lynx Striker||District 4 Male||11-1||14-1|
|Fiona Valoran||District 5 Female||15-1||18-1|
|Yul Zhu||District 5 Male||24-1||28-1|
|Ophelia Carlile||District 6 Female||41-1||38-1|
|Train McBridge||District 6 Male||41-1||35-1|
|Kodai Hitogoroshi||District 7 Male||17-1||18-1|
District 8 Female
|Polyester Astro||District 8 Male||27-1||29-1|
|Bailey Starshine||District 9 Female||37-1||31-1|
|Fabian Matthis||District 9 Male||38-1||36-1|
|Helena Krisp||District 10 Female||16-1||17-1|
|Janu Wong||District 11 Female||46-1||48-1|
|Riven Exile||District 12 Female||17-1||19-1|
|Wolf Fang||District 12 Male||28-1||27-1|
|Ruby Hyrglass||District 13 Female||36-1||34-1|
|Dyna Ploson||District 13 Male||18-1||22-1|
|Hester Riva||Capitol Female||12-1||15-1|
|Quintus Hase||Capitol Male||42-1||40-1|
Claudia Smythe (D2F), Lucy Perch (D4F), Lynx Striker (D4M), Helena Krisp (D10F), Hester Riva (CF)
Ophelia Carlile (D6F), Train McBridge (D6M), Kodai Hitogoroshi (D7M), Bailey Starshine (D9F), Fabian Matthis (D9M), Dyna Ploson (D13M)
District 5 and 11 Alliance:
Yul Zhu (D5M), Janu Wong (D11F)
Ella Massey (D1F), Michael Kaizer (D2M), Fiona Valoran (D5F), Araneae Web (D8F), Polyester Astro (D8M), Riven Exile (D12F), Wolf Fang (D12M), Ruby Hyrglass (D13F), Quintus Hase (CM)
Day 2 - "It has switched... The zones has switched..." - Ophelia Carlile
Peep... Peep... Peep...
The slowing "peep" echoes throughout the room. A sterile, white room with bright lights and a soap-like scent of anti-bacteria cleaner. Had it not been for it, the room would have been silent. The masked people around me, with hidden mouths, and serious faces look at me, questionly. Of course they would. They, after all, don't know me. After all, I am just a rookie surgeon. I have removed tonsils, and polyps and such but never have I ever tried to remove a tumor.
But they're wrong to question me. I know what I am doing, I know my work. I am gonna become the greatest doctor in all of Panem and this surgery will be the first of many that I will do, helping people with cancer. As a doctor, that is my biggest wish. Fighting in the front lines of the war against this deadly disease, freeing all of Panem.
"Scarpel," I tell my scrubnurse, who quickly hands it over to me. I put it down towards the soft skin of the stomach of the patient. A young woman, in her early 20's, with red-brown hair and a pretty face. A girl who has her whole life in front of her. This is why I want to be a doctor.... To safe people, to help them, to make...
...The heat awake me. I feel it, slowly crawling into my dreams, turning the surgery room into a mere fogged illusion that slowly is rinsed out of my mind. The scent, the beeping, the fellow suregeons... all gone within the blink of an eye. My eyes open slowly and I see...
... Something unexpected. The sky that I am looking up at now isn't the one I fell asleep with above me, last night. That one had leaves decorating it, blocking the moon and starlight. That one was clear and beautiful and almost... comforting.
Now, I am staring up in the cloud free sky with a merciless sun burning down. The tree are gone, and the somewhat comfortable ground of dirt which I fell asleep on is replaced by a pointy, rocky, ground. Surrounding me like a pack of angry wolves are mountains, so tall that it almost look like they're frowning upon me. I am in the fire zone. I doubt I, the tribute have been moved, because I would have felt that... I think. Which means... The arena must have... shifted?
"Water!" A voice, with a peciluar pitch to it, carefree, almost childish rings in my ear. I grunt a bit, the thick mist of sleep still passing through me, pulling me down like an ocean of drowsyness. Rolling to the side, trying to open my eyelits, I feel whoever just spoke nuzzle their head against my cheek, feeling their hair against my face. What an odd gesture to wake someone, although I still appriciate it more than being shaked out of bed.
A gasp escapes my lips as I open my eyes and find myself staring right into Kodai's creepy multicolored eyes, which are wide open and looking directly at me. To put the cherry on top, he has his jaw hanging open in what I suppose is a smile, revealing his fangs.
"Water," he repeats. I look at him, confusion spreading through me. Water? What does he mean?
"Water has come," he says, the childish tone of voice making him sound almost happy, which just adds another piece of evidence to my theory about Kodai either being mentally ill or mentally disabled.
But disabled or not, Kodai is right. I guess it was hard for me to notice, when the first sight I woke up to was Kodai's face blocking my entire view but now, I see it clearly. The cave we slept in is no longer there. Instead, we're lying on a little island, with ocean and other small island surrounding it. The water zone looked like this.
"It was switched... The zones has switched..." I whisper. Kodai turns his head to the side as if he considers my idea, before finally giving me a nod, agreeingly. Then, in the same second, his face changes completely, revealing what I suppose is either anger or fear... it's hard to tell with him.
"I DON'T LIKE!" Kodai yells, waking up our allies and probably every singe animal or tribute in the area.
"Would you shut up?" I hear Fabian mutter, as he raises his head, in almost unison with Dyna, and Bailey. It's almost funny to watch as their draws drop to the floor, seeing how our arena part has completly changed. Kodai hisses, in a more quiet way, and I put a hand on his shoulder, as if to make him stop, trying to avoid a potential fight. Although, with Fabian's attitude, while there may not be a fight there will most certainly be at least.... some kind of confrontation. I guess all I can hope is that I don't get involved. At least that's one thing I am good at. Staying silent and not getting involved. It's what I have done my entire life, after all. That, and studying.
It's first now that I realize it. Something's wrong. Okay, I guess that one was obvious. Of course there's something wrong, the fact that the entire arena has switched as we slept. That's wrong. But there's something else... Something is missing... Or rather... Someone...
"Guys?" I ask. Fabian, Dyna and Bailey finishes taking in their surroundings and look back up at me, awaiting my words. Kodai is lying on the ground, muttering something about pineapples so I don't bother. If he listens, he listens and if he doesn't, he doesn't. But the others need to know.
I don't like this. Or rather... I don't "trust" this. Here I was thinking that I knew my surroundings. Thinking I was hidden by the thick covering fog that I had come to love. And now, the gamemakers has thrown all of that security out of the window. Instead, all I see around me are damned trees. Of course, a forest is more desirable than a bunch of fog where if you step wrong, you will fall down into a gaping abyss and die.
But "desireable" for me means desireable for everyone else. Meaning that everyone will want to here, meaning that I am not safe here. And this is why I am walking away from this now. The only thing is that I have no idea where any of the other zones would be. So right now I am just walking west to see what comes up.
As I walk I let my thoughts fly. However they don't fly very far, mostly because the entire area is pretty much reminding of the situation I am in right now. Stupid twist. Stupid gamemakers. Stupid games, stupid tributes, and stupid everything. "Oh look at us, we can change the zones, we're clever, please adore us!" That's all they are, the gamemakers. Puppets dancing around for the Capitol's people, pleasing them each year with a new arena and a new set of tributes. They're only puppets in the presidents, from which she can control what goes on. Rose Ana Snow... The young lady who is pretty much the reason why I am here.
What if had never been born with these eyes? These special green eyes which are appparently believed to be evil? What if I had had brown eyes? Would I be home now? Would I go to school? Have friends...? Maybe even... a boyfriend? To my big surprise and embarressment, I feel my cheeks blush thinking about it. I am human, okay? Well... Not according to most people. To most people I am devil spawn, a mere demon created to harm. But I know they're wrong. I have a heart... I have a soul.
It's with those thoughts in mind that I reach the border of the earth zone. Stretching before me a landcape of rocky grounds and mountains. Heat is brushed against my skin, like gentle waves. It feels nice right now, it's probably pretty bad in there... A lot of cover, a lot of caves, and barely any food which means barely any tributes. It's perfect. I step across the border of my zone and enter the heat.
We are sitting on the tiled career platform, with the breakfast. Claudia, Helena, Lucy and me are just eating a few slices of bread, while Lynx is searching through the pile of supplies, scattering them all over the place like he couldn't care less.
"Lynx, just take some bread, you don't even know if there is any other rawr meat in that pile!" Claudia yells at him, as he digs through the supplies. Lynx sneers quietly, not taking "no" for an answer. What's up with the boy? I mean sure, me, and Hester and Claudia aren't the most normal people but Lynx takes not being normal to a whole new level. A more... beastly level.
Still it's nice to have him around. We need vicious careers like him in this pack. I guess we all are vicious to some extend but Lynx probably takes the cake. The thing he did to that boy from 3... We need him because he knows how this works. The games, I mean. The careers are not just judged with how many they kill. The careers are also judged for the show they put on the screen and Lynx knows that. And he'll do whatever it takes to show the capitol that this year's careers are the best. The most vicious. I know it too of course. Helena knows it too, Claudia knows it too (even though she likes to put on little act of innocence too). As for Lucy.... I am not really sure. She doesn't really belong with us. But she's the best swimmer in this group and even though she doesn't seem very vicious, she's at least quite good with the trident that she wields.
"Finally!" Lynx yells, dragging a whole uncoocked chicken out from the pile. He strolls back to us with a satisfied smirk on his face and begins to devour it. From the way he digs his fangs into it, looks like he could eat the entire thing whole, with legs and bones, if he wanted to.
"So where are we going?" I ask Lynx, Lucy and Claudia. After all they're the main careers. Us career recruits doesn't have much to say when it comes to commands.
"Not the waterzone," Lynx exclaims, while taking another bite of the chicken, not caring about the fact that it's custom to close your mouth when you chew and that you're not supposed to talk with food in your mouth.
"I think we should head for the earthzone. It's the easiest zone to cover and we may even reach to go two places at once," Lucy says, sounding a bit halting as if she's scared that Lynx or Claudia will nag her idea. Or maybe she's just scared of Lynx and Claudia just in general. A justifiable feeling towards them, I guess.
"Sounds good to me," Claudia says, neutrally. Lynx spidts out of bone from the chicken (which body looks more like a the inside of a broken piano than an actual dead chicken, now) before agreeing: "It's fine with me too. But we need someone to guard the cornucopia."
The three of them looks back at us. None of them are gonna miss out the oppertunety of getting a kill, that's for sure. So, of course, as the recruits, that's our duty. I look at Helena, who smiles sofly at me.
"I can take the guard this time around. Have fun hunting," She sends me a smile, but instead of being delighted, I feel slightly off guard. Is this girl up to something? Or simply trying to stay on good terms? Or maybe using some kind of reversed physcology? I am not really sure... However, going on tribute-hunt sounds fun and that is for sure. So instead of wondering anymore, I just smile back at her.
"Thanks. Have fun guarding here."
We must have walked for at least an hour. After realizing Train was gone, it wasn't hard to figure that he had left our side. Dyna and Fabian both pointed out that if anyone had come and took him, we would probably have heard something or at least, been awakened by the cannon that would have killed him. But no cannon has sounded and so that would mean he left us.
So we're out to get him. It's not really something that I wanted to do, hunting for a previous ally. But it's need to be done. We can't show weakness and just let someone betray us and run off. I look back. Dyna and Ophelia are in the back, Dyna walking confidently while Ophelia looks like one of just died. In front, Kodai and Fabian are leading the way and I am just in between.
It's odd to suddenly be surrounded by all this water. A creepy feeling of... I don't know, not being prepared, not feeling ready to escape creeps under my skin teasing me, almost playing with me. It's hard to explain really, but I am pretty sure the others feel the same way. But none of us mentions it of course. All so secluded and secretive, the only one of us who speaks on a regular basis is Fabian and Kodai. But I guess they speak enough to make up for all of us.
"Train is near," Kodai's weirdly pitched voice fills the air in a faint whisper. He doesn't talk in this carefree, childish way of manner now, but in a more... dark, physcotic voice. He knows a kill is closeby.
It didn't take us long to find him. I assume he had hidden in a cave that night in the firezone, but because the zone change he wasn't hidden anymore. His little run-out in the night had caused something rather fatal for him. It had caused him to sleep in. Kodai pounced on him at once, using some of Ophelia's rope to tie him up, and now, he's just lying there in the sand, waiting for our decision.
"We have to kill him," Fabian says, grimly.
"Do we... need to?" Ophelia asks, frigthened.
"We need to send the right message. If we just forgive or set him free we will look like a joke to everyone in Panem. And how many people do you think would sponsor a bunch of jokes?" Fabian almost hisses a bit Ophelia, and Kodai responds by sending him a glare.
"But... I just... I don't want him to die..." Ophelia mutters more to the ground than to Fabian. I agree with her, but I don't say anything. Fabian looks at her a bit more softly.
"Me neither. He was an idiot but not a threat... I don't wanna kill him, but that changes nothing. He still needs to die," Fabian says. And we all know he's right of course.
"How should we do it? Who should kill him then?" Dyna asks, looking questionly at Fabian.
"I think we should draw lots," I interupt them. "It's the only fair thing to do.... Unless someone wants to do it?"
As if on que, we all look at Kodai. If someone would want to kill a traitor, it would probably be him. Kodai looks up, first at Ophelia, then at us. Then, almost haltingly, he reapeats Ophelia's words: "I... don't want him to die," saying them as if it was another language. Does he even know what it means? Or does he just want to agree with Ophelia for whatever reason. I am not really sure. But I do know that this rules out our only chance of finding someone who would want to kill Train. Although it would have been niced to have someone else to kill Train, in a way, I am also happy that Kodai isn't killing him, because quite frankly... I believe that would be a very painful death for Train and he doesn't deserve that.
"Sounds good to me... to draw lots," Dyna says, and Fabian nods. Ophelia says nothing, as always, and Kodai mumbles something about pineapples but nods too. Dyna picks five straws, for each of us, making one of them particularly shorter, and walks back, holding them in his hand for us to draw. I feel my heart slowly beating faster. Dyna is already a "murderer" killing Madoka to safe me. But the rest of us are not. And today, I may have to kill someone in cold blood. I could become a murderer today... I take the second last straw from Dyna's hand.
"It's you, Bailey," Dyna says softly. A faint whimper is heard from Train who's lying a little away from us... Wait... What?
"What.... But... I... I c-c-can't do this," I stutter. I can't kill anyone... I am just me, Bailey. Just a small girl living in District 9. Not a murderer....
"You'll have to," Dyna says, still speaking softly in an attemp to comfort me.
"I can't! I w-won't!" I yell at him, feeling the panic slowly creep under my skin. Maybe I could fake fainting? Maybe I could make some lie to get out of it? But that wouldn't be fair to my allies and I―
"I'll do it." The words feel like a saving grace. I look up and see Fabian, streching his hand out to take Dyna's sword. A warming feeling spreads through my body, that makes me want to fall on my knees and thank Fabian, and cry like a baby at the same time. But I can't make myself do any of those. Instead, I just stand there. Why would Fabian do this for me? For anyone, really? I mean... He's an asshole and he doesn't owe me anything... So why would he...?
"It's obvious she won't be able to do it. And because of that, she might mess up, and make his death more painful. Or even pretend to kill him, and leave him, so that we will have to hunt him down again. And I don't wanna do that. So I will kill him," Fabian says, as Dyna puts the sword in his hand. A cold mask has slipped across Fabian's face, instead of the usual arrogant smirk. Wielding his sword, he walks over to Train, who's faint whimpers become louder and faster for each step Fabian takes toward him. Like a little lamb ready for slaugther.
Fabian raises the sword and I close my eyes not wanting to see any of it. A part of me wants to plea for Train's life. Plea for giving him another chance. But I know I was already lucky that I didn't have to kill so I don't. And nobody else does.
A sound, like the ones you hear when you cleave meat is heard, and then the whimpers stop. BOOM!
The mountains continiue endlessly. As if the entire aspect of nature had been gently swiped off the earth's surface, only leaving the the hard stone and the relentless sun shining down on the wasteland. A single of sweat falls tickling down my back, before getting dried off by my arena wear, leaving me with the icky feeling of clothes sticking to your skin.
Don't get me wrong, I am quite used to sweat. Back in the forest where I lived, I would have to hunt to get food. The sweat would drip down my body, when running to catch up with a prey, the long walking distances... But it's not like this. The forest was... me. A part of me. Like, a shell around me, keeping me safe. A home. Not like this wasteland.
My stomach growls, inpaciently, as I walk. I had myself quite the surprise when I woke up, not in the forest I fell asleep but a barren wasteland, which felt more like being inside an oven than in a mountain region. And to put the cherry on top, my mentor were so caring and understanding to send me a message saying that he didn't even feel like sending me food. How exactly he expects me to find any type of pray in this region, I have no idea. But I guess he didn't expect this either...
Still, what did I ever do to him? A bread can't be that expensive, can it? He couldn't even spend just enough money to send me a bread? Ugh. But I guess he did like Riven more. Who wouldn't? Well of course there is her eyes, but I personally don't believe in her being demon-spawn of Satan or whatever those eyes were supposed to mean about. She's strong. Had I been a sponsor living in the Capitol, I would have betted on her. Had I been my mentor, I would have prioritised her over me. She's the strong survivor, and I am just the silent loner... The silent loner who killed his own parents...
I shake my head, trying to focus. I walk a bit, passing by a bigger rock, hiding a bit of the area behind it. And there she is. As if my thoughts had summoned her. Riven, right in front of me. The huge stones lying around in the zone had kept us from seeing each other, but now, we're face to face and less than five meters from each other.
She gasps, her shinning green eyes staring directly at me. Her fingers instantly reaches for her sword. Whether it was to attack me or just defend herself I will never know because seconds after, my chained sickle burries itself into her face, splattering crimson blood onto her face. BOOM!
Her empty eyes still stares out at me, though. Her face looks almost like a mask, made of red fabric, with two green shining lanturns where the holes for eyes should be. Shivers go down my spine, as I drag out my sickle, leaving a gaping hole in the middle of her face... I killed her... I killed her, like I killed my parents. But I killed my parents unintetionally instead of now, where I wanted Riven to die. How can it be that I... That I feel guilty over what happened to my parents, but I don't feel guilty about the gaping hole I just made in Riven's face? I... I don't know...
But I do know one thing. I killed my parents. I killed Riven and I killed her without blinking twice. I am "the devil's child", and people die when I am around. I am a killer. And where strong survivors may live long into the games, it's almost always the killer who ends up becoming the final survivor.
The forest seems to last forever. On and on, trees are spread, their leaves making the light that reaches spread into beautiful parterns on the ground. Although, it's nothing like when the sunlight hits the surface of the water. The days back in 4 seems almost like a whole different reality. The days where my little sister, Lily, would wake me up at early morning, so that we could sneak out of our house, out to the cliffs and see the sun rise from the waves. The horizon would glow red, almost as if it was on fire. Then, the sun would appear, and the waves would shine as if they were made of light themself. The gulls would scream, greeting the early morning, the fisherboat would slowly sail out, wanting to get the early catch and after the sun had left the water surface, me and Lily would sneak back to our beds.
But that's gone now. Lily is far away, sitting back in District 4. She's safe there, because of me. It's almost hard to think that she could be walking here, right now with these sociopaths as her allies, had I not volunteered for her. Which is why I regret absolutely nothing. In fact... I feel proud I volunteered for her. Even if I die... I know she'll find a loving husband back in 4... Who knows? Maybe she'll take her kids to watch the sunrise at those cliffs and explain to them how she used to do this with her sister, the sister who saved her life?
She probably watching me right now. A certain... urge, to speak, speak to Lily fills my body. It would be easy, just to begin to talk to her. And since we're the careers and are hunting it would probably be broadcasted. But the other careers walking with me, and they prevent it. They'll think of me as weak, that I want to send a greeting to my sister. And I will scare potential victims... Or rather, "prey" as Lynx, our self-proclaimed leader, likes to refer to them as, away. So I keep my mouth shut and try to think about Lily, with a husband and kids. Children that she would only have because of me...
"There's one!" Claudia's shriek interfer with my memories and I am suddenly brought back to reality. A girl, with blonde curly hair is running down the forest paths, away from us. She must have hidden and then tried to make a run for it, seeing how close we got to her.
Everything goes fast, all the sudden. Lynx pounches into a sprint, chasing his prey like a hungry lion, ready to make his second kill in these games. But he never even reaches to pounce on his prey, before a spear goes through the blonde haired girls stomach.
"I got her!" Claudia yells, a vicious, creepy smirk covering her entire face like a murder's mask. "She's mine," She direct the last comment to Lynx who puts on a dissapointed meanor but get still stops his sprint. Claudia strolls over to the poor tribute, like a model walking a catwalk. The disguise of the little innocent girls is completely gone, vanished with the oppertunety for a kill, ready to be claimed. This Claudia's true side. A disgusting, vicious sardistic side.
"Why hello there," She whispers, as she reaches the girl... I think her name was Ruby, the female tribute from District 13. Claudia is talking in her rather flirty tone of voice, as if she as seducing someone. The tone of her voice, the smile on her face.... It really just adds to the heavy layer of disgust, clouding my mind. Claudia pins the girl to the ground, and I hear her silent pleas for mercy, as Claudia whips out a knife from her belt. Ruby's lucky she was hit in the stomach, at least she will bleed out somewhat soon...
I close my eyes, not wanting to see any of it. Then the screams begin, carrying out for seconds, minutes... It feels like hours before the screams goes silent and are replaced by the sound of a fired cannon. BOOM!
The nightsky finally falls, it turns the forest from a rather nice and pretty place into a more... I don't know how to describe it, but... Let's just say I have heard enough silly scary stories back in District 1 that begun with a young girl in a forest at nightfall. It's quite... Almost creepy. I am not sure how to explain it, I have never been spiritual. I pinch myself. You're Ella Massey, I almost have to force myself to think. You are way too smart to believe in silly scary stories. Still this place give me the creeps.
At least I am quite lucky. If I know the Gamemakers correctly -who, by the way, are horribly predictable- the zones should either chance again tomorrow or at least change if someone triggers something in the arena that were triggered yesterday. Of course, I can't be sure of this... but knowing how the gamemakers likes to "surprise" their audience (which would be the stupider part of the audience as I pretty much have predicted almost all of their twists) they probably wouldn't just settle for one switch of zones.
I resist the urge to yarn, dragging myself up in a tree. Nothing much exciting happened today really. Although there were one situation which could easily have been my doom. Three cannons were heard, but only I know that I almost became the fourth cannon.
I found the kid from 5 while I was hunting... Yul Zhu, if I remember correctly (which I usually do), which I usually do. I thought he would have been an easy kill. He would have been. He was standing with her back turned to me, digging up roots to eat or something like that. I could so easily have snuck up on him, piercing my dagger through the space between his rips, where his heart was beating. But then the kid appeared. Who would have though that the little 12 year old, Janu Wong could safe her own ally's life? I wouldn't have bet on it... She called Yul, making him turn to face me. I was hidden in a bush, he didn't see me, but it ruined my moment of surprise so that I couldn't kill him. And I was forced to sit in the bush, watching my victim walk from danger to safety. Defeated by a 12-year-old.... I thought I was smarter than that.
The anthem is blasted out, breaking my not so distant memories. The sky lights up and the faces appears. First, Train McBridge's face is projected with that fearful glance of his in his eyes. I had seen that one coming a mile away. I was honestly surprised he even survived the bloodbath.
Then Riven Exile. That one is unexpected. She seemed strong. I guess someone out there was just stronger... The third and last cannon turns out to be Ruby Hyrglass'. She seemed smart but also quite weak. While a logical mind is certainly good to have in these games, if someone can break you like they would break a stick, I guess it doesn't matter how logical you are... I guess I better remember that too...
District and Gender
|Ella Massey||District 1 Female||15-1||16-1|
District 2 Female
|Michael Kaizer||District 2 Male||9-1||9-1|
|Lucy Perch||District 4 Female||16-1||16-1|
|Lynx Striker||District 4 Male||11-1||11-1|
|Fiona Valoran||District 5 Female||14-1||15-1|
|Yul Zhu||District 5 Male||22-1||24-1|
|Ophelia Carlile||District 6 Female||37-1||41-1|
|Kodai Hitogoroshi||District 7 Male||16-1||17-1|
District 8 Female
|Polyester Astro||District 8 Male||26-1||27-1|
|Bailey Starshine||District 9 Female||39-1||37-1|
|Fabian Matthis||District 9 Male||34-1||38-1|
|Helena Krisp||District 10 Female||15-1||16-1|
|Janu Wong||District 11 Female||46-1||46-1|
|Wolf Fang||District 12 Male||23-1||28-1|
|Dyna Ploson||District 13 Male||17-1||18-1|
|Hester Riva||Capitol Female||11-1||12-1|
|Quintus Hase||Capitol Male||41-1||42-1|
Claudia Smythe (D2F), Lucy Perch (D4F), Lynx Striker (D4M), Helena Krisp (D10F), Hester Riva (CF)
Ophelia Carlile (D6F), Kodai Hitogoroshi (D7M), Bailey Starshine (D9F), Fabian Matthis (D9M), Dyna Ploson (D13M)
District 5 and 11 Alliance:
Yul Zhu (D5M), Janu Wong (D11F)
Ella Massey (D1F), Michael Kaizer (D2M), Fiona Valoran (D5F), Araneae Web (D8F), Polyester Astro (D8M), Wolf Fang (D12M), Quintus Hase (CM)
Day 3 - "Nice people dies early." - Claudia Smythe
The thick fog of the Air Zone moves around me and the pillars, hiding me from the view of others, shrouding me like a cloak. Like a assasin, hiding in their cloak as they stealthy move alone in the night. It would fit this situation quite well, except from the fact that it's early morning, not midnight.
It had taken be a bit of time to get to this zone. But it's this one I prefer. The air zone, with it's hidden pillars, and mysterious fog is perfect for sneaking around without getting seen, killing in the quick shadows. And I need a kill. I need to show the Capitol Audience who they're dealing with. Fiona Valoran, a master dualist. My father may have been the fake, a shame to my family's name, but I am the real deal. I'll show the Capitol that Fiona Valoran is truely the best dualist in all of Panem... even if my father's title was nothing but lie. And I will kill anyone to prove that, I will kill anyone to clear my name. And ones I go home, crowned as the victor, they'll shout that name in the streets of the Capitol. Fiona Valoran, the ruthless master dualist and victor of the Hunger Games....
I almost got lost in my thoughts. Almost. But luckily, my senses has told me to be allert about even the smallest sound, even the smallest movement. Quick senses are a vital trait in a duel. So I quickly, but quietly sneak toward the source of the sound and find myself staring down at five other sleeping tributes. Couldn't be anyone but the Anti Careers.
She almost escape my sight. Still, I saw a slight flicker of hair, flowing from her head like a waterfall of flames, which gave her away. Spying on the anti-career camp, but from another angle, she's lies hidden, covered by the fog. The girl must have some sort of talent for sneaking, or I would have seen her the instant, her being so close. She's spying on the fast asleep Anti-Careers, just like me is another tribute. There were only two red-haired girls in these games, and I highly doubt that Helena, the career-recruit would be here on her own.
"Aranaea..." I believe that was her name. Quite an odd name, easy to remember. She unweilds a blowgun, ready to fire,
"Don't," I tell her, eying an oppertunety. "I believe we can help each other... Why are you here?"
"I have some business with one of the anti-careers," Aranaea tells me with a cold voice and a determined stare.
"And I assume by that, that you want to kill a specific someone?" I ask. She nods. "Then we have common interests," I tell her with a smirk.
"You see... all these anti-careers... I believe they're arrogant. I am District 1 myself, I have seen how hard they train there. And then, these puny weaklings think that they can actually stand a chance? I wanna teach them a lesson. That you do not mess with fighters, with dualists." Aranaea nods,
"My words exactly. So what do you suggest?" Aranaea asks, still not lowering her blowgun. I am not gonna kill her, still she's wise not to trust me. Not to trust anyone.
"That we team up, just for this attack. I need a distraction, and you have a far ranged weapon. The puny little girl from 6 and the pair from 9 makes no threats whatsoever. The fang-guy from 7 and the guy from 13 are really the only threats. So here's the plan. As you can see, they all sleep spread out. You shoot your little dart at... well, whoever you wish to kill, and while the caos happens, I run in. I will be going for the girl for six, obviously the weakest of the bunch. Should be an easy kill. When I kill her, I'll run off, and I suggest you do the same. This is a hurry in - hurry out kind of thing, we need the caos between them as our distraction. The fog should keep us safe too. Remember though, this is a one time wonder. If I meet you again after this attack, I'll do my best to spear your head on the end of my dual-knife. Got that? Are you in or not?"
She looks at me a bit, considering it. Yet, I can see the hunch of revenge burning in her eyes. I already know she's gonna say yes, before she speaks up.
"I am in."
"Now, that's the spirit!" Fiona sends me a vicious grin. "You just shoot your little dart there, and I'll run it... you may wanna shoot more than just one though, I doubt one dart is gonna do much good..."
"I know," I tell her a bit annoyed. I know my weapon, she doesn't have to tell me how to use it. But what had I expected? I knew she was arrogant right from the group training. I saw her, sending those 'I am so much more better than you-stares at people, even the careers. But I did she her skills with those dual knives. Where she may be arrogant, she really does have the skills to back her confidence up. Which is why I am happy to have her in this.
I load my blowgun, ready to fire. He's sleeping there, safe and soundly, not even realizing that the end of his life is less than a hairlength away. Dyna, the guy from 13. A smirk spreads across my face, unintetionally. When Madoka received deathglares, she would stare straight back at them, with her vicious eyes. She told me that I shouldn't take crap from anyone. That revenge was needed if you wanted to proof your strength. So that's what I am doing right now, avenging Madoka, killing Dyna... showing everyone my strength. I have been following the Anti's for so long to take this one revenge... and now is my chance.
I take the blowgun, up and aim. Fiona is just beside me, kneeling, but ready to run in there, to kill the girl from 6. She's just waiting for me to send my dart flying. I wonder... When I kill him, I'll become a murderer... How will that feel? Will I feel... guilty? He killed my only friend though. I am not a murderer, I am simply just a justice seeker. An eye for an eye...
So I shoot. And then the entire place is thrusted into caos.
My dart hits, but sadly not at my target's chest. Instead, it locks itself into the underlying part of Dyna's left arm, and without the poison the dart, that can't kill anyone. Nonetheless, the battle has begun. Dyna cries out in pain and surprise, thrown out of his deep sleep and Fiona gets up, sprinting into the field of battle, and I just sit there for a minute, watching. I thought I would've killed him directly, I didn't prepare for this...
I watch as Fiona runs towards the girl from 6, who sleeps soundly. A little wrinkling in her face reveals she's only barely not asleep, from Dyna's untraditional wake up call. The poor girls eyes haven't even opened, it's way too late for her to escape. Fiona is almost right beside her, ready to end her life.
He appears out of no where, the fanged beast from 7. Standing between Fiona and the weakling from 6, hissing at Fiona. He appears to be unarmed, yet his vicious fangs are sharp enough to make a weapon in itself. They begin a duel, a deadly dance of moving around, threatening each other, sometimes only inches from either a stab or a deadly bite. The way the fanged one fights... almost animalistic. He does pretty good, considering he's against a elite dualist AND unarmed. Time's running out, Fiona has to be quick, before the other tributes realizes what the hell is going on. Time...
Finally, I get my senses together. I shake my head in vivid motions. I can't be caught in Fiona's battle now, I have my own battle to fight. I look back, Dyna is getting up, but still a bit out of his senses. And near him lies...
...Bailey... I believe that was her name. And then I come to the realization. Dyna killed Madoka... to save Bailey. There must be some kind of... I don't know, bond, between them, for him to risk his life saving her... So maybe, the revenge wouldn't be to kill him... but to kill her...
I don't put anymore thought into it. While Dyna is still halfly drugged by sleep, I shoot her. The darts hits right in the center of her chest, and a rose of blood begins to bloom on the fabric of the Arena Wear. To be sure, I shoot again, seeing yet another dart hitting her, this time piercing through her throat. BOOM!
I turn around and run for my life, leaving Fiona, Dyna, Bailey and the others for themselves. I know the fog covered me, that it's unlikely anyone saw who killed Bailey, still it's better to be on the save side. While running this... feeling spreads inside me. Happiness? No, it's too vicious... More like... More like the feeling of justice. Of furfilled vengeance.
The feeling is hard to describe. It's almost like I have just been picked up from a light slumber and been dumped into a pool ice cold freezing water. A state of shock, confusion. My brain is telling me to react, but my body feels all numb. That all changes though, when I hear the boom.
I look up. Kodai is battling a tall girl who I believe is from District 5. They twirl around each other, almost as if they were dancing a deadly war-dance. The boom could not have come from there... But where then?
It only takes me second to find the source. There, lying on the tiled pillar, Bailey's body lies. Had it not been for the big red spot, growing quickly on her chest, like a virus, it would almost look as if she was still asleep. A slumber she would never awake from. "Bailey..." I whisper, watching her intensely, as if my gaze somehow could bring her back to life. A part of me, just wants to sit down and cry. Maybe hug Bailey's dead body, wash her clean from blood and lay her somewhere nice. A calm place, so that it would look as if she was sleeping.
Another part of me just wants to give up. To sit down, say: "F*ck it," and just wait for someone to come and kill me. I mean, what's the point? I am gonna die at one point anyway, just like Bailey just did. Maybe that's the best... I thought I would be sad to see one of my allies die but... I never expected this... emptyness. How could I ever hope to fill the gaping hole slowly spreading in my chest?
Still, the last part of me, the instincts, the part of me that just wants to survive, get me up on my feet, leaving Bailey's body alone. Fiona and Kodai are still dancing, but Kodai's moves are growing slower and slower. Picking up my sword, I charge at her. The odd feeling of "feeling nothing" is spread through me, along with the adrealin, preparing me for battle. Fiona looks up, and see me running toward. She knows her end is near.
But then she does something unexpected. She throws one her two duel knives, in Kodai's direction. The knives of hers are not meant for throwing, Kodai avoids them easily but he has to dive away from them and so, away from Fiona. Which is exactly what she wanted.
While Kodai is still getting up, she makes a run for it, running across one of the small bridges connecting the big pillar around us to the smaller ones. I know already that I am too far away to ever hope to reach her, but I still run out on the bridge, chasing her onto another pillar. Then she crosses a second bridge and the fog swallows her whole. I knew it wasn't her who killed Bailey. Bailey's killer used a blowgun, what else could explain the dart? Still it feels as if there have been some kind of injustice, by her getting away. After all, she was partly to blame for this.
Strolling back to camp, I find Kodai hugging a shaking, pale-as-a-ghost Ophelia closely. Even with the emptyness filling my body, it's hard not to smile at the scene. Ophelia was never in danger, not with him around, still, her eyes are the size of tea cups and she's clinging to his arm like her life depended on it. Kodai has a more confused look to him, as if he isn't really sure what is happening, and confused by the act of hugging.
For maybe the fifth time in these games, I think about this ally from 7. He's... odd... To a enemy, he's more of a beast than a human. Ready to bite, and scratch people's eyes out if needed to win a battle. When he's in crowds, his usual behavior makes it pretty obvious that there's something wrong with him, mentally. But when he's with us... or rather, with Ophelia, he seems all confused but also caring... almost like a little child.
I watch, as Ophelia's breathing gradually changes pase, slowing down in Kodai's embrase. It's easy to forget what just happened, when looking at them. But then, in the background I see him, and my smile is wiped away as quickly as it appeared. Fabian. Normally I am shy and quiet, and I wouldn't dare to say anything to an arrogant asshole like Fabian. But this time, I can't help it. Partly because Bailey's corpse is still lying in camp, bleeding.
"Where. Were. You." I hiss at him. He looks up at me, with a surprised expression on his face.
"What do you mean?" He asks, even though he clearly knows what I mean.
"In the battle. Where were you? You certainly weren't here, that's for sure." All emotion has run out of my face, all that's left is a cold, harsh tune of voice. I can't even yell at him.
Fabian doesn't answer. Instead he bites his underlip, thinking about a reply. He doesn't need to answer either. We all know where Fabian were.
"So that's what you do when your allies lives are in danger? Hide away in the fog while people loyal to you are fighting for their lives!?" The anger slowly boils up inside me, but still, I keep my voice calm. Charlotte is probably watching, I don't want her to see me angry... But Fabian needs to be put in his place for this. I usually put up with much, being the quiet person that I am. But this is unacceptable.
"It's not like you did a lot either, 'Mr Hero'" Fabian almost spits the new nickname at me. "Lying there oh-so-helplessly while Kodai fought for his life. Had Kodai not been quick, the girl from 5 could have killed him a hundred times and over before you got up."
"At least I didn't stay passive in combat, leaving my allies to die!"
