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“Hey, Tabs, are you daydreaming or something?” Grant asks. Oh no, I must’ve gotten lost in his ocean-blue eyes. My real name is Tabitha, but I go by Taby and occasionally Tabs. But only by Grant.
“What? Oh, uh no. I was just, uh… you know. Uh…” I’m not good with words, at all, so I just left it at that, and he snickered.
“Oh. My. God. My feet are on freakin’ fire!” someone whines. Guess who that is? That’s right, Glitter.
“Stop complaining. We’ve all walked the same distance as you,” I tell her with a hint of sarcasm in my voice. Glitter glares at me, but doesn’t reply back.
“Okay, everyone. We’re on the lookout for five other tributes. The redhead, the couple, and the District Three and District Eight boys. Got it?” Grant asks us. How charming! Speaking of charming, I knew a boy named that once. His name was Charming, and he was in the Hunger Games before this one. He was killed by some guy named Tobias, who was trying to save a boy from District 5 named Chase.
“Well duh, I know that!” Glitter yells at him. Her brown stringy hair is a total mess, and her green eyes are wide with anger.
“Shut up,” I say.
“You shut up Taby! You’ve been nothing but rude to me this entire time! Grow up!” Glitter snaps.
This was the last straw.
“Okay, Glitter, you know what? You may be from District One, and you’re probably used to being pampered and what not, but this is the Hunger Games. You’re going to be out in the wilderness 24/7, and you’re going to walk a lot. You should’ve known this before you stuck your skinny little arm up in the air to volunteer for this! And I’m only being rude because you need to woman up, Glitter, and stop being such a baby. I’m not the one who needs to grow up, you are!”
Everyone stares at me, even Silas and Iris, who are both usually zoned out. Especially Iris.
“Taby! You have to be quiet. You’ve just let everyone in the arena know where we are.” Grant finally says, breaking the heavy silence after my outburst.
“Let them come! We’re Careers after all!” I say. I look at Glitter, and I see her mouth is still wide open. I guess no one’s ever stood up to her before. Well, someone had to.
We return to our Base Camp a few minutes later, and I decide to start a fire. It’s getting cold out.
“I’m… I’m seeing something,” says Iris mysteriously.
“What are you seeing?” I ask wryly. I don’t really care. She’s just probably making it up, anyways.
“By the end of today, there will be only eight alive. That’s what the spirits are telling me. The dead will be one boy, and one girl. They won’t tell me who, though.” She says.
“Really? A boy and a girl? And today’s almost over, so it’ll probably happen soon.” says Glitter. She’s the only one that really takes Iris’s visions seriously. Most of the ones she’s said have been completely ridiculous.
“Yes, likely it will happen soon.” replies Iris.
“Hey, Iris? Could you help me? I’m trying to make a fire. Could you find some wood at the pile for me?” I ask.
The pile is something we found around two days ago. It is an enormous pile of wood that makes good fire. It could be a donation, for all we know. But I doubt it.
“Sure, Taby. I’ll go.” says Iris, and she leaves silently. After I’m sure she’s out of earshot, I say, “What a crazy.”
I know, that probably isn’t very nice, but it’s true. Iris has “lost her marbles” if you know what I mean.
“Taby! Take that back, you fiend! Iris’s visions are true! Remember that time when she said that… um…” Glitter can’t figure out what to say.
“See? You can’t even think up a time that she’s actually had a vision that actually happened. She’s never had a true one!” I exclaim, and Glitter doesn’t respond.
One minute passes, then two. Then five. Then ten. The pile isn’t that far away, so something must’ve gone wrong. Iris isn’t back. Her cannon shot hasn’t gone off yet, so she must be alive. I sling a quiver onto my back, and load it with arrows. I grab the bow, as well.
“I’m going to go check on Iris,” I announce. No one objects. The path to the pile has lots and lots of rocks, and my shoes make a lot of noise, unfortunately. I’m struggling to make as few noises as possible, when I hear the scream.
I run as fast as I can to the pile, but it’s too late. There’s another scream, and then a cannon shot.
“Iris!” I cry. That’s when I see her. And him. I load my bow, and fire. The arrow flies in slow motion, and finds its way carefully into the boy from District 8’s mouth, and his cannon sounds.
