Welcome everyone to my sixth ever Hunger Games! In my last games, The 326th Annual Hunger Games, Charce Firre from District 12 and created by WiressFan21 was crowned victor. These Games have a special twist added to them as well, which is heavily inspired by Cloveismywife's own Vengeance Games. (which I suggest you read if you haven't already. I personally find the Games to be the very best on the wiki)
Because of the Capitol's desire for Games with an extra flair, President Striker has decided that the 327th Hunger Games, despite not being a Quell, will have a very special twist of their own. This year, 28 tributes from five of the highest rated and most liked Hunger Games will be revived and will compete along with 28 brand new tributes. To add to this exciting announcement, the President has decided to allow the citizens of the Capitol the opportunity to vote for the All-Star tributes they wish to see compete.
1: There will be fifty-six Tributes, 28 tributes who competed in my former Games and 28 new tributes.
2: You may have up to three Tributes (not counting All-Star tributes)
3: Each Tribute has $500 in sponsor money for their mentor (creator) to use as they see fit.
4: I will write Reapings, Group Training, and of course the actual Games
5: I will not accept any Tributes that have been in my previous Games (that's what the All-Stars' are for)
6: Reservations last exactly 48 hours
7: The Capitol is a Career district in my Games
8: Tribute Form: (for new tributes)
Alliance: (can be filled out later)
Training Strategy: (how they will behave in training)
1: There will be three factors that will decide who will compete again. First of which is votes. I'll explain how it works below.
Each user can vote for one tribute per slot, and de-vote one tribute per slot. (Example: You can only vote for 1 D1 male and de-vote one D1 male) A devote means that you DO NOT want that tribute, and one vote will be taken away from them instead. (Example: Vote: Edmund Everton, De-Vote: Marico Redge Edmund would be at one, Marcio at -1) Oh, and keep in mind that former Victors will not be competing. They will however, be mentoring, in fact, they will be the only mentors and featured prominently.
Here is the vote template: (Just copy and paste this in the comments and bold which tribute you are voting for, and italicize the tribute you are de-voting.)
The five Games are...
Start copy and pasting HERE:
District 1 Male: Elvis Alexander (300), Dragon Lord (301), Cole Harrison (325), Karma Blood (325), & Warwickite Jewelly (326)
District 1 Female: Astrid Bellia (300), Diamond Coman (301), Raven Armor (302), Skylar Windbreeze (325), Artemis Grace (325), & Kate Willis (326)
District 2 Male: Johnny Clarke (300), Damian Weatherby (301), Drewsiff Bloodwonky (302), Yuki Kokyu (325), Hatch Scright (325), & Jeffrey Killheart (326)
District 2 Female: Bethany Clarke (300), Pansy Costello (301), Onyx Eboni (302), Chloe Black (325), Teresa Silver (325), & Ella Massey (326)
District 3 Male: Noah Everest (300), Courage Blitz (302), Elecc Commission (325), Chip Parks (325), & Rebel Groots (326)
District 3 Female: Di Thorn (300), Bethunia Underium (301), Syren Song (302), Elecctronny Watson (325), Vision Faith (325), & Watt Chargy (326)
District 4 Male: Flick Rivers (300th), Cody Freshwater (301st), Trident Bekke (302nd), Giller McFish (325th), Wayne Defleckt (325th), & Ryan Marine (326th)
District 4 Female: Kaylay Netter (300) Wari Oceani (301), Swatty Lakeside (302), Nymph Mere (325), Fressa Saltie (325), & Seafoam Majesty (326)
District 5 Male: Trenton Powers (300), Watt Powers (301), Tameo Arghus (302), Kodai Hitogoroshi (325), Sebastian Hive (325), & Philo Ventus (326)
District 5 Female: Allie Costigan (300), Swift Twirpshkin (301), Trick Treat (302), Allana Darkbloom (325), & Bonnie Cougar (326)
District 6 Male: Cosmo Fyngelli (300), Xavier Woods (301), Illegal Drugs (302), Zak Slaughter (325), Wolbert Toonico (325), & Train McBridge (326)
District 6 Female: Belladonna Saware (300), Luna Fern (301) Bluffy Silvestein (302), Mimic Slaughter (325), Eleith Lightstorm (325), & Blondie Genesis (326)
District 7 Male: Ransom Overman (301), Wocky Oak (302), Shade Spectrus (325), & Frade Spectrus (326)
District 7 Female: May-Ann Hunter (300), Nastya Gushkin (301st), Willow Firethorn (302nd), Maple Leavestruck (325th), Chumps Harvaria (325th), & Voolia Kelopi (326th)
District 8 Male: Nick Kobarg (300), Josef Wilder (301), Dome Citadel (302), Jax Griffin (325), Tot Tenham (325), & Yuri Collins (326)
District 8 Female: Coco Joansi (300), Cashmere Prada (301), Freya Prada (302), Galina Von Dover (325), Catalina Tweed (325), & Odessa Garnetstone (326)
District 9 Male: Eli Dawn (300), Mark Haulk (301), Hunther Hayes (302), Jake Price (325), Folly Rover (325), & Tito Granso (326)
District 9 Female: Plasma Perimen (300), Perrie Grain (301), Varina Tapora (302), Layla Twozone (325), & Vera Luchabra (326)
District 10 Male: Morolith Dmitry (300), Bronco Bagwell (301), Vlad Rockford (302), Alec Cohen (325), Kwarts Diodin (325), & Alex Lexys (326)
District 10 Female: Gracie King (300), Seeker Amaryllis (301), Ellis Blackberry (302), Alecia Cohen (325), Vivan Incomstanti (325) & Cassie Lexys (326)
District 11 Male: Wess Cornstob (300th), Darker Horrfi (301st), Shimdt Raspberry (302nd), Trent Korey (325th), Seez Croppley (325th), & Zippy Oakster (326th)
District 11 Female: Mondi Bakerman (300), Flow’r Raspberry (301), Rasp Southern (302), Flora Sapsling (325), Eva Destiny (325) & Flippy Twinmind (326)
District 12 Male: Gogh Lizta (300), Exolian Dynamite (301), Knight Castle (302), Jack Cayman (325), & Julian (325)
District 12 Female: Amaryllis Silvermoon (300), Regina Victorious (301), Mina Ebony (302), Salem Calla (325), Thalia Combe (325) & Steammie Pic (326)
District 13 Male: Ice Hunts (301), Aeron Ashkyn (302), Harley Swoop (325), & Douglas Biles (326) District 13 Female: Saidy Dauntless (301), Kiara Mitchell (302), Violetta Nobel (325), Piper Quinn (325) & Jenessa Whitten (326)
Capitol Male: Ramon Constancy (301), Avian Monte (302), Josool Wiranda (325), Dexter Malon (325), & Olympic Oblado (326)
Capitol Female: Shervert Wonkalandia (301), Cassandra Oracion (301), Flawra Moonshadow (325), Amelia Puregold (325), Isolde Blair (326)
Stop copy and pasting HERE:
2: The other factors in deciding who will be selected is 1: My personal preference. Basically, If I like the tribute it has a better chance of getting in. and 2: Detail. If a tribute wasn't very detailed or interesting the first time it competed, it likely won't get in this time.
3. After all the votes and de-votes are counted (I will allow a week for voting), I will pick the tributes using the other categories as well.
3. Please do not pick tributes because you are friends with their creator, etc. Pick the tribute you find most interesting due to backstory, you liked reading about them etc.. It would probably be a good idea to read my past Games if you haven't already. Oh, and of course, you can vote for your own tributes.
4. In case the tributes have creators who are no longer active, I will assign people to mentor those tributes. So don't not vote for a tribute because their creator isn't active.
5: Don't worry. I'll make sure that the amount of tributes people have is even. Example, one person won't have like five All-Stars.
|Capitol||All-Star||Male||Ramon Constancy||18||6'2||Bow and Arrows||VDA1999|
|Capitol||New||Male||Dusk Olive||17||5'6||Crossbow, Spear||LivesinDistrict1|
|Capitol||All-Star||Female||Cassandra Oracion||17||5'8||Trident, Axe||PumPumPumkin|
|Capitol||New||Female||Dawn Olive||17||5'6||Dagger, Throwing Knives||LivesinDistrict1|
|1||All-Star||Male||Dragon Lord||17||6'2||Katana, Spear||Hybrid Shadow|
|1||New||Male||Austin Aitken||18||6'3||Sword, Spear||Aerialchinook|
|2||All-Star||Male||Hatch Scright||15||5'9||Hatchet, Spear||WiressFan21|
|2||New||Male||Julius Paris||18||6'3||Mace, Spear||Hybrid Shadow|
|2||All-Star||Female||Ella Massey||17||5'10||Throwing Knives||MissRandomStuff|
|2||New||Female||Jerica Straddler||16||5'7||Axe, Throwing Knives||Andy1854|
|3||New||Male||Wario Wade||16||5'10||Dagger, Throwing Knives||MyWorld|
|3||All-Star||Female||Watt Chargy||14||5'1||Wire, Knife||WiressFan21|
|3||New||Female||Annabeth March||16||5'4||Bow and Arrow, Sickle||WiressFan21|
|4||All-Star||Male||Ryan Marine||17||5'10||Trident, Knives||TheFireJay|
|4||New||Male||Percy Grace||16||5'7||Trident, Net||WiressFan21|
|4||All-Star||Female||Swatty Lakeside||15||5'2||Sword, Trident||WiressFan21|
|4||New||Female||Zia Grace||18||5'7||Trident, Spear||WiressFan21|
|5||All-Star||Male||Kodai Hitogoroshi||17||5'9||Teeth, Whip||Mistfire333|
|5||All-Star||Female||Trick Treat||17||5'9||Anything||Hybrid Shadow|
|5||New||Female||Augusta Winters||18||5'5||Knife, Net||HawkWD|
|6||New||Male||Blade Spectrus||14||5'4||Spear, Sword||Tehblakdeath|
|6||All-Star||Female||Mimic Slaughter||17||5'10||Sword, Crossbow||NightlockKyrptoni|
|6||New||Female||Alissa Metal Beam||16||5'6||Sword||TheFireJay|
|7||All-Star||Male||Shade Spectrus||16||6'2||Dagger, Crossbow||Mistfire333|
|7||New||Male||Hybrid "H3" Three||15||5'10||Anything||Mistfire333|
|7||All-Star||Female||Willow Firethorn||17||5'8||Spear, Katana||District1Obess|
|8||All-Star||Male||Dome Citadel||16||6'4||Hatchet, Knives||Hybrid Shadow|
|8||New||Male||Rufus Silks||16||5'11||Knife, Brass knuckles||Hybrid Shadow|
|8||New||Female||Evelyn Dinstra||16||6'0||Knife, Throwing Knives||Andy1854|
|9||New||Female||Alicia Haze||17||5'7||Whip, Dagger||madgeical|
|10||All-Star||Male||Vlad Rockford||18||7'0||Spear, Axe||attackcobra|
|10||New||Female||Bella Mustang||15||5'8||Bow and Arrow, Throwing Knives||Hybrid Shadow|
|11||All-Star||Male||Darker Horrfi||18||6'2||Throwing Knives, Sword||WiressFan21|
|11||New||Male||Gloom Ivy||13||??||Scythe, Axe||NightlockKrypto|
|11||All-Star||Female||Mondi Bakerman||18||6'4||Knife||Maybell rocks!|
|11||New||Female||Daisy Lilac||16||5'7||Machete, Dagger||Aerialchinook|
|12||New||Male||Soot Dustcloud||16||5'6||Sword, Knife glove||Mistfire333|
|12||All-Star||Female||Amaryllis Silvermoon||16||5'4||Throwing Knives||Dedejacob|
|12||New||Female||Rio Flock||18||5'10||Bow and Arrow, Traps||Mistfire333|
|13||All-Star||Male||Ice Hunts||17||6'3||Sickle, Crossbow||Hybrid Shadow|
|13||New||Male||Kingsley Orion||14||5'8||Machete, Trident||LivesinDistrict1|
|13||All-Star||Female||Piper Quinn||18||5'8||Sword, Crossbow||NightlockKrypt|
|13||New||Female||Celia Myer||14||5'2||Throwing Axe||mistymolla|
Careers: Dragon (1), Astrid (1), Glique (1), Austin (1), Hatch (2), Julius (2), Jerica (2), Swatty (4), Zia (4), Ryan (4), Evelyn (8), Kingsley (13)
Anti-Careers: Wario (3), Kodai (5), Blade (6), Shade (7), Jake (9), Daisy (11), Soot (12), & Rio (12)
District 3 & 4 Alliance: Annabeth (3) & Percy (4)
District 3, 10, 12 Alliance: Watt (3), Varina (9), Bella (10), & Exolian (12)
District 6, 13 Alliance: Alissa (6), Train (6), Ice (13), & Celia (13)
District 7 & 8 Alliance: Woody (5), Willow (7), Dome (8), & Cashmere (8)
Rufus' Gang: Ella (2), Marcia (7), Rufus (8), Vlad (10), Vivan (10), & Amaryllis (12)
District 9 Alliance: Hunter (9) & Alicia (9)
District 10, 11, 13 Alliance: Twix (10), Gloom (11), & Piper (13)
District 11 Alliance: Darker (11) & Mondi (11)
Capitol Alliance: Ramon (C), Dusk (C), Dawn (C)
Loners: Courage (3), Trick (5), Augusta (5), Mimic (6), Hybrid (7), Cassandra (C)
Brass Knuckles: $125
Burn Cream: $125
Camouflage Paints: $100
Chlorine (mix with..): $75
Darts (12): $25
Dried Meat: $50
Dried Fruit: $50
Flares x3: $125
Instant Relief: $400
Jacket (for warmth): $125
Knife Glove: $100
Machete: $125 Matches: $75
Net Trap: $125
Night-Vision Glasses: $150
Piece of Plastic: $15
Quiver of Arrows (12): $50
Shield (Spiked): $200
Shurikens (5): $100
Sleeping Bag: $50
Sleep Syrup: $125
Spike Trap: $250
Throwing Axes (3): $200
Throwing Knives (3): $200
Whip (spiked): $150
Wooden Club: $100
Wooden Club (Spiked): $150
District One: Topaz Grace
Voices drift through my open bedroom window making their way under my covers and into my ears. Though I live in the Victor Village and apart from most of the other District, they’re so excited and loud that I can still hear them.
I roll myself out of bed and with a loud sigh go and get myself dressed. Today is Reaping day but not the normal kind. At this Reaping not only will two kids from each District be reaped but also tributes from past Games. This applies to the Games I won, the 302nd and four others. Including the 325th where my daughter, Artemis, competed in and was eventually killed. I finish buttoning my shirt and pull out a fancy new jacket before slowly making my way down the stairs and into the kitchen. My wife and son have already left for the Reapings and I’m left alone with my thoughts.
Artemis…She always had this thought of grandeur. Thinking that she had to win her own Hunger Games to live up to my standard. Despite me telling her that she didn’t need to do that, that she already proved herself to her family she insisted on volunteering and I relented. I thought she would do well. I thought she had a shot of coming out as Victor. I was wrong.
There were three arenas in her Games but she didn’t even make it out of her first. She took an arrow to the face. Her mother, her brother, and me all grieved and mourned her loss. She was gone. Gone from this life for good…. until now. Now she has the opportunity to be revived and compete in the Hunger Games once again. And if she were to win…She’d come home to her family.
I exit my home climb into my car and move down the street, heading to the special address that I was given last night. I know that the Victors from the five selected Games will be mentors, the only mentors, so I presume that this has something to do with the other Victors.
When I arrive at the building I quickly exit my vehicle and enter into a plain non-descript room. Several chairs are lined up beside the wall and two doublewide doors are across from them.
People sit in the chairs and I recognize them immediately as the other Victors. I take my place in a chair between Edmund Everton, the hairy victor from the 300th Games and Marcio Redge the Victor of the 301st Games and is right now has his hands clasped over his face. Everyone remains quiet and I’m wondering what we’re going to do when the doublewide doors fly open and three men walk into the room. Their purple robes mark them as Gamemakers.
“Hello Victors,” the man in the middle says as they come to a halt. He smiles in what I presume he finds to be pleasant way but to me looks more like a grimace. “I am Vitas Tarquinus, Head Gamemaker. These two fine gentlemen beside me are Mortimer Blair and Saturn Martinus, two senior Gamemakers” We murmur greetings and he nods before continuing briskly.
“As you all know, this year along with the usual two tributes from each District, there will be two tributes from each District that has previously competed in one of your Games,” he gives us each a look over before continuing. “You eight will be the only mentors this year. Along with mentoring the tributes from your own Districts’ you will be mentoring tributes from another District as well. Understand?” We all nod. We understand. “Good. Now before we head off for the Reaping…Saturn has some last words to say to you” He steps to the side and the man named Saturn takes his place.
“The revived tributes will be travelling with us on the train from District to District. On this trip none of you are allowed to hurt one another. You cannot hurt them and they will not hurt you. We will have Peacekeepers present to prevent any sort of altercation. Understand?” I hate how they’re speaking to us like we’re children. Like we’re too stupid to understand. I don’t tell them this though and instead just nod along with the others as the three men lead us through the doublewide doors and into the area behind the stage.
“Wait here until you’re called,” Vitas tells us as him and the others head up the steps onto the stage. “And don’t go anywhere”
We watch them disappear from sight and then I turn to examine the other victors more thoroughly.
Edmund and Marcio are both pacing back and forth occasionally pausing to say something to one another before continuing. Edmund looks healthy and fit but his face is distant and his eyes cold. It almost looks as if he’s lost in his own mind right now. Marcio, on the other hand, is a wreck. His arms are shaking, he’s all sweaty, and he’s mumbling to himself. I know what it is. In his Games, he fell in love with a girl named Bethunia Underium and the two of them survived until the end where she was killed. He hasn’t loved anyone since and now he’s faced with the prospect of his love being revived…
I slowly shake my head and turn away as thoughts of Artemis fill my mind. I don’t want to worry right now and turn to look at the five newer and younger Victors. Mist Scorchil, the boy who lead the Anti-Careers in the 325th Games is sitting on crate talking to Missy Randos another victor from the 325th Games. She was a surprise victor. I had written her off at the reaping and had never thought she would survive.
Then there’s Acheron Bane. He’s a complete mystery. I’ve never heard him utter a single word. Like ever. Not even in interviews or anything. He just sits there silently, his eerie purple eyes taking everything in. The other victor from the 325th Games, Hazel Dyer, is standing silently, dressed in an elaborate and expensive looking dress. Of all of us Victors here, she is by far the Capitols favorite. And finally, Charce Firre, the Victor from last year’s Games. He’s staring at Hazel blankly and seems, like Edmund, to be lost in his thoughts.
“Topaz Grace!” The sudden sound of my name being called breaks me out from my own thoughts and I quickly jog out onto the stage where the crowd erupts into applause for me. I smile to them as my eyes look through the crowd and see something new. A large platform is set up in the middle of the crowd and a curtain blocks my view of what is on it but I know instinctively the revived tributes are behind there. Artemis…
Puffy Heglow, the escort of District 1, continues calling the Victors names and one by one they take their place on the stage. I keep my eyes fixed on the curtain and don’t pay any attention to the speech that Puffy is giving. Only when she mentions the All-Stars do I begin listening.
“Now let’s see the wonderful District 1 tributes who have a chance at being revived!” The curtain drops and I can now see the platform. As I had expected all of the tributes from district 1 are inside, behind a chain link fence and chained to the wall, my eyes past over all of them until they land on Artemis, who sits near the back, staring back at me. I feel a tear slide down my cheek. My baby girl… Not dead like the last time I saw her, but alive and well. “But before we reveal which two All-Stars will be competing in this year’s Games,” Puffy speaks again. “We shall find out who the new tributes will be!” she offers a wide smile. “Are there any volunteers for the boys?” Immediately several boys shout out but one voice is louder then the rest and Puffy selects him to come up to the stage. He’s a muscular boy with blonde hair and green eyes and I recognize him as Austin Aitken, a boy who I taught at the Training Academy in a special class. He’s a brilliant fighter and I already know he will be one of the Capitols’ favorite newcomers.
After he says his name Puffy asks for girl volunteers and choose a girl to come up. It’s a blonde haired girl who I don’t recognize.
“What’s your name?” Puffy asks.
“Glique Dumofitz,” the girl answers and takes her place beside Austin as Puffy claps her hands excitedly.
“District 1 please give these two fine tributes a round of applause!” The crowd goes wild for the pair and its several minutes before they calm down enough for Puffy to continue. “And now…we will find out which male and female from the previous Games will be competing!” Somehow the crowd manages to scream and cheer even louder as Puffy pulls a small envelope out which I stare at intensely. On that small slip of paper is two names. I can only hope that one of them is Artemis Grace…Please…
Puffy slowly begins to pry the envelope open and the entire square goes silent as she slides the paper out. I find myself holding my breath. Please be Artemis…Please….
“And that two tributes, voted in by the great citizens of the Capitol are…Dragon Lord and Astrid Bellia!”
No! I look at Artemis in the cell and she smiles at me and shakes her head slowly. Peacekeepers open the door into the cell and unchain Astrid and Dragon and lead them up towards the stage. I’m staring in shock and my mind can’t process any thoughts and I just watch blankly. Puffy repeats their names to the crowd and after they cheer their hearts out the chains on the other tributes in the box, including Artemis, slide off.
What’s happening? Do…do the tributes not selected get to go free? Return to their families? The tributes in the cell look just as confused as I do. They keep looking around in anticipation for something. One of them, a tall boy with blonde hair who I think was from the 300th Games, begins to move when suddenly the floor beneath them gives away. They all give shouts of surprise as they begin to fall and their scream echoes back up to us.
What the hell just happened?! I spin around in shock and look at Vitas who is smiling calmly at where the tributes have just disappeared.
“What did you do to them?!” I scream at him but the cheers from the crowd drowns me out and Puffy begins to end the reaping and Peacekeepers pull me and the other escorts off of the stage. We head straight for the train station and as soon as we are on and away from the noise of the crowd I charge straight for Vitas who has sat himself down on a plush armchair.
“Where are they?! Where’s Artemis?!”
He looks up at me with a bemused expression and smiles innocently. “Who?”
“MY DAUGHTER! Where is she?!”
“Oh. Her.” He waves his hand nonchalantly in the air. “I don’t know”
“You…. you DON’T KNOW? How can you NOT KNOW?!” My body shakes in frustration and anger and I have to keep myself from jumping on this arrogant asshole and ripping him apart. “Where is she?! Tell me NOW!”
“You know what Mr. Grace?” he says pulling himself out of the armchair and backing away from me. “I don’t quite believe that I like your attitude. Now, if you were to ask a tad kinder…”
I close my eyes and take a deep breath. This…this man…no… this monster is toying with my emotions. I can’t let him. I have to calm down. I let out a deep, long sigh and as speak as calmly as possible.
He smiles at me and I have to resist the urge to punch him in the face. “Well, now that you asked ever so kindly I will tell you where they are,” As he steps back I notice that all of the other people in the room, the other Victors and the four reaped tributes, are watching him with interest. Vitas smiles at them all then speaks.
“Honestly? I don’t know where they are”
Silence. I stare at him blankly, trying to gauge if he’s telling the truth or lying again. Before I can decide which one I think it is, he continues. “I am not privy to that knowledge. The revived tributes that were not Reaped may be alive but then again they may not be. Who knows? I don’t.”
I feel myself begin to shake. My hands curl into fists and my breathing is rapid. That little…. I turn and push past the group of gaping people and blast towards a room. Edmund moves to go after me but I slam the door shut between us and lock it behind me. Artemis…. where are you? I’m in a bedroom and drop myself on the bed and clasp my hands over my face. Artemis…oh Artemis…my beloved daughter….
District Two: Edmund Everton
I take a seat on one of the many sofas on the train. We’re nearing District Two and Topaz still hasn’t returned. All of us are very quiet. No one speaks. Not even the new tributes, Austin and Glique. I don’t know what everyone else is thinking about, but I cannot stop watching the revived tributes, Dragon and Astrid.
Dragon’s arms and legs are chained and he has two Peacekeepers on him at all times. This seems like a drastic thing but he has a history of violence and bloodshed. At the Reaping for his own Hunger Games he snapped the neck of a boy who had tried to volunteer for him. Obviously the Capitol doesn’t want him snapping any more necks until the Games start.
And Astrid…she was from my Games and I killed her. I put an axe into her head and ended her life but now…the Gamemakers and the Capitol have done something that no one should ever do. They have tampered with how the world works. They have brought her back to life.
As I watch her now, sitting on a stool and throwing me the occasional dirty look, I can’t help but wonder if she’s truly alive. Her body is alive certainly and so is her mind and memory. But her spirit? Surely there is no way the Capitol could have returned that…. is there? This and other philosophical thoughts have been floating through my head since I learned about the revivals. I was never much one for this type of thinking before I competed in the Games, but once I won and went through that ordeal things changed.
I let out the rare sigh and run my large hand through my thick hair. I need to stop thinking like this…at least for today. I’ll drive myself insane otherwise.
Surprised I look up to see Mist Scorchil, the other victor from District 7, sitting himself down onto the couch beside me. Unlike the other Victors, I see him more then once a year. We both live in the same Victors Village after all. But I never really spoke with the boy before.
“I’m fine. Better then Topaz for sure”
Mist nods his head slowly. “Yeah…this twist…I can’t decide how I feel about it. On one hand, my friends may be revived and given another shot at living…on the other hand, I have to watch people grieve over losing their loved ones again. And maybe my friends won’t even come back to life…”
I nod though I cannot completely emphasize with him. In my Games I had no friends or allies with the exception of May-Ann. But I would not feel bad for her if she was not revived. It is not because I am cruel or heartless but because I do not want her to have to live through the Games again and on the oft chance she would survive…it has been twenty-seven years since her death and who knows what she would even be returning to…
“I have a friend in District Two,” Mist comments quietly looking down at his shoes. “Yuki Kokyu. He was a Career, but he was meant to join up with me and the other Anti’s later in the Games. He died in the Bloodbath.”
I don’t say anything. I do not want to tell Mist this but the odds of his friend being revived are very slim. District Two is a barbarian District filled with blood mongering beast people. The Capitol will select the evilest and cruelest tribute from the District. Like how District 1 had Dragon revived. I’m sickened even looking at that boy. He is not human and should be put down immediately. I would do it myself if I were allowed.
“Not all Careers are bad,” Mist murmurs almost like he knows what I am thinking. “Some are good people. Like Yuki”
“Yes,” I agree with him softly. “Not all are bad. But most are.” We don’t say anymore and I fall silent, thinking about how I have the task of mentoring the tributes from this District. I wonder why they chose me for this District. Is it because they knew I would be a drastic change from their normal mentors? Maybe. I close my eyes and take a long rest before the intercom informs us that we have now reached District Two’s station. Topaz emerges from his room, his eyes bloodshot and his face wet. Obviously he was weeping. Peacekeepers escort us Victors and the three Gamemakers off of the train. The four tributes do not come with. They will remain on the train.
It is a quick journey to the District clearing and the stage. Like before the escort, Errol Flinch, calls our names one by one and presents us before the crowd. None of us are well liked by District Two and the best reaction we get is most of the crowd cheering for Topaz.
“Ladies and Gentlemen!” Errol shouts once the introductory speech is finished. “Let’s find out who are new tributes will be!” The barbaric crowd goes nuts for this and he begins to make his way towards the two bowls when a girl in the audience shouts out.
Errol motions for the girl to join us on stage and she does so confidently, striding out to the center of the stage and tossing her hair like she’s someone important. I hate people like that.
“Your name?” Errol asks.
The crowd lets out a loud cheer that seems slightly louder then usual. Maybe the spectacle of the Games has gotten them more excited then normally.
“And now our male tribute!” Errol looks out into the crowd. “Any volunteers?” Yes. A boy in the audience shouts out and takes to the stage. He’s a tall and muscular looking boy with messy hazel hair and eyes. He has a serious glare on his face and is probably attempting to look intimidating, something he appears to be exceeding at. Despite this he seems less…brutal then most boys in District Two. He seems softer and gentler. I guess you could say he was less masculine too. Errol asks for his name and he answers.
“Nice, nice. Let’s hear it for these two outstanding tributes!” Errol plays to the crowd and I notice for the first time the All-Stars above the crowd in a similar cell as before. The pair from my Games, Bethany and Johnny Clarke, are in there but I had almost no interaction with the two of them. The crowd finishes applauding for Jerica and Julius and Errol opens up his envelope. “And the two District Two tributes who will be competing in the Games are…Hatch Scright and Ella Massey!”
The chains slide off of the two tributes and they ecstatically climb onto the stage. I don’t really remember much about Hatch but Ella was in last year’s Games and finished fourth, getting crushed by a pile of bricks just as she thought she had the Games wrapped up. I glance at Mist and see him watching his friend Yuki. Then the floor drops and he disappears, even their screams of falling can’t be heard because of the loud cheers of the crowd.
The Reapings end and soon enough we’re all loading ourselves back onto the train. The four tributes from District One are not present. They have been moved to another part of the train. We’ve just barely sat down when Ella growls loudly and points directly at Charce.
“You got lucky. I should have been Victor!” He seems taken back by the anger in her voice and doesn’t say anything and only leans back in his chair. “I got robbed! If it weren’t for that pile of bricks I would so have killed Doug, Frade and you!” She begins to stalk towards him but Peacekeepers intervene and before she can even say another word they whisk her out of the room. She’s not wrong. When she had Doug and Frade on the ground at her mercy I had thought she would be the one to emerge as Victor as well. But things change in an instant in the Games and in this case a pile of bricks changed everything.
“Which one of you sad slobs is our mentor?”
I look up and see the new tribute girl, Jerica, standing up with her hands on her hips and glaring around the room. I raise my hand slowly and she scoffs haughtily before letting out a nasty laugh.
“You? The hairy ape that won like a million years ago? Yeah right!” I narrow my eyes at the girl as she tosses her ginger locks over her shoulder. “I mean, seriously. What can you teach us? How to eat a banana? Don’t make me laugh!” I don’t say anything. The best way to deal with britches is by being silent and acting like they’re not there. They hate when people ignore them.
“I guess the gorilla doesn’t know how to speak,” she sneers before sitting back down and pulling a magazine up over her face. I don’t want to help her win. That’s a mentor’s job, but I don’t want to. Someone like that doesn’t deserve my help.
I glance over towards Hazel whose sitting down next to the new boy tribute, Julius, who was playing with a golden locket. When he sees her he hastily stuffs it into his front pocket.
“It’s nothing…just a gift…”
“Ooh! I love gifts. Who is it from? Someone special?”
Missy sternly pull her away and over towards the corner of the room. I’m just close enough to hear her fiercely whispering.
“Don’t you have a brain? Obviously he doesn’t want to talk about it! He’s going into the Hunger Games for crying out loud!”
Hazel rolls her eyes disdainfully. “Please. He volunteered. He’s not some crybaby weakling. He knows what he’s doing” Missy begins to reply but I tune myself out of the conversation. It doesn’t interest me. I close my eyes and try to get some rest before we arrive at the next District.
District Three: Marcio Redge
It’s almost time. Soon I’ll be faced with the sight I’ve been dreading for the past few weeks. We’ll be arriving at District 3 and we’ll go to the Reaping where I will see Bethunia again.
I’ve loved her almost as soon as I met her and when she died a part of me died alongside her. I’ve never been the same since the moment Ice Hunts plunged a sickle into her chest. Sadness has haunted me at almost every step of my life. I’ve had happy moments and days, but at night, when I’m lying alone and unable to sleep, the sadness strikes again. I know I’ll never be able to escape it, no matter how hard I try.
“I can only imagine how you’re feeling right now”
Missy sits herself down beside me, placing a comforting hand on my shoulder. “But you can’t let sadness and misery take you over.”
“It’s twenty-six years too late for that,” I sigh despondently. “I’ve felt like this every since I won the Hunger Games. It’s not just about Bethunia either…” Nervously I look around to make sure that none of the three Gamemakers are within earshot before continuing. “But it’s being forced to watch the Capitol’s tyranny and not being able to do anything about it. It’s…unbearable” Missy nods understandingly and I continue, finally having the chance to vent out my feelings to someone. “It’s bad enough seeing the struggling people in District 3 and hearing about the poverty that faces the people of the other Districts knowing the Capitol has the power to help them if they chose to…but during the Games season…when they begin their massacre of innocent kids…I feel like doing something. I feel like that I should be doing something. But there’s nothing I can do but watch it all unfold…”
I trail off knowing that this is dangerous talk. If I was overheard it could be the death of not only me, but Missy as well. Huh. Maybe that would be better. Maybe I should rebel against the Capitol, even if it means death. I have nothing left here. And if I die, I could at least be with the ones I still care about. I look at Missy, wondering what her reaction to all of this will be. She only smiles sadly and shakes her head slowly.
“I understand how you feel. But…at the Reaping, please try to look happy. For Bethunia’s sake. I know she wouldn’t want you to be depressed” And with that, she walks off, leaving me alone with my thoughts once again. I don’t know whether I can do that. I don’t think I will be able to appear happy, act like nothing is wrong when in reality just about everything is wrong.
The intercom informs us of our arrival at District 3 and I don’t even look at the other Victors as we get off the train. Not until we reach the stage and District 3’s escort calls me out do I look up from the ground. I am surprised to see the crowd cheering for me. I offer a small smile and wave to them. Maybe there’s something left that I care about after all. I begin to feel slightly better about myself but then I look out at the platform with the former tributes and spot Bethunia. She smiles sadly at me and I squeeze my eyes shut. She’s till the same age she was when she died. She’s still sixteen. But I’m forty-three. Even if she were to be revived and win we wouldn’t be able to be together. I open my eyes and turn my gaze away from her. It’s too painful to look at any longer.
“Now that our prestigious Victors have arrived,” Quinzel Quigley the bumbling escort shouts. “We can finally find out who are brand new tributes will be!” One of the two giant bowls is wheeled out in front of him and I feel my heart sink even lower if possible. We’re no longer in a Career District and no longer have kids volunteering for fun. We now have kids who are forced into the Games against their own wills or volunteer due to having no other options left for them. I hate this.
Quinzel reaches his hand into the boys bowl and removes a slip of paper. He wastes no time and reads it immediately.
I scan the audience for the boy and see him just as he emerges and begins his ascent to the stage. He’s a tan boy with dark hair and green eyes and seems to be twitching nervously.
“Congratulations boy!” Quinzel claps the boy heartily on the back before shoving him aside and going for the girls bowl. He quickly pulls out a name but before he can read it someone in the crowd shouts.
Huh? A volunteer from District 3? I watch as a blonde girl joins us on stage. She doesn’t look like someone who loves the Hunger Games and I can only assume she’s here because she has no other choice.
“Hey! Congratulations!” Quinzel slaps the girl on the back and she gives him a dirty look, which he ignores. “What’s your name?”
“District 3 lets hear it for our new tributes!” Quinzel looks to the crowd expectantly but only a few people applaud. The rest, much like myself, are apathetic to the entire spectacle. He scratches his head perplexedly and then shrugs.
“Okay then. Don’t cheer. Doesn’t bother me. Anywaaays…” He plucks a sealed envelope out from his coat pocket and waves it in the air tantalizingly. “Who wants to find out who District 3 All-Stars are? I know I doooo!” The crowd is silent as he rips the envelope open and pulls out a sheet of paper. He begins to analyze it and I glance at Bethunia and see that she has tears in her eyes. Is…is she upset because I turned away from her? That I mostly ignored her until this moment? I want to talk to her, to tell her why. To tell her how much I had loved her. But I can’t. We’re too far apart.
“District 3’s All-Star’s are…Courage Blitz and Watt Chargy!”
Not Bethunia. Somehow I knew this would be the case. Beside me on stage Charce lets out a gasp of joy. Last year in the 326th Games, Watt was his closest ally and best friend before she was slain on the final day. As the two tributes are led out of the cage I stare blankly at Bethunia but she turns her gaze away from me. On cue the floor beneath them opens and the tributes give sudden cries of fear as they fall. I can only hope it leads them to their deaths. Because the alternative is not pretty… if they are not killed…then what is the Capitol doing with them? Experiments…torture…anything is possible. Anything that is not pleasant.
As Watt and Courage reach the stage Charce runs over and embraces her in a hug. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry Watt”
“You shouldn’t be”
“No. I let you get killed. I was suppose to protect you”
Watt breaks the hug and shakes her head at him. “No. If I hadn’t gotten killed what would have happened? If it came down to the two of us? No. You did nothing wrong”
“Well, Ladies and Gentlemen it is now the end of the Reapings!” Quinzel shouts giddily into the mic with a wild grin on his face. “Let’s have one last round of applause for our tributes!”
I shut my eyes tight. Trying to keep the nightmares and fears out of my head but…they don’t come. I open my eyes and look around. We’re back on the train on route to District 4. Most of the other Victors are on the opposite side of the room, speaking with Watt. The other District 3 tributes are sitting by themselves, looking nervous. I’m their mentor but I don’t feel like speaking with them right now. I’m too concerned about myself…I should be feeling sad and depressed about what just happened at the Reaping…but I don’t. I just feel…empty. Why? Why do I feel…nothing?
District Four: Mist Scorchil
Outside the trains' window I can see the vast ocean as we whip past it at an absurd pace. District 4 is close and I’ll be finding out whom, along with the tributes from District 7, I will be mentoring. It’s going to be odd mentoring a Career District when I myself was the leader of the Anti-Careers. I can only guess that the Capitol finds this funny. Well, I’ll still be trying my hardest in mentoring them, even if they are Careers. I’m not about to let anyone go into the Games mentor less, not even Careers.
Speaking of which…I glance over at Marcio, who still hasn’t moved from the corner since we left District 3. He hasn’t even made an effort to speak with the tributes. I know he’s mourning and all but those kids lives our on the line now. Maybe I should speak with them…
Watt and the new girl, Annabeth, are both chatting with Charce and Wario is over at the table lined with food, eating. Courage is sitting by himself so I move myself over to him.
“Hey there!” I say warmly and he snaps his head up to look at me, his eyes cautious.
“What do you want?”
“Whoa there buddy. You always this hostile?” It was a joke but I don’t think he realizes it because he lowers his head and mumbles something indistinctive. “What? I didn’t quite catch that”
“I said “no”. It’s just…I’ve been thinking a lot…it’s been a while hasn’t it?” I suddenly remember that this guy has been dead for over twenty-five years. Suddenly being brought to life must be a huge shock to him.
“Yeah, yeah it has” I don’t really know much about him or what he did in his Games. I think he died from an electrical shock but I could be wrong.
“My parents,” he turns his face towards me. “Where are they? Are they still alive? I…they wanted me to volunteer for the Games when I was eighteen but I got reaped before that…” he trails off and I don’t have anything to say. What can I tell him? He scratches his head and then continues. “I kinda despised them really. They were always criticizing me, pressuring me to train, yelling at me when I messed up or said that I didn’t want to me apart of the Capitol’s game. But…they’re still my parents. I still love them. And thinking that I disappointed them by not winning…it kinda hurts me…you know?”
I nod. I understand completely.
“I wonder if they miss me,’ he continues. “Or if they’re glad I died because I was weak… I know they should still be alive. It’s only been twenty something years…. they should have been at the Reaping. They saw me…I wonder if they cared?”
“I’m sure they did,” I murmur quietly. “You’re still their son”
He moves his head slowly. “Death’s been strange…”
“What is it like?” I ask my curiosity suddenly aroused. I’ve been watching people who were dead come back to life and seen them act just like living people. It’s unsettling in a way but extremely interesting in another.
He smiles wryly at me and shakes his head.
“I wouldn’t want to ruin the surprise for you”
“District 4! Now arriving at the District 4!”
The intercom interrupts our conversation and Vitas Tarquinus calls us me over to him and the rest of the Victors beside the trains’ door. When we step off of the train I soak in the warm weather and sunshine. It’s much different then the weather in District 7.
We continue onto to District 4’s reaping area, which is held in a clearing not far from a pristine beach. I enjoy the spectacular view of the ocean. If District 4 wasn’t a Career district it might be a very nice place to live.
“Hey y’all!” Starkly Moor, District 4’s escort waves to the crowd once the Reapings get underway. “How’s it going?!” The crowd cheers like a bunch of animals at this and then she gestures towards us Victors lined up behind her and begins to introduce us separately. Everyone seems to get at the worst, a modest amount of cheers until they get to me where the crowd then begins to boo deafeningly.
“They really don’t like you,” Missy whispers to me once they quiet down. I shrug.
“I was the leader of the Anti-Careers”
“Yeah, but they seem to hate you more then the other two Career Districts”
“The feeling is mutual,” I grunt thinking back to one of the District 4 males from the 325th Games, Giller McFish. That dastard aligned himself with me and the other Anti-Careers and despite the kindness we showed him he ended up shoving it back in our faces by betraying us and causing the death of one of my best friends, Kodai Hitogoroshi, in the process. Seriously, f--- him and District 4. Sheesh. If he somehow gets revived I swear…
“Let’s find our tributes y’all!” Starkly shouts and the crowd cheers as she announces she will pick the girls first. She doesn’t get to say anything else when someone in the audience shouts out their volunteering and takes to the stage. She has brown hair with some frontal red highlights and blue eyes. So far she seems just like every other District 4 female. Beautiful looking on outside but deep down she’s a evil conniving murderer.
“Zia Grace!” the girl answers proudly after Starkly asks her for a name and the crowd goes nuts for her. I frown as the girl smiles and takes a bow. She doesn’t look like someone I’d want to mentor in the slightest.
“Now let’s see our new boy!” Starkly goes for the boys bowl. Shockingly, no one volunteers when she puts her hand into the bowl and soon she’s reading the name without a single volunteer.
Grace? I glance at Zia for a reaction but she only continues smiling. In the crowd someone begins to sob and I see a twelve-year old standing there. Man…
Surprised I turn to see a rather ordinary looking guy with brown climbing onto the stage. I hear laughter to my right and turn to see Zia laughing hysterically. What? Am I missing the joke here?
“What’s your name?”
Another Grace! How many are there?
“You volunteered for your brother, didn’t you?” Starkly asks getting a slow nod from Percy. “And Zia is your sister?”
I expect Starkly to say something stupid like, “Wow! Your family is so lucky!” but she doesn’t. She only nods briskly and goes back to the microphone as Zia begins to laugh her guts out. What the hell is wrong with here? First her younger brother gets Reaped and then another one volunteers for him and she laughs like a madwoman? Sheesh. District 4 is more messed up then I thought. At least Percy seems normal. Right now he’s standing around awkwardly looking like he would rather be anywhere but here. I agree with him on that. Starkly calls the crowd to attention and then opens the envelope with the All-Star’s names.
“The two All-Star tributes who will compete in the 327th Annual Hunger Games are…Ryan Marine and Swatty Lakeside!”
The two tributes come onto the stage and the others are dropped. I take some pleasure in watching Giller fall. He deserves it. No one speaks until the Reapings end and we’re back on the train where I approach Ryan and Swatty.
“Hey guys!” I say trying to sound nice but firm at the same time. “I’m going to be your mentor. Names’ Mist Scorchil”
Swatty slowly nods and says hello. She was a major player in the 302nd Games. I wasn’t even alive when those were going on but the Capitol gave each of us Victors a tape of each Games to study and I've seen replays on TV from time to time.
Ryan doesn’t respond and stares stonily at the wall of the train. What’s his problem? I begin to speak again when he snaps at me angrily.
“Yeah, I know who you are jackass!” Whoa! That came out of leftfield. I don’t even know what I did to set him off!
“Uh. You mad at for something?” I ask.
“I don’t suppose you recall who killed me, do you?”
I think back to his Games, the 326th, to how he died. He was in a forest when it started on fire…huh…the fire was started by…. by Frade Spectrus.
“Remembered did you?” Ryan snarls seeing the look on my face as I recall how it happened. “Yeah that’s right. Your best buddy for life’s no-good brother burned me to a crisp. Do you have any idea how painful being burnt to death is? No…?” I don’t answer. I have no idea what its like. I didn’t ever think something Frade did would get people angry with me and I try to tell him that.
“Dude, I didn’t have anything to—”
“To do with it?” Ryan finishes my sentence and then gives a harsh laugh. “Yeah right. You were his mentor. I bet that whole fire was your idea. So don’t even speak to me”
He pushes past me and I gape after him, for one of the few times in my life, speechless
District Five: Missy Randos
I nervously thumb my fingers along my knee. This is my second year as a Victor but it will be the first as a mentor. Last year another District 5 female was assigned mentorship and I didn’t have to do anything. But this year…
I don’t really know how to mentor someone. And there’s not much of a precedent laid down by the other Victors. Topaz had ran off without even talking to the District 1 tributes, District 2 seemed to openly despise Edmund, Marcio ignored District 3’s, and Mist seems to only be talking to Swatty and Percy from District 4. So what am I suppose to do?
Sighing I look around the room until my gaze falls on Zia, the sister of the sibling duo from 4. In my Games, there were two pairs of twins, the Slaughters and Cohens. I didn’t know much about the Cohens, but Mimic Slaughter attacked my alliance in the Games and cut the head off of my ally Flora. I still have flashbacks to this horrible scene, two years after it transpired. Now, looking at the face of Zia and seeing the same cruelty and brutality reflected, I think that she may be just like her, just less crazy, which in way makes her more frightening.
I think what makes me the most nervous is that because I won a Hunger Games that had fifty-six tributes, the same amount as this year, that people will think that I will know how to mentor when I really don’t. That and I don’t want to be the reason for why some kids wind up dead.
“Are you nervous?”
I jump in surprise at the sound of Hazel’s voice. I didn’t see her coming over. “Yeah. A little,” I decide to tell her the reason for my nerves. “I just don’t know if I’m up for this. The mentoring. I don’t have any of the skills the other Victors have. I’m just a smart girl who likes purple headbands. What can I teach them?”
“Well, you’re right there. You don’t really have any of the skills we do. I mean, you’re not really a good fighter and you didn’t have much of a strategic plan either” Saying things like this is probably what makes most of the other Victors dislike her. I don’t though. I really like her despite the fact we were attempting to murder each other in the final day of our Games. And while her words may sound harsh sometimes, I know she doesn’t really mean anything by them, which is something I think the others don’t really understand.
“But you do have one thing going for you,” Hazel continues. “You’re good at surviving. You didn’t just win the Games by running around nonsensically. You have a very good survival instinct”
I nod and thank her for her words even thought it wasn’t much help. Anyone and everyone has survival instincts. How is that supposed to help me mentor the tributes?
The train comes to a stop and like always we make our way through the District and to the Reaping square. District 5’s brand new escort, Sicilia Sylvester, introduces us to the crowd where I am happy to see they cheer for me. It’s always nice to know that your District supports you.
“Now, let’s get straight to the Reaping!” Sicilia says and puts a hand into the girls bowl and removes a name.
A pale girl with teal hair and marine eyes responds and I look at her with both curiosity and sadness. I’m curious because I want to know more about her, but sad because she just got put into the Hunger Games. Sicilia congratulates the girl and then pulls a name out of the boys bowl.
A small boy from the thirteen-year olds line comes up onto the stage. He begins to create small talk with Sicilia and tells the crowd not to worry because he can handle this. But in his eyes I can see a glint of sadness. He doesn’t want to be here.
Eventually he finishes charming the crowd and steps back as Sicilia takes to the microphone again and informs us that it will now be time to find out whom the All-Stars will be.
Looking at the gathered All-Stars, hope glinting in their eyes, I feel terrible watching them but not being able to help them in any way. Suddenly I spot an empty pair of handcuffs resting between Allana Darkbloom and Bonnie Cougar and immediately I know that those were suppose to be on me, if I hadn’t won.
“And the All-Stars, voted on by the citizens of the glorious Capitol, to compete in the 327th Annual Hunger Games are…Kodai Hitogorshi and Trick Treat!”
The crowd lets out gasps of dismay and shock as the chains slip off of the two selected tributes and Peacekeepers lead them onto the stage.
Trick Treat?! Seriously?! I feel a chill run up my spine as I stare at the girl, grinning evilly as she’s placed on stage. She lived and died a decade before I was born but I still know who she is. They show repeats of the 302nd Games on television often enough for me to know how cruel, nasty, insane, demented, vile, despicable, and outright evil this girl is. And now I’m somehow supposed to mentor her?!
Sicilia ends the Reaping and the Peacekeepers lead all of us back to the train where Mist immediately goes to Kodai and gives him a hug.
“It’s good to see you back man!”
“Good to see you too boss man!”
They continue talking when suddenly Kodai looks over Mist’s shoulder and lets out a gleeful scream.