"I am in this for me. Just like all of you are. Yes, all of that "being loyal and fight for each other" crap is cool, but how many victors do you actually think have done that? Risked their lives for an ally? None. They were in these games for themself. That's why they won. And so am I. Despite, how different am I really for Ophelia? She just layed there too, without doing anything useful. And so did you until you got up. What right to you have to judge me?" Fabian glares at me, with a confident sickening smile, knowing that I have no reply to this. He is right but... what he did... It's just so... wrong.
"So you don't care for any of us? We're just an easier way to win these games?" I ask him. In my mind, I picture Charlotte's face. She's the only thing that keeps me from yelling, and maybe even killing the little rat with the arrogant smirk.
However, Fabian's reply surprises me. His arrogant tone is gone, instead, a rather... hollow tone of voice has replaced it. "I cared for her..." He mutters, looking at Bailey's bleeding corpse. I am about to open my mouth, telling him how he should have fought with us, had he cared for Bailey. But I am cut off.
"Please... Stop?" Ophelia whimpers in a low, saddened voice, still clustering Kodai, who's nodding in agreement. Whether he actually agrees or if he just wants to back up Ophelia, I am not really sure. "It's not gonna help anything, to argue. Please?" Ophelia's lower lip quivers, as if she's about to cry. I take a deep breath, and send Charlotte a last thought, feeling the rage leaving my body.
"I am sorry..." The words are spoken with such small power, it's barely hearable, and I doubt that Kodai and Ophelia heard them. Fabian had gone over to Bailey's corpse while Ophelia spoke and is now sitting with her dead body's hand softly in his own. But he's looking at me, when he repeats his words again:
"I am sorry..."'
The early morning sun slowly sneaks it way into the mouth of the cornucopia before finally hitting my face, awakening me. The only other person awake is Lucy, who's already up and going, dragging out dried fruit for our breakfast. It's weird... Lucy would easily give this job to any of us career recruits, yet she seems to enjoy bringing us food to the table. I guess it fits good, when she's the one of us who gets up earliest. She says it's because of the District 4 people being early risers so that they could catch fish. However, Lynx, who's lying over there snoring... or rather, it sounds more purring, in his sleep does not show any signs of wanting to get up early.
She drags out a calf, probably from a cow, for Lynx and my thoughts slips completely away. All in my is the pretty drops of blood slowly running down the meat... I don't eat rawr meat, but I gotta admit... I would really love to just touch it, feel the sticky red liquire between my fingers. I cluster the vile of my own blood, hanging from my neck. Maybe I should try and dye my hair in the next tribute I kill's blood? Could be a pretty good show for the audience...
"Guys!" Lucy calls out, waking the rest of them. Lynx growls like a unsatisfied cat, then he goes up on all four and arches his back, just like a waking lion. I would call him creepy, but with Hester, who looks like someone dropped a bin of blue paint onto her body and me, who used my own blood to color my hair, you learn not to judge people.
Lucy hands out our breakfast and we sit quietly and eat.
"So where are we going today?" Hester asks, breaking the silence.
"I was wondering... I know most of you really don't like water, but I really want to go to the waterzone. After all, I haven't got a kill yet" Lucy blushes, but really she's just saying what we all are thinking out loud.
"We're not going to the waterzone," Lynx said, never should have come up in the first place.
"But Lynx... What if the tributes moves with the zones? If so, that would mean that there's a bunch of triburtes roaming around there safely because you're afraid of a tiny bit of water,"
It's odd to hear her actually insult Lynx. Most of the time she keeps her cool, and honestly, I would be very careful about getting into fights with Lynx, yet still Lucy dares to. Lynx pouts angrily, trying to find a clever comeback.
"We could splidt up?" Hester says, breaking into the conversation. "I believe both me, Helena and Lynx are not very happy about being around water. But you're a born swimmer and Claudia doesn't seem to mind water." As if on que, we all look over at Claudia. Claudia has been... diffferent, to say the least, after she killed Ruby. It's as if the mask of innocence that she hid behind in the start of games had slipped off her, revealing a mind filled with... cruelty... and even, insanity. She sits, with a smirk on her face, creepily stroking one of her spearheads with her fingertips.
"Four of us could go towards the waterzone and when it begins, two of us could break off to one of the zones nearby." Hester continiues. I nod my head and so does Lynx and Claudia. Lucy looks less pleased, which is understandable. Claudia's presence has been quite... creepy to be around lately.
"Fine," Lucy ends up muttering, and Hester sends her a grin as if to tell her: 'That's what happens when you don't stay in your place,' Eventhough we're the career recruits it still feels as if Lucy is below us. Quite a good feeling.
"I can stay back at the cornu―" I begin but is quickly cut off.
"No you're not. I will stay back at the cornucopia, you'lll go with Lynx and Claudia and Lucy will go together." Hester tells me, commandingly. Truth be told, I really don't wanna go on hunt, Staying here is much, much safer. But I guess hester figured that too.
"Fine," I mutter, just like Lucy, well aware that I just got put in my place by another career recruit. It's like a monarcy, in a way. Lynx, as our leader, Claudia as the leader's right hand, Hester as the strongest career recruit, me, the weaker of the career recruits and then Lucy in the button, because of her behavior. I guess that's how it is in this pack. If you're aren't the least bit mad, you don't belong here.
I don't really know how else to describe the situation at hand. Why aren't there any normal careers? For one moment I thought that Claudia was somewhat sane but after what she did to Ruby she's probably the most insane of them all. The closest thing we get to "normal" is Hester, and she looks like a smurf. And now I am gonna spend the day with Claudia, alone, hunting for more innocent tributes. I know I will have to kill these poor kids, I can't let Claudia be respondsible for their deaths. That would be too cruel. Just thinking about spending the day in the company of Claudia makes me shiver slightly. We splidt up with the careers about five minutes ago, and are slowly moving into the waterzone. An entire day in Claudia's company... 'Don't look at it like that, Lucy,' I tell myself. It's what I tell myself when I feel down. I need to focus on the good things about the situation. Make the best of it... If I become angry... I go ballistic. I saw myself do so at the career academy back in 4. I can't let that happen again. Ever.
So instead, I try to enjoy the blue waters around and the refreshing smell of salt water. The trees here are healthy and strong from their watersource, and the air is fresh. Almost like back in 4. It's hard not think of the warm sand on the summer beaches. The palm tree, which I will never get to see again. 'But Lily will see it,' I think to myself and send the water horizon a little sad smile.
"Lucy..." Claudia almost purs my name behind and I spin around. Claudia's just standing there, stroking her spear wh,ile looking directly at me.
"Lucy, Lucy, Lucy, Lucy... Little, sweet, innocent Lucy," The ways she says those words, almost make them sound like those creepy melody which are played in horror movies.
"Claudia?" I ask, trying to keep my voice from stuttering, while clustering my trident closely. From the almost... wild look in her eyes, it's almost like she's blinded to what's going on around her. Like... Like an insane person, throwing a tantrum.
"Lucy... I have realized... You're nice," She says, slowly walking closer to me, while smiling a bright almost phycsotic smile. I let my foot slide backwards in the sand, ready to take a step away from her. I have seen her abilities with a spear. If a fight really does happen, running won't do me any good. Claudia's way too skilled. And the water is too far away.
"Nice people... Don't belong in these games. They don't volunteer, Lucy," She says my name as she was talking about a cockroach or a traitor. "Nice people dies early. Nice people aren't careers... And I want... I need another kill, Lucy," She smiles brighter at me, now showing her full set of white teeth, while taking another step forward. The shivers run down my spine and I feel the adrenaline slowly beginng to pump through my veins. But I know it's not much use. Claudia's a way better fighter than I could ever be.
For the first time in my life, I wish I could go ballistic. Yet somehow, it's as if the fear get's rid of all my anger. I can't even get angry at her. All I have for this fight is myself. And while yes, "Ballistic Lucy" can kill... I am not sure if I, "Lucy Perch" the "nice" career would ever be able to.
Claudia gives me no more time, though. Sending her spear forward in a quick thrust I move to the side, blocking it with my trident. I move the tip of my weapon forward, causing Claudia to dance away from me, before making yet another thrust. Insanity burns in her eyes, in that sickly wide smile, and in the determined glance of her. Determined to kill me, to get rid of the "weak, nice, career". I parade her attack, while slowly taking another step back, hoping to get closer to the water, while keeping my defensive strategy.
"Don't even bother!" She almost squeals at me, like a little child. "I'll kill you, my little Lucy, and nothing you do can change that," I take a deep breath and make a jump backwards. I am only few inches from the water, but Claudia doesn't even seem to notice. All she sees is me. She sends yet another attack, which I gracefully avoid, stepping backwards. I almost was scream in bliss as I feel the cold water around my feet. Now I just need to get her out in it too.
I wonder if I over-estimated her. She seems oddly... She seems less proffessional. As if she weren't herself. She doesn't even notice herself stepping out in the water to attack me once again. Another attack which I easily block. I think.. I think this is what killing does to us. Twists us, turns us into shades of ourself. We forget ourself... and then we fall.
She get's more out in the water and that is when I make my move. Quickly thrusting my trident outwards, I make it seem like I am trying to hit her in the stomach. She moves her spear to block, as I predicted. So, I change course, going straight for her legs. Not to stab, but to push them off the sandfloor of the water. It works. Claudia's feet are swiped off the sandfloor and she falls down in the water, her back first, screaming.
Had you done this to any experinced swimmer, they would have been able to make their escape. Yet, Claudia just swallows a bunch of saltwater, getting it through her mouth and nostrils. And it's while she's lying there, splashing around in the water, with her spear floating helplessly far away from her, that I drive down my trident stabbing her in the heart.
The splashing and the half chocked screaming stops instantly, as the water around her dead body is colored crimson red, like wine. "Don't forget yourself..:" I whisper to Claudia's corpse. Whether it's for myself or for her, I am not really sure.
"I heard a scream!" Lynx voices echoes and I freeze right where I stand. My fellow careers... I didn't think they were close enough to hear... I know instantly that they won't believe me. And even if they did, they would still kill me to be secure. The water is a quick way to escape but it can't hide me. Lynx and Helena may not like water but they know that I have to get up from the water eventually, they could easily just follow me around and wait until I got up...
And with that, I run out of the water, and over the sand covered beaches, trying to escape from I once called allies.
When I hear it, it's already way too late. Footsteps over the damp sandy grounds. I was almost beginning to enjoying this zone, it's fresh air, the sound of the calming waves, and the small but shadowfilled patches of trees on the isles, easy to hide it. I thought this was gonna be another calm day, but the footsteps just proofed me wrong.
She rams into me. She must have been looking backwards or something because she doesn't even notice me before she runs straight into me. She falls backwards and I find myself staring into the eyes of the small blonde girl from 4. Her cheeks are blushing red from her little running streak, and she's breathing rapidly. She looks upon me, her eyes watering up. She doesn't even try to raise the trident in her hands. She's exhausted and I am too strong. I pretty much already won the battle.
"Career!" I hiss at her, and she crumbles together below as I raise my sword. It's almost unworthy to kill someone who lies that helplessly and tired beneath you. But she's a career, she ratted up together with other killers to kill us all. She deserves it.
"She ran in there!" A voice which I think belong to Lynx, the feline-like leader of the career alliance is heard from outside the tree patch. The girl whimpers very faintly. I may be the strongest but even I know that I couldn't beat more than two careers. I have no idea how many they're out there but it's not a risk I am willing to take.
I drag the girl into one of those big darkgreen tropical bushes, it's leaves spreading out as excellent cover. A slight whimper escapes her before I put my hand over her my mouth to keep her silent. In the last second, I reach out for the girl's dropped trident, making sure to clean the place for potential clues. About a second after, Lynx and a girl with bloodred hair enters the clearing. I feel the girl shiver, and it begins to occur to me that I might not just have saved my own life by dragging us into the bush.
The careers may be skilled, but intelligence have never been a peak of theirs. None of them even stops to look and see if the girl hid. Their leader, Lynx, seems more like an actual lynx than a person, seeing him run in this special animalistic way, as if he a predator pursuing pray. The other girl, with the red hair is right behind him, her hair billowing behind her as a waterfall of flame. The blonde shivers once more as we watch them leave the clearing, in search of their former ally.
I keep my hand over her mouth for at least ten straight minutes, waiting for the careers to get futher away. Small tears fall muted from her eyes, down her cheeks onto my hand.
What should I do with her? She must have done something to set her fleeing from her allies. There were a cannon just before, maybe she caused it? I have no idea. Shouldn't I just kill her? After all, she is - well, was a career. She would have killed me, had she could. However from observing the career group in the group training, it didn't take me long to figure that this girl was the most soft of them. The most sane of them, too, I believe. Another career kill would be good for my sponsors, yes, but I doubt killing a girl who's lying whimpering and crying in my arms will bring me any honor. Infact, it's the exact thing pack of careers would do. And I left the careers for a reason.
Finally I take my hand of her mouth. Instinctly, she gasps, bowing backwards as if pushed. She breathes rapidly in and out, while tears keep falling down her face. There we are, sitting inside a bush, all crouched up, only inches away from each other. She's exhausted and sobbing hysterically while I am just sitting there watching her. After a while, she looks upon me, her eyes looking like someone poured crimson blood onto them. She doesn't even seem frigthened, even though I am sitting right beside with a sword in my hands, while she is unarmed. Probably so drained that she doesn't even have the energy to feel fear.
"Just get it over with..." She says, her voice being creepily emotionless. I can understand that though. Whatever happened with the careers, she must have been close to lose the games. She had prepared herself to die. And now, suddenly she got another chance, just to here, face to face with yet another opponent, yet another situation where she could lose these games. She has prepared herself to die, emptied herself. She just wants her excuter to do their job.
"Your name?" I ask her, ignoring what said completely. She looks at me, her face painted with brief disbelieve, before the emotionless expression is back.
"Lu-u-u-u-cy," she stammers.
"I won't harm you... Lucy," I tell her, before adding, "I am not a career like you." She doesn't even react. She doesn't appear thankful that I spared her life, nor reacts to my insult. She just sits there, staring at me, looking like someone who could faint any second. With one hand, I gently lead her shoulder downwards, so that she can lie down. What am I gonna do with her? I can't kill a girl who's lying all curled up and paralyzed, but I can't leave her in a bush all alone, either. Ugh. I guess I'll have to figure that out tomorrow.
So far, the games has been pretty quiet for me and Janu. Ever since the bloodbath, it's as if things have quieted down. The sounds of singing cannons echoes through the air sometimes but that's about it, really. Don't get me wrong, I really do like to be in this position of peace. Hiding away, waiting for our fellow tribute to slowly die out, one after another. But it has begun to worry me though... The gamemakers doesn't like it when there's tributes that see no action in their games. I will have to prepare myself...
Atleast the zone is good. The clear air, the young healthy trees, and the sunlight gently strooking the leave covered sky, so that only small patches of light falls to the floor, as if someone had crytalized it and turned it into a patern. Janu and me decided to take the chance and splidt up to find some food. None of us are starving, but the food is running low, and this zone is filled with foodsources. None of us are experts in edible plants and such, no, but Janu's from 11 and we both spend a fair share of time at the "edible plants zone". We should be alri―
The scream pierces through the air, high pitched, light and panicked. And I know who it belongs to, too. I get up and sprint toward the source of the sound, while reaching for one of my knives. How far could Janu have wondered? Would I be able to reach her? What if it's already too late? How quickly can someone... What if she's alrea―
I break through a clearing of bushes and see Janu pressed up against a tree, a male tribute -from 8, I believe- with his machete toward her throat. He hasn't cut down yet, though, there's no trains of blood on Janu's lightly tanned skin, but it will in seconds.
"HEY!" I yell, more in panic than in anything, really, while the throwing the knife. It wasn't a quite good shot, he's way to close for a good throw. The knife flies past the male from 8, and gets stuck into the trunk of the tree, a few inches above both of their heads. The singing sound of the blade shivering from the force of being thrown plays in the air for about tenth-a-second. And then things goes really fast.
The guy from 8 pulls away from Janu, who's body drops to the forest floor, like a sack of dead meat. Her eyes are closed, her body almost seems lifeless. The machete must have been pressed so tightly against her windpipe that she fainted. And now, that leaves me with the guy from 8, his machete, and my throwing knives which are hopelessly stuffed away in my pocket.
He charges and I do my best to reach for knife. I grap one as he swings out with the machete, which I only barely avoid. He swings again and I dance out of the way, unweilding my second knife. They aren't meant for close combat but it's that those or bare hands. And bare hands don't last long against a blade.
I already know this battle is lost. Two knives against a machete are bound to fail at one point or another. Maybe I can last long enough for Janu to wake up and escape? If so, she at least wouldn't die with me. I jump to the side against just barely avoiding the blade which lashes out yet again, and this time, I am less fortunate.
The blade cuts deeply into the upper side of my right hand, and I cry out in reflex and pain. I drop one of my knives, holding my hand backwards. I am done, and District 8 knows that too. He lifts the machete for one last finishing stab.
"Thonk!" This odd dull sounding noise fills the air, like hitting a punching bag, and 8's expression changes from a vicious, victorious glance to a surprised, shocked one, before shifting his feet, as if he lost balance.
"NO ONE..." A high pitched female voice yells, in an angry aggressive tone before the dull sound is there again.
Finally, 8 falls to the ground, the back of his head covered in red blood. Behind him, Janu is standing wielding a stick, twice as thick as her upper arm, and almost as tall as her. Her small body can barely carry it, yet the wild expression on her face and the fact that she just knocked out 8 tells me otherwise. The side of the stick is covered in blood as well, from where she rammed it into the back of his head.
"I thought you had fainted!" I almost yell at her, my voice filled with both shock and disbelief. Janu throws the stick away and point to 8's body with her foot.
"He thought the same thing," She says, dryly, and I am not really sure whether to laugh or cry in relief. Janu is the sharpest knife... or rather, stick, in the forest but she has her moments where her simple mind does her good justice. It doesn't take a genius to fake fainting, still, even geniuses would have a hard time to make a plan like that under pressure.
"The oldest trick in the book," she says, while in a very childish manor, sticking her tounge out at 8. Then, picking up the stick again, she rams into one last time into his head, giving him a quick painless death. BOOM!
A very grim, dark astmosphere lingers around as me, Hester and Helena sit down to eat. None of us speak, having no idea what to say. All we know is that Claudia somehow ended up in the water with a deep gaping hole in her chest. I might not be the sharpest person alive, but it's easy to figure that something happened between her and Lucy. Why else would Lucy have fleed?
It's not that I am sad that we lost Claudia or Lucy. Claudia was strong but probably the most messed up of us and that's a lot when it comes from me. A single kill made her go all physco. Can't keep people like her in the pack. I don't miss Lucy either. She was weak... soft. No space for her, either. It's the fact that we just got reduced by two, that worries me. We're only three careers left in these games, and only three days has passed. It's not exactly settling. And I can feel the worried meanor of Helena's and Hester's too. Our odds just decreased dramatically and the whole pack's mood too. Heck, even the entire uncooked turkey that I found inside the food pile, couldn't cheer me up.
"We still need to see the sky," Hester tells us, reasurringly. She's somewhat right. Two other cannons sounded today. If we're lucky, it's some anti-careers or maybe a strong loner. It can exactly bring back to dead people but it can at least bring us just a tad closer to victory.
"I hope it's Lucy up there, " Hester mutters bitterly. Of course we told her the entire thing and Hester seemed to be the closest thing that Claudia got to a friend. I must agree with her on that part. My traitor of a district partner must die. But I am not sure if I want her to be up on the sky. Because hopefully, when her face does one day appear on that sky, I will be the one to kill her. She shamed our District, and I plan to restore that honor.
"I hope it's Michael," Helena mutters. I dissagree again. Michael was the only tribute to get higher odds than me, so he must die too. I am the alpha in these games, and no one else.
As if on cue, the sky lights up and we sit in deep anticipation. First, the face of Claudia appears, of course. No surprise there. Then, the guy from 8's face appears. This is alright, he was one of the older tributes, somewhat of a threat. And then, one of the girls from the anti-careers. Not exactly a threat, but another anti career gone is always good. Then, the sky fades, and we know Lucy's still alive. A silence spreads between us and I take a breath before spreaking.
"Don't give me those looks." I tell them, "Those 'what-are-we-gonna-do-now?' glances that doesn't help a thing. Do you think previous careers has given up because they were outnumbered? Do you think they sat down and moaned?" I make sure to balance the tone of my voice, making it both harsh but also confident. As the leader, it's my job to bring back their spirit.
"Claudia was a nutcase. She made one single kill and went crazy. We don't need people like that. Lucy was weak. I know I saw her spare the life of the fanged one from 7. We don't need soft people like her either. You might think that we're out numbered, but you have to look at one thing. Quality over quantity. The anti-careers has one person more than us, but really what does that mean? Do you think the weak girl from 6 or that guy from 9 who scored a 4 would matter in a battle? No. The only threats they have are the fanged one and the guy from 13. That's two threats. We're three threats, they're two threats. Who do you really think would have the upper hand in battle?" I watch in satisfaction as their faces turns from hopelessness into the vicious smirks I know so well.
""F*** Claudia and Lucy, both of them were utterly useless. You might not have been from career district, but you are careers. There's a lot of victims out there, all awaiting their deaths. Let's show them what happens when you anger the predator."
District and Gender
|Ella Massey||District 1 Female||14-1||15-1|
|Michael Kaizer||District 2 Male||8-1||9-1|
|Lucy Perch||District 4 Female||13-1||16-1|
|Lynx Striker||District 4 Male||12-1||11-1|
|Fiona Valoran||District 5 Female||13-1||14-1|
|Yul Zhu||District 5 Male||21-1||22-1|
|Ophelia Carlile||District 6 Female||35-1||37-1|
|Kodai Hitogoroshi||District 7 Male||14-1||16-1|
District 8 Female
|Fabian Matthis||District 9 Male||33-1||34-1|
|Helena Krisp||District 10 Female||17-1||15-1|
|Janu Wong||District 11 Female||39-1||46-1|
|Wolf Fang||District 12 Male||22-1||23-1|
|Dyna Ploson||District 13 Male||16-1||17-1|
|Hester Riva||Capitol Female||13-1||11-1|
|Quintus Hase||Capitol Male||39-1||41-1|
Lynx Striker (D4M), Helena Krisp (D10F), Hester Riva (CF)
Ophelia Carlile (D6F), Kodai Hitogoroshi (D7M), Fabian Matthis (D9M), Dyna Ploson (D13M)
District 5 and 11 Alliance:
Yul Zhu (D5M), Janu Wong (D11F)
Left The Careers Alliance:
Michael Kaizer (D2M), Lucy Perch (D4F)
Ella Massey (D1F), Fiona Valoran (D5F), Araneae Web (D8F), Wolf Fang (D12M), Quintus Hase (CM)
Day 4 - "I don't want you to live with that guilt." - Quintus Hase
The night has been going for quite a while now. The moon has been up for long and I have been lying here impaciently for hours. But I believe it's now time. After seeing Fabian's behavior yesterday, I was convienced. We can't have him in this alliance when he runs off in the battle. We must kill him... And after what he did, causing Bailey to die... he deserves it too.
I can't help but wonder if she would have died, had he not fled. Bailey, I mean. If Fabian had helped us instead of crawling off, would Bailey still be alive and breathing? I am not really sure. But what I am sure of is that the thought of it, makes me want to personally send my sword through Fabian's back.
Where does this feeling come from? This sudden urge to kill? I have never been... violent, before. I don't think I have ever felt such strong hatred for someone. But what Fabian did was unacceptable, and I won't remain quiet in a situation like that.
Sneaking up quietly, I put my hand on Ophelia's shoulder waking her up. She's lying, snuggled up to Kodai, him having one arm lying across her waist. Not really as a way of showing affection, more like a way of protecting Ophelia. I am not sure if Kodai can feel actual affection, but you don't have to be a genius to see that he feels protective toward her. A little smile is paint onto my face; it's difficult not to feel a bit soft-hearted toward the odd couple. It's hard to imagine any stranger combination of people, but it's clear as a bell that their relations to each other are sincere.
"Ophelia? Kodai?" I whisper, Ophelia rubbing her eyes and nudging Kodai awake. He groans, but Ophelia quickly lays a finger on his lips signalizing him to be quiet. "Don't say anything, but come with me, a bit away from camp." I tell them, them both nodding. Silently, the three of us gets up, moving away from Fabian's sleeping body, so that we can talk.
"We need to kill him," I point at Fabian,
"Do we h-have to?" Ophelia asks. Kodai sits quietly with a expression of deep thought on his face, for the first time not directly agreeing with Ophelia. Who knows what's going on in his mind.
"Look... I don't wanna kill another ally, but this case is different. Fabian betrayed us and told us directly that he would do it again, if it meant his own survival. Those people are no good for the alliance." I tell Ophelia, trying my best to sound firm. I can see where she's coming from, I respect her kindheartedness but we can't spare a traitor.
"But... I don't want anymore to die... Especially not one from our alliance..." Ophelia stammers, looking down at the stone floor as if it held the answers to all the riddles of the universe.
"I don't want anymore to die either, but Fabian is dangerous," I tell her back.
"... But..." She stops, not able to say anymore. I look up at Kodai, who seems to be just about ready to take Ophelia's side. I take a deep breath.
"He's dangerous for her. Fabian. He would kill Ophelia, he would kill any of us, had it meant his own survival. Ophelia doesn't want other people to die, but Fabian would betray Ophelia's trust. And if he does kill Ophelia, you could never revert it." I hear my own voice change as I speak the last line, Bailey's face popping into my mind like a constant reminder. A constant message reminding me that I couldn't safe her. Dealing with what happened to Bailey is hard enough... I don't wanna see Kodai deal with the same, if Ophelia died.
The words have immidiate effect too. Kodai's thoughtful expression is replaced, not by a vicious one as I had expected but by a mask of stone, cold and serious, nothing like his usual childish demeanor. His eyes filled with darkness he opens his mouth revealing the fangs, as he realizes how true my words is. Without a word, he nods and sends me a glare which message can't be missunderstood. 'I will be killing him'. Ophelia whimpers slightly as Kodai gets up grabbing my sword, apparently not wasting anymore time. He leaves us, walking toward the camp and me and Ophelia just sits there, before following him.
As we get back we see Kodai standing in the middle of the camp, staring at the ground with the sword clustered in his hand, Fabian nowhere to be found. Walking over to Kodai, who's breathing heavily with anger, I read the hastily written sentence in the dirt.
'You're not the only one who can stay awake'
Something is shakening. I am not really sure why, but somehow, my entire world has been turned into a bunch of bumpy, fast-moving pictures and two big, strong hands are placed on my shoulder. It takes me a bit of time to realize that I am actually being shakened awake.
"I am awake!" I yell, wanting nothing more than the vivid movements to stop. I feel a headache approaching steadily, I don't need someone else to rub it in.
I am put down and I lie down a bit, trying to focus. The sky is cut off from view by a bunch of scorched branches strentching across it as if trying to reach one another, hindering the light reaching the surface of the earth. I am inside a bush. Not the heathly bush that I fell asleep inside, though. A bush almost naked from leaves, almost dead. The mist flies around it, like a heavy cloak, shrouding distant secrets from our gaze. I am in the Air Zone... Or rather... We are in the air zone.
Because frowning before me is the male from District 2, Michael Kaizer, looking down upon me like I was some kind of pesky insect that really deserved to die. Even when crouching, to not collide with the loft of the bush, he still looks tall, still something about tells me that he won't hurt me. Atleast not now.
"Good. Are you fine?" He asks, no trace of any emotion in his voice.
It's hard to know what to answer. Am I fine? I remember what happened yesterday. Claudia tried to kill me, I killed her... The careers would have found me and killed me, had I not run into Michael who dragged me inside a bush. The feeling of feeling... emotionally exchausted still lingers within me but it's not that I feel... not fine. Just a bit tired, of the games, of life, of everything really. But I am alright... Right?
"I believe so," I tell him, my voice sounding more like the cry of a crow than anything.
"Good. Then listen to me and listen closely because I won't be repeating this twice. What I did the other day... I did not do it because of mercy, you hear me? I did it because self respect. I have too much self respect to kill crying weaklings-of-careers who comes crawling to me at my feet. I am not merciful, I am not your friend nor your ally. If I see you in these games ever again, I'll spear my sword through your forehead, simple as that. I didn't safe you for your sake. Only for my own. Got it?"
I look at him, taking in his words, as he glares at me. Then, as I slowly process his long speech, I nod. As I nod, a bit of the glare dissappears from his eyes, and it turns into something that is more like a stare. As if we're saying goodbye to each other. This "alliance" was a one-day-only thing and it's now over. We're complete strangers again and we both know. Then he nods as well, get's up, takes his supplies and leaves the bush, dissappearing into the mist, leaving me completely alone.
I get up as well. I don't intend on following him, that would be foolish. I don't doubt that he meant it when he said he would put a sword through my forehead if we met again. I should just be thankful he actually helped me. That I survived that last day.
Getting my stuff I begin to head over toward the water zone. If I remember correctly, it should be east from here. Not really sure though, the place turns you around quite easily. Maybe I should just stay in this zone. But that would mean an advantages to a potential pursuer and I am much more safe from career attacks in the waterzone.
But what does it really matter? The thought hits my like a jolt of lightning. You're all alone, without allies to protect you, without careers to kill for you. Why don't you just sit down and die?
It's like a moralic battle within myself. Like a side of me who believes I am never good enough. Back in 4, I didn't ever feel this way. It was much easier to just be energetic, people liked a happy person. In the games, people despise happy people. They think they're useless. And who knows, maybe we really are useless? I mean, look at me, I couldn't even kill unless my own life were threatened or if I went ballistic. I really didn't belong in these games. I am still happy I volunteered but.... what does it really matter anymore? I saved my sister, but there's no way I can make it home. I saved my sister, I already completed my purpose. Does any more figthing from my side really help me?
I think back at the events of yesterday. I had to be saved by someone to survive. I always needed that in these games, didn't I? Always needed the careers to look after me, and when they weren't there, I needed another tributes to safe me...
But then again... I did kill a career... I was convienced Claudia was stronger than me but it turned out she was much weaker. And there's only three careers left, and none of which can swim. I may be without alliance, but I killed a career... Maybe... Maybe I could make it on my own?
I visualize my sister's kind smile before me. She would have fought to the bitter end. Seen it through had she lived or had she die. "And I'll do the same..." I whisper as I transit from the mist to the water.
"So, where are we going?" Helena asks, while eating her soup and bread. Being a bit fewer careers has it's advantages, as saving food is no longer a consern. The cornucopia could feed three careers for weeks, maybe even months. With two careers gone, one could assume that the tension was quite... well downed, but it actually isn't. In the start, I was pretty much ready to just sit down, waiting for someone to come kill us all. Usually, a non-career tribute wins when the career pack is quick diminished.
But as Lynx spoke I realized he had a point. We are the strongest. And I guess... I guess Lynx is our true leader after all. I will openly admit that I doubted him, after all, he eats rawr meat and he really seemed more powerhungry than leader like, in the beginning. I am pretty sure he was powerhungry at first but have grown with the assignement. We might only be three but we can still control these games.
Still he worries me. After all, there will be a point in these games where will all have to break away. From Michael and Lynx are gonna be my two biggest competetors at that point, and from re-watching the previous Hunger Games, I learned that the Leader of the Careers tend to be the one who survives that break and later on wins the games. I plan on breaking that cycle, yes, but it's not gonna be easy. And slitting his throat in his sleep would be ridicolous as we are so few careers left. It would be the same as lighting a gigant fire at the cornucopia, asking people such as Michael or The Anti's to go kill the last two career recruits. Completely idiocy.
"Well... We have been to water and briefly in fire... Air is really the only zone left," Helena mentions, and we turn to look at Lynx. It's his call.
"Air is fine for me. As long as we don't set our feet in the water zone anymore, everything is fine with me." He mentions, digging his teeth into a rawr chicken leg. I guess we must be running out of rawr meat.
Retrieving our weapons, Lynx chooses a long, double handed blade, perfect for close combat... and beheadings. Helena goes for a light, slender kartana, thin as a needle, obviously made for speed. And I myself get my claws, before we head over to abyss shrouded in fog, known as The Air Zone.
Author's Note: This scene is slightly... gore-y? If you have a problem with that, you might just have to go look at the dearth chart, and skip this POV. I personally don't think it's that bad, I mean, it's text, not a movie but just to be completely sure so I don't get a bunch of complaints in the comments, I giving you this warning.
We must have walked for an hour. At least. All the muscels in my body have been tighting up, ready for anything... anyone to appear. The mist floats ominously around here, shrouding most of the place in mystery. I am not afraid, after all only a fool would ambush the career pack when they were hunting. No risk of that happening. Yet, I still can't help but wonder if the mist is hiding a tribute just from view, just letting the escape with their lives, which is a horrible feeling, to know that some prey may escape your claws, simply because of the hunting area. Gritting my fangs again one another, I breathe pause, as if hoping to hear the faint sound of rapid breath, but of course, I hear nothing.
Walking a bit more, I let my thoughts wonder. I need another kill. Now. All of the careers do. I hope my speech made some impact, but action does indeed speak louder than words. Gaining our role back as the predators of these games would easiest by another kill. Show them that us three can still dominate. I need a kill, we need a kill these games needs a kill from the careers. Putting the prey in it's place.
As if by more intution than anything I strech out my hand, signalizing for Hester and Helena to stop, which they do abrubtly. Closing my eyes, I listen once more again. At first, only the loud silence fills the air, as if mocking my sense. But I know that there's something there. It's in my instincts.
And then I hear it. A breath taking inhaled and then realized. Gasping. It's a bit hard to locate the sound, but I believe it's coming from my right. They must be close, only barely covered by mist, or else I wouldn't have been able to hear them. They must be so close that running will make too noise. I know that they know that we are here, so the surprise is ruined... unless...
I shake my head in vivid emotion, and make a hand emotion, signalizing Hester and Helena to move forward. From their looks, they haven't heard the prey's breath, which makes them the perfect actors as they're not even aware of the stage. I myself take a couple of steps forward, trying my best to make it seem as if I really didn't hear the victim.
And then I leap after the sound source. Helena's and Hester's gasp in unison chimes in with the scream of the prey as I pounce onto it's back, making us both collide and fall, me pinning them to the ground. It must have been just about to run, thinking it could escape. Tough luck. Seeing the knife clustered in one of the tribute's hands, I quickly place one of my feet on the wrist, forcing the hand to let go the weapon. I kick the knife and slides over the platform, out into the abyss and with the prey securily pinned to the ground, I give myself time to examine it.
It's a female tribute, with a slender, tall body. Letting my hands slide into their hair short, light brown hair, I forcefully turn her face to side, so that she looks sidewards. My eyes meets her icy light blue eyes and I feel a vicious smirk form on my lips as I realize who this is. It's Fiona Valoran, of District 5, and one of the tribute with better odds. Perfect to kill to set an example.
"Last words?" I ask, almost purring. She looks upon me with a superior, hateful glance before spitting right onto my face. I feel the warm liquire slowly run down my cheeks as realize what she just did... 'Make their death memorable' I remember my mentor telling me, along with some words about just how worthless I am. Well... I'll show him that I much more than worthless. I will show Fiona why you do not spit in my face. I'll show my two small career recruits why I am the leader and I will show the entirity of Panem why I am not to be messed with.
Putting my smirk back on, I tighten my muscels just for safety. I then lower my head before opening my mouth, letting my fangs slide under the thin skin just around the top of the right shoulder, biting her. Tightening my jaws around the flesh of her upper shoulder, I pull my head upwards. The sound cleaved flesh fills the air as I rip her skin off her shoulder and the upper part of her chest, leaving a crimson mess with some white spots where the bone is revealed. Her scream pierces through the air, and she wriggles beneath my weight but it's way too late for her to do anything about it. Behind me, Hester is staring at me, a surprised, almost a disgusted expression painted on her face. Helena is absently playing with her hair while staring intensely at the blood flowing from Fiona's chest.
"When you spit at your superiors," I tell her, pulling my head a bit more upwards, ripping a bit more chest skin off, and even a bit of the breast to which I am rewarded with another scream of pain from her. "You'll have to suffer the consequences," Rolling my head side ways, I hear a final ripping noise, as the skin on the right part her shoulder and upper chest is ripped completely off. Blood sprouts up like a fountain from her body, as I spit out the gigant rug of skin, which slides a bit across the platform. I may eat rawr meat but I am not cannibal. She screams shortly, one last time before the wriggeling completely stops. BOOM!
I get up from the bloody mess which once beared the name "Fiona". In the history games, there has been a few worser torture-deaths like ripping the legs of someone, but atleast someone's gotta give me point for creativity. I don't ever think the Capitol has seen. Looking at the sky, I open my mouth, letting my blood covered fangs be visibel to the entire Panem.
"You see that?" I ask the audience, pointing at Fiona's body. "That's what happens when you call me worthless. That's what happens when you anger the predator."
The tall dark trees creates an ominous setting. They raise upon you, downstaring you slowly, as if they were threatning to swallow you up. Every single step me and Kodai takes echoes out in the area, creating this ominous feeling that something is watching.
