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The Doomsday Games Parts 1&2

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The archive for the first two (currently one) parts of my fifth games, the Doomsday Games!(http://thehungergames.wikia.com/wiki/User_blog:Jabberjay78/One_Last_Games)

Introduction to the games

JJ78 The Doomsday Games boxes colored better3

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.

Rankings

Part One

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)


Part Two

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)


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 :)

The Games

Part One: The Secret

Outside of the Arena

The man at the control desk smiles as his eyes dart around to each of the fifty surveillance screens on the wall in front of him. Together, these cover every square inch of the arena. The arena he had helped construct. Some of the screens show nothing but roaring waters, or tall trees, or empty hallways. But some of them show people, kids, peacefully unconscious and lying on the ground.

“The sedative is set to wear off within the next minute,” says the woman at the desk. She looks around to the several levers and buttons at her desk, as if already considering what trap or storm to conjure in the arena.

The man smiles deviously. Some of the kids on the screens have already started to wake up.

“Then let the games begin…”


Day One

Evan Turner, D7, Forest

The first thing I see is bright sunlight.

I’m lying on the ground, covered in leaves and dirt, and surrounded by trees. I stumble up from the ground, a sharp pain travelling through my head. I almost black out, so I grab hold of a nearby tree.

Where am I? This looks like District 7, but something isn’t right. It’s too bright and peaceful here, and there’s no one in sight. And I can’t remember anything. Even if I shake out my head, or bang it against a tree or two, I just can’t figure out how I got here. The last thing I can remember is trying to fall asleep in my bed, trying to ignore the fact that my best friend’s corpse is still in the basement…

That’s when I hear the worst sound I could possibly ever hear.

The sound that means I’m either dreaming, or I’m about to be dead.

Reyna Alvarez, D12, Beach

The sound of a gong rings out from all directions. It startles me so badly that I fall to the ground and cover my ears like I’m trying to hide from a bomb. But this is much worse than a bomb.

I remember learning about this gong in class. The gong that hasn’t sounded for one-hundred years. The Hunger Games gong.

But surely, that can’t be it. The Hunger Games were banned one-hundred years ago. And even if they brought them back, we would at least have some kind of notice. And a reaping. And chariots and interviews. Right?

So what the heck is going on?!

Silvia Hake, D2, Factory

A Hunger Games? With no bloodbath?! Ripoff…

This is great. This is more than great! I’m in a Hunger Games, a real Hunger Games! At least I think so…I’ve never seen a Hunger Games indoors before. Maybe I’m just dreaming, or in some kind of reenactment or something. Whatever. All I know is I’m ready for this.

All I need is some knives or a bow, and then the fun can start.

Rebel Peacock, D13, Forest

A few seconds after the gong goes off, the loudspeakers boom with the sound of the announcer’s voice.

“Welcome tributes! You have all been specially selected to participate in the First Annual Hunger Games!”

I look to the sky, not exactly sure where to yell. “You can’t do this!” I spit out, not caring who else hears me. “They abolished the games years ago.”

“I’m afraid your government has nothing to do with these games,” the announcer says. Apparently he heard me. “But once they revel in the sheer magnificence that is the Hunger Games, they will surely reinstate them.”

I’m speechless. This can’t be happening.

“Of course, these games come with a twist. If you can figure it out, you may have a better chance of surviving here. But in the end, all will die but one. No matter what you do.”

“Happy Hunger Games.”

The loudspeaker makes a buzzing noise and the voice fades away.

Olympia Valles, D5, Forest

They picked the wrong girl to kidnap.

As the voice fizzles out, I come to terms with what is happening around me. This is a Hunger Games, and, whether I like it or not, we are all about to die. Our only hope is for our government to discover these secret Games and come rescue us. Our only hope is for us to refrain from hurting each other.

But I know that isn’t going to happen. All it takes is a little fear and desperation to turn a bunch of teenagers into murderers; myself included. Because I know if I have to, I’ll take down a tribute or two, just to get out of here. I pray that I’ll be able to convince some others to have a heart, and not hurt anyone else.

All I know is I have to get home. I have to get home, for Serge.

Lightning Tree, D0, Factory

The first thing I do is run.

I take off through the halls of the dark, depressing building, looking for something I could use as a weapon. If I’m going to survive these Games, I need to be prepared. As I round a corner, I arrive at a box of spears. Perfect, my signature weapon. I grab a spear, and snatch a backpack that’s sitting next to the box, and bolt out the front doors of the building.

I’m blinded by sunlight as I emerge from the factory. Right in front of me is a beach. Sunlight reflects off of the deep blue water, which seems to surround the entire arena. I’m on an island. Great, way to give an advantage to the District 4 tributes.

I turn around to see what lies at the other end of the island. I smile as I do. It’s a forest, a giant forest, just like the kind I used to go hunting in almost every day back home.

With my spear in hand, I take off for the trees.

Saidy Dauntless, D6, Beach

I see the gamemakers have a great taste in tributes, or should I say, future victors. Why else would they pick me? I can’t wait to add this to my list of achievements.

From what I’ve read about these games, the victors are always the most brutal tributes, the most skilled tributes, or, in some cases, the wimpiest tributes who no one expected to win. Considering I am the most skilled tribute here, obviously, I will easily win these games.

I blow a quick kiss to the sky, letting the gamemakers see how thankful I am that they picked me.

Falcon Generate, D11, Forest

I don’t know if anyone can see these games from back home, but if they can, I hope Tessa is rooting for me. I just hope she isn’t here.

I seriously have no idea what to do next. There are no weapons, food, water, or even other people in sight. I decide to walk around for a while, always making sure I’m on my guard. Only a few feet away, I discover a backpack hanging from a tree. Before I try to open it, I poke it with a stick to make sure it isn’t rigged. It doesn’t explode or spontaneously combust. That’s a good sign.

Inside the backpack are two knives, a canteen of water, a sleeping bag, and some crackers and chicken. At the bottom is a small piece of paper that reads: “Falcon Generate, District 11.” Apparently we get our own supplies in these games.

I put on the pack and scale a nearby tree, one of my knives at the ready. As I perch on one of the taller branches, I grab a small picture from my pocket. I can’t believe the gamemakers left it in there. It’s a picture of me and Tessa, arm-and-arm and smiling. I was so happy when I was with her. But I know there’s no time for love or memories in these games. I have to focus on getting back home.

Tessa Powers, D11, Forest

I hope Falcon isn’t in these games. And if he’s watching back home, I hope he doesn’t have to see me die.

No, Tessa, get a hold of yourself. You’re not going to die. You’ll win these for Falcon, and maybe then he’ll forgive you.

But as hard as I try to convince myself that I won’t die, I know what happens in these games. Everyone dies. The weak, the strong, the scared, the fearless, the beautiful, the ugly, the friendly, and the mean. No one is safe. Only one person ever escapes these games, and they get that way by being lucky.

I try to shake these thoughts away. I grab the backpack with my name on it and start to wander around, hoping I can clear my head.

I just hope the rest of the tributes in here are as scared as I am.

Trick Treat, D9, Forest

My backpack is full of my favorite things. Knives, swords, spider webs, and vials of blood. I feel like it’s Christmas! I mean Halloween.

I take a quick sip of one of the vials of blood. Ugh! AB positive, that’s my least favorite. I guess I’ll just have to earn some of my own later on.

The gamemakers were smart enough to put me in the densest, darkest part of the forest. Where no one can see me. And where no one can hear the screams of my victims…

Just then, my first victim rounds the corner. Only it’s not a helpless tribute or a future victim. It’s Scarecrow Shade, my friend from District 10. The gamemakers were even smarter than I thought, putting us both in here. They obviously want to see some real carnage.

Scarecrow grins from ear-to-ear the second I enter her sight. “Looks like the Killer Ladies are back in business!”

Lucas Sunsong, D9, Factory

Don’t die Lucas, don’t die Lucas!

That’s what I think every few seconds. I just can’t believe this. First death took my mom, then my twin brother…hasn’t it had enough?

I try and find a place to hide, hoping I can live off of the crackers and water in my backpack for at least a few days. And hoping even more that no one finds me. At least I have a blowgun, some darts, and a vial of poison. Together, I have a lethal weapon that can kill from at least twenty feet away.

I may not have been able to defend my mom when the mutt attacked, but I can at least defend myself now. I hope…

Ophid Carne, D14, Forest

I’ve only been here for five minutes and I’m already caught in a trap, hanging inside of a net at least ten feet in the air. Great, I’ll be the first to die.

I try and reach my backpack. If I can just snatch my knife, I’ll be able to get myself out of this thing and away from here. But this is one strong net.

Only a few seconds pass before I hear footsteps on the forest floor. Shoot, shoot, shoot! Someone’s coming!  I stop moving, and stop breathing. Okay, as long as they don’t notice me, I’ll be okay. The person gets closer and closer, then stops dead. I hear the sound of a knife being drawn. As I said before, I’m Ophid Carne, and I’ll be the first to die in these games.

This stinks.

Sash Bloodhound, D1, Factory

Kill people, burn stuff. That’s all I know, and I can’t wait to do it.

Here, in the Games, there are no rules. No peacekeepers, no laws…only total freedom. These games may just be some lunatic’s crazy dream to bring these things back, but I agree with him one-hundred percent! Right now, he’s my idol. And when I get out of here, I’ll kill him too. It’s just common courtesy.

A girl suddenly rounds a corner, headed right for me. She must be blind or something, because she doesn’t look scared at all. She looks like a decorated princess or something. She’ll go down easy. Just as I get ready to throw a knife, she opens her mouth, probably to scream in terror.

“Hey, are you mental or something?” she yells. I straighten up, confused. “You’re just standing there like some kind of idiot. Yes, I know, you’ve probably never seen a girl as stunning as me before. By the looks of you, you’ve probably never seen a girl at all.”

I tighten my grip on my knife. But something keeps me from throwing it. Maybe it’s because I’ve never seen a girl so commanding yet vicious—and don’t forget hot—before.

“I’m Georgia, and you’re coming with me,” she continues. “We have some tributes to kill.”

I put my knife and my pocket and follow the pretty girl.

Angelique Bluesong, D4, Forest

I slash the rope tied to a tree and the girl in the net comes tumbling down from the sky. She lands with a thud, and she just cowers there, trying to hide in the net. I come closer, my knife at the ready.

“Are you serious?” I say, and she looks up at me with weak eyes. “I could kill you, right now, and you’re just going to sit there?” She tries to struggle, but apparently she’s no stronger than the net. “I’m not going to kill you, I’m here to ask for an alliance.” The girl looks confused, like she’s never heard the word, but she knows she has no other choice.

“Thank you,” she whispers. I kneel down and cut her out of the net, then she gives me a big hug. Seems like a stupid thing to do considering I’m still holding my knife.

“Okay, now let’s make sure we stay away from nets from now on,” I say, “and let’s get out of here, before someone not so friendly finds us.”

Theo Clair, D8, Forest

I have no idea what’s going on. Suddenly I’m in the middle of some forest; this doesn’t look like District 8 at all. Maybe if I still had my hearing I’d understand what’s going on, or where I am.

It only takes a little bit of walking around for me to find a backpack hanging from a tree branch. I grab a hold of it and open it up. Inside are some water bottles, food, a sleeping bag, and…knives? Where am I?

Beneath all of these materials is a slip of paper reading: “Theo Clair, District 8.” Under that, in small print, it says, “Welcome to the Hunger Games. May the odds be ever in your favor.”

The Hunger Games? I sigh. Of course I know what the Hunger Games are. Before I ended up in District 8, I was raised in District 13. The abolished games are a huge topic there, though they’re talked about a lot in all of the districts. Before the peacekeeper torturing left me deaf, I had heard about the games dozens of times. I’d even heard about most of the victors.

I don’t think a deaf tribute has ever won a Hunger Games.

Sydnee Wren, D13, Forest

I try to stay quieter than a fawn as I jump around in the woods. With every snap of a twig or rustle of a leaf, I stop dead. But I haven’t seen anyone; not yet.

