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HEY, JULIA HERE! Time for the second Games in my series - the 94th Hunger Games! The victor of the 93rd Hunger Games was Scorch Flare of District 11. Who will be this year's victor? Good luck, and may the odds be ever in your favor!
I will be doing the reapings, training, and Games, just like last time :3
- Four tributes per user
- Reservations last 24 hours
- Perfect tributes will die in the bloodbath
- Don't get angry if your tribute dies
- I will go to profiles or THGRP wiki
- Detailed tributes and tributes with advice have a higher chance of survival
- Do not spam without my permission. Seriously. It's annoying.
- I swear - if you don't like it, gtfo <3
Allies (can be filled out later):
|1||Male||Zachary "Zac" Stratone||15||Axe, spear||Vinny|
|2||Male||Erlend Hallaren||15||Double-edged swords, throwing knives||Erlend|
|2||Female||Taylor White||14||Spear, bow||Jackie|
|3||Male||Buzzy Tee||12||Stinger, awl, acid poo||Emma|
|3||Female||Minevra Cloud||16||Traps, spear, whip||Erlend|
|4||Male||Trident Bekke||15||Trident, net||Junior ii|
|4||Female||Brooke Bekke||15||Knife||Junior ii|
|5||Male||Ali Swintnose||15||Wire, sharp items||HungryTeen|
|5||Female||Melody Love||16||Knives, blowgun||Kekai|
|6||Male||Shire Worcester||17||Sword, axes||Dakota|
|6||Female||Ophelia Bourderax||15||Throwing knives, bow, sword||Erlend|
|7||Male||Campanella Loyalty||14||Knife, dagger||Kekai|
|7||Female||Airyn Forest||17||Throwing knives, spears||Jackie|
|8||Male||Lucas Sunsong||13||Blowgun, sickle||Anna|
|8||Female||Nia Xexelia||14||Dagger, bow and arrow||Lily|
|9||Male||Lucius Shadows||12||Poison, throwing knives||Erlend|
|9||Female||Christa Burnstenn||16||Scythe, long knives||Emma|
|10||Male||Drake Elmund||17||Bow, dagger||Savanna|
|10||Female||Seline "Sel" Wintercrest||13||Throwing knives, regular knives||Savanna|
|11||Male||Vicio Malingo||18||Javelin, knives||Vinny|
|12||Male||Spark Pyrrhus||14||Hand-to-hand, knife (maybe)||Junior ii|
|12||Female||Empress Fireheart||17||Bow and arrow, knives, sword||Kekai|
TBA (lazy right now c:)
(If your tribute doesn't get the POV, that's just because I'm doing this in a boy, girl, boy, girl kind of fashion. x3)
District 1: Zac Stratone's POV
"That will be thirty dollars," the cashier told me, after I unloaded my cart and he scanned all of the items and food products that I had collected from the market. I pulled my wallet out of my pocket and opened it, retrieving four ten dollar bills and handing it to him. He handed me the change, bidding me farewell and remdining me to return tomorrow to my fruit salesman job before I lead my cart away from the counter and outside of the market. Being from one of the poorest families in District 1, I wasn't able to load the groceries into a car, so I had to push the cart all the way back home.
When I reached my neighborhood, the scent of smoke reached my nose. My eyes widened when I saw thick, dark gray clouds rising from the roof of my house a little ways down the street. I parked the cart holding the groceries on the middle of the sidewalk, before breaking into a run, my heart pounding against my rib cage. When I arrived in my front yard, I felt like falling over. Sweat formed on my forehead and cheeks and I stared at the flickering orange flames that surrounded the building that my family and I lived in. I slipped through the front door, ignoring the small, remaining flames that licked at my skin. I found a bucket in the kitchen and filled it with water from the sink, before pouring it into a group of flames that blocked my entryway to the kitchen. The moment the fire cleared, I almost wished I hadn't done such. Tears welled in my eyes the moment I laid them on each of my family members, laying sprawled out on the burnt carpet. My three younger siblings were curled up together, their normally pale, healthy skin now covered in ashes and burns. I placed a shaky finger against my little brother's throat, desperate to feel his pulse. There was none. I tore my gaze away from their corpses and crawled over to my mother's limp body. She was laying facedown, the hair on the back of her head removed due to the fire. I rolled her over, and she stared up at me with dull, widened eyes. She placed a hand on my cheek and whispered something inaudible, before her hand fell limp to the ground and her eyes closed. Gasping, I immediately rose to my feet and sprinted out of the doorway and into the middle of the street.
"Help!" I called. "Somebody, please help!"
Several Peacekeepers spotted me and began walking over to me. "What is it, boy?" one of them asked.
Should I tell them what really happened? I then realized that they would put me in a foster home if they found out that my parents were dead. So I just turned away from them, spinning around on my heel and making a run for it. They started shouting, raising their guns and following me. I wasn't the fastest and they caught up to me within moments, slamming me against the concrete and spitting in my face as they asked me what happened.
"My parents...!" I cried, but that was all I could get out. They got off of me and headed towards my house. They stepped inside, and several minutes later, they came back out, carrying the corpses of my family. I screamed and buried my face in my hands, tears rolling down my cheeks. They loaded my family onto an ambulance, before reaching for me. I yelled and blacked out.
Today is reaping day. Ever since the death of my family, I've been looking forward to this day. I train every chance that I get; I'm intelligent and a strategist, and I'm great at using an axe as well as a spear. But I don't look forward to the reapings just so I can volunteer and take part in the Games. No, not at all - before the death of my family, I feared the Games, training just so that I would be prepared if my name was ever called. But even then, I knew someone would volunteer for me. However, since that fire that caused my mother and younger siblings to die I've been intent on volunteering. Most people previously considered me a rather kind and cheerful boy, but I will admit now that I am depressed. The Hunger Games are the only things that have the power to release me from my depression. I'll either die and be reunited with my family, or win and the riches that I'm bathed in will cause a smile to stretch across my face. Honestly, I'd prefer the latter.
I slip into a plain orange t-shirt and some of my nicest jeans, as I don't have the most formal things to wear to an occasion such as the reaping. I know that when I volunteer I will be shown all over the cameras, but frankly, I don't really care what I look like. Other people might, but I don't. Being rather poor for my entire life, I haven't exactly paid a lot of attention to appearance.
I glance at myself in the mirror and quickly run a comb through my brown hair, parting it so that it's at its usual style. I then exit the foster home, sparing one last glance at where I've lived ever since the Peacekeepers forced me out of my home that had been destroyed by the fire. I won't be seeing this wretched place ever again - either because I'll die, or because I'll come back home and live a happy life in my Victor's Mansion. Either way, I've never called the foster home my home, and I never will.
I start towards the central square, ignoring the glances that some other people spare me as I pass by them. Some of the more wealthier boys my age examine my clothes and snicker. I hear them say things like, "Okay, he might not want to volunteer, but can't he at least try to look his best?" I can't help rolling my dark green eyes. Oh, they have no idea.
Once I reach the central square, I wait patiently in line before I've moved up to the area where citizens eligibe to be reaped for the Hunger Games have their fingers pricked. The reason they do this is so that they can collect DNA in order to see if anyone is skipping the reaping. I'm sure no one has done that in District 1, since everyone just loves the Hunger Games for some reason, but I wonder if anyone has ever tried to do that in some of the more outliner districts. A female Peacekeeper yanks my hand towards her and digs a tiny, skinny needle into my flesh. Blood doesn't ooze out as most people would expect, however when she pulls the needle out after half a second, a small, paper cut-like wound has appeared on my finger. I barely feel a thing, however; if you're burned all over by flames when you're 13 years old, then almost nothing can't be worse.
I know that's a lie.
I stand with the other 15 year old males, now feeling rather impatient as I wait for the reaping to begin. Several minutes later, the hand on the clock above the stage lands on the twelve, showing that it is now 2:00 in the afternoon. The District 1 escort seems to be just on time, and she hops up onto the stage, a huge, pearly white smile on her face. Last year, she designed her appearance to resemble an emerald - this year she's a ruby; her hair is a glimmering red, her skin a lighter shade of the same color.
"Welcome, welcome," she exclaims gleefully. "To the 94th annual Hunger Games!" Cheers and shouts and applause rise from the crowd of boys and girls, however they silence themselves almost immediately to listen to what the escort has to say. She reminds us of the rules and the Dark Days - she speaks fast as if wanting to get this over with. She eventually does, and the smile on her face widens when she walks over to the girl's ball, her heels clicking against the floor of the iron stage. She reaches into the ball and fishes out a slip of paper, which she reads - well, attempts to read, before she's interrupted by a loud and clear, "I volunteer!"