…What? I watch him as he pounces on a large bowl of fruit placed on the table that contains several pineapples. Kodai grabs them all and laughs happily and begins to hyperactively move about the room. I don’t remember him having a pineapple obsession before he died …
I glance at Mist and he shrugs, grinning happily. I guess he’s just excited that his friend was revived. Though he should be careful because just as quickly as Kodai regained his life, he could lose it again.
District Six: Charce Firre
District 6 is our next stop. I don’t feel very good about it though. The two District 6 tributes in my Games, Train McBridge and Blondie Genesis, both had important interaction with me. I chose to spare Blondie’s life on day two of the Games and Train…on the last day of the Games, the finale, he put a rock into the eye of my friend Watt and then in retaliation, I sent him over the edge of a building hurtling to his death.
I was furious with him at the time, for killing Watt. But now that she has been revived and has a second chance at life…I’m no longer mad at him. But now the question is whether or not he’s angry with me for killing HIM.
I don’t know whether I want him to be voted in or not. On one hand, if he is voted in, then I’d feel less guilty for killing him. But if he is in he’ll then be competing against Watt again and he has already killed her once before… The train comes to a halt and we all walk off onto the station of District 6. It looks a lot like District 5 and 3. All urban looking and filled with many buildings. We travel to the stage and Reaping area and once we arrive on stage I get a slight twinge of nervousness in my chest. The last time I was here I was booed off stage by the crowd who was still furious at me for murdering Train in the Games.
“Greetings District 6!” the escort, Valance Archer, says as he walks up to the microphone. He says a few more meaningless sentences before he begins introducing us Victors to the crowd. Edmund and Topaz don’t receive much of a reaction from the crowd; they give a few cheers to Missy and Hazel, go wild for Marcio and Mist, and outright ignore Acheron like most people do. Then, when Valance says my name they begin to heartily boo me. Someone even throws an old banana peel on stage. “Well. Uh. You’re…popular in a way,” Valance murmurs to me before attempting to silence the crowd. As he does this, my eyes flitter to the cell containing the revived tributes and I spot Train shuffling his feet and testing the strength of his handcuffs. “I’m going to select the new tributes now,” Valance says loudly into the microphone.
This doesn’t do anything to qualm the boos (which were dying out) and the crowd simply gets louder and when Valance pulls a name out of the boys bowl and reads it I’m barely able to hear the name.
A boy in the audience begins to move towards the stage and I’m confused. Doesn’t the Spectrus family live in District 7? Or maybe this guy not related to them? Is there another family of Spectrus? Or is it something else?
Mist looks at the boy with a surprised expression on his face and I have no idea whether or not he knows the story of this boy. The guy gets onto the stage and now that the audience has died out a bit Valance heads for the girls bowl and pulls out a name before they can restart.
“Alissa Metal Beam!”
I was watching Train as the name was read and the effect on him is instantaneous. He stops moving and his face is visibly shocked: then he shouts out loud.
The girl spins around and seems to be about to head over to him when Peacekeepers step in the way and she’s forced to continue along to the stage. I don’t know who this girl is but obviously Train does.
“Give it up for our two new tributes!” Valance says and after the crowd boos some more as he opens up the All-Star’s envelope. The girl, Alissa, is staring intently at Train. Valance glances down at the note inside the envelope and then reads aloud. “And the two All-Star tributes, voted in by the Capitol to compete in the 327th Hunger Games are…Train McBridge and Mimic Slaughter!”
The chains slide off of the two chosen and Train pushes past the Peacekeepers and runs straight to the stage and Alissa, who he engulfs her in a hug. The two of them begin murmuring something to each other as Mimic attempts to force her way past the Peacekeepers and to the cell where her twin Zak is shouting when the ground beneath them gives away and he disappears along with the rest of the District 6 tributes.
Mimic lets out a howl of rage and kicks one of the Peacekeepers in the groin before tackling another Peacekeeper to the ground. They wrestle around shouting and screaming before a third Peacekeeper steps in and jabs Mimic with a tazer. She instantly falls limp and they scoop her up and carry her away as the crowd watches in silence.
“Uh. I guess that ends the Reapings,” Valance smiles weakly after the Peacekeepers leave.
We go back to the train and begin to head off for District 7. I’m looking out a window at the trees whipping past when Train and Alissa approach me.
“I’m sorry about killing you,” I say before they can get any words out. “But I did what I had to”
“Oh. Nice to know you feel like that,” Train says and I brace myself for a scathing remark that doesn’t come. “Because I was just about to say I don’t blame you. You only did what you had to, same as me”
Oh. Well now I feel a lot better about myself. I force myself to smile and nod. “I was worried you’d hate my guts”
“Well…it was the Hunger Games. And I had killed Watt after all…” he trails off and looks embarrassed. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to bring up Watt. I know her death is har—”
“She was voted in”
“The Capitol voted her in as District 3 female. She’ll be competing in the Games as well”
“Oh. Oh…does that mean I’ll have to kill her again to win?”
My expression turns cold and he backtracks almost immediately.
“I didn’t mean- I don’t want—”
“You’ll have to kill Alissa too if you want to win,” I growl and his face becomes a mask of horror as he realizes this. Alissa murmurs something into his ear and they walk away from me, Train whispering fiercely about not letting Alissa die. I feel slightly bad for having to be the one to bring it up but he deserved it for talking about Watt getting killed when he was the one who murdered her before. Besides…only one person can win so they needed to know that at some point. I shake my head and go back to looking at the trees outside the window.
District Seven: Mist Scorchil
Our train is nearing District 7, the home of the Spectrus family. But not all of them; Blade Spectrus, the brother of both Shade and Frade, is sitting beside me. His home was in District 6. Apparently he was abandoned by his parents one day and was taken in by some District 6 couple. Later in life he wandered into District 7 somehow and met Shade were the two of them learned they were brothers. Now, two years after Shade was sent into the Hunger Games and one year after Frade went in, Blade is going in. Man. There must be a curse on the Spectrus’ or something.
And speaking of my best friend Shade…
Soon I’ll be learning his fate. Whether he was voted into the Games or if he will be dropped into some pit with the other rejects. Shade…he should have been a Victor alongside me. If only I had been more careful. Then Acheron wouldn’t have been able to decapitate him…
Thanks to Edmund and me both being Victors, Shade has less competition then every other tribute with only three other candidates. The three being Ransom Overman from the 301st Games, Wocky Oak from the 302nd, and his brother and my mentee Frade. Of the three of them I know Ransom won’t get in. He didn’t do very much in his Games. Wocky finished 2nd and was the runner-up so his odds of being chosen is high…and then there’s Frade. I like him and all but…I would rather have my best friend Shade here over him. It may sound cruel, but I think even Frade might agree with me on this. After all, he volunteered for the Games to avenge Shade with no care at the possibility of losing his own life. Thinking about this, the District 7 males have all had good runs in their Games. I wonder if the new male in these Games will do as well.
Vita announces our arrival at District 7 and I bid goodbye to Blade as I exit the train car and begin our short familiar journey to the Reaping stage. Now that we’re so close…I can feel my chest tighten as the moment draws ever closer. If Shade doesn’t get in I don’t know what I’ll do…
Ebla Helms the tree mimicking escort for District 7 is at the stage and does all of the introductions per usual. After my own introduction I look to the cell and see both Shade and Frade looking back. Shade gives a small knowing nod and Frade glares at me, probably feeling like I let him down. I turn back to Shade and I feel a tear slide down my face as I look at the face of my friend.
“Who wants to see our new tributes?” Ebla screeches into the microphone. I don’t. I want to see which All-Star tributes are revived as quickly as possible. Ebla ignores my silent wish and goes to the girl’s bowl quickly procuring a name from it.
“And the new female tribute in the 327th Annual Hunger Games is…Sheila—”
An average sized dark-skinned girl takes the stage and I feel bad for her, knowing just from looking that she didn’t volunteer for the fun of it.
“What’s your name sweetie?” Ebla asks.
“I’m sure you will fare very well in the Games!” Ebla goes over to the boys bowl and smiles down at it. “Now! Let’s find out who Marcia’s male counterpart will be!” She puts a brown hand into the bowl and pulls out a slip of paper.
That’s an odd name and an odd looking boy belongs to it. A boy with spiked lime green hair steps onto the stage. His eyes are an odd mix of blue and red. He slowly continues walking before stopping and twitching and then breaking down and crying. I share an unhappy look with Shade before the boy’s cries turn into laughter and he kicks the reaping bowl over, spilling all of the slips onto the stage.
“Well that wasn’t very nice,” Ebla frowns disparagingly as the boy bends down and picks one of the slips up. He has an odd look on his face and his eyes slowly move from the slip in his hand to the one still clenched in Ebla’s hand and then back to his. He opens his mouth to say something when a Peacekeeper behind him slams the butt of his gun into his head and the boys’ eyes roll up as he falls to the ground unconscious.
The crowd gasps as the Peacekeepers drag him off of the stage. What was that all about? And what did the boy see on the slip? As Ebla turns back to the microphone I stealthily bend down and snatch up one of the slips before it gets swept away. Opening it up I read in fine print the name “Hybrid Three”
Whoa…But…I glance at another slip lying on the ground and just before one of the cleaning Peacekeepers sweep it up I see the same exact name printed on it. Was…was the reaping rigged? Did every single slip just have his name on it? I wouldn’t doubt the Capitol would do something like that but…why? What’s so special about that boy? What did he do? If it was something to make the Capitol angry then it was probably a good thing. Before I can think anymore about this strange occurrence Ebla says something that grabs my attention.
“Now ladies and Gentlemen, let’s find out who our All-Stars are!” She pulls a dainty looking envelope out and gently opens it. “And the two District 7 tributes who will be competing in the 327th Hunger Games are…Shade Spectrus and Willow Firethorn!”
Shade! All other thoughts are banished from my head as the chains slide off my best friend and he slowly makes his way to the stage. Once he arrives I walk up to him and throw my arms around him in a hug, tears sliding down my face.
“I missed you buddy,” I say to him.
“I missed you too man”
I hear someone make a scoffing noise, Hazel I think, but I ignore it. My best friend was brought back to life. I don’t care what anyone else thinks right now. “Blade is in the Games too,” I say to Shade pulling away. His face-hardens at this news. Knowing that another one of his brothers is in the Games must be hard to bear. I glance back towards Frade just as the floor beneath him gives away; he falls, laughing the entire way.
“He wanted me in,” Shade murmurs quietly after his laughter and the screams of the other tributes fade away.
“Kodai is also back in the Games,” I tell him and his face lights up at this. Everyone likes Kodai…okay maybe not everyone. But everyone who gets to know him does.
“There’ll be a lot of tough All-Stars,” Shade mutters. “Winning won’t come easy”
“Too many people are counting on you. Frade, Blade, me, and of course the rest of your family,” I tell him. “You can’t die again”
“I don’t plan on it”
Ebla finishes the Reaping off and we’re lead back towards the train. Shade and me talk the entire way. Already we’re planning strategy. I will not allow my best friend to die. Not again.
District Eight: Topaz Grace
“I’m just waiting for him to pop the question,” Hazel grunts as she forlornly stares at Mist and Shade who are both sitting together and laughing about something. Despite myself I laugh at Hazel’s comment along with Charce who is sitting nearby.
“That’s not very nice!”
Missy comes up behind us and frowns disapprovingly at us. “His best friend just came back to life. Cut him some slack”
“That is the worst expression ever,” Hazel mutters as me and Charce share an uncomfortable look. I don’t think neither of us intended to come off as jerks. It’s just that it was a funny comment. And I want to keep my mind off of Artemis… We’ve already been to half the Districts and now only seven more, including the Capitol, remain. I may be bias, but right now of all the tributes in the Games I want Austin Aitken to win the most. Not just because he’s being mentored by me or that I trained him back in District 1, but because he seems like an overall nice guy but still has the strength and skills necessary to win. Most nice people don’t have the capabilities of doing well in the Games, like say…Woody the boy from 5 for example. He just doesn’t have the natural fighting instinct or the strength, mental or physical, to outlast the other tributes.
I end my thoughts when we arrive at District 8 and we all step off of the train, Mist leaves Shade reluctantly, knowing he won’t get to see him again until the day group training starts. I don’t really like District 8. It’s a stinking urban place with many gas fumes sprouting into the air and polluting the place. It looks like a trash heap compared to District 1.
We arrive at the station before a crowd of people dressed in gray and black clothing. Naturally my eyes are drawn to the assembled All-Stars. The two District 8 tributes from my Games, Dome Citadel and Freya Prada; have decent chances of being revived, at least in my mind. They both finished fourth and fifth and had good support from their sponsors.
The escort, Mineola, hurries through the normal protocol and goes to pick a girls name out of the bowl.
A rather tall brown haired girl takes the call and she looks more intimidating then most District 8 females do. She’s smirking for some unknown reason and I wonder if she’s even completely sane. I’m so observed in watching this girl that I miss the name of the next boy. I think it was Duck something.
A voice calls out lazily, with no sign of the excitement or terror that usually accompanies a volunteer. He’s a boy with messy unkempt crimson hair and he approaches the crying figure of another boy in the audience. Duck, I assume. He places his arms around him in what I think is a hug. It looks like he whispers something to the crying boy when suddenly his hands go to his neck and in one savage motion he snaps it.
The crowd lets out cries of horror and shock and the boy continues along calmly to the stage as everyone else makes way for him. I expect Peacekeepers to assault him or something but they don’t and he reaches the stage untouched.
“I…uh…wha…what’s your name?” Mineola stutters as he approaches her with an emotionless look, seemingly completely unperturbed about what he just did.
Mineola gapes at him like an idiot for several seconds before nodding and turning back to the mic. I share a glance with Edmund who stands next to me. This boy seems like one of those rare outlying District gems…even if he’s uh…extremely rough around the edges.
“It’s time to see our All-Stars!” Mineola says and opens the envelope quickly before Rufus can do anything else.
“The competing All-Stars are Dome Citadel and Cashmere Prada!”
Cashmere, the elder sister of the Prada’s; She competed in the Games before mine and although initially starting out as an annoying bitch that just about everyone wanted to kill she realized how she was acting mid-Games and changed her personality to a far more likeable one.
“Is Willow okay?” Dome asks stopping right in front of me, a hopeful look shining on his face.
“Willow Firethorn! Is there another Willow?” he pauses as if thinking. “Well, actually there might be another one. I have been dead for twenty-five years”
“No. There’s no other Willow”
“Then you know her?” He looks to me with excited eager eyes obviously hoping I have some good news for him.
“Yeah. She’s in the Games too”
He lets out a whoop of joy and pumps his fists into the air. I’m just happy he isn’t angry with me for winning our Games. Mineola gives the finishing speech and then we’re all headed back to the train.
District Nine: Hazel Dyer
It’s coming to the point I’ve been dreading all day. I’ve been worrying and fretting about it since I woke up this morning and it has made me irritable and quick to anger. District 9.
Why is it that of all the Districts in Panem that it’s my home that hates me the most? I know I killed Jake but why does that mean they have to hate me? Was killing him really that bad? Would they have preferred if he had killed me? I just don’t see why they loved him but despise me. So what if I was allies with him prior to killing him? It’s the Hunger Games and you have to do those sorts of things if you want even a slight chance of winning. I know I most certainly would not have won without killing him.
Don’t get me wrong. I DO feel horrible about killing him and every now and then I think about how maybe I shouldn’t have done it but then I think about where I’d be if I hadn’t… and all my doubts disappear.
I look around at my fellow Victors, Marcio and Edmund are sitting quietly, Topaz sits speaking with several of the District 8 tributes, Missy eating a pastry while conversing with Charce, Mist sitting down with a content look on his face. I scowl at him, the nasty little hypocrite. He absolutely hated me for killing Jake yet he was perfectly fine with killing two people on his own path to victory. So what if they weren’t members of his alliance? He still killed people! Yet I don’t see anyone holding that over his head.
I’m still fuming angrily when we pull into District 9’s train station. This will be the first time I’ve been home in months. I like District 9 but…the endless amount of dirty looks and scorn thrown towards me by the citizens of the District became too much to handle and I’ve been spending majority of my time in the Capitol or touring the country. Places where people don’t judge me for what I did. At the stage the usual introductions begin and when my name is called I brace myself for the boos and hatred they throw towards me. I can see the anger in their faces as they scream and shout at me. Some people even throwing garbage on stage but thankfully the Peacekeepers quickly quell this behavior.
Can’t they show me any kindness? After all me winning got them food and wealth they otherwise wouldn’t have received! Why must they ostracize me like some sort of villain?
The crowd gets even louder when they drop the curtain that covers the All-Stars and Jake and the rest of them become visible. The crowd cheers wildly and some begin a chant of “Jake!” and I feel my heart drop. I just want these people to like me…
“You’re an excited bunch!” Grania Granada the District 9 escort who is dressed as a giant wheat stack smiles at the crowd as they chant. “And I can tell you’re excited for the All-Stars…but first, we must Reap our new tributes!” This silences the crowd for once and Grania goes to the boys bowl to select a name.
A small, almost frail looking boy answers. He has his eyes shuts and seems to be muttering something to himself as he steps onto the stage. My gut tells me he won’t perform very well in the Games but my heart hopes he does.
“What a charming young lad!” Grania grins at the boy before moving over to the girls bowl. But before she can take a name out someone volunteers. Surprised, I look to the audience to see a very pale girl with fire-red hair trotting onto the stage. She hugs Hunter and then turns to tell Grania her name.
“I’m Alicia Haze”
Alicia then turns to Hunter and the two of them begin talking in whispers. Both of them look well fed and its’ apparent that they’re not starving like the poor people of the District. Still, I pain for them. I don’t want anyone more to go through the pain I had to.
“Now that we have our new tributes…” Grania opens up the envelope and takes a long dramatic pause. My anger towards Jake fades into nervousness. Please don’t be Jake. I don’t want him to be around me, to have to face him after doing what I did to him. And then there’s the fact that I have to mentor him? It would be unbearable.
“The tributes voted in by the Capitol are…Jake Price and Varina Tapora!”
Of course it was Jake. I just knew it would be. Now I might have to face him …my stomach feels queasy as nerves settle in. How will he react to seeing me? Will he have forgiven me? Or will he, like the rest of the District, hate and despise me for doing what I needed to stay alive?
The chains come off of the two tributes and as they begin their ascent to the stage the crowd roars happily and once again begin to chant Jake’s name. I don’t get it.! Why do they love him so much?
As his feet touch the stage I move towards him, hoping to mend our problems but he just pushes past me and goes straight to shake Mist’s hand.
“I’m glad you’re back,” Mist smiles as they shake hands.
“I’m thrilled you managed to win your Games,” Jake replies. “But some of your co-victors…I wouldn’t have minded if they had lost their lives in the arena” It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that he’s talking about me. I scowl at him as he goes to hug his uncle, Mayor Price. After that I ignore him until we all get back onto the train, at which point I charge straight towards him. No way he can ignore me now.
“Look here,” I say stopping right in front of him. He gives me a dubious look. “You may still be angry about me killing you and all and while I don’t regret it, I DO feel bad for you. But you can’t continue to ignore me. I’m your mentor and if you want to do well in these Games you’ll have to—”
“Oh! My bad!” Jake rudely interrupts me in a mocking tone. “I should forgive you because you “feel bad” about killing me! Next you’ll be saying I should forgive the Capitol for having the Games because they also “feel bad” about it!”
“No. I’m not saying that. I just want—” I try to explain myself but Jake doesn’t let me.
“Just shut up Hazel. No one here wants to hear your stupid little explanation. You killed me. That’s that. You don’t need to try and garner sympathy for yourself by saying you “feel bad” about it”I can’t believe this arrogant little weasel! Does he think that he’s the only one who has problems here?! That no one else has felt what he has?
“Stop acting like you’re the only victim!” I scream at him, losing my composure. “All of these All-Stars were killed! Some of them even by the other Victors HERE! And none of them are acting as much like a petulant child as you are!”
Jake stares at me in stony silence. He doesn’t say a word as I breath heavily, trying to keep my anger in check. I feel like slapping him across the face right now but I know that won’t help anything. He eyes me, probably guessing what is going on in my head, weighing the odds of me snapping.
“You wanna know why he hates you?” Mist steps up to me, anger visible on his face. “It’s because you’re a traitorous bitch Hazel!”
I breath in sharply before speaking. “I did what I had to! I would never have won if I didn’t betray you! And don’t even START about me killing Jake. You killed people as well!”
“Yeah! But not my allies! Not only did you murder Jake but you were the reason Kodai and Wolbert died as well!”
“Oh? Really?” I let out a scornful laugh at this pitiful attempt to blame me. “Last time I checked you were the one who sent Wolbert out to fight Acheron by himself. Don’t pretend otherwise. You didn’t give a damn about me or any of the other Antis”
His eyes go cold as he stares at me. Slowly he speaks. “That. Is. A. lie. I cared about everyone in my alliance. They were like brothers to me. I didn’t want any of them to die!”
“But you only wanted yourself and Shade to win. Don’t deny it!” I say as he opens his mouth to interrupt me. “We all know that’s true. You didn’t care if they survived as long as you and your friend did. You’re a hypocrite!”
He remains silent. He knows I speak the truth. He was the reason Wolbert died; he knew it would kill Wolbert as well. He only ever cared about himself and in an attempt to clear his guilty consistence he blames and hates me for killing Jake. “Just cool it Hazel,” he finally mutters pushing past me and walking across the room. Everyone else is staring at me in surprise and I feel myself calming down considerably now that I’ve vented all of my feelings. Everyone knows exactly what’s been plaguing me since I won. I sit myself down on a couch and purposely look in the opposite direction of Mist and Jake. I don’t want to speak to either of them ever again.
District Ten: Missy Randos
District 10…the second district I will be mentoring alongside District 5. I hope the tributes will be an easier group to handle then 5’s. Kodai and Trick are both basically impossible to work with and I didn’t even try speaking to either of them. Then there’s Augusta who is so antisocial that she only grunted when I tried to make conversation. At least Woody is talkative. I like that little guy and I think most people will. But…he just doesn’t look like he will do well in the Games, but then again, I didn’t look like I’d do well either yet here I am. I try to think of which District 10 tributes have the chance of being revived. The Cohens from my Games, the Lexys siblings from the 326th, Vivan and Kwartz, also from my Games, a really big guy, a one-eyed girl and…I can’t really remember the rest.
I just hope that if one of the siblings gets in that their brother or sister gets in as well. Splitting them up would just be cruel and inhumane. But then again…these whole Games are cruel and inhumane. The capitol practically thrives off of our suffering.
Nearby, I watch Mist talk to Jake, telling him that Shade will be reforming the Anti-Careers and then invites him to join again. After their public altercation with Hazel they had remained silent for a while.
“Fine,” Jake answers but then points towards the other three District 9 tributes. “But none of them can join. Deal?”
Mist follows his finger and gazes curiously at the three of them, Alicia, Hunter and Varina. He’s probably wondering, like me, why they couldn’t join. None of them look threatening or insane in anyway.
“Uh. Sure. I’ll make sure to tell Shade”
Jake nods appreciatively and then our train comes to a halt. District 10 is a lot like District 9 and open and airy, with less polluting buildings then the other Districts we’ve been to recently.
Our journey to the Reaping area is quick and uneventful. When we arrive District 10’s escort, Aelius Agrippa, a ridiculously muscular and tall man whose muscles bulge and squirm revoltingly, introduces us and then begins the Reapings. “Let’s see which awesome bro will be going into the Games!” Aelius roars and then sticks a massive fist into the bowl, pulling numerous slips out but dropping all of them but one, which he reads.
The name hangs over the square for a few seconds before a boy from the twelve-year-olds line who is wearing nothing but a hat, scarf and pair of shorts moves onto the stage. He doesn’t look nervous or scared which is slightly surprising considering his young age.
“Nice to see you little dude!” Aelious pats the boy on the back so hard that he knocks him down. “And good luck with the Games bro”
As Twix picks himself off from the ground Aelius moves to the girls bowl and repeats the name picking process.
The name travels through the crowd before I spot a girl in the audience, swaying gently, when suddenly her eyes roll up into her head and she drops to the ground, obviously passed out due to nerves and fear. Poor girl…I feel so bad for her and wish I could do something to help her.
A brown haired girl with tan skin climbs onto the stage and with concerned olive green eyes looks off the stage at some medical staff attending to the passed out girl.
“Yo. Your name?” Aelious asks the girl poking her.
“Don’t poke me!” she slaps his finger away before answering the question. “I’m Bella Mustang”
The crowd murmurs in surprise. This girl must be Tiegan’s sister but that’s not the reason the crowd is surprised. The last name “Mustang” sounds very familiar in correlation with District 10. Where did I hear it before…?
Oh! I remember! Two former victors from District 10 had the last time Mustang, Seb and Reece. Possibly these two girls are related to them.
“Hey! You want to die for your sister! Cool!” Aelius ignores the fierce glare Bella gives him and pulls out the All-Star’s envelope. He tries to get the crowd excited but they don’t make any noise and he eventually just rips the envelope in two and attempts to read the two separate pieces.
“The uh…voted in tributes are…Vlad Rock—Rockford? I think that’s it bro. Kinda hard to read when it’s torn in two.” He mumbles something and checks it again. “Yeah. Rockford. Anyways, Vlad Rockford and Vivan In-something. You know who. That one girl”
The two chosen tributes come out of the cell. Vlad is that giant boy from the 302nd Games and he’s massive! He has to be at least seven feet and towers over all of us. How did anyone ever kill him? Wait. They didn’t. I remember that a tree crushed him while he was battling with Courage. I don’t know how anyone plans on killing him…
And Vivan…she was in my Games and I played a part in her death. When she and her ally were exiting a gingerbread house I encourage by ally, a girl from District 3, Electronny, to shoot an arrow at them and it pierce Vivan’s back. While she managed to escape the vicinity Hazel later finished her off while she was bleeding to death.
I avert my gaze when she takes her place besides me and the other victors. I saw how some of the other tributes treated their killers and while technically Hazel is the one who finished her off; she wouldn’t have been in that predicament without Electronny and me. She doesn’t look angry or anything though as Aelius greets the two of them.
“Hey, hey. You two get another shot at living. Awesome. Sucks for the rest though. Let’s drop ‘em”
The other All-Stars are dropped and I feel my stomach go queasy wondering just where they went. Maybe it would be better for me if I didn’t know. The reaping concludes and all of us head back to the train for the tenth time today.
District Eleven: Marcio Redge
It’s not hard to figure out why the Capitol assigned me to mentor District 11. I know for a fact it’s due to how my Games ended, about how me and the District 11 male Darker Horrfi battled it out in the finale and how I killed him by throwing him off of a bell tower.
I also know how it’s not too far-fetched to think that Darker will be voted into the Games and that I’ll have to mentor him. I wouldn’t be against that. Darker deserved to win just as much as I did. Maybe more. Maybe he would have done something more with the life he was given then I did.
I let out a long sigh and stare at the wall blankly. I’m exhausted, mentally and physically from all these Reapings. It felt like it’s been weeks since I was last home though I know it has only been hours. I just want this all to stop. I don’t want to see any more kids being plucked from their homes and sent to their deaths. But it’s not like I have a choice….
It doesn’t take long, or maybe it does. I don’t pay much attention to the time anymore, before we arrive at the District 11 station. We step out on the edge of the District. Many fields lay behind us as we make our way towards the inner parts, where majority of the buildings and the Reaping stage lies.
When we get onto the stage I look sadly at the assembled people below me. Most of them look like they’re starving and almost all of them don’t want to be here. Since Charce won last year giving District 12 their first Victor in a long while, District 11 is now the District that has gone the longest without a victor. The Reapings is nothing but a death sentence for the people of District 11.
“Welcome to the Reaping of the 327th Annual Hunger Games!” The brand-new escort, a freakish mutant lady from the Capitol who has a third eye on her forehead, takes the mic. “My name is Hellie Helium and I will be your new escort!” The crowd makes no noise but I can see the looks of disgust and anger on their faces as Hellie goes to the boys bowl and casually plucks a name out.
“And the lucky boy is…Gloom Ivy!”
A strange looking boy with dark skin and pure white hair and matching eyes takes up the call. He shows no sign of surprise or distress and seems rather emotionless. “Oh wow! What a charming young lad!” Hellie squeals and then shoves the microphone under his chin. “Do you have anything to say to the crowd?”
He shrugs. “Everyone dies sooner or later”
They do. And when people die, it’s not always a sad occasion. Sometimes…sometimes death sets them free from the cruelty and horrors of life. Sometimes death is good.
“I’m sure you will!” Hellie smiles stupidly, unable to comprehend what the boy meant. “Now let’s find out who are female tribute is!” She skips over to the girls bowl and pulls a name out. Before she can read it though, someone in the audience volunteers and soon a pale girl with long black hair is standing beside Hellie.
“And what’s your name, dear?” Hellie asks with a grin.
“I’m Daisy Lilac”
Her voice is emotionless and I can tell from her eyes that she has experience sadness and the sense of hopelessness in her lifetime.
“Do you have anything to say to the wonderful people of District 11?”
“Well that’s just lovely!” Hellie offers a little clap and then is handed the All-Star envelope. I had almost forgotten about the All-Stars grouped up in the cell before us.
“The two All-Stars who will be competing in the Hunger Games are…Darker Horrfi and Mondi Bakerman!”
Darker and the one-legged girl from the 300th Games both hobble out onto the stage and take their places beside Gloom and Daisy. They make a strange little group. Mondi showing outward signs of excitement at the prospect of another shot at life, Gloom complacent with his lot, and Darker and Daisy emotionlessly taking everything in.
I do not feel like mentoring but I know I will have to. These kid’s lives may very well depend on whether I can help them or not and I don’t want to be responsible for any more death.
District Twelve: Charce Firre
Soon I’ll be home. This Reaping will be different then all of the rest because it’s my District. I could possibly know the kids who get Reaped. It could conceivably be another one of my siblings.
I pace around the room, fears of my siblings being put into the Games floating through my head. What are the chances that they’ll get reaped? I don’t know. I hope it would be slim but…
“Stop pacing!” Edmund growls at me as I reach the far wall for the tenth time. “You’re driving me nuts”
I sit down and stay still until we arrive at the District 12 station. As we disembark I remember last year, when I boarded this train and headed to the Capitol. Back then I had no idea I’d ever come home and had completely expected to perish in the arena. Funny how things turn out…
We arrive at the Reaping Square and I see my father, Mayor Firre, standing there on stage. He smiles at me and then turns to the crowd. I don’t know how I feel about him. Last year at my own Reaping he didn’t even recognize me when I was standing a foot away from him. Of course he recognizes me now. All of Panem does. This hurts me, as he only knows me as a victor, not a son. I’m trying to fix our problems, but it’s hard to do when we’re both always busy with our tasks of being Mayor and Victor.
I turn to look as an old lady with an annoyingly high screechy voice wobbles to the microphone.
“The All-Stars weren’t the only ones revived this year!” she crows gleefully. “As you all know, I’m the District Two escort from the 302nd Games, Diane!”
“Not her again!” Edmund moans from besides me. I have no idea who this lady is, but she’s already annoying me.
“Wow!” Diane gasps as she looks out at the crowd. “You all need to eat more! You’re all so skinny! Sheesh. No wonder your tributes always die in the Games!” Yeah and whose fault is that? The Capitol. They’re the reasons why we’re starving. Ever since I’ve won I’ve been trying to feed the people less fortunate then me, if you can even call me fortunate, but just about everyone in the District seems to be starving. It’s depressing having to watch people die when you know the Capitol has more then enough food to feed them all.
“You know,” Diane continues, oblivious to the hateful stares the crowd is giving her. “I think I can make your lives bet-tor!”
“And how will you do that?” Father asks her dryly.
She grins stupidly. “I can reap you some good tributes! Ones that are even better then Choice Flamer over there!” she jabs a finger at me and I groan loudly at her terrible pronunciation of my name.
“Just start the Reapings, already,” My father grunts.
“Okaydokey! Time to start the ropings!”
The girls’ bowl is rolled out in front of her and she pulls a slip out. “Oh no, no, no. Not that one” she chucks it over her shoulders and continues shuffling through the papers, discarding all of them because she says they’re “not ripe enough”. Whatever the heck that means.
“Just pick one already,” Father tells her with an exasperated look on his face.
“That’s what I’m doing! Really. Some people are so rude! Like just yesterday me and my sister Mary, she’s eighty-years old now, anyways, me and my sister Mary were out shopping when we—”
“PICK A NAME ALREADY!” Edmund roars from behind her, obviously fed up with her dawdling.
“Oh shut up,” she says in a particularly screechy voice before pulling a name out and thankfully reading it.
“Rio Flock! My, what a pretty name!”
A girl in the audience comes onto the stage. She has long purple hair and a green eye patch goes over her right eye. She looks tough and could be a threat to be a repeat winner from 12.
“Oh NO!” Diane screams in terror as she sees the girl. “A pirate! Someone do something! A PIRATE has invade our Reaping!” she continues to scream hysterically and then begins hyperventilating.
“She is not a pirate!” Edmund yells as Rio looks on in pure confusion.
“She isn’t?” Diane regains her composure and looks at the girl closely. “Oh. I knew that”
I roll my eyes disdainfully. This woman is making a mockery of the whole situation. She’s making the Games seem like something light-hearted when really people’s lives are on the line here.
Eventually Diane recovers enough to head for the boys bowl but before she can pick one a voice shouts from the crowd.
The boy who volunteered climbs onto the stage; he has black marks all over his skin and is extremely dirty. From my knowledge of the mines I can only guess that he either works or lives near them. I hope he does well.
He has an aggressive look on his face as he faces Diane and gives his name “Soot Dustcloud”
“Ladles and Gentlemoons, I present your male tribute to you, Soot DoucheClown!” “What the hell did you just call me?!” Soot turns angry green eyes towards Diane who backs off concernedly.
“I called you by your name!” she grins.
“No you didn’t! You called me—” The boy breaks off suddenly, coughing and hacking violently. Concerned, I step forward but the boy’s coughing stops and he bends over, panting.
“I’m fine!” he snaps pushing Missy away as she attempts to help him. “It’s just a cough!”
I don’t know about that. It seemed pretty serious to me but I guess he knows better then anyone else.
Diane goes to continue speaking but someone had the wise idea to cut her mic so father takes over. He quickly opens the All-Star envelope and reads the names off. “Exolian Dynamite and Amaryllis Silvermoon!”
The two All-Stars rush to the stage as the others are dropped. Father quickly begins to say the ending speech and the most confusing, strange Reaping I’ve ever seen comes to a close.
District Thirteen: Acheron Bane
The day has been long and arduous but it is nearing a close now. Outside the trains’ window I can see the sun beginning its descent. By the time District 13’s Reaping ends it will be night and we’ll be on our way to the Capitol for the final Reaping.
We are still several moments away from reaching District 13 so I decide to take the opportunity to do what I’ve been doing the entire day, I examine the tributes. Rio has the look of a threat. Her purple hair and eye patch will make the smaller, weaker tributes fear her and the stronger ones target her. I cannot say whether this is a good thing for her or not.
Soot is small but an aura of determination surrounds him. I can tell that he yearns to win for more then just himself. That alone can make him a serious threat to everyone, even the most skilled Careers.
Exolian is small and weak looking. He does not have the appearance of one who would do well in the Games. But perhaps that is in his advantage. He will be overlooked by everyone. No one will remember that he exists and he may be able somehow slip his way into the finale and seize victory. In a way, that is what I did.
Amaryllis is much like Exolian. She does not have physical strength but she may have some concealed skills. If I were in these Games I would not make the mistake of writing her off.
“District 13! We’re here people!” Vitas exits his private room and rubs his hands together gleefully as he makes his way towards the trains’ door. “This will be our last stop before the Capitol! Hopefully we find some interesting tributes here. Much like the esteemed Mr. Bane” He gestures towards me and for once everyone’s gaze is upon me. I am slightly uncomfortable but show no sign of it. I keep my face blank and emotionless until they turn away and follow Vitas as he exits the train.
The station is close to the woods and memories of my old life before the Games come back to me. When I lived in a cave in the forest, getting by with minimal interaction with anyone. Collecting necessary supplies under the cover of night. I miss those days. Now I cannot leave my house without being trailed by an agent of the Capitol. They think they are being inconspicuous but I see them. Always watching me, studying me. When I was first Reaped I had wondered whether they remembered me or not. If they had, why allow me to win the Games? Why allow me to survive and thrive? My guess, and this is only speculation, is that they’re waiting for the moment I fade out of the limelight. When another more charismatic, more likeable District 13 tribute wins. When a few years past and the people of Panem forget about me, then they’ll swoop in and take me back into their clutches where they’ll continue their experiments or worst. Why else am I alive? I know the Capitol does not give up on their ventures easily. They always finish what they start. But I won’t go down easily. I’m already formulating plans for when this happens.
We arrive at the District 13 Square. The people of the District sit below us and the All-Stars above in their cell. I look at them and think about how I could have been in there. One thing I know, if I had died in the arena I would not be voted in.
“Citizens of District 13!” the District’s escort, a nondescript man in plain black clothing with the wonderfully creative name of Escort, greets the crowd as we all pile onto the stage. “Allow me to introduce to you, the great Victors!” He goes on to say our names to the crowd. Unlike all of the other Victors in their home Districts, I receive no cheers. The crowd only observes me silently. It does not bother me. I don’t need anyone’s approval.
“It is time to reap our tributes!” Escort says strolling over to one of the bowls. “First, the boy” He puts a hand into the bowl and removes a name.
“The male tribute in the 327th Annual Hunger Games is…Kingsley Orion!”
Instantly a boy with an odd clash of white hair and black skin runs for the stage, snapping his teeth, which all look like fangs, together as he does so.
“Mr. Orion, I presume?” Escort says, giving him an intrigued look.
“Yeah, that’s me!” The boy throws his head back and laughs cruelly, not the least bit affected by being reaped. He’s one of those kids who love death and pain, though he knows nothing of real pain.
“May the odds be ever in your favour, Mr. Orion,” Escort says and then a feminine voice shouts from the crowd, shaky and unsure of itself.
A small girl walks onto the stage and stands beside Escort, blinking her eyes open and shut several times. I cannot tell if this is to preventer herself from crying or flying into a rage.
“Your name, miss?”
“Celia. Celia Myer”
“Please give a round of applause for Ms. Myer!” Escort brandishes his arms and only a few people in the crowd and Topaz and Edmund offer even small applause. “Now, it has come to the time where we shall learn which two All-Stars will have the great honor of competing once again, in the Hunger Games!” Escort smiles coldly at the audience as he slips an envelope out of his coat pocket. He uses a letter knife to open it and then reads it loud and clear.
“The two All-Stars, voted in by the citizens of the almighty Capitol, to compete in the 327th Annual Hunger Games are…Ice Hunts and Piper Quinn!”
As the chains slide off of the two Piper runs over to the boy named Harley, her ally and best friend, and attempts to rip his handcuffs off. It doesn’t work and soon Peacekeepers are pulling her out of the cell, kicking and screaming.
“I’m NOT going without Harley! I REFUSE!”
It doesn’t matter. She’s pulled out of the cell and as the chains slide off of the All-Stars before they’re dumped Harley shouts something. I don’t hear it, but Piper does and she breaks down and weeps as the Peacekeepers take her away from the stage and the square.
While this went on, Ice made his way to the stage and is now hugging District 13’s Mayor, Adam Devils. There’s a history between them that I don’t completely know. What I do know, is that Ice was the first ever male tribute from District 13. He was one of the first two tributes to compete in the Hunger Games and finished 3rd. Of all the All-Stars, Ice has the most kills with a total of six. This fact not only puts him on the Careers radar, but just about everyone else as well.
"This has been a very splendid evening,” Escort says ignoring the whole Piper incident. “And I assure you that when you tune in to watch the Capitol’s reaping in the next two hours, you will hear a very big surprise” he turns his head as if to walk away but then comes back, a small smile on his face. “Oh, and may the odds be ever in your favor”
The Capitol: Hazel Dyer
The final Reaping is coming soon; and afterwards there’ll be a party at President Striker’s mansion, which I and the other Victors save Acheron who somehow got overlooked, received an invitation to. I’ll be singing and I am really looking forward to it. The other Victors don’t seem to be showing the same amount of enthusiasm as I am; they’re more concerned with the surprise mentioned at the District 13 reaping, which to be perfectly fair, is a valid concern. “What do you think it will be?” Missy asks as several of us sit around a coffee table.
“Something unimportant,” Edmund grunts.
“It’ll probably involve more cruelty and death,” Mist says ever so optimistically. He’s a cheerful one all right.
“Why so glum?” I demand throwing an angry look at him. “It could be something that’s very good for both us and the tributes!”
Marcio makes an odd scoffing noise at this and Mist shakes his head at me. “The Capitol doesn’t do anything good. At least not for anyone but themselves”
“Oh? Is that so?” The sudden voice surprises Mist and he nearly jumps as Vitas sits himself down near us. “Do we really not do anything good? Is our generosity not appreciated?”
Mist sits in stony silence as Vitas stares at him with a bemused expression. Ha! I bet Mist didn’t see this one coming!
“Do you not appreciate your friends being revived?” Vitas continues a cold smile forming on his lips. “We could have kept them dead you know. We needn’t have bothered with the extremely grueling task of bringing them back to life. But we did. Because President Striker is generous and kind. Much more so then I am” He folds his hands expectantly at Mist, who keeps to his silence, almost reluctantly. I know for a fact that he’d love to bring up several things but relents due to what may happen if he does.
“I appreciate the Capitol,” I say in self-preservation. It would not do at all to have the head Gamemaker angry at me.
“Ah. I know you do, Ms. Dyer. But I feel…I feel as if some of your esteemed colleagues don’t quite feel the same way” His gaze moves from Mist to Marcio and then all the way to the corner where Acheron sits. “But I do not worry about them!” Vitas smiles cheerfully, rising from his chair and crossing towards the train door. I notice that the train has come to a stop. We must be at the Capitol now. “They will accept our generosity soon enough,” Vitas crows as the doors slide open. “President Striker’s surprise for example. It will be a delight to most, if not all, of you. Now let’s move along. We shan’t keep the crowd waiting!”
The assembled crowd waiting at the stage is much larger then all of Districts crowds’. The stage is set up right in front of President Striker’s mansion and people line the streets and buildings that surround it. They really must believe that this is the biggest and most prestigious Hunger Games ever…
On stage all of us Victors are introduced to the crowd and of course I get the loudest reaction. I smile and wave to them, happy that they like me, unlike District 9. Most of the other victors get good reactions, except for Mist and Acheron who only have a moderate amount of cheers for them. After we’re introduced President Striker appears on stage, dressed in a handsome black suit and his trademark immaculate red velvet tie.
“Greetings to the citizens of the glorious Capitol! I welcome you to the final Reaping of the 327th Annual Hunger Games!” The crowd goes absolutely ballistic and he smiles. “Let’s see our All-Stars!”
As he says this, the curtains drop off of the cell and the All-Stars become visible. Of the four Capitol tributes who competed in my Games the only one I really had much interaction with was Josool Wiranda, the fatso who only ever thought about eating. Truth be told, he disgusted me and I hope he isn’t the one to be revived.
“But before we find out which two All-Stars will be back in the Games, we shall reap our two new tributes!” President Striker snaps his fingers and a bowl is rolled out in front of him.
“First, we shall select our female tribute!”
He reaches a gloved hand into the bowl and plucks one slip out. He slowly opens it and reads it carefully.
“The female tribute who will compete in the 327th Annual Hunger Games is…Dawn Olive!”
A girl with half black, half light blue hair comes onto the stage, a sad look in her eyes. She shakes hands with President Striker who then asks for the crowd to give her a round of applause, which they do.
“Now that we have given Ms. Olive the appropriate amount of recognition, let us find out who her District partner will be!” He reaches a hand into the bowl when someone shouts.
A boy charges onto the stage. He has long hair, which is white except for the front where it is black. He has red eyes and while he’s unnatural to someone from the District’s, he’s decidedly normal for a Capitolite.
“What is your name, young man?” President Striker asks turning to face the boy.
Another pair of siblings entering into the Games, it’s a little surprising considering only one will come out alive, but I assume that Dusk knows this already.
President Striker opens his mouth to speak but before he can Dawn lets out a shriek and rushes towards her brother.
“No! You can’t! I won’t let you!” I—”
“Be quiet!” He hisses at her and she stops her words immediately but not her sobs, which begin. President Striker gives the girl a look of absolute disgust and turns away and asks for applause for Dusk Olive, “a boy who knows the true honor of competing in the Hunger Games”
Dawn continues to quietly sob and she’s hurriedly pushed out of the way. Obviously having someone weep over being in the Games is not something President Striker wishes to showcase. I feel bad for the girl, just being swept aside like a pile of rubbish. It’s not right.
“Now it is the time you have all been waiting for! Time to find out which two tributes from the glorious Capitol will compete in the Games!” He slowly and deliberately opens the envelope. He smiles at the cheering crowd and then begins to read the letter aloud.
“The two All-Stars, voted in by the citizens of this glorious and almighty Capitol, to compete in the 327th Annual Hunger Games are…Ramon Constancy and Cassandra Oracion!”
The chains slide off of the two and as they begin their ascent to the stage I examine them. Ramon was the first Capitol male to ever compete in the Hunger Games and is well liked by the Capitol for that fact. Cassandra…she’s a strange girl. Apparently she has the power to see the future though I don’t know if I can believe that. It just seems…to far-fetched. Though in her Games she did predict her ally would battle Courage at the Feast…
“Please give your applause to the four tributes from the glorious Capitol who will be competing in the 327th Annual Hunger Games!” President Striker waits for the cheers and screams to die down before speaking again. “And now it is time for me to reveal the surprise that was promised!”
I give a glance towards the other Victors, all of who are looking at him with interest except for Edmund who has a bored expression on his face and Acheron who has a blank face.
“Everyone believed,” President Striker begins facing the crowd. “That in the 327th Annual Hunger Games there would be only one Victor. However, that is not the case. There will be four victors. Two All-Stars and two new tributes!”
The crowd emits surprised gasps and beside me Mist lets out a loud whoop of joy. And he thought it would be something bad! Missy and Topaz break out into smiles, Edmund slowly claps and Acheron doesn’t change his expression.
“Don’t get too excited,” Marcio mumbles from my other side. I turn to look at the dejected man. “The four victors will probably be savage monsters who killed all of your friends”
Well that’s a cheerful thought.
President Striker begins to close the reaping and ends this day that has been very, very long.
Exolian Dynamite (District 12)
I don’t know when the last time I slept in a bed was. I’d guess it would be way back during the first time I was in the Capitol…. It’s been a long time but it hasn’t felt that long. Before waking up in a Capitol lab the last thing I remembered was climbing down from the tree I had just spent the night in. And then they tell me it’s been twenty-six years… I should be thirty-eight right now but instead I’m still only twelve. Nothing’s changed.
I shakily get dressed and then leave my room and the District 12 apartment, following the instructions left on my door. I travel to the elevator lobby and see my mentor Charce, the other District 12 tributes and all four District 6 tributes. “Now that Exolian is here,” Charce begins, not sounding nearly as confident as my mentor in the 301st Games did. “I will uh…give you some final advice before the first day of Group training” His eyes move over us all. None of us are very big threats and I think he knows it.
“Learn as much as you can,” he says. “Anything could be useful to you. Even something you have no plan on using. I-uh. Don’t get people angry at you and find someone you can trust and ally with them”
“Is that what you did?” Amaryllis asks quietly. She looks small and frail but I know she’s more then meets the eye. She placed 11th in her Games and wasn’t even killed by another tribute, instead being finished off by a rockslide triggered by the Gamemakers.
“It is,” Charce nods. “That was my training strategy and I won. Of course you, uh, may do something else that, uh, suits you more”
He finishes and steps back as we all load onto the elevator. It takes us down to the gymnasium deep underground and I take a deep shuddering breath. I’ll be getting my first glimpse of the other tributes soon.
Wario Wade (District 3)
I take my place at the far end of the line and feel my heart leap into my mouth as I look down the line, past all fifty-five of the other tributes. I’m supposed to outlive all of them? How?! Most of the new tributes look stronger then me and the All-Stars already have a huge advantage due to having competed before. I’m thinking that my odds of coming out alive are very slim indeed.
“Welcome,” the Head Trainer, a bearded man named Kassius, speaks. “To your training. To the twenty-eight of you who have competed before, welcome back. What I’m about to tell you is already known, but it bears repeating. Your survival hinges on more then just knowing how to use a weapon. You must be able to survive in the wild, able to procure food and drink for yourself. Otherwise a weapon is useless to you” These words don’t help alleviate my fears. Not only do I have to worry about fighting off tributes, but I have to fight off my hunger and thirst as well.