Scratch that. Suddenly, I see a boy hurtling towards me, a giant spear in his hand. I’m frozen, my feet stuck in the ground like they were planted in cement. But then I remember where I am. If I want to live, I have to defend myself. I toss my backpack off of my shoulders and get ready to search for my knife. But the boy gets to my pack first.

My backpack is suddenly hoisted into the air. I look up to see my attacker. It’s some blond kid with glowing green eyes. His spear—or javelin, or whatever—is stuck through the handle of my pack, and he’s just standing there with it, smiling.

I wait for him to kill me, but instead he says, “Hey.”

I stare at him, confused. “You just stuck an eight-foot stick into my backpack like a shish-ka-bob and you just say hey?”

“Sorry. Do you prefer hi?” I can’t help but laugh at that. “So, does an alliance sound good to you?”

“Sure.” Okay, I may have been thinking that, but it definitely didn’t come from my mouth. I spin around, and some red-head is standing there as if the kid with the spear was talking to her. “I’m Olympia.”

“Cool, I’m Lightning,” the boy says. He flashes a smile, and his green eyes sparkle brighter than lightning.

I finally grab my knife, and I stick it in my pocket. “And I’m Sydnee.”

“Well I guess we have an alliance then,” says Olympia.

Katarin “KM” Lao, D3, Factory

It’s like career city here or something. There are already four of them on the first floor, though they don’t exactly look ready to go kill people or anything. They’re just sitting there.

I don’t even know if they are careers; no one gets trained for these things, considering they haven’t existed for one-hundred years. But they sure look tough, and some of them look pretty scary. Plus, they’ve all got some really sharp knives and swords.

There are a bunch of frightened tributes trapped in this place, and it only takes ten minutes for the only scary people here to become BFFs. That sure bodes well for the rest of us.

I probably could kill them if I wanted to. At least one of them, probably two. But it’s too big a risk. For now, I’ll just spy on them. They don’t even know I’m here, hanging fifty feet above them on this catwalk. Maybe later, when most of the other tributes have died from fright or stab wounds, or both, I’ll construct a trap to finish off the rest of them.

After all, I am from District 3.

Silvia Hake, D2, Factory

I didn’t plan on being in a real career alliance, but I’m not sure I had a choice. When that threatening girl from 8 and her friends found me, it was join up with them or die. And I’m not about to go down that easily.

They must’ve known I was strong and skilled, otherwise they would’ve taken me down on the spot. I guess it’s not such a bad thing. I had planned from the very beginning to insidiously take down every tribute here, so being in an alliance with some other killers suits me. At least until I have to kill them all as well. And this way, they won’t see it coming.

I will win these games. And I will take down every tribute here by myself.

Toby Macklemore, D14, Factory

A career alliance? That totally fits my style.

It’s me, the creepy dude from 1, that quiet girl from 2, and the smokin’ hot girl from 8. I’d probably put my moves on her, but I bet she’d stab me in the heart. Whatever. I’ll get her eventually. And then I’ll kill her. That’s just how things work around here.

“What exactly are we doing, just standing around?” I finally say.

Georgia stares daggers at me, which is pretty hot. “Because I said so. It’s heated in here, and we’re protected from the elements. Plus, if you haven’t noticed, there are running water fountains in here. If you really want to risk your life traipsing around in the woods like a deer, then be my guest!”

“But shouldn’t we be hunting down some tributes?” The boy from 1 complains.

Georgia grits her teeth. “We’ll get to that.”

Suddenly, a flash of black and red hair emerges from behind a giant machine. She comes running straight for me, a glinting knife in her hand. I turn just in time for her to tackle me to the ground. She pulls my head up and holds a knife to my neck. My so-called alliance members don’t even have time to react.

“I want an alliance,” the girl says. She presses the knife harder to my neck.

Georgia flashes an arrogant smile, then starts to slowly clap her hands. “What an entrance!” she beams. “Welcome to the team.”

The girl from 7 smiles, then lets me go. My face hits the cold floor, and Georgia starts to laugh.

Smooth.

Argus Dimonun, D12, Forest

I’ve never been in a real-life forest before. I know there’s one in District 12, but it’s behind an electric fence, and I would never dare go there. It’s off-limits at all times. The last person who went there was publically executed.

It’s really not as great as I thought. There are no animals around, just a few birds here and there. I try climbing a tree, but I can’t. I try finding a good place to hide, but I can’t.

I finally stumble upon a clean lake, just sitting in the middle of the forest. I decide to make camp a few feet away from it. It’s probably not the smartest idea to be so out in the open, but I’m not afraid of anyone coming by. I’ve got knives. The few people here who’ll get the privilege of seeing me throw a knife won’t live to tell that tale.

Spider Tablo, D2, Lighthouse

So I’m the only tribute in the lighthouse? Score!

This is seriously sweet. I can go to the top floor and spy on the tributes in the forest, or I can go hide amongst all of the packing boxes on the third floor, or I can play around with all of the knives they keep on the second floor. And there’s no one here to stop me; at least not yet.

I’m sure a bunch of the tributes here will see the colorful, giant lighthouse and come running. Well even if they do, I’ll be ready. Either I start an alliance, or I start a murder. It doesn’t really matter that much to me.

I head back up to the top floor and look down at the forest. I can see a few people here and there. Some of them are in the trees, as if no one will notice them there. There’s a kid by the lake, a kid trying to climb a tree, and a kid calmly heading for the factory. As long as they stay away from here, I’m okay. I grab my knife and continue to stare out the window, watching the tributes like they’re pawns on a chessboard.

Fuchsia Terranova, D0, Forest

It’s already nighttime. I don’t know if it’s just me, or if this day has gone by way too fast. I feel like it’s only been a few minutes since I woke up in this arena and learned I was supposed to turn into a killer. Whatever, time flies when you’re scared out of your mind.

I haven’t heard a single cannon today; no tributes have died yet. I hope that means our government will be that much closer to finding these games and stopping them. Then we can all go home. Because if we don’t…well, I know I won’t be able to kill anyone here. It’s kill or be killed in these games, and I’m not about to go around killing people.

High up in my tree, I close my eyes and try to fall asleep. Hopefully when I wake up, I’ll be back home, in my own bed…

Outside of the Arena

“No deaths today,” says the woman at her desk as she broadcasts the anthem throughout the arena. Not a single face appears in the sky; not today.

“We must do better tomorrow,” says the man with her.

The woman nods. “If they won’t move towards each other, then we’ll have to give them a little push.” She smiles deviously.

“Yes, that would be ideal.”

The anthem finishes, and the arena fades into darkness.

End of Day One

Day Two

Chase Locke, D6, Forest

No tributes dead yet; well, I’m not about to be the first. I spend my night in a tree, probably like a bunch of the other people in here, before I pack up my stuff and run. I know I can’t stay in the same place for the whole games and expect no one to find me.

I’m not exactly sure where to go, I just follow the river along the forest, knowing that I can’t be without water. Even with all of the bottles in my backpack, I know I’ll run out fast. Suddenly, a rock comes out of nowhere and trips me! I land in a small clearing, eating dirt and leaves as I hit the ground.

“Oh my gosh, are you okay?” I look up for the source of the voice. It’s some short girl with black hair. She lends me her hand and helps me up. “I’m Reyna,” she says.

I smile. “I’m Chase,” I respond. “Aren’t we supposed to be killing each other?”

“That’s exactly what we’re not supposed to do.” Reyna and I spin around.

There’s a girl leaning against one of the trees, smiling, as if she’s been waiting for this moment for ages.

Hayden Light, D4, Factory

Either this is one big building, or there really aren’t that many tributes in here. It’s been a whole day, and I haven’t seen a soul. It’s a shame really, I was kinda looking forward to making an alliance with someone.

The worst thing about this place is that everything echoes off the walls. I may not have seen any other tributes, but I’ve definitely heard them. There’s a big group in here—I’d say about five, based on how many voices I’ve heard—and they’re clearly ruthless. They’ve been fighting each other, their knives constantly clashing together, in order to train for the moment they find a helpless tribute.

I calmly move onto the second floor and hide behind a machine with a bunch of gears. I can’t see anyone from here, and no one can see me. I just hope things stay that way. As much as I want an alliance, I can’t risk being found by those five ruthless tributes. I only hope they leave the factory soon.

Reyna Alvarez, D12, Forest

I thought the girl was about to kill us. Instead, she just smiles. “I’m Olympia,” she says. Two other tributes walk up behind her.

“If she creeped you out or something, don’t be alarmed,” says the blond boy in the group, “she does that a lot.”

Olympia smiles. “Sorry, I just prefer strength in numbers, and you guys look like you would make good allies.”

“Seriously?” I blurt out. I mean, I’m small and scrawny. I think I read “dead meat” more than “tribute buddy.”

Chase looks like he’s carefully considering the decision, weighing the pros and cons of this alliance proposal in his mind. “Alright,” he finally says, “an alliance sounds good.”

We all proceed to introduce ourselves. My new alliance consists of me, Chase, Olympia, a boy named Lightning, and a girl named Sydnee.

In my head, I’m cheering with happiness. There’s no way I stood a chance on my own. But these four are strong, I can tell. My chances of winning just skyrocketed.

Sparks Fly, D3, Forest

I wake up to the sound of whispering.

“I can see you…” I hear that same, disturbing voice at least five times. Just as I start to believe that it’s all in my head, I look down from my tree. Standing there is a girl with black and orange hair and pointed teeth. “Come down boy! I’m thirsty for your blood!”

I’m so scared I can’t move. I can only slowly look up and away from her. My eyes connect with something in front of me, hiding within the leaves of the tree next to mine. I move my head closer, trying to figure out what it is.

“BOO!” A girl jumps up from the tree, flashing her pointed teeth and her orange eyes.

I jump back so far that I begin to tumble out of my tree, my backpack still in my hand. I finally grab hold of a branch just a few feet down and I stop free-falling. What the heck! Those weren’t tributes! Those were freaks!

“Just a little closer!” the girl with the orange hair yells. “I can already smell your blood!” The girl who looks like a scarecrow starts to jump down from the branches, headed straight for me.

That’s it, I’m getting out of here. I grab one of my three knives and toss it at the girl above me. It clips her in the arm, and she screams.

I turn around and leap from my tree and onto the next. I keep going, hopping from branch to branch like I’m a grasshopper. I can no longer hear the psychotic screams of that disturbing girl. I can only hope that means I got away. I’ll see the two of them in my nightmares tonight, assuming I even live that long.

Scarecrow Shade, D10, Forest

As soon as the knife hits me, I come tumbling down from the tree. I land right on Trick with the knife still in my arm. “Ugh!” I scream. “I’m going to kill that boy!” Trick starts to lick the blood off of my arm, and I shove her away in disgust. I stand up and dust myself off.

“Let’s go find him then,” says Trick, smiling evilly.

I pull the knife right out of my arm, not even bothering to bandage the wound. It’s a nice mark of honor now. “I think he went this way.” I take off through the woods, my legs fueled by anger and vengeance. But the boy is nowhere in sight.

Suddenly, my foot hits something in the ground. I stop dead and turn around. It’s a button or something. Just as I begin to wonder what it does, Trick points upwards, her face fearful for what’s probably the first time.

I look up to see a giant bag of rocks, swinging down the sky. I jump out of the way, but Trick isn’t so lucky. From my spot on the ground, I watch as Trick is struck square in the chest and is sent sprawling into a tree.

BOOM!

I stand back up in confusion. My fellow Killer Sister…dead. I…I can’t believe it. I stare at Trick’s lifeless body as the bag of rocks continues to swing back-and-forth. I know how I’ll honor her memory; I’ll kill that boy who threw a knife at me.

I start to walk off when my foot finds another concealed button. Apparently I have a knack for steeping on these things. I look up just in time to see an arrow shoot through my chest.

BOOM!

Aiden Clifton, D5, Forest

I almost can’t comprehend the sound…the sound of a cannon. Not one, but two of them. Two tributes have died. Stuff just got real.

I try to keep myself calm, but it isn’t an easy task. After all, one of those cannons could sound for me pretty soon.

At least I’m up here in the trees; hopefully no one can see me here. And hopefully there aren’t any gamemaker traps here either.