Let me explain. After what happened with Fabian, we decided to splidt up and go look for him. All three of us were gonna splidt first but Kodai wouldn't let me go alone. After a bit of discussing back and forth, Dyna splidt up from up and now, me and Kodai are walking here alone.
I feel goosebumps move down my spine as I think about Dyna, walking out in the forest all alone. Or myself, walking alone for that matter. Which make me feel even more thankful that Kodai is here. Kodai... It's hard to figure him out. He seemed so... scary, when I first met him. I was almost certain he was gonna kill one of us anti's in our sleep and I was lying there, hoping it weren't gonna be me. Because really, with those fangs and his strong body only Dyna would have had a chance against him. If he had attacked me, what would I have been able to do to safe myself? Nothing, that's what.
And yet, even with him being so creepy, he's still... Well, he's friendly toward Dyna and towards me he's almost... gentle. I noticed it on the morning of the second day, when he woke me up by rubbing his face toward my cheek, like a cat would nuzzle it's head against it's owners hand. After that... I guess I decided to try and treat him like less of a mental person and more as an ally. To this day, I still have no idea what goes on in his mind but somehow, he has decided that I am under his protection. Maybe he decided this because of me simply treating him like an actual human being instead of a scary physco? I am not really sure... But what I do know is... I can't help but like him, for protecting me... Not like "Oh I like this person as a friend", but actually like like him. Does that make me crazy? To like a person who mostlikely has some type of mental disorder? Maybe. But I don't really care, Kodai shows me more kindness than most, and that's good enough to me.
"Something is near," Kodai's light voice rips me out of my strain of thoughts. It's has lost it's childishness and has more of a cautious tone. Somehow I don't doubt that he's right. Up in front of us a small clearing, surrounded by trees and bushes.
"Ophelia stays here." Kodai points to the area behind one of the bushes. "I call when it's safe." I know for fact that argueing with Kodai isn't gonna help. Even if I were to counter all his reasons, he would end up rambelling about pineapples and refuse to have it any other way than his. If he has decided something, it's not to be altered with. Which is why I without any protest creep behind the bush he points at, before watching Kodai walk out into the clearing.
Nothing happens. Kodai looks left and right, as I calm myself down a bit. We're safe. Kodai walks up to check on some bushes and―
As if out of nothing, a body of leaps through the air, pinning Kodai. A scream in surprise escapes his lips, as the whip is knocked out of his hands, and before I can even react, a rope is put around his neck, and he's dragged to his knees. In shock, I stand up from the bush,
"Stop!" I yell desperately. The body turns around, Kodai hanging from the rope in his hands, struggeling desperately to be freed from the rope, that slowly chokes him. Fabian sends me a surprised look.
"Ophelia..." He says, an innocent look covering his face as Kodai wriggles become less and less strengthed. Fabian has placed his hands perfectly, so that Kodai can't use his fangs in a bite. Kodai's defenseless.
"Let him go!" I shriek, clustering my brass knuckles.
"Ophelia..." Fabian voice is weak, pleading but also smooth. "Ophelia, please. I never wanted to... to betray you guys, I just got so scared in the battle with Fiona," His voice turns from silky to innocent sounding. "And then, I overheard Dyna, wanting to kill me while I slept, that you wanted to betray me! What should I have done? What would you have done in my situation?" He looks at me pleadingly, with a voice matching his puppy eyes.
"Let Kodai go," I whisper, hoping my fear and doubt isn't shown into my voice. What if he really is right? What if it really is right what he says? If really it was us who betrayed him? A chocked sound coming from Kodai's throat brings me back to reality.
"He'll kill me if I do, Ophelia, you know that. And are you want me to release him? I remember when we first met him in the training hall. He mauled a training doll until it was nothing but threads. You might be friends but... You know as well as I that this physcopath doesn't know love, Ophelia. You know he doesn't feel it. Do you really think he would care about your friendship if you ended up in the final two?" Fabian asks me, his voice being soft as silk. "I'll make you a deal. Let me drag Kodai away. Then, turn around on your feet and run away yourself. Leave me and Kodai. I promise I won't follow you. I promise I won't hurt you." Kodai wriggles beneath the rope, his moves getting more and more desperate as the life is slowly chocked out of him.
Would Kodai really not care? Fabian is right about the love thing, I really don't think Kodai can feel it... What if we did end up in the final two...?
"F-F-Fine," I whisper, stuttering the words out. It must have been the hardest word to say in my entire life.
"You're doing the right thing, Ophelia," Fabian mutters softly, as I turn around to run.
I only have one chance. With the speed of a cobra bite, I spin around, sending my brassknuckle out my hand, flying right toward Fabian's tratirous face. I was never the good thrower but I hope this situation is like when a father throws his kid out in a pool to teach them how to swim, that the hecticalness of the situation will make my attack hit it's spot. It has to, or else Kodai's dead meat.
"Klonk!" A dull sound rungs out within the clearing as my brass knuckle collide with Fabian's shoulder. I had aimed for his head, still a feeling of incredible relief spreads through me, seeing that I hit my target.Fabian falls to the ground and Kodai reacts immediatly, using this oppertunety to pin Fabian to the forest ground. Only a quick "No!" reaches to sound before Kodai closes his jaws around Fabian's throat, puncturing his airways. BOOM!
I run across the clearing, to Kodai who's still pinning Fabian's body to the ground and almost slam my arms around his back. Blood from his fangs run down onto my hands but I don't care. "I am sorry," I whimper, burrying my face into his back. Kodai looks up at me, before putting his hand around my chest, gently positioning me so that I sit next to him, instead of clinging to his back. Forcing me to look into his creepy multicolored he tells two simple word:
And then I feel his warm arms around me, embracing my small body, and I let my tears run freely.
The sun burns relentlessly. So it has been doing all day long. We knew that with the changing zones we would one have to face it, still The Fire Zone seems like a nightmare in itself. How many tribute could want to run here freely on day 1 is almost unbelieveable.
Luckily for me and Yul, we have found quite a good cover. Two wall like rocks tower upwards to the right and the left, leaving a gap in between filled with refreshing shade. We stayed low today, mostly because of all that happened last day. With me and Yul and that tribute from 8.
I think Yul said his name was Polyvester or Polymester or whatever. I remember having commented on the name, and Yul had chuckeling told me that it was some kind of fabric. When I asked him what was so funny he had pointed out the fact that I just manage to trick a person whom's name I didn't even know the meaning of. Apparently that's funny. It wasn't really anything special what I did though.... any idiot could fake fainting, it's not even that hard, you just have to lie down, and close your eyes. Some people prefer to let their tounge hang out of their mouth when they do it but I think that makes it look a bit fake, I mean, I have never seen anyone who's fainted actually have their tounge hanging out of their mouth... Now that I think about it, I have never seen anyone who's fainted. So maybe I am bit ignorant. I don't really kn―
All thoughts of fainting and hanging tounges and being ignorant are pushes away from mind as I feel a warm hand over my mouth, getting dragged futher into the shade. I look up, the hand belongs to Yul, of course. With the hand that's not holding my mouth he puts his finger to his mouth, signalizing me to be quiet. Oh wait, that's why he put the hand over my mouth.
With a shaky hand, Yul streches his arm, pointing out from the shade we're sitting within. A tall, big figure is seen in the distance... or maybe not in the distance, because that distance is quite close... Only about 20 meters. It's that tall guy from 2 who got the highest training score... For a moment we just sit there. He's slowly turning around, like a water-spreader back in the gardens of District 11. It won't be long before he can see us and running means noise which means attention...
"Listen to me," Yul whispers, very very quietly. "When he's almost about to be turned, I want you to stand up. Stand up, and run in the oppersit direction and don't look back. Don't worry about me. I'll be alright." He tells me, his voice extremely calm compared to the situation we're in.
"But won't he see me?" I ask Yul.
"I won't let him hurt you. You just run Janu, run far away. Run to another zone.... I'll see you there." He tells me, sending me a small smile, that somehow doesn't reach his eyes.
"You promise?" I ask quietly. The career has almost turned...
"I p-promise... Don't worry about me, Janu... I'll be alright." Yul whispers, and before I reach asking about the stutter he pushes me forward. "RUN!" He yells, as Michael is completely turned. I see the career dragging out his sword, and Yul getting out two of his three knives. A part of me just want to stay, stay by Yul's side.
"RUN JANU, NOW!" He yells at me and I turn and take some step cautiously. He promise he would be alright... He promised... I tell myself forcing my legs to move across the rocky grounds, faster than I have ever moved before.
At the border between the Earth Zone and the Fire Zone, a "BOOM!" rungs throughout the arena. Who would that be.... The Career? Yul? The career might be strong but... Yul promised he would alright... He promised he would meet me, right here. So I climb a tree close to the border for clear view and sit to wait.
The cold winds of the air zones bites around me, and for the first time in these games, I find myself being happy about the zone switch. After spying the large career from 2 wandering around in the fire zone, his sword covered in crimson blood, still fresh and glistening, I decided it would be better to get moving to a zone with more cover.
So naturally I choose the air zone, it being shrouded in deep fog. However now, I am not really so sure if I choose the right thing. The passage way across the pillars are small, the cold is biting, the fog almost feels like wearing a pair of blurred out glasses. However I will stick it out, because after all, if my calculations are correct, I should wake up to a blooming forest. like the ones I am used back home.
Back home... It's odd how these games can make me miss my home, eventhough it wasn't much. But there were something in those woods. The life around you made you feel... consealed. Like no one would be able to find you in the massive bunch of trees. You were alone but you weren't... lonely. Some kind of life would always be near you, no matter where you went. It made it much easier to cope with the loneliness. It made it... easy, to be a loner. But now, with the cold pillars and ever-so-heavy fog... I am afraid I feel more lonely than ever...
A shadow. In the edges of the blurry fog, a mixture of what I can and cannot see, there's a shadow. The form of a standing human, their bag turned toward me. They haven't seen me, it appears... And they're within range of my chained sickle. I should attack... but I don't. Can't bring myself to it. Somehow I don't wanna kill the only living thing I have seen since I killed my own district partner, Riven. I don't want to kill them, even if my mentor or my district or the Capitol wants me to. I should just sneak away...
They turn. He turns. His jaw drops as his sees me and I realize that I standing next to the Capitol Male. We just stand there, both completely frozen. And then, as if my body moves on it's own, I see my chained sickle flying into his stomach, acting solely on survival instinct, to eliminate the sudden threat. I watch, as blood is splattered onto the arena wear, and he falls over onto the platform, my sickle still stuck in his stomach. Gasping, he's not completely dead, but he will be soon. I turn around, ready to drag out my sickle and just run.
"Wait... Don't go..." I spin around again, hearing the dying boy's weak voice calling me. Causiously I move over to him, though keeping a certain distance, not wanting to be an easy target for some kind of last revenge.
"Don't worry... Even if I was a-armed, I wouldn't kill you," He stammers, each word sounding like a struggle on it's own to pronnounce. But it's the meaning of the words that surprises me.
"Why?" I ask, bending my eyebrows in a questioning expression.
"What would be the point of it...?" He mutters weakly, responding to my question with another.
"I don't know... some kind of avenging of yourself?" I stop, about five meters from him, not wanting to go any futher.
"And what would that help me? You killed me because you thought I was a threat. I don't... blame you. There's no point of having another death happen, just to "avenge" myself. It's not gonna highen my odds of survival." He looks down at the gaping wound in his stomach, the sickle still stuck in it. The calmness in his face is almost frigtening. "Please... Talk to me... I don't want to die alone, bleeding out..." He groans, wriggeling in pain.
I consider this... A certain part of me just wants to run. I don't trust this tribute, they might hurt me... And... I don't want anyone to talk to me. Back home, if someone wanted to talk to me, it would just mean more namecalling, and accusations about my parent's death. But I can't leave him, can I? I sentenced an unarmed guy to death, who wasn't gonna hurt me... Can I really just leave him to die on his own, when he asked me not to...?
"Okay." I tell him, sitting down, but still keeping my distance.
"You're Wolf, right? Wolf the tribute from District 12." I nod in responds. "My name is Quintus, from the Capitol." He takes a deep, pained, breath before continiuing to speak. "I suppose you would already be aware of that.... How is it, in District 12?" He then asks.
"What do you mean?" I ask back, confused by this question.
"Like... We always heard that it was this district full of barbarians. I didn't really believe that myself, I wanted to find some kind of book about the district so that I could learn more, but there weren't much written about your district... I wanted to go there, when I was done school. Be a doctor down there, helping people." His explanation caught me off guard. I will admit, I don't know much about the Capitol but... I thought the people there only wanted to dress up, dye their hair and watch children die for entertainment... Not all of them, apparently. A sudden, nausious feeling of guilt spreads through me.
"I... Well... We don't have much food. Many people live in poverty. The peacekeepers are..." I trail off, not wanting to get into that subject more than needed. "... Strict. Many people starve..."
"I see..." He gasps for air. "I don't have long... Wolf, listen to me. Don't blame yourself for this. Don't blame yourself for what happened to me. I don't want you to live with that guilt. I hope you win so that the citizens of your district will get something to eat for a year. I have a first aid kit lying around... Take it with you... And thank you, Wolf... For not letting me die alone." He lets out one last gasp, as something changes in his eyes, as if they become more distant.... He's dead. BOOM!
I crawl forward, dragging out my sickle from his dead body. Before leaving the corpse, I put two fingers on his eyelits, closing them.
The night draws in slowly, reflecting the pase of this day. I guess the fact that there were one extra death today did mean something, however, I haven't seen a single tribute in my zone since day 2... Maybe I am alone? I am not really sure. Still, I am thankful for being left alone, knowing that I have just survived another day. And now, we're less than half of the tribute amount we started with... that's a little odd to think about.
I am not sure what I think of the games. Some victors of the careers talk about how this was the "best time of their life" and that they would do everything to get in the arena again. Most of them, however don't say much and you don't have to be a genius to figure out why. Because they thought the arena was horrifying and life scarring, however, they don't wish to give the Capitol a bad answer, when they ask: "How did you feel during the games?".
I volunteered mostly because of my cousin... I wanted to make sure she didn't went into these games. She's barely 13, I couldn't let her into the games. However.... I also felt this... urge. An urge I had been feeling ever since I killed my traitorous mother and her stupid little boyfriend, Jason. Killing feels good somehow. Almost feels like you're playing with destiny, as if you can control the row of nature, play with the balance of the universe. To feel feared... To me, that's one of the best feelings I have ever felt. When I saw the despair in my mother eyes as she realized that I figured out her little trick with the poisonous wine. I didn't even reach to look Jason, before my dagger collided with his ugly face.
I wonder... I wonder if I should have stayed with the careers instead of going off on my own. I would have truced with them, however they refused. And personally, I could see why. I mean, after all I am only one small girl against the six... Well, now "only" three of them. In a way, I wish that I had gone with them, because after all, that would have probably gotten me a kill or two. However I guess there's a side of me which is happy that I didn't. The act of murdering someone... it can do horrible things to a person. I knew from the beginng that the female from 2, Claudia, would go completely nuts after her first kill. How I knew this, I am not really sure I blame it on my intelligence. Maybe I did the right thing for both my physical and mental health with no joining? Who knows...
Dragging me out of my thoughts, the sky lights up and I wait in anticipation to see who died today. The first face to appera is Fiona, from 5. I raise an eyebrow as her face appears, because honestly, I did not expect this. From what my memory tells me, her odds were 18-1 when we got our training score, only a little worse than mine. She was a strong opponents... But I guess even the strongest of the opponents will have to go some day in these games.
And then, the male from 5, Yul appears. Wow... I guess District 5 really lost their hope today. Yul isn't a surprise though, he was pretty weak, and he allied with a 12-year-old, so he had it coming. Although, it still surprises me that 12-year-old from 11 has manage to keep alive.
Then Fabian Matthis face from District 9 appears. Another one that didn't surprise me, he only scored a 4 training. This means that the Anti-careers are down to only three people though. Unless someone has broken up from the careers and survived that (which is pretty unlikely), the career still have four people left... Not looking good for the anti's, I guess.
To finish the montage, I see Quintus' picture, looking down at me, his ridicoulous purple spade watching upon the arena as a third eye in the middle of his forehead. To be honest, I am surprised he made it this far. He was from the Capitol, had terrible odds and training score. The only weapon I remember him wielding in the group training was a pathetic little knife. The guy deserved it.
The sky fades to black and everything goes quiet. I close my eyes, letting myself drift off, happy to be alive another day.
District and Gender
|Ella Massey||District 1 Female||13-1||14-1|
|Michael Kaizer||District 2 Male||7-1||8-1|
|Lucy Perch||District 4 Female||13-1||13-1|
|Lynx Striker||District 4 Male||8-1||12-1|
|Ophelia Carlile||District 6 Female||31-1||35-1|
|Kodai Hitogoroshi||District 7 Male||12-1||14-1|
District 8 Female
|Helena Krisp||District 10 Female||16-1||17-1|
|Janu Wong||District 11 Female||40-1||39-1|
|Wolf Fang||District 12 Male||19-1||22-1|
|Dyna Ploson||District 13 Male||15-1||16-1|
|Hester Riva||Capitol Female||12-1||13-1|
Lynx Striker (D4M), Helena Krisp (D10F), Hester Riva (CF)
Ophelia Carlile (D6F), Kodai Hitogoroshi (D7M), Dyna Ploson (D13M)
Ella Massey (D1F), Michael Kaizer (D2M), Lucy Perch (D4F), Araneae Web (D8F), Janu Wong (D11F), Wolf Fang (D12M),
Day 5 - "The kill is all yours..." - Lynx Striker
Wamth strookes me gently awake. Kinda like how my mother, Wren would wake me up by letting her warm hand gently strooke my shoulder. It was always so hard for my mother to wake me up. When she would ask why I was so tired, I just said that I couldn't sleep. Really, I was out at the beach, exploring the place, and watching the sweet little hermit crabs walking around in the sand. I wonder if the hermit crabs miss me, now that I am gone? I hope Dorai, my own personal pet hermit crab, miss me.We were pretty good friends, except when he clawed my finger. I would have taken him as a token, but the gamemakers didn't allow him in.an advantage for me. I guess that's true though, Dorai does have some really sharp claws. He could probably win the games, I bet even the careers would cry in pain when he would pinch their toes.
But my mother isn't here and neither is Dorai. So they can't possibly be the ones to wake me up.
"Yul," I mutter, wanting the heated hand to go away. "Yul, I'm awake, leave me alone." The heat doesn't go away though, so I end up opening my eyes. Where I thought there were a hand, is really just a patch of sunlight. No Yul. The mountains frows upon me like yesterday. Where is Yul...?
It all come crashing down. The memories. Like when there's too many apples on the carts and suddenly, all of the apples fall out and tumble onto the streests in one gigant, red, apple-smelling chaos. Seeing Yul's face upon the night sky, his little smile, and kind face which I had come to trust. He had promised he would meet me... He promised he would be safe, but he broke his promise. He said it so that I would run away. But... I should stayed.
The tears falls upon my cheeks, quietly and still. It's not like when I fall and scrape my knee, and cry, sob, yell and say bad words that mother probably woudn't like. These tears are more... sad. More painful. And the worst thing is that I can't do anything. I told Polyvester or Polymester that no one should mess with my ally but... What can I do to a career from District 2, who the highest training score? I can't do anything, I am not strong or smart enough to avenge Yul, and I am not even good enough to win the games for the both of us. I am just... nothing.
I would give them anything to get Yul back. My panda hat, my mother's secret wok receipe, that dress that my stylist made for me, which he told me I could keep... I would even give them Dorai. Yul would be worth much more than all those things combined. But he won't be back... I'll never see Yul again.
"Hester, Hester, time to wake up. There's lot of more tributes out there who's life doesn't end themselves~" A female voice chants sweetly, as if she was waking a little child. My eyes flies open and look up in Helena's eyes, her red hair brushing my face as she stand before me, with a sweet smile on her face.
I can't say I get her, her weird mixture of attitude. She used blood to color her hair, she carries blood in a vessel around her neck, and used camueflage paint to color her arena wear bloodred, saying that she wanted to be dressed in 'the color of blood'. I had questioned her when she did, after all it's not exactly a good color of camueflage yourself in, however she just laughed softly and said that the careers aren't camueflagers. They're killers. Which I guess she's right about... And me being blue as the sky, I guess I shouldn't really talk.
Still, she's hard to figure out. With all that talk about blood, one would guess she was mentally ill or something, but when she first joined the careers in the training hall, she actually acted... shy. Lynx and the others thought she was gonna be a weakling career-recruits. They knew she had the skills, yes, but not the right killer instinct. Or so, they thought right up until the interview, where she openly admitted she had dyed her hair red with blood. Personally, I thought she was gonna go crazy in the arena, killing left and right, however she seems to act more like a silly little schoolgirl on a fieldtrip with her friends.... She does have yet to make her first kill though...
I shake the thoughts away. I can't think of Helena now, I have more important things to focus on. The thoughts had run through my mind all night, before. The amount of tributes left is smaller and smaller, and we'll have to splidt up at some point. Call me paranoid if you like, but something tells me that Lynx isn't exactly gonna be merciful on the both of us after that. I wondered if I should run away that evening, however, not being able to decide, I decided not to. But looking at Lynx devouring one of the last rawr cattlestakes left, and Helena just staring at it, watching the blood drip down from his teeth, I kinda wish I had just run...
"Where are we going?" Helena chimes, almost singing while putting a bowl of soup in front of me.
"We're going to the air zone. It's a good zone for me to hunt in." Lynx says, his tone of voice making it clear that it's not up for discussion.
"It's alright for me." I tell them. Infact, it's more than alright; the air zone is a good zone to dissappear in.
The sunlight comes slowly creeping, rising over the stone. Because of the morning air, the terrain of the fire zone is still quite cold. But not for me .With Kodai lying behind, he has cast his arms protectively over me holding me toward his stomach and chest, bring me warmth and protection. They say happiness leaves you in these games, that you don't feel it until you're taken out of of the arena. Yet with Kodai snuggled so close to me, I can't help but have the this warm lump of... calm, thankful, happiness within in me.
"Kodai?" I mutter, softer than a whisper. I am rewarded with some grunting, him still being half asleep. "There's a parachute." I tell him, eyeing the parachute lying around camp, it's silver sheets slung across it like veil. Those words makes Kodai get up, almost like a dog catching the scent of something interesting. He almost crawls across the rocky grounds, retrieving the parachute before running straight back to me, with it. It contains water.
Kodai takes a swig of it, desperately drinking as if his life depended on it. Which it does. All of our water supplies has run out. Kodai's gift is truely a blessing... for him. I look up at the sky, longingly. My mentor hasn't send me anything, my throat feels like a desert. But I tell myself not expect much. I am, after all, only a little District 6 tribute that barely managed to get a 4 in training. Who would sponsor me? I wouldn't...
I feel Kodai's hair nuzzle against my upper arm. He has this weird way of getting attention, almost like a cat, apparently avoiding spech when possible. I look up, as he strecthes his both arms out, holding the water bottle.
"O-phee-lee-aah's" he says, stuttering my name. "It's Ophelia's" he says, again. I smile a bit at him.
"It's yours, Kodai. Your mentor send it," I tell him.
"I knows. But it's Ophelia's. Is gift." He throws the waterbottle at the ground beside me, apparently not wanting to wait for me to take it, anymore.
"I can't receive this, Kodai, it's yours, your mentor send it for―"
"OPHELIA'S!" Kodai almost screams, tired of discussing. When he has decided something it's his way or no way. In the background, Dyna grunts, awoken from his sleep. One would think Kodai's angry when he screams, although after a while in his company, I realized that he's just natrually loud. Yelling is his way of communicating, when he's tired of talking and can't keep silent. And when he's tired of talking you either have to his way or compromise. I choose the latter.
"It's our's." I tell him stubbornly. "Or I won't drink." Kodai looks changes from annoyance to concern, an almost sad look covering his face.
"Ophelia needs water," I nod my head agreeing, "Fine. It's our's. Now drink." I take a swig of the water, feeling the refreshing feeling of fluid in a dry throat. I really did need that. Kodai sends me a grin, feeling awfully victorious that he got me drink, coviniently forgetting that we compromised.
"Guys?" Dyna has gotten up and sat down beside us, with a stern look on his face. Kodai and I stop fooling around, putting the water away. The look on Dyna's face, determined, stern but also a little anxious, makes it clear he wants to discuss something.
"Yes, Dyna?" I ask, carefully, awaiting the worst.
"Well... It's just...Dyna looks at the ground. After all the stuff that happened with Fabian, Dyna became like a leader for us, a beacon of hope. Yet now when the situation has calmed again, his more quiet, shy, yet friendly side has come out again. The one I came to know in the training center. Though, I don't doubt that if needed, Dyna could go back to "leader Dyna" any time it's needed.
"... Do you guys want to keep me? Like... You guys are like..." He pauses, not knowing what to say. I don't exactly blame him, me and Kodai's relationship are kinda hard to put words on. "... liking each other. Do you want to still have me around in the alliance? I can leave if you want me to, I won't be angry or anything..." I take in his words, realizing what he's proposing. Kodai reacts before I do.
"No. Dyna stays. We stay to end. All." He says, his voice making it clear that this is not up for compromising. Dyna looks to me.
"I agree with Kodai, Dyna. You have been a great help, I have no idea how to repay for standing up to Fabian when no one else dared. We should stay together. The chance are slim that we'll have to fight each other anyway 'cause..." I let the senetence hang in the air, not wanting to finish it. The chances of us all making it to top 3 are pretty slim, yet it feels like not stating it outloud somehow makes it less true. Dyna sends us both a smile.
"Thanks guys," He says, his voice filled with relieve. I take a gaze upon both Dyna and Kodai's faces as a terrifying realization hits me like a wave; If I live beyond these games, Dyna will be dead. Respondsible, gentle, friend Dyna. And Kodai too... The boy whom saved my life. The boy whom I think I am falling in love with...
The mist of the air zone floats around us, almost like a hungry tiger sneaking around it's prey. Waiting for just the right moment to strike, ending one of our lives. It's almost as if you expect something to happen. A tribute. Or maybe Lynx, somehow using his unatrually animalistic senses to discover a victim around. Though, it has been quiet so far, just walking around here.
"Guys..." Hester speaks in a low voice breaking the ominous silence. "I don't... I don't think we should leave the cornucopia unguarded... I mean, people are welcome to take whatever they want from there..." Hester says, her voice sounding concerned.\
"You can go back and guard if you want. But I don't plan on missing a kill." Lynx says dryly. Hester looks first at me, then at Lynx, before nodding, confidently.
"I can go back with you, if you like?" I ask although really, I don't wanna go back. I need a kill, I still have yet to make one in the entire games. My sponsors must not doubt the fact that I am not afraid to kill to survive within these games. I need to show them my skills. Still, I wish to keep a polite attitude towards Hester, hoping for a career-recruit alliance between us, when Lynx decides that we should break up from one another.
"No." She says quickly, to my relieve. "I will go alone, it's saver. And you need to be there if Lynx gets in trouble."
Lynx snorts an arrogant 'ha' apparently dissagreeing with the trouble part. "As if there were actually any tributes who could kill me," He almost whispers the words, viciously... deadly, making goosebumps spread down my spine. Apparently not wanting to waste anymore time, Hester makes her leave yet her little whisper fills the air, so faint that it's difficult to tell whether it's really there or not.
"We will see..."
Lynx and I walk for a while. It feels as if the silence and the mist are threatening to swallow us up, prison us and never let us escape. I almost find myself wishing that Hester had stayed with us. It’s as if some kind of horror could emerge from the fog at any point of and kill the both of us. A part of me is happy though, that Hester left. The thing is… I need a kill. I haven’t made any in the entire games, and I fear my sponsors may have grown a bit… doubtful about my skills to win the games. I can’t effort that. They must know that I, Helena Krisp, am as fierce as any other career. Now when Hester’s gone, it will be easier for me to get that kill. Although, I know I’ll have to get some kind of agreement with Lynx… If I steal a kill from him without his permission, I might as well just slit my own throat afterwards, before Lynx does it before me.
“Lynx…?” I ask, breaking the silence. I have never addressed him alone before, it’s hard not to stutter.
“Mhm?” He just grunts, awaiting my words.
“I was wondering… Well… It’s just… I…” I can barely make myself construct a full sentences.
“You what?” Lynx asks, tired of the murmuring.
“I-was-wondering-if-I-could-make-the-next-kill?” The words erupt out of my mouth, as if speaking them in normal pace would make it too hard to say. Lynx takes in my words before scowling at me.
“And why would I let you have it?” He almost hisses a bit at me.
“Because… well… I need a kill, I haven’t made anything yet. And you would want the sponsors to see the fierceness of your allies… that way your odds go up.” I think carefully before choosing my next words. “Your odds won’t go up if the Capitol thinks your allies are less fierce than you. Then you’ll never top, for example Michael. And I am sure we can find a way so that you can assist the kill, still showing off your skills… I just need to show the audience what I can do.” The mention of topping Michael put him in a bit of better mood, yet he doesn’t seem all happy about giving up a kill. Still, I hope my words made an impression. Lynx considers it for a while.
“I might… But on conditions.” He finally says. I nod my head, not having expected any less.
“And what would those be?” I ask.
“First off, if we encounter either Lucy or Michael, I will be the one to kill them. No matter what. I know that Hester wants to kill Lucy after what she did to Claudia, but if we find Lucy when we’re all out hunting you must hold Hester back. I don’t care if she tries to claw your face off, I will kill Lucy. No one else. And as for Michael, I will kill him too. Is that understood?” I nod my head, accepting the terms. “And second… When you kill the tribute… You’ll give the audience a good show. Got that?” I nod my head again.
“Good. But remember, if you or Hester kill Lucy or Michael… I will kill you, both of you, the same way I did with Fiona. Lucy and Michael are my prey. No one else’s.” I feel the goose bumps spread down my spine yet again. I must have shown the fear in my face, because he sends me an arrogant smirk. I nod again, a very quick, frigtened nod. In a almost whispering, scary tone, he says the words:
“The kill is all yours…”
The deep descent from the mountains was quicker than we thought it to be. Only about ten minutes after we decided to go, we’re here by the fire zone ending, taking cover behind two large boulders, scouting over the cornucopia field. As we saw before, there’s no one there. The cornucopia has been left all alone unguarded by the three not-so-smart careers left in these games.
Kodai had seen it first. From the sky-tall mountains it was easy to spot the three figures leaving the cornucopia. The one from 4, their leader, the girl from 10 with red billowing hair and the blue one from the capitol. We had first thought that Lucy, the girl from 4, had stayed behind to guard the place, however Kodai reported to not be able to see anyone guarding it. And besides, if she was hiding, how should one somewhat weak career defeat three anti’s? The cornucopia was wide open like a shop holding a sign saying: ‘please come and steal stuff.’ Which is why we ended up paying a visit. We are the anti-careers, after all.
“Can you see if Lucy should be there?” I ask Kodai, who’s peering out from the boulder.
“No Lucy,” Kodai answers, “No one there.”
“That would be perfect… So we take whatever stuff we want, get some water for me and Ophelia and then go to the waterzone?” I ask, making sure the plan is followed. The water zone should be the best zone to retreat to incase the careers somehow found out we had been there visiting their supply stack, as our mentors told us their weakness when it comes to swimming.
“I guess we’ll get going then…” Ophelia says, and we all begin to sprint.
It’s hard not expect anything. That somewhere, a spear or an arrow will come flying out of the cornucopia. That the careers somehow are still here. I mean, I know that Kodai said it was safe, and Kodai’s intuition is actually really good, but it’s hard not to think of the cornucopia-field as a graveyard. That stepping on it’s pretty much the equivalent to running into a cave of lions, asking them to tear your flesh into shreds. As if you’re death sentencing yourself.
But nothing happens. No spears, no swords, no arrows. We run safely into the cornucopia, and it’s hard not to just stand there, amazed. Swords are lined up in rows after how long they are. They gleam of silver, yet sharp as steel razors. There’s at least twenty of them, and that’s just the beginning. Claws – probably belonging to Lynx – are lined up on the walls as well, some of the blades longer my own forearm. But beneath the rows of weapons lies all the food. They must have eaten most of the meat, yet a sea of dried fruit, soup canteens, and salads in plastic concealers and bread lumps are lying around aimlessly. And to put the cherry on top, there’s even more water canteen , just tossed aside in a mess.
To think that the careers has been living within such luxury while us other tributes has suffered droughts and starvation; It’s almost sickening. Yet now is the time for pay-back, and I must admit that even though I am not really the whole fond of revenges, this act of stealing from the careers taste better than even the sweet desserts I was served back in the Capitol.
Kodai quickly gets two knives, one for himself and one for Ophelia. A clever move; Brass knuckles and barbed whips hurts but aren’t very good at ending lives quickly. Ophelia gathers some boxes of dried fruit while I get my hands on two precious water canteens. We put it all down in Ophelia’s empty backpack, and are about to retreat when I look up and see something very dangerous (and very blue) on the horizon. Hester, running toward us and from the look on her face… she’s not happy. A panic looked is thickly painted on Ophelia’s face, as I feel the fear spread within me. We might be three against one but she’s a career. At least one of us will die in a battle with her, most likely two. And we can’t effort to lose anyone in this alliance.
“Kodai, take Ophelia’s backpack and run with Ophelia to the waterzone.” I tell him quickly. Surprise first covers both of their faces as they realize what I am asking of them.
“But… No, Dyna, no! We’ll fight together, all three. We won’t sacrefise anyone!” Ophelia tells me, beggingly as Hester draws closer to the cornucopia center.
“… And that will make us die together. At least one of us, most likely two. And if there’s more careers out there, then that’ll be all of us. I don’t… I don’t want you two to go through what I felt when Bailey…” I trail off. Ophelia’s eyes tear up, as Kodai places his palm on her shoulder, almost ready to drag her out of danger. Me and Kodai’s eyes meet and I watch as he bow over his head, expressing silent thankfulness. Though it’s a small action, I am not in doubt of what my risk means to him. It’s clear within his eyes.
“But… I…” Ophelia trails off. She knows my words are true, yet she does not wish to face that truth.
“Keep her safe,” I tell Kodai,
“I will,” Kodai answers, quickly and determined. Then he sprints out from the cornucopia, holding Ophelia’s arm tight to almost drag her along, making the run quicker. I turn to see Hester less than twenty meters away. She has stopped running, and is now walking toward me, with slow steps, her walk almost as threatening as her sharp steel claws, hanging from her hands. Almost.
“What a touching scene, huh? Staying back to safe your allies,” She tells me, almost mockingly. I grunt as an answer, unsure of what to reply, and also fearing that my voice might stutter if I speak up.
“Tell me this, though. What does it really matter if you safe your allies for another day? We’ll find them, tomorrow, the day after tomorrow. What does it matter if they survive for a couple of extra days? They won’t win anyway. We’ll make sure of that.” I keep my shut, not even wanting to give her the satisfaction of an answer.
“A bit of a quiet fellow, now are we?” She says teasing, her capitol accent revealed even more than it already was. I think for a few seconds, just trying to come up with something, some kind of battle strategy, some kind of way to possibly give me a chance of victory. Yet nothing comes to my head. I have lost this battle, and I know it. Hester knows it as well, sending me a mocking grin as she continue her poised walk of death, almost mockingly slow, dragging out my death.
“You’re smarter than they are. They might be tougher, stronger and faster… but you’re smarter. Use it, Dyna. And please… come home safely.”
What? I have heard a lot of people talk about death, yet no one mentioned that voices appear within your mind. For a moment I just stand there, before I realize who the voice belongs to… Charlotte. She’s right too. Hester is stronger, tougher and faster than me… But I might just be able to outsmart her. I am not sure what to call this… it’s not hope. I know I have lost this battle. But Charlotte asked me to come home safely… And so, I will try. As if with a new pair of eyes, I view the situation. Hester is armed with two long sharp claws, less than fifteen meters away from me. I am armed with a sword and my two water canteens. We’re at a small field of grass we no escape routes or hiding places. Only one big, golden cornucopia… cornucopia…
I dart back as the plan comes into my mind. I may not be a good climber, and it may be a plan seen before in the games, however Hester is from the capitol. She shouldn’t be the best climber in the world. I sprint to the walls of the horn, starting to scale it. It’s a somewhat slow process but I reach up just as Hester reaches the button of it.
“You wanna play cat and mouse, I see.” She almost purrs at me, playfully. “I may not be the best climber in the world but don’t think I can’t scale a cornucopia, little boy. It’s the oldest trick in the book, you know.” She places her hands at the walls, her claws pointing upwards, to catch my sword if I try to cut her while scaling. She kicks up from the grounds, starting to climb. It’s now or never.
In one quick moment I almost tear off both plugs of the water canteen pouring them out over Hester and the cornucopia side. Her climbing stops for a moment, as she looks up at me, raising an eyebrow as if to tell me: You really think a puddle of water is gonna stop me? “Pathetic,” Hester mutters, lifting her arm up to grab the last ledge of the wall. And then it happens.