I turn my head to the right to see a girl my age with wavy black and orange hair make her way up to the stage, a determined expression drawn on her freckled face. She stands beside the escort, pursing her red lips and placing a hand on her hip as she slouches a bit to the side.
"Oooh, a volunteer!" the escort says with excitement, clapping her hands. "And what is your name, dear?" She kindly hands the volunteer the microphone, and she bravely speaks into it.
"I am Avelina Rose," she tells us. She glares coldly at someone in the crowd, although I can't tell who. The muscles in her face then relax a bit as she gazes at the audience, a calm air surrounding her.
"Perfect," says the escort, grinning. She then draws a slip of paper from the males' ball, and once again, she barely gets a name out before I leap out into the aisle and scream, "I volunteer!"
I hear someone laugh. I turn around and see the same boy that snickered at me while I was on my way here. He walks up to me, smirking. "You? You're volunteering?" He shoves me roughly, causing me to stagger backwards. "You can't volunteer. You're nothing."
I straighten my back and evenly meet his gaze. "Am I?" He nods, and a glare washes over my gaze.
I storm up to the stage and yank the microphone from the escort's hands before she has time to ask me for my name. "My name is Zachary Stratone," I announce coldly. "Do I look like nothing? Well, I certainly am something." I make eye contact with each and every person in the crowd. "Something great. And I'll prove that to you." I hand the escort the microphone and grumpily fold my arms over my chest.
"Well," the escort says with a slightly nervous laugh. "District 1, your tributes for this year - Avelina Rose and Zachary Stratone!" The audience claps, but I'm sure it's only for Avelina. She at least looks promising. The escort tells us to shake hands, and we do so. Our eyes narrow at the same time as we inspect each other, sizing the other one up and down. She looks quite strong, definitely a tribute that the other Careers will accept into their alliance. But what about me?
Oh, yes, they're going to accept me. As I said - I certainly am something great.
District 2: Taylor White's POV
I want you to picture something in your head right now. Picture somebody you love - perhaps it's someone from your family, a best friend, a boyfriend or girlfriend. Picture them with a huge smile on their face, their eyes glowing with kindness. Now picture them as their name is called in front of hundreds of people. Picture tears flowing down their face. You feel worried, and drawn closer to them as if you are a magnet. But you can't do anything to help them. You're forced to sit back and watch as they walk up to the stage. You hate to say this, but since they're so nice, so loving, you believe that there is no way they're going to win the Hunger Games.
That's how I felt when my sister was reaped several years ago. She was the sweetest girl on Earth. Everyone loved her, and she loved everyone else. When we visited her in the Justice Building after she was reaped on that cruel, wretched day, she held me in her arms and promised that I would win. I didn't believe her, but I crossed my fingers behind my back as I left the room anyways.
A week later, I watched her participate in the Hunger Games. I could tell she trained fiercely before the Games, for she appeared to be very talented with a sword and an axe. At first, she would only fight in order to defend herself, and I was fine with that. But the first kill she made had caused my heart to stop for a few moments. She had brought her axe down on a 12 year old's neck, and the moment blood began pouring out of the wound, my sister changed. The Hunger Games had driven her insane, and when she came in second place a few days later, she hadn't died the same person. She was no longer sweet and nice - she had died a monster.
Ever since that day, the rest of District 2 started saying bad things about my family and I. They teased us because my sister didn't have what it took to win. We were the low people of the district, the family with no respect whatsoever. At times I wanted to curl up in a ball and cry as I hid my face from the rest of the world, for two reasons. One - the death of my sister. She appeared in my dreams almost every night, beginning with the face of an angel and slowly transforming into the devil. And two - I no longer had any friends in my district. Because of the death of my sister, all of the honor my family once had has been washed away, therefore my previous friends have called be dishonorable and stupid. I'm more likely to be found in District 12, they say.
My mom helps me into a sandy-colored dress that is ruffled a bit at my knees. I stand in front of the bathroom mirror and run a brush through my dark blonde hair. My gray eyes seem dull and tired, and despite how big I try to make my smile, I look depressed. A quiet sigh escapes my lips and I follow my mother downstairs, where we find my dad sitting at the kitchen table. He lowers his newspaper and forces a smile when he sees us. "There are both my beautiful girls," he says. He stands up and walks over to us, placing a kiss on my mother's cheek before bending down on his knees so that he's able to look me in the eyes.
"Are you ready?" he asks me quietly. I nod.
Ready for what, you ask? Well, earlier this year, my parents and I agreed that I would be volunteering when the reaping came around. They were obviously worried that I would end up like my sister, and I was, as well. But they also needed their honor back, and I was their only hope. Plus, I needed this. Not the money, or the fame - no, I'm plenty wealthy in the area that I live in at the moment, and I don't exactly need cameras flashing at me everywhere I turn. No, I need this in order to show the rest of District 2 that I am not a dishonorable weakling whatsoever.
Mom, dad, and I stand by the door, watching the clock. Ten minutes before the reaping officially begins. My mom extends her arms and I go into her embrace. After a few seconds, my dad wraps his arms around both of us. "We love you, Taylor," he says. "Don't you forget that."
"I know." I move away from them and open the wooden door, causing the silver windchime on the doorframe to send an angelic noise through the air. That sound reminds me of my home, and it's only when I hear it that I don't realize how badly I'm going to miss District 2. Even if I do win the Hunger Games, I might never see my house again.
We begin walking down to the town square. When we arrive, my mother gives me one last tight hug before they hurry off to the non-eligible section while I have my finger pricked. I then move to the 14 year olds section, where I slip in between two other girls. One of them is one of my ex-friends, and she glances at me in disgust. I do my best to ignore her, when I really want to wrap my hands around her neck and snap it.
The escort, Vixen, makes her way up to the stage. Her outfit usually gives a hint about the arena, with the exception of last year. She's wearing a long white dress, and a curly blonde wig with pale highlights that falls down to her waist. Her skin is pale and she has frosty blue makeup. The outfit is complete with a tall crown made out of ice shards.
"Welcome, welcome," Vixen says, in her rich Capitol accent. "To the 93rd annual Hunger Games!" Several people cheer but most of us really just want Vixen to get her speech over with. After what seems like hours and hours of her droning on and on about the Dark Days and how the Hunger Games came to be, she pulls out a slip of paper from the girl's ball. This is it - the moment of truth. Just as she begins to say the name, I step out into the aisle.
Gasps rise from the crowd, and I can't help but smile. Me volunteering obviously wasn't expected. I feel proud that I was able to surprise them, but when I hear a few people start snickering, my face turns red with anger. So this is what I get? Oh, I see what it is - they don't think I can win. My sister lost the Hunger Games, so apparently, I'm just like her. I straighten my back and point my nose towards the sky. Well, I'll prove to them that I'm not like my sister at all. I can win the Hunger Games. She couldn't, but I can.
I reach the stage, and Vixen asks me what my name is. "Taylor White," I say loudly. I want to make sure everyone can hear it.
"Taylor White, eh?" Vixen grins. "Wasn't your sister in the Games a few years ago?"
I narrow my eyes. "Yes." Is my sister all I'm going to be remembered for?
"I'm guessing you volunteered to avenge her," the escort says rather than asks. I glare at her.
"No. I volunteered so I can win the Hunger Games." The audience claps after I say those words, and I feel a bit better. All I have to do is keep up that act, the one where I act confident and determined, that I know for sure I'm going to win the Hunger Games.
"Now for the males," Vixen says, her voice laced with excitement. She walks over to the boy's ball and draws a name. This one she's able to get out before anyone starts volunteering. "Erlend Hallaren!"
I watch as a boy with shaggy brown hair and light gray eyes steps out of the 15 year olds section. He tries to pull off a determined, unafraid look, however I can see the worry that shines in his eyes. He quickly makes his way up to the stage and stands beside me, staring emotionlessly out at the crowd. Vixen doesn't say anything for a few moments. She's expecting volunteers for this boy, but none comes. Either this Erlend kid is really hated in the district, or everyone believes he can win. He actually looks quite strong and talented, so perhaps it's the latter.
