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Alright, let's do this. So, I left this place about a year and a half ago, and I probably always knew this would have to happen someday, but I think it's time for one last games. I do really miss this place, so I figured I might as well come back for a little. Things will get busy again for me at the end of next month, so this return will be short-lived, and don't expect to see me too much outside of writing these games. Anyways, I hope a lot of my old friends are here, and I'm excited to make some new ones too! So without further ado, I give you the Doomsday Games!
Introduction to the games
100 years have passed since the Capitol abolished the Hunger Games once and for all. But the world has not forgotten the brutal and sinister nature of these horrid competitions. The Games can never come back.
But for every sane person out there in the nation, there are a few who disagree. There are a few who believe the games should’ve continued, and the nation should not have been deprived of paying for their sins in the form of young sacrifices. These people have a plan, a plan to construct the greatest Hunger Games the nation has ever seen. Then, they will all see the light. And if they do not, they will suffer as they watch the deaths of two children from every district broadcasted on national television.
And they will never find the arena. Even if they do, it will be too late. For these games come with a twist. There will be no victor, not if the Hunger Games are not reinstated by the government. The nation will be forced to pay for their sins one final time.
This is the Doomsday Games.
And may the odds be ever in your favor.
Comment Rules & Conduct
All I have is 3 SIMPLE RULES:
1. SWEARING/INAPPROPRIATE LANGUAGE IS NOT TOLERABLE HERE! I know this is a story about kids killing each other, but let's keep it PG please!!!
2. Don't be a kiss-you-know-what. Keep compliments genuine and I do appreciate constuctive criticism (keep it constructive though...). I'm not saying I don't appreciate compliments though; everyone loves being complimented. YOUR TRIBUTE'S RANK DOES NOT REFLECT MY PERSONAL FEELINGS ABOUT YOU AS A USER. Being nice doesn't improve ranking. But violating these rules has the potential of lowering it. Do tell me outright if you don't feel I am portraying your tribute accurately.
3. Don't be mad when you're tribute dies. This is just a story, and, believe it or not, these tributes aren't real people. Not everyone can win every games; I really disprove of games with tons of victors, it seems the title has become irrelevant now. There are plently of games on this site, you'll get another chance ;)
There are 15 districts. The normal 1-13, plus District 0 (the astrology district) and 14 (the mutt district). There will be a male and female from each.
Each user may only submit ONE TRIBUTE. Can I make that any clearer? I want to get as many users involved as possible. Obviously, if there aren’t enough users to satisfy this, I’ll open it up to two submissions per user. In addition, I am going to be a little biased and keep some spots (not specific districts) reserved because I want some of the older users to get a chance to participate in addition to the many new users.
The games have been gone for 100 years so there are no careers. You can still submit careers, just don’t designate them as such. Say something like “they just happen to be strong and good at throwing knives” instead of saying they were trained to do these things.
The background behind these games is that the nation doesn’t know the games are happening until they do. The arena is in a hidden place. Instead of reapings, these kids are kidnapped. Therefore, there is no volunteering. There won't be any reapings, training scores, interviews, etc. for the same reason.
Just like the Modern Games, there is a POTENTIAL for more than one victor. There is also the potential for none (but would I really do that? Maybe…)
Please keep the tributes interesting! I won’t be a cheater and go steal my own tributes like in the Modern Games, but that doesn’t mean I should get a bunch of really boring tributes, cause those die first. That being said, please don’t go and submit eight-legged mutts with the tail of a fox and the head of a shark, or a thirteen-year old vampire by night and special agent by day. I said interesting, not freaky or unrealistic. Also, I’m obviously going to need some evil, brutal tributes in here as well…
There are no sponsor gifts, as there are no sponsors
These may not be good as the Modern Games, but we’ll have to see…
I honestly only have about a month to do this, so these are going to move pretty quickly once I get all of my tributes entered. I hopefully won’t have to abandon these games, but they have to be done before March 17th , so I might have to rush. I also might just write the games ahead of time, and then I won’t have to worry as much about time constraints.
Anyways, I’m excited for these games, and I hope everyone has fun!
|1||XxXMidget In A BikiniXxX||14||13th|
|14||The Boy WTPT||19||8th|
(*) This represents the number tattooed on the tribute's ankle as part of the original order in which he/she was supposed to die. It may not reflect the true order in which the tribute does die.
Before the order is broken:
|Trick Treat (D9)||1||None||30th|
|Scarecrow Shade (D10)||2||None||29th|
|Theo Clair (D8)||3||None||28th|
|Argus Dimonun (D12)||4||None||27th|
|Saidy Dauntless (D6)||5||None||26th|
|Evan Turner (D7)||6||None||25th|
|Astoria Lovelace (D1)||7||None||24th|
|Toby Macklemore (D14)||9||None||23rd|
|Katarin "KM" Lao (D3)||10||None||22nd|
|Marko Timber (D10)||11||None||21st|
|Fuchsia Terranova (D0)||12||None||20th|
|Rebel Peacock (D13)||13||None||19th|
|Aiden Clifton (D5)||15||None||18th|
|Silvia Hake (D2)||16||None||17th|
|Sparks Fly (D3)||17||None||16th|
After the order is broken:
|Hayden Light (D4)||8||33 (killed # 9)||3rd|
|Sash Bloodhound (D1)||14||32 (killed # 7)||13th|
|Lightning Tree (D0)||18||None||2nd|
|Ophid Carne (D14)||19||None||8th|
|Angelique Bluesong (D4)||20||None||12th|
|Georgia Westlake (D8)||21||35 (killed # 16)||7th|
|Lucas Sunsong (D9)||22||None||5th|
|Spider Tablo (D2)||23||None||11th|
|Chase Locke (D6)||24||None||14th|
|Olympia Valles (D5)||25||None||6th|
|Reyna Alvarez (D12)||26||None||4th|
|Avelina Rose (D7)||27||34 (killed # 11)||15th|
|Falcon Generate (D11)||28||31 (killed # 5)||9th|
|Tessa Powers (D11)||29||None||10th|
|Sydnee Wren (D13)||30||None||1st|
(*): This is the number earned by the tribute after their kills are factored in. By killing the tribute who is next in the order (or, if this tribute is next, then the tribute after them), a tribute will be moved to the end of the order, though the number on their ankle is the same. Once the order is broken, the numbers can no longer change, as they are unimportant.
Yellow: Unknown Status
Falcon Generate: 1 (Saidy Dauntless, # 5)
Sash Bloodhound: 1 (Astoria Lovelace, # 7)
Hayden Light: 1 (Toby Macklemore, # 9)
Lucas Sunsong: 1 (Avelina Rose, # 27)
Olympia Valles: 1 (Georgia Westlake, # 21)
Avelina Rose: 2 (Evan Turner, # 6; Marko Timber, # 11)
ROCKS: 3 (Theo Clair, # 3; Argus Dimonun, # 4; Sparks Fly, # 17)
Georgia Westlake: 5 (Katarin Lao, # 10; Silvia Hake, # 16; Chase Locke, # 24; Spider Tablo, # 23; Ophid Carne)
The arena is in a secret location that the government of Panem is sure to never discover.
The arena itself is a giant, circular island surrounded by a peaceful ocean. As any good Hunger Games arena, it is a mixture of several distinct geographic features that could be found around Panem.
The largest part of the arena is a giant forest. It is filled with many large trees, and is considerably bright for a forest. There is also a large, freshwater lake, and several rivers to provide tributes with natural water. However, there are no mutts, or any animals except for birds. The farther one ventures, the denser and darker the forest becomes. Eventually, the tribute would reach the end of the forest, and the waters surrounding the island.
Oddly, part of the games may take place indoors, as there is a factory on the island as well. The building is dark, depressing, and full of anything from loud machinery, to dangerous weapons, to sinister surprises......
Most of the island is on raised ground. However, the edge of the island is on level ground with the water, creating a beach. One may even be able to find a secret hiding place in the rock wall that seperates the beaech from the raised section of the island (I hope that makes sense...)
Finally, there is a lighthouse on the island. It's the perfect place to hide...yet also the most obvious...
Now here's the twist (the first of many). There is no cornucopia, and no bloodbath. The tributes (as mentioned in the info section) were kidnapped, and they don't know they're in the games until they actually start. Once they do, it is up to these tributes to hunt each other down in pursuit of winning the games. As for resources, they must locate these by themselves...