She screams, a long and painfilled sound, as the slips. Her being an inexperienced climber and a rather arrogant career, I had expected her to underestimate the slippery effect of water on a very steel metal surface. The fact that she thought the splash of water was simply an act of panic helped even more. She plummets to the ground below, falling directly onto her back, and I can almost hear as the air is slammed out of her lungs. I slide down, not wasting a single second. If she gets back on her feet, all is lost.
I land right beside her body, lying helplessly. It’s almost a bit sad to kill someone like that, who is lying on the ground, helplessly gasphing for air, as they can’t even fill their own lungs with oxygen… but then again… She wouldn’t have shown me any more mercy. “Thank you, Charlotte,” I whisper as I deliver the killing blow, piercing my sword through her throat. BOOM!
Author's Note: To be sure, I put yet another warning on this POV. The death isn't as gorey as Fiona's yet, some people might find a bit... disturbing. Again, I don't find it to be bad, it's only text, not a movie. But to be sure, I will write this warning.
Helena and I continue to walk. Her flaming red hair falls along her face, as she looks upon her feet. I wonder if I gave her a scare. Maybe I should have gone a bit easier on her… I mean, I am the leader, and I am a career but I don’t want my own allies to quiver in fear as soon as they see me. And yet… There are cameras everywhere in this place, and showing too much friendliness won’t gain me sponsors, while intimidation will. And I have to get sponsors. When the remaining careers split up, the sponsors that I have gained now will be essential for my survival. And I have to survive. I have to win, for myself… and for Hunter, too.
Still I feel kinda bad for Helena, blame it on my pack-instincts I guess… In the pack of Lynx that I once called my family, you would lick each other’s wounds no matter how small, yet we had no problem killing a baby deer or a little wolf cub. I guess I feel the same way with the careers, though less attachment. Unlikely the lynx, I don’t owe the careers anything. They didn’t safe my life. Still, they are my pack, and they shouldn’t walk around injured or this case, scared. Yet I have to keep this attitude up. Helena will have to get over it herself; I am the alpha in this pack and I can’t let anyone forget this. Not Helena, not the prey and definitely not the sponsors. So I keep my mouth shut, as silent as the fog floating around us.
It doesn’t take me long to sense it. Yet another prey in the fog, just like how I found Fiona. Had anyone asked me how I knew that prey was near, I wouldn’t have been able to answer. It’s just… everything within the atmosphere seems to… carry a scent of… of fear, I think. As if the fear is filling the air, like smoke, thick but still… not there. It’s hard to explain. I can just sense it. It’s coming from the right. And it’s near. A certain urge flies up in me, fills me up on the inside. The desire to kill. It’s my prey, I sensed it. Helena didn’t. It should be mine, it belongs to me. But I did give it to Helena…
It’s almost hard not to let out a groan in defeat as I stop to make Helena aware. She doesn’t seem to have sensed the prey, yet she watches me intensely. She knows I feel something. I let my senses guide me in my pounce. It may be Helena’s kill, but that doesn’t mean I can’t do the chasing.
I calculated a bit wrongly though. As I land within the fog, I see the career drop-out from 1, Ella, widen her eyes in shock as I suddenly appear in front of her, in one wild pounce. Yet, I don’t strike her down, I miss. Her scream in surprise cuts through the air, she probably hadn’t even seen me to begin with. Being annoyingly clever, she doesn’t try to engage in combat. Had she done that, I could have killed her and claimed it to be self-defense. Instead she runs, her dark blonde hair billowing after her before she’s swallowed by the mist.
And then a second scream pierces the air. Filled with surprise, fear and pain, it’s not hard for me to figure out that Ella probably had a little meeting with Helena. Getting up from my fall, I run toward the platform and as the thick fog faded from my gaze, I see Helena frowning over a terrified Ella. Helena’s slender, razor-sharp blade is pierced through Ella’s lower leg and there seem to be a rapidly bleeding slash at Ella’s right hand. A clever move by Helena; Ella used her right hand to throw her knives. Guess that’s gonna be pretty hard to do with a broken hand.
“Lynx?” Helena almost chant my name softly, as she applies slightly more pressure on the kartana, stick up from Ella’s leg. Ella gasps in pain, as blood flows from her meat.
“Yes?” I ask back, and Helena let her hand fly through her hair teasingly at Ella, kinda like how schoolgirls will flick their hair when they walk past their rivals, as if to challenge them.
“I think I need you to assist me a bit,” Helena turns her attention from Ella, but plants her foot fierce at the wound which her kartana left, to hinder Ella in escaping. In reality, shaking off Helena’s foot wouldn’t be that hard for Ella, but with a wounded leg she isn’t gonna run very far, and the blood trail would make way to easy for me and Helena to track her. The prey can’t escape. She knows that too.
Helena continues, her voice calm, slick and yet filled with an almost intimidating kind of viciousness: “I am sure you know about District 10’s industry, Lynx, is that correct? Of course you do, most of your meals in these games has probably been provided by my home district. You know how we kill the animals for slaughter? I am not gonna explain the entire slaughtering process, however when the beast is already dead and gone, a large hole is cut in the throat, and then it’s hung from the wall so that the blood can run out of it quickly. And you know… you said you wanted to give the audience a show, Lynx… What do you say we try that but maybe in a little different fashion?” I nod in agreement, pleasantly surprised. Of course, her method of murder isn’t nearly as painful and vicious as the one I used on Fiona but I gotta give her credit for being creative.
“Take Ella, lift her and hold her up so that she doesn’t wriggles. Make sure the skin of her arms faces outwards from you, we don’t want you to get blood all over your arena-wear” Helena instructs, as I pick up Ella from the ground. She whimpers and wriggles, but I bend her arm backwards on her back, to stop her unnecessary movements. It’s not like she can escape anyway.
“Hold her still now,” Helena picks up one of Ella’s throwing knives as she walks toward me and her prey. Gently, Helena places her hand on Ella’s right arm, right above elbow, making sure to place the knife on a major artery. I feel Ella wriggle, gasp and whimper but I just hold her tighter. Then Helena presses the knife down, in one violent, big movement, cutting one very very deep hole down in her artery, first on the right arm, then on the left. I must admit Helena’s show is quite fascinating. The blood flows out of her arms, the streams so thick like the ones that flow out of a powerful water hose, plunging out of her with the beat of the heart. It’s exactly like a shower of blood, only that showerheads are two arms, and the water is blood.
Helena almost dances around in it, letting her get soaked. The red blood is sprayed all over her, as Ella’s body is slowly emptied all over Helena, whom seems to love every moment of it. It’s almost hard to tell the features of Helena’s body as her skin turns into the same color as her hair. Ella screams and scream, and wriggles and wriggles as the blood is emptied out of her body, through the two large cuts in her arteries. But it’s to no avail of course, I much too strong for her.
After for what seems as an eternity of watching Helena almost dance around in her shower of blood, and listening to Ella’s screams of pain, the blood stops running from her arteries. Ella’s head fall backwards, resting on my shoulder, an empty gaze in her eyes. BOOM! Helena looks at her, with what I think is a little smile on her lips. It’s hard to tell, when her entire body is covered in a thick layer of crimson blood.
And then, with no more words, we begin to head back towards the cornucopia.
The mist flies around me, mysteriously shrouding my body in an almost taunting manner, as if it was a living thing. I need to get away from it. After what happened to Quintus, I won’t take any chances with staying in this horrid zone. So instead, I moving straight towards the water zone. If I am lucky, I can make it from the water zone to the earth zone, the only place where I feel somewhat familiar in. Even though I am well aware the trees didn’t start growing there the natural way, it is still forest. It’s still home.
Quintus… Everything within in this place reminds me of him. Or rather his death. It’s hard to explain… I never knew much about him, I didn’t really pay attention to him. He was just another loner, another obstacle, another person I thought was just out there to make sure I didn’t see the daylight of tomorrow. He was more. It’s still hard to understand… Why would he act this way? Why would he wish to talk to his own murder… and even… help him? I killed my own parents; if there were a way to get to talk to them, they probably wouldn’t wish to talk to me. Their own killer. But Quintus would… I wish I had known him better. I should have.
He didn’t even blame me. He said it wasn’t my fault… I wonder… Would my parents blame me for what happened to them? Everyone told me they would with pointed fingers, name calling, and angry yelling voices. Yet Quintus choose not to blame me… I wonder if my parents would do the same…
She appears so suddenly out of the mist that I don’t even reach to react. Her flame-red hair is blowing around in wild cascade, almost as if someone had set her scalp on fire. In her arms, she carries a whole bunch of bread, canteens of water, first aid boxes, rope and much other things as if she had was a living, breathing cornucopia. You don’t have to be a mutation-scientist to figure out she has probably been at that horrid place to get all her stuff.
As she see me, all the things roll out of her hands, scattering around the earth, almost like a waterfall of item. Most of them leap across the ground, reaching the edge of the platform before getting forever lost in the endless abyss. We just stare at each other. Frozen; the only thing moving around us is the mist, as if in anticipation for the upcoming battle. Yet none of us reacts. Her grey, mysterious, button less eyes just stare into mine.
Finally one of us reacts. She jumps up like a pouncing cat suddenly realizing that a mouse is right in front of it. In her hands, she carries her blowgun taking it up to her mouth. I get my chained sickle out, though knowing it’s way too late. Her dart will fly one thousand times and over before my chained sickle will reach her body. I am dead meat.
She’s about to send off the dart. She’s breathing in, my death only parts of a second away. Only a breath. And then, as saving grace send from heaven, three spikes appear, perfectly placed within Araneae’s face, piercing both eyes, and the back of the nose. Blood splashes out of the three holes within Araneae’s once beautiful face, and her body falls to the ground, only to reveal yet another threat standing behind her. Her killer. BOOM!
The boom of cannon almost rolls across the sky, as my trident collides perfectly with the back of Araneae’s head. I was moving my way to the water zone when I saw her. From her arms filled with supplies, it wasn’t hard to guess that she had been at a little visit at the cornucopia.
I can’t say that I enjoyed stalking around after her, knowing what I would have to do. Wait for her to be distracted so that I would be able to pierce my trident through her body. Yet supplies are vital at this point… It was a struggle between morals and needs.
Sneaking around, trailing someone who had no idea that you were there, who weren’t a threat to you. I felt so… low. Like a vile little parasite, selfish and with no honor. Yet the thought of Lily’s welcoming hug as I arrive back in District 4 as the victor, and the dry desert called ‘my throat’ won me over. I had to kill Araneae. I knew it all along. And so, when she stopped, and dropped all her items, I didn’t blink an eye. I just let my trident fly.
I regret it now, though. I couldn’t see what distracted Araneae, because of her body blocking my vision. And now I stand with the mysterious loner from District 12 right in front of him. His chained sickle is lying ready in his hands, and my trident is hopelessly far away, pierced deep down into Araneae’s face.
He reacts immediately; the shock of Araneae probably filled his body with adrenaline and he’s now ready to take it out on me. He leaps through the air, piercing my body to the ground. A strong hand is placed on my chin, lifting it up to expose my throat. Goosebumps spread down my arms as I feel the cold, razor sharp iron on the thin skin keeping blood and airways within me. All I can do is stare up into his cold piercing eyes, looking deep into mine, the gaze almost as sharp as the blade at my throat.
“I… saved you,” I mutter, trying to press the word out without moving my throat too much, fearing a cut on the throat. His expression reveals nothing; like a mask, disguising the intentions of its wearer. And then, with such a low, almost painful whisper he mutters one single word, a name, so quietly I am not even sure if actually said it, or if it was just my ears playing tricks with me. Yet hearing the way he said it… It means something, something important.
He stares at me before letting out one last sigh. Hesitantly, he pulls his blade back an inch, not so much that I can escape, but enough so that I can speak without fearing cutting myself.
“Look… I’ll make you a deal… Lucy.” He tells me, still wearing the mask of no emotions, “We ally. It might be late in the games, but the odds of us ending up in the top two are so low that it’s pretty much impossible. We ally to the end, and if we end up as top two, we kill one another.” He tells me, awaiting my responds.
“How do I know you won’t just kill me right after I get up?” I ask him. He lets out a little ‘hah’, sending me something which could almost be a mocking smile… almost.
“If I wanted you to die, I would have driven that sickle through your throat by now.” He just tells me, staring coldly. Not very settling but true, I guess.
“… And how do you know that I w-w-won’t kill you?” I ask, stuttering a bit. Would I kill him? If he spared my life and allied with me? Could I affort not to?
“Because I know you; I saw you in the group training. People think that because I don’t speak much, I don’t notice much. They couldn’t be more wrong. I notice most people around me… I like to think it’s a talent of mine. And I noticed the career group within the training. You stood out. You didn’t mock the other tributes like the rest of them. Didn’t yell at them, telling them ‘We’re gonna kill you all!’ like the lot of them chanted… in fact, you seemed disgusted by it. You don’t seen happy to be here, in the arena… You seem sad. You volunteered for your sister, I remember. So it’s pretty safe to say that you’re not a killer by instincts… You would probably kill if your life was endangered… but you wouldn’t kill someone who spared your life. You couldn’t make yourself do it, even if a game of life and death. People think I am stupid. They only see a mask; none of pays attention to the eyes beneath it's layers.”
I stare at him, almost in awe. Just the way he sounds so secure about things that he just observed. The fact that someone could be so… observant. I wonder how much he knows about all of us. Would he be able to analyze the other tributes the way he just did with me? Probably. I thought he was a bit odd, another poor tribute in these games; An absent minded loner who didn’t seem to notice the world around him. Yet he was able to see all of this. He is correct, of course. He knew that I wouldn’t be able to kill him if he spared my life… even before I knew it myself.
“F-f-f-fine,” I whisper, and the weight of his body is removed. He silently begins to pick up the supplies of Araneae’s that didn’t fall to the abyss and I end up joining him. While picking up the mess, his eyes catches mine in what I think would be a smile… I think.
It’s the anthem which ends up pulling me out of my light slumber. The anthem of Panem. Of course, I haven’t slept away the entire day. I woke up, ate and hunted a bit with no gain. When I received the parachute with the mentor note, telling me to go night-hunting with the night vision goggles I decided to lay it low for today, getting some sleep I would miss out on. And now, when the stars are shining above all of us, and the anthem is blasting out, I finally feel ready. When I have seen who’s dead, of course.
As I exit the little rocky cave I found within the fire zone, the hologram is already lit up, ready for displaying the faces of the dead. I wait in anticipation, not really sure what to hope for. We’re not many left. The guy I killed yesterday, Yul I believe his name was… he had an ally, the 12-year-old. It’s impressive she has stayed this late into the games I must admit. She would probably want to avenge Yul, although the chances she’ll kill me are pretty much non-existent. I don’t have to hope for her to be on the sky tonight, she’s no threat.
I guess a career would be great to see up there, especially the leader, Lynx. He seemed pretty annoyed that I got better odds than him to start with. His death stares towards me was clearer than any words he could ever speak. Yet I do not fear him either. If he wishes to fight me, he can. I could never be afraid of a person like him. I can’t say that I know I will defeat him but I can say that I will do my very best to end his life. And I have the confidence to believe that my skills are great enough to win me the battle. But of course, Lynx’s death or just the death any career wouldn’t exactly hurt. Just make it a bit easier. So with that, I await the faces of the dead.
The first face to look down upon me is Ella’s. The other girl who ditched the careers. Somehow, I didn’t wish to die. I liked the fact she choose not to be with them, like I did. But she being a trained killer, she were indeed a threat, and it’s nice to see her eliminated.
The second face belongs to the girl from 8. I can’t exactly remember her name, she tended to avoid attention during the group training. She mustn’t have been the biggest threat, though it’s nice to know that I am one step closer to victory. And the last face is the face of Hester’s, the most weirdly looking Capitol tribute to date. A smile breaks through on my face. Yet another career is down… only two to go. The sky fades away in unison with the anthem and I am left staring at the night sky. And then I see it… see it and smell it.
Long flames are licking up from some of the trees in one of the outskirts of the earth zone, and even though the fire is quite far away, the wind still manages to carry the scent smoke and embers. Perfect. Whoever lit that just make my hunt for tonight a whole lot easier. Whoever is in that zone will be running to get away from fire, most likely forgetting everything but the fiery flames coming their way; A perfect method of distracting victims so they won’t notice the killer coming their way.
And with those thoughts in mind I slip on my night vision glasses, get out my sword and walk toward the outskirts of the earth zone.
District and Gender
|Michael Kaizer||District 2 Male||6-1||7-1|
|Lucy Perch||District 4 Female||10-1||13-1|
|Lynx Striker||District 4 Male||7-1||8-1|
|Ophelia Carlile||District 6 Female||28-1||31-1|
|Kodai Hitogoroshi||District 7 Male||11-1||12-1|
|Helena Krisp||District 10 Female||11-1||16-1|
|Janu Wong||District 11 Female||38-1||40-1|
|Wolf Fang||District 12 Male||17-1||19-1|
|Dyna Ploson||District 13 Male||12-1||15-1|
Lynx Striker (D4M), Helena Krisp (D10F),
Ophelia Carlile (D6F), Kodai Hitogoroshi (D7M), Dyna Ploson (D13M),
District 4 and 12:
Lucy Perch (D4F), Wolf Fang (D12M),
Michael Kaizer (D2M), Janu Wong (D11F)
Day 6 - "We're all just flesh to you... But I cared for him," - Janu Wong
The fire spreads more rapidly than I thought it would. I guess I should have known better. Back in District 11, they had about thirty-seven different warning signs, telling us if a wild fire was likely to start. At first I thought it was for our own safety. That the governors of 11 would care enough for us to warn us about the fires. But of course it wasn’t. It’s for their own sake, to see how much likely the crop is to burn down, so that if the risk of fires is big, they can get out the water hoses, ready for anything. No instructions were ever given to us, the workers, about how we should act in case of a wildfire. They wouldn’t care if we burned.
Not that I care much for who burns now. I don’t care if anyone in this arena burns. In fact, I hope that the career from 2 burns a flaming death. He deserves it. Yul didn’t deserve to die, he deserved to die. Yul would never have hurt a fly. Yul were a good person, slaughtered by a monster, who’s not afraid to kill. The other tributes left in the arena doesn’t matter much either, they can burn too. I mean, what would it matter if I allied with anyone? I can’t win anyways. So they can burn too …
I guess we all deserve to burn. We’re all murders, we have all killed. Even if it’s self-defense, we have killed, ended the lives of other people who should never have been in this arena. I guess it’s easy for me to assume that Yul was the best person in the arena because I knew him; that he was the one who deserved to die the least. But I wonder if it’s true… all the other dead tributes… Maybe some of them had been kind and good like Yul? If so, they shouldn’t have ended up in these games. No one should be in these games, no one should be murders. These games are for people such as the cat-man from 4 and that monster from 2. No one else.
The fire has caught onto some more branches now, hungrily swallowing the forest floor with its massive blanket of heat and colorful flames. Embers are blown up into the night sky like small seeds, drifting off before starting their own fire. In a minute or two, the flames will be unstoppable. I better get going... I may be a killer and we may all deserve to burn but… I guess I hope to win these games, even if I am killer. To win for me and Yul.
The descend into the flaming forest went by quickly. It wasn’t much work to follow the steep mountains of the fire zone down towards that clung of trees, looming over the ground. The trees are towering up, almost as if they’re determined to hide their secrets from any approaching intruders. But even the trees can’t with stand the strength of the burning flames, which are slowly eating away the green masses. In the end it’s the flames that win over the weak plants. The strongest will always win against the weak.
As I enter, I almost immediately scene the heat – there’s no flames around me, I am not stupid enough to march right into the inferno, still the air in the forest is thick with swallowing heat, almost as if it tried to drown you. For most tributes, being here would mean death. Not many have the strength to keep running in these temperatures. Most would faint and just lie there, as the flames swallow them up. But I have prepared for moments like this. Endless runs in the summer heat back in 2; I wouldn’t stop to I had reached my goal. The runs were tough, more tough than most of my other training. But now, in this chaos of heat and smoke, I thank myself for forcing my legs to run, even when the heat seemed to want to burry you alive.
And then I hear it. Running feet, quick and swift against the forest floor, heading right toward me. I turn, knowing that planning some kind of ambush is too late. We’ll have to go near combat, though I don’t mind melee fighting; In fact, I prefer it.
The girl that breaks out from the bushes would barely reach my chest, in terms of height. Her black hair is put in messy braids which are sticking to her skin, sweaty from running. Her creepy white eyes have a rapid, wild look to them, shocked by her sudden encounter of me. In her hand, she clusters a dagger. It’s Janu, of district 11. The youngest tributes in the games – and also the ally of the guy I killed yesterday.
It’s hard not to feel sorry for her... Or not ‘sorry’. Sorry is something you feel when you feel bad for something you have done. I don’t feel bad for killing her ally, killing is what I do… But I guess I do pity her. Just a little girl stuck in the these games of insanity.
“You…” She whispers under her breath, as she strengthens her grip around the dagger lying in her hands. Her chest pumps up and down, her wild eyes staring at me. I remain silent, yet slowly take the sword up in front of me. There’s no way she can run. Behind is a forest of flames, so even if she were to try and climb away, the flames would melt her flesh. And in front of her… Well, that’s where I am. She knows she can’t win, but I guess she would rather take the fight on me than the fight against the flames.
“You… You killed him,” Janu mutters, words filled with hatred as her anger seems to boil up inside her. I can’t say I would know how to respond… I did kill him. It’s the games. That’s how it is. And now I am gonna kill her. Put an end to her misery. And then she charges, her little hand clinging the knife as if she hopes for some kind of luck, some kind of miracle to end my life. But luck doesn’t exist and neither do miracles. I raise my sword, parading her thrust with the dagger. Desperately, she yanks the knife back for another pathetic hit, which I easily parade. Tears begin to stream down her eyes, as she thrust the dagger again and again, each time my sword parading.
Finally, I parade her last thrust. Her dagger’s blade slides against the steel of my sword, and she falls to the ground in front of me, head bowed down, the tears rolling down her cheeks. Huge sobs escapes her lips; Over and over, she mutters one line:
“I couldn’t even avenge him… I couldn’t even avenge him…”
I stare at her, my sword raised to deliver the final blow. Why I haven’t done it already is a riddle to me. I let the blade swing through the air, just about to remove her little head from her tiny body when she changes her speech, almost screeching out the words:
“I cared for him, you know. Yul. We’re all just flesh to you but… I cared for him. But what does that matter to you? To you it’s all just the game that matters! The honor and glory… But what about the people?! Yul… Yul was the only thing I had left. All of my friends died… somehow I thought that because my friends hadn’t stayed with me, Yul would stay. I loved Yul as my brother… Did you ever even think of that?”
I look down in her eyes, which are covered by a thin crystal layer of tears. Her face is red from exhaustion, her sobs barely audible. I just stare at her; and then, swinging my sword, I remove her head from her shoulders, putting her out of the misery… Or am I? Maybe I am just playing the games. BOOM!
The sun rises slowly from the horizon… or, at least I think it does. It’s hard to tell with all the trees blocking the view to the sky. It’s a bit weird… There had been a cannon-shot earlier in the morning which woke me and Lucy up. We woke up to see the mist of the air zone, the zone that we had fallen asleep in. But after going back to sleep, the zones much have changed because now we’re surrounded by tall trees and bushes. I take a deep breath, happy to at a place there’s at least somewhat like home. Feeling that feeling of the trees surrounding you, screening you from view of others, feeling the wild life around you – even this late in the games to make me relax.
But this time around I am not screened… not entirely, anyway. Lucy is there. My… odd ally from 4. I am still not sure if it was right to ally with her. I guess I tend to prefer to be on my own, that’s just how I am. ‘The Lone Wolf’ as the people of my district would call me… when they didn’t call me a “murderer” or “nuisance”, that is. Still, even being a loner and murderer, Quintus found it in himself to forgive me for ending his life. And how could I have ended Lucy’s life, when Quintus had given me such a gift? I already murdered my parents; I murdered Riven from 12… I murdered Quintus. I can’t kill Lucy too – not when she saved my life.
But why do I feel like I trust her? Sure, I observed her. I know her personality. But I usually never trust anyone, neither in the arena or back home. So why trust her? Maybe it’s just knowing she’s not a killer by instinct and then the fact that she doesn’t know I killed my parents. She doesn’t know I am murderer, she just thinks the only people I have killed are people I killed in the arena. And it should stay that way; it’s one thing that my entire district knows – I don’t need my only ally in these games to know as well.
I look over to Lucy, who’s curled up in a ball, sleeping. Her blonde hair is kept in messy pigtails, screening her face almost like veil. Walking over to her, I gently put my hand on her shoulder, shaking her awake. It almost feels weird approaching her; as if I should keep away, as some other kind of sick person, kept in quarantine. Like me approaching her is not only dangerous for me, but also risky for her. I guess you become like that when you’re alone for so long.
Lucy groans and opens her eyes slowly, rubbing the grains of sleep away. As she looks up and sees me beside her, she slowly draws away from me. Of course she does. An awkward silence spreads, where we just sit and stare at each other. I never talked much and have no idea what to say; And I guess Lucy just doesn’t want to talk to me.
After a while, I turn my back to her reaching over for the newly dropped silver parachutes. The one which has “LUCY PERCH” written on it carries a long slender trident and coil of wire. I gently throw it in her direction and she slowly removes the veil of the parachute from her new weapon. In the one that says “WOLF FANG”, a bread and dried meat is carried. I guess that my mentor doesn’t wish to see me starve, after all. Packing out the meat, I take one strip for myself, and hand another to Lucy.
“I already have food,” Lucy says very 'as-a-matter-of-fact-like',
“I know,” I tell her, still holding the strip of dried meat from her. The meat is newly cooked, still warmed in my hands. She looks for a bit, and finally, she snatches it from my hand and takes a hungry bite.
“Thanks,” She mutters shyly, not even bothering to swallow the food in her mouth before speaking. I sit down beside her and we eat in silence, yet I know I made some kind of approach. I guess she hadn’t expected me to give her some of my food, knowing she had enough for herself. “Wolf? Can I ask something?” Almost done with her strip of meat, Lucy finally breaks the silence. I remain silent, nodding in reply.
“You mentioned this name… Quintus, I think. Why did you say his name?”
Just about to take the last bite off the meat, I flinch, sitting silently. I can’t tell her about him. I won’t. If she knew about what happened to Quintus… What would she think of me? Or even worse… if she knew what happened to Quintus, we would know why I can’t kill her. And then she’ll kill me. I can’t trust her with that.
I almost feel the mask of no emotions slip onto face, as a defense mechanism. Looking her deeply into her bright blue eyes, I tell her with a cold, hostile voice:
“None of your business.”
Lucy looks at me, before crouching away from me, reaching for the wire in parachute to set up some traps. But maybe the traps are just to get a bit away from me... It’s obvious I scared her… or at least creeped her out. But maybe it’s better that way. Maybe it is better if she’s scared of me? Then I won’t have to trust her; then I won’t get attached to her.
The mist of the air zone flies around; it’s grey mass lying protectively around us, shrouding us from view. Right now it’s a blessing, though it was a curse last night. It took me more than a lifetime to try and find Ophelia and Kodai’s camp, after we split at the cornucopia. Hearing their breaths being inhaled and exhaled in perfect unison was the only thing that even alerted me that I was in their presence.
I look up at the couple, both of them already awake, sitting together enjoying breakfast together, with dried fruit and a bit of Kodai’s steadily dropping supply of water. Ophelia hasn’t received anything in days. I wonder how her odds are. I guess people from the Capitol’s money are much too valuable to spend on water for a girl who has her first love. I wonder if she regrets being in these games. I mean, yeah it’s tragic but had she not been in these games, Kodai would be nothing but a crazy district 7 tribute running around on her TV screen. Even if she’s going to die, at least she has Kodai by her side – which is more you could say about the rest of us tributes in here.
I look around to see if my sponsors have decided to be more generous than Ophelia’s. Surprise and wonder fills my mind as I see a shovel lying beside me. What is that good for? I guess it could be an alright weapon, though nothing compared to that regular sword lying beside me. I read the note attached.
“Guys?” I almost feel bad for interrupting their little… I wouldn’t call it a date, all circumstances accounted, but I must say they make quite a good attempt to turn an area in an arena full of people out to kill you into a little romantic break-fast-picnic. They turn their heads, looking at me.
“My mentor has a plan to go digging for bombs…” I tell them. Both of their eyes widen.
“It could be useful…” Ophelia says, unsurely, “We’re not very many left. Unless the gamemakers decide not to make one this year, a feast should be just around the corner. Bombs would make a great advantage,” she then adds.
“It’s a bit risky too,” I remind her. It’s not that I do not wish to get the bombs – I just wanna make sure Kodai and Ophelia knows what this plan might not be safe. But then again, at this point in the games, what is safe? Certainly not staying in one location and wait; if the tributes don’t find you after a while, the gamemakers will make sure they do.
“The mentor-note says that you, Ophelia, and me should go and get the bombs while Kodai distracts the careers,” I inform them. Ophelia looks at Kodai unsurely, but Kodai nods determined. “I am fast. I can do distracting.” Kodai says. Ophelia nods her motions filled with anxiousness, and just so, we are on our way.
We’re almost by the end of the air zone, when Ophelia finally breaks the silence. The mist is thin, we can almost see the field. We have come so close to launching the plan.
“Are you sure?” Ophelia asks, looking directly at Kodai. He responds by nodding his head. Ophelia face is crossed by fear and hopelessness; for a moment, I am almost sure she’s gonna refuse to do the plan and just march back into the mist. You can almost the fight between the promise of safety and the excitement of a new weapon fought within her mind. Then, with tears in her eyes, she just embraces Kodai, snuggling to him.
“Just be careful,” She whispers in his ear, and I look awkwardly at the ground. She places her lips on his, nothing intense, just a soft little kiss. I guess that’s the way they are. They’re not a couple who believe they can overcome the grim reaper by love. They are not the teenagers who say goodbye to one another by figuratively eating each other’s faces. They’re just a shy girl and slightly mental boy who love one another, which is all they could need. Kodai looks at her, almost confused by the act of kissing. Then, he sneaks in a shy peck on her cheek, before breaking the embrace, running off toward the cornucopia.
Ophelia just stand there looking after him, as a couple of minutes passes. No wonder she must be almost drowning in worry. Then, a new determination spreads on her face, and she begin to walk to the field, and I follow along.
Kodai did his job. The field is as empty as a tomb, the thick silence spreading like an ominous fog. I rush out into the field, Ophelia trailing behind me.
“We’ll just dig up the bombs around one pedestal. There should be at least four scattered around it, and we don’t need many,” Ophelia says, running over to the nearest of the tribute launches. I begin to dig, while Ophelia stays a bit away, looking out in case anyone were to come around.
The first one of the mines is easily found, not very far beneath. Struggling, I almost use the shovel as a pickaxe, trying to get the mine free. Since they’re deactivated, they are about as explosive as a sandstone… until you enter the code which activates them again, that is. Finally, I shake the bomb free and throw it in Ophelia’s empty backpack, before looking up to check on Ophelia… And it’s about there that I feel the cold tip of a blade softly pressing the skin of my neck. Turning my head, I feel my jaw drop to the floor, as my heart begins to beat as if it was trying to break the bones of my chest.
The career-recruit from 10, the one with the blood-red hair and matching clothes is holding Ophelia’s wriggling body tight, 10’s sword threateningly pressed up against Ophelia’s throat. Tears are running from her eyes, as she tries to speak, but the career-recruit has her free hand pressed tightly up against her mouth, hindering any communication. The career leader from 4, who I believe is named Lynx is the person pressing the claws up against my neck. Whatever happened, something with Kodai’s task must have gone terribly wrong. But I can’t wonder about that now. I can’t wonder about anything but me and Ophelia’s lives.
“Don’t even bother reaching for the bomb. Ophelia’s throat - and your throat for that matter – will be cut before you even reach to sip up the backpack.” He tells me, a vicious smirk covering his face. I just stare at him, trying to keep myself from showing the fear growing within me.
“Now, we want you to fur fill a request from us,” Lynx begins his tone of voice running vicious and still smoothly, “Go back to the beast from 7… Kodai, and tell him we got his girl,” An almost taunting grin spreads on his face as he says the word ‘girl’. “If he wish to see her again, he’ll have to come and get her. Also, should you refuse to tell Kodai this message, or should Kodai refuse to show up, we’ll slit the little girl’s throat. Got that?” I nod my head, and he slowly removes the claws from my throat.
“Run now, or we might change our mind and kill the both of you,” Lynx’s last words to me are yelled, as I leave Ophelia’s side. She wriggles, the muted sounds from her mouth said in desperate tones. But what could we have done? What could I have done? Refusal would have meant the death of both her and me. No matter what I did, it would have gotten us both killed. With those thoughts in mind, I run into the mist, in search of Kodai , a creepy feeling of being like a puzzle piece in a sadistic career game spreading through me.
“He can be here any minute,” Lynx voice breaks the long-lasting silence, yelling from across the cornucopia field. Other than his voice, only the wind’s howl has been heard for quite a while. Ophelia’s screams was once also filling the somber grey atmosphere, driving both me and Lynx nuts. That is, until we ended up stopping a sock in her mouth, to keep her quiet.
Her high pitched voice would keep on yelling thing such as: ‘Don’t do it Kodai’ or ‘stay away, leave me behind’, like the idiot that she is. Would she actually think it was going to help? That it was gonna keep her allies from trying to go get her? He’ll run right into our trap like the brainless beast that he is. She’s an idiot and he’s an idiot. They were probably a good couple. Soon they’ll be a dead couple. Who’s falls in love in an arena with people out to kill you anyway?
I check the battlegrounds yet again. Ophelia’s neatly tied up, her hands and feet pressed together by the strong ropes to prevent any movement. In the cornucopia, only a meter or so away from Ophelia, Lynx is standing, almost hidden beneath the shade of the cornucopia’s dark walls. And in the edges of the earthzone, hiding in a big push behind leaves and branches is me, spying out from under. It’s my job to take care of Kodai – Lynx will be guarding Ophelia and take care of Dyna, in case Dyna decided to go with Kodai. You could almost feel and grab the disappointment within Lynx’s facial expression as he was given the role as guard. Not that I mind, I have been in the shade for far too long. Time for me to get some action.
Almost on cue he comes running out from the mist. Kodai. His multicolored eyes are filled with rage, his whole body running faster than I have ever seen any human run; straight for Ophelia. I step out from the foliage, and almost thank myself for picking a bush close by. A little further away and I wouldn’t have been able to catch up with him.
I elegantly slide between him and his running path, him having to stop quite abruptly to not collide with me and my sword. I lock eyes with him – he knows he won’t be passing me unless he kills me. As I look into his eyes, I feel goose bumps spread down my back. Within his eyes is something is not just anger… something far stronger is looming in there too. An endless, dark hatred. That’s what Kodai feels. Dark fire burns within his eyes, as he lets the whip fly; I graciously dance out of the way. I lash out with my sword, which he avoids before biting out at me, his long sharp fangs at full display. I again lash out with the sword, which he almost avoids. I manage to give him a small cut in his lower left arm but he doesn’t even flinch far too angered to even feel the pain.
And then I hear steel cross other steel. Dyna (I think that’s his name) and Lynx are fighting at the cornucopia, Ophelia lying helplessly at the ground beside them. Dyna’s sword crosses Lynx’s claws, which Lynx parades as easy as breathing. A deep cut within Dyna’s calf sheds crimson tears onto the grass. I must give Dyna credit for being up for returning to the cornucopia with Kodai – His bravery would be touching, had his action not been the same as death-sentencing himself. Lynx won’t lose.
I lash out against Kodai again, slicing with my sword. But this time, Kodai only takes a small step to the side, before raising his arm with the whip. The barbed whip’s long tongue is wrapped around my sword… and then everything goes fast – With a single pull in the whip, Kodai rips my sword out of my hands. Then, with the speed of a mantis, he puts his teeth down into the flesh of the beginning of my throat. For a moment, memories of Fiona’s death flashes past me, as I fall to the ground. I slap my hand onto the wound, a vain attempt to try and keep the blood from flowing out. He’ll kill me now.
I look up suspecting to see Kodai bowed over me, ready to slit my throat with the sharp fangs of his… but he’s not even there. He has already run past me, heading straight for Ophelia and Lynx. As for Dyna, he is lying before Lynx, after having received a deep cut in his remaining calf. He can’t even stand. I guess Dyna will die like me, bleeding out on the cornucopia field as well. Maybe not though… his cuts aren’t as bad as mine, not nearly. Still, he’s bleeding heavily. He’s probably going to die.
We’re just awaiting deaths; just cannons waiting to be fired. But at least we’ll have one last show before we die. As we die on the grass, we watch Lynx and Kodai arise, for one remaining battle.
I don’t waste time. As soon as Lynx leaves the cornucopia side, I begin to crawl over the ground. It’s not easy; the ropes bite my skin with their strengthened bonds, as I creep across the floor inside the cornucopia. But I have to get my arms free so that I can rip out the piece of cloth they gagged me with and the knife lying just one meter away from my reach is perfect for it.