“We have many Training Stations here, all designed to help you survive. Do not be quick to ignore any of them. They all can teach you a valuable lesson. For the All-Stars…” Kassius turns to face the revived tributes. “Remember what you did last time. What you learned, what you bypassed, what helped you, what could have helped you.” Majority of the All-Star seem to be taking his words in, though a few of the more arrogant ones seem to be ignoring his words. Kassius gives few final words before touching his watch and starting training session.
Immediately everyone rushes off and I’m lost in the shuffle as they push past me, eager to get to the stations. The Careers go straight for the deadliest looking weapons, three of the Capitol tributes group up and begin talking, the lovers from the 302nd Games, Dome (8) and Willow (7), run straight for one another and embrace and kiss.
Where do I go?
I wander through the gym, almost in a daze, unsure of what to do. Eventually I see a large group of people gathered around the Hammock Making station and see Shade Spectrus, the infamous co-leader of the Anti-Careers from the 325th Games, talking to several others, several of which I recognize as other Anti-Careers from the 325th Games.
“You here to join?”
Shade’s (7) head swivels around to face me as I join the small circle around him. I nod my head slowly. I need an alliance that much is obvious. In these Games it will be exceedingly difficult to succeed on my own.
“Good. What’s your name?”
He then introduces me to the rest of the assembled tributes, other members of the new Anti-Careers. There’s Kodai (5) and Jake (9), both from the original alliance, Shade’s younger brother Blade (6) who hails from a different district, Daisy (11), and Rio and Soot from District 12.
Seeing these strong tributes, which are now my allies, I feel pretty good about my decision.
Percy Grace (District 4)
“Hey, do you wanna, uh, be allies?”
I stop before a pretty blonde girl from District 3, who just finished completing the Edible Plant memory challenge in a record pace, I saw the replay of her reaping last night and I think her name was Annabeth.
She looks up at me and gives me a critical look her eyes taking in every little detail.
“Aren’t you from District 4? Why aren’t you with the Careers?”
I knew she would ask this. It’s only natural for someone to wonder why a guy from District 4 wouldn’t join the Career pack.
“I’m not like them,” I reply and the girl arches her eyebrows questioningly so I elaborate further. “They love the Games and are obsessed with killing and hurting. I’m not. I despise it”
She nods slowly taking in my response. I think the silence stretches on for too long so I continue speaking.
“And I don’t think my sister would even let me join. She’s probably already telling them that I’m a weakling that can hardly lift a weapon”
“Ah. That’s correct. You’re one of the siblings, aren’t you?” Glad that she’s opening up a little I smile and nod my head a bit too vivaciously. “Yeah! My sister’s Zia. She’s with the Careers”
“And telling them you don’t know how to fight?”
“Well Yeah. That’s usually the kind of thing she’d say”
“Well, is she what she says the truth?”
“No. I can fight just as well as most people from District 4. My sister just doesn’t believe or know I can. She’s always branded me as a weakling for not being a murder loving wacko like her” Its nice having someone to tell of all this to. Someone who doesn’t think that I’m the freak for not wanting to kill people.
“You volunteered for your brother,” she says, more of a statement then a question. I nod and she smiles. “Well then Percy, I believe we have an alliance!” Yes! I’m stoked that I got an ally, a super pretty one at that too!
But before I can even finish my silent celebration I hear a scornful laugh from behind me and whip around to see the last person I wanted around right now. Zia.
“Oh please!” She sneers at me and then at Annabeth. “An alliance between the two of you? Do you expect to get anywhere with this?”
“Shouldn’t you be with your Career pals?” I ask her coldly. She may be my sister, but she’s a real b--ch too.
“They’re recruiting right now. They don’t need me for that,” she smiles condescendingly at me. “And besides, I wanted to see how my dear little brother was doing”
“Ha! Like you care!”
“You’re right! I don’t care. But I wanted to tell you, and anyone who’s stupid enough to ally with you, that the Careers don’t take people ditching them very well and that they’ll be after you and I can’t help you, not that I’d even want to,” She finishes with a smirk.
“I bet you would love to see me killed,” I grunt bitterly.
“Yes I would. I wouldn’t mind killing you myself if I had the chance!” She laughs coldly then turns and walks off back towards the assembled Careers. Stupid Zia. Always threatening me. But what she doesn’t know it that I do know how to fight. I bet that will come as a huge surprise to her!
“Is she telling the truth?” I turn to see Annabeth gazing at me curiously. “Would she really kill you, her own brother?”
“Depends. If she’s alone when she finds me then probably not. But if she’s with the Careers, and they egg her on, she’ll definitely kill me”
“That’s wrong!” Annabeth frowns.
“That’s District 4,” I don’t want to talk about this anymore. I suggest to Annabeth that we go head over to a new station and she agrees, so we get moving.
Swatty Lakeside (District 4)
When our Career recruiting ends the only tributes to join are Evelyn from District 8, and Kingsley from District 13. Both of them look strong and capable. We had also asked Rufus (8) to ally with us but he refused and insulted us before going to form his own alliance, which is pretty formidable looking, with Ella (2), Marcia (7), Vivan (10), Amaryllis (12) and the biggest free agent, Vlad (10).
“So who do you guys think is the biggest threat to us?” Julius (2) asks as we all wait in line to run the gauntlets.
“No one is a threat to us you imbecile!” Jerica (2) laughs at him pompously tossing her ginger locks over her shoulder.
“Oh. Okay. So who would be our biggest threat, if we had any?” His revised question is somehow better then his last and several others chime in with their thoughts.
“The Anti-Careers,” Ryan (4) growls casting a dark look towards the group hanging around the spear station.
“Rufus’ alliance probably,” Glique (1) interjects.
“Individual loners!” Hatch (2) says.
“Quit your whining you stupid little a--holes!” Dragon (1) turns to snarl at all of them and they immediately fall silent. “No one, and I mean NO ONE, is a threat to us unless you make them. I’ll rip out anyone and everyone’s spine that dares challenge me! And that includes all of you!” His words hang ominously over all of us but I’m not frightened, back in my Games I tangled with (and defeated) Trick Treat, one of the most demented people in the world, so I’m not disquieted by Dragon, no matter how insane he is.
Soon our talk begins to turn to who will lead us and while Dragon (1) nominates himself Austin (1) steps up and suggests that we have two leaders, an All-Star one and a new one.
“That way we get the best of both worlds,” he explains. “We have the experience of an All-Star and the new ideas of a newer tribute”
“We have that already!” Jerica (2) interrupts him. “Without having two leaders!”
“We’re not having two leaders,” Dragon (1) says in an almost guttural voice.
“We should have a vote,” Austin (1) says unperturbed by Dragon. “And let everyone decide! Everyone in favor of two leaders to the right, everyone against to the left. Undecided in the middle!”
Despite Dragon’s (1) warning growl everyone begins to move. I go to the right and stand beside Austin (1). I don’t want anyone thinking they can intimidate me or order me around and that’s what Dragon’s trying to do. Glique (1), Astrid (1), Julius (2), and Ryan (4). Behind Dragon stands Jerica (2), Evelyn (8), and Kingsley (13). Hatch (2) and Zia (4) don’t move.
“Looks like we’re having two leaders,” Austin (1) says and then offers a handshake to Dragon who stares at his hand furiously.
“We’re not a democracy!”
Austin shrugs. “We can vote on that too”
Dragon (1) lets out a loud snort and turns away. I bet he would like nothing better then to assault all of us who defied him but he can’t and won't do such a thing in training. Besides, I’m sure he’ll get over it when the Games begin and the blood starts flowing.
Ice Hunts (District 13)
I watch as my three allies all practice throwing knives. Celia’s (13) good but neither Alissa (6) nor Train (6) really know how to properly throw a knife. They’re good at other things though so I have no need to worry.
Thinking about it, they’re some of the best allies I can have. Train (6) and Alissa (6) have a very special bond and would never betray one another. Usually that would mean they would imminently betray their other allies but in this case, with four victors, two All-Stars and two new tributes...our whole alliance can come out victorious as Train (6) and I are All-Stars and Celia (13) and Alissa (6) are both new tributes. There should be no reason whatsoever where we would betray one another.
“Nice throw!” I tell Celia (13) as her knife hits the neck of a dummy. She nods her face still as blank as it ever was. She’s not one to show emotion. She hasn’t even really said much, when the training period started I approached her and asked for an alliance, which she agreed to, and then the both of us joined with the 6 pair. Other then saying “Yes” or “No” she doesn’t communicate. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Sometimes being silent is better then speaking.
“This isn’t my forte,” Train (6) comments after his knife goes uselessly flying over the shoulder of the dummy.
“You tried your best,” Alissa (6) comforts and he turns to smile at her. Another good thing about this alliance is that besides for me, none of us are the typical threats, meaning no one will target us, at least early on.
“Come on,” I say turning and walking towards a different station. “Let’s try something else”
Rufus Silks (District 8)
I stare out at the four tributes assembled before me, taking them in, evaluating their strengths and weaknesses. I already have a sizable amount of allies behind me. Getting people to follow me was always exceedingly simple but this time it was even easier. As soon as I declined the invitation to join the Careers I formed an alliance with Vlad (10) and after that people practically began throwing themselves at me to join. This is how Ella (2), Marcia (7), Vivan (10) and Amaryllis (12) came to align with me.
“So can we join?” Watt (3) asks me, her pitiful allies right beside her. I don’t see how these wimps expect me to allow them in. Three of them may be All-Stars but they’re still weaklings. Watt only made it as far as she did because no one ever targeted her. In the end she died from a rock fired from a slingshot. I don’t want any wallowing babies who can’t handle a slingshot in my alliance.
There’s also Varina (9) who also only got as far as she did because no one wanted her dead. And finally Exolian (12). He was so pitiful that I don’t even know what stupid things he did. The only new tribute with them, Bella (10), looks promising enough though.
“Do you really think you’re worthy?” I sneer at the girl and she looks taken back. How stupid is she? “Do you think you’re even going to last past the bloodbath in these Games? Don’t make me laugh!”
Behind me Ella (2) laughs at the crestfallen looks on their faces and I chuckle.
“Now shoo! I have better things then to waste my time with the likes of you worthless weaklings!”
Now that I’m done with these cretins I begin to turn when suddenly Bella (10) steps forward and smacks me fiercely across the face. I stumble backwards in shock as she snarls at me.
“Don’t you ever call me worthless!”
Immediately Vlad (10) lurches forward, ready to inflict pain on the girl but I hold up one of my hands to halt him. “Not now,” I tell him using one of my hands to tenderly run my stinging face. “It will only get you removed from training. We can deal with this worthless b-tch in the Games”
As planned my words infuriate Bella and she leaps towards me when Watt (3) grabs her arm and pulls her back.
“Let me go!” She howls trying to pull away as the rest of her allies who’ve joined Watt in holding her down. “I want to rearrange that dastards face!”
“No! That’s just what he wants! He’s trying to get you angry!” I raise my eyebrows in mock surprise at her words.
“Oh? Figured it out have you? Maybe you’re not completely stupid after all!” Bella stops struggling but continues to breath heavily, glaring at me with a fierce glare.
“Come,” I turn to my allies. “Let us leave these...scumbags to themselves” I walk past my allies Vlad (10) follows me immediately and Marcia (7), Vivan (10), and Amaryllis (12) follow suite. Ella (2) turns to spit at Bella’s feet before moving along. Ha. My followers are coming along nicely.
Darker Horrfi (District 11)
The lunch bell rings and immediately everyone begins to head for the dining area. One of the last to arrive is Mondi (11), the one-legged girl and my All-Star district partner. I feel bad watching her hop over to the tables all by herself. She won’t last long in these Games without a friend and ally…. Sighing I cross over to her table and sit myself down. She looks up in surprise but then smiles cheerfully at me.
“Hey! How’s your day been?”
I stare at her incredulously, wondering if she’s serious. She remains seated, smiling fondly so I guess she is.
“Uh. Fine I guess…”
“That’s good! I’m feeling pretty good myself”
Why is she so cheerful? I can’t even recall the last time I was happy. It was a long while before I even entered the Hunger Games, that’s for sure.
Mondi (11) begins talking about her day so far and I just slowly nod, not really paying attention to what she’s saying. I don’t feel great about what I’m about to suggest, but I can’t just leave a disabled girl on her own.
“So…” I begin once she finishes. “Do you…uh…wanna be allies?”
Her eyes widen in surprise then she claps her hands together excitedly.
“Ooh! Yes! I’d love to have an ally! Back in my Games I had several allies…” She begins to go into detail about her previous Games experience and I sigh inwardly. I don’t know whether this is a good strategic move for me but I know it’s the right thing to do.
Jake Price (District 9)
I wake up in the morning in my plush and eloquent room. Living in the Capitol must be pretty nice if they can sleep in such a luxurious bed every night. I go to the bathroom, which is equally as impressively royal, and brush my teeth before taking a shower where I sigh when I think about how I will have to see Hazel again today. She murdered me. Plain and simple. She made me trust her and then when I least expected it, she shoved a knife straight into my heart. And then somehow she expects me to forgive her? Yeah right! Spoken just like someone who never died! Boy how weird of a sentence was that? This coming back to life stuff really messes with my mind sometimes…
I finish my shower and dress myself in the training garb before heading to the dining room. Disappointedly I see that Hazel has decided to eat breakfast here instead of at her other mentee’s apartment, the Capitol. I ignore her as I sit myself down on the far end of the table. Nearby Alicia (9) and Hunter (9) are whispering to themselves and I throw them a suspicious look. I don’t trust either of them. They’re far too conniving looking, always by themselves, whispering. I’m glad they’re not my allies because I just know they would betray me. And Varina (9), she’s equally as untrustworthy. She’s always smiling at people, looking happy for no real reason whatsoever. None of them can be trusted.
I hear Hazel’s voice but I ignore her and concentrate on the food on my plate. I can feel her gaze on me as I eat but I don’t look up or otherwise acknowledge her presence. I have no desire to communicate with her. I finish my meal and then quickly follow the others into the elevators, hoping to get out of here as quickly as possible.
I hear Hazel begin to get out of her chair and I quickly press the button, Hazel is moving towards when the doors slide shut, leaving her out. Soon the elevator reaches the training center and I leave my district partners and hurry over to the dining are where the Anti-Careers have assembled.
“Hey Jake,” I smile as Shade (7) turns to greet me. Finally someone I know I can trust.
“What are we doing today?” I ask him.
“Right now we’re waiting for the last of us to arrive so we can start,” he responds and I nod before sitting myself down. I can’t wait to start training again. I need all the skills I can get.
Woody Chopper (District 5)
As Willow (7) and Dome (8) throw some spears around I go and sit beside my third ally, Cashmere (8).
“What are you doing?” she demands as sit down beside her throwing me a dirty look. I gape at her dumfounded before finding my voice.
“I was just sitting down!” I manage to squeak out. “I wasn’t doing anything!” At my words her face softens a bit.
“Oh…right. Sorry. I’ve just been…my sister Freya…she’s…” she trails off and I understand what she’s getting at. Where’s her sister? No one knows. She must be feeling awful I know I would be if I were in her position.
“Do you ever feel nervous around those two?” she asks nodding her head towards Dome (8) and Willow (7) who are both laughing at Dome’s failed spear throw. I don’t see why I would be nervous about them and tell Cashmere so. She sighs and shakes her head slowly.
“I forgot you were a new tribute”
“What does that mean?” I ask not too sure what she’s saying.
“Four tributes can win,” she explains and I nod. I get that part. “Two All-Stars and two new tributes…now those two” She points at Dome (8) and Willow (7). “Will never, ever, turn on another. Meaning that they plan on being the two All-Star victors”
“Yeah. But why does that make you nervous?”
She rolls he eyes and I feel stupid as I suddenly realize why. “You’re a…”
“All-Star. That means they need me dead win”
“But they’d never kill you!” I protest, defending them. “They’re your allies, they like you, and Dome was friends with your sister—” Her eyes flash dangerously and I shut up immediately. Bringing up her missing sister probably wasn’t the best thing I could have done. She gets up and begins to stalk away. I try to follow but she stops me.
“Don’t. I want to be alone. Go…I don’t know. Train or something” She storms off and I shrug. Guess I’ll go train or something…
Gloom Ivy (District 11)
Piper (13) leads me and my other lone ally, Twix (10) towards the sword station. This morning while I was making a hammock the two of them came up behind me and the girl, Piper, asked me for an alliance. I agreed as prior to that no one else had asked me to be allies and I just had this feeling that I would need some to do well.
I got to know the two of them better while we move trained this morning. Twix (10) is quiet and doesn’t talk very much but I like him a lot. Piper (13) is a bit…overprotective. When Twix (10) was moving across the Ropes Course at rapid speed she immediately shouted at him to stop because it was “too dangerous”. Of course the loud shout startled Twix (10) and he tumbled down to the mats below, the rest of the tributes laughing at him.
He didn’t mind very much and Piper thankfully didn’t make a bigger scene. I’m not saying she’s bad, she’s a great girl and having some previous Game experience will be a huge boon to us, but she sometimes is just awkward to be around.
“Come on guys!” she says cheerfully grabbing one of the many swords off of the large rack. “Don’t you want to practice with swords?”
I share a surprised look with Twix but the two of us go and grab our own swords anyways. I choose a sword that’s a bit curved because yesterday I really excelled using a scythe and this sword is close enough to that.
Piper (13) goes first and while she does my eyes wander through the gymnasium, taking in everything before settling down on Cassandra, the supposed “Clairvoyant” from the Capitol.
Supposedly she can see the future but I can’t believe that. No one can do that. It’s impossible! But everyone else seems to believe in her powers…I wonder why she doesn’t have an alliance already. I would think someone would have tried to utilize her skill for their own benefit.
Piper (13) steps back from where she was going at the dummy and beams at me. I nod and step up to start practicing.
Ramon Constancy (The Capitol)
I’m glad that I decided not to align with the Careers this time around. While my original reason was that I didn’t want to be around Dragon (1) after deserting him in our first Games, now its becoming obvious that a lot of people are targeting the Careers due to their sheer size, totaling at twelve people. That’s good. Not only will this shave down the Career’s numbers, but also the other alliances will weaken themselves by fighting them. It’s a win-win for my two allies and me.
Back to training I take aim with my bow and fire off three arrows, all three of which hit just within the bulls eye.
“Nice shooting!” Dawn (C) congratulates me and I nod my head appreciatively.
“It was good,” I concede. “But I could have done better”
I grab another arrow off from the rack next to me and begin to aim when I hear Dusk (C) let out a warning growl.
“What are you looking at?”
I release my arrow accidentally and it only barely manages to hit the edge of the target. Turning I see Dusk (C) shoving Dawn (C) protectively behind me as Trick (5) slinks closer, here eyes taking us in. She’s a real creep.
“What do you want?” Dusk (C) repeats his hands clenching into fists at his side.
Her voice is faint, just barely over a whisper. Her face is the very epitome of demented. She slides a little closer and Dusk (C) shoves Dawn (C) back, obviously frightened by this creepy freak. And people thought I was weird for having bats in my home!
“Your blood…I can see it. Pulsing through your veins…it looks so delicious…”
“That tattoo on your forehead is a good target,” I comment nonchalantly fiddling with my bowstring. “I can imagine putting an arrow into it”
Her dark red eyes swivel towards me and I smile innocently at her. She’s about to move her feet when Dusk (C) steps forward.
“Get out of here you crazy b—ch or I’ll rip your tongue off!”
“That’s a good idea. I should rip your tongues out first. You can’t scream that way”
I think things are about to escalate when the bow trainer who has been watching this whole interaction with interest suddenly calls over some training staff who swiftly separates us. We’re lead to opposite sides of the gym but I can still feel Trick’s eyes boring into the back of my head. I can tell that she isn’t done with us yet.
Zia Grace (District 4)
My eyes alit with concealed fury I watch as Percy (4) and Annabeth (3) break out laughing after the former comically falls from the tree at the Tree Climbing station. He’s a stupid hypocrite. He hates the Hunger Games but he volunteers for them? Why couldn’t he be stronger and more like me? The two of us could dominate these Games and become the first pair of siblings to co-win a Hunger Games! We would have been legends! Everyone would remember the Grace name! But instead… Instead he’s a weakling who hates fighting. Someone who will probably die right at the Bloodbath and leave no mark. Why did he volunteer for Pseudon? At least he has a fighting spirit, even if he turned into a babbling baby at the reaping. Percy is a disgrace to our family’s name. Heh. That’s a good one. Disgrace. Maybe I should call him Percy Disgrace from now on? No. Too cheesy. Though it may anger him…
“Oh how cute!”
My head snaps around and I see Jerica (2), a stupid smirk etched on her face, standing beside me. “Watching out for your baby brother?”
Her tone of voice infuriates me to no end.
“No! Of course not! I don’t give a damn about him!”
“Oh? Is that so?” Jerica (2) smiles callously and I can just tell that she’s trying to anger me. I stifle my anger. I won’t let her get to me. “How good to hear! We Careers don’t allow soft-hearts to ally with us”
“I’m not soft!”
“Oh, I know, I know. However…if we Careers were to encounter your brother in the Games…you wouldn’t try to protect him…would you?” She eyes me deviously, obviously thinking that I would hesitate to answer. Well I have no hesitation. Not on this.
“Of course not! He’s a traitor not only to the Careers and District 4 but also to our family. I’ll kill him myself if I have to!”
“Good, good. I fully expect you to own up to that promise if we do find him…”
“Are you threatening me?” I stare into the girl’s cold eyes, not intimidated in the slightest by her. She may think she can boss me around but she can’t. No one tells me what to do!
“Don’t be so paranoid! I’m only saying what we’re all thinking…”
Oh really? I don’t buy that for a second. “Keep your thoughts to yourself next time!” I growl before shoving past her and heading for the rest of the Careers. Nothing is going to stop me from winning these Games. Not Percy, not Jerica, not anyone.
Watt Chargy (District 3)
Bella (10) paces back and forth glowering at Rufus (8) as he sits with his allies over at the weapon stations. She’s been furious with him since our incident yesterday and I’m afraid that she’s playing right into his hands.
Suddenly he turns to look right at us and then makes an obscene gesture towards us. Bella (10) lets out a loud growl and begins to move but I grab her arm.
“No! Don’t lose control Bella!”
She lets out a loud growl but relents, shaking her head angrily before sitting down and letting out a loud sigh.
“I’m sorry Watt. You’re right. I shouldn’t be letting my anger get the better of me”
“Don’t feel too bad,” Varina (9) speaks up. “He’s very good at angering people. It’s not your fault”
Bella (10) shakes her head. “No. It is my fault. I’ve always had a hard time controlling my anger. And if I let it get away from me in the Games…. it could be the death us all”
“You won’t,” I say firmly. “We won’t let your angry get out of control” Varina (9) agrees with me and Exolian (12) only looks at us with wide concerned eyes.
“Thanks…” Bella (10) smiles weakly then walks away.
“Can we count on her?” Exolian (12) speaks up from behind us.
“Of course we can!” I speak quickly. “She won’t let us down. And even if she does…we can help her”
Varina (9) nods encouragingly but Exolian (12) only goes back to staring at his feet in silence. Bella won’t let us down. She’s can’t. But…I’m a little nervous. Bella is by far the strongest, at least physically, of our alliance. If gets devoured by her anger…then we could be in trouble. Neither Varina (9) nor Exolian (12) can really go toe-to-toe with any of the other tributes in a physical fight. And for me…in my first go around I relied on Charce for most things. He helped me whenever I needed it; he gave me life when I was bleeding to death. What if that happens again? What if I’m dying and there’s no one to help? Casidey… She’s back home. She must be overjoyed that I have a second chance at life but…what will happen to her if I die a second time? Her heart could give out to the misery… I have to win, for Casidey. I can’t let her down a second time.
Shade Spectrus (District 7)
I hit the crossbow’s trigger and an arrow zooms down the path and hits the dummy straight in the heart.
I turn to see Daisy (11) watching me. That’s surprising. Until now I hadn’t actually heard her say very much.
“It’s not too hard really,” I say going through the laborious process of reloading the crossbow. “Not when you know what to do. Really, reloading is the hardest part”
“Can I try?” She steps forward expectantly and I hand her the crossbow.
“Sure. I’ll give you a few pointers. I mean, if you want”
She nods and takes aim but immediately I notice that she’s holding it incorrectly.
“Wait. Let me help” I step forward and move her arms, positioning them correctly. “There! Now shoot!”
She nods and fires. The arrow goes fast and then slams into the dummies shoulder.
“Pretty good,” I say and she nods.
“I was aiming for the shoulder. It would make them drop their weapon and the pain would incapacitate them”
“Good thinking. You’re really made for the Anti-Careers”
She smiles at me and I feel a weird flutter in my chest. Ugh. Must be that strange chicken the Capitol fed me last night. I knew it tasted off.
“Here, let me teach you how to reload,” I take lead her hands through the motions and then she takes another shot, this time hitting the dummy in the eye. She’s a quick learner all right. “Try reloading on your own now”
I watch as she attempts. It takes slightly longer then it would me, but she manages and I nod encouragingly at her.
“Good job! You’ll be an expert in no time!” I turn and begin walking away when she speaks.
“Hey thanks! Uh…do you want to help me make some shelters? I’m not an expert or anything but I’m good. I think…” I stop. She doesn’t give herself enough credit. I’ve seen her making shelters and was great. In fact, I have some good ideas on how to make those shelters better. I give a look towards Wario (3) and Soot (12), both of who are taking turns wrestling with a trainer. I can check up on them later. I turn to Daisy.
“Sure. Lead the way”
Marcia Callamezzo (District 7)
I watch as Rufus (8) with Vlad (10) and Ella (2) on his sides, begin talking to Ice (13) and his three allies as they approach them. The alliance had previously been using the Ropes course but now Rufus (8) seems to be trying to make them leave. They seem reluctant at first but then Rufus’s snaps his fingers and Vlad (10) steps forward menacingly, which makes them hurry away, eager to avoid a larger confrontation.
“Do you think that Rufus is…I don’t know…making people target us needlessly?” I ask the girl who has quickly become a very good friend to me, Amaryllis (12). She shrugs.
“I don’t know…maybe. He does anger a lot of people”
“Yeah. No kidding. First the Careers, although I suppose that couldn’t be helped, then Bella and her alliance, and now Ice and his allies”
“I suppose so. It’s good having a strong leader though”
I have to admit Amaryllis (12) is right on that one. Having a leader who isn’t willing to back down from a fight and can come up with good plans is nice. But I don’t that same leader should be riling our enemies up.
“I doubt any of them will target us though…”
I’m not too sure I agree with her on that. We’re the third largest alliance in the Games and that naturally means that people are going to be targeting us. I don’t like it but it’s the way it is.
The best part about my alliance though, is the fact that there are only two new tributes in it, Rufus and me, meaning that the two of us can both win. And if we can win…I can come home to my family and help them out. They won’t need to work their fingers to the bone just to provide themselves with a meal. We can finally have a little bit of peace…I know it won’t come easy. I’m not a fool. I know it may come at the cost of severe bodily or psychological harm to myself but I’m willing to take that risk if it means having the chance of helping my family. I just hope that I can win. If I don’t then it not only means death for me but probably to my family as well. I can’t allow that to happen.
Courage Blitz (District 3)
In the morning I come down to the District 3 compartment dining area and sit down at the table. My stomach is queasy and churning as I think about how close we are to the Games. Only two days left…today, the Private Training Sessions tomorrow and then its Launch Day. All fifty-six tributes will be going into the arena for a free-for-all fight to the death.
I pick at my food disinterestedly as the others at the table chat amicably. They all have alliances, I don’t. Its not that I couldn’t find myself an ally, I’m sure people would be more then willing to align with me, its just that its not my…strategy.
A lone tribute is much more likely to slide under the radar as everyone runs around worrying about the large alliances. No one makes complex plans to annihilate loners. It’s a waste of time and energy. As the breakfast period ends Marcio rises from his chair.
“Well…today’s your final time to get in some real training. Don’t waste it. Learn as much about your opponents as you can. Knowing how your enemy thinks is important. It will allow you to predict what he’ll do, how he’ll react. It makes everything easier”
All of us glance around uneasily as we realize that we’re all each others enemy here. None of us are friends and all of us will be willing to kill the other once the Games begin.
Marcio gives a few more last minutes tips but my ears begin to buzz and I don’t listen. I thought going into them twice would lessen the fear of the Games but I was wrong. It’s only gotten worse this second go around.
Hybrid Three (District 7)
I glare up at the Gamemakers, the faces of these Games. They will decide everything that happens in the arena and very well might be the cause of my death. I know they will be attempting to kill me. They have to. I’m an uncontrolled experiment, something that escaped from their control and defies their expectations. They want me dead and I want them dead.
Only problem is that they have me trapped in their Games. Practically a death sentence for me. Well, I’m not going down easily. If they want me dead they’ll have to work for it. I remember the scientists on the train. The ones who I threatened to kill when I won the Games. They’ll be expecting the Gamemakers to finish me off quickly, so they won’t have to worry about me coming for their worthless hides. I can already imagine the looks on their faces if I’m crowned victor…
But that’s still far off. Not only do I have to contend with the Gamemakers, but the other fifty-five tributes as well. They’re trying to win this thing as well, for their own reasons. I don’t pretend that mine is nobler then theirs…okay I lied. I do think mine is nobler. But four tributes can win and that means three people can win alongside me. I don’t care who they are. As long as I come out of this alive, I’m happy.
Alissa Metal Beam (District 6)
I slash the first dummy across the throat and then do a back swing at the second, my blade slicing through its face, before finally spinning to face the third and final dummy. I drive the sword into its chest and then step back with a hair toss.
Train (6) gazes in amazement at my show and breaks out into applause. “Wow! I didn’t know you could do that!”
I shrug. I don’t think it was that great, compared to some of the stuff the Careers have done. But I allow myself to smile happily at his comment anyways. “Neither did I! I just …my training was good”
“It was really good apparently!” Train (6) steps closer to me and gives me a hug. “It was as good as some of the stuff Ice does and he was trained by soldiers!”
“Don’t let him hear you saying that,” I laugh and we both break out into smiles. Ice’s serious demeanour is easy to joke about.
“I love you,” Train (6) whispers squeezing me softly.
“You told me that yesterday,” I reply. “And the day before that. And on the train to the Capitol” Despite my own words I feel warm inside every time he utters those three words.
“I know. I just don’t want you to forget”
“I won’t. I promise I won't”
Austin Aitken (District 1)
I sit back and watch as all of the Careers go about their business, training and so. These people are my allies and I need to know all of their strengths and weaknesses for me to plain coordinately.
On their own, my eyes slide across the room towards Dragon (1) as he throws spears. He’s a loose cannon. No one can control him and anyone who tries gets killed. I’m not stupid. I’m not going to even try to order him around. No…my plan is appeal to the other Careers, so they see how strong, and most importantly, sane I am.
I’m not saying I want Dragon dead or anything, far from it. He’s an extremely useful ally and can be the force that drives us Careers to victory. But he’s a bit too hotheaded, too rash. He’ll just plop us into each and every fight and dwindle our numbers down while the rest of the tributes thrive off of our mistakes. He’s not a capable leader.
Of course he doesn’t believe that and neither does Evelyn (8), Jerica (2) or Kingsley (13). I shouldn’t be too surprised that all of them support him, after all, two of those three are as insane as he is.
Ryan (4) comes up and I high-five him.
“What’s up man?"
“Nothing. I mean, the Anti-Careers, don’t you think they’re a huge threat to us?” I stifle a sigh. Again with this! All training he has been trying to get me to specifically target the Anti-Careers in the Games, to further his personal vendetta against he Spectrus family.
“I’ve already told you this. They are a big threat. But we can’t just ignore everyone else”
“I’m not saying we should,” his face is set in a determined line as he continues. “But if we don’t cut the head off of the snake early in the Games, it will come back to haunt us”
“Well, we can’t do anything about that now, can we?”
“No. But…” he looks out towards the other large alliance, the one led by Rufus from District 8. “We should do the same thing to the other large alliance. When they have a strong central leadership we suffer. It’s the reason Careers have been so prevalent in the Games. Numbers and leadership”
He brings up a very valid point. When the other tributes start mimicking typical Career strategies, then we begin to lose some of our power. It’s why the Careers haven’t dominated a Hunger Games in a long while.
“We’ll keep it in mind,” I tell Ryan (4). “But right now we should focus on training ourselves up”
“See ya man”
Ryan jogs off and I absentmindedly head over to practice with some axes. Ryan certainly gave me some food for thought but I’ll see what happens when the Games begin.
Dome Citadel (District 8)
I watch Willow (7) as she finishes up the knot she was tying and what I’ve been meaning to tell her since she was revived spews out of me.
“I’m sorry Willow”
She looks up at me with surprise in her sapphire blue eyes.
“For not protecting you letting you die the first time around. I failed you” She rises to her feet and takes my hands with hers.
“You didn’t fail me Dome. I failed you. I was meant to protect you. Not the other way around”
“No! Willow I—”
“Dome, I love you but shut up and let me speak!”
I listen to her immediately.
“Last time,” she starts. “I was trying to protect you. I didn’t have much back home. I was angry. At the Capitol, at the world. I had wanted to win, of course, but then…when I began to fall for you…I unconsciously made it my mission to make sure you survived. That meant not dying and leaving you on your own. But I failed. I died and then you died”
“No! I failed you!”
Willow puts her finger to my lips to silence me.
“It doesn’t matter anymore. We’re both alive. We can win. I’ll kill anyone and everyone in my way to make sure that we’re the victors. And I will not let you-or myself- die again”
She leans forward to kiss me. Her lips are soft and I wish that time could freeze. So we wouldn’t have to go into the Games. That we wouldn’t need to risk death. So that we could just remain here forever.
We break apart to see Cashmere (8) gazing at us, a cold expression in her eyes. “Was ignoring me necessary?”
“Oh. Sorry,” I scratch my ruffled hair and smile ruefully. “Uh. What do you want?" Truth be told I had no idea she was there let alone attempting to speak to us.
“Nothing. Just nothing. I’ll let you two victors have your fun. I’m going to go practice some more” She storms past us.
“What’s her problem?” Willow (7) asks watching as Cashmere continues across the gym. I don’t answer; though I have a feeling I know what her problem is. Two problems actually. One: Her sister is missing. Two: she just overheard us, her allies, talking about how we will kill anyone in our way to victory, which includes her. I hope this doesn’t pose any problems in the Games...
Augusta Winters (District 5)
The day three lunch bell rings and I drift off to the far corner of the dining area as everyone else goes to the larger tables in the middle. There’s a surprisingly low amount of loners in these Games. Other then me there’s only the quiet boy from 3, my District partner and psycho Trick, Mimic who I’ve seen talking to her reflection on her sword, the odd boy from 7, and the seer from the Capitol. Basically just the rejects and people seen as freaks.
I know my best shot of winning is not being noticed. It’s why I’ve been blending in at all times during training, not drawing any attention to myself. I look out at the alliances and try to categorize them in terms of being a threat to me. The most dangerous alliance is the Careers, followed by the Anti-Careers and Rufus’ Gang and then either the four-person alliance of Train, Alissa, Ice, and Celia or the Capitol alliance. I’m not sure which of the two are deadlier. After that the rest of the remaining alliances are in a jam. None seems any more dangerous then the others, but maybe the Dome alliance stands out a little more. I guess this is pointless ranking though, when every single alliance poses a huge threat to a lone tribute…
Being killed wouldn’t be so bad, when I think about it. I want to win, so I can finally come home to District 4 the place I loved and have missed dearly since being forced to move to that filthy scum-filled District 5. But if I do die, I won’t be forced to live away from District 4 any longer…
I pull the same seashell out from my pocket and cradle it close to me. It’s my only remaining memento from District 4 and it means the world to me. Gently I place the seashell against my ear and close my eyes. I can hear the waves….
Blade Spectrus (District 6)
As I finish up my lunch I cautiously throw a look towards Shade (7) as he talks in low voices with Daisy (11) on the other end of the table. I don’t know if anyone else besides for me has noticed, but Shade has been spending a bit of time around Daisy.
While normally I wouldn’t mind my brother spending time with a girl, he kind of needs it, but not here. Not just before we’re put into the Hunger Games and definitely not in this case.
Everyone in this alliance knows that I’m Shade’s brother, meaning that they all know that he plans on having both him and me emerge as two of the four victors. That would mean that only one other new tribute can come out as victor. And if as I expect, Shade is developing feelings for Daisy…. then that means he wants her to be that second person. That all sounds fine right?
There are three other new tributes in the Anti-Careers besides for Daisy and me. Wario, Soot, and Rio. What will happen if they notice what I’ve noticed? That Shade wants Daisy and me to be victors with him? They’ll realize that they just might be on the bottom of this alliance and could possibly turn on us. It’s not a cheerful thought.
I slide across the room and gently rap Shade on the shoulder. He turns to look at me in surprise.
“Can I talk to you?” I throw a meaningful glance at Daisy who’s watching with interest. “In private?”
“Sure thing Blade,” he waves to Daisy and follows me across the room. I can feel Daisy and some of the other Anti’s eyes on us as we walk.
“What is it?” He asks when I come to a stop.
“It’s Daisy. I think you need to spend less time talking to her. Especially in front of the others”
He looks at me in surprise for a few seconds then lets out a loud laugh. “You’re kidding, right? What harm could talking to her possibly do? She’s our ally!”
“It could do a lot actually,” He still looks surprised so I explain and tell him all about the thoughts I’ve been thinking. He frowns in concentration and then shrugs.
“Maybe. But I doubt they’ll turn on us. No offence or anything but you’re just being a little paranoid” I sigh. Maybe I am. Maybe I should trust my allies enough not to betray us.
“There’s another reason I think you should stop,” I say after a long minute of silence. I didn’t want to bring this up at first but I need him to know my thoughts. “If you do like, I don’t know, like Daisy then…your thoughts might get clouded. Your leadership might drop”
Shade stares at me in silence for a few long seconds, then a smile breaks out onto his face and he laughs.
“Don’t worry. That won’t happen. You’re just nervous about the Games starting. I was the same way before my first time. You’ll get over it bro, trust me. Besides I don’t like Daisy like that”
I nod. He’s right. I’ve been a little nervous recently, thinking about how if we fail I won’t be able to ever see the rest of my family again. I don’t want that to happen.
“We’re going to win this,” Shade continues. “I know we will. We won’t lose”
“Yeah…you’re right. We can do this. No. We will do this”
Shade claps once. “That’s the spirit! Come on, let’s get back to the others!” He jogs back across the room and I follow him lazily. Shade was right. I was just over thinking things. We’ll be fine. Our allies won’t betray us and his leadership won’t be affected. We’ll be fine…
Training Scores & Odds
|Tribute Name||Training Score||Odds to Win|
|Dragon Lord (1)||11||3-1|
|Austin Aitken (1)||11||3-1|
|Astrid Bellia (1)||9||12-1|
|Glique Dumofitz (1)||8||18-1|
|Hatch Scright (2)||8||17-1|
|Julius Paris (2)||9||11-1|
|Ella Massey (2)||9||10-1|
|Jerica Straddler (2)||9||15-1|
|Courage Blitz (3)||7||25-1|
|Wario Wade (3)||6||30-1|
|Watt Chargy (3)||5||38-1|
|Annabeth March (3)||8||16-1|
|Ryan Marine (4)||9||12-1|
|Percy Grace (4)||8||18-1|
|Swatty Lakeside (4)||9||10-1|
|Zia Grace (4)||11||4-1|
|Kodai Hitogoroshi (5)||9||12-1|
|Woody Chopper (5)||2||70-1|
|Trick Treat (5)||10||6-1|
|Augusta Winters (6)||7||26-1|
|Train McBridge (6)||6||30-1|
|Blade Spectrus (6)||7||22-1|
|Mimic Slaughter (6)||8||17-1|
|Alissa Metal Beam (6)||7||23-1|
|Shade Spectrus (7)||9||11-1|
|Hybrid Three (7)||8||17-1|
|Willow Firethorn (7)||8||18-1|
|Marcia Callamezzo (7)||6||32-1|
|Dome Citadel (8)||7||22-1|
|Rufus Silks (8)||10||5-1|
|Cashmere Prada (8)||7||26-1|
|Evelyn Dinstra (8)||8||16-1|
|Jake Price (9)||7||25-1|
|Hunter Davila (9)||4||45-1|
Varina Tapora (9)
|Alicia Haze (9)||8||18-1|
|Vlad Rockford (10)||10||6-1|
|Twix Cinders (10)||4||44-1|
|Vivan Incomstanti (10)||8||19-1|
|Bella Mustang (10)||9||15-1|
|Darker Horrfi (11)||9||12-1|
|Gloom Ivy (11)||8||17-1|
|Mondi Bakerman (11)||3||62-1|
|Daisy Lilac (11)||8||18-1|
|Exolian Dynamite (12)||5||37-1|
|Soot Dustcloud (12)||9||14-1|
|Amaryllis Silvermoon (12)||4||42-1|
|Rio Flock (12)||7||27-1|
|Ice Hunts (13)||10||8-1|
|Kingsley Orion (13)||9||15-1|
|Piper Quinn (13)||8||16-1|
|Celia Myer (13)||6||31-1|
|Ramon Constancy (C)||10||7-1|
|Dusk Olive (C)||8||16-1|
|Cassandra Oracion (C)||6||31-1|
|Dawn Olive (C)||8||16-1|
The cornucopia is set up in the middle of a large shipyard on a large metal floating platform. Numerous ships and other debris fill the water around the platform and four walkways lead away from the cornucopia. These walkways stretch throughout the shipyard. There are four exits that all lead to a different area of the arena. To the north of the shipyard lies a cotton field, a cornfield and a pumpkin patch. A large barn sits somewhere in these fields. To the east of the shipyard is a large swamp. To the west is a hill overlooking the shipyard and behind that lies a meadow, a lone building containing nothing more then a bathroom sits in the meadow. Finally, to the south of the shipyard is a beach that connects to the water that surrounds the shipyard. A cove is on the beach. A ten-foot tall cliff borders the beach and a sloping path leads up towards a forest that rests in the northernmost point of the arena.
Train McBridge (District 6)
I wake up in the morning shaking uncontrollably. I don’t know whether it’s due to fear, nerves, cold, or any combination of the three.
Today the Games will begin. I’ll be put back into an arena and have to fight the other tributes to the death. The only difference is that this time there will be twice the amount of tributes and three more victors.
According to the Capitol my odds of winning are 30-1. It sounds good, until you see that Austin and Dragon both have odds of 3-1 and then mine just looks mediocre in comparison. At least Alissa has the odds 23-1….
Down in the dining room they have breakfast set out for all of us but I can’t eat anything and instead just watch Alissa as she eats. When she finishes she goes over to me and we hold hands silently until we’re called out into the hall where we see Charce and the District 12 tributes.
“Don’t go deep into the Bloodbath,” he starts. “Getting a few extra resources isn’t worth losing your life. Just get something on the edge and run”
“What are we going to do?” I ask Alissa through the side of my mouth. She shrugs. I’m not even sure if the outskirts are safe. Last time I was nearly killed before my old ally Philo came to my rescue…
I hope that I’m not due for a repeat performance.
Hunter Davila (District 9)
We step into the elevator, all nine of us, the eight tributes from District 9 and the Capitol plus Hazel.
There’s a screen in the corner of the elevator and it alternates between showing scenes from the Reapings and training. An overwhelming sense of despair comes over me as I watch all of the stronger more able tributes rip through dummies and targets.
“Don’t let it get to you,” Alicia (9) whispers fiercely. “We’re just as likely to win as anyone else”
I nod though I don’t believe that. We don’t stand a chance of winning. Not against the might of the Careers and other strong tributes. I…I don’t want to give up though…it wouldn’t be right. I’m going to continue fighting, no matter how stacked against me the odds are.
Ryan Marine (District 4)
The elevator rumbles to a halt and we all pile out into a dark corridor. Mist immediately begins to give Shade a final talk and I scowl at the two of them. I can’t wait for the moment I run a trident through that pricks chest. Ha! I can already imagine the look of shock and horror on his face when I do so!
On the other side of me Zia is mocking her brother and threatening him again. I don’t understand that. If my brother were in the Games with me I would be allied with him and trying to win with him. Zia however is content to try and murder her brother.
Two Peacekeepers arrive and lead us down the corridor to a gigantic hovercraft. Mist hugs Shade goodbye and then shakes hands with the rest of us, besides for Zia and me who both pointedly ignore him. I guess Zia is awesome regardless of wanting her brother dead!
Vivan Incomstanti (District 10)
The ride is short and soon enough we’re all being lead back off into another similar hangar. Each District is lead through a separate doorway and then the hallways branch into two different paths for the All-Stars and newbie’s. Vlad and me go down the All-Star route and then we go into two separate rooms with our names on them.
Here I dress in the arena garb, which really isn’t anything fancy. Khaki cargo pants, a jacket and shirt the color District 10 always wears in the Games (dark red), and a pair of black hiking boots.
Once I’m dressed I’m ordered into the tube and I take one last deep breath. This is the second time I was here but this time I’m going to make sure I come out victorious.
The voice announces that we are now entering the arena and my tube begins to slide up. I close my eyes and when I open them again, the scent of saltwater in the air. The cornucopia is forty feet away, metal ground lies beneath my feet and all around me. Ships, some broken some not, float around in water that surrounds the metal platforms. This is a shipyard.
I stare out at the cornucopia as the countdown begins.
Day 1/ Bloodbath
Willow Firethorn (District 7)
I cast my gaze down the row of tributes searching for any sign of Dome. I eventually catch a glimpse of him on the complete opposite side of the cornucopia. Predictable. I knew the Capitol would want us to be far apart.
I set my feet for a run. As soon as this countdown ends I’m sprinting for Dome. He’s already shown that when he’s unsupervised he gets into serious trouble.
Varina Tapora (District 9)
My hands are shaking in anticipation as the countdown continues. Watt (3) is on the platform to adjacent to me and I know I won’t have to go far into the Bloodbath but…even that has its risks. Even attempting to run could get me killed. 32…31…30…
I glance at Watt and she offs a reassuring nod. If she’s not worried then I won’t be either. I’ve done this same exact thing once before, I can do it again.
Celia Myer (District 13)
I look at the supplies strewn all over the platform. It’s tempting, so tempting to just run out and grab as much stuff as I can, kill anyone who attempts to stop me. But that won’t work. Most of the tributes are experienced killers. Practically all of the All-Stars are...
I fix my eyes on a small pouch lying not far off from my platform. After I get my hands on that I can focus on regrouping with my allies…
Rufus Silks (District 8)
The countdown is ending and all around me tributes are lining themselves up to run, either to get a weapon or to run for their pathetic little lives. It’s amusing actually, seeing how they think that running will help them in anyway.
I turn my full attention to the two tributes besides me. Marcia (7) is on my right and I cannot attack her, not because I like her or anything of the sort. She is completely irrelevant to me. But because killing your own ally would make the rest of my alliance angry. No.
Instead I turn to face the girl on my left, Evelyn. She’s my district partner but I care not for that. She will die all the same.
I pounce off of my platform and in an instant; before Evelyn (8) can even take a step forward I plow her to the hard metal ground beneath us.
She lets out a surprised shriek and I deliver one, two, three punches to her face before grabbing her head with my hands and slamming it to the ground repeatedly. I don’t stop until I hear the crack of her skull signifying that her death has come. I step off of the girl and smile down at her. The first kill…Sponsors now know that I am a real threat. That I am not to be trifled with.
I turn back to the bloodbath, which is already falling into pure chaos; eagerly I begin a search for a weapon.
Austin Aitken (District 1)
All around me people are running every which way. It’s a maze of flesh and for those with lesser minds would easily become confused or lost. Luckily I don't have a lesser mind.
“Help me take him out!”
A lone shout manages to reach my ears through the sound of cries and screams as I see Glique (1) slowly backing off from an approaching Ice (13), a long curved sickle gleaming in his hand.
I charge straight for the two and Ice (13) turns in time to deflect my sword strike. He slashes forward and I dodge and push him forward. He stumbles backwards and falls against the side of the cornucopia. He recovers enough to lift his sickle up but in that instant a knife comes whizzing through the air and strikes him in the shoulder.
He screams and drops the sickle, leaving me an opportunity like no other. With both hands I swing my blade forward and it slashes through his abdomen. He coughs out hot sticky blood and falls forward. Amazing! I managed to kill the boy who had the most kills of all the tributes in the Games!
“Thanks!” Glique (1) slides up behind me, being the one who threw the knife.
“No problem!” I tell her. “But let’s take out the others now, shall we?”