30. Trick Treat (#1): bludegeoned with bag of rocks by gamemaker trap (Day 2)
29. Scarecrow Shade (#2): arrow through the chest by gamemaker trap (Day 2)
28. Theo Clair (#3): crushed by a boulder (Day 2)
27. Argus Dimonun (#4): hit over head by rock (Day 3)
26. Saidy Dauntless (#5): stabbed in the back by Falcon Generate (Day 3)
25. Evan Turner (#6): knife to the back by Avelina Rose (Day 3)
24. Astoria Lovelace (#7): throat slit by Sash Bloodhound (Day 3)
23. Toby Macklemore (#9): stabbed by Hayden Light (Day 3)
22. Katarin "KM" Lao (#10): throat slit by Georgia Westlake (Day 4)
21. Marko Timber (#11): knife to the stomach by Avelina Rose (Day 4)
20. Fuchsia Terranova (#12): killed in forest fire (Day 4)
19. Rebel Peacock (#13): killed in forest fire (Day 4)
18. Aiden Clifton (#15): killed in forest fire (Day 4)
17. Silvia Hake (#16): stabbed in chest by Georgia Westlake (Day 4)
16. Sparks Fly (#17): killed in cave-in (Day 6)
15. Avelina Rose (#27): stabbed in the chest by Lucas Sunsong (Day 6)
14. Revenus "Chase" Locke (#24): throat slit by Georgia Westlake (Day 6)
13. Sash Bloodhound (#14): Caught in C-4 explosion (Day 6)
12. Angelique Bluesong (#20): Caught in second explosion (Day 6)
11. Spider Tablo (#23): Knifed by Georgia Westlake (Day 6)
10. Tessa Powers (#29): Killed in factory fire (Day 6)
09. Falcon Generate (#28): Killed in factory fire (Day 6)
08. Ophid Carne (#19): Stabbed with machete by Georgia Westlake (Day 6)
07. Georgia Westlake (#21): Stabbed in the chest by Olympia Valles (Day 6)
06. Olympia Valles (#25): Killed in station explosion (Day 6)
05. Lucas Sunsong (#22): Killed in station explosion (Day 6)
04. Reyna Alvarez (#26): Killed by tidal wave (Day 6)
03. Hayden Light (#8): Killed by shark (Day 6)
02. Lightning Tree (#18): Drowned (Day 7)
01. Sydnee Wren (#30): Victor of the Doomsday Games!
The Twist Explanation
As revealed in Day 3, the twist is that each of the tributes were randomly assigned numbers, which are tattooed on their ankles, before entering the arena. The numbers establish an order in which the tributes are supposed to die. The tribute with # 1 is first. # 1 will either be murdered by a gamemaker trap, or by another tribute. Gamemakers will target the tribute who is next to die if no one else attempts to kill them. While # 1 is alive, no other tribute is able to die. However, # 1 can evade death by killing # 2. No one else can kill # 2 (or #'s 3-30 until later), however. If # 1 kills # 2, then they end up at the end of the order (# 31, if you will). In addition, if any of the tributes kill # 1, they will forsake their own number and end up at the end of the order (again, # 31). This will continue until only one is left. When # 1 is dead, # 2 is at risk, and can only be moved to the end of the order by killing # 3. If # 1 ended up evading death by killing # 2, then # 3 is put at risk, and can only survive by killing # 4. And so it continues...
TRIBUTES CANNOT BE KILLED OUT OF ORDER (the only time this can happen is when a tribute who is next to die is able to kill the person immeadiately after them in order to be moved to the end of the order)
Hope this is clearer now :)
Part One: The Twist
Part Two: The Message on the Wall
Part Three: It All Comes Crashing Down
Day Six (Continued)
Olympia Valles, D5, Beach
I’m the first one up. The rest of my alliance keeps their heads down and their eyes shut as long as possible, dreaming of a place better than this.
Today, it is time for us to find the missing half of our alliance. Chase, Lucas, Reyna, and Ophid. The only place they could be is the factory. While my friends sleep, I quickly search the lighthouse for any sign of them, but the building is completely empty. They must be in the factory.
I know my friends have at least lost a little faith in me. I couldn’t save Fuchsia. I couldn’t save Rebel. And I couldn’t save Aiden. So how can they expect me to save anyone else?
But I still believe in myself. I have faith in my plan, and in my government. They will come to rescue us soon enough; all of us. Even those snooty, bloodthirsty careers. And then, we’ll be back to our districts, away from the death and destruction that this arena has brought; we’ll finally be home.
The last few days have changed me, igniting a fire that I never knew I had within me. I know now that if I fail, if I can’t save everyone, then I’ll show my dear Capitol they were wrong to wait so long to find us. If I die, I’ll make sure I get one last stab at the gamemakers and my government.
Sash Bloodhound, D1, Factory
I’m too excited to sleep. I’m running on one, maybe two hours right now, and I feel so amazingly ready to kill! Georgia promised some carnage today, and after yesterday’s disappointing death tally. I’ve never been more excited; ever!!!
When Avelina wakes up, she stares at me with those unforgiving eyes and that snobby smirk. I’m sitting on a crate with my knife in hand, bouncing up and down like a rabid dog. She grimaces and then lies back down.
I hope I get to use my matches today! I hope I get to burn some serious stuff today! I hope I get a chance to take down every last tribute in this arena!!!
The second I find number 17, I’m going to release all of this nervous energy on them. And man, that’s going to be one pretty messed up body when I’m done with it.
Lucas Sunsong, D9, Underground
Rocks and dust tumble from the ceiling, and pillars begin to crumble. I watch in horror as the cavern I spent the last day in threatens to collapse at moment’s notice. The gamemakers are angry, and this is what their wrath looks like.
I’m the first one to get back on my feet. The cavern continues to tremble, and keeping my balance becomes a struggle. Reyna gets to her feet as well, and we help our friends off the ground. Then, we run.
The tunnel that we crawled through after the forest fire has already collapsed, leaving us with only one other option. We take off down the other end of the cavern, heading into a dimly lit hallway. We can hear the cavern begin to collapse behind us. I feel like I’m stuck in the forest fire again, except instead of running from fire, I’m running from everything around me. My world is collapsing. Literally.
Suddenly, I see a flash of color speeding towards me from the end of the hallway. I don’t have time to react. A series of arrows come flying towards me. But they miss. They go speeding past me, heading into the group of tributes behind me. I don’t have time to warn them, either.
Hayden Light, D4, Beach
Once everyone is up and ready, Olympia announces that we will be traveling to the factory. She believes that’s where our missing friends are. I think she’s on a suicide mission. Either that, or she wants to find the careers and see if she can kill out of order.
Something’s changed in her ever since that forest fire. I think she feels guilty about all of the people who died. I think it showed her that she isn’t invincible, and that you can’t save everyone. That’s definitely what it taught me. She’s quieter now, and a little colder too. She spends a lot of time staring into space. Maybe she’s afraid to die, now that the order is slowly closing in on her, and everyone else here.
When I ask her if she’s okay, she shrugs and says, “Not any better than yesterday.” But I think she’s lying, because she at least fakes a smile when she talks to me this time.
I decide to give Olympia space, and I strike up a conversation with Angelique. She’s number 20, and it won’t be long before she’s next. Just like the rest of us, she’s scared to go back into that dark depressing factory.
After all, the gamemakers have forced all of the tributes into a single, confined space twice before in these games. And neither instance ended well. We can only hope that history doesn’t choose to repeat itself.
Reyna Alvarez, D12, Underground
I see the arrows coming just in time. As they go speeding towards Sparks, I shove him to the ground, and we fall against the hard, stone wall. Thankfully, we don’t hit our heads. But we do hit a button concealed on the wall. Spikes begin to fall from the ceiling, and I have to pull Sparks out of the way again.
Our group has stopped to wait for us, but they’re mostly interested in the same very thing that’s on my mind. “Why are all the traps aimed at you?!” I demand, yelling over the rukus.
The answer hits me before I even look down at his ankle. He must be next. I grab his ankle to confirm my fears, and there it is, a glowing green 17. Sparks smiles sheepishly, as if he was ashamed to have the number. If I were him, I’d be freaking the heck out.
The gamemakers want another victim, and Sparks is next on their list.
Avelina Rose, D7, Factory
I want Sash dead, and I want him dead now. I swear, that rabid freak is going to kill someone soon, whether they’re supposed to die next or not. He’s running on no sleep (and I thought he was unstable before) and he’s got dozens of glinting weapons to play with. If I could, I’d slit his throat right now. But I can’t, not until it’s his turn to die.
Georgia gets us up and prepped for the day. She makes sure we all have a knife, a sword, rope, and plenty of water. Today, we’re going tribute hunting. We’re going to find 17, and 18, and 19, and so on, until everyone’s gone but us. Georgia makes sure that for every one weapon we have, she has two. If I could slit her throat, I wouldn’t hesitate. I can’t afford to keep the evil rich girl and the crazy pyromaniac by my side any longer. But I have no choice.
