Hello guys/ girls, and welcome to my first hunger games on either of the two wiki's. I have been practising my writing skills, and decided that today's the day to begin a hunger games for anybody to join.
Introduction (Warning: Quite long)
It has been several decades since the second rebellion took place. Thousands, if not, millions of innocent people lost their lives to end the barbaric event known as the hunger games. In the end though, it all paid off, all thanks to Katniss Everdeen, the mockingjay. However, 28 years ago, Katniss, Peeta, Willow and Rye Mellark all lost their lives after a fire broke out at their house. They stood no chance against the flames.
A few days later, many people turned up to the funeral, to pay their respects to the girl on fire. Amongst them were other victorsof the hunger games, and even several people that were involved with this. This included Annie Cresta, Haymitch Abernathy, Efie Trinket, Beetee, Johanna, even Enobaria turned up.
A few years later, President Paylor succumbed to a lengthy battle with lung cancer, leading to a man known as Aaron Pluto to take charge and care of all the districts. However, unlike Paylor, he supported the hunger games, and took ideas from them. He was plotting to restart the hunger games, and take away the free will of his people.
He sent formal letters to districts 1, 2 and 4, asking politely for them to turn some buildings into training centres, so that the careers could exist and breathe once more. After all, he felt like there needed to be some particularly strong tributes.
He let them train for a few years, before he hired out several Capitolians to become game makers, and trainers. Every single detail was carefully planned out, and carried out, until eventually, they were ready to begin.
Pluto glanced down and smiled at his son, Taylor, as he gave his father a face that showed pride for him. Slowly, he waddled onto the podium, and waved to the adoring crowd below him. The other districts watched him on TV, curious of his announcement.
"Attention, all districts of Panem!" He called, with great authority in his voice. If nobody was watching him before, they surely were now. "I must call for your attention, when I say that this news is of great importance! Now, I must admit that there have been some... slight mistakes in the past, with certain situations, so I feel the need to.. discipline you all! I hold the power in my hands, and Ihave signed a treaty, which means that the hunger games shall commence again!" Mixed reactions spread across all the crowd. For the career districts and Capitol, it was mainly positive. The majority of the others, though, were unsurprisingly negative, and several people shouted, in utter outrage.
"Not only shall District 1-12 compete in these, but so will the lesser known districts, 0, 13 and 14!" The trio of districts widened their eyes in terror, completely caught off guard. "However, to make things fair, the Capitol will also compete, not only to make things fair, but to prove to everyone what great people we have!" The Capitolians cheered with glee, but President Pluto hushed them. "Finally, each year will have a twist! The reapingsbegin in 6 months time! Good luck, and may the odds be ever in your favour!"
Now, it is the 98th hunger games, 22 years after the broadcast. President Pluto once again strolled to the stage, looking down below to the crowd. They continuosly hailed him, and started to pump their fists.
"Welcome again, to the 98th hunger games, where once again, 32 tributes will compete against one another for glory, and for the riches that await them! I must confess, I am particularly looking forwards to this year's twist!" He nodded to his grandson, Apollo, who timidly walked on stange, holding a plastic bowl.
"And the twist this year..." Pluto dipped his hand into the bowl, fiddling around for a slip, until his fingers closed around one. He pulled it out, and unravelled it, so that the inner contents could be seen. "...Is that as a reminder that we are still fair, even if we made terrible promises, there will be no twists!" Everybody murmured in confusion, even the President himself. "I'm guessing these games will be average then... it looks like we'll have to put up with it..." He shrugged, before leaving, not even giving out the famous motto.
- You can submit four tributes maximum.
- Don't enter troll tributes, please. They just waste time.
- No spamming on my blog, please! Doing so will either result in your tribute being killed off, severely injured, or losing sponsor money.
- If you wish to submit a tribute, either use a link, or submit them in the comments.
- If you wish to reserve a spot, it will last 48 hours.
- You mustn't go rampage if your tribute dies. You are allowed to mourn them, to say R.I.P, and to virtually cry, but no anger.
- Don't use somebody else's advice to keep your tribute alive (E.g: Kathleen is planning on killing you, Kaitlyn. Kill her back)
- Be respectful of others
- No WOO parties please - They just get irritating and I'm also severely allergic to them
- If you have read this, say 'Wolfblood' in your comment, if you are submitting a tribute.
- Follow the template==Tribute template (Italics = optional==
- Appearance (I don't mind whether it's written, a Rl, or a Lunaii)
- Weapon/s (Max of three)
- Strengths (Max of three)
- Weaknesses (Min of two)
- Bloodbath strategy
- Training strategy
|Cassidy 'Cassie' Charm||0||Female||15||Mistymolla|
|Caliban Rweed||3||Male||17||Tehblakdeath & TWD|
|Emilia Oswald||4||Female||15||The Wayward Daughter|
|Camiren Paisley-IIdylwyd||8||Female||17||The Wayward Daughter|
|Regan Lee||9||Female||17||Chocolate mints08|
|Belinda Wren||10||Female||18 (19 D2)||Sambaroses|
Bold = Leader of the alliance
Italics = Request pending
Careers: Jalson Riveras (C), Gauis Wellwood (1), Tessa Griffin (1), Ryan Duke (2), Raylee Corlera (2), Severus Seaclan (4), Emilia Oswald (4), Regan Lee (9), Thamos Keeper (14)
Anti-Careers: Carimen Paisley-Idylwyld (8), Jack Casey (9), Acacia Spruce (11), Reeva Olympia (14)
Young tributes alliance: Alluria Nexus (C), Vernon Payne (0), Keila Gonzales (3), Sammy Barn (10), Belinda Wren (10)
District 0&5 alliance: Cassidy Charm (0), Freya Winters (5)
District 6 alliance(?): Matthew Brown (6), Kaylay Hastian (6)
District 7 alliance: Hawthrone Willows (7), Bryony Mapleblossom (7)
District 8&13 alliance: Ace Merciless (8), Cole Neuk (13)
District 12 alliance: Justice Reigns (12), Caitlynne Glowers (12)
Loners: Caliban Rweed (3), Billie Green (5), George Grain (11), Aeralene Ekiert (13)
Alluria Nexus - The Capitol
Rise and shine Alluria!' I limply swat at my head, before I prop myself onto one elbow, and flop onto my back. Alluria!' Although the voice pleads for me to wake up, I stubbornly refuse to. I need my sleep as well. 'Alluria, it's reaping day, for crying out loud!' Before, all the previous attempts to awaken me have failed. But when the instant I heard 'reaping day', I bolt upright, and break into a sweat. Thankfully, it's easy for myself to remember why I'm so nervous about the reapings -
There's a feeling somewhere inside me that I'm going to be reaped. I just know it! Otherwise, the CSTO wouldn't have allowed me freedom, under one little agreement. Especially since I killed my own father, one of their prize scientists. We came to a bargain that as long as I followed the laws of the Capitol, I would be let off. Their revelation alone was suspicious, but so was the tone in their voices, at the time. All it did was suggest that they were plotting, right from the very beginning of the conversation.
Staring into a nearby mirror, my mind trails of to my sister, Electra, another of father's guinea pigs. No thanks to my treacherous father, we're both separated far from one another. I shudder to remember all of the nights when Electra ran out of her room, sobbing as she went by. No matter how hard father tried, his attempts at testing her were always unsuccessful. Only with the first night of Electra's torture, did father succeed with his aim. The only fruit he produced from that, was giving Electra an electroheart. The implant was risky, but she still survived. For anybody who knew about this, it would've been a new world of wonder to them. In my case, however, I saw it as father using Electra as a pawn in a bigger game. A controversial game. Thankfully, I allowed her to escape this nightmare, but at the cost of us being divided from one another. She may or may not have made it to a different district, but as long as the both of us live, the Nexus between us will never break.
Once again, I wake from my daydreams, and look at my milky skin. Sometimes, I ponder about Arunia's appearance, about how she looked, before I was created. Did she have milky skin like mine? Were her bangs multicoloured? Did she have Heterochromia? All of these questions have been left unanswered. Hopefully, I can figure it out.
At that point, I feel a whirring in my mind, and see an image of a girl form. She looks just like me. Only her skin is of a darker shade. Her hair is multicoloured, but her bangs are the same colour. Her eyes are exactly the same.
'This is what I looked like...' I delicately take in the details of the figure, Arunia, and memorise them, from the eyes, to the nose, to everywhere else. Slowly, it fades to white, as I imagine the scene at the reapings. That's it? The reapings are overshadowing what I had of Arunia a few moments ago. I need to get there quickly! For one last time, I squint in the mirror, and no longer see myself, but Arunia standing there, smiling. I find myself grinning back, even as I turn my back on the reflection, and exit the place, possibly never to return agan.
Even though it's more cloudy than normal, I still regret not bringing any pairs of sunglasses, what with the ridiculously psychedelic trends of the Capitol. A stinging sensations pierces into my eyes, as my sight flickers to a man wearing a gold tuxedo, a silver pair of leggings, and a diamond hat, complete with yellow feathers. He's likely to be the epitome of a wealthy aristocrats, with a daring style like that. But I mustn't focus on the clothing that is being worn today - I must reach the city square, in time for the reapings.