Shade Spectrus (District 7)
I speed towards a large black backpack not too close to the cornucopia, about twenty feet off. I leap over the fallen form of Woody (5) as I run; an arrow is lodged in his right kneecap yet he still lives.
I reach the pack and sling it over my shoulder. I turn to run off again when I spot a crossbow, already loaded, lying a foot away on a nearby crate. I can’t pass up this opportunity to arm myself with such a valuable weapon.
As I pick the steel bow up I feel something coming out me. I don’t know how. A disturbance in the air, the spark of anticipation. But notice it I do and I duck just in time as a large flanged mace goes swinging over my head.
The boy from District 2, the taller one, Julius, recovers from his errant swing and looks down at me with wide eyes. He seems reluctant to fight. I can use that to my advantage.
I turn the bow to him and get ready to fire when he strikes again, this time with a downward swing. I’m forced to roll out of the way as the metal weapon smashes into the metal ground, creating a distorted ringing sound.
Julius (2) walks towards me and I’m too confounded to even aim my weapon. Damn. After all this, after my revival…it ends here? At the Bloodbath?!
Suddenly someone jumps through the air and a boy lands on Julius’s back, wrapping hands around his head.
Julius spins around, attempting to dislodge Blade from his back with no success. Blade hangs on tight and as the two of them spin I climb to my feet and reclaim my crossbow.
I aim it towards them but they’re moving too fast and I can’t shoot without the risk of hitting Blade.
That problem takes care of itself though, as Blade’s grip finally slackens and he’s thrown off of the boys back and to the ground. Immediately I pull the trigger and an arrow rips through the air and into Julius’ thigh.
He drops to his knees, one hand clenched around the arrow shaft sticking out of his thigh, the other still on his mace. Reloading isn’t an option so I sling the crossbow over my back and pick up a dagger that lies beside my feet.
I charge the boy and he makes a mediocre swipe at me with his mace. It misses and I plunge my dagger into his heart at the same time Blade (6) pops up from behind him and stabs his knife into the boys’ neck.
Two Spectri, one kill.
Mimic Slaughter (District 6)
I pull a sharp, gleaming blade off of a crate and smile at my reflection. It’s Kiiiling time!
Looking around for a victim I spot the Capitol alliance running down one of the walkways, armed with weapons. Can’t kill them.
I turn the other way and spot my perfect target.
Rio (12) is bent over, picking something off from the ground. I grin and step forward. When the girl turns around, dagger in hand, she’s face-to-face with me.
Her one eye widens in surprise right before my sword is driven through her chest. I hear the delightful crack of her ribs as the blade forces itself through them, ripping them apart.
She falls and I pull my bloodstained blade out, admiring the aroma of death. Everyone will fear me!
I turn to find another victim to kill but the only thing I see is a silver trident flying straight at me.
Soot Dustcloud (District 12)
“Anti-Careers!” Shade’s (7) shout reaches my ears as I pick up a wooden staff from where it was leaning against interior of the cornucopia. “It’s time to go!”
Sure is. I just saw Mimic kill my close ally Rio right before Zia (4) finished her off. I spot Shade (7) on the outskirts of the metal platforms near one of the walkways that lead deeper into the shipyard and away from cornucopia. Already the other Anti’s are gathering around him and I begin to run as well. I’m halfway across the platform when something hard strikes me in the back and I go sprawling forward. I get my hands up to prevent smashing my face in on the hard metal ground and am thankful for the long thick sleeves of my jacket for preventing me from skiing my elbows.
“Going somewhere? I think not!’
Ryan (4) stands over me, a deadly trident in his hands. I know about his personal vendetta against the Spectrus family and I know it won’t end well for me if he has his way.
“I sure the hell am!”
He looks surprised as I swing my staff at his feet and trip him up. He falls to his back and I spring to my own feet and swing the staff hard toward his face. He lets out a pained scream as his nose explodes in a shower of blood. It’s almost assuredly broken.
I open my mouth to spew a funny one-liner but my asthma suddenly kicks up and instead I begin coughing and hacking. Damn. Why does it always have come at such inopportune moments?
Eyes steaming, I turn and run after Shade and the rest of my alliance.
Dome Citadel (District 8)
Hatchet in hand I spin around, trying to catch a glimpse of Willow. Where is she? She wouldn’t have just gone up and left!
I stagger forward in search and two tributes blow past me on their way out of here. I think it was Annabeth (3) and Percy (4) but I’m not sure. Suddenly I spot a dark green jacket, the color of District 7, moving this way. Willow! It has to be! I begin to move when a shadow darts forward and the blunt end of a spear smashes into my jaw.
I see stars as I fall to the ground. I don’t even have the awareness to cover my head and it bashes itself against the metal of the ground. Everything is blurry as the outline of a boy holding a spear stands over me. His mouth moves but I can’t hear the words due to the ringing of my ears. I think he said “hatchet”. Before he can finish me off an axe hurtles in from the nowhere and smashes into his side. He falls to the ground and a new blurry figure pulls me to my feet.
“Gewp op Dome!” It says and I shake my head, trying to chase away the dizziness. The person turns to see the boy lying on the ground, his hands attempting to stop the crimson blood from pouring out of his side.
The figure shakes its head and then grabs another axe out from his belt and smashes it into the boys’ skull.
“Willow?” I ask cautiously.
“Yes! We need to get moving!” Willow grabs my arm and drags me away from the now grisly scene and towards the unknown of the shipyard.
Darker Horrfi (District 11)
Two throwing knives clenched tightly in each fist I watch as Hybrid (7) speeds off down one of the four walkways, weapons firmly in hand. I briefly consider chucking a knife at him but at this range I’ll surely miss and it would be a waste of a weapon. Instead, I watch as he disappears from sight.
I turn to leave myself when I see a disturbing sight at the backend of the cornucopia. It’s Mondi, standing on one leg and feebly attempting to hop away down one of the walkways. What took her so long?! I thought we agreed that she would get the heck away from here as soon as possible?!
It’s not just the sight of Mondi (11) that’s disturbing though; it’s the sight of Trick (5), slithering up behind her that disturbs me.
“Mondi! Look out!”
I break out into a run towards the pair when Astrid (1) leaps out in front of me, a spear in hand. Hell no this girl won’t stop me!
She predictably jabs her spear towards me and I simply stop running, the weapon misses me and I slide behind the girl and plant a foot in her back, shoving her into the water around the platform where she disappears with a splash.
She gives a shrill scream as Trick plows into her from behind. No! I’m too late. Trick (5) slides up and plants her teeth into Mondi’s neck and rips. Mondi screams in terror but as her throat gets torn into the scream devolves into a gurgle and dark fluid begins to pour from the wound.
Still sprinting, I throw a knife. If I had been still and hadn’t let my emotion go wild, my knife would certainly have ended Trick’s life, but as things are it misses her face and instead clips the side of her ear.
The girl lets out a howl of fury, her mouth stained with Mondi’s blood before turning and galloping away. I run to Mondi’s body and stare down at the poor girl. Her neck is torn and I can see into her windpipe. It looks like an animal attacked her but knowing it was a mere human makes me sick to my stomach. Trick will pay for this. I whisper to Mondi that she’s now at peace and run off on my own, in search of a bit of temporary safety.
Glique Dumofitz (District 1)
“They’re all gone!” I shout as I finish my second lap around the platform. After chasing off one of the boys from 7 Austin (1) ordered Swatty (4) and me to go around making sure that everyone had gone and to count and stab the bodies. “And seven people are dead. Three of them are us”
“Who?” Austin (1) asks as we trot up to him.
“Julius, Hatch, and Evelyn,” I answer and he nods slowly.
“I knew Julius was a wimp!” Jerica (2) sniffs haughtily.
“Don’t disrespect the dead!” Austin (1) snaps at her. “Especially not our allies!” “Why not? The dead can’t do anything about it!”
“Oh really? Did you think about how you’re surrounded by people who were once dead?” Swatty (4) speaks and fixes the girl with an angry glare. Jerica looks to respond but just then Dragon (1) comes over pulling something heavy with him. Kingsley (13) follows, cackling gleefully.
“What’s that?” Astrid (1) asks coming over drenched with water.
Dragon (1) lifts the thing up and now I see that it’s a person, Woody (5) to be exact. He has an arrow in his knee and he’s whimpering pitifully. Dragon drops him to the ground and we all back off as Woody attempts to crawl away. He gets Dragon’s boot to the ribs for this and I feel queasy as I see Dragon pull a knife out from his belt.
“What are you doing?” I ask but he ignores me and approaches Woody. He pins the boy down and then horrifyingly quickly, he presses the knife to his ear and slices down.
Woody lets out an agonized scream and Astrid (1) lurches forward but Kingsley blocks her, watching Dragon with insane delight in his eyes.
Blood pours from Woody’s ears as Dragon smiles devilishly at him and then repeats the process with his other ear. Most of the other Careers turn away from the grisly scene. Austin continues watching his eyes dark with an untold fury. As Dragon finishes with the ears, Woody moaning in unimaginable pain, he plunges the knife into his eye and I turn around and vomit smelly green bile. I don’t turn back around until I sense Dragon standing and then when I do I’m greeted by the sight of Dragon holding the skin of Woody’s face I his hand, grinning like the madman he is.
Fists clenched I look to Woody’s body and immediately regret it. The amount of blood and flesh makes my stomach churn and I vomit again.
Kingsley (13) begins laughing wildly and applauds Dragon. I lurch away from the scene and Austin and Astrid closely follow me.
“You alright?” Austin (1) asks as I vomit over the edge of the platform into the water below.
“F-f-fine…I-I’m fine…” I moan sliding to the ground. “That just…was disgusting”
“He can do worse,” Austin (1) comments. “Much worse”
“Why didn’t you stop him?” Astrid (1) demands anger flashing in her eyes. I look up to Austin, wondering the same thing. He’s one of our two leaders, so why not use that authority?
“Do you think defying him when he’s in a bloodlust is going to go well?” He responds in a low voice. “He’d go berserk. And besides…we need him. No one else in this arena is as good of a hunting dog as he is”
I don’t answer. Maybe. But when your hunting dog has rabies you need to put it down and that’s what we should have done. We should have killed Dragon when he was mutilating poor Woody…
“What are you three doing?! Come over here! We need to plan”
Zia’s (4) shout reaches our ears and I shake the anger and sickness from my face. Can ‘t show weakness. We all get up and walk over to discuss our next move.
Day 1/ Aftermath
Annabeth March (District 3)
Our footsteps previously falling on cold hard metal suddenly land upon warm soft sand as the walkway comes to an end and we arrive on a beach of some variety.
“Just like home…” Percy (4) murmurs breathing deeply in the air that whips around our heads. I wouldn’t mind stopping to take in the atmosphere either if it weren’t for the little fact that dozens of trained killers could be on our trail.
“We should get moving,” I remind him. “Before someone sees us”
He nods and the two of us swiftly move off of the exposed beach and over to a large clump of rocks positioned close to the waters edge. We duck behind a particularly large boulder; the moisture of the rock is comforting and cooling and I feel better already.
“We could head up to that forest,” Percy (4) comments eyeing the trees we can just see on the top of the cliff that surrounds the beach.
“I don’t think that’s the best of plans,” I say slowly, thinking hard about our next move. “There are a lot of tributes running around and almost assuredly majority of them will think a forest to be the perfect place to run, meaning that the forest will not be the perfect place to run. We should instead hang around here”
Percy (4) stares at me in amazement then slowly shakes his head.
“Wow. You’re beautiful and smart!”
Despite myself I feel my cheeks turning red and I shake my head. “I try to be prudent. It just wouldn’t do to go into those woods when everyone else will be thinking about doing the same thing”
After we decide this we explore the pile of boulders and discover an entrance to a cove. It’s dark, damp and easily concealable, making it the perfect shelter for us. We sit ourselves down and to pass the time speak about our lives back in the Districts. Percy details how everyone ostracizes and ridiculed him for his moral behavior and I can’t help but feel more attached to the boy. If only there were more people like him in the world and then maybe the Hunger Games wouldn’t even exist…
Dawn Olive (The Capitol)
Did we have to run into a swamp? Of all the places we could have gone, why did it have to be a swamp? A smelly, dirty, disgusting place, full of all sorts of disturbing animals. I hate swamps.
“Just ignore it,” Dusk (C) says almost if he can hear my thoughts. “We won’t have to be here long but we can’t go much farther today. We don’t want to risk running out of energy” He pauses, thinking. “Also, no one likes swamps. Meaning we’ll see less people”
I sigh but I know he’s right. I’ll just have to deal with it. Ramon (C) leads forward; a bow in is hands and a quiver on his back. He’s such a great guy, strong, agile, and intelligent. He knows what he’s doing, partly because he’s done it before.
“This place should be dry enough for us to camp,” He says coming to a halt on a relatively dry patch of ground. “Get yourselves comfortable. We’ll be staying here for the rest of the day. Pending other tributes finding us” He walks off to, as he says, set a perimeter and I look at the set of camouflage paints I got from the bloodbath before sidling over to Dusk (C) as he throws rocks into the murky water that surrounds us.
“Dusk?” I begin tentatively.
“I…know that the only reason you volunteered was to save me but…I don’t want you wasting your life on me”
“What?” His rock sails past the water and ricochets off of a fallen log. He turns and rounds on me. “What do you mean?”
Staring into his serious face I suddenly feel nervous and stumble over my words. “I…uh…don’t…uh…want you to give up your own life to save mine. We both can win but if, say you could save yourself or me I don’t want you to—”
“I’m saving you over myself,” He interrupts me with a snort. “It doesn’t matter what you say. And don’t be pessimistic. Neither of us are going to die. We’re both wining this thing”
“But say we get into a situation where—”
“No. I won’t. I won’t let us get in any such situation. Now go to sleep, I think hysteria is getting to you”
He refuses to talk about it anymore and I just watch him silently. I know he doesn’t plan on dying but…I don’t want him to give his life for me. I don’t deserve it.
Soon Ramon (C) comes back and then something loud splashes behind us, in the murky water Dusk was previously throwing rocks into.
“Did you do that?” I ask him and he shakes his head. Ramon stares at the water in shock and I exchange a confused look with my brother. What?
“Uh. Something wrong buddy?” Dusk (C) questions him. Ramon slowly shakes his head and backs off, sitting with his back to a tree.
“Um…no. I just…thought I saw something. Probably nothing. A branch falling or the sorts” He doesn’t say anymore and Dusk shrugs, saying it was probably a reptile. We push it out of our minds and sit in silence.
Wario Wade (District 3)
Our troupe comes to a halt in a large forest clearing, Shade (7) orders us all to go through our items and weapons and to dish out food and drink responsibly. I didn’t think we would have such a responsible and solider like approach but I shrug and go along with it.
I myself didn’t receive much from the bloodbath. Just an awl and some burn cream. Kodai (5) received some better weapons, a whip and dagger, Blade (6) has a spear and spile, Shade a crossbow but no arrows and a dagger. Daisy (11) a machete, Jake (9) a sword and Soot (12) has a Bo staff of some kind.
As for consumables we have plenty of water and some dried fruit, crackers, and some cookies, enough to last us for around two days at least.
“We did good guys!” Shade (7) encourages us, going around and making sure no one takes more food then necessary. He's really big on making sure we don't pointlessly waste supplies.
“But we lost Rio!” I say dejectedly. Already we’re down one ally and a strong one at that. That doesn't bode well for us, at least in my mind.
“Casualties happen,” Shade (7) remarks with only a twinge of sadness in his voice. “But we must continue on. Our fallen ally would not want us to mourn for them and make ourselves a easy target”
I shrug. I guess…though if I had died I’d want my allies to show a little more remorse at my death and not just chalk it up as another casualty.
Shade (7) then begins to dish out the ranks for all of us. He, Blade, and Daisy are co-leaders, Jake (9) is the Sergeant-At-Arms, Kodai (5) is special operations, and Soot (12) and me are just plain old soldiers.
After this our three leaders go off to have a conversation and I mill around, awl clenched tightly in my sweaty hands. Are the Careers hunting us? Is anyone else? I’m getting paranoid and I know that’s not a good thing. I keep imagining that I see faces in the undergrowth that surrounds us, leering at me, waiting to pounce… I really should stop thinking.
Piper Quinn (District 13)
“Come on guys! Don’t get so far behind!”
My call urges Twix (10) and Gloom (11) to pick up their pace and soon their right beside me again. We had an exhausting run through the bloodbath, shipyard and then plains. Now some sort of small building looms ahead and I’ve set it as our destination where can stop to take a breather. Twix (10) is small and I don’t want to run him dry.
We reach the building quick enough and it turns out to be some sort of small bathroom. Only a sink and toilet are inside the building and it’s rather confusing for why a random bathroom would be set up in the middle of a meadow.
“Why?” Gloom (11) aptly asks aloud as we stop before it.
“Well it’s a nice place,” I say. “We can stay here”
“Um. Speaking of bathrooms…” Twix (10) hops from foot to foot uneasily. “Can I use the toilet?”
He nods happily and rushes himself into the bathroom, shutting the door behind him. I smile at Gloom (11) who glumly nods back before examining the hatchet he got from the bloodbath. It’s good he managed to get it, because the only other items we have is some bread, my sword, and the night-vision glasses Twix (10) managed to snag. It’s not a spectacular haul, but it will suit us fine. The sound of a toilet flushing tells me that Twix is done and soon he exits the bathroom, a relieved expression on his face.
“How’s it going?” he asks. “Anything happen?”
“You were only gone a minute,” I say a smile forming on my face. “What could possibly have happened?”
He shrugs. “I dunno. Dinosaurs?”
We both burst out laughing and even Gloom smiles. I begin say something when a cannon booms out and it’s closely followed by another, and then another, and another. All the way up to eight.
“Eight people dead,” Gloom (11) comments.
“Forty-eight left,” I nod.
“That’s a lot…” Twix (10) murmurs staring out at the horizon nervously, I nod. There are a lot of tributes left but I know we have a good enough chance of staying alive right now, as long as we’re smart.
Varina Tapora (District 9)
“I’m tiired! Can’t we take a break? My feet feel like lead!”
Exolian’s (12) has been complaining for the past few minutes and while I don’t mind it, because it’s the same thing I’m thinking; Bella (10) is visibly upset.
“Just be quiet! Alright?!” She rounds on the small boy and he trips over his feet in surprise and she sighs. “Fine…we’ll take a break”
She may have gone off on Exolian, but I know he’s not the reason she’s upset, not really. She’s angry that she didn’t get a quiver or any arrows to go along with the bow she received and that neither of us, Watt (3), Exolian (12), or I picked up anything of valuable beyond a small canteen of water and a knife Watt has.
“I’m sorry Exolian,” Bella (10) sighs as he crouches beside a small rock. “I didn’t mean to snap at you…”
“Where are we anyways?” Watt (3) asks looking around.
“It’s a cotton field!” I pipe up happy to be of some use.
“How do you know?” Exolian (12) asks.
“I’ve seen similar fields back in District 9,” I explain more about the fields and they all nod. I’m glad to have this knowledge to share because it makes me feel useful.
“If only I had some arrows!” Bella (10) laments after I finish. “Then I could hunt something and get us some food”
Almost as if on cue Exolian’s (12) stomach grumbles and I laugh though I know this is a very serious problem. People have died due to a lack of food before. It’s called the “Hunger” Games for reason.
“We can find something tomorrow,” Watt (3) pushes this worry aside for now. “Right now we need to focus on finding some better shelter”
“What’s wrong with here?” Exolian (12) groans from where he lay on the ground. I feel bad for him. He’s completely exhausted and is worried sick about someone finding us.
“We don’t really have much cover…” Watt (3) mumbles. “Back in my last Games cover was vital”
“Well, we can’t go much further today,” Bella (10) speaks. “Varina and Exolian look like they’re about to drop dead. We need to recuperate”
I smile. I am extremely tired and already the sun is setting overhead. It’s been a long frightening day and I fear the night will be no different.
Alicia Haze (District 9)
“Alicia those scarecrows are staring at me!”
Hunter (9) stares at one of the several scarecrows that dot the pumpkin field with large scared eyes.
“They’re not alive Hunter. They have buttons for eyes. They’re always staring,” I sigh exasperatedly and turn back to looking ahead of me and continue moving, the whip I received from the bloodbath weighing heavy in my hands.
“Oh…I guess you’re…AH!”
He lets out scream and I feel him slam into me and we both hit the dirt hard. I swiftly pick up whip back up and spin around, looking for our assailants.
“Where are they Hunter? Where are they?!”
“The SCARECROW! It MOVED its arm!”
I drop my arms, my fighting instinct dead. I turn to face Hunter (9) and see him cowering in a small irrigation ditch. I close my eyes and take a deep breath. Obviously the Games have gotten to him and he’s imagining things. I need to take this seriously.
“Hunter…” I begin in a low gentle voice. He moves his arms off of his face and looks up at me.
“Did…did you get it?”
“Hunter. The scarecrow is not alive. You’re seeing things. I know you’re scared and rightfully so. Even I’m a little frightened by this. But you need to try and overcome you fear. Don’t let it make you see things”
“You say the scarecrow isn’t alive?” Hunter (9) asks his blue eyes filled with terror.
“Yes. It’s just a bunch of straw Hunter”
“I…okay. But I know I saw it move. I swear I did!” I nod understandingly. He might be right. Maybe it did move. Stranger things have happened in the Hunger Games before…thinking about which I suggest that we keep moving and maybe we should find the Anti-Careers. I’m worried that I won’t be able to adequately defend Hunter but if we with them…
Augusta Winters (District 5)
In the dark I can just make out the form of a large barn, looming ahead just on the outskirts of the field. I stealthily dart across the open plain and to the red barn doors. I gently push the doors open and peek my head in.
It’s empty. Good. I slide in and shut the doors behind me. Examining the barn I see that nothing out of the usual is here. Just some hay bales and the like. I shimmer up the ladder to the loft above and pry the small window open so that I may have an escape route if someone were to come through the barn door.
I’ve done well so far. I haven’t encountered a single tribute or mutt and have a two decent items from the cornucopia. A blanket and some dried beef strips. The one crucial thing I don’t have is water and I know that will begin to effect me at some point, but luckily I’m not too thirsty so far.
I crawl into the corner of the barn loft and wrap the blankly snugly around myself. Getting rest is important. I don’t want to be exhausted when someone comes to kill me. I shut my eyes and attempt to get some much-needed sleep.
Courage Blitz (District 3)
The sky has gone completely dark. Hardly a single star is in the skies and I stumble over my own feet as I fruitlessly attempt to navigate this cotton field. I give up on this venture and squeeze myself between a pair of largish rocks and glumly think about how I have absolutely no items at all. I ran as soon as the countdown ended and I’m really regretting that decision right now, as I don’t even have any food or water. Maybe I should just have tried to grab at least a single bag before running off like that…
Oh well. I can’t do anything about that right now…
Out of nowhere a light appears in the sky followed by the anthem and I know that The Fallen is upon us. I crane my neck into the air to see the faces. Hatch (2) and Julius (2) start it off and I’m astonished that two Careers are already dead. Woody (5) follows them and I’m not at all surprised to learn of his fate. Then there’s Mimic (6) and Evelyn (8) two more tributes I had thought to be strong, but are now dead. Mondi (11) the one-legged girl comes and goes then Ice (13) rounds it out and soon the seal in the sky abates and we’re back in darkness.
Hatch, Julius, Mimic, Evelyn, Ice…all major threats and all of them already dead. Good for me and the other smaller tributes. I sit in the dark, contemplating this news and what my next move will be.
Day 2/ Smoke and Fire
Swatty Lakeside (District 4)
I roll over and sit up, yawning as I look at the other Careers milling around the platform. I’m glad for all of the extra blankets and sleeping bags we found in the cornucopia. Without them we would have had to sleep on the hard metal ground and that would not have been pleasant.
I rub the sleep out of my eyes and watch Ryan (4) as he sits around a small campfire, cooking bacon in a pan.
“Breakfast!” He nods at me. “We’re going to need the energy for our hunt today” “We got a target?”
“Dunno yet. Leaders will decide”
I nod and go collect my weapons for the day. I pick a nice shiny silver trident and an equally shiny sword before shrugging and putting some sort of antidote into my pack along with a small supply of food and water. You never know when you’ll need extra.
After this I go back to Ryan (4) and eat some of the bacon he’s cooked. It tastes great and is nice and crispy but not too crispy. When we finish we’re called over to the large assembly of Careers and Austin (1) speaks as he gives us the plan for the day.
“Okay people, today we will be splitting up into three groups! Group one is me, Glique and Astrid. We’ll be heading up north to the fields; Group two will consist of Dragon, Zia, Ryan and Kingsley. They’ll head to the swamp and Group Three will be Swatty and Jerica. You two will stay to guard the cornucopia. Understand?” I nod. Sounds good to me. While everyone else is off fighting I can sit back and relax here in the comfort of the cornucopia.
The groups assemble and then Jerica (2) and me watch as they head off to their destinations. Briefly I think about how maybe it’s not such a great idea to split ourselves up, after all we have the numbers advantage so why not use it? But they’re not taking my opinion so I’m just going to do as I’m told…for now.
Dusk Olive (The Capitol)
“Time to get moving, Dawn”
I shake my sister awake and she nods slowly, crawling to her feet. I head over to Ramon (C) and speak.
“We need to move. We’ve spent far too much time here. Anyone could find us”
Ramon (C) laughs and then shakes his head.
“No. We’re perfectly safe here. No one is going to risk coming into this death trap of a swamp. Leaving is only going to get ourselves killed”
I protest and we have a minor argument over this subject before Dawn comes over and suggests that we wait here for a few more hours and then move on. It’s now two against one and Ramon (C) has no choice but to agree with us, even though he grumbles quite a bit about it.
“You know,” Dawn (C) murmurs as she watches him move about the edge of the murky water, checking the thick weeds that surround it for anyone hiding. “He has a point”
“Not you too!”
I sigh exasperatedly and smack my head into my palm. “I already told you why that’s a bad idea. We should be leaving here, not staying. Someone is going to find us and then kill us. We need to leave!”
But Ramon has a point—”
“Ramon can do as he pleases. But my first priority is to keep you safe and I don’t think I can do that in this swamp”
Dawn (C) sighs and turns her head when Ramon (C) gives a shout of alarm and I leap to my feet and pull her behind me.
“What is it?!” I shout. Ramon (C) stumbles backwards from the water and falls on his backside as a large shape emerges from the brown water.
Oh shoot. He’s right. I recognize the scaly reptile as it blasts out of the water and onto land. This is not good! Not good at all!
“Shoot it!” I scream at Ramon (C) as I back up, pulling my sister along with me. I can’t risk her dying, not here, not ever. “Shoot it NOW!”
He in a panic fashioned pulls up his bow and unleashes an arrow. It strikes the beast’s hard scales and bounces off uselessly. Shoooot!
Ramon (C) screams as the now enraged animal lunges forward and its’ jaws close around his leg. His screams now louder and laced with pain he feebly attempts to whack the crocodile with his bow but to no avail. The mutt, for that’s surely what it is, slides back into the water, pulling the hysterical Ramon (C) in with it.
Dawn (C) goes running forward but I wrap my hands around her shoulders and pull her back. She tries to resist but doesn’t have the strength and I throw her over my shoulder and go sprinting off as Ramon’s (C) screams stop as water fills his lungs and he disappears into the murky abyss.
Percy Grace (District 4)
Annabeth’s (3) quiet observation reaches my ears as I finish setting up our trap. The net’s set up perfectly and I back off from it and wipe the sweat from my brow. “Yeah,” I say turning back to Annabeth (3) and the cove. “Only forty-seven left. Though I guess saying only forty-seven is a bit of a stretch” She shrugs.
"It’s better then forty-eight”
We both step back and sit in the shadows offered by the rocks. If anyone were to step into our trap, we would be able to finish him or her off before they could react. But we’ll only be doing that if they’re alone, we can’t risk taking on an entire alliance, not at this juncture.
“What do we do now?” I ask quietly.
“Nothing to do but wait,” Annabeth (3) answers, taking my hand with hers. I smile at her and she smiles back.
“Well, if I have to wait with anyone I’m glad it’s you”
I lean forward and gently kiss her. She shudders slightly and then when we break apart she smiles before slowly shaking her head.
“We really should be paying more attention to our surroundings”
I nod. Disappointed but understanding, it’s the Hunger Games, but it’s anything but a game. We need to be self-aware every single minute or risk or lives. But still…I wouldn’t mind if that kiss had lasted a few more seconds…or minutes. It helps our sponsoring too, for some peculiar reason the Capitol loves romance as well as death.
“Don’t look so disappointed!” Annabeth (3) playfully punches me in the shoulder. “You can have one more…”
We kiss again and then it’s all back to business. Annabeth (3) scales the rocks to a higher vantage point and I lie low, ready to leap out if and when someone springs our trap, in case of Annabeth’s arrow missing I would need to finish the person off before they have a chance to use any ranged weapon. Now it’s just time to wait…
Courage Blitz (District 3)
As soon as I wake up in the morning I go sprinting towards the edge of the cotton field after reading the note my mentor sent and collecting the items I received from my sponsors, matches and a bow and quiver of arrows. Though honestly I’ve never really used a bow and arrows before and I’m not too certain how good I am at using them… I do have a rather risky plan in mind for today that involves me and a ton of other tributes. I have no idea how this will end.
When I reach the end of the cotton field I barrel into the pumpkin patch and begin sprinting to the field on the other side, the cornfield, when my foot hits something and I trip behind a gigantic pumpkin. At first I’m cursing my luck but then I see that this was a very good thing as seconds later Bella (10) and her alliance comes trotting out of the cotton field.
“Where do you think he is?” I hear Bella (10) ask and I connect “him” as to mean “me”.
“I don’t know…north side of the field? We were in the south so I’d guess there”
“Okay. Stand back, I’m going to start the fire!”
I hear the twang of a bow and then seconds later the roar of a flame and I can see from my hiding spot that the cotton field has just gone up into flames. I was only minutes away from burning to death. Yikes.
I hear them talking and risk a peek over the pumpkin. They’re walking away from me, towards the other side of the pumpkin patch. Bella (10) and Exolian (12) are in the back and suddenly a plan comes to my mind.
I can take out their biggest threat, their best fighter, right now. I can put an arrow into Bella!
Now I know my mentor told me to do this later, when the others are gone, but the opportunity is too great to pass up. As silently as possible, I load an arrow into my bow and take meticulous aim at Bella’s back.
The arrow hits one of them, but not Bella, not even close. Instead of striking Bella in the center of the back, as planned, the arrow hits Exolian (12) in the side of the shoulder and he crumbles to the ground screaming in sudden pain. Immediately they all turn to face my direction and Bella (10) fires an arrow of her own. I dodge it by ducking behind the pumpkin and then I take off sprinting, zigzagging and using pumpkins as shields to avoid any arrows.
I can hear them shouting but I don’t turn to look, I go running straight to the shipyard.
Marcia Callamezzo (District 7)
“Quick! This way!”
Our alliance thunders through the cornfield and explode into the pumpkin patch. Across the patch I can see the blazing fire of what once was the cotton field. Off in the distance on the other side of the pumpkin patch we can see three figures. They turn to give us terrified looks and then break off running to one of the walkways that lead to the shipyard. Immediately Ella (2), Vlad (10), and Vivan (10) go chasing after them as Rufus (8) calmly leads the rest of us over to what seems to be a prone body lying on the ground.
“Well, well, well, what have we here?”
The body gives a slight groan and feebly reaches for an axe lying inches away from its grasp. Rufus uses his foot to push the weapon out of his grasp and crouches down beside the boy.
“I’m certain that you all remember this boy?” He asks us grabbing his hair and lifting his face towards us.
“It’s Exolian,” Amaryllis (12) answers quietly.
“Correct!” Rufus (8) grins wildly slapping the boy several times in the face. “It’s one of that b---h Bella’s lackeys!”
Just then Ella (2), Vlad (10) and Vivan (10) come back looking exhausted. “They got away!” Ella (2) spits furiously.
“We lost them in the maze of walkways,” Vivan (10) adds.
“Did I ask for you to give me an excuse?” Rufus’ (8) voice is low and Vivan quickly shakes her head.
“Doesn’t matter!” He cuts her off with a short laugh and then stands up, pulling Exolian along with him. “Look at what we have here! One of Bella’s servants!” Ella (2) laughs gleefully and I share an uneasy glance with Amaryllis. That girl’s bloodlust always frightened me a little.
“Please!” Exolian speaks for the first time his voice weak and pitiful. “D-don’t kill me!”
Rufus (8) kicks the boy in the gut and everyone except for me and Amaryllis laughs cruelly.
“Do you think you’re in a position to tell me what to do?” Rufus (8) snarls bending down and ripping the arrow out from the boys shoulder, causing him to scream as it’s torn from his flesh. Rufus laughs again and then turns walking away.
“Ella, finish him off”
The words come from Amaryllis’ (12) mouth and everyone turns to look at her in shock, even me. I know why she doesn’t want him dead, he’s her All-Star district partner, but she needs him dead to win…
“What did you say?” Rufus turns back to her, his voice low and menacing. I’m suddenly fearful for Amaryllis, my close friend.
“She didn’t mean—”
I try to speak on her behalf but Ella (2) silences me with a punch to the ribs and I fall silent. Please don’t hurt her!
“Oh!” Rufus (8) smacks his hand on his forehead playfully, a small smiles forming on his lips. “I know what you meant! You didn’t want Ella to kill him…because you wanted to do it yourself, right?”
Amaryllis (12) opens and shuts her mouth in surprise, everyone’s eyes fixed on her. Do it Amaryllis. I think silently. Don’t defy him. You know how he thinks. Just kill him…
“Go ahead!” Rufus (8) smiles and motions to the boy who is lying on the floor watching us with scared blue eyes. “Finish him off. Put a knife in his heart!”
Amaryllis pulls her knife out and takes a step forward and I give a sigh of relief. She’s smart. She’s going to do it. I’m glad for that, I was afraid her mortality would stop her from…what am I thinking?! I freeze as these words go through my head. Am I…heartless? Have these Games changed me already? Here I am, encouraging my best friend to kill a small twelve-year-old boy, a boy who looks remarkably similar to my brother…
Amaryllis stands over Exolian, knife raised. Everything is silent then…she drops the knife and backs off, tears streaming from her eyes.
“I can’t!” She cries. “I can’t do it! I can’t kill him!”
I move to embrace her, to comfort her, to tell her it’s all right but Ella grabs my forearm and firmly holds me back. Rufus steps forward, a dangerous light in his eyes.
“I’m not giving you a choice. Kill him…NOW!”
“I think she’s weak!” Ella (2) growls, her face contorted in anger. “She can’t do it. She’s not worthy of being in this alliance”
“Amaryllis…please,” I whisper softly and her gazes slide towards me. “Just do it….” She wipes the tears from her face and slowly shakes her head.
“I…I can’t. I can’t kill him…not like this…”
Rufus gives a long, dramatic sigh.
“I knew you wouldn’t. I knew you would crumble under the pressure. Well…Vlad, Please finish her off. NOW!”
What happens next takes me by complete surprise in how quickly it’s executed. From behind Amaryllis Vlad steps forward and picks her up in a headlock and with one jerks of his mighty arms he snaps her neck. Boom!
I gasp in shock and horror as her body drops to the ground. Ella (2) lets out a delighted squeal and Rufus grins cruelly. No…no…Amaryllis…why…why didn’t you just do it?
My heart leaps to my throat as Rufus turns towards me. What?! Am I guilty by association?
“Finish him off,” He motions his head towards Exolian and I close my eyes and nod slowly. I don’t have a real choice in the matter. I take my axe and walk up to the small boy.
“Do it,” he whispers his eyes staring into mine. “She should have done it as well…I…I’m the reason she died. I don’t want to be the reason you die. I didn’t deserve to live over her and I don’t deserve to live over you…”
I don’t believe that. I know he deserves life just as much as any of us. But his words calm me, bring a sense of comfort at knowing that he forgives me, no, encourages me, to do what I must do.
“Thank you,” I breathe silently hoping that the others don’t here. He slightly nods his head and stifles a cry as I take my axe and drive it into his chest. Blood splatters and I cringe as some of it lands on my face. Rufus is applauding me and says something I don’t hear. Ella (2) heartily claps me on the back and then turns to follow Rufus and Vlad as they walk off back towards the cornfield. Vivan (10) stares at me silently for a moment and then goes after them.
“I’m sorry,” I crouch down beside Amaryllis’ corpse. I don’t even know what I’m apologizing for. I did nothing but try and help her. But she was my friend…and I feel bad for her. I squeeze my eyes shut as I realize that at least I’ve proved my worth to Rufus now. I’ve shown that I’m loyal and will follow orders. I rise to my feet and slowly follow after my alliance as Exolian’s cannon booms. Boom!
Shade Spectrus (District 7)
I lead the way through the dense undergrowth of the forest as we pursue our quarry. We’ve already figured out her general location and are forming a tight circle around the area.
Blade (6) and Daisy (11) are right behind me while Soot (12) and Wario (3) our on the opposite side of the clearing and Jake (9) and Kodai (5) come in from the sides. We have this plan to clear out the forest for our use but to do that we need to take out this one, large threat first.
“Where is she?” Blade (6) whispers as we crouch down in some thick bushes staring out into a small clearing filled with bushes and a small tree.
“Somewhere in there,” I reply keeping my crossbow close and ready to fire at a moments notice. Trick Treat is a versatile and deadly animal. She can pop out of nowhere and one needs to always be armed when dealing with her. Honestly, I was prepared to keep her alive until later. I saw no reason to risk our lives tracking her down but Daisy (11) was adamant that we find this girl and kill her, saying that she would only get stronger the longer she lasted. I can’t really argue with that so that’s why we’re hunting her now. It was extremely difficult to even find her position, she had laid down a set of dummy tracks and if there weren’t so many of us we probably would never have found her real tracks.
“I don’t see her…” Daisy (11) murmurs as we scan the area again.
“Just keep an eye out—There!”
Just as I speak Trick drops from the tree and both Kodai (5) and Jake (9) come charging into the area as I take aim with my crossbow.
Kodai (5) sends his whip at the girl but she dodges with the agility of a feline and circles around the two of them.
“Shade, you have a clear shot!” Blade (6) tells me and I press the trigger. The arrow goes whizzing straight towards the back of her head but in some inexplicable way, she dodges and the arrows sails between Kodai and Jake, the two of them looking absolutely stunned.
Then Trick strikes.
She swings the sickle forward with both hands towards Jake and the smooth blades rips straight through his neck, severing his head completely. Blood sprays from the wound and douses Kodai’s face and before Jake’s head even hits the ground, Trick goes galloping off into the forest. Boom!
Both Blade and Daisy leap off and go running in hot pursuit. I quickly force myself to go through the arduous reloading process and take off after them. I can see the two of them up ahead and Wario (3) and Soot (12) join them in the chase. I quickly catch up to them and the forest begins to thin as we head towards the beach, and more importantly, the ten-foot drop-off.
“Circle around!” I shout to my allies. “Cut off any other path! Force her to continue forward!”
They nod and begin to execute my orders. Already gears are turning in my head as I formulate a plan to take out this deadly predator. Or what once was a predator. Now she’s prey.
She was so use to hunting down weaker, defenseless tributes, but now let’s see how she handles a well-armed, strategic unit.
The trees come to an end and Trick (5) comes to a complete stop right before the edge of the cliff. Slowly she turns to face us as we all emerge from the forest, trapping her between the cliff and us.
“It ends here!” I say pointing my crossbow directly at her heart. “We will kill you and bring vengeance to Jake!”
I ignore the stab of pain when I think about Jake’s head being cut off. He was one of my best soldiers and friends and will be missed dearly. But first things first…we kill Trick.
Daisy’s (11) shout reaches my ears but I don’t act. That’s exactly what Trick is expecting. If I shot now, she would evade the arrow. No…I have a better plan. As Trick hisses at us I instruct everyone to slowly move forward. Her snakelike eyes flicker from one to another as we move in closer.
She gets herself into a defensive position and suddenly leaps forward towards Blade. She’s fast, but I’m faster. My arrow is out from my bow and rips into her arm. She howls in fury and drops the sickle.
I shout for the others to strike but once again, Trick is faster. She takes one step back and then leaps right off of the cliff. She lets out a grunt and then we hear the sound of her crashing to the ground below and I peer over the edge. The fall wasn’t that far, only ten feet at the least, but she hit the ground at an odd angle and it appears her neck is broken.
“Did…did we do it?” Wario (3) asks quietly. As if in answer a cannon sounds. Boom!
I nod slowly. “I think we did”
Kodai (5) lets out a celebratory whoop and then a few others clap before I order us all to retreat back into the denser portion of the forest. As we walk Daisy (11) sidles up beside me.
“You’re a great guy Shade”
“Really? What’d I do?”
“We wouldn’t have been able to kill her without you. You’re our leader. You join us all together. Without you we’d all be weak but with you…I think we can defeat anyone and anything”
I smile slightly. “You had a hand in this as well. You were the one to persuade me to hunt Trick. Without you we wouldn’t have done it”
“Without me Jake would be alive”
“Stop. You can’t blame every death on yourself. Not here. By the end the weight of your guilt would crush you. No…no. Jake didn’t die because of you. He died for all of us. He was a loyal Anti-Career to the end and died doing his duty” Daisy stops and gives me a long look.
“You’re…right. I’m sorry”
“No need to be. Come on, let’s find another camp”
Darker Horrfi (District 11)
I frown at the mud and mire on my boots. In a swamp or forest, it wouldn’t matter at all, but here, on a metal platform in the shipyard; it creates streaks on the ground that someone could use to track me.
Well let them come!
I don’t fear them. I don’t fear anyone. Not even the Capitol. Especially not the Capitol! While I think this I’m not paying attention to my surroundings and I walk straight into the girl from the Capitol.
We both bounce off in surprise and stare at each other for a few long seconds. Then she screams and takes off running.
My two knives are out almost immediately and I’m in hot pursuit. She tries to take winding paths down the walkways but she’s not fast enough to outrun me and I keep a steady pace behind her.
Just when I get into range to get a good throw off, she comes to a stop in the middle of a walkway and I slide to a halt as well.
What is she doing? This doesn’t seem right. I take a step forward when I see why. Behind her, about the same distance away as I am, stands the green haired boy from District 7. Hybrid I think his name was. Well anyways, Hybrid is standing there, a hammer clenched in his right hand as the girl sits stuck between the two of us. I wonder which one of us will make the first move and am shocked when it’s the girl!
She dives off the platform, straight into the debris filled water that surrounds the platform. Her head disappears under the surface and just like that, she’s gone.
I’m so shocked by her sudden disappearance that I don’t even notice Hybrid (7) lumbering towards me until he’s only a foot away.
His hammer goes swinging over my head and I drive my shoulder into his stomach and we both hit the ground and begin to wrestle.
At first, I’m winning, the boy seems to have no fighting ability at all but then somehow he gains more strength and skill; pushing me off of him. I hit the ground and slide down the platform as he gets up and pulls a dart from his pocket. With explicable aim he sends it flying and it hits me in the shoulder. The pain isn’t unbearable but it hurts, like the sting of several bees.
I struggle to my feet as he throws another dart, this one hitting my thigh. I quickly realize that this is a fight I can win and as he pulls out a third dart, I do the only thing I can.
I jump into the water.
I hear him give a shout of surprise and then I’m under the water. It’s blurry and I can’t see a thing but I paddle forward determinedly. I know I can’t stay afloat long, I’ll sink. But I keep on going until my hands touch something hard and I pull myself up onto some sort of broken down speed boat.
I gasp for air and start taking deep gulping breaths as I try and get my bearings. Several, large broken ships surround me and I can barely see the walkways from here. That’s good. That means that the people on the walkways can’t see me either. I breathe a sigh of relief and gently lay myself down. I check on my only remaining throwing knife, the other being dropped while I fought Hybrid. My food and water is okay though. It was snugly tucked into a tight package as I swam and now I unwrap some of the beef strips and rationally eat some.
Today hadn’t gone completely as I had planned, but at least I’m still alive.
Austin Aitken (District 1)
“Get ready,” I whisper to my two allies, Glique (1) and Astrid (1) as we huddle around the door to the barn weapons drawn. “When I count to three, I will kick the door in…Ready?” They both nod affirmatively.
My boot hits the door and it smashes open. Immediately my eyes scan the barn but its…empty?!
“There’s no one here!” Astrid (1) exclaims incredulously.
“Don’t give up yet! Stab each hay pile!”
I stride to the back of the barn and stab into the biggest pile, nothing. My allies go around doing the same and we rip through the piles, looking for a clue but finding nothing.
“How did she escape?” Astrid asks perplexedly.
“I…I don’t know”
How was it possible? We had eyes on the front of the barn the entire time! If someone were to leave we’d see it! I bite my lip in concentration when Glique gives surprised shout.
“Of course! The hayloft! Climb up there!”
She does so quickly and I wait down there, breathing heavily in anticipation. “Anything up there?” Astrid calls up.
“...No. Nothing…. Wait!”
She falls silent and then I exchange a look with Astrid. We hear her groan in disappointment and then she comes sliding back down the ladder.
“Nothing,” She shakes her head disappointedly. “They escaped”
“But that’s impossible!” Astrid (1) begins to protest but Glique continues. “No, it’s not. There’s a window up there. It’s small but they should have been able to squeeze their self out of it. They’re gone”
I let out a disappointed groan and kick a nearby bucket in frustration. Damn. This plan had been perfect! If only we had factored in that one stupid window!
“So this trip was a waste?” Astrid moans.
“No,” I perk up as I realize this still had a purpose. “I’ve been wanting to talk to the two of you”
“Alliances. Of all the Careers, I have the most loyalty towards you two. I’m thinking that we should be the three Victors”
They sit in silence for a few moments then Glique speaks.
“The others won’t like that”
“The others won’t know about it. And besides, do you really think they don’t already have their own alliances? Everyone here is just out for their self” They both concede that I have a point and we make a pact right there. That we’re going to go to the end. Afterwards I put some extra food, water and even an extra knife I brought, in the corner of the barn and cover it with hay.
“What’s that for?” Glique (1) asks as she watches me.
“Oh nothing. Just a precaution. Now let’s get back to the others”
Cashmere Prada (District 8)
I watch as Dome (8) and Willow (7) talk quietly, sitting in the shade offered by a gigantic blue flower. They’re probably plotting on how best to kill me right now. Well, at least Willow is. Dome’s too nice of a guy for that… Now that I think about it…Willow’s really the root of my problem here. If say, she died, then I wouldn’t have to worry about Dome betraying me because the both of us could win!
That would be perfect!
I don’t want to win with anyone besides for Dome, my sister’s savior. I also know that the two of us could dominate these Games. He has the right skills for the job but he’s too cautious, too nervous to engage in fights for fear of risking Willow’s life.
She’s always ruining my plans! And even my life! I’m so tempted to pick up my crossbow and put an arrow into her heart right now! Wouldn’t that be hilarious, for her to die again? It would show Dome that he’s wrong to love her, that she’s nothing more then luggage he needs to carry around.
But I can’t kill her. Despite all logic, he would still love her and then would kill me in fury. No. I can’t kill her.
Just then Willow lets out one of her stupid laughs and I growl furiously. I was too loud though and both of them turn to look at me.
“Something wrong Cashmere?” Dome (8) asks.
“No! I mean Yes, I mean everything!” They stare at me in confusion and I sigh. “The Games are wrong. That’s what”
They both look around in surprise, probably thinking about how the Capitol has cameras on them right now. They know that to draw their wrath would trigger a Gamemaker trap. Hmm…wait a minute….
Train McBridge (District 6)
When we reach the swamp our progress slows down drastically. While we were making good time walking through the forest, once we got to the bogs and mires we started struggling.
“How many cannons have their been today again?” I ask as we push through a particularly thick bog.
“Five,” Alissa (6) responds looking annoyed as she attempts to keep her sword above the mud.
Today seems to have dragged on forever. We hung around in the forest for a bit but then decided that we should leave as it might become too crowded. Then we had a long walk ahead of us and now…more walking.
We pull ourselves out of bog and reach the other side where we decide that from now on we won’t go into any of the water or murk because of the time it takes to get out. As Alissa aptly put it. “If someone were to attack us we wouldn’t be able to defend ourselves”
“Hey guys, I have a plan!” Celia (13) speaks up and I turn to look at her in surprise. I had almost forgotten the girl was with us because she’s so silent. Honestly I would have preferred to still have Ice at this point but that’s not really fair to Celia, considering Ice was one of the strongest tributes in the Games.
“What is it?” Alissa (6) asks.