I’m going to have to suck it up, until everyone’s gone but the three of us. And then, the real games will begin…
Ophid Carne, D14, Underground
As the cavern continues to crumble, we take off again. Reyna stays by Sparks’ side, helping him dodge several traps and falling rocks. At best, we’re only a few feet ahead of the collapsing cavern. One false move and we’ll be caught in the cave-in.
Suddenly, the cavern begins to narrow and slope upwards. We’re finally headed aboveground. But as I run up the tunnel, Chase and Lucas in front of me, I can no longer hear anyone behind me. I spin around.
Sparks has fallen, his leg caught in a mass of vines sticking out of the ground. Apparently, the vines tripped up Reyna, because she’s on the ground a few feet in front of him. Sparks desperately reaches out for help, and Reyna runs towards him. But before she can move more than a few steps, the ceiling begins to give, tossing debris into a mound that separates the two tributes. Sparks, though I can’t see him anymore, reaches his hand out through a space in the mound of rocks and dust.
Reyna reaches out to grab his hand. Maybe there’s still time to save the boy from 3. But the gamemakers won’t allow it. The rest of the ceiling collapses, burying Sparks, and tossing Reyna backwards. The cannon is almost drowned out in the noise of the collapse.
Reyna’s hysterical, and I have to pull her up through the rest of the collapsing tunnel. The cave-in moves slower now, probably because the tribute that it was after is dead. I decide to join Reyna in her sobbing fest. Sparks…charming, funny Sparks…is dead, and he can never come back. That means that it’s 18’s turn now, whoever that may be.
Lightning Tree, D0, Factory
My face goes white as I hear the sound of a cannon. Number 17 is dead. Sydnee turns right towards me, her eyes wide in fear.
“Guys…we have to get out of here…” I tell my friends, my horrified eyes fixed on the floor.
Olympia looks confused. “Lightning, we can’t turn back now—” I interrupt her by pulling up my pant leg, showing my group the number 18. They turn almost as white as me. “Oh…”
“The careers are in here…they’ll take me down without a second thought. I think I’ve got to go back to the beach; I’ll be safer there.”
“I’ll go with you,” says Sydnee, taking my side. “Remember, I got your back, and you’ve got mine,” she whispers.
“Lightning…” starts Olympia. She gives me this pained look, though I know what she’s thinking. I’ve just become her next Fuchsia, her next chance to save us all. “I know you. You’re a fighter, one of the strongest in this arena. And if you just come with us, I promise we can keep you safe. You’re stronger in here with the four of us than you could be out on your own.”
Sydnee grips my hand. “You don’t have to listen to her,” she says, not caring if Olympia hears.
I sigh and return Olympia’s pained look. “Alright.” I don’t know why I do it, but I continue with my group, one hand gripping Sydnee’s and the other gripping my spear.
Chase Locke, D6, Factory
As Lucas and I emerge from the tunnel, covered in dust, we find ourselves in the middle of the factory. We turn around, staring back down the narrow entrance to the underground tunnel. Ophid struggles to pull Reyna up the tunnel. They’re both crying, and Sparks is nowhere to be found. That cannon…it was for him. I try to keep myself from tearing up. This isn’t the time.
“Sparks…?” Lucas asks quietly. Ophid nods. The rest of us hang our heads. I can’t help but feel that if I’d never decoded that message, the gamemakers never would have attacked us, and Sparks never would have died. I try to convince myself that this wasn’t my fault, but it’s not an easy task.
The four of us stand silent, Ophid and Reyna continuing to quietly sob. But suddenly, we hear a stampede of footsteps echo throughout the halls.
“Well, well, well, what do we have here?” says Georgia, her vengeful eyes reflecting in the glint of her knife. The three careers cross their arms at the exact same time, staring at us like we’re a group of puny mice.
But before anything can happen, we hear footsteps again. Olympia’s alliance of five emerges from behind a corner. They stop short, surprised to see us, but more horrified to see the careers.
Seems like the perfect time for a showdown.
Angelique Bluesong, D4, Factory
I look around, realizing that we’re in the career’s camp, full of weaponry and crates of supplies. Chase’s group is here as well. They emerged from a tunnel that was cleverly hidden behind a few machines. And now they’re here. We’re all here.
The gamemakers set this scenario up. Thirteen tributes, in the same exact place. And now, people are going to die. Sometimes I hate these gamemakers so much. I wish they could just leave us alone, and then Olympia’s plan could actually work out. But that’s not how these games are supposed to work.
There are the careers, with their knives and hateful eyes, poised for the kill. And even Olympia won’t be able to get us out of this one.
But as I watch Chase’s group, I see something I never thought I would see. Lucas removes his knife from his pocket. He looks angry, like a raging bull. Whoever just died, Lucas wasn’t happy to see it. His eyes trace on the careers, as if he’s contemplating killing one of them. But he can’t! They’re at the end of the order!
But that’s not going to stop him from trying.
Olympia Valles, D5, Factory
We’ve barely been here for a second when Lucas breaks into a sprint, running at the careers. Just like me, they don’t expect something like that from him. He manages to tackle Avelina to the ground and pin her down. He raises his knife, and that’s when I realize what he’s about to do.
“Lucas, no!” I shriek. “She’s not next!”
Lucas turns and faces me. Avelina doesn’t seem to be struggling under his hold. She knows he can’t kill her, and she knows he won’t.
“I want to live!” Lucas yells. He brings his knife down and pierces Avelina’s chest. The rest of us recoil with the blow. “I want to live!” he yells again, screaming through the tears.
I run forward and pull the hysterical Lucas off of Avelina. He’s sobbing like a madman. I grab him and make him face me. “What have you done?!”
The rest of the tributes watch Avelina struggle to stay alive. She chokes on her own blood as she squirms on the ground, soaking in the shock of being stabbed out of order.
Sydnee kneels down beside her. “Come on Avelina, stay with us! Please!” She turns to Lightning, who’s standing behind her.
He shrugs. “If she dies, she dies.” He’s just happy it’s not him.
But Lightning’s right. Avelina is about to die, no matter what we do. And she wasn’t supposed to die next. Lucas has just seriously pissed the gamemakers off.
And there it is. That cannon marks our violation of the gamemakers' biggest rule.
That cannon seals our fates.
Georgia Westlake, D8, Factory
I can’t believe it. That puny little kid from 9 just broke the gamemakers' biggest rule. I guess it’s not a shame he took his anger out on Avelina, she was probably my biggest threat in the games. I just can’t believe the gamemakers didn’t even stop him.
The other idiotic tributes stare at the scene, dumbstruck. Like me, they can’t believe what just happened. We’re all waiting for the gamemakers to unleash their wrath on us. It could happen any moment now.
“You idiot!” I shriek at Lucas, who’s cowering on the ground with Olympia. “You just got us all killed!”
“Guys it’s alright!” Chase yells, stopping my rant short. He advances towards me and addresses the group. “We spent the last day underground, and we discovered a message from the gamemakers. It said that in order for there to be a victor, the order had to be broken. Someone had to kill out of order! And now, the order doesn’t matter anymore!”
Great. Now my position at the end of the order is meaningless. “Oh…well in that case…” I jump forward and vengefully slice my dagger across Chase’s neck. His eyes widen and he trembles as he falls to his knees. If our numbers no longer matter, then I’m going to take as much advantage of our situation as possible. And that means I’ll kill anyone in sight.
Sash Bloodhound, D1, Factory
As Chase falls to the ground, dead, I rase my machete and scream, “IT’S A FREE-FOR ALL!!!”
The tributes scatter in different directions. Georgia stays still and stares at Chase’s body, reveling in her latest accomplishment. I leave her there and charge after the boy from 9. He’s the one who killed Avelina. He deserves to die next.
As I bolt down the hallways, a faint noise begins to echo off the walls. I stop short, a glowing object catching my eyes. I turn a corner, dreamily walking towards a pile of boxes. Only they aren’t boxes. They’re bundles of C-4, with a watch attached to them. As I near the bomb, the watch suddenly starts to count down from 10 seconds. Apparently this was the consequence for breaking the order.
“This thing is so awesome!!!” I shriek. I wish I could’ve found this thing earlier! It would’ve been the ultimate weapon. I graze the C-4 with my hand, the green countdown timer reflected in my awestruck eyes. As the timer hits one second, I don’t even think to move. I’m too entranced.
