The 1st HUNGER GAMES
Message from the Capitol:
To the citizens of Panem -
The first Hunger Games will be set to begin within the next week or so. The Reaping for each individual district will be held in their respective town squares. Prior to the Games, twenty-four tributes will be selected to be sent into the Arena, one girl and one boy per district. The tributes will then make their way to the Capitol where the following will take place before the action starts:
- A walk through the centre of the Capitol.
- Standard training sessions.
- Private training sessions and distribution of training scores.
Be sure to keep on your toes, good luck, and may the odds be EVER in your favour.
Female - Nemphisi Niguless (16) **VICTOR**
Enter your potential tributes into the Reaping by filling in the comment box below with their details. Required information to be included:
- District token.
- Weapon of choice.
- Family background.
- Brief history.
Tributes will be Reaped when enough Potentials have either been messaged to the Capitol (my talk page) or via the comment box below.
District 1 - Jewel and Everest
As we wind through the streets of the Capitol, I glance at my fellow tribute and District partner, Everest. Of course, we're stunning; I'm in a white, ankle-length dress with a silver-plated bodice, while Everest is in a dashing suit with silver cuffs. But I'm don't give a damn about how amazing we look, or even care to notice the raging crowds which have gathered here today. No. Instead, I'm looking under my eyelashes towards Everest Sateer, and as his head turns towards me, I allow myself a grin; I take his hand. Here's a tribute I can use.
District 2 - Amazon and Nathan
I glare at the crowd, completely ignoring their sounds of appreciation as they take us in. I know what I am: dangerous, cunning and out for blood. I can tell from some people in the crowd that they fear me, and with that, there's admiration too. I tug roughly at the belt in my waist and suppress the urge to scream out. Sure, it looks as if it's designed to hold my favourite things: knives, guns, battle axes. But, while I know it's irrational to think they'd let me carry a gun, even just for show, I hate it. I shoot Nathan a look of disdain, seeing him reel back briefly, and then I can't stop the derisive laugh that escapes my lips...
District 3 - Jackie and Ray
I don't know what to feel as Jackie and I begin the walk through the centre of the Capitol, drawing stares and roars of support from all round with our costumes which I know involves so many electronic intricacies. I look towards Jackie and start to say something, but she gives me an ugly grimace and I have the sense to stop. But she's not finished with the threat. She leans in close, and then I'm feeling pain rip through me as she digs her fingernails into my arm. I'm shocked, but as I survey the crowds I know I can't show pain and weakness now. Jackie smiles thinly and leans away, but I'm not paying attention to her anymore. I can't give her any piece of satisfaction. Not one.
District 4 - Michelle and Cod
It's our turn, the tributes of District 4. We turn quite a few heads; Michelle looks great in fishnets and a dress which has hooks attached, and for a second I feel inferior to this gorgeous girl. But then I remember. The girl's depressed. I grin despite myself, knowing I'll be able to take her down easy. I look down, noticing my own fish hooks glint under the sun. Shaking off any doubt I have left, I stride with much more confidence. Michelle notices the change and I can see questions gathering in her eyes. But she knows I won't answer them. After all, who is she to me? Her being from Eight means a little shy of nothing to me. Nothing. But hey, she won't be my priority target. It's District 3 who need to to watch out. I grin again.
District 5 - Cathy and Malt
The enthusiasm of the crowds is amazing. I blow kisses; I wave. Everyone goes nuts, and I beam, flashing my teeth to the people of the Capitol. Malt and I aren't particularly good-looking, but we more than make up for it with our easy smiles and fun personalities. I squueze Malt's hand and feel his tighten in mine. We both know only one of us can survive in these Games, but that doesn't mean we'll end up killing each other. The warmth of Malt's gaze permeates through every part of me, but the moment is cut short as I notice we're reaching the end of the Walk. "Good luck," I whisper softly, and then I touch my fingers to his.
District 6 - Kajama and Reed
I don't care much for anything as I step with Reed on to the street to begin our walk through the Capitol. All I can think about is Finnick. Finnick, whose infectious personality and laugh sticks in my head when noting else does. I notice the crowds are a lot quieter now, but I instantly know why. Reed and I both don't give a thought to working the people of the Capitol, and for that I sort of admire him. As I break away from the image of Finnick in my mind, I turn to Reed for the first time to find him looking at me, and any admiration I feel fades to dust. His expression is malicious, just plain awful. And most of all, his eyes rage with bloodlust, and they're directed at me. Me.
District 7 - Sadie and Bay
As Sadie and I take to the streets, I feel a whip of nervousness hit me. It's not the crowds. And it sure as hell isn't the costume. It's her. Sadie. Sure, at first glance, I thought I could take her down in seconds, but as our proximity slowly grows closer, I know she's different, and I get the impression that her being my first choice to take down in the arena would be a bad move. And as confident and uncaring as I am, that ripple of nervousness starts to escalate, and soon, I'm fighting to throw it off. But I can't. Inwardly, I'm cursing Sadie, and the ghost of a smile I had on my face vanishes. I hate her.
District 8 - Shay and Felton
I'm am hating this to no end. I look at Shay, and she manages an apologetic grimace when I know she's probably laughing inside. Seriously, we're District 8, Textiles, and Shay and I got the most stupid and tasteless stylists in the Games. Tie-dye. That's what we're wearing, and it's absolutely hideous. I suppose Shay looks alright, since she's wearing quite a showy dress in vibrant colours, but I'm a guy. Although those from the same districts are supposed to look the same, I still resent it. And I resent Shay, for looking so much better than me and giving this crowd someone to look forward to in these Games. I mean, really.
District 9 - Campbelle and Damien
I feel like I'm about to cry, but unlike the other tributes, not from anticipation. I'm pretty much shaking in my anxiety, and my mind's just spiralling out of control here. Ever. Damien. Death. I'm one of the youngest in the Games, and already I'm feeling the heat. I know I can't survive this onslaught, but I also know that what I can do is make sure Damien does. He volunteered in that brutish boy's place to save me, and I'll live with guilt for the remainder of my life if I don't choose to help him now. But the decision isn't that hard really, and as I look from the streets ahead to the boy by my side, I have faith that things will be okay. It's between Damien and me. And I choose Damien.
District 10 - Pilla and Brick
I heard Felton from District 8 complaining about having the most flavourless stylist in the Games, but I beg to differ. I'm looking from Pilla's two piece cow-print ensemble to my own, and I have to choke back laughter and... I guess anger. I can feel Pilla's palm become increasingly more clammy by the minute - she must be thinking along the same lines as me. The cruel snorts and laughter become nearly unbearable, but I know I must be strong, or at least look it. My name is Brick, after all.
District 11 - Max and Kira
I'm loving the moment; it's just so different from the tiresome routines and rules that are District 11. Here in the Capitol, there's freedom. Room for creativity. The crowd are positively shrieking right now, and I think it's got something to do with the costumes Max and I are wearing. I'm wearing a beautiful green and silver dress which is weaved with wild grasses and flowers. But even in the excitement, I sense something's profoundly wrong. I turn my head towards my district partner, and I have my answer. Max. I start to open my mouth to ask him about whether his stoniness has something to do with the Capitol, but he jerks his head roughly to the side. I stop. And then I realise it has everything to do with the Capitol.