"Well then," Vixen says. She turns to look at us, and a smile stretches across her pale face. "District 2, Taylor White and Erlend Hallaren, your representatives for this year!" Over the cheers and applause, Vixen tells us to shake hands. Erlend and I take each other's hands and shake them, though we don't exactly show any emotion towards each other. On our way to the Justice Building, I spot my parents, holding each other close as they watch me walk off. Tears are shining in their eyes, and somehow, I know that they aren't tears of happiness. They're worried for me. They don't think I can do this.
Well, I'll show them.
District 3: Buzzy Tee's POV
I blink open my honey yellow eyes, squinting them so that they aren't damaged by the river of sunlight that floods my room through the window. I sit up, yawning and running a hand through my short black hair. I swing my legs over the side of the bed and stand up, stretching my arms over my head. I attempt to make my way to the door, but one would say that I'm a little overweight and I'd agree with them, so I simply flap my wings and they cause me to rise about a foot above the ground. I place a hand on the door knob and turn it, opening my bedroom door just as my mother comes to say good morning. She places a kiss on my forehead and smiles at me. "Good morning, sunshine," she says gleefully. I look away from her, refusing to respond. My mother is the reason I'm...well, you know, half bee, so I've never really forgiven her for simply giving birth to me in the first place. I love her, of course, and she's extremely wealthy because of her job and able to feed me and make sure I'm comfortable, but I hate her all the same. Lots of people in my district hate her, though. She's ugly and crazy, and her sexual desire is what caused me to be born. Yeah. She had sex with a bee. I stand surprised as well.
I slip into the bathroom and take off my silky black pajamas. I turn on the shower dial and step into the tub, closing my eyes as I let the warm water run down my yellow body. Once I'm finished, I turn off the water and flutter out, wrapping a soft white towel around my waist. I fly out of the bathroom and back into my room, where I open my closet and pull out a nice ebony button down and some worn-down jeans. I pull both articles of clothing on and glance at myself in the mirror, frowning when I begin to examine my odd features. My deep yellow eyes stare tiredly back at me, and the black stripes on my cheeks would immediately prove to anyone else that I'm most certainly not human. I rest my elbows on the wooden desk that the mirror is placed on and put my chin on the palms of my hands. After several minutes of simply standing there, I flare my nostrils as they catch the scent of honey coming from the kitchen. I drag myself out of my room and down the hallway, my feet just a couple inches above the carpeted ground for my wings do all the work. Once I arrive in the kitchen, I sit down and my mom sets a glass plate on the table. I take a bite of the honey cake she prepared for me and a few pieces of sugarcane. I then take a sip from my glass of honey before I decide that I'm finished. "You didn't eat enough," my mom tells me gently. I glare at her.
"Mom, the Capitol will let me eat better," I tell her, my sentences choppy as I am not the best at English. "I am fine."
"What if they don't have honey?" she asks despairingly. "Or the plants you have to eat? I don't want you to starve to death!"
I narrow my eyes. The sound of buzzing escapes my lips but I do not respond. At least my mother is allowing me to volunteer this year. She was very unsure about it before, but she eventually gave in because she knew what I would do to her if she made me stay. I will confess that I am a killer, and I would gladly murder my own mother if I was forced to remain by her side the rest of my life. She knows that.
I leave my house early, not even waiting for my mother to catch up. I quickly fly down to the town square, ignoring the fearful glances of the people around me. I'm used to people being afraid of me. After all, I am half bee, half human. Although, I actually kind of like the fact that I'm intimidating. If people are afraid of me here in District 3, then it's likely I will be feared in the Games, right? And isn't that a good thing?
I arrive in the town square and flutter over to a Peacekeeper, who glances at me, also a bit uncertain. She checks the list of citizens eligible to compete in the Games.
"I is Buzzy Tee," I say, to help her out. When she sees that I'm on the list, she shrugs, grabs my hand, and pricks my finger. I had been looking around the town square during the whole thing, but when the Peacekeeper shrieks I look at my finger. My eyebrows furrow in confusion. A pale amber liquid is oozing out of my yellow finger. I glance up at the Peacekeeper who seems to be having a heart attack.
"What?" I ask. "You never seen blood before?"
She stares at me. "N-Not of that color!"
"I am half bee," I reply calmly. "What did you expect?"
She shakes her head. "Just...just go stand in your required section." I shrug and fly away from her, towards the 12 year old boys section. I lower my body to the ground and hover several centimeters above the earth, just on the edge of the aisle so I can easily step out of the crowd when it's my time to volunteer. The other 12 year old boys appear to be very wary of me and they try to stand as far as they can from me. I roll my eyes, unoffended.
As I wait for the town square to become full with people, my yellow eyes are glowing with excitement. This is my first ever reaping, and I'll admit I'm a tad nervous, but I simply cannot wait to volunteer! I've killed other human beings before, but only in front of the eyes of a few people at my school. Everyone across Panem deserves to see I, Buzzy Tee, the strange half-bee child that will surely prove he is much more than a freak. I crack my knuckles and chuckle softly to myself.
After what seems like years of waiting, the District 3 escort, Razor, walks up to the stage, a wide, sparkly white grin on his scale-covered, silver skin. He has two fire red eyes and pointed elf-like ears that are so long they rise above the top of his head, with gigantic hoop earings attached to them. He wears a sparkly pink suit with a picture of a possum on the torso. Yeah, and people think I'm weird.
Razor talks about the history of Panem, the Dark Days, how the Hunger Games came to be, and all that other boring stuff. I find myself tuning him out - well, that would be more of an understatement. I'm actually drifting off to sleep due to my boredom, but the moment I find him walking over to the girl's ball, I perk up, interested in seeing who my district partner is going to be. Razor sticks his silver hand into the ball and pulls out a slip of paper, which he reads in his thick Capitol accent. "Minevra Cloud!"
I watched as a girl with long blonde hair slowly stepped out of the 16 year old girls section, her gray eyes wide with horror. I could faintly make out the sound of sobbing coming from the back of the square, where the families and noneligible citizens watch the reapings. I don't feel sympathy, however. It isn't me in her place, so why should I feel sorry for her?
That's when something unexpected happens. A woman runs out of the noneligible section, tears rolling down her cheeks. "Someone volunteer," she begs. "Please. I just got my daughter back!"
"Step away," a Peacekeeper orders harshly, and shoves the woman - obviously Minevra's mother - out of the way. She starts yelling and pleading for her daughter's life. Tears build up in Minevra's eyes, and I can tell she's trying hard not to cry. Two Peacekeepers come over to her and drag her up to the stage, where she stands, watching her shouting, sobbing mother with sad eyes, like she wants to do something to help her, but she knows it's safer not to say anything.
Once the commotion dies down and Minevra's mother finally stops kicking and screaming and makes her way back to her husband, the boy's name is called. "Brandon Zimborgina," Razor announces. Just as a seventeen year old male with brown hair steps out of the crowd, I fly out into the aisle and push him out of the way.
"Soy voluntario!" I yell. Everyone stares at me in confusion. I think I forgot to mention that I know every single word in the Spanish dictionary. I definitely know it better than English. Razor tips an eyebrow, but when I fly up onto the stage, he takes the hint that I meant to say 'I volunteer'.
"A volunteer!" he exclaims. "You don't get those everday in District 3, and especially not from a 12 year old!" He clasps me on the shoulder. "And what is your name, son?"
"Buzzy Tee," I say awkwardly into the microphone.
"Si!" Razor says with a laugh. I can tell he's mocking me. I glare at him, but he doesn't seem to notice. He grabs both me and Minevra's arms - his scaly gray skin feels squishy - and holds them both in the air. "District 3, your tributes for this year!" I turn to face Minevra and hold out my hand for her to shake. She looks at me, unsure, and at first I think she's going to turn away in fear, like most people do. After a few moments, however, she takes my hand and shakes it. I smile a little, before letting go of her hand and flying down to the car that will take both of us to the Justice Building. My heart is pounding against my chest and I feel like yelling out with happiness. I am going to participate in the Games! This is something I've always wanted. As the car drives Minevra and I down to the Justice Building, however, I can't help but think - do I really, really want this?
District 4: Brooke Bekke's POV
Last year, two siblings volunteered for the Hunger Games. I could see the horror they felt shine in their eyes as they waited up on the large stage in the town square - that was that last time the whole of District 4 saw them in person. Both of them were killed in the Hunger Games, the brother dying in the bloodbath and the sister making it just a little past the third day. As I slip the trident charm from my bracelet in between my pointer finger and my thumb, I silently hope that those siblings won't end up being my brother Trident and I as well.