Ophid Carne, D14, Factory
The explosion rocks the entire factory, tossing me off of my feet and right on to the ground. I gracefully face-plant. On the screen in front of me, the number 14 turns red. Apparently the explosion took one of the tributes with it, drowning out the cannon.
I pull myself from the floor and continue running around like a maniac. I don’t get far before I find the spot where the bomb went off. A fire has started, another fire! It spreads along the walls, quickly growing, and headed down the hallways. It won’t be long before the entire factory goes down. Seriously? Another fire! This is ridiculous!
My number may not be next, but it doesn’t matter now. In the forest fire, I knew I couldn’t die. But now that the order is broken, anything could happen. I sprint away from the flames.
The windows are locked, and even a mace I’ve found can’t break them. And there are no doors in sight. I feel ready to panic. But just as I begin to totally freak out, I discover a dome sticking out of the ground. On top of it is a small wheel-looking object. It’s a door! No, it’s a hatch!
I turn the wheel and throw the hatch door open. I don’t know how I always manage to find these secret exits during fires, but I don’t care; it’s an awesome super-power of mine. I begin to shimmy down the ladder, heading into the darkness. Hopefully, this hatch leads to a better place. A better, fireproof place.
Tessa Powers, D11, Beach
An earsplitting noise and an earth-shattering quake shakes Falcon and I from our sleep. The ground rumbles for almost a minute before it finally comes to a rest. Falcon is up and out of our cave before I can get to my feet. I grab my knife and follow him.
Olympia’s group has left the beach; they’re nowhere in sight. Falcon and I run towards the forest, wondering if some epic battle is going on there. But the forest lies empty as always, only a few trees left uncharred. We decide to try the factory. Staying away from the other tributes may be the best strategy at the moment, but to be honest, Falcon and I really do care about Lightning, Sydnee, and their friends. We want to make sure they’re okay.
We burst through the large doors of the factory. We can’t see anyone, but we can sure hear them. Screams emit from down the hallway. This must’ve been where that earthquake came from. An explosion happened, maybe? Whatever it was, it’s certainly causing some chaos.
As Falcon and I take off towards the screams, the doors swing shut behind us. We stop immediately. Falcon runs back to the doors and makes an attempt to wrench them open. But they don’t budge. He turns back to me, and we exchange fearful glances.
I guess we’re going to have to find another way out of here.
Spider Tablo, D2, Factory
The explosion violently swings my net from side-to-side. I have no idea what’s going on; I can’t see anything through this stupid thing!
Suddenly, a knife finds its way into the side of the net. I try not to panic. “Just hold on, I’m going to get you out of there!” yells a girl’s voice. The knife continues to saw through the net. Finally the mesh breaks, tossing me to the floor. A girl with blue hair and tan skin stands over me. “I’m Angelique,” she says.
“Thank you, thank you so much…” That’s all I can manage. Angelique helps me to my feet. The two of us stare down a nearby hallway, lit up with bright orange light. “A fire?” I say, trembling in fear.
Angelique nods. “Yup,” she says, matter-of-factly. “Come on, let’s get out of here.” The two of us sprint down another hallway, only to find that the fire has spread here too. It’s everywhere!
Angelique looks around for another place to run. Even she has started to panic. The only place we can see is the stairs to the second floor. So we run, sprinting our hearts out. The fire begins to consume the entire first floor. It won’t be long before it spreads across the entire factory. But thankfully, it’s a big factory.
But as we begin to sprint along the catwalk, Angelique trips. I turn around, and Angelique holds out her hand for help. But there isn’t time. The fire wraps around a stack of dynamite on the first floor, setting off yet another explosion. A ball of fire sends me backwards, and I land hard on the catwalk.
And just like that, the girl who saved my life is gone.
Sydnee Wren, D13, Factory
I have no idea where I am. Two explosions have rocked this factory, sending fires in every direction. I’ve been thrown to the ground one too many times for me to understand what's going on.
“Did you hear that cannon?” says Reyna. She, Hayden, and I decided to stick together after Georgia went postal. We were with Lightning, but he disappeared. I pray to God that cannon wasn’t for him.
“Let’s hope Georgia just slit her own throat…” says Hayden.
The three of us continue running through the factory. We should be looking for an exit, but right now, I need to find Lightning. I can’t bear the thought of losing him. Not now.
As we sprint along, we nearly crash into another group of people. It’s Falcon and Tessa.
“What are you two doing here?” I demand. “I thought you went off on your own?”
“We heard the explosion, and we wanted to help,” says Tessa. “But the gamemakers locked the door behind us.” Our eyes widen in fear. Yet again, the gamemakers have trapped us in a giant oven. They seriously won’t give up until we’re all dead.
Suddenly, I remember something. When we were running away from Georgia, we went through this strange area with tons of levers and switches. Lightning and I had stopped for long enough to look at them, and that’s when the explosion had gone off, and separated the two of us. One of those levers was the emergency switch to open the front doors.
Hayden Light, D4, Factory
“Guys, there’s a lever to open these doors, and I know where it is!” Sydnee yells. “We passed it earlier!” Reyna and I stare at her in confusion; I guess we missed this. “I bet I can find it again, and then we can get out of here!”
As Sydnee prepares to take off, Tessa grabs her. “We'll come with you,” she says, and Falcon nods in agreement.
“Yeah, and we’ll come too,” I say, not wanting to be that one selfish kid.
Sydnee shakes her head. “Hayden, Reyna, you need to go to the front doors. Find Lightning or anyone else if you can. But if we don’t make it back in time…at least we can open the doors for you.”
Reyna and I stare at the three in disbelief. Falcon nods bravely, telling us that it will be alright. And if not, the two of us are still supposed to live. We don’t have time to protest. The three take off through the factory without another word.
I have a bad feeling about this.
Olympia Valles, D5, Factory
Lucas and I pull ourselves off of the ground. A second explosion; that means a second fire. And that means we are all twice as likely to die. I remember what Chase said about the order needing to be broken, but that doesn’t stop me from grabbing Lucas by the shirt and slapping him in the face. “Everyone in this arena is going to die because of you!” I let go of him and he falls to the ground, cowering. He’s still crying. I try to keep myself angry, but this kid makes it impossible. Most of his family is dead…and he doesn’t want to follow them.
Suddenly, I hear an irritating whistling noise, like something is chopping the air. I instinctively dive to the ground as the knife whizzes past me. I land next to Lucas.
Georgia stands on the other end of the catwalk, her vicious smile etched across her face. I wish I could cut that stupid smirk right off of her face!
“Get ready to die,” she says, and she chucks another knife at us.
I jump out of the way again. But apparently that isn’t enough. I hear the knife make contact, that bloodcurdling sound that can only come from a blade sinking into human flesh. For a second or two, I’m convinced that I’m about to die. That’s when I realize I’m not the knife’s victim.
I turn to Lucas. He’s on the ground, trembling and in tears. His eyes are wider than baseballs. But there’s no knife.
We turn around at the same time, our eyes fixing on the silver knife.
And our eyes find the tribute who it has struck as well.
Lucas Sunsong, D9, Factory
Georgia lets out the evilest laugh you could ever possibly imagine. It makes my heart jump more than the explosions, and turns my stomach more violently than the sound of that knife. I wait for her to chuck a few more knives from her endless supply, but she doesn’t take the opportunity. She sprints down the catwalk, away from us. She wants us to chase her.
Spider, the boy from 2, falls to the ground in a pool of blood. But his cannon waits for his heartbeat to stop. He’s still fighting, at least for now.
Olympia and I kneel down beside him. Olympia almost considers removing the knife, but that would only make things worse. It would kill him instantly. Spider has a glassy look in his eyes; he understands what is about to happen, but he can’t comprehend how it could ever happen. It’s one thing when someone else is dying, but I can’t even imagine what it’s like when your life has been put on the line.
I never really met Spider, but that doesn’t make me any less sad to watch him die like this. He lets out a few raspy coughs. “Guys…” he whispers, and we lean in so we can hear him better. “This place is about to go down…get out of here, now…”
“No,” says Olympia in a steely, determined voice. “She killed you, and we’re going to kill her.”
Spider shakes his head. “She would never have killed me if it weren’t for these games. This isn’t her fault, it’s these gamemakers…and…our government…”
Spider leans his head back, and his eyelids begin to flutter. As the light in his eyes fades one last time, and his eyelids shut, the cannon finally sounds.
I turn to Olympia. Vengeance and hatred burn in her eyes. She still wants to kill Georgia. But I have different thoughts on my mind. Spider is right. This is Panem’s fault. They let this happen.
They must pay for this.
