Hello, and welcome to yet another Hunger Games created by me. Unlike my past Games, I have decided to host these on this wiki, in an attempt to make it more active than it currently is. Regardless, I do hope that you will join this, but make sure to read the rules first. Furthermore, I apologize for my previous Hunger Games being left in its incomplete status, and I assure you that the same will not happen to these Hunger Games. Well, without further ado, I present you: The 377th Hunger Games.
1. These Games will not possess a normal submitting form. Instead, if you wish to partake, you have one week starting from today, November 22nd, to submit your characters. The amount of tributes allowed by person is two, but the limit may be raised if I am in need of more tributes. In order to participate, you can leave a link – or a comment, if your tributes does not possess a page on the Hunger Games Roleplaying Wikia. Your comment can have as much tributes from your collection as you want. However, I will be handpicking a total of two of them. Keep in mind that, if your tributes are bland, unfinished or stereotypical, I have the right to decline them. Given that, if an user has a large number of well-written, detailed tributes, I might select three of them; and the same applies for an user with bland tributes. In this case, I have the right to select a single tribute out of the amount of links you have left. These are my Games, so you shall abide to my terms and rules.
2. You're required to possess a mature, friendly behaviour in the comments. Any nagging, harassing or drama will result in the death of your tributes, and possibly get you banned from not just these Games, but form the wiki in general if you offend another user. Same applies for any violent behaviour. We understand that you might be upset once your character dies, but there's no need to go on a swearing spree if it happens.
3. Excessive spamming will get you banned from these Hunger Games without a warning. The same applies to advertising your own Hunger Games in the comments section. Having more than three repeated comments to achieve a milestone comment is annoying, and will get you banned from these Games, as stated above.
4. If you can, stay active; and try to post at least one comment every day so I can know that you are active. Many times in the past, not many users posted a coment in my Games when they were not updated in a while, so if you comment daily, your tributes' changes of winning will be improved drastically. If you don't provide any source of advice for the course of two Hunger Games days, you will be tagged as inactive and your tribute(s) will be killed off. Keep in mind that your tributes might not follow the given advice strictly.
5. This Fan-fiction is made solely for entertainment, and does not mean to steal, plagiarize or in any way copy Suzanne Collins' work, and is instead a homage to her commendable book.
Failure to abide to these rules will get you banned from these Hunger Games. Please, keep in mind that these rules are subject to constant changes, and I recommend you to keep an eye out for them. Thank you for taking your time to read this.
The following Tribute form should be used for all tributes, regardless of their gender, home district, or skills. If your submitted Tributes do not contain all of the information below, they will be declined, and I will not hold the spot for you until your character is completed. You will have the course of a week to complete your characters, so you definetly will not be lacking in time to polish your tributes. If you wish to give your tribute any additional information, don't be afraid to do so. Keep in mind that your tribute must be either male or female. That means, no robots, phantoms, or anything supernatural in essence. Thank you.
Strengths and Weaknesses:
|Capitol||Male||Edrik Gold||Seventeen||Sickle, Throwing knives||Biel1458|
|Capitol||Female||Reo Daire||Sixteen||Serrated Sword, Knife||Biel1458|
|0||Male||Aleksandr Estrene||Sixteen||Sword, Spear||Despondence|
|0||Female||Darsaya Taloure||Eighteen||Tomahawk, Knife||Despondence|
|1||Male||Ryan Jones||Eighteen||Spear, Knife||AlphaRufus|
|2||Male||Pompeii Vulcan||Eighteen||Fists, Sword||SirEatALotISTK|
|2||Female||Kasumi Harada||Seventeen||Bow & Arrows, Katana||LightStone123|
|3||Male||Alkaline Watt||Seventeen||Traps, Explosives||Tehblakdeath|
|3||Female||Jayda Idylwyld||Seventeen||Axe, Intelligence||TTOD4|
|4||Male||Manta Li||Seventeen||Sickle, Sword||Tehblakdeath|
|4||Female||Cordelia Murphy||Sixteen||Trident||El Funk|
|5||Male||Nick Maclachlan||Fourteen||Crossbow, Knife||TheManablob|
|5||Female||Clarke Watson||Fifteen||Blowgun & Darts, Knife||Misytmolla|
|6||Male||Solar Powers||Eighteen||Sword, Combat||Utkar22|
|7||Male||Altair Summers||Seventeen||Axe, Throwing Axe||KEWLBEN|
|7||Female||Breeze Sylvani||Sixteen||Axe, Hatchet||Pernicious Fabrication|
|8||Male||Tux Brandt||Thirteen||Needles, Spear||Melody8637|
|8||Female||Rio Waterborne||Sixteen||Sword, Short Sword||TWD|
|9||Male||Timothy Banner||Seventeen||Sword, Fists||TWD|
|9||Female||Amelia Woods||Seventeen||Knife, Stealth||Blingbae|
|10||Male||Austin Tierney||Seventeen||Bullwhip, knife||El Funk|
|10||Female||Maribelle Flounders||Twelve||Blowgun, poison||Blingbae|
|11||Male||Martin Plamenov||Seventeen||Bow & Arrows, Knife||FenixPlamenov|
|11||Female||Taligelia Rendervault||Sixteen||Spear, Knife||TTOD4|
|12||Male||Drago Fire||Eighteen||Brass Knuckles, Sickle||TheManablob|
|12||Female||Coraline Overton||Sixteen||Dagger, Stealth||UniqueTears|
|13||Male||Sark Lancaster||Eighteen||Axe, Whip||LightStone123|
|13||Female||Zoey Proasheck||Fifteen||Katana, Axe||Tehblakdeath|
|14||Male||Eugene Watson||Sixteen||Machete, Sword||DrXax|
|14||Female||Elise Stokes||Sixteen||Dagger, Knife||Misytmolla|
Real Life Gallery
Ryan Jones (1), Pompeii Vulcan (2), Kasumi Harada (2), Manta Li (4), Cordelia Murphy (4), Rio Waterbone (8), Zoey Proasheck (13), Eugene Watson (14), Elise Stokes (14).
Leera Renedy (1), Nick Maclachlan (5), Solar Powers (6), Timothy Banner (9), Austin Tierney (10), Martin Plamenov (11), Coraline Overton (12).
Edrik Gold (C), Reo Daire (C), Maribelle Flounders (10).
Alkaline Watt (3), Jayda Idylwyld (3), Altair Summers (7), Drago Fire (12).
Aleksandr Estrene (0), Darsaya Taloure (0), Clarke Watson (5), Tress Terrence (6), Breeze Sylvani (7), Tux Brandt (8), Amelia Woods (9), Taligelia Rendervault (11), Sark Lancaster (13).
Odds of Winning
- Last updated on: December 20th, 2016
|Very Low||Low||Average||High||Very High|
|Morning Line Odds|
|Ryan Jones (1)||7-1|
|Leera Renedy (1)||10-1|
|Kasumi Harada (2)||5-1|
|Alkaline Watt (3)||10-1|
|Jayda Idylwyld (3)||17-1|
|Cordelia Murphy (4)||3-1|
|Nick Maclachlan (5)||22-1|
|Clarke Wattson (5)||47-1|
|Solar Powers (6)||54-1|
|Tress Terrence (6)||16-1|
|Altair Summers (7)||12-1|
|Tux Brandt (8)||28-1|
|Rio Waterborne (8)||7-1|
|Amelia Woods (9)||7-1|
|Austin Tierney (10)||78-1|
|Maribelle Flounders (10)||32-1|
|Coraline Overton (12)||35-1|
|Sark Lancaster (13)||4-1|
|Zoey Proasheck (13)||13-1|
|Eugene Watson (14)||8-1|
|Elise Stokes (14)||12-1|
|Edrik Gold (C)||35-1|
|Reo Daire (C)||11-1|
|The Capitol||Edrik Gold||Reo Daire|
|One||Ryan Jones||Leera Renedy|
|Three||Alkaline Watt||Jayda Idylwyld|
|Five||Nick Maclachlan||Clarke Wattson|
|Six||Solar Powers||Tress Terrence|
|Eight||Tux Brandt||Rio Waterborne|
|Ten||Austin Tierney||Maribelle Flounders|
|Thirteen||Sark Lancaster||Zoey Proasheck|
|Fourteen||Eugene Watson||Elise Stokes|
== Reapings ==
Reo Daire (The Capitol)
Hesitant, I grab his hand as I lead him in closer. Soft fingers brush through my hair, and the scent of something sweet lingers in the air as he closes in. He looks on, eyes glistening as he thinks of something, or what scares me the most, someone. Momentarily, I feel stupid. Stupid for thinking that his mind could drift elsewhere. I have known him for three–maybe four years, and since the start, it was clear that we were meant to be together. Passionately, I lean in for another kiss. With a calm, but tender one, he leans back and smiles, as he quickly turns me over, pulling my shirt up. I smile as he whispers sweet nothings into my ear.
Not that I doubt his love; for I don't doubt it for a second. But sometimes, I feel as if Edrik makes me want to feel better, which is why he cannot desist to remind me about the bright side of life. After being left in the dark for so many years, having someone to look after you feels nice. Mind drifting between my conturbed past and Edrik–who always strives to protect those around him and never takes a "no" as an answer–softly, delicately kisses my neck, as if I am a porcelain doll that could shatter at slighest touch.
I guess this is what it means to be alive.
When I wake up in the next morning, the sun is high in the sky, illuminating the crowded streets of the Capitol. I sigh, rolling around as I reach for him. Flashes of last night pass by my head, but I pay no attention to them. I just want to spend some more time with Edrik. My hand reach for his lean form lying next to me. As they find his chest, I take note of his regular, soft breathing.
"Sleepy-head. . ." I murmur to myself as I carefully take my hand away from him.
Groggily, I stand on my elbow, rubbing my face ruefully as my eyes slowly begin to adjust to the room's natural enlightenment. I throw my hands in front of my eyes to shield them from the inclement sun as I stand up, closing the blinds. Why they're even open is beyond my knowledge. I suppose I forgot to close them last night. Not that it really matters now.
I turn around and glance towards the bed, where Edrik still sleeps. Taking extra care not to make any noise, I stalk towards my wardrobe, where I pick a plain navy shirt and black shorts. I look through my drawers, until I find what I'm looking for–a pair of basic, cyan flip-flops with small gemstones in them. At first, I think my clothes are rather plain, but when I look in the mirror, I realize how attractive they look. I close my wardrobe, and cautiosly make my way to the bathroom. After staring at my sleep-deprived self in the mirror for a while, I finally decide to do something useful, and take one of my hair brushes from a drawer. Swiftly–but accurately, all the knots are brushed out of my hair. I have half a mind to pull it back into a ponytail, but I can't find any hair tie, and the one I used last night is lying somewhere in the bed where Edrik is sleeping. I decide to leave my hair flowing. After taking one last look in the mirror, I go towards the living room, where sure enough, I find my bag.
My hands rummage through the piles of junk I keep in it, until I finally pull out my wallet. After collecting my keys, I inch towards the door. I glance over my shoulder to make sure everything is okay, before I finally leave the house, locking the door behind me.
As soon as I emerge into the street, I can feel the excitement of the citizens who pass by. I'm rather overwhelmed at first, until something clicks in. Today is the Reaping day. The day where thirty-two kids will be plucked from their homes and thrown into a tournament where they shall be forced to engage in a fight to the death. For some reason, the Capitol loves it. I find it barbaric and insane. It's rather sad and strange that someone would rather kill a man than help him.
However, it is evident that I am the only one to think this way. The day of the reaping is always the best day in the Capitol. Even though our tributes always appear to die right off the bat, it doesn't stop the people on the other side of the spectrum to cheer, supply sponsoring gifts and everything. It's sick, repetitive and pointless.
I take a right down the street. Surely, it's quite early for the reaping ceremony, but I always love strolling through the little shops around the City Square that are usually on sale around this time of year, since the reaping cause people to have less interest in shopping. I walk past them all, and one that specifically sells jewelry and handicraft catches my attention. As I open the door, a little bell rings, to show the shop-keeper that someone has entered their store. As I examine a delicate, ruby-encrusted pin that sits to my left, footsteps make the wooden floor creak. My head shoots towards the sound, where a short, chubby woman with maroon hair and big, grotesque glasses emerges from a green door behind the counter. I don't know how I didn't notice it earlier.
The woman eyes me curiously from behind those hideous glasses, and instantly, I notice that this woman does not seem friendly at all. Her mouth is etched into a frown that never ceases, and I wonder if that was caused by a failed plastic surgery, or if she simply has a rude expression. I drift my eyes away, and spot a beautiful, hand-made seagull carving that's hidden behind some grotesque flowepots.
The woman at the counter raises an eyebrows as she sees me looking at it.
"That one is for double the price, no discount." She says, her voice coated with indifference. That's a disappointment. The only reason I am in here in the first place is because I expected to pay half the price for things; not double the price. The woman says no more as she eyes me coldly. I wonder if there's any reason why she's so uncouth to people. As much as I am getting irritated by the woman's attitude, I keep my cool as I reply to her:
"And tell me, is there any specific reason for that? What makes it so special?" I narrow my eyes to the woman.
"It's vintage." She shrugs, and goes to examine one of her fingernails. My hands curl into fists by my side as I exhale a deep, sharp hiss of air and move towards the woman, before slamming a wad of cash against the wooden counter.
"I'll take it." I say. The woman's expression doesn't change, but it's rather hard to tell exactly when her eyes are hidden behind those extravagant glasses. Slowly, she leaves her position behind the counter and walks towards the carving, where she takes the carving. As soothing as Edrik's movements are, hers are equally brute. Unceremoniously, she removes a plastic bag from a drawer, and shoves the carving inside. I grit my teeth, but stay silent.
"Thank you." I half rip, half take the bag from her hands, and exit the store. The Reapings should be starting soon. I should probably make sure to wake up Edrik. Everyone knows what happens when you're late for the Reaping ceremony. Okay, actually, I don't think I do. But it's probably not good, which is why I should make sure Edrik gets there all the same. On my way back to our place, I take note of the families getting in their cars or walking towards the reaping. I quicken my pace.
"Went on a morning run, huh?" A voice asks me as I walk through the front door. As quick as a viper, I turn around, only to see Edrik standing there with a half-smirk.
"Edrik! You nearly scared me to death!" He merely chuckles. "Weren't you asleep?"
"I was asleep. When I woke up, though, you weren't here, so I decided to get up and makes us breakfast." He says, and only then do I notice the bowl filled with eggs and sausages laid out in the kitchen table for me.
"Edrik, you made this?" I giggle. "Thank you!"
"No problem." He says as he buttons his Reaping shirt. He's already dressed up for the Reapings. I better hurry up. I sit on the kitchen table and he sits across from me, watching me eat with genuine interest.
"Uh, aren't you going to eat?" I ask as I chomp down the last of the sausages.
"Already did!" He says, exhibiting one of his most charming smiles.
"All right, then." I stand up and throw the bowl into the sink on my way out the door. "I'll go and get dressed, we'll be leaving in a couple of minutes."
"I'll be waiting!" He chants as I enter our bedroom. I sigh as I realize I should've left in my Reaping clothes earlier this morning. Now I'm going to waste precious time. I shove my T-shirts away until my hands pull out a dress I bought just a few days ago. It's a tad bit short for my taste–for it ends halfway past my thighs, but I decide I'm going to wear it nonetheless. Besides, I have to admit that the dress is beautiful. It is made entirely out of silk, and its color is a bold, dark shade of purple that simply stands out. The top part of the sleeveless dress is covered in white lining, and there is a matching silk ribbon around my waist. As I strip myself off the clothes I put on earlier this morning, I spot a pair of high-heels lying around in my peripheral vision. I do not have the luxury of time, so that'll have to do.
Already dressed, I crouch besides the shoes and clumsily put them on. I nearly trip on my way to the bathroom, but maintain a healthy pace as I brush my teeth and begin to apply makeup. There's been a handful of times in the past where I've had to apply all my makeup in an even smaller time frame, so I should be good to go. I massage a thin layer of foundation on my face, and dab a light pink-colored lipstick onto my lips.
"I'm coming!" I nearly shout to Edrik as I exit the bathroom, forgetting to turn the lights off in the process. No worries here. I will have plenty of time to do that once I get home from the Reapings. As I emerge into the living room, I notice that Edrik is already at the front door, staring at me with a raised eyebrow. I pay him no attention as I walk past him, waiting for him to close the door behind us.
"What took you so long?" He asks me as we walk past the families marching towards the Square. As I open my mouth to answer him, I nearly bump into an older woman, and mouth a quick apologize before turning back to Edrik.
"Nothing much." I give him a rather vague response, but he does not question me. We encounter no more obstacles as we start to approach the Square, where surely, a large part of the citizens have already gathered, and are now patiently waiting for our so-esteemed president to make his appearance, and select the two "lucky" teenagers that will be representing the Capitol this year. I wouldn't call those poor souls lucky, and truly do not see why other people would.
As soon as we enter the Square, a short, bulky Peacekeeper tells us to go and get our fingers zapped. Obviously, we knew that already, but upsetting a peacekeeper would be pointless, and would not get us nowhere. The lines are relatively short, which gives me the feeling that we really are late. Last year, if my memory serves me right, I had to wait about twenty-five minutes in line before I could get my fingers zapped. This year, however, it appears as if that will not be the case.
It turns out that I was right. After no more than ten minutes, both me and Edrik have gotten our blood taken, and after two more minutes, we are patiently standing in our assigned lines, eyeing each other from a distance. Edrik throws me a reassuring look, but I'm not afraid. The odds of my name being plucked out of that bowl are astronomical. The same applies for Edrik. However, being one year older than me, his chances of getting picked are bigger than mine–even though they are still very slim. At sixteen years of age, my name is in that bowl exactly five times. Being seventeen, Edrik's name is there six times. However, among thousands and thousands of slips of paper, six slips are not really accountable. I shouldn't even be worrying.
But then, why do I have this feeling that something will go wrong?
Before I can put further thought into the subject, the heavy door of the Presidential Mansion swing open, and a middle-aged man emerges from the inside of the Mansion. He is not very tall, reaching about five feet and seven–maybe eight inches? His dark brown hair has been neatly combed up, albeit a few white strands are clearly visible near his bangs. He is wearing an impeccable, tidy suit. The President himself has arrived. That means the Reaping Ceremony begins now. The clicking sound of the president's shoes reverberate through the silent Square as he takes his place on top of the stage assemled before his mansion.
"Welcome!" The crowd breaks into applause, breaking the silence. "Welcome, my beloved citizens! Today, I am honored to announce that I am here to select one male and female from the ages of twelve to eighteen to participate in this year's Hunger Games!"
A loud, uninterruptible chorus of cheers and claps reverberate through the City Circle. It takes a few minutes until the cheering dies down, although I can still hear a few distant claps and excited shouts and the President continues his speech, his head held high up in the air.
"Three hundred and seventy-seven years ago, the insurgents led by Katniss Everdeen were defeated. And, until this day, we are grateful for President Coriolanus Snow's interference on the war. Without his aid, we would never have been able to give continuation to the tradition of the Hunger Games, that we celebrate today." More cheering from the crowd. I stand still, rigid as a rock. I have been told this history a million times. What I'm here for is the Reaping. The president, however, does not appear to be in a hurry, for when the claps die down again, he continues:
"In honor of his will after his untimely passing, us Capitolites now have the honour to witness the Hunger Games as they continue."
The Hunger Games. An inessential waste of resources just to view so-called "entertaining" images of kids smashing and slaughtering each other, I mentally add. I zone out. I pay no attention to the president as he reads the Treaty of Treason, that I have listened to about twenty times. I swear, if I were to be asked to recite it, I'd do so without a second thought, and would get each and every word right. However, the sound of his shoes banging against the marble stage brings me back to reality.
"The time has come. The time for us to select our tributes!" The president shouts excitedly, and the crowd goes wild, screaming and cheering as the President goes over to one of the bowls. "Who should we start with?!"
Unintelligible words are shouted from every direction you can imagine. After a few moments, the voices no longer looks human. They sound purely like a pack of wounded feral animals. Despite this, the president is not visibly affected, and smiles as he looks into the bowl assembled before him.
"Very well. I am going to take that as the boys!" More cheering. "And the male tribute, who has been given the honor to represent the Capitol in this year's Hunger Games is. . . Edrik Gold!"
My knees buckle. Something inside of me shatters as I register what I have just heard. It isn't long before I feel myself falling backwards, only to be caught by the hands of a nearby boy, who looks disturbed by my sudden outburst. I care not for that. I care not for the looks of the teenagers around me, whose expressions are a mix of curiosity and annoyance. All I care about is the name that has been read.
The person I love's fate has been sealed. I sway on my feet and nearly stumble for the second time, but regain my balance at the last moment. Because I see him. I see Edrik as he bravely makes his way out of his line, expression unreadable. I watch, dumbfounded, as he shakes hands with the president, who seems pleased to have such a strong person as his tribute.
"What a fine young lad we have here! It is a pleasure to meet you." The President says as I stare at the two of them; him and Edrik, the male tribute. I know this is truly happening, but it doesn't feel real. The atmosphere feels dream-like. Only this is not a dream. It's a living nightmare.
"Likewise." Edrik speaks. I can tell that he is trying to appear strong, but anyone could tell the pain in his voice. The President merely nods in approval, and the walks over to the next bowl, the girls'. I have no time to move a muscle before a slip of paper has been plucked from the bowl and a name is read out loud.
My name. He just read my name. With slow and automatic movements, I find myself tripping up the stage's stairs. I don't know how I got there. Nor do I care about it. I zone out. This can't be real. This cannot be happening. I never considered this scenario. This is just. . . this is insane! The President goes on speaking some niceties, and I just nod my head. I do not with to know what this man is saying. I do pay attention, however, when we are told to shake hands. I see the shock registered in Edrik's eyes, and know that he will try to protect me in the upcoming trials. Even if it costs his own life. I cannot allow that. I cannot allow Edrik to die.
My hand is shaking as it touches Edrik's. His are firm, although his expression is visibly shocked. After we finish the handshake, we are placed behind our respective bowls. I gaze out at the distant skyscrapers. I could've lived in one of those. I could've had a long, perfect life with Edrik in the Capitol. But instead, fate did this to us. What a sad end, ours.
"This year's Tributes!" I know the crowd is cheering, but I do not hear them. Everything is dreamlike. In a blur, I am being escorted into a car, that will take me to the Training Center. Edrik holds my hand during the entire way, but I don't look at him. Tears trickle down my eyes as I realize that our fate has been sealed.
Aleksandr Estrene (District 0)
I am already dressed when the sun starts to appear in District Zero. I have been up for hours now. As much as I hate to admit this, I have my flaws, though happily, pontuality is not one of them. If I have any meeting scheduled, or an event I am required to attend, you can bet I will be there an hour before the settled time. My mother used to tease me about this, back when I was younger. I don't see why such thing would make her tease me, but I do not object. I would do anything to have those days; the days where she laughed, back. I would trade eternity for it. However, I must be content with the fact that I at least managed to convince her to move back into our house. After all that I caused; all the shame I brought upon my family, I should consider myself the luckiest man in the world. If I were my mother, I do not think I would move back to the house where her excuse for a son lived.
I shall not divert from the subject–what was I saying again? Right. Pontuality. I've had it in me since I was little. Big whoop. The same cannot be said for my mother, however. Not that I am complaining. I do not have the right to criticize her after all she's been through because of me. But just for the record, here I am, lying awake in my humble mattress, listening to her hollow, peaceful breathing in the bed next to me. She hasn't woken up yet. I do not blame her. She has her flaws, I have mine. And just between the two of us, mine are way worse than hers. And unfortunately, the Hunger Games are one of my many flaws.
The annual celebration of gore and brutality, in which kids will be sent off to horrible deaths. The privileged ones, who have been training for it during their whole lives, should have nothing to worry about. They usually start killing the weaklings right off the bat and later win by dominating the competition with their skills and knowledge. They're invincible, or at least I think they are. Not that it matters, though. It pains me to admit that my job in District Zero forces me to frequently deal with them; for the company I work for works alongside the Capitol and District Fourteen, coming up with several of the twists and creatures that are made specifically to turn the tributes' lives into a living hell.
It sickens me, but I am powerless to stop it. If I dare to move a finger, I will get myself fired from my job. And if that happens, who would take care of my mother, who is definetly not able to maintain a job in her current situation? All I can do about it is duck my head and continue with my life, as much as it pains me to do so. And from what I have heard in the company, these Hunger Games are going to be quite special. I cannot tell why, for I only managed to overhear part of the conversation between my boss and a Capitol official, but I am sure I heard them mentioning how these Hunger Games will be utterly unique. And coincidentally, today is the day where the two teenagers that will represent District 0 this year will be chosen. I just hope that, if they are not to win, they die a quick death.
I sigh. A quick look at my watch tells me what I already knew–the Reaping Ceremony will begin in twenty-five minutes. I quickly stand up, and stroke the ruffles in my suit before I cautiously move towards my mother's bed, waking her up. She groans and stands up groggily, but in the course of two minutes, she has already stood up. I wish her a good day, and she does the same. Wearing a robe, she walks past the bedroom's door, and moves towards the kitchen, where she starts preparing our breakfast. Stroking my hands over inexistent ruffles in my trousers, I follow suit, and help her cook.
I get a frying pan from one of the multiple drawers, and help my mother make the eggs. As she takes over the task, I go over and prepare some sausages for the both of us. After we are finished making breakfast, we sit ourselves down in the kitchen table, and eat silently. I can tell that my mother is worried for me, but she does not say anything, making little to ease my fears of having my name plucked from the bowl. After a couple of minutes, she suddenly breaks the silence, informing me that she is going to get dressed.