My twin steps into the room, and I can see that the areas of his body not covered by his nice black tuxedo still shine a bit with water, showing that he had just stepped out of the shower. He runs a hand through his blonde hair and smiles gently at me. "Are you worried?" he asks.
I shake my head. "Why would I be scared?" I mumble, as I glance down at my shoes. "It's just a reaping. Nothing to be worried about." I hear Trident sigh as he comes to sit down next to me.
"I don't think you realize that not all of us here in District 4 are exactly the Career-type," he tells me. "It's not a bad thing to be nervous about-"
I cut him off. "What are you talking about?! I am a Career!" I stand up, placing both my hands on my hips. "I've trained. I can use a knife." I wave a finger at him. "Who cares if I'm reaped for the Hunger Games? I stand more of a chance than you would!"
Trident also stands up and glares at me. "Oh, do you, now? At least I'm much stronger than you are, and faster. I could outrun a large group of tributes while you'd be dead in minutes."
"Shut up!" I slam my back against the wall and slide down, before burying my face in my hands.
"Look, I'm sorry," Trident says quietly, as he puts a hand on my shoulder. "I'm only tense and frustrated because it's reaping day. We shouldn't say those kinds of words to each other on a day like this. I'm..." I glance up at him, and see that he looks a little uncomfortable with what he's about to say, as if he's nervous.
"What? Just spit it out," I say.
"I'm just worried about you," Trident finally manages to get out. I glare at him and slap him on the shoulder.
"Look, you're doing it again." I stand up and roll my silver eyes dramatically. "Don't be worried about me. I can take care of myself." I turn around and walk out of the room and towards the kitchen, where my dad has placed some pancakes and fruit for us to eat. I sit down across from him and stick a fork into a pancake, then dragging it to my plate.
"Good morning," my dad greets me, his voice quiet and a bit raspy. I look up and smile at him. Whenever I look at his eyes, they're dark and dull with sadness. Sometimes I think he hasn't gotten over mom's death, or my younger sister's. A shudder overtakes my body just as I think of that. Well, I haven't either, but still - I honestly try to ignore the pain by doing fun things here in District 4, you know; going to the beach, hanging out with friends... practically a whole deal of teenager stuff that proves fun to me. Sometimes, however, I just like to sit at home alone and solve puzzles or read. It helps me think - not necessarily the book I'm reading, but about all the things around me.
"Hi, dad," I say to him. My brother walks up to the table and sits down. I turn my head, avoiding his gaze as I begin to eat my breakfast. The three of us sit in silence as we slowly devour the food on our plates. By the time mine is practically cleared, I glance up at the clock. "1:45," I say out loud.
"Let's go, then," Trident says. He stands up, followed by my father and I. We walk towards the door, but before we exit the house, I wrap my arms around my father.
"I'm so worried..." I whisper. "What if I'm reaped?"
He sighs. "Don't talk about that, Brooke. Please." I keep my mouth shut as we make our way to the town square, not wanting to make him any more upset. When we arrive, we each go our separate ways, my dad heading over to the family section and Trident and I walking over to the area where a Peacekeeper will prick my finger. He is first, and then me. My finger throbs with pain after she draws blood, but only for a few seconds before it was as if it never happened. I'm pretty good with dealing with pain.
I walk off to the 15 year old girls section, but not before Trident gives me this awkward hug and tells me to think positive. I ignore him, but I know he's right. I don't want to jinx my fate.
I stand in my required section, just as the District 4 escort, Tanya, skips up onto the stage. She flips her lime green hair over her shoulder, her rainbow-colored eyes sparkling with enthusiasm. "Welcome, ladies and gentleman, to the 94th annual Hunger Games!" She beams at the crowd, her white teeth so bright they're nearly blinding. Last year, Tanya didn't go over the history of Panem or show us a video or anything like she was required to; she merely skipped ahead to the drawings. She does the same again this year, and pulls out a slip of paper from the girls' ball. She reads it loudly, her Capitol accent ringing throughout the square as the name pours out of her mouth. "Brooke Bekke!"
It's as if time freezes, as if the world stops spinning. My feet are glued in place as I stare ahead at the stage. It's quiet for a long while. My mind hasn't even registered the fact that I was reaped quite yet, and I'm simply standing there, my breath caught in my throat. I wait desperately for someone to volunteer. My heart begins to thump rapidly fast as no one does. I don't understand this. Why isn't anyone volunteering? When I see a few Peacekeepers walk over to me to drag me out of the crowd, I snap out of my trance and walk up to the stage, where I stand beside Tanya. She says something with excitement, but I tune her out as I search the clearing for Trident and my father. I see my father first, his eyes wide with horror and disbelief. I can practically read his thoughts; I might lose someone else. At that moment, I feel like crying. This wasn't how it was supposed to happen!
"Now for the boy tribute," Tanya exclaims. She draws a name from the boys' ball, although she barely gets a name out before someone volunteers. I turn my head to see who it is.
Oh. My. God.
My brother makes his way up to the stage as quickly as he can. He stands a few feet away from me and keeps his eyes on the ground as Tanya pats him on the back. "You two look alike," she says, after examining both of us. "Are you twins or something?"
Trident nods. "I'm Trident Bekke," he mumbles. Tanya laughs and claps her hands.
"This is excellent! Just excellent! Sibling rivalry, once again!" She pauses. "I really do hope you both make it farther than the tributes last year, though." She rolls her eyes at the memory of Lemonade and Lime Verandi dying as early as they did in the Games, and I'm sickened by her. But I'm even more sickened by my brother. Why on earth did he volunteer? Tanya tells us to shake hands, but all I do is simply turn to look at him.
"Why?" is all I say.
"I want nothing to happen to you," Trident tells me, almost reluctantly. I sigh and shake my head, then glance over at where our father stands. I can see tears building up in his eyes all the way from back here, and I can't bear to look at him.
"Something is going to happen to one of us," I explain. "Whether it be you or me, dad will be crushed."
"I know." Trident takes a deep breath. "But as long as one of us makes it out..."
I glare at him, interrupting him. "Not only that, but I..." My words catch in my throat. I feel like crying but I blink away the tears that slowly begin to form in my eyes. "I just don't want to end up fighting you, Trident. What if it comes down to the two of us?!"
"Come on, you two," Tanya says quickly, before Trident has time to reply. I was so caught up in arguing with him that I didn't realize all of District 4's eyes were on us. Our rainbow-haired escort grabs us both by the arms and pushes us into the car that will drive us to the Justice Building.
District 5: Ali Swintnose's POV
I open my eyes, and due to human instinct I expect to see the world around me through both of my eyeballs. But I can only see half; the other half is as dark as night. I've gotten used to this. I'm blind in one eye and it seems normal for me to not see through my left eye. People look at me often and whisper to their friends, as if wondering why I have one silver eye. It's pretty creepy, I'm sure, how it just stares off into space while my other brown eye looks around, examining the area around me. Sometimes I wonder why God made me this way. As I swing my legs over the side of the bed and stand up, I sigh, and think to myself, Well, if there even is a God. Because if there was, wouldn't he have done something to erase all the badness in the world? Wouldn't he have prevented the Capitol from taking over, as well as the Hunger Games before they even began?
The thought of that wretched Game sends a shiver running up and down my spine. Each year I attend the reaping, trying to assure myself that my name has only been entered a few times, and that my chances of being reaped are extremely low. There are thousands of other boys in District 5, some with much higher chances than I have. And although it's terrible for anyone to be reaped whatsoever, I can't help but feel a little relieved when my name isn't called. I will never feel fully relieved, however, as there's always next year, and I'll have to keep attending the reapings until I turn nineteen.
Today, I'm 15 years old, and the name Ali Swintnose has been entered into the reaping bowl four times. The chances of that little slip of paper with my name printed on it to being drawn are little, but I still can't help feeling extremely nervous as I slip into a light blue suit to wear to the reaping. I comb my semi-long chocolate brown hair back before heading downstairs, where my parents offer me a smile. I love my parents and I'm sure they love me back, but I can't seem to get over the fact that whenever I try to make eye contact with them, they stare back at only one of my eyes. And that's the pale eye on the left side of my face.
My mother gives me a hug and asks me how I'm feeling. "Good," I mumble. That isn't exactly true, however. I'm feeling terrible, like I'm about to throw up. The same sentence repeats itself in my head over and over; I might be reaped. I might be reaped. I try to ignore that thought and push it to the back of my head, yet it keeps returning to the front, and causes goosebumps to form on my arm.