Georgia Westlake, D8, Factory
I make it to the third floor catwalk, watching Olympia and Lucas as that boy from 2 slowly dies. The cannon finally sounds, and I grin from ear-to-ear. Another victim. I’m that much closer to winning.
Olympia and Lucas suddenly look up, right at me. My smile grows even wider. Those two tributes might as well be dead right now. Olympia grips her knife and starts to run, but Lucas stops her. He whispers something, trying to convince her not to go after me. But she doesn’t listen, that smart girl. After all, either she comes here to be killed, or I go and kill her.
She pulls away from Lucas and runs out of sight, looking for the staircase to the third floor. Lucas casts a look up at me, a pitiful, mournful look. A look that says, you ruined everything.
I give him a look too. But my look says, I can’t wait to cut you open.
Lightning Tree, D0, Factory
The room fills with fire and smoke, threatening to collapse at moment’s notice. I sprint around, looking for a hallway that hasn’t yet gone up in flames. I’ve lost Sydnee, Hayden, and Reyna. And, I’ve heard three cannons. I pray that those cannons had nothing to do with my friends. And wherever they are, I hope there’s no fire nearby.
One of the catwalks from the third floor catches flame, and the wires snap. It comes crashing down, and I have to dive out of the way to avoid it. The fire spreads even faster now. I can’t stop coughing. The smoke stings my lungs, and burns my throat. I worry that my spear is ready to melt. I break open one of the water machines and pour the stuff all over myself. Then I realize I should’ve used some on the fire. Crud.
Then, all of the sudden, the gamemakers grant me a stroke of luck. My eyes lock on a single hallway, bright and inviting. It’s an opportunity I can’t refuse. I dash through the hallway and away from that horrible, burning room.
And I won’t stop running until I find Sydnee.
Olympia Valles, D5, Factory
I reach the third floor and lunge at Georgia, my knife in hand. She deflects my strike, barely even trying. She probably thinks I’ll go down easy. Well she’s wrong.
I toss another strike at her stomach and she blocks that too. But I keep going, slicing at her over and over again. She blocks every strike with deadly efficiency. She’s just toying with me. She finally starts to throw a few strikes of her own. She nearly misses cutting off my head, and I barely block her from stabbing me in the chest…and the face, and the stomach. She’s good, but not too much better than me.
Lucas emerges from behind us. He watches, entranced, as Georgia and I battle, our moves as fluid as a choreographed dance.
“Don’t just sit there and watch!” I yell at him. “Help me!” I’m shocked as he listens to me, and springs into action. He goes to stab Georgia in the stomach. But she avoids him, doing a backflip and landing a few feet away. What does she think this is? A Japanese fighting movie?
Georgia pulls another knife from her pocket, and she beckons us to come forward. I don’t hesitate. I jump at her and strike her leg, but our blades meet. She brings her other knife down at my head, but Lucas deflects her strike in the nick of time. We all step back, taking a second to regroup.
And then, our dance of knives continues.
Tessa Powers, D11, Factory
Sydnee leads us through the factory, the three of us sprinting as fast as possible. We don’t say a single word until we reach the area with the levers. Sydnee screams, “There it is!” She brings us down a ladder, into the basement of the factory. We’re surrounded by steel girders, chugging machines, and metal support beams. And in the center of the room is a giant control panel, decorated with levers, gears, and buttons.
The fire is nowhere in sight, but I know it will appear any minute. It’s still spreading through the backside of the factory, and we’re at the center of the building. It won’t be long before we cross paths with it.
Sydnee is the first to the panel. She gazes at all of the different buttons and levers, all carefully labeled, but confusing nonetheless. Falcon joins her. I stay back, standing by one of the loud machines. The pair’s eyes carefully scan the labels over and over. With every lost second, fear tightens our chests that much more. We’re running out of time.
That’s when Sydnee finds the lever. She grabs it and immediately yanks it down. We hear a loud, clanking noise from a far distance away. It’s the sound of a metal door unlocking. The three of us sigh in relief, throwing our heads back and smiling. We can live!
But our celebration is cut short. Another explosion rocks the building, but this time, it is much closer. I lose sight for a minute as smoke and dust fill the room. And as I go flying backwards, I feel something fall on top of me. Several steel support beams topple onto me, locking my body in place.
When the dust clears, I shriek, “Help!”
Falcon Generate, D11, Factory
The explosion knocks Sydnee and I off our feet. Typical gamemakers; cause a problem, then try to blow up whoever fixes it. I have half a mind to beat them down right now. But Tessa’s cries for help distract me.
I run to her aid. A series of steel beams have trapped her against the wall. I begin to try and remove them, but they’re heavier than I could expect. Sydnee finally gets up from the ground and comes to help us.
We fight to pull Tessa out. In the background, fire from the explosion begins to spread. It melts several machines before it strikes the control panel, lighting it up in the most dramatic way possible. From there, it threatens to slither its way to the ladder…
That’s when Tessa starts shaking her head. A few tears roll down her cheeks. “You have to go…” she says.
Sydnee backs off. But I won’t stop this. I won’t stop until Tessa is safe. I lift one of the beams with all my might, but it isn’t enough. Tessa shakes her head again. “Falcon please…”
“No!” I shriek. I fight the tears. This isn’t the time for that. The fire consumes the entire control panel, and continues to spread. I can already feel the heat on my neck, the smoke stinging my eyes…
I suddenly stop struggling with the beams. I stare down at Tessa, the love of my love. The girl who I had, then lost, and the girl who the gamemakers granted me a second chance with. I lost her once, and I can’t ever lose her again.
It was destined from the start. One of us had to die. One of us was going to die, no matter what. I always knew that. But what I didn’t know, what I didn’t seem to realize, was that I’d rather die with her, than ever be without her.
This was always supposed to happen.
All along, this was our destiny.
Lucas Sunsong, D9, Factory
Olympia and I continue to attack Georgia, hoping one of us gets a chance to deal the final blow. I don’t care who escapes this arena, as long as Georgia is dead.
I send a strike at Georgia’s stomach and she deflects it. A strike at her heart, deflected. A strike at her head, deflected. She’s dueling two of us, yet she still has the advantage.
Below us, the fire has consumed the whole first floor. It won’t be long before it comes up here.
As we duel with her, Georgia backs up. We’re slowly forcing her towards the wall, and then, we may deal her death blow. Then this will be over, forever.
Olympia gets fiercer with each strike. I can feel the anger emanating off of her. She wants to kill Georgia bad. Just like that, the biggest killer in the arena has turned several other tributes into killers as well. That’s another thing these games do to people.
Olympia attempts to jab her dagger into Georgia’s side, but Georgia deflects the strike, sending Olympia back. I go for a shot at Georgia’s leg, but she strikes back. She hits my knife so hard with hers that mine goes flying off the catwalk and into the fire below.
“Goodbye shrimpy!” she yells at me. I’m frozen again, just like the first time I encountered the careers, back when the gamemakers’ forcefield saved me. I jump back as Georgia strikes. Her knife cuts a gash across my side, and I fall to my feet. It won’t kill me, but her next blow certainly can.
As Georgia prepares to deal my death blow, Olympia tackles her. The career from 8 goes flying backwards, her body colliding with the small railing. For a second, she teeters back-and-forth, struggling to maintain her balance. I can swear that I see her expression soften, her eyes fill with fear. And then, she suddenly loses her footing, flying backwards off of the catwalk and into the abyss below.
Her cannon doesn’t sound; not yet. But it won’t be long. No one can survive that.
Tessa Powers, D11, Factory
Falcon turns to Sydnee. “You need to go,” he says. Sydnee shakes her head, and a tear rolls down her cheek. Falcon grabs her and forces her to look him in the eyes. “Sydnee, you need to get out of here. You need to get back to Lightning and escape this place, together. There’s only room for one couple in the victor’s throne.” He looks like he’s about to cry, but he stays strong.
“Sydnee, promise me one thing. When you get back home, you need to make sure that the Hunger Games can never happen again. You need to make sure that this will be the last time innocent children ever die for amusement.”
Sydnee is shaking with fear and sadness, but she finally nods her head. “I promise,” she says.
Falcon nods. “Thank you…” he whispers, and then he pushes Sydnee away. “Now go!”
Sydnee takes one last longing look at the two of us, knowing what’s about to happen, before she dashes off. A few seconds after she scrambles up the ladder, the fire melts it to the ground, destroying any last hope Falcon and I ever had of escaping this place.
The factory has become our tomb.
Falcon Generate, D11, Factory
I move back over to Tessa and take her hand. Seeing her so upset, I can’t hold back the tears any longer. They run down in waterfalls.
“You could’ve lived…” says Tessa, staring at me in sadness and confusion.