"We're leaving in five minutes." She adds before she disappears from sight, walking over the wardrobe located in the corner of her room. I stand up, and quickly throw our bowls into the sink. We have fifteen minutes until the Reapings begin. A short period of time later, my mother returns with a beige satin dress and a thick fur coat; quite possibly her finest clothes. I smile and tell her that she looks good, before we finally get around walking towards the Town Square.
Today, the crowd is loud and intense. Muffled voices surround me as I wal, and everywhere I look I see people, people and more people. The streets are crowded, and everyone moves towards the same direction–that of the Town Square. The snow crunches softly under my feet as I walk alongside my mother. Unlike last year, however, it is not snowing. However, as far as I can remember, the streets were not this crowded. This year, it feels like I am about to stumble in someone or get trampled before I can actually get into the Square. Fortunately, me and my mother reach it without getting crushed by humans. As I approach the line, my mother places her hand on my shoulder and wishes me good luck, before walking towards the back of the square with the other adults. I don't have to wait much to get my finger zapped. The person who zaps them–a gruff female Peacekeeper–does not even bother to look at me as she registers my name and age. I care not for that, however. The quicker I get to leave this place, the better.
As soon as I get into my assigned line–that of the sixteen years olds–District Zero's escort has somehow appeared in the stage. If my memory serves me correctly, I believe her name is Esther. Yes, Esther Fayweather. An indignant, short-tempered woman who has a profound love for the Games. Needless to say, that should be enough to turn her into a symbol of hate in the District. Esther grinned as she examined the crowd, looking quite serpentine in her looks and movements. She was wearing a short, patterned lime-colored dress that mildly resembled a snake. She wore a curly blue wig in the top of her head; a desperate attempts to cover her mishap of shaving her head. Unfortunately for her, her efforts were useless. The heavy wig constantly drifted sideways, nearly falling off her head multiple times. She looks utterly ridiculous right now. I cannot help but snicker at her grotesque appearance.
I zone out, hobbling back and forth, and only realize Esther is speaking when she finishes reading the long and boring treaty of treason. Still smiling, Esther moves towards the center of the stage, where she grabs her microphone.
"Good tidings, citizens of District Zero! Are you excited?" She nods towards the peacekeepers standing besides her, and they all clench their hands around the stun guns they are holding. The crowd retorts by giving Esther a forced, slow round of applause. She narrows her eyes towards us, but says nothing.
"Very well. Let's go to what matters. The time has come! We shall select this year's tributes!" More forced applauses. As much as I dislike the woman, I have to admit that I'm thankful for her behaviour. She might be irritating and vile, but she definetly takes her time. "As usual, ladies first!" She walks towards the girls' bowl. I can literally feel the anxiety lingering in the air as she reads the name.
"And the female tribute, competing in the 377th Hunger Games is. . . Bell Pluton!"
In my peripheral vision, I spot a short, lithe brown-haired girl emerging from the fourteen years old section. Much like the rest of the District Zero population, she has pale skin, and her face is dotted with a cinnamon sprinkle of freckles. She has shiny, somewhat grey eyes, but that's about all I can spot as the girl starts walking towards the stage.
However, it is not long before I hear a shuffling noise in one of the nearby section. My head whips around just in time to see a girl shoving a bunch of teens out of her way, before she breaks into a frantic sprint towards the stage.
She yells, voice full of doubt and insecurity. I cannot help but gawk at her. I cannot even remember the last time District Zero had a volunteer, if there ever was one. However, it appears as if we have one now. Our volunteer–a seventeen years old girl with moonlight crested hair and glacier blue eyes, bravely walks up the stage. From my place in the sixteen years old section, I take note of her most notable traits. Pale skin, large eyes, and a well-structured nose along with long, full eyelashes that appear to flash with curiosity. The little gap in between her teeth gives her an air of innocence and definitely draw attention to her high cheekbones and full, plump lips. She looks pretty. It is a shame that she is going into the Games–and by her own choice.
As she walks up the stairs, I notice that Bell has returned to her own section, where she is being comforted by a group of girls around her age, looking absolutely hysterical. Up on the stage, however, the volunteer stands still, eyeing the escort with careful eyes.
"It appears as if we have a volunteer! What is your name, darling?" Esther asks the girl, who shrugs her shoulders in indifference.
"Darsaya Taloure." The girl says. Esther waits for Darsaya to elaborate, but she does not, much to her dismay. Esther sighs, before walking over to the boys' bowl. I don't even have time to whisper myself good luck before she plucks a slip of paper from the bowl and reads the name out loud.
"The male tribute is. . . Aleksandr Estrene!"
My breath catches in my throat as she announces the name. It can't be. . . She didn't just read my name. . . However, as she repeats the name, I know that there is no point in fooling myself. I have been reaped for the Games. I stand still, hoping that someone like Darsaya is willing to volunteer in my place, but as the clock ticks, I know that it will not happen. My entire body feels rigid as I move towards the aisle. Esther grunts indignantly as she sees me, irritated by the fact that I took so long to show up.
As I finally reach the stage, Esther examines me curiously, though her face is still etched into an angry expression. Besides her, Darsaya's blue eyes meet mine. Esther introduces us one more time, and as I shake hands with Darsaya, I can tell that she will not go down easily.
And that makes her a threat.
Ryan Jones (District 1)
Retract. Stretch. Launch.
The spear sails through the air, aimed for the red bullseye in the center of the target laid out in the opposite side of the room. There is a sharp hiss of air as it flies, and then the tip of the polearm slams against the target. Into its very edge. I grit my teeth in annoyance, and carefully remove a second spear from the rack. Lightweight. Excellent for throwing. Deadly. I exhale as I position myself to throw the weapon, putting my whole strength into the thrust. I retract my arm, and then I throw it. The spear slams into the bullseye. Not in its exact center, but that will have to do.
I have been up for hours now; taking down dummies with well-timed slashes and throws. The Career Academy is empty, save for myself and two or three other teenagers that probably had the same idea as I did. I should probably get some more practice before I volunteer today. I am sure that everyone in this room thinks just like I do. Unfortunately for them, none of them are volunteering. Today, I will partake in my last Reaping. I could simply let some other boy volunteer. Any brainless hunk could easily take my place if I get reaped off.
But I will not let that happen. I lost my brother for the Games when I was little. After an alliance claimed the Cornucopia for themselves during the bloodbath, he was not able to meet up with his allies–who were in terrible shape, for the matter–and met his end by slowly dehydrating. He was not able to obtain any food or water during the bloodbath, before the alliance drove him away. The fact that the arena was an scalding wasteland that offered no sources of food or water was not very helpful either, and in six days, he had perished from a mix of exposure and dehydration.
That happened eleven years ago. And now, I was given the chance to honor his memory. I will win the Hunger Games, and I will do it in his memory. No one will pose a threat to me. Once I am in the arena, I will be unstoppable. All I need is to know that, each movement I make, each kill I achieve, and each supply I get ahold of, will be in his name. Nice enough motivation, huh?
I let out an empty laugh as I walk away from the spears rack; walking over the knife throwing station. On my way there, I catch glimpses of a black-haired boy in the weightlifting section, and a grim-looking girl attempting to throw an axe. As she winds her arm up to throw it, I can tell that the axe won't come even close to her target. I hope I don't get someone like that as a District partner.
I do not realize I arrived the station until I bump into a nearby boy. He mutters something unintelligible and storms off, rubbing his elbow ruefully. I care not for that. I line up the dummies side by side, and pick up my first knife. My fingers curl around the curved blade. I wind my arm up, and let go of the knife. In a second, there is a flash of silver cutting through the air, and then the blade slams into the throat of a dummy. It hobbles sideways due to the force of the blow, falling down and taking another dummy with him. I snicker.
My second knife does a good job as well; wheezing through the air and striking a dummy right across the chest. Unlike the first dummy, it does not fall, but I hit my target nonetheless. The third knife cartwheels through the air, but I put too much force into my throw, and it sails harmlessly over the head of the dummy I was aiming for. I mutter a low curse, and pick up another knife. This time, I strike the dummy in its forehead. I smile. I would love to stay here and get more practice, but I cannot give myself that luxury. The Reaping will be starting soon, and I truly don't know what I'll do if I arrive late, and the male tribute is chosen before I get the chance to volunteer.
I stroll towards the boys' locker room, where I shower rapidly and dress myself in my finest clothes; that I brought with me earlier this morning. After I put on my shoes; that I bought a couple days back, I take a quick look at myself in the dimmish mirror. My hair is not exactly unkempt, but it is not perfect either. Well, I look attractive enough, nonetheless. My hands slide down the buttoned shirt, and after I make sure there are no wrinkles in it, I decide I am ready to leave for the Reapings. I don't worry about my parents, as they know what I am about to do. I can meet up with them in the Square, and if I'm not able to do so, I can speak to them in the Justice Building.
As I emerge into the street, I can feel the light atmosphere. Everywhere I look at, people have mixtures of excitement and joy stamped on their faces. The Reaping day is always one of the best days for the District. I couldn't have asked for better day either; it's a beautiful day, the sky is pure blue and there is a soft, chilly breeze blowing as I walk towards the Square.
When I finally reach the Square, I get in line immediately, and get my finger zapped. The boy in front of me walks towards the fifteen years olds section, and I go onwards, until I reach that of the eighteen years olds. As I wait for the escort to show up, I stare at the tiny hole in my finger, aware that I will have it in me until the Games end, and I emerge victorious.
After a few minutes, the escort finally arrives, and as usual, he greets us, and the crowd lets out excited shouts and squeals. He says that it is an honour to be given the opportunity to work with District 1, and et cetera. I pay no attention to what he has to say, until he actually gets around the actual Reaping ceremony. He tells of the history of Panem, the country that rose up out of the ashes that was once called North America. He lists the disasters, the droughts, the storms, the fires, the encroaching seas that swallowed up so much of the land, the brutal war for what little sustenance remained. the result was Panem, a shining Capitol ringed by thirteen districts, which brought peace and prosperity to its citizens. Then came the Dark Days, the uprising of the districts against the Capitol. Twelve were defeated, the thirteenth obliterated. The Treaty of Treason gaves us the new laws to guarantee peace and, as our yearly reminder that the Dark Days must never be repeated, it gave us the Hunger Games.
He then tells us about the second rebellion, that succeeded at first, but met its demise after Enobaria Golding from District 2 betrayed the rebel cause, poisoning the face of the rebellion, Katniss Everdeen, and causing several events that led to the return of the Hunger Games. He continues to explain, saying what about everyone knows. How a civilization was discovered near the coast and unified to Panem as the fourteenth District, how another District was created, and how the thirteenth District begun to participate in the Games as punishment for their participation in the second rebellion. Given that the Capitol always seemed so eager to compete, it was officially declared that they would participate in the Games as well.
"And that concludes this country's history!" The escort finishes his speech, and I let out a sigh of relief. Just about everyone does. "Now, let's go for what everyone is waiting for!"
"I hope I don't get picked. . ." A lanky boy standing near me mutters, and I hold back my laughter. Even if he was indeed, picked, there would be an entire crowd willing to take his place. This moron should be thankful he was born in a Career District. Before I can put any further thought into the subject, the escort carries on with his speech.
"Let's start with the ladies, shall we?" He says, and the District shouts in excitement. "Very well. And the female tribute is. . . Reese Renedy!"
"I volunteer!" A bunch of girls shout. The escort picks a tall seventeen-years-old girl. As she is up on the stage, I can get a better look at her. She has choclate brown hair that has been tied into a braid that reaches her waist. Her eyes are olive with a slight tint of green to them, and her face is dotted with several freckles. She is pretty, if only a bit thin.
As she shakes hands with the escort, looking a bit frustrated, he asks for her name, and she gives him it.
"Leera Renedy." The escort squeals in delight as he realizes the girl volunteered for her sister.
"Ooh! I believe you volunteered for your sister, right?" The girl's only answer is to nod. If the escort is frustrated, he doesn't show it as he moves towards the boys' bowl. No way I'm going to risk not getting picked. As the escort prepares himself to pluck a slip of paper from the bowl, I shout.
"I volunteer!" I yell, and the escort smiles, calling me up. I can hear the disappointed groans of the other volunteers, but I don't care. As I reac the stage, I know I am going to win this for my brother. Nothing will come between me and my victory.
At least I hope so.
- Note: Written in 3rd Person
The District Four Train departed from the station with a low, inaudible ticking noise. By looking out its glamourous windows, all the tributes inside could see is their hime as it passed by like a blur. Both of them had already talked to their relatives, and quite possibly, given them their last goodbyes. Surprisingly, neither of the tributes had put any though into this matter, for they were both confident enough in their own skills. The female tribute, Cordelia Murphy, had never known of any misfortune. Since an early age, Cordelia grew up surrounded by wealth the expectations of her parents, who were both victors, having won in consecutive years and known each other as mentors. However, it is now Cordelia's chance to live up to her family's name. And try she will. The male tribute, however, differs from Cordelia quite remarkably. To say the least, Manta Li is. . . intriguing. Mysterious, and irradiating intimidation, the citizens of District Four know little about him. But they do know, however, that he is someone they would not want to cross at any moment of their lives. Something in the boy's maniac-like smile assures them that they should keep their distance from Manta. Both tributes volunteered; and both believe they will emerge victorious. However, only time will tell. Their differences do not stop at their personalities, however. At first glance, the tributes from District 4 are polar opposites.
Chin-length brown hair, blue highlights and exhibiting a slightly tanned complexion, Cordelia is not lacking in beauty. Capable and agile, it is clear that if Cordelia is to go down, she will not do so without putting up a good fight—and leaving a few scars for her murderer to remember her for. The boy, however, is different. To say the least, he is someone the other tributes should keep an eye for. His unkempt lime hair that is a mess in his head harmlessly grows up to cover his eyes, that glimmer with a behemoth-sized madness. His mouth appears to have been sculpted into an everlasting, maniac grin, and his alabaster skin gives the impression that it has not seen the sun in years.
However, do not get the wrong idea—for the two of them do have similarities. Both were commendable trainees at the academy, evaluated as two of the best by the local trainers. Something that bothered their respective District was the fact that both seemed hideous, and, at the best, vague. Cordelia is a well-known heartbreaker, but when she is not found at the academy, Cordelia used to spend her days behind the locked gates of the Victors' Village with her parents, leaving her habits to the District's imagination. And one does not know where to start with Manta Li. He had the appearance of a deranged sociopath, oftently being spotted muttering to himself or laughing maniacally for no reason at all. However, in a couch, wearing their formal Reapings outfits and listening to their escort, both tributes appeared normal. Bored, even.
"Very well!" Arnusha Aquarius, who happened to be the District's Escort, chanted as she sat herself down in a chair assembled next to this year's pair of tributes. "I, for one, am pleased to announce that I have been given a nice pair of tributes this year!"
". . ." Manta muttered something inintelligible as he tinkered with something inexistent in his hands. Cordelia threw him a curious look, while Arnusha ignored him as she continued on blabbering about the Hunger Games.
"I know for a fact that this year, District Four will will make me proud!" Why do you have to make this situation be all about yourself?, Cordelia thought. However, she remained silent as Arnusha began to speak again. "I doubt that any of the other tributes will pose a threat to the daughter of two victors, but let's take a look at the competition!" Cordelia rolled her eyes, but braced herself to watch the recap of the other Reapings nonetheless. However, as she watched the President start the Reapings of the Capitol, a thought flooded her mind. Cordelia quickly paused the program, turning to Arnusha.
"Shouldn't we wait for my parents? They are my mentors, after all." She asked, narrowing her eyes towards Arnusha, who gave her a "she really doesn't know" sort of look, before answering the girl.
"I am sorry, my dear, but your parents are. . . well, they're not quite in the same train. We do not want any tribute to receive special treatment, right? And our esteemed president thought it would be an unfair advantage to have a tribute's parents on board, which is why you will only meet when we arrive at the Capitol."
"What?" Cordelia was genuinely bewildered. She opened her mouth to speak again, but before she could do it, Arnusha cut her off.
"You heard me. Now let's watch the Reapings!" Arnusha chanted happily, and sat herself back down. Cordelia clenched her hands into fists and gruffly sat herself next to Manta, who had stopped the muttering and was now looking around, confused.
"Shh!" Arnusha hissed at him. "The Reapings are starting!"
"Uh, I don't--"
"Look, I don't want to be forced to invite you to leave the room. So if you would please pay attention to the television, I would be extremely glad." Manta bowed his head, and begun playing with something only he could see again. Arnusha shrugged and turned to the television, where a handsome boy was walking the stage in the Capitol. Cordelia frowned. He looked tough. But would he stand a threat? Only time would tell.
Following the boy's niceties exchange with the President, another name was called, and a girl with pristine porcelain skin and perfectly combed brown locks walked up the stage, looking absolutely distraught. At this point, the male tribute looked like he was about to faint.
Cordelia paid more attention to the next Reaping, as she knew she would be seeing two of her allies for the first time. District One always joined the Career pack. Cordelia nodded in approval at the boy, but frowned once again as she examinated the girl. She could sense a subtle streak of rebeliousness in her eyes. That was never good.
District Two came next, and both tributes appeared to be absolutely indispensable. The girl was a petite, delicate-looking girl that looked like she could shatter at the slighest touch, but the look of determination in her eyes reassured Cordelia that she was more than that. Her copper hair had been tied into two braids, and her eyes were brown and spherical. Despite of her petite appearance, she looked tough enough. The boy appeared to be a true warrior, but there was nothing else noteworthy about him. Nevertheless, Cordelia knew he would be a good ally to have in the arena. Cordelia did not pay much attention to District Three, but she did squeal in shock when she realized the female tribute was an Idylwyld.
The Idylwyld Family was one of, if not the most powerful family in Panem. They had plenty of influence in the government, media, tabloids, fashion, and gamemaking industries. The family was rich beyond compare, so many of the Idylwylds were very prosperous, allowing the family fortune to grow. Some people would do anything in their right mind to become part of this influential family, but most people in Panem's, particularly in the out-lying districts, wanted anyone in the family dead. Yes, being an Idylwyld in some case meant you had prosperity showered upon you, but in other situations, just being an Idylwyld could cost you your life.
As District Four came up, Cordelia did not have the time to examinate her performance in the Reaping ceremony. Her mind was still elsewhere. An Idylwyld? In the Hunger Games? The mere thought was absurd. Cordelia knew she would have to do something about that girl, but she did not know what to do without having the girl's family to rig the Games and get herself dead. Cordelia did not pay the smallest amount of attention to the next three Reapings, where all she noticed was a blonde-haired girl with a plump nose and a tanned, good-looking boy that was called up in District Seven.
As the Reapings for District Eight started being broadcast, Cordelia snapped out of her trance, deciding that she would decide on what to do about the Idylwyld at another time. At that moment, she needed to watch the other Reapings. And so she did. Eight, Nine, Ten.
The girl from District Eight looked tough. The boy appeared to be quite peculiar. Even though he was relatively skinny, Cordelia could sense a layer of intelligence in his eyes. She decided that she would keep an eye out for him during the Training period. In District Nine, a tall, toned boy was reaped. His ebony black hair was a mess in his head, and his green eyes appeared to stare into the viewer's soul. The girl appeared to be relatively average, but there was something eerie about her. Cordelia could not decide what it was, that made this girl stand out from the rest of the competition. However, she did decide that the girl would be a threat to her during the Games. She did not know why, but she just did. And threats must be exterminated. She just hoped that her strength would be superior to the girl's. In District Ten, a terrified-looking twelve-years-old girl was Reaped, and as she tripped her way up the stage, Cordelia noticed her curly, child-like pigtails. Not quite the image of a Hunger Games warrior, she thought.
Districts Eleven and Twelve passed by like a blur, the only noteworthy thing about them being a volunteer from District Twelve. The tributes from District Thirteen appeared to be strong, but they were not that similiar. The girl was undoubtedly a true warrior, but she striked Cordelia as someone who followed her instincs, and did not abide to rules or previously established plans; while the boy appeared to be a disciplined, deadly soldier, ready to gut any wrongdoers on command.
The tributes from District Fourteen appeared to be good additions to the Career pack, but aside from good looks, they did not look that great to Cordelia. As the anthem signaled the end of the program, Arnusha wasted no time before she stood up, informing her tributes that dinner would be ready soon. After making a few pointless comments on the tributes—such as how handsome the boys from the Capitol and District Fourteen looked or how the girl from District Ten was adorable—she left, her heels clicking against the wooden floor as she walked towards the dining room. Cordelia sighed and followed suite, leaving Manta behind, alone with his own muttering.
The bright lights set up along the long, narrow corridor had been switched to dimmer ones as night fell. By staring out the long glass panes, you could see the wilderness pass by like a blur as the train continued to go onwards, its sheer speed never ceasing to impress. The low humming sound of the moving train was the only thing keeping the train from absolute silence; for most of its passengers had moved onto their compartments, where they slept. However, not quite all of them had done so, for that night, the tributes from District Four spoke to each other for the first time.
Not that they did not have any opportunities to do so previously, for they had been in the same class for as far as they could remember. But that time, the table had turned. They were in The Hunger Games, and were soon-to-be allies. And they hailed from the same District. That contributed a lot, but nothing would've happened had Manta not been to the main compartment of the train, where he found Cordelia. Her short hair was tied in a precarious bun, and she had swapped her fancy Reaping dress for a far more simple outfit; a black sleeveless shirt and shorts, along with a pair of basic flip-flops. She was sitting on a bench, leaning her forehead against the cold glass pane next to her, her lips pursed together and her mind elsewhere.
Manta calmly sat himself next to her, his lips forming a warm smile as he greeted her; his incoherent muttering had long since faded away. Cordelia looked surprised by Manta's sudden appearance, but said nothing as she greeted him back. She was not finished there, however. Cordelia was always known to be a very straightforward person. Living up to that characteristic, she wasted no time in asking Manta if he could clear something out. He was caught off-guard, but agreed to answer Cordelia's questions.
“I was thinking about what you said earlier, after volunteering. . . about your morals. And I have to say, I am quite confused as of something you said.” Cordelia stated, his hand brushing his bangs back in place as he glanced at Manta, whose lips were etched into a frown. Unlike earlier, his eyes were not drifting off, and he seemed focused. He wasted no time in answering, in a low voice.
"And what would it be?" He asked Cordelia, voice full of fear and doubt.
"I don’t quite know how to put this, so here it goes: You do not desire to inflict harm on the tributes that will be facing us once we get into the arena.” Cordelia said very matter-off-factly. In return, Manta threw her a bewildered glance.
"Did I? I, uh--"
"Do not explain yourself. Not here, not to me." Manta nodded. He did not know where Cordelia wanted to get with that seemingly unnecessary conversation, but he had always been a patient person, never to shoot anyone down with her words or possibly offend another person. For most of the time, that is. He cringed as he recalled an event that happened several years back, that changed his life forever. Cordelia ignored this. "Nevertheless given that, why did you volunteer?”
Manta stopped. He took a deep breath, before he answered her.
"I didn't." He said, entirely serious. Cordelia let out an empty laugh.
"Um, excuse me, you did. You even pumped your fists into the air and acted like a total mindless brute."
"What? I--" He did not get the opportunity to finish his sentence before Cordelia cut him off for the second time.
"This is just priceless. . ." Cordelia said. Manta gulped as she continued. "Look, if you want to play dumb, that's fine. I can totally understand that. It makes people underestimate you until you jump out killing. It's a very clever strategy, I must say. . . But would you please not do it when I'm around. It's irritating."
"Im not--" Manta was cut off. Again.
"Ah, of course you're not." She winked sarcastically, as if she was saying that she understands him, when in reality, she did not. "Manta, are you hiding something?"
". . ."
"If you don't want to talk about it, that's fine. But remember, I'd never judge you for anything. " Cordelia hoped that she wasn't exaggerating in her faked kindness. No answer came from Manta. "Well, it's getting late. I'll be in my room if you actually decide to say something noteworthy." And with that she departed.
And as she walked off, the train continued to speed towards the Capitol, and Manta's muttering returned.
Ryan Jones (District 1)
The impeccability and effort put into the design of District One's Apartment is truly breathtaking. I narrow my eyes as I feebly attempt to take all the glamour that surrounds me in, failing to do so as I take note of every tiny pattern and detail incorporated into each piece of furniture that decorates my room. It is unquestionably an astounding view. I have little doubt that this is the most luxurious, shimmering room I have ever been in. My bedroom's design is superior to the train's—which should not even be a possible characteristic. The mere thought of anything that rivals the luxury of the tribute apartment is absurd. Never did I imagine that I would be able to call what is obviously the pinnacle of Capitol designers' work my own.
However, I am not surprised in the slighest. From the moment I yelled my volunteerism and walked up the stage, I knew I would get to be in environments as the one I currently find myself in. And if I manage to survive the upcoming trials, everything indicates that my life will just keep on getting better and better. I would get to spend the rest of my life bathing in luxury and glory. I would bring pride to my family and District, and most importantly, to myself.
But before I get to that point of my life, I suppose I have to cut up thirty-one other kids.
I have heard stories about a time when the Hunger Games consisted of twelve Districts facing off. It seems too easy. It would've be interesting to be fighting against a significantly smaller number of competitors, but that is not how Panem works. Around the time of the 306th Hunger Games, a fairly advanced civilization was found in the place that was previously referenced to as Hawaii, a nation that was one of the first to sink before Panem rose from the ashes. However, at an unknown point, they came back. It did not take long before they had been fully colonized and integrated into Panem as the fourteenth District, that would partake in the Games like any other normal District.