“We poison our bread…and then leave it out for someone to take. When they eat it…Boom! They’re dead!”
I don’t know…that bread is our only source of food. If we poison it then what do we have to eat? I tell Celia that but surprisingly Alissa thinks we should give the plan a shot.
“It doesn’t matter,” she says. “Because we don’t have any water right now either and we’d die from dehydration before starvation”
So Celia (13) poisons the bread and we quickly leave the area after we drop it off. My only concern is that who would want to eat some bread sitting in a swamp? I wouldn’t. Well, maybe I would if I was starving…
“What about water?” I ask suddenly as I notice my nagging thirst. My lips are parched and my throat is dry. It’s funny how I didn’t notice it until Alissa mentioned our lack of water.
“We hope for a sponsor,” She replies.
“Or you could drink that muck,” Celia (13) offers pointing at the muddy swamp water. I wrinkle my nose in disgust.
“No thanks. I’ll wait”
Watt Chargy (District 3)
As we sit on the edge of one of the many walkways in the shipyard I stare glumly into the water that gently swirls below me.
Our plan today didn’t’ go exactly as planned. Courage got away, Alicia and Hunter got away, we don’t know what happened to Exolian, and Rufus’ Gang showed up at the worst time possible. Once again, I sigh.
“Don’t be so sad,” Bella (10) says as she paces back and forth on the walkway, keeping a lookout.
“Why not? Things didn’t go exactly as planned”
“The only bad thing that happened was that we lost Exolian. And even that is forgivable”
I stare incredulously at her and Varina (9) joins me. How is losing a friend and ally forgivable?
“Only two All-Stars can win,” Bella (10) explains. “And both of you are All-Stars. He would have to die eventually. Better now then later, when we’ve bonded more with him”
“You don’t know he’s dead!” Varina (9) responds fiercely. “He could still be alive! Bella shakes her head sadly and kneels beside her.
“I’m sorry. But Rufus’ Gang came right as we left. Exolian wouldn’t have gotten anywhere before….” She trails off, her implications clear.
We descend into silence once again and I wonder what Charce would do in this situation. He wouldn’t panic or moan, I know that. So I can’t either. I need to stay focused and move on. We all have to.
I watch my two allies and know that we still have a chance at surviving. That we can still come home to our families. Today didn’t go perfectly, but it’s not the final day. There’s still more fight left in us.
Hunter Davila (District 9)
The sun disappears behind the clouds as our feet finally touch the forest ground. It took us nearly all day but we’ve finally made the trek across the arena to the forest.
“Can we take a rest?” I ask Alicia (9) as she leads me forward. “I don’t think I can continue much longer”
“Not now. We need to find the Anti-Careers”
I don’t know what’s up with her new found obsession of finding the Antis. Are we trying to align with them or something? I don’t know how well that would work out. Obviously they’ll want their own to win and will turn on us eventually. I don’t tell any of this to Alicia though as on the off chance she would even listen, she wouldn’t care.
We continue our movements through the forest and I start thinking that I can see shapes in the darkness but Alicia brushes it off as just my imagination. I follow her dejectedly when suddenly one of the shapes I saw leaps out and is quickly followed by more. Soon, we’re completely surrounded by armed people.
“No!” I scream in shock and instincts have me lung forward at one of the smaller shapes. The person calmly steps out of the way and I hit the ground hard. Quickly the shape mounts me and they press something wooden against my throat.
“Don’t kill him!”
Alicia’s shout has no effect on my attacker and he begins to squeeze down when another voice speaks.
“Hold it Soot!”
The pressure immediately comes off of my neck and I gasp for air as Alicia (9) crouches down beside me. The shapes step closer and in the moonlight I recognize them as not the Careers, but the Anti-Careers.
“Why did you have me stop?” The boy who attacked me, Soot I think they called him, demands rounding on their enigmatic leader, Shade. “I could--and should-- have finished him off! We should kill them both!”
“They called for peace,” A girl with long, straight black hair speaks standing beside Shade. “And we don’t kill people seeking peace"
“They!” Soot (12) pointing his staff at us challengingly and I give a soft squeal as I think about how easily he defeated me before. “Are our enemies! We should kill them quickly!” The boy finishes his short speech with a prolonged coughing fit and another, taller boy hands him a paper bag in which he begins to hyperventilate.
“Take it easy Soot,” Shade (7) instructs. “We don’t need to murder everyone we see”
“We don’t want any trouble!” Alicia (9) says quickly. “We just want an alliance”
“We don’t need you,” A boy wearing a dark yellow jacket that signifies District 3, begins to speak but Daisy (11) interrupts him.
“We lost Jake today, or have you forgot? We need them. Who knows how many Careers are still alive!”
They begin to squabble and my eyes flit from one face to another. All of them look decidedly dangerous to me and I know that every one of them could easily destroy me in a fight. I hope it doesn’t come to that…
“Stop arguing!” Shade (7) stops them and then gives Alicia and me a pointed look. “The Anti-Careers haven’t refused someone in need before and we’re not starting now! These two can join us”
“Thank you!” Alicia (9) begins to express her gratitude as Soot (12) mumbles something about blindly letting people join. Shade ignores him and they take us back to the clearing where they’ve made their camp. Once there, Daisy (11), Kodai (5), and Blade (6) warmly welcome us to the group while the other two, Wario (3) and Soot (12) do it more begrudgingly.
Alicia (9) speaks to them while I just stare at them. I can’t bring myself to trust any of them. I don’t know the most about the Hunger Games but I know that in them everyone is only out for their self. I also note that of the Anti-Careers, Alicia and me included, that only two of us are All-Stars, Shade (7) and Kodai (5). The rest of us are all new tributes and vying for those two victor spots. Shade (7) tells everyone to get some rest before the Anthem begins and Alicia leads me over to some thick bushes where we make ourselves a comfortable sleeping position.
“I don’t like this,” I whisper as she makes a bed of soft nettle for me.
“They’re good people Hunter,” she replies after a short pause. “They can help me protect you”
I don’t say anything and she pats me on the head and goes to speak with Shade. I lay myself down and stare into the starry sky.
So…this allying with the Antis…it’s all because of me? So Alicia can protect me better? I feel terrible. Not that Alicia cares for me but because I feel like I’m failing her. I shouldn’t be a liability, someone you need to protect. I should be stronger, able to help her overcome obstacles. But instead I’m a weakling, someone who whines about something as simple as having to walk.
I feel tears begin to build up in my eyes and I roll over onto my side and pull my jackets hood over my head. Maybe Alicia would have a better chance of surviving without me…
Kingsley Orion (District 13)
Angrily we stomp back into the cornucopia clearing. I gnash my teeth together furiously as I recall the day’s events or should I say lack of events. Austin sent us out to hunt in the swamp but after hours of tromping around looking for victims to rip the flesh off of, we had to give in and report back without a single kill to our credit.
“Hey guys!” Austin (1) calls a greeting out to us as we near but we ignore him. I throw myself onto a roll of blankets and growl in frustration.
“Uh. Something wrong?” Swatty (4) asks and Dragon (1) responds with a disdainful snort.
“We didn’t see a single person in that swamp! We didn’t’ kill a single person!”
Austin frowns. “Neither did we”
I sit up in shock and glare at him. “Did you just say you didn’t kill anyone?”
“Yes…” Austin (1) doesn’t seem to grasp what I’m getting at and I growl.
“Your plan was a failure. We killed nobody! You got that? No kills! Nada! Zilch! Zero! None!”
“You say that like you aren’t a failure yourself!”
I spin around and glare furiously at Jerica (2) as she smiles smugly at us. “Shut your mouth! Or I’ll do it for you!”
“I’d like to see you try!”
I let out a ferocious snarl and leap forward only to bounce off of Austin’s shoulder as he quickly steps between us.
“Stop! We don’t need to fight! We can get enough kills tomorrow!”
I growl and back off towards Zia (4) and Dragon (1). Some real Careers! They know how to fight and make plans! Austin continues to defuse the situation and I charge into the cornucopia and go to the way back, where I make myself comfortable and try to get some sleep, where I can comfortably kill people in my dreams.
Augusta Winters (District 5)
Blindly stumbling around in the dark my foot hits something and I fall forward into a pile of ash. I cough and roll out of it, now covered in the stuff. I wipe it off and look around cautiously, hoping that no one was around to hear it.
The field is empty and devoid of any life. Nothing but ash and the burnt remains of bushes litter the field that was once lively. I don’t know how this fire started or why but I could see it from my barn.
Good thing the fire happened because it made me watch it and as I was observing it, I spotted a trio of figures approaching my barn. I quickly slid myself out the window and sprinted away as fast as I could before they could reach me. Now I’m alone in this field, still with no supplies beyond a blanket and dried meat. I really want some water, but I have no idea where I would even begin my search for it. Maybe I have sponsors out there but I’m not counting on them. Tomorrow morning I will have to start a genuine search because right now dehydration is really beginning to get to me.
The Anthem startles me as the sky lights up with the seal. Five cannons had sounded today and now I’m about to see whom they were for. The first face to show up is a complete shocker.
How did she die? Everyone had her pegged as a formidable threat to win the Games. I guess those expectations were the reason she died so quickly. Everyone must have targeted her.
The next face belongs to Jake (9) and I have no real thoughts on him. The next two are Exolian (12) and Amaryllis (12) two of the weaker All-Star tributes, and the final one belongs to Ramon (C), the boy from the capitol who had gotten a 10 in training.
So…today had a total of five deaths, all of them All-Stars. That doesn’t do a thing for me. I need new tributes dead, not All-Stars. I sigh and curl up in my blanket as the seal disappears from the sky. Hopefully tomorrow brings me better fortunes.
Missy Randos (Victor)
I sit in silence as the screen finishes showing the replays of the five deaths from today. The day brought a lot of mixed emotions and intrigue and despite losing a tribute I was responsible for mentoring, Trick, I don’t feel bad about it. She was a wacko.
As the screens go back to the live action and show Cassandra (C) wandering through the shipyard, I turn away and observe my fellow Victors.
The Capitol had made it so all of us share an apartment to watch the Games and most of the day we spend either trying to help out our mentees with sponsors or watching the action unfold on one of the many screens in the large living room area they have set up. A few of the others have already turned in for the night, but some still remain.
Mist sits propped in a chair right beside a television, his hands folded as he intently watches his friend Shade and his allies. He hasn’t moved from that position all day.
Edmund and Topaz stand in the corner of the room, quietly talking about tributes odds and which ones are most likely to emerge as Victors. And the final Victor still present, Hazel, is speaking to an Avox, ordering some sort of elaborate dessert. After witnessing Jake’s death she had gone silent, not speaking and staring at the screens with a blank look on her face. I don’t know what was going through her mind but she has recovered from the shock now.
I sigh. Watching these kids fight to the death -either for the first or second time- is painful. Especially considering my role as mentor and knowing that I may be at fault for their deaths.
At least I’ve only lost one tribute so far. Unlike poor Charce who has already lost four of the eight tributes he mentors.
As the screens change to show the Careers sleeping I know that no real action will occur and I rise from my seat and begin to walk towards the hall, where my room awaits. Each room has its own television and there’s even one in every bathroom, to make sure we don’t miss anything.
On my way I stop beside Mist and place a comforting hand on his shoulder.
“You should get some rest,” I tell him.
He shakes his head. “I can’t. Something might happen”
“Nothings going to happen. If you want, I could stay awake and watch for you. But you need your sleep. You’ve been staring at that screen all day and Shade wouldn’t want you to be so worried”
He sighs and drums his finger on his knee before answering.
“You’ll wake me if something happens?”
“Yes. I promise. Now get some rest”
He nods and gets out of his chair, crossing to the hallway. When he reaches the threshold he turns.
“Thanks Missy. I appreciate it”
He disappears down the hall and I turn my attention back to the television, stifling a yawn. I guess I’m staying up tonight after all.
Day 3/ Near Death
Ryan Marine (District 4)
Once again when we wake up in the morning our leaders call us to the centre of the platform where we begin discuss our plans for the day. Swatty (4) and Zia (4) have come up with the idea of burning down he forest and while Austin insists that we should go and fight Rufus’s Gang instead, majority of us agree with Zia’s plot and we begin to head out towards the woods with gasoline.
“You think this’ll turn out well?” Glique (1) asks me as we walk. I shrug.
“Maybe. But if it helps us kill those damn Anti-Careers then I’m all for it”
That’s the most exciting prospect of this plan. We could annihilate the Antis in one fell swoop! I’ve counting the days until I got the chance to kill a Spectrus and today might just be that day. But…I can’t forget about my parents and Brian back home. I need to concentrate more on coming home and less on my vendetta, or I may find myself dead once again.
We leave the shipyard, pass through the beach, climb the path that leads up the cliff and come to the edge of the forest.
“What now?” Astrid (1) asks as our troupe comes to a halt in front of the trees.
“You and Jerica will stay here,” Zia (4) speaks for the group. “And then after about thirty minutes you should throw the gasoline into the forest and set it on fire. Afterwards climb a tree and use your ranged weapons to take out anyone who comes past”
“What about the rest of us?” Kingsley (13) questions, gnashing his teeth together in furious joy.
“Dragon’s going to lead us into the forest on a hunting trip,” Zia (4) responds and Dragon (1) smiles evilly as she nods to him and steps back, giving him full reign. I notice Austin (1) shakes his head slightly but goes along with the rest of us as we move into the shadows of the forest.
Kodai Hitogoroshi (District 5)
As the silver parachutes descend from the blue sky our alliance crowds around them and picks out the ones with our names. I rip mine open and find a rope and some darts, which I quickly fashion into rope darts. Blade (6) receives a coil of wire, Wario (3) a dagger, and both Shade (7) and Soot (12) get Instant Relief.
“Nice, nice, nice!” I chuckle as we examine our new gifts. “We’re in good position to win!”
“There’s still nine Careers out there,” Daisy (11) reminds us. “And they have a whole cornucopia of supplies”
“We can take them!” I crow jumping on top of a rock and striking a heroic pose. “I don’t fear them!”
“None of us do,” Shade (7) agrees. “But we still need to be cautious”
I nod my head in agreement with the boss. “Right! And we should all be armed! Here! Take this!” I spin to face Hunter (9) and throw my dagger up into the air for him to catch but instead of grabbing it he shrieks in fear and dives out of the way and it hits the ground.
“That for you,” I say in case he didn’t understand.
“Here Hunter,” Alicia (9) picks the knife up and hands it to the boy. “Kodai gave this to you” He nods fearfully and tucks it into his belt.
“Do you guys hear that?” Wario (3) suddenly asks. We all fall silent and listen intently to the forest. At first we hear nothing but birds and animals then…footsteps!
“Everyone move!” Shade (7) pulls his crossbow up and motions for everyone to run. Wario (3) is the first to move, closely followed by Daisy (11), Alicia (9), and Hunter (9). They’ve just disappeared into the bushes when on the opposite side figures emerge.
Shade (7) sends an arrow flying towards the first figure, who slashes the projectile out of the air with their sword. I recognize the boy as Dragon (1). “Go! Go!” Shade (7) shouts to Soot (12) and me as more tributes appear at Dragon’s side. We duck into the undergrowth at the edge of the clearing and I take a glimpse back. The Careers are advancing towards us slowly, scared of our projectiles.
“Let’s go!” Shade (7) whispers fiercely. “While they fear our counter-attack”
“No!” I shake my head and pull my weapons out as my friend stares at me in shock. “What do you mean no? They’ll kill you!”
I slowly shake my head and keep my voice low when I talk. “We all run. They chase. They kill all. I stay. They fight me. You all escape. Simple”
“No! I’m not leaving you to die!” Shade begins to tug my arm but Soot (12) stops him and pulls him away.
“He’s right. Let’s go!”
Shade shakes his head slowly.
“Don’t do this. We can all run. Or we can all fight them! It doesn’t matter! I’m not leaving you!”
“Sorry. I won’t. I fight…time to…go. Now!
I shove him away and they go running off into the thick woods behind me. I turn to and jump back into the clearing and point a finger at Dragon who leads the group. “We fight. One-on-one. See who’s stronger”
Dragon Lord (District 1)
My eyes flicker from the boys’ confident grin to the whip in his right hand and then the rope in his left. Unique weapons indeed… Behind me I hear the Careers whispering something to one another as Kodai’s (5) challenge hangs over me. Fight him? In one-on-one combat? Ha! He has a death wish! “I accept!”
“No! Dragon we need to kill him quickly and—”
I whip around to glare at the speaker, Ryan (4), and he falls silent immediately. No one challenges me! I open my mouth to speak when suddenly there’s a mini-explosion off to our sides and a bright orange light shines from a distance. “Those morons!” Zia (4) shouts in rage as the smell of burning wood reaches our noses. “They started the fire! They were supposed to wait for us to come back first!” She and Swatty (4) go running off the way we came.
I turn my attention back to Kodai and cock my neck. The fire doesn’t bother me. After the initial fast start up it will take at least a few minutes to spread this far. Ample time to finish this…weakling off and continue on my merry way!
“We fight now!” Kodai (5) growls, his teeth bared.
I smile and step forward. Out of the corner of my eye I see Kingsley (13) dart forward and go sprinting in the direction the others ran. Good. Maybe he can kill the rest of them as well.
I pretend to be distracted by him and as Kodai’s gaze follows mine I strike, my katana swiping down towards his skull. He dodges out of the way by rolling and as his roll finishes he cracks his whip and it furls itself around my ankle. He gives a sharp pull and I go sprawling to the dirt, my katana slipping out of my grasp. Damn! He’s better then I thought! No matter. He will not prevail over me!
I’m back on my feet before he can follow up on his advantage. He swings his rope and dart towards me but I jump forward, in front of the darts target range, and grab the middle of the rope.
He growls in surprise and I tug the rope forward and he’s pulled along with it. I slam my elbow into his face and he falls to the dirt. The other Careers watching let out cheers.
“Get him a body bag!” One of them shouts as I pull one of my daggers out and leap in for the killing blow.
He rolls out of the way and I slam into the dirt. While I’m on my knees he cracks the whip towards me and the thin black leather lashes across my face. A flash of white and then blinding pain hits me and I roll to the ground as Kodai (5) mounts me, his hands gripping around my neck.
My supply of air is cut off. I gasp and in the effort lose more of my oxygen. I attempt to shake myself loose but Kodai is equally strong as I am, his grip remains steadfast. His face, filled with grim determination drives me to insanity. He should not be able to best me! No one can!
In my fury I recall the second dagger in my belt and in one fluid movement I pull it out and jam it into his liver.
His grip loosens as he lets out a scream of pain. I waste no time in regaining my breath and throw him off and plant a fist into his chest. He gasps and then I have him.
I punch him in the face, once, twice, three times, four times, five times, I lose track as I wail on him, beating him utterly senseless.
I don’t stop until I have taken out all of my fury. His face is bloody and bruised but he still lives. His chest moves up and down as he draws short ragged breaths. I turn and let out a victorious roar.
No one can stop me! I am Dragon Lord! I am the one who survived past death! I am immortal!
Ryan’s (4) voice reaches me and I turn to see that the fire has reached the clearing. The trees are blazing and thick dark smoke begins to fill the air. Hmph. Time to get moving.
I pick up my fallen katana and then drive it into Kodai’s chest. He lets out a howl of pain and then he goes silent as the blood from the wound begins to stain his shirt. Boom!
I would like to mutilate him, to take his face as my prize, but there is no time. The fire would be upon me. Instead, I pull my weapon out and face my allies.
“Get moving! We need to get out of here!”
Soot Dustcloud (District 12)
The fire…the smoke…my asthma... Hell no!
My foot catches on a root and I spiral to the ground. I hit hard and then begin to cough and hack violently as the smokes fills my lungs. No, no, no!
I struggle to my feet but the coughing continues to rack my body and I shudder and fall back to my knees. I can’t fall here. I have too many people depending on me; my allies, my District and most importantly, my family. I can’t fail them. The thought of the smiling faces of my family powers me to my feet and I continue forward, hacking and heaving.
Somewhere to my right a tree falls and shoots embers into the air as my smoke clouds my lungs. I struggle to keep moving but keep moving I do. I can just see the trees begin to thin when something slams into my back and I hit the ground. I feebly roll over and I’m lucky because at that same moment an axe embeds itself into the ground where I was previously lying.
Kingsley (13) pulls the weapon out of the ground and jeers at me.
“How adorable! The little boy is being placated by a some smoke!”
Somehow, someway, these words, which infuriate me, also give me strength. I climb to my feet as he watches with a sneer on his face. When I’m back on my feet I grip my staff tightly in one hand and then strike it across his face.
He staggers backwards in surprise and then I swing it into his gut and he bends over in pain. I take the staff in both hands and with all my strength and smash it over the back of his head, knocking him to the ground.
Now he’s dead! Or just knocked out. I don’t know. He could be dead.
I turn and run away, my asthma temporarily forgotten in my rage comes back and I start coughing again as I run.
Daisy Lilac (District 11)
I can hear the shouts of my allies behind me as the fire cackles and roars. The forests edge is nearing and I know we can get to somewhere safe once we’re there. Wario (3), who is in front of the group, is nearing the edge when I spot something moving towards him. I give a shout of warning and he hears it just in time to duck as a spear goes hurtling over his head.
Astrid (1) growls in fury at her weapon missing and turns to me as I near. She grabs another spear and I ready my body to dodge when an arrow flies over my shoulder and embeds itself right into Astrid’s forehead.
The girl drops her spear and hits the ground hard. I spin around in surprise and see Shade (7) reloading his crossbow. Wow….
“Th-thanks,” I tell him as both of us make it to the outskirts of the forest and Astrid’s cannon rings throughout the arena. Boom!
“Where are the others?” He asks me and Wario (3), whose dropped to the ground in exhaustion. He shrugs and I point forward as several more figures emerge from the burning woods. Alicia (9), Hunter (9), Blade (6) and behind all of them, the staggering form of Soot (12), who barely makes it to the edge before collapsing and having a violent fit of coughing.
“Get him!” Shade (7) instructs Blade (6) and Wario (3) who both go and lift him up, dragging him along.
“Where’s Kodai?” I ask as I realize his absence.
“He…stayed behind to hold them back,” Shade murmurs, his face a model of sadness. “You mean he’s….”
I trail off, lost for words. Kodai…dead. Is it even possible?. I guess. It's now his second death...
Suddenly Alicia (9) gives a shout of surprise and we all turn around in time to see Jerica (2) chucking a throwing axe straight towards Wario (3), Soot (12) and Blade (6). We barely have time to shout a warning before the axe digs itself into Soot’s belly and he falls down, screaming in agony.
Alicia (9) tackles Hunter (9) to the ground in effort to protect him, Wario (3) and Blade (6) shout in surprise and drop to Soot’s side, Shade (7) lets out a yell and I join him in charging Jerica(2) who turns and flees and I have just enough sense to pull Shade back. She’ll only lead us straight to the other Careers and our deaths.
We return to Soot’s side and watch him as he twitches and moans, his voice paling. Another one. We lost another ally….
Blade’s (6) shout catches me by surprise.
“The Instant Relief! Use the Instant Relief!”
Shade (7) rips Soot’s bag open and upon finding the life saving medicine, removes the axe from Soot’s body, and quickly injects it into him.
“As soon as he’s healed we have to get going,” Shade (7) says quietly, the pain from Kodai’s death still fresh on his face. “We need to find a good base. From there we can plot our next move”
Hybrid Three (District 7)
I slink through the shipyard slowly. Keeping all of my senses on high alert. I have a bad feeling that many tributes are lurking about. I can’t let them get the drop on me. I have to have the element of surprise on my side.
The sound of voices suddenly catches me by surprise and I peer around the broken edge of a ship that lies near the platform to get a better look.
The alliance of Bella (10), Varina (9), and Watt (3) is sitting about only twenty feet away, speaking to Darker (11).
What’s going on here? Are they allying? If so then they have just made themselves serious contenders. I need to eliminate or evade them.
I begin to pull my new throwing knives out of my belt but my mind begins to whir and I put them back as I feel another personality begin to take control, the District 4 one, the one that makes me just feel like beating people up close and personal. I tighten my grip on my hammer and watch the new alliance carefully. Darker (11) takes the lead, followed by Varina (9) and Watt (3). Bella (10) stands at the back, her bow and arrows in hand. Obviously she’s supposed to be their long ranged fighter, keeping any attackers at bay.
They begin to head my way and the gears in my head begin to spin as I think of a plan. I can’t just run. The metal platform would echo my footsteps and bring not only them, but also everyone else in the area running. No…I need to stand my ground.
They’re getting close to the turn now and soon they’ll see me. I slip a dart out of my pocket and loft it into the air, over the ship and onto the walkway behind them. The metal clanking distracts them and I jump out.
Varina (9) screams in horror at the sight of me and I swing my hammer forward, right into Darker’s right knee.
I can hear the bone crunching and breaking as the metal hammer smashes through it and Darker (11) lets out one of the most horrible screams I’ve ever heard, as his knee gets absolutely demolished.
I raise my weapon for another shot when Bella (10) pulls her bow up and fires a quick arrow.
It goes straight ahead and slams into my stomach. I gasp in pain and drop the hammer, backing off.
My hands go to cover the now bleeding wound. I gasp in pain and horror. I…lost. I fall backwards into the water
Bella Mustang (District 10)
Hybrids’ cannon sounds and I sling my bow over my back and check on Darker, who’s writhing on the floor, screaming in agony as he clutches his completely deformed knee. I bend down to help but as soon as I touch his leg he howls and pushes me away.
“DON’T TOUCH IT! Don’t touch it!”
Varina (9) shuts her eyes and covers her ears and Watt (3) stares on in astonishment as I frown in worry. I have no idea how to help him. This type of wound is far beyond my capacity to heal. I’m a hunter, not a doctor.
He continues to writhe in pain and scream his head off. Watt (3) turns away and even I feel a little sick looking at how grotesquely bent his leg and knee is. Is this wound fatal? I have no idea but I know that he can’t continue to shout like that without alerting someone to our presence.
I pull out my bow and stand guard as he continues to scream his head off. I feel guilty that I have no way to help him but already another thought is coming into my head, a less compassionate one.
I back off from the scene and motion for Watt (3) to come join me.
“What is it?” she asks quietly.
“I think we should cut him loose,” I say jerking a thumb towards Darker (11) where he finally gets a look at his own leg and how messed up it is. Immediately his eyes roll up into his head and he passes out in shock.
“What…what do you mea?” Watt seems to know exactly what I mean but I answer anyways.
“We can either leave him here, or we kill him. He’s not of much use to us as is and besides, he can’t win with us. We don’t need any extra weight with us” Even to myself my words sound cruel and heartless, after all, this boy just helped us take out Hybrid and now I’m advocating his death. But this is the Hunger Games and it’s kill or be killed.
“No” Watt answers my question firmly. "We’re not going to kill him. We owe him. We won’t desert him either. He’s in our alliance now and we need to help him”
I sigh as I realize that she’s right. Varina (9) will agree with her as well. Whether I like it or not Darker is one of us now and that means we can’t just kill or leave him.
“But what do we do about his leg? It’s gonna be hard to heal”
“Well, we’re not going to desert him when he needs us most,” Watt (3) says firmly and I smile. She’s inspiring. Humanity within a sea of cruelty and death…. I’m glad I have her as an ally.
“Fine. I’ll stand guard while you two watch over him. I’ll make sure no one gets the drop on us again”
They nod and move over towards the injured boy as I pace down the walkway, scanning all of the nearby boats and ships. I wonder what all of the other tributes are doing…
Austin Aitken (District 1)
We silently sit staring out at the burned forest, still smoking from the fire. The whole thing is gone, turned to ash and dust. Our fire did its’ job. No longer will the others have it as a place of concealment.
It’s not all good though. The only tribute we killed from it was Kodai and we lost both Astrid and Kingsley, who we assume was the charred body a hovercraft pulled out of the inferno. We won’t know for sure until The Fallen plays tonight though. “I can’t believe you didn’t wait for us to return!” Zia (4) growls at Jerica.
“I already told you! It was Astrid, not me! She was the one who started the fire! I wanted to wait!”
Zia opens her mouth to say more but I interrupt.
“Let it go. It doesn’t matter to us anymore. It’s over”
Even though I say this I don’t exactly believe Jerica. I know Astrid wouldn’t have wanted to start that blaze prior to our go ahead. But that’s over now. It doesn’t matter who did it and fighting about it will just cause more trouble for all of us. Zia glares at me but I ignore her and walk over to Ryan, who’s polishing his trident. He looks up in surprise as I sit beside him.
“You want to be in our alliance?”
“Huh? Aren’t we already in an alliance?”
“Yes. But I mean the final four Victors. I already have Glique with me….” I trail off thinking about Astrid’s untimely death but then shake my head to clear the thoughts. What’s done is done. “Add you and we have one All-Star and two new tributes. We can go all the way”
He thinks about it for a few minutes and then nods.
“Fine by me. Final three”
We shake hands and then I turn to examine the other four remaining Careers, Dragon (1), Jerica (2), Swatty (4) and Zia (4).
They’re not in our group and they don’t know that, but if they did learn about it…things could go badly. They might turn on us and then we’d be forced into a fight that wouldn’t end well for anyone, except for all of the non-Careers. I don’t want that to happen. So I won’t plan anything that would ostracize them. But at the same time…they’re distinct threats. If they go unchecked for too long something bad could result from it. I also feel like that maybe I should try to get one of the All-Stars on my side, to make us four again. Ah! I shouldn’t try to figure this out right now, it can wait.
I call to the others and begin to lead them back to the cornucopia.
Willow Firethorn (District 7)
We walk along the path that leads through the serene meadow. The flowers give off such a gorgeous smell and look absolutely stunning. This place would be wonderful if it hadn’t been made by the Capitol, which makes this place disgusting to me. Everything they touch is evil.
“There’s a pond!” Dome (8) comments pointing out the small pond nearby. It’s serene, looking just like something out of a picture book.
“Think its safe to drink?” I ask him.
“Probably. Let me see”
To my shock he crouches down beside the water edge, cups his hands to get some water, and drinks it. He swallows and then smiles at me.
“Idiot! What would you have done if it was poisoned!?”
He shrugs. “I assume I’d have died”
I stare at him for a few seconds and then I laugh at his stupid joke. It doesn’t last long though, as Cashmere (8) sidles up from behind me. I don’t like that girl. All day she has been sporadically making allusions to how much I hate the Capitol while at the same time talking about how much she loves them. It’d be so much easier to tell her to shut up if it weren’t true. But it is. I do hate the Capitol. More then anything. I despise them and want everyone who supports them dead. I’m glad that Cashmere doesn’t know the extent of my hatred or she’d really have a field day with that.
“I think what you did was smart!” She crows to Dome who smiles. “We needed to make sure that the water was drinkable, and who else would do such a daring thing? Certainly not Willow”
She throws a haughty look my way and I scowl at the manipulative bitch. She has an angle I just don’t know exactly what it is.
I open my mouth to say something when another voice fills the air.
“Come on guys! It won’t be far now. We’ll find food soon”
I recognize that voice! Piper and her allies!
We all turn to try and get under cover when they suddenly push through the flowers and appear.
The red-haired girl gives s small squeak of shock at our appearance and then Gloom (11) leaps out towards Dome (8) and swings a hatchet towards his skull. Dome dodges and then parries another strike. I move to go help him but Piper (13) steps between us and swings the sword towards me.
I duck the blade and then slash one of my two throwing axes forward but she backs off and turns to run. I ready to send it whizzing into her back when something sharp pricks my shoulder and I scream as pain stings through me. I drop the axe and fall to my knees.
I hear Dome (8) shout and then a shout of pain and someone hitting the ground.
“Willow! Are you okay?!”
He’s beside me now, a bloody hatchet in his hands.
“I-I’m fine. It took me by surprise. That’s all”
Its’ the truth, the pain in my shoulder has subsided drastically. Just then another cannon booms and I look around to see Gloom lying flat on his back, a large red gash across his neck. Dome must have taken him out.
“I’m sorry! I’m so sorry!”
Cashmere (8) comes running over, blubbering like a baby. I’m surprised and confused by this. Sorry for what?
“Why did you shoot her?” Dome (8) growls.
“Wait! She shot me?”
I place a hand over my shoulder and feel the bloodstained arrow still embedded in my shoulder. That little conniving…
“It was an accident!” Cashmere (8) cries. “Honest! I was aiming for Piper but missed! I’d never want to hurt either of you!”
Dome’s expression softens considerably but I keep my glare fixated on the girl. I bet she missed all right! Miss my skull! She was aiming to kill me, I’m sure of it!
“It’s all right,” I grunt as Dome (8) helps me to my feet and works on removing the arrow. “I’m not dead” Yet.
Cashmere (8) breathes a sigh of relief, probably thinking I actually bought her stupid story, Dome may have, but I haven’t. I don’t trust her. Dome readies himself to pull the arrow out and I grit my teeth as he does so.
“It should be fine,” He comments after pulling the weapon out and examining the wound. “It shouldn’t get infected as long as we keep it clean”
I nod. Good to know. We strip Gloom of his supplies, which is absolutely nothing but his hatchet, and then move on to find a better campsite
Annabeth March (District 3)
I sit on my perch atop the rocks that pile around the cove. Earlier today we watched as the Careers marched past and then the forest started on fire and a plethora of cannons came.
Obviously this meant that the Careers were hunting and things were getting dangerous. A few hours ago the Careers passed us again on their way back and I noted that they were two less, meaning they had lost two comrades. Good. Percy (4) also noticed that his sister was still among them. He went silent at the sight of her and that’s when he suggested that I go up here to keep a lookout. Once things settle down a bit we will begin our search for water that we need. I’m thinking that maybe we should go now and I begin to climb down when I see something off in the distance of the shipyard. It’s white and is moving fast. I peer closer at it and then recoil in shock.
It’s a boat!
I give a shout of warning and pull my bow up and fire an arrow towards the driver but it deflects off of the windshield and falls aside uselessly.
“Percy! Get out of the cove! NOW!”
I hear him give a shout of surprise as he spots the boat and I fire another arrow towards the ship, this time striking the engine at the back. It begins to smoke and the driver flings himself out of the ship and into the water. The boat continues full speed towards the cove.
I leap off of the rocks and hit the sand of the beach and begin to sprint. Percy (4) blows by me and we’re both sprinting away when the boat collides with the cove. I hear the explosion and then I’m thrown forward.
I hit the ground hard and roll before coming to a stop. I hear nothing except the ringing of my ears.
I struggle to my feet and look around. Smoldering wreckage lies all over the place, some of it burning. A boat propeller lies not a foot away and I’m lucky that it didn’t impale me. Acidic smoke hangs in the air as I pull myself to my feet and stumble forward in search of Percy.
Pieces of the boat lie all over the place and once again I have to count myself lucky that I didn’t wind up dead. But what about Percy?
I scan the area, once, twice, three times, and I still don’t see him. Not until I nearly stumble over his prone body do I see him. I let out a gasp of sorrow, certain that he is dead, when he twitches and sits up.
“Abeth?” He asks groggily.
The ringing in my ears begins to fade and I smile as he dusts himself off and climbs to his feet.
“Yu okay?” He asks and I nod.
“I’m fine…but it was a close call”
He squeezes his eyes tight, as if trying to recall something then opens them again.
“What happened to the boater?”
“Jumped overboard. I think they survived”
He nods and then picks up his fallen trident from the ground. It’s a little blackened from the explosion but otherwise fine. I check on my own weapons and am disappointed to see that several of them have broken, leaving me with only six remaining.
We recover from the effects of the explosion for a few moments and then we head off towards the burned forest.
Cassandra Oracion (The Capitol)
Tucked away neatly in the cargo bay of the ship I’ve been hiding in I hug my knees. Four cannons have sounded and I’m getting paranoid that people are going to start searching for me. They know about my visions and I’m worried they’ll view me as a threat because of it.
I don’t think I’m any sort of threat though. Especially not to any alliance! Yes, I’ve received some much-needed food and a dagger from my sponsors but I’m still not threatening. The one thing I don’t have is water and I’ve tried to use my visions to get a glimpse of a water source but so far no luck. All I’ve seen are empty areas that I’ve taken to mean as safe areas. This ship is one of those areas. I’m terrified still though, of all the water that surrounds me. My fear of it is nowhere near as big as the last time I competed in the Games but I still can hardly bring myself to look at it, which is one reason I’m in the cargo hold.
I’m thinking about what my next move will be. During the entirety of my last Games and the beginning of these, I haven’t done much more then survive, just trying to avoid everyone else. But maybe I should start thinking beyond that. Maybe I should try to be more proactive? Or would that only result in my death? After all, the reason I died before was because Hunther went the feast and brought back a bag stuffed with a bloodthirsty monkey that went on to rip my face apart.
I don’t know what I should do…
Dawn Olive (The Capitol)
As we wander through the empty pumpkin patch I take note of all the empty posts. They seem like the sort of posts that would normally hold scarecrows but there’s nothing on them, they’re all empty.
I try bringing this up to Dusk (C) but he tells me it isn’t anything and I drop the matter as we have more important things to worry about, such as food and water.
“We could possibly eat a pumpkin I guess,” I murmur staring at one of the large orange vegetables. Or are they fruit? I have no idea. “There’s corn right over there!” Dusk (C) mutters pointing out the large cornfield just to our right. Oh. “What we really need is water”
“Couldn’t we just drink the juice from a pumpkin?” I ask.
Dusk (C) rolls his eyes like I said something stupid. Maybe I did. I have no idea. I’m not good at this survival stuff. Instead of thinking about it I just follow him over to the corn and we shove several stalks into our belts before continuing on further into the sea of corn.
Hybrid Three (District 7)
Shivering from the cold I watch the sun disappear behind the horizon and the moon as it rises above the clouds. I can’t believe I’m still alive.
Bella’s arrow hit me hard in the stomach and I fell into the water. I thought they would put another arrow into me when suddenly a cannon rang out, one that wasn’t for me. They left me be and I silently swam away, holding my bleeding stomach as I went.
I’ve managed to pull myself onto this boat and now I’m resting here. My wound has stopped bleeding and is rather clean thanks to the water, but I’m still worried that it might become infected and it hurts like hell.
I grimace as the pain kicks up again and I look at the door that leads out from the cabin I’m in, and onto the deck of the boat. Luckily for me I had switched to the District 7 mind as I swam and once I got on the boat I quickly set my net trap up on the deck to prevent anyone from sneaking up on me.
I don’t know what to do from here. I can rest here for the day but then what? I briefly think about how the Gamemakers might not want me to rest, that they want me dead and I’m sure they were disappointed when the alliance left me for dead without actually killing me. But I can’t do anything about that. They’ve been working to kill me from day one and I’ve just been lucky to survive this long. I lay my head down to rest when I hear the first strains of the Anthem and pull myself over to the window, where I can see the sky.
The face of Astrid (1) appears and I nod. A Career down is always a good thing. She’s followed by maniacal grin of Kodai (5). Hmm. A Career and Anti-Career both dead. The third face is Gloom’s (11) and I don’t really remember anything about him besides that he was the new tribute boy from District 11. The final face to show is another Career, Kingsley (13) and then the seal is back in place for a minute before the sky goes dark again.
I sit staring at the sky in silence, doing nothing but thinking.
Rufus Silks (District 8)
I watch the sleeping shapes of my allies as they lie. Ella (2) is snoring and her mouth is slightly ajar. The other two, Vlad and Vivan, are a little further away, sleeping soundly. Officially, I’m not on guard duty. That’s Marcia (7). But I rarely sleep, usually staying up until the wee hours of the morning. I usually keep an eye on the supplies, making sure nobody tampers with them. So far that hasn’t been a problem. Until now.
Marcia (7) sneaks over to our pile and casts a suspicious glance all of us. I shut my eyes and pretend to be asleep when her gaze slides over me and then I open them again as she bends over the food supply and pulling some out, she stuffs it into her backpack.
Oh? Planning on deserting are we? Mayhap she’s upset with her friends’ death? Frankly, that was unpleasant business but very necessary. I gave Amaryllis a simple task. Kill Exolian.
But did she do it? No! She had to be all self-righteous and refuse a direct order. Now…I can’t have a disobedient ally, not when the only reason I have allies at all is for them to follow orders. If she couldn’t even bring herself to kill a weakling, how can I expect her to be of help in a fight? No. She was weak and needed to be taken out. It was an act of kindness, really. I had her killed before someone else, like the Careers or Anti-Careers did it.
Marcia (7) pulls out a vial and pours a clear liquid over the food supply. That backstabbing weasel! Does she truly believe she will get away with this?
She turns to run off. She’s passing me when I kick my feet out and she goes tripping over them, shouting in surprise.
I’m on my feet and snatching her fallen axe away before she can even react. She looks up at me with scared eyes as I shout a warning to the others. They wake up immediately and she attempts to get back onto her feet but I plant a foot into her back and she goes back to the ground.
“She!” I point at Marcia as the others crowd around me, surprised expressions on their faces and weapons in their hands. “Poisoned our food and attempted to run off. How should we punish her?”
“Rip her throat out!” Ella (2) snarls furiously and I smile at the fearful expression that forms on Marcia’s face.
“Hold her up!”
Vlad (10) grabs her from behind and hoists her up. She attempts to kick away but Vlad is far too strong for her and she’s held in place as I slide brass knuckles onto my fist.
“Did you think we wouldn’t notice?” I ask, regarding her coldly. “That we would just let you go?”
“How did you know?!” She asks, still trying to shake free from Vlad’s grip.
“I’m an insomniac,” I smile and then with my brass fist I punch her in the stomach. She grunts in pain and then I throw another punch, this time to her kidneys. She slides to the ground but Vlad holds her up so I can continue the beating. A soft moan escapes her as I land another punch to her chest.
“You could have lived, you know,” I say as I continue to throw punches. “I had no reason to kill you. You and I were the only new tributes in this alliance. You could have lived”
She continues sobbing in pain and I land a punch straight to her jaw. Several teeth come flying out and I hear the crunch of bone.
I nod at Vlad to let her go and she sinks to the ground, her body bruised and bloodied from my punches.
“She was a moron,” I tell the others as we all stare at her, now convulsing from the many blows I dealt her. “No one betrays me and gets away with it. No one”
They all nod in understanding, my meaning clear. Betray me and pay.
I tell them all to gather their weapons and get ready to go. I strip the backpack off of Marcia’s shoulders. The only non-poisoned food left is in there. I instruct the others to leave and I begin walking off when I turn to take one last look at her.
She’s lying on the ground, soft moans escaping from her lips. She’ll be dead by dawn.
“You could have been a Victor,” I tell her. “But now you’re just another corpse” With these words I turn and stalk off into the darkness.
Day 4/ Explosion
Hybrid Three (District 7)
The splashing sound of someone exiting the water wakes me and then there’s a shout of surprise and something hitting the ground as my net trap successfully entangles whoever just boarded my ship.
Seems like they wanted to get the drop on me, but things didn’t quite go as planned. Well, well, I’m about to make things even worse for them! I grab my throwing knives and then charge out of the cabin onto the deck. The boy from District 3, Wario I believe was his name, is tangled up in my net. I aim to send a knife into his neck when someone shouts.
“No! Don’t! Stop!”
The other boy from my District, the leader of the Anti-Careers, Shade, is pleading with me. Besides him stands his younger brother Blade (6)
“Why?” I ask directly. “Why shouldn’t I just kill you all?”
“Because we didn’t come here to kill you”
“Then why waste the effort hunting me down?” I challenge, staring into the boy’s eyes. I expect to find unease or dishonesty but am surprised to see both of those traits absent. He nods his head slowly as if recognizing my confusion then speaks.
“We wanted to talk. Well, I wanted to talk. I wanted to know more about you. What’s your cause?”
These words are suspicious. Why would anyone care for my past or me? Let alone this boy and his alliance? Despite my misgivings, I tuck my knives back into my belt and sit down on a crate. I can tell he’s truthful and means me no harm. Might as well tell him all he wishes to know. It can’t hurt me.
“If you insist, I will tell you”
As Wario (3) untangles himself from the net trap I begin to recount my life’s story.
“When I was a baby, only three days old to be exact, Capitol scientists began experimenting on me. I was the third test subject, hence my surname being “Three”. The experiment was to put the thoughts of dead tributes into the minds of living people. Why? I don’t know. Whatever reason they gave was probably phony. They failed with the previous two but succeeded with me. I have the thoughts and memories of five dead tributes in my head. At any moment one of them could take control and I would suddenly have the skills and abilities of them. That’s both a blessing and a curse”
I can tell that I have their full attention now by the way they’re staring at me in wonder and amazement. I continue.
“After my success they began creating more and more experiments, pretty much forgetting about me along the way. Eventually I escaped from the labs and made my way to District 7 where I found a home that welcomed me. I lived like a normal person for a while and then I began to notice people following me around. They were from the Capitol obviously. I began organizing a protest that would present some solid facts against the Capitol and reveal there inhumane experiments. But…the protest was scheduled for the day after the Reapings. We all know what happened there. They rigged the Reaping for my name to be called and now they think they have me trapped. They’re wrong. I’m going to win, I’m going to get my vengeance on them, and I’m going to help those effected by similar experiments!” I finish my story and look around at the three people and they all stare at me in silence for a few moments. Then Wario speaks.
“Uh. No offense. But you’re crazy”
I shrug. Maybe I am. My other personalities sure make me feel like I’m crazy sometimes.“Aren’t we all a little crazy?” I ask.
“No. No we’re not”
“Will you help us?” Shade (7) suddenly asks and I’m taken back by surprise. So this is why he came to me, for my help. Well, I‘ve already entrusted him with the story of my past, I’ll help him in some task.
“Fine. With what?”
“The Careers. The Careers are dangerous and we need to find a way to make their lives a living hell”
I nod slowly. True. With all of the supplies the cornucopia gifts them they won’t be hurting for nourishment or weapons anytime soon, making them the almost surefire favorites to win these …
I offer my hand and we shake on it. I gather my remaining supplies and then I follow them off of the ship and towards their current base, where Shade says we will finalize our plan and then execute it.
Percy Grace (District 4)
“Why are we going back to the cove?” Annabeth (3) asks me as we walk back onto the wreckage filled beach. I faintly recall how that boat explosion rocked the area last night and nearly killed both of us. It was dangerous, but I know that no one will think to look for us here, not after the first attack. They will have expected us to move on.
“We need a safe location,” I remind her as we reach the entrance to the cove. “And this is the best place for that”
She mutters something that I don’t catch and then begins to poke around the remains of the speedboat as I check the structural integrity of the rocks. Everything looks to be in decent shape and I tell Annabeth so. She only grunts and continues looking through the wreckage. I sit myself down in the back of the cove. It’s certainly less roomy with the still smoking boat remains but that same boat will discourage anyone from looking in here. I know I wouldn’t think to look for anyone hiding in here.
“What do we do from here?” Annabeth asks as she pulls a large pipe out from the boat.
Ryan Marine (District 4)
I’m sitting on a crate shoving crackers into my mouth when Austin (1) calls for us all to gather. I push the box of crackers into my backpack and then casually join the others in the center of the platform.
“What’s the plan?” Glique (1) asks as I arrive.
“We’re going to going to make a poisonous gas go into the swamp,” Austin (1) responds. “Well, most of us are. You and Ryan are going to pull out the lands mines and pile them up in the mouth of the cornucopia”
I’m not too sure about this plan. Putting explosive mines in the middle of all our supplies? Does that sound like a good idea? Austin thinks about this and the moves most of the supplies over to one of the walkways.
The others begin to go collect the items they will bring with them on the hunt and I begin to walk over to help Glique pull out the mines when someone taps me on the back and I turn to see Swatty.
“Oh…hi there,” I say uncertainly wondering what she wants. I haven’t really ever spoke with her before. Usually I’m talking to Austin or just following orders.
“I know about your alliance”
Her words aren’t spoken harshly, there’s not underlying threat in them. She just said it in a matter-of-fact tone. And that’s what makes it so menacing.
I’m suddenly fearful that this could be the end of us, me, Austin and Glique. Is this apart of their plan? Are the other three cornering them right now? No. Looking around I see that the others are still collecting their weapons. “Do the others know?” I ask quietly, knowing that outright denying it at this point would be useless. She knows and lying would just put me in more danger.
“I don’t know. Maybe. We haven’t talked about it”
Yet. I can hear the unsaid word as clearly as if she had shouted it. It’s a concealed threat. That she could alert the others at any moment. Is that what they’re going to do once they and Austin go to the swamp? Will they kill him and pass it off as Rufus and his gang? And then what? Kill Glique? Me?
“What do you want?” I demand, angry at being outplayed like this.
“Pretend you’re still with them but really work with me. Get information and pass it along,” She smiles sweetly as if she’s not asking for something as sinister as betraying people who trust me.