District 12 - Nemphisi and Faust
I was expecting the coal-inspired suits, so I guess I'm cool with the whole "smoky" get-up. But, as much as everything seems out of control, I still think about Nemphisi. And I feel sad, because we haven't spoken a word since one time on the train when she told me to get lost. But this is partly why I love her so much. I know that under the hostlile exterior, something beautiful lies underneath. As we near the end of the Walk, I seize the moment. I know that if I just place my hand in her's she will pull away and give me an angry glare, so I quickly grab it and squeeze hard before pulling away. It has the desired effect; shock registers on her face, and temporarily, her beautiful face loses its trademark scowl. I mentally capture the moment - when I die, I want to remember her like this.
STANDARD TRAINING SESSIONS - Highlights
As soon as we arrive at the Training Centre, I'm going for a pair of lethal battle axes. Using a wide wooden pole as my target, I get a good, firm grip on one axe and send it across the room. My aim is perfect, my strength causing it to stick solidly into the pole, and in a heartbeat, the other axe is in the air and lands right next to it; it's exactly where I wanted it to be. I catch Everest looking at me and I smile. These Games are mine for the taking.
I survey the Centre for my ideal weapons, and it's not long before I head to the knive-throwing station and come up with an impressive number of throwing knives. Out of the corner of my eye I see Jewel's expertly hurling a pair of axes into the wooden pole across the room from her. This grates on my mind, but I jerk my head back to my set of knives and at the target before me: a huge dartboard. I register it for a moment longer, and then, I'm throwing my deadly weapons towards the bulls-eye. All five knives hit it dead-on and are lodged firmly into the dartboard. I give myself some time to congratulate myself before homing in on an elongated silver spear just to my right.
Immediately, I spy a mace to my left and move swiftly to retrieve it. Without hesitating, I grab it, and in the same movement, I throw it with incredible force towards the wall opposite me; I know and don't care that I've ignored the target provided for me, and this has the desired effect as four or five tributes stop in their tracks to stare at me. As soon as the mace has stuck in the wall, I grab a knife from the next station and send it into a table half way across the room. While this demonstrates excellent speed and skill, I'm not satisfied and I decide to be naughty, driving a throwing axe into Brick Merlack's target, a sturdy wooden board. It sticks into the board faster that his spear and he looks down, embarrassed as it bounces off my axe and onto the floor. He looks at me, shocked, and I stare back, daring him to challenge me. Unsurprisingly, he doesn't.
As I head into the Training Centre, I see a set of tridents a few steps away from me. I look back and forth between my weapons and the other tributes before I bury them into the heart and eyes of a wooden dummy about a one and a half metres away from me. Next I pick up two spears to try out, one very long and the other short. As I skewer the dummy's neck I realise that I actually prefer a short spear to a long one; I'm not exactly sure why but maybe it's because it fits way better in my hand and so I can direct it more accurately and faster as well. Using the tridents and spears has also caused me to see the extent of my skills, and I know I will never underestimate myself. Ever.
I feel my cheeks grow hot as I shoot a look at Amazon. She had no right, and I feel like yelling at her, but I know that it won't affect her in the slightest; she'd just brush it off, laugh even. So I turn from her, and concentrate on the bow and arrows I have selected from the archery station. The weapons are beautiful as well as deadly, the bow a polished ebony and the arrows with golden tips. Still sort of steaming from Amazon's show of power, I string back my first arrow and face my target, a wooden dummy. My hands are not used to this bow, and my first arrow - aimed for the dummy's left eye - ends up just above its bottom lip. I grit my teeth and string another arrow, this time raising the tip to an even deadlier position: the space right between the eyes. Before I release it though, I imagine Amazon as my target, and then I send the arrow... straight between the eyes. I blink for a moment, and then I laugh. And then I think Amazon might not be so bad after all...
I roll my eyes at all the tributes using fancy weapons, and instead make my way towards the trapping station. It doesn't take me that long to rig up about a dozen snares, and I smile as I know that my trapping ability combined with my solid climbing skills and knowledge of plants, will allow me to survive, food-wise. I then make my way to the camoflauging station, thinking what I could learn there would be an absolute asset if some Career comes my way. But that's only if I've got no weapons left.
I'm so bad at using weapons, and hopeless at knot-tying and plant identification. Dejected after about half an hour of trying to use a mace, I shuffle over to a table and pick up a slingshot. It looked easy enough to handle, unlike those heavy battle axes and swords. The supervisor at that station showed me the basics of the weapon, and in no time at all, I was hitting somewhere on the target every time with stones. While I still wasn't nearly good enough to handle a deadly weapon yet, I knew this was the first step.
PRIVATE TRAINING SESSIONS - Highlights
JEWEL - She throws two battle axes into a wooden dummy's right eye and neck. Then she grabs a spear and sent it straight into a sandbag, which bursts open.
Training Score: 11
EVEREST - He hurls half a dozen throwing knives at a wooden statue, pinning it to the wall. Then he picks up two sandbags and takes the statue's head off.
Training Score: 10
AMAZON - She drives several knives straight through the heart of a dummy, and then uses a whip to latch onto a hanging light and pull it down.
Training Score: 10
NATHAN - He throws two axes into moving targets simultaneously, and then shoulder-rolls forward to hurl a mace into the wall.
Training Score: 11
JACKIE - She throws a spear at a wooden board two metres away, but her aim is off and instead, the spear sticks into the leg of a nearby chair. Then she snatches up two short knives and throws them at a dummy, managing to skewer both eyes.
Training Score: 7
RAY - He flings rocks from a slingshot towards a moving target, but only half of them even make it to the target. Then he ties a simple knot around the head of a dummy.
Training Score: 4
MICHELLE - She hurls a trident at a large vase in one corner of the room, shattering it. Then she gathers up the longer and sharper glass shards and throws them at a wooden dummy, managing to lodge one into its throat.
Training Score: 9
COD - He punches the head off a dummy and then lobs it towards the wall; while the head is in the air, he sends a broadsword into it and is successful in pinning it to the wall. Then he frees the broadsword and drives it deep into the table next to him.
Training Score: 12
CATHY - She sets up a few snares, and attempts to stick a knife into a dummy, but it falls well short of the target. Then she climbs up a rope ladder to the right of the dummy.
Training Score: 3
MALT - He uses a sword to slice open a sandbag, and then he pulls it out, sending it through the chest of a dummy.