Then, a couple of years later, an epidemic flu fell upon the nation, forcing hundreds of dozens of families to move north in a futile attempt to avoid the disease. A group of scientists that worked with Astrology or a science of sorts was among them, and they begun contributing significantly to new discoveries about space and stuff. Thus, the Capitol officially declared that the people who fled north would now be recognized as an official district; District Zero. At this point, it wasn't long before the Capitol realized they wanted to compete in the Hunger Games as well, and the President of Panem at that time officially declared that the Capitol would be in the Hunger Games as well.
I personally think that having the Capitol in the Games was a really, really dumb idea. The Games were made to remind the Districts that they rebelled and were beaten by the Capitol, that would not participate in the Games as a way to show the Districts that they are inferior, and not strong enough to face the wrath of the Capitol. And now that the Capitol is in the Games, it simply makes the government look like a bunch of fulls with no knowledge whatsoever about the purpose of the Games.
And that doesn't even include the problems and confusion that the Capitol being in the Games causes. All tributes that are Reaped in the Capitol are taken straight to the Training Center, where they will stay until the rest of the Districts arrive, two days later. During that period of time, you'd expect that the tributes would be training, but no. They are kept inside their apartment at all times, with no possibility of escaping of getting into the Training area. I feel bad for them. I remember this year's tributes from the Capitol, Reo Daire and Edrik Gold. The two of them have been in this building for three days, while the others—including myself, arrived at the day of the Tribute parade, which was yesterday.
In my opinion, this year's Tribute Parade was not memorable at all. After three hundred and seventy-seven years, watching a bunch of teens stuffed into ridiculous costumes riding around the Capitol gets a bit old. Not that it was ever entertaining in the first place. It surprises me that the Capitolites actually liked to watch the Tribute Parade at some point. It could be worse, though. I have been told that hundreds of years back, in the third quarter quell, all tributes were previous victors. Watching a bunch of old hags dressed as loafs of bread, cows or gemstones must have been a dreadful experience.
I do not notice the time pass by until someone knocks at my door, yelling and saying that we are going to be late for the first day of Training. Crassus Rhynestone, who happens to be our escort. That man is absolutely insufferable. Only then do I realize that my training outfit is carefully placed in the desk assembled to my left. Huh, how did it get there? Someone must have put it in there while I was sleeping. Eerie.
I examinate it for a brief moment before taking off my shirt, putting the upper half of the training uniform on. It is not exactly my taste by any extent, but at least it fits me. After clumsily stripping off my sweatpants, I wear the uniform's trousers and sneakers. Crassus bangs at my door again, telling me that he does not wish to come inside.
"You won't have to!" I yell back as I zip my pants. "I'm coming!"
He mumbles something as an answer and then I exit the door, eyeing him carefully as he stands directly across from me with his arms crossed and a raised eyebrow. I ignore him as I start for the dining room, where Leera (1) is buttering her toast. Not only did she fully disregard my invitation to join the Careers, but she had the guts to laugh at it. Nevertheless, I don't particularly dislike her. She looks like a nice enough gut. I wonder what the other Careers will think of her ditching us. Not that I care about their opinion.
We eat breakfast in silence, and by the time we are finished, Crassus literally drags the two of us towards the elevator. Leera slaps his hands away as he deposits her into the elevator, and he looks utterly offended. I let out a short laugh, which earns me dirty looks from both of them.
I lean back against the elevator's walls as the doors slide shut. The ride is way quicker than I thought it would be, and I do not even have time to think of my strategy before the elevator begins to descend. Some seconds later, we are at the Training Center.
We are not as late as I thought we would be. In fact, only the other Career Districts and District Eight are here. As me and Leera (1) walk towards the other tributes, who have all been sorted into a circle, another elevator opens and deposits the pair from Three. Cordelia (4) grunts as Jayda (3), who happens to be an Idylwyld, takes her place near the edge of the circle. She looks like she just wants to shrink away. Her District partner—Alkaline (3), I think—stands next to Rio (8) and eyes the competition carefully, showing no emotion.
And as for myself, I just stand there. Cold and unsure.
Clarke Wattson (District 5)
The elevator's door slide open, and I find myself stepping out into the Training Center. As me and my District partner Nick (5) arrive, some of the other tributes look at us with indifference. Their looks are mocking and even bored, as if they have already decided that we are not threats. Well, I am on my way to prove them wrong. As I take my place in the circle located in the middle of the training area, I cannot help but glance at the competition. It appears as if me and Nick were one of the last tributes to arrive, because as soon as the District Zero pair steps out of the elevator, a stocky man that barely surpasses five feet and seven—or maybe eight inches arrives. He is very straightforward, wasting no time before he start ordeing us around.
"Line up by height!" He says, voice empty and deprived of any emotion. As we are sorted into a long line, I find myself placed in the lower half of the tributes. I grunt in annoyance. I hoped that I would be tall enough to surpass at least half of the tributes in height, but that is not the case. However, I find myself laughing at that thought. The amount of seventeen or eighteen-years-olds in these Games is huge, so it should be expected that most of the other tributes would be taller than I am.
At the very end of the line stands Maribelle (10), who looks even smaller in comparison to the other tributes. Even Tress (6), who is the second shortest tribute in these Games, is nearly half a foot taller than she is! However, I am surprised to see that Kasumi (2), a Career, is placed in front of those two. I thought all the Careers were going to be at the start of the line, but I was wrong. Don't get me wrong, though. I ain't complaining.
At the opposite side of the line stands Pompeii (2), grinning foolishly and staring at the rest of us in an utterly arrogant matter. I can't help but hate him for being physically stronger than the rest of us, yet still being such an irritating person to be around. He does not deserve victory by any extent. Behind him, stands Alkaline (3), who is followed by Manta (4) and Sark (13). Rouding out the five tallest tributes is Solar (6), whose face is blank. His shoulders are rigid and he looks worried about something. I do not know what he could possibly worry about. He should be glad he is shorter than only four other people. There must be about twenty tributes that are superior to me in height for crying out loud.
I examinate the other tributes, but none of them particularly stand out to me. A few feet away, the head trainer does the same, examinating the line and nodding curtly as he decides that there are no flaws in it. Then, he proceeds to walk towards us, face blank as he starts his speech.
"All right. Everyone listen closely!" All our heads turn towards the man. Without making sure he has everyone's attention, he continues. "I am Circenses, otherwise known as Head Trainer here. And if you value your life, you should play close attention to my words." He definetly has everyone's attention now. He glances at us before he continues talking. "Before I officially start the Training period, consider this: Let's say you excel at climbing but fail to accomplish the aspect of swimming. And as you rise into the arena, you find yourself surrounded by water, with no mountain ranges in sight. Now, would your climbing skills be of any importance? No. Am I downplaying the importance of your strengths, you ask? No, I am not. Each talent, no matter how small it is, can be helpful when you're in the Arena. What I am saying is that, while you are here, you should work to improve on your strengths, but be sure to dedicate your time to your weaknesses and flaws as well. If you excel at the use of swords, then improve your skills with them, but learn how to use an axe or a spear as well. Be versatile. Be adaptable. Be prepared to whatever horrors will be thrown at you while you are in the Arena. If you follow my advice, then the winner might as well be you. Am I clear?" We nod our heads in response. "If so, let training commence!"
He blows a whistle, and surely, chaos ensues.
Tux Brandt (District 8)
As Circenses finishes his speech, madness ensues. I watch as the Careers run straight for the weapons, fully disregarding his advice. If they have been practicing with blades and polearms for their entire lives, I doubt a few extra hours swinging them around would be of much use. If they do not plan to accomplish anything in that section, the only thing they could be doing is trying to intimidate the rest of the tributes. Unfortunately for them, I will not be intimidated by a bunch of sweaty, brainless hunks with no empathy for anyone but themselves. I watch as Rio (8), my District partner, starts for them, eager to join their alliance. Not that I am surprised. She has been cocky and idiotic from the moment we first me. I'm surprised to see that she is not the only one who's going to try her luck in the Careers. Out of the corner of my eyes, I notice Zoey (13) watching them, and I can tell that she's planning to ask for an alliance.
As I lazily walk towards the climbing station, the rest of the tributes dart back and forth. Some seek for alliances, while others start training right away. I notice the pair from the Capitol dart towards the camouflage station, where small, frail Maribelle (10) is already trying to capture the colors of a vine in her own arm. The boy issues a greeting, while the girl hangs back, examinating the artificial forest biome in that section. Several feet away from me, the boy from District Three, who is always emotionless-seeming, is talking to a handful of tributes, obviously trying to recruit them into an alliance. I don't recognize most of them, but I can tell that Jayda (3) and Drago (12) are among his recruits. That's not good. Both Alkaline (3) and Drago (12) are physically strong, and Jayda hails from one of the most powerful families in Panem. However, as the discussion continues, it appears as if not all tributes are interested in joining. Nevertheless, even when you take that into consideration, they are still a formidable team.
"Trouble. That's what they'll be. . ." I murmur, and to my surprise, a blonde-haired girl to my left replies.
"Huh?" When I don't respond, she continues. "District Eight, right?" I nod. The girl seems slightly offended due to my silence, but I care not for that. It's the Hunger Games. Kill or be killed. I don't really care about niceties or good manners right now. However, I grow anxious as she doesn't leave, so I decide to say something;
"Yeah." I absentmindly say, answering her. She looks rather relieved, but after she notices she's showing a sign of emotion to another tribute, her emotionless mask returns. Only then do I realize she's Tress Terrence. District Six. She doesn't strike me as a threat, but you can never be sure.
"Good. I can't help but notice that you didn't even glance at the combat stations. No good or scared to go and try something? Perhaps, hiding something?" This girl has obviously no knowledge of boudaries or limits, but lashing out at her would get me nowhere. So instead, I remain calm as I truthfully answer her.
"Not hiding anything." I admit. Bragging about inexisting combat skills would get me nowhere. Besides, I doubt this girl has any knowledge anout hand-to-hand combat either. "Though I suppose I might try that station later on."
Tress' eyes flash with curiosity, before she continues. "You're intelligent. That's quite dangerous. For the rest of us, I mean."
"Mhm." I'll be honest. This girl is annoying me, and this conversation is utterly pointless, as it is clear that none of us are interested in an alliance. i'm about to tell her this when she continues speaking.
"Well, I don't think I'll try that station. Honestly, I stand for nothing in hand-to-hand combat. I ain't going to waste my time trying to learn it."
That's good news. You stand for nothing, eh? Well, you're gonna fall for everything.
Altair Summers (District 7)
If I stop to think about it, I haven't done anything productive ever since I arrived at the Training Center. I tried following Circenses' advice, bus as much as I want to work on my weaknesses, I don't think I can do it. Take archery, for example. Bows are definetly among my greatest flaws, which is why I stayed loyal to Circenses' advice and spent an entire hour trying to learn how to use them, with little to no success. It bothers me. While I don't think that my inability to use bows will hinder my performance in the Games, it is very irritating not to hit the target after every single try. However, when it comes to axes, the case is different.
I grin as the axe I have just thrown slams against the bullseye of the moving target. The trainer who is in charge of this station compliments me, informing me that I have been the first one to hit the bullseye. That's what I'm talking about. My aim is precise and flawless. There is no logical sense for me not to be able to wield a bow, though apparently, I can't even properly draw the bow back, let alone send arrows to where I want them to be. It's frustrating.
However, I am fortunate enough to actually have any skill when it comes to the use of weaponry. I glance over my shoulder and watch as other tributes try their luck with weapons. Most of them are uncoordinated and have no knowledge of how to properly swing a mace without beheading a nearby ally in the process, or how to hold a knife when you're going to throw it—and just in case you are wondering, you hold it by the blade. Their attempts are feeble and futile. It is quite entertaining.
I turn around and grab another axe; one with a smooth carbon fibre handle and aerodynamic holes inserted into the blade. I wind my arm back and throw it. This time, it sinks into the very edge of the target. To say the least, I am frustrated. Doesn't matter, though. I'll make sure my next throw is better. However, as I wind my arm back, I realize I am being watched. A quick glance sideways shows me that the alliance consisting of the tributes from Three and the boy from Twelve are eyeing me from across the room. It isn't long before one of them, the boy from twelve, approaches me.
"That was really impressive." He states vey matter-off-factly. Suddenly, I am disappointed that my missed throw was witnessed by an entire alliance, but it appears as if this trio does not really care for that. The girl who hung back watches me curiously, while her District partner has walked towards me and the boy from Twelve, and is now eyeing the two of us carefully. That guy creeps me out sometimes. Not only does he never show any emotion, but I don't think I have ever heard him talking. In spite of that, he seems like a very capable fighter.
"Thanks." I say, answering the boy from Twelve while keeping my eyes on the one from Three. I am surprised when he looks up and meets my gaze, and something in his eyes seems shattered. I decide that it would be better to look away, and when I do so, I find the boy from Twelve's face disturbingly close to mine, his lips contorted into a smile.
"So, I was wondering, would you like to join our alliance?" That's not surprising. I glance at the tributes from Three, who appear to be the only other tributes in the alliance. However, I can never be sure.
"Depends. Who else is in your alliance?" I ask, keeping my voice as neutral as it can be. The boy doesn't hesitate before he answers me.
"Oh! It's just me and Alkaline. Actually, no. Jayda is in it as well." I glance at the District Three girl, who is staring at her own shoes awkwardly. These three seem like nice enough people. Besides, an alliance would help me with my early game strategy.
"All right, then." I say, and the boy looks relieved. The one from Three's—Alkaline, according to the boy from Twelve—expression does not change. Jayda then decides to approach us from where she was examining one of her fingernails, unsure of what to do. She and Drago (12) then proceed to introduce themselves, and then introduce Alkaline (3), who nods curtly at me.
Then suddenly, I'm apart of an alliance. And while it's not big, I'm sure we will be a force to be reckoned with once the Games begin.
Kasumi Harada (District 2)
"What do you think of those two?"
Elise (14) leans forward and whispers into my ear while she eyes Rio (8) and Zoey (13), who have managed to sneak their way into our alliance earlier. Fine, I wouldn't call it "sneaking", but there wasn't even an official declaration for their membership, and they did not even need to go through any sort of trial or test to prove their worth. As far as we are concerned, these two can be incapable of anything that could be useful to us during the Games. However, I assume that we need the numbers. For reasons that are beyond my knowledge, Leera (1) has foolishly opted not to join us, and instead rushed to form an alliance that entitled themselves of the "Anti-Careers".
I tell Elise my opinion about Rio (8) and Zoey (13), and she nods understandingly. I like her. She is not like any ally I hoped to have. I had already convinced myself that all I would get as allies would be brainless, bloodthirsty brutes who did not possess the slighest notion of honor, though I admit that I misjudged them. Well, not quite all of them. Some of my allies are the stereotypical bloodthirsty brutes we have every year, but I care not for that. People like that never pose a threat to the rest of the competition. Take my District partner Pompeii (2) as an example. As soon as Circenses blew the whistle that begun training, he proclaimed himself leader of the Careers.
There were obviously objections, but they soon died down as Pompeii (2) threatened to kick anyone who did not support his leadership plan out of the alliance. That was enough to shut Cordelia (4) and Geno (14), who both wanted to lead the Careers. While Geno (14) simply acts salty about it, I can tell that Cordelia (4) will not accept to leave things as they are right now. I can often see her staring daggers at Pompeii (2) while he's not looking, as if she is plotting something.
I do not blame her for that, but I do acknowledge the fact that backstabbing an ally purely because they are bothersome and you want to lead an alliance yourself requires a person to have absolutely no glory or pride. However, Cordelia (4) does look disciplined enough, which is why I have decided to stay silent about her plans. Not that I need to. At this point, anyone with half a brain cell has noticed this. Unfortunately for Pompeii (2), he has no brain cells whatsoever in his head. Me and Elise (14) both get a good laugh out of his quirks.
Currently, we are practicing with bows while discussing our allies and the other tributes. Archery is something I excel at, although Elise definetly has a thing for close-ranged combat. At long-ranged weapons, however, she is of little use to me. However, she is not expendable by any extent. She has her own set of skills that is just as effective as mine.
My thoughts come to a halt as a loud bell rings. I lose my focus on the arrow I was planning to send, and accidentally let go of it. The bow's string vibrates as the arrow is sent forward, connecting with the wall above the target. I grunt and turn around, ready to learn what was that unnecessary bell, when Elise (14) lets out a small laugh. I raise an eyebrow at her.
"It's lunch time." She says, and suddenly, I feel stupid. I look over my shoulder, where surely, most of the tributes have begun to walk towards the cafeteria. I watch as Amelia (9) as she enters the cafeteria, followed by the large group of tributes led by Leera (1). Slowly, more tributes begin to move. For Elise's credit, however, she does not make fun of me for acting like that, and the two of us meet up with our allies at the cafeteria shortly. Ryan (1) and Zoey (13) have already claimed the largest table for ourselves. Me and Elise both pick up a tray and a plate, and I fill mine with the most delicious-looking food I can find. As we sit ourselves down, I look up to examinate the other tributes.
I'm surprised by the large amount of alliances. Duos, trios, and large groups litter the tables of the cafeteria, and the number of loners suddenly appears even smaller. In fact, the only loner sitting in this side of the cafeteria is Sark (13), with a few others sitting by themselves in the opposite corner, and three of them eating their meals in the same table, with no words exchanged between them. I identify Darsaya (0) and Tress (6) among them, but I do not think I ever learned the name of the boy sitting with them. I think he's named Aleksandr, but I'm not sure. All I know is that he is Darsaya's District partner. In spite of this, however, neither of them appear to have acknowledged each other's presence. I then turn my attention to my own table, where Ryan (1) is vigorously biting into a slice of pizza. Besides him, Cordelia (4)'s mind appears to be drifting elsewhere, and Manta (4) is silent as always.
Slowly, the tributes finish eating their meals, and walk towards the elevators after they deposit their trays. By the time I'm finished with my meal, the only tributes left besides us, the Careers, are Tux (8) and Taligelia (11), both who are as silent as stones. It appears as if the first day of Training has already ended.
I, for one, am happy that I managed to not just hone my skills, but improve my weaknesses as well. My knowledge of the wilderness is much bigger than it was when I arrived at the Training Center. I followed Circenses' advice to the latter.
I just hope that will be enough to keep me alive during the upcoming trials.
Eugene Watson (District 14)
The elevator comes to a halt.
Its doors slide open, revealing the training arena. A quick glance over the place confirms what I already suspected of. It appears as if my District partner Elise (14) was right. We were the last District to arrive, after all. Not that it matters. Pontuality will not help you at all in the Hunger Games, so I don't see why I should be worrying about being late to Training. Though for some reason, I find myself anxious as I step into the gymnasium. I scan the area, searching for my allies, and surely, my eyes fall upon them as I glance at the throwing knives station. Keeping my distance, I watch as Ryan (1) throws knives, each one of them sinking into the bullseye of the target he aims for. Occasionally, Cordelia (4) mumbles something in a seductive fashion, to which Ryan (1) grins.
I must say, her strategy is understandable. She needs to get people on her side, no matter what. Still, I expected something more. . . unpredictable of her. I sigh, running a hand through my hair. In the meantime, Elise (14) observes the other tributes. I follow her gaze, and find myself staring at the shelter making station, where Leera (1)—correctly nicknamed "pleghm" by the utterly insufferable Pompeii (2)—and her pathetic allies attempt to build a proper shelter between two synthetic trees. Martin (11) and Coraline (12) appear to understand what they are doing, though from what I've seen, the rest of them are utterly hopeless at making a shelter, and lack knowledge of how to survive in the wilderness. I shiver. The lack of knowledge in the same area killed Ryan's (1) brother.
In an ideal scenario, I would be able to sit back and scout the competition—perhaps learn how they think, or how they behave near each other. But of course, this is not an ideal scenario. I groan audibly as Pompeii (2) calls, or rather, shouts for me and Elise (14) to join him and our allies at throwing knives, a task I'm not necessarily bad at, but would rather not practice during my time in here. As I complain about this to Elise (14), however, she merely shrugs and tells me to follow Pompeii's (2) orders while he's in charge, to which she receives a mocking laugh.
However, I can't help but repeat mentally the way she phrashed her sentence. While he is in charge.
"I don't take anyone's orders, honey." I wait for a response—a snarky comeback of sorts, but none come. I shrug, and despite of my wishes, I join my allies as they throw knives. Ryan (1) has now been replaced with Rio (8)—a girl I know nothing about. Well, aside from the fact that she's outspoken and good with a sword. I do know a couple of tidbits about her weaknesses, however. I couldn't help but keep an eye out for my allies' flaws during the first day of training. Rio, for one, is terrible at identifying plants and has a hard time climbing trees, since sometimes it appears as if she was trained to be a fish, not a mammal. Ironic, huh? I also noticed that she has a hard time being stealthy or elusive, because she'd rather confront a person rather than sneak up on them and surprise them with her presence, as evidenced when she got into an argument with Cordelia (4).
Speaking of her, as Rio (8) winds her arm up and throws her last knife—that slams against the edge of the bullseye, Cordelia (4) swiftly replaces her, and then proceeds to do some pretty decent job with the knives. As she's finished, Zoey (13) takes a step forward, and the first thing I notice is that she's holding her knife in the wrong manner. Her fingers curl around the hilt of the knife, not its blade, where a knife should be held if the person plans to throw it.
I creep up behind her, playfully sliding my hands into her forearms and grabbing the blade of the knife. Zoey (13) istinctively yanks her arms away squeals in shock, dropping the knife. There's a low clangor of metal as the knife falls against the linoleum floor of the knife station. I take a step back, startled by her sudden movement.
"What the hell?" Startled by her sudden outburst, I stand motionless as she continues. "Are you trying to make a move on me or something?"
"What, no I was--" Zoey (13) cuts me off and starts talking. While I was not really trying to "make a move" on her, I do admit that I was playfully doing so. Those two things are very different.
"Dude, I'm not even straight, what--"
"Ah." I say, interrupting Zoey (13) and ending this conversation for good. This whole situation is going towards unwanted places, and that's not what I wanted. All I wished to do was to startle her, but I wound up getting startled myself, while she simply got angry at me. It is needless to point this out, but I shall do it anyway: I failed miserably.
Zoey (13) storms off, grunting indignantly. Besides me, Ryan (1) smirks foolishly and Kasumi (2) looks on with a raised eyebrow. Rio (8) does not look up from where she is examinating one of her fingernails, but I can tell that she paid attention to what just happened. However, most of them appear to share a thought. That I am immature, or otherwise unnecessary. Unskilled at the art of fighting alongside them.
Well, I care not for that. All I have to do is outlive them.
Then, I'll be able to win.
Maribelle Flounders (District 10)
I sit myself down at the bench placed by the corner of the training area.
I remain silent as a stone as I watch my two allies train. Currently, the two of them are taking turns at chucking spears—something I cannot afford to do. I'm twelve, which puts me at a huge disadvantage. As soon as I stepped into the training center, I decided to learn how to use a weapon, but as time went by, I realized I wouldn't be able to handle maces or spears. I'm small and lightweight, and the two weapons felt unnatural in my hand. That's when Edrik (C) showed up, and attempted to teach me how to use a sword. He did not succeed, however, but he wound up asking for an alliance, which I accepted. Later on, I learned that his District partner, Reo (C) had teamed up with him as well. Not only that, but it turns out that the two o f them had known each other before being reaped. It must be a dreadful feeling—to be pitched against thirty other kids, one of them being someone you used to know.
Despite of that, the two of them remained calm, and decided to befriend me. I respect them for that. Never did I imagine that I would be able to acquire allies during my time in here, let alone two strong, capable ones. Reo (C) invited me to join her and Edrik (C) at throwing spears, but I declined and informed her of my lack of skill in wielding a large weapon. She did not react negatively, however, and told me to go do my own things, as she and Edrik (C) would be done shortly. She reassured me that after her spear practice was finished, we could train with blowguns or another weapon of my choice. I'm grateful for it.
"Hey there!" I'm startled by a sudden voice coming from my left. I turn around, and find Edrik (C) and Reo (C) staring back at me, smiling. Huh. They must have finished their spear practice. I don't know how I didn't notice they were done. But time did fly by. That worries me. In mere two days, I could be dead. All that's left before I enter the arena are the private training sessions tomorrow, and the interviews in the day after that. Then, in the next morning, I will be dragged into the arena against my will. It's sickening. I don't want that to happen. I want to return to my home in District Ten, with my parents and Olivia. Yes, she did lie to me, but I still like her, regardless of her actions. I wish I could see all of them one last time, before I. . . I die. No! I can't afford to think like that! I have to win. I don't know how, but I have to. . .
"Um, earth to Maribelle?" I snap out of my thoughts as Reo (C) calls for me. She still smiles, but worry is clearly visible in her eyes.
"Oh, um. . . I was just thinking. . . about the future. . ." I look down, worried.
"Ah, that's understandable Maribelle. Though you have nothing to worry about for now!" Reo reassures me. I know she's trying to help, but that did little to ease my fears. She did say for now. "So, um. . ." She continues "Should we try blowguns?"
"Y-yeah." I answer, and she claps her hands, helping me up. As we walk towards the blowguns, I can't help but think that, if I am to win the Games, these two will have to die. And that thought terrifies me.
Rio Waterborne (District 8)
As Pompeii (2) and Cordelia (2) get into an argument yet again, I find my opportunity to slip away. From the moment I stepped into this gymnasium yesterday, I have been planning to put my hands on a spatha—an ancient Roman cavalry sword that I happen to be proficient with. However, my allies' constant bickering and Pompeii (2) insisting to follow a training schedule he came up with himself, I did not have any time to spare practicing with a spatha. Odds are that there will not be one available in the arena, but if there is, I must be ready to put up a good show with one. I cringe as I walk past the plant identification test, a station I tried—and more importantly, failed.