I grab my backpack and move to another tree. I climb higher and higher, hoping no one will ever find me here. I’m too scared to do anything but sleep. I dream about the day when all of the other tributes in here are dead…and I’m declared victor…

I hope that can become reality soon.

Astoria Lovelace, D1, Beach

I don’t know who those cannons were for, but at least they weren’t for me. Two tributes down; that only leaves twenty-seven more to go.

I sit on the beach, staring towards the calm forest, my spear in one hand and my knife in the other. If any tributes want to come get me, then they can come at me! See what happens then…

Just twenty-seven more cannons and I’m out of here…

Olympia Valles, D5, Forest

My alliance members stare at me like I’m an idiot. I just spent the last ten minutes explaining to them why we should refrain from killing anyone else. They clearly don’t agree.

There’s a long moment of silence before Lightning says, “So you want us to just sit here and wait to die?”

“That doesn’t sound like a very smart choice,” says Chase.

“Guys, I know I sound crazy, but we only have two options here. We can either go into bloodbath mode until only one tribute out of this whole island is left alive, or, we can hold out until our government comes to rescue us. We don’t exactly have anything to lose…”

“Except our lives,” says Reyna with a frown.

“And if we just go around killing each other then at least four of us will lose our lives as well. We might as well try.” No one says anything, and I sigh. “If we can just gather a bigger alliance, we’d be unstoppable. Nothing could kill us. Don’t you guys want to live?”

My group is smart enough to say yes to this. “Alright, so if we all agree on this, then we can only hurt people if they threaten us first. And from now on, we take a pledge that we will all get out of these games alive, okay?” My group says yes to this as well.

“Good.” I can only hope they all truly agree with me. The last thing I want right now is to get stabbed in the back by my own alliance, figuratively and literally.

Chase Locke, D6, Forest

Okay, I'm starting to think Olympia might be a little nuts. I don’t think a tribute has ever tried a pledge of non-violence in a games before. And even if one has, I bet they didn’t live to talk about it.

But for some reason, I almost think she’s right. Two cannons have already sounded, so we all know that not everyone in here has good intentions, but if we can just gather enough people, we’ll have strength in numbers. We can be unstoppable…even if the gamemakers try to take us down with traps. We can live…

I've made a pledge to these four tributes, and I will stay true to that promise. I will protect them with my life, even if this crazy plan doesn't work out. I just hope this plan doesn't get me killed.

Avelina Rose, D7, Factory

I can see the boy from 9 moving along the hallway. He’s trying to be sneaky. He thinks he can get away!

I turn to Sash. “Can you see him?” I whisper. Apparently not, at least until I tell him. The second his eyes lock with the fleeing boy, he licks his lips and flashes his eyes.

“Our first victim is in sight.”

We rally up our other three careers and begin to slowly stalk the boy. We’re armed with an assortment of glittering weapons, I mean torture tools; knives, maces, swords, daggers, spears, scythes…you name it, we probably have it. We’re going to make his death long and painful. As long as we’re here, we might as well have fun.

The boy doesn’t even know we’re there, just twenty feet behind him, slowly creeping up towards him. I could probably throw my knife into his back right now. He wouldn’t even see it coming.

Suddenly, he turns around. His eyes light up in fear. He’s about to die, and he knows it.

Lucas Sunsong, D9, Factory

Oh crud.

The last thing I thought I would see when I turned around was five crazy people with glinting weapons and angry eyes. I’m going to die now. I’m definitely going to die.

“Where do you think you’re going?” the blond girl from 8 asks me. I can’t even answer her. I’m frozen in fear. “We were hoping you’d like to play a little game with us…”

“Yeah, a game!” yells the dark and creepy guy from 1. “It’s called we’re going to kill you painfully.”

“That’s a horrible name for a game, Sash,” says the girl from 7.

The girl from 8 looks like she’s about to explode. “Just kill him you idiots!”

Sash turns and chucks his knife straight for my heart. I…I can’t move. I can only watch as his silver knife spins towards me, ready to seal my fate for eternity.

Then, something amazing happens.

Georgia Westlake, D8, Factory

Just as I’m ready for the boy from 9 to fall to the ground, Sash’s knife bounces off of the air and comes hurtling back. It sticks itself into the ground right in front of his feet.

“What the heck?!” yells Avelina. She grabs one of her own knives and chucks it at the boy, who’s too stupid to move. It bounces off of the force field as well, and it sinks into the wall.

The boy from 9 looks like he just got the biggest Christmas present in the world. His smile is brighter than the sun, and it makes me sick. He turns and bolts away, leaving the five of us speechless.

Silvia slowly advances forward, moving dreamily towards the force field. I should probably stop her, but I don’t really care that much. If she dies, she dies. It will make winning easier for me. But she keeps going, farther and farther down the hallway. The force field is gone, as if it was never there.

Avelina retrieves her knife from the wall. “Should we go try to find that kid again?”

“Don’t bother,” I say with a snarl. My group looks confused. “The stupid gamemakers just saved that kid’s life.”

Theo Clair, D8, Forest

I make my way towards the densest part of the forest. I won’t be able to hear any tributes coming, but at least I can hide myself down here. Thankfully, my hearing is still good enough that I heard the two cannons, even if they just sounded like tiny buzzes in my ears.

On my way through the forest, I pass a few buttons on the ground. They must be gamemaker traps. I’m just glad I saw them before I could set them off. That would be disastrous.

I finally arrive at a small cave. It’s eerie and pitch-black, but thankfully, my backpack came with night-vision goggles. I put them on and venture inside. The first thing I see are two backpacks. Next to the backpacks are…vials of blood? I take a closer look around the cave. Whatever tributes were here, they must have been crazy. There are several torture machines constructed out of tree branches and assorted weapons. These two may not be here now, but I better leave before they come back. I run from the cave as if it was on fire.

As I emerge from the darkness and remove my night-vision goggles, I can hear a faint sound in the background. It can’t be a cannon, because it lasts much longer. The ground starts to rumble as the sound gets louder. I turn around and look up at the top of the cave entrance.

A giant boulder rolls down from the top of the cave and heads straight for me. I don’t survive long enough to even faintly hear my own cannon sound.

BOOM!

Falcon Generate, D11, Forest

A third cannon. Alright, this is getting bad. I jump down from my tree and take off through the woods. For all I know, those cannons could’ve been for tributes on the other side of this island. But it doesn’t matter. I need to get away from any possible threat before it’s too late.

Suddenly I smash right into another tribute who was running the other way. We both fall to the ground. My knife skids across the forest floor. If this is the tribute responsible for those three cannons, then I’ll be dead before I can even get up.

I look up to see my potential attacker. But my eyes don’t connect with the menacing eyes of a killer. I look straight into bright blue eyes. They’re a pair of eyes I’ve seen many times before. They’re the eyes of Tessa Powers. My heart melts at the sight of her.

I don’t know what to say.

Tessa Powers, D11, Forest

“Falcon…?”

We both stand up, but our eyes fail to leave each other. We stand still for a few seconds, frozen in time and filled with a mixture of emotions. Love, fear, sadness, even anger course through my veins.

 “Tessa…” I expect him to turn and run. He hasn’t talked to me in months, and even a Hunger Games won’t change that now. But he doesn’t. The magnitude of the thought that we’re both so close to death, just by being in this arena together, hits us like a freight train.

“Falcon, I’m so sorry,” I say. I’ve been waiting to say this since the day that jerk Eric threw himself at me and kissed me…and Falcon saw it all. I almost start to cry, but Falcon doesn’t let me.

He throws his arms around me and kisses me for the first time in what feels like forever.

Ophid Carne, D14, Forest

I sigh as I hear the third cannon, and Angelique carves a third line in a nearby tree. The worst part of these games is the anticipation and the fear that comes with it. I don’t know if those three tributes were killed by freak accidents or by some psycho killer tribute. All I know is that they’re gone.

I’m glad about my alliance though. We work on a group system. At night, we take two-hour shifts guarding our small camp. It makes me okay with the fact that we’re sleeping on the ground, in an obvious spot, rather than in one of the trees.

Nighttime is already coming, which means the anthem and the identities of the three dead tributes. I hope they’re scary looking ones; I want those kind of people out of the way first.

I hope more than anything that my face never appears in the sky. I turn to Angelique and she smiles at me. But I know she’s thinking the same thing about herself. And no matter what, one of us is going to end up in the sky before the week is out.

Sparks Fly, D3, Forest

I listen to the anthem in silence.

First is the creepy girl from 9. Thank God! She’s gone! I can only wonder what took her out. After her is the girl from 10, the one I hit with the knife. Perfect. Hopefully, they were the creepiest tributes in here. If anyone else is that bad, I think I’m going to take myself out.

Then, for some reason, the boy from 8 appears next. It seems strange that they would play them out of order. I guess they’re just showing them based on when they died.

Up high in yet another tree, I decide to go to bed.

All I can see is those two freaky girls, jumping out of trees and screaming at me. For once, my nightmares are even worse than my reality.

End of Day Two


Part Two: The Message on the Wall

Day Three

Lucas Sunsong, D9, Factory

The game makers saved my life. They’re the only reason my face wasn’t in the sky last night. I know that the force field wasn’t there when I ran into the careers. But it was there when that girl threw the knife.

That means I’m lucky to be alive. But I still don’t understand why they did it. Why me? Maybe they thought it was unfair, five careers against one kid. Maybe they wanted to give me a second chance.

I don’t really care. I’m just happy to be alive.

Argus Dimonun, D12, Forest

I wake up in my hiding spot, a bush by the lake.

Three tributes have already died in this arena, but two days have gone by. I’m hungry, tired, and honestly…I just want to go home. I never thought I would say this, but District 12 is so much better than the arena.

I make my way over to the lake for a quick drink, taking my knife with me. You can never be too sure when you’re in a Hunger Games. As I cup my hands and bend over towards the water, I hear a twig snap.

I turn around and look up just in time to see a rock falling from a tree. It strikes me on the head and I go down. Hard.

BOOM!

Marko Timber, D10, Forest

That’s just my luck.

I find another tribute in the arena and just when I’m about to ask for an alliance, a rock falls out of a tree and strikes him in the head. I look up to see if it was a tribute who took out the boy from 12. But no one is there. It was just a gamemaker trap.

Well, at least I can have a hiding spot by the water now. I only hope the gamemakers take the kid’s body pretty soon; it’s really freaking me out.

I hate this place.

Fuchsia Terranova, D0, Forest

The sounds of cannons hardly even shock me anymore. They’re no more surprising than the chirping of the birds. Four have gone off now. For the third day in the arena, that’s hardly anything. These games are going to last forever.

I fill up my water bottle in the river, which I’m so grateful is nearby. I’d be dead if I didn’t have water. I’m sure a bunch of the other tributes are going to start dying of thirst pretty soon. At least I don’t have to worry about that.

Suddenly, the water level starts to rise. Not just a few inches, a few feet. Pretty soon, the forest floor has turned to mud, and the water keeps on rising. I feel like a wimp for running away from a little water, but you never know how far the gamemakers will go to drown a few tributes. I don’t want to be one of them.

Falcon Generate, D11, Beach

Tessa and I quietly make our way out of the forest and onto the beach. I’m too happy to be with her to be sad about the fact that at least one of us is going to be dead within the next few days. There’s no time for worrying.

“I hope Eric can see us from back home,” Tessa whispers to me. Last night, she explained to me how he forced her to kiss him. Of course I forgave her. It’s one thing to try to ignore someone when they’re nowhere near you. It’s another thing when you’re looking straight into their eyes.

We’ve been walking hand-in-hand—which is probably pretty stupid considering someone could easily sneak up on us—since we left the forest this morning. My other hand is gripping my knife. Walking along the beach with Tessa is surreal; there’s no place for this in District 11. We may be in a Hunger Games, but this is one of the best days of my life. I just hope it doesn’t end really badly.

I feel like we’ve walked the whole circumference of the island when we come upon an opening carved into a rock wall. I let go of Tessa’s hand. “I’ll go first,” I say.