As I queue up, I hear the sound of disgruntled mutters, and unwillingly pry into other people's conversations, without them knowing. Apparently, they haven't been allowed to volunteer this year, which gives me the impression that the Government have done something secret to the reapings. Knowing them, they've probably rigged the reapings.
After what seems like eternity, the line finally shifts far enough to let me be at the start of the queue. Cautiously, I hold out my finger, waiting for a drip of my blood to be released. Oddly enough, I don't feel my skin being cut, until the area around there is pressed to paper. I begin to wince at the stinging sensation, until I'm shoved into the main area, where I must enter the correct line.
On the stage, I see President Pluto himself, dressed smartly in a fancy suit. Even though he's nearly 60, he shows no weakness, and gives off an aura that shows he's not to be messed with. Not that any of us would, since Katniss perished. She would've been the only one bold enough to make a stand, but she's been dead for a few decades. Even so, with Pluto's strategic thinking, nobody could surely beat him.
"Welcome, Capitol, to the reapings for the 98th annual hunger games!" He begins, giving us a grin. "It's that time of the year again, where two courageous young juveniles will compete, for the glory of their district, and the pride of their family!" I couldn't care less about his little speech - some tributes compete, with neither district, nor family, in mind. "Now, before we start the video, I need to introduce you all to somebody new! Please welcome the Capitol's new escort!" The crowd give a rompous cheer, as a young woman, dressed with pink feathers, strolls onto the podium, and nervously waves.
"H-Hello everybody. I-I'm Terpsichore Pieris, and I w-will be your new e-escort!" Unlike the other escorts, she doesn't seem to be one of those who enjoy the hunger games. Instead, she seems quite neutral, because even though she doesn't show that enthusiasm, she's chosen a career, based on the hunger games. Maybe it's for family reasons, but I actually, dare I say, feel bad for her.
The screen immediately flashes into play, and everybody watches in astonishment at the scenes as they shift from skulls to arenas, from the treaty to a tribute. I imitate a bored yawn, and cover my mouth with my hand. I couldn't care less for the video, since it just advertises a needless battle royale. At theend, everybody gives a round of applause, and The-sick-or-lay, or whatever her name is, bounds to the female reaping bowl, now giving off an aura of confidence. It's unlikely, but possible that the video pepped her up.
"Let's find out who our faithful tributes will be this year!" She dips her hand into the reaping bowl, containing the slips of names for the females. She has her tongue stuck out a bit, until her face lights up, and she pulls out one of the thousands of slips. Nothing can be heard, apart from the sound of her heels clickling on the wooden platform, as she reads the name out aloud.
"Alluria Nexus!" Before, I had suspicions of this happening, but now, my qualms have been confirmed - I have been reaped for the games. Of course the CSTO wouldn't have let me off for killing my father! Instantly, I concoct a scene where father smirks down at me, inmy comeuppance.
'Be brave, Alluria!' For a moment, I focus on Arunia's voice, and memories flood of when she urged me on when I battled with father. They then slow to a halt, and I silently thank Arunia, before I trod next to the escort (I really should think up of a nickname for her). The sound of murmers spread across the crowd, as if I was a well-known figure. But then again, I probably am, due to that incident. Staring at them, I see nothing but inquisitiveness, drawn on their faces. As their eyes gaze over mine, I begin to feel though as if I'm in an eerie nightmare, and consider pinching myself.
"Jalson Riveras!" At first, not a single muscle moves. Not even a reaction. "Jalson, where are you! We need you!" She asks, in a sing-song voice. One person slinks from the audience, somebody from the same age line as me. I take notice of his emo-styled hair, and how dark it is. Other than that, there's not much to look at. He may not appear much, but there is a fire of confidence, somewhere inside, hidden under his exterior. I see it in his deep blue eyes, the way they are ignited with hatred. Overall, he's a wild-card. And more often than not, wild-cards are threats to our existences.
"Well, let's give a - Wait a minute,Jalson?" The guy smirks, and crosses his arms.
"Yes, my queen b*tch?" The escort rolls her eyes, ignoring the half-compliment, half-insult.
"What's happening... to your hair? It's changing colour?" I lean over to get a better perspective, and see that she speaks the truth - the roots of his hair are now blonde, and as I squint, I believe that I can barely see the blonde streaming to the ends, until eventually, his hair is completely blonde. The crowd gaze over him, before they let out a cheer of enjoyment, and admiration, as if he's some special person. He even goes far as to salute them all. It takes a hush from Terpsichore (finally got her name right!), just to silence everybody.
"As I was saying, give a round of applause to our Capitol tributes - Alluria and Jalson!" The crowd let out a big whoop, and Jalson offers his hand, to which I shake my head. He then shrugs, and I roll my eyes. We'll never get on well, no matter how hard we try.
We're both lead into a grey room, with a posh red sofa in the middle. Terpsichore tells us to sit down there, which I do. Immediately, I melt into the sofa, and embrace thge comfort it provides me with.However, Jalson snorts at her arrogantly.
"You think you can tell me what to do, b*tch?!" Terpsichore gives him a menacing glare, which is enough to make me shrinks behind the arm of the sofa. Randomly, I hear the sound of Jalson giving a slight laugh, before I hear the sound of a stinging slap. Shakily, I poke my head above the arm of the sofa, and see Terpsichore, laying on the floor, a red mark on her cheek. Before I know it, two Peacekeepers storm in, and hold out their tasers ready. Determination plasters Jalson's face, as he kicks one of the Peacekeepers in the groin. Before he can face the other peacekeeper, he twitches as an electric current passes into his body, until he falls limp. The 2nd peacekeeper managed to taser him. He then helps the other peacekeeper, and the two carry Jalson off.
"Alluria, he can never be trusted, remember that!" I sigh, knowing that the voice of Arunia is correct. Jalson may have the guts, but he's no brain, I'm sure of that. But put me in an arena where there are smart people and strong people, and my chances of surving become slim.
Vernon Payne - District 0
As I tuck into my cereal, I look into the eyes of my adoring parents, giving me a smile. With no other choices in mind, I force myself to smile back at them. They're understandably nervous for me, since it's my first ever year that I'll be eligible enough to join the hunger games. I'm not as anxious as I should be, but the nerves are still hidden away somewhere. Not from the reaings, but from my brother, Lucius, who mutters something inaudible.
"What was that Lucius?" I asked, curious of what he was saying. It better not be something horrible about me. Discreetly, I give him a slight glare. Thankfully for me, our parents haven't noticed the dirty look I threw him.
"None of your beeswax, Vernon!" He snaps, sounding quite stern. So he's playing that game, eh? In that case, there's only one thing I can do -
"B-but how is it n-nothing for me to k-know? And why did you say it so m-meanly?" I start to shed some fake tears, and sob into the palms of my hands. Peeking through the gaps of my fingers, I see Lucius, bowing his head in shame. Our parents shake their heads in disapproval, before they ask him about what he said.
"I-I was just saying about how rare it is to see Vernon smile. I-I'm sorry if I upset him, I was worried that he would hate me if I said so." He stutters, sighing ashamedly. My parents just go to hug him, and I watch on, plotting my next move.
"We'll just be preparing for the reapings, ok?" Myself and Lucius nod. "Good, now don't fight or anything." As the two turn their backs on us, I turn to face a kitchen knife, gleaming under the lamp. I begin to stroll over to it, and grab it by the handle. A slight whimper spreads through the room, and I stand facing towards the source of the sound - Lucius. His eyes widen with fear, until I hold the knife over my shoulder. He begins to sweat in copious amounts, and starts to shake his head, pleading for me not do cut myself. Slowly, I lower the knife, and he gives a sigh of relief. Just when his guard is lowered, I charge straight at him, and cut his arm, causing him to scream in pain. Crimson blood flows from the wound, reminding me of the time when I killed one of my brothers from the past, and how it stained his shirt. I lay down the knife besides Lucius, just as our parents sprint down the stairs. Hopefully, I won't be found out.
"What the heck happened Lucius?! We was just about to put on our shoes, and -" Mum begins to shriek in horror, whilst she glances over to me. "Vernon? Did you do this?!" I crinkle my eyebrows, and stare from the knife to Lucius, as if I was just picking up on the detail.
"H-how could you Mum? How could you a-accuse me? Lucius did it to himself, just to get me in trouble! Or at least that's what I think," I release some more of my fake tears, to conceal my culpability. Dad starts to pat my back, and whispers some comforting words in my ears. I nod slightly, and allow my tears to dry up. Mum starts to berate Lucius, for not being a responsible enough brother. Soon, the two begin an argument, until Dad hushes the two down.
"This family will split into two pairs. Lucius, you're coming with me. Vernon, you go with your Mum. The pairs will leave at different times. Sounds good?" We all nod, and Mum grabs my wrist. She drags me out of the house, away from the room where all thedrama happened. However, I turn back, and see Lucius shake his fist at me, before one of our cats leaps onto his back, causing me to chuckle a little.
We trudge through the snow, battered by the elements. The wind whips through my hair, and blocks my eyesight. I begin to step in random directions, until I stumble, and nearly fall. Luckily, Mum grabs my hands, and pulls me up.