Currently, the girl from District Zero is testing her luck in that station. I briefly stop by to watch how she's faring, but in an instant, she has finished the test with subpar results. She groans and storms off, crossing eyes with me as she passes by. I glance at the station for a split second, and the continue my way to the station I'm headed for. All around me, the tributes train. Some have managed to gain a skill or two, as evidenced by Austin (10) as he picks up a bullwhip off a rack and manages to get it wrapped around a dummy's throat from a distance. I watch as he swiftly pulls the whip towards him, making the dummy collapse, taking a couple of others with it. Impressive.
Directly across from Austin (10), the girl from District Three—the Idylwyld—attemps to give a basic axe lesson to one of her allies, Drago (12), but as he wields the axe, his incompetence with the weapons is soon clear to the entire training center. I laugh lightly as he attempts to throw it at a target, but misses as the axe goes over it and slams into a nearby wall, cracking it. After a few seconds, the axe falls to the ground—there was not enough force in the throw for the axe to actually cling to something. Tux (8) takes not of this, and begins to scribble furiously against a small pocket notebook he must've brought with him. Smart boy. Behind him, Clarke (5) has lit a roaring fire, to which the station's trainer looks utterly impressed.
I know I should be in a hurry, as my allies will notice my absence soon, but I am certain that I will not have another chance to learn of the other tributes' flaws, and also, their strengths. Keeping that in mind, I walk from station to station, veering off my previous course aimed to the ancient weapons station. Edrik (C) from the Capitol is quite skilled at hand-to-hand combat, but his lack of speed is obviously a problem. His District partner has incredible reflexes, but is not all that impressive in terms of physical strength. Maribelle (10), their ally, is extremely skilled with a blowgun, but what will a few darts mean against a larger, older tribute wielding a hefty club? She better come up with something to make her darts more lethal if she plans on surviving the Games.
Breeze (7) has a great aim and is skilled with an axe, but after a few seconds watching her I realize that she's always trying to push herself past her limits, getting tired or incapable in the process. If I am to guess what her biggest weakness in the Games would be, I would say that would be her main problem. I watch the other tributes, though it appears as if none of them are doing anything noteworthy. I glance back at my allies, and it appears as if the argument hasn't fully died down. I quicken my pace, and find myself in the verge of running towards the station. As I step into it, the trainer seems surprised. He's even more surprised when I select the apatha I spotted earlier out of a rack with several other weapons. I grin, and walk towards a dummy.
My proficience with the apatha and other blades will be the one thing that can make sure I emerge from these Hunger Games with my life,at the least. Keeping this in mind, I swing for the dummy with all my might. The shiny blade slices through the dummy's neck, cutting its head clean off. I step back, satisfied with my work, and the proceed to swing again. My blows are coordinated and unpredictable. In a matter of time, all of the dummy's limbs have been sliced off, and I finish my practice by shoving the apatha straight into its chest. The dummy tumbles down, and I step back, satisfied.
Austin Tierney (District 10)
"Very well. The private training sessions start tomorrow." Leera (1) states as our alliance sits down at one of the several tables scattered around the lunch area. Several of the other tributes have already finished their meals, but Leera (1) insisted to finish her dagger lession, so we had to wait fifteen more minutes before we were able to have lunch. I stare at my plate as Leera (1) speaks, not hungry in the slighest bit. The Games start in two days. How could I possibly have any form of apettite?
Some of my allies, however, do not seem to be concerned about this. I watch Martin (11) as he vigourously devours the last of his fettuccine noodles. Not that I blame him for being hungry. None of my allies appear to have had pleasant, luxurious lives. They might as well eat properly for a few days of their lives before they perish.
"Yeah." Coraline (12) replies to Leera as she elevates a spoon of mashed potatoes into her mouth. "What about that?"
"Oh, nothing much. However, I was wondering what score do you all hope to get? I don't want to pressure you, but in order to be taken seriously by the other alliances, you should all hope to achieve a decent score. A low score might hinder us greatly in the arena."
Well, she's right about that. The sponsors do not pay attention to the low or medium scores—they care only for the high ones. If our alliance fails to impress during our private training sections, we might be dooming ourselves forevermore. That's just great. Now I have one more thing to worry about.
Coraline (12) nods understandingly, and then proceeds to turn to Leera (1) and speak again, this time in a more serious tone.
"Then, answering your question. I'm not expecting much. Of course, I will do my best, but I think that will only be enough to get me a seven or an eight, at the most."
"A seven or an eight is still good. Just remember: strive for excellence." Leera answers her truthfully.
"Mhm." Coraline (12) mumbles with a mouth full of noodles. As she's finished, she turns to me. "What about you, Austin?"
That catches me off-guard. While I have been worrying about my private session for the past few days, I don't think I haven't ever put any thought into what score I'm going to aim for. I'm not going for a low one, that's for sure. Playing weak only works for a small handful of people, and I don't think I would be able to pull off an innocent, scared act. I tell Coraline (12) this, and she nods, telling me that I should do my best. Leera (1) then proceeds to ask the other members of our alliance what score they hope to get.
Nick (5), a boy I don't know much about, states that he's going to do his best and aim for an eight or a nine. Then, Leera turns to the quieter members of our alliance—Solar (6) and Timothy (9). Personally, I don't know a thing about those two. Sometimes, I even forget they are in the alliance. I don't really get Timothy (9), though due to his silence, he strikes me as an anti-social type of person. Despite of that, I catch a layer of intelligence in his eyes, and I can tell that he's just not ready to reveal much about himself, for reasons that are beyond my knowledge.
Then there's Solar. Truth to be told, I don't like the guy. Whenever he is not quiet, he acts cocky and intimidating, though he has a protective nature irradiating out of him like an aura. If he actually acted like that, I'm sure he would be a far more likable guy.
"I-I'm not sure. . ." Timothy (9) says and then ducks his head, staring into his tray and muttering something under his breath. I exchange a worried look with Martin (11), who's staring doubtfully at Timothy (9). Leera (1) stares at Timothy (9) with wariness, but then turns to Solar (6), who shrugs and tells her he's simply going to do his best and see what happens.
It appears as if all of my allies—or at least most of them—have overall high expectations for their private training sessions.
I just hope that we will be able to live up to those expectations. Because if we don't, it is safe to assume that we are as good as dead.
Taligelia Rendervault (District 11)
I look up from where my hands were fighting with urge in order to build a proper fire without the use of matches. It seemed like a normal task—at first. However, I was proven wrong. I have been in this station for half an hour now, yet all I managed to do was scratch my hands in the stick I am using in order to start a fire. It is frustrating. I haven't managed to obtain a single spark, and my hands feel sore and irritated by the constant scraping. Several other factors have made this day quite frustrating, as well.
My mentor simply will not help me out. She was intoxicated all day yesterday, and wouldn't stop drinking. She may be dead from alcoholic overdose right now, but I don't care. She didn't help me out, so she's already dead to me. My escort is not of much use, either. She constantly acts like all us tributes have to do in here is charm potential sponsors. Sometimes, I wonder if she is actually aware that this is a fight to the death. Not that I expected any help from them. If I have learned anything during my entire life, it is that you cannot rely on anyone but yourself. People are just too unpredictable. In the Hunger Games, then, you can never know when your ally is planning to stick a knife into your back, which is why I haven't joined an alliance, nor do I plan to do so. Ding! Ding! Ding!
A bell chimes, soon followed by a whistle. The training period is over. I groan, utterly annoyed by the fact that I did not manage to build a fire. I better secure myself some matches once I'm in the arena, or else I'm as good as dead. As I stand up, there is a loud clangor of metal as one of the Career girls—the recruit from Thirteen—carelessly drops a sword and walks towards one of the elevators, not even waiting for her allies to join her. She's soon followed by a crowd of other tributes, my District partner Martin (11) being one of them. I hang back, staring at the unlit fireplace until most of the tributes have entered an elevator.
I wait for about everyone to have entered an elevator and then walk into an empty one. As I'm elevated to the District 11 floor, I lean back against a wall, wondering what kind of horrid fate awaits for me.
|Aleksandr Estrene (0)||7|
|Darsaya Taloure (0)||10|
|Ryan Jones (1)||10|
|Leera Renedy (1)||11|
|Pompeii Vulcan (2)||9|
|Kasumi Harada (2)||10|
|Alkaline Watt (3)||9|
|Jayda Idylwyld (3)||7|
|Manta Li (4)||2|
|Cordelia Murphy (4)||11|
|Nick Maclachlan (5)||6|
|Clarke Wattson (5)||6|
|Solar Powers (6)||7|
|Tress Terrence (6)||6|
|Altair Summers (7)||8|
|Breeze Sylvani (7)||7|
|Tux Brandt (8)||5|
|Rio Waterborne (8)||10|
|Timothy Banner (9)||4|
|Amelia Woods (9)||8|
|Austin Tierney (10)||8|
|Maribelle Flounders (10)||5|
|Martin Plamenov (11)||6|
|Taligelia Rendervault (11)||8|
|Drago Fire (12)||3|
|Coraline Overton (12)||7|
|Sark Lancaster (13)||10|
|Zoey Proasheck (13)||8|
|Eugene Watson (14)||9|
|Elise Stokes (14)||9|
|Edrik Gold (C)||8|
|Reo Daire (C)||9|
- Note: Written in 3rd Person
Not a single word comes from the girl's mouth as her prep team gets her ready. She remains silent, as she was instructed to by her prep team. Its first member, a short woman with plain brown hair, had introduced herself as Layla, and she quickly bonded with her assigned tribute, whose simplicity and honesty earned her multiple fans in the Capitol. Layla was nowhere near being as genetically altered as the other members of the girl's prep team; the only artificial thing about her being the tattoos littering her arms. They appeared to be stenciled in brown; with multiple patterns of circles and lines starting from every visible skin on her arm. Layla wore the traditional prep team uniform, with a golden ruby-encrusted python necklace hanging from her neck, along with a friendly, warm smile that never left her face.
Then, came the co-leader and second member of the girl's prep team; Cisco, whose dusty blonde hair and skin nearly resembled parchment. The most shocking feature about him, however, where his tattoos. After a few moments of staring at him once they first met, Rayna quickly came to the realization that he was a living, breathing map; for Panem in all its flaws and scenarios were tattooed on his skin. Each wagon, each building and each house was there. Rivers flowed down his arm, emptying into the form of a lake on the palm of his left hand. A coal mine was placed on his wrist, each piece of wheat carefully tattooed by the Capitol's finest artists. The girl's eyes watered as she took note of this tattoo, that resembled her home so perfectly. By looking out to his cheekbone, the girl could see in detail the image of a man eating an apple; his wife sewing a new shirt behind him. Each thread of the cloth appeared to have been drawn by hand onto Cisco's face.
Then came Syrenia, the last member of the prep team. At first glance, it appeared as if the slim, tall woman was wearing a metallic jumpsuit, but at closer look, one could see that it was not the case. Her skin was composed entirely out of metallic patterns that were, due to a reason not acknowledged by the girl, still flesh. Overlapping oval-shaped scales composed her entire body, and unlike the other members of the prep team, she was not wearing anything at all. Her long aquamarine hair was composed of stick-straight locks that fell all the way down to her thighs. Her piercing eyes were of the same color, and her smile consisted of flawless, shiny white teeth.
When the girl first met them, she was not startled, as many would assume. Kind and accepting, she quickly offered her hand to Cario, and then did the same to all the other members of the prep team, who shook it happily. The trio of Capitolites continue to do their work on the girl, determined to turn her into the most beautiful damsel out of all the female tributes. Mascara is applied swiftly but accurately. A thin, small brush sweeps over her lids, giving them color. Another, even smaller, wet brush glides over her eyelashes, and then over her bottom lids. Soft lipstick is dabbed onto her full, chapped lips and something else glides over it. Then, Cario comes on, holding a black fabric case containing the girl's interview dress.
"Coraline. . . close your eyes." She whispers softly, and the girl, always obedient, does just that. Holding her arms halfway up, she feels a silky material slide up her body. Sleeveless. Short. Soft. All these characteristics are noticed by the girl, Coraline (12), as the prep team finishes adjusting the dress. A sharp intake of breath leaves her mouth as she is told to step forward and put on her shoes. Heels. Very high heels. It appears as if there is something curling around her ankles, reaching the area below her knee. However, her eyes remain closed, until someone speaks again, only this time, it's Layla's voice.
"Open." Short and straightforward. Coraline (12) does not hesitate to do so.
An involuntary squeal leaves her mouth as she is startled by a beautiful, young woman standing in front of her. Coralinw (12) is about to ask what is happening when she notices something. The woman moves, and does everything Coraline (12) herself decides to do. The woman is nothing other than her own reflection in the huge mirror assembled before her. Coraline (12) mutters something under her breath, before examinating her appearance more closely.
The sleeveless purple dress is quite short, just above her knees. And it flares out. A purple ribbon of silk in a lighter shade is tied above her waist, giving her body curves it could never afford to have due to a condition that neared malnourishment. In the back, everything above the waist is completely open, showing off Coraline's bare skin and leaving little to the imagination of the viewers. Her golden shoes, matching the pins attached to her purple dress, are high heels, and straps wrap themselves around the lower part of Coraline's legs, as if they were snakes. Her loosely waved light brown hair was not tied whatsoever, and freely cascaded down her shoulders in glossy strands, nearly reaching midway past her arms. Extensions.
She looked absolutely stunning. She didn't even bother to deny it. Why would she? She really did. The prep team laughed in pure glee at her reaction, before escorting her towards her a long, narrow corridor. The four walked in silence, and as the girl stopped by a door, each and every member of her prep team waved her goodbye, tearful. If Coraline (12) was not to emerge victorious, they would never meet again. Shaking, Cario opened the door.
Coraline (12) found herself staring at the line where the other tributes were assembled. She took her place behind her District Partner, Drago (12), who didn't even bother to mouth a small "hello". Not that Coraline (12) blamed him. In the next morning, the two of them would be gunning for each other's heads.
The interviewer and master of ceremonies, Eucilo Mayall, took his place on the stage, and one by one, the tributes' names were called, and the interviews had begun.
Drago (12) clasped his hands together as one by one, the tributes were dismissed and swiftly replaced with other ones. The interviews appeared to be passing by at a slower pace, but Drago (12) knew that this sensation was caused by his growing anxiety. It appeared as if, the closest his name was to being called, the more anxious he would feel. He was nervous to the extent where he did not even pay the smallest amount of attention to the first half interviews, but by the time District Seven was called up the stage, he decided to pay some attention to the tirbutes getting interviewed. The girl from District 7 was smart and cunning, and the boy from District 8 was shy and elusive. The petite girl from District Ten was very shy and answered all questions in a low voice, but Drago (12) heard several "aw's" coming from the crowd and her interview occurred. District Ten. District Eleven. District Twelve.
Coraline (12) was called up the stage, and Drago watched as she carefully sat herself down next to Eucilo, looking absolutely stunning. The two of them exchanged some niceties, and soon, the interview had begun. Drago ran a hand through his coal black suit, and only then he noticed the sweat running down his palms. He wiped it off in his trousers, and as he looked up, he saw Coraline (12), shaking hands with Eucilo, and then leaving the stage; her high heels making a low clicking sound as the audience went wild behind her.
"Ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to introduce Drago Fire, from District Twelve!" And as if he was in a dream, Drago (12) found himself ignoring his anxiety as he walked up the stage. He flashed the crowd one of his most charming smiles, and then sat himself down next to Eucilo, who was grinning foolishly at him.
"Hello, Drago." He said, gaze drifting between Drago (12) and the crowd.
"Oh, hi, Eucilo." Drago answered, his anxiety having kicked in again.
"So, tell me. The Capitol is quite different from the scenario of District Twelve, isn't it?"
"Y-yeah, it sure is." Drago stuttered as he spoke, but quickly put himself back together. "It's amazing."
He was lying, of course. The extreme wealth of the citizens of the Capitol disgusted him. He simply could not cope as he compared the Capitol to District Twelve, where those fortunate enough to have two meals a day were very in an extremely small number. Besides, he considered the Capitolites absolute freaks. All of their colors, appearances and surgeries they submitted themselves to were simply too much for Drago (12) to handle. He imagined how he would be like if he was a Capitol citizen.
"Well, why thank you!" Eucilo's answer made him snap out of it, and as he faced Eucilo, he continued. "But Drago, what about your training score? How do you feel about it? I mean, do you think it was deserved?"
That would have caught Drago (12) off-guard, had he not memorized an answer to this very question earlier on, with his mentor. Drago (12) quickly urged himself to answer the question.
"To be honest, Eucilo, I think it was. But that's not my fault. You see, I could not show out all of my skills and what I'm really good at. The gamemakers had a very limited view of my full potential." Drago shivered as he said this words. His full potential. Burning people down, something he volunteered in order to avoid. If he could, he would never, never go near fire again.
"In that case, I look forward to see what you're capable of." Eucilo said in an understanding, paternal tone. Drago (12) was about to answer him when a chime sounded, cutting him off. His three minutes had ended.
"Ah, it appears as if we are running out of time. That's a disappointment. I, for one, have very much enjoyed this interview. Nevertheless, Drago, I wish you the best of luck."
"Thank you." Drago (12), answered politely before shaking hands with Eucilo and leaving the stage, being replaced by the female tribute from District Thirteen. She was wearing a short, tight black dress that ended mid-way past her thighs, and her flaming red hair was not tied up and had been curled, falling down her shoulders in glossy strands. She looked pretty. Drago (12) was absentmindly moving towards one of the elevators, until a thought crossed his mind. A terrible one.
The interviews were about to finish. In the next morning, the Games would begin, and he would be thrown into the arena.
Austin Tierney (District 10)
I have been up for hours. I glance out the window as the sun rises. Birds fly past as the Capitol people begin their day. They are calm and free. Unlike me. Any thoughts I had about waking up from this horrid dream filled with fear and desolation have disappeared this morning, when I realized that I would be sent into the arena. For that, I am not able to sleep. In a few hours, we will be in The Hunger Games. The mere thought is bizarre, and the name of the so called "festivity" makes me sick. It’s only a little longer before they begin and my life is at the mercy of the other tributes. I can’t die, though. I don't care about anything, but one goal. I need to come home for the people I care about. I can't lose. Can't.
"Austin! The time has come!" I trail off as my escort calls me, urging me to get ready. "You don't want to be late, do you?"
"Do I have a choice?" I mutter sarcastically, but I know the answer. I don't. I sigh and begin to stretch, preparing myself mentally for the fate that awaits me. There are still several hours until the Games begin, but my escort does not seem to care. She continues to knock, and the doorknob shakes and trembles as she feebly attempts to open the locked door. I would rather be well-rested and prepared for the initial moments of the Games, but that's a luxury I cannot afford. Not when I know that I could be dead within a few hours.
I absentmindly get up and get myself dressed in a plain, sleeveless white T-shirt and baggy black trousers. I push my bangs off my face and exit the room. In front of my door stands my escort, frantically pointing at the watch on her wrist and telling me I didn't have to take so much time to get myself dressed. I shake her off and make my way to the dining room, where my mentor and District partner sit. Her mentor, Aurelia, is buttering her toast, but Maribelle (10) is trembling in her seat, and does not touch any of the food in her plate. My mentor is taking sips from a mug filled with a black liquid I recognize, but do not really like. Coffee.
"Morning, Austin." Aurelia waves at me and I nod my head towards her, mouthing a low greeting under my breath.
"Got any final advice?" I ask turning to my mentor, who has begun to chomp down his toast again. I sit myself down across from him, and then Maribelle (10) and I are both staring at him. He sighs and stretches his arms.
"Well, do not take unnecessary risks." He says, and we fall silent. "I would recommend you not to attend the boodbath, but I'll be honest. That is up to you. It's your life at risk, afterall. But remember that one, single careless movement can cause your demise. That's all."
He says and then sips his drink once again, leaving me with an uneasy feeling in my stomach.
Breeze Sylvani (District 7)
The time for the Games has come.
Purnia, our escort, leads us into the elevator without bothering to say a single word. She presses the first button of the elevator and then the doors slide shut. We do not mutter a single word as the elevator goes down. The silence is quite uncomfortable, and the tension between us is clearly visible. Soon enough, the elevator comes to a halt and the doors slide open. Altair (7) and myself step out of it, and thrudge along an open-sky hangar. In the distance, the other tributes climb atop of a hovercraft and the stylists enter another one. I walk towards it uneasily, wondering what kind of horrid fate awaits me.
Snap out of it, Breeze! I cannot afford to be pessimistic. I have to win. I must at least try to. And if I am to go down, I cannot do so without a fight. I owe this to the people back home who are rooting for me. Besides, my pessimistic thoughts might be obscuring the reality of things. If I stop and think about it, I may have a chance of winning. I was born in District 7, and have been using axes for most of my life. It isn't uncommon for me to abandon my work in favor of exploring and hunting, so finding myself a source of food will not be a problem. I have enough skills in the field of hunting. Back in 7, I hunted just for the thrill of the rush, but now, the skills I acquired might be of great help.
I suppose I am intelligent enough to outsmart a large part of my fellow tributes. When it comes down to logic-related scenarios, I believe I am the biggest threat out there. Soon, I will become aware of the accuracy of my predictions. I just hope they are correct.
Tress Terrence (District 6)
I carefully place my feet on the lower steps of the stairs as I climb atop of the hovercraft. As I step through the door, I take a good look at my surroundings. Most of the other tributes sit on their assigned seats, their faces a mix of fear and worry. The Careers are not among them. They have already been sorted into their seats and are now waiting for the hovercraft to take off with amused smirks on their faces. Their behavior sickens me, so I decide to ignore them. I duck my head as I walk past them, sitting myself in the seat between two female tributes.
As soon as I take my seat, the hovercraft takes off with a small, unnoticeable clicking noise; one that I wouldn't have listened to if I was not expecting something. Having nothing else to do, I glance at the girls I sat myself between. Just to my left, sits Leera (1); the self-proclaimed leader of the anti-careers. Her pristine, flawless brown hair has been styled into a braided ponytail that nearly reaches her waist. Even wearing casual clothing, she looks absolutely stunning. Then, to my right, is the lithe form of Amelia (9). Her eyes are blank and devoid of any emotion, but her hands are clasped around her arm, smoothly caressing the place where the tracker got injected. I'm interrupted as a gruff woman walks by and stops in front of me, telling me to raise my arm so she can inject my tracker. I do so without a second thought.
The tracker injection is just a mere sting, and I can barely feel it. However, the nearby Maribelle (10) shivers and moans in pain as she receives her own tracker. I'm watching the other tributes with caution, when the hovercraft suddenly lands, shaking a little, but soon we're on the ground. Just like about every other tribute, I undo my restraints, and allow a pair of peacekeepers to escort me out of the hovercraft. I'm guided through a dark hall, and the Peacekeepers do not open their mouths for a brief second. We stop as we reach an intersection, and one of the peacekeepers orders me to enter a door assembled to my left. I step through the door, and my eyes find my stylist's.
Her eyes show concern, and she holds a transparent package in her hands. My arena outfit. I quickly get rid off my clothes–a sleeveless white shirt, a yellow cardigan and skinny jeans–and she hands me the package containing my arena wear. As I unzip it, she starts saying something.
"You can expect a rather humid weather."
"Mhm. Anything else?" I ask as I get myself dressed.
"No, not really. Those clothes are not very telling." She's right. A hooded purple jacket–the "official" color of Six– that goes over a lighter purple T-shirt. Dark green cargo pants and pitch black combat boots. I look up and raise an eyebrow to my stylist, but she merely shrugs. That's all. My outfit appears to be rather plain, but the jacket seems warm enough, at least.
"Thirty-five seconds until launch."
A robotic female voice announces that it's time for me to get inside the glass tube. My stylists nods, and escorts me towards it. We stare at each other for a few more seconds, and then the glass suddenly closes. The eerie "tick tick" of the platform slowly beginning to rise is heard, and I realize that this is it. It's time for it to start. The platform continues to go up, until the clicking noise suddenly stops and I rise into the arena. A white light suddenly flashes across my eyes, and I feel my heart pounding faster and faster as I'm blinded. Slowly, but surely my eyes adjust to the bright sun that beats down on us. And that's when I see it, the golden Cornucopia. I take a deep breath, and close my eyes for a second and try to group all my thoughts, but I just don't seem to be able to think clearly. I snap out of it and open my eyes, scolding myself mentally. Suddenly, all my surroundings start coming to me, flowing into my mind like the blood that runs through my veigns.
I need to examine my surroundings, I tell myself.
I glance over my shoulder, but as far as I can see, there's nothing other than woods surrounding me. Thick foliage is present in every place I look at. However, I make out the shape of a tall construction made out of wood in the distance. The woods conceal something, that's obvious. As for what they conceal, I might never be sure. For now, all I have to do is make it past the torential storm of blood and chaos that will soon ensue.
Just as I turn to face the tribute to my left, a voice suddenly blares out, startling me and nearly causing me to lose my balance.
"Ladies and gentlemen! May the 377th Annual Hunger Games. . . begin!"
I frantically look around, trying to decide what should I do. And just as I start thinking, the countdown begins, making my blood run cold.
59. . . 58. . . 57. . . 56. . . 55. . . 54. . . 53. . . 52. . . 51. . .