“Not without you,” I tell her. “I lost you once, and that was enough for a lifetime.”
I grab Tessa and pull myself in for one last kiss. The wall of fire closes in, wrapping its arms around us like a blazing blanket.
I love her. I can’t bear to ever lose her; not again. And if that means dying here with her, then so be it. We may not live forever, but our love will.
Through the flames, I get one last look into Tessa’s eyes. I get one last look at her as she smiles.
That’s the only happiness I’ll ever need. I close my eyes for one last time, and then I wait.
Sydnee Wren, D13, Factory
The second I hear the cannons, I toss myself to the ground. They’re gone…they’re gone!
Tears stream down my face. I don’t even have the strength to pull myself up. This is what it feels like to lose a friend…two friends. This is what happens in the Hunger Games. I see now; those two cannons seal my promise with Falcon forever. If I get out of here, the games can never continue. Ever.
If I stay here much longer, the fire will find me too. But I can’t move. Either my legs don’t work, or my mind is too clouded to tell them how.
I suddenly hear footsteps, and someone comes running towards me. Out of the shadows comes Lightning. “Sydnee!” he shrieks. He grabs my hand and yanks me off the ground. Then he pulls me close. “I thought I lost you. When I heard those cannons…”
I shake my head, and the tears continue. “Falcon and Tessa…”
Lightning looks hurt, but not as hurt as he would be if that cannon had sounded for me. “We’re going to get out of here,” he promises, and we take off down the hallway.
He’s the only thing that keeps me from diving back to the ground and crying.
Olympia Valles, D5, Factory
There’s no time for celebration; Lucas and I have to get out of here.
The fire spreads, fast. Now that we’ve taken care of Georgia, the gamemakers seem to want to take care of us. But I won’t let that happen; I’ve worked too hard for this. Lucas and I are going to live.
Unfortunately Georgia left a nasty gash on Lucas’s side. It won’t kill him, or at least I hope not. But he has to hobble around, one arm around my neck, and it doesn’t exactly help us get away from the fire.
I pull Lucas along as we leave the catwalk and head down to the second floor. We’re at the center of the factory, and the doors are far, far away; I know that much. The first floor has become a melting pit of flames, and the third floor is masked in a black cloud of smoke. The second floor is a combination of the two. It’s a living Hell in here, but maybe a few degrees colder.
Lucas suddenly enters a coughing fit. He clutches his bleeding gash, his expression twisted in pain. “Olympia…” he says between coughs. “I can’t…I can’t…”
“Shut up! We’re going to live!”
We go through several large rooms, but the scene doesn’t get much better. As we walk along the second floor catwalk, the floor begins to rumble. I grab Lucas and scream as the floor drops, tossing us downwards.
We hit the cold, metal floor. Hard. It’s nothing short of a miracle that we didn’t land in a pit of flames. Still holding Lucas, I look up. The sea of fire has been split, leaving a bright path straight to a circular hatch. The domed door is wide open and inviting.
I think we’ve just found our way out.
Reyna Alvarez, D12, Factory
The factory doors have swung wide open. Two cannons have gone off. Yet Hayden and I wait. Sydnee, Tessa, and Falcon will be back, I just know it. And I won’t leave until they’re safe with us.
The fire may have started at the back of the factory, but that hasn’t stopped it from making it towards the front doors. Soon, the entire main room will be consumed. And that will be it for us.
I squint my eyes as two figures emerge from the fire, sprinting, hand-in-hand. For a second, I’m convinced it’s Falcon and Tessa. Instead, Sydnee and Lightning come running from the flames.
We don’t wait for an explanation. As soon as the pair has caught up to us, we burst out the front doors, exhausted and covered in ash.
But something’s changed.
The peaceful, sunlit day is gone. A fleet of dark storm clouds surround the sky, and a flash of lightning strikes the sea. The four of us huddle at the doors of the factory as we watch the sky in fear.
When Hayden finally speaks, his voice is shaky and scared.
“It’s not over yet.”
End of Part Three
Part Four: The Pact
Sydnee Wren, D13, Beach
I stare up at the malevolent sky. Falcon and Tessa’s faces as they stood there, waiting to be burned alive, flash in the storm clouds. Seeing them there reminds me what needs to be done.
The Hunger Games can never happen again.
I turn and face my alliance. Wind rages around us as the factory burns to ashes in the background. But the clouds hold back the rain; they’re waiting for me to say what needs to be said.
“Listen up!” I yell to my alliance with a strength I never thought I would have. “We make a pact, right now!” My three friends stare at me with wide and fearful eyes. They can see I mean business. “I made a promise to a dying boy and his girlfriend a few minutes ago, and I’m not about to watch the gamemakers blow that to bits!
“I don’t who here is going to survive, whether it will be one of us, or all of us! But if any of us make it out of here alive, we have to make sure our government never lets a games happen again! Alright?!”
My group remains silent, but it isn’t long-lived. Lightning’s expression suddenly hardens, and he nods. “We promise.”
The gamemakers can do whatever they want to me now. No matter what happens, as long as one of the four of us makes it out of here, there will never be another Hunger Games.
Lucas Sunsong, D9, The Station
The ladder in the hatch leads into a steel hallway, lit with electric blue lights. Olympia pulls me along, our footsteps making loud clacking noises on the floor. I pray there’s something down here to patch up my wound.
The hallway is short, and it opens up into a small, circular room. The walls are lined with monitors, displaying every last inch of the arena. In the center of the room is a large desk, lined with several buttons and blinking lights. Ophid sits in one of the chairs at the desk. She’s still trembling in fear.
As soon as she sees us, Ophid jumps from her seat. “I’m so glad you’re okay!” she shrieks. She moves past us and stares down the empty hallway. That’s when she realizes we’re alone. “Where’s…where’s everyone else?”
Olympia sadly shakes her head. “Hopefully, they escaped.”
“Well we have to make sure they’re okay!”
Ophid probably should have thought of that earlier, before the fire tore down most of the building. I know she’s right, but we don’t have the time or the energy to risk looking for our friends.
“If you want to, you can stay here, but I’m at least going to see if I can spot anyo—” Ophid suddenly lurches forward as a sharp blade travels straight through her body, sticking out of her chest. Olympia grabs me and we dive under a nearby desk.
Ophid falls to the ground, and I hear the slow footsteps of high-heeled boots. That’s when I realize who just attacked us.
That’s when I realize that we never heard Georgia’s cannon.
Olympia Valles, D5, The Station
“Come out come out wherever you are!” Georgia shrieks as she slowly paces around the room, her bloody machete in hand. The factory fire has left her face and body with horrible burns, her precious skin red and blistered. “I know you’re in here! I promise I won’t bite!” She giggles like a schoolgirl for a few seconds, then her face darkens again, and her voice turns serious. “I’ll just murder you viciously.”
I grab my knife and wait for her to get close enough to my hiding spot for me to get a good shot at her. I tried killing her once, and that didn’t work. But this time, I cannot fail.
Georgia approaches the control desk. She stares down at the many red buttons, each with a small drawing etched on its surface. One button has a picture of a fire, another of a wave, another of a lightning bolt…and so on. It’s a control panel for the arena traps, carefully positioned for anyone to find it. And suddenly, Georgia has control over the entire games.
“Well, well, well, looks like your friends have escaped the factory!” she says, staring at the surveillance screens. Her hand hovers above the earthquake button. “But unfortunately, it is time for them to die.”
“No!” I scream, jumping out of my hiding spot. I grab Georgia and drive my knife into her chest. She stares at me in shock and disbelief.
Then she grabs my shirt and pulls me close. “If I can’t win, then no one can…” She smashes her hand down on the tidal wave button. It’s too late to stop her. She manages one last devious smile, and I let her slip out of my grasp, sending her to the floor.
Lucas Sunsong, D9, The Station
Olympia desperately searches for a button to override what Georgia has done, but she finds nothing. What’s done is done, and our friends aboveground are about to be decimated by a tidal wave. The only upside here is that Olympia and I will be safe. I almost start to cry as I think about our poor friends, about to be drowned by a massive wave. And we could’ve stopped Georgia!
As Olympia realizes that there’s nothing we can do, a voice suddenly rings out from the loudspeakers in our station.
“Congratulations tributes! You’ve discovered the control panel for the disasters of these games, and you’ve selected the tidal wave option! What a great choice! But we regret to inform you that, as this is a blatant attempt to cheat your way out of directly killing your fellow tributes, you will have to face consequences.
“This station will self-destruct in five seconds.”