Training Score: 5
JEWEL - 11
EVEREST - 10
AMAZON - 10
NATHAN - 11
JACKIE - 7
RAY - 4
MICHELLE - 9
COD - 12
CATHY - 3
MALT - 5
KAJAMA - 8
REED - 6
SADIE - 9
BAY - 5
SHAY - 7
FELTON - 4
CAMPBELLE - 6
DAMIEN - 10
PILLA - 6
BRICK - 9
KIRA - 7
MAX - 9
NEMPHISI - 10
FAUST - 6
For the very first Hunger Games, we've decided to make the arena... hard to get to. Tributes will be standing on five metre high platforms on their metal plates. Remember, if you move before the minute is off, you have no chance of winning the Games.
To get on the ground and into the Arena, tributes must climb down a rope ladder hanging off the edge of their respective platforms. If you're afraid of heights, well, this may not be a pleasant experience for you.
Once tributes have successfully reached the Arena, the Cornucopia will be in the centre, an equal distance from the raised platforms. For this Games, there won't be specific items to pick up from the mouth of the horn, so tributes will be able to supply themselves with: weapons, food, backpacks etc.
There is a lake to the left of the circle of five metre high platforms, and forest to the right. There will most definitely be twists and turns along the way, but those won't be revealed until they are uncovered personally by the tributes in the Arena.
Oh, and by the way, if a tribute stays on their metal plate for longer than five minutes, a land mine will be detonated that will destroy all twenty-four platforms.
May the odds be EVER in your favor...
This is important to all mentors (that's all you users out there who submitted tributes). Each of you will be supplied with a balance of $250 which you can use to buy weapons, food, medicine or particular survival tools for your tributes. Remember that this balance does not have to be used on YOUR tribute/s only - if yours doesn't make it, that doesn't mean you can't aid other tributes.
Standard knife - $80
Dagger - $100
Awl - $150
Throwing knives (half a dozen) - $200
Standard axe - $130
Throwing axes (pair) - $230
Blowgun - $200
Bow and arrows (dozen) - $200
Mace - $180
Net - $110
Slingshot - $50
Spear - $200
Broadsword - $240
Trident - $240
Whip - $150
Strips of dried beef - $50
Egg rolls (half a dozen) - $80
Loaf of bread - $100
Basket of apples (half a dozen) - $130
Basket of strawberries (dozen) - $180
Tureen of stew - $200
Healing leaves (half a dozen - for mild relief) - $100
Bandages and disinfectant - $150
Burn cream - $200
Healing salve (for burns, stings and deep injuries) - $230
Backpack (empty) - $50
Rope (half a metre) - $100
Essentials Backpack (empty water bottle, iodine tablets and a blanket) - $140
Weapons Backpack (a set of throwing knives and an awl) - $200
Tent pack - $240
THE GAMES - Day 1
As I'm released onto my metal plate, I look around. All the tributes are standing on metal plates which in turn are on platforms five metres above the ground. This doesn't pose a threat to me, but I can tell by the looks on many of the tributes' faces that they are going to have trouble getting into the actual arena.
The minute's up, and I don't waste time; I have to get to the Cornucopia first if I have a chance of winning the Games, for myself, for my sister Mim. The rope ladder's kind of flimsy, and it hangs dangerously off the edge of the platform, but I handle it with ease, hitting the ground in no time. Then, I run straight towards the centre of the ring of platforms, heading for all the items I will need to stay alive in these Games. I quickly pick up a navy blue backpack from just outside the mouth, shaking it briefly to check that it's not empty. I shove a set of half a dozen throwing knives into my belt, and then I'm out of there. Disappearing into the woods.
I allow myself a smile - there's no-one behind me.
I'm just getting off my rope ladder to see Pilla Gapsin running unpursued into the woods which ring the right half of the arena. Damn, she's fast, I think. I'm fully pelting towards the Cornucopia, but just a few paces behind me is that boy from Eleven, Max Summers.
I reach the mouth of the horn, knowing I have to get my hands on a bow and arrows, but I realise I have my work cut out for me when I see two of those vicious Careers - Jewel and Nathan - already armed with spears and battle axes. I decide to risk it all when my eyes catch the glint of an ivory bow and a matching sheath of arrows, just out of arms reach.
Using all the speed I have, I bolt towards the weapons, feeling an axe whiz just behind my head. I manage to grab the bow and sling the sheath of arrows over me, but not without getting a knife in the leg from Nathan. The pain is shocking, but I know I'll be able to handle it if I can just get away. Knowing my life is on the line here, I sprint away from the Cornucopia and into the woods.
I just make it.
I'm jumping off the end of my rope ladder. I'm sprinting like mad, but just as I can really see the mouth of the horn, I also see Malt Easer being brutally knifed in the back by Amazon over at the Cornucopia. He crumples to the ground, blood leaking everywhere, but I don't let this get to me as I grab my first weapon: a knife. And then it happened.
I turn around, just in time to see Ray Plug's platform collapse underneath him, and within moments, everything is self-destructing around me. I try to outrun the explosions, but it got to me. Before I get my legs blown off from beneath me, I think, What a way to die, at the hands of this filthy thing we call the Capitol.
I see Cod Harbor from District Four coming towards me from the left hand side of the Cornucopia, his fists raised. I can see an array of knives at his belt, but he doesn't draw a single one as he charges at me. I'm not prepared as he slams into me, and I fall roughly onto the hard-packed earth below.
I find myself begging for mercy, for this powerful boy to somehow have the goodness spare me, but it doesn't happen. He picks me up and throws me back down onto the ground head first, and as I feel my nose break I know my death is imminent. But before I'm completely gone, I hear him say, "Once you're done, Kira's next." Then his fist is hurtling towards the back of my neck, no doubt a one-strike-kill move.
Malt Easer - knifed in the back by Amazon Glacious.
Ray Plug - fell to his death from his metal plate (remote-controlled detonator).
Shay Flax - died in the explosions (remote-controlled detonator).
Cathy James - beaten to death by Cod Harbor.
Kira Stryden - knifed in the chest by Cod Harbor.
Hm... more of you managed to get off your platforms than I thought. What a shame that Ray fell to his death, though! Oh well. Just a heads up, starting tomorrow, something sinister will be prowling the woods. You won't know when, or exactly where, but it'd be best if you... rug up.
END OF DAY 1
The audience is getting rowdy, and we feel it's because the initial bloodbath was just shy of boring. So, all of you tributes - if you want to survive - must arrive at the lake by midnight. There will be a table of supplies waiting for you which are essential for staying alive tonight. If you don't, well, let's just say your chances of winning these Games are minimal.
It's morning, and the announcer has just said we all have to get to the lake to pick up some vital supplies, else we don't survive tonight. I'm in a good place right now; I've got a bow and fully stocked sheath of arrows, and food's been no problem for me. Berries and other stuff I've found in the woods have kept me going fine, since I'm not one of those stinking Careers.
But, as I head back the way I came this past day, a pang of worry hits me. Will I be able to reach this lake by midnight? I think. After all, I've come a long way, and it's not like I'm an expert at direction or something. But I've been going roughly west these last couple of hours, so at least I know where to retrace my steps. For now.