The Hunger Games
The arena consists of colossal woods that stretch from the start of the arena to its very edge. These woods conceal several secrets, that one might be able to find if they search deep enough, as well as several muttations, the most noticeable being bat-like mutts whose bites kill you within days, and bloodhound mutts, with menacing teeth. As usual, the Games start with all tributes placed in a semi-circle around the Cornucopia, that lies in a clearing placed in the direct center of the arena, with crates of weapons and supplies stacked around it. The ground is irregular and slippery, and the tributes have to be careful, or else they may trip and fall over.
As usual, the horn is filled with weapons and survival gear, the most valuable items being placed deep within it, and the items of less value being splattered across the concrete, a few feet away from the tribute platforms. The weapons are all made out of hard steel, and they are nearly unbreakable, so they will not be damaged if trampled over during the chaos of the bloodbath.
Knives, awls, slingshots and random small backpacks are near the tribute platforms, with axes and spears placed a little closer to the mouth. Inside the Cornucopia, sit the water bottles, food packs, heavy backpacks and weapons of all shape and kind. Tomahawks and swords are placed in the back wall, and machetes, sickles, scythes and all other weapons are placed near the entrance of the mouth, right behind the survival gear. A few kilometers away from the clearing that holds the Cornucopia and its supplies, deep within the woods, sits nothing other than a post-apocalyptic version of a small town. The once inviting houses have turned into ruins, that might collapse and crush an unlucky tribute at any time. The most notable constructions of this town include a public library, an elementary school and a tall lighthouse.
The now decaying library stands directly across from the elementary school. Inside, the tributes might find some useful items, but for the most part, all that's left in this abandoned building are several books that would be of little help to a tribute. If they search deep enough, however, they might come across extremely helpful items, such as a map of the arena or hidden packages of food. Aside from the books, box cutters and scissors can be found in the tables' several drawers, and the tribute who finds those items could use them as a weapon. The library also has a basement, but for the most part, there are not useful tools in it. However, if you are smart enough, you may come across something of extreme value.
The school is quite possibly the less decayed building out of all the constructions of the small town. Despite of that, it is still thoroughly damaged. If a tribute manages to break their way into the school. Vermin, such as mice, rats, and spiders, are hidden in walls, ceilings, and the very ground. These pests do little damage to the tributes, and serve only as an annoyance, that is, unless a tribute fears any of the creatures that lurk the confined area of the school building. There are several holes and gaps in the ground, and they can only be surpassed if the tribute either jumps over them, or finds some sort of loose wooden board in order to walk over the large gaps.
There is nothing of much use in the classrooms, other than tools and rusty pipes that could be used in self-defense. There is a bridge connecting the main school building to the second wing, that holds a filthy pool, a running track and other miscellaneous classrooms, one of them granting you access to an underground bomb shelter.
Other than the small town, there are several other small houses randomly scattered across the woods. There are three ponds in the arena, and all contain drinkable water.
The ruins of decaying tall buildings loom in the horizon, just beyond the tributes' reach—having been placed just after the forcefield in order to lure tributes towards their inevitable end by the forcefield.
Day 1, A Change is Coming
Edrik Gold (The Capitol)
My eyes peer into the Cornucopia, and my shoulders feel rigid as I try to decide upon what I should retrieve when the games commence. I must have a weapon by the time the blood starts to be spilled, that is obvious. Without one, I would be unable to protect my allies, who are both counting solely on me. A few feet away from me a small bag of fruit is rested up against a small rock, but further in is where my eyes are locked upon. Where all the larger, more costly items are held. My eyes scan across sleeping bags, polearms, tents, large packs containing all the neccesities that I'll need in order to ensure my allies' survival, as well as my own. I must retrieve those items before the other tributes can. But first, I have to make sure my allies are safe. I look away from the supplies I was staring at and my eyes swivel to my left, meeting Sark's (C). We both avert gazes immediately. As far as I am concerned, he could be the one to end my life.
47. . . 46. . . 44. . . 43. . . 42. . . 41. . . 40. . . 39. . .
Instead of bothering to check whoever is to my right, I look further in, scanning the pedestals until my eyes meet with Reo (C)'s determined face. In the pedestal right next to her, stands my other ally, Maribelle (10). She's primed into a running position, although she's aimed herself to the outskirts of the Cornucopia, where a small satchel sits. I frown. It would be a lot wiser if the two of them would run away from this place. Not only would it increase their chances of survival, but I would not have to worry about protecting them, which I won't be able to do so if I do not approach the Cornucopia and get my hands on a weapon before anyone else does. That comes along with the fact that I'm more than prepared to stab my way out of the chaos, something that appears to be inevitable, given the situation I find myself in.
33. . . 32. . . 31. . . 30. . .
I close my eyes and review my strategy. First things first, I have to sprint towards the Cornucopia at full speed and find a weapon. By then, other tributes will have arrived. I would rather avoid any confrontations, but I don't think that would be possible. Now when, not if, I make my way out of the battle, I have to meet up with Reo (C), who will hopefully have Maribelle (10) and some supplies with her. Then, we get the hell out of here. Simple. But first, I have to scout my surroundings. I look towards my right, something I avoided earlier out of fear of what I could see, but I'm relieved to see that the tribute to my left is Breeze (7). She may be quite skilled with axes, but I doubt that she would attack me on sight, without any weapon at ready. My eyes swivel towards the coutdown. There are twenty-five seconds until the gong sounds, and I launch myself into the inevitable outburst of blood and gore.
Darsaya Taloure (District 0)
Never did I consider I would end up as a tribute in the Hunger Games. Furthermore, if I was told that I would participate in them by my own choice, I would have laughed at whoever said such atrocity to me, shaking them off as mentally off or just really dumb. That's what I would have done if my life was still normal, if I was still normal, which I no longer am. During my first few years of living by myself, away from the District and its poverty and danger, my life appeared to be quite. . . decent, you could say.
However, had I not realized the true danger of the situation I found myself in, I do not think I would be here, staring down the supplies assembled before me, at the Cornucopia. Living off the land could've been quite beneficent during a few months, but it would not be long before I perished at the hands of a savage beast or a peacekeeper scouting the thick wilderness I used to call home. And that is why I decided to volunteer. Heck, I had nothing to lose anyway. I might have as well volunteered for the Games, to try my luck in a demented fight against thirty-one other kids. Besides, if I manage to win this thing, I will be able to afford a long, happy life; in which I will relax and have fun off the money my victory will grant me. But currently, I shall focus on the situation I find myself in.
Yes, there's the Cornucopia. Several feet ahead of me, its supplies calling for me, luring me towards all the life-saving packs the bloodbath holds.
I would be foolish if I did not at least try to get my hands on some of those packs, and perhaps on a weapon as well. A specific one, you could say. I carefully eye the mouth of the Cornucopia, where right there, hidden behind a backpack, sits a rack containing four tomahawks in total. If I get my hands on those babies, I would be absolutely unstoppable. While I'm there, I should probably grab a backpack, at the least. My bloodbath strategy sure sounds incapable of failing. I just hope that I will be able to live to see that I am right. And as I stare down the tomahawks, the countdown reaches its final ten seconds.
Jayda Idylwyld (District 3)
7. . . 6. . . 5. . . 4. . . 3. . . 2. . . 1. . . ''Gong!
The gong sounds. I hesitate for a brief moment, and then proceed to jump. I let out a loud curse as I stumble forward, falling against the dirt. I cannot believe what just happened. I missed my chance. I groan and look up, and surely, all tributes are already sprinting towards the supplies, all their humanity put aside as they start battling for the supplies that will help us survive in the harsh environment we were thrown into. However, I have already wasted enough time, so I cannot afford to watch them. I pull myself up with one hand, and for a brief moment, I stand still, spinning around aimlessly as all around me, tributes either run or engage in a fight. As of now, no blood has been spilled between any of the fighting tributes. All tributes who have gotten themselves into a fight so soon did not even have the chance to get their hands on a weapon, a fatal mistake.
However, some of them appear to be rather proficient in hand-to-hand combat, as evidenced by the skill and coordination present in the fights I see. Not that far from me, Sark (13) launches himself forward with an astonishing speed, tackling Edrik (C) to the ground and wailing away at his face with his fists. Nearby, Reo (C) lets out a terrified scream and runs to his aid, dropping the crate that she was carrying with the help of Maribelle (10). I watch, dumbfounded, as all its contents are spilled onto the grass, leaving Maribelle (10) utterly shocked. However, a thought quickly crosses my mind, and I waste no time in making a run for it, sprinting to the dropped supplies and pushing Maribelle (10) aside as I kneel down besides them. Maribelle (10) lets out a weak gasp as she stumbles back unceremoniously, and I do not have time to feel bad for shoving a twelve-years-old into the ground. My hands uncoordinatedly shove all of the supplies into the crate, that I pull up without any effort as I sprint away from Maribelle (10), who appears utterly angellical and confused in comparison to all the violence going on all around her. My head snaps around frantically as I try to find any of my allies, to no avail. They must be far away from where I currently am, perhaps even in the middle of the chaos taking place near the mouth of the Cornucopia.
As I desperately try to find a weapon, I look back to where Sark (13) tackled Edrik (C) down. Edrik (C) is clutching his bleeding nose, and a few feet away, Sark (13) tries to disarm Reo (C), who has somehow got her hands on a small, curved blade. She attempts to shove it into Sark's (13) face, but he effortlessly grabs her wrists, preventing her from causing him any harm. Behind them, Maribelle (10), who I shoved earlier, is sneaking behind the fighting tributes, kneeling down besides the wounded Edrik (C) with shaky hands as she tries to snap him back to his senses. I briefly wonder how she got there so fast, until I notice how vulnerable I am. I take one last look at the four tributes, and am shocked to witness Maribelle (10) dragging Edrik (C)'s unconscious body away, or at least trying to. But with enormous effort, she manages to disappear into the woods alongside him, leaving Reo (C) behind with the far more muscular form of Sark (13).
Suddenly, I hear an enraged, monstruous scream. I freeze, because it comes from a very clear direction. And that's right behind me. I don't even waste time to look back before I sprint away, the crate clenched tightly in my arms as I make a run for it. I cannot see my attacker, but I hear him as he gives chase to me. I focus on the woods ahead of me and sigh in relief as I realize I'm about to reach safety. I'm wrong. One moment, I'm running into the woods, the next one I feel like I just got run over by a semi-truck. The crate escapes from my grasp, and for the second time, it falls. There's a loud thump as it connects with the dirt. Fortunately, it appears as if all the supplies are still inside.
However, I'm afraid it is already too late for me. I can hear someone leaping towards me, and as I crawl away, I take a good look at my assailant. His face is a mask of rage and brutality, to the extent where he does not even look like he is completely sane. Timothy Banner (9) stares down at me, disregarding me like a predator about to finish off their prey. He draws a dagger from his belt. I close my eyes, antecipating an attack. . . that does not come. Instead of having a sword shoved through my chest, I hear a scream.
I open my eyes, and sputter in shock at what's happening right before my eyes. Timothy (9) looks on, eyes empty and glazed over. Blood drips from his open mouth. It is not long before he falters. Just then, I see the blade protuding from his chest. Blood pools around the tip of the knife, staining Timothy's (9) shirt red and falling towards the grass below. Screams are strange beasts, because they basically override all sense of logic and reason within a person's mind. Quite naturally, quite automatically in my shock, a scream forces its way out from inside my body from the very pit of my stomach as the knife is savagely pulled out of Timothy (9)'s chest. He falls forward, his face connecting with the dirt. A pool of blood makes its way towards me, staining my hands and clothing, both who were in contact with the ground.
I look up. Manta (4) stands straight ahead of me, eyes closed as he mutters to himself. I sit there, bewildered, until he opens his eyes, and stares directly at me.
"Huh? What--Oh God!" For reasons that are far beyond me, he sputters in shock at the corpse of the boy he just killed.
"You're insane!" I yell, flailing my arms about incoherently as I run away, empty-handed and with nothing but terror in my mind. That was the first death of these Games. Thirty more will follow.
Eugene Watson (District 14)
I grin and lean forward as the boy from District Twelve comes bumbling towards me, a pack clenched tightly in his arms as he attempts to grab a weapon from the Cornucopia. He will not succeed. Not under my watch. Before he can run past me, in what has to be the worst idea in the history of eternity, I throw my arm out and clothesline him, causing him to fall back, smashing his head against the grass as he falls. I yank the pack from his hands and chuck it into the Cornucopia. It is of extreme importance that no one leaves this place with supplies. And if I have a say in it, no one will get their hands on these items. They are meant for the Careers and the Careers only.
I whistle to Ryan (1), and once I gain his attention, I point towards the dazed boy lying at my feet. He nods curtly at me, understanding what I want him to do. He wastes no time. Quickly, his hands pull a spear off a rack as he runs towards me, a look of determination set upon his face. Dazed and confused, Drago (12) does not realize what's about to happen until it is too late. In one precise, fluid motion, Ryan (1) positions himself above Drago (12) and brings the spear down. Drago (12)'s scream is short-lived. Ryan's (1) spear digs into his cranium, and he coughs up a mouthful of sanguine fluids before going still. His death is almost instantaneous. His eyes flutter and his head harmlessly lies against the grass, a gaping hole marking its side. An horrendous shock of platinum red stains the grass around his corpse. Ryan (1) reacts with indifference.
"Anyone else down?" He asks as he nudges Drago's (12) body with his foot, as if he wants to make sure he is dead. Odds are that he is.
"Mhm. I spotted the boy from Nine's body lying near the tribute platforms as soon as this chaos begun. I'm not exactly sure of who killed him."
Just then, I find an answer to my question. Manta (4) stalks towards us, his hands stained with blood. There is a bloodied knife in his hands. He was obviously the one to end that boy's life.
"Great job, dude!" I pat him in the shoulder and flash a proud smile. However, something seems off. He did not react at all. Instead, he's muttering incoherently to himself, something I caught him doing during Training. Only this time, his self-awareness appears to be in a better condition. "Uh, you okay?"
"I. . . killed. . . him. . ." His muttering does not stop. I exchange a worried look with Ryan (1), who's facing the boy with a worried expression. It is evident that this cannot be good. I walk towards Manta (4), who looks up and opens his mouth, as if he wants to say something. He never does. I should've noticed this earlier, but I was too caught up with Manta's (4) muttering. It was evident that we are not alone in the clearing, but I thought the Cornucopia was clear of any other tributes. I could not be more wrong.
Manta's (4) eyes widen as a shadowy figure swings a sword towards his neck. I let out a scream as his head is cut clean off, spraying me with blood. His blood. Leera (1) stands over his body, a satisfied smirk on her face. Ryan (1) looks on with his mouth gaping open, his face sprayed with Manta's blood. Then, everything breaks into chaos.
Pompeii Vulcan (District 2)
Manta (4) 's head falls to the ground with a loud, sickening thump. For a second, everything freezes. Ryan (1) and Eugene (14) look on, in shock. Then, in a flash, Ryan (1) flies forward, fist first. Leera (1) effortlessly zips out of the way, with surprising agility. Ryan's momentum carries him forward and his fist smashes into the side of the metal cornucopia. He lets out a pained howl and stumbles backwards, giving Leera (1) the opportunity to kick him right in the middle of the legs. At this point, my ally falls to his knees, screaming in pain and giving Leera (1) yet another opportunity to harm him. But she doesn't do so. She runs away, sprinting towards her allies and picking up two backpacks in her way. Unquenchable rage burns inside me as I watch they run into the woods. I'm coming for them. And when I find them, they're going to have a bad time.
But for now, all I have to do is keep other tributes from taking our supplies. I watch as several battles take place in the outskirts of the Cornucopia. I expected to see chaos, and that's exactly what I see. In my quick glance over the clearing I see Tress (6) and Rio (8) wrestling on the grass. Tress (6) is attempting to grab a dagger but Rio (8) keeps pulling her back by her loosely-waved blonde locks, that she foolishly did not tie up. Altair (7) is in a standing brawl with Nick (5), who stayed behind to get his allies supplies, as near them, Zoey (13) rummages through a nearby crate and Elise (14) stands by her side, occasionally glancing over her shoulder in order to make sure no one is targetting them. Further in, I catch a glimpse of the lithe form of Reo (C) limping into the woods, in the direction her allies vanished into earlier. If my memory serves me right, she was brawling with Sark (13) not so long ago. I wonder how such a vulnerable girl managed to outsmart him.
As for myself; I stand by the mouth of the Cornucopia, knives at ready. Suddenly, someone slips past me. The boy runs off, unseen until now. I curse aidibly as Aleksandr (0) sprints through the clearing. My knife sails over his head, missing its target by several inches. He has escaped. With both a weapon and a backpack. The girl ahead of me is not that lucky. Before I can even stab a knife towards her, a tall boy has pinned her to the ground. They roll around on the grass, their hands at each other's throats, as I watch, amused. The girl's blonde hair is so golden and lustrous that it could only belong to one person. Darsaya Taloure (0).
The boy quickly swings a flash of silver forward, and suddenly, a spew of dark vermillion stains Alkaline's (3) shirt. He rips the knife off Darsaya's (0) neck and steps back, satisfied. Before I can take any action, he disappears into the forest, leaving Darsaya's (0) body behind. The once beautiful girl now lies on the ground, dead. Her moonlight-crested hair that had been tied into a ponytail is sprawled up under her head. Her eyes are closed, and one could even tell she's sleeping, had there not been a pool of crimson around her. Pale skin, large eyes, and a well-structured nose along with long, full eyelashes that once flashed with curiosity, something they will never do again. The girl is a goner.
As I move towards her body in order to search her for supplies, I'm suddenly stopped. Not by someone, but something. My breath catches in my throat. Sharp, excruciating pain overtakes me, slowly making its way up from my stomach. I look down. The thin blade of a sword protudes from my stomach. Then suddenly, it is pulled out, only to re-enter my system, this time at the height of my chest. My vision becomes blurry as I sink to my knees, defeated and done for.
Amelia Woods (District 9)
The boy from District Two falls down, dead. His attacker leaves before I can take a good look at them. I care not for that, however. One of the biggest threats of these Games has fallen. My odds of winning have just increased drastically. I giggle. Before I can enjoy myself, I have to find myself some supplies. I already have some in mind, so I instantly dash towards a backpack I spotted earlier. Surely, it still lies in the same spot it found itself in earlier on. As soon as I grab it, I sling it over my shoulder, only to hear a terrified scream coming from the Cornucopia. I instinctively turn around, just in time to see Cordelia (4) stepping away from Breeze's (7) limp body. Even from this distance, I can see the fatal wound in her neck clearly. Her head is tilting one way, with a part of her neck bone sticking to the other. Cordelia (4) killed the girl with her bare hands. However, I have no time to contemplate the dead girl's body.
I roll the knife I retrieved earlier in my fingers, eager to put it into use. And surely, I find someone I can use my newly-found weapon on. Taligelia (11) runs by, seemingly empy-handed. I don't waste any time. I swing the blade, and blood is splattered around as it connects with Taligelia's (11) thigh. She mutters under her breath and starts crawling away from me, going deep into the Cornucopia. I calmly follow her, tauntingly rolling the knife in my hands. Soon, Taligelia's (11) back is against the Cornucopia's back wall. She has nowhere to go now. I look around. The Careers are too busy driving Tux (8) off the clearing. They will not hinder me. Keeping this in mind, I turn to the wounded girl on the ground.
"Want to know a secret, Taligelia? You are quite the looker right now. But after I'm done with you, you're just going to be a pathetic eyesore destined to simply rot. Once you have fallen, a hovercraft will take you back to your District, where you will be thrown into a box that will descend towards the underground. From then on, you're just going to rot and rot. You'll rot until your flesh gets all soft and mushy like soup, your skin starts to stretch and sag, and your eyeballs spill out of your head like raw eggs. The smell you produce will be fouler than any toilet, and every part of you—your face, your mouth, your bowels—will become maggot chow. So, good riddance!"
"Burn in hell!" Taligelia (11) yells, enraged. I make my move.
Without a warning, I lunge forward, leaping towards the wounded girl with an impressive speed. Wounded and on the ground, she offers no threat to me. My knife rakes through her throat rapidly. Blood squirms out of the wound like one of the fountains I saw in the garden located in the rooftop of the Training Center, staining the ground and spraying towards my arena wear. Taligelia (11) gags and chokes, sliding down and suffering from massive convulsions, before she finally goes still. I take a step back to admire the sight before me. Blood is splattered across the walls of the Cornucopia, and Taligelia (11) lies dead, the gaping wound caused by my knife clearly visible in her throat. I approach her body, ready to search her for supplies, when I hear a noise behind me.
I turn around in a frame, and directly across from me, several feet away, stands Kasumi (2). A career. In her right hand, she wields a bow, with her left hand loading an arrow into the string. What happens next is that my body reacts before my brain does. I dive to my left, narrowly avoiding the arrow shot by Kasumi (2). I land behind a crate, and quickly pull myself back up, zig-zagging my way out of the Cornucopia as Kasumi (2) shoots at me. Her coordination and aim are quite remarkable, but I manage to make it halfway through the clearing before an arrow rakes across my ear. My hands instinctively shoot forward to examine the wound. The arrow hit me, but only superficially, raking itself across my ear and landing a few feet ahead.
I have no time to stop and examine the wound more throughouly, as Kasumi (2) is still on my tail. I see her now, as she stands near the mouth of the Cornucopia, loading yet another arrow. How many of them does she have? She should've run out of arrows by now. I continue to run, and only stop after I reach the pedestals that brought us into the arena. I rapidly glance over my shoulder, and realize Kasumi (2) has stopped shooting at me. She eyes me cautiously from the safety of the Cornucopia's mouth, eyes giving away the hatred she has towards me. However, she is unwilling to give chase to me. She has probably ran out of arrows, and after he District partner's death, her allies would probably assume she deserted them if I killed her out of their sight, thus staining her glory among the Careers, even after death. It is ironic that sometimes, a person's self-respect can be their main weakness.
However, I am not complaining. I glance at Kasumi (2) one last time before departing, disappearing into the woods as the bloodbath comes to an end.
Cordelia Murphy (District 4)
I was standing by the mouth of the Cornucopia, trident at ready. The Careers were established, guarding the Cornucopia with our glimmering weapons, controlling the entire bloodbath and stopping other tributes from passing by. During the training period, other alliances had formed, but none of them turned out to be a match to the Careers' grandeur. At that moment, I watched them as they fled. The small alliance of three all made it, although they were all severely injured. Other alliances ran by, startled and confused as they attempted to meet up with their members. Across from me, Pompeii yelled out orders to the rest of us. I didn't like that. I never really liked to carry out other people's orders, so that was not much of a shock, but Pompeii was especially cocky and arrogant. There was no way the Careers would turn out to be victorious if he was allowed to be in charge.
I let go of my trident, and it fell against the dirt with a low sound of impact. Being careful not to be noticed, I walked towards a rack of swords, swiftly removing the one with the sharpest appearance. I was about to do the unthinkable. I was about to betray the leader of the Careers and kill him. But it would be done for a greater good. It was apparent that I would do a much better job as leader of this alliance, so the earlier Pompeii was out of the Games, the better.
I gripped the sword firmly, incredibly calm for someone about to send an ally to their death. I didn't understand how someone could possibly appear to be fine in those circumstances, but for some reason, I was. But then I noticed something. Out of the corner of my vision, I spotted a tribute run by, unseen until now. Breeze Sylvani. A curse was about to leave my mouth when I was stopped on my tracks, remembering about Pompeii being directly in front of me, his back turned. Slowly, but surely, I moved away, and caught up with Breeze, but my intentions were not to kill her. No, I had a much better plan ahead of me. I stopped her and then started speaking. She appeared utterly incredulous after my offer to join the Career pack, but she accepted nonetheless.
I gestured and told her to follow me to where Pompeii was. She did just that, carelessly picking up supplies in her way there. As for myself, I picked up my trident. And then I managed to tell Breeze about how Pompeii was a threat to the Careers; how he was planning to backstab the rest of us. She nodded, and asked what she could do about that. At that point, my motives were decidedly clear. I handed over my sword, and carefully begun instructing her. I still do not know how she bought into my bullshit. Perhaps she was too gullible, or maybe I'm simply skilled in the art of manipulation. Regardless, if my plan did work, Pompeii would be dead, I would then proceed to heroically murder his killer in front of all the other Careers, and most importantly, his blood would not be in my hands.
Breeze positioned herself behind Pompeii, as I instructed, and I kept an eye on the other Careers. Elise, Zoey and Rio were all in the outskirts, fighting off other tributes and driving them away with little supplies. Ryan and Geno were battling the another boy, Sark, but the two of them appeared to equally match Sark's strength in hand-to-hand combat. In the meantime, Kasumi was cracking open a crate, and removing all arrows in its interior once it was open. My eyes swiveled towards my right, and a shocked gasp made its way out of my mouth. Manta. Or should I say, Manta's head? It had been cut clean off his body, that lied next to the severed head. During my time in the Capitol, he was probably my closest ally. Not that I had any real sentiments towards him. But if I didn't, then why do I feel so sad?
I'm suddenly interrupted by a pained gasp. My head spins around, and I find myself face-to-face with Pompeii. And Breeze's sword protuding from his stomach. However, he is very much alive. I nearly let out an enraged shout. That girl cannot even kill him properly! And on top of that, all my allies will soon notice what's going on! My hands rip the sword from Breeze's hand, and I quickly drive it through Pompeii's back. The blade protudes from his chest, and once I pull it out, he slumps to the ground, dead. I then turn to Breeze, and in one frame, I wrap my hands around her head, and as she screams, I twist it sideways. There's a loud "pop!" as her neck breaks under the force of my blow.