Both of their deaths, Iris’s and the boy from District 8, happened so quickly. In a matter of seconds.
When I cried “Iris!”, everyone (well, at least everyone in my alliance) came running. Grant, Glitter… even Silas.
“What? What hap––” that’s when Grant sees Iris… and the boy from District 8.
“She was right! She was right!” Glitter is suddenly screaming. “She was right!”
“Wha––? What? What do you mean?” I ask Glitter suspiciously.
“She was right! Remember what she said? The dead will be one boy, and one girl,” Glitter quoted. “I guess she didn’t know one of the dead would be her.”
Glitter is right. Iris. The boy from District 8. Both dead. One boy, and one girl. A few seconds later, a hovercraft comes and collects Iris and the boy, the rusty dagger still in his hand that took Iris’s life.
I didn’t believe in Iris’s visions, but I respected her as a human being. And now, there was only eight of us left. Four of us, and four of them. Eight. Eight left, just like in Iris’s vision. Maybe it was true.
Well, she’ll never make another prediction again, that’s for sure.
“Oh, can we please stop walking, Grant? We’ve been at it for hours, and we haven’t seen a single tribute!” Glitter squeals.
Can you believe her?
“Glitter,” I say in a tone very menacingly. It translates to ‘complain again and I’ll rip your throat out without hesitance’. I think she gets the message, because she doesn’t complain again. Good.
It’s been a bit weird at camp since Iris’s death. Sometimes Glitter cries uncontrollably, mourning Iris. I sort of miss her company, too. It feels like years since I’ve seen her white blond hair and steel grey eyes. We don’t really know what to do with her sleeping bag, or her backpack, or stuff that we don’t really need.
“They must be doing interviews right now. The betting must be getting ridiculous,” says Grant. He’s right. When it gets to the final eight, the betting gets rough.
“We’re out of water.” says Silas suddenly. I’m stunned, because I don’t think I’ve ever heard Silas talk. No, I’m serious!
“Out of water?” Grant asks. “We had tons, though!”
I look at everyone’s reactions to the fact that we’re out of water. Grant and Silas looked shocked, but Glitter… she looked frightened.
“Glitter! She did something to the water!” I shout, and everyone fixes their eyes on me.
“What? What do you mean, Taby?” Glitter asks a little too innocently.
“You look scared. Frightened. That means, you probably did something to the water. You’re scared because you don’t want anyone to find out.” I explain, and now everyone looks at Glitter.
Her face is beet red, and there’s sweat on her forehead. I was right; she definitely had something to do with it…
“What?! That’s ridiculous! You have no proof!” says Glitter, looking much traumatized.
“Yes, then what is this, Glitter?” Silas asks, and pulls her girly-pink backpack into his hands. Inside, clearly, are about ten empty bottles of water.
“How could you?!” I wail. I can’t help but feel a little angry. Glitter has drunk all of the water, and we haven’t seen a single water source since we’ve been out here.
“I… I was always thirsty from all the walking we’ve been doing lately. You’re trying to dehydrate me to death, aren’t you? One bottle a day, Glitter, you said. Well, I need five a day! And if you people can’t support me, I’m leaving this group! And you cannot stop me. You’re all fiends! Fiends!” Glitter prompts.
“Good! Oh, gosh, I’ve been waiting for this!” I say with glee. I sling on my bow, and watch Glitter’s face electrify with terror.
“Don’t…” she mutters, but it’s too late. My arrow has left my bow, and it pierces her heart very well. A cannon fires, and Glitter is clearly dead. Her curly brown hair is in her mouth, and her green eyes are closed. Oh, I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time! Me, killing Glitter!
“Um –– Tabs? What the hell?” Grant says, eyeing a spear a few yards away.
“She said she was going to leave. She wasn’t a part of our alliance anymore, so it wouldn’t have mattered if I killed her.” I say, blushing. I don’t want Grant to think I’m sort of a psychopath or something.
“Well, I can’t pretend I’ll miss her,” says Grant, and I laugh. Glitter sure was annoying.
“No, I won’t miss Glitter Glows. Ever.” says Silas. Glitter Glows? Is that her name? Oh well, it doesn’t matter. She’s dead.
“Seven to go,” I say, and they both nod.