I'm so glad I survived the bloodbath. Jewel threw one of those lethal axes at my head, but she only succeeded in grazing my shoulder as I ran for the lake. And I'm pretty well stocked, too. I've got an awl and a spear at my belt, and the small shoulder pack I retrieved from the Cornucopia contains only food, so it's got apples, some strips of dried meat and a bag of strawberries.
I'm also glad I made the decision to go for the lake at the beginning of the Games; after hearing the Announcer, I don't really have to go anywhere. But I know it's only a matter of time before some Career comes storming from the woods or the Cornucopia. And somehow, I'm ready to take them on.
Damien looks at me as the last of the Announcer's words ring in our ears. I'm thinking through it all, but I'm also fighting to focus on that danger as I flip through all that has happened since the Games started.
Climbing down the rope was no trouble, but I knew I couldn't outrun any Career and at least half the tributes. So it was lucky I found Damien, already armed with a pair of spears and carrying a backpack over his shoulder, coming back towards the circle of platforms. It also doesn't take me long to see he's clutching a set of harpoons in his hand. "These are for you," he says, and then we're both running towards the woods. Damien catches a throwing axe in his foot, but I support him as we get to the safety that is the woods. Or at least, was the woods.
Damien and I start for the lake, but we have no guarentees we're going to get there before something awful begins to stalk the woods. But I need to fulfill my promise to myself. If we get attacked, I'll do anything in my power to save him.
It's just on midnight, and all of you have managed to get to the lake, or at least are very close by... all of you except Damien, Campbelle, Kajama and Bay. To you four, good luck in survivng the horror that is about to hit the woods, however a small chance that may be. To the rest, you will all see in front of you a table with separate backpacks for your district. Each will contain something similar to the other packs, but in different sizes. You'll need what you find to withstand what's coming next.
I'm bursting from the woods, and see Brick standing there, at the lake. I start to laugh, but then I realise he's got his pack already, and that he was already here from the moment the Announcer had chosen to drive us together. He's getting away, I think, but I don't pursue him; other worthwhile tributes are starting to emerge from the woods: Cod, Felton, Nemphisi.
Felton is the closest within my range, so I throw half my knives into his chest. He blocks one with his own knife, but then it's all too much and he's on the ground. I laugh. So easy.
As Nemphisi comes towards the table, I send a pair of my throwing axes straight towards her head; surprisingly, she blocks them both with her bow. Then, before I know it, it's loaded and an arrow is coming at me so fast I barely have time to twist; the arrow sinks into my left side. I'm limping while drawing a knife from my belt, but I hear another arrow fly from Nemphisi's bow and I'm using all my strength to turn away. But, just as the arrow pierces me straight through the heart, Amazon is there, like a lioness in her stance. She blocks the arrow with her arm and I see she's got a long metal plate on both arms which she uses as a shield. I manage a smile. Nemphisi's in trouble.
I have to admit she's pretty tough, that girl Nemphisi. As soon as I block her attack, or maybe sooner, another arrow is being pulled back and sent straight for my head. This time, I meet it with my spear and then aim it towards her heart without hesitation. But as I think, the girl is good, and she blocks it with another arrow. Weapons lie all around is, but it's only a matter of time before Nemphisi runs out of her precious little arrows. And then, I'll take her down, with my own bare hands.
I can see by the triumph etched on Amazon's face that she thinks she's won, but she's not the only one with another plan of attack. I shoot my sixth arrow at her foot, a place she's not expecting, and she staggers violently. I don't finish her off, as I see Nathan just behind her, knives ready, but instead grab my district pack and set off behind Brick Merlack's retreating figure.
But... I don't get far. Nathan's spear manages to lodge itself deep into my shoulder, and I'm forced to the ground - the pain is too great. And then I see him over me, ready to wipe me off this horrid map that's really just a horrible product of the Capitol, when I see him thrown away from me by Faust. Faust, my district partner.
I'm shuddering so much it's making Campbelle shift uncomfortably as we stand close together by a large oak. We know our chances of survival have dimmed dramatically, but we're still scared.
"Do you think we'll get out of here?" I whisper to her. I think I know her response, but I'm completely off when she replies, "You will."
I'm contemplating this and ready to hurl back a retort when the first figure emerges from behind a clump of low bushes. It's mutilated, the eyes blank and without pupils. We know it's blind but also that it's sense of smell more than makes up for it.
I throw myself in front of Campbelle as the thing comes at us, paws raised.
It hurts to do this, but I shove Damien out of my way as the beast swipes at us. I manage to dodge it's first attack and then I sink a harpoon into its eye, causing it to cry out in great pain. But then it shoves the harpoon out and sends it into my stomach - I feel the blood as I'm blown backwards.
"CAMPBELLE!" Damien roars, and he's running head on to reach the creature. He sends his spears deep into its neck. The monstrous thing bellows and rakes its claws across Damien's head; a huge gash opens up just over his eyes. No. I think. No.
But somehow, Damien takes one more try at a kill, and he lunges at the beast, bringing a knife down its throat. It falls to the ground, dead of course, but I don't care about it. It's Damien, dying in my arms, that I'm positively screeching at, willling him to come back.
He doesn't, and then I'm wailing so loud it hurts even my ears; I failed. I FAILED.
Things aren't going well. Nemphisi's on the ground, bleeding profusely, and I have my hands full with two Careers. Two! Jewel's on the ground - I know Nemphisi took her down with her arrows - but Nathan is here, and Amazon has just arrived. I see blood pouring out of her shoe, so she's definitely not as fast as she could be at full strength.
I send my knives at Amazon's chest. One succeeds, and I feel hope arise within me that both Nemphisi and I can survive here right now as Amazon goes down. But then Nathan roars, and I'm sent flying head first into the table. Nathan is coming towards me, and Amazon is still on the ground, so I shout out to Nemphisi, "RUN!"
She manages just that, and I feel sort of accomplished as Nathan takes out a broadsword. She'll be okay, I think. She'll be okay.
Bay Taxin - killed by a mutt.
Damien Tinder - died saving Campbelle from a mutt.
Felton Blake - caught in the chest and stomach by Jewel Cryst's throwing knives.
Amazon Glacious - knifed in the chest by Faust Woods.
Faust Woods - stabbed in the head by Nathan Powers.
Well, wasn't than an interesting day? More action to come, and remember tributes, the crowd doesn't stay satisfied for long...
END OF DAY 2
I'm away from that wretched lake - finally - and I decide to rest for a little. My food supplies are still reasonable, and I've got a decent number of knives at my belt.
Suddenly, to my immense surprise, I see a large silver bag attached to a parachute, floating through the air towards me. A sponsor gift! I think, catching the bag in one hand and hastily reaching inside with the other. I see a trident, and the world spins for a moment as I examine it with relish. It's sturdy, made of bronze, and - throwing it as a test - I realise it is the perfect size and weight for my hands.
This is brilliant'! I think to myself, and then, all thoughts of rest are extinguished from my mind as I set off to hunt my fellow tributes. In my exhiliration, I completely forget about the contents of the pack I retrieved at the table by the lake...