The cave is surprisingly light and warm. There’s a great view of the ocean, and the cave is already stocked full of food, water…and weapons. Oh crud. This is someone else’s cave. Just as I turn around to run, I hear Tessa scream.

Lightning Tree, D0, Forest

Olympia has decided that we should leave the forest and explore the factory, in hopes of finding new allies. I’m this close to ditching this alliance. I know Olympia has good intentions, but I think she underestimates the true killing power within these other tributes. No one is going to listen to her.

But something keeps me with this group. I think it’s Sydnee. We’ve formed a real friendship over the past few days. She’s really nice, and I don’t think I can leave her here.

“Do you really think this is a good idea?” I whisper to her. Olympia can’t hear us; she’s too busy talking with Chase and Reyna, and with gathering supplies.

Sydnee shakes her head. “I don’t know what to do. She sounded so convincing last night, but this idea is just madness. We’ve survived here, so we should stay here.”

“Do you think we should just leave her?”

Sydnee looks down at the ground. She’s seriously considering it. “We should stay with her for now, see how this plan of hers plays out. But if anything happens, the two of us ditch her, okay?”

“I've got your back, and you've got mine,” I say, and the two of us smile.

Tessa Powers, D11, Beach

The blond girl from 6 grabs me from behind, and I scream.

“I’m going to win these games!” she shrieks. She tosses me to the sand and stands over me with her knife. I’ve never felt so helpless in my entire life. She raises her knife and prepares to strike, when my knight in shining armor arrives.

Falcon grabs the girl’s arm and her eyes widen in confusion. She must’ve thought I was alone. Falcon jabs his own knife through the girl’s back and she spits out blood. I scurry away as she falls to her knees in the sand. She goes down without a word.

BOOM!

Falcon is trembling more than me. “I thought I was going to lose you…” I jump up and give him a big hug. For a second, I thought he was going to lose me too.

He leads me into the cave and we sit down. My heart is still beating faster than a jet. I keep myself from crying. No one cries in a Hunger Games. Falcon keeps his arms wrapped around me as the thought finally enters my mind:

What’s going to happen when one of us really does have to die?

Toby Macklemore, D14, Factory

Five tributes dead, and we haven’t killed any of them. We are the worst careers ever. The one kid we got the chance to kill was saved by some force field. It’s like the game makers are just making fun of us now.

Georgia and Avelina are the most pissed about it. Georgia has been yelling at us for the past day about how we’re a horrible excuse for a career pack. Avelina has been sharpening her knife and muttering to herself for hours. Sash really doesn’t seem to care that much, and Silvia hasn’t said a word about it…or about anything else.

I’m beginning to get the idea that if we want to be better careers, maybe we should actually go tribute hunting instead of just sitting here! But I know if I say that, someone here will kill me on the spot. And they’ll make it hurt.

Suddenly, we hear the footsteps of another tribute. The five of us perk up and grab our weapons. We can only hope the gamemakers don’t save this tribute.

Ophid Carne, D14, Factory

Angelique and I decided to leave the forest and head to the factory. After all, it’s heated here, there are more places to hide, and there are more resources around. Plus, the forest has flooded. Angelique may love water, but she wasn’t exactly thrilled about that.

We try to be as quiet as possible as we walk around the factory. I know that two is better than one, but two small, weak tributes aren’t really much better than one small, weak tribute. Especially in an arena full of killers.

Suddenly, I hear a group of tributes running down the halls. I’m a few seconds away from freaking out when I realize that the sounds are coming from the first floor. Angelique and I watch over the balcony as five, strong-looking tributes with knives chase after some other kid on the first floor. I have a feeling we’re about to hear a sixth cannon.

Sydnee Wren, D13, Factory

My group of five walks through the front doors of the factory just in time to see five careers running at us. Only they’re not headed for us.

The boy from 7 has enough time to yell, “Help!” before a knife sinks into his back.

A girl with black and red hair smiles. “No force field this time!”

I watch in pain as the boy from 7 falls to the ground, his eyes wide with fear and disbelief.

BOOM!

“Looks like our next victims have arrived!” A girl with blond hair yells. She tosses her own knife straight at me. I can’t even move. But as the shining weapon spins toward me, Lightning grabs me and we tumble to the ground. The knife simply bounces off the air and goes spinning back, sinking into the ground.

“Are you kidding me?!” shrieks Avelina.

I don’t know why, but the gamemakers put a force field in our path.

Olympia takes this as a sign. “Wait one second!” she yells. “You need to listen to me if you want to live!”

“This seems like a good time to go,” whispers Lightning.

“No,” I say. “I want to hear this.”

The blond girl from 8 has the same attitude. She crosses her arms and waits for Olympia to plead her case.

Katarin “KM” Lao, D3, Factory

I can’t believe what I’m watching. The careers just killed a kid; that doesn’t surprise me. What surprises me is that the gamemakers just put a force field in the way of the other tributes. And now, the careers are going to listen to some girl plead for her life? I have to watch this.

I move from my catwalk on the third floor and head down to the first. I watch the tributes from the end of a hallway. I don’t want to get too close, just in case that force field disappears and the careers switch back into murder mode.

Chase Locke, D6, Factory

The careers don’t move a muscle as they wait for Olympia to speak. I can’t believe it. I never pegged Olympia for someone who could stop killers in their path just with her voice. I guess the force field helped stop their rampage.

A bunch of tributes begin to arrive. It’s no longer just the five of us and five careers crowded around the dead body of the boy from 7. Two small girls are watching us from the balcony above. One girl with black hair is staring us down from the end of the hallway. A kid with red hair—the boy from 4—jumps out of his hiding place and curiously makes his way towards us. Two kids, the boy from 13 and the girl from 1, were watching the scene from the doorway. They enter the factory and stand behind us. The black-haired boy from 9 peeks out from behind a machine far behind the careers. He tries to keep himself half-hidden.

I wait for someone to draw a knife and move in for a kill, but no one does.

It surprises me that no one considers taking anyone else out; it seems like the perfect time for it. But that’s good for us, it gives Olympia the chance to plead her case. If she’s good enough with words to change the minds of everyone here, then maybe we can all survive these games.

Olympia Valles, D5, Factory

This is my chance to save my life, and the lives of everyone else in the arena.

The careers stare right at me, their weapons still at the ready. The boy from 1—Sash—moves forward, but he isn’t headed for me. He gets down and inspects the body of the boy from 7, looking for any weapons.

A bunch of other tributes have arrived, and they wait for me to explain how I can help them all live. I can’t stall any longer.

“As we all know, these games were not organized and authorized by the government. Therefore, our government will be hunting down the very people who organized these games on charges of kidnapping and murder. If we can just lay low and refrain from hurting each other, the government will have time to arrive and rescue us all!” I wait for the gamemakers to strike me with lightning, but nothing happens.

None of the careers seem too convinced, but the other tributes look intrigued. After all, they want any excuse possible to keep themselves from hurting each other.

“All we need is time!” Two of the careers—the girl from 2 and the boy from 14—raise their eyebrows. I’m on my way to convincing them to agree with us too. Even if they don’t, I’m not above taking them down. After all, it would be in the pursuit of keeping everyone else here alive.

Then, Sash throws a wrench in my plans. “You guys gotta see this,” he says as he pulls up the dead boy’s pant leg and points to the front of his ankle.

It’s a glowing green tattoo of a 6.

Rebel Peacock, D13, Factory

I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to meet that girl from 5. She’s promising rebellion! Where has she been all my life!

But apparently, that boy’s green tattoo is enough to distract everyone from Olympia’s plan. Avelina and Georgia get down for a closer look at the green 6.

“Big deal, they probably just tattooed his district number on his ankle,” says Georgia.

Avelina shakes her head. “He’s from my district, District Seven, not Six.”

That’s when the realization hits us all at the same moment.

Reyna Alvarez, D12, Factory

The sixth cannon had blasted for the boy with the tattoo of a six on his ankle. That can’t be a coincidence.

“They planned this…” I mutter. Everyone else seems to hear this, and no one argues. Now it makes sense why the force field was there. Sydnee wasn’t supposed to die next. None of the people in my group are.

Avelina lifts up the bottom of her own pants to see the number on her ankle. It’s a glowing green 27. She’s one of the last. The rest of the tributes seem to afraid to look at their numbers, including me.

Suddenly, the loudspeaker turns back on, and a gamemaker’s voice booms out through the arena.

Angelique Bluesong, D4, Factory

“Congratulations tributes!” the gamemaker yells. His enthusiasm makes me cringe. It’s easy for him to stay cheerful considering he’s not about to die.

“You’ve figured out the twist! Yes, the random numbers on your ankles do indeed predict the order in which you shall die. One through six have already fallen, meaning seven is next. But now, let me describe the new twist.

“These numbers are not set in stone. You may change your number in one way and one way only; by killing the tribute who is next in the order. If you are next, you may kill the tribute after you. By doing so, you will be moved to the end of the list. But under no circumstances can you kill out of order. There is more to this mystery, but we shall let you discover that for yourselves. Happy Hunger Games!”

The loudspeaker makes that buzzing noise, and the voice disappears. The room is silent for a second, and then the tributes go into an uproar.

Silvia Hake, D2, Factory

“Who is it?!” Georgia yells. “Who is next?!” The tributes cringe in fear, most too afraid to see who is next. I’ve checked my ankle, and I know it isn’t me.

“Come on, come forward!” shrieks Avelina, it will only make it easier! We promise we’ll make it quick!”

“Did anyone hear me?!” says Olympia, fighting for control over the situation. “We can’t go around killing each other!” I have to admit, I almost believed her for a second. But that was just me being stupid. I have to remember my plan to kill everyone in this arena.

“So it’s you then!” Georgia points an accusatory finger at Olympia. The rest of the group prepares for an all-out brawl. I grip my knife.

“Guess again.” Olympia pulls up the bottom of her pant leg. She’s number 25. “You have to remember what I told you. The gamemakers are just trying to distract us! All we have to do is refrain from killing each other, and we can live.”

Georgia ignores her. “Where are you?!” she screams. She looks ready to go on a complete rampage. I’ve never seen her this angry before. It almost scares me.

That’s when I notice one of the tributes slowly inching along the wall, headed for the door…

Astoria Lovelace, D1, Factory

It’s me. I’m next.

The temptation to look at my ankle was too great, my life depended on it. But now, I wish more than anything I hadn’t looked. I feel the eyes of the remaining tributes on me. They know, they must know!

I keep my hand tightly gripping my dagger as I inch along the wall, that daunting tattoo of a 7 searing into my ankle. The rest of the tributes seem to be busy arguing with each other, but it will only be a matter of time before they give it up. Their lives depend on killing the girl with the 7. They can only live if I’m dead.

The door is inches away; I’m so close! No time to turn back now, but I can’t risk running either. I have to continue, slithering along the wall like a snake, until I’m back out into the daylight, out into freedom.

Then, two of the careers turn towards me, their eyes piercing me like knives.

I knew it. It couldn’t be this easy.

Sash Bloodhound, D1, Factory

Everyone’s going crazy. Georgia and Olympia are screaming at each other. Avelina is looking around for her next victim. The rest of the tributes are staring at each other in fear. No one knows who's supposed to die next.

Suddenly, Silvia and Avelina freeze. Their eyes lock on one of the tributes who’s been slowly inching along the wall, trying to escape. My fellow careers want to take her down and bring themselves to the end of the list. I’ve checked my number; it’s 14. Unless I make a kill, I don’t have much time left.

I leap from my spot next to the dead boy and tackle the girl from 1 to the ground. Her dagger goes flying across the floor. She tries to squirm, but I hold her in place. The rest of the tributes stare at the scene, but no doubt they can see the number 7 tattooed on her ankle. She's next. I smile deviously before I slit her throat with my knife.

BOOM!

Olympia screams. The boy from 0, Lightning, moves to hit me with his spear. I grab it before he can strike. “I’m at the end of the order now, kid,” I say with a smile. “You can’t touch me.”

Hayden Light, D4, Factory

I’m next.

The boy from 1 just killed Astoria, number 7. And I’m number 8. Georgia continues to scream, demanding that the next tribute in line shows themselves. I can’t try to escape; they’ll see me. My only option now is to find the next in line.