Her death is instantaneous.
Breeze's body crumbles down, and in one second, she's lying flat on her back, glazed over eyes staring a tthe ceiling of the Cornucopia. I kneel down besides her body and place the sword between her fingers. However, I notice that I was splashed with Pompeii's blood. A thought crosses my mind, and I have no time to think of any better plan. I yank the sword from Breeze's dead fingers, and drive it into her chest.
Zoey (13) stands up from where she was checking Pompeii's body for a pulse. Apparently, she was raised by two nurses back in her District, so she understands enough about injuries, infections and stuff. Fortunately, I left no leads in Pompeii's body. As far as everyone is concerned, Breeze was the one to end Pompeii's life, and I killed her shortly afterwards, avenging Pompeii. Most of them appear to have bought into that story, albeit I can still sense suspicions in Kasumi's tone whenever she addresses me. I care not for that. She has no solid evidence against me, aside from her lack of sympathy towards me. If she dares to say a word, then I would quickly convince my alliance that she was the one to kill Pompeii.
Our allies all stand in a circle around Pompeii's body. It was clear that none of us expected to lose two allies during the bloodbath, one of them being our "oh-so-esteemed" leader. However, that's not the biggest of our worries right now. Now that Pompeii is dead, we must choose a new leader. And if I have a say in it, the Careers' new leader is going to be me.
"All right. Pompeii is dead," Rio (8) starts speaking, interrupting any small conversations among the other Careers. "And so is Manta. But, Pompeii was our leader. Now that he's dead, we must choose a new leader. I nominate myself."
"Bullshit!' Geno (14) interrupts her, obviously planning to be the leader himself. "You're not even a real career! We just recruited you during the training period! We might as well un-recruit you right now!'
An argument unfolds, and soon, everyone is pitching their own leadership plan. Only Kasumi (2), Zoey (13), Elise (14) and myself remain quiet. Those three obviously do not plan to be leader, but I do. However, I'll take a different approach. I'll show myself as calm once I tear down this argument, and then I'll try to get some of the boys on my side. Then, my leadership will be almost ensured once I get them to put the two recruits on my side.
"Enough!" Kasumi hisses, and everyone turns to her. "We can decide who will be our leader later on. Right now, let's just count and stab the bodies."
"Uh," Zoey (13) mutters, willing to say anything as long as those morons stop their bickering. "Sounds good to me."
And so, we do just that.
Altair Summers (District 7)
I place my hand on the tree for support and bend over, panting heavily. My energy is waning again. I sink to the ground, landing on my knees. A branch snaps as Jayda (3), whom I met up with as soon as the bloodbath ended, falls down, moaning. The two of us have been running ever since we left the Cornucopia. I don't know how long ago was that. Twenty minutes? Thirty? I don't even know anymore.
My legs tremble briefly and I fall down, tired. I don't think I can continue to run for much longer. If I do, then I'm afraid I might pass out. I grip my hands firmly on the tomahawk I hold. It's not exactly the weapon I was hoping to get, but it's close enough to an axe. I remember using one back in District Seven, or at least I think it was a tomahawk. My mind feels fuzzy due to my tiredness.
"We should. . ." I start speaking between pants. "We should stay here, and wait for you allies. . ."
"Mhm." Jayda replies, wiping a streak of sweat off her forehead. "That's a good--"
Jayda stops on her tracks, eyes wide with fear. I exchange a terrified look with her, and her eyes confirm what I suspected. We both heard them. Footsteps. Coming towards us. My first impulse is to run away screaming my head off, until I remember that I have Jayda to look after. And most importantly, I have a weapon to protect us.
Still, Jayda does not appear to take those factors into consideration and she crawls away, terrified.
"Duck!" She whispers, head nodding towards a nearby bush. Right! She wants us to hide. That's a good idea, I guess. I crawl towards the bush as the footsteps continue to close in. I haven't the faintest idea of who they belong to, although the gait is decidedly male. I shiver, and then throw myself through the bush. There's hardly enough room for me and Jayda, who has to basically sit on top of me in order to hide herself properly. Jayda peeks out of the bush, and lets out a surprised yelp.
"Alkaline!" She emerges out of the bush in a flash, leaving me bewildered and gasping for air, now that her weight is no longer atop of me. However, as soon as Jayda stands up, she frowns. I stand up, too, and scout the surroundings looking for Alkaline (3). I don't see--There! Between a tangle of trees, stands Alkaline, cautiously moving towards us. And. . . he's covered in blood. I open my mouth to speak, but as soon as he approaches us he dismisses me with a wave of his hand.
"It's not mine." He says nonchalantly, eyes drifting between me and Jayda. I feel relieved now that I know he's not wounded, but one question remains unanswered. If the blood is not Alkaline's, then whose is it? And why is he not with Drago (12)?
"The blood is Darsaya Taloure's." He adds, not changing his tone. "And I'm afraid I have to give you some bad news."
"Don't tell me--" Jayda's desperate plea is cut short by Alkaline.
"I see that you have caught up. Yes, I'm afraid Drago. . . is dead."
"Wait, what?" I exclaim, bewildered. Drago can't be dead! Just yesterday he was talking about proving his worth and winning the Games! This can't be happening, it. . . just can't.
"I'm sorry, Altair, but I speak nothing other than the truth. Drago really is dead. I saw his body."
No, it can't be. A friend just died. . . He just died! God, why!?
Jayda stares into nothingness, eyes full of shock and sorrow. Alkaline looks calm, he's just informing us of something he witnesses an hour ago. I shiver. I'm about to say something, when I'm cut off by cannon fire. Boom!
The cannon fires again, six more times, to be exact. I shiver. Seven dead tributes mean seven grieving families, one of them being Drago's. Other one belongs to Darsaya (0), who was murdered in cold blood by Alkaline, and another one has Timothy (9), the boy who's death Jayda witnessed, as its owner. I look at my allies, wondering what horrid fate is in store for them. I feel empty as I realize this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Edrik Gold (The Capitol)
I can't feel a thing. For a moment, everything is pitch black. I can hear a warm voice calling for me in the distance, but after it is gone, I am left in complete silence. By this time, dizzyness has sunk in, and my self-awareness has become inexistent. I'm dazed and confused, unaware of what's happening to me. I can hear many shouting voices and the sound of running. A branch snaps. The soft voice of a child mutters something, but the ringing in my ears is too loud for me to understand what she is saying.
I black out.
"Edrik!" The distressed voice who spoke first is back. However, this time, it is clearer. My eyes snap open, and I let out a weak gasp. A face sits only a few inches away. It takes less than one second for me to recognize her. Brilliant green eyes stare back at me and then, when she realizes that I'm awake, she gasps softly. Reo (C).
"You're awake!" She exclaims and then pulls me into a bear hug, sobbing. I'm bewildered at this sudden outburst. How did I even get here? I try to remember, but I can't. Everything feels too fuzzy. I try to stand up, but my efforts turn out to be useless, as once I lean over and try to stand up, I fall back; my head smacking against the dirt with a loud thump.
"N-no! Don't strain yourself." Reo carefully lies my head against the ground, and I let her do so without complaining. In my peripheral vision, I notice Maribelle (10) watching us with caution. I'm glad to know that she's okay.
"What happened?" I try to sit myself back up once again, but fail as I fall for the second time.
"Oh, so you don't remember. . ." Reo then proceeds to explain everything that happened from the moment the gong rung out. As she tells me everything that took place, some of the events she mentions seems familiar, even though I do not possess vivid memories of them. Sark (13) attacking me, for example. It turns out that Maribelle dragged me away while Reo stayed back to fight him off. She managed to evade him until he got tired, and then she ran off.
"That was dangerous," I tell her. "You shouldn't have stayed in the bloodbath. But I'm just glad we're all alive."
"Y-yeah. I'm glad you're okay, too."
"Maribelle?" I adress the smaller, fragile tribute warmly. "Are you okay?"
Her eyes widen and she smiles as she's finally involved in the conversation. "Y-yes I am!" She giggles, although her eyes are empty. I can only imagine what horrors she was faced with in the bloodbath.
"So," I turn to Reo. "How many people died?" As soon as the words leave my mouth, I realize they were a little too straightforward, but Reo does not seem to care about this as she patiently answers my question.
"Seven. Timothy is one of them, I believe. I saw his body." She says. "We left early, so we didn't get to see what took place." Timothy. The boy from District Nine. Other than his name and district, I don't know the first thing about the boy. I should be glad he's dead, for that means one less enemy to fight off left in the arena. But I just feel sad.
"I wish I could--" Reo starts speaking again, but I don't let her. Reviving the bloodbath must be painful to her. I mean too much for her, and that frightens me. I feel like if I die, I will be letting her down. So I just kiss her. Everything is perfect for a moment. I feel like we are no longer in the arena, having to worry for our lives. But when we break apart, the feeling is gone. I try to grasp onto whatever is left of it, but the warm sensation dissipates, like smoke in the air. I feel empty once again.
"Edrik. . ." Reo speaks softly.
"It's alright. I'm fine. And so are you. That's what matters, Reo. I love you."
Clarke Wattson (District 5)
I thrudge along the path, paying little attention to the bugs buzzing around my head. A rock about the size of a baseball is clenched tightly in my hand, and the wilderness around me is alive with sounds. As soon as the gong rung out, I turned around and ran, never daring to look back. And why should I? There was nothing to be seen. Nothing other than blood and carnage. Right now, my mind feels slow and fuzzy due to all the running, but I do not allow that to get in my way. I need to find a decent place to set up a camp before the night falls, or else I'm as good as dead. If another tribute does not find me, then a wild animal or a muttation certainly will, and then it will be a game over for me. I try to ignore this thought as I continue walking.
The grass is shaggy and dried, crunching audibly under my booted feet. Each step I take makes an everlasting mark; a footprint left in the hardpacked dirt with several others left behind, forming a trail for a tribute as myself to track down. At first, I tried to cover my tracks, but no matter how much effort I put into it, I coudn't properly hide my footprints, so I just gave up after a few hours. I can just hope that I have put enough distance behind me and the other tributes.
A flock of birds whistle in the tangle of trees overhead, flying around and chirping. They do not have a thing to worry about, unlike me. My thoughts go blank as I watch them, then I see something in my peripheral vision. In a flash, I duck behind a flat rock, and then peek over it, trying to get a glimpse of who, or what, has emerged into the clearing. A shape is shifting between the pine trees, groaning and trying to swat away the bugs flying around them. Squinting, I lean forward to get a better look. Surely enough, it's a tribute. A short blonde-haired girl with relatively pale skin, someone I recognize.
She's not exactly chubby, but her face is circular and vivacious, and her brown eyes flash with fear and discomfort as she walks. She's certainly in a better position than I am, for she has a medium-sized black backpack slinged over her shoulders. A small water bottle hangs from it, attached to it by an equally small plastic chain. She holds a knife in one of her hands, and clutches a small vial in her other hand. She's Tress, from District Six. I try to remember what score she received, or even what her last name is, but my usually logical and reliable mind is sluggish. I watch her disappear into the trees, and then stand up, stretching. Then, I proceed to head the same path she disappeared into. I'm not going to kill her, no. She has a knife, and I have a rock. Believing I would stand a chance against her would be to make a mockery out of myself. Besides, I can't just go and attack a girl just because the Capitol told me to. If I wanted to harm someone, I would have attended the bloodbath. What I plan to do is much more simple, actually. I'll just follow her, and when she is distracted, I will creep up behind her and steal that pack she carries. Seems simple enough.
The grass is dry and rough, and scrapes against my feet as I move, sending chills up my spine. I care not for that. The thought of the content of that water bottle Tress owns running down my throat, quenching my thirst, is enough to keep me motivated. However, as I walk, something seems off. The wildlife suddenly disappears, and the grass gradually grows lower as I walk. I stop, confused. I scratch my neck, wondering where is Tress (6). I try to focus, but there are no noises whatsoever around--
A door swings open.
A door!? I quickly stalk towards the sound, but I stop paying attention to my surroundings in the process. I trip over a flat rock and get propelled forward, into a tangle of trees. Then, I fall into a clearing. I look up, and my mouth hangs open in shock. A huge construction stands before me. Its shape is vaguely familiar. Directly across from me, stands what I assume to be the main building of this odd construction. Then, there's a hallway that connects the buliding to a second wing, a significantly smaller building, but still a very formidable place all the same. I suddenly understand what this place is meant to be.
It's a school building.
"What the hell. . ." I mutter under my breath, and proceed to walk towards the front door. It's open, suggesting that Tress is already inside. Huh. She's pretty fast. No wonder why I lost her so easily. I care not for that, though. All that concerns me about her is how I'm going to steal the backpack. Mind working with the semblance of a plan, I step into the building. It's very dark, and the atmosphere is eerie. I can barely see a full foot ahead of me, but I decide to enter the school all the same.
I take an hesitant step forward, and stop as I hear the sound of footsteps above me. It must be Tress, and she has found a way to the second floor. I wonder how she did it, but after wandering around for a few minutes, I feel very stupid. In the end of the hall, there is a flight of stairs. Its presence would have been very obvious, had I paid more attention to my surroundings.
"Stay focused, Clarke." I say to myself. I head towards the second floor, and when I reach it, I'm faced with a classroom. I quickly hurry inside, and look around. A grin makes its way to my face. In front of me, lying on top of the first desk of the classroom, sits a box cutter and a pack of beef jerky. So the school has supplies scattered around it. Very interesting. I grab the pack of jerky and the box cutter. It's a school tool, yes, but it can be used as a weapon with ease. I'm about to check another classroom, when something happens.
A fierce earthquake begins shaking the building, so violent that I can't even stay standing. I crouch along the ground, waiting for it to pass. Everything is moving, and the school is alive with the sounds of objects cracking and breaking all around me. Glass is shattering, ceiling tiles are raining down upon me. Needless to say, I am scared for my life, imagining a big chunk of ceiling falling on top of me, or the floor opening up at my feet and swallowing me whole. I wonder how it is going to end. My head is swimming with all kinds of worst case scenarios, while my body just remains motionless on the ground. I must look utterly ridiculous to the viewers in the Capitol.
Screams fill the air, and in the middle of the chaos, I do not even know if I'm the one screaming or is Tress is about to meet her demise. But as suddenly as the earthquake begun, it stops. I gradually loosen my stiff body, uncurling from the floor. Blotches of dust and wood chips fall from my hair. Some of the finer debris had gotten into my clothing during the earthquake, and were crunching around like sand with my every movement. I brush myself off as best as I can and slowly rise to my feet, slapping my shirt in vain to clear away any excess dust and dirt. The particles in the air are like a white smoke billowing through the pitch black hallway. It takes me a moment to get my bearings. Once I finally do so, though, I almost wish I hadn't. The sight before my eyes instantly washed away what little hope I may have had.
The earthquake had completely caved in part of the floor. It is no longer possible to continue this hall. No longer possible to trail Tress. If I had been cowering from the quake only a few feet ahead, I'd be dead for sure--whisked away to the first floor, to be crushed by debris or ceiling tiles. I shiver at the thought. I may have survived my first dangerous encounter in the arena, but I don't know how long my luck will last.
Aleksandr Estrene (District 0)
Blood pumping. Heart racing. Those occurrences do not hinder me in the slighest as I recklessly run down the hill. It's quite dangerous to blindly make my way trough the arena with such an astonishing speed, but I care not for that. Right now, my main priority is to get away. I have to. At any cost.
The tall grass scrapes harshly against me as I run, causing great discomfort and ripping at my trousers. Although they do provide me some good cover, which is why I haven't left this path just yet. For a second, I believe I have managed to lose him, or that he has given up on his prey, but the sound of boots making their way towards me pulls me back from the illusion. As I run, I recall the events that led to this conturbed situation.
After failing to leave the bloodbath with enough supplies, I managed to track down and locate another tribute. I begun following him a few hours after the bloodbath ended, and had been following him until several minutes ago. All I had to do was wait until he was distracted and snatch his supplies, but that did not happen. As soon as he left and retreated into the deep part of the woods to do what any person has to do at some point, I quickly started shoving his items into the empty rucksack I retrieved from the bloodbath.
Things were finally working out for me, at least once.
However, as it turns out, I couldn't be more wrong. One second, the woods were dead silent. The next, he emerged from behind some trees, wielding a hefty wooden club and running towards me. I turned around and ran like a loon, which I have been doing thus far. After a few moments of running away, I dropped the rucksack and spilled all its contents, but I did not care for those items anymore. They weren't even worth of all I had to go through in order to get my hands on them, anyway.
Still, as my powerful legs kick and carry me forwards, I feel as if following the boy was a mistake that may have costed my life. If I die by the hands of that bulky aberration, I don't think those back home will ever forgive me. With that thought lingering in the back of my mind, I run. My biggest concern right now is to ensure my own survival. My train of thought is suddenly interrupted. As I'm racing down the hill, I fly forward without an explanation. A huge weight crashes over my back and I stumble forward, feeling as if I have been run over by a large truck.
I roll down the hill comically and uncerimoniously, losing all small items I had in me as well as my jacket by the time I reach the bottom. My hands instinctively reach for my face, and I sense blood. Lots of it. Grime and mud stain my clothes, and as I try to get up, I fall down with a sickening thump. Just then do I notice the large stick protuding from my body. It's right below my right chest, far from any vital organ, but the pain is too much to bear. Not that I will have to leave with it for too long. Footsteps approach me, heavy and sullen. I look up in time to see a club coming towards me.
I close my eyes, mentally apologizing to all those back home I let down. The club crashes against my ribcage and I crumple over, defeated, but definetly not done for. I hold on to dear life, not willing to let go for anything. There's still too much fight left in me for me to go down that easily.
Sark Lancaster (District 13)
Aleksandr goes silent. As soon as my club connected with his back, I knew he was done for. I examine his damaged body now, contemplating how fast it was all over for him. Cuts were formed all over his body, thanks to all the rocks and sticks he crashed into while rolling down the hill. The force of my blow completely propelled him forward, so there was not much he could do to avoid those. Not that any of that really matters now. You could say he would have still died, had I left him like this, but I was eager to put my club to use. Besides, seeing the look of terror set upon his face as he attempted to get away, I felt as if he had gotten a rightful punishment for his misdeeds. All that was left for me to do was apply the final blow to get this competition going.
Being honest, I am quite proud of my performance in this fight. I did not lose sight of him for any moment, and the only thing between me and his demise was his speed, that he had in abundance. Although all I had to do was keep up until he got tired enough, and it was game over for him. Both of us were fully aware of that.
I raise his shirt in order to take a good look at the wound inflicted by my club, and truly, I am quite impressed by the deadly capacity of my weapon. A large, purple bruise mars his belly, and I can't be sure, but it appears that some bones were broken. Once again, I'm very proud of myself. Perhaps if people like me were in charge of this putrid, misdeeding nation, then all criminals and wrongdoers would meet a fate similar to this boy's. Maybe, if I become the victor of this edition of the Hunger Games, that will be possible. I guess we'll see.
However, what matters most to me is that Aleksandr was the first of many to pay for his misleading, damaging actions of treason and evil. As far as I am concerned, all those imprisoned in this arena with me are guilty, until proven otherwise. Or, of course, until they are punished for their acts. I will show them no mercy. In this game, no one who crosses paths of me can walk out of a fight alive. I owe it to myself. All my efforts to purge this world from criminals cannot go waste. I shall not allow that to happen.
With a very specific goal in mind, I decide walk away from the corpse so a hovercraft and come to retrieve it. The sooner his body leaves this arena, the better. Just as I am about to shelter high up in a tree, I realize I did not check his body for supplies. Quickly, before the hovercraft takes him away, I return to the place he died. And, other than a small puddle of blood and a reddened stick, I find it empty. What happened here is very clear. I did not check him for a pulse, and I paid the price for it.
"Stupid!" I curse my own ineptitude, suddenly angered for my carelessness. I thought dispatching him would be a simple task, but I couldn't be more wrong. I must make hunting that boy down my top priority as of now. As I try to think of what to do about the boy's disappearance, very familiar musical chords kick in. Panem's anthem is being played. The daily recap of the fallen begins now.
The Capitol's insignia appears, shining light upon the surrouding wilderness. My head immediately swivels upwards, as the first fallen portrait of these Games is broadcast for the entire country to see. It's no one other than Darsaya Taloure (0), Aleksandr's District partner. I'm satisfied. Even though he escaped his death, his district partner wasn't as lucky. As quickly as Darsaya's face came up, it vanishes, being replaced by the grinning face of Pompeii (2), one of my biggest threats in these Games. That murderer got exactly what he deserved. He will not be missed.
Pompeii's face is replaced by that of a boy with unkempt hair and a toned build. It's Manta, another career. Learning of his fate is just as pleasant as Pompeii's fortunate passing. I care not for who killed them, however, for they do not pose a real threat against me. No tribute's strength is a match for my abilities. The next face belongs to the female representative from District 7. I don't recall the first thing about her, not even her name. She was easily gone, but with her death, there's one less tribute in this arena, putting me one step closer to victory.
As I expected, three other faces follow, but I care not for them. Two boys and a girl who were as good as dead the moment the gong sounded. They were worthless. Easy kills to whoever dispatched them, and definetly not worthy of my attention. The Capitol insignia is back on, and as the last chords of the anthem play, it disappears, leaving me in complete darkness. I begin to come up with a strategy. I'm not sur eof what I will be able to come up with, but one thing is certain: tomorrow, all hell confined in me will break loose. Those who did no wrong have nothing to worry about.
Those who did, however, should say goodbye to everything they hold dear, for they will not live to see another day once we cross paths. I lean my back against a tree and close my eyes. I'm very tired. I can assure you that I deserve some rest.
As I drift off into a peaceful night of sleep, I wonder who's going to be the next to pay for their actions. A single name lingers in the very back of my mind.
Day 2, Survival is Blindness
Tress Terrence (District 6)
My head aches severely as I slowly regain consciousness. I squint as my eyes attempt to adjust to my surroundings, but the ringing in my head is too extreme, and I find myself closing my eyes and wishing for it to end, just as a coward would do. Because I suppose I am no better than that. I fled Rio (8) during the bloodbath without a second thought, ignoring the dying tributes' pleas and I made a mad sprint for the safety of the woods. If I want a coward, I should look no further than myself.
However, I choose to not let those thoughts get to my head. And I do it by shutting my eyelids tightly and drifting off to a place far more pleasant. The land inhabitted by my dreams. At first, I see my family. My father, Garratt, is there. He has always been a large man in both size and personality. Despite my unpleasant, bratty nature, I was still his treasure. I used to dread the fact that someone would care for me to such an extent, but now I regret that attitude. He used to work during long periods of time, but whenever he came home, he would not look for a place to lie down and rest, as many would do. At least not until he had made sure to greet his prescious daughter and ask her how her day had been.
Petty and spoiled, I would often reply with one word or just with the good, old eye roll. Despite that, he never gave up on trying to spark up a conversation with me. Even after I was reaped, after my fate was sealed, he still managed to crack a joke through the tears, asking me how my day had been inside the Justice Building. I wasn't surprised. He was known for being overly gregarious, loud mouthed, and practically immune to embarrassment, and would often poke fun at my constant and irrational worry of keeping up appearances.
I can say, however, that when I hugged him goodbye and promised I would return, I was being truthful. And yet, here I am, wasting away lying. . . somewhere? Where even am I? I can remember entering the school building, and then the walls started shaking and the floor caved in, swallowing me hole and throwing me to the dark void below. . . and that was it.
Huh. That's odd. I can vividly recall mentally apologizing to everyone I had let down as I fell, but yet, here I am. Am I dead? No. That can't be. You're supposed to be at peace once you die, or so I have heard. Then what would explain this stupid ringing in my head?
Cautiously, I roll around on the ground, my hands reaching out to touch the dusty, rocky ground. Finally, I muster enough strength to prop myself up by two hands. My entire body protests and urges me to fall back down, but I refuse to give in. I made Garrat a promise. I cannot afford to give up, not so early into this sick "game". Slowly, I begin to stand up. My head gradually starts aching more and more as I rise, but I do not care for the pain. I use it to fuel me so I can keep going.
With tremendous effort, I'm able to get on my feet. I look around, and what I see isn't pretty. There is a puddle of blood directly where I was standing. In a quick glance over my figure, I locate the source of the blood: a deep, red gash that runs along my forearm, staining my clothes red. My blonde hair is disheveled and knotted, with grime and dust clinging to it. My arena outfit has been ripped in many places, and I have somehow gotten many bruises. Too many to count.
It's hard to think coherently with this constant ringing, but I remember all of the events that led to this moment. The building in the woods, the earthquake, the floor giving in. Then I was falling, and it all went dark. And now I'm here. But where exactly is here?
Well, standing around won't answer the question. Keeping that in mind, I ready myself to limp into the threatening, dark hallways of this place, when suddenly, I remember my pack. It was the only item I retrieved from the bloodbath, and I cannot afford to lose it. I look around for it, but as the minutes drag themselves by, my reality becomes obvious, even to the dumbest of all fools. My pack has been stolen.
As I begin to form the thought that I am not alone in this buildings, I listen to footsteps coming from down the dark hallway. In the distance, the faint outline of a female tribute becomes visible, although whoever she is, the darkness has engulfed her to an extent where I can't quite tell who she is.
Over the course of a few seconds, she steps out of the shadows.
Solar Powers (District 6)
As the morning's first rays of sunlight start to peak through the many gaps in the tangle of leaves above, I sit with my back leaning against the trunk of the tall, vigorous tree. Many like it surround me, but somehow, my alliance had to settle with this one. Truth to be told, every single tree we have come across thus far looked exactly the same for me, but I suppose that's a consequence of the urban, polluted environment that's District 6. Lunar used to love our rare getaways to the woods beyond the District's fence, but I confess that I have always felt safer back in the District. Nature is too wild and too unpredictable, although for some reason, Lunar disagreed with me.