I'm reeling in shock from what happened only some hours ago. My shoulder wound slowly bleeding out my life. Faust flinging Nathan out of the way. Him dying at the hands of those stupid Careers. It's all too much, and I collapse on the ground, now unable to see Brick, who I had been following for quite some time.
I don't notice the large silver pot until I feel it brush lightly against my side. I knows this is a sponsor, but a part of me refuses to believe it. Who would help some hostile, broken teenager? I think bitterly. Because that's what I am: broken. Seeing Faust die has caused me to see things clearly; I appreciated him more than I let myself think. It's not love, no, but it makes me bite my bottom lip to remember those times when I treated him so badly.
I try to push the dark thoughts from my head as my trembling fingers untie the parachute and reach inside the pot. And what do I find? Some bandages and disinfectant. I smile weakly, and begin to nurse my shoulder. This is just what I need. Thank you, I think as I silently salute my sponsors over in District 12.
The first thing I do when I clear out from the lake is check what's in my district backpack. I pull out a full length jumpsuit and head gear, and then I realise exactly why the Announcer told us to 'rug up'.
When I heard the cannons last night, I suspected as much; the Capitol released mutts in the woods, and those who couldn't get to the lake were slaughtered. But as I think about this, I also replay the cannons and then I'm feeling confused. I didn't see Campbelle anywhere around the lake, she's so small and weedy anyway, and I doubt she made it at all yesterday. But, in saying that, I didn't see her face in the sky either, so she's still alive.
I think through the past days, somehow not regreting that I didn't successfully join up with the Career pack. I mean, it's not neccesary anymore; I've got an excellent knife and awl at my belt, and the food supplies I nicked from the Cornucopia have been keeping me alive all this time. And I've still got quite a bit left. Smiling to myself, I crouch behind a bush to change into my jumpsuit and start heading into the woods.
Damien. Dead. Me. Alive. These are my only thoughts as I stumble around the woods; somewhere in the back of my mind, I'm confused that no more mutts have come for me yet, but right now, I don't care. I failed in what I was supposed to do, and I can't think of my purpose staying alive. In fact, as that dead voice in my head repeats how I failed Damien, failed myself, I realise I don't have to survive anymore. I could just end it here, right now.
I looked down towards the harpoons at my belt, and I know what I have to do to stop this pain. I unhook one of the deadly weapons and position in straight towards my heart. But, just as I'm to shove it into my body, I'm thrown to the ground. I turn...
I'm on top of Campbelle, thrusting the harpoon away and then holding her down with my knees. She starts to fight me, but I don't give a thought to this.
"What were you thinking?" I yell at her. This makes her stop. "Killing yourself like that?" She tries to push me roughly away, but I hold her down. "Damien's dead," she gasps, now struggling again. "I made... a promise to myself.... and I failed..." I get off her, but keep a grip on her arm.
"What do you mean?" I say, my voice still raised.
"Damien," she says. "my district partner. We were attacked by a mutt... I tried to save him, but... he was killed saving me from the beast." She gets up, and looks me straight in the eye; I feel something course through me, and I know I'm following my heart by doing this.
"Let's make an alliance, just you and me," I say. I see Campbelle start to shake her head, but I pull her face to mine. My eyes bore into hers, and she doesn't fight my grip. "Are you in?" Her mouth curves up into some form of a smile, and she nods.
I'm watching Brick Merlack and Campbelle Frost together in that clearing, and I have half a mind to send my axes straight into their brains. But I stop as I hear a crack behind me.
And then there's Jewel behind me, limping slightly but still heavily armed. Flanking her are two more Careers, Michelle Beach and Nathan Powers, and I know trouble has just decided to stop at my station. Instead of my first move being to throw one of my axes at one of those brutish Careers, I grab a knife from my belt and send it Brick and Campbelle's way, to warn them.
I don't know at all why I did it, as now all three tributes are coming at me, weapons raised. And I know I can't fight them off. I manage to drive an axe into Michelle's kneecap, but then Nathan comes flying at me, knocking me to the ground and keeping me there with his powerful hands. Then his spear is sinking deep into my my throat, and I cry out, but before I die I see a mutt coming up from behind the Careers, and my lips curve upward.
I turn my torso halfway before the hulking thing grabs me by the teeth and hauls me to its mouth. I've got the protective jumpsuit, but Sadie managed to tear into it with her axe. Stupid thing, I think, as I start to fight the beast off. And then it clicks.
When the Announcer said 'rug up', she meant that we had to put some clothing under our jumpsuits! However, I wipe this from my mind as the creature lunges at me with me still in its teeth. It manages to tear into my shoulder, and then, it's all over.
"JEWEL!" Nathan shouts, running over with the spear he used to kill Sadie. But he knows it's too late. I know it's too late. I whisper his name just as the mutt cuts me in two.
I survived a tussle with a muttation, but it didn't leave me unscarred. My head is gushing out blood, and a huge scar runs down my right leg and ends at my heel. I know it won't take long for nature to finish me, and as I look down at the scar, I know I did my best. As I go under, Finnick enters my thoughts, soothes my pain. And then his voice is gone, and blackness is all that survives.
Sadie Harrison - speared in the throat by Nathan Powers.
Jewel Cryst - severed in two by a mutt.
Kajama Odair - bled to death (head wound).
More than half of you down, eleven left to go. Looks like, Districts 5, 7 and 8 have lost all their tributes. Shame. Look out tomorrow tributes, for those mutts you encountered won't even stand after what happens next. May the odds be EVER in your favour.
END OF DAY 3
It's weird. It feels like about three days have past, and I haven't seen a single tribute. Sure, I got my district pack from the lake, but it seemed like all the bloodshed there had past and everyone had cleared out. Also very strangely, I haven't been attacked by a single wild beast, normal or mutated. It's like I'm the only one here, except I feel eyes on me wherever I go.
I'm armed pretty well, but my food supplies are dwindling and I've had to ration what I have. I'm retreating behind a bush to check my supplies when suddenly, I'm knocked flat on the ground...
I pin the girl from Three, hoping that I can keep her there, but she's strong, and she's bucking wildly. Knowing if it comes to brute strength this girl will probably surpass me, I draw out a knife from my belt and hold it against her neck.
"You need to help me find Brick," I pretty much grunt, using everything I have to make sure the girl doesn't get out from under me. She stops struggling, and looks me dead in the eye. Then she makes a horrible sound that to me sounds like a laugh but I'm not one hundred percent sure.
"Who's that?" she says. "You're district partner?" She laughs again. "Bet he abandoned you, didn't he?" This causes me to yell and press the blade of my knife harder against her throat. She chokes.
"We never met up in the first place!" I retort, but I can see the girl's expression that she doesn't believe me. But I've had enough.
"You come help me find him," I say, each word distinct and precise, "And I'll spare you, maybe even let some other sad kid in this place take you down." I know I'm not such a cold person usually, but I desperately need to find Brick.
She looks at me, deliberating for a moment, and then she nods; good thing, too. She probably knows she can't fight me in this position.