My father glances at his watch and states that it's nearly 2 o'clock. The time that the reapings begin. I take a deep breath through my nose and step out of my house with both my parents on either side of me, and we start walking towards the town square. When we arrive, my mother places a kiss on my cheek and my dad pats me on the back, and they both supply me with words of reassurance. They say things like, "Oh, you're not going to be reaped" and "Don't worry, you're name is only in there four times, it's not possible". I feel like punching them in the face. What they don't realize is that it is possible, that anything can be happened. 12 year olds have gotten reaped before. It's not often that it happens, but it does happen. And 15 year olds seem to take up the majority of some Games at times, and they're telling me that there's no way I can be reaped?
My parents walk over to the roped off non-eligible section, while I have my finger pricked before going over to stand with the fifteen year old guys. My heart is pounding against my chest, and it starts to beat even faster when the District 5 escort, Ramen, walks up to the stage. He's wearing a bright yellow suit - no, I mean it's legit bright, so bright that it causes my eyes to burn a little. Why to the citizens of the Capitol wear this kind of stuff? Do they intend to blind people? Well, they wouldn't feel left out. You know, because I'm already half-blind.
Ramen goes over the concept of the Games and the history of Panem. He gives a speech about the Dark Days and shows us a video sent from the president, like he's supposed to. He seems to act quickly, however, as if he wants to get this all over with. I myself wish that video could last forever, for I'm dreading the moment when the escort draws the boy's name. When the video ends, he says, "Ladies first, as always!" before sticking his hand in a large glass ball and fishing out a rectangluar slip of paper. "Anna Summer." A girl with red hair starts to make her way up to the stage, when another girl with long golden blonde hair steps out into the aisle and calls out, "I volunteer!" That causes gasps to rise from the audience, as District 5 normally doesn't get volunteers. The cheerful-looking girl goes up to the stage and introduces herself as Melody Love. Why did she volunteer? She looks so innocent, so happy. Does she just want to throw her life away or something? I don't understand-
I nearly fall over. Wait - what? No, that has to be a mistake. My name has only been entered four times! It's... it's impossible...
I remember the silent comment I made after my parents told me it wasn't possible I was going to be reaped. I said it was possible, that anything can happen. Man, why did I say that? I just jinxed my fate, goddamnit. Sighing, I quickly make my way up to the stage and stand beside Melody, my arms and legs shaking with fear. Ramen tells us to shake hands and we do. I try to avoid her gaze but the way she tries to smile reassuringly at me, I can't help but think, Who came up with this intelligent idea of a Hunger Games in the first place?
District 6: Ophelia Bourderax's POV
I wake up to the unpleasant feel of a hard whip being lashed at my side. It forces me up out of my bed and I stagger towards the door, as the man continues to throw his whip at me. "Go make breakfast," he screams at me. I sigh and nod slowly, and he draws the whip back towards him, tucking it between his belt. He repeats his comman and I hurry out of my door and into the kitchen. Nearly a hundred other kids my age stumble out of their own bedrooms, rubbing at their tired eyes. I walk up to the stove while holding my burning side, but it's not long before the pain ebbs away. I was enslaved by a secret company when I was 5 years old, kidnapped from my parents during the night. I've been forced to work in the factory since then, and treated cruelly whether I obey or disobey. It doesn't matter if you're super nice to the leaders; they'll beat you anyways. I pull a stack of frozen pancakes out of the refrigerator and throw them on the electric skillet. I stand by the stove as patties of dough sizzle, flipping them every once and a while.
Some of the other slaves try to come over to me and make small talk with me, but I send them away with a cold, hardened glare. Lots of the kids here are afraid of me. But it's not my fault, really. Since they were kidnapped they've just been so sweet and sad to each other. I, however, don't want to spend each of my days drowning myself in tears. Though that's what I feel like doing every minute of every day, I won't.
Just as the pancakes are finishing, I hear a beeping sound. It's quiet but it's unusual. I shrug; it must be one of the company's new machines, or maybe I'm just insane and hearing things. But as the beeping gradually grows louder, I know I'm not the only one that's hearing it. The other kids look around as if trying to find the source of the sound, as well. A few of the company's leaders press their ears against the back wall. "Something's on the other side of that," one of them says. He yanks a random kid by the collar of their shirt. "You, go out there and see what's making that annoying noise!"
At that moment, the wall flies open. Bits and pieces of it scatter onto the floor and smoke rises from the ground. I stare in horror at the men wearing white suits and helmets as they shove their way into the building. I recognize them; they're the Peacekeepers I've seen whenever the company's leaders takes us to the reapings. When the Peacekeepers gently take the arms of the kids and lead them outside, I realize that they're the good guys. My heart soars. They've finally discovered the hidden factory. They're saving us! Tears well up in my eyes - tears of joy. I finally get to see my family again.
A woman Peacekeeper smiles warmly at me before helping me over the back wall that has transformed into a large pile of black rubble, due to the bomb, I think, that caused it to explode. I want to ask the Peacekeeper by my side so many questions, like: "How did you find us?" and "What was making those beeping noises? Was it a bomb or something else?" But I really want to save my first sentence for when I see my parents again.
Someone calls out my name. "Ophelia!" I seriously feel like fainting. Only two people know my name, and that's...
"Mom! Dad!" I yell back. I run over to them and the extend their arms. I fall into their embrace and cry into my father's shoulder.
"I thought we lost you forever," my mom tells me. "Oh, dear, are you okay?"
I look up at her, tears shining in my eyes. "Now I am."
. . .
My mother zips up the back of my silky white dress before hugging me for probably the 60th time that day. I don't mind, though. A million hugs wouldn't be enough after all these years I've missed spending my parents. The reapings are today and of course I'm nervous, but after what happened with the bomb and the Peacekeepers discovering us, I can't stop feeling like this day has been the best day so far in my life since before I was kidnapped from my parents in the first place.
When it is two o'clock we start to head down to the town square where the reapings are going to take place. I recognize a lot of the kids that were also slaves to the leaders of the company that kidnapped us, who I recently heard were executed for their actions. Some of them try to say hi to me. This time, I smile a little and respond with a friendly hello. They grin before walking off, and I realize that I'm going to be the same person I was before I was kidnapped. The kind, friendly Ophelia - the real Ophelia.
My finger is pricked and I actually have to pry myself out of my mother's embrace. She tries to hug me again but my dad shakes his head and drags her away. I can't help but laugh as I make my way to the 15 year old girls section just in time for the District 6 escort to walk up onto the stage. Her name is Bianca Winterwood, and she's probably the strangest escort that has been seen so far. Her eyebrows have been styled to look like rainbow-colored butterfly wings. Fish gills have been cut into the side of her neck for some weird reason and her smooth skin changes colors every two minutes. She's also wearing a skimpy cheerleader outfit and when she reaches the stage, she waves her bright pink pom-poms in the air. "H-U-N-G-E-R-G-A-M-E-S! What does that spell? Hunger Games! Welcome, my dears, to the 94th annual Hunger Games!" She starts to cheer for herself, but everyone in the audience stares at her like she's the world's newest form of idiot and she quickly moves on.
Finally, after what seems like hours of Bianca going on and on about the Dark Days and all that other boring stuff, she draws a slip of paper from the girls' diamond ball and reads the printed name. "O-P-H-E-L-I-A B-O-U-R-D-E-R-A-X! What does that spell? Um... I can't pronounce it... but I'll spell it again if you need me to!"
I facepalm. "Ophelia Bourderax," I say loudly, my voice shaking a bit. Everyone turns to look at me, and I sigh. "The name she read is Ophelia Bourderax. It's... it's me."
"Well then!" Bianca grins and gleefully waves her pom-poms in the air. "Come on up here, Opelia!"
"Not 'Opelia'," I mumble under my breath. "Ophelia." But I come up to the stage anyways and stand beside the escort, trying my best not to cry. I was just reunited with my parents, and now I have to be separated from them again? I watch as Bianca draws the boy's name and reads it in her thick Capitol accent.
"S-H-I-R-E - yeah, this is getting boring. Shire Worcester!"
A 17 year old boy nervously walks up to the stage and stands beside me. The escort beams at us and tells us to shake hands. After we do she tries to go into another cheering session but I don't allow it. Seething, I raise my fist and punch the escort square in the nose. She staggers backwards and stares at me in shock. I glance at the crowd and curtsy before calmly making my way towards the Justice Building.