Lunar. . . I remember her looking absolutely stunning in her Reaping dress, before my name was called. From that moment on it was all a blur, but I was well-aware that I would not give up. I vowed to fight to be reunited with Lunar and Meison, no matter how many people had to be slain for that to happen. And yet, I haven't raised a finger to put down an oponnent. Not that it changed that much. I still have a strong bunch of allies ready to slay the competition for me while I sit back. Once we're the only ones left, that's another story. One that I do not wish to ponder about so early. Instead, I recall the dreams that I had last night. Lunar showed up a lot.
She wore a dress with cherries on it, the same she wore to the Reaping ceremony. She was going somewhere where she'd be wanted, and the wedding ring on her finger glittered in the sunlight, contrasting with her chipped, dark blue nail polish. I tried to reach out to her; shackle her in my warm embrace, but whenever I tried to touch her, she would board a bus, positioning herself in the backseat as the vehicle drove away from me. Over and over again, until I was woken up to take the last shift of our first night in the arena.
Taking advantage of the fact that they are all asleep, I glance over their sleeping forms. Coraline (12) is curled into a ball, mumbling something in her sleep. I have half a mind to get closer to her so I can understand what she's saying, but I quickly shoot the idea down. I don't want to wake them up just yet.
Leera (1) is right next to me, snoring softly as she sleeps against the trunk of our tree. She insisted to take the first watch, and do so for every subsequent hour, with other people taking turns at staying up with her. I was choosen to take the last watch, and by now, Leera has given in to the tiredness and fell into a deep slumber shortly after I was woken up by Martin (11), who was given the shift before me. Currently, he's tucked inside a sleeping bag, lying with his face down. Across from him are Nick (5) and Austin (10), who are lying next to each other. Throughout the majority of this night, Nick has been rolling around on his sleep, unintentionally kicking and slapping towards the other boy. However, Austin is tired to such an extent that he hasn't woken up a single time, from the moment his turn to watch out for danger was over.
Having absolutely nothing better to do, I stand up and stretch, being careful to not wake up any of my alliance members. I look around for a brief moment, and then decide to walk around our campsite. Sitting around for hours has started to get to my head, and if I continue to assume that position for much longer, I'm afraid I'll be tempted to scream or clap. Petty, I know, but the silence is so extreme that it has gotten to a point where I'm fighting my urge to make any sort of noise.
I walk away from my allies and begin to scout or surroundings. I kick around some dried up twigs and start to practice with my sword, but just as I'm about to swing the blade into a trunk, something happens. The rustling of fallen leaves first allerts me of someone else's presence. Then, the boy limping in the distance fully proves my point. He's tall, standing somewhere over six feet and a few inches, and is considerably lean, albeit a bit toned. His light, nearly white blonde hair is a dirty mess on his head, and his hands clutch a pretty bad wound on his abdomen. Huh. So he's been stabbed. This should be easy.
I ready my sword and start to stalk towards him, prepared to take him down from behind, but I carelessly step on a twig. The boy's head spins around and he must see me, for he freezes for a moment and starts running off, screaming his head off. However, he doesn't get very far before pain coming from the wound shoots through him, causing him to moan and fall down. Poor kid. At this point, killing him will be an act of mercy. However, I never reach the boy, who I just now recognize as Aleksandr (0). Before I can do, he gets run over by a semi-truck. I'm not serious, of course. What has happened is way more predictable. All his careless screaming has caught the attention of other tributes. And now, one of them has tackled him down, and is standing right on top of him. Aleksandr's legs kick out in a vain attempt to free himself from his attacker, but it all becomes pointless as his assailant, Sark (13), pulls out a clun.
Before I can even react, Aleksandr lets out a viscious scream, and the club smashes down into his ribs. Sark raises the club once again, and smashes it down, this time straight into the boy's stomach. He proceeds to do this over and over again, until I'm certain several bones have been broken. The killer raises his club above his head, and then brings it down. I can hear Aleksandr's final gasp, a faint, pained one, before the club connects with his head, cracking it open like an egg before it's dropped into a bowl. Boom!
I stand there, unable to think as the first individual cannon of these Games goes off. Then, the now-murderer does the unthinkable. He stands up, wiping Aleksandr's blood off his jacket with his free hand. The other holds his club as he throws it over his shoulder and turns towards me, grinning.
Cordelia Murphy (District 4)
I lean against a crate with a serene expression, sharpening my dagger in a nonchalant manner. My allies are excited about a new day, but I am not. I feel tired and dizzy, which is expected, considering I didn't get any sleep last night. I'm not sure why I'm still so bitter about that. Rising into the arena, I was sure I wouldn't be getting much sleep regardless of what transpired during the bloodbath. During the day, the possibility of an ambush was too high. I waited patiently for a tribute to show up and attempt to pick up any leftover items from the bloodbath, but that did not happen. Satisfied, I placed myself inside a black sleeping bag and readied myself to sleep, but I wasn't able to bat an eye.
As it turned out, the universe wasn't too keen on the idea of me getting any sleep.
As soon as I closed my eyes, worry started to flood through my body, making me feel like lead was pumping through my veins. I kept thinking that someone had discovered my secret, and had somehow connected the dots and found out I was the one to kill Pompeii (2). That mere idea made me paranoid, and I was fully prepared for someone to stand up and try to get rid of me in my sleep, or perhaps expose me to my alliance members.
That did not happen.
Still, I can't help but continue to worry. I am certain some of my allies are still suspiscious of me. To name a few of them, Kasumi (2) and Zoey (13) appear to not have bought into my story, although I can't tell if they think I was the one to kill Pompeii or just generally find me odd. Either way, they need to go in order for my late-game strategy to work out for me.
I rose into this arena with a simple plan, or at least it appeared to be simple in my mind. During training, I had decided that I would take out the leader of our alliance right off the bat. But, of course, I needed an escape goat, someone to blame if my allies found out the killer was in our alliance. The obvious bet was Zoey (13), which is why I decided to let her into the Careers. However, it turned out to be much more complicated than that. Zoey hung out near Elise (14) throughout the majority of the bloodbath, making it impossible for anyone to believe she had the time to kill Pompeii. That's when Breeze (7) came into play. She was a wildcard, someone I never specifically targetted, but she seemed smart, although a bit gullible. Gullible enough to buy into my lies and end Pompeii.
However, she had one simple job, and was able to fail at it. Which is why she died. I'm kidding. That girl was doomed to die the moment she accepted my request. I could not afford to have someone know I was targetting Pompeii, and I wasn't about to let her into the Career alliance. I ended her life remorselessly.
Still, why do I feel so unsafe? I never thought it would be so difficult to get away with Pompeii's death. However, the constant threat of someone finding out about what I did is there, and growing stronger after each passing second. I need to find a way to survive through this. But what am I supposed to do?
I sigh, running a hand through my neatly-combed hair.
Tress Terrence ( District 6)
The girl is eerily quiet as she stalks towards me. In one hand she holds my backpack, and in the other she holds a weapon; the catalyst of my demise. She doesn't want to do this. I can tell by the way she carries herself, that she'd much rather be somewhere else other than doomed to die in the arena. But it is as it is, and now that she's trapped here, she must do what we were taught by the Capitol. To kill each other off.
To kill me off.
There's no way I can fight this girl, Clarke (5), for that's her name. I don't even have a weapon. Hell, what am I even saying? I have absolutely nothing I can use against this girl. I don't even have my backpack to smack her across the head, for she now holds it. If she ever reaches me, I'm as good as dead. So I do the only logical thing I can come up with: I turn around and run.
I can hear her sprinting after me as my legs kick out in a desperate attempt to carry me forward. Every bone in my body aches with each step that I take, but stopping means dying, and I'm not about to leave this game to some lanky punk that thinks she's better than me just because she has a weapon. And in order to do that, I must not stop running.
Darkness clouds my vision completely, and I can barely see what is five feet ahead of me. I run blindly and aimlessly through the dark tunnels, occasionally stopping to catch my breath but taking off as soon as her footsteps come closer to my location. I can't even see her through this intense darkness, but I can hear her, and I can tell she's closing the distance between us very quickly.
I pick up my pace, but suddenly, something slams into me. I fall forward, sputtering in shock and kicking about wildly as I try to fend off my attacker. My foot manages to catch into her windpipe, for she freezes momentarily and lets out a sputter. I feel a sense of victory for a few brief moments before her fist takes me in the face, almost assuredly breaking my nose. Then all hell breaks loose.
The girl attempts to land a second blow, but I roll out of the way. Blinded by the darkness, she doesn't notice my movement in time, and her fist slams into the rocky ground. Hard. She screams, giving me the opportunity to jab her once more in the trachea.
There's absolutely no way this fight is going to end with me dying. This is enough motivation to keep me going as I wail away at the girl with my fists. Every single cut, every single bruise in my body urges me to stop, but I don't. Not until the girl pulls out her weapon. I only have time to yelp in shock and back away before she slashes her weapon, a small blade of some sorts, into me.
I expect to feel some sort of pain coming from the blow but I don't. I look down, and through the cracked darkness I see why. Her weapon merely grazed my shirt. Had she slashed her weapon a little further, I would be dead. The girl notices this, for she gasps in shock and expects me to finish her off. She missed, and I won't leave another opening for her to kill me. She knows this. I know this. And trust me, I would have loved to end that little brat's life, but I can't. I'm weaponless, and don't have the strength required to kill her with my bare hands. Yes, I could, and I will, take her weapon, but this wouldn't change the fact that this fight has left every bone of my body aching. I'm in no condition to kill anyone. But I must end this fight as soon as possible, and it appears that it won't result in the deaths of either of us.
Before the girl notices my hesitancy and decides to try her luck once more, I grievously rise from the ground, not to kill Clarke, but to flee from her. She looks at me, bruised, bleeding, and confused, as I take her weapon and pack, leaving her behind.
I run off, and this time, Clarke is not coming after me.
Nick Maclachlan (District 5)
Screams fill the woods, causing my eyes to snap open. Quite automatically in my shock, I begin to frantically look around, trying to find out what's wrong. Around me, my allies do the same, having been plucked from their sleep by the screamer. It's a male tribute, probably older than I am. I don't recognize his voice.
Besides me, Austin (10) mutters something under his breath, rubbing his eyes ruefully. By the looks of it, he had a better night than I did. He looks well-rested enough. I quickly scan my other allies, and they all seem to be fine. Whoever it is that's screaming, it's none of us. We are--
Before I can continue, I'm suddenly interrupted. Not by someone, no, but by something. In a quick glance around the area, I can easily tell something is wrong. I don't even know how I didn't notice it earlier. Lying against the trunk of a tree, sits Solar's (6) backpack. Except Solar is nowhere in sight. A chill runs down my spine.
"Um, guys?" I turn to my allies, whose heads quickly turn towards me. In response, I just signal towards the trunk of the tree where Solar was meant to be keeping guard. Coraline (12) sputters in disbelief as she connects the dot between the screaming tribute and our missing ally.
"Don't tell me you're saying that--" Coraline starts speaking, but is soon cut off by Leera (1).
"This is bad," She says as she looks down; her words not aimed towards anyone in particular. "Really, really bad." She pauses for a moment, as if thinking, then suddenly stands right up. "Everyone, gather our stuff. Nick, take Solar's supplies. We're going to leave this place."
"Why?" Austin (10) and Coraline (12) ask in unision, whereas I do as I'm instructed, slinging Solar's backpack over my shoulder and wielding my hatchet in my right hand.
"For all we know, he could have been taken hostage by a Career. And they know damn well how to make someone talk, They know he's with us, and surely wouldn't stop until they know where our camp is located so they can ambush us. Hell, for all we know, they could be making their way towards us right now!"
Martin (11) squeals in fear, whereas Coraline (12) looks like she's about to faint. She's still able to regain some composure, though, as her next question is somewhat valid.
"But we're going to look for him, right?" She asks, her voice shaking with trepidation, as if she's afraid of what Leera will answer.
"Of course we are," I can hear Coraline breathing out a sigh of relief. "But if he is, in fact, with the Careers, then there's nothing we can do about it."
Coraline is shocked, but just nods her head in agreement. She knows trying to fight the Careers is not worth the risk. We can only pray that Solar is with some other tribute.
"Alright, we need to hurry. Come on, everyone!" And just like that, we begin to thrudge rapidly along the woods. The foliage is thick and scratches against us, but we do not stop, for it could mean the demise of our friend. We run for what feels like ages, calling out Solar's name while following the direction the screams came from.
While we're on our journey to rescue him, something moves behind some bushes.
"Stop!" Leera, who was leading the group, suddenly stops running, causing me to bump into her. I fall down, my face hitting hard against the ground. I prop myself up in one elbow, coughing up some dirt in the process. . . and come face to face with a hound. A giant, snarling hound, nothing other than one of the Capitol's wicked plots against their tributes. A muttation.
Then it strikes. I put an arm out in defense, trying to shield myself from that beast, but it doesn't come for me. Instead, it flies over me, landing on top of one of my allies with a loud sound of impact. Then, a body is falling down against the ground. Martin (11) screams and thrashes about wildly as the mutt attempts to bite at him, being held back by his puny arms. He won't be able to hold on for that long.
Besides him, Coraline (12) is on her knees, her desperate screams being muffled by the barking muttation, while Austin (10) and Leera (1) desperately try to pry the mutt off of Martin, hacking and slashing at it with their weapons, to no avail. The only thing that comes out is a foul, black liquid that I assume works as that creature's blood.
Then, just as quickly as the mutt jumped on top of Martin (11), it bites at him, sinking its teeth into his left arm. Martin's scream is otherworldly, filled with so much pain and desperation that I can't help but sit back and stare, in shock.
Austin (10) has began screaming as well, whereas Coraline is just a weeping mess directly next to the hound, who's on top of Martin. If she doesn't move quickly, she will be its next target. The only one who seems to be doing something useful is Leera (1), who is endlessly stabbing against the monster with her sword, although the blade is barely able to penetrate the mutt's lab-designed skin.
Finally, I break out of my trance, realizing the gravity of the situation. Faster than the mutt appeared, I jump into the scene, and begin to hack wildly at the back of the mutt's neck. It immediately jumps off Martin to avoid being harmed. And then it turns towards me. I take an instinctive step back, and find myself getting my foot caught on a root. I fall down, landing uncerimoniously on my back. Then, I begin to crawl away, but I know it's to no avail. As the mutt launches itself towards me, I close my eyes.
There's a wet sound of impact as a blade connects with flesh, then a heavy body is falling down right in front of me. Shocked, but just as much dazed and confused, I open my eyes, only to see the hound, the one I had accepted as my killer, lying with his mouth hanging open its tongue sticking out, Leera's sword driven through its head. Black fluid drips from the mutt's mouth, releasing a foul, disgusting stench.
Leera removes the sword from the hound's body nonchalantly, and helps me up without a single word. I'm about to thank her, when I remember something.
"Martin!" I run towards him. Somehow, he's already standing, directly in front of the bush the mutt jumped out of. A large chunk of the flesh in his arm has been ripped off by the hound, and blood runs down his arm, staining his arms and spraying out of the gruesome wound like a fountain.
"I-it doesn't h-hurt that much," He says, clearly still in shock and unable to feel any pain. Coraline looks on, confused. "No, really, guys, I'm fine--"
He doesn't get to finish his sentence. Just as he is about to do so, a second hound jumps out from behind the very same bush, aimed directly towards Martin.
Its paws wrap themselves around Martin as his mouth hangs open, fangs aimed towards his head. With one clean, swift motion, it jumps over Martin and then towards us.
In its mouth, the hound holds Martin's head.
Austin Tierney (District 10)
Grey wolves are formidable animals. They have powerful jaws and sharp teeth. Grey wolves are built for hunting deer and other big prey. They have very keen eyesight. They weren't very common back in Ten, but in the snowy plains of District Zero, wolves were a very large problem, or so I've heard. Those animals can see anything, and by that, I mean anything that moves, and can give chase to their prey up to thirty miles per hour. They can easily leap over big rocks and logs with their long legs.
Now, you take that and you alter its genetic code, something District Fourteen does exceptionally. By doing that, you can enhace their hearing, improve their agility, and make them more threatening. And the result of that stands directly in front of me, menacing eyes gleaming in the morning light.
In its mouth, the muttation holds a severed head. A head that belongs to my former friend, Martin. Staring at his lifeless, torn body makes me feel like a nail has been driven through my chest. I expected brutality when I came into the arena, but I didn't think something like this would happen this early. Then we lost Timothy in the bloodbath. I barely knew the guy, but his death still pained me nonetheless. With Martin, who was a close friend and a worthy ally, the pain is ten times worse.
A growl snaps me back to reality, and I'm suddenly reminded of my situation. A thought crosses my mind, a terrible one. We're dead. Gone. There's no way we can take out this hound like we did to the last one. We're too tired, too wounded. And we already lost Martin. Even if we somehow survive this, we'll die all the same. Not by the mutt, but by the hands of some Career tribute.
"Don't--" Leera begins whispering, but her eyes remain glued to the hound. "--do anything stupid."
Silence. The only sound in the forest is our own harried breathing and the constant beating of my heart. The wolf cocks its head. I breathe out an involuntary sound of relief, thinking that, somehow, we will be able to get away if we remain quiet.
Before I can put any further thought into it, the hound strikes. Coraline screams and dives to the ground, and the mutt sails harmlessly over her, landing on top of Nick with a sickening thump instead. The creature impales itself into his hatchet, but seems unfazed. Black fluid drips from the wound, and the creature comes to a halt for a second, but then it strikes again.
Nick smacks the wolf over the head with the blunt handle of his hatchet, but the mutt is only temporarily dazed before it bites out, desperately trying to get a bite out of my ally. Nick holds the wolf back with his hatchet, but he won't hold on for long. I look out for my allies for support, as we fare better when together, afer all, but to my disappointment Leera is nowhere to be seen, and Coraline is running into the woods while screaming her head off, leaving us behind.
Suddenly, I think all is lost. I take one last glance at Nick and prepare to get away while I still can, just like Leera and Coraline did, but just then, something happens. Leera jumps out from behind a tangle of trees, and to my shock, Solar is right behind her. I'm suddenly happy that the cannon we heard earlier did not belong to him, but just then I remember that now that he's here, he'll die all the same.
Or so I thought, Leera slashes her sword in an arc, and she's sprayed with dark liquid as it cuts deep into the mutt. It howls in pain and turns tail, giving Solar the opportunity to help Nick up and take him away from here. The mutt faces Leera with a feral expression, but Leera, for one, stares back with a look that holds twice the determination. Still, what can determination do when you're faced with a beast like that?
Still, Leera doesn't die. What happens next it worst. The mutt doesn't attack Leera, but instead, it turns towards me, and starts running. I scream as it jumps, sliding through the air with its sharp claws shining. Then, it brings them towards my face. The last thing I see are the claws slashing horizontally towards my eyes.
I instantly fall down, screaming my head off and thrasing about like an absolute madman. There's a sound of impact, an animal cry of pain, then a heavy body is falling towards the ground below. That's followed by running footsteps, then absolute, terrifying silence.
I'm left alone to my own screams.
"I can't see! I can't--" My nonsensical, miserable shouts of pain drag themselves out for long, painful minutes. However, they are suddenly cut off by a new set of feet pounding against the dirt.
"Tribute!" A deep, male voice screams, and his exclamation is followed by a childish whimper.
"Oh, God what happened to him?" A new voice speaks, a fearful female one this time.
"I-I don't know." The boy speaks again. "Why is his face so bloody?"
"I don't know. . ." The girl talks. I try to place her District, but the pain is too much for my brain to function. Instead of crying out for help, I let out a pained, miserable squeal. "He's wounded. He would be better off if we put him out of his misery."
Footsteps. Coming towards me. I thrash about once more, trying to get away, but I can't seem to get up. I'm too weak, too vulnerable. My life, for what it's worth, ends right here.
"I'm so, so sorry." The boy speaks, closer to me then before. "But--"
"Wait!" A third voice speaks, and I can hear dry leaves crunching under a tribute's boots as they move closer. "I know him! H-he's from my District."
"He's from home!"
"And what do you suggest we do?"
"W-we can take care of him. I promise he won't be a bother, but I can't let my own District partner leave this world like this." Their voices become more faint, gradually getting more distorted. Then, I can hear the trio of tributes descending upon me, but deep down, I know my time is up. I might not die today, but my chances of surviving the arena have just gotten astronomically lower. I've been deserted by my allies. Deserted, broken down, and blind.
I pass out.
Elise Stokes (District 14)
The golden horn reflects the inclement sunlight shining down upon us, creamy as lemon chiffron. It lights up the insides of scattered crates, empty racks and overgrown, bare grass. It's no ordinary grass, however. Upon closer inspection, I can see it. Blood. This is a cursed land. I don't feel comfortable hanging out here, in the place where a bunch of dead kids ceased to exist. You can call me soft, but I do respect the dead. And that's why sitting here sounds so. . . wrong. Nonetheless, my allies don't seem to mind. Just like them, it's obvious that I don't really care about the slaughter. I volunteered for this, after all. And besides, killing is the main catch of the Hunger Games.
However, I do have my beliefs, and like to stand by them and not let anyone try to hamper them. Like my allies, for example. They're all brutal, and would think of me as weak if I spoke out about my qualms, which is why I prefer to stay silent.
And that's what I've been doing up to this point.
Whereas my allies tagged me as expendable, I sat back and watched, enjoying being under the radar. Sure, being a Carrer did turn a few heads when it came to tributes hailing from outlying Districts, but I care not for those. For my allies, I'll be just someone they'll have to eventually step on in order to reach the top, even if it means killing me. But I'll surprise them. I've watched them thoroughly, and I've obtained knowledge. A deadly bunch of knowledge I'm more than willing to use against them when the time is right.
I'm certain it won't be long before I'm forced to put my plan into action. Once the tension becomes unbearable, I'll ditch them, and find another alliance, a capable, but gullible, one. I'll tell them about my former career allies' strengths, as well as their weaknesses, and with that knowledge, we'll be unstoppable. Once the Careers are out of the way, it will be time for me to get rid of my new allies. Then, the crown will be mine. I grin at the thought.
However, the road to victory is not an easy one. This is the second day, and yet, the tension is already clear. Everyone is silently plotting, and the lack of real authority will soon get to us. People will fight for leadership, and people will die. That's a show I'm willing to watch. As I stare out towards my fellow Careers, their mind seems to be focused on one single thought:
We need a new leader.
Pompeii's (2) gone. Truth to be told, I never liked the brat. He was haughty and conceited, and thought of himself as better than us all, when in reality, he wasn't all that, and couldn't buy a moldy loaf of bread with those silly, overpowered iron hands of his. I'm giddy with excitement that he's out of my way from such an early stage. Still, something about his death seems so fishy, but I can't quite put a finger on it.
The explanation Cordelia gave us does make sense, but there's only one flaw. I don't think Breeze (7), an average tribute from a middle-class district, with no real training whatsoever, would've been able to take Pompeii out. And even if she did, in fact, do so, then I believe she would have been able to take Cordelia (4) out, at least, but she didn't. It amazes me how Cordelia didn't even try to stop Breeze, but instead, watched as she killed our leader, and once the job was done, killed the girl.
Something just doesn't add up. Still, that's none of my busniness. I'm going to be far away from these people by the time the mysterious aspects behind Pompeii's death become a real issue everyone is thinking about.
"Everyone, gather around!" Quite conveniently, Cordelia, whom I was just thinking about, decides to speak up, breaking the silence that swalled us whole. I can't help but snort. I liked it better when no one was talking. Still, there's really not much I can do. Groggily, I stand up, my bones cracking with the effort. I've been leaning against that crate for quite a while. Well, no one is to blame. It was comfy, and there wasn't any real task for me to perform.
"What's the matter?" Kasumi (2) questions the mysterious girl with a raised eyebrow. Her once flawless copper braids are disheveled and quite knotted. They've been that was since she came back from hunting tributes with Zoey (13) and Eugene (14). Needless to say, they weren't sucessfull, and nearly ran into a tracker jacker nest. Sounded like fun to me. Woulda' been nice to have nature take a couple of them out. Still, I like Kasumi (2). If any of my allies were to prosper, I wouldn't mind if it was her. But with my own skin on the table, she has to die, and she will, at some point.
"As you all know, Pompeii's gone. We had this talk yesterday, but we can't avoid it forever. We must elect a new leader, and we have to do it now."
"She has a point. We won't last long without a figure of authority to follow." Eugene speaks up, and I can't help but roll my eyes. Cordelia has that hopeless boy wrapped around her thumb.
"Alright, alright," Rio (8) speaks up, notably bitter that Cordelia is being taken seriously, whereas everyone started to shoot down her suggestions whenever she tried to speak up about leadership last afternoon. "And how do you suggest we decide on a new leader?"
"We vote," Zoey responds without looking up from where she was sharpening a blade. "Whoever wants to lead us may as well nominate themselves, and we'll decide on the best suited."
"Sounds good to me, but there's only one flaw," It's my turn to speak up now. "What if there's a tie?"
Zoey seems a bit speechless at first, but it's not long before Cordelia speaks up with a somber voice.
"We battle it out, The winner becomes our leader. And the loser. . . well, they die."