"You're welcome," We continue to shrug off the weather, until we finally reach the entrance to the city square, where some of the kids have already entered. I promptly get into queue, and wait to enter the main reaping area. It's only a few seconds before I tap my foot impatiently. Can't anybody see that there's a lot of people waiting behind them, and that with every second, we come closer toperishing in the harsh cold?
After a long while, I finally manage to get into the square, and stand in the appropriate line. I can spot a person that wears something like a bedsheet, and wraps himself up in his bushy beard. I don't understand why anybody would NOT wear a jacket in these conditions. The only possible reason is if they're too dumb to understand about the ideas of physics.
"Welcome all, to the reapings of the 98th hunger games! As everybody knows, my name is Socrates Theogorem, and I find it an honour to have you all here, to join me on this grand occasion!" He continues babbling on about the sacrifices we made, in return for safety, but I don't pay much attention to it. If only if speeches never existed, then everything could actually be done in time.
Thankfully, he finishes the boring tale of dullness, and carefully walks to the female bowl, being careful not to trip over his own garment. He stirs the slips around, like a spoon, until he pulls out a piece of paper, and calls a name. I don't pay attention to the name of the female tribute, or anything else, until I hear 'I volunteer!'
A smallish girl with white-blonde hair runs up to the reaped female and hugs her, quickly saying something in her ear.
"Don't worry about me, I'll be fine!" She says, before she bounds to the stage, a light smile playing on her lips. Despite her small height and frame, I still see bravery in her stance, and some slight physical capabilities. She won't be an easy target - that's for sure. My eyes scan over her,and stop at her eyes. At first, I see nothing in them, but as I squint a look deeper, I see them to be a pure golden colour. I find myself to continue to stare at them, until I slap my own wrist, to snap me out of the trance.
"And you are?"
"Cassidy Charm. But call me Cassie!" Socrates nods at her, before he continues to speak.
"Why did you volunteer, Cassie?" He asks, giving her a serious look. She gulps, and looks out to the girl who was reaped. The two maintain eye contact, before Cassie turns to Socrates again.
"Well, I volunteered because I was protecting a friend from death. I've failed to do so once in the past, but now, if I do die, at least I'll be happy, knowing that I saved a life!" The reason is enough to make the other people of the district cheer, and it even gives some people tears in their eyes. Whilst the others cheer, I scoff at the thought of saving somebody else's own life, in return for your own.
"Vernon Payne!" Wait, I'M the male tribute this year? Crap! Why did this have to happen on my first year in the reapings. I hadn't even finished with tormenting Lucius yet! Although I've lost one target, I can still find plenty of other ones to harass! I'll be dure to do so in the hunger games! Heck, it may even be better than bullying Lucius! Having found more confidence, I start my journey to the stage, where several people murmer in the crowd. I know how much they hate 12 year olds being reaped, because they're the easiest tributes to feel sympathy for. I seem quite weak to the people in the crowd, but I know that somewhere inside me, I have the talents necessary to survive! All I have to do, is go out there, and prove my worth to the tributes!
Tessa Griffin - District 1
"Tessa, I know that I won't be guaranteed to be a victor. But, just... stay strong for me, ok?" I look up into Maggie's eyes, and give her a small smile.
"Maggie, you still have a shot at being victor. Seize the oppurtunity whilst you have it. And I will stay strong for you!" I reply, giving her one last hug, before a Peacekeeper leads me off.
Suddenly, the bloodbath flashes up, with a desert behind the tribute plates. The cameras zoom in on all the tributes, and one focuses on Maggie, staring determinedly at the Cornucopia. The other tributes all face different directions, awaiting the gonging noise. 3, 2, 1, GONG! All of the tributes immediately take off running, the majority heading towards the Cornucopia. The few tributes who run away completely vanish in an instant. Things start to hot up at the middle, where all the tributes join a fight. Maggie hides from the action, and eyes up a weapon. She starts to headtowards it, when a sword cuts cleanly through her neck, decapitating her.
"NO!!!" I scream out, bolting upright with my hand out. I begin to pant deeply, and allow my eyes to take in the various items in the room. Furniture, walls, cushions, photos. Thankfully, it's only my bedroom. I sigh, relieved that what had just happened hadn't been real. It was only a nightmare. Not something in real life, not a memory, but just a terrible nightmare. About Maggie competing in the hunger games. And the same thing could happen later today.
Recently, the sisterly bond between me and Maggie had been broken, due to the ill-timed passing of Mum. She had lost a battle against a mysterious disease. As upsetting as it was, there were still a few positives based on the crisis - At least she died in peace. At least part of her was in me. At least she could join Dad in the afterlife. Reality cruely decided to separate our parents from me and Maggie, meaning that we had to provide for one another. Soon after, we came across another dilemma - Our food supplies were running low. Currently, our only solution is to win the hunger games, and gain enough riches to last us a lifetime. From the distance Maggie has put between us, it seems that she's going to volunteer. She decided to take the sacrifice. There's only one problem - I am just as willing to take the risk, in order to save her.
I start to search through the cupboards, looking for anything that I could have as a mini-breakfast. So far, all I've found is a banana, a few biscuits, two pices of bread, and an orange. I examine all of them, and decide to eat the orange. I peel away the skin, and bin it away. The segments all split away, and I begin to much on the orange, piece by piece. Succulent flavours burst into my mouth, giving me the impression that I'm in paradise. It has been one of the best 'meals' yet. Unfortunately, I may not have another one like it, unless I'm reaped, or if I get some food from the feast after the reapings. Speaking of which, I'd better get there quickly.
The city square is already bustling with all of the excited teens and families of the district. Many of them will volunteer, to prove their worth to the district and their family. However, there are people like me out there, who will only volunteer to save their friends or family. Those who volunteer for the later reason are less brainwashed by the rewards of the Capitol, after battling with 31 others for their survival. They're much more honourable than those who volunteer fot the thrill of the fight. If I do get chosen, and if I do win, then I will become part of the more honourable victors.
It only takes a few minutes for me to be able to enter the reaping area, where Maggie could already be. I search over all of the people, and see her facing towards the stage. I'm tempted to call her name, or to grab her attention, but doing so would risk people seeing me as a hyperactive fool. And I have to prove that I'm a fighter, rather than a ditzy idiot who makes a fool of herself. Not only will I have to prove it to this district, but I will have to prove it to the other tributes, and the Capitol as well.
Nearly everybody hushes down as the mayor makes his way to the podium, flashing his trademark grin at us. Those who are ignorant to his presence receive glares off of the other people, until they murmur an apology, and face the front like soldiers. The mayor gives another smile, this time of satisfaction, to all the people, with some even beaming back at him. It doesn't take rocket scince to know that he's popular around the district. And not just the district - He is respected by several other districts, for showing dedication, fairness, and resourcefulness - all important characteristics to be a leader.
"Hello, to all of district one! I hope you're all looking forwards to another exciting game!" The audience give a holler of gusto, and begin to chant his name. He waits patiently for the cheering to end, until the rambunctious crowd quietens down. "Allow me to once again introduce you all to our escort, Crystal Aughra!" The wanna-be tributes applaud Crystal, as she stands at the microphone, giving everybody a fierce glare.
Crystal is known to be an unsocial escort, and is considered to be one of the strangest Capitolians, for not being bright and bubbly. When she gives advice to tributes on how to act, she'll summarise it in a few words, rather than explain fully. She's considered to be a bookworm more than anything else, as she always dresses as characters from famous books. Last year, she was somebody from a book series by somebody known as C.S Lewis. This year, she wears a blonde wig, with a short blue dress, and a white apron. To be honest, I have no idea on the character she's dressed as. I don't pay much attention to reading and literature, since they're not considered to be important for the career districts.
"Girls? Any volunteers?" She asks, with a grumpy tone in her voice. Despite how she made it sound like sin to volunteer, several girls scream out their choice to do so, including myself. My ears pick up on the sound of Maggie's voice. If only if I had told her that I would volunteer. But it's too late for that now. I look up at Crystal again, as her eyes flicker the crowd, until they meet mine. Lazily, she points at me, and I cheer to myself inside my head. My mission to prevent Maggie from entering these games has been accomplished.
"Name?" Crystal asks, pointing her microphone at my mouth.
"Tessa Griffin," Crystal nods nonchalantly, and shakes my hand lightly. If Crystal ever shakes a tributes hand, it's always a good sign, since it's her way of saying that the tribute has a real shot at winning. The comprehenion of this is vital to any tributes who are competing. It's a privilege to know that she believes in my ability to win.
"Boys? Anyone volunteering?" Bizarrely, there is not a single peep from anybody. How have they lost their motivation to volunteer? Why are they reluctant? They seemed so pumped to volunteer a few moments ago. To see this in a career district seems so... strange. Crystal gives the boys a bemused look, just as she approaches the male reaping bowl.
"Fine! I'll reap somebody instead!" Her hands lowers into the bowl, and fiddles with some slips, before she pulls one out. The slip is unravelled, and she reads over the name briefly, before she calls out the name.
"Gauis Wellwood!" A young 14 year old with blonde hair twitches for a bit, before he shakes his head in disbelief. Several people in the crowd mutter among themselves. A few years back, a girl with the same surname as him competed in the hunger games. She would've won, had it not been for the district 5 male that struck her down. The two must be related to one another.