“Why should I?” I ask in a low voice and she starts in surprise at my refusal. Obviously she was expecting me to give in immediately. Well, I won’t. She moves her gaze up and down, scanning me from every angle, before speaking again.
“Do you really think you can beat Dragon? He’ll kill you and not quickly. You saw what he did to Woody”
I bite my lip as her words sink in. I did see what he did to Woody. What he would gladly do to me if he got the chance. I can’t let that happen. I won’ t make my parents and Brian have to witness that.
“Do…you have plans for eliminating Dragon?”
“NO! Of course not!” She snaps at me then her facial expression changes as she thinks of something. “Wait…does your alliance?”
“No!” I backtrack quickly as she misinterprets what I meant. “We don’t have plans to kill any of you. We just were making a safety net alliance”
“Good. Tell me if things change”
She stalks off towards the others going on the hunting mission and I sigh at the difficult position I’m now in. She doesn’t know it, but her comment about not taking out Dragon made it impossible for me to trust her. She’s an All-Star, Dragon’s an All-Star, and I’m an All-Star. Only two of us can win. And if she won’t kill Dragon who does that leave out? Me. She has no plans of winning with me and is simply using me to further her own goals.
As I watch her and the others head off down the walkway, I can’t help but hope that she doesn’t return with them.
Shade Spectrus (District 7)
As our group we rejoin the others of our alliance, Daisy (11), Alicia (9), Hunter (9), and Soot (12), at our base. They gawk at Hybrid (7) and his strange appearance for a minute then they snap to attention as I speak.
“This is Hybrid,” I gesture towards the boy and he shies his face away from all the attention. “He’s going to help us today”
“What are we doing?” Alicia (9) asks with a protective look towards Hunter.
“We’re going to find the Careers camp and trash it if possible” I respond and the others murmur to themselves as this sinks in. I wait for them to finish before giving orders.
“We’ll all be heading to the out. Except for Soot and—”
He interrupts me with an indignant grunt but I cut him off and tell him that’s he’s still recovering from yesterdays ordeal and in no condition to fight today. He reluctantly relents and I go back to my plans.
“Soot will remain here along with Alicia and Hunter. Everyone else gather your things. We move in fifteen”
Everyone begins to move and I head over towards Daisy. There’s one last thing I have to do before we head out.
“Daisy?” I call out.
“Yes?” She looks towards me with a happy look. Before I began connecting with her, I had rarely ever seen her happy but now it seems that she’s always in a good mood.
“I. Uh. Need to tell you something”
“Yes?” She looks to me with excited eyes and I feel bad knowing what she thinks I’m about to tell her is the opposite of what I’m really going to say. I sigh. This is going to be difficult to tell her, especially since my own feelings for her are present.
“Daisy I-I know that you…love me. And those feelings are reciprocated. But I can’t have love here. Not in these Games where death comes first. It’s impossible and will almost always end in tragedy. I…I don’t want to say this. But we can’t be together here. I hope you understand”
Her eyes gloss over and I feel my heart lurch as a tear slides down her cheek.
“I understand. I understand completely”
I smile sadly. I knew she would. I lean in and kiss her. Our first and possibly last kiss. It’s long and almost magical. When we break apart her tears are gone and her face is firm.
“If we both survive,” She says firmly. “We can be together”
“Yes. If we survive we can be together”
We stare into each other’s eyes for a moment then I turn and walk away. Soon Blade (6) is beside me and I know he wants to know what happened but he respects me too much to ask. I decide to tell him.
“I told Daisy that we can’t be together. Not here in the arena”
He nods understandingly. “Musta been hard”
“It was. But it’s the best thing to do. One can’t have relationships in the arena” He nods again.
“What about family?”
I smile at him. “I’m not going to tell you that you we can’t be brothers” The absurdity of this statements makes us both break out laughing and I clap him on the back. “Go get your stuff,” I tell him. “We move out soon. Oh. And don’t worry. I plan on the both of us coming out of these Games alive”
Dawn Olive (The Capitol)
My body is yearning for water. I haven’t had a drop to drink for far too long and my body is beginning to droop and slow down as we walk through the cornfield. We’re completely surround by food but there’s no water in sight.
Dusk (C) leads me through the maze of corn and I feel myself dropping further and further behind with every step. I’m too exhausted and thirsty to keep up with him any longer. Sensing my exhaustion he turns and pulls me along. We are just pushing through some corn when he bounces into something and I look up in surprise. A scarecrow stands before us, a silver scythe shining menacingly in its’ hand. I open my mouth to scream and Dusk steps back in horror when it moves. It’s hand swings forward and Dusk has no time to react before the blade of the scythe is ripping through his neck. His head goes flying off of his body and I let out a scream of terror as I turn and run. Boom!
Straight into another scarecrow!
I bounce off and hit the ground as it moves towards me. More of them come slinking out of the corn that surrounds me and I let out a high-pitched scream as one of them raises its scythe and brings it down onto my head.
Vlad Rockford (District 10)
My alliance moves through the thick swamp, avoiding the pools of water out of trepidation at what could lurk underneath.
A few minutes prior to that cannon, a previous one had rang out and we assume that one of the two belongs to Marcia, who surely must be dead by now. The blows Rufus dealt to her were certainly fatal and she could not have survived this long. “Stop!” Ella (2) turns and waves her hands at us and we all come to a halt. I crane my neck to listen and through the sounds of croaking frogs and buzzing insects I can hear the faint sound of footsteps.
“Someone is nearby!” Rufus (8) grins pulling his knife out and rubbing his fingers across its edge. I nod and hoist my spear into a better throwing position as Vivan (10) unsheathes her knives.
Prior to this we have had no real altercations with other tributes. We found Exolian injured on the ground and killed two of our worthless allies, but other then that there was nothing noteworthy.
“Should we run?” Vivan (10) asks and after we all shoot her furious looks she shuts up. Ella (2) slowly steps forward and motions for us to follow behind her as she pushes her way through some low hanging vines.
Ella’s shout is followed by the screams of other tributes and I push through the vines eagerly and see the scene.
Alissa (6), Train (6) and Celia (13) are standing there in shock at our sudden appearance. Ella raises a knife to throw when Train (6) pulls his slingshot up and fires.
The small rock travels at a surprisingly fast velocity and it slams right into Ella’s forehead. It creates a large bloody gash and she falls sideways into the pool of murky water.
I stare at her as she disappears into the water and then snap back to attention and see the three of them fleeing.
I throw my spear after them but it gets tangled up in some vines and misses. The three of them escape.
Rufus (8) runs up and begins to unleash a volley of swears and curses. Vivan (10) slides up behind me and raises her eyebrows in a silent question. I motion my head towards the pool Ella fell into and she bites her lips as she realizes what happened. Boom!
“This was NOT supposed to happen!” Rufus (8) growls glaring off in the direction the alliance fled. “We should go after them! Show them that we are not to be trifled with!”
Vivan’s (10) voice is laced with an unusual concern and I turn to see her gazing out at a large purple cloud that is slowly approaching us. That…not good. That looks very deadly.
“Damn it! Everybody run!”
Rufus’ needs only shout once and then all three of us are crashing through the swamp in an effort to escape the cloud.
Austin Aitken (District 1)
Think any of those cannons were from your poison gas?” Zia (4) asks. We unleashed the poison cloud only a dozen minutes earlier and now we’re sitting on the edge of the swamp waiting to see if anyone comes fleeing out this way. So far no one has.
“Maybe,” I grunt. “But it doesn’t matter. Right now we should head back towards the cornucopia and set the mine trap”
Dragon (1) mutters to himself but they all agree and we begin heading back. I know that Dragon doesn’t like these non-physical plans but you need to have brains and brawns to win these Games. You can’t just be a big dumb lug.
Our journey back through the shipyard doesn’t take long and soon enough we’re back at the cornucopia. The others begin to spread out and I approach Glique and Ryan, the former of which who has a very concerned look on his face.
“What’s wrong?” I ask.
“Uh. Swatty. She knows about our alliance. Threatened us”
I grunt and look at the girl as she pokes around the supplies of the cornucopia, pulling out a long curved knife and tucking it neatly into her belt. “Let me speak to her,” I tell them. “Maybe convince her otherwise”
I tell them to join the others on the edge of one of the walkways and approach Swatty. She gives me a curious look as I approach and I speak quietly, making sure no one else overhears.
“I have a deal for you”
“This about your alliance?”
“Yes…But it’s not what you think”
“Spit it out already!”
Man she’s not very people friendly. But I smile anyways and continue. “We lost Astrid yesterday. That means we have an opening for All-Star on our alliance. You can be that All-Star if you want…”
She twirls a lock of her hair around and examines it closely. I’m not sure what she’s considering. This proposition is very lucrative and she has a much better chance of winning with us then she has with Dragon, Zia and Jerica. Finally she looks up and speaks.
“You willing to drop Glique and add Zia?”
Frowning I turn to look at Zia. The girl is whispering something to Jerica and I shake my head slowly.
I can’t do that. I can’t trust Zia. Not only is she always around Jerica and Dragon, but also she has her brother hanging around somewhere and I have a feeling that despite her objections, that she would join with him if given the opportunity. On the other hand, I know I can completely trust Glique.
“No. I can’t do that”
Swatty shrugs and then examines her fingernails as if this was a matter of little importance to her.
“Then I guess we have no deal”
“I guess we don’t,” I agree and she walks off. I sigh. I thought for sure she’d agree. I guess I underestimated her friendship with Zia. I jog over to the rest as they sit on one of the walkways, gazing out at the large pile of mines sitting neatly in the mouth of the cornucopia.
“What now?” Dragon (1) snarls sounding completely annoyed.
“We wait for someone to approach the cornucopia,” I reply. “Then I’ll throw a spear and trigger the mines”
With not much else to do, they all begin to mill around restlessly as I crouch down, waiting for the first person to approach my trap. It may take a while, but this is guaranteed to work.
Varina Tapora (District 9)
I follow behind as Watt (3) and Bella (10) carry the prone body of Darker. As soon as we woke this morning we took him and headed off. The shipyard isn’t a safe place for us and we needed to get out of there as soon as possible. Our journey is uneventful and is uninterrupted until we reach the cove where suddenly two people jump out at us, weapons raised.
Watt (3) shouts just as one of them, a blonde girl pulls her bow and arrows up. They seem to be taken back Watt and she quickly follows upon this.
“We don’t want to fight. We have a injured ally with us”
The two of them seem to consider our words for a minute or two then the boy lowers his weapon and nods his head towards the cove.
“I’ll help you move him inside”
We all go inside of the shelter of the cover where the remains of some boat rests. “Put him down” The boy orders and when they do Darker (11) lets out a loud moan.
“He’s in bad shape,” The girl who I now recognize as Annabeth from District 3 murmurs.
“You might not be able to fix his leg,” The boy, Percy, agrees.
“We don’t plan on fixing it,” Watt (3) says a fierce look on her face as she studies our injured ally.
“Then what do you plan on doing?” They ask.
“We’re going to cut it off”
They exchange dubious looks and even I feel a nervous flutter in my chest. I don’t even know if this will work. It may just end up killing Darker and leaving us with a lot of blood. But we have to try.
Watt pulls her jacket off and immediately ties it around Darker’s leg, making it act like a tourniquet. Darker moans as she does this but doesn’t speak. She pulls out her knife and cuts a piece of my jacket off and stuffs it into Darker’s mouth. “This will hurt,” She warns him and then turns to Percy and Annabeth. “I’m not strong enough to do the cutting. One of you will have to.”
Percy (4) volunteers and Watt hands him the knife and moves to hold Darker down alongside Annabeth. They finish every other little thing and then Percy presses a knife down onto his leg. As soon as the blade cuts into his skin Darker begins to make painful grunting noises and tears slide down from his face. I can’t watch this!
I turn and hurtle out of the cove as they operate. I can still hear Darker, screaming more painfully now as they cut deeper.
I duck behind a rock and am surprised to see Bella (10) besides me.
“Wh-what are you doing?” I ask her, trying as best as I can to ignore the horrible noises coming from within the cove.
“Thought someone would need to stand guard while they worked,” Bella (10) shrugs as he places a foot on a rock. “Figured it might as well be me”
I get the sense that something is bothering her but I can’t figure out what. She stares out blankly at the shipyard, bow in her hands. We sit for a few minutes, the noises from the cove coming out even louder and worse now. Finally I can’t take it anymore.
“What’s wrong?” I blurt out and she turns in surprise.
“I. Nothing’s wrong. I was just thinking”
“About what?” I’m genuinely curious and she shrugs.
“Do you and Watt want me to win with you?”
I can’t believe she’d ask this. She’s my ally and more importantly, my friend. I wouldn’t want to win with anyone else and tell her so.
“Then why are we joined with them?” She asks jerking a thumb towards the cove where Percy and Annabeth sit with Watt.
“To help Darker”
Is my answer but already Bella is shaking her head. “Why are we helping him? Don’t answer. I already know why. But…I can’t help but get the sense that I’m not…needed here”
“Don’t be ridiculous!” I can’t believe she’d think that. “Of course we need you! We can’t win without you. I hope you know that”
She nods slowly and admits that maybe I’m right. She then admits her fears of betrayal to me.
“I can’t trust Percy and Annabeth,” She grunts. “They need me dead for them to win and I know they will stab me in the back when they get the opportunity”
“They’re good people,” I murmur but she shakes her head. “Being a good person outside the arena is one thing. But no one is a good person once they’re inside. I know that”
Of course. Two of her siblings won the Games. I wonder how that felt, watching your brother or sister murder other kids in an effort to stay alive. It must be terrible.
“I’ll ally with them. But I can’t trust them. I just can’t”
She gets up and begins to pace around the beach. The sounds from the cove have died down now and I consider going back inside when the wind shifts and the smell of blood reaches my nose. No. I’ll wait outside here for little longer.
Marcia Callamezzo (District 7)
I stare at the silver parachute that saved my life and send out what has to be at least by hundredth silent thank you to my mentor for being able to secure me the ultra rare, always crucial Instant Relief. I was lying in the middle of the cornfield, dying, when this parachute landed right beside my outstretched hand and I just barely had enough strength left to rip open the package and inject myself with the life saving serum.
I fold the parachute up and tuck it into my belt as I get onto my feet and take a look around. I have to be extremely careful from now on. I have no more allies and can’t risk running into any alliance now. It would be a death sentence for me. After they beat me, Rufus and his cronies took everything I had with the exception of my axe, which I keep close to me. I have this terrible fear that once they realize I didn’t die that they will come for me. And how am I to evade them? And evade them I must because there is no possible way I can fight them, not without getting myself killed.
I get up and begin to wander. Soon I exit the cornfield and enter into the pumpkin patch. The same place where Rufus had Amaryllis executed, where I finished off poor Exolian for Rufus’ benefit. I shudder as I think of this. How I was only a piece in Rufus’ little game and never in control. Now I’m— No. No. I’m still just a piece in someone’s Game, we all are. Even Rufus, who thinks he is above everything. Even he is just an insignificant person in the Capitol’s firm grasp.
As I was thinking this I was wandering through the sun soaked patch in complete silence but now I hear the sound of running and look up in time to see the girl from District 5 speeding towards me.
I shout in alarm and she looks up and gives an equally alarmed shout as we collide. I hit the ground and then bounce back to my feet, axe in hand. The girl is cowering on the ground, shielding her head with both hands. I frown and lower the axe, knowing that there’s no way I can kill her after what I was forced to do to Exolian.
“I…uh…not gonna kill you”
My words come out jumbled but she understands and peeks out from behind her hands, giving me a curious look.
I shrug and sit myself down onto a large pumpkin.
“I don’t know. I need an all I guess. You could be that ally”
I didn’t think these words before saying them. That’s not the real reason but if she wants to align then it’s only more power to me. I need an ally, that much is true.
“Why me?” Again I shrug.
“You’re the only one here”
She nods slowly, rising to her feet and then giving a cautious look around the pumpkin patch. “What happened to your old alliance? Rufus and his gang? Did they all die?”
I bite my lip as I try to think of what to say. I can’t just tell her that I poisoned by allies food and attempted to leave them in the middle of the night. That would not help her in trusting me.
“I…we had a dispute and I left. They thought I died but soon they’ll learn I’m not dead yet”
It’s not the complete truth, but it’s close enough. I smile in what I think is a disarming way at her. She closes her eyes and murmurs something I don’t catch before opening her eyes back up and nodding.
“I…I guess we could ally”
We then have a short talk about what we’ve been doing in the Games so far and we exchange names. Apparently she’s Augusta. I have no idea how I didn’t know that before but I have no recollection of this girl at all. Not her training score or anything. Still, she’s managed to survive this long and that must count for something.
We talk about supplies and the only thing she has is some water and a blanket. I sheepishly hold up my axe and we begin to worry about food when we remember that we’re in a pumpkin patch and the edge of the cornfield is only a few feet away. We’ll have plenty of food.
After we collect some of the corn I sit on a pumpkin and stare out at the shipyard. After my terrible morning where I thought I would die for sure, my day has gone well, and I think that I may once again have a shot of staying alive long enough to get back to my family.
Twix Cinders (District 10)
I can sense the sorrow coming off of Piper (13) with every step. She blames herself for Gloom’s death and as unfair as that is, nothing I say makes her feel any better. The only thing she says now is when she makes plans and tells me that she will do everything in her power to make sure I stay alive.
Suddenly she comes to a halt and I stop beside her. Her green eyes are staring out at something in surprise and I follow them to see the cornucopia, and even better, the supplies that surround it!
The food! The drink! The weapons! We can last for days with all of that! I begin to rush toward the glorious place when Piper’s hand grabs me roughly around the neck and pulls me back.
“Did you forget who guards the cornucopia?” She hisses at me and it slowly dawns. The Careers! Oh man! That was almost a terrible mistake on my part! “Don’t make any noise!”
She releases me and I rub my sore neck as we examine the clearing. There’s no sign of people at all and I begin to get excited. Maybe the Careers are off hunting? Maybe we can sneak in and steal some goodies?
“Piper! Piper no one is here!”
She nods slowly but doesn’t say anything, her eyes swimming from one side to the other. I’m impatient as she checks then double checks and triple checks and checks again. Come on! If we wait too long then they’ll come back! Finally she nods her head and turns to me.
“You stay here,” she says. “I’m going in to get some supplies. If you see anything, anything at all, run away. Don’t fight don’t come help me. Get out of here as quickly as possible. Do you understand?”
I nod my head impatiently, worried that our chance is slipping away. For all we know, the Careers could be headed back this way right now!
Piper (13) gives me a kiss on the head and then moves. She goes stealthily and silently, making hardly any noise as she slips across the clearing. She picks up a backpack and quickly begins to stuff some apples and bread into it. Next she crosses over to a rack of weapons and pulls down several knives and a machete. Finally, she turns to the mouth of the cornucopia and then gives a loud squeal. What?! What did she see?
I crane my neck in an attempt to see what she saw but I can’t see it. I do see something though, something that terrifies me. Behind Piper, coming from one of the walkways, is Austin (1), and in his hand is a spear!
My shout is too late. He throws the spear but not at Piper. It goes right past her and then hits the thing Piper was looking at. At first nothing happens.
Then the world explodes.
An indescribably loud noise blasts the arena and the top of the cornucopia is shot sky high. I’m blasted backwards off of the walkway and I hit the water. I attempt to float to the top when waves, created by the explosion, dunks me back under and I begin to choke on the water that fills my lungs as I’m swept away from Piper and safety.
Zia Grace (District 4)
I don’t know what’s happening. One moment Austin threw the spear, the next the world is shaking and churning and I’m thrown sideways off of the platform into the water. Countless items rain down from the sky and I dive deep beneath the water to avoid getting hit. I think I hear a cannon ring out but my ears are filled with water and the sound is distorted.
Turbulent waves bounce me back and forth but I have enough experience from District 4 to hang on and keep my position in the water. I don’t know how long it lasts before the waves begin to die down. My lungs are screaming for air and I surface.
Numerous items from the cornucopia float around my head burned and blackened from the explosion. I paddle over to the walkway and shakily climb on and immediately trip over Glique (1), who is lying on the ground coughing out water from her lungs.
Behind us Ryan (4) pulls himself onto the walkway. A large gash is across his face, most likely created by one of the falling items.
“I…don’t know what happened,” Glique (1) answers dropping flat on her back. I turn my gaze to the other part of the shipyard and see that several of the nearby ships are now sinking, either having holes created in their sides from debris or because of water from waves logging the decks. I pick up my fallen trident, which luckily got stuck between a crack in the walkway and avoided being swept away.
Austin (1) approaches us, swaying dizzily. A large egg shaped bump is on his head and he collapses to the ground beside Glique. I open my mouth to ask him who triggered the trap and how many people died when a cannon interrupts me. Boom!
“Who was that for?” Austin (1) gasps in surprise. “Only one person triggered the trap”
I get myself ready to scream at him when Glique (1) points behind me with a horrified look on her face. I turn and see exactly who that cannon was for. Swatty lies on the walkway, dead. A metal shard is sticking out from her throat. Shrapnel from the explosion. Oh hell no…
“You stupid son of a bitch!”
Dragon (1) comes shuffling up from the walkway, looking about as enraged as I’ve ever seen him. Austin quickly climbs to his feet as Dragon approaches. I laugh silently to myself. Oh boy this should be good!
“Hold on a minute!” Austin tries to plead as he continues to back off.
“HOLD ON! You stupid little—” He unleashes a barrage of curses and swears, about every single vile word I know and about several I don’t. He continues this for at least two minutes before pointing an accusing finger at the wreckage of all our supplies.
“You blew up our FOOD for ONE measly kill! I should rip your throat out for that!”
“And it killed Swatty” Jerica (2) pipes up as she approaches.
This does it. Dragon completely snaps. He reaches for his dagger, to plunge it into Austin’s heart, when he realizes it’s not on his belt, and then looking around, he sees that none of his weapons are still with him, having lost them in the waves caused by the explosion.
I thought I had seen him as angry as possible, but boy I was wrong! He goes completely psycho crazy bonkers and begins to scream his head off as he pulls his hair and stomps his feet. He goes on to beat his fists against he wreckage. Austin’s lucky that he still has his weapons while Dragon doesn’t or this could have been very ugly for him. I don’t blame Dragon as I even feel like putting an end to that stupid little prat. He killed Swatty! My most trustworthy ally!
Even the supplies we had set away from the cornucopia are gone. Knocked into the water and swept away by the waves. The only things we have left are what’s in our packs and what we’ve managed to keep a hold of.
I call Jerica over to me as the others watch Dragon (1) throw his tantrum. As much as I’d like to do the same, it’s not helping us in the slightest.
“We could be in real trouble,” I say and go on to tell her about Austin and his two allies. We use to have the advantage over them with Swatty but now that she’s dead…it’s three-on-three. What’s worse about this whole divide is that there’s still plenty of other tributes alive, the Anti-Careers for one but many other smaller alliances are out there as well. I'm not going to panic about this, our food may be destroyed, half of our weapons gone, but I’m not done yet. I still have a shot at winning these Games
Dome Citadel (District 8)
“I’m not sure Willow”
“We can’t trust her. She attempted to kill me!”
“Shh! She’ll hear you! Anyways, we don’t know that for certain”
As we walk through the beautiful meadows we discuss Cashmere and what we should do about her. Willow says that we need to either off her or desert her, neither of which I’m very fond of. We don’t even know whether Cashmere actually attempted to shoot Willow or not. She’s just jumping to conclusions here.
“Dome please. We need to get rid of her sooner or later and it might as well be now” Oh boy. She’s right on that. We will have to have her gone for the two of us to win but…I don’t know if I can kill Freya’s sister. Freya helped me tremendously in my Games and I feel like I’d be letting her down if I killed her sister.
“We will,” I tell Willow trying to satiate her for now. “But later. Right now we need all the allies we can get”
She mumbles something and then we hear Cashmere calling for us and we go trotting backwards. She’s standing beside a batch of large pretty red flowers and is waving enthusiastically towards us.
“What is it?” Willow (7) snaps and Cashmere’s expression hardens.
“Oh. Nothing. It’s just…when I was walking after you guys, the bread slipped out of my jacket and land in these flowers”
Willow lets out a groan of annoyance but I don’t see what’s the big deal. We can just pick it back up and continue on our way. I move forward to do so but Willow gets there first.
“These flowers?” she asks reaching a hand into the roots of them. Cashmere nods. “Yep!”
Willow grunts as her hands digs around through the dirt. I casually watch when something moving amongst the flowers catches me eye, it’s a large green vine, and it’s moving quickly. Straight towards Willow!
I dive forward to help her when Cashmere spears her shoulder into me and we both roll to the ground.
“What the hell are you doing?!” I scream at her as I get back on my feet. By now Willow has seen the vine and is backing off from the flowers as more vines shoot out around it.
“I’m helping you!” Cashmere (8) grunts attempting to pull me by the arm. “We need to get away from here!”
I shrug her off and go running for Willow when one of the vines swings across and slaps me in the chest and I go flying.
I can hear Willow shouting and the sound of hacking and a subsequent sound of a plant…crying? I don’t know. But that’s what it sounds like. I unsteadily get back onto my feet and see that Willow has severed several of the vines but more keep on coming. I take out my own hatchets and begin to hack at the vines that come my way.
A vine wraps itself around her left wrist and squeezes. She gives a shout of pain, dropping one of her two axes. No!
I hurtle one of my hatchets through the air and it cleanly cuts through the vine, freeing her wrist. She slashes at another vine that comes towards her and then sprints for me. I move towards her, swinging away at any vines that come close, when something flies over my shoulder and I only have a minute to shout a warning to Willow before an arrow sinks itself into her chest. Her eyes widen in shock and she sinks to her knees.
Two vines slap at me and I fall to the ground, where I watch as several vines begin to entwine themselves around Willow’s neck. They begin to squeeze and her fingers feebly attempt to pry them off. Her body begins to slump when the vines suddenly pull back with surprising force and rip her head right off of her shoulders.
I get up but just get slapped down by the vines again. I keep trying, but they keep knocking me back. I…I’m too late. They killed her. Willow’s dead, again. NO! This wasn’t supposed to happen! I was supposed to protect her this time! Hands grip me around the shoulders and steer me away. The last I see of Willow is the hovercraft pulling her up into the sky. She’s gone. Boom!
I’m lead away somewhere, I don’t know where until the shape of some building comes into view. The hands move off my shoulders and I drop the ground, tears streaming from eyes I bury my face in the grass and sob my heart out.
Why? Why did it have to be Willow? Why couldn’t it have been me! I promised I would protect her! I failed! I’m a failure…I don’t deserve to live…
A soft voice reminds me of the other persons’ presence and I look up into the warm green eyes and I feel a cold chill as something dawns on me. Willow…an arrow hit her. In the chest….I examine the quiver of arrows on Cashmere’s back. Four. Four arrows. How many did she have this morning?
I think back. Trying my hardest to have a clear recollection. How many…. suddenly a number pops into my head. Five.
She had five arrows. Now she has four.
“What?” she backs off in surprise at my sudden aggression.
“You!” I pull my hatchet up and slowly approach her. She killed Willow. Willow was going to escape the vines; she was running for me when the arrow hit her. Cashmere murdered her.
“You. Killed. Willow!” I hiss through gritted teeth. She backs off, waving her crossbow and hands in the air frantically.
“No! No I…” She trails off then turns back to me with a sad look. “Yes. I did it. I shot Willow”
I let out a howl of fury and swipe my hatchet at her, she backs off and I hit nothing but air but I keep advancing. Willow was right! We couldn’t trust her! “Why?!” I scream at her as I keep on swinging at her as she dodges. “Why did you betray our trust?!”
“I did it for us!” She screeches as she ducks the steel blade of the hatchet. “So we could win together!”
“Why would I want to win with you?” I hiss fury completely taking over me now in this fit of madness. “Especially if you murdered the person I cared most for?”
“Because I lo—”
She chokes on her own words and then gives me a look of utter despair. I’m confused now. Why is she the one upset? Because I didn’t want to win with my two loves’ murderer? Is she that dense?
“You don’t—you don’t…feel the same way” Her face drops in misery. I don’t have time to wonder why. She’s dead to me!
After dodging my next swipe she trips over her feet and lands on the ground. She makes no effort to get back up and I approach her with my hatchet raised. A small voice in the back of my head says that this won’t help Willow, but I ignore it. Willow wanted Cashmere dead. So Cashmere will die.
“Dome! Please…don’t do it!”
I ignore her pleas and raise my weapon, ready to send it smashing into her skull, when Cashmere pulls her crossbow up and fires it into my thigh. I scream in pain and drop to the ground as she gets up, sobbing. She pulls the hatchet out my hand and runs off into the night. I know she’s gone when I can no longer hear here cries.
I press my hand against the bloody arrow in my thigh and begin a fresh round of sobs. Willow…
“I’m sorry Willow,” I murmur looking to the sky. “I’m so sorry”
Alissa Metal Beam (District 6)
We cautiously poke our way through the shaken and disturbed shipyard. We didn’t see the explosion that did this, but we sure heard it. It rocked the ground beneath our feet and we weren’t even to the shipyard yet.
Now that we’re here though we can see just how much damage that explosion did. The walkways are cracked debris litters them. Some of them have even split in two, forcing us to wade through water to cross.
After much of this obstacle avoiding we pull ourselves onto a boat that’s still intact and head down to the cargo bay. Perhaps this isn’t the smartest place but it seems to be the safest.
“Think we’re safe?” Celia (13) asks as we stop moving. I think about that before answering. We had a close run in with Rufus’ Gang in the swamp and while we got out of it without even a scratch, and even a kill, I still didn’t like how close to danger we came.
My answer isn’t very elaborate but it sums up what I’m thinking pretty accurately. I move to find a good position to set down when I suddenly see another figure in the darkness that until this point had been completely hidden from view. The blue-haired girl from the Capitol shakily points her dagger at us as she steps out into the light in the center of the room.
“Hold it! We don’t mean any harm!”
Train (6) is the first of us to regain his composure and approaches the girl with both arms raised. “We just want to talk”
The girl snaps her attention towards him and then her eyes go blank. I’m worried and step protectively towards Train in case this ends badly, when the girl snaps back to reality and tucks her dagger into her belt. Huh? Did we really win her trust that easily?
“You want an alliance?” She asks frowning at us.
“Uh. Yeah. We do”
“Okay. I’m in”
Okay then? I’m surprised it went that smoothly but I’m not upset in the slightest. We finally have another ally to replace Ice with. Now we’re back up to four and we have two news and two All-Stars. Basically we can all win and once again we have an alliance that never has the need to turn on one another.
We have a brief discussion about what to do next and end up deciding to remain on this ship. After all, Cassandra has proven it’s a safe place. So we tuck ourselves down into the corners of the rooms and try to get some much-needed rest.
Annabeth March (District 3)
I stare at my bloody hands as I plunge them into the salt water that comes into the cove and frown. Our operation on Darker was…successful in a way. We managed to remove his leg without him bleeding to death.
I turn around and glance at his prone body. He fainted halfway through the operation and still hasn’t woken up. I don’t know if he ever will. I hope he does, otherwise I just helped perform a gruesome procedure for nothing. Percy buried his leg in the sand on the beach. I hope that if he wakes up he doesn’t wish he hadn’t…
Watt (3) is still sitting at Darker’s side, periodically cleaning his wound and replacing the moss and bits of clothing we use as bandages. Percy (4) is on the ground, attempting to use wet moss to mop up the blood that covers the ground. The stench of it is almost unbearable and Varina (9) and Bella (10) can barely manage to keep themselves in the cove for longer then a few minutes at a time.
“You okay?” I ask Percy (4) as he wipes the ground with an intense expression on his face. “Can I help with anything?”
“Nah. I’m good. You get some rest. You need it”
Not anymore then you I think but nod and go lean against the entrance to the cove anyways. Percy needs the rest more then any of us; after all, he was the one who actually performed the operation. The one who dragged the knife across Darker’s leg as he screamed hysterically. Even with the cloth to bite down onto he made a tremendous amount of noise and I was worried that he would bring someone to us. Luckily that was not the case and we’re safe for now.
I glance outside the cove and see Varina (9) perched on top of a rock and stroll out to meet her. The sun has long since sunk beneath the sky and now the moon hangs in the air illuminating the arena.
Varina (9) greets me cheerfully as I sit down next to her and I wonder how she can always be so cheerful out here, in these Games of death. Doesn’t it get to her?
“I was wondering something,” I say as we sit gazing out at the starry sky. “Why did you want to save Darker? He’s an All-Star, like you and Watt. You didn’t need to help him. But you did. Why?”
She frowns and blinks several times. I sit beside her silently, wondering if she’ll give an answer. Eventually she does.
“I…I don’t want to be one of them. I want to be me. I don’t want to be changed. I don’t want to…die. Not in the literal sense but…on the inside. I don’t want that to happen”
I nod, understanding what she means. She doesn’t want the Games to change her, she doesn’t want to become a coldhearted killer, like so many of the other victors.
“Saving Darker…it felt like…I don’t know. A message. To them. Saying that I’m my own person and that I still have a shred of humanity. That I will not change. I don’t want to become a empty husk of a person”
“Can you win like that?” I ask quietly my voice barely over a whisper. “Can you win without changing? Every victor, even our mentors, they have all changed in some ways. And not for the better”
She smiles slightly, an odd smile. One mixed with hope but also despair. “I don’t know. Guess we’ll find out”
“I guess we will”
Just then Percy (4) comes past, dumping his blood soaked moss into the water. “Looking at the stars?” He asks and we nod. He sits down besides us and joins the stargazing, sighing in happiness.
“Those same stars and moon are other District 4 right now…” He murmurs as he stares. “I wonder…which one do they want to win?” That last part is quiet, so very quiet, that I wonder if he was speaking aloud. Whose they? His parents? Is he thinking about whether they want him or his sister to survive and come home? We sit in silence for a long moment before Varina (9) asks Percy if the cove is clean now. He tells her that is and she heads back in, leaving us alone.
“Percy?” I ask after a pause.
“Do…do you think that we can…keep our humanity?”
He looks at me in surprise and his blue eyes travel up and down my face before he finds an answer.
“Yes. Yes I do. As long as we fight for something we believe in. Something noble. As long as we do that then, yes”
I nod my head. Is he right? If I win for my father and family does it make me more human? Even if I rob their families of their lives? Even if I myself become a murderer? Do the ends justify the means?
These questions spin around in my head as Percy wraps his arms around me. I don’t know. I don’t know. I sigh and bury my face into his shoulder. The one thing I can be sure of; is that whatever comes next, we will face together.
Twix Cinders (District 10)
Grainy particles slide out from my mouth with what feels like a galleon full of water as I cough. My fingers probe the ground beneath me and I feel the same particles. Sand?
My whole body hurts and it aches to move even in the slightest way. But I must. I need to get up.
Screaming in protest my muscles work reluctantly as I pull myself up and take a look around. I’m on a beach of some sort. A clump of rocks lie not far off and the shipyard drifts in the water.
So that’s how I got here. The waves deposited me on this shore. I shiver a brisk wind blows. For the first time during these Games I wish I hadn’t discarded all of my clothes except for my hat and scarf, both of which survived my journey through the water along with my night-vision glasses, which I now slide on. Everything becomes a lot clearer and I can now see the two figures sitting on the rocks. Oh boy. I silently back off from the rocks and look around for a possible destination. A sloping cliff leads up into what looks like the burned remains of a forest. I guess I’ll go there. Nowhere else to go.
Shivering from the cold, I hurry along to find better shelter.
Vivan Incomstanti (District 10)
We reach the barn and immediately we all pile inside after successfully evading the poisonous cloud. Today did not go very well and Rufus is in a very foul mood. We lost Ella and that means we’re down to three. Rufus, Vlad and I. Not only are we now outnumbered by many alliances, but also Rufus says that people will begin targeting us more as the numbers continue to dwindle. While there’s still a respectable amount of tributes left, currently thirty-three, I’m certain that number will shrink drastically in the next few days.
In silence we all look to he sky as the face of Ella is shown and we all frown disparagingly. That really shouldn’t have happened. Sloppy planning and bad timing contributed to her death. Ella's face is replaced by Swatty's. A Career…how many of them are left now? Six I think… The face of Willow comes and I feel terrible for Dome, knowing he has lost his love for a second time. Piper is next and I don’t have much of an opinion on her. The final two faces are the pair from the Capitol, the two siblings, Dawn and Dusk. While I didn’t really know either of them the sight of their faces saddens me as it reminds me of my brother Oak back in District 10. I miss him so much…
The seal is back in the sky and then darkness. Rufus leads us into the barn and since its’ empty we all find our preferable sleeping spots. While Vlad and Rufus make beds out of hay I climb the ladder to the loft and lay myself down, staring out the window. I’m thinking of home and Oak and soon silent tears are sliding down my cheeks. I miss home so much. I miss my brother. I miss everything. I’ve been in this stupid arena for far too long. I want to go home already…I just want to go home…
Austin Aitken (District 1)
The sound of vibrating footsteps wakes me from my slumber and my eyes open to see both Dragon and Zia running off down separate walkways. Where are they going? Before I can do anything a knife goes whizzing towards Dragon and barely misses over his shoulder. He spins around to face his assailant. Jerica. She chucks another knife but he dodges it and sends his own dagger towards her. She only has enough time to shout before the weapon buries itself in her throat. She sinks to her knees as blood bubbles out from her wound. No! I leap to my feet and draw my sword charging Dragon. He parrys my first blow and I'm forced to counter several of his own strikes before swinging another time. He dodges the blow and as I'm feeling from the momentum of the swing he drives the blade into my chest.
I gasp and drop to my knees. He has a broad smile on his face as he rips the weapon from my chest. I gasp and place my hands over my wound where blood begins to pour out. "Austin!" I can hear Clique shouting as black spots begin to dot my vision and I tip over sideways. Glique shouts my name again and Dragon disappears. Everything continues blackening as i feel Clique at my side, saying my name. A cannon sounds, not for me, for Jerica. "My... bag," I croak out. "The relief...in my bag" Clique disappears and return s a moment later with my bag. She holds my arm still and I feel the needle go into my arm. A warm glow appears there and seems to travel through my body. Amazed, I watch my wound heal itself.
"Are you okay?" Clique asks me. "I'm fine," I say. "Where's Ryan?" "He went to fight Shade. I had to close between saving you or stopping him" "it's fine," I tell her. "At least we're both alive" she nods and begins to check the area as I regain my detergent. I may have lost most of my allies but I'm still alive which means I can still fight, I'm not done yet.
Shade Spectrus (District 7)
"Sure this is a good idea?" Daisy (11) asks me as I lead her, Blade (6), and Soot (12) down the walkway towards the spot where i will face Ryan. "It has to be this way," I answer calmly. "And I'd rather it be this way, one on one. None of you can get hurt" I know Ryan has a grudge against me and my family since my brother Grade killed him in his first games. His anger for Frade is understandable but to take it out towards me and the rest of my family is going too far. I need to take care of him before he hurts someone I care for. "How do we know he will actually fight you one on one?" Soot asks. "He will," I answer. "He has a strong sense of honor" That's the one thing I can be certain about. Soot lets out a grumble but doesn't protest amy further. The rest of our trip goes by in silence and when we reach the walkway where I know Ryan will be I turn to my allies. "You will all stay here, I will take Ryan out and then we can regroup with the rest at the cornucopia" Before settling out this morning I put Hybrid in charge of the other four members of our alliance and told them to go check out the golden horn and see if there's any supplies to scavenge. "Shade, I don't think you should do this," Daisy steps forward a nervous expression lingering on her face. "You said you don't want for us to get hurt....but if you die out there you will hurt me, you will hurt Blade, and you will hurt the rest of your family. Please don't do this" "He won't die!" Blade speaks confidently. "He can beat Ryan. Easily. He's not a weakling" "But what if you don't?" Daisy asks. "Have you considered that?" Blade lets out a loud snort. "If we worried about every single "what if" we'd never have gotten off of our platforms!" "Daisy," I speak softly and her brown eyes swivel towards me. "I won't die" "Promise?" "I promise" She nods and backs down. I tell them I will be back soon and turn the corner to the walkway. Just as I do so another figure emerges from the opposite side, holding two tridents in his hands. Ryan. "Didn't think you'd show," he calls across. "At least not without some lackeys" I ignore his words and examine the two weapons in his hands, the sharp points shining menacingly in the sun. He obviously has the weapon advantage with those tridents. He can use them for both long range and close quarters combat. While I only have a dagger and crossbow. He narrows his eyes at me, probably realizing I'm already planning my first move. "This ends here Spectrus!" He growls his eyes full of hatred his body tensed in anticipation. "You're right," I agree moving my crossbow into a more advantageous position. I notice Ryan's feet twitch slightly. He's prepared to avoid it already.
"This does end here. Just not the way you think" As he opens his mouth to respond I pull the trigger and Let an arrow fly. I was hoping to get a hit but he's to fast and moves before the arrow hits.
"He sprints across the walkway and he swings one of the tridents at me. The weapons hits my crossbow and knocks it from my grasp. He throws a backhanded swing and I roll out of the way as he growls on fury. He sends a trident zooming through the air and I duck and toy goes over my head. In an instant I have my dagger out in my hand and as he thrusts the trident at me, as I leap forward and slash his shoulder. He howls and I spear him to the ground and his arms grab mine as I try to put the knife in his neck. He suddenly slams his head forward and hits me with a savage headbutt. I fall backwards and when I attempt getting up the blunt end of the trident smacks me in the face. Ryan plants a foot on my chest and I feel the prongs of the weapon trickling against my neck.
"You lost!" He sneers and I know it's true. I have no more cards to play, no weapon on me. I've lost. "Its time for your family to feel the pain mine felt!" His eyes stare down into mine and I hold his gaze unflinching. I will not go out as a coward.
Blades voice rings out in the distance and I remember my allies were watching this battle. Ryan's eyes swivel to look up and then pulls the weapon away. And throws it straight towards my brother.
I hear the impact of the weapon finding its target, the sound of a body hitting the ground. Everything seems to go slowly as Ryan turns and flees. I climb to my feet, see Blade lying on the ground, the silver trident sticking from his body. I let out a gasp of horror and rush to his side, dropping to my knees. His breathing is short and shallow. He won't load long.
"Shade!" Daisy appears at my side with a grim faced Soot. She speaks but I don't hear her words. My brother is dying....I'm going to lose him...unless....
"Get my bag!" I order a bewildered Daisy. "Now!" She nods and runs off, retiring a few seconds later with my bag. I rip it open and pull out the item I was looming for. The instant relief.
"Hold him down!" I order and rip the trident out from his chest. I try to ignore the scream of pain he emits as I do so. I prep the needle and jab it into the largest vein in his arm. The liquid travels through his system and I watch as all the small cuts and bruises on his body disappears, and finally, the large wound left by the trident fades away.
"Shade?" Blades eyes flutter open and I give a weak smile. He's still alive! I tell him that I'm here and he nods. "I'm sorry"
"No. I'm the one who should be sorry. I promised I would defeat Ryan but I didn't. I failed."
"It doesn't matter," he tries to sit up but falls back. I tell him not to push it but he shrugs me off and lifts himself up. "We can finish Ryan off anytime . What matters is that you're alive" I don't point out that he's the only reason that's true.
"He left one of his tridents here," Soot speaks hoisting the object in his hands. "Me thinks this is a major step up from my lowly staff"
I take a deep breath and order the others to get ready for moving. We need to meet up with the rest of our alliance. There's still many other tributes out there and we need to be assembled when we combat them.
Dome Citadel (District 8)
I trudge across the sandy beach trying my absolute hardest not to think about what transpired yesterday. When I lost...No. I can't focus on that right now. I need to get somewhere safe, somewhere...
The pain in my thigh flares up again and I look down at the wound which I've bandaged up with some wet moss I found and grimace. This is all Cashmere's fault...what I wouldn't give to get my hands on her right now, for getting Willow killed and injuring me...but no. I tried that last games. And I played with my life for it.
"Stop right there!"
I haven't been paying attention to where I've been going and I now look up to see a group of tributes staring at me, armed with weapons. I instantly drop my hatchet to the ground and place my hands over my head.
"I mean no harm," I tell them. "I just want an alliance"
They all look at each other and then they nod. The girl from 10, the one aiming a bow at me picks up my hatchet and hands it back to me.
"Welcome to the alliance" she grunts. "I'm sure you'll fit in. We seem to be the band of misfits here"
I thank them and then they lead me into the cove I've stumbled upon. The place is dank and a little damp but it seems cozy enough. I sit myself down onto a rock when I spot two more people in the corner of the cove. Watt (3) and Darker (11) who appears to be missing a leg I know he had when the games began.
"I....uh. What happened to him?"
"We cut his leg off!" The little blonde girl covered in red bumps says a little too cheerfully.
"Only because we had to!" Watt is quick to explain the circumstances that led to that last resort and I nod understanding. Seems as if these people had some issues just as I have.
"What about you?" Bella (10) asks. "Why are you alone?" Though I knew this question would come, me and Willow were well known after all, I still bristle slightly before sighing and divulging my tale.
"I'm...so sorry," Annabeth (3) says when I finish. I shrug and say it was all my fault, which it was. I should have listened to Willow. If I had this would never have happened. She would still be alive.
"What's your guys next plan?" I ask them in an attempt to get my mind off of my failure.
The guy from four steps forward. "Honestly I don't think we have a plan. Haven't had one since the games started really" I think about how me and my allies didn't have any plans either. We were just moving through the arena, which worked fine until Cashmere betrayed us...
"Well remain here for the day," Annabeth (3) says. "And possibly go somewhere else tomorrow. We'll see"
Rufus Silks (District 8)
I hold up a hand to signal for the others to halt. I stoop down and examine the piles of ash lying upon the ground. The vague form of a footprint remains there.
"Someone here?" Vivian (10) asks and I have to resist the urge to call her a moron. Of course someone was here!
"Indeed they were," I answer levelly standing back up and staring into the remains of the burnt forest. Whoever is in their is about to get a surprise. "Fan out," I tell the two of them. "We're going to flank them"
My two allies disappear in opposite directions and I casually stroll forward. I walk for only minutes before I see the figure of a small boy crouched down. I smile to myself as I slip the knife out from my belt and into my hand. This will be simple.
I step out into the clearing and automatically the boy turns around and let's out a shriek and runs off. I give chase and catch up to the boy easily. When I am close enough I jump out and tackle him to the ground. I grab the back of his head and slam it into the ground before flipping him over and plunging my knife into his heart. He opens his mouth and blood dribbles out. I smile as he twitchs before going still.
"Nice one!" Vlad (10) says coming out of the shadows with Vivian.
"He was an easy kill," I shrug noticing that the boy wears nothing but a hat and scarf. I pull his scarf off and use it to wipe the blood from my knife.
"He was my district partner," Vivian murmurs quietly. I throw her a suspicious glance. Is she going soft on me?
"So?" I demand. "He was Vlad' s as well. District partners mean nothing here. They're nothing but obstacles in our way"
"I know! I know! I was just pointing it out" She falls silent as the boys cannon rings off. Before ordering them on I reach down and pull the night vision glasses off of the boys face. He won't need them anymore.
"We need food and water," Vivian comments as we begin walking once more.
"There's a berry Bush right over there," I say jerking a thumb towards a plant the fortunately survived being eradicated by the inferno this swallowed the forest. "So eat those if you're hungry"
"Of course. I recognize them from training"
She nods and goes to pluck several berries and pops them into her mouth I watch with keen interest to see if there will be any adverse effects. Nothing happens and Vlad goes to pick some for me and him.
"Good thing you recognized them," he says and I shrug.
"To be honest I didn't. But since Vivian hasn't keeled over yet I presume they are edible"
Vlad stares at me for a moment then laughs. "So you had her eat them knowing in they could be poisonous? Genius!"
I shrug again. "I have many ideas. Now be silent before she hears you" he nods and I have them both collect the berries before heading off.
Augusta Winters (District 5)
I help Marcia (7) finish pulling the corn stalks over the small pit we've just dug. Marcia' s plan is that if someone where to chase us we'd lead them this way and while we would jump over the pit they'd fall in, giving us time to do finish them off. I don't look forward to having to actually do this. I don't want anyone chasing me. Period. But...it's good to have a plan in case it does happen.
"Lets get back to the pumpkin patch," Marcia tells me as we examine our work. "That way we can see anyone approaching"
I nod and follow her back through the field of corn and into the pumpkin area. We sit ourselves down onto some of the larger pumpkins and begin waiting. I'm lost in my thoughts when I hear footsteps and a boy with a bow and arrow appears out of nowhere. My mouth opens and closes several times as I try think of words to say. The boy, who I recognize as Courage (3), speaks first.