For the rest of the day, Silas, Grant, and I collect nuts, dig up roots, and hunt game. I shoot some grouse, and we feast on their lovely, juicy meat. Well, another good thing about Glitter’s death is there’s one less mouth to feed.
“Hey, Taby, what’s your favorite color?” Grant asks me spontaneously.
“What?” I say, completely caught off guard.
“What is your favorite color?” Grant asks again.
“Oh… oh, that’s a tough one… uh… purple?” I respond. To be honest, I don’t really have a favorite color. I just… never really thought about it.
“Purple? What shade of purple?” Grant prompts.
“Oh? Mine is red. Dark red,” he says. “What about you, Silas?”
“My favorite color is black.” Silas responds. He says it in a way that pretty much kills the conversation. Silas is definitely a buzz-kill.
Speaking of buzz, I hear a faint buzzing far away.
“What’s that?” I ask.
“What's what?” Grant says dully.
“That buzzing sound,” I say. Both Silas and Grant listen really carefully, and soon they hear it, too.
“Is it wasps?” I ask Grant.
“This is the Hunger Games. I doubt it.” says Grant.
“Tracker jackers,” says Silas.
The sound is getting louder, and louder. A cannon sounds.
“Maybe we should get out of here…” I say. That’s when I see a boy emerge from the brush. His eyes are wild, and there are bumps the size of plums on his exposed skin. And by the looks of his black hair and brown eyes, I recognize him as the boy from District 10. But where is his girlfriend?
“Tracker jackers!” he screams. A few feet away, are a swarm of wasps that have round bodies of gold. Tracker jackers…
The tracker jacker swarm was horrific; we –– and be we I mean me, Silas, Grant, and the boy from District 10 –– were running for our lives away from the swarm. The boy from District 10 received at least eight stings. Four on his face, and two on each of his exposed arms.
I feel something land on my cheek, and then a prick where it landed. A few seconds later, I feel woozy and painful, and I look over to Grant for comfort. He has already gotten two stings, one on his forehead and the other on his eyelid. Silas has none, most likely because he is in the front of the line. He’s the fastest.
All of a sudden, the boy from District 10 collapses, and a cannon shot pronounces him dead.
“Keep moving!” Silas shouts, and I tear my eyes from the boy’s body. I feel another tracker jacker land on my arm, and I flick it off before it stings me. I feel the panic slowly rising up in my chest, before I let out a loud moan.
“It’s alright, Taby! Keep… keep moving!” says Grant, but he doesn’t look so good. His face is covered with stings, and they have swollen leaving his face almost unrecognizable. Suddenly, the fact of losing Grant smacks me in the face. I only have one sting, but he must have close to ten. The boy from District 10 died at eight stings. How far will Grant make it?
The swarm is almost right on top of us now, and if that happens there will be no need to run. We’ll all be dead. Two tracker jackers simultaneously land on my nose, and I feel their stingers lodge into my skin. The pain is the worst pain I have ever felt. I cannot describe the pain that I feel! I look to Silas for help, and I discover he is no better than Grant health wise. His face is terribly swollen, and he’s starting to lag behind.
But what can we do about the insects? This arena is horrible, because the only water we’ve had is from few rainfalls and the Cornucopia. We can’t exactly jump into a lake and hope they’ll fly away. These are tracker jackers we’re talking about. They’re designed to track us down till our horrible, painful deaths. So what can we do?
As if on cue, I feel something wet fall onto my scalp. Then more, and more, and more. Rain? Yes, it is! But my happiness is soon dampened, because Silas falls to the ground, and the swarm preys on him.
“Silas!” I cry.
The rain falls harder, and the tracker jackers start to fall to the ground. Yes, the water has caused their wings to fail. I remember my mother, in a very distant memory, told me that flying insect’s wings don’t mix with water. And right now, the rain has saved Silas’s life!
But it’s not as simple as that. From the look on Silas’s face, he is in extreme agony. And the swarm that fell on him seconds earlier stung him badly. Horribly.
I run over, and take his hand, which is covered with lumps.
“Silas…” I say. I only got three stings, but he got at least a dozen, probably more. And what about Grant? He’s right beside me, and staring into Silas’s eyes with me. I never really noticed Silas’s eye color before. They’re a brilliant shade of color that I can’t call brown or green, they’re just simply both. Silas…
I should’ve talked to him more. I should’ve respected him more. I hate to admit it, but Glitter –– yes, I know what you’re thinking, Glitter –– and I used to me fun of him. For being quiet, and keeping to himself. I feel horrible about it now that he’s dying.