Grudgingly, Gauis begins to step towards the stage, but is interrupted by the sight of a girl, stumbling towards him. She lets out an outraged bellow, and continues to stumble towards him.She tries to drag him back in line, but he justshrugs her off.
"Savera, I know this means that our promise of protecting each other will be broken, but at least stay strong for me, ok?" The girl, Savera, stares at him with a confused look, before she nods, just as a Peacekeeper grabs her by the arms, and drags her to where she was. Gauis faces her one last time, before he stands besides Crystal.
"Everybody! Tessa Griffin and Gauis Wellwood!" The crowd give a large applaud for us, to which Crystal winces, and covers her ears, in an attempt to block out the noise. Myself and Gauis shake hands, before two pairs of Peacekeepers march onstage, and escort us into a building. We're both taken to separate rooms, where we will both wait for our family members. In my case, Maggie will be the one who visits me. In a matter of minutes, I will find out her reaction to me being chosen for the games. Is she going to be the good sister, and support me? Or will she be mad that I was picked instead of her. Either way, I can still find out.
A few minutes pass, and there's still no sign of Maggie. Just as my hope begins to drop slowly, I see a face, poking through the door. She gives me a look of sorrow, before she bounds towards me, and envelops me in a hug. Instantly, I wrap my arms around her, and give her an embrace. I feel tears slide down my back, as Maggie sobs into my shoulder.
"Tessa! I'm so sorry that I kept my distance from you! I just... thought that I was doing the right thing, by preparing for the games. Never in a million years would I have realised that -"
"Maggie, calm down," I say, softly. "Don't blame yourself - There's nobody to blame here," Maggie gives another large sob, before her arms loosen, and she lets go of me. "At least you are still alive..." Maggie nods, seeing the optimistic side of this, before a Peacekeeper enters the room.
"Time's up!" Maggie sniffs back a couple of tears, as she follows the Peacekeeper out. But not before she gives me one last glance through the door. Part of me wants her to stay with me, but unfortunately, she can't come. If only if the Capitol wasn't as cruel. But then again, seeing a family member right before entering the tribute tubes would only distract a tribute. And distractions need to be kept to a minimal.
Competing in the hunger games reminds me of the time when Dad joined in a fight. The very same fight that got him killed, and left me vengeful. Now I'll be in a situation similar to his. Only it involves kids my age, and a bigger series of brawls. Brawls that I need to win in order to survive.
Ryan Duke - District 2
“Morning, Ms Diane,” I sigh. Today’s the day that I’ll volunteer, and have to win the games. Otherwise, how else can I gain the power to get my sister, Lacey, out of jail?
It hurts my inner soul to remember how I got here in this orphanage. It started when my father, who was the old mayor of district 2, was accused of treason against the Capitol. Unfortunately for us, father was found guilty, and was executed, along with mother. For reasons that I don’t know, they decided to imprison Lacey, leaving me to live in an orphanage. As much as I like it here, I can’t stay here forever.
The other orphans begin to snicker at me, just as I sit down. Last night, I kept proclaiming that I would volunteer, but they all called me a filthy liar, and a wimp. Yet the only time I was a wimp was when I first came to this orphanage. Without Lacey, I felt lost. I cried out for her for a few days, until I got over it. Even though it was a few years ago, the other orphans still remember it.
The snickering stops when I give everybody a fierce glare. The glare I give when I’m showing people how sincere I am. There isn’t a single sound. Tension has spread among us, and it is never a good sign, because Ms Diane will come in, investigate, and then give a lecture to the guilty person on kindness and peace. And it’s a boring lecture, at that.
“Is everybody ok? It’s just that I heard silence, and was wondering if any of you was up to some mischief,” We all turn to face her, giving her an ‘innocent’ look, as if nothing was happening. Luckily for me, the others have decided to keep their traps shut. Either they have empathised with me, or they’re waiting for the perfect moment to strike. “Nothing happened? Oh, I apologise, in that case! Don’t mind me – I’m just a batty old woman!” She giggles like a little school girl, before she hobbles outside. As idiosyncratic as she is, you just got to love her.
The sound of a vehicle revving meets my ears, and everybody else’s. Ms Diane must have hired a person to drive us to the reapings, rather than walk there. She probably doesn’t have the energy to walk all the way there, the unfortunate soul.
“Everybody, we’re leaving now!” We all line up in an orderly queue, and stroll out of the orphanage. Outside, is a bus.
We all wait for a bit, for one of the kids to help Ms Diane into the bus. Intolerantly, I tap my foot onto the gravel. Waiting has never seemed good to me in my life. If there is an option to make a remark, I will take it, in spite of who is in the room at the time. I’ve waited too long to volunteer for the games. Now, I must be chosen, no matter what.
“So… is anybody here volunteering?” Diane asks, spinning around to face us.
“I-I am,” I say, raising my hand. A few other orphans raise their head, and state that they’re also volunteering. Diane starts to break out in a sweat, and gulps. She’s not used to seeing orphans compete in the hunger games. Every time she hears news of anybody that they’re willing to butcher other tributes, she acts quite casual, but alarm bells ring inside her head. Sometimes, it feels like I can hear them, dinging in her mind.
We’re all flung into the air by a couple of inches, despite our seatbelts, just as the bus comes to an abrupt halt. Somehow, we’ve all survived.
“Everybody, now’s the time to get off the bus. People in the back will go first, and then those in the row in front, and so on.” I’m at the very back row, so I get to go off first.
Once everybody is finally out, we all sprint to the lines, and some people accidentally bump into the other people in front of them. The kids then growl, and purposely stomp on the orphan’s foot. They all hold in the pain, but only just. All of them have their teeth gritted. I didn’t share the same injury, since I controlled my acceleration levels.
“Come over here kid!” I approach the person that called me over, and give him my hand. He starts to mutter about something, just as my finger is pricked for its crimson liquid – One of the key ingredients in life. My finger is then pressed onto the paper, when a scanner observes the DNA. My name, Ryan Duke, flashes on the screen. The person dismisses me, and I enter the area.
“I see you made it in one piece, Ryan!” Somebody says, with a chuckle. The voice comes from Stag, one of the other orphans. “I have to put up with a searing pain in my foot. I don’t think I can volunteer this year!” I give him a small nod, before we both wait for D2’s escort, to hop onstage.
After what seems like infinity of waiting, the escort, Cibus Hawking, waddles to the microphone, digging into a chicken drumstick. Our mayor, is currently sick with a stomach bug, and is therefore unable to attend. I guess that means that Cibus will have to take lead in everything today. Whoop de do.
“Hello, all of D2! Welcome to the reapings! I, Cibus Hawking, will not let your tributes die in vain!” He polishes the bone of the drumstick off its meat, and pulls out a double cheeseburger. Disgustingly, he bites into it, his rolls of fat hypnotically jiggling all over the place. “Lebs find oub who our dributesh will be, shtarting wib the boys!”
“I volunteer!” I sprint to the front, as do two other boys. We all scramble for that position in the games. Whilst the other two brawl it out, I sneakily take to the stage, without them noticing.
“Break it up boys! Neither of you are going in!” The two boys, who were fighting, look at me. Grunting in disbelief, they return to their rightful place – in their lines. “Thank you for leaving! Give it up for our male tribute, umm,”
“Ryan Duke. Future victor of the hunger games!”
“Ladies and gents, give it up for Ryan Duke!” The crowd give me a round of applaud, just as Cibus offers me a hot dog. Grossed out by the grease, I gag, and decline the offer. He shrugs, and bites half of it off. I’ve now lost any appetite that I had, all because of this gluttonous fatso. For once, he actually clears his mouth of food, before he speaks again. Finally! Some etiquette!
“Girls! It’s your turn!” Only one girl volunteers, probably because the others have lost the stomach to. I wouldn’t be surprised though – Cibus has the rare ability to gross out every person on this planet, even if they don’t show it. The sole volunteer jogs to the stage, pride etched on her face.
“And who might you be?” He asks, some spittle accidentally flying out of his mouth, landing on the girl’s top. She gags a little, and wipes it away quickly.
“Ladies and Gents, give it up for your female tribute, Raylee Corlera!” Once again, the crowd applaud her, just as he offers her a bacon sandwich with ketchup. She refuses it, to which he bites into it, ketchup spilling down the Gi he wears.
“Now, I must bid you all adieu! And so will Ryan and Raylee!” The crowd chant our names over and over again, causing Raylee to wave to them. To me, she doesn’t seem like a true killer, and therefore may not last long in the games.
We’re both sat with one another, just twiddling our thumbs, until Raylee starts to mutter about a few people.
“Who are you talking about?” I ask. Normally, I’m not curious about anyone, but Raylee is my district partner, and will be a part of the careers. So I need to get to know her well.
“Well, remember Ignus, Megan and Crimson?” My mind thinks back to the previous few years. They all placed quite far. Ignus and the other careers were shredded by the anti’s, Megan was the first to die after it was just the careers left, and Crimson died at the hands of the D2 boy. They came close to victory… but not close enough. “They were my first friends. They were my only friends…”
“Oh, umm, I’m sorry for your loss,” Her face lightens up, probably at the realisation that they don’t have to be her only friends.