Olympia and I exchange looks of shock and terror. No way. She didn’t just say that…
A monitor switches on, displaying the countdown in flashing green numbers. I can feel their neon reflections blazing in my wide eyes.
Olympia leans back against the wall, and I sink down to the ground. I hardly have time to think about what’s about to happen.
I hold my head in my hands, and listen to the countdown of the last seconds of my life.
I close my eyes, waiting for the end. For a brief moment, silence envelops the day…
Reyna Alvarez, D12, Beach
I was expecting rain, maybe some thunder and lightning, but not an explosion. It seems to come from underground, from deep within the earth, and it shakes the entire arena.
That’s it. Two cannons went off before these two, confirming our fears. The four of us are the only ones left in the arena. The fear and horror makes me shudder. It’s almost over.
“What was that?!” demands Hayden, still shocked by the explosion.
Lightning sighs. “I think that was our friends.”
Our eyes shift to the distance, towards the slowly burning factory. The sound of roaring water seems to be emanating from behind it. That’s the first sign of a big storm.
Then I realize I’m wrong.
The roaring water isn’t the sign of a storm, it’s a sign of something much worse. In the distance, a wall of water rises from the sea, headed straight towards the island.
The gamemakers aren’t playing games anymore.
Lightning Tree, D0, Beach
There’s no time to waste. “Follow me!” I yell to my friends. The second I see the monumental wave, I spring into action. I think I know how we can survive this.
I burst into a dead sprint for one of the few remaining trees and I start to climb. “Come on guys!”
It isn’t long before I reach the top, Sydnee, Hayden, and Reyna climbing below me. Sydnee stops a few branches below my perch, and I grab her hand. With my other hand, I grip the tree, my fingernails digging deep into its bark.
Sydnee links hands with Hayden, who stands a few feet below her. He grabs Reyna’s hand. And there we stand, linked together, our bodies tightly clinging to the tree, and to each other. If the gamemakers want to take down one of us, they’ll have to take down all of us.
As the wave nears, Sydnee casts a fearful glance at me. I don’t have the strength to look back. I simply close my eyes, and I wait.
I hear the crash as the wave slams into the island, and I feel the rush of water as it yanks the tree from the ground and mercilessly tosses us all out to sea.
Through the chaos, a single cannon sounds.
Hayden Light, D4, Ocean
My lungs gasp for air. I struggle to breathe as I writhe underwater, my grip on the tree completely lost. With my every effort, the ocean keeps me from winning this horrible battle. Finally, I push my way upwards, breaking through the surface of the ocean. I try to swim forward, but my arm strikes a hard surface and locks onto it. It’s the tree from the arena.
My eyes snap open. Our tree is in the middle of the ocean, and the island is nowhere in sight. Suddenly, two other tributes emerge from the sea, their hands still locked together. It’s Lightning and Sydnee. As I see them, I remember hearing the sound of a cannon. Reyna’s gone.
I’m too scared to shake, too cold to cry. I can only float in the water, my body shivering while my mind is still on the island, still in the arena, amongst scores of my dead friends.
I can’t give up now, not after all of this time. But my body won’t move. I simply keep my hands gripped on the cold log as the ocean tosses us around like lifeless dolls.
Lightning helps Sydnee get on the log, and then he pulls himself up. They move along to come help me.
And that’s when I see something out of the corner of my eye, slicing through the ocean and heading straight for us.
Sydnee Wren, D13, OceanLightning swings his hand to cover my eyes before I get the chance to register what’s happening. All I got was a glimpse of the shark as it grabbed Hayden by the leg and tore him away from the log.
The screams begin; the agonizing, terrible screams, more horrid than anything I’ve heard over the past few days. I burrow my head into Lightning’s chest, trying to drown out the noise. He holds me close.
The ocean falls silent. A few of Lightning’s tears splash on my head. It takes all of my strength to lift myself up and look at him.
“I’ve got your back…and you’ve got mine…” he whispers.
End of Day 6
Sydnee Wren, D13, Ocean
The night flies by, almost in silence, as Lightning and I lie on the log, face-to-face. We’re too stunned to speak, too horrified to say a word. The lives of twenty-eight other teenagers were abruptly swept away over the last six days, and we witnessed almost all of them. And now it’s just us.
Lightning wakes from his sleep, finding my gaze. He smiles and gives me a quick kiss. I’m grateful to have him by my side, even if twenty-eight other people had to die to make it happen. I try not to think of them, I try to suppress those memories so I don’t burst into tears at the most inconvenient of times. The games may not be over yet. Lightning and I are still stranded, after all, and who knows how many more sharks there are in this sea.
Lightning grazes my cheek with his hand. “We’re okay now, I promise,” he says. I swear, it’s like he knows what I’m thinking at all times. I want to argue with him, but I don’t have the strength, or the reason. I smile back at him. Even with everything that has happened, his presence is enough to keep me smiling.
I lean forward for another kiss when a loud cracking noise enters my ears. The log abruptly splits in half, separating Lightning and I. I reach for him, and for a brief moment, our hands touch. Our separate logs continue to move apart, and my grip on Lightning loosens. I watch in horror as we float away from each other.
I can’t lose him! Not now!
Lightning Tree, D0, Ocean
As my section of the log begins to float away, I turn around. Behind me, a whirlpool has formed, and my little oak raft is headed straight for it. This is it. This is the end.
Suddenly, a strength that I never knew I had flows through me. I’m about to die, there’s no sense fighting it now. So I slowly get to my feet and I stand up on my log. Sydnee watches me in horror.
“Sydnee, you have to remember our promise!” I yell to her. If she is going to win these games, then everything falls on her. She has to make sure that these are the last Hunger Games. Ever. “The games can’t continue!”
“Lightning stop!” she yells, reaching out towards me, as if that could possibly help me now.
I shake my head, and I feel a single tear roll down my cheek. “I love you Syd,” I say. And it’s true. I’ve never felt this way in my life, and I know I could never feel this way again.
And that’s when my log swirls into the whirlpool, and Sydnee screams.
I plunge headfirst into the water, sprawling into the depths of the sea. I sink like a rock, and nothing I do can save me now.
Another feeling washes over me like a tidal wave. For a moment, my watery surroundings vanish, and something else enters my vision. Memories play in my mind, flashing like shots taken by a camera.
I watch myself as I meet Sydnee for the first time. I listen to myself discussing with her whether or not to leave Olympia, and see myself tackle Sydnee away from Avelina’s knife. Together, Sydnee and I run from the forest fire, and play a game of Hunger Games tag. I tell her about my number for the very first time, and we sit on the beach and watch the stars, and I realize I love her. We find each other in the factory, and run out into the storm. And then we climb our tree, away from the approaching tidal wave, and I grab her hand. I spend an entire day with her as we lie on the log, staring into each other’s eyes…
And just like that, I’m pulled away from my memories. I don’t struggle any longer. I let the water take control as it pushes me down, down into darkness.
But through all of it, through every single second, all I see is Sydnee’s face. The ocean can kill me now, it can take my last breath, it can steal my final heartbeat, and it can seize my defenseless body. But it can never take my love; ever.
As I close my eyes for one final time, I see myself on the beach with Sydnee as we kiss for the first—and the final—time, under the light of the stars.
A smile crosses my face as the ocean pulls me into the darkness.
Sydnee Wren, D13, Ocean
The cannon sounds far away, miles maybe, but it doesn’t take away any of the crushing impact. I immediately burst into tears as it sounds. That’s it. It’s over, and I’m the sole tribute remaining in these horrible, twisted games. But I don’t care. I’d rather be dead; at least then I’d be with my friends.
I roll off of the log and plunge into the sea, hoping I’ll drown, and that I’ll get to see Lightning’s face one more time. But I land in a shallow pool of water, no more than a few inches deep. I spend a few minutes splashing around like a depressed lunatic in a kiddie pool before I give up this charade. I’m alive, and that’s not about to change.
I get back to my feet and turn around. My log brought me to the sandy beaches of District 4. The gamemakers kidnapped me, threw me into an arena, killed all of my friends, and then tossed me back to Panem, like they were a pack of dogs, and I the unwanted chew toy.
There’s no point in sitting in the ocean. I slowly make my way to shore, the seawater cleansing my legs, washing the glowing green tattoo of a 30. A tattoo I’ll never forget, a constant reminder of the pain I endured during my days in the arena.
A small girl with dark hair suddenly comes running out from the palm trees. She freezes at the sight of me. “Mom…? I think I found a mermaid!” The girl’s mother bursts out from the trees, a crazy look in her eyes. But as she gets a good look at me, her gaze turns calm. She runs towards me.