“Silas! Don’t leave us.” I say, and his brown-green eyes open wide.
“You will be fine without me.” says Silas, and his eyes close permanently. His cannon sounds, and I know he’s gone forever.
“Come on, let’s go.” says Grant, and I agree. I wipe my watering eyes, and take Carter’s hand, not wanting to ever let go.
“Want some chicken?” I ask, holding a drumstick out to Grant.
“No… I’m not hungry. I can’t eat.” he says.
“I don’t blame you,” I reply. I stuff the drumstick in my mouth, and eat the delicious meat.
“You know… I’m going to miss Silas, and Iris, and… even Glitter.” he says.
I nearly choke on my drumstick.
“You’ll miss Glitter?” I ask for confirmation.
“Well, actually… now that I think about it –– no.” Grant says with a smile.
“Good, I thought you were going crazy for a moment there.” I say.
“I guess I was.” he says.
“I’m going to miss Silas and Iris.” He clarifies.
“Yeah, me too,” I say. “I’ll miss Silas’s kindness and Iris’s craziness.” I admit.
“Yes, she was pretty crazy.” He agrees.
“Only one of us can live.” I remind Grant.
“Yes, and it’ll be you.” He replies.
“Don’t be so sure about that.” I say.
Does he really think I’ll win, or is he just pulling my leg? Actually, more importantly, does he want me to win? I’m not sure…
Our conversation is dead for a while, until I break the silence.
“So. Only two others left.” I say.
“Yes. Only the girl from District Five and the boy from District Three.” He says.
“And what happens when they’re both dead?” I ask Grant.
“Taby, let’s not talk about––”
“No, Grant! We have to talk about this!” I say.
“Well, if you want.” he says.
“It’s obvious what’ll happen after the girl from Five and the boy from Three’s deaths. One of us will turn on the other.” I say.
“Please. That won’t happen.” Grant says.
“How can you be so sure?” I ask.
“I’m not.” He says.
But what will happen? I don’t want to find myself slitting his throat, but I don’t want him to slit mine, either. Maybe the girl from 5 or the boy from 3 will kill him. I seriously doubt that.
“I think…” he says, but doesn’t continue.
“What do you think?” I ask, suddenly very curious.
“I think that the ending won’t be that pretty.”
“The end? Do you mean the last death?” I inquire.
“I’m not sure. Just the end.” He says with a smile.
There’s something I want to say to Grant –– something that might make him turn his back on me forever, or something that may make him happy. I’ve been wanting to say it since at least the fifth day, when I finally realized it.
“Hey, Grant?” I ask for his attention.
“I… I think I love you.”
“So do I.”
My heart stops for a few seconds, and then starts up again, faster than I’ve ever known.
“I’ve known I love you for a long time, Taby.”
Grant? Loves me back? I guess I should’ve known the moment we held hands a few hours ago. But he saying it out loud realizes it in a terrifying way; only one of us can live. I’m so speechless that I can’t say any words.
“This is a dream.” I say, even though I know it isn’t one.
“No, it’s not. I love you… and I hate it.” Grant says.
“Why.” I say it not really as a question, just a statement, which is sort of strange.
“Because… well, you know why.” he says.
“No, I don’t, Grant. Say it out loud.” I say.
His blue eyes twinkle in the sun, and his blond hair seems white, not blond. It seems like we’re trapped in a nightmare, even though I know we’re not. Our fingers entwine, and he only barely smiles. But I can’t smile. One of us will die, or both. Not neither. We still have to take down the boy from District 3 and the girl from District 5 before we can think of what’ll happen next. I want them dead.
“Because… I don’t want to lose you.” says Grant.
“I don’t either.”
“You’re too beautiful to die,” he says nonchalantly.
“Beautiful? I’m not beautiful….” I say.
“Oh please! Look at you! There’s not a zit on your face, your black hair is amazing, and your chocolate eyes look almost edible. You’re right, you’re not beautiful. You’re gorgeous.” Grant says.