The haste feels like it’s ripping me apart. I can only watch as the boy I love fights my capturer. That’s probably the worst – I would feel much at ease just fighting by his side. Even if that mean that I would die, even if it meant that I would get tortured, bitten to pieces by Lynx’s sharp fangs... Everything is better than this. Just lying here, so useless while Kodai struggles for both his and my own survival.
I look up watching them. A part me just wants to look away, still my eyes are glued to the scene. Kodai has put his chain together a couple of time, turning it into a weird shield of wires which he steadily parades Lynx’s claws. Lynx raises his claw, in a quick uppercut towards Kodai throat. Kodai takes up the mass of whip-wire, catching the blades of Lynx’s long steel claw before kicking away at Lynx’s feet. Lynx evades swiftly, before lashing out towards Kodai’s arms with the claws, cutting a smaller trail of crimson blood as they collide with the flesh of Kodai’s upper arm and I look away quickly.
Just knowing that he is risking his life for mine… possibly giving his life for me makes me feel almost sick of myself. Here I am, lying tied up, far away from battle while the boy I love is standing up the leader of the careers just to protect me. But there’s only one thing I can do. I can rip out my gag and tell him to run. Get away. Kodai’s strong but his speed is his best talent… if he could just escape, leave me behind. But would he even go? What he stays and gets killed because he didn’t want to leave me behind… I couldn’t live with myself… but I can’t think about that now.
I finally reach the knife and with much struggle, manage to get up into a position where I can sit on my knees, the shaft of the knife held between my kneecaps, so that the blade bends upwards. Placing my tied hand on each side of the blade, I drive the rope between my hands onto the knife, slowly cutting the rope away. I look again, I can’t help myself.
The wire shield thing is lying on the ground, both of Lynx’s claws struck deep inside the wire, pierced out through the other end. A bit away from it, are Lynx wrestling on the ground, the dirt flying around them like a sandstorm. Lynx forces Kodai to the ground pinning him deep down, while both of them are holding onto each other arms. Kodai head shoots up, biting Lynx’s shoulder flesh, which switches the balance and they and they roll around yet again. Both of them covered in a red blanket of crimson fluid, both their enemies and their own their jackets ripped to threads.
Finally I feel the ropes bend, as my arms I freed, and my hand shoots up, dragging the icky sock out of my mouth. The ropes on my feet are done much tighter than the hands, but there’s no need to bother with them, as long as I can jump my way. Holding onto the knife I just acquired, I manage to jump my way out of the cornucopia waving with my arms. A panic-filled mixture of desperation and adrenaline fills me from inside, as I hurry out. Tears prickles in my eyes as I try to attempt to save the life of the boy I loved, just like he attempted to safe mine.
“KODAI! “ I yell, my voice hoarse, high-pitched but most of all panicked.
“PLEASE, KODAI RUN!” I yell at the two of them, as I watch them roll around in the dirt, which is now more red than brown. In the distance the red girl of District 10 lies in a pool of her own blood. Dyna is fighting his way upwards; trying to stand on his two deeply cut legs, trying to get away from the hell which is out folding itself. His eyes lock with mine. He sends me a troubled look, as his lips mimic one word: ‘Sorry’. He wants to flee scene; if he doesn’t rest, he’ll bleed out. If he tries to help Kodai or me, that will mean the death of him. I can’t have that.
“DYNA, DON’T STAY, RUN AWAY!” I tell him quickly, hoping that that is enough permission for him, before turning my attention back to Kodai and Lynx. I take a deep breath, ready for another scream.
“KODAI, PLEASE LEAVE! GO! PLEASE!” I cry out as my eyes locks with his for a second. But then, he avoids my glance, staring straight back at the attacking Lynx. A pained grunt is heard as Lynx jaws manages to lock themselves around Kodai’s shoulder, before Kodai shoves him off.
Dyna is slowly trying to move away, guilt painted on his face. Kodai is staying right where he is though, nothing but dark hatred for Lynx within his eyes. Kodai won’t run. I guess I deep inside knew that already. He won’t run as long as I am here… Lynx pins Kodai yet again, this time his arms seems to more easily get freed from Kodai’s… and then another realization hits me. What is hatred against years and years of training restlessly? What is a 14-year-old, slightly mental boy against a robotic trained killing machine?
I know that answer. Kodai won’t win this battle.
And then a quick plan comes to mind. One of those, you don’t even consider. One of those that are worth price you pay – you know it before you even bring the plan to life. A part of me wants to spend more time before this, thinking about it; I am usually not someone who acts without thinking. But the rush of the situation, Kodai’s life, Lynx’s winning arms, my desperation and the adrenaline makes the decision for me. If I am not there anymore, Kodai will have no reason to fight Lynx. And then I can only hope that he runs. Escapes. Kodai won’t leave this battle – not before I am gone.
Win these games… for you and me…
And with that, I take the knife clustered in my hand up to my throat, letting the cold steel collide with my fragile skin, ending my own life.
Kodai, I love you…
The roar is inhumane, almost tearing through skin, and I feel the small soft hair on my arms rise as new strength explodes through from my opponent body, so powerful that even I can seem to sense it. All it took was his pathetic lover to end her life, an ending she already knew was going to happen eventually. The muscles in Kodai’s body tenses as he breaks my grip on his throat, as he rises up from the mud, fighting his way out from my pinning of him. The mud splashes onto the mixture of blood which had colored both of our hides, both of our bodies as he breaks free, escaping the death I was so close to give him.
I pounce toward him, not wanting to let him leave the pool of dirt and blood which had become our own personal arena, but he’s already gone. The kid’s fast, I’ll give him that, as I watch him sprint toward the cornucopia. There she lies, Ophelia the little idiotic weakling who cut open her throat to safe her lover. He kneels beside her, shaking her dead body furiously as if she was only asleep. Odd, almost robotic screeches fills the air – not exactly angry, not exactly sad, just… there, as Kodai tries desperately to get life back into her body, as if he thought he could reverse the cut in her throat.
Getting up, I yank my steel claws out, and walk slowly toward the scene. At least twenty different vicious taunts and comments fill my mind, but I don’t utter a word. Somehow, it’s unfitting. The boy should die, yes. Of course he should, he’s one of my few rivals, one of the few who could possibly challenge my title – and there should only be one beast in this arena. But he shouldn’t be mocked. When I kill, it will be because I was stronger than him; because I am the predator, because I am the victor of these games, and not for any other reason. Still, one sentences does escape my lips as I walk toward the ‘oh-so-heartbreaking’ scene:
“Forget about it. She’s gone and there’s nothing to be done.”
Kodai looks up, hissing at me, but he knows I am right. You can’t revive the dead, no matter what you do. Even if he was to go and win the games, it wouldn’t bring back Ophelia. Just like me winning the games could never bring Hunter back to life. He was shot down and it was because of me just like Ophelia killed herself and it was because of Kodai. And we could never hope to change that, neither of us could. The only thing you can hope for is revenge, which I suppose we both long for now.
As I come nearer, Kodai finally stands up, looking at me. The anger in his eyes is gone, yet the dark hatred lingers along with a new feeling: Emptiness. As if nothing matters. And then, finally listening to what his girlfriend had been yelling for him to do all along, he takes off running away from the scene, away from me and Ophelia, leaving it all behind. I would have chased after him, but I know I wouldn’t have caught up, not when Kodai is that fast; not that matters. I’ll kill him later.
I watch the field, taking in the grotesque scene. Most of the grass is covered in blood from either me, Kodai, his girlfriend, District 13 or Helena. District 13 must have taken off while me and Kodai were fighting because he’s nowhere to be found. Judging from the blood-trail it won’t matter anyway. He should die from blood loss soon. But there’s something odd… Like something is missing but I can’t exactly point out what. There is me, Ophelia’s corpse and Helena’s corp―
The cannon. There’s two deaths but only one cannon… And Ophelia couldn’t possibly be alive…
Sprinting over to Helena, I kneel by her body. Blood has spread from shoulder like a crimson halo around her head, making it unclear exactly where her hair ends and the ground begins. She coughs, barely audible and more blood from her mouth spreads onto her pale skin. She’s practically dead, only barely clinging onto the few threads that hold her life together. Beyond the point where she could possibly be saved… unless, of course you have a…
Almost as if it was made of stone, the little flagon of Instant Relief within my inner pocket seems to weigh double as much. It’s mine; given to me rightfully from the amount of sponsor money I have managed to scrape up. Helena doesn't deserve it, it was her who couldn’t defeat Kodai. She brought this onto herself…
And still, she’s the only member of my pack who has managed to survive; the only career that hasn’t been completely worthless. And technically, she was the first person to go against Kodai… But it’s my instant relief. My sponsors wouldn’t be happy if they saw me give it to her – my mentor would probably even throw his glass of wine against the televisions screen cursing at me for giving my medicine up for my ally. But I am Lynx Striker, dammit. I don’t need to fear my mentor. I don’t need to take directions from him, I don’t need to take directions from anybody in general! F*** my mentor, his dismay would be my pleasure. Helena fought, she has fought for long and if anyone should kill her, it should be me, when we eventually reach top 2. I won’t let the beast from 7 claim her life. He doesn’t deserve another death. Helena has been the only part of my pack who have actually been worth something, who have managed to survive. As this packs leader I should reward it. You can’t revive the death but you can safe the dying. I could never safe Hunter… But I can safe Helena.
And then I press the mouth of the flask filled with the lifesaving instant relief against her almost-cold lips.
The dark slowly draws over the sky, as Day 6 draws to an end. Not much happened today, other than me setting up traps while trying my best to keep away from my creepy ally, Wolf. It’s… odd to determine his intentions. One minute he shares his supplies with me, even though I have my own food. The next, he gets that creepy emotionless expression and tells me to keep away… Maybe I should just have killed him. But how could I, when he just saved my life? Maybe I am being too soft… The sky lights up and the anthem is blast out onto the arena. Wolf and I sit down, staring aimlessly at the sky. I hope Lynx’s up there. Maybe Michael too but… he let me live. But Michael also left me the next morning, which to me is the biggest sign that he really didn’t care for me. That the only reason he spared me was because I didn’t fight back. That only spared me because of him.
First the face of Ophelia appears, the shy girl who never had much to say. I am honestly surprised she lasted this long, though I guess I sort of in a way, empathized with her. Even though I am a career and she isn’t, she’s probably the tribute in the arena that reminds most of me. But I can’t worry about her now. She’s dead and I am not. A person who wants to survive shouldn’t worry about others’ lives or deaths. The next face it’s Janu’s, the poor 12-year-old from 11. I look down. Both of them were some of the most innocent in the arena… they didn’t… deserve to be here. And now they’re both gone… Are we anymore innocent left? Are any of us good-intended, pure hearted? Or were Ophelia and Janu the last people in the arena that shouldn’t be here?
I suppose… I suppose I once thought I wasn’t supposed to be here. But that was before Aranaea… that was before I stalked her around, like a ruthless murder, killing her because she had some supplies I wanted. Maybe this arena is truly the place that I belong in. Maybe I am supposed to be here, just like Michael and Lynx.
I lay my body onto the hard ground, trying to get comfortable lying on a pile of leaves. Wolf lies down as well, in the other end of the camp, which is more than fine with me. I feel goose bumps spread down my spine as his mysterious grey mirror-like eyes stares at me, before he rolls onto his side. I wonder if I will close an eye with him around...
Me and Aranaea. We’re in a dome, in a little circle painted on an empty field. She’s standing there, no bruises on her body, no gaping hole in her face from where my tridents wants pierced through her skull. A trident lies beside my feet, but there are no weapons around her. A little clever smirk is painted across her porcelain face, her red hair prancing around her like a sea of flames. Opening her mouth, she strolls over to me, like a model walking a cat-walk. Her voice speaks softly, silky but it’s not her own voice:
"Lucy, Lucy, Lucy, Lucy... Little, sweet, innocent Lucy… Lucy who volunteered for her sister… but not so innocent anymore… Who would have thought that little sweet Lucy could become such a monster…?” She asks, Claudia’s tone of voice lingering in the air. “Aren’t you gonna kill me now, Lucy? Come on, go ahead, you know you want to end lives. You’re nothing more than that. Do it, Lucy. It’s so easy. I am not even armed.”
I want to scream at her. A mixture of apologizes, of denials, of rage and fear but nothing comes out of my mouth. But it’s as I can’t open my mouth, as if I can’t control my own actions. As if it’s no longer me within my body, it no longer acts on my intentions. Just a puppet, a lifeless robot. Slowly, I pick up the trident, walking over to Aranaea who just smirks at me.
“There you are… That wasn’t that hard, now was it?” She asks me, in a superior tone of voice, like a vile teacher talking to a dimwitted student. I lift up my trident, slamming Aranaea’s body down to the ground, her red hair cascading after her as she falls. My trident tip is places just on her throat, yet she doesn’t move, scream or fight back. Instead she just stares at me, her grey eyes drilling into mine.
And then she changes. Her red hair turns to blonde, her misty grey eyes turns sky blue, her pale skins tans… Until it’s no longer Aranaea lying below my tridents cutting edges, waiting for me to spear it through her throat. It’s my sister… Lily. But I don’t remove my trident. Instead my body presses it through her throa―
“LILY!” I scream, kick, and punch as if I could somehow hope to shake away the nightmare. I open my mouth to scream yet again before feeling a large hand close around my mouth, drowning the sound. My body is pressed tightly toward my silencer and I look up, my eyes meeting with Wolf’s. He holds my arms, and slowly I stop myself from wriggling. No matter how much I kick or punch, I could never erase this nightmare from my memories.
“Shhhh…” He whispers, not unfriendly or commanding, more like soothing a child, “Shhh…” A part of him feels a bit unsure. As if he’s not used to holding someone close, as if he’s not used to trying to calm people down. And yet, he doesn’t move away.
We just sit there for a bit, my body pressed toward his. As I calm down, he slowly removes his hand from my mouth, carefully checking if I am done screaming too. I breath in, deep rapid gasps, like a person who has been in under water for long time, and then suddenly, traitorous tears of terror and despair starts running down my cheeks, my gasps slowly turning to sobs. I try to stop them, I try to keep myself calm but they keep flowing down my cheeks like water on windows. Finally, Wolf breaks the silence, his tone unsure as if he’s not even sure whether he should be uttering the words or not:
“Quintus was… Quintus is one of the tributes that I… I killed him. I… I didn’t mean to, I was just… In shock. He appeared in the mist so quickly, I though he would… try and kill me. But he was unarmed, he was innocent… He didn’t blame me for killing him… He didn’t hate me, he didn’t call me a murderer… He… Helped me. He wanted to help everyone. The poorer districts, the people who starved. And now he’s gone and it’s my fault alone…”
Wolf’s voice finally stops, and for a moment, we just sit there in silence, as tears flow down my face. Even now, Wolf doesn’t cry, but his expression does gives away one emotion, even if he tried to cover it up: Pain.
“… It wasn’t your fault.” I tell him, after a while of loud silence. And then he holds me tighter.
District and Gender
|Michael Kaizer||District 2 Male||5-1||6-1|
|Lucy Perch||District 4 Female||10-1||10-1|
|Lynx Striker||District 4 Male||6-1||7-1|
|Kodai Hitogoroshi||District 7 Male||9-1||11-1|
|Helena Krisp||District 10 Female||9-1||11-1|
|Wolf Fang||District 12 Male||14-1||17-1|
|Dyna Ploson||District 13 Male||18-1||12-1|
Lynx Striker (D4M), Helena Krisp (D10F),
District 4 and 12:
Lucy Perch (D4F), Wolf Fang (D12M),
Michael Kaizer (D2M), Kodai Hitogoroshi (D7M), Dyna Ploson (D13M),
'Day 7 - "That's all these games are, anyway. Just a competetion," ' - Michael Kaizer
The sun slowly creeps its way up from the surface of the earth. Not much of it sunrays slips through, my body screened by the thick fog surrounding me. The Air Zone… This horrid, cold place where Bailey died; killed in her sleep by an unknown assassin with a blowgun… I wonder if they’re still out there. If they are still hunting through the others zones with their lethal darts. Maybe they have taken more lives? Maybe they are sleeping only inches away from me, right now, hidden by their cloak of fog. Or maybe they have joined the rest of them… Ophelia, Bailey, Madoka, Hester, Train… People who didn’t deserve to be in this place, in this horrid arena. Bailey killers did something terrible, though… They didn’t deserve to be sent here either… No one did. Not even Fabian, Fabian who I used to hate. I used to tell myself it was good that he was dead; but I know better now. It’s no good that any of us is dead, no matter what we did before we died.
I try and sit up. The pain cuts through my leg, through the marrow of bones like a thousand of razor-sharp blades, travelling upwards through my body, piercing everything they run into like a knife through butter. On both of my calves, like a little macabre children’s pattern, three deep crimson holes has been cut from where Lynx’s claws slipped through my flesh. The crimson liquid has spread like wings from my body, as I slept. It spreads like a red blanket across my legs.
I know I’ll die… I can’t possibly live through this, not when I lost this much blood. That will be my fate, unless of course someone come and kill me before the blood loss does, and then there’s only Kodai left. He will have to win this… for all of us. But mostly for Ophelia. She not only gave her life for Kodai, she gave her life for me too… Had she not told me to run… had she not committed suicide…? I probably wouldn’t be alive. Kodai wouldn’t either. She gave herself to safe both of us… And though her sacrifice for me was in vain, how could I ever hope to repay what she did? How could me, or Kodai or anyone hope to repay for anything that she did when Ophelia’s now locked in a coffin on the way to District 6? That’s probably the worst about it… Not only is she… gone but… All know that we will never be able to repay her, never be able to thank her… we weren’t even able to say goodbye…
A noise takes me out of my thoughts. I know the sound, it’s not a dangerous noise, but what is it… My brain searches for the answer, trying to ignore the burning flames of pain in my wounds when finally I realize what I am hearing. I am hearing the beeping noise that a parachute makes when sponsors sends you items.
The silver container lands right next to me, to which I thank my sponsor for placing so precisely. I wonder if I would have been able to get it, had it dropped just 20 meters away… Maybe but… Just trying to crawl over the platform would feel like getting stabbed by Lynx’s long claws all over again… and the amount of blood I would lose in the process; I would probably have died.
Opening the silver container, a little pale flask is lying safely stored inside it. On the sticker slapped onto the flask is with big blog letters written: ‘INSTANT RELIEF’. It feels as if a stone drops from my heart. As if just by looking at the little flask of miracle is enough to make the pain go away. If you watch a couple of Hunger Games, you’ll know what these little bottles of life are able to do. Tributes with gaping wounds in their chest has drunken these and lived… But usually only careers are receiving them…
“Thank you,” I whisper slowly to the sky, to my mentor who somehow scraped up enough money for this; enough money to safe my life. Taking off the lid, a yellow gooey nectar-like liquid is revealed. Taking the flask up to my lips, I drink the juice in one big swig; it smells fowl and tastes worse but that hardly matters as I can feel that warm energy of recover spread in second, the pain waves of pain washed away.
I slowly get to my feet; the wounds don’t bleed, though they hurt a little, but nothing compared to before. Tomorrow I probably won’t feel a thing… If there’s a tomorrow for me, that is.
And with that in mind, I head out in search of Kodai.
The morning sun slowly washes the night mist on the cornucopia field away, as if preparing for new battles, new baths of blood. The top 7… It’s all so close, I can almost smell the blood of the last prey within these games. We are so close to victory… Or rather… I am so close victory. Because after today, there will no longer be any “we”.
I steal a glance over at Helena, who is sleeping on a makeshift bed that I made out of empty food containers and extra arena wear. Her red hair spills onto the ground almost like a waterfall of blood, forecasting the theme of the coming days in the arena. Her eyes are closed, in pleasant calm sleep and the wound within her shoulder is healed completely.
A part of me still wonders why… Why did I use my instant relief on her? Especially now, when I am leaving the cornucopia, leaving my ally behind. I suppose some people would call it a waste… But a part me just felt… she deserved it. She managed to survive, she earned her spot among the careers, instead of people such as Claudia, Hester and Dior, weakling who were only good for giving the Capitol some comedic relief with their stupidity. But Helena managed to survive and she even gave the capitol quite the show when we killed that Ella, the career who decided not to be a career. She deserved to die…
… Quite a lot of people left the careers; Lucy, Michael, Ella… And only one of them has died yet. One could argue that it’s embarrassing for us, that they’re still alive but… To me, it’s just victims, just prey which will eventually be hunted when the predator catches their scent. They can run and hide but eventually, they will be hunted down, found in the corners of that they creep in. And when I find them, the show I put on is gonna be spectacular. Better than Fiona’s death, better than Ella’s death. Especially Lucy.
Slowly I get up from the damp grass on the inside of the cornucopia, looking through the pile of supplies for some useful stuff before I leave. It won’t matter what I take, there’s enough for Helena anyways. I wouldn’t want her to have fewer supplies than me. She should have the same odds at me, the same chances of winning when we leave this place. On equal footing, I suppose, so that one day, when we fight each other the battle will not be won by the one with the most supplies; it will strongest. And I will be the strongest, I have to be. That’s who I am and when I stare at Lucy’s and Michael’s and Kodai’s and Helena’s faces up on that night sky, I will know that I am the strongest. That I am the victor.
As quietly as possible I fish out a chunk of uncooked pork which should probably be able to last me a couple of days for food. I retrieve a canteen of water, and of course my trusty steel claws, still red from Kodai’s and my own blood, a decoration which hopefully will remain there until I leave this arena, dead or alive. If I am lucky, there’ll be new blood on the claws. New lives that has been ended by them.
I set out ready to leave my ally behind; ready to leave my alliance, the few spares of my lynx-pack behind. I can’t say I will miss her greatly. I can’t say it pains me to leave her behind… but if I somehow don’t make it, don’t win these games… I hope she’ll win. She deserves it.
“You’re leaving,” I freeze by the sudden sound, spinning back. Helena hasn’t moved an inch, still lying in the same position that I checked on her in, yet her dark red blood eyes stares intensely into mine.
“Don’t worry, I won’t stop you. It’s time to break up anyways, no reason to stay,” She says, trailing off. I keep silent; I was never really a genius when it came to words and speech and especially not goodbyes. She continues:
“I just want to… thank you, I suppose. For giving me the instant relief. You didn’t need to do that, you didn’t have to…”
“You deserved it,” I tell her shortly, cutting her off before she begins rambling about how it was rightfully my sponsor gifts, that she shouldn’t have used it. “You lived beyond all of them… all of the pitiful creatures that called themselves careers… as the leader of the pack, I rewarded you for that.”
“I suppose that would make me beta of the pack?” She asks, sending me something that could remind of a smirk.
“I suppose it does,” I tell her. An odd silence spreads between us. Somehow, for us, it’s easier to say goodbye without words; without saying anything, just staring at each other. For a while, we just stand there. Then finally as I turn to walk, Helena speaks again:
“I’ll burn the supplies here when I leave… I’ll see you in the final two,”
I send her one long glance before replying, “See you there… there, or in death,”
And then, with no more words, I slip off into the mass of trees surrounding the earth zone.
The sun brushes lightly against my skin, as if to nudge me awake. The heat is so intense, it feels like we have been locked inside an oven, but the rocks provide a nice cover, and should make it easy to set traps up; you can’t risk anything, no ambushes or sudden encounters. Not this late in the games.
I feel the soft movement of Lucy’s chest rising of and down against my back. When we were still lying in the in the earth zone, when Lucy screamed… We huddle together for warmth and comfort back to back against each other. Nothing romantic between us,… Or I at least that’s what I think. I am not exactly sure. Using five years surviving under the green shielding treetops of the forests of 12 doesn’t exactly make you an expert when it comes to girls… or just people in general.
It’s odd… suddenly having someone around you, someone you actually trust… or think you trust. It’s been so long since I have been around people… Would I even be able to recognize the feeling of trust if I felt it? I am not sure if I would be able to feel any kind of emotion linked with another person, other than fear. After my parents died, that was the only thing to feel. Fear. Fear of being yelled at in public, getting stared at, or even getting punched while the people would tell me that I deserved it. That and much worse. I suppose that’s why I am like this… It just feels… so much safer when you’re alone. No one can hurt you, say anything, do anything. You’re safe.
I am not sure what I would prefer now, though… to be alone, or to be in an alliance with Lucy. Lucy wasn't like the others; she hasn't called me anything, or done anything to me. She even saved me… and I don’t… I don’t want to be alone this close to the end but… What if I somehow kill Lucy the same way I killed my parents? Could I live with myself if anything where to happen to her? If it was my fault? The others, the people back in 12, they always told me it was my fault. I was a murderer, a devil’s child; a bringer of death who killed their loved ones. What if I kill Lucy too…?
Slowly, I move away from Lucy’s sleeping body. Her blonde hair, set up in messy pigtails covers her head like a thin web, and yet it’s still easy to see the soft features of her face, painted with the calmness of her sleep. If I really do kill her then… I would be a monster, an evil creature with no heart; A Devil’s child.
Walking away from Lucy’s sleeping body I slice some pieces of my bread, preparing breakfast. Cautiously approaching Lucy, I quickly put a hand on her shoulder before yanking it away again. As if just the act of me touching her shoulder could harm her in some way, make her crumble together like broken ice. Her blue eyes slowly open, looking into mine. A smile breaks onto her lips when her glance finds the slices of bread in my hands and she grabs it, eagerly. Again, I drag away myself away from her and begin to set up more traps around our campsite.
I can protect her. I can do my best to make sure she survives. But I’ll have to be careful. Careful that I don’t kill her myself, that she doesn't suffer the same fate as my parents. I don’t… I don’t want to be a monster.
The forest floor trails away under my careful feet like a stream of twigs, leaves, rocks and roots. I gave up running long time ago, deeming the method too noisy. A predator can’t survive solely by the speed of their movement. Sometimes, it’s better with an ambush.
But it’s not the air zone; the air zone is quiet, with no hiding place, only the veil of camouflage, created by the fog. Still, I strive to be here, in the wilds. I suppose a part of it reminds me of home. Don’t get me wrong, I liked District 4, but where it was safe and comfortable there, it was just never home for me. It’s a bit weird, I suppose. How one can prefer a cave full of animals over a home in a village. But there’s a part of me which will always belong to the wild, the side of me that is only a beast. And that side will never be at home within safe house walls; only under the leaved crowns of the sky-reaching trees.
And then I hear it… something, in the bushes just near me, brushing its body against the surrounding leaves, moving quickly, probably unaware of the presence of death lingering. Closing my eyes, I listen for the noise, as it’s moving closer, rustling the leaves as if to point out it’s there, as if to give its position away to the killers, like it had a death-wish. Stupid creature. Mental images of the Lynx I once called my family, slowly appears in my mind. When the prey came running like this, they would crouch down just waiting for the right moments, their jaws hanging open in anticipation. These were the easy meals, the foolish ones who forget to fear death; forget that their life could end any seconds, forget that predators are always to be feared.
It crashed out from the bushes in one swift movement. Had it been any other person than him, I would have pounced directly, ending its life in the blink of an eye. But as I look into the multicolored eyes of Kodai, the beast I fought only a day ago, the prey who escaped me, I can’t help but freeze, even if just for a second. I suppose that’s the best. I want to kill him without that surprise moment. I want to kill him, solely by my skill and nothing else. Kodai has his whip in his hand, clustering it but he knows we’re too close for it to do any real damage. Instead he drops the whip, letting it fall from his hands, onto the forest’s leaved floor. I send him a challenging look, before doing the same with my steel claws, spearing them through the earth, leaving them there. I don’t need them to win this battle and it’s better this way. No advantages, no fancy weapons, just a battle of strength.
He’s frozen as well, if only for a moment. Just standing there, just for that second before he realizes it’s me. Something changes. His face doesn’t change, a muscle doesn’t move and yet, it’s as if shadows paint fall over his face, his eyes and mind filled with thick, dark hatred. Loud, thundering silence spread in the clearing in a split second, as the beasts, the two predators size each other up. No roars, no cheers, no sudden noises. Even the birds seem to have stop singing.
And then he jumps, leaping across the ground in one quick, strengthened movement. Sliding back on my feet, I avoid his wild pounce, locking myself in a power-struggle with him, both of us trying to get the other one down to the ground, using the strength our entire bodies. The kid’s strong, I’ll give him that; if he wasn’t he would be dead already. For a moment, I feel grateful for the times I fought with the cubs back in the woods; he sneers, growls and hisses as he tries to force me down, and yet none of us seem to get anywhere.
Sending my leg upwards, my knee connects with stomach, and a howl of pain escapes Kodai’s lips; his body doesn’t even flinch. The wild look in his eyes is enough; the pain doesn’t matter to him. All that matters for him is what happened to his little girlfriend. But I have beaten Kodai once before, I have taken him down. Had his little damsel not interfered, I would have ended this. I was so close, but I can still make up for it. I can end it, just like I would have before… Slowly, I let the feeling fill me. The rage. This prey escaped me, not because he was stronger, but because of another puny prey’s interference. His life was rightfully mine to claim, his death is rightfully mine to bring and I have been cheated for it. But I can take it again. Take back what is mine.
“It's too bad your girlfriend isn’t here to cut up her throat, isn’t it?”
The hissing comment escape my lips before I even think clearly about it, in the heat of the battle as we struggle. Kodai roars before snapping out with his teeth in an attempt to rip off the skin on my throat, but my arms forces his jaws away, and he only bites into the air. The rage flows out into my muscles, a battle-rush of energy that flows into my veins as I press us both down toward to ground, trying to pin him. Kodai jaw is pressed against my wrist as I force him downwards, and his teeth are pressed deep into my skin. Blood flows down my arm in a steady stream spilling onto the ground but I can’t even feel the pain anymore. There’s no pain, there’s no fear, no threat; just the rush of battle, the thrill a worthy opponent and the rage.
Slowly, I pin him down, as he struggles for escape. His fingers almost claws their way into my skin, causing more blood to flow, as they try and break my grab but to no avail. He turns rapidly and for a moment breaks out before I force him down again. Slowly, I open my mouth, revealing my fangs as I go in for the kill. When it’s a hand-to-hand fight, that’s the only way to finish it quickly. Not that it bother me… I’ll enjoy killing Kodai the most.
In the blink of an eye, he manages to get his one hand free from my grab, and then I feel a sudden pain against my shoulder. Something must have broken the shoulder blade probably. I can’t help but howl out in pain. Between his blood-painted, Kodai is clustering a large rock and once again, I feel a new wave of anger consume me.
“So you wanna play that way, I see,” I tell him, more hissing anything. Then, mustering up my strength, I use my free arm to make my elbow collide with Kodai’s chin, in one swift uppercut, using a bent knee to pin Kodai’s arm, that is still clustering the rock. I snap my head downwards yet again, but Kodai muster up strength enough to just roll over, breaking my pinning of him and forcing me to drop that plan, unless I want his fangs to pierce my throat as well.
And then I see them. Right before me, above and beyond Kodai’s reach, are my own two steel claw, pierced through the lifeless earth. I only have one try. In one reckless attempt I throw myself to the side, toward the claws. Kodai, oblivious in his own rage, pounces again, and I feel his body press mine downward as he pins me. He lowers his jaws in one last attempt to cut my throat but it matters not as my fingers lock around the end of one of my steel claws. And then, in one quick, rushed and inaccurate movement, I pierce the steel claw through Kodai’s back and all the way out through his stomach, the five grey tips appearing through the crimson mess.
We both freeze as if the inferno that burned in both of us dies as quickly as it was lit. Pushing Kodai off me, I hear his fainted gasps for air. He sits on his knees, just staring at the five metal tips that are stuck, pierced through him. He just sits there. No more anger in his eyes, no more hatred or darkness. Just a blank expression, as if he felt nothing at all. I just stare at him, listening to the faint breath of the dead prey. The cannon will sound any minute. I breathe out, that weird feeling of being finished filling me. I claimed the death. I took back what was mine, made it clear that I was the beast of these games… I am done here, no more left-over-business. He’s dead.
And then… something happens. And it happens so fast, with such speed and so unexpected that I can't react. In one movement, Kodai's hands fly through the air, seeming to move at the speed of light itself, Kodai rips out the claws through his body and pierces them through my chest. I don’t even reach to react before the blood is spilling out of my chest. The amount of pain he felt ripping the claws out must have been enough to destroy one’s mind and sanity, but nonetheless, Kodai’s face remains expression as he stares into my eyes. He doesn’t even seem to be in pain, though the five crimson holes pierced through his stomach are bleeding rapidly.
Training, weapon skills, the rush of battle, and the lust to claim deaths… that’s good. But what is it against the mind consuming wrath and the darkest, life-piercing hatred…? Not much, I suppose.
And though… The pain of dying would be nothing compared to consuming pain, the burden of that wrath, of that hatred that was within Kodai’s eyes moments ago. It’s still there, even if he doesn’t show it. That pain won’t go away. The burden can only be lifted when his heart stops beating… I suppose I truly am the one with the better fate. He won the battle… But who’s really the victor?
And he just stares expressionless into my eyes. There’s not satisfaction painted onto his face and no mocking comment escapes his lips. But I send him a knowing smirk. I know which one of us has hurt the other the most. I know who became the victor in the duel of the beasts.
One would think I would get used to the heat after spending so much time drenched in it. One would think that somehow, your body would get used to the inferno otherwise known as ‘The Fire Zone’. And yet, it still feels like the inside of a furnace, walking around in this wasteland of mountains and rocks. But it’s nice easy to hunt there if you’re strong. If you have trained, if you’re used to physical labor, your body should handle it, but for a weaker foe, it’ll drain them, empty then and then you can move in for the kill.
One might call it a cheap move, but I wouldn’t. After all, I was the one who was insightful enough train before being put into the arena; I was the one who thought to prepare for myself for these games. And so could any other tribute, if they just have the brains to do. I suppose the poorer districts don’t have academies but it wouldn’t kill anyone to go for a run every now and again. But somehow, people would rather close their eyes and hope for the best when the reaping comes around, instead of actually stepping up and doing something for their own survival. That’s not my fault though. It’s just them being unprepared… and paying the price for it.
The people from the outlying districts talk about how training to become a career is unfair. How the rich people from 1, 2, and 4 mercilessly slaughter their children who could never hope to defend themselves. That we enjoy murder and that we are monsters. But really, The Hunger Games are all just a competition. The consequences of are quite… severe, but nonetheless, it’s just a show of your skills. Anyone could be a career, regardless of their background. Training with wooden sticks, track running, weight lifting. I am sure of them could find a book about survival skills or something. Anyone could earn these skills, if they wanted to, and show them off in front of the entire Panem. Anyone could be, or Lynx, or Lucy and it shouldn’t be my fault or responsibility that people get reaped. I just volunteered to show off my skills. Granted, I show off these skills by killing them, but I never decided that I should kill that person in particular. I didn’t draw their name from that glass bowl.
Something is heard. The sound is odd, like something, probably a rock rolling over the dry ground; the sound is faint but it’s definitely there. Then, panicked loud footsteps away from me. I look to my right and see two blonde messy pigtails billow in the wind, as their owner runs for her life, trying to get back to whatever safety she had before. I know who that girl is, of course. Lucy, that once was only the pathetic girl, who crumbled together awaiting the fate brought by my sword tip; the girl who was too pathetic to kill. But it’s different now. Now she’s running, and she’s running fast. She’s a survivor, a semi-finalist of this tournament, and worth of bringing to death. And she’s without her ally… I chase after her...
I am almost there. It took a while, Lucy’s definitely a good runner (not that I would expect any less than that from a career) but finally, I am almost there. Lucy knows it as well, yet she doesn’t stop nor yell, she just keeps on running, as if she couldn’t do anything else. Just an arm’s length from me.
I stretch my arm reaching out for the pigtails that are billowing from her hair and I hear her yelp in panic as we run. If I could just grab a junk of her hair, I could put an end to this chase and―
Suddenly, it’s as if my feet get wiped off the ground by some invisible force and suddenly, my entire body faces down toward the ground. Pain spreads through my body on impact, and I take my hands up, rubbing my eyes free of dirt. Looking up, I see my left foot entangled in a mess of ropes. Lucy is before me, her trident now drawn as she walks toward me slowly. The weapon shakes in her hand, her breath rapidly from running. Her eyes shine with panic. She places the tip on the trident on my chest, keeping a safe distance from my fallen body. I close my eyes, and yet, nothing happens. Opening my eyes again, Lucy stands as if frozen, the trident shaking in her hands, a troubled look on her face.
“Do it,” I tell her, and she almost flinches on impact. “I am not like you; I am not weak. I don’t want anyone to safe me. If I couldn’t safe myself, that’s my own fault and I am willing to pay the damned price for it. So just do it. “
Sweat runs down her face, and suddenly, another tribute, probably her ally, Wolf, approaches, running. He must have heard us from somewhere.
“Just keep the trident there so he can’t get up,” Wolf says, coldly. Lucy looks upon, panicked and troubled, almost as if she was about to cry out in doubt. “I’ll just end it, so you don’t have to,” He tells her reassuringly. I glare at the new comer, and then at Lucy. Who does he think he is?