"Fine," she mutters, not taking her eyes from my face. "But," her eyes narrow, "once we find him, it's done. This temporary thing we've got here. Done".
From behind a small spruce, I can see that girl, Nemphisi, sort of staggering through the woods. She's got a shoulder wound, and she's probably not in good shape to fight. Especially not me. I start to smile as I stalk slowly from my position to the girl from Twelve.
But I'm forced to stop in my tracks as two other tributes come at her, weapons raised. I recognise them as Nathan and Michelle. Then I here Nemphisi mutter, "Not them again." and then she's attacking them with her bow and arrows.
I'm almost mesmorised, watching her, as she takes on these two brutish adversaries. She manages to block attack after attack from both of them, and as I watch her, I realise I want her all to myself, to give the Capitol and the rest of Panem something to look forward to: a fair show.
As soon as I make this decision, I send my spear straight into Michelle's heart; she crumples to the forest floor, and I see Nathan turn to me, his own spears raised. But in this split second, I see Nemphisi draw her last arrow back and let it fly, aiming for Nathan's heart. Incredibly, it's not over, and he manages to turn on his side and take the arrow in his shoulder, and then he's gone, somehow finding the speed to get out of here.
I turn to where Nemphisi was, only to find empty space. But I'm not disappointed. I will find her again. And this time, I will kill her. She's mine.
I've been fighting Cod for a long time. His aim is merciless, and my knife hand is so accurate it's a wonder the boy from District Four can block most of my attacks. We're both bloodied up; I took a spear in the leg and he suffered a deep slash at his chest from my knife.
"You're good," he manages, blocking another one of my attacks with his remaining weapon: a trident.
"You're not too bad, either," I reply, breathing hard. We engage in heavy tussle for several more minutes, but then he gets through my guard and drives the trident through my neck, and I know I'm a goner.
But, as I see Cod retreat and black blooms across my vision, I think, Man, do I respect him.
The past day was shocking. And very, very confusing.
I'm all to aware of Brick beside me, his steady breathing unnerving me but at the same time giving me pleasant shivers. I don't know why he saved me from myself, really, and we haven't really talked much these last few hours.
"Do you think we're okay now?" I ask in a small voice, causing Brick to turn his head towards me. "Now that... we've got the suits?" He knows I'm talking about what's in our district packs, but nervousness creeps up on me as he takes my hand and squeezes it.
"Don't worry," he says. "We've got each other now." We walk like that, hand in hand, and in this sweet moment I know I will never forget Brick, and how he got me to wake up and see that there's still purpose for me in this life, even though Damien't gone. I nod, and we continue through the woods. Together.
Alone. That's what I am. I have this gut feeling everyone else that's left has either made a temporary pact with someone else or is about to.
I'm standing at a tree, brooding, when suddenly, I feel ripples of cold pierce me. I look behind me recoil in horror. Everything behind me has begun to freeze up, and the speed of things turning into glittering ice sculptures is rising. I'm running, trying to distance myself from this mad creation of the Gamemakers, but it's always just a little behind me. It's going to finish me, I think. I can't run like this forever. My legs are giving way, and then I'm falling.
Michelle Beach - speared in the heart by Reed Shacklebolt.
Everest Sateer - caught Cod Harbour's trident in the neck.
Max Summers - froze to death.
And there goes District 11. Which of you will go down next? Don't worry, we'll make sure that our... little frozen creation stays in effect. And more...
END OF DAY 4
I don't know why he did it. I don't know why Reed from District Six decided to kill Michelle and Nathan instead of me. He could have just easily made off with me from behind his bush and then fled, but no. Now Michelle is dead and Nathan has a deep shoulder wound. And I'm still alive, unscathed (unless you count my healing shoulder).
Something in me seems to think that the reason he did that was to tackle me alone, without the interference of anyone else. This thought gives me the shivers, and I suspect he's doing this because I'm a strong opponent in these Games. After all, I'm still here, having fought all the Careers at least once, and only Nathan remains from the original Career pack. Confusingly though, Jackie and Cod chose not to accept their invitations to join them.
I don't dwell on this thought, and instead look in dismay at my empty sheath which - at the beginning of the Games - contained a dozen deadly arrows. I realise that I have no other weapons and that if Cod or Brick came bursting through the woods now, they could take me down with their own bare fists.
My insides churn and I try to keep steady. This means I'm going back to the Cornucopia.
My long struggle with Everest has left me weak. I've eaten a little, but my food supplies looks bleak and I know I can't eat any more today.
I feel a tap on my shoulder, and I turn around, trying to muster the strength to grab ahold of my adversary. It's Reed Shacklebolt, but surprisingly, he doesn't have a weapon raised.
"Have you seen Nemphisi?" he asks, and by the evil glint in his eye I know he is out to kill her. I get the impression he doesn't intend for me to come with him.
"Sorry, no," I say, and his eyes darken. He yanks me up with one hand and glares at me.
"You're coming with me, Cod," he says. "And once we find her, you leave her to me." His grip tightens, reinforcing his intention to have a go at her alone. "If you mess this up for me, you will regret it."
I nod, fresh determination sending waves of energy through me. If I have to tag along with this cad, at least I'll make sure he doesn't get to Nemphisi. Even if I die in the fight.
Campbelle and I have emerged from the woods and set about going to the lake to sort through our supplies and settle down for the afternoon. We're not the type to hunt the others. We haven't spoken very much all die, so it surprises me when she asks, "Do you think Pilla's looking for you?"
The thought never really occurred to me, but nausea hits me as I take this in; it's a very good posibility, And if she's armed, and with some other tribute...
"We've got to find them," I say suddenly, gently using her hand to point the direction back into the woods. Campbelle's eyes widen for a second, but then she nods grimly. "We've got to hunt them as surely as they hunt us..."
"I see him," I mutter under my breath. Pilla comes to a standstill beside me, and I fight the urge to kill her on the spot. She's been a pain ever since she forced me into this... aliance, constantly pining for Brick. Brick this, Brick that. God, I'm sick to death of her!
"Where?" she asks.
I point from behind our bush towards a skinny boy with gorgeous shaggy hair and green eyes. My eyes flash with unmistakable rage as they home in on the slim girl beside him. I think she's Campbelle Frost, but I don't care, either way.
"So, what's the plan of attack?" I say snidely, looking at Pilla. Her mouth curves up, and she leans towards me. "We kill the girl, I get Brick, and then we go separate ways." I have two minds about this. I really want to get rid of Pilla, but I'll surely die if I get into a tussle with District Ten.
"Fine," I say. I make the decision to leave Pilla after she gets her partner and then find her later when there's less of us.
I never make it to Campbelle.
Rain starts falling heavily, and I'm startled I see the sickening greenish tint to the drops. I instinctly pull my backpack over my head.
"Acid rain!" I shout, and before Jackie sees what's coming, my knife is in her chest and she drops to the ground. The acid begins to burn her, and she's writhing horribly, but I don't have time to waste.