“Are you kidding me? My hair’s a rat’s nest, and my eyes aren’t that beautiful. There’s a girl in my class with mist-grey eyes and gold blond hair. She’s more beautiful than me.” I say.
“Téa?” he asks.
“Yes, Téa. The girl who won the Games two years ago. Do you know her?” I ask.
“Yes. And compared to you, she’s ugly.” he says.
“You’re saying I’m more beautiful than Téa.” I question his sanity. Téa is the most gorgeous and sexy girl in our class. He’d be crazy not to like her.
“Téa tries to be beautiful. You’re beautiful because you don’t. And because you’re pretty.” Grant says. This doesn’t make any sense, his words, so I decide to drop the subject. I don’t want to talk about attractiveness.
We have a plan.
We will split up, and try to search for tributes. Both Grant and I know we’ll probably be almost perfectly safe on our own unless we come across a swarm of tracker jackers, but it’s terrible leaving each other. Before I leave, I grab my best knives; bronze blades, and an ebony handle that feels very smooth and powerful in my hands. I love these knives.
“Go kill some tributes,” says Grant.
“I will.” I say. My voice sounds confident but I am not. In agony, I walk away from Grant not knowing if I’ll ever see him again.
It’s like the Gamemakers have magically turned the arena from the beginning of summer to the middle of autumn. There are falling leaves everywhere, and the wind is blowing fiercely. My hair is getting in my eyes and mouth, and I’m constantly pushing it out. I want these two opponents out of my way, the boy from District 3 and the girl from District 5. Then… and then I don’t know what will happen… or if Grant and I will be the final two. Hopefully.
I come across a hill that has luxurious green grass, and there are steel grey boulders scattered all over the hill. I hate hills, they make me feel so vulnerable. There could be a tribute up there that could take me down any second. I don’t like it.
I shoot a squirrel, and eat it uncooked, which I know is foolish, but I don’t care. I’m too hungry. I’m tired, so I sit down on a boulder and think about many things; my life, Grant, love, winning, the boy from District 3, my home, and the girl from District 5 for a few minutes.
I’m completely unprepared when he hits me on the head. I fall helplessly onto the ground, my mouth filled with the perfect grass. I turn around reflexively, and see the brown-orange hair of the boy from District 3. In his left hand is a rock, and he’s raised it again to throw. But before he makes a blow that would have surely killed me, I get onto my knees and stab him in the chest somewhere, I’m not really sure where.
He’s far from dead, though, that’s clear when he hits me on the head with the rock again, and he sprawls onto the ground next to me.
I’m blind. This boy must have hit me so hard, that I’ve temporarily lost my vision. Or maybe not temporarily. Those terrifying seconds where I don’t know if I’ll ever see again or even live are horrible, but seconds later my vision is back, and the boy next to me clearly isn’t doing that well.
“Kayden!” someone shouts. I look and all I register is a girl-like figure with a mane of red hair. The girl from District 5.
“Run, Shyla! You can make it without me, I know you can!” he says, and the girl takes off. Huh, so this boy is named Kayden, and the girl is Shyla.
Too bad it’s too late for Kayden here, because I’ve got the bronze knife in my hand that’ll end his life in a few seconds.
He’s been coughing blood, but he’s a fighter, that one. The wound near his belly button is bad, but he’s stolen one of my knives. Perfect, just perfect!
“Grant! Help!” I shout, and the boy Kayden hesitates. He doesn’t want a giant boy from District 4 coming after him, especially now that he’s got his hands full with a girl from District 2. Whether or not Grant hears me is a mystery, but I’m still going to kill Kayden. And then Shyla.
I charge at the boy, with two bronze knives in my left and my right hand. Four knives to one knife, I’ve got this in the bag, right? Wrong. It turns out he’s excellent at the knife, because it comes sailing at me and slices my right cheek, where my tracker jacker sting is still healing.
The pain is horrible, and know I’m mad. He definitely won’t like me when I’m mad. I collect the knife that he threw that is now on the ground, caked with blood, and I throw a knife with my right hand, and then charge.
The knife misses the now weaponless boy, but that’s okay because I slam into Kayden, and stab him in the heart. He makes a mysterious gurgling noise, and drops dead, says his cannon shot. I feel my cheek and feel it pouring with blood.