Keila Gonzales - District 3
“Umm, hello? Can anybody spare some food please?” I stare out to the crowd of people, searching for anybody that seems charitable. “Please? Does anybody have any food?” I begin to sigh sadly, losing all hope to gaining some food for my family. Just as I’m above to leave the town, a young man passes by, staring at me. A look of pity shapes itself on his face, just as he flicks me a couple of coins, and a note.
“Use these to buy some food, darling. And stay safe!” He gives me a smile, before he walks off.
I start to fiddle with the money for a moment, figuring out what to spend it on, when I realize the date – It’s reaping day! And there will be a feast afterwards, for the families of the district! Silly me, thinking that I’d need to beg today, when there would be free grub today! Excitedly, I start to skip home, when I accidentally bump into a big person.
“Sorry! Sorry! I didn’t see you there, an-“The person starts to sniff the air, like a curious dog. Nervously, I step back, right into another one. “My mistake, I didn’t see you there!” The two turn to face me, a smirk on their face. If I have to be honest, then I’ll say that their ugly faces scare me. A little. Ok, a lot!
“Hey Doug, it looks like we’ve got a victim, ‘ere!”
“You’re right there, Spike!” The two chortle, spittle flying from their mouth. The one named Spike pulls out an apple, and crunches into it. How, how could he? How could he waste the food on himself, when there are mouths to feed? Like mine…
“So, young lass! Do you ‘ave any coins for us?”
“Umm, umm…” I know better than to trust these rogues. They violate the law. They’re big meanies! I’ll have to outrun them.
“Oh, lookie ‘ere Spike! I sees me some dosh!” Just as Doug is about to dig into my pocket, and plunder the money I received from the guy, I kick his fat nose. The result – He mutters curses under his breath, and recoils in pain. Taking my chance, I sprint away from them, hearing Spike behind me. If he catches me now, then heaven knows what will happen. I push the thoughts of the outcomes away, and focus only on one thing – escaping the brute that follows me.
Several people give cries of shock, as I push past them. But if they found my unanticipated appearance shocking, then what will their reaction be with that Spike guy? I decide to risk a peek, and find myself unprepared for the sight – Everybody is scolding him, for chasing after me. One granny even tells him to ‘sit in the naughty corner’. I have to force myself to stifle a laugh, at that point. I wish that I could stick around to watch the rest of the situation, but my parents will be wondering what I’ve been up to.
My parents open the door, just as I reach the garden perimeter.
“Keila! Did you get anything?” Mum asks, just as she pulls me into an embrace.
“Yes, mum. I’ve got a note, and a couple of coins. But we won’t need to buy food today! There’ll be the feast after the reapings!”
“Oh, the feast! I completely forgot about it! Thanks for reminding me!” My brothers exit the house, just as mum gives me a kiss on the forehead. Even if I’m reaped, I can still remain strong. But… what would my brothers do? Will they volunteer? I hope not! Thirty two go in, but only one comes out. If one of them was to volunteer, then either they die, or I die.
“Let’s go, then,” Dad says.
Unlike the previous few years, everybody seems more organized. Previously, it was a large clump, but there are actually lines, for once. That makes it easier to move around, and not get constantly squished. Maybe it’s because the district’s peacekeepers have been more organized, ever since the head peacekeeper, Claudius, came into power. As strict as he is, he keeps the streets safe… most of the time.
When all the boring stuff happens, like the blood testing and lining up, Jasmina Thatcher, our escort, starts banging the microphone with her hand, to see whether it’s working or not. She always does it, even when it’s obvious that everything is ship-shape. ‘Better safe than sorry’, she would say.
“Hello everybody! As everybody knows, or at least should know, I am Jasmina Thatcher, the prettiest escort in the world!” If she really is the most beautiful escort in the world, then I’d dread to see what the others look like. Jasmina is uglier than anything, with decaying teeth, neon green skin, and… three eyes? Why the heck did she decide on looking like an alien? It doesn’t make sense!
“Let’s see who our magnificent female tribute is!” She dips her hand into the bowl, and immediately pulls out a slip. “Keila Gonzáles!” I knew that it was possible, and yet, I still wasn’t expecting to be reaped, at this age. All I can do now is take my place, and hope my brothers don’t volunteer.
Onstage, I see them all, staring at me in disbelief. By the look on their faces, I can tell that they’re going to volunteer, to protect me. Discreetly, I shake my head to them, hoping that they pick up on it. They appear quite saddened, but they still nod. I remember how 32 go in, but only 1 comes out. Whilst their assistance would be helpful, at least one of us would have to die. And if we both passed on, I’d dread to think how our parents would cope. We can’t allow them to lose two children in the same hunger games.
“It’s a tough life, Keila…” Jasmina pats my back, before she proceeds with the reapings. “Our splendid male tribute…” She pulls out a slip, and reads the name aloud. “Caliban Rweed!” A 17 year old stands forwards, and looks down on the glove that he wears. He seems to be quite peaceful, but if I stare into his eyes, I feel a fire. A fire of anger. As a tribute, I wouldn’t know what to expect of him. He could either be a weakling, or a strong person. I’ll have to keep an eye on him, in the lead up to the games.
“Wish luck to our amazing tributes – Keila and Caliban!” In the midst of the cheering, I spot Caliban scrunch something in his hand. As he opens it up, I see a white powder. How can he do that?
“What is that?” I ask him, observing the substance.
“Oh, it’s nothing normal. Just some everyday drugs,” Caliban breathes in the drugs, making his pupils dilate, and bringing him a Cheshire grin. “Want some?”
“Umm, no thanks,” He just shrugs, and pops the rest of the powder into his mouth. I’m aware of how bad drugs can be if they’re the wrong ones. Therefore, I don’t trust druggies. But how am I supposed to trust anybody else in the arena, when I can’t even have faith in my own district partner?
Severus Seaclan - District 4
“Sharlet! Are you ok? I heard you scream!” I pat Sharlet’s back, offering her comfort.
“I saw her again! She was hunting me down! I shot her again!” Sharlet starts to tear up again. The unfortunate soul had a nightmare, based on the memory of what happened last year.
It depresses me every time I reminisce the events last year. About how Grandpa died, protecting me and Sharlet from a small pack of bandits. In revenge, I killed two of them. Then… I heard the unsheathing of a dagger. I quickly spun around, and accidentally shot Xena, one of my friends. Apparently, those rogues were her only family. She begged for me to put her out of her misery, which I did, apologising to her just before I fired the bullet.
Once I returned home from my expedition, I found Sharlet, crying. There was another hooded figure, lifeless on the floor. She reminded me of Xena, and was possibly her mother. I told Sharlet that things would be fine by the morning, and that the action was just a nightmare. Despite this, Sharlet became eternally haunted, and emotionally scarred. No matter what, nothing will snap her out of the trance.
“Sharlet, you know that it was a dream. If it was real, then I’d never let things come to that again. Not as long as there’s blood in my veins!” She looks up to me, a wry smile masquerading happiness, when she feels blue. She’s trying to stay strong for me, in return for building up pressure. If there’s anybody in the world who needs to stay strong for another person, then I would be that somebody.
I leave Sharlet to her thoughts, and quickly look to a photo of Grandpa. The one person who knew about the legacy of the Seaclans.
He taught me about the power we held, just from becoming victors. But then… the second rebellion broke out, and we were called on, due to our knowledge of combat, and our leadership skills. Despicably, they were all backstabbed, betrayed, and left for dead by the other rebels. This left none of our fine fighters, and the Seaclans begun to lose their fighting knowledge.
He passed on what he knew to me, and begun to train be to be like the earlier generation. I became his work of art, and he gave me a plan of what to do. ‘Go volunteer, keep your judgement clear, lead the careers and lead them to victory, overcome every other tribute, leave no one alive in your wake,’ and that’s exactly what I’m going to do. To make Grandpa proud, and to bring dignity back to the Seaclans.
Unlike the previous few years, nobody seems that keen to participate for their own glory. I don’t know whether it’s because of the poor performance we gave last year, or because they’re still waiting to improve their skills. But it does mean that I have a high chance of competing, and following Grandpa’s advice.
Even as I stand in line for the blood test, an eerie silence falls among us. Only the crash of the waves can be heard in the distance. Normally, there is at least one person from each gender, prepared to battle it out, yet there isn’t that enthusiasm this year. With the guys, it’s obvious that they’re drooling over our escort – Shingle Adlington. The same thing can’t be said for the majority of the other girls. They could be jealous because their boyfriend is paying attention to shingle, but it’s unlikely. What exactly is going on?
“Come here,” A peacekeeper gestures for me to enter at her station. I calmly stroll to her, and look at the fluid that trickles down my finger. The stream of blood represents the bloodline of my ancestors. With Grandpa gone, and no real killers left in the family, I am the last person who can become like the others, or else the reputation will never be revived again.
“Sir? You can go now. Sir?”
“Oh, sorry,” I bow my head a little, and quickly walk off into the line containing the other 18 year olds.
They’re all marvelling at Shingle, who is surprisingly dressed quite normally. She wears her long dirty blonde hair down, and has a silver hairband in it. She is also in a floral bikini that accentuates her elegant curves. The only reason I’m not gaga for her is because I don’t feel ready for a relationship yet. And besides, even if does appear ordinary, why would I fall for a mindless sheep? She needs to be her own person.