"BRICK!" I yell, and I see his head whip around. I can see he and Campbelle are safe, huddled under the thickness of their tent pack. "We've got to go, now! You've got to-" But I stop. I realise in shock that Brick has another reason not to come with, something he'd never tell me about.
"No, Pilla," he says softly. He's trembling, and I feel like crying out. "You go." When I don't move, he says, louder this time, "I'm not going to kill you. After all, we're Ten."
The acid rain has stopped and I fling my backpack off my head as I run away. I never thought how painful losing Brick would be, but now I know.
At last, I'm at the Cornucopia. I'm scouring the mouth, looking for an untouched sheath of arrows, or even arrowheads - I can attach these to some straight sticks and I'll be set.
My heart is pumping hard as I go deeper into the mouth. I see other things, useless things. Slingshots, empty backpacks, the like. I'm fighting the urge to just give up when I see a small satchel. It's open, but the contents of it are still there.
Arrowheads! I think joyfully as I pick the satchel up and examine my new weapons. They're in good condition, and I can fix them to some sticks, if only I can get back to the woods. Only I can't.
"Hi there, girl from District Eleven," I hear, and I'm sickened; it's Reed. He's come for me. And he's not alone.
I stare down Nemphisi, grinning when I see she's holding nothing but a pathetic satchel. What can she possibly do against me? I think as I take a deliberate step towards her.
"Did you really think I killed Michelle for your benefit?" I say. Cod follows me, but I ignore him. He'll know what I'll do to him if he gets in my way.
"No," she says, her jaw clenched. "I knew you'd come for me, Shacklebolt, only, how's it to be a fair show when I have nothing but... arrowheads?"
I'm gritting my teeth, and I can practically hear the laughter at the Capitol.
"Right then, Nemphisi," I say, coming towards her faster now. "Let's finish this, here and now." But she's not looking at me. Her eyes are boring straight into Cod's, and he's nodding. I charge towards her, but it's too late.
Cod pulls me back, using everything he has against me. I know he's weak, but he's trying so hard to keep me here that I'm finding it hard to loosen his grip.
"Get off me, you traitor!" I snarl, but he doesn't cave.
"You wanted a fair show," he grunts. "Well, I'm just giving it to you." With a roar, I throw him off me, and then my spear is in his eye. But I know this act of violence won't stop what's coming towards me.
"The tables have turned, boy from District Six," Nemphisi says, and I see with horror that her sheath is filled.
I don't waste time with any more taunts. I launch my first makeshift arrow straight at his foot, to disarm him; the very same trick I used against Amazon. He falls for it.
It doesn't stop his stride though. He's still coming towards me, and he sends a spear straight at my head. I block it with my bow, and with one last, destructive pull, it's all over.
My aim is perfect, and my second arrow goes through him, right between the eyes. He falls face first, and I let everything loose, breaking my hostile exterior and screaming to the sky...
I will not have this.
I will not let that Frost girl betray him in the end. She will die.
She will fall.
And I will be the one to deliver her end. And then, Brick and I will finally be together.
Jackie Tamith - hit by acid rain.
Cod Harbor - stabbed in the eye by Reed Shacklebolt.
Reed Shacklebolt - hit right between the eyes by Nemphisis Niguless.
Five left to play; this is getting juicy.. Who will come on top? The end is near...
END OF DAY 5
Day 6 - **THE FINAL DAY**
I've been hunting that moron Shacklebolt for a while now, only to see his face appear in the sky. I'm fuming, but then I set my sights on Campbelle Frost. It's a miracle she's still alive; bet she still can't use a weapon to save her life. So it probably means she's either with someone, or the sponsors favour her (for reasons that have to be stupid).
But it doesn't bother me. I make a mental note in my head that it will either be Nemphisi or someone from Ten. I'm armed, I'm ready, and hungry for the kill. Watch out, softie, I think of Campbelle's small, harmless frame being crushed between my hands.
Something in my mind tells me that I'm getting closer to him, and in saying that, her. Yeah, that insufferable, little idiot who thinks she'll be able to take on Brick with his trust on board. I'm lucky to get a sponsor gift of a fantastic axe, but I decide not to use this; I have my own favourite weapons. Well, I'm going to get my revenge. This isn't just for Brick's sake, but for Jackie's as well. I know I was the one to stab her, but seeing that Frost girl made me act irrationally. I might actually feel remorse over her death - acid and immense bleeding couldn't have been a worse way to die - but I don't think about this right now as I hear voices to the left of a clump of bushes I'm at.
"We should head for the lake again," I hear Brick say. His voice sends tremors through me.
"Yes, but what then?" That's the useless Frost girl talking.
I tune out their conversation, and point my remaining throwing knives straight towards the back of her head. A twisted smile forms on my lips.
Without a second thought, I release my four knives in one go.
"I think we-"
That's all I get to hear Brick say. Suddenly, a flash of brilliant pain bursts through me as three or more knives get me through the back of my head. Then I'm on the ground, the last thing I see being Brick's motionless figure, and his tortured eyes burning through my own before the light leaves them.
I decide to leave then and there, to let Brick go for now and meet up with him later. Then I'll tell him I saw Nemphisi did it and we'll hunt them together. But I never get the chance.
I freeze, every thought dropping from my mind. I turn and see Brick behind me, his eyes wide with uncharacteristic rage and... bloodlust.
"YOU KILLED HER, PILLA!" I'm on my knees as Brick storms towards me, and I can feel everything that he is radiating off of him in violent waves.
"No, no, it wasn't me!" I say, hoping feebly that my lie somehow gets through to him. Expectedly, it doesn't. In fact, it makes him angrier.
"THAT'S EVEN WORSE!" He screams, and then I'm screaming too, begging him not to kill me.
"Please... don't do what you're about to..." I half-whisper, but he takes out an axe virtually identical to my own; I can tell a sponsor decided to give him a weapon too. He stares me down for a second, and then gets close to me. His voice level drops, but the cold, pure anger is still white hot.
"I'm sorry, Pilla," he starts. "I know you're from Ten like me, but you killed her. She was my FRIEND! And what's worse, you did it from behind, where you couldn't be seen. She didn't have a heck of a chance to defend herself." He positions the axe at my neck, but I don't fight him. I have to say something, and I choose now to do it, at my deathbed.
"BRICK! I... I love..." The axe sinks deeply into my neck, and I just get out the, "you..." before I slip to the ground. For the briefest moment before my death I see his astonishment, and then I'm out of the Games.
I'm not sure what to do now. Hunting other tributes seems out of the question, after seeing Cod getting speared straight through the eye. I didn't mind him really, before the Games. Actually sort of liked him. Certainly respected him. Now he's out, and so is Reed.
I can't keep up this cold, uncaring cover anymore. Because it's exhausting, and I've now come to realise I was never that person all along. Or maybe you did know, but never thought on it, some voice in my head says somewhat annoyingly, and I find myself banging my fist against my head painfully and rasping, "Shut the HELL up!"