“Grant!” I cry, wondering where he is. “Grant!” I need help. My head hurts unimaginably, and my cheek is in need of aid. I also need comfort that only Grant can give. Kayden is dead, but Shyla is still on the loose, probably tramatized by her boyfriend (or ally)’s death. It’s okay, Taby, you’re going to be alright.
When Grant comes over, he’s wearing a mask of concern.
“Good job, Tabs,” he says with a light laugh.
“Help me!” I say, exhausted. The hovercraft swoops by and picks up Kayden’s mutilated body.
“I’m not a medic… what should I do?” he asks, clearly confused.
“Anything!” I plead. I’m in horrible pain, and when I put my hand to my cheek to put pressure on it, my hand is soon covered with blood.
“Uh, we need some help here. Could you help?” he says.
“What? What?! You want me to help myself?! Well, I can’t do that!” I say, tired of Grant’s antics. Heck, even Glitter would be more useful than him right now.
“No, not you! Sponsors!” he says, laughing at my puzzlement.
“Oh.” I say, feeling really dumb. We wait, and we wait, and soon a first aid kit comes falling from the sky.
“You might need some stitches on that,” says Grant.
“Maybe.” I agree.
We open the first aid kit, and put on the wound something called “Polysolyn”, some kind of medicinal cream. Apparently it helps prevent infection in major cuts, scrapes and burns, so I put it on my wound, but it only eggs on the pain. I put a band-aid on, and hope the band-aid absorbs the blood.
“I’m glad you’re here, Grant.” I say.
“Me, too.” He says.
“Don’t leave.” I plead, letting him hold me.
“I never would.”
It’s been two days since I killed Kayden, and Grant and I are still on the lookout for Shyla. My cheek’s healed, but not that well. I’ll probably have a scar there for a long time. But exactly how long, I don’t know.
“Today’s the day we’ll find her.” says Grant.
“And why do you think that?” I ask.
“I don’t know… just a feeling?” he responds.
“Okay, so today we’ll find her. But what happens after that?” I’ve already asked that question before, but I still don’t know the answer.
“That’s your decision, Taby.” he says, and gets himself busy by filling our backpack with goods from the Cornucopia.
That’s your decision, Taby. Is he trying to make me feel bad? He’s basically saying that he won’t kill me. And I’m certainly not going to kill him, so there’s no way out unless Shyla somehow kills him. But the probability of Shyla killing Grant is not in my favor. Grant is a skilled Career, and Shyla is a scrawny girl from District 5. So then what? I could possibly kill myself, but Grant would probably stop me. There’s no way out.
“You coming?” he asks.
So we leave our Base Camp, the place that used to be the place where Silas, Glitter, and Iris lived. And now they’re all gone, except for me and Grant. The forest has somehow gotten much bigger in the last few days, either because all of the tributes that used to take up a lot of space are dead, or because the Gamemakers are making it smaller. My bow and arrows are neatly placed in my hands, ready for use.
“Hey, we should be quiet…” Grant says timidly. I’ve rarely heard Grant seems so unsure of anything. His voice reminds me of a girl in District 2 named Allyson, who rarely spoke, and when she did she always sounded fearful for some reason. People always made fun of Allyson, so I felt bad for her.
“Okay, we’ll be quieter.” I say gingerly, and we both walk as silently as a pair of foxes for the rest of the day.
We must’ve walked for hours, because when we get back to our Base Camp the sky is turning to dusk.
“I don’t get it,” Grant says. “We must’ve scouted the whole arena.”
“Maybe she’s in a particular hiding spot.” I suggest, but Grant doesn’t say anything back.
We are both completely unprepared when the attacks begin. The first weapon, a spear, flies past my head. I whip my head around, and see the unmistakable red hair of Shyla.
“Get down!” Grant cries, and I sink to the ground. Wait –– what am I doing? I’m not the kind of person that backs down from a fight. I load an arrow, and fire at Shyla with Grant. Grant has a single spear. I have four arrows.
“Die!” Grant shouts, and he throws his spear. Shyla ducks, and the spear lodges into a tree. Shyla smirks, and grabs a second weapon –– a very long knife. It’s sharp. Now’s my time to fire an arrow. My first arrow completely misses this girl, and I curse under my breath. Grant is weaponless, I have three arrows, and Shyla has a deadly weapon. It’s up to me to kill her.