“No. She has to do it. I am not going to die, killed by a person who didn’t deserve to have my death on their hands,” I snare at both of them. Wolf sends me a disgusted look.
“Is that all it to you? A matter of who deserves the kills? That killing is somehow something you can make yourself deserve? As if killing is… a prize, for good work? Is that… really all killing is to you?” He asks, a cold emotionless gleam shines from his eyes.
“That’s what I was made for. What I was brought up to think. That’s all these games are anyway. Just a competition,”
Wolf remains silent, his face slowly filling with anger. “You’re gonna die by those words…” he hisses at me, even making Lucy shiver; she’s still holding the trident toward my chest, a fearful expression painted on her face as Wolf begins to walk towards us.
“No.” Lucy finally speaks, her voice slightly shaky, and yet with a determinate feel to it. “I have to be the one killing him, Wolf. I have to this… But not because I deserve to get to kill him… I just… have to do it because… I can’t afford to be weak anymore. I need to end what I started,” Wolf stops in his steps, and look at Lucy, his face in a weird mixture of the anger he felt toward me and the concern he obviously feels toward Lucy. Lucy lowers her gaze from Wolf, back to my eyes. The trident is still shivering in her shaking fingers, yet a determined look covers her face.
“But I am not like you, and you’re not like me. You’re strong but you’re cold… I might not be strong but I… I can show I am not weak. And I can do that without feeling like I deserve to kill. No one deserves to kill anyone… No one deserves to die… The kills are just… surviving. And it’s wrong and terrible but it’s just… what we have to do.”
I don’t even reach to respond, before she pierces the trident through my chest. BOOM!
The trees crowns of green light leaves create soothing music of rattles and a nice screening from the sun. It feels like ages since I last was here, since I saw Claudia cut out the unfortunate tribute from 13, how Claudia had carved two crimson holes with her blade, where 13’s blue eyes once were. It feels like ages ago. And now they both are gone… Gone with Hester too, and Ella and Fiona and Dior. Even Lynx is gone… though not dead, hopefully.
Somehow even though we did split… I don’t want him dead. I… I am not sure why, he made it pretty clear that he wanted to kill me. Still, spending all those nights sitting up and staying guard for one another, the conversations we had together because there just were no one else to talk to, and the feeling of being with someone who would protect you in battle. I suppose you would build some bond with them. Lynx would always act rough and leader-like toward me, toward all of the careers, but cameras has been rolling all along. Some of it must have been an act… How much? I don’t exactly know. But I still think he thought alright of me… I mean, he saved me, didn’t he? That’s gotta me something…
And now I am here, all on my own. No Lynx to safe me in a heated battle, no one to guard me while I sleep. I can’t give up, though, not now. My family is waiting for me at home… November and Bessy. They thought I was dead once, killed in an explosion. They wept when they found me to be still alive, the tears of happiness running down their cheeks. I think that was when I really realized how much they loved me. That I meant as much to them as they meant to me. Could I really… Could I bring that sadness, that grief of my death upon them again? I can’t let that happen. I mustn’t. I have to get back to them, to both of them. And I have to do that, with or without the careers to back me up.
I wonder if they thought I would make it this. I saw the glances that Dior and Claudia sent me when I first joined the group. Just a girl from District 10, nothing special or anything… I wish they could see me now, at the edge of the finale of the games. I wish I could have proven to them that I was more than ‘just a girl’. But I suppose I already did prove I was better than them. I prove that the moment they died. I am more fit to survive than they were and no matter how many kills they made, or how many tributes they intimidated, I am alive and they’re not; that will have to be enough for me.
I brush a couple of ferns covering the entrance to a glade away, returning to reality. The glade comes becomes unveiled, but I just stand there, eyes widened as I try and grasp the macabre situation just before me: The glade is more red than green, covered in scarlet tears of blood. Plants have been ripped off; low hanging branches has had their necks broken. And in the middle of the mess lies two bodies, both of them I know well. The blonde hair makes it clear who one of them is. Lynx is just lying there, in the middle of it all, staring up in the sky with empty, thoughtless eyes. Not long from lies yet another tribute, his blue and multicolored creepy eyes, wide open and staring at me, a cold and hateful stare. Yet he doesn’t get up, probably due to five smaller, yet severe wounds painted on his stomach. I let out a low hiss as I take it all in.
“I suppose it’s quite easy to see what happened here…” I say, awkwardly and haltingly. Kodai doesn’t even react, just keep on hissing. “Look I… I am not gonna do anything to you, okay? So stop the hissing, you’re tiring yourself out,” I tell him, almost a bit tiredly. He looks at me, glaring suspiciously, remaining silent, though his thoughts easy to read.
“No, you can’t trust me, I know. But you don’t have much choice, so you will have to take my word for it. I am not going kill you. It’s easy to assume that Lynx gave you that wound and if you die from it, then that’s Lynx death to claim. He should have that last honor, killing his own murderer. So I am not gonna do anything to you…” Kodai slowly stops hissing, yet his scowl remains. Not that I blame him… I would expect much else from him, after what we did to him… to his girl… Ophelia, I think that was her name.
A weird feeling spreads within me. What is this…? It’s pain but not pain, it’s heavy and makes you want to try and spit, try and get rid of it. It takes me a moment to realize what I feel is… guilt. The feeling of guilt wraps it decisive way around my heart and I find myself muttering a bad word. I am a career, I not supposed to feel guilt and yet… watching Kodai lying like that, knowing what we, me and Lynx did to him…
“Look, I… If you want me to, then I can kill you. If the pain is… too great…” Kodai looks up at me, still scowling. He shakes his head vividly, his eyes almost speaking for him ‘I am not giving up. Not yet’. And how could he? How could he let himself die like that, die when Ophelia killed herself so that he could life? He’s gonna live with the pain for as a long as possible, until his last breath. Even if he wins these games, he’ll bear the pain. He’ll do it because she wanted him do that. He’ll live because she wanted him to live.
“About Ophelia… I…” I pause as something in his expression changes. From just a scowl, to hateful glare, almost rage. He would kill me, most likely, had he not had the wound that kept him from moving. To him, I am just a cruel creature who made the person he loved sacrifice herself for him. Me speaking her would almost be like an insult, I suppose… I have to say something, don’t I…?
“I never meant for her to make that sacrifice… I followed Lynx’s lead, though I doubt Lynx meant for her to do that as well. He wanted to let her go, let her flee the scene, after the act was done. I didn’t know why before, but now I think I might know. Lynx was ruthless but he wasn’t evil. I think… I think Lynx wanted to think he was evil, to make the Capitol pleased but… I don’t think he really was that cruel. I think Lynx knew the feeling of loss, just as well as you do now. He wanted Ophelia to live, after he had killed you. None of wanted her to kill herself. None of us wanted you to witness what she did. The Games… they just get to you, I suppose. I am sorry for the pain you suffered. I am sorry for your loss.” Nothing in Kodai’s expression changes. No emotions at all, nothing.
“Can I… Say goodbye to him?” I ask him softly, while pointing at Lynx body. It would be nice to be able to go near my fallen ally without fearing Kodai’s jaws piercing through the skin of my neck once more. Kodai makes just the tiniest bit of nod and I near the body, slowly.
It’s weird… Even with the five wounds in his bleeding body, it just feels… odd, that he would die. You almost expect him to sit up again, unharmed and ready to fight. But of course he doesn’t… he gone. I feel a chill, running down my neck, down my back where it stops. “Now I know the feeling of loss too…” I whisper softly, while letting my hands softly touch the wounds at his chest. He was my leader, he was my friend’s leader and now he’s dead. Even with all the vile things he said, it did… I suppose it felt like he cared for us, to some extent. We were his pack, looking out for one another. He saved me, and I am still alive and he’s dead. Even if he told me those things, that he was the strongest, that he wanted to see me in the top two and to fight me… I suppose I still admired him, maybe even liked him… I think… I don’t know. It’s hard to know anything in these games. But I did admire him.
Drying my finger from the blood of Lynx wounds, I let my hand run over my face, smearing the blood of my dead ally out on it. Those crimson tears of blood would be the only tears he would have allowed me to shed, so they’ll be the only tears I shed for him. Then, a flash appears within my mind and pictures of a silver veil falling from the sky, the sponsor gift Lynx had received that morning are seen. He got a gift… Searching the pockets of his arena jacket, I retrieve the instant relief… Or what’s left of it. The bottle was broken by the claws, pierced right through. Most of the liquid had is wastefully splattered out on Lynx’s clothes, not able to do a thing. Only drops are left in the poor remains of the yellow container.
“I don’t need this. You can have the last drops of the medicine. It won’t be enough to safe you, but it might just prolong your life a little longer… I am not sure, though. I am a killer, not a healer,” Kodai looks at me, confused and suspicious, but mostly confused. “Take it as an apology gift, I suppose. For Ophelia. And maybe as a thanks for letting me say goodbye to Lynx. Then we’re quit, okay? No more apologizing, no more talk about losses and grief,” I don’t wait for an answer, putting the remains of the container down beside Kodai. Walking back to Lynx, I slowly close his eyelids with my fingers, sending him one last smirk.
“I’ll see you in death but hopefully not too soon,” I tell him, as a last comment. And then I leave the glade, feeling a weird sense of being finished… of being done.
The camp is quiet. That’s not exactly any different from how it’s been in camp the last couple of days, Wolf isn’t much the talker and I don’t have much to say but… this silence in different. Thicker. Heavier. Like a hand pressing down on both of us. The heat doesn’t exactly help things either. The sun isn’t burning, the grey clouds are above us, and yet, the heat remains. How could someone hope to be here for more than a couple of days without being driven insane? And if that doesn’t get you, the hydration would. Though, I would endure this heat, if it would make this weird, almost chocking silence go away… But we have to suffer both.
Wolf’s sitting in one end of the camp, distantly moving a robe between his hands, making various knots. He doesn’t really focus on it though, I know that much; he has that… blank, cold expression on his face, that mask I see slip on and off depending on the situation. It’s like he insists on showing the least emotions when there’s most to be shown.
It’s not hard to figure out why, though. Ever since I drove a trident through Michael’s chest, he has been as silent as death, my brief sentences being the only speech to fill the air cold between us. Eventually, I gave up on speaking as well. I wonder why he would offer to kill Michael… I am not in any doubt that he wanted to do it for my sake… to spare me from doing it. As if he would rather let himself be a murderer than me. I suppose it could be just out of kindness but… I don’t know, just by the expression on his face when he told me he would do it. There’s something sticking beneath, even if I don’t know what it is. It’s hard to know for sure, with people like Wolf, but it was more than just him attempting to ‘be nice’.
Then he almost speaks as if he had read my mind: “You should have let me kill him,”
I meet his grey eyes, speaking the question that was just repeating within my head, “Why?”
His eyes breaks away from mine, straying onto the rocks on the ground, his teeth biting his lip gently. “Because it wouldn’t have mattered to me, if I had killed him,” he finally says, cryptically. He sends me a look making it clear the conversation is over but I purposely decide to ignore it.
“Why wouldn’t it have mattered?” I press on, cautiously. I want to find out but a part of me knows I won’t like the answer. Another part of me just feels guilty for questioning him.
“It’s none of your business.” He states, repeating the words he says yesterday regarding Quintus; cold emotionless, almost threatening. Though, this time it’s different; I am not scared… or at least as scared as I was before.
“It’s my business now. You were the one to speak,”
He glares at me, almost hissing, “Let it go,”
He stands up from his sitting position, tossing the rope aside. I follow his lead, trying not to look scared. Darkness seems to mask, the expressionless mask gone. It’s another feeling in him now, things he can’t mask. Hate? Pain? Anger? I can’t know… All I know is there’s darkness.
Sending me an almost sickeningly frightening smirk, he looks at me with disdain, down staring me.
“It doesn’t matter because I am already a murderer. What does a little more blood matter when your hands are already covered in it?” He asks, his tone being far from his normal deep, quiet but reassuring voice. The smirk on his face disappears as quickly as it appeared and I am left wondering whether that was yet another mask or not.
I just stand there, emptied for words just for a moment. Then mustering up courage, I speak again, this time finding it harder to hide my fear. I am on unsteady ground and I know it. But I have to speak.
“Wolf, I told you, the thing with Quintus, it wasn’t your fault, you were trying to survi―”
“This is not about Quintus. It’s not about any tribute.”
Silence. Silence and nothing else. I try to grab the thoughts within my mind, try to them down with words but they seem to slip out of my grasps before I really get a chance to speak. Instead I just get questions. What do you say in these situations? What do you do?
And most of all… Is my life in danger? Did I go too far to turn back?
Instead, it’s Wolf who breaks the stillness. “I should go… and so should you. It’s time anyways, we’re in top five… If I don’t leave now, I might as well just go ahead and kill you right now…” He slowly walks away from me, gathering the food which his sponsor sent him and his chained sickle as well.
Should I speak? I want to. But I am not even sure what to say. He told me I should go but… I don’t want to follow his lead, I wanna speak for myself. And yet, he could kill me. He could kill me at any point if I said something he didn’t want me to say. Or would he? Would he really murder his own ally? Are we even allies anymore? Would it matter to him if he killed me? Would my blood just be extra drops on his already crimson hands? Would I be able to defend myself if we fought? Maybe I shouldn’t speak; maybe I should just shut up and do as I am told. Leave. But I might never get the chance to speak again, if I don’t do it now…
The words are spoken before I really think about them: “I am not going anywhere,” “Well, I am,” he just says, as he picks his stuff up, coldly and with no emotion. The darkness is gone and the mask on.
“I won’t let you go… You can’t just s-say things like that and expect me not to want any answers,” I tell him, trying to sound confident. It doesn’t work very well, I stammered and stumbled across the words but I said them. I am afraid but I have to do this. And if it causes me to fight Wolf, then so be it. I am not leaving him without any of my questions answered; if they aren’t answered now, they’ll questions. And if Wolf dies, I’ll never know what happened to him. To the only ally that I have actually trusted.
“If you don’t go, I’ll just kill you,” He tells me, the emotions in his tone unidentifiable.
“I… I don’t think you will,” I tell him, carefully looking for any signs of him getting ready for combat. I am not sure if it’s true but… somehow, I have the feeling that he wouldn’t that; wouldn’t kill me, even if he wanted himself to do it. Even if he said he would. Wolf just looks at me. No anger, nor agreement.
I take a deep breath, trying to calm myself. “Wolf, I really don’t think you would murder anyone. What ever happened before… I don’t think it was your fault, don’t feel guil―“
“Don’t f**king talk to me about guilt!” He snaps at me, his expressionless face replaced with one of anger. I find myself tightening the grip around my trident, fearing the worst. “My parents were killed, my mother raped while I watched on and they only killed them because of me. Because of my own stupid actions, a stupid prank I thought would be fun to pull off, my parents were murdered brutally. So go ahead, tell me that’s not my fault but I am don’t want your concerned comments. They don’t matter, I know you’re wrong. I am a murderer, that’s all I have ever been. Now go away before I hurt you.” In an angry, rushed action he throws the chained sickle away from himself, letting it pierce the ground. He just stands there, staring downwards. I am insane. I must be the most insane person in the arena, more than Helena with her blood hair. I think any rational being would have gone on the run long time ago. And he gave me my answer. I don’t need to stay anymore. And yet now, as he just stands there, staring into the ground, I think it has occurred to me just how… broken, he is. How can I not speak to him? He shared his food, he prevented me from starving he saved my life and now he needs someone. Even if every part of his being tells him that he doesn’t.
Do I really think Wolf would hurt me? He’s twisted, he’s weird and a loner but a murderer? I am not sure but… Even if he tells me that he would, I don’t think he will. He wants to believe that about himself, wants to believe he would hurt me. A part of him wants to be a murderer, though I have no idea why that is. But even with that… I don’t think Wolf would do it.
I look up, expecting him to say more, and yet his face just stares at the ground, not moving an inch. I want to say something but what do you say here? ‘I am sorry’? He’s right about my concerning comments. They won’t help. But what could I do? How could I possibly help him? What could I say?
I decide to remain silent, while slowly, carefully, letting my hand rest on his shoulder. He shivers at he feels my hand but he doesn’t say anything or shrug it off.
“I don’t blame you… Whatever happened, I don’t think it was your fault,” I tell him, slowly, like soothing a child. Wolf looks up at me; no tear or anger or darkness I seen within his face. Yet the expressionless mask seems to have fallen as well. Pain is all there is.
“I don’t want to… hurt you,” He finally says, almost as if it was a whisper.
“I know you won’t,”
And we just stand there, for a while, my hand on his shoulder. Wolf’s eyes are glued to the ground, mine searching his face for anything. And then suddenly, he pulls me into an embrace.
The night had come a long time ago, and yet, I still wonder aimlessly. Finding one person in one grand arena proven a harder task that I thought it would be, and yet, I continue. Two cannons have sounded already today, a part of me wonder if I am searching in vain. If Kodai died, his body would be gone by now… But he can’t die, not now, not when Ophelia just suffered such a fate. He has to live; he has to live for her. I need to find him, I need to console him, I need to… to help, somehow. Take care of him.
And now I am wandering around in the earthzone, the stars shinning above me. The trees stands tall, as if trying to reach the stars. As if they were trying to escape this arena. And I can’t blame them. If there’s one thing I want more than anything is for me, and everyone else to find a door somewhere, enter it and be free of these cruel games. But there’s no such thing. The only escape in this arena is to outlive the other people within it. It’s a nightmare that you cannot wake up from.
Suddenly the sky lights up and the anthem of Panem which I already know so well begin to blast out from wherever the speakers are hidden. The sky is lightened up as Michael’s face appears. It’s hard not to be happy that it happened. That Michael died, I mean… It brings us all a step closer to home and he was a huge threat. And still… it feels wrong, wrong to celebrate that he died. He might have been a career but that doesn’t give him less right to live…
Then Lynx face appear on the screen. I have a hard time to say whether this one was unfair or not. No one deserves to die but… if anyone one of us in the arena should have died, it should have been him. Because of Ophelia and because of what Kodai had to witness. And still… Lynx had the right to live as well… Even after all he did, he had the same right as all of us… I shake my head. Better not to dwell on who deserves to die. Even the most innocent can die in these games. They already did, Janu and Ophelia. The most innocent of us all. I suppose… I suppose we all deserve to die, and yet, none of us do.
The anthem stops as the sky turns black and the lights in the sky fades. A thick silence spreads, as if all beasts and insects, even the wind went quiet. And then… something. Something, something hissing, a faint noise is heard from… somewhere. A noise so faint, it’s as if it was dying out slowly, but steadily. Breathe. I rush toward it. It has to be him, it has to. I need it to be him.
Brushing the fern away, I enter the glade, seeing the horrific sight. Blood is all over the place, covering grass, branches, trees , leaves. It’s like a slaughter house but in the forest. And in the middle of it lies Kodai. A gigant scarlet spot is smeared onto Kodai’s stomach and blood is running down his lips from where he has coughed it up. His eyes are closed almost, every breath sounding like it could be his last. Whatever tribute he fought corpse’s is gone but one thing is for sure. With all the blood around, whoever Kodai fought lost. All this blood can’t only be from him… Else he would be dead by now.
“Kodai…” I whisper and he finally look up, staring into my eyes.
“… Dyna should go,”
“Kodai, I…” What do you say here? ‘I am sorry that your lover died, but you have to kill three more people to survive’? But I don’t even get to responds.
“Dyna should go. Leave me… I am dying, so Dyna should go,” He looks at me, waiting for me to go. When I don’t he lowers his head again, just staring out into the open, a cold, creepy look, but mostly a broken, sad look. He opens his mouth and for a moment, I think he’s gonna yell at me, force me to leave but instead, only the same six words escapes his lips, muttered over and over like a never-ending song.
“I miss her… I killed him… I miss her… I killed him… I miss her… ”
Puzzling the pieces together, it’s quite sure that ‘him’ is Lynx. Why else would his death matter to Kodai? And he just sits there, saying those things over and over. But I suppose… I suppose those are the only things he can’t think about. How he lost Ophelia. How he avenged and yet, he still misses her. Killing Lynx didn’t change that. The misery has been with him ever since she let the knife pierce through her throat.
He is done. He knows he’ll die from his wounds. He knows he’s gonna die, there’s no longer any hope to fight for, no hope for survival. So he just sits there, sad, broken down, and lonelier than ever. I feel guilt cluster up in my chest, that he has sat here for so long, all alone while on the doorstep on death. First the pain of seeing Ophelia die, and then having to sit here all alone, for who knows how much time, just thinking about how he’s going to die and how he misses her. I wish I had found him quicker. Wish I had talked to him; wish I had been able to help him or to just… keep him company. Dying alone and broken in a pool of your own blood… no one deserves that.
And then, as if a light is lit in darkness, Charlotte’s words echoes. They’re from long ago, when Charlotte was diagnosed with cancer. I remember those dreadful moments. How it was hard not to cry, I was… so young. And Charlotte had told me:
“It’s gonna be alright. If I live and if I die, I am happy for… I am happy for being with you, for getting to know you… even if it was short. And I promise you, I’ll do whatever I can to survive but… if I don’t, please don’t… be sad. I won’t be gone, I promise. I’ll be there, around in the wind, and in the grass and in the seas and skies. I’ll be there.”
I pick up a stick and slowly begin write in the soft dirt. Kodai’s head rise, slowly watching my actions.
“What is Dyna doing?” He asks, carefully.
“I am writing,” I tell him, softly.
“What is you writing?” He asks, a little bit of interest in the tip of his tone.
“A tribute for the dead. You write it to say what you didn’t get to say in life,” I tell him. Kodai watches me carefully as I scramble the words onto the ground.
“Can I… Can I write one?” I nod and pick up a branch for him, watching as he scrambles words onto the ground. The letters are big, messy and look more like birds’ footprints than actual letters. But maybe it’s better that way. That his thoughts stay silent, like his mouth. Still, I can make out names. ‘Sorcera’, ‘Fabian’, ‘Train’, even ‘Lynx’. And finally, ‘Ophelia’.
I write my ones too. Mostly apologizes, I’ll never be able to give. To Train for letting him die the way he did. To Hester, for killing her while she couldn’t defend herself. To Ruby for letting her be alone, and to Madoka for killing her when she was just trying to survive. To Sorcera, William and Evan, for being my allies, even if I did not know them well, their deaths undeserved. To Fabian and Aranaea, as sort of a… a forgiving. To Bailey, for reminding me of Charlotte, a personal reminder to why I am here and finally to Ophelia for her sacrifice and for how she made Kodai feel. He was a twisted, wild boy when he first arrived in the training hall. I don’t think he has ever felt that… loved. Ophelia made him feel that.
“Dyna…?” Kodai asks, the strokes with his branch growing slower and slower as he finishes his last words for Ophelia.
“Can… Can Ophelia read… read the dirt?”
I am not sure what to say. Are the dead really with us, like Charlotte said? And so, which way? I don’t believe in ghosts nor spirits or souls or any other paranormal things but… somehow, thinking that a part of them is still here, their impact on earth is still preserved. It makes it better. And even if they aren’t a part of earth anymore, they’ll always be with us. In our past, in our present, in our future. Even if they die, fade, even if nothing is binding them to earth… we’ll never forget them.
“I think she can understands what you wanted to say to her,” I finally tell him and Kodai crumbles together in pain as the blood oozes even slower out of him. How has he managed to stay alive for this long…? Quickly, I take my jacket off, folding it like a pillow for Kodai’s head to rest on. He just lies there, looking at the letters he wrote for Ophelia. Then, he speaks just a whisper again:
“When I dies… Will O-phee-lee-aah be with me?” For the second time, I don’t know what to say. I don’t know what happens when you die. Somehow, people meeting each other in death seems… unlikely. I don’t want to lie to Kodai but… If anyone should be together in death, if somehow the world could make an exception, if people do meet in death… then Kodai and Ophelia should be together. Then they wouldn’t have to let each other go, ever. And when the games, and fate and the entire world have been so cruel to both of them… Wouldn’t it make sense if death treated them kindly?
“I think you will,” I finally tell him, and a tiny little smile spreads on his lips as he lies down. It’s as if I see him all over again. He’s a wild beast, a vicious fighter, a twisted mind, a clumsy lover, a loud and kind friend but most of all… he’s a child. A 14-year-old, still with life ahead of him. Some people said he belonged in these games. That this was a place for a beast with a twisted mind. But behind all of that, he was just a child, a child who experienced death and loss and fear and rage and more pain than anyone. These games… these games are no place for children, no place for anyone. They’re not just cruel… They’re heartless.
Kodai eyes keeps staring onto his letters. And yet, a part of me knows they see nothing. That his heart has stopped. And still, the little smile lingers on his face… He died knowing he would see her. He’s with her now. BOOM!
And all that remains are the clumsy letters written by Kodai’s dying hands, as his last words: ‘Ophelia, I love you’
"Congratulations, congratulations to our final 4, Lucy Perch, Helena Krisp, Wolf Fang and Dyna Ploson! You should all take pride in your nobility and sacrifice that you have made it this far into the games. Now that the end end is drawing closer, we wish to make this grand finally a little more fun. We would all like to invite you to go the Cornucopia Platform, in the middle of the arena. This is not a feast; but let’s just say that you probably will regret not attending, should you fail to show up. We hope to see you all there, tomorrow. Happy Hunger Games, and may the odds be ever in your favor!"
District and Gender
|Lucy Perch||District 4 Female||4-1||10-1|
|Helena Krisp||District 10 Female||4-1||9-1|
|Wolf Fang||District 12 Male||5-1||14-1|
|Dyna Ploson||District 13 Male||7-1||18-1|
District 4 and 12:
Lucy Perch (D4F), Wolf Fang (D12M),
Dyna Ploson (D13M), Helena Krisp (D10F),
Day 8 - The Finale
The veil of night spreads out across the mountains of the fire zone, shrouding the place in darkness, as if to disguise us. Or rather, to disguise me. I suppose, I would need that. For maybe the twentieth time, I lower my glance, staring at Lucy, at her calm, innocent, untroubled face as she sleeps. It was so easy… So easy convincing her that I was going take the first watch, that I was going stand guard for the threats of night, that I was going wake up her up at midnight for her to take the next shift. And she hadn’t questioned it. She hadn’t suspected a thing, just laid down close to me for warmth and comfort and slept, unaware that when she is to awake, I will be long gone.
Or maybe it was for more? More than just warmth and comfort? Last night, we huddle up together as well and yet this time it’s different. Not just as a refuge for terrible nightmares… It’s more like… as if a wall between us has been broken; a surface, a façade. Maybe it was a sign of affection? Love, even? And if that, which kind of love? I suppose I will never know. Maybe it’s best if I never know… leaving her all on her own in the wilderness would be hard enough without the answers. Just knowing that she had trusted me blindly, as she went to sleep, trusted that I would still be there by the morning fills me with this heavy, sticky feeling, this lump of emotion which has become more and more familiar to me as the Games has progressed. Guilt.
It’s weird how guilt works… Somehow, the things Lucy said to me… It’s as if… It’s not that the guilt over my parents’ death is gone, no. But somehow… it has become smaller. Somehow, Lucy saying she didn’t blame me… it’s as if something has been lifted; Just a little of the weight. Not all of it, but enough to make an impact, like I might be able to forgive myself one day. That she might just have saved me in a way that no one else could have… And knowing that makes it even harder to leave…
But how could I not? We’re so close to the end… If I don’t leave now… What if I hurt her? Even… kill her? I am not quite sure if I would and yet I know I can’t risk it. Lucy might not think so but a part of me knows I am a killer. Maybe not a murderer but I did kill Riven, and I didn’t think twice about when I did that. To know that the possibility of Lucy’s blood on my hands is there; is available if I lose control over myself… That’s why I am leaving. I can’t hurt her, no matter how much of a killer I am.
As if moving on its own my hand brushes over Lucy’s hair, gently and easily, like stroking a crying child to sooth it. Somehow the messy hair stuck in two clumsy pigtails still manages to seem soft between my fingers. Lucy groans silently, rolling over, her eyes opening slightly while looking up upon me. She sends me a tired smile, still half asleep.
“I just thought I heard something. It’s nothing. Just go back to sleep,” I tell her, forcing my lips up in a reassuring little smile.
“Okay,” she mutters, already letting herself fall back into drowsiness. It takes mere minutes before she’s completely gone again.
Slowly, I get up on my feet. Lingering by her side isn’t going to make it any easier. Careful to make any noise, I gather my belongings, leaving Lucy’s behind. Leaving her is bad enough… I don’t wish to steal her things as well. Knowing she won’t have any food the morning, I split the rest of my dried meat strips leaving them by her brass knuckles. She gave me all this and yet, all I can give her in return is food… But even with that, somehow, the thought of her going into the final battle energy less seems wrong. Leaving a few supplies for her would be the least I could do.
I wish to say something. Just anything, and yet I know I can’t. Waking her up, telling her the words out loud… confrontation, it somehow seems so tough to do. It’s easier this way, disappearing like a shadow in the night; as if I was never there. It’s the ways of a coward, the ways of one who does not wish to face emotions. Somehow it’s fitting. I was never daring on the social front, daring to speak, daring to actually get to know people. Observing from the shadows was always safer… Loneliness was always safer. Disappearing under the veils of the night is safer. And yet it feels weird… as if… as if I should give her a message, someway. Somehow.
Sitting down on the harsh stony floor I begin to carve out letters with the tip of a rock. The ground resists as first, toughened by the many days of heat, but finally the letters seems to appear. An apology, a thanking, a request, a promise and finally a goodbye.
Walking toward the edge of the mountains, I let one last look linger upon Lucy’s sleeping figure. A part of me wants to stay; just one minute, just another moment. And yet I know I can’t, for my sake and for hers. I am Wolf Fang; despite how much may try and deceive myself, I will always be a loner; a person of the wilderness, who belongs with only himself. And I suppose leaving Lucy proves it more than anything else. The lone Wolf.
Lucy, first you must know I am sorry… I really am. But I have to…
I can only thank you for everything that has…
I ask for you to not try and find…
I promise you that If I…
Farewell Lucy. I will remember you…
The morning seems to come so soon. Like it was just seconds since I watched the hovercraft lifting Kodai’s body up into the cold night air, swallowing him up. Just another body, just another dead, just another filling for a hole in the ground dug at some forsaken who-knows-where cemetery; another name on a gravestone.
But why is this death so special to me? Sure, I knew Kodai, I knew what he’s has been through but I have seen countless of children die in previous games. You never really think of them… Well, when they die, you do. But now they’re just names on gravestones somewhere far away, just like Kodai. They all are just… forgotten. Only kept in memory by the people who loved them; and I would call it cruel but… Once upon a time, when I was back in 13, when I safe, they were just forgotten dead children to me as well… But not anymore; even if I can remember their names, even if I can’t remember their appearance, their anything… I know they existed. And a part of me knows the horrors they have been through; the horrors of the games.
So many memories, so much pain, suffering… but it’s about to come to an end. I am so close… So close to the finish line; so close to getting Charlotte her medicine, to see her walk around again in the underground gardens of 13, like she did when we were barely 12 years old. And I remember… Of course I do. Everything about her: her calm and quiet personality, the way she would always know what to say and hope for the best. The way her dreaming side was brought to live while roaming around the orchards, experiencing the beautiful adventures that she later, when walking home, would tell me about. Memories that will never fade; memories, which might just be the only things that keeps me going, the only light at the end of a long, dark tunnel.
She has always been special, that way. A dreamer beneath layers of quiet facades: A story teller in disguise. She would always run around in the orchards with me, and tell me stories as we walked home… but after her diagnosis, she couldn’t run anymore. Just dream her adventures from the edge of her beside.
Even with all those things… All things that I have seen, that I have felt, all the things that the souls around me as felt… even with that, it’s worth it. Charlotte’s worth it.
I don’t even have to wonder; I know she will be the same when I return. No matter how severe her cancer got, no matter how close she got to the end… she would still remain the same. Still remain strong, still know what to say. No, Charlotte won’t change. But will I? Could I be the same Dyna that she cared for? That she loved? Or will I just be… broken? Will I be able to sleep without nightmares? Will I be able to roam around the gardens will her? Will I be able to dream up the adventures that Charlotte sees? Be able to imagine the hero saving the day, when I have seen a girl sacrifice herself to safe her lover? Somehow it seems… unlikely. I can’t be the same Dyna because I am not the same Dyna that left home that day. But knowing that, even then, I don’t worry; Charlotte will understand. She always has.
Sometimes I wonder why… Why did I decide to ally? Going with the Anti’s… I always thought the only friend I would ever have was Charlotte… And I was fine with that, really. Charlotte and I, all we needed was each other. Still I choose to go with the Anti’s. I made new friends, I helped people… I began to care for people, and I had it all ripped away. Maybe I would have been better off alone… Alone, so that I would never have to witness what happened to Ophelia or Kodai.
And still… If I had been alone, I would never have met any of them. No Bailey, no Ophelia, no Kodai, no Train, no anyone. If had been alone, would I be thinking about them now? Thinking about their deaths? Would I be thinking about any of the children who have died in these games now? Would I even care…? Probably not; if I hadn’t allied, if I hadn’t allied, if I hadn’t witnessed what I have… Then their names would all just be forgotten references. And that shouldn’t be. They deserve better. They deserve remembrance, all of them. And though the memories of them are heavy burdens, somehow… somehow it just feels better. Knowing they’ll be remembered. That I’ll remember them; I can carry that burden. I have to, for their sake.
It’s just one final battle. One final memory. Three more lives that will end; three more burdens I’ll carry if I somehow live through this. And then, Charlotte can be happy again. Then she can dream again. Smile again. And she has to... she has to smile.
I can feel the smooth tiled surface of the pillars of the air zone is beneath me, holding my body like a cold embrace. The silence seems everlasting, the mysterious fog floating above ominously. The place, filled with to the brim with this linger feeling of strangeness should seem familiar by now. After all, I have been here before, many times. It was in the embrace of the fog where me and Lynx committed possibly our most vicious kills, when Fiona and Ella died… it’s almost as if their ghosts’ looms above, watching me, hoping for me to join them. I suppose a part me does feel sorry for them… painful deaths are never deserved but… But I suppose that’s just how careers play these games. You kill, and you do it good. That’s what’s expected of you. That’s how one gets sponsors, survives, and wins. You have to do it, for the cameras. You can’t really afford to do anything else. You can’t even be yourself. If killing isn’t a part of you, you have to pretend it is at least and just try and hold onto yourself the best you can. But I suppose that doesn’t matter to them.
I wonder which of them I am. I killed animals back in 10. Blood still has this… almost magical effect on me… and still, was I ever a… killer? Or was I just acting for the cameras… I am not quite sure, not anymore at least. I wouldn’t have wanted to end up in these games. I didn’t want to kill them… and still the look of the blood slowly trailing down the body of the fallen… it was magical. Disgusting, terrible and yet magical.
I wonder what the rest of us were. Did Claudia like killing? I suppose she did. The way she acted after she killed Ruby, that disgusting kind of glee, that satisfaction with herself… She didn’t need to pretend she liked killing. She rather needed to pretend she had at least some sanity. Then there’s Hester… I was never really sure about anything with her. She had this… anger about her. As if fighting in these games were making some kind of stand… But I am not really sure. I guess I’ll never know. Lucy didn’t like killing. That was clear from the start. And Lynx…? Lynx’s… odd. A part me doesn’t question his predator instinct and yet… he wasn’t entirely ruthless… At least, I don’t think so. Not as heartless as he wanted people to think he was. He wanted to send a message, to appear the strongest. But there must have been some part of him, a human part of him that at least cared for us, the members of his career pack; even if he tried the best he could to hide it. Why else would he have saved my life?
It’s weird to think I am the last of them; that I, the quieter career recruits from outlying districts, somehow making it longest into the games. At first, it was all just an attempt to survive. Going with the careers was the easiest, the best way to get far into the games. But now it’s more… The pack’s a part of me. Claudia’s insanity, Lucy’s soft heartedness, Hester’s will and Lynx’s demands, Lynx’s rude and yet also motivating comments… Lynx’s sacrifice of his life-saving medicine. It’s all me. I’ll carry them into the final battle. And if I live, I live. And if I die, I die.
Slowly, I let a hand slide over my cheek. The blood from Lynx’s wounds has stiffened overnight; left there as a last token, as a battle mark. I could wash it off, remove it from my cheeks. And yet, I leave it. I’ll keep it as a last token from him. He would have wanted to be present for the final battle, even in death, and I want to honor that wish.
Just one final battle left… It’s weird; before, my family was the past. I thought I would just have to give up on them. That even hoping to see their faces again was foolish and weak. And now… I am so close. I am just one more day away from my sister’s teasing and yet loving personality, to my aunt Bessy’s warm embrace. Just thinking about them... I have to see them again. I have to see their smiling faces. I have to live.
I could go home. I could see my family again. I could be the lone survivor, the last traces of the pack of careers, living on as a memory of them. I could live for Lynx as he saved my life. And I can live for every single child of District 10, for every single one of them who has to enter the games. I could go home.