Eventually, everybody arrives, and Shingle grabs the microphone. She starts to wink at some of the boys in the same line as me. They all give a wide grin to her in return. Nodding with satisfaction, she reaches out her arm to grab the microphone, and starts speaking.
“Hello, to all the residents of district 4! Everybody in this district knows my name, but in case you’re ignorant, I am Shingle. So let’s get this show on the road, and contribute to the games!” She doesn’t even wait for volunteers as she picks a slip from the female reaping bowl. But before she can read it aloud, somebody shouts 'I volunteer!'.
A girl with dark brown hair and hazel eyes starts to jog onstage. Somehow, her face reminds me of something, but I can't remember what. Maybe she had a sibling in the games?
" A volunteer - how exciting!" Shingle says, quite giggly. "And you are?"
"Emilia Oswald!" Now I can confirm that she has had a sibling in the hunger games. Lasy year, her little sister Jenny competed, and she volunteered. However, Jenny decided to compete anyway, and was nearly killed by an Earthquake. Luckily for her, she survived, and became one of the youngest victors of the hunger games. I presume that Emilia is competing to further bring glory to her family name.
Shingle whispers something to Emilia, before she takes a couple of steps towards the reaping bowl. Before she can grab a slip, I shout out those two magic words that will change my life forever – ‘I volunteer!’
Everybody stares at me as I step down the pathway. And that pathway will bring me to the hunger games. ‘For honour… for Grandpa… for Xena,” I think to myself, remembering why I volunteered, and who I volunteered for. If they are watching me seizing this chance, then I hope that they are cheering me on, and will support me throughout, even in the arena.
“Well, look what we have here – a volunteer! Go on, tell us your name!” I briefly avert my gaze heavenwards, trying to see where Xena and Grandpa would watch me from. I give a small nod to the sky, smiling a little. Out of the corner of my eye, I see Shingle give me a small smile. As if she was flirting. There isn’t a real age gap between us, so I can see why. But she doesn't realise that dating your own escort would be, well, weird.
“Severus Seaclan,” I say, staring out to the crowd. “And I will show everybody that my ancestor’s fiery spirit has been revived, to live once more!” With a quotable sentence like that, the audience has no choice but to give a round of applause to me. Well, not to me, but to the Seaclans, and their old ways.
“Our tributes this year – Emilia Oswald and Severus Seaclan!” The once apathetic spectators applaud us, their spirits lifted. With the sister of a victor, and me, there is a high likelihood of D4 winning. Yes, everybody out there is a threat in some way, but I just have to overcome them, and all the other obstacles. I mustn't lose my life in this! Remember that this is for the honour! Remember this is is for Xena! And remember that this is for the most inspirational figure in my personal life - Grandpa!
Freya Winters - District 5
As dawn breaks out in the sky, I groggily sit upright in bed. The luminous rays that emit from the sun blind me momentarily. It’s now the day that I’ve dreaded since I was little – reaping day. And I could be the tribute. If only if my parents didn’t try to hide me from the horrors, then they could still be here.
They never allowed my birth to be documented, so that I could escape from the horrors that were set for me in the future. The horrors of the hunger games. My parents figured that if I wasn’t known about, then I could never compete in the hunger games, and therefore not die at the hands of another teenager.
Often, they would have to go and work for food, leaving me by myself. Except I never was alone to begin with. Randomly, a girl popped up into my home, and she was thoughtful and gentle. Even though she would boss me around from time to time, I still enjoyed the company I had with her. There was one problem – She wasn’t an actual girl. She was just a figment of my imagination. At this point, I would be considered mentally insane by anybody. My parents feared for my sanity, but I knew that I could keep it with me. As long as I didn’t completely lose it, everything would be fine.
Soon, there came a day when my parents didn’t return home. The voice in my head told me to search for them, which I swiftly obeyed. It led me to the district square, the place where all kinds of malicious things happened, according to my parents. I was in the place where reapings were held, executions were performed, and where kids could be viewed fighting for their life. How I decided to search in this living hell, I may and will never know.
After that, peacekeepers came running towards me. I was in their sights, and there was little I could do but run. It was hopeless, due to their speed, but I had to try. Unfortunately, one of them caught up with me, and pushed me to the concrete ground. Tension augmented inside of me, and I desperately wanted to escape, even though things seemed hopeless. Then, the voice came, ordering me to kick him, which I did. Once again, I fled, only to come face to face with my parents, held at gunpoint. The peacekeeper holding the gun threatened to shoot them if I moved closer to them. I ignored his warning, and saw my parents getting sniped as a result. I screamed, before I felt my vision blur, before everything became pitch black.
The next thing I knew, I woke up in a room, with a man. He claimed that he wanted some information from me, since he only found out about my parents’ secret via torture. There, of course, was the innocent me, but there was another character to be found. One that lay buried in my soul, and was ready to be awoken from its deep slumber.
In rage, I sprinted to him, and slammed his head on the floor. Once. Twice. Several times more, until he lay dead at my feet. I stared at his corpse, and felt dread inside, since this was all my doing, under retaliation. It left me screaming, and fleeing the area. However, when I entered the main hall, I immediately recognised it as the justice building. There was a ridiculous amount of peacekeepers guarding the area. If I made a wrong move, I could easily be shot in the head. Nonchalantly, I walked down the hallways, until I was met with a familiar sight – The same peacekeeper who killed my parents.
We ended up being alone together in the same room. He also identified me, but before he could do anything, I shot him in the leg. I could’ve just left him there, but then he could organise a search party for me, which left me only one choice – I had to shoot him, even though I did not want to be the culprit of another death. With slight regret, I fired a bullet into his head, giving him a quick and painless death. Two kills, in one day. And I was no longer scarred by those incidents. Instead, I felt empty, as if I had no emotion. The previously hidden character had possessed me.
Out on the street, I came across two corpses, both of which were my parents. I was quite surprised by how nobody had come to collect or shovel them away, until another man came. He burnt their bodies, as the flames tauntingly danced and flickered. It was evident that I never belonged into reality. I wanted to never return, but my kismet had other ideas.
I was forced to return, and view the hunger games in full action. On the big screen, there were blood, guts and gore everywhere, from how the tributes brutally murdered one another. But worst of all were the mutts, which ripped out the throats of their ill-fated prey. Next year, that could’ve been me, with my throat being ripped out. The only positive to this, was that now I had discovered the whole truth.
A year passed, and it was reaping day. With me, I brought a gun, in the case of me getting reaped. If I was the chosen tribute, then I would commit suicide, to avoid the terrors that would’ve awaited me. Naturally, I was nervous, as were the other children.
“Freya…” I started to panic badly. I lifted the gun to my head, and started a countdown in my head. Somebody next to me screamed in surprise. “…Night” After hearing the surname of the other Freya, I dropped my hand, and sighed with relief. It wasn’t me.
Today, it could well be me. My gun has been confiscated, so I can’t join me parents in the afterlife if my name is called. However, that opportunity could arise again when the bloodbath begins. After that gong rings out, I could be the first death. It doesn’t matter though. There’s only one person who would miss me. And that person should be waiting for me near the city centre.
As I tread into the middle of the city, a feeling of dread swells inside of me. I’m entering the place that has sentenced people’s lives to be reduced. Not only those of the tributes, but those of my parents as well, although it was mainly my fault.
“Freya! Hey Freya! I’m over here!” I force myself to smile when I see a familiar face come bounding in – Halie.
Had it not been for her, I wouldn’t have been attending these reapings. I wouldn’t even be breathing! She saved me from committing suicide. I still remember the moment like it was yesterday.
I was sat by a cliff, one inch from falling over. I was thinking about whether there was life after death. It seemed weird to some people, but I believed in it. Suddenly, I was considering making a jump for it. To see whether what I believed in was true, or false. I could only have hoped that it existed. This was the perfect opportunity to find out.
Just as I was about to take the plunge, a hand grabbed my shoulder. The hand belonged to Halie. She didn’t understand the torment I had to contend with. She didn’t comprehend that I no longer wanted to live in a world with fear, a world that suffered loss, a world with no hope. There was nothing to live for.
“Let me, you don’t know how it feels to be able to not know why you are alive! I have lived on simple hope for years! What is the point?!”
“There is no point!” Somehow, Halie’s words gave me a brainwave. I didn’t want to die after all. I started to joke a little about it, now feeling happier for myself.
“Remember that we must preserve one another’s safety!” She says, still smiling at me. I nod in response. Even though I feel I can trust her the most, she still reminds me of the hard times I’ve been through. And those hard times were what brought me depression in the first place. Eventually, Halie could be the heart of the next bout of depression I could have. I doubt it though.
“Yes. We must!”
We both stand next to one another, gripping one another’s hand tightly. I know that if I get reaped, then I must win for her. She has saved my life, but I can’t just unravel the past, and die in the hunger games if I am chosen.
Our escort, Allegro Forte, starts to do the worm on stage, presumably bored. I don’t think he realises that we’re all accounted for, and that we’re waiting for our tributes to be revealed. That’s the problem with him – he’s slow to pick up on the actions that happen. Yet he can be… motivational at times, and will sometimes even cause a laugh to slip from anybody who happens to be in the same room as him.