"I'm not going to fight you. I'm an all--star and you two aren't. I would have nothing to gain"
I continue gaping for a moment and just when I've recovered Marcia speaks.
"So you want an alliance?"
I frown. Why would he wish to align with us? We're not strong and I know from his past games that he's anti-social and doesn't like interacting with people. Which makes me wonder why he's trying to join us now.
"If you'll take me," he answers.
Marcia throws me a questioning look and I shrug. The decision is up to her. She nods and turns to the boy, telling him that we're now a trio. We inform him about the traps we've set and he offers to share the water he has with us. I like that because now we have both food and water...and weapons. Well, I don't have any weapons but my allies do so that's good enough. We eat a little food and then get back to work, digging another trap hole.
Train McBridge (District 6)
I can hear the water gently splashing against the sides of the boat as i rest beneath the deck of the boat. I give a small sigh and turn to look at my allies. Alissa (6) is using her jacket to polish her sword, Celia (13) is tossing her knife into the air and catching it, and Cassandra (C) is huddled under a blanket in the corner of the ship. We're not doing much, just surviving.
"Okay, you know what?" Celia stands up and looks directly at Cassandra. "I think it's about time you used your gift for something beneficial to us"
I share a surprised look with Alissa. While we've felt the same way neither of us felt like pushing her for it.
"Are you...." Cassandra trails off and gives Celia a hard look. "Trying to use me?"
Celia seems surprised at her words and shakes her head. "I'm not using you. I want to use your gift" The effect on Cassandra is instantaneous. She shoots to her feet, throwing the blanket off of her and throws a punch straight into Celia' s face.
"I KNEW it! You all just want to use me! But I won't allow it!" Celia clutches her now bleeding nose as the girl stares furiously at her.
"You stupid melodramatic bit-"
"CASSANDRA!" Alissa smartly steps between the two girls. "No one is trying to use you! Celia was only asking a question"
"Yeah!" I back Alissa up. "We're all just nervous and flighty, but we can't afford to fight amongst ourselves. Not with twenty-odd people trying to kill us"
Cassandra seems to calm down. She stares at the ground and mumbles to herself before moving to another part of the ship. Alissa checks on Celia' s nose while I check outside to make sure no one heard that ruckus. When I return Alissa is telling Celia that her nose could be broken.
"Dang. That girl has some strength" I murmur. I never thought Cassandra could be that aggressive.
"You shouldn't have provoked her," Alissa tells Celia and she shrugs, pinching the bridge of her nose to prevent further bleeding. "She's sensitive about her gift. We can't just force her to use it" You'd think she'd be more willing to use it, considering her life is on the line. I tell the others this and Alissa thinks for a bit.
"She's probably afraid of what she'll see. I know I would be" I view that makes sense. Though I still think I'd use it, because no matte what I saw I know it could still be changed. But everyone's different.We all cal into silence as the daylight outside begins to fade. Soon another day will be behind us
Alicia Haze (District 9)
Hunter (9) and myself watch as Hybrid (7) goes off towards the cornucopia. We're on a walkway not too far away from it and he's told us he's going to go check for supplies. After several minutes Wario (3) the only other tribute left here with us, goes to follow him, saying he wants to make sure he's okay. Now we'd left alone on the darkening platform as the sun begins to descend behind the clouds. I turn to Hunter, the idea I've been thinking over allday needs to come out.
"Hunter we need to leave"
"Huh?" He turns towards me with a quizzical expression. "Leave? Why?"
I sign. This will be hard to say, especially since I was the one who suggested we join with the Antis. But now I know it has come time to part ways with them. The two of us are just too far down the totem pole to stick around any longer. At the top is obviously Shade, followed by his brother Blade, Daisy, Soot, Hybrid, and Wario. None of them plan on winning with us. Which means we need to get away before they realize we're not needed. I tell Hunter this and as I expected he's reluctant.
"But you said that you couldn't protect me on your own!"
"The thing is...I don't think I'll be able to protect you from them" He falls silent as he ponders my words. I hope he realizes we don't have much of a choice. We cannot win in our current situation.
"So we just abandon them?" He asks. "Without telling them?"
"Hunter this is the Hunger Games. If we told them they'd kill us"
"I don't think they would," he tries to argue but I shake my head. "Hunter, there's no point in arguing. Let's go"
I turn around to walk away and see a figure approaching from another walkway. At first I think it's Shade and the others returning but then when they get closer I see who it really is.
"Hunter...go. Run away"
"NOW!" With a pained loom on his face he turns and flees. Dragon steps forward with an amused look and a silver sword in his hands. I grimace as I face him down. I know I won't be walking away from this fight unscathed, if at all. I ruin the whip in my hands, hoping it will be enough to defeat this beast boy.
He take a few steps closer but doesn't strike. His eyes keep looking around, possibly he's wondering if Hunter will be returning. That's good. If he's on edge o have an advantage, no matter how slight it may be. I wait for his eyes to move off of me when I act, lashing the whip forward, praying I'll hit one of his eyes and possible blind him. No such luck. The leather of the whip hits his cheek and leaves behind a large red gash. He smiles mockingly at me.
I take a deep breath and then he leaps forward. I don't even have time to react before his sword is plunged through my chest. I feel all the air leave my body, I fall to my knees and feel the blood from the wound spreading against my shirt. Black spots dot my vision as Dragon lets out a condescending laugh.
"You died for nothing. You think your friend can escape me? I'll hunt him down and kill him slowly. But first...I have a token to collect"
As my vision goes entirely black I feel sharp steel touch my face and then, abruptly and thankfully, my life ends.
Wario Wade (District 3)
The arena has gone dark. A hovercraft flies over my head carrying the body of someone. I look around for the person I followed. It's hard to see very far ahead but I can just make out the figure of Hybrid (7) climbing atop the cornucopia. What the heck is he doing up there? I thought we came here for supplies? There's not any of those left here though...the careers must of taken everything that was left.
"Hybrid?" I call out tentatively as I watch him slowly approach the side of the golden horn. What is he doing? He lifts his head to the sky and let's out a loud cry of despair.
"I give up! You win capital! I don't want to do this anymore!"
What? I'm confused, unable to comprehend what I'm hearing. He's giving up? What happened to all of the resolve he's shown? The stubborn desire to defy the capitol? Is he just going to wait for the Gamemakers to kill him? No...
"No one can protect me from myself!" He howls to the sky and stands perilously on the edge of the horn. No...he can't be thinking of....he's not going to....yes he is. I can't believe it. He's going to kill himself.
I rush forward to try and prevent him from doing this, but he leaps from his perch and disappears behind the cornucopia. I hear the sound of impact and suck in my breath. He's done it. Why...? Why give in now? Why not inform us? His allies and friends? Why end it like that? The sky is covered in dark clouds and barely any moon or starlight shines. The arena is dark and cold. Like Hybrid is now.
The sound if the anthem take me by surprise and I can just make out the face of Jerica in the clouds. The face that follows make me choke in surprise. Alicia! When...how...
I close my eyes. They must have been attacked after I left...is that my fault? Should I have stayed with them? The face of Twix closes things out and that means Hunter is still alive somewhere. I shiver in the cold wind and then the sudden boom of a cannon takes me by surprise. It must be for Hybrid.
I hear the sound of an approaching hovercraft and then it appears in the sky. It hovers over the cornucopia for a moment and then flies away to the south, without picking up any body. I pull my hood over my head. I have no more business here.
But before I can leave several pairs of footsteps come running and I see Shade has returned with the others. They look at me and my unhappy expression and immediately know something is wrong.
"Wario! What happened? We heard a cannon and Alicia..."
"Hybrid is dead as well," I blurt out. "He killed himself"
I don't think they believe me. They stare at me with incredulous expressions and I have to explain. They stay silent throughout and when I finish Shade speaks.
"There's nothing we can do about it now. I don't know why...I don't know why Hybrid did what he did but...we can't dwell on it. We need to keep going"
I don't know how he can be so cavalier about this. Two allies died and one is lost. This day has been horrible. And then things get worse when the clouds begin to pour rain. It's only mere minutes until we're soaked and the rain reaches almost monsoon like conditions. The water in the shipyard, which until now has been still and calm, is frothing and splashing all over the walkways and platforms. Shade leads us towards the cornucopia but by the time we get under it's shelter we're all soaking wet and shivering.
"We'll stay here for the night," Shade decides but the rest of us are to cold and miserable to respond. I still can't believe all that has happened today. Hybrid dead, Alicia dead, Hunter lost and as the others soon tell me, Blade almost died as well. It feels as if all of my hopes for this games are crashing around me...
Day Six: Monsoon
Percy Grace: District Four
We're doing all we can to stay dry as the rain thunders down from the sky above and soaks just about everything. The rocky covering of the cove is keeping us relatively dry, and Bella (10) even managed to find some none wet planks of wood from the prior boat crash, which we use to create a small fire. We know there's the possibility of someone seeing the smoke that filters out through a gap in the back of the cove but with all this rain we find that unlikely. Also, as Varina (9) smartly pointed out, there is no point in staying hidden if we die from exposure.
"It's really coming down hard," Annabeth (3) murmurs as me and her watch the rain thunder down onto the beach.
"It sure is," I agree. "I wonder how the other tributes are faring."
"If they do not have any shelter from this deluge than I'd hazard a guess that they're not doing very well."
I imagine being stuck out in this weather and shudder at the thought. Being out in some light showers is one thing, but being stuck in this, this constant downpour, well...Well it must suck.
"People!" Watt (3) is calling from the center of the cove and Annabeth and I hurry over with the rest of our alliance. "What is it?" Dome (8) asks. I study the face of our newest recruit. I'm still not certain how much we can trust him. He seems like a nice guy but in the Hunger Games that doesn't mean much. He could still turn on us at any moment. "Is something wrong?"
"No. Everything is fine."
"Then why did you call us?" Bella sounds annoyed at this interruption of her fire tending.
"Because about half of the tributes are dead now." Yes they are. With the four cannons yesterday there's now only twenty-nine tributes left. Five of them are careers, there's the Anti's, whatever's left of Rufus' gang, and then many other stragglers.
"What of it?" Bella demands casting an impatient look towards her fire.
"We need to take the others out. Before we run out of supplies." True enough. Our supplies will eventually run out and we can't just avoid all of the others forever. Sooner or later we'll have to fight. "Darker and I have been thinking," Watt begins. "We still have this." she holds up the package we received yesterday.
"What exactly is that?" Dome questions.
"It's cesium," Watt must see that he still doesn't quite grasp things and further explains. "It's a chemical element. I'll spare the scientific explanation and just say that it's very explosive when in contact with water."
We all give each other worried looks. Something that explodes with water? In this weather? "What are you trying to do?" I demand. "Blow us up?"
"What? No. Of course not. It's wrapped up for our protection. It will only explode if it gets submerged" She bites her lip a she sees that all of us are still unable to figure out what she plans on doing with this stuff. It not like it's obvious though. "Okay. One of us will have to take this to the very center of the shipyard and drop it into the water. Simple enough."
Silence greets her words. Bring it to the shipyard and start the explosion? Whoever does that mos likely will not survive. One explosion has already hit that area and metal shards and other debris litter the area. This new explosion will turn all of those into projectiles.
"Any volunteers?" Watt's gaze sweeps over all of us. Dome says that he would do it, but his thigh injury is still paining him. Bella brushes this whole plot off as a fools errand. I look into Annabeth's eyes and am shocked to see eagerness. She thinks this idea is good and if it comes to it, she'll be the bomber. This thought jolts me to speak.
Varina shouts a warning as a figure staggers into the cove, dropping face first into the sand. I recognize the person instantly, though the others do not. My chest tightens and I get a firmer grasp on my weapon. This is not good.
"Get away from her!" I shout a Varina who was checking on th person. She backs off immediately. "Why?"
"That's my sister. And if she's here then the Careers can't be too far."
"I'm not with them anymore" I'm caught off guard as Zia (4) pulls herself up and stares at us from under her soaking hair. "I ditched 'em."
I stare suspiciously. My sister is a known liar, and why would she leave the careers this early into the Games? I don't trust her. Unfortunately the others do not share my feelings, and they escort her to the fire where she tells her tale. I sit sullen and silent throughout, unable to get rid of the thought of this being a trick.
"Percy," I turn to look at Annabeth who is sitting next to me. Her blue eyes are wide with concern. "Remember what you said in training." Huh? What did I say? I ask this and Annabeth shakes her head in disapproval.
"I cannot believe you forgot. You said that if your sister was alone when she encountered you that she wouldn't kill you. Remember?"
"I kinda remember now that you mention it..." That does not change my mind though. My sister is a ruthless killing machine who will not hesitate to cut down anyone, she'll even kill me, her own brother. She's actually told me she was excited for the opportunity!
"She's your sister Percy. Give her a chance....Besides I thought of an idea to see how trustworthy she is.."
Moments later our entire group is sitting around the fire as Watt explains to Zia what to do with the cesium. I was initially against the idea of my sister doing this, for all we know she could use the stuff on us. But Annabeth convinced me to trust her enough to do this. "Make sure you get far away when it touches the water," Watt tells her. "Otherwise you run the risk of getting killed yourself." I'm surprised to feel a nervous twinge in myself. I don't want to see Zia die because of our plan.
"I'm not a moron," Zia snaps and Watt hands her the cesium. "I'll make sure to be far away" Everyone murmurs and she asks to speak to me alone. I follow her to the back of the cove.
"What do you want to know Percy?" She asks without turning around. I stare at her in silence as the wind whips the rain into my face. What do I want? "I...why are you doing this?" I stammer out. "Why are you risking your life for me and my allies? What do you have to gain from this?"
"You may be a whiny loser but you're still my brother. I don't want you dead by any hand, I'm the only person allowed to kill you. Also, I...these pas few days have mad me think and...I sorta feel bad for how I've been treating you"
"You think this one act evil make up for that? That all this years of abuse and insults can be forgotten?"
She shake her head slowly. "No Percy. I don't think so. But I'm not trying to make up for all that. I'm just trying to see if it's still possible for us to not hate each other. For us to be able to trust one another. Do you think that is possible?"
I'm silent. I never thought I'd ever hear Zia say something like that. I don't know if she means it, if this is just an elaborate act, if she has no other choice, or if she's actually sorry. It doesn't matter. I can only have one answer for her.
"You're a cold-hearted bitch, Zia. But you're still my sister. I can't hate you. Not forever. And...I trust you to do this." Silence again. Nothing but the sound of wind and rain can be heard. Then Zia shifts her feet.
"You gonna wish me luck?"
I smile wryly at this. She's asked me this question since we were little kids, and I've always had the same answer.
"Since when did you need luck?"
"I don't. Luck is for losers." She's about to turn and run off when something startles us. Something that cannot be good for either of us. A terrified scream.
Blade Spectrus: District Six
The girl appeared out of nowhere. One minute we where standing near the back of the cove, waiting for Soot (12) and Wario (3) to appear with the boat, and the next this girl comes around the rock piles.
She emits a ear splitting screech upon spotting us and Daisy (11) raises her blowgun but I'm faster. My spear goes straight into the girl's chest and she silences instantly. It's too late though, we can already hear the others shouting in alarm to one another.
"Cripes. Where's Soot and Wario?" I growl, trying to wrench my spear out of the fallen girl's body. I don't feel good about killing such a young girl but I didn't have a choice.
I look up to see Bella (10) coming around the boulder. I try to give a warning shout but she already has her bow aimed and ready. She shoots an arrow towards Daisy and, though I can't see her, the rain is coming down too hard and fast, I know she's hit by the sound of impact and the shriek of pain. I let go of my spear and stumble backwards as Daisy trips over some smaller boulders. Bella reloads and aims her bow at me. Oh god...
She fires just as an arrow flies down from the cliff above us. I watch the arrow rip into her throat and then her arrow goes into my shoulder. Boom! Boom!
I drop to the soaking wet sand, my fingers attempting to pry the arrow from my shoulder while I stifle my moans of pain. Shade (7) saved me. It was lucky. His arrow hit her just enough before her release, that she slightly missed her aim. The result was I received an arrow in the shoulder instead of the heart.
The sound of approaching footsteps alerts me and I immediately go still as two more people round the bend. I hold my breath and close my eyes, praying they'll think I'm dead and go. I hear voices in the background and then someone says. "They're both dead. Damn. They got Bella!"
The sound of an arrow whistling through the air and then people shouting. I hear it ricochet off of a rock and more shouts. "It's the Anti's! We need to go!"
More shouting. The sound of many footsteps. The release of yet another arrow and the cry of pain, which is quickly cut off.
"Leave him Watt! He's dead!"
I open my eyes and see the raindrops hitting the soft sand. I involuntarily let out a soft moan and struggle into a sitting position. I can see Bella' s body nearby, with Shades arrow still in her throat. Good riddance. She deserved that for shooting me. Boom! Boom! Two more cannons sound off. One for Darker and one for...who?
I climb to my feet, trying to hold my injured shoulder as still as possible. Every time I move it I experience a sharp jolt of pain. The rain is still falling down and it disorients me. I lean over a boulder and inadvertently discover who the second cannon was for.
Daisy lies on the ground, a broken arrow shaft in her chest, the other bloody half is clenched tightly in her fist. She must have attempted to pull it out before succumbing to blood loss. I bow my head in respect. She was a good ally.
"Blade!" I had Shade's shout and he comes around the bend with his crossbow. "They ran off into the shipyard. Soot and Wario still haven't shown. I got Darker while they were fleeing. Hit him in the skull. How many did you two get? I thought I heard four cannons."
I don't respond and just point at Daisy's body. His face darkens immediately as he crouches beside her. "What...happened?"
"Bella surprised us. I couldn't do anything. My spear was still in Varina..." I trail off. I can tell from the look in his eye that he is not in a good place. "You...You got Bella back..." I say and he merely nods.
"At...least you survived," he finally says after a long pause. "Go collect the items from the bodies." As I walk off I hear him apologizing to Daisy. Varina has absolutely nothing of value on her but I strip Bella of her bow and quiver, and take a single throwing knife off of Darker. They didn't have very much.
"Here," I say dumping the quiver at my brothers feet. "You can use these for your crossbow."
He rises to his feet and gives a weak smile. "Thanks," he grunts. "I have Daisy's stuff. We should get going."
"Where we going?" I ask. I usually have no problem with travelling but in this weather I feel I'd prefer to stay under the shelter of the cove. "We need to find Soot and Wario," he replies and I suddenly remember our other allies. Why didn't they come? Did the rain stop them? I look out into the shipyard and see that the water is being tossed around in violent waves. Yes. That's probably the reason, though we can't know for sure until we find them. Shade tends to my wounded shoulder and then leads the way as we head off, leaving behind a fallen comrade.
Hybrid Three: District Seven
I hold a wet piece of cloth, torn from my jacket, over the large bloody gash that scars my arm. A tracker once was inside that arm, but now it rests at the bottom of the shipyard. I cannot fathom how my plot worked. I faked my own death, everyone, including the Capitol, no longer believes I am in these games.
While I am delighted beyond measure that my plot succeeded, I have ran into some...unforeseen problems. One being that I cannot leave this tree hollow, or at least not without a plan. I managed to make my way to the swamp last night and crawl into here but the cover of darkness and the rain was the only thing preventing the cameras from spotting me and learning I am still alive. And that, is the cause of my second problem. I have no food or water. None at all. I lost majority of my possessions when I leaped. Now I only have my throwing knives.
But these do not quench the feeling of ecstasy I feel from out smarting the Capitol. They were fools to underestimate me. If they truly wanted me dead they should have blown my platform up at the start of the games. Because as things currently stand...I am still in these games and I can still win.
Vlad Rockford: District Ten
Our alliance stares into the burnt down field, watching for any signs of life. This hunt is much like the one yesterday, only the weather and area differs.
"What are we waiting for?" Vivan asks as Rufus (8) finishes scanning the area.
He gives a amused chortle. "We're making certain there is no danger," he responds. "But if you do not mind walking straight into a hornets nest then go right ahead."
"There won't be any hornets in this weather," she answers cleverly.
"No. No there will not. However, one cannot always be so certain of these things. One day it will not just be a lowly butterfly waiting for us."
"Speak plainly!" I grunt, irritated at all this word play. "Are there weak tributes in there or strong ones?"
Rufus shrugs. "Perhaps there are some enemies worthy of us in there but then again perhaps not." Vivan demands he decide what we will do because the rain will give us paranoia or something if we sit in it for too long. Rufus lazily instructs us to move ahead and I do so gleefully. Killing is my strong point.
The ground in the field has turned to mud and this makes our walking hard. Soon we lose sight of Rufus in the rain and Vivan stumbles to the ground.
"What wrong puny girl?" I ask as I nearly stumble over her.
"My foot! It's entangled in some some of trap!"
I look down and see that there is a vine of some sort, made into one of the snares shown to us at training. I am confused for a moment, wondering why it would be here and then a figure steps out from the rain. It points a crossbow at us and then fires. The arrow goes straight into Vivian's chest and she falls. I stumble backwards when a hand grabs me from behind.
"Damn it! Two careers are coming! We have to go!" Rufus lets out a stream of swears as I run after him; several voices begin shouting in the background. Those measly Careers made me unable to get a kill!
Cashmere Prada: District Eight
The cannon for Vivan fires off and I turn away from her body and her fleeing friends to face the two newcomers behind me. I recognize them as the new pair from District One. They stop moving as soon as they see the crossbow in my hands.
"We don't want any trouble," the boy tries to speak but I cut him off. "Well, it looks like you're getting it anyways!" I can take the both of them. With one move of my finger I could put an arrow into the guy and then out fight the girl. She may be stronger and has training, but I have a better weapon in this hatchet and I'm very fast.
"What would you gain from killing us?" Glique (1) demands. "You're an all-star. We're not."
I shrug. "Should have thought of that before hunting me down."
"If we wanted you dead, you'd me dead by now. We could have let Rufus's gang take care of you." Austin (1) fixes me with a long look and I feel my confidence disappearing. They could have just let the fight go on. There was no reason for them not to...unless they didn't want me dead.
"We both need allies here," he continues and I notice we're having this conversation despite the downpour of rain. "And we might as well team up here."
I ask him about the other Careers, I know that a few more of them are alive. He tells me that they split after learning about an alliance he had with a few others, but of them only Glique is left.
"Doesn't sound like you take good care of your allies," I say and he scowls.
"What happened to them wasn't our fault."
"Anyone want you dead?" I ask casually ignoring his outburst. "Anyone targeting you especially?" I know enough about the games that aligning with someone who has enemies is a bad idea.
"Not anymore then you have," Glique replies smugly. Dome...that was just a misunderstanding. Once I can explain to him, tell him I was aiming for the plants, that I was only trying to gain his trust...then he won't hate me and we can win together.
"I accept your alliance proposal," I say. "Now let's get out of this rain. I have a place in mind where we can shelter." The two of them exchange glances and then agree. We have a short conversation over where we're going and then we're off.
Alissa Metal Beam: District Six
Cassandra leads the way down the walkway. She came up with a plan today and of course the rest of us agreed to do it; she's a clairvoyant after all. The constant rain is very annoying though. It never ends, it continually pours down onto our heads and the hoods on our jackets can only do so much.
A sudden wave splashes across the walkway and we're drenched even further. "We need to get out of this shipyard!" Train (6) shouts as the waves get progressively stronger. "Or we risk getting--" Before he finishes a wave larger and stronger then the rest hits us. Me, Celia, and Cassandra are all knocked off of our feet, Train stumbles backwards and falls into the water.
"Train!" I let out a terrified scream. He can't swim! I spin around looking for something, anything, that could help me help him. There's nothing. I only have one choice. "Get to the swamp!" I order my allies and hand them my supplies. They throw me quizzical looks and then I leap into the water.
I didn't expect just how ferocious the waves would be. They dunk my head under water and I have a difficult time seeing through the dark water that continually throws me around. I flap my arms frantically, trying to prevent myself from me swept away. What happened to Train? Where is he?
There! I see him floating not far off. His mouth hanging open and his arms limp at his side's. No! I push through the water, desperately making my way towards him. Somehow, I reach him. I pull his arms around my shoulders and look for the surface. I see it, or at least I think. Everything is just too disoriented. My lungs are burning now and as I swim upwards I feel that this may be the end for the both of us. I can't allow that!
Our heads burst across the surface. I take in some heaps of air before the waves push our heads back under the water. We resurface and I see land. Salvation...only if we can get to it. I cut across the water, using all of my strength to keep going. When we reach the edge I use my last remaining strength to hoist Train up. I don't have the energy left to get him onto the land. No...No, no, no!
Just when I'm about to despair the weight of Train disappears from me and I see a pair of hands pull him up. Train is saved. And just like that, my strength fades away and I sink beneath the water. I feel an odd sense of peace as I float to the bottom. It feels as though I am flying through the air...so serene...so peaceful...I see a figure leap into the water and begin swimming towards me. I smile at them and then blackout.
"Don't lose us!"
"I didn't drag you out of that for nothing!"
"Please, Alissa. Don't give out on me."
My eyes snap open. I feel water gushing out of my mouth and I cough heavily. Where...What happened? I look up and see the eyes of Train staring back at me. "Train!"
He hugs me and I happily wrap my arms around him. Glad that we're both safe. My enquiries about what happened go unanswered until another voice answers.
"We were at the swamp like you said when the two of you came up. I used CPR on Train, then saved you."
"Celia! Cassandra!" My other two allies stand beside me. I am speechless beyond words. How lucky. We could very well have just died if not for them. I thank Celia for saving us but she deflects all praise. Says she was just doing what she had to. I don't care why she did it. I just care we're alive. "What now?" I ask with my arms still wrapped around Train. I don't want to ever let go.
"You wanted us to hide here, right?" Cassandra asks. I nod. It was fortunate we all wound up here. Despite almost dying things haven't actually gone too badly today. We begin looking for shelter from the rain so we can wait out the day.
Annabeth March: District Three
I look out from the shelter of the bathroom and watch as the rain continues. It hasn't slowed all day. I turn away from the doorway and look at my remaining allies, all of whom are still rightfully upset over what happened earlier this day. Dome (8) is leaning against the wall with his hood over head. The bathroom is in the middle of the meadow and he must be thinking of Willow and how he lost her. Watt (3) has locked herself in one of the bathroom stalls and occasionally I can hear one of her sobs. She took Darker's death particularly hard. Finally, I turn my gaze towards Percy and his sister Zia as they have a heated discussion.
"No. We can't do that," Percy is shaking his head as I approach the two of them.
"Can't do what?" I ask and they both turn to look at me. He jerks a thumb towards his sister. "She wants to take the cesium and go back to the cove so she can blow the Anti's up."
I'm already shaking my head before he finishes. "Bad idea."
"That's what I was telling her!" Percy interjects.
"They'll be expecting that. And besides, I don't even think they're still there." When I finish Zia let's out an irritated growl. I understand her feelings. I want to get vengeance for our allies just as much, but right now it is neither possible nor practical.
"I don't like people getting the better of me," She snarls kicking the wall of the room with surprising ferocity.
"I don't like it either," Percy agrees. "But let's not do anything rash."
Zia rolls her eyes. "I'm not you Percy. I'm not stupid."
I smile at their bickering. It seems so normal...with the games and all, anything normal is a breath of fresh air. But then I remember what happened today and my smile fades. We lost three allies. Three friends of mine are dead. Varina...she was so young and innocent, with her whole life ahead of her. Darker, we had saved him from death but that did not last long. And Bella. She was an expert shot and we will sorely miss her fighting skills before long.
"Don't worry so much, Annabeth". Percy turns his attention to me and I smile weakly at him. I don't want him to worry about me, not when there's so many other things to be worried about.
"I'm not worried...I was just..."
He lets out a sigh. "I've been thinking about them too," he says. "Wondering whether there was anything we could have done to save them."
"Don't waste your thoughts on such useless things!" Zia interrupts our conversation with a glare. "There is no point in worrying over things you cannot change. Keep focused on the present and maybe you'll stay alive." She stalks away and I'm surprised to find myself agreeing with her. I can't dwell on the past. My family needs me to win and that's what I'm going to do.
Dragon Lord: District One
I sit under the deck of a boat, admiring my trophies. The faces of the three of the tributes whom I felled. Woody, Alicia, and...Hunter. True to my word I hunted him down once I took care of Alicia last night, shortly after the Anthem. He put up very little of a fight. I only had to show him the face of his friend and he fell to his knees, sobbing his little heart out.
I then took his head off with one lop of my sword.
Perhaps I should have taken my time...it certainly would have been pleasurable. But I knew the others in their alliance could not be far off and I had to content myself with taking his face.
Staring at my prizes, I feel the irresistible urge to go and collect more. I want to take out every single person who remains in this arena. But this rain is so problematic. I do not wish to fall ill from exposure, for that would jeopardize my eventual victory. I know there is none left in this arena who can oppose me. The only reason I lost last time was because I foolishly trusted my allies. Now...now I know victory is in my grasp.
Ryan Marine: District Four
I hold myself very still. The sound of footsteps is barely audible over the raindrops but there is no mistaking the sounds of approaching people.
My barn is a fortress. I have many traps set up around it, and any possible entry points have been sealed with a trap in front of it. I set this up as a precaution, in the event Shade would seek me out, unsatisfied with his loss to me, he would aim to fight me again. But not in a fair fight, this time he will bring his lackeys to end me.
The footsteps fade and then a force throws itself against the doors, trying to gain entry. I hold my trident calmly. Those doors will not hold but I am ready for that.
The person throws their self against it once more and then it gives away. The doors swing open and a person blunders in.
Straight into my trap.
Their foot steps into a coil of rope and the snare they taught at the training center works. They're pulled into the air and then they're dangling by one foot from the rafters. My trident is only inches from the intruders throat when I recognize them.
"Ryan!?" He stares at me in shock as he hangs completely defenseless. I am caught off guard at his appearance. I did not expect it to be him.
"What are you doing here?" I ask warily. "And where are the other careers?"
He explains everything that has happened to him from the moment we parted ways up until this point. He finishes by telling me that he means no harm and that he has two allies ready to storm in here at a moment notice. A veiled threat. If I am not friendly to him, then I will be in danger. I don't know how I should be reacting to his sudden appearance. I did desert him after all. But I also do not need him dead to win...
"You gonna get me down?" He asks and I remember that he's still in my trap. "Oh. Right. Hang on a moment." I climb to the rafters and untie the rope and once he's free he tells his friends that the coast is clear and that they can come in.
I know Glique personally, but all I know about Cashmere is what I've seen from the footage of her games. I'm not entirely certain I can trust her, a feeling exacerbated by the fact she is also an All-Star.
"You can trust her," Austin whispers to me. I nod but I don't know how much stock I can put into his words. For all I know, he could still be angry at me for leaving the Careers, though, I do not think he'll attempt anything until he has another All-Star to replace me with, which means I will be safe in his presence for the time being.
I reset the door trap and then I listen to them speculate on who the Fallen are. I don't know whose among them, but we'll be finding out soon enough.
Soot Dustcloud: District Twelve
The waves in the shipyard quiet down and I really friggin' wish that had happened this morning instead. Me and Wario failed to show up with the boat like we were supposed to, and I won't be feeling too swell if some of my allies died because of it.
"Is that someone?" Wario asks, and I squint through the rain to see the approaching figures. I tentatively hover my hand over my weapons.
"State your name if you don't want me to kill you!" I call out. Though honestly I'll probably kill them regardless of whether they state their name or not.
The figures come closer and I see that it is Blade and Shade! ...and I notice their somber expressions and the lack of Daisy with them. Not good bro. We might have just gotten her offed.
"Where the hell where you guys!?" Shade (7) goes off after giving his recount of the day. See? I knew something like this would go down.
"Ain't our fault," I begin but break off into a fit of coughing so Wario finishes for me. "The waves prevented us from getting onto a boat."
This does little to quell his anger and I know he just wants to vent out his frustrations so I let him go. "Daisy is dead! Because she expected a boat to come! You two slackers didn't--" he breaks off and looks at our calm faces again. I see the pain on his face. Once again he has lost someone close to him. "I'm sorry..." He clasps his hands over his head. "I shouldn't blame you two...You did nothing wrong..."
He takes a long sigh and then asks us if we've seen anyone else today, which we haven't. He shakes his head in disappointment and begins speaking with Blade. While I'm not too happy being down to only three other allies, this does mean that they will more likely to include me in their plans for victory. I know for a fact that Shade had wanted himself, Blade and Daisy to win beocre, but maybe now I'm in that trio.
I think that Wario may be thinking the same thing, because he's looking around at us and counting his fingers. I'm about to ask what our next move will be when the rain that has been pouring all day suddenly stops. It's like a faucet, it's going full-blast before coming to a ful and total stop. The clouds cease ejecting the rain, and the drops already in the sky just hit the ground.
"It was set for a twenty-four hour cycle," Wario observes. "It started around this time last night. That means the Anthem should be starting right now..."
He counts down from three and as he finishes the Anthem kicks in. The first face to show belongs to...Hunter! We didn't think he had died today, and now we realize we have lost two allies. Varina closely follows him and I know from Shade's story that Blade had killed her. I see that he deliberately avoids looking at her face. Bella and Vivan follow that girl, and I note that Bella's siblings were victors in their own games. I guess just having the Mustang name doesn't guarantee you victory. Darker and Daisy round it out. Shade puts on a tough face but I can tell he's in pain.
When the seal is back in place the others begin discussing our next move. But I don't. I've thought of something. Where was Hybrid? He died this day didn't he? Or...or is it possible? Is he still alive? The possibility is exciting and I go to tell the others when I'm interrupted by trumpets.
"Tributes of the 327th Hunger Games, May I have your attention!" It's Herter Templesmith and this can only mean one thing. My thoughts are confirmed when he continues. "We realize that the rain caused many of you discomfort and that many of you are lacking in food! Well, we would like to invite you to a feast! Yes! A feast! This feast will take place at the cornucopia at noon tomorrow! Not only will there be tables of food, but there will also be a special bag for all twenty-four of you! Before declining think long and hard...because if you don't claim your bag...someone else WILL. Good luck and may the odds be ever in your favor!"
I turn to face my allies. What will we do?
Day Seven: Feast
Marcia Callamezzo: District Seven
The sun has just barely peaked over the horizon as our alliance, burdened with many branches hacked down from trees, approach the bathroom.
"You sure this'll work?" Augusta (5) asks, worry etched on her face.
"As long as we're careful," I nod. The large alliance, which isn't all that large now admittedly, is staying in there and if our plan succeeds then we'll have five less enemies to worry about. I ask Courage (3) when he thinks we should execute our plan and when he doesn't answer I turn to see that he's staring off at the shipyard with a blank face.
"What?" He shakes his head and turns to face me. "No. I'm fine." I don't think he is though. He's seemed distracted all day. Maybe it's nerves from the plan or upcoming feast or possibly anything else. Who knows. I don't have time to worry about him. We have a plan to do.
I ready myself to tell the others to move when the bathroom door slowly opens and Zia (4) creeps out. We all freeze. Shoot, shoot, shoot! If she spots us...
She quietly shuts the door behind her and then goes jogging off towards the shipyard. Is she deserting her allies? Or just going to wait at the cornucopia early? I realize it doesn't matter and urge the others to get moving. It's now or never. If the others leave the bathroom too...then our plan is ruined.
We creep quietly towards the bathroom and I carefully lodge the thickest and strongest of the branches under the handle. Courage has Augusta lay the rest of the branches around the building and then he speaks.
"It could take awhile for the building to actually catch fire," He comments.
I shrug. "As long as they don't break the door down they should be as good as fried."
He still frowns, but I'm not worried in the slightest. That door looks sturdy. Augusta returns from laying the wood and Courage tells her to go place a pile under the window at the back and start the fire. She goes to do so.
"There's still a few hours before the feast," I say. "Templesmith said it starts at noon." Up until this point in the Games I've been scared for my life and hesitant to kill. But now things are different. The number of tributes are going down quickly and if I want to stay alive I need to be more proactive, more brutal, more willing to kill. It sounds terrible, but kind people don't win the Hunger Games.
Smoke floats into the air and that means Augusta has lit the fire and we can get moving. I'm eager to get out of here as soon as possible. I don't want to be within earshot when the fire reaches the people inside and they start burning.
A scream of pain sounds but it cuts off as soon as it starts. Within the walls of the bathroom, screaming and shouting begins. They're awake.
Courage starts forward but I grab his shoulder and pull him back. "No! We need to get out of here!"
"Can't be helped by us. We have to go!" He remains still and I'm forced to physically pull him away from the building. The screams and shouts inside are becoming more frantic and desperate. I only get him a dozen feet away when he snaps to his senses and begins to move. We run from the building that is now catching fire and towards the shipyard. I try not to think of what may have happened to Augsta and instead focus on my feet as I flee the scene of my arson.
Percy Grace: District Four
Smoke filters into the bathroom as I furiously hack away at the door, which has been jammed shut. I have no idea what happened. One moment I was sleeping, the next Annabeth (3) is shouting in alarm and telling us that she just shot an arrow at someone through the window. We could see the burning wood and then discovered the door was jammed. It didn't take a genius to figure out what had happened. On top of all that, Zia was missing.
"Hurry!" Watt (3) screams at me, backing away from the flames that have begun to spread onto the inside walls.
"I'm trying!" I yell back, furiously smashing my trident against the door frame. Thick dark smoke has begun to fill the room and Annabeth has turned the sinks on full blast in an effort to prevent the spread of the flames.
"Let me try!"
Dome (8) shoves me out of the way and goes to town on the door, smashing it with his hatchet repeatedly. "Open dammit! Open! I am not dying here! I refuse!"
"What do we do Percy?" Annabeth keeps her voice calm despite inhaling a good deal of smoke. I don't answer. I don't have an answer. The orange tendrils of the fire hungrily devour the walls that surround us. We're trapped and don't have a way out.
No...No. I can't let it end here. I push Dome out of the way and instead of smashing the door itself, I hold my trident up and bring it down over the knob, and then I do it again and again and again, until when I strike it for the sixteenth time and then it pops off and the door swings open.
I stumble out into the meadow, taking grateful gulps of non-smoke filled air. I feel the others join me from behind and I look up and see someone else. The girl from District 5 is crawling away from us, an arrow jutting out from her leg. She was the one who attempted to burn us alive. I grab my trident and stalk towards her.
She sees me coming and holds her hands up, pleading for mercy. In answer I slam my trident into her skull. Her life ends instantly. I free the weapon from her and experience sudden guilt, which I try to push away. She tried to kill us first. What was it that Zia is always telling Pseudon? That you can't afford to show your enemy mercy, because they'll never show you any?
The distressed call of Annabeth ha me turn around to see her staring into the bathroom, where a part of the roof collapses. "What's wrong?"
"Watt's still in there!"
Dome is already running back into the rubble as she speaks and my heart leaps to my throat as I watch him reenter the blazing building. If Watt is in there....
Annabeth throws me a terrified look as the seconds drag on without their reappearance. The sound of Augusta's cannon does nothing to ease our nerves. Nothing but smoke exits the building. Have we just lost our remaining allies?
"Percy!" Annabeth shouts my name as Dome emerges from building with Watt over his shoulders. He collapses to the grassy ground as soon as he's a safe distance from the building.
"She's badly burned," he tells us as he lies her on the ground. I can see the burns for myself. She's covered in them and they look severe. I don't think we can save her, and I tell the others so.
"We need to go to the feast," Annabeth says instantly and I shoot her a look.
"Why? So we can lose more allies? Zia is gone as well and she took the cesium with her" I still don't know what she's doing. Did she align with the people who burnt the bathroom? Did she betray us? I don't want to believe it but...it seems very plausible.
"We need instant relief for Watt. And the feast is the only place we'll find it." It's risky. Very risky. Just about every tribute left in these Games should be there but I know we don't have a choice. Watt would do whatever it took to help us and we'll do whatever necessary to help her.
Annabeth turns to Dome. "Stay with her. Do whatever you can to keep her alive. We'll get the relief." He nods and Annabeth leads me towards the direction of the cornucopia. I'm worried about what is about to transpire, but I won't die. I have too much to accomplish. I will not allow myself to fail.
Austin Aitken: District One
Our alliance watches the cornfield catches fire, hoping it will take out some tributes while simultaneously driving the scarecrow mutts into the shipyard and towards the cornucopia and Feast, which will be beginning not too long from now.
"How will we know when it worked?" Cashmere (8) asks, studying her crossbow as the fire continues to spread.
"I expect we'll hear some shouting," I answer, checking the sun to judge what time it is. It's getting close to being straight overhead, meaning the Feast should be relatively close to starting. "We should head for the cornucopia now"
"Did this not work?" Ryan doesn't sound too surprised.
"No. It worked"
I throw a glance at Cashmere. "What do you mean?" I ask. She raises a finger and points at the cornfield, where I just now begin to hear a strange screeching noise. What the hell is that? It doesn't sound human...
Ryan shouts as a flaming figure comes hurtling out from the field of corn. The scarecrow! No! The fire was supposed to drive them away from us! Two more of the creatures emerge from the field, heading straight for us.
"Glique! Watch out!" Cashmere shoots an arrow into the chest of one of the mutts and it falls to the ground where the fire overwhelms it. The other two keep moving, though, and one swings a scythe towards Glique.
Blood splatters and I scream as she falls to the ground. "No!"
I drive towards the mutt. I dodge its strike and use my sword to take its head off. Ryan's trident takes out the third and final mutt and I pull myself to Glique's side. The wound in her chest is gaping, and I know that there is nothing I, or anyone else, can do to help her.
"Austin," Her eyes swivel to meet mine and she grips my arm. "Win this. Don't―" She takes a long, painful gasp. "Don't-don't let me d-down. P-please?"
"I will. I'll win this Glique. I guarantee it."
"Th-thank you Austin..." Her eyes roll up into her head and a cannon sounds throughout the arena. Boom!
I gently pull her fingers off my arm. She's dead. I look to my two remaining allies and they both uncomfortably avoid my gaze. I get back onto my feet, holding my sword close to me. I can't stop to mourn for my friend. The Capital will view it as weakness. Besides, I made her a promise and mourning would hold me back from fulfilling that.
"We need to get to the feast," I say to the others and they nod. I lead the way towards the shipyard and as I go, I think about how I won't show mercy to anyone who gets in my way.
Zia Grace: District Four
With the cesium in tow I peer across the open stretch of platform and spot the Anti-Careers moving about. Good. I can perform my plan.
Taking no care to conceal myself I pop out of hiding and head straight towards them. Their honesty and acceptance is well known and I have no fear of them striking me down whilst attempting this. Though, I do feel quite bad about what will soon transpire.
They spot me and let out warning shouts. I throw my hands in the air and say I want an alliance. One of them, the guy from 3, I think, says not to trust me but Shade (7) has them get close enough for us to speak. I quickly take in the distance and note that they're still close enough for my plan to work. I also notice that the boy from 12 is absent. Need to keep an eye out for sneak attacks.
"What do you want?" Shade asks, his eyes cautiously taking everything in. I keep a close watch on his allies eyes as well. If someone were to sneak upon me, their eyes would be my first clue.
"None of should be here," I answer. "None of us need to be here. These Games shouldn't exist."
"Ironic words for a Career!" Wario (3) quips. "What made you change your mind? The fact that your death is imminent?"
"It is imminent," I answer, surprised to find my voice cracking in emotion. I don't want to die. But I need to. This is the only way to redeem myself, even if it hurts the ones I love. They will come to understand my actions in time and they will accept this. "All of our deaths are imminent!" Just not in the way they think.
"Think this will speech will change what you are?" Blade asks. "What you've done?"
"No. No. I know I've made some mistakes in my past, the worst being betraying my own brother. I also know words cannot atone for our transgressions. Only action can." I can tell from Wario and Blade's expressions that they do not believe me. But Shade is watching with quiet eyes and an understanding face.
"We're all going home now," I say softly, moving my hand holding the cesium towards the water. Their eyes widen in horror, I think it's for what I am doing, but I am wrong. A sharp pain digs into my shoulder and I drop to my knees as a large figure looms over me.
"Dragon!" The Anti's scream in shock and Shade fires his bow. The arrow is knocked out from the air by Dragon's sword and they turn to run. Weak. I feel weak. Like a cold liquid is running through my veins. My muscles twitch and spasm. Why?
Dragon's feet move past my head. He intends to chase the others but I can't allow him to get away after ruining my plan. I stick my hand out and trip his feet. He hits the ground hard and gets up to see what upheld him.
"Oh? I had forgotten about you." A devilish smile is on his face as he circles me. I try to make a move for the cesium, which has fallen to my side, but a spasm starts and my entire body shakes as my face begins to burn.
"I guess that the poison is already kicking in," Dragon seems to be enjoying himself as he taunts me. "Powerful stuff it seems. Or it's just 'cause you got a blade drenched in the stuff stuck in you." I ignore his words and focus all of my energy into stopping the spasm. I can not allow my end to come here. He mockingly claps as I stop the shaking.
"I think I ought to...make this go quicker." He moves forward but I make a leap and grab the cesium. He laughs at the look on my face. "Do you think that is a weapon? You're quite amusing...but it is time for you to die!" He raises his sword but I stop him with a shout.
"Do you like death?"
He looks at me, a coy smile playing on his lips. "Death is the only certainty in this world. And it's such a fun thing to give people. The perfect present. Death is glorious."
"Then have your death!" I turn and fling the cesium into the water. I see his shocked face and then close my eyes, offering a silent apology to Percy. I feel the ship's around us go flying and then I am enveloped by whiteness.
Cassandra Oracion: The Capital
We're enroute towards the Feast. At first we were hesitant to go for the risk is very high, I remember that this was the time I lost my life last time, but I have used my power and I have seen a future of me and Train (6) returning to our base. I was carrying three bags, two with white 6s on them and one with a C. We both drop to the ground in exhaustion, but neither of us are injured.
The others were happy when I told them of this vision, though it wasn't perfect, we do not have Celia's bag on hand, but there could be any reason for that, the important thing was that we will successfully retrieve the bags.
"Be careful grabbing them!" Alissa (6) dutifully reminds me as we walk through the shipyard. Train and I are in the front of the group, she's a few feet behind and Celia is at the back, protecting our rear.
An explosion rocks the walkway. I tumble to the ground as a frothing water splashes around me. I can hear the screams of my allies, certainly reminded of what happened yesterday. I look up and see a fiery blast.
The ship's are exploding! I watch as one gets blown sky high...and then begins to fall towards us!
"Move! Get out of the way!"
I pull Train forward and Alissa comes running for us when the boat crashes down through the walkway between us. A massive amount of water funnels into the sky and pieces of metal go flying over my and Train's head. We stay down as things settle, though I do not risk looking. Several minutes pass before Train unsteadily climbs up.
He scans the wreckage, looking for the girl that he loves. He continues calling, his voice getting progressively more distressed as he does not find her. I get on my feet and approach.
"Train. We have to get to the Feast!"
"Is that all you care about!?" He whips his head towards me with a fierce glare.
"My visions are always true! We need to get those bags!" We can't risk having this future changed. The one I saw had us emerge alive, but that could change if we do not attend the Feast.
"You go then!" He turns back to the floating wreckage. "But Alissa came to save me so I won't leavp her!" He jumps into the water and dives under in search of her.
A cannon confirms what I had already suspected. I don't think Alissa survived that. Or was it Celia who died? They both disappeared after the crash...but Alissa was closer...
I shake the thought from my mind. I can't focus on that right now. I have to get to the cornucopia! I sprint down the walkway towards where I know the golden horn lies. It doesn't take long for it to come into view and I see two large tables set up. One is filled with all sorts of delicious looking foods that make my stomach growl. I can smell it from here...
And the other table holds the bags.
I start forward when two figures come out of the cornucopia and scoop up their bags. Courage (3) and Marcia (7), I think. They seen to be having an argument of sorts and then Courage hides his bag under the food table and they run off with only Marcia's bag. I don't know what to make of that...
Once they're gone I start for the bags again when two more people come. This time running up from a walkway. I recognize Rufus (8) and his giant guard dog from 10. I flatten myself to the ground, hoping they won't see me.
I don't think they do as Rufus grabs his bag and Vlad (10) begins grabbing several. My heart lurches. Are they stealing our bags? Was my vision incorrect? No. He seems to only be taking the bags that belong to the Anti-Careers. They then turn and run off the way they came.
I don't wait for anyone else to show up. I go sprinting full throttle for the tables and when I reach them I throw my bag over my right shoulder and then the two bags with the "6" them. I would take Celia's as well but not only would that change my vision, but it would slow me down.