District 7: Campanella Loyalty's POV
"Hey!" a young boy around the age of 12 yelled out as he was shoved against a tree. He slid to the ground, crying yet glaring up at the bully that had pushed him roughly into the trunk at the same time.
"What? Are you just going to sit there?" the bully taunted, a wide smirk on his face. He stepped backwards, accidentally tripping over one of the tree roots and plunging into the river. He let out a scream and was beginning to get carried away by the fast current. He attempted to resurface but it really looked like he was just flailing around.
"Campanella!" the boy that had been shoved called. Another male his age, this one with chin-length blonde hair, ran up to the river's edge and looked down at the top of the bully's head. The rest of his body was underwater. Campanella glanced at the other boy and asked, "He's such a mean person to you, Giovanni. Wouldn't you want him to drown?"
Giovanni shook his head. "Thanks for the sympathy, but he's a human being." He tried to stand up and flinched. "I think my ankle is twisted. I can't stand up." He stared in horror at the bully's body as it drifted down the river. "Help him, Campanella!"
Campanella nodded and jumped into the river. He managed to grab Giovanni's bully by the collar of his shirt just before the current carried him out of reached. He yanked him towards the edge of the river and heaved him back onto the surface of the earth. Afterwards, he himself started to climb out. With a pang of fear he realized that his foot was stuck in between the rocks underneath the water. A wave splashed over his head and he went underneath.
Giovanni managed to crawl over to his bully, who was starting to open his eyes. He let him cough up all the water he needed to, patting him on the back every once in a while. His bully stared at him, confused. "Why didn't you just let me drown?" he rasped. "I'm a horrible person to you."
Giovanni shook his head. "That doesn't mean you had to die." He glanced over the edge of the river, horrified when he couldn't find Campanella's body. "Campanella?" he called. No response. "Campanella!"
"We have to get back," Giovanni's bully whispered. "It's almost dark." Giovanni sighed and nodded. He allowed his bully to help him to his feet and he limped back to District 7.
Several weeks later, Campanella still hadn't returned. Giovanni's ankle was said to be healed, but now he hurt all over. He barged into his basement, slamming the door shut behind him. He screamed at the top of his lungs and yanked a coil of rope from one of the dusty drawers. He tied it to a hook on the top of the ceiling and fit his head into the opening that it formed. The rope caused him to stand with his feet several inches above the ground. He hung there, spinning around slowly, until eventually, his eyes glazed over and his tongue flopped out of the side of his mouth.
He had hanged himself.
. . .
Two years later
I crawl out of my little cave from deep inside the forest, wiping the sleep from my eyes. Ever since I was carried away by the current of the river two years ago, I have lived here. I've attended the reapings because I must, but other than that, I've avoided District 7, simply because the things that occured in District 7 haunt me, or perhaps cause me to cry. The life that I once had causes me to feel sad - and the suicide of my best friend two years ago causes me to have nightmares. I was in the District 7 graveyard just a while after Giovanni hanged himself, and I was crushed when I saw his grave. I also learned that everyone thought I had died in the river. For some reason, I preferred to keep it that way.
I've kept track of each and every day for two years, and I know that today is the reaping day. My fake name that I gave to the mayor of District 7 right before I once again escaped into the forest was 'Campanella Loyalty'. Same first name, different last name. I used to be Campanella Joyfully, but that is no longer who I am. I can be happy at times but mostly, I can be seen with an emotionless expression on my face, as what happened back in the past comes back to me often. I walk along the muddy path that leads outside of the forest and into the graveyard. I try to keep a low profile, hiding behind some of the gravestones if anyone comes near. They would ask me what I'm doing at the graveyard at this time of day. Eventually, I arrive at the town square. Several people glance at my dirty outfit and the twigs in my blonde hair, but they don't say anything. I get my finger pricked before standing in the 14 year old boys section, and wait for the escort to come up on stage.
I tune out the blue-haired escort as she tells us about the Dark Days. The history of our country is something we've all heard thousands of times before, whether it be from our previous reapings or at school. Of course, I don't go to school anymore, rather I teach myself, but I still remember my history classes from before... well, you know.
Eventually, it comes down to the point where the escort draws a name from the girls ball and calls out a name, though she barely gets it out before someone volunteers. This surprises me; we don't normally get volunteers in District 7. I watch as a young, pretty girl with pale skin and black hair walks up to the stage. She looks very innocent and kind. That's when I see the bruises and cuts on her arms and legs. Either she's some sort of phsyco or someone did this to her. Either way, she had a reason to volunteer.
"And what's your name?" the escort asks her. The girl replies saying 'Airyn Forest'.
"Now, time for the boys," the escort says cheerfully. She draws another name, this time from a different diamond ball on the other side of the stage. The name she reads is so loud and clear, that I know I didn't imagine it. "Campanella Loyalty!"
The name isn't recognizable at first. Campanella isn't the most unusual name. Only if the name was Campanella Joyfully would they all know it was me. Taking a deep breath, I make my way up to the stage. My new district partner is the first to recognize me, and she gasps. Then, I turn around and a wave of shock goes through the audience. "That's not Campanella Loyalty. It's Campanella Joyfully!" They start talking amongst themselves, their shocked gazes never leaving my figure.
"Now now," the escort says. "No need to get all riled up." She smiles at District 7's two tributes for the 94th Hunger Games. "Shake hands, you two."
Airyn stares at me, a bit unsure. "I thought you were dead?" she whispers. I shake my head, and she asks, "Well, if you never died, then where have you been all this time?"
I smile sadly at her. "I've been around." When I decide she isn't going to shake my hand I turn around and walk away from District 7, either for several weeks or for the rest of my life. And who knows how long the rest of my life is going to be?
District 8: Nia Xexelia's POV
As I skip happily into the town square, the first thing I hear comes from a girl my age standing on my right. "Freak." Several other girls that surround her snicker, and I turn to look at them. It's Gwendola, the most popular girl at my school, and her little followers. They've been teasing me since day one. Ever since the moment I stepped into my high school, they've been throwing insults at me. They made me feel like I was useless. The memory hits me the moment I lock gazes with Gwendola. She narrows her eyes and a smirk flickers across her face, and I take a deep breath as the flashback hits me like an unwanted jolt of pain.
. . .
The young girl walked through the front doors of her school, her golden blonde hair tied back in a braid. She walked over to her locker, putting in the combination and attempting to yank it open. It wouldn't budge. She heard laughter behind her and she felt her face turn bright red with embarrassment.
"Someone needs to take a visit to the gym," said a female. Nia turned around, glancing shyly at the group of girls that loomed before her. Once again, they burst into laughter.
"Oh my gosh!" one of them said. "I thought with that golden hair on hers, she might be pretty."
"Don't always assume what a person's face is like by the back of them," the leader of the group scolded. The other girl dipped her head respectfully, while the leader walked up to Nia. She folded her arms over her chest.
"You looked scared, dear," she commented. She purred. "Don't be scared. The only reason to be frightened is if you don't bow down to me."
"W-Why would I bow down to you?" Nia whispered.
"Because I am the queen of the school," she yelled. "Do you even know who I am?"
The girl scowled and smacked her across the face. "Well, then you don't even deserve to look me in the eye. Bow if you want but you will never be like me." Just before she was about to turn around and leave, she made one last statement. "Oh, and you might want to try putting in three numbers for the combination, not just two. Idiot." With that, the snickering girls exited, leaving Nia feeling completely lost and alone in this new school of hers.
. . .
I was crushed for several years, however I eventually decided that I wasn't going to let anyone get in my way after a while. I thought about how crying about the way people teased me often was not going to make them stop teasing me. The best thing to do was to ignore them, and I taught that to herself. It took a few years but at least now I didn't feel heartbroken when Gwendola and her followers called me a freak.
"Hey, Gwendola!" I give her a little wave and can't help but smile when she shoots me a confused glance. "We aren't friends," she seems to mouth, her expression cold. But I grin at her anyways before holding out my finger so that a Peacekeeper can collect a dab of my blood. Flicking the tip of my fake cat tail, I head over to the 14 year old girls section and wait patiently for the reapings to begin.
Eventually, the District 9 escort makes her way up to the stage. Her sparkly golden lips stretch into a wide smile, and the color looks abnormally beautiful against her snowy pale skin. She spins around in her long yellow dress before she curtsies and announces in her thick Capitol accent, "Welcome, welcome, to the 94th annual Hunger Games! The Hunger Games are a competition in which the districts offer up one young man and woman to compete..." I don't realize that I'm tuning her out until I see her reach her pale hand into a large glass ball that holds thousands of female names. It's not likely for me to get picked. I'm 14; my name is only in there 3 times. I am really surprised when the escort reads the name on the slip of paper she draws, not because it's my own but because it's one that I didn't expect to hear.