“’Sup district 5!? Allegro here to rap to the beat, and make you defeat, the others in the games, and give you some fame!” Oh darn it. I completely forgot that he has a passion for rapping. When he starts, there’s no stopping him. “Let’s see who our girl is, the girl we’ll all miss!” Allegro positions his hand in a clawing position, and lowers it like a claw on a claw machine. Two of his fingers close on a slip, and he lifts it out. He then undoes the band that keeps it wrapped. At the sound of the name, Halie gives me a look of horror, starts to screech in terror. Panicking, I tell her to calm down, a bit too assertively. More tears flood down her face.
“I’m sorry Halie!” Tears well up in my eyes, just as I start to walk up to the stage. No… I still need to give Halie something in return for bringing common sense to my mind! But… I can still do so. I just have to survive for her.
“I hope that this guy can be seen, since our boy is Billie Green!” I look out to the crowd, leaning forwards slightly. I see a boy, with brown hair and brown eyes taking to the stage. He seems to be on the verge of tears. I see from how watery his eyes seem. Showing kindness, I give him a sympathetic look as he plants his feet onto the oaken planks. Suddenly, the pressure caves in on him, and a waterfall drops from his eyes. I wish that I knew how to comfort him.
“Our tributes are Freya and Billie, so let’s not act silly! Say farewell, wish them well!” Despite his terrible rapping, I have to agree with him. We will both need luck in these games. Billie has his reasons to survive, and so do I. I don’t know much, only that Halie needs me to survive. Although I have the will, do I have the skills required to survive?
Matthew Brown - District 6
Outside of my house window, I see several families strolling to the reapings. Soon, in a couple of minutes, I will be headed to the same destination. I could be heading to face the pathway to death, or I could remain here and live for at least another year, where my mind will continuously drift off to thoughts of the hunger games. Like it usually does.
Sighing, I continue to stare out of the window. Several 12 year olds shiver with fear as they stumble across the pavements. Their parents and older siblings offer them comforting words. In response, the 12 year olds nod, and continue to the reaping square. Two years ago, I was like that. But now, I’ve gained the strength to veil my fear behind a face that shows bravery. A lot of people I know complimented me on my courage, but there were those odd moments where I wanted to reveal the truth on how I was feeling. Nowadays, all that has changed. I can laugh in the face of danger. I can contend with frightening situations. But that doesn’t mean I don’t fear them one little bit.
The distant tapping of shoes is enough to give me curiosity to see who is producing the sound. I look over my shoulder, and see my parents, staring adoringly at me. Already, I know what they’re going to do.
“Matthew,” Mum bends down, and envelops me in a hug. “We know how bold you are, so if you do get reaped, remember to put on the brave face you always wear. There’s a slim chance it is you, but remember that in any situation, regardless of whether it’s positive or negative, remember us, and you’ll be fine, no matter what.” Once again, Mum has delivered one of her encouraging speeches. I will treasure it, no matter what.
“You’re welcome. Now why don’t you fetch some water?” I nod, and step outside.
I rotate the cog, lowering the bucket into the well. It hits the water surface, so I lower it that tiny bit more. Once I’m satisfied that it’s been long enough for it to be full, I strain against the cog again. My muscles struggle to comprehend the weight. They start to sting. Just as I’m about to give up, another set of hands clutch the cog. Steadily, the bucket rises from the gloomy depths of the well, until it comes into view. I’m just about to reach over and grab it, when the same pair of hands grasps the handle. The bucket is lifted out, with little to no effort. I face the person who came to my aid, and immediately identify her from my memory.
“Thank you Kaylay!” I say, giving her a smile. At first, Kaylay doesn’t seem to notice. She appears to be concentrating on her thoughts. I’m about to return back inside the house, when Kaylay’s head bolts towards me.
“You’re welcome!” She then saunters off, headed towards the centre of town.
Kaylay is well known around the district for taking every opportunity to assist somebody; including taking their job at work in case they were injured or ill. But she’s mainly famous for doing whatever it takes to keep her brothers well and happy. Kaylay has helped me more times than I can remember in the past. I hope that she isn’t reaped.
Mum nods graciously as I heave the bucket of water through the door, leaving it next to one of the table legs. I can’t be bothered to lift it onto our table – It would probably buckle under the massive weight alone.
“Are you ready to go to the reapings?” Mum asks, slinging her coat on.
“Hang on!” I sprint upstairs, headed to my bedroom. There’s one thing that I’ll need to bring with me. And it should be around there somewhere.
Oddly enough, it isn’t on the rack where I usually leave it. I scour for it in the drawers, hoping to find it. There’s no sign of it. In frustration, I slam the drawers shut. I slump against the drawers, sighing sadly. Where could it be?
“Matthew! If you’re looking for your medal, I’ve got it with me down here!” Dad shouts.
‘Now he tells me,’ I mumble to myself quietly.
I hang the medal around my neck, clasping it in my hand. To lose this precious item would be devastating, as it reminds me of the person I am. It reminds me of my true personality. So as to reduce the risk of it being spotted and swiped, I tuck it in my Tee-shirt, concealing it from all possible snooping eyes.
Nothing exciting happens on the journey to the reapings. It’s the stereotypical scene in D6 – Lots of kids quaking in their boots, and those that aren’t are either hyped for the games, or feel as if they could survive. Of those three categories, I’m the last one. Everybody has a chance, no matter how scrawny they seem. Everybody has their skills, everybody has their weaknesses. Where I’m concerned, it’s anybody’s game.
By the time everybody’s accounted for, a slobbering idiot stumbles into view of the cameras. He holds aloft a goblet of wine, and gulps it down in one. Who permitted this slob to – Oh, wait. It’s our escort, Dionysus.
Last year, Dionysus became our escort. He was a civil man, full of courteous manners, and was well-liked by the district. The details afterwards are all mixed up, but most of us presume that one of his family members died. Since then, he must have been hiding his new bond over alcohol. I can’t see the other escorts taking this piece of news well.
Dionysus begins to speak incoherently, his mouth slurring over the words. Everybody gives everyone else a perplexed look. Some twirl their index fingers around their heads. One thing‘s for sure – The Capitolians need to invent a device so that we can understand what drunk people are saying, otherwise we’ll never know the names of our tributes.
The mayor takes over the reapings, pushing Dionysus into the justice building. The two seem to be scuffling, as they argue over who draws the tributes names. Dionysus claims he’s sober enough, but the mayor silences him by splashing his face with water. He swerves back and front. Back and front. Back and front, like a yo-yo, until he leans back too far. The thudding of Dionysus’s body landing on the stage echoes through the reaping square. Everybody stares in shock as the Peacekeepers drag him off to the train station, where he should wait for us. Once he’s regained consciousness, that is.
“I’m sorry about the rather, umm, impromptu moment. Dionysus seems to be quite… drunk,” Quite drunk? That is the understatement of the year. “So, without further ado, I’ll reveal our tributes, starting with the lads,” I force myself to stare at the envelope that is lifted out of the bowl. Tentatively, the mayor opens its contents, and nods. “Matthew Brown!”
Everything seems to freeze in time. Nothing feels real. As tempted as I am to shrug this off as a dream, I can’t do so. Deep down, I know it’s all real.
‘… Remember to put on the brave face you always wear.’ Mum’s words float around my mind, almost as if she whispered them just now. Holding the statement in heart, I start to bravely take to the stage, and wave at everybody. They stare at me, like I’m god-like, and they start to cheer. Tears of happiness form in my eyes. All because of my brave face.
“How wonderful is he?! It’s a shame he’s going to the games, but at least he’ll have company on the journey to the Capitol. Company from…” Another slip of paper is revealed. “Max - Wait, wrong bowl!” The mayor blushes a deep shade of scarlet as he plucks a slip from the other bowl. “Kaylay Hastian!”
Immediate outrage spreads across the crowd, as Kaylay descends to the stage, tripping up the stairs on the way. I give her a look of horror, before I watch the scene develop before my very eyes. Everybody riots, shoving peacekeepers out of the way, and beating them up. The reaping square becomes a battlefield for a not-so-fair battle. Several gunshots fire and people fall to the ground. Terrified to become like the corpses, the revolution dies down. Once again, the Capitol won against us. Just like the dark days.
“Ok? I guess that concludes our reapings…” Kaylay and I are led off into the same room by Peacekeepers, who eye us wearily. If I was them, I would probably do the same thing, especially after the mini-uprising.
We’re both practically flung onto a sofa that lies in the middle of the room. Here, we’ll both be saying farewell to our families, possibly forever. I know what I’ll do – I’ll follow my Mum’s advice. To my grave it will go.
“Kaylay? I’m sorry that you’re in this situation. You never deserved to be in these games, and –“
“Matthew,” Kaylay places her hand on my shoulder, giving me a vicarious look. “I’d feel sorry for anybody who had to go in these games, even the careers. There are plenty of people out there who have short-lived lives. Without the hunger games, they could all be living in their dream life.” I nod in response to Kaylay. She’s right. Nobody deserves this treatment. Unfortunately, the only thing we can do is to grin and bear it.
Bryony Mapleblossom - District 7
As the sunset levitates in the horizon, I feel myself being absorbed into the exquisite colours. One advantage to being a lead climber in the mornings is that when I'm high uo, I get to see the amazing views. On the negative side, sunsets always remind me of him - Hawthorne...