A crashing noise rips up through my body, through my bones, and my eyes opens instantly. Jumping to my feet, clustering my trident in my hands, I look around for the source of the sound. Yet there’s none. No vicious career lurking beside me, no fanged mutt hiding in the shades of the fern in the out skirts of camp. I spin around checking my back, just to make completely sure that no one is hiding behind me, ready to slit my throat, when a light flashes across the sky and yet another crash roars throughout the arena. It takes my brain a couple of seconds to connect the two phenomenons to one another but then the answer occurs to me. Its thunder; thunder and lightning.
Heavy drops of rains begin to fall. First just a few drops, making squeaky echoing dripping noises when crashing together with the leaves, but in a few seconds the drops begin to crash down in hordes watering up the earth beneath, turning it into mud beneath my feet. Of course, this is work of the gamemakers. Wanting an epic finally, they even decided to have thunder, rain and lightning roaring in the background. Either that or they just wanted us to feel miserable. But I won’t let rain get in the way. I am so close to the end. This final battle, this last step and I might just see my sister again. I am so close… Well, we’re so close. Wolf and I, together.
That’s when it hits. Where Wolf’s body would normally lie, curled up to preserve heat in the coldness of the night, is nothing. That little space where Wolf would always put his backpack before going to sleep… There’s nothing. In the camp, in our little home where we have been relatively undisturbed for the last days… there’s nothing. No one.
Fearing the worst, I follow my first intuition:
“Wolf?!” I call, as loud as I dare. Could he be hunting? Taken? Even… killed…?
“Wolf, please!” I call out again, but to no avail. He couldn’t be killed, could he? No, the cannon would have awoken me… wouldn’t it? Could he really be…? No. No, he can’t be, he wouldn’t... He has to be alright. He has to, he can’t have…
That’s when it, lying on top of my brass knuckles are two big pieces of dried meat, the dried meat which belonged to Wolf. And beside the brass knuckles are a mess of mud, as if the ground has been ripped up in small lines, going vertically and horizontally, a message of letters written in dirt. Wolf’s goodbye message.
I wasn’t quite sure what I expected… I mean, how could I expect anything else? How could I possibly have thought we would be there, stay together even in the final battle…? It would after all be foolish. Just risking ending up in the final, having to face him… it would be too much. We would have had to spilt up eventually, so why not do it now, in the few hours before the final battle? That would be the logical thing to do. The right way to end this…
… And yet a part of me can’t help but feel… saddened. More than just the sadness of losing an ally a more… disappointed sadness. Somehow I thought… after yesterday… would have made some kind of impact. That he after that wouldn’t have just been able to slither away, disappearing into the night… That he would at least just have said goodbye in person, instead of cold, almost unreadable letters in the dirt. That he would have cared enough to actually speak to me… Who knows…? We might never see each other again.
But that would be foolish of me to think. This is the easiest way. No dramatic sad goodbyes, no stupid heartfelt apologizes. It’s much easier this way, to end it, quickly and quietly, like you’re supposed in a game like this. Wolf knew that and I suppose I did too, deep inside. Even if I hoped it hadn’t had to end this way. This is a battle we both have to fight and we must do it alone – even against one another.
Slowly, crouching down, I try and read the dirt. Most of the message has been wiped off, carried away by the merciless mud. But maybe it’s best that way. Wolf was never much of a talker, keep most on the inside. It would make sense if even his final thoughts, in a weird way, were mostly unknown. Still there’s something about knowing that even if he hates sharing the thoughts in his head, even if he hates speaking up, he still left this message for me. It mustn’t have been easy for him… but I am glad he did it, anyways. That he cared for me enough to do that, even if he never told me goodbye.
Having read the few preserved bits that the mud managed not to ruin, I get up from the ground, brushing the dirt on my knees away with my hands. Quickly devouring the two pieces of dried meat and drinking the rest up my water, I pick up my tridents. With my knife securely fastened in the belt of my arena uniform, and my brass knuckles stowed away in my pockets, ready if needed, I slowly begin to walk out of the earth zone, toward the cornucopia field. Toward the last battle.
Just one more battle left. Just one last time, just three more kills. Then I can see my sister. My sister, my beautiful little sister, with her long blonde hair a few tones blonder than my own, and her blue eyes, shining like pearls. She always told me how pretty I looked, when I would venture to the reaping, ages ago before the whole ballistic thing happened. To be honest though, she was probably the one who got the good looks of the family. A while ago, I used to be jealous of her. Now it almost seems silly, the little sprinkles of sisterly competition between us; as if something from a different life.
It’s been so long since I have seen her properly; after the incident at the academy, when I went ballistic on that poor girl in the trident fight… Lily became so distant after watching it happen. She wouldn’t even talk to me. That’s why I have to go home. I have to apologize for what she had to see. I have to hug her, to smile at her, to tell her that she’s kindest, sweetest and most beautiful little sister I could ever have wished for. That volunteering for her was as easy as breathing, that it was never even a choice; that I’ll always protect her the same way I did when I took her place in these games. I have to talk to her; I have to be forgiven… I just… I just need her to tell me it’s alright. That she forgives me for going ballistic. That she’s proud to have me as her big sister. That we could be friends again… sisters again. I need to go home. For her.
And the rain keeps on falling as I enter the cornucopia field.
We all just stand there for a while, sizing up one another. Beside us, the cornucopia’s golden rises above us, looking somber and grim in the rain. Inside it, Dyna’s standing, the last one of the anti-careers. His sword is in his hand, his facial expression both seeming frightened but also fierce and determined. He’s scared but he’s ready. To the side of the cornucopia, Helena’s standing, her kartana held tightly in her hands. Her face is covered in rusty crimson stains of blood, smeared out across her cheeks, and her hair floating around her in the wind like a scarlet halo. Looking up, she meets my glance with a glare, before taking her eyes off me again, scanning the other tributes. And lastly, in the far end of the little square that we form, Wolf is standing, his chained sickle lying ready in his hands. His face is painted with that familiar expressionless mask, his grey eyes quickly taking in his opponents and various surroundings. Looking up, his gaze meets mine, just for a second before he looks away again.
Nothing happens. All we can hear as stand there is the rain, drumming its fast beat against the wall of the cornucopia and the tiles of the cornucopia field. The sky is a looming dark grey, the thunder rolling across the battle field like a war drum. And on the tiles… on the tiles are tiny grey particles, flying across the field in the win. The floor of the cornucopia is filled with it, this grey dust, but it has slowly spread out to cover all of the tiles. It colors the rain a weird greyish color. Ash.
Helena finally breaks the silence. “I burned the cornucopia supplies before I left… it was quite the fire,” she says, her voice steady and neutral. A smart move on her part; if anyone intended on using supplies or the cornucopia for cover, doing the final battle, it’s impossible for them now. We all look up upon her, almost expecting her to mock whoever would want to hide in this last battle, but Helena’s apparently done speaking. Still none of us move. I suppose no one wants to make the first move. And then suddenly, a lightning strikes the tiles in the outskirts of the field. The roar is deafening, the sparks exploding high up into the air. Bright light shines out, almost blinding us; it’s a personal request from the gamemakers, of course. No normal lightning would just strike flat tile randomly. ‘Let it begin’
And then all hell breaks loose. Wolf rushes forward, sending his chained sickle toward Dyna’s flanks. Dyna avoids gracefully, charging toward Wolf, his sword ready to strike.
“I guess that leaves the two of us, doesn’t it?”
Looking up, I see Helena walking toward me slowly, her blade ready for a quick thrust. She smirks at me, looking almost friendly if you ignore the bloodstains on her cheek, as if we were engaging in a match back at the career academy in 4. But I suppose that’s kind of what it is: A career who wanted to an outcast; an outcast who wanted to be a career, going up against each other. In the background I can hear the song of steel on steel but I will myself to keep focus on Helena. She’s too close for me to throw my trident and she knows it too. Knowing that no one can fight with two tridents in their hands, I let the one in my left hand drop the ground, getting ready for combat. No one should know how to use them anyway, other than me… hopefully. Helena just keeps on walking toward slowly, like when meeting someone you know on the street. No rush, no battle cries, no anything.
And then she thrusts out with her sword. Quickly, I spin to the side, using the extra length of my trident to make her jump a bit away from me. Helena makes quick jump away from me, dancing out of my tridents reach before moving in again her kartana slicing through the air. Sending my trident upwards, I block her attack, moving the tip of the trident down towards Helena’s head. Drawing her kartana back, she circles around me. Sweats slowly making its way down both our foreheads, and the smirk that was on Helena’s lips a moment ago is gone. There’s no cruelty in her eyes, nor any fire of insanity. This isn’t a fight to show off your skills in battle for the rest of Panem. This battle is all for survival, nothing more or less.
“So… How do I do compared to Claudia?” She asks me, in a quiet, harsh voice. She moves her kartana as if to thrust it toward and I move my trident upwards to make sure to block her but she stops her move in the last minute, circling around her yet again.
“You know I had to kill her. She would have killed me instead,” I reply through my teeth, as she moves toward me yet again with the sword. Dancing to the side, I strike out at her, giving her a small cut on her left arm. She spits at the ground, but her expression show no traces of pain. Adrenaline is all she feels. All I feel too. “Maybe,” she says, sending me a hateful glare as she quickly wipes the worst blood off her left arm with her hand, “But did you have to flee and leave Claudia’s body behind in the water instead of bothering with an actual explanation?”
She slices out at me again, and I quickly dive out of her range, forced to move away for her. Helena goes closer in, slicing out at me again. I move to avoid yet feel a burning pain on the side of my thigh, where Helena’s razor sharp kartana just barely cut me. I barely reach to feel the pain, though, the rush of battle almost seeming to remove it, like ice on a sprained ankle.
“You would have killed me,” I mutter as I slice back at her. I feel warm sticky blood travel down my left leg, like sweat. Helena jumps out of the way and begins circling me again.
She moves with the speed of a cobra. In a slicing maneuver, Helena moves out and downwards with her kartana ready to separate my knee cabs from the rest of my body. In a panicked move, I let my trident fly downwards; hoping that the extra range of the longer weapon will somehow prevent me from getting slashed, as I move to avoid a potential kneecapping.
A squishy sound of blade colliding with flesh is heard. For a moment, I keep my eyes staring into Helena’s, not even daring to look down. It’s like silence after the storm, as if a giant bucket of ice water had been dumped upon us. All sound is gone; none of us moves an inch. And then, in unison, we both look down examining the damage.
My own right leg is about two inches away from Helena’s kartana, unhurt and well. I hear myself gasp for air, realizing how close I was to losing my leg. Then looking at Helena, I realize where that squishy sound had come from. The head of my trident has buried itself just below Helena’s right knee, blood flowing from the wound in a heavier stream. And we just stand there, watching.
And then suddenly, something happens. Helena stretches her left arm, yanking the grip of the trident, which is still stuck in her own leg, holding it down and piercing it further through her own leg and out on the other side. Blood splatters but Helena barely seems to notice or care. I try and grip for the trident, try and get it away from her but Helena holds it down steadily, disarming me using her own leg, and before I can dive out of the way, Helena’s right hand, which is still clustering her kartana moves up through my lower abdomen.
Blood splatters. It rushes down my stomach, soaks both me and Helena. Helena yanks out the trident of her wound, spitting at the clean cut hole in her lower leg. Flinging my blood soaked trident away from us, she yanks out her kartana from my stomach and let me fall to the ground. The tiles are cool and stony beneath me but all I can see is Helena, Helena covered in hers and my own blood standing before me. The will is must have taken to pull a trident through your own leg… It’s almost insane. Maybe her will was all along her real weapon…
“Look…” Helena speaks but trails off, squinting at me. Then she bows down quickly searching my pockets, probably checking if I have some kind of instant relief on me.
“I know we weren’t very nice careers, especially not to you,” she continues as she searches me. “But I can say this for me; I would have believed you, if you had told us about Claudia. Heck, we all knew that that was what happened back there. You shouldn’t have run.”
I open my mouth, blood slowly trailing out onto my lips as I try and talk: “You’re one person. Think Hester and Lynx would have been easy on me?” “Probably not Hester, she and Claudia were friends. But maybe Lynx,”
“Hah. Lynx hated me, you know. He would have cut me down where I stood, even if you had protested,” I spit at the ground, looking at the crimson stain left on the tiles. I don’t even wanna look at Helena. Somehow I feel like my corpse is being looted, even if I am not dead already.
“I think… I think that’s what Lynx wanted you to think; what he wanted us all to think, anyways,”
I look up to try and catch a glimpse of Wolf and Dyna but see nothing but endless tiles. Trying to tilt my head to a different angle, I see a pair of feet in the middle of a battle dance, but I can’t quite see their faces from this position… I wonder if they can see me. I hope not, for Wolf’s sake. He has to win this, if I can’t. I would be a… distraction.
“So you’re defending him now?” I snare back at her with as much force as I can in my voice. A feeble attempt when you have a clean kartana cut through the lower section of your stomach. “He treated you pretty bad too from what I can remember,”
“He saved my life,” Helena just says, finishing her search. Her head flies upwards to watch Dyna and Wolf’s battle. “Look… Since you don’t have any instant relief or other medicine, I am gonna leave you here. I don’t know, take it as an apology, I suppose. I shouldn’t have been that rough on you. You actually dared to show your humane side. That’s more than I ever did. Then you can at least get to see who wins this battle, even if you know it’s not gonna be you.”
Getting up from the ground, Helena looks upon me one last time before smirking at me, that doesn’t reach her eyes. “Look at it this way. If you’re lucky, I’ll die before you and then you can truly say that you bested the entire career pack,” and then, holding her kartana ready for battle, and I try my best to scramble myself up in a sitting position so that I can watch the still living people fight to kill one another.
I slowly move toward the fighters. The freakish loner from 12, Wolf, I believe and the older boy from the Anti-careers. What a bunch. One would have to congratulate them for making it this far, though it’s hard to imagine that people such as Lynx Striker and Michael Kaizer made it less way than them. But maybe that’s the risk of being a career. When you’re a career you make a lot of enemies, enemies that might just stab you when you least expect it. I suppose that’s one of the many prices you pay as careers; a bunch of sponsors in the Capitol, ready to adore you and a bunch of enemies in the district, ready to tear you about if they ever have the chance.
I feel pain shoot up leg every time I take a step. The cut was deeper than I expected and surprisingly accurate for a panicked attack; but then again, no one did ever question Lucy’s abilities with a trident. No, it was her mindset that was wrong. Her inability to kill, to make those enemies you’re recruited to have as a career. It’s almost sad, really, a girl that sweet should have to die but that’s another price you have to pay in these games. Sweet girls have to die. I bite my teeth together, trying to ignore the pain. All I need is another battle, another adrenaline rush and the pain will be gone. All there’ll be is trails of blood and sweat and death, mixed together with the ash and rain… and a crown of victory; a crown of victory to be received, a crown which I must receive. I have to fight on, even if my leg feels as if it has been lit on fire.
I watch them battle. Dyna is leading, Wolf struggling to use his chained sickle in a close combat against a sword. And yet, Wolf facial expression reveals nothing. No panic, no fear, no rush, as if he didn’t even fear death itself; as if this was just another test at school, a mindless task to be carried out. I wonder if he even wants to win. Who knows? Most of us have seen some messed up stuff within this arena and maybe he has seen too much… or maybe his family resent him, maybe hasn’t anything to go home to; to go through this game without even motivation… It must be harsh.
And then there’s Dyna. He’s winning the battle, a sword being superior to a chained sickle in close combat, and yet from looking at his face, one would think he was losing. A pained expression is painted, almost guilt, yet with a tinge of determination in his eyes. Like he doesn’t wish to do what he has to, like he almost feels bad for Wolf for being on the losing side of the battle; another humane one… a humane one who is going to die.
“Plan on letting me wait all day?” I ask, through the noise of steel on steel and heavy breathing. They both look up, shock plastered on their faces, seeing me, covered in a mixture of Lucy’s blood and my own, just staring at them with my kartana ready. I don’t even make a move to engage in their battle. Somehow, that seems unfair.
And then Dyna strikes out, against Wolf, who somehow still haven’t regained his senses. He just stood, there staring out at Lucy’s bleeding body as Dyna moved his sword downwards and into Wolf’s chest. Dyna seems almost shocked; shocked that Wolf didn’t parry the move, shocked that he would stand there, shocked that Wolf is lying below him, blood splattering out of him. Wolf’s face remains expressionless, cold as an icicle. For a split second Wolf’s gaze locks with mine, and I see what might be the first bit of emotion on his face since the battle began. His expression itself does not show any traces of it, and yet it’s as if his eyes are filled with some kind of… fire… some hatred, directed at me. And then, his eyes slip away from mine, back into the distance, where Lucy’s body lies.
But I don’t even get to take another look at Wolf. Dyna charges towards me, sword lifted, knowing that this battle will be the final one. The one where it all ends, just one more last struggle before victory is won. The pained part of his expression is gone. He’s run purely by will now, and nothing else.
I dance to the side as Dyna slices through the air with the blade of his sword. I jump forward to try and go for a stab in the chest but Dyna’s blade flies up, blocking the path of my attack. Leaping away from him again, I slice outward with my kartana yet again, hoping for a quick strike but Dyna jumps away out of range, and my blade just barely draws a long thin crimson line onto Dyna’s upper arm. Small drops of blood makes its way down Dyna’s arena wear the cut’s even smaller than the one Lucy managed to make in my left arm, and he barely seem to notice it. We’re left just circling around each other.
Trying the same tactic as with Lucy, I move in for a quick blow toward the legs, but Dyna’s faster. Sending his sword in a clock-like circling motion down, he blocks my sword. He points his sword, just about ready to slice both my legs off when I dance backwards, circling him yet again, looking for an opening in his defenses.
I jump forward in a quick thrust towards Dyna’s flanks but he already has his sword in the way, parrying my blade. The two blades lock between each other in a power struggle, pain against blade. We lean against each other, both trying to overpower one another. Dyna’s face is only inches away from mine, glaring at me. We’re so close; I see the few crumb sized drops of blood that hit his face when he stabbed Wolf, the sweat, running down his forehead, the furrows between his brows.
I have to admit that he impresses me. I wouldn’t have taken him as a person capable of containing himself in a fight and capable of killing, even after lingering eye contact with their opponent. It’s not that I expected him to be merciful or anything, not after the way District 6 died days ago. Yet I thought I had seen some softness in his eyes back then, a softness that belongs to those people who likes learning and technology and despite being perfectly nice people, doesn’t speak a lot. I have always seen him as that kind of person; he didn’t do much to change that image of himself. But I suppose the games transform us all.
Dyna presses the blade of his sword further toward me and I can feel myself slowly drawing backwards, overpowered in the struggle. It almost feels like I am being slowly pressed downwards, as if Dyna was trying to make me crumble together with the blade of his sword. Knowing he could easily kill me now, if I don’t break away, I stumble backwards, in an attempt to get some distance between us. I shouldn’t have done that, but what else could I have done?
Stepping backwards, I feel burning flames make its way up the back up my leg, all through my body as if there were tiny pieces of glass inside my veins, getting pumped through my body via the blood. I tried to keep pressure off the wound in my lower leg but I must have forgotten about it during the heat of the battle in the cross of our blades. And Dyna used that for his advantage, exactly like what those people who likes learning and technology would do.
I almost fall backwards, the sudden pain of fire sending me off my feet as well as the shock for finally feeling actual pain within the dullness and sharpness of the adrenaline. Dyna uses this two and sends a quick slice to my side, letting the blade dig into the soft flesh just below my ribcage. I can’t even reach to react, too focused on trying to keep myself from falling backwards. The cut is thin but deep, blood slowly pouring out from the wound. I feel the flames of agony rise inside my abdomen; feel them chime in with the fire burning through my leg
I mutter a little curse to my little friend Lucy as I fall onto my knees, my gaze locked with Dyna’s. I know it’s over now. Not unless I get to the instant relief hidden in my inner pocket, but Dyna would stab me before I even reached to drink it. I stare up at his face, defiantly, as he frowns upon me, the tip of his sword dressed in my blood. Images of Bessy and November, of my loving family back in 10 flashes before my eyes as Dyna glares down upon me as if I was nothing but scum. This is it…
I raise my sword ready to cut Helena’s face off her shoulder. An Anti-career ending the life of the last living career in the arena… Somehow it seems quite fitting. Helena, crouching before me with her red hair floating around in the rain and wind, glares at me as I lift my sword. This is it… One last death, then I’ll be home. Then all of this will be gone, like waking up from a long, everlasting nightmare. One last death and I’ll be seeing Charlotte again; Charlotte will get her medicine. Then everyone responsible for the things that Kodai and Ophelia have had to witness is gone, then everyone gone and safety is back and there’ll be no starvation or hunger or death or anything. It’ll all be over at this exact moment. It’s almost terrifying.
As I slowly place my sword beside Helena’s neck, ready to remove Helena’s head from her shoulders, giving her a quick and almost painful death, Helena opens her mouth. Words flow out in almost a surreal manner, as if she was speaking another language. It takes me a while before even being able to code what she’s saying.
“Wait… Before you kill me, please let me speak. You owe me that,” A slightly spiteful tone fills her last words. She looks at me with a calm glare.
“I don’t owe you anything,” I snare back at her, not moving my sword from its drawn position. Helena’s expression remains unchained.
“Yes, you do,” she tells me, very as-a-matter-of-fact-like, “I found Kodai lying in the woods, yesterday, after he fought Lynx. I saw Lynx’s bleeding body lying beside Kodai and yet I didn’t kill him; I gave him the last drops of Lynx’s instant relief. So you owe me for that.”
I “And I should believe you because…?” I tell her, my voice filled with disgust, making it clear that I don’t buy her excuse.
Helena remains silent, yet makes a big shrugging gesture, her eyes darting down to her neck. Without moving my sword, I look down seeing the two strings hanging from her neck. A vile filled with red liquid and… a claw. I remember how my mentor had informed me back in the training days, how the male from 4 had tried to take a claw in, and had been allowed if he had agree to let the gamemakers file the claw into a dull useless amulet.
“I took this from Lynx’s body. Believe that,” She tells me, still glaring at me. Not even waiting for my permission, she begins to speak.
“You can kill me anyway, as soon as I am done. Heck, you could kill me right now if you liked. What does it matter? From the way you look at me, like I am some kind of vile being, a scum not worthy of anything, one would believe you are ready to just pierce your blade through my throat and let me drown in my own blood. But before you go ahead and do that, let me tell you this. I was reaped into these games. I joined the careers because it was a way to survive, just like you joined the Anti’s to survive. Where’s the difference?”
I send her a calm look. “The careers gang up against the rest of us. You joining them make you a predator hunting innocent people,”
So? So did you, you know. Or are you gonna try and convince me that no one from the anti-careers has made a single kill? You grouped up to further your own survival stats, ganged up to kill the rest of us and so did I. You can go ahead and remove my head from my shoulders now and tell yourself that you ‘did the right thing’ afterwards, but I know you Dyna; you volunteered into these games. In your interviews, you said you were bringing medicine to your sick girl back home. Tell me, Dyna, how many people have you killed in order to get that medicine for her? How many people have been killed by your hands just so that you could safe one life? I have killed one person within these games. I am gonna take a lucky guess and say that you have killed more than that. Think about it… Wouldn’t that make me the righteous one?”
I pause. Yes she’s right that I have killed more people but… but if I hadn’t volunteered, someone else would have gone in. Someone else would have had these memories and the people I have killed… they would have died, anyways, died by other hands… And though… I did agree to go willingly into these games in order to save a life…
“Go ahead and call yourself the righteous one… See if I could care—“
But she never reaches to finish her sentences. A long steel blade has already buried itself into Helena’s face before she reaches to speak her last words. BOOM!
Looking up I see a figure crouched on the ash covered tiles in the rain, his black hair sticking to his face. Wolf is sitting there, staring at Helena’s body, his mist filled grey eyes burning with both hatred and strange kind of satisfaction as if he had completed a task he needed to do. With his shaking hands he yanks the chain connected to the sickle that is buried in Helena’s face. The blade slowly makes it way out through the gaping hole between Helena’s eyeballs, blood splattering as the sickle is slowly dragged out, like a plug slowly getting pulled out of a wine cask.
“Sorry… I just had to do that,” He says, his voice filled with spite, more directed to Helena’s corpse than to me. I don’t even know what to say. I know what that was… Wolf was taking his revenge out on Helena. The spite in his voice, the look on his face, it could only be of vengeance… But why? What would Wolf have of business with a career…? I haven’t even seen the guy since the beginning of these games… But I suppose that’s not for me to know.
I examine Wolf more closely. Blood is still covering his chest from where I stabbed in. His eyes, grey and yet again expressionless are staring at me, as if waiting for my next move. He has coiled up his blood stained chained sickle beside him, yet his crouching is a clear symbol of the weakness caused by the wound… But why is he even up in the first place? He shouldn’t even be able to sit up, he should be dead… A chest wound like the one I gave him… It kills in less than minutes…
That’s when I see it. A little white flask lying beside him, with a sticker slapped on top. Yellow gooey stains have left trails around it as if it had been held by shivering hands. A lit lies beside it, Wolf didn’t even stop to close the bottle again. On the sticker, I just barely make out one of the two words that informs about the flask’s inventory. But I already know what the contains of that flask was: an instant relief; a flask containing the fluid of life.
I know the effects of the instant relief better than most. I know how it can make the sharpest, most fiery pain become nothing but a cool, almost comfortable touch. I know how it can stop bleedings, close wounds and restore your energy even when lying on death’s doorstep. But I also know it can’t work miracles, at least not in a minute. Most of Wolf’s bleeding may have stopped, his wounds might be somewhat closed but he’s still weak. And Wolf’s body, which he is slowly trying to get up from a crouch to a stand, is trembling with effort. He won’t win this battle.
“I know… “ Wolf says, responding to my gaze, “But I don’t wanna die while crouching… I wanna die in a battle, no matter how weak I am.”
I get up with him, getting my blade ready for one quick death. I watch as he struggles to keep his legs from breaking down beneath. His whole body is shaking as he limps toward me. It’s almost too much, having to kill a person that weak in a battle… But I have to, don’t I? If that’s what he wishes for… Wouldn’t it be cruel for me if I refused? If I showed him down on his knee to make it a quick death…? No. I have to do it the way he wants. If I were to die myself I would want my last wish fur filled as well.
Wolf slices out with his sickle in a feeble attempt. It’s almost painful to watch but I still let my sword slide up into the air, blocking off his attack. Wolf grunts as if the mere colliding of the weapons causes pain but I can’t exactly blame him. The guy was stabbed in the chest minutes ago… Just the fact that he reached to drink that instant relief before dying is impressive in itself; impressive and sick.
I slice out after Wolf, who moves to the side clumsily. He tries to thrust his sickle toward me, but I easily block it my sword, earning another grunt from Wolf. His breathe is heavy as he goes in for a slice toward head, him putting a surprising amount of speed behind the blow. I duck, slicing out at him with my sword. Wolf just barely dances out of the way. Strength is slowly returning to him, but the race is long it’s not even there. If I wanted to, I could keep him alive like this for an hour, before he gets the rest of his energy back and it would take a day for his chest wound to fade. I know my wound took that time.
To kill a wounded soldier; to try and end their life as if it was a fair battle for their own sake, so that they don’t have to die kneeling… it’s almost too much. Helena’s word, the look in Wolf’s eyes as we battle… Are there really any of us who we can call righteous? Does the need for survival justify anything you do? Torturing, prolonging the death of another person to receive lifesaving medicine? Killing someone who’s bound with ropes on hands and feet that cannot escape? Leaving someone behind, letting them go alone because you know they’ll have to die eventually anyways?
It’s not like in the movies. Nor is it like back home. There’s the obvious changes, of course: there isn’t many teenagers trying to kill you back in your home district and the movies doesn’t usually have that many of them either. But the most different has to be physiological lines of morale; you always go around thinking that you’re at least trying to be a good a person. That what you’re doing is justifiable, even if it’s not always good. But in a place like this… where evil is necessity and good deeds are deadly… then what is really ‘good’ and ‘evil’? So many things are unsure… I wonder if they’ll ever be settled again, even when you leave this horrid arena…
I slice out at Wolf, trying to get to strike his legs. He tries to make a swift avoid, but his body disagrees. My sword slices through his skin, cutting a faint thin line at the side of his lower leg. A shriek pierces the air.
I look up, expecting to see Wolf pained expression staring down at me, and yet I know it wasn’t him who screeched. Wolf expression only carries surprise, and his gaze doesn’t even fall upon me. Instead he’s staring out to the side, nearby the golden cornucopia where the screech originated.
And there she stands the female from 4, Lucy Perch. Yet, I wouldn’t have recognized her, if I hadn’t known. She’s covered in blood, most of seeping out through a deep crimson hole in her abdomen, falling down her legs like a macabre gown. Her signature pigtails are gone, her blonde hair blowing rapidly behind her in the storming wind. Her trident lies ready in her hand, its tips coated in a thick layer of blood. But the real difference is her eyes; the blue eyes that most Panem has known as kind blue eyes, belonging to the “soft career girl from 4” are now filled with… Not hatred, no... Anger, wilderness; blazing with flames of vengeance, of anger, of uncontrollable power and insanity. And then there’s her mouth. Her pretty cautious lips that often folded into a little, shy but friendly smile are smirking widely, a ballistic and vicious grin. And she just stares as us.
It’s her. It has to be her. It can’t be anything but her. Lucy described it to me, described her so vividly and described her fear for her as well. How she was afraid, afraid of another side of herself, a vicious ballistic side of her, a fierce, dark shadow in her kind light. But I hadn’t been able to imagine back then. It was as if I was convinced somehow that Lucy would never have a dark side. And now it’s standing before me. The same girl who ripped apart her opponent in a normal training match; the same shadow that took away the person that Lucy loved the most, her little sister. How she had scared her own sister into becoming distant. How Lily would barely manage a “please pass the salt?” at the dinner table after the episode.
Lucy had talked for long. It was as if her head had been filled like a bucket and that now, when she finally could speak after so long of just not being able to talk to anyone about, it tipped over. She told me how she couldn’t explain what happened when it came over her. It was as if it wasn’t her, as if she was possessed. She explained how her sister had distanced herself after that, refused to speak to her again. How this darkness was her darkest nightmare. And now, it has been summoned.
She just stares at me and Dyna, her eyes of misty insanity scanning the two of us, looking intensely as if she was trying to analyze a complicated painting. She does look like a nightmare; her entire body shakes, as if she was fighting an angry ghost inside herself, and yet she doesn’t move an inch. I suppose this dark side of Lucy’s would scare any normal person watching the screen half to death. Dyna’s expression into one of mixed cautiousness and horror, as if he just discovered a ticking bomb tied to his left arm. And yet I let my own facial expression stay emotionless. Maybe it’s because I knew about the girl she normally is: the kind, patient Lucy who wouldn’t harm anyone unless necessary… Or maybe it has something to do with my past. If there’s one thing I know better than anyone else, one thing I have learned through always observing my surroundings, it’s that everyone has a dark side; even the most innocent of us.
She runs. The wind rips her hair, letting it tangle itself in the dark clouded sky, blood seeping down her body with every running step, like a ghost chasing away innocent by passers. She bolts straight toward us, her trident raised as she charges, the thunder rolling over the sky and in her eyes. She doesn’t even appear to see anything, to hear anything. Me and Dyna are all there is. Her only enemies; both me and him; I do not question me being an enemy to her, not in her ballistic state and not normally either. After all, that’s the only thing we are now, after I broke the alliance. She should be angry, hurt and even bitter with me. I am as much an enemy as Dyna ever was. And when her mind is possessed, when the only thing she feels in the all-consuming hunger to hurt people, to remove the faces of her enemies, to hurt anyone who tries to hurt her… she would kill me. She would kill me, and I wouldn’t blame her.
In one quick movement I leap sideways, but Lucy doesn’t even seem to notice. She just barely reaches stopping her run, hindering herself slamming into Dyna. In one quick movement, she let her trident sweep around her in a circle. Dyna and I leap for our lives but I feel a little tinge of pain where Lucy’s trident must have just barely sliced me. A red tear of blood falls somberly down from the new cut in my upper arm, and onto the rain stained tiles; more blood spills from Lucy’s body but her dead face and flaming eyes remains ever the same.
Then locating her nearest target, she thrusts out at Dyna, with a speed that would make even Lynx jealous; Dyna just barely avoid, jumping out of her reach but she already has her trident ready for yet another attack. In a quick slice she let the deadly spikes of trident, the vicious weapons that she handles like a toy club, fly out toward Dyna; horror flies over Dyna’s face as he tries to lift his sword to parry but Lucy meets him in a head on power struggle, pushing him downward to the tiles with ease as if Dyna was merely a ragdoll. Dyna draws away from her, yet unlike Helena manages to stay on his feet. He raises his sword, ready to block another move as Lucy leaps to the side, going from a sideway attack-angle. Thrusting her trident outwards, the three forks finally hits home in Dyna’s soft flesh. Red blood soaks through his shirt like water on paper, yet he doesn’t stop to notice.
He moves in again, in one last desperate attempt to fend Lucy off, letting his sword fly through the air. Lucy doesn’t even try to make a proper avoiding. She just moves to the side, drags her trident out of Dyna’s flanks and moves in for yet another stab. Dyna’s sword takes a bite at Lucy’s arm seconds before Lucy’s trident pierce through Dyna’s back this time around. Dyna falls to his knees, blood spilling out of the two gashes in his body like a waterfall with no end to it. Lucy, as if she was blinded, doesn’t even react, not to Dyna’s fallen body nor to the newly made wound that Dyna’s sword opened in her arm. She raises the trident for yet another stab in the back, though it’s clear that Dyna won’t be back on his feet, his sword just lying on the tiles in a hand dead to movement. He opens his mouth as if to speak yet only blood comes out, splattering onto his lips and down his chin. Lucy pierces her trident through his back yet again as Dyna couches on the blood. He gasps for air desperately; lying on his hands and knees but Lucy is as relentless and merciless as the games themselves. She lifts her trident for a fourth stab; Dyna tries yet again to open his mouth, as if to speak. Red droplets run from his lips…
It’s as if my legs run by themselves. For a person who considers their vigilance superior compared to most tributes, this is a pretty idiotic thing to do. But I can’t deny him it. Not after what happened to Quintus, anyways. I can feel my aching body protest as I set into one quick sprint, heading straight for Lucy. The instant relief did a pretty good job at restoring my energy but being on the edge of death has its marks. Still I sprint. Lucy’s trident is raised over her head for the fourth thrust and looking at Dyna’s condition, probably the final one. She’s just about to sink the trident downwards, bringing death and the end to Dyna’s misery when my feet connects with the back of her head in one strong, well placed kick.
Of course a kick is nothing of importance to Lucy. Not when she’s in that state. Not when flaming anger is boiling up within her veins, when the world is nothing but targets for aiming your trident at. But it is a surprise, an unexpected move from an unexpected angle. The trident drops from her hand and that’s all I need. My hands flies out grasping Lucy’s wrists and folding them behind her back like the peacekeepers would do to thieves when they eventually caught them. Lucy’s shrieks of anger and hate fill the air, her legs kicking wildly air. She wriggles like an anaconda and digs her nails down into my hands with such force that she claws through the skin, but I don’t let go of her knowing that if I do, I’ll be the next one to get a taste of her trident.
“Stop it,” I hiss at her, doing my best to put a quietly-threatening tone in my voice, “Snap out of it!”
Dyna’s gasps fills the air along with Lucy’s howling, that slowly becomes more and more desperate as she realizes I am not letting go. My hands are soaked in blood from the wounds that Lucy has clawed in my skin, her entire being is fighting back, moving wildly like a leaf caught in a storm… and just seeing her like this so… so angry, hateful and knowing that this is what Lucy has been scared of all along… It’s almost hard not to let go. But I don’t, I can’t let go. Not when Dyna’s last words still remains unspoken and not when I know how much Lucy feared this possession, this dark part of her that scares her more than anything, yet she can’t ever flee from it. I can’t let her kill him, not like that. And I can’t let him die without some kind of last words.
“Is this what you want?! Do you want Lily to watch this? She’s watching right now! Do you want her to see this?!” I yell at her as she pushes herself forward, trying to get me off balance. It’s as if something seems to jerk in her. She kicks out but its fainter. The claws trying to pierce their way through the thin skin of my hands lose force. One last shriek of desperation more than anger leaves Lucy’s lips and is caught in the mouth of the cornucopia echoing between the walls like a loudspeaker.
I turn my face up to Dyna’s. His body has sunken down now, as he struggles to carry himself on his hands and knees. The three holes from where Lucy stabbed him are bleeding rapidly. More blood spills over his lips as he tries to utter some words but his eyes say it all. Gratitude, fear, and that dead calm that falls over people who know they’re gonna die and there’s no way to fight it. As if life was nothing more than sand running in an hourglass, just unstoppable sand falling into death as enviable as oblivion. He opens his mouth again and through a stream of cough and more blood utters his last words. A request to the winner of these games; a wish he couldn’t carry out himself, a wish which he now only can rely on the solidarity of his competitors to grant:
“… Charlotte… her name… Charlotte Grace Waters… save her… g-g-get her medicine…”
And then his eyes turn glassy. His arms lose strength, his knee buckles under him and his body falls sideways onto the tiles. BOOM!