As Gwendola slowly and nervously walks up to the stage, this strange feeling takes over me. I have no idea what I'm doing as I run out into the aisle, waving my arms around in the air. "I volunteer as tribute!" I yell. Shocked, Gwendola's gaze focuses on me, and her jaw literally drops, before she starts laughing.
"Whatever, freak. I hope you die first." She walks away and I'm dragged up to the stage, my eyes still widened with surprise at her words. She didn't appreciate me basically saving her life. I start to feel a little better when I realize that I might die, but Gwendola will definitely go to hell whether she dies now or when she's much older for her actions.
"Well, this is quite interesting!" our escort exclaims. "And what is your name, dear?"
I raise my head, my nose pointing towards the sky. I proudly announce my name to the crowd. "Nia Xexelia." They're staring at me, as if I'm some sort of weirdo. I have bright pink highlights and cat ears and a tail. Of course they'd stare at me. But I don't care. I ignore them as I force a smile and try to keep the tears from falling.
"Well, then. Now for the male tribute." The escort draws a slip of paper from the glass ball on the separate side of the stage, which holds the names of all the boys eligible to be reaped for the Hunger Games. She clears her throat. "Lucas Sunsong!"
A small boy stepped out of the 13 year olds section and slowly walked up to the stage. Because of the way his arms shaked by his side and his bright sky blue eyes flickered around the area anxiously, I could tell he was downright nervous. Of course, I was to, but I knew how to hide it. I decided I would appear tough to my new district partner, and when our escort told us to shake hands, I squeezed his so hard his face started to turn a bit red. When I let go, he whispered, "That hurt."
I laugh. "Well, obviously." As I left the stage I couldn't help feeling just a bit confident. Not overconfident, but confident enough to know that I can make it farther than my district partner. How is a weak man supposed to win the Hunger Games?
Just because I wasn't able to open my locker three years ago doesn't mean I'm not strong.
District 9: Lucius Shadows' POV
I dig my nails into the cold flesh of the limp human body below me, my throat dry as it longs for the salty taste of blood. With enough pressure I'm able to tear out chunks of the flesh, and I simply flick the chunks to the side. A large open wound on my victim's forearm is exposed. He cries out to me, begging me to stop hurting him. He says that he'll do anything I say. I laugh. Pathetic. Deciding that I will end his misery, I open the little pouch I wear on my belt and pull out a tiny glass vial filled with a shiny red liquid. I'm sure my victim can tell what the liquid is, and I smirk deviously when he begins to struggle and shake. "Please don't," he whispers. "I'm sorry for whatever I did." I grin.
"You should be sorry, father," I say softly, before pushing the end of the vial against his lips. The poison trickles down his throat, and he can't do anything to stop it as I have him roughly pinned to the ground. His eyes widen until they're the size of stones, and after several moments his body falls even more limp and I can't hear the sound of his heartbeat, and there is no trace of breath whatsoever. I twist the cap back on the vial before slipping it back into my pouch. I then drag my dad's body over to where my mom's corpse is stored in the hallway closet. A lump forms in my throat. I felt terrible killing my mother. She was an innocent young woman, and she only abandoned me all those years ago because she was forced to do so by my father. The moment I placed the vial to her lips, I regretted what I was doing - but it had to be done.
I shove my father's body in the closet before slamming the door shut, not even sparing another look at my deceased parents. They were the ones that gave me a life on this earth. Or was that the devil, down below? According to my parents and other people in the district, he is my true parent. Just because I have red eyes.
And, you know, maybe I kill other human beings. Maybe I do it because I'm insane. You know what; I am insane. But it isn't particularly my fault. If only my parents and the whole of District 9 had accepted me for who I was, then I probably wouldn't be this way. I probably wouldn't have had to survive on my own on the streets after being abandoned; I probably wouldn't have found and joined The Black Hand, a group of dangerous assassins that live to kill others. Yet, I don't exactly regret joining them. Of course, some nights, I think to myself that joining them was a bad decision, but I feel like they're equal to me. They're not necessarily "nice" but they're understanding. They understand me, and they were the only ones that accepted me for my strange personality and my creepy red eyes.
Despite being a powerful assassin - the leader of The Black Hand, in fact - I don't yet have enough power to overthrow people like the Peacekeepers and the Capitol, who are older and more experienced than I am. I know I will be able to someday, but I still have to attend the reapings. Even if my name is drawn, I wouldn't be afraid, because I know I would have what it takes to win.
I arrive at the town square, alone. It's odd seeing a twelve year old like myself without a guardian. Well, it would be weird, if it weren't for my glowing crimson eyes. People know about me and my history. They know about how my parents abandoned me on the streets, and I'm sure they would've done the same thing. They know I'm nicknamed "The Devil's Child" because they were the ones that gave me that nickname in the first place. Some of the District 9 citizens that surround me stare at me in fear, while the majority hide shield their eyes, as if my red gaze would possess them or something.
That's when I realize that not all of their attention is focused on just my eyes. They're staring a bit lower - it seems like both of my sides. I glance down, and a quiet gasp escapes my lips when I see that blood is dried on my hands. I shove them into my pockets and I force a friendly smile, but it's no use. I look like the Devil's Child and these people believe that fact for real now.
I sit in the 12 year old boys' section, just in time for the District 9 escort, Maira, to step up onto the stage, wearing her flowing checkered-pattern dress and her sparkly silver wig. She gives a speech about the Dark Days and shows us a video sent from the president of Panem, as she's supposed to, before heading for the girls' glass ball and sticking her hand in, past most of the paper slips and to the very bottom. She draws one of the small cards and starts to read the name that is printed on it, before someone volunteers excitedly. Gasps rise from the crowd and I stare at the girl that struts up to the stage. She's about 16, with long, flowing red hair that flutters behind her like ribbons and odd violet eyes. Her genuine smile makes her appear kind and innocent, and when she introduces herself she sounds a bit too youthful and sweet. "Christa Burnstenn," she says, her voice just a bit quiet. Why did she volunteer for the Hunger Games? I think for a moment and realize that I'm sure there is something deep under that pale skin of hers - something dark, something devious. Bloodthirsty. Insane.
My heart begins to pound as Maira shoves her hand into the boys' ball. Even though I'm pretty brave and violent, this is still my first reaping and I'm still a bit nervous. She pulls out a slip of paper and reads the name that is printed on it, loudly and clearly. "Lucius Shadows!"
...Why did I have to jinx it? I sigh and quickly make my way up to the stage, ignoring the stares of the people around me that feels like knife blades against my face. It's just my eyes. It's all because of my weird, creepy eyes. But I am aware of my bloody hands by my side. Even though I tried to pick off most of the dried blood, they're still stained red.
"Um... alright then," Maira says nervously. "District 9, your representatives of the 94th Hunger Games!" She tries to sound excited but you can tell her voice is anxious. I glance at the crowd and they clap reluctantly, unsure if they want the tributes of District 9 to win this year. I look at Christa and she extends her hand towards me, waiting for me to grab it and shake it. I stare at her, confused. I hold up my red-stained hand, and she giggles.
"I don't care about that. I want to be polite." She gently grabs my hand and shakes it, smiling warmly at me, before heading off in the direction of the Justice Building.
Maybe this Christa girl isn't so bad after all.
District 10: Sel Wintercrest's POV
I run a brush through my dark black locks, staring back at my reflection. My light brown eyes look dull, tired. I try to smile, the corners of my lips twitching as I attempt to pull my lips into a grin. But it's hard. It's always been hard, ever since the terrible fate of my sister sometime last year. I used to be happy and bubbly, one of the friendliest little girls in District 10. I'll admit that. I'll also admit that I was blind to the world - blind to what could really happen on this earth. I didn't expect my sister to crumple to the ground that night, blood gushing out of her pale skin. I cried for days, weeks. I curled up in my room, refusing to speak to anyone as large tears rolled down my cheeks. At night, I stared up at the sky and begged for my sister to come back, though knowing that she couldn't. Even when I started smiling again, I was never exactly myself anymore.
My name is Seline, and I am the younger sister of Holly Wintercrest, the courageous girl that came in 3rd place in the 93rd Hunger Games.