"That's bullshit!" Ryan (1) storms out, bewildered that Cordelia would even consider such as option. "There's strength in numbers. We can't afford to lose another one of ours, especially after what happened during the bloodbath!" Whoops. I have a feeling Ryan will be a little angry when he wakes up to find out I'm long gone. I wish I'd be able to see his reaction to when that happens.
"You know what? I don't care." Rio butts into the conversation, except this time she isn't fully shut down. Good for her. "Let's vote as per usual. I assume Ryan and Cordelia are the only ones who want to lead us. We'll vote for either one of them. Besides, I see that you all have skipped math class in order to train for the Games. With Pompeii and Manta out of the game, and Ryan and Cordelia being excluded from the vote, there's only five of us, you dips."
Ouch. I have a feeling that was directed towards me. Still, it doesn't matter. Being some sort of math genious won't get your oponnents' throats slit up. Unless she's able to factorize the competition to death, which she isn't. Sucks to be her.
"I believe it's settled, then," Cordelia speaks in a neutral tone. "Alright. Elise, who do you nominate for the Careers' leader?"
That catches me off guard. I hadn't really put any thought into it, but I know this decision is an important one. Even though I won't be here for long, picking the wrong leader could mean I won't survive long enough to desert the alliance. I need to think very thoroughly. I examine my picks. On one hand, Cordelia is skilled and disciplined. But on the other hand, we have her mysterious explanation to Pompeii's passing, and her overall dangerous thirst for power. Ryan is definetly capable, but doesn't seem very level-headed. Still, he's shown to be a useful ally, and isn't as creepy as Cordelia. I've made up my mind.
"Ryan. My pick is Ryan." Ryan let's out an excited howl and tries to high-five the nearest tribute, Kasumi. The girl just stares at his hand, unimpressed, until he's forced to pull it away. He still looks satisfied, though.
"Fair enough," Cordelia replies, looking extremely miffed. "What about you, Eugene?" She speaks the last word in a forced, seduced manner. I'm honestly not surprised this is her game.
"You're the one I pick, Cordelia."
The two of them smile at each other. However, Cordelia's eyes don't smile when her mouth does.
Zoey Proasheck (District 13)
Kasumi (2) utters the word nonchalantly, then proceeds to go back to examining one of her finger nails, completely disregarding us. Cordelia (4) grunts indignantly, and as Eugene (14) places a hand on her shoulder to ease the atmosphere, she quickly swats it away. One can easily tell she doesn't cope very well with not winning. Heh. I can't help but imagine her losing it if Ryan (1) is chosen over her. I giggle over the thought, raising a few eyebrows.
"What's so funny?" Cordelia asks me, not in the mood for any fun right now. My cheeks turn bright red in embarassment. Cordelia, on the other hands, stares daggers into me.
"Oh, er, it's nothing." I lie, and for a second, I think I can see a glint of fear in Cordelia's eyes, but as soon as she blinks, it's completely gone, replaced by her resting unamused face instead. Phew.
"Good," She adds, her tone neutral. "What about you, Rio? Find anything funny?"
She turns to my fellow recruit, catching her completely off-guard. She stutters a bit, but quickly puts herself back together and replies.
"Hm, no, not really."
"Good," She repeats the same word, except this time she sounds harsher. At least it's not directed towards me. "Then who do you pick as the new leader of the Careers?"
"Oh, er. . ." I can easily tell she doesn't want to anger Cordelia by not picking her, but like everyone else, except for that delusional fool Eugene (14), who can't keep it inside his pants, she's well-aware that Cordelia does not make for a good leader. She's too mysterious, too unpredictable. I wouldn't be surprised if she somehow leads us straight into some sort of trap. No pun intended.
Rio (8) looks at me for support, but I merely give her a shrug. She turns to my other allies, but they all avoid her gaze. She then turns to Cordelia, who's staring at her with raised eyebrows.
"Um, ok. I pick you, Cordelia." I can't help but roll my eyes. That vindictive girl is scaring people into voting for her. That is, when she can't use her body to do it. I let out a long, dramatic sigh. I'm not about to be intimidated by Cordelia.
"What about you, Zo--" I don't let Cordelia finish her sentence.
"Sorry dear, I'm gonna go with my homeboy Ryan over there." Ryan immediately starts celebrating and offers me a high-five, which I return. Rio looks uncomfortable, whereas Elise seems to be pleased with the results. Kasumi doesn't say anything, but she has a smug grin on her face as she looks at. Cordelia.
And as I look at Cordelia myself, it's a pleasant sight.
Eugene keeps trying to comfort her, but she keeps swatting him away and yelling at him to stop bothering her. She looks absolutely mad.
"Alright, alright," Ryan interrupts us all, taking a more serious tone as he addresses us. "I'm honored to be elected your leader. I really, really am. Together, we'll make sure the Careers, and the Careers only, rise to the top. We'll slaughter the competition, and we'll show them no mercy. And we're going to start right now." I raise an eyebrow before Ryan continues.
"Our last hunting party may have failed, but let's not allow that to shoot down our motivation. We're the Careers. We're stronger than any tribute out there. And we're gonna make sure everyone knows this,"
He catches his breath before continuing. "Kasumi, you're great with your bow. That's why I'll feel more comfortable if you stay here, protecting our supplies and sending your arrows into anyone who comes near them. Zoey, you're a medical expert. If anything happens to Kasumi, I don't want her to be by herself. You'll stay back with her."
I nod. He does have a point. Kasumi doesn't say anything, but she doesn't oppose to his plan, either. She removes her quiver from her shoulder and begins sorting through her arrows, counting them. Ryan looks satisfied.
"Alright, the rest of you, we're gonna go hunting right now. Feel free to pick up any supplies; we'll leave in ten minutes."
I glanceI towards my allies, and notice that Cordelia looks absolutely mad.
Reo Daire (The Capitol)
Looking out the window, I watch skeptically as the sun begins setting itself in the horizon, signaling the end of the day. I breathe out a sigh of relief. The darkness that will soon envelop us should provide some form of shelter from any lurking threats. It seems like we have managed to survive our second day in the arena, somehow.
And what a day it was.
I look over my shoulder, where Austin (10) lies atop a broke down mattress. Occasionally, he lets out some pained grunts, but he's remained silent throughout the majority of the day. Personally, I don't think getting him here was worth the hassle. The three of us had to part carry, part drag him through the woods, making a lot of noise while doing so. But somehow, we went unnoticed.
I wasn't too keen on the idea of having him, at first. However, I couldn't simply say no to Maribelle (10). Doing so would break her heart, as well as my own. And besides, the boy is wounded. Obviously, that comes with its favorable and unfavorable factors; advantages and disadvantages. On one hand, he's been wounded to an extent where it is nigh impossible for him to inflict any harm upon us, let alone win.
But on the other hand, he's dead weight. Taking him with could prove to be a fatal mistake. The road to the victory is full of difficult terrain, and when you're taking a blinded stranger along, it doesn't get any better. This boy, who is as good as dead, will only make it more difficult for our alliance to prosper. I try not to make my thoughts obvious as Maribelle approaches me.
"I couldn't do it." Maribelle states weakly, referring to the fire she was trying to start earlier.
Truth to be told, I would be surprised if she had succeeded at lighting it. As the minutes dragged themselves by, it became increasingly obvious that she did not know what she was doing. Don't get me wrong; Maribelle is a worthy ally and she has her own set of skills that is completely different from my own, but nearly as effective. Although unfortunately, starting fires is not one of her strengths, it seems.
"Don't worry, Maribelle," I respond to her statement in a motherly tone, patting her in the head. "Just try to get some sleep in. We have a big day ahead of us."
The girl nods, then walks off to another room. When we first discovered this house, located deep into the thick woods, we were surprised, but didn't question its presence nonetheless. Walking into it, I didn't get my hopes up, but it turned out that this place, although pretty broke down and dirty, is fully furnished, with two beds, a couch and everything.
Unfortunately, there weren't any supplies in here. I looked through the many drawers, but with no success. The only stuff I found were a brown, filthy hair brush in one of the bathroom drawers, and a pile of papers lying in the corner of an empty room. Maribelle tried to use those to start the fire, but didn't succeed.
I absentmindly place my hand on the window, and immediately recoil. The glass feels icy cold. It appears that the arena is starting to cool up considerably, much like it did last night. If we don't manage to light the fire, we're in for a very, very cold night. Sweet.
Austin starts moaning once more, rolling around in his mattress and waking up from his slumber. He passed out from the pain a few hours ago, but it was oddly convenient. Once he stopped squirming, it was way easier to clean up his wounds and bandage his eyes up. Or whatever was left of them. Still, he continuously moaned in pain during his slumber, keeping me from thinking clearly. If I had had to put up with that for a while longer, I would've been forced to put an end to it.
But, it is as it is. I'm glad he's finally woken up.
"Hey," Maribelle kneels down besides him, gently caressing his hair with her tiny hands. "Are you okay?"
"M-Maribelle?" The boy manages speak through his pained grunts, recognizing his District partner's voice.
"It's me, Austin." Maribelle speaks, her voice trembling with worry. Realizing it's best to reveal myself now, I quickly make my way towards the two. Austin must hear me approaching him, because his head quickly turns to look in my direction. However, his head must hurt from the effort, for he quickly throws himself back down, letting out a pained moan.
"Hey." I say, trying to keep my voice neutral. "I'm Reo from the Capitol. My District partner is with us as well. He left to search for food, but he should be coming back soon. He was meant to be here before night fell. . ."
"Oh, I see," Another grunt. "I-I'm so cold."
"Yeah, so are we," Once more, I try to keep my voice neutral, but there's a sharp edge to my words. My next sentence comes out much softer. "We tried lighting a fire, but we didn't succeed."
"Oh." Austin says, while lying completely still in the mattress. I have a feeling moving only makes the pain much worse. "I can help you, if you want."
"No, no." Maribelle hurries to respond. "We don't want you straining yourself. You must rest."
"No, Maribelle, I insist. Just help me up, I'm sure I can do it."
So we do just that. Austin grunts and moans as we help him up, but soon enough, he's on his feet.
"So. . ." He says, unsure of where to go.
"Oh, right!" I quickly remember the attack that took his eyes left him blind. Well, quite obviously! I curse my own memory, but quickly lead him to the fireplace nonetheless. He sists himself down in front of it and his hands slide through the wooden floor, looking for something. He finally stops when he reaches the pile of paper.
He then proceeds to roll about five of the pieces of paper into a tight tube, tying it into a not. He aimlessly searches through his pockets, until he finds what he was looking for, whipping out a couple of matches. Nonchalantly, he lights the knot on fire, preventing the layers of paper from moving around once the fire has been lit. He tosses the tube into the fireplace, already filled with logs of wood we retrieved earlier today. The paper burns slowly, but it leaves more time for the wood to catch fire. And catch fire it does.
Maribelle claps excitedly, but I just watch in stunned silence, one thought drifting around in my head.
I may have underestimated Austin. And if he could light that fire so effortlessly, something we couldn't do with perfect eyesight, I shouldn't rule out the possibility of him murdering us.
Tux Brandt (District 8)
I curl myself into a ball and blow air into my hands, in a futile attempt to stay warm. Night has barely fallen, and the temperature is already falling considerably. Throughout the entire day, I wandered aimlessly while searching for any food or water, but failed to find any. Tired, I tried to return to the shelter I had set up between two trees, but was unable to find it. So now, here I am. Weaponless, defenseless and completely doomed.
It wasn't long ago that I was wishing for some great disaster to help alleviate the boredom of everyday life. I guess I should've been careful what I wished for. Now, all I want to do is return to the peaceful, uneventful life I was living back home, in District Eight. Those days spent laughing, scowling or hurting may not have seemed like much, but they were what life is all about. Here, there's just death and this horrid temperature.
"God, I'm so cold," I mutter, my voice cracking with the effort. My throat is as dry as parchment. I never realized how much it hurt to go a full day without eating or drinking anything. And I'm so thirsty, I feel like I could die at any given moment.
As I huddle against the trunk of the tree I'm lying against, loud music suddenly starts playing. I'd recognize it anywhere. It's the national anthem. I'm not a very patriotic person myself, not that anyone hailing from the Districts is, but it was mandatory to learn the lyrics to it at school. At the end of every school day, all students would be forced to gather in the gymnasium and sing it. I dreaded the idea of being in a room with so many people, but I didn't have that much of a choice back then.
However, this time around, the anthem has a completely different meaning. It has one simple purpose, and it is to serve as background music while the faces of the dead fill the sky. Grunting with the effort, I look up, just in time to see the Capitol's insignia be replaced with a face, that of a sheepish-looking boy with blonde hair and flawless features. His mugshot reads District Zero. If I'm not mistaken, his District partner fell during the bloodbath. Yes, I'm sure of it. Not only did I see her body, but I recall seeing her face on the sky last night. It seems that District 0 is already out of the Game.
As the boy's face is replaced with that of Martin from 11, I realized that certain Districts are falling very quickly. There's nothing overly interesting about it, but it's kinda noteworthy, I guess. Carefully, I remove the notebook from my pocket. I was lucky enough to be allowed to bring it into the arena as a token. What is inside is extremely valuable. As I open it and remove a pen from my back pocket, I quickly scan through the names, until I find what I'm looking for.
There, somewhere in the first few pages of the notebook, sits a page meant solely for the boy from Zero, Aleksandr Estrene. I read through it. Judging from the information I gathered during training, he was quite skilled at hand-to-hand combat, but lacked any sort of skills in climbing or swimming. This information is useless to me now, however. I quickly draw an asterisk next to his name, meaning that he's fallen, and do the same to the Eleven boy.
It's truly a bummer that all of these people are dying, and I didn't even get to put my knowledge about them into practice. You see, whereas all other tributes trained themselves, I sat back and watched. And those many hours of watching may have cost me my training score, for I received a meager 5, but they did grant me all the knowledge this small notebook holds. And that is much more important than my training score.
The Gamemakers could have given me a three or a twelve and I wouldn't have cared. I'm not charismatic, witty nor likable, so not even the highest of training scores would've sent sponsors my way. But I care not for that, as long as I have this notebook with me, which I do. Not to mention that what I lack in charisma, I make up for with my brains. With this notebook in hands, I'm truly a force to be reckoned with.
I blindly read through the pages, squinting as I try to take a look of them, for night has officially fallen. I don't stop until I find what I'm looking for: The page containing my biggest threats in these Games. One of them has already been scratched off; for Pompeii fell during the bloodbath. However, there are four more names on the list.
Ryan Jones, Cordelia Murphy, Rio Waterborne and Tress Terrence.
You might ask yourself what business a meager girl from District Six has being in such list, especially next to the names of three powerhouse killers, one of them my own District partner. However, I noticed during training something the other tributes failed to notice. She's not necessarily smart, but she's intuitive, as well as perceptive to a tremendous extent. And that makes her too much like myself. Too dangerous.
I find myself holding on to the wish that Tress, alongside all the other three, will somehow fall at some point during the next few days. However, not only is that unlikely, but close to impossible. From what I witnessed during the bloodbath, the Careers, especially Cordelia, are leading these Games. It's extremely likely that they were the ones responsible for today's casualties.
I muffle a yawn, and roll over against the trunk of the tree. I'm tired. So very tired. May tomorrow bring me some better fortune.
Eugene Watson (District 14)
"This is pointless, it's not like we're gonna find anyone!"
I exclaim to no one in particular, just looking to get my anger out. Needless to say, I'm pissed. And rightfully so. It's been many hours since we left the Cornucopia to hunt for tributes, and we haven't stumbled upon one single camp. This day has been extremely disappointing so far. Not only did Cordelia (4) lose the vote to elect our leader, therefore leaving us to the careless leadership of Ryan (1), but the latter is literally leading us into our shared demise.
We're all begging to go back to the Cornucopia at this point, but he keeps pressing on, claiming that he won't stop until he runs into a tribute. Cordelia looks like she's ready to flay someone, whereas Rio (8) and Elise (14) are huddled together in a desperate attempt to stay warm. Oh, right.
Not only is Ryan doing an awful job as a leader, but thanks to him and his blatant need to wander the arena after midnight, we're all getting pneumonia due to this inclement weather. Go figure.
"Calm down, Eugene," Ryan says without even looking at me. "We're getting close to something, I can feel it."
"Oh, yeah? Like you did, uh, three hours ago?" I reply in a snarky tone, trying to get a reaction out of him. He says no more, giving place to an awkward silence. We continue to trudge along the dark, ominous woods. An eerie silence fills the arena, as if not even the small animals inhabiting it are still awake. To be frank, it's a little unsettling. The only source of light we have is Elise's flashlight, but she repeatedly shakes and quivers due to the arena's temperature, so our journey is a little harder than it should be.
I'm about to ask her for the flashlight so I can hold it instead, but I'm suddenly interrupted.
"Tribute!" Cordelia squeals and takes off, trident in hand. Ryan follows suit.
"No way," I mutter to the two girls next to me, but I'm shocked to find myself alone. Elise and Rio must have taken off after the tribute. Having nothing better to do, I follow after them, unsheathing my snake sword in the process. As I reach them, I realize they have out target cornered.
It's a boy, he looks around fourteen years old, and judging by his dazed expression, he must've been asleep until our footsteps woke him up. I curse our ineptitude. If we had been more careful, he would've been a much easier kill. But, it is as it is. And I suppose this boy will be an easy kill nonetheless. His lips are cracked and ghostly pale, the result of the combination of hypothermia and dehydration. If we hadn't found him, I doubt he would've made it past the night without a sleeping bag of some sorts.
"What are you guys waiting for?" Elise asks while shining her flashlight onto the terrified boy's face. "Someone cut him loose already, I'm cold."
As answer, Ryan steps forward, spear in hand. He winds his arm back to throw, but before he can do so, the boy does something unexpected. He runs. Not way from Ryan, but towards him. He's short and slender, and doesn't look very strong, but the shock factor is on his side, and he's able to tackle Ryan down and run away, stepping over Ryan's fallen form. A notebook falls off his back pocket in the process.
It's not long before the girls take off after him, leaving me and Ryan behind. I rush to Ryan in order to help him up, but he simply slaps my hand away, jumping back to his feet and running off. I waste no time in doing the same, feeling a little miffed.
The girls shout random taunts as they run, so it's easy for us to track them down. By the time we reach them, the boy has been cornered once more, this time his back is pressed against a large rocky boulder. I step forward, willing to stop them from making the same mistake. My help is not needed, however. Without a warning, Elise steps forward and tackles him down. The boy screams and thrashes about, but she has him pinned down by he rhands and knees. There's no way he can escape now.
Elise is the only one from our group who didn't bring a weapon with, but she seems unfazed by that. She nonchalantly brings her flashlight up and then down, slamming it against Tux's temple. His stare goes blank immediately as she proceeds to do the same, again and again.
By the time a cannon sounds, Tux's face is an unsettling, unrecognazible mess of skin, chunks of bone and brain matter. Elise's flashlight flickers one last time, then goes off, leaving us in completely darkness.
"It's broken," She says flatly. "I hope you guys can lead us back to--"
She doesn't finish her sentence. Before she can do it, a fist takes her in the face. I scream in shock, as Rio covers her mouth in disbelief. Elise goes skitting backwards, Ryan standing over her.
"That was my kill! It was mine!"
Ryan kicks Elise in the gut. Hard. She goes rolling over, coughing up what must be blood. Then, realization floods in. That coward, he's going to kill my District partner. Not only that, but he's going to kill an alliance member. And I can't let that happen.
"Leave her alone!"
I scream, then throw myself into Ryan. We both go rolling over, our hands clasped around each other's throats. I finally get the upper hand, getting on top of Ryan and landing repeated punches onto his face.
Rio screams, but I ignore her completely. Where's Cordelia?
Out of the corner of my eye, I spot her, trident in hand. . . and she's pointing it right at me.
"What the hell?" I scream, just as she brings it down. I close my eyes and expect to be pierced by her weapon, but a strike never comes. Ryan, who's pinned down under my body, goes still. I open my eyes, just in time to see Cordelia's trident sticking out of Ryan's gut.
Besides us, Elise is still coughing up blood, but other than that, she doesn't seem to be severely wounded. Rio is nowhere in sight. She must've run off as soon as Cordelia struck. I guess that makes her an enemy now. And besides, now that I think about it, that boy was her District partner. She didn't seem to care that much for him, but you can never be sure.
Hesitant, I roll off Ryan. A cannon should have sounded by now, but it hasn't. That can only mean one thing: He's not dead yet. I look over to Cordelia, and she reassures me by nodding her head. Then, she leans closer, her voice sultry and seductive as she whispers into my ear.
"Do it," Her voice is soft and tender. I comply.
I position myself over Ryan's bleeding form and bring my snake sword down, promising death.
Day 3, Heat
Jayda Idylwyld (District 3)
There is only one kind of shock worse than the totally unexpected: the expected for which one has refused to prepare.
I was asleep. Well, barely. The tension caused by being trapped in the arena with very slim possibilities of escaping finally took a toll on me, and I started to have bad dreams. Callia was in the majority of them. I kept reliving her death, over and over, in many different ways. But no matter how she died, be it by a burning building collapsing or setting off a booby trap in an abandoned wooden shack, it was always my fault.
I didn't really get much sleep after that. I stayed up, strategizing and watching over my allies. Especially Altair. I don't know what it is about him, but he just makes me feel safe, somehow. Which is why I've decided to keep him alive. I won't prioritize his safety over mine, of course. But looking after him wouldn't hurt anyone.
With that thought in mind, I drifted off into deep slumber. It only lasted for a couple of minutes, however. Because moments after I shut my eyes, the rustling of leaves made the snap right open. Just in time to see the girl from District Nine watching us from behind a bush.
Coming into the arena, I knew I would be faced with situations such as this one. Ambushes are not unusual in the Hunger Games, especially when the ones getting ambushed are a large group of tributes. There's really no room for error in the Games, and our competitors have to use everything they've got in order to stay alive.
And that's where the shock factor fits.
She appeared too fast, too suddenly, and gave us no time to react before she buried the blade of her knife in Altair. I watch him now, as he's slung over Alkaline's shoulder, shaking and trembling as we jump over wooden logs, fallen buildings and so on. The thick foliage scrapes against our faces as we run, but we dare not stop.
For we've been ambushed. There is a feeling of disbelief that comes over you, that takes over, and you kind of go through the motions. You do what you're supposed to do, but in fact you're not there at all. But right now, everything I have to do is run. And get Altair away from her.
She's right on our tails, a second knife in hand. The first one has been buried in Altair's shoulder while he slept peacefully, unaware of our uninvited guest. I don't blame him. We had a rough day yesterday, and the least we could expect was a peaceful night of sleep.
It appears that, in the arena, everything that happens is anything but peaceful.
Just as I think that I should just quit and accept my demise. I catch something out of the corner of my eye. A small, rotten cottage camouflaged behind some growing bindweed. I look behind me. We have put a considerable distance between ourselves and Amelia, proving that my previous decision was slightly pessimistic. Still, it looks like we~ve lost her. But not for long. We could keep running, but she'd catch up eventually, and we'd all be dead.
Lacking a better plan, I signal towards the cottage, and Alkaline follows my gesture, his eyes locking on the potential shelter. Then, we're hurrying inside. Alkaline tries to close the door behind him, but the thing falls off the spot where it had been nailed to the wall at the slightest touch, revealing our whereabouts to Amelia.
"Shit!" Alkaline exclaims, but it's too late. Silence is a fragile thing, one loud noise, and it's gone. But the people are so cowed and disorganised. Many times, when I was exploring District Three, I would take friends with me whenever Callia wasn't available. But the outcome was always the same. They'd chat loudly and scream at the slightest sound, allerting Peacekeepers of our presence and forcing us to leave.
Which is why, after Callia died because of me, I went back to exploring on my own.
However, I decided, for whatever reason, that I needed allies for these Games. And look where that got me. I knew I shouldn't have accepted Alkaline's proposal! I curse my own carelessness, for it has resulted in our shared demise. All because of some freaking door! I turn to Alkaline, trying to find some solace in the fact that I'm not dying alone, but to my surprise, he's nowhere in sight. Looks like that guy's cold nature and ability to sneak around paid off, after all. Doesn't matter. I'm still dead.
I begin to mentally prepare for my demise, but. . . no.
It doesn't come. I cock my head sideways in confusion, as I realize that I can no longer hear Amelia's footsteps outside. Curious, I stand up. I look outside, but I can't see her anywhere. I--
A blunt object takes me. Right in the head. I go skitting towards the wooden floor of the cabin, that creaks as my weight collides with it, full force.
The last thing I see is the knife being pulled out savagely from Altair's shoulder as he's dragged away by Amelia.
|Placing||Day||Tribute||Cause of Death||Killer|
|32nd||One||Timothy Banner (9)||Knife in back||Manta Li (4)|
|31st||One||Drago Fire (12)||Spear in head||Ryan Jones (1)|
|30th||One||Manta Li (4)||Decapitated||Leera Renedy (1)|
|29th||One||Darsaya Taloure (0)||Knife in neck||Alkaline Watt (3)|
|28th||One||Pompeii Vulcan (2)||Sword in chest||Cordelia Murphy (4)|
|27th||One||Breeze Sylvani (7)||Snapped neck||Cordelia Murphy (4)|
|26th||One||Taligelia Rendervault (11)||Slit throat||Amelia Woods (9)|
|25th||Two||Aleksandr Estrene (0)||Cracked skull||Sark Lancaster (13)|
|24th||Two||Martin Plamenov (11)||Head ripped off||Hound Mutt|
|23rd||Three||Tux Brandt (8)||Face bashed in||Elise Stokes (14)|
|22nd||Three||Ryan Jones (1)||Sword in cranium||Eugene Watson (14)|