Shouts alert me to the arrival of more tributes and I see Cashmere (8) and the Careers coming. Cashmere fires an arrow which sails over my head and I run away, my heart pounding. If they pursue me...I don't think I can out run them. I only hope that the presence of their bags keeps them there.
I run through the broken down shipyard avoiding the debris that lies around. I reach the point where the boat came flying at us and see Train sitting there, soaking wet. His expression is one of sorrow and my fears are confirmed when he speaks.
"Alissa is dead," he mumbles. "I saw her corpse in there. At first I thought she was just unconscious..." He trails off miserably. I feel terrible for him but I can't allow him to sit here with the so Careers close by.
"Train, listen. We got to go. The Careers could be here any moment!"
"Alissa is dead."
"I know! But she wouldn't want you to mope like this! She'd want you to live for her!" I think my words get to him. He rises to his feet and nods slowly.
I hand him his bag and then sprint for the swamp. He follows me, but I'm afraid his heart is still in the shipyard, along with Alissa.
Ryan Marine: District Four
Having lost track of the girl from the Capitol we return to the cornucopia and see two tributes running off with two bags each. Cashmere (8) goes to give chase but Austin (1) pulls her back, saying it's pointless and we won't catch up. Yeah, going after the capital girl didn't succeed, we only gave those two the opportunity to get their bags.
Austin has us hide in the cornucopia and we wait for anyone else to show up. We probably should have done this from the start. That way we would have had the jump on anyone else who showed up, but hey! Can't change the past.
No one else shows in the twenty minutes we spend waiting and we figure that everyone whose gonna show already has and that we might as well go through the unclaimed bags now.
I open mine up and I find a trident, which when I lift out and test, is lightweight and sharp. It feels surprisingly natural in my hands. Everything else about it is perfect too and I know that this is a real work of art. Austin gets something similar in a golden sword that I think was at the feast in the 302nd games. Cashmere gets a crossbow capable of firing three arrows at once.
"This is awesome!" She squeals in delight, whirling the weapon around in her hands. I agree and Austin nods. He's still upset over Glique's death, which is understandable, especially since I know he has lost a friend to the Games a few years back and he must have been reminded of that today.
"And there's still the other bags no one claimed!" I gesture at the leftover bags on the table. Two from 1, one from 4 and 5, and one from 13. Austin also happens to find a bag from District 3 under the table that holds the food and we divide the six bags between us equally. Austin gets one of the 1's and the 3, Cashmere takes the 5 and 13, leaving me with the other bag from 1 and the one from 4.
"Lets see what we got!" I say excitedly. This feels like Christmas! I'm so glad that these people decided not to get their bags! Inside the first bag I open I find an Instant Relief, which rocks. In the second I find a smooth black stick like thing that I think is a baton of some sort. For some reason there's a tag on it saying: "One use". Not as cool as the relief but whatever.
"What did you two get?" I ask my allies hoping they got something good too. Austin holds up another Instant Relief and I also see that he's dressed in some sort of black body armor.
"Whoa! Dude that's awesome!" I exclaim, feeling envious that I hadn't claimed that bag. Body armor like that is a major help. Though, I don't know how I'd feel knowing everyone would be targeting my head..
Cashmere show off her two things, a half dozen poisoned arrows and what looks like a map of the arena. She then sees the black stick thing in my hand.
"This?" I hold it up and shrug. "No idea"
She asks to take a closer look and I hand it to her. She looks it over for a moment before deciding she doesn't know what it is.
"It's a stun baton," Austin says casually and I throw him a surprised look. He goes on to explain that the Peacekeepers carry them and that it gives a large shock that could incapacitate someone, though it is not lethal and judging by the tag it only has one use.
"That's pretty sweet!" Originally I thought that this thing would be useless, but now I see its gonna be pretty handy.
Austin has us look at the map which we spread out on the table and examine as we eat some of the delicious food from the other table.
"We're in the exact center of the arena," I say, pointing at the cornucopia on the map. "Which we already knew, of course, but that means the other tributes are all around us."
"Funny how none of today's deaths have happened at the feast," Austin murmurs.
"How many tributes are left?" Cashmere suddenly asks.
"Nineteen," Austin responds. "Which means sixteen more need to die before we win." I nod. We're getting close now. My parents and Brian must be so nervous right now...and I'm nervous as well. Shade and his allies are still out there. I don't know if he still wants to get even for me beating him, but as things stand right now we both need the other dead to win...along with seven other tributes. These Games are getting more serious by the day, but, with my allies and our newfound treasure hoard, I feel as if I can succeed without a doubt.
Dome Citadel: District Eight
"Hold her still!"
Annabeth (3) plunges the needle into Watt's shoulder and within seconds she is sitting up, looking around in surprise. Too be honest, I'm surprised she lasted long enough for Percy and Anna to return. She looked to be in terrible shape and was fading fast, but now...she looks as fine as she ever did.
Percy (4) explains to her what's happened and she turns and gives me a hug. "Thank yo, Dome!"
"What did I do?" I ask, surprised she's thanking me. Percy and Annabeth were the ones who risked their lives to get the relief. All I did was hang around here.
"You stayed with me," she answers. "And you're still fighting...despite all that has happened to you."
She means Willow. I understand. After losing her by not once but twice, it would have been so easy for me to just give up, to stop fighting. But I didn't. Mostly because I know Willow was one who would never surrender and if she wouldn't give in then neither can I. "We're all still fighting," I reply. "We all still have things left that we care for. And it's not just us. Everyone does. The other tributes. They all have something they're striving for and for us to win it will require us to stop them and to end their dreams. Are you all prepared to do that? I am."
Watt is the first to answer. "Yes. I need to return to Casidy and Charce. No matter what."
"We've been doing that same thing all this time," Annabeth points out. I notice Percy puts his arm around her and I smile at this sight of love not yet quenched by the fires of the Capitol. I will make sure to help them survive, both of them. I want neither of them to have to deal with what I had to. The pain I suffered...
"Let's get to the cove," Percy suddenly speaks and I see a strange light in his eye.
"For a funeral. We must pay our last respects to our fallen allies."
I like the idea. So many have lost their lives already, it's a shame that no one recognizes this. But I am aware that the Capitol won't like it. Not at all. But I'm tired of them and their games. Sick of the way they punish the Districts.
"Let's do it!"
We collect our items and head off for the cove.
Rufus Silks: District Eight
The Anti-Careers watch us with curious eyes as we approach their trio. They're a pitiful looking lot. Their clothes are ragged and covered in filth. In several places their clothes are even torn!
I had thought they were top contenders at the outset of these Games, but they certainly don't look the part at the present. We pull up a few feet from them and there is a moment of silence.
"You going to pretend to join us before attempting to blow us up?" The grungy looking boy from 3 asks eyeing us, me in particular, with a look of dislike.
"We're here to do nothing as distasteful as that, I assure you!" He narrows his eyes and I emit a soft chuckle. If I were attempting to kill these fools, I certainly would not get within striking distance!...at least not without having someone set up an ambush behind them.
"What are you here for, then?" Shade (7) questions me, keeping his voice level and his demeanor cool. One capable of leadership he certainly is.
In answer I clap my hands and Vlad (10) throws the bags we procured from the Feast to their feet. "Those are yours, I believe?"
They glance at one another and then the 3 boy picks up one of them and gives it a complete examination. "These are ours alright!"
"Why?" Shade asks simply, obviously enquiring about why we would assist him and his alliance.
I shrug. "We felt that...it was in the both of ours best interests for this to happen. Vlad was particularly fond of this idea." My giant of a henchmen gives a agreeing grunt and Blade (6) thanks him.
"You're our enemy though," Wario scratches his head as he speaks, unable to comprehend this notion.
"To the contrary, we are only enemies if we act that way."
They, and Vlad, nod their heads in agreement. I wonder if they take this as a sign of us aligning? That is certainly not the case. I have no intention of teaming with those...peons. But...not all things go as planned in these Games and having a backup plan is crucial to one's success.
"What will you do now?" Shade asks me. I take my time answering, though I already have my answer. It would be idiotic to let them know just how coordinated I am. Far better for them to underestimate me.
"I think, that me and Vlad shall go back to what we were doing. You have your bags, so we have no reason for sticking around. We would only get in your way."
I turn around and walk off, motioning for Vlad, who was speaking with Blade, to follow. As we walk Wario calls after us.
"Wait! Do you expect us to repay you for this?"
I stop walking but do not turn around. A small smile forms and I answer. "Of course not. This little act was free of charge. Free of charge."
Soot Dustcloud: District Twelve
I creep around the edge of the lake, weapons in hand as I keep a sharp lookout for any signs of life. I left the other Anti's early this morning so I could accomplish a simple task. I haven't done it yet but...I feel as if it will soon be finished and I will return to them. Hopefully none of those many cannons that came today belonged to them.
I freeze all movement as a soft splash comes from the lake. Peering through the thick bushes, I watch as Celia (13) unsteadily pulls herself from the water and onto dry land. She looks to be in rough shape and I have no doubt I will be able to take her out without much of a hassle.
As she rolls onto her back and stares into the stars I begin moving down closer to the waterline. She must have been caught in the water and had to swim her way over here. The good thing is she doesn't suspect a thing...
I wince as a branch cracks beneath my feet. Could I have been any more careless? I throw another look at the girl and see that she hasn't even reacted to the noise. Either she didn't hear it or thinks it's nothing...doesn't matter to me. I have a job to do.
I stealthily continue my journey over, taking extra precaution not to step on any more branches. I get as close as I can while still concealed, and then pull my staff up. I want to do this while causing the least amount of damage to the outfit as possible...
Celia stays down, unaware of my silent plotting. Once I have everything in order, I move out into the open and strike.
The girl has no chance to react as I quickly rush over to her and, with the end of the staff which I whittled into a sharp point, I spear her directly in the throat.
Her shout of pain sounds more like a guttural gurgle as she chokes on her own blood. I hold the weapon in place as she feebly attempts to pull it out. Her face pales and then she goes still.
Part one of my task has been accomplished. I remove my weapon and wipe the moist red substance off of the tip. This next part will be easier. I hoist the body over my shoulders, a difficult job but a manageable one. Then I head for the swamp, carrying the body with me.
By the time I arrive at my destination is completely dark and I can barely register the hollowed tree in front of me, but it is there. I dump the body to the ground and see a pair of eyes shining out at me. Hybrid.
I reckon that the cameras can't see him there so I don't acknowledge his presence. "The other tributes will see the hovercraft come this way and think there was fighting," I say to myself and the cameras. Now everyone watching thinks I had a realistic reason for dragging the body this whole way. In reality, I was merely giving Hybrid (7) a chance of escaping that grove by using the dead girls identity.
Job done, I jog off. I don't really know where my other friends are so I head towards the cliff that overlooks the beach so I will have a good vantage point. But when I get there, surprise! I find them!
"There you are!" Wario (3) exclaims as I walk up to them. Shade gives a discrete head tilt and I just barely nod my head in answer. I did the job. He and I are the only ones aware of Hybrid still being alive. To the others, including our enemies, he's dead and gone. "I thought you had bit the dust!"
Wario continues on to recount Rufus' visit and the close encounter they had in the shipyard. I feel as if they were surprisingly lucky this day. We got our bags without even needing to risk the feast!
"Open up and see what's inside," Blade (6) chuckles to himself as he tosses me my bag.
I catch it and open it up to find three knives and a good deal of nuts. Not bad. Shade gets a half a dozen arrows and some painkillers, Wario an instant relief..and
I frown as I see another unopened bag. It has a "7" on it but it's not Shade's. He already opened his. I feel that something is off about this but I don't know what... but before I can think too long about this Blade holds up his item, a camera, which he quickly finds out holds videos of his family and those of his allies!
The thought of the bag fades from my mind as we all gather around to watch videos of the people we are fighting for. This day has been too good to be true...
Courage Blitz: District Three
I hold my hands together as I sit in the doorway of the barn, staring out at the sky. Once we claimed our bags we headed back to the pumpkin patch, but we saw it was too close to the burning cornfield so we decided to come here. Marcia (7) is inside, reading the note from her brother which was inside the feast bag.
I sigh. I don't have anyone back home who cares about me enough to send a letter. I got instant relief, which is far more practical, but I gave that away to others....honestly, I'm beginning to think that I don't deserve to survive these Games.
Everybody else in this arena has something or someone to return to. I don't. If I won I'd just be robbing them of their chance of happiness. Would that be right? I don't know...
I think back to the Feast. I was going to stay behind and join with someone else in an effort to save them but Marcia said that was foolish, that someone would kill me before I got to speak. I told her otherwise but she refused to let me stay. Looking back, I see she was right as Rufus and his ally came moments later, and they, surely, would have finished me.
I clasp my hands over my face and sigh. I don't know what to do...
Footsteps echo behind me and Marcia emerges from the barn. Her face looks wet with tears but she also has a defiant look of determination. The letter did its job. She's as ready to fight as possible.
I expect her to say something but she doesn't. We just sit in silence, staring at the stars until the Anthem kicks in and the all too familiar seal is in the sky. Then...the faces.
Dragon, Glique, Zia, Augusta, Alissa and Celia. We silently watch as these faces parade in the sky and then the seal is back. Nine apiece. Nine All-Stars and nine new tributes. That's whose left playing this game. Only eighteen left. I don't envision there being many days left in these Games.
Marcia retires to the barn. I stay put, analyzing the beautiful stars as I contemplate my ultimate fate. Will I escape this arena intact? Or will it become my tomb? I must decide...
Day 8: The Penultimate Penace
Hybrid Three: District Seven
My eyes blink open and I see nothing. Worried, I frantically blink my eyes over and over, trying to make them see. But nothing comes into view and I sit up rapidly. That's when I realize that it's merely dark. The sun is still down and I am inside the hollow tree still.
I take a deep breath and sit in silence. I feel my heartbeat steadily return to normal and I sigh, worried that the pressure is finally getting to me. My dreams were haunted by the Capitol and all the things they have done and will do. I shake my head. I can't allow them to get to me. Not after I've already outsmarted them. All I need to do is stay alive. I don't even think I need to win this. They think I'm dead, so once the Victor is crowned the forcefield will be removed as they prepare to turn the arena into one of their resorts. When that happens I can escape. I can finally live outside the Capitol's grasp. I smile at the thought.
I have Celia' s jacket and it gives me shelter from their watching eyes. I no longer need to hide in here. I crawl out from the tree, my hands touching the spongy ground that has become all too familiar these past few days.
When I emerge it's still dark and my foot kicks something, bending down I see a bag that looks remarkably like the ones from the Feast. In fact, I see a "7" on it. This must be mine. Soot must have dropped it off.
I pick the bag up and unzip it. I am surprised to see only a small slip of paper. Frowning, I pull it out. What I read makes my heart stop.
Nice try Hybrid Three. But we knew all along.
My mouth goes dry. They knew? They know! A warning signal goes off in my head, telling me to move. But I don't. I can't. Where could I go? They control the entire arena. I'm trapped.
I hear a small sound of a bell and look down into the bag and suddenly a green liquid shoots into my face. Within seconds my skin begins to burn.
Cassandra Oracion: The Capitol
Train (6) and I sit in silence. We haven't spoken since returning here yesterday. He doesn't say it, but I think he blames me for not seeing Alissa's death. I don't blame him. I would be doing the same thing. How did I not foresee it? It was such a huge thing. And I didn't know it was going to happen. What kind of clairvoyant am I?
It all doesn't help our relations that we disagree on what our next move should be. I say we get out of this swamp as soon as possible. He says we stay here and fortify. My main problem with that idea is that we've been in this swamp for majority of the Games, just about everyone knows we're here. My other, non-strategic reason being that this place has too many memories of Alissa. Train won't be able to move on with those in his head.
I look up and watch him. He's sitting with his back against a tree, hugging his knees. I think of trying to bring up moving again but can't find a tactful way to do so. I consider maybe faking a vision but I don't want to lie to him and besides, visions may not be the best thing to mention right now.
"Cassandra?" He looks up and sees me staring. I stare back, wondering what he's thinking. "Do you think I'm mad at you?"
The question takes me back. Because that's exactly what I'm thinking. "Do I think you're mad at me?" I parrot his question and he nods.
"Do you? Because I'm not. I don't blame you for what happened yesterday. After all, you don't control what you see. No. No, I don't blame you. I blame myself."
I don't know what to say. He isn't angry at me after all. It turns out that both of us were blaming ourselves. "You didn't do-" I try to speak but he cuts me off. "I couldn't save her. She saved me. In the arena and outside of it. But I couldn't save her. I let her down. She's dead because I was a failure."
He's really taking it to himself. I want to try and console him but...What could I say? Blame me instead? No. That wouldn't do anything. Instead, I quietly say. "She wouldn't blame you."
He nods his head slowly, his eyes full of tears. "I know. That's why I have to blame myself. Because no one else will." He falls silent. I stay silent. Everything's silent. Then a horrifying screaming begins.
I'm on my feet in an instant, my trident already at the ready. No more running. I see Train (6) doing the same as me, a grim look of determination is etched on his face. We both take off running through the swamp, towards the screaming. I avoid the deeper parts of the water and stick to the drier ground. As we move the screaming stops and a cannon booms. Someone is dead and, if I have anything to say about it, their killer is next. Boom!
Train comes to a halt in a clearing, and I follow suite. A body is plainly lying there beside a hollow tree but my eyes look for anyone hidden. Someone killed this person and they might still be nearby. Train and I search the surrounding area thoroughly but find no trace of anything. No tribute, no mutt. Nothing.
With no one to fight we examine the body and I'm shocked to see that the skin on the face has been completely burnt off. White bones gleam in the rising sunlight.
"What the hell happened to him?" Train asks, his voice hushed. I shake my head. I have no answer. His body looks in tact everywhere but the face. The skin...gone. The grinning white face gets to me and I rip my gaze away and accidentally brush my foot against a bag. "A Feast bag..."
Suddenly everything becomes clear. This boy, who judging from the forest green jacket and the fact no Anti-Careers are present, is Hybrid, wasn't killed by a tribute but by his bag. I quickly tell Train and he seems dubious until I remind him that in my first Games that the bag I retrieved from the Feast contained a ravenous monkey mutt that tore me apart. I shudder at the memory. The teeth...the ripping claws....
Train ushers me away from the scene and we're about to step into shallow water when something stops me. The crackling sound of electricity.
I grip the back of his neck and yank him backwards. We fall to the ground and as he begins to yell at me I point out the water, which is now bubbling and crackling. I don't know how, but this swamp has become electrified.
"What now?" Train asks, his voice shaking as he realizes how close he came to getting electrified.
I scan the surroundings, searching for an escape route. We're surrounded by water, all of which is now deadly. Obviously we can't touch it but we also can't stay here....I close my eyes in concentration and a flash of white envelops me as a vision comes on and gives me an answer to this problem.
Annabeth March: District Three
We walk away from the swamp which, thanks to Watt's electric net has now become a death trap, and head towards a new location. We left the cove early this morning before the sun rose and Percy shed some tears as he bade goodbye to the grave of his sister. I look at him now, though, and see that his face is clear of all emotion. Now is no longer time to mourn. It's time to fight for survival.
"What now?" Watt (3) asks in a quiet voice. Though there's no reason to be silent it just feels proper so my response is also whispered. "We need to find the others. These Games won't end until thirteen more of us are dead." And I plan on those thirteen being everyone not in this group of four. Everyone here knows that for us to be the Victors it will require us fighting and doing some things that will be hard to stomach. I've managed to avoid murdering anyone so far, but how long will that last? Eventually I will have to take someone's life and the sad fact is...I'm prepared for it.
All of my allies have already done this. They've been living with the aftereffects of such a deed for awhile now. I know that if they can bare it so will I. Not because I want to but because I have to.
I leap back in alarm as something sails past our heads. Immediately Percy tackles me to the ground and Watt and Dome shout and point towards the cliffs where I can just make out the figure of someone wielding a bow.
"Let me up!" I order Percy and he shakes his head. "No way!"
"Percy please! I'm the only one who can reach!" He relents and his arms let go of me. I load my bow and roll into a kneeling position and fire off an arrow.
The figure ducks and I reload, waiting for them to reemerge. I block everything out and focus solely on aiming. I regulate my breathing and hold my bow steadily. I can make this shot, I've done it many times before. The figure pops back up and I release.
Ironically, it's my practice and skill that causes my misfire. I was use to shooting with normal arrows, but this time I was using the extra strength arrows that have a hardened tip and such, are heavier. As a result, instead of striking the figure in the heart, the arrow hits them in the lower abdomen.
They've fired their own arrow though, and now the pointed projectile is coming straight towards me. I open my mouth to...I don't know. Scream? Apologize to my family? I don't know. All I know is that my life is seconds from ending.
The arrow is inches away when he plows into me. I feel my body hitting the ground and sense no burning point of pain from the arrow digging into my skin. I was spared.
Percy is climbing back onto his feet and I get up, throw my arms around him and kiss him. I have no fear of the other archer, for my arrow struck and they are lying wounded on the cliff.
Percy breaks the kiss off and turns, confused I follow his gaze and see that that Dome is sprawled out on the ground, an arrow shaft embedded in his chest. My heart sinks. Percy saved me and, because of that, Dome got hit.
Watt gets up from where she had ducked and when she sees his prone body she lets out a shocked scream and rushes to his side, frantically checking for a pulse. But there is no pulse. She wails to the sky and drops her head, sniffling quietly.
"They'll pay for this!"
Percy marches past me, headed for the ramp that leads up the cliff. As he goes I alternate between looking at him and Watt. Comfort her or back him up? As Percy reaches the top of the ramp I make up my mind and rush after him. I catch up just as he reaches the position where the shooter was.
"They're not here?" I'm shocked that there's no person, but I reason that they couldn't have gone far. Percy soon spots a trail of blood and we head off in pursuit. We go swiftly but carefully. You never know when someone else will jump out at you in these Games.
The trail ends at a pair of trees, about a meter apart. I frown. Something feels off about this...I don't know why but I get a sense of danger from this place. I go to tell Percy to be careful when he peeks behind one of the trees and shouts in surprise.
A girl leaps out brandishing an axe. In a second I have my bow up and an arrow knocked but even then I'm not quick enough. The girl swings her axe, Percy shouts, and then the weapon smashes into his face.
The girl doesn't have any time to revel in her move. My arrow digs itself into her left eye and then I'm on her, kicking and screaming. I don't use any weapons. My body is a weapon. My nails claw at the girls face, my relentless fury gives me strength and she soon begins to resemble a pile of red jelly. But I don't stop. She killed Percy. She deserves to suffer. Nothing is too painful for her.
A hand grabs my shoulder and I spin around, lashing out in anger at the person but they deftly avoid my swing and an open palm smacks me across the face.
"Annabeth!" I'm looking into the eyes of Watt. I see anger there along with sympathy and understanding and then all my rage dissipates and I'm left with only sorrow. When I begin to sob Watt hugs me and I put my face in her shoulder. Percy...Percy...why did it have to be him? Why not me? Why Percy?
Watt makes soft crooning noises as I weep and I realize that we both lost someone today. When three cannons sound in succession, I know for a fact that Percy is dead. I begin to worry that maybe I could have saved him with Dome's Instant Relief had I been fast enough. But then I recall the axe smashing into his face and know that he was dead the moment that happened. With this realization fresh tears stream down my face.
I don't know how much time passes, but eventually my tears dry. The sorrow remains but no more water comes from my glands. I push away from Watt and look at Percy. I nearly vomit when I see the bloody messes that was once his handsome face. I throw a malicious glance at the body of girl who murdered him. I now see that she's Marcia, the girl from seven, by her jacket alone. Her face is too disfigured to recognize.
"We can't just leave him," I say to Watt, my voice shaking. "He deserves so much more then that." She nods and we go and find flowers, pearls, anything that's beautiful and wreaths his body in them. I notice that Watt does the same for District 7 girl and I know she's kinder then me. She's more deserving of life. I could never bring myself to honor the spirit of Percy's killer, or anyone who attempted such.
"There," Watt rises to her feet. "Now they're at peace." A single tear glistens in her eyes and I note that she's also stronger then I am. I look at Percy and my tears are already back but she stays strong. I want to suggest we do the same for Dome but I know a the hovercraft has already claimed his body. Like how they will soon claim Percy's. I don't want that to happen, I don't want the Capitol to touch him but when I tell Watt this she points out that doing anything to hinder the collection could endanger our chances of winning.
I don't see how that's much of a problem. I don't even know if they will let us win after yesterday's funerals and our decorating of their bodies. We might have already blown our chances of coming home to our families...
My family...I think of them and know that I must continue to fight, for Percy and them. He wanted me to come home alive, no matter what. I can't fail now. I've lost too much to fail. I look at my only remaining ally and after scanning the immediate area she looks at me.
"Where did the other go?"
Watt's question makes no sense to me and I can only stare blankly until she elaborates. "Marcia didn't shoot at us. She doesn't have a bow. Someone else, probably her ally, did. But they're not here. So where did they go'?"
Someone else...of course! Marcia was lying in wait here. Percy and I had tracked someone different to this location. The person who killed Dome. We both do another check around but we find nothing but the bloody discarded jacket from District 3. But there's no footprints, no blood trail. He had to have left when we...where putting Percy to rest. And covered his trail efficiently.
"We can't catch up to them now," Watt says. She looks exhausted, probably from the combination of sorrow and exertion. I feel as terrible as she looks. I don't think I could handle hunting someone down with out collapsing. Even if it were someone who contributed to Percy's death.
"We should get some rest," Watt tells me softly. "We still have a full day ahead of us." I nod slowly. Already all of this despair and sorrow and it's not even breakfast. I fear that only more death and destruction lies ahead.
Austin Aitken: District One
Ryan (4) and I pour the gas tank over the table filled with food. I feel surprisingly bad about putting all this delicious food to waste, but I know that if we don't do it now, this food will be supplying our enemies and we can't afford to give them any advantage.
When we finish dousing the table with the gasoline we step back and examine our handiwork. The entire table and the metal ground beneath it are drenched and I know that it will only take one match to start it up.
"That stench will give it away," Ryan (4) grunts, his nose twitching at the overpowering smell of gas. I frown. I hadn't thought of that being a factor.
"Don't worry about it," I say realizing we have no choice but to continue with the plan now. We don't have enough time to come up with any other. The Anti-Careers will be here within the next half-hour. "They will be too busy rushing for the food to notice that it smells"
"They'd have to be pretty hungry," He says doubtfully and then pauses before speaking again. "We're going to take on the Anti's afterwards, right?"
I hesitate. I don't like that idea but I gave my word. And besides, I don't really need to actually do it. I only need to watch him fight Shade. I nod at him. "Of course!"
He nods his head in acceptance and we all move to the outskirts of the clearing. As we lie in wait I adjust the crossbow in my arms. This was Cashmere's old one, before she got the three shot. In exchange for her giving this to me I gave her my old sword. Now the both of us are armed with excellent long range and close combat weapons. I roll the box of matches I received yesterday around in my hands. I'm hoping that two or more of them will head for the food and become easy targets for me to burn, but I have to prepare for the worst as well. If none of them make any move for the table and they notice the smell...we will be outnumbered. If that is to happen I'd have us run but Ryan may think differently.
"Here they come!"
Cashmere's excited whisper has me look up and see the group of four come into the clearing. Quickly, I start a match and light the arrow in my crossbow. I'll only have one shot at this.
Shade (7) and Soot (12) stay on the edge, conversing in low voices. Wario (3) and Blade (6) move for the table.
I shoot as soon as Wario's foot touches the gasoline. The flaming arrow hits the table and a sudden fire breaks out. The flames travel along the route of gas and right up to Wario's foot.
"F-FIRE!" Blade lets out a scream as the fire spreads onto Wario. I watch with interest as they begin screaming and shouting at the flaming figure when I hear another alarmed shout. This time from Ryan.
I spin around in time to see Rufus (8) slicing a bright red smile across Cashmere's throat. I press the trigger on my crossbow before remembering I didn't reload.
Vlad (10), who is right beside him, beams an axe straight towards me but Ryan's trident knocks the weapon out of the air. In the confusion that follows I use the time to reload and fire an arrow at Rufus who uses Cashmere's body as a shield to deflect the projectile. He falls backwards into the water that surrounds us and into safety as Vlad chucks a dagger at my shoulder only for it to get stuck in my body armor.
I don't have any time to think. Where did they come from? Have the Anti's noticed this? Before I can even finish my thoughts Vlad lunges at me with his second axe. I trip backwards and fall on my backside. As I scramble back to my feet, Vlad spins around to knock away one of Ryan's tridents, giving me an opportunity.
I drive my golden sword straight through Vlad's back. The blade comes out of his chest and amazingly the boy only staggers slightly, remaining standing and swinging his axe madly.
"What the hell is this guy?!" I scream. Any normal person would be incapacitated by that blow!
With Ryan's answer comes his trident. The three pronged weapon digs into the boy's chest and he falls to his knees, mumbling to himself before slumping over backwards.
So the beast of a boy falls, pierced by two weapons. We don't have any time to celebrate our victory, we can hear the shouts of the others as they notice us. We pull our weapons out and run, hoping they won't catch up. Boom! Boom!
Soot Dustcloud: District Twelve
The flames quickly spread onto Wario and he lets out a terrified scream as he sprints for the water surrounding us. My allies scream at him as he plunges into the cold waves, which swiftly devour the flames. But was he fast enough? Or did the fire already spread too far?
"Get him out!" Shade (7) yells at me and Blade. He doesn't have to tell me twice. I throw my weapons to the ground and dive into the water. Another splash and Blade joins me. It doesn't take long to haul the motionless body of Wario onto land and we roll him onto his back. Dark red burns cover all of his open skin, leaving bloodied splotches. His clothes have been so severely damaged by the flames that they've all but burnt away. He doesn't move and I fear he is gone when he emits a low moan.
"He's alive!" Blade exclaims as Shade frowns. "He won't be for long if we can't help him." That's when a thought strikes me. Instant Relief! Didn't Wario get some of the stuff from the Feast? I quickly look for Wario's pack and fortunately he had taken it off and slung it to the floor shortly before the blaze began.
"Here!" I wrestle the bag open and retrieve the item, tossing it to Blade. "Inject him!" He nods and gets to work, finding the best place to inject. As I watch, something taps my shoulder and I turn to see Shade. He motions his head to the edge of the clearing where I can just see the Careers taking out Vlad.
Involuntarily, I let out a shout and they both turn to us before sprinting off. I go to give chase but Shade pulls me back, shaking his head. "Not worth it. They'd have the advantage of whatever battleground they want." Reluctantly I admit he has a point. They could just keep running until they found a suitable location for them and then turn and fight. It wouldn't be worth the effort. Just as I finish thinking that Wario sits up and begins hacking violently before spitting out about a gallon of water.
"You okay?" I ask him and he miserably nods. "Could have been worse you know. Your face could have turned out like Shade's"
"You're the ugly one!" Shade shoves me and we all break out laughing. Laughter, I realize, that is preventing us from overloading our minds with worries. I don't want to think about how close to death we came, so I don't. I laugh instead, focusing on the brighter side of the day.
"It's a shame all that food was wasted," Blade comments as he watches the table burn. It's a good thing the ground is metal, as it prevents the flames from spreading. I reflect that this was what gave us time to save Wario. When I tell the others this Wario decides that when he wins that he will give half his Victor earnings to the people who made the metal.
"So what's our next move?" I ask when we finish laughing with Wario. Today has gone by well, despite the fire mishap. Well before dawn today, I dropped off Hybrid's bag and I know that soon he will be back in action, helping us as best he can. And on top of that, I haven't had a coughing fit in...I dunno how long, but it's been awhile.
"I don't see why we have to leave here," Blade says. "This is the center of the arena. Sooner or later everyone will have to come to us."
"Good point," Shade nods his head. "We stay here for now. But don't get too careful. Other tributes, or the Gamemakers, might intervene at any moment." I'm looking forward to it. Only twelve more tributes remain, and at least only half of those are new tributes. The sooner we encounter them, the sooner I get home. I don't fear the others. I never have. But they should fear me, because I will stop at nothing to return home.
Train McBridge: District Six
Somehow, someway, we managed to escape from that death trap of a swamp. All the credit for that has to go to Cassandra (C) for using her clairvoyance to find a safe passage through. She knew exactly where we could and couldn't step and with that immensely helpful knowledge we made it out alive.
"I can't believe we're alive," I say as my feet finally give out on me and I drop to the soft grass below. We're somewhere in the meadow, which is on the completely opposite side of the arena of the swamp. "I thought for sure we were goners."
"We could still be," Cassandra responds, dropping beside me. Right. We could still die before the day is up, and even if we do survive this day the odds are we won't last much longer anyways. But...only twelve more tributes remain and our shot of surviving increases with each death. Besides, I've shown I can make it to the end before. In the 326th Games I was one of the last tributes to perish. I feel a pang of loss when I think back to that day. Had I survived, had I thrown Charce off of that tower instead, I could very well of won. Then I could have gone home. But...Alissa would still have gone into these Games and then I wouldn't have been able to go in with her. But...maybe that would have been better, because I didn't exactly help her. I sense Cassandra watching me and I force a fake smile. I don't want her to know I'm still blaming myself for Alissa's death.
"We're going to win this." She nods with a thoughtful expression. Is she thinking of trying to use her clairvoyance to see what awaits us? I don't know how I feel about that. How will I react if I know how I die? What if she sees us winning and then that knowledge cause us to do something that we wouldn't otherwise do and we end up dead? There are so many ways that could turn out...
She doesn't go into any vision though. She only says we should try and find some place with better shelter and then gets up and walks deeper into the meadow. I shrug to myself and follow after her, hoping nothing attacks us on the way.
Rufus Silks: District Eight
Since my encounter at the cornucopia the day has gone by rather uneventfully. I have not seen a single person or animal. Some might think that this would be preferable to me but they would be wrong. I was hoping to encounter a loner or small alliance, something I could easily dispatch. A big part of emerging victorious is having the Capitol's support. Having just lost my one remaining ally I conceivably lost many sponsors as well. Vlad was an integral part of my strategy, he was the ace up my sleeve and reflecting back, he was the only one of my alliance who I don't regret recruiting. They were all worthless, though he was major boon.
But now that I have lost him, I have only my own skills and resources left. I bet I am being counted out of the running now, but what most people don't realize is that I am capable of besting majority of the remaining tributes in single combat. Only the Careers with their lifelong training and state-of-the-art training equipment can match me. Though I do not plan on fighting them fairly, only a fool would do that. No. I plan on using every advantage I can get. Speaking of which...
I look at the Instant Relief I received from the Feast yesterday and marvel at its contents. This item is capable of mending just about any wound. In essence, I will have to be defeated twice to be killed. Ha! I nearly laugh at the absurdity of this thought. No one can beat me once, let alone twice! No, unless I do something exceedingly stupid I will have no problem in surviving these last few hours.
Content, I lean back on the pumpkin I am perched on, holding the crossbow I took from Cashmere's body in my arms. The sun is setting and I know that the chances of me encountering any other tributes are slim to none now. Well, no matter. They have nowhere to go and I have all the time in the wotld hunt them down...
Ryan Marine: District Four
The barn is dark and silent as we sit waiting for the telltale sound of the Anthem that will tell us of the approachment of The Fallen. The three, yeah three, of us are anxious to see who the remaining rivals are and how many of them. I glance at our third alliance member, Courage. He came to this barn hours after we arrived. I was for killing him, since it would make my victory closer, but he surprised us by saying he wanted to help us win and that he has no desire to win himself. Odd. Very odd.
Austin (1) then noticed his bleeding stomach and he told us that he was shot by Annabeth (3) but managed to escape alive. His wound is pretty bad. We've done all we can for it but it wasn't much, he's still weak and kinda pasty looking.
"You all right?" I ask him now. He mumbles a small "yeah". He's got a lot to think about, as he told us he left his ally to die earlier. I scratch my head and go walk over to Austin who's standing by the barn doors. "You think we should give him an Instant Relief?" He throws a glance towards the sickly looking boy and shrugs. "He told us he didn't want it. You said he didn't need it either."
"Well...yeah I did but..." I remember saying that but at the time it was a no-brainer. The guy could have just been lying to us and planning our deaths once he got healed. But now that I see him lying there, looking so injured and tired, I'm beginning to rethink. I may be a Career but I'm not heartless.
"We'll wait for morning and see how he's faring then," Austin says, seeing my discomfort. "If he's really bad we'll offer him it. But I'm not expecting he'll accept it."
"Okay." That sounds fair enough to me. Just at that moment the Anthem kicks in and we quickly pull the doors open, Courage manages to walk over and he sits in the doorway as we gaze up into the sky: the faces begin.
Percy starts thing out and, despite the guy being my District partner, I didn't really know a thing about him. He's followed up by Hybrid (7) and Marcia (7). They weren't any particular threats to me, but they certainly had the potential to be. Dome (8) and Cashmere (8) are next. I really didn't want her to die like that, but Rufus came out of nowhere and I didn't have time to stop him. The final one is Vlad (10).
"Six," Austin says once the sky goes dark again. "Only six more before I win."
"Only six for us as well," I think of my remaining challenges. Shade (7) is the most obvious. He and I have been on a collision course since the beginning of the Games and, despite me having won our previous encounter, I know he will be a tough fight. Possibly the toughest. Then there's the others. Watt (3) is not a physical threat to me but she's probably the most intelligent person in this arena, and intelligence can be just as deadly as brute force. Train (6) is a wildcard. He's good at hiding but I really have no idea what his skill set is beyond that. His ally, Cassandra, claims to have some sort of paranormal powers or something. I really didn't pay much attention to her be for most of the Games, but if she really does have a power then she's a huge threat.
"You guys can win soon," Courage, the sixth remaining All-Star says. If he's telling the truth and really doesn't want to win then I only have four threats left. It seems like such a small number but there's such a long way... "I don't think there's much days left," Courage continues. "Tomorrow could actually be the final day."
"Let's hope it is," Austin's eyes gleam with a burning intensity as he stared into the empty sky. He wants this victory badly, but so does everyone else in this arena. No one here wants this place to become their tomb, except maybe Courage.
"You're gonna need to take out the Anti-Careers," I tell him. "Three of the remaining tributes are in that alliance." He frowns at this, but already I can sense the gears in his head churning as he thinks of a plan. The Anti's may have the numbers advantage, but only three of them can win, the other will have to be cut loose. That really benefits us if they have to turn on one another.
"We can't just worry about people in our groups though," Courage warns. "Just because someone is an All-Star doesn't mean they won't try to help their new friends win too." Right. We have more to worry about then just the people who share the same title.
"Everyone is our enemy," Austin decides. "If we encounter them we fight them. No matter who they are. Right?" We both agree with him. This is our only choice really, fight them or die. Really, that's how the Games have always been. You can try to run or hide, but you can't win that way. To become Victor one must fight and kill. No one has ever won these Games without making a single kill and it won't be any different this time. I look into the grim faces of my allies and we all are thinking the same thing: It's time to end these Games.
|Dragon Lord (1)||Austin (1), Glique (1), Jerica (2), Ryan (4), Zia (4)||Rope||Corncuopia|
|Austin Aitken (1)||Dragon (1), Glique (1), Jerica (2), Ryan (4), Zia (4)||Sword, Dagger||Corncuopia|
|Glique Dumofitz (1)||Dragon (1), Austin (1), Jerica (2), Ryan (4), Zia (4)||Knife, Baton||Corncuopia|
|Jerica Straddler (2)||Dragon (1), Austin (1), Glique (1), Ryan (4), Zia (4)||Throwing Axes x2||Cornucopia|
|Courage Blitz (3)||N/A||Bow, Quiver, Arrows x11, Knife, Bread, Fruit, Water||Burnt Forest|
|Wario Wade (3)||Blade (6), Shade (7), Hunter (9), Alicia (9), Daisy (11), Soot (12)||Dagger, Awl, Burn Cream, Fruit||Shipyard|
|Watt Chargy (3)||Varina (9), Annabeth (3), Percy (4), Bella (10), Darker (11)||Throwing Knives x3, Knife,Dried Meat, Dried Fruit, Water||Cove|
|Annabeth March (3)||Watt (3), Percy (4), Varina (9), Bella (10), Darker (11)||Bow, Quiver, Arrows x6, Dried Meat, Dried Fruit, Water||Cove|
|Ryan Marine (4)||Dragon (1), Austin (1), Glique (1), Jerica (2), Zia (4)||Trident, Sleep Syrup, Net||Cornucopia|
|Percy Grace (4)||Watt (3), Annabeth (3), Varina (9), Bella (10), Darker (11)||Trident, Dried Meat, Dried Fruit, Water||Cove|
|Zia Grace (4)||Dragon (1), Austin (1), Glique (1), Jerica (2), Ryan (4)||Trident, Dagger||Cornucopia|
|Augusta Winters (5)||Marcia (7)||Blanket, Dried Meat, Water||Pumpkin Patch|
|Train McBridge (6)||Alissa (6), Celia (13)||Slingshot, Rocks x6, Dried Fruit, Dried Meat, Water||Shipyard|
|Blade Spectrus (6)||Wario (3), Shade (7), Hunter (9), Alicia (9), Daisy (11), Soot (12)||Spear, Spile, Wire||Shipyard|
|Alissa Metal Beam (6)||Train (6), Celia (13)||Sword, Dried Fruit, Dried Meat, Water||Shipyard|
|Shade Spectrus (7)||Wario (3), Blade (6), Hunter (9), Alicia (9), Daisy (11), Soot (12)||Crossbow, Arrows x9, Dagger, Instant Relief||Shipyard|
|Hybrid Three (7)||N/A||Throwing Knives x3, Darts x4, Gasoline, Net Trap||Swamp|
|Marcia Callamezzo (7)||Augusta (5)||Axe, Corn, Water||Pumpkin Patch|
|Dome Citadel (8)||N/A||N/A||Bathroom|
|Rufus Silks (8)||Vlad (10), Vivan (10)||Knife, Brass Knuckles||Barn|
|Cashmere Prada (8)||N/A||Crossbow, Arrows x4, Hatchet||Burnt Field|
|Hunter Davila (9)||Wario (3), Blade (6), Shade (7), Alicia (9), Daisy (11), Soot (12)||Dagger, Sleeping Bag||Shipyard|
|Varina Tapora (9)||Watt (3), Annabeth (3), Percy (4), Bella (10), Darker (11)||Dried Meat, Dried Fruit, Water||Cove|
|Alicia Haze (9)||Wario (3), Blade (6), Shade (7), Hunter (9), Daisy (11), Soot (12)||Whip||Shipyard|
|Vlad Rockford (10)||Rufus (8), Vivan (10)||Axe, Dagger||Barn|
|Twix Cinders (10)||N/A||Night-Vision Glasses||Burnt Forest|
|Vivan Incomstanti (10)||Rufus (8), Vlad (10)||Knife||Barn|
|Bella Mustang (10)||Watt (3), Annabeth (3), Percy (4), Varina (9), Darker (11)||Bow, Quiver, Arrows x10, Dried Meat, Dried Fruit, Water||Cove|
|Darker Horrfi (11)||Watt (3), Annabeth (3), Percy (4), Varina (9), Bella (10)||Throwing Knives x1, Dried Meat, Dried Fruit, Water||Cove|
|Daisy Lilac (11)||Wario (3), Blade (6), Shade (7), Hunter (9), Alicia (9), Soot (12)||Machete||Shipyard|
|Soot Dustcloud (12)||Wario (3), Blade (6), Shade (7), Hunter (9), Alicia (9), Daisy (11)||Staff||Shipyard|
|Celia Myer (13)||Train (6), Alissa (6), Cassandra (C)||Knife, Soup, Water||Shipyard|
|Cassandra Oracion (C)||Train (6), Alissa (6), Celia (13)||Dagger, Blanket, Sleep Syrup, Dried Meat, Dried Fruit||Shipyard|
|Place||Tribute||Day Killed||Killed By||Killed From|
|56||Evelyn Dinstra (8)||1||Rufus Silks (8)||Skull Cracked|
|55||Ice Hunts (13)||1||Austin Aitken (1)||Sword in stomach|
|54||Julius Paris (2)||1||Blade & Shade Spectrus||Knife in heart|
|53||Rio Flock (12)||1||Mimic Slaughter (6)||Sword in chest|
|52||Mimic Slaughter (6)||1||Zia Grace (4)||Trident in chest|
|51||Hatch Scright (2)||1||Willow Firethorn (7)||Axe in head|
|50||Mondi Bakerman (11)||1||Trick Treat (5)||Teeth in neck|
|49||Woody Chopper (5)||1||Dragon Lord (1)||Mutilated|
|48||Ramon Constancy (C)||2||Crocodile Mutts||Devoured|
|47||Amaryllis Silvermoon (12)||2||Vlad Rockford (10)||Neck Snapped|
|46||Exolian Dynamite (12)||2||Marcia Callamezzo (7)||Axe in chest|
|45||Jake Price (9)||2||Trick Treat (5)||Decapitated|
|44||Trick Treat (5)||2||Trick Treat (5)||Broken Neck|
|43||Kodai Hitogoroshi (5)||3||Dragon Lord (1)||Sword in chest|
|42||Astrid Bellia (1)||3||Shade Spectrus (7)||Arrow in skull|
|41||Kingsley Orion (13)||3||Jerica Straddler (2)||Burned Alive|
|40||Gloom Ivy (11)||3||Dome Citadel (8)||Slashed throat|
|39||Dusk Olive (C)||4||Scarecrow Mutt||Decapitated|
|38||Dawn Olive (C)||4||Scarecrow Mutt||Scythe in chest|
|37||Ella Massey (2)||4||Train McBridge (6)||Rock to head|
|36||Piper Quinn (13)||4||Austin Aitken (1)||Blown up|
|35||Swatty Lakeside (4)||4||Austin Aitken (1)||Shrapnel in neck|
|34||Willow Firethorn (7)||4||Plant Mutt||Decapitated|
|33||Jerica Straddler (2)||5||Dragon Lord (1)||Knife in throat|
|32||Twix Cinders (10)||5||Rufus Silks (8)||Knife in heart|
|31||Alicia Haze (9)||5||Dragon Lord (1)||Sword in chest|
|30||Hunter Davila (9)||6||Dragon Lord (1)||Decapitated|
|29||Varina Tapora (9)||6||Blade Spectrus (6)||Spear in chest|
|28||Bella Mustang (10)||6||Shade Spectrus (7)||Arrow in throat|
|27||Daisy Lilac (11)||6||Bella Mustang (10)||Arrow in heart|
|26||Darker Horrfi (11)||6||Shade Spectrus (7)||Arrow in skull|
|25||Vivan Incomstanti (10)||6||Cashmere Prada (8)||Arrow in chest|
|24||Augusta Winters (5)||7||Percy Grace (4)||Trident in skull|
|23||Glique Dumofitz (1)||7||Scarecrow Mutt||Slashed chest|
|22||Zia Grace (4)||7||Zia Grace (4)||Blown up|
|21||Dragon Lord (1)||7||Zia Grace (4)||Blown up|
|20||Alissa Metal Beam (6)||7||Zia Grace (4)||Crushed|
|19||Celia Myer (13)||7||Soot Dustcloud (12)||Staff in throat|
|18||Hybrid Three (7)||8||Gamemakers||Acid in face|
|17||Dome Citadel (8)||8||Courage Blitz (3)||Arrow in heart|
|16||Percy Grace (4)||8||Marcia Callamezzo (7)||Axe in face|
|15||Marcia Callamezzo (7)||8||Annabeth March (3)||Arrow in eye|
|14||Cashmere Prada (8)||8||Rufus Silks (8)||Throat slit|
|13||Vlad Rockford (10)||8||Austin (1) & Ryan (4)||Stabbed in chest|
|12||Train McBridge (6)||9||Annabeth March (3)||Arrow in chest|
|11||Wario Wade (3)||9||Austin Aitken (1)||Decapitated|
|10||Annabeth March (3)||9||Cassandra Oracion (C)||Knife in neck|
|9||Shade Spectrus (7)||9||Ryan Marine (4)||Trident in chest|
|8||Ryan Marine (4)||9||Blade Spectrus (6)||Spear in chest|
|7||Courage Blitz (3)||9||Watt Chargy (3)||Trident in chest|
|6||Blade Spectrus (6)||9||Rufus Silks (8)||Throat slit|
|5||Rufus Silks (8)||9||Austin Aitken (1)||Sword in back|
|Victor||Watt Chargy (3)||All-Star||------------------------------||Victor!!!|
|Victor||Cassandra Oracion (C)||All-Star||------------------------------||Victor!!!|
|Victor||Austin Aitken (1)||New||------------------------------||Victor!!!|
|Victor||Soot Dustcloud (12)||New||------------------------------||Victor!!!|