The Hunger Games has broken me. Physically and mentally. If some tribute comes at me with a spear now, I'll surely be gone. After all, who can survive after witnessing and being a part of what I have? It's mutinous, this whole freaking Games.
Don't give up, Nemphisi, a calmer, rather soothing voice in my head says. If you just surrender yourself now, armed as you are, you're wasting Cod's gift to you. Don't forget that. Cod. And then I wake up.
I WILL fight to the end, even if I have to kill some more. Sure, I'll end up even more wounded, and it might end up killing me as well after it all, but what the heck? I'm not a surly, hostile girl who says "Shut up!" to people on a regular basis. I'm a survivor.
I return to Campbelle's lifeless body, holding her dead weight in my arms. The warmth, the things that made her whole were lost, and it was all because of this stupid, stupid Games. But, out of all that happened, this cruel thing we play has changed me. It has made me want to cite a rebellion against the Capitol.
"I HATE YOU, YOU FILTHY, CRUEL GAMEMAKERS!" I'm yelling, not caring if Nathan or Nemphisi comes along. "WHY DON'T YOU JUST GET DRUNK AND EAT AND DRINK YOUR FILL AT THAT DIRTY CAPITOL OF YOURS FOR A CHANGE, INSTEAD OF SENDING SO MANY TO THEIR DEATHS!" I'm so angry that I just have to get out one last sentence.
"AND YOU KNOW WHAT?" I holler. "CAMPBELLE DESERVED BETTER THAN ANY ONE OF US WHO WERE FORCED IN. EVEN ME!"
I know my words will have a very big impact on what's going on in Panem, especially the Capitol, but I don't get to know what. I'm suddenly showered with shrapnel fire and I collapse to the ground, earning my death then and there.
Right! So we're down to the final two. Congratulations to both of you, Nathan and Nemphisi. We've got just one last twist for you both; here are your final instructions for the whole Games. Go to the Cornucopia, and fight it out. There will be nothing for you there but to fight it out with what you've got. Or will there...
I moan as the announcer says we have to go to the Cornucopia. It's frustrating. I seems that just as I've left the bloody place, someone or something is always dragging my butt back to it I'm also surprised that Brick didn't make it today, and not particularly confused at the deaths of Campbelle and Pilla.
I'm left thinking about this as I head towards the general direction of the Cornucopia when suddenly, the ground shakes below me and I'm thrown off. I'm thinking it's some earthquake the Gamemakers have devised, only it stops relatively soon and I regain my balance. This brief but somehow meaningful event spurs determination and the possibility of nearby danger, and I'm racing off to the golden horn as fast as I can without using too much energy. If my energy is spent, Nathan may as well win the Games right now.
I come out of the woods to find Nathan already at the Cornucopia, but his attention his half-focused of something in his hands. As I edge closer I realise it's a slip of paper. And then I catch a flash of white at a nearby tree. I take the paper that I see down, and begin to read, keeping Nathan's deadly frame in my peripheral.
I see Nemphisi standing next to some trees on the outskirts of the forest, and notice she's got a slip of paper too. Of course, I've already read mine, and I figure what I've got to find is a special weapon specifically manufactured to fit me. The only part that confuses me about the note is when it talks about hidden danger, apart from it being a 'mad thing'. There's pretty much nothing that gives me a hint as to what that could be, and all I can see under it is the Head Gamemaker's signature.
I go with my own judgement and decide to ignore the note entirely. I'll deal with Nemphisi with what I already have. I crack my knuckles loudly, and shout out across the area, "Oi, Nemphisi! Come over, and let's get this started."
Where you've been to the most,
Is where you'll find an item to boast,
It's close to you, fits your needs,
But while you search, a mad thing feeds.
Be swift, and you'll come out alive,
Or your blood will be spilt, and death be your dive.
I hear Nathan shout in the distance, but I'm mostly focused on the note. Perplexing, no doubt. I've already worked out the item is some weapons designed according to both me and Nathan personally, but the 'mad thing' is what I'm worried about. I'm thinking it could be a mutt of some kind, but then I cast this away. "The Gamemakers have thrown this at us already,"
Nathan's still yelling over at me, and I'm still pondering, when I see the army of leeches wriggling on the ground towards us from the lake.
What the- Is my immediate thought as I see the mass of leeches approaching. They're not that big, but the huge number of them is disconcerting, even for me. But, any fear is dispelled when I realise Nemphisi will be their first target.
"HA!" I yel, unable to stop myself, but I feel a little uncertain as I see Nemphisi's face change. And then she's reaching behind her...
Close to you, fits your needs...
These words bounce around my brain; the leeches are coming steadily faster. I see out of the corner of my eye that anything the leeches touch disintegrate, and the thought of my death makes my mind kick into overdrive. And then it clicks.
Close to you! I realise this isn't referring to the weapon being fitted to our personal individuality, but its proximity. I scrabble around, searching every hollow of the trees around me. And then I find a gorgeous golden bow and sheath of arrows, with strange markings at their tips. But, as the leeches close in from only a metre away, I know my aim must be nothing less than perfect.
It's shocking. In a few seconds, the girl is armed, and then she's attacking the leeches around her. She's so fast, and every arrow she sends into a leech causes it to 'deactivate' and become still, as well as kill a large ring of other leeches around it. Soon, she's surroundly by useless things, an army once so formidable that was dispatched in a matter of minutes.
She turns to me, breathing heavily, but then she's looking past me and I'm forced to turn. Sure enough, the same army of leeches is coming, only towards me and I'm not armed with the special weapon I need. And I know they won't go for Nemphisi; they're hardwired, just like everything else here was.
"NEMPHISI!" I shout desperately, my voice suddenly breaking. "Give me your weapon, please! Then we'll finish this, and one of us will go home." I'm practically begging. "PLEASE!" I roar.
Nemphisi shakes her head, but then her bow is loaded and pointed at me; how funny, that she isn't going to watch me die. I must of looked confused at my final moments, because she opens her mouth to speak.
"I'm not heartless and cold, calculating like everyone - even myself - thought I was," she says. "This is a mercy shot, Nathan." The arrow is drawn back with precision and pierces me straight through the heart. Theere's a flash of pain, and then I hit the hard ground, dead.
I did it. I did it. Thoughts are tumbling round my head: The note, the leeches, my choice to give Nathan a quick, tortureless death. I know that if I hadn't been broken by these Games, hadn't realised who I really am, I would have let him suffer in agony as I know the Gamemakers would have wanted him to, maybe even have stuck and arrow into his foot to give him pain before his slow death began.
But I don't let myself drown in these dark thoughts. All I want to think of is District Twelve. And surprisingly, I've been granted the passage back there. To the town of coal miners. To freedom. And most of all, to a new life where I approach everyone and every new challenge in a different way. I am strong. I am... a survivor.
Congratulations Nemphisi Niguless on winnng the very 1st Hunger Games! It looks like the odds were in your favour, well done. Get home and celebrate your monumental achievements. To the audience, I hope you have been satisfied, and give it up, for Nemphisi Niguless of District Twelve.
END OF THE GAMES