I look around at the other tributes. Most of their numbers are covered up, but thankfully, I can see some of them. I just need one. I just need number nine!

For all I know, number nine could be somewhere else. Not all of the tributes are here. In that case, I would have to run as fast as I can to escape this place. But I saw that girl, Avelina, throw a knife. She’d hit me without even trying.

That’s when I catch sight of my last chance to live. That’s when I notice the tribute with a tattoo of a nine…

I jump forward and jab my dagger into the heart of the boy from 14. He’s a career. This will make me enemy number of one of that loud blond girl for sure. I watch in pain as the light fades from the boy’s eyes, and he slips out of my grasp…

BOOM!

I stumble backwards in horror. What have I done?

Lightning Tree, D0, Factory

I’ll be honest, I kind of respect the boy from 4 for killing that career. I’d rather have him alive than any of those killers. And now he’s at the end of the order instead of Avelina or Sash. The careers are so surprised that they take off down the hallway, vowing revenge.

Most of the other tributes stay put. One boy emerges from his hiding spot behind a machine. Two girls come running down from the second floor. The boy from 4, Hayden, slowly makes his way towards us. “Do you guys think we could form an alliance…?”

Olympia looks hesitant. She doesn’t exactly want to join forces with someone who just violated her own advice about not killing anyone. But maybe she realizes that he had no other choice, because she nods her head in acceptance. Then, we’re asked the same question by several other tributes.

Five minutes later, we have the biggest alliance in Hunger Games history. Olympia, Chase, Reyna, Hayden, Angelique, Ophid, Rebel, Lucas, Sydnee, and I; ten people. Maybe now, Olympia’s plan can work. With an alliance this large, we may never have to kill.

I certainly hope not. It won’t be too long until my number is next.

Katarin “KM” Lao, D3, Factory

I pray the careers won’t find me now. It was one thing when I was watching them from the top floor of the factory, waiting for my moment to strike. It’s a totally different thing when I learn that we’re supposed to die in a certain order.

My tattoo of the number 10 feels burnt into my skin, stinging my ankle. It’s a constant reminder that I’m the next in line.

My only hope is that I can stay hidden until I can find number 11.

Spider Tablo, D2, Lighthouse

The gamemakers announcement caught me completely off guard. I don’t know what happened to the other tributes to help them figure out this twist. All I know is that a bunch of people ran into the factory, and then three cannons went off.

If the announcement is right, then numbers one through eight are gone. And that’s assuming that no one was killed out of order. There’s no way of knowing.

My number is twenty-three. It’s a relief, considering I still have so much time until it’s my turn to die. But at the same time, I feel like the games have suddenly been wrenched from my control. No matter what, when number twenty-three arrives, I have to kill or be killed. Either that, or I need to find the next person in line and take them out, fast.

From my spot in the lighthouse, I watch as a giant alliance of ten people returns to the forest. The flood there seems to have stopped. It was just a gamemaker plot to drive the tributes into the factory after all.

I start to wonder what else these games will have in store.

Aiden Clifton, D5, Forest

I’m getting ready to climb a tree and fall asleep when another tribute sneaks up on me. It’s a small tan girl with blue hair. I hold my mace at my side, just in case she threatens me. But instead, she asks for an alliance. I might as well agree, it’s not like I have anything better to do.

I don’t expect her to lead me into a clearing where nine other people are sitting. How big is this alliance? A girl with red hair smiles and introduces herself as Olympia. She explains what that gamemaker announcement was about earlier, and why I have a 15 tattooed on my ankle.

Our group sits down on logs and we watch the anthem play. There are five faces, though they play in a weird order. First is the boy from 12, with the number 4 displayed next to his face. Then the girl from 6 with the number 5, the boy from 7 with the number 6, the girl from 1 with the number 7, and the boy from 14 with the number 9. Hayden, the redhead from 4, frowns as that face appears. Apparently he was number 8, and he killed that boy to survive.

This means that there are only five more tributes until it’s my turn.

These games just got much more interesting.

End of Day Three

END OF PART ONE

Day Four

Falcon Generate, D11, Beach Cave

The first thing Tessa and I did after the announcement yesterday was check our ankles. I’m number 28 and Tessa is number 29. I couldn’t be much happier, my survival chances just skyrocketed! The only thing I still have to wonder about is who number 30 is. No matter what, we’ll have to take out that person and whoever else killed others to get put at the end of the order.

But as I hold Tessa in my arms and we stare out at the sea, I can’t help but feel uneasy. According to the announcement, I’m nearly at the end of the order now. I killed that girl from 6, putting me last in this crazy game of numbers. But Tessa is still number 29. At least I’ll be around to protect her. I just don’t know what will happen when it’s Tessa’s turn to die. I guess I’ll have to help her find number 30, or she’ll have to take someone out before it’s her turn.

It’s kind of strange when you think about it. I’m peacefully holding the love of my life as we stare out at the ocean from our beachside bedroom, yet we’re both thinking about the people we’ll have to kill to get each other out of here.

Georgia Westlake, D8, Factory

Just when that stupid girl thought she could turn the rest of the tributes against us careers…

I can’t wait until it’s her turn to die. Now that we understand how these games work, it’s time for our alliance to hunt down the rest of the weaklings in here. I only need to make sure that I kill them all by myself. Avelina and Sash have already managed to stick themselves at the end of the order, and I will not be stuck at number twenty-one. I know that I’m with three of the deadliest people in this arena, and when it’s time for me to die, they won’t hesitate. And I won’t either.

Only that time will never come. I lead my group as we sprint around the third floor, dashing across the catwalks. I catch sight of a dark-looking girl with black hair, fiddling with some small machine she’s constructed. She looks up at me in fear and surprise.

I slash her throat before any of my fellow careers get the chance. The girl from 3 hits the floor, her face more shocked than a kid struck by lightning.

BOOM!

Boy do I love that sound.

Rebel Peacock, D13, Forest

The sound of a cannon tells us that the careers are on the prowl. Our rebellious pledge of non-violence may not work after all. Honestly, I hope they come trotting down here towards our alliance of eleven people. They wouldn’t stand a chance against us. I don’t care if I have to kill them out of order; it would only be a bigger shot to the gamemaker’s pride. Oh the joy of rebellion!

Our alliance is rebellious enough, and I think the only reason that the gamemakers haven’t taken any of us down yet is the fact that none of us are next in the order. But we’re not too far away from my number, and every boom of a cannon makes me cringe. Soon, it will be my turn…

The gamemakers have been kind enough to keep a running count of the numbers projected on holographic screens on almost every tree. They don’t say who is who, unfortunately. The numbers 1-7 and 9 are all colored dark red. As the cannon sounds, number 10 joins them. The numbers are in order, too. Some of them have been moved to the end of the list, like number 8, Hayden. Some others come after him, and I can only assume they are careers. With the cannon sound, number 21 jumps to the very end of the list.

Not being next in the order has completely allayed my fears. I feel totally at ease and relaxed in these games. That is, at least until it’s my turn. 

Angelique Bluesong, D4, Forest

I’m still trying to make sense of this cruel twist. I guess the only up side here is that I’m now part of an eleven-person alliance. Woohoo! More tributes who could turn on me when my number comes up. Okay, maybe I shouldn’t think like that. I know I should be more trusting, but the only person here I’m willing to look out for is Ophid. Everyone else I met just yesterday, and they’re just potential assassins as far as I’m concerned.

But this is better than being stuck alone, or with the careers. Or near the careers. Or anything that possibly has to do with the careers. I just hope they all go nuts and kill each other. Only I know that can’t happen; they’re all at the end of the order. So our only hope is for Olympia’s plan to work out, and for our government to rescue us, fast.

But as I think about the games, our possible rescue, and those numbers on our ankles, I wonder what would happen if we killed someone out of order…

Sash Bloodhound, D1, Forest

The factory seems to be empty, so we leave behind our amazing, dark and depressing home. It’s weird seeing light for the first time in days…I hate it. It doesn’t fit the atmosphere of these games.

We head straight for the forest, knowing that’s where most of those pathetic weaklings are hiding.  I don’t care if they’re all hiding together, we can massacre them all. In the correct order, or course. And I sincerely hope that the black-haired kid that the gamemakers saved is next. Or that blondie who threatened me with his spear. Okay…maybe I don’t really care. I just want to kill someone.

The four of us spring into the forest, weaving around trees like ninjas, and wielding our shiny weapons like angels of death…

I’m so ready for this.

Sparks Fly, D3, ???

I found it last night.

While all of the other tributes were running around in the factory, killing each other, and discovering that stupid numbers thing, I was looking for a place to hide. And I found one. It’s perfect; no one will ever find me here. Especially not creepy, bloodthirsty girls—though those two continue to seep into my darkest nightmares. I don’t think I’ll ever get them out of my mind.

But it doesn’t matter, because I’m safe. At least for now.

Aiden Clifton, D5, Forest

Apparently I’m the official lookout for this alliance. While the rest of my friends sit on the forest floor talking and pretending they aren’t really in a Hunger Games, I sit at the top of my tree, waiting for someone to arrive. I know the careers are out there somewhere, and it’s only a matter of time before they find us.

Olympia’s plan may be crazy, but I sure hope it works out. I know I could kill if I had to, but I sure as heck don’t want to!

So far, I haven’t seen anyone around us. After all, about half the tributes in the arena are a part of our alliance. I hope those cowardly careers stay in their stupid factory.

Marko Timber, D10, Forest

I hear a twig snap and I whip around. Four menacing faces stare me down, their eyes glinting brighter than their knives. I book it.

I can hear the stampede of careers sprinting behind me as I take off between the trees. One tribute with a knife is no match for four killers with even more knives. Even I’m smart enough to know that.

But those four are gaining on me. I finally stop short, knowing that if I’m about to go down, it won’t be without a fight. I turn and slash the air with my knife. The boy from 1 ducks out of the way.

“Watch it there! I’m not next in the order!”

“Screw the order!” I yell. I thrust my knife forward and the girl from 7 moves sideways. The four start to laugh with each missed strike. They’re just playing with me at this point.

It only takes a few more misses for the girl from 8 to cross her arms and say, “Alright, finish him.” The girl from 7 abruptly chucks her knife at my heart. I try to jump out of the way, but the knife still sinks into my stomach. I fall to the forest floor and the four careers stand over me, their smiles shining brighter than the sun.

Fine. So I’m about to die. Well this shy tribute isn’t going out that easy. I turn and kick the boy from 1, and he falls to the ground, right on his face. My only regret is not having enough time for one final laugh.

BOOM!

Ophid Carne, D14, Forest

I just happen to be watching the holographic screen on a tree when the cannon goes off. The number eleven on the screen turns a blood-red. Another tribute down. Number twenty-seven moves to the end of the list; that must've been the killer.

Seeing the numbers go red so quickly, and in perfect order, makes my stomach turn. We’re being hunted down one-by-one. I trust Olympia and her plan of non-violence, but seriously? Obviously this isn’t working. Tributes are dying faster and faster than before. And the gamemakers have pretty much made it impossible to kill the careers.

I see Olympia sigh as the canon sounds. Even she knows these games have moved beyond her control. Some of the tributes fidget nervously. I can only wonder who’s next. At least it’s not me.

“Are we sure about this plan of yours?” says Lightning, repeating the very thought that’s been racing through our minds for the past day.

“Yes,” says Olympia, except now she sounds scared rather than sure of herself. “Panem’s government will find us; I trust them completely.” Olympia moves to the center of the group, addressing us like an assembly. “I know it’s hard for all of you to promise not to hurt anyone else when those careers have been hunting everyone down so mercilessly. But I promise you, I can keep you all safe. And if we have to figure out a way to take down those careers out of their order, then so be it.”

Olympia is suddenly interrupted as a figure emerges from behind a tree.

Fuchsia Terranova, D0, Forest

The first thing I thought when I saw eleven tributes in the same place was: oh crud, I’m about to die. But I guess I’m wrong. This isn’t a group of killers, this is some kind of alliance, and that red-head is their Moses.