“Come and get me!” she hollers, and dashes off deep into the woods.
“We lost her.” I say.
“No, we didn’t.” Grant says. He reaches in the pack for our last weapon. A mace.
“Take it.” I say, even though I used it on the first day to kill that girl from District 6; it’s mine. But I let Grant take it.
“Okay.” He doesn’t disagree. And then we run.
Grant is breathing hard, and I’m out of breath myself. I’m so full of fear. What if Grant dies and I’m left to fight Shyla on my own? Or, what if we both die, and Shyla wins? Grant and I can’t both win, so what…. what will happen? I would sacrifice myself for Grant. But would he do the same? Of course he would.
We come to a big circle of absolutely nothing –– a big, perfect circle, where there isn’t a single plant. Only dirt.
“Where is she?!” I hiss. It’s almost like Shyla has disappeared. Vanished. We push our backs together, so we can see all around us. Shyla could be anywhere....
Grant runs up ahead, and I’m slow to follow up to him. That’s when Shyla strikes. She jumps on to Grant’s back, and pierces the back of his neck with her knife. She then jumps off, and Grant falls on his back. His eyes hold on me for a minute, and then glaze over.
“Grant!” I cry. His cannon shot goes off, and I rush to his body. Shyla has disappeared.
“Oh, oh––oh God! Grant! No! Don’t––don’t leave me!” I say, which is stupid. I know he’s gone, but… he can’t. Can’t leave me. It’s just not possible.
“Come and get me!” Shyla shouts for the second time. I have no idea where she is, or what her intention is. But I don’t care right now. Grant is dead. It happened so, so fast! Grant… his blond hair is shimmering in the sun, and his blue eyes are terribly glazed. His neck is bleeding, and I’m hugging him badly. Shyla could come at any second and kill me, but I don’t really care. I just close my eyes, and bury my face into Grant’s neck, not ever wanting to let go.
Would Grant really want me to do this? Just sit down, and give up? Of course not! I pick my head up, and my blood is now pumping with vengeance and bloodlust. I pick up my bow and arrows and set off to kill Shyla. My destiny.
I see her up ahead, and lock eyes with her. She looks down at her knife, and then at my bow and arrows, and begins to run. Fast. She’s much more agile than I, but I think I can run far enough to shoot an arrow into her skinny chest. I’m going to avenge Grant’s death by killing this pathetic girl named Shyla. But her name’s not important now. I’ll just call her “the enemy”.
The enemy dives into the brush, and disappears again. For a moment, I stop running, and begin thinking. She could pop out and slice my neck in a second, and right now she could be anywhere in the brush. So what should I do? I can’t exactly blindly shoot arrows into the brush, since I only have three. And each arrow counts. I know that. So… that brings me again to the question, what should I do?
I move closer and closer to the brush, which is about an acre of fern bushes only about as high as my knees. She’s probably on her stomach right now, dragging herself into a position where she’ll be ready to sink her knife into my chest when I approach. Suddenly, I’m overwhelmed by the fact that I might return to District 2. All of my friends back home… I have to go back. Grant would want me too. The enemy can deal with death. I don’t have to.
I pull back the string on my bow, and I’ll be completely ready when the enemy attacks me. If she attacks me first. I scour the area where she likely is, trying to make out her unmistakable red hair. But she finds me before I do.
She leaps onto my chest, and knocks me to the ground. I’m shocked how quickly she did this. My bow flies about six feet away, and lies on top of a nearby fern. It’s too far away for me to reach, and the enemy’s knife is sitting on my throat.
“Finally, a winner from District Five.” The enemy says breathlessly. She looks so relieved. I don’t respond. Is this really the end? Is this how I die? Killed by a scrawny girl from District 5? She focuses on her knife, and starts to drag it across my throat, when suddenly, the knife falls to the ground, and her hold on me is released.
Confused, I look up. Shyla’s––I mean, the enemy’s–– head is hanging in some kind of creature’s mouth. Her headless body falls onto the ground. I can’t really describe this creature, because it’s form changed constantly. The enemy’s cannon goes off, and the creature disappears, probably because it was called back. A victor has been crowned.
And it’s me.
I’m not happy or sad. I’m just relieved it’s all over. It’s all over…