“Dear, are you alright?” she asks. I look up into her face, my eyes solemn and lifeless. She must feel as though she was looking into the eyes of a dead girl.
“No…I…” I can’t find the words to explain my pain. It’s as if the gamemakers have bolted my mouth shut, preventing me from telling anyone about what they’ve done to me. But I remember the pact, the promise I made to my friends. It’s a promise they all agreed to, a promise that they took to their graves. And I’m the only one who can keep that promise. It takes all of my strength to say, “I…I just watched all of my friends die—”
But the woman interrupts me. “Dear, I know about all of that. But it’s all over now.” She grabs me and shakes me with pride. “You’ve won! You’ve brought the Hunger Games back, and you’re the nation’s first victor! What an honor!”
I break away from the woman’s cold grasp, stumbling back into the water.
Words can’t express the pain and disbelief that hits me harder than a deathblow from a career could have.
Sydnee Wren, Victor, Capitol
Scenes pass me by like I’m watching blurred scenery from the window of a high-speed train.
Here I am, victor of the 1st Hunger Games, sitting on my golden throne in the Capitol. Here all of them are, cheering me on as they watch my greatest moments from the games on a giant screen. From the forest fire to the factory explosion, they see it all for a second time. Well, everything but my promise to Falcon, and my pact with my friends; those scenes are edited out. They even watch as Lightning’s section of the log breaks away from mine, but I’m too shocked to sob as I watch the ocean take hold of the love of my life yet again.
When those replays are over, the interviewer asks me a series of questions. I answer them all with almost no thought, and two seconds after, I can hardly remember what I’ve said. But everyone either laughs, cries, or holds their breath with each of my comments. They all stare at me as if I’m their God, and they’ll bend to my every whim. It’s so pathetic I almost vomit.
Then the President of Panem congratulates me and places a medal around my neck. I try my best to vomit on him, but instead, I start to cry. He proclaims that I must be overwhelmed with happiness at my victory. I hold myself back from punching him in the throat. I know someday, I’ll regret not taking him down right now. But I’m in the eye of the Capitol now; I have to be a good girl.
The victory tours are no less depressing. Like with my interviews, these pass by as if they were mere fragments of several horrible nightmares. My mind is too shell-shocked to wrap around the idea of where I am, and who I’ve become. It can’t comprehend the complex emotions that flow through my body as my eyes catch sight of the twenty-nine families of the dead tributes.
And suddenly, I’m back home, my head still spinning so hard I feel as though I’ve fallen into a new, twisted world. My family hugs me and tells me how happy they are that I’m alive. My friends congratulate me and greet me as if I was simply on an extended vacation the whole time.
It all means nothing to me. I get to my new home as fast as possible, a special deluxe apartment in my underground district. I lock the door behind me and hop onto my bed, tears streaming down my face like waterfalls.
And I stay there for as long as possible.
Sydnee Wren, Victor, District 13
Months fly by. Seasons come and go. Days cross themselves off of my calendar after what feels only like hours. A year passes by in silence.
I stay in my house for all of it, refusing to move. My servants bring meals to me, yet I stay ghostly thin. My parents and sister visit me almost every day. My friends forget about me, and they move on. People like them don’t understand, and they never will. They don’t know what I’ve been through.
The wall next to my bed changes more than I do. It’s now covered with my greatest masterpieces: drawings of my friends from the arena. Each takes me at least a week to complete. Angelique, Hayden, Olympia, Lucas, Falcon, Tessa, Reyna, Chase, Ophid, Fuchsia, Rebel, and Aiden hang on my wall, their gazes fixed on me at all times. They all smile as they stare down at me, their faces captured in a time before the games, before the nation let them all die for entertainment. They live, immortalized, in a time before their lives were tragically cut short merely by the number on their ankles and the crazy dream of the gamemakers.
The only face I’m missing is Lightning’s. His face is impossible to capture; I’ve tried at least a million times, and thrown out each and every sketch. The only way I can capture his gaze is through my memories, and through his nightly visits to me in my dreams.
As the mandatory viewing time for the reapings arrives, my television automatically switches on. I don’t care if the authorities have to come down here and drag me to the District Thirteen reaping; I’m not moving. I decide that I can’t bear to watch this horrible travesty. I might as well go straight to sleep. But my gaze strikes the television for a split second, and my chances of getting any rest are abruptly destroyed.
The escort from District 0 calls out the name of a boy, Arctic Frost. The crowd shifts, moving away from a small boy with blond hair and striking green eyes. My jaw drops open. Suddenly, I’m back in my memories, but this time, I’m unfamiliar with the scene. I’m under the ocean, my arms wrapped around Lightning Tree as we share an underwater kiss. It’s a memory that never happened. It’s no more than a wish, a dream that’s befallen me nearly every night.
Instead of Lightning going down into the cruel sea by himself, I’m there with him, sharing our last moments together, our last breaths, our last heartbeats, neither of us braving death alone. It’s not just a dream, it’s a wish; it’s how things should have happened.
I watch painfully as Lightning’s twelve year-old look-alike takes the stage, trembling. He knows his fate all too well. In a few days, he’ll be dead, forced into the icy void alone.
I turn around, staring back at the sketched faces of my friends. Their images, coupled with watching the reaping of the boy from District 0, ignite a fire in my heart. It spreads up through my veins, surging through my body like a million firecrackers going off at once. I made a pact in the arena, a promise to never let the Hunger Games continue. And here I am, doing the complete opposite.
I wipe the tears from my face and bravely stand up from my bed.
My name is Sydnee Wren. I won the Hunger Games. I watched each and every one of my friends die. I came out of the arena alone, the sole survivor of a horrible holocaust.
But I will make sure the Hunger Games never continue, even if it’s the last thing I ever do.
Sydnee Wren, Victor, District 13
There was a time when my dreams weren’t better than my reality, but that time has long passed.
As I lie in my cold bed in District 13, thirty teenagers lie in their Capitol beds, knowing that they’ll all be dead within the next two weeks. All but one. They’re terrified, but there’s nothing they can do to stop their unfortunate destinies from unfolding before their very eyes.
But what they don’t know, is that the one person who emerges from the arena alive, covered in blood, fear, and sweat, will grow to wish their destiny had been written a little differently. What they don’t know is that being alive and alone can be worse than being dead.
That future victor will learn to love their dreams, to live in them as if they were real.
When I close my eyes, a cyclone of images swirls around me, dragging me into my deepest imagination. The storm clears, and I find myself standing in a peaceful meadow, overlooking a white, sandy beach. The sun looms over the water, lighting up the afternoon. Tall grass sways in the breeze. For a minute, I stand there, all alone, staring into the sunset.
And then, I feel a hand grab my shoulder. Apparently I’m not as paranoid in my dreams, because instead of whipping around, I turn slowly.
Lightning Tree smiles. “Hey there.” He looks the same as before, his emerald eyes just as striking as I remembered, his brilliant smile just as warming. His hand grazes my cheek and I can’t help but return a smile. I feel like I haven’t seen him in ages.
I can’t find the words to tell him how much I miss him, so he takes things into his own hands. He wraps his arms around me and plants a big kiss on my lips. The moment lasts so long I swear the world stops spinning just for us.
When he finally releases me, I feel a single teardrop slide down my cheek. Lightning wipes it away. “It’s alright now, I promise. There won’t be any more suffering, or any more death. It’s all over now, Syd.”
I turn around, staring out at the beach. A group of people have gathered there; twenty-three teenagers, to be exact. From Falcon, to Sparks, to Fuchsia, they’re all here; all but the last three careers, and those two creepy tributes that died first. They all look brand new, as they might have looked the day before they were kidnapped and brought into the arena. The sun illuminates their figures as if they were a collection of angels.
Olympia smiles and she beckons towards me.
Lightning puts a hand on my back. “Come on,” he says, “let’s go see our friends.”
If I could live in this moment, in this dream, forever, I would. If I could capture it, hold it in my hand, and place it in a little jar to keep on my windowsill, I would. Because the truth is, my life isn’t back in District 13. It isn’t on the victor’s throne, an idol for the nation to admire and shower with gifts. My life is here, with these people, away from harm, from suffering, and from death.
It may have been written in the stars from the beginning, tattooed on my ankle from the first day of the games, that I would be the only person to survive these horrible games. But destiny can be wrong. All along, I was meant to be with these people, my friends, dead or alive.
I don’t care if this is a dream, or a tiny glimpse into the afterlife, I’ll stay here as long as possible either way.
My body may have left the arena, but my heart will stay there forever; with Olympia, with Lucas, with Falcon, with Tessa…
…And most importantly, with Lightning Tree.
End of the Doomsday Games