They all stare at me as I walk out from the darkness of the trees, my bow in hand. “I’m sorry to interrupt,” I say quietly. “I didn’t think I was going to run into anyone.”

Their eyes still refuse to leave me, and it makes me want to bolt out of here ASAP. But I hold my ground. I know that I need this alliance right now, more than ever. And to make sure they know that, I pull up the bottom of my pant leg. My glowing green tattoo of a twelve shines in the daylight.

The tributes look at me with this kind of pity, as if they’re staring at my corpse. I’m next. I need this alliance more than anything.

Olympia Valles, D5, Forest

The girl with pink hair is like a gift from Heaven, delivered at the perfect time. I smile as I see her tattoo of a 12. “We’re going to keep you safe,” I say to her. “And as long as you’re alive, no one else in this arena may die.”

This seriously stirs up my group. This is the perfect evidence to show how I’ll make my plan work. So long as Fuchsia stays alive, and refuses to kill anyone else, then everyone in this arena stays alive. If we can keep her safe, then we buy unlimited time for our government to rescue us. It’s the perfect plan.

Fuchsia smiles and calmly moves over to a seat on the forest floor, her bow still in hand. The rest of the group stays silent. We may have found our perfect ally, but we’ve also made ourselves a target for the careers. Up in his tree, Aiden goes back to watching the forest. Like the rest of us, he knows that the careers will be looking for us next. And we all know that they will find us.

Bring it.

Hayden Light, D4, Forest

Night is coming. Olympia demands that two people hold lookout posts for two-hour shifts. The only person she doesn’t want on lookout is Fuchsia, who’s wrapped up in her sleeping bag in one of the trees. We have to keep her hidden, that’s all Olympia cares about.

Me and Angelique are the first lookouts. It gives me some time to learn more about my district partner. I’ve met her before, but I hardly know anything about her. She seems pretty cool, and really nice. I’m just glad she’s not a bloodthirsty creep. We spend most of our shift talking about District 4, our families, our friends, and a whole bunch of other stuff.

Suddenly, I hear a faint noise in the woods. I don’t hesitate. I grab my knife and leap up, scanning the woods. Thankfully, Sydnee lent us the night-vision goggles she got with her pack. Four faces are watching us from behind the trees. “Who’s there!” I call, even though I know who it is.

The careers have found us.

Avelina Rose, D7, Forest

I hop around the trees, finally reaching the boy with the night vision goggles, and the girl with the blue hair. Georgia is leading us, and Sash is with us as well. Silvia waits in the shadows, just in case we need to utilize the element of surprise.

“This is going to be real simple,” says Georgia as she checks her hair in the reflection of her knife. “We need to know who is number 12. We will then take him or her and…well…kill them. Everyone else gets left alone, at least for now.”

Hayden, the boy from 4, frowns. “What if number 12 isn’t with us?”

“Look, we already know that you’re near the end of the list, after you took down Toby,” Georgia continues, grimacing as she remembers how the pathetic boy killed our ally. It’s hard for us to negotiate with a boy we hate so much, especially since we can’t kill him yet.

Angelique, the girl with the blue hair, pulls up her pant leg to show us that she’s not next. She’s number 20. Rats.

Georgia snarls. “We know that you have more tributes with you, so until you show us their tattoos, we aren’t leaving.”

“We don’t have to show anything to you,” says Hayden. “And you can’t kill any of us unless you know who’s next. So I suggest you leave.” He crosses his arms and smiles, and I start to hate him even more.

But I keep my eyes glued on Angelique. She’s fidgeting nervously, and she has this certain look in her eyes…

“They’re lying,” I finally tell my group. “They know where number 12 is, you can tell just by the look in that girl’s eyes.”

Georgia sighs and grips her knife. “Well that’s very unfortunate for all of you then…”

Silvia Hake, D2, Forest

“Look, we don’t know where the next person is, so just leave!” insists the boy with red hair. But we all know he’s lying.

Georgia holds her knife closer to his head. “They won’t let me kill you, but there are other ways to figure out who is next.” She traces her knife in the air in front of Hayden’s chest. “If I try to stab you now, the gamemakers will protect you. As they will with everyone else who isn’t next. So all I have to do is attack everyone until I am allowed to kill someone.”

Hayden’s eyes widen. He should’ve known that careers mean business before trying to negotiate with us. As I watch from the forest, I see a few tributes emerge from their sleeping bags. Some are in trees, some on the forest floor. It’s about time. I hope Georgia lets me kill one this time around.

But all of the sudden, something in the distance catches my attention. There’s a light emitting from a tree only a few feet away. At first, I think it’s a tribute with a campfire. But as the light gets brighter, and the flame spreads up an entire tree, I understand what has happened.

The gamemakers have started a fire.

Lucas Sunsong, D9, Forest

I wake up to the sound of yelling and the smell of smoke. It doesn’t matter how dark it is out, the fire spreading up a tree in the distance is easy to see. I try hard not to freak the heck out.

I grab the belt that holds my sleeping bag in place and unhook it as fast as I can. My sleeping bag turns over and I come tumbling out of the tree. I land smack on the forest floor, still inside my bag. The careers, Hayden, and Angelique stare at me like I’m an alien who just crash landed here. I fearfully point towards the fire in the distance.

Their eyes widen and their jaws drop. Then, all hell breaks loose.

Angelique Bluseong, D4, Forest

“Wake up! Wake up!” I scream to the trees. Hayden runs around, shaking the sleeping bags of those who chose to sleep on the ground. The careers have already fled.

Hayden manages to wake Olympia, Lightning, Sydnee, and Chase, who were sleeping on the ground. Lucas has already fallen out of a tree, and Ophid has made it down from hers. They’re both freaking out, so I tell Chase to take them and get out of the forest, immediately. They take off.

“Guys, come on! Wake up!” A few more faces appear from out of the trees. In the distance, the fire grows, slithering along the trees like a snake. Reyna makes it down form her tree rather quickly, and Rebel begins to climb. Aiden and Fuchsia are still nowhere to be seen.

Olympia decides to climb Fuchsia’s tree and see if she can help her get out. I guess because Olympia knows that, because her number isn’t next, the gamemaker’s fire can’t kill her. It’s given her some kind of fearlessness.

I see Aiden’s face finally pop up from his sleeping bag. He decides that, instead of running through the forest, he’s better off jumping from tree to tree. He salutes to us jokingly so we know where he is, then starts off along the treetops.

Fuchsia abruptly wakes up, but Olympia is only half way up her tree. Suddenly, the branch Olympia is on snaps, tossing her to the ground.

The fire is getting closer now. I can feel the heat on my back.

Lightning Tree, D0, Forest

We send Reyna, Hayden, and Rebel off into the forest next. Rebel isn’t too fast, so he needs all the time he can get. Plus, we don’t know who’s supposed to die after Fuchsia. If she can’t get out of that tree soon, we’re going to find out.

Olympia gets off the ground, cursing. “Fuchsia, you’re going to have to jump!” she yells.

Fuchsia looks at us with wide, fearful eyes. “I…I don’t know.”

“It’s that or you burn! Make a choice!”

Fuchsia gets up from her sleeping bag and climbs down a few branches. Me, Olympia, Sydnee, and Angelique position ourselves to catch her. Fuchsia closes her eyes and lets go of the tree. She comes tumbling down from the sky, landing in our arms.

Sydnee Wren, D13, Forest

We let Fuchsia back down and she stares fearfully into the distance. “I hate fire…” she says.

“Hey, it’s going to be alright,” I assure her. “We just need to run and get out of here, now.” Fuchsia nods, and our group takes off.

The fire lights up the night, blazing along trees and torching plants. The five of us keep track of each other as we sprint through the forest, changing directions several times to escape the line of flames. It almost seems like the fire is following us.

As we help each other across the river, I suddenly notice something. There are only four of us. “Where’s Fuchsia?!” I demand from my group. We turn back around.

“Help!” Fuchsia is hanging from a tree, trapped inside of a net that was conjured from a gamemaker trap. “Please help!”

I lead my group as we head back towards the fire. But as we near Fuchsia, a wall of flame slithers its way around her, encircling her as if it is trying to protect her from us. We stop short.

“Fuchsia!” I yell, as if that can save her now. I feel the tears stinging my eyes as the net catches fire, sending Fuchsia tumbling into the flames…

BOOM!

Chase Locke, D6, Forest

As the cannon sounds, I know that Fuchsia is gone. That means that number 13 is next.

Lucas, Ophid, and I had a head start over the fire, but it’s spreading amazingly fast. It isn’t long before we’re surrounded. My two allies look like they’re about to cry. Either that, or the heat is stinging their eyes. But I’m not too worried. The fire can’t kill me because I’m not even close to next.

But I’m worried for Lucas and Ophid. For all I know, they could be next. We continue to run around, searching for something that could save us. The trees aren’t an option, they’ve already gone up in flames. To make it worse, there isn’t a river in sight.

“Guys, look at this!” Ophid screams, her voice cracking as smoke slithers into her lungs. She points at a hole in the ground, big enough that we could crawl through. Normally, I would say no way to that. But we don’t have a choice.

I follow my friends into the small, dark tunnel, hoping that the fire doesn’t chase us.

Reyna Alvarez, D12, Forest

We continue to bolt through the woods, Hayden out in front of me and Rebel close behind us. I know that this is a gamemaker fire, but it’s spreading at a ridiculous rate, lighting up the entire forest. It seems inescapable.

Hayden seems to notice. He starts going faster and faster as we all struggle to run with burnt lungs. I can easily keep up, but Rebel can’t. He’s not exactly a professional sprinter. Suddenly, a few of the trees topple over, consumed with flame. They land straight in front of me, and I toss myself to the floor to avoid them. I can only assume that Hayden is still running, far out ahead.

I turn around and grab Rebel, and we look for a way around our roadblock. Trees continue to burn and fall, straining to block us from moving forward. A flaming branch is sent from one tree and it strikes my arm. I recoil, letting go of Rebel’s arm, and toss myself to the ground. My arm stings like never before, and it’s now branded with an unsettling black mark.

Suddenly, Rebel screams. I look up, watching in pain as a line of fire surrounds him, enclosing him in a circle of flame. The wall rises until I can no longer see him. A cannon confirms my fears.

BOOM!

It’s just me now. I struggle to my feet, tears streaming down my face as I look for a place to go. This can’t be happening! I’m number 26!  I’m not even next!

That’s when a small hole in the ground catches my eye. I have no other options, so I get to my feet and crawl inside.

It’s just me now…

Aiden Clifton, D5, Forest

I hop from tree to tree, fleeing from the rapidly spreading fire. I can feel the heat stinging my neck, and the smoke blocks my vision like steamy windows. The fire follows close behind me, right on my heels with every jump. It’s already consumed the forest floor below me, and it won’t be long before all of the trees go up in flames.

I jump for my life, leaping from branch to branch as if my life depends on it. Well, I guess it does. Yet I’m more focused than I’ve ever been. That must be what happens when your life is on the line.

The trees get farther and farther apart the closer I get to the edge of the forest. Simple hops turn into complete leaps of faith. But I know I’m getting closer.

As I take a jump to my next tree, it starts to tumble forward, the fire taking out its roots. I rocket towards it, even as it falls to the ground. Now, there’s nowhere to go but down. I brace for impact as I tumble forward, heading straight into the waiting arms of the flames…

BOOM!

Olympia Valles, D5, Beach

We finally make it out of the Forest from Hell, collapsing on the beach and trying to catch our breath. Trees continue to fall in the distance as the burning forest lights up the night. We’ve lost Fuchsia, and apparently the next two people in the order. I’m kind of surprised that the fire didn’t kill even more people than that. I sigh. My plan to keep Fuchsia safe just went up in flames. Literally.

“Guys…” starts Lightning. “I may not be the best at math, but I think it was more than just the four of us in that forest…”

The rest of my group is too shell-shocked to speak, so I do the honors. “We only heard three cannons. Everyone else either escaped, or they’re about to die.” I realize I may not have heard some cannons over the chaos, so I check one of those digital screens embedded in the rock wall. Numbers 12, 13, and 15 are in red, but that’s it.