Honestly, I wouldn't have been as effected by her death as I was if she had died earlier in the Games. But she came in 3rd place. She was just two other tributes away from coming home, and that crushed me. My parents had been sad as well, but there was really only one other person that was as scarred by her death as I was, and that was her love, Drake. Before her death in the Hunger Games, I was also too young to realize what the meaning of love was. But I've matured. Drake came to my house the day after the Hunger Games ended, while my parents were at work. I was the only one he could confess to. The only one he would be comfortable around saying that he had been in love with my sister.
Since then, Drake himself has been really my only friend in District 10. Of course, I have my friends that I hung out with before, but they just never understood what I was going through after Holly was killed. They tried to comfort me and they told me that they were sad, too, but the thing is, they weren't. They might've been sad for me, but they didn't know Holly the way I did. They couldn't have cried when she died, because she wasn't their sister. I got used to the word "sorry" after about a month, and I would get so irritated whenever someone said that to me, something like "Oh, I'm sorry about your loss." I would feel like saying; "Are you really?"
Drake was the only one that understood what I was going through. He might not have been related to Holly, but he loved her - in a different way than I loved her, but he still loved her nonetheless.
I set my hairbrush down and tie my black hair back in a braid, attaching a pale blue ribbon to the end. I wear a mint green dress that reaches my knees, and sequined silver slippers. I look pretty but that's only because I'm forced to look my best on an occasion like this. For all I care, I would wear a dirty shirt and worn out jeans with holes in them to a place like the reaping.
I head down to the town square with my parents, and they walk off to the non-eligible section while my finger is pricked. I wince at the sensation; this being my second reaping, I'm still not used to the pain though I know why it's necessary. I walk off to the 13 year old girls' section and wait patiently. I'm not sure "patient" is the right word for it, though - my legs and arms are shaking and my eyes are wide. I just want this to be over with - actually, I don't want it to happen at all. I search the crowds for Drake, and when I spot him standing with the other 17 year old boys, I feel a bit more relaxed, knowing that he's near.
Trinity, the District 10 escort, makes her way up to the stage. I was really nice to her last year, but she was the woman that pulled out my sister's name and basically took her to her deathbed. I would never admire or like an escort because it's their fault that they agreed to reap tributes in the first place. If it weren't for Trinity, Holly would still be here. I'm sure of that. Also, being more mature than I once was, I realize that Trinity isn't the nice, friendly woman I thought she was before. She's rude and careless, and she looks like she just wants to get this over with.
And she does. She skips over the history of the Dark Days and the other things that she's supposed to give a speech about, getting straight to the point. She draws a slip of paper from a large glass ball on the right side of the stage. Blood is roaring in my ears and I don't hear the name that leaves her mouth, but I know it's me due to the way everyone turns to stare at me. Sympathy fills their gazes and I want to smack them. A sympathetic expression isn't going to save me from the darkness of the Hunger Games.
I slowly make my way up to the stage, my heart pounding against my ribcage. I still can't hear anything. Trinity clasps me on the shoulder and grins at me. "You must be Holly Wintercrest's sister," she purrs. I can hear again. I wish I can't. "Hopefully you'll do better than her!"
I resist the urge to punch her. But why should I? She deserves it. A growl rises in my throat and I turn away from her, my eyes burning with hatred. She shrugs and says happily, "Now for the boy tribute!" She struts to the other side of the stage and picks a slip of paper from the other glass ball. But before she can even part her lips, I hear two terrible words that aren't common in a district like 10.
I slowly turn around, and when my gaze lands on the person that runs up to the stage, my breath catches in my throat and my heart beats two times faster than it normally does. The 17 year old boy takes the microphone from Trinity and introduces himself. I'm temporarily deaf again. I can't hear what he says. But I don't need to. Because I know who this is.
Trinity tells us to shake hands, and we do. But before he's able to walk away from me and towards the Justice Building, I ask him quietly, "Why did you volunteer, Drake? Why?" I feel like crying and every part of my body is shaking with fear. Drake sighs and pulls me into a comforting embrace.
"For your sister," he says softly. "And for you."
District 11: Vicio Malingo's POV
The unusual golden orbs called my eyes stare through two slitted eyelids as I crouch down behind a tall oak tree, my javelin gripped tightly in one hand while the other hand grabs onto the thick, sturdy branch above my head. A fox sneaks past my hiding spot, its ears pricked and its senses alert as it wanders around the open space, moss and small leaves crunching beneath it's paws. Sunlight pours in through the foliage of the trees, making it's orange pelt seem as if it is shimmering. The animal pauses for a moment before sitting down and curling it's bushy tail neatly around its pause, closing its eyes as it bathes underneath the sun. Bad mistake, little creature. I slowly raise my javelin, careful to not make a sound from the place I hide behind the oak tree. I wait for a few seconds, making sure my aim is perfect and that I will not miss when I try to take the fox out so that I can drag him back to my tribe's camp. I let a quiet breath slip through my pursed lips and I throw the javelin, watching as it flies out of the leaves of the tree and pierces the fox's throat. It crumples to the ground and I run out into the field, grabbing it by its tail. I use my other hand to wrap my dark brown fingers around the skinny leather handle and tie it to my belt where it remains in place. I begin walking down the trail that leads to my tribe's camp, the fox's blood slowly trickling down its limp body and dripping onto my shoes.
Just as I am about to reach the camp, the three girls and boy that are a part of my tribe rush out of their tents, the leaders of the tribe following closely behind. The oldest leader yanks the fox out of my hands and stuffs it into the meat bag that he wears on his shoulder. "Great catch, Vicio," he says gruffly. "We'll feast later." He looks over us, his expression dark. "Well, the ones that return will feast." He begins walking down the dirt trail, my obedient tribemates following him. I sigh and fold my arms over my chest, walking after them only when they're already halfway down the trail. I know what my leader meant by that. His words ring in my ears, over and over again; "Well, the ones that return will feast." Even though each of us reside in the forest we still must attend the reapings in District 11. Our leaders say that attending the reapings is an act of bravery and we are cowards if we avoid the event that could determine our fate. We are masters of weaponry, anyways; javelins, spears, swords, knives - we've got it all. We are also hunters and we've been taught that if our name is drawn from that large glass ball placed on the stage and we are forced to go into the Capitol, then we will fight to the death without mercy. I was raised to think this way by the leaders of my tribe and I agree wholeheartedly.
I snap back to reality when the sounds of chatting children reach my ears and I realize that we've arrived at the town square of District 11. My tribemates begin walking towards their required section, while the only woman leader of my tribe, Savanna, extends her arms towards me. Although my expression is hard and emotionless I immediately fall into her embrace. Savanna is the only one that seems like an actual person in the tribe. Despite being strict and ruthless, she's caring and she understands that we are only human, and knows that we would be crushed on the inside if we were reaped, even if we try to ignore the feeling.
"Vicio," she whispers. "Let luck be with you."
Luck. Luck is a word that should be erased from the human dictionary. Fate overpowers luck; anything could happen. In the name of science, nothing is impossible and my name could be drawn even if only half of a slip of paper was in there with my name on it.
One of the Peacekeepers prick my finger and I don't even wince. I have a great amount of physical strength and a beesting would probably be a light tickle in my point of view. I walk towards the front of the crowd and stand with the 18 year olds, seeing I'm just in time for the girl tribute to be reaped. The District 11 escort draws a slip of paper from the glass ball. "Amme Ilorenzo!"
A filipino girl with dark brown hair in a high ponytail and small black eyes makes her way up to the stage. She has an angelic face and looks to be very sweet, however she has an extremely confident expression and she doesn't seem afraid at all. She stands at the center of the stage while the escort reaps the male tribute.
No... no, it can't be. Did she just say my name? No, I'm supposed to go back to the forest and share the fox that I caught just a few minutes ago. I'm supposed to go back home with Savanna and the other leaders and my tribemates. Why did this have to happen to me? The whole world blurs around me as I warily step out into the aisle and slowly walk up to the stage. The escort says something but I don't hear what she says because blood is rushing in my ears. Amme holds out her hand and looks at me expectantly. I don't understand what she wants and I furrow my brow in confusion. She takes my hand and starts to shake it, but I yank it back towards me. "Don't touch me," I grumble. She looks concerned and tilts her head innocently. I sigh and turn away from her, sparing one last glance at the crowd and Savanna's golden braids before I'm shoved into a car and the escort drives us to the Justice Building, where we will have just 3 more minutes of time to spend in our district before we are taken away to the heart of Panem and possibly the place that we will die.