Lucy stops: No more wriggling, no small grunts of effort, no more kicks and no more claws in my hands. She just becomes limp like a ragdoll as if her entire being wanted to melt into the ground. Slowly, carefully I let both of us drop to the tiles, letting go of Lucy’s arms. My bloody hands have marked her skin in a reddish color like the marks after someone have hit you. A wave of guilt washes over me. I didn’t want to hurt her but in the end I did, anyway. Lucy lets me lie her down on the tiles, the wound in her adornment bleeding even more rapidly after her treatment of Dyna. How she even managed to get up is a wonder in itself but then again… When such rage takes over you, can you do anything than just obey? When you exist to do nothing but hurt this one person who’s standing right before you, I suppose you would do anything even walking at the edge of death. I know I would, had the head peacekeeper of 12 stood before me.
“I am sorry…” Lucy just whispers as she looks up on me. Her eyes tired. Her whole being is tired, tired and filled with sorrow and pain and shame. Regret. “I didn’t mean to hurt anyone…”
“Ssh,” I tell her, letting my finger softly touch her lips to hush her words. “You didn’t mean to… It wasn’t your fault,”
“If it wasn’t my fault then whose was it?”
I consider my answer for a while before finally speaking again: “…The darkness: The darkness in everyone that these games bring out. No one could hope to control.” Lucy sends me a little smile hearing it, but doesn’t say anything. That little smile at her, that even when Lucy is dressed in blood looks innocent and pure, that hopeful light about her that never seemed to fade. Her deep blue eyes and her ever so faintly smiling lips…
“I am glad I saved you, at least,” she whispers beneath her breath.
And then slowly, I let my finger slide down to one of the throwing knives fastened in my belt. She watches me as I withdraw the knife but as I move the blade away from her, up towards my own throat, that’s when the smile fades. Her eyes widen in shock.
“No. No, no, no, no. Wolf, don’t.”
I let the knife rest in the air, just in front of my throat.
“Why not?” I ask her softly, Lucy sad but determined eyes drilling their way into my glance.
I wait for a continuation of speech but Lucy doesn’t bring one. Instead I speak: “Answer me. If you’re not gonna let me save you, I have to know why. And it better be a damned good reason,”
“Because I… Because you were lying there and I was sitting by your side… Wolf I… I am not sure if I could do it. Bring that sacrifice, because I would know that Lily would be watching I would know that I would never see her again and… to live beyond these games and to know that you would do that for me and not being sure if I would do the same for you… I don’t want to live with that guilt. I couldn’t live with that guilt. I would rather die here, knowing that my death allows a person - who despite thinking of themself as a killer would give their life for someone they cared for - lives on into this world. I am sorry, Wolf...”
“It’s okay… I understand,” As soon as the words leave my mouth I know that they’re true. Because I do understand; I understand living with guilt and I understand wanting to go back to the past better than most people will ever do. Wouldn’t I kill a man if I could bring my parents back to life? I would be ready to kill ten men, if needed be. I can’t blame Lucy for wanting to live to see her sister… even for the loose of me. If my parents had been waiting for me back in 12, if I had had a brother to go back to I don’t think would have wanted to slit my own throat. No matter how much I love Lucy. But most of all I don’t want her to live with guilt… with guilt of any kind at all. The kind of guilt that you bare for years, that eats away of you until you feel empty like a shell coated in skin and veins. “I want you to live too. I want you to find hope… hope and love… The things you didn’t have in your childhood… I want you to have those. Bring your starving people food for another year. Save people’s lives… Learn to live without the guilt of parents’ death. Without the guilt of anyone’s deaths. It’s like you said to me. It’s not your fault… it’s the darkness; the darkness that is not just a part of all of us but a part of the world as well. But where there’s darkness, there’s light too. You can’t un-break anything in life. But you can try and fix things... And if we try and fix the things that is broken by the dark, try and make things better… Then I think it’ll work out...”
I don’t answer her. Instead I put the knife down, I just let my hand slide into hers, feeling her ice cold fingers between mine. Tears forms like crystals in Lucy’s eyes and slowly makes their journey down her face as she stares onto the raging skies above. Carefully, I brush a few strands of hair away from her face, caressing her face with my hands. More tears fall. A sob escapes her mouth but other than the tears, you could almost believe she was lying down to try and fall asleep. We just sit there for a while, Lucy’s eyes closed though the tears still escape through her eyelids. Finally she looks up at me.
“Wolf, I… I can’t stop thinking of her. Lily. I see her face before me; I just can’t stop thinking of how I will never see her again, and how she had to witness me while… while I killed Dyna. I don’t want to lie here, waiting for the blood to run out of me. She’s all I see and I don’t want to see, I don’t to think of her but I can’t stop myself,” Another sob arises from her throat, breaking her off, “it just hurts… I want this to end…”
For a second I just want to refuse. What she’s asking of me is almost unthinkable, undoable in nature… But how could I not? She’s in pain, she wants to let go. All she needs is someone to end it. And to refuse her, just because of my own selfishness… Because I am too weak to do my only friend this last favor before I have to lose her forever?
Slowly, I pick of the poison covered knife and dry the blade clean in the fabric of my clothes. Lucy closes her eyes, her expression slowly turning to calm. She could almost look as if she was asleep. I squeeze her hand in mine softly and then I let the steel of the blade cut through her throat, the blade going through like a kitchen knife through a square of butter, giving her the softest, quickest and cleanest way of death that I can think of.
I squeeze her hand tighter as I watch the life flow out of her distant eyes. BOOM!
The room is brightly, almost sickeningly lit. A grant panorama window spreads it way all across the room, bring in a grand view of the streets of the Capitol, like a painting alive with movements and untold stories of a people dressed in neon colors and with artificially colored skin. A picture of all the things that I only dared to dream of a month ago: all full stomach, a life without worrying, a life without guilt, the life that we all want and that so few of us can have.
It’s the night of the interview. My victors interview, several nights after they pulled me out of the arena. They had thought I would be trouble. They had approached me cautiously in the aero-plane, like I was a bag of explosive dynamite that could go off any minute. But I didn’t do a thing to them, naturally. There would be no point in resisting as there’s no point to anything at all. I haven’t even uttered a single word since I was taken up into the sky, freed from the prison known as the arena. Shoving people out, remain dead silent is just easier, easier and much less painful than resist and screeching and punching out in anger. One of the many rules of survival in this new game of death that I have entered; the arena out of the games, the cage made of blitzing capitol cameras and machines that calculate the odds for the next tribute that I must mentor in the arena.
Getting changed, I see that my stylist has changed her fashion choice quite a lot from the Chariot where she oh-so-originally had sent me and Riven wearing bags of coal down the parade. Instead an outfit in a weird mixture of a suit and hunting clothes lies before me all colored in different shades of black. I can see the headlines: “The lone black hunter tells his brutal tale of how he lost everything”. Of course, my clothes aren’t the only thing that has changed. My stylish took her freedom to cut my hair shorter, the black locks falling just a little past my ears, a few stray hairs falling down my forehead and shading my glance, adding to the mysterious-wolf-loner-hunter-whatever look she was trying to go for. She even put make-up on me… which I naturally smeared and washed away as soon as I got the chance to get away from her manic persona.
And now it’s almost time. Just one elevator ride down to the interview hall… an hour of reliving the games… It’s almost hard to think about having to see Lucy’s face again. Of course, I have seen it before. In all the nightmares, when my escort tries to lecture me about some random custom in the Capitol and my mind wanders off; Every time I see glimpses of the ocean or a girl with blonde colored hair, she’s like a ghost possessing everything in her wake. And I just have to live with it, endure this pain because there’s no way I’ll ever forget about her or be okay with it. I have failed her that way, I realize. But I failed her in a lot of ways. I couldn’t even save her, I couldn’t stop her from killing Dyna and I couldn’t make her see her sister again… What does it matter if I can’t live up to her hope, that hope she had that I would finally live a life without guilt? What does failing her matter when you have already failed her a hundred times or so?
… Not much.
“I wish to speak with you.”
I turn around in shock hearing the unfamiliar voice. I hadn’t expected anyone to come up here, this is the place where the tributes alone prepares themselves for interview, gets dressed and compose themselves. Knowing how much the Games can truly scar you, I can understand why this time is needed. This time alone to just be… alone, alone with your thoughts before having to reveal to the entire country of Panem; a last moment to say goodbye to your privacy. So why is anyone up here?
Her eyes looks straight into mine: blue, sparkling with an almost cold glow to them, not quite dead but not quite alive either. A little smirk is curving her red lips, her skin pale as a ghost. Her hair is combed back with, leaving not a single hair straw astray. It’s colored in such a light blonde tone; it almost looks like white light. And I recognize her immediately. Every single child of Panem would know her face. Know it and fear it. Before me stands President Rose Ana Snow.
“Sit,” Her gaze plants itself on the two armchairs placed by the panorama windows so that the relaxing people can enjoy the view as well. She strolls across the room, not even spearing me as much as glance and sits down in the chair. In her hands she carries a small black folder which she puts down beside her feet. I sit down in the chair next to her.
“It’s quite pretty, isn’t it? The rebuild glory of the Capitol, all there before you; this is one of the highest towers of the Capitol, for your information. It serves rather well as a… reminder, for the winning tribute.”
She leaves the sentence hanging in the air without an explanation, but I know what she’s referring to. ‘Look at all the power we have; you’re just a victor, an entertainer for us. You have no power.’ Of course Rose would have something like that placed for the victors of the games; wouldn’t want the new victors to get too cocky like the last time.
“I am here because I have been informed about your little… habit of silence that you seem to have developed the last couple of days… It has to stop. Of course, it doesn’t matter too much me, but my people like their entertainment and you’re unfortunately stuck in the role of providing that entertainment for tonight. I wouldn’t want a silent answer to every single questioned asked by the poor Caesar,”
I raise an eyebrow at that. That was my original plan for the interview; silence, maybe sometimes a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ but nothing more. But why should I follow her request? What would she do? President Snow usually used loved ones to barter with stubborn victors but she can’t exactly do that with me. Not anymore at least. And if she actually thinks I care about losing my own life… then I am honestly surprised she has managed to keep the country over control for so long. “I do realize, of course, that at this given time you may not recall a whole lot of reasons to follow my request. But fortunately, I decided to bring along a few reminders of why obedience to my request would be the best of everyone’s interest,”
She picks up the black folder from the ground, letting it rest on her lap as she digs into it. I look closely; what would she think could change my mind? I have heard of people of the Capitol achieving so called “Obedience” by torturing prisoners but why would the President do that herself? As a means of getting revenge? Would she be angry that I lived through the punishment given to me when I was captured back in 12, a whole lifetime ago? Is she even aware of that happening? Or is torture the standard treatment of newer victors to remind them who’s in charge? Or maybe it’s not torture at all… But what else could it be? Somehow, I doubt Rose would stick with old fashioned argumentations. Maybe a reference to some other victor who failed to meet her requests…?
But she surprises me instead, by producing only a single sheet of paper. But for a second, that paper is enough to make me do anything. It’s a picture. A girl is standing by a tree, green leaves and sunlight framing her figure. A little smile is on her lips; not quite a smile, more like a careful, hopeful one like someone who is just wishing for something so badly and yet fears that wishing too much for it will somehow not make it happen. Her blonde hair cascading softly around her face, her posture is small but with an elegant twist to it. But it’s her eyes that are the worst. Perfectly mirroring the air above, her eyes are shining sky blue. Exactly like hers…
“Why are you showing me this?” I snare at Rose, viciousness dripping off my tongue. She responds with an almost amused look to her face. I suppose when you’re the president, you’re not very used to snaring replies but I couldn’t care less which titles she has. Her amused smirk remains on her face:
“It’s great to see you have decided to cooperate already,”
“Why are you showing me her?!” My snare turns to a hiss and then yelling, “Why are you showing me Lucy!?”
Rose raises an eyebrow before speaking in flat tone of voice: “Because, the girl in the photograph is not who you presume she is. The girl in the photograph is 13-year-old Lily Perch and she is the sister of Lucy Perch whom you previously have made your… acquaintance with, within the arena. I do agree with you, their resemblance is striking but you have to remember that where the poor deceased Lucy Perch is rotting underground right now, Lily Perch is still very much alive and quite vulnerable that is. I brought you this picture to serve as a reminder of that fact. We would both find it deeply saddening if something were to happen to the little girl, don’t you agree?”
I would have liked to say I controlled my emotions… It’s after all what I have credited myself for my entire life. My ability to blend in and hide and covering up myself. But here, is this room, with Rose and her arrogant smirk and her flat tone of voice that makes it sound like she’s discussing something as banal as the weather, it just makes it impossible. Keeping my lips shut, afraid of saying anything I would regret, I just sit there, glaring at her, wishing I could do to her face what I did to Helena’s. Her blood on my hands… it would be a pleasure. But the girl in the photograph, that little hopeful smile, wraps its way around me like an invisible chain; everything I do will be taken out of her. I could kill the person Lucy died for; make Lucy’s sacrifice into nothing but a wasteful hope… I can’t do that to her, to either of them.
With effort, I wipe the glare off my face, trying my best to slip on that cold emotionless expression before answering: “I agree. I’ll speak for them, alright?”
“That was all I wanted in the first place,” Rose sends me a smile, a smile that could almost look friendly, like when making a new friend. But I know the vile creature beneath it and I won’t forget it… ever. She’s smiling because she knows she has me now. I’ll do anything for her: a little child-queen who collected a new piece for her war-games.
She stands to walk up when suddenly, a memory washes before me. A blurry one, the ones that are so sharp when you experience them and yet seems to blur as soon as they turn from present to past. But a single voice remains; a single voice whispering a name:
‘Charlotte Grace Waters…’
“Wait…” I tell Rose, hating what I am gonna have to do. But I listened to the wish of a dying man and I can’t let it fade along the man himself. Not after what happened to Quintus, to Lucy to all of them, “I need something. Her name is Charlotte Grace Waters. I am asking to use some of the money I won for some medicine for her,”
“Ah, Miss Waters… I read into her case when Dyna Ploson reached top 5. An unfortunate individual, she was diagnosed with pancreast cancer when she was just 13 years of age. And now, you’re asking me to save the poor girl because of Dyna’s failed attempt? What a touching gesture. But I am not just someone you can ask for favors and I doubt you have anything I couldn’t get if I wanted it. Why should I let you use your money to help yet another dying girl in yet another district?”
I take a deep breath. As if rummaging my own face, I make sure the familiar mask of coldness is set perfectly. The straight mouth, neither hinting joy nor sadness, the almost dead eyes that seems to stare right into yours and yet not see a thing at the same time and resting eyebrows showing neither anger nor surprise.
“Because you have a… lack of hostages, Miss Snow. Let hypocritically say that I mess up once and that you kill Lily. Then what? I can do whatever I could think of, that’s what. Do you think I care if you kill me? My life doesn’t matter a thing to me. When Lily’s dead… I am untouchable.”
Rose pauses for a minute, gazing out at the Capitol in the panorama window. Evenfall is slowly closing in, the first lights of the city shimmering dimly. Then she looks back up at me.
“You bring up a valid point, Wolf. But I have to remind of something. I am not my grandfather. My grandfather wanted a… façade, I suppose. To appear as a president the best ways he could. But that made him weak; he failed to act strongly when even the lightest of rebellion began, he let it grow strong and when he finally attended it, it had grown too big. But I am not like that. Did they ever tell you in school how I won the war over the districts?” “They said your main strategy was the usage of bio-bombs.”
“Exactly. The Capitol may not have the brightest people but their creativity is unmatched. All I needed was a few scientists and I had my weapon. It was an easy way. I started in district 1 and 2, the viruses spread first to elderly and children. It’s even specially made so that I could target a specific area... I never had to kill an entire population, just the areas where it hurt. I would offer the antidote if they surrendered their weapons and bowed down to my reign. The ones who choose to fight quickly gave up when the disease quickly began to weaken them and when their child eventually died in their arms. And soon I was the President. But where I am different from my father is that I don’t mind using that bio-bomb in any situation where I find it necessary. If Lily died and if you mess up again, the bio-bombs will be my next move. It will kill you, you and every human you have ever known in your entire life, and if anyone as much as mentions the death of your district as a martyr’s death, they’ll get the bomb as well.
Keeping the mask locked on my face, I speak. The lines don’t even seem to be my own yet they flow out of my mouth easily. Carefully I let a little maliciousness color my voice as I speak, perfecting the act as the lone killer: “Do you think I care? Do you honestly think I care for the rest of people of 12? The ones who avoided me for all these years while I was alone, the ones who whispered behind my back, the people who named me “The Devil’s child”?! A mass of glaring faces and hateful glances, that’s all they are to me. If I had a way to kill them all off so easily I would do it myself, they don’t matter to me, just like I never mattered to them. And you already know how much I care for my own life. Your threats are nothing to me,” Adding the cherry on top, I let myself lean myself back in my chair, before I continue again:
“Of course I care for the people close to me,” I tell her, adding some realism into the act as well, “I care for Lily and I care for Charlotte, you know that. Letting Charlotte live would be yet another assurance that I won’t want to cause trouble. But I don’t care for people that I don’t even know. Why should I? They don’t care about me. And I especially don’t care about people who have made my life hell,”
Rose hesitates for a long while. I let my glance trail out of the window, an attempt to look bored. Really anticipation is prickling inside me, in every cell of my body. This is all I can do for Charlotte Grace Waters, the unknown girl I am trying to save. What if Rose doesn’t buy it? What if she just goes ahead and kills me and Lily just for punishing me for trying to barter with her?
“… Fine. I’ll let your little Charlotte live and take some of your victory money into funding her medical procedures.”
“She’s not mine,” I keep my voice as controlled as possible, forcing my lips not to turn into a grin. “But before you get all happy with yourself,” Rose says, ignoring my comment, “Remember this: even if you don’t care for your own life, a dead victor can make much less trouble than a living one. I don’t want to have to kill a victor off because my Capitol citizens tend to grow fond of them. But I will if I must; mess up once and Lily goes. Twice, and Charlotte goes. And the third time you’ll be the one going. Understood?”
I nod my head silently. Rose sits up from the chair and reaches for the folder, closing it. She doesn’t exactly look happy, but not sad either. I suppose I can’t blame her. She got a second victim, a second person that I won’t want to lose; yet another chain on my shackled feet. Yet a part of me tells me she’s not done. She has something more to say. She lingers in the doorway.
“It still surprises me…” She begins,
“That you didn’t save her. Lucy, I mean. I suppose I shouldn’t have expected you to. You are after all what you have been calling yourself all along: A killer. But somehow… Somehow I thought Lucy had shown a different side in you… You acted well, dear Wolf. But in the end, when she was lying there dying, you choose your life over hers, selfish as killers always will be… I wonder if you ever truly cared for her… If you ever truly can care for anyone, that is,”
“She asked me not to do it…” I protest but even I can hear how weak I sound.
“Yes, of course she did. But knowing you, Wolf, you usually only do as you’re told when it benefits you, isn’t that right? Just like how you didn’t ‘do as you were told when you played that little prank on the peacekeepers and killed your parents. Face it, Wolf. You didn’t care for Lucy. You just needed someone to tell you that you weren’t guilty of what you did to your parents, and when she had served her purpose you left her to die on the battlefield so that you could live. Why else would you have left her to die? And you acted so well… For a while there, I just thought you were another poor soul with a dark past. I thought you maybe actually didn’t enjoy making the people around you die. I was wrong. So congratulations, Wolf. You managed to surprise me, catch me at a mistake. I should have known you will always be a killer and nothing more…”
I want to say something… I want to say she’s wrong, that it’s not true but the thing is… I am not sure. Not sure if it’s true or not because I didn’t safe her, I let her die, she cared for me and she died and I left her and maybe I could have saved her had I stayed but she died anyways. What can I say? What do you say?
And then she leaves me with those thoughts, letting the door shut behind her.
The woods close in around me like a shell, turning me invisible from the public eye. The mist still clings to the cold forest ground, hanging low in the grey morning. But this mist is thin, you can see and breathe and feel safe within unlike, in the air zone where each pillar, each step was a risk of finding something lurking behind the grey walls of nothingness.
At least they didn’t take that from me. After having invaded my privacy, my daily life, my love life (which granted, they didn’t find much interesting in, there) and even my past, I still have the forest to go into, to flee from the world and let myself time travel, taken back to simpler time, a time of survival, hunger and safe solitude. Not anymore…
The Capitol population still only has five victors to celebrate: The triple winners from Rose’s first games, Alice Williams, Layla Cypress and Asuka Onat. Then there’s Thyra Sarin from the 101st and then there’s me. Of course being a career and all, Thyra takes the most attention. The viewers enjoyed her vicious, deadly side in her games. But apparently the Capitol audience seems quite interested in my doings as well. People like the vicious killer that I played for them doing the interview. They see me as a lone avenger who cared for one girl and one girl only. As if any other death in these games hadn’t mattered to me at all.
I let them think that too. It’s an easy image to maintain and people won’t bore too deep if you decide to give a vague responds or just say nothing. Besides, everything’s better than showing myself as I am, broken and lost and confused and stuck. I don’t want their pity, their attention, I don’t want to that puppet that they can watch on television and feel sad for. They can exhibit me to the public, they can invade everything I hold dear and they can show me to everyone as if I was nothing but a strange animal in a tiny cage. But they can’t see me, not truly; just the act.
I see it on the edge of my vision, a movement just a slight quick jerk of muscles, so brief that a non-hunter probably wouldn’t even notice. I spin to the side, lodging myself behind a bush, my body reacting on its own command. Hiding if movement is detected is one of the many habits I picked up from my time in the games. Even here, even out in the woods where I am the hunter and the animals are the hunted, I still creep away at the sight of trouble. It’s only when you have seen kids die around that you realize how fragile your own life truly is. How any move may be your last; after spending so much time in the arena, knowing that, it’s still hard to remind myself I am safe. I wonder if I ever will feel that way again…
My heart pounding in my chest, I take three deep breaths, attempting to calm myself down. Peering back up behind the bush, I see a beautiful doe prancing nervously around the area. They’re rarities these days. Since the era of Katniss Everdeen a few brave souls has followed her trend of training in secrecy with different types of hunting gear. Most of the does got shot at that time. Naturally, under Rose Ana Snow’s reign, only very few hunters haven’t been caught and killed yet, but you still have to venture quite deep into the woods in order to see one of these beautiful, delicate, almost innocent creatures. Back when I lived alone in the woods, seeing this thing would have been like spotting a deadly razor-sharp right beside your pedestal in the bloodbath: life-saving… but hunger doesn’t matter anymore, I can watch the creature in peace, not having to worry about whether my sickle connects with its flesh or not. Still I would give everything I have ever owned to go back to that.
“I thought I would find you out here,”
The doe’s head shoots up in the air like an arrow fired from a bow, alarmed by the unfamiliar voice. It turns around in terror, running away from me and the voice, away from danger and back to safety. I spin around to see the person who spoke and my glance is greeted by a small girl around the age of 14. Her blonde hair is set up in slightly messy pigtails, a few locks of hair falling down her face. Her eyes, sky blue and alert looks at me with a weird expression, a sort of remorse held within her gaze.
A part me knows it’s not her. It can’t be. Lucy’s rotting in the ground somewhere back in her home district, she can’t possibly be standing here. Yet it’s as if two people are standing in front of me as I look upon her. Every single feature of the girl reminds me of Lucy as if she her very own ghost were standing before me.
“I am sorry… I know I don’t exactly have an invitation… I just needed to see you…” The girl hesitates, searching her mind for the right words. But I don’t give her a chance.
“No, you don’t. Please just go… Lily,” I answer her in a brisk, controlled voice, trying to seem cold and confident, to seem as if she doesn’t matter to me. It’s better if she doesn’t know that she matters; if she knows, she’ll know just how much danger she’s in. Having to wake up in fear, having to close your eyes at night and knowing you might not ever wake to see dawn… no one should go through that.
“No please… Wolf, I…“ Lily begins but I cut her off,
“You made me lose the doe and now I have to track her down again,” I say, using the animal’s flight as an excuse for annoyance; I wasn’t even gonna kill it but makes for an alright excuse for even more hostility, “I probably lost the doe thanks to you, so if you wouldn’t mind leaving now I am afraid I am just gonna have disappear into these woods myself. Trust me when I say you don’t wanna chase after an experienced hunter in unknown terrain. You’ll lose me after a few minutes and you won’t be able to find your way out. Please just go.” I send her a glare, reaching for my sickle, preparing to just go ahead and make a run for it. Naturally I wouldn’t let her get lost in here; if she decides to chase me around I’ll have to find some way to knock her out and leave her in the meadow outside these woods. A lot of trouble but necessary; can’t be nice to her, can’t be good to her, can’t be anything to her other than what I am to the rest of Panem’s citizens.
“Is that how you treat people around you?!” Lily bursts out, angrily, “Do you have any idea how much trouble I went through to get here in the first place? You haven’t even heard what I wanted to say! You wanna dishonor Lucy’s memory this way!?” She sends me a stinging glare but it’s her last question that cuts through me like steel cutting cleanly through ice. I suppose ignoring her does from her perspective look like dishonoring Lucy; but what can I do? Am I not honoring Lucy by letting Lily live the most unworried life she possibly could? By not letting her know that me messing up just once could cost her life? I will my face to maintain the glare, to seem untouched by her words. It’s odd, acting for Lily. Somehow lying to the entire population of Panem is easier than lying to her.
“Yes, this is how I treat people around me, thank you. I honestly don’t care about your ‘troubles to get here’. Likely, I have seen more trouble in two weeks that you’ll ever see your entire life. I am sure you’ll manage. And, Lucy is dead, there’s nothing to be done about that. A dead person’s ‘memory’ is just a stupid manmade thing. Lucy wouldn’t care about her ‘dishonored memory’. She’s gone; she can’t care for anything anymore.” The words sound cruel even to me, and for a second I almost regret speaking them. But it’s what has to be done, isn’t it? I look up upon Lily, expecting a rage-fit, a claim that I am killer, a monster or some mixture of both. But Lily doesn’t even look angry. Tears are gleaming in her eyes as she tries not to cry, her face filled with hopelessness.
“Wolf… Please, I… I am b-begging you…” Her words sound on the verge of crying, and I can almost see the self-loathe in her eyes. Hating herself for asking a person like me for help, begging someone who insulted her deceased sister, trying not to cry in front of them. “It’s just… I know you don’t care but… But if I can’t get help then Lucy’s sacrifice… It’ll all be in vain! Lucy will have died for nothing and I just can’t let that happen… Please listen… please…” The tears begin to roll down her cheeks and she sits down on a fallen tree trunk, hands in her face, her little body shaking with tears. Guilt consumes me quicker than fire burns through paper. Just watching her, sitting in the middle of the woods, crying… I have to do something, don’t I? Like when Lucy had a nightmare or when Quintus died… I can’t just leave her here…
Slowly, I approach and sit down beside on the trunk. Lily doesn’t even look up, but slowly removes her hands from her face, controlling her tears. She sits there, staring out into the forest, her eyes fixed on a point somewhere far away. Then she begins speaking:
"At first, things went... weird. It was as if Lucy was just far away. I think I thought that... that Lucy was just somewhere else, that she would come back. But as time went by... I knew I was in deniable. I had seen her breathe her last breath on my television screen yet still... somehow, the shock came weeks after, as if I need time to realize that she was actually gone..." Lily's eyes are fixed on the horizon. The tears have stopped, leaving Lily's face with flushes cheeks and glassy eyes. The way she speaks: it isn't like someone telling a sob story. More like someone answer a question they're unsure of, carefully, as if they didn't know which words to put where. She continues:
"Then slowly I realized. No more Lucy. It was... really harsh, at first. I couldn't help but think of the time, that time after she went ballistic at the career academy... how much time went by where I refused to talk to her... All that time, I could have spent better, getting to know Lucy better, forgiving Lucy, creating memories for both of us... and I just wasted it, refusing to speak to her like an ungrateful child, figuring that... that somehow, I could always forgive her at some point. That I had all the time in the world, that Lucy was a stable in this world, a part of my life like the ocean or oxygen or food on my plate..."
She sends me a quick look, scanning my face. I let my eyes fall to the ground; somehow that seems easier just pretending not to be here while she speaks. What can I say, anyways? 'I am sorry your sister is dead now please go away before you realize that you're in danger because of me?' Besides, I never knew what to do in these situations. Normal people put their arms around each other for comfort all of the time but the last person I have ever put my arms around was Lucy and that was over six months ago. And after I said those things to Lily... I doubt she would want her arms around me, anyways. Still I nod a little, as to tell to go on with her story.
"But the worst thing... the worst thing was the way my parents reacted. At first they would grieve with me. Sit with me in the living room by the fireplace, both of them embracing, almost as if they were trying to shelter me against sorrow... but things changed. They were the people who were responsible for me and Lucy getting trained to careers, you know? And just gradually over time... they began blaming people for Lucy's death. Not you, no. They said you did the right thing. But the other tributes... all of them were causers of Lucy's death, in one way or another… or it was the arena or the sponsors or the mentors. Never the Games themselves, but everything involved... and slowly... slowly they began talking about..."
Lily breaks off, struggling to hold in another sob. In the end, she manages to choke the sob in her throat, with visible effort. She takes a deep breath before speaking again.
"They wanted her to be... a-avenged. They said that was what Lucy would want. They wanted someone to finish what Lucy hadn't been able to do... They said that somehow, Lucy would be saved, if she was avenged. And who else could be that avenger other than me, her own little sister...?"
I look up at her, my full attention devoted only to her now. It makes no sense, the things she's saying and yet it somehow makes every possible sense in the world. I feel the horror, creeping up on me like a shadow, spreading in my core like a virus. Lily in the arena... "It was the only think they would talk about, sometimes. They didn't even seem sad, after that idea spund in their head. They enrolled me at a stricter academy. They would talk to me about the glory of being the victor and honoring Lucy's memories... I think... I think that the thought of vengeance was the way they ended up coping with Lucy's death... That somehow that thought was what kept them alive through the sorrow..."
"They want you to volunteer..." I cut her off, having heard more than enough to understand. Lily sends me a little nod. Her innocent blue eyes bore their way into mine, so young and yet her gaze is full of despair and hopelessness.
"When I am eighteen, yes..."
"But... but they can't... they can't do that!" Emotions of horror, almost anger fills my voice, but I don't even try to control it. This is beyond masking. "Lucy died so that you wouldn't have to go into the arena..."
"They disagree... They say she volunteered because I was too weak to go into the arena... but with proper training... they say, that when I am eighteen, I'll be ready and I won't be weak and I will avenge her and her sacrifice will not be in vain,"
"But if you go into that arena her sacrifice WILL be in vain!" I protest,
"They think the opposite... that when I go into the arena, her sacrifice will bear fruit. If I win, they say it will proof that she did the right thing by not letting me enter the arena as a weakling, but as a strong, merciless, special-trained career,"
If the guilt hadn't filled my entire being up before, it certainly had now. Even if Lily survives the arena, she'll never be the same again. All Lucy did would be for nothing. Her death wouldn't matter at all. And I rejected Lily... I told her I didn't care about Lucy's memory, told a girl who might only have five years left of her life that the memories of the dead mattered nothing... and yet she still asked me for help. Because she has no other option... because there's no more for her to do.
"But... how I could I help you...?" I ask her, almost pleading her. She must have figured out something I could do, else she wouldn't have asked me to, right...? And I have to do something. Anything.
"I thought... I had hoped that... But I don't think you'll want it... I thought it was a good idea when I left 4 but... I suppose I didn't really think about how you would feel about it..."
"What is it?" I cut off her unfinished questions of unsureness, no doubt a result of my hostility to her before.
"I had hoped I could move in with you..." She looks up at me, as if seeking approval but suddenly the words seems to pour out of her as if she was scared I would stop her somehow: "I talked about with my parents. I told them you could train me. Career training by a victor... My parents liked that idea. And I am sure my parents would send you money, you won't have to use anything on me. You don't have to train me either, I would prefer if you didn't just as long as you tell my parents that you do... When the time comes around I could just... not volunteer. My parents can't... do anything to me, if I am on the other side of the country..." She hesitates but then speaks again quickly:
"And I can cook and clean and do stuff and make myself useful and be quiet and you won't even notice I am there... I just... I just need to get away from them... From all of it... Please..." Lucy looks up at me, anxiousness painted across her face. Everything hangs in the balance, but the only responds that comes to mind isn't even an answer.
"I am not... I am not very good company, Lily..." My whole life is a mess. Sadness, anger, denial of past, and a weird feeling of faked acceptance rolls around my days as my emotions were some kind of special "wheel of fortune". It can't be healthy for anyone, not me and not the people around me. And I have been lonely... lonely for so long. Of course, I have interacted, interacted with the make-up covered faces of Capitol citizens but it have always been more like an act. Would I even be able to take care of someone else? Even a girl who's only two years younger than me... I am not even able to take care of myself...
But I have to try, don't I? For Lily's sake... For Lucy's sake. I have to help her, do what Lucy can't. I let Lucy die... I can never undo that. But I could make sure that her death weren't in vain; that the person she cared most for in the world, her own little sister, is safe and will never have to face the horrors that you see under the dome of the arena, ever.
"I really miss her..." I look up. Lucy has turned her body toward me, tears gleaming in her eyes as she yet again fights a desperate battle against the tears. And then, as if my arms moves on it's own, I let my hand connect with Lucy's shoulder, letting it rest there. Not quite a hug but... something.
"... I really miss her too... I am sorry, Lily..." Lily looks up, a sniffle pulling through despite her attempts to not cry, "I shouldn't have said those things about Lucy... I didn't mean them. I care for her, even now when she's dead... You can move in if you really want to I just... I can't promise that... I can't promise I can take care of you or anything..."
Lily doesn't say anything. She just sits there, staring at the ground as if somehow, she could bring back Lily if she just stared intensely enough. As if the whole planet was to blame for taking her away, and not some sickening game, made by sickening people and where sick sickening kids murder each other.
And then she moves towards, swiftly and quickly. As by reflex, my arms flies up to my chest ready to protect myself but Lily just puts her arms around me; just quick, warm hug of two people clinging together, each trying to survive the ordeals of never ending trauma. I let my arms drop their guard so I can return the hug. I feel Lily's warm tears run freely now, from her eyes down to my shoulders before they vanish in the fabric of my jacket.
"It doesn't matter," Lily whispers quietly, "I can take care of myself... I have to. I'll just try and... try and survive,"
A long silence passes before I respond: "We all do..."
My Next Games...?
Alright so, considering how many people has asked me about this, here’s some stuff about my next games. First off, let me just marvel a bit at how positively you guys have reacted to these games. I have loved seeing all of your reviews and comments; they always make my day and keep me motivated even when I don’t feel like sitting down on my bum for an hour or two to write.
To be fairly honest, I am also quite nervous about my next games. Everyone has been so kind to me, and (as I already mentioned) been fantastic. But I am scared of my next games now! What if they don’t live up to the standard you may (or may not) expect from me? I don’t want to disappoint anyone! So I am a little nervous but I know I’ll do my best, and that’ll just have to do.
If you are wondering about some technicalities about my games, they’ll most likely be a non-quarter quell. There will be two spots per user, and I might include District 0 and District 14 in order to fill more people in. That leaves spots at least 14-16 users and it will be first-come-first-serve EXCEPT for the top three mentors, Hybrid Shadow, HawkWD and who WiressFan21 who will be allowed to make one pre-reservation. I realize that some of them are no longer active on the wiki, in which case they won’t have a pre-reservation. I will post a message on their talkpages. I probably won’t do any pre-games other than Training Scores, as I was pretty content with this solution in these games. Advice will, as always be accepted and encouraged though not strictly required. I can't reveal much more.
People who will be messaged
I have a list of people who has asked to be messaged on their talkpages when I post new games. These are people who have written that they wanted it in a comment below on these games. Keep in mind that this will not secure anyone a spot in the games. Here is the list so far:
- Pumpumpunkin :3
- Rainbow Shifter
- Toast With The Most
- XxXMidget In a BikiniXxX
A lot of people have asked me when I am going to post my games and if I could do it soon. That’s awesome, it’s great to see that you guys are excited to read yet another games but I have to be completely honest with you… It’s going to be a while before I make new games. As you can see by my activity, the last months have been crazy here in New Zealand. I am going home quite soon and I wanna make the best of the time I got left in New Zealand, thus my activity on here has fallen. So really it depends on when I feel that I got time. If I post a games now I’ll have to sometimes go weeks without updating, which I kind of don’t wanna do. However, considering I’ll be home in less than 3 months, and have a lot of time on my hands when I do get home, I might get something up for you guys there (I am not guaranteeing anything, though). Who really knows? I certainly don’t! Maybe there might not even be a next games… Anyways, it all boils down to this: “If I post a games now, expect long wait between updates. If I don’t post a games now, one should be up in three months’ time”.