Hayden runs out from the forest and sprints straight towards us. He practically throws himself into the beach sand. “I…I lost Reyna and Rebel…” he says, almost in tears.”

“It’s okay Hayden,” says Sydnee in a calming voice. “I’m sure they’ll be fine…”

She trails off, probably because she doesn’t believe her words; just like the rest of us. I lay back in the sand and wait for the anthem to start.

But I don’t expect it when the tears start. I want all the death to stop. I want to get the heck out of this place. And most of all, I want to get home to Serge…

Georgia Westlake, D8, Forest

I finally push past the last ungrateful branch and stumble out of the forest, my exhausted alliance members behind me. I grip my knife tighter, infuriated with the gamemakers. First they save that kid’s life, then they create some order we’re supposed to die in, and now they’re burning down the entire forest! If—I mean when—I make it out of here, I’m going to kill those stupid gamemakers. The only consolation for all of this is that three tributes apparently died in the chaos. I just wish I could’ve killed them.

“That was so much fun!” yells Sash. “Can we do it again?!” He grabs a fallen branch and lights it aflame, swinging it around like a five-year-old girl with a sparkly baton. The rest of us ignore him.

“Hey guys, three cannons went off, which means I’m next,” Silvia suddenly says. I think this is the first time I’ve heard her talk. “Let’s go find number 17.”

I turn around. “I’ve got a better idea.” Still seething with anger at the gamemakers, I plunge my knife into her chest. She stares at me in unthinkable shock and horror. Even my alliance members are stunned. As I pull out the knife, she falls to the ground.

BOOM!

Still panting, I whisper to my allies, “Now, let’s go find 17.”

Ophid Carne, D14, Underground

We emerge in a large, underground cavern. The cavern is much more spacious than the narrow tunnel, and it is illuminated by torchlight. It reminds me of the old Egyptian temples we’ve learned about in school. The walls are made of stone, and covered in cobwebs. I’m thankful for the torches, but they don’t make the cave any less creepy.

Chase begins to roam around, studying the walls. Lucas and I refuse to move. We’re still shaken up about what went down in that forest. A few minutes go by when another person crawls out of the tunnel. It’s Reyna, tears streaming down her cheeks.

“Rebel…” she says. “He…didn’t make it…”

We don’t get the chance to grieve. Another tribute emerges from the shadows. It’s a boy with brown hair and green eyes, the boy from 3. He twirls his knife in his hand, but he doesn’t look like he’s about to use it. He calmly strolls towards us.

“Welcome to my sanctuary!” he says, spreading his arms as if he was showing us his bachelor pad. Except it’s dark and cruddy in here.

“Hey guys…!” yells Chase, his eyes transfixed on the wall in front of him. I grab a torch and the four of us move over to him. He points to the wall.

In front of us is a long string of symbols and digits, forming a secret message.

End of Day 4

Day Five

Sydnee Wren, D13, Beach

I sleep for as long as I possibly can, dreaming that I’m far, far away from this arena. It stinks to wake up and see that my dreams have deceived me. Nothing’s changed; I’m still here.

No one has said much since last night’s fire. Angelique’s still asleep. Hayden is sitting by the water, staring out at the sea. Lightning left a few minutes ago to see if he could find any of our missing friends.

Olympia is quietest of all. I get up from the ground and go to stand with her. We’re silent for a few seconds, staring out at the forest. A single tear rolls down Olympia’s cheek.

“All I wanted was to keep them alive…” Olympia starts kicking the sand. I know she’s upset about Fuschia’s death. And Rebel, and Aiden. We saw their faces in the sky last night, along with Katarin, Marko, and Silvia. “It’s not your fault, Olympia,” I tell her, hoping she’ll actually listen to me.

Her expression hardens. “We need to find whoever is next, and we need to keep them safe.” She looks me straight in the eye, and I can tell something in her has changed. “No one else can die.”

Lucas Sunsong, D9, Underground

Chase spent the whole night studying the hieroglyphic message on the wall. His eyes are bloodshot from lack of sleep, and he’s shaking with hunger.

“Chase…I think you should take a break…” I tell him, on at least five different occasions.

Every time, he says, “I need to know what this says. I want to help save everyone in here.” And then he goes back to staring at the wall.

I join Sparks, Reyna, and Ophid on the stone floor. Sparks got dice with his backpack, and the three tributes are playing some game, using rocks to gamble.

For now, I just watch them. As dark and dusty as it is down here, I’m glad to be here. It’s a great hiding spot. And most of all, I’m glad to be here with my friends. Even if we’re all probably going to die soon.

Lightning Tree, D0, Forest

There’s nothing here but burnt bushes and fallen trees. Not a single soul in sight. But the four missing tributes have to be alive, so I’m not too worried. They’re probably at the factory now. I just hope the careers haven’t found them.

I make my way back to my friends on the beach. They’re enjoying a mid-morning snack of crackers and some chicken. Unfortunately, we don’t have much food left after this meal. I’m so starving, I think my stomach has shriveled up entirely. I’m not sure how much longer I can stand here and do nothing. But I don’t want to kill anyone either…

As I join my group, I notice two figures walking towards us, hand-in-hand.

Tessa Powers, D11, Beach

I didn’t expect five lost tributes to show up at our doorstep. But here they are! Hanging out in the sand and eating. They look kind of sad, but I guess everyone in this arena is too.

I realize that these are the first tributes, other than that girl Falcon killed, that we’ve seen in the arena. They look harmless, but we can’t be too sure. We approach them slowly, knives in our other hands just in case one of them tries something.

Instead, they introduce themselves. Seems strange for the games, but I’m cool with it. They offer us some food, and we sit down with them. I know this could be a trap, but I’d like to try it. They seem like friendly people. And it would be nice to have a meal with some nice people before we all have to get slaughtered.

Avelina Rose, D7, Factory

All of us wake up pissed.

Alright, we don’t have too much competition left here, but it’s more than we would like. That fire barely took out anybody! The gamemakers are just toying with us at this point.

I badly want to kill Georgia right now. Not only has she taken over this alliance, but she killed Silvia last night! For no reason! Well, I guess it’s how we stay alive in these games, but now she’s put herself at the end of the order. As she sharpens her knife, which is still bloody, she gives me an evil grin. It’s like she knows what I’m thinking. And she probably does.

“We should go look for some more victims,” she says.

I may hate her right now, but I’m down with that. I wake Sash up, stopping him from mumbling about setting people on fire and smiling like a maniac. I grab my knife and slip the vial of poison I was given with my backpack into my pocket. Next time I kill someone, I’m going to make it hurt.

Sash Bloodhound, D1, Burnt Forest

There’s no one left in the brown, depressing field that was once the forest. I don’t know where they’re all hiding, but we’ll find them. I lick my lips as I think of last night’s fire. God I wish there was something else that could go up in flames.

“Well this is just great!” yells Georgia. “That stupid red-head is hiding somewhere with her friends, I just know it!” She jabs her knife into one of the only remaining trees in rage. Then, she pathetically tries to yank it back out. It’s kind of funny. Scratch that. It’s hilarious! I start cracking up, and she gives me the evil eye. “Shut up or I’ll kill you!” she yells, though I can’t take her seriously while she’s trying to get her knife back out of the tree.

“You can’t! I’m not next!” Oh, this is the kind of situation where I love this whole order thing.

Georgia finally pulls her knife out of the tree. “This is just ridiculous!” she screams, stomping her foot like a bratty cheerleader. “I should be victor already!”

“You?!” I say. She gives me another death stare.

“Uh…guys?” says Avelina, breaking Georgia and I from our screaming fest. “I think I know where they could be hiding.”

She points upward towards the towering lighthouse. Georgia smiles menacingly, as if her eyes have already locked on to her next target.

Chase Locke, D6, Underground

My head hurts. My stomach kills. And I think I’m about to have a heart attack.

I’ve been spending so much time trying to figure this message out, I can hardly remember where I am, or who I am. But when you’re in the arena, time is precious. Every second counts, because it could be your last. I remember when we found out about our tattoos, the gamemakers hinted that there was more to the story, and I think that this is it.

I genuinely like the people in this arena. Reyna, Lucas, Ophid, even Sparks (he’s pretty hilarious, though I’m usually too busy staring at the wall to listen to him) are all family to me now, even if I’ve barely known them for a few days. Olympia, Sydnee, and Lightning are pretty cool as well. And if I can figure out what this message says, then maybe I can save myself, and everyone else in this arena, from a horrible death.

The one time I did take my eyes off the wall was to watch the anthem, which was projected on the ceiling of our underground Egyptian cavern. It’s sad to see Fuchsia, Aiden, and especially Rebel go. I think it was the thought of seeing my friends on that screen is what drove me to go so crazy over this message. I may not have been able to save those who died last night, but I can save the people left.

There are hints to deciphering the code hidden all over the cavern, inscribed on walls, roofs, even under rocks, and I’ve managed to find almost all of them. So now, I just have to work out how these clues work together to explain this message.

And I think I’ve almost got it.

Falcon Generate, D11, Beach

I didn’t expect the tributes in here to be so nice. Over the last few days, Tessa and I were discussing how everyone here was probably a bloodthirsty monster waiting for their next kill. But these people definitely aren’t monsters.

Of course, Olympia explained to me her mission: to not hurt anyone until the government arrives. I guess that makes sense, but I’m not sure I can go for it. I think they’re all in denial. They just don’t want to believe that they’re probably going to die soon. I’ve already went through that phase, but now I’m past it. I’ve accepted that I’m going to die, and when I do, it’s going to be in the name of launching Tessa into the victor’s throne.

The only thing that stinks about that is the fact that all of these nice people are going to have to die as well. As Sydnee, Lightning, Tessa, and I sit in a circle in the sand, I just can’t help but see skulls where their faces should be. They’re all doomed…we all are…

Sydnee seems to sense what I’m thinking. “I know it sounds crazy, but Olympia knows what she’s talking about, you just have to trust her.”

Tessa smiles uneasily. “We do trust you guys, it’s the other tributes in here that we’re worried about. And the gamemakers, them too.”

Everyone goes silent, and we all stare down into the sand. I decide that there’s no point in talking about our imminent fates, so I steer the conversation in a lighter direction. And for the next few hours, we sit there talking and laughing.

Hayden, Angelique, and Olympia watch us like we’re crazy. Having fun during a Hunger Games? It should be against the law. But I don’t care at this point. If I’m going to die in a few days, then I’m going to at least have some fun while I can.

Spider Tablo, D2, Lighthouse

I hear the creaks in the stairs as a group of people stealthily approach the top floor. Five days into the games and people finally find me. Well, I guess it’s time to fight.

A girl emerges from the stairs. She’s small and blonde, with the bluest eyes you’d ever seen. And wow…she’s pretty fine. A few tears roll down her cheeks as she begins to walk around. I watch her from behind the lighthouse beacon at the center of the room. Finally, I pop out into view and head towards her.

“Are you alright?” I ask. She doesn’t seem too scared to see me; she’s probably too sad to get shocked.

“I…I hate it here,” she says. “There’s so much death…so much death! I don’t want to die!” she starts to choke on her tears, and I kneel down beside her. I guess it’s time to make an alliance.

As soon as I open my mouth to speak, someone jumps out from the stairs and tackles me to the ground. Another tribute, a girl with black and red hair, emerges and kneels down beside me. She checks the number on my ankle. “Twenty-three!” she yells. “He’s not next.”

The blonde girl gets up from the ground. Her tears have magically vanished. She grabs her backpack and pulls out a giant net, then gives a displeased frown. She tosses the net to Sash, the boy who’s got me pinned to the ground.

“Well if he isn’t next, then we’re keeping him with us until he is.”

I just got played.

Reyna Alvarez, D12, Underground

I hope my friends are alright, though honestly, I think my group is safer than Olympia’s. They’re aboveground somewhere, in perfect sight of the careers, while we’re hiding out down here, as far away from those killers as we could possibly be. We may be in some dusty old cavern, but we’re safer than ever.

I think the depressing cave has put a damper on everyone’s moods. Well, everyone except for Sparks; he’s just naturally friendly and funny, I guess. I’m not sure what’s got me more upset: the fact that a bunch of my friends just burned to death last night, or the fact that I’m going to die soon as well.

I think Rebel's death has shaken me up the most. Every time I close my eyes, I can see the look of horror etched across his face as the fire prepared to seal his fate…

Suddenly, as our group continues our game of dice, Chase comes bolting towards us. “I think I got it!” he yells, his bloodshot eyes wild with excitement.

Angelique Bluesong, D4, Beach

Falcon and Tessa manage to light up the mood of our group quite a bit. They seem to be so happy to be here, and to be among friends, and especially to be together. And this is all despite the fact that at least one of them will probably die. They love each other so much that it makes me smile every time I look at them.

Even Olympia seems to have lightened up a bit. We’re acting like idiots, playing a game of tag. For most of our game, Olympia preferred to stare off at the burnt down forest. That was until I convinced her to join. We might as well have fun while we’re alive. And boy are we!

And then, our fun is suddenly shattered. There’s this certain feeling that you get every time a career tribute is near. It’s like you can feel them coming. Ominous clouds cover the sun, casting dark shadows of the day, and you can almost hear the thunder and scary movie music ringing out in the background. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating. None of that actually is happening. But that’s what it feels like.

Georgia appears first, her loyal friends trailing behind her. She wears the look of a conceited princess, as if she expected her fellow careers to carry her in on a throne rather than make her walk around. Sash and Avelina have their daggers at the ready.

“Let’s get down to business,” says Georgia as she pulls her knife out. “We need number 17, and we need him or her now.”

Ophid Carne, D14, Underground

Our group stands up, ready to hear what this secret message means. Chase brings us back over to the wall. He points to symbols and says things like “This symbol must represent the letter t because of that clue I found at the bottom of this wall! Oh, and this one is a v because…”

He continues with this for a while before Sparks says, “So what does it read?”

Chase opens his mouth for an answer when the cavern begins to shake, tossing us to the ground. A single rock comes tumbling from the ceiling, striking Chase in the head. He goes down. When the shaking stops, we get to our feet to check if he’s okay.

“He’s just unconscious,” says Sparks as he checks Chase’s pulse. I lift up his pant leg to see the number twenty-four tattooed on his ankle.

The gamemakers can’t kill him yet, but they’ll keep him quiet as long as possible.

Olympia Valles, D5, Beach

Just when I decide to participate in the first official game of Hunger Games Tag, the careers squash our fun. Typical.

“You’re out of luck,” I tell them. “We don’t have number 17 with us.”

Georgia narrows her eyes, staring daggers at me. “And how do we know you’re not lying?”

“I told you I’m 25, and Hayden and Falcon have already made kills, so they can’t be next.”

“Well what about the rest of them?” asks Avelina, equally angered.

“She told you, we don’t have the next in line,” insists Angelique.

Georgia is silent for a second, angrily thinking this over. “Kill them all,” she orders to her careers, but their murderous stares turn confused.

“We can’t kill out of order, remember?” Sash says.

“Screw that stupid rule! We’ll do it anyways!”

“Georgia, you can’t do that!” shrieks Olympia, shielding her group. “It’s against the rules! And there are consequences for breaking the rules!”

“Like what?!”

Suddenly, a flash of lightning comes down from the previously clear sky, striking one of the few remaining trees. The group jumps back in surprise. They watch as the tree catches fire and tumbles to the ground.

Georgia turns back to Olympia in fear. It’s a new look for her.

“You don’t break the rules, alright?”

Georgia snorts like an angry bull. “You win this time,” she says, threateningly pointing her dagger at the red-head from 5. “But we’ll be back when it’s your turn.”

The trio turns and scampers away like a pack of cowardly hyenas.

Sydnee Wren, D13, Beach

Even after the careers have left, our group seems to have changed from being the funnest alliance ever, to the most depressing. Olympia goes back to staring at the empty forest. Hayden goes for a quick swim, and Angelique watches him from the beach. I still talk with Falcon and Tessa, but even they seem a little resigned. Our little encounter with the careers reminded us all where we are. The Hunger Games aren’t supposed to be fun.

Lightning is the most upset. He went off to sit off on the shoreline, and he hasn’t moved since. I decide to go join him. He’s my best friend here, and I want to make sure he’s okay. But as I take a seat next to him, he still doesn’t move a muscle.

“Are you sure you’re okay?” I ask him. He doesn’t say a word. His wavy blond hair blows in his face with the wind. I try to get a good look into his emerald eyes, trying to see if I can see into his mind, into his feelings. “Lightning…” 

His face darkens as he pulls up his pant leg. There’s a green tattoo of an 18 on his ankle. Suddenly, I understand.

“If they find 17…” He doesn’t have the strength to say it, and I almost don’t have the strength to think about it. “I can’t…I can’t kill anyone Syd…”

Syd…he’s never called me that…

Whoa, this isn’t the time to get caught up in nicknames. Lives are at stake here.

“Lightning, it’s going to be alright, I promise.” He finally turns and looks me in the eyes, and I almost start to cry. He knows it, and his eyes show it. He’s at risk here. He could be dead before the sun sets.

I’m speechless. I can’t say anything, or I’ll start crying. I don’t want to lose Lightning. I don’t want to lose anyone! All I can manage is a weak, “I’ve got your back, and you’ve got mine…”

Today's Update (3/23/13)

Falcon Generate, D11, Beach

I grab my backpack and Tessa grabs hers. In the distance, the sun has already started to set. We go at sunset; that was the plan.

Before we can move, Sydnee comes running up to us. “Are you guys going somewhere?” she asks with big, puppy-dog eyes. Lightning gets up from his seat and joins our group. I didn’t plan on making this a big deal, but I guess we don’t have a choice.

“Guys, we’re really sorry, but this is a games…” starts Tessa, but she looks too sad to finish.

“You and Lightning are amazing people, all of you guys are,” I say. “But only one can win, right? This would just be a lot easier if Tessa and I stayed on our own. Your plan of non-violence makes sense, but I’d figure rescue would’ve come already, if it was going to come at all. There are sixteen of us still in this arena, but it’s getting to the point that tough decisions are going to have to be made. And it’s going to have to be every man for himself.”

Lightning and Sydnee dejectedly nod. “I’ll really miss you guys,” says Sydnee, and she gives us both hugs. “But you’re wrong, we’re going to get out of here, you’ll see.” She then walks off towards Olympia. Tessa begins to head off towards our cave.

I pull Lightning aside. “So…you and Sydnee…is there something going on?” I ask.

Lightning looks longingly at Sydnee before he turns back to me. “You said it yourself, this is a games. Every man for himself. And one of us is going to be dead before these are over…maybe both…” He goes silent, but his sad eyes say it all.

“You’re right, this is a games. And we’ll all be dead soon. So you might as well spend time with the one you love while you can.” I pat him on the back. “If you like her, let her know while you can, dude.”

I turn and follow Tessa towards our cave.

Hayden Light, D4, Beach

When I get back from my swim, Falcon and Tessa are gone. They went off on their own again. If I thought our group was depressing before, it’s worse now. But we have every right to be. I’ve been in here five days, and I’ve already killed a tribute, lost some of my alliance members in a forest fire, and was threatened by careers. But at least I’m near the end of the order. The only people ranked higher than me right now are Avelina and Georgia. I won’t feel guilty if I have to take either of them out.

Olympia managed to scrape up some extra food from a supply closet in the factory, making sure the careers didn’t find her while she was in there. And then we feast! Except the “feast” is made of crackers, chicken, and some apples. But it’s enough to shut my stomach up.

I spend the rest of the night talking with my group. We decide that tomorrow, we need to go figure out what happened to Reyna, Lucas, and Chase. Tributes don’t just disappear. They must be in the factory, and one of them may just be number 17. If so, we need to find them now, and keep them safe.

No one else can die.

Georgia Westlake, D8, Factory

We return to our little lair in the factory, stocked full of gleaming weapons and amazing amounts of food. This career alliance is going to win these games, I don’t care what anyone else says. Five tributes have made kills, and three of them were careers. I’m the last in the order right now, just above Avelina, Hayden, and Sash. I will gladly kill them when the time comes. I will win these games.

The kid from 2, Spider, is still squirming and struggling in his net, which we hung from the roof on one of those metal hooks. He’s not next, not even close. But when it’s his turn, we’ll get rid of him, quick and easy.

Sash and Avelina get ready to go to sleep. Sash lies down in his pile of matchboxes, and Avelina cuddles with several of her knives. As I lay down, I begin to imagine the glory I’ll feel when I take the two of them down. And Hayden. And especially Olympia. I want her to be my last kill, even if that’s impossible, as she’s 25 and won’t kill anyone to change her position. I just wish that she could see me as I return to District 8, a victor’s crown on my head and a smile on my face; the only tribute from these games left alive.

I finally drift off to sleep, ignoring the anthem that plays in the background. It’s pointless. No one died today. Ugh! No one died today! Well, I will make sure we can’t say that about tomorrow.

Tomorrow, there will be blood. And I can’t wait.

Lightning Tree, D0, Beach

“Can’t sleep?” Sydnee sneaks up behind me, joining me in the sand right by the water. I nod, still staring out at the sea. “Well I can’t either.”

We’re silent for a few moments. “I know you’re worried,” Sydnee finally says. “But I promise, you’re not going to die anytime soon.”

I turn and look her straight in the eyes. Her beautiful, brown eyes… I try to keep myself from thinking about my number. “What number do you have anyways?”

Sydnee looks away. “I don’t want to talk about it.”

“You’re not next are you?!”

Sydnee looks surprised. “What, oh god no! I’d be freaking out!” Well, that doesn’t make me feel any better about my situation.

She moves closer to me. “I don’t know if Olympia’s plan is going to work, but I promise, we’re both going to get back home, alive.”

I don’t believe her, and I can tell she doesn’t believe herself either. We’re silent for a few moments, and that’s when I pull her closer, and plant a big kiss on her lips. She doesn’t stop me. I make sure the moment lasts as long as possible.

When we break away, Sydnee starts to cry. “I…I just want to go home,” she says, avoiding my gaze. “I don’t want to lose you.”

I feel the same way, but I hold back the tears. It’s my turn to comfort her. “You said it yourself, we’re going to live, okay? I promise.”

After this talk, I doubt I’ll ever get any rest. Sydnee rests her head on my shoulder, and we watch the stars in silence. I want this moment to last forever. I want to stay here, hiding from the future in the arms of the girl I love. But I can’t. The future will come, and it can only bring more death.

Eventually, I drift off to sleep. In my dreams, Sydnee and I are in District 0, away from these horrible games. There’s no more fear, no more sadness, and no more death.

There’s only friendship. Friendship and love.

End of Day Five

Day Six

Sparks Fly, D3, Underground

The morning brings us a great surprise. As Reyna goes to check on Chase, his eyes suddenly snap open, and he springs off the ground.

“Chase!” yells Ophid. “Are you okay?”

Chase doesn’t answer. He moves back over to the wall, staring intently at the message.

“Please don’t tell me you forgot it,” I say. I don’t mean to sound rude, but that would be seriously annoying.

Chase shakes his head. “No, I remember it all.” He turns back to us.

“Well, what does it say?!” demands Reyna. We all freeze up, wondering what amazing message the gamemakers possibly could’ve left us to decipher. I personally hope that it’s directions to the nearest restaurant. I seriously need some food right now.

Chase takes a deep breath. When he finally talks, his voice is hoarse and quiet. “The message says that ‘there shall be no victor…’”

We all go silent. “What…what do you mean?” demands Lucas, shaking like a freezing puppy.

“I didn’t finish,” he says, still quiet and solemn-looking. “It says, ‘there shall be no victor, unless the chain is broken.’”

“Chain? Where are we going to find a chain?”

“That’s not what it means,” says Reyna, staring at the rest of us with fearful eyes. “It’s not talking about a metal chain. It’s talking about the chain of numbers.”

“There will be no victor unless people start to die out of order,” finishes Chase.

As we digest this new information, the cavern begins to shake, sending dust down from the ceiling. We’re all thrown off our feet as the tremors get stronger, threatening to collapse the entire tunnel.

End of Part Two

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