Every day, I feel my heart yearn for him. It always rises and falls. Rises and falls. It rises, due to my love for him, yet it falls, because he’s dead. If only if those Peacekeepers hadn’t reached him, then we could still happily be together! If only if we never ran away! If only if we never took the wrong turn in life! Why did we even believe that we could start afresh in a completely new place?
Quickly, I turn my head away from the setting sun. Reminiscing all those times with Hawthorne will only create deep sorrow. A sorrow so deep, that I’ll never climb out of it, no matter what. Whilst this grief is my foe, I can’t live without feeling it all of the time. It’s just the way life works, from what I’ve experienced.
“Miss Mapleblossom, your shift is over. Now get to the reapings,” A Peacekeeper below me says. I stare downwards at the ground. I still remember encountering Hawthorne in a way similar to this, only it was a rainy day, and a Peacekeeper didn’t call for me.
I was ascending up a tall tree, when my foot skidded on a slippery branch. It threw my off balance, and I began to plummet down below. Whenever I tried to hold onto something, it just slipped out of my grasp. I just gave up, and locked my eyes shut, bracing for my body to be met with the ground. Against all the odds, I landed into the arms of a boy, who was a year older than me. It was his first day on the job, so I felt guilty that I caused his injuries. I had to bring him to the hospital, but nobody else would come, since they’re didn’t want to gamble their jobs away. There, I found out that his name was Hawthorne, and that he was responsible for keeping his family alive, ever since his mother died. It felt questionable to me that his father wasn’t what kept his family alive, but I put it to the back of my mind.
Everywhere I look, I see the expressions of dread, adorned by the teenagers of the district. Very few look forwards to the reapings, which seems quite stupid, but then again, some kids wish to end the needless suffering that occurs in their lives. I feel remorse whenever I encounter somebody with a shoddier life than mine. What makes things worse is when I come across as heartless by other people. It isn’t true. They don’t understand that I’m forlorn, and therefore rarely think on other matters.
“Hey! Get in line every- oi! Don’t you know what a straight line looks like?! Go one behind the other!” Several kids scatter aimlessly around the crowd, ignorant to the Peacekeeper’s instructions. The instant they move out of line, some of the peacekeepers berate them for their sloppy listening skills. Everything here reminds me of the day me and Hawthorne were force to be separated from one another.
The series of events began when Hawthorne’s father had kicked him out of the house, just for giving me his mum’s necklace. He tried to explain everything, and stated that his mother meant a lot to me, and so did I. He was about to say something else, when I unexpectedly kissed him, cutting of his sentence. My mind was spinning – I had no idea why I kissed him. He didn’t pull away though, and wrapped his arms around me. Sadly, my parents were passing by, and spotted me with Hawthorne. They demanded for me to return home. They were usually accepting with me, so I thought it would be nothing serious. With that, I said farewell to Hawthorne.
I was given a lecture on how it’s not wise to rush into things. Acting rebelliously, I just walked out, my lips sealed. My parents started calling after me, but I disregarded them. They wanted me to return, to settle this once more. All I wanted was for them to recognise that I wasn’t going headfirst into the relationship.
I tried to clear my mind in the outskirts of the forest, which was one of my favourite places to be. Everything was slowly plunging into darkness. I was seated there for a few hours, just staring there, until I felt the presence of somebody next to me.
He came up with a plan to forget our woes, by fleeing the district. Apparently, he was curious on what lay on the other side. As most people throughout Panem are.
Before we knew it, we were putting our plan into motion – We both scampered up a tree. Hawthorne flew out of the tree first, before I followed after, landing in his arms. We had now left the district. We was too far in love to remember the consequences that could’ve come with our escapade. There was no telling how long we could survive in the wilderness.
Weeks became months, and we were still adventuring in lands that were previously undiscovered by us. Whilst I did enjoy the sensation of freedom, I still felt guilty for not saying goodbye to my parents. No matter what, I couldn’t shrug the feeling off, not even when Hawthorne was close to me. Other than that, I enjoyed the insubordinate action we decided to take. No Peacekeepers, no rules. Just us.
One day, I fell asleep against Hawthorne’s shoulder. When I woke up, everything felt nebulous, and there was a slight pain in my neck. I was leaning on him for far too long. I reached out for him, but only felt the air in my fingertips. I didn’t think he would abandon me. So there I was, completely on my own. Something didn’t add up though. There were a few whispers here and there, further confirming that there was a bad omen. When I was least expecting it, a numerous band of peacekeepers stormed in from nowhere. They weren’t from district 7, since the outline of the number on their uniform looked different.
“B-Bryony, go!” I heard a familiar voice scream. There was a figure that was being half-dragged by the peacekeepers – Hawthorne. I didn’t want to leave him, yet I had no choice but to follow Hawthorne’s orders. As I fled, I listened to the sound of bullets dart past me. The snapping of twigs and the crunching of leaves informed me that the Peacekeepers were still in pursuit of me. I continued to run, not stopping until I was certain that I had outrun them.
Days and nights of mourning passed, where I believed that Hawthorne’s capture was my fault. Once again, I was lonesome in life. That was, until I came across the same fence that me and Hawthorne bounded over. I had honestly forgotten whether I fled in the correct direction or not, but I still took this as a good sign. I climbed a tree, and jumped down, leading to me spraining my ankle and breaking my wrist. After those events, I would’ve done anything to return home, so I was glad to have made it back into the district. Since then, I cried to myself when my parents weren’t at home, and I was too timid to exit, in case the peacekeepers were to arrest me.
“Good morning, to all you whippersnappers out there. It’s your old grandpa Baobab here, and I’ll be selecting two of you to join the hunger games. One of the two had better win, so that they can buy me some prune juice!” I don’t know why Baobab makes the same reference to prune juice every day, but if he’s trying to be funny, then he’s failed… for the 20th time.
“Brian Maplebottom? Is there a Brian Maplebottom here?” A lot of the people laugh, and the mayor whispers something in Baobab’s ear. “Oh, sorry! I meant Bryony Mapleblossom!” First, I lose Hawthorne, and now I’m being forced into these games? This had not been my year. I feel my feet carry me up to the stage. Baobab offers his hand to me. Lightly, I bat it away.
Just as Baobab is about to announce the male tribute, I hear ‘I volunteer!’ Somehow, that voice sounds familiar. As the boy steps out into my view sight, I gasp slightly. Matted black hair. Bright forest green eyes. A tanned tone to his skin. It- it can’t be?! Surely, he’s, he’s-
“Hawthorne Willows.” How – How is he still alive? I thought those Peacekeepers killed him! Even though I am happy that he’s still alive, I have a few unanswered questions for him – Why didn’t he come see me before now? Why did he leave me to mourn over him, even when he wasn’t dead? How could he allow me to be left in the dark all this time?
Nothing much is taken into account when our families visit us. It’s all the usual stuff that probably happens, where we promise to win and all that. Most of the action was actually at the train ride.
Me and Hawthorne just stood there, in awkward silence. Neither of us dared to speak, until I decided to break the silence.
“I – I thought you were dead…?” I murmur quietly, avoiding eye contact.
“What?” He asks, slightly confused
“Y-you never came back for me Hawthorne! I- If you’ve been here all this time, why didn’t you come see me?” I did want to vent some of my frustration out, but not at Hawthorne. Tears begin to stream down my face, just as I give him an aggressive glare.
“Huh? I thought you never wanted to see me again!”
“I thought you died in that forest!” Once again, I start to sob, and bury my face deep into Hawthorne’s chest. In return, I feel his arms encase me into a cuddle. Just like the time we kissed. He runs his fingers through my hair, toying with it a little. At the last moment, I hear him whisper something barely audible into my ear.
“I’ll never let you down again, I promise,”
Ace Merciless - District 8
My eyes skim over the area, seeing whether I can pick out my target from the other bystanders. Despite there not being many residents in this street, it can still be quite hard to identify who’s who. I mustn’t let this stop me though. The sooner I eliminate this person, the better. For two main reasons. The first one is that I’ll receive my pay. And when I gain money, I gain power. At least that’s my belief on the matter.
My second reason is that I won’t be in this district anymore for long – I’ll be volunteering to enter the hunger games. With my expertise on stealth and slaughtering, I’d be certain to obtain the glorious rewards that come with victory. Pride. Respect. And best of all, cash. Without it, where would anybody be in life? It’s like blood – Without it, you die. Some people say that it can be just as deadly with lots of it, just as much as minimal amounts can be. My opinion – those people are ignorant jerks! Sure, it does sound harsh, but so am I. Well, at least the clients I meet with consider me to be so.
I’m on the verge of just giving up, which would leave my target safe, when I pick out somebody from the crowd with a similar description. Tall and muscular. Spiked brown hair. Odd crimson eyes. There’s no doubt about it – He’s the one I’ve been looking for: Spike Idylwyld, the supposed bully of Tacker Avenue. I swiftly grab my crossbow from my side, loading it with a bolt. All I need to do now is wait for the perfect time to strike. I can’t have anybody seeing me.
Spike suspiciously darts his eyes from side to side. Oh boy. He’s one of those people who are so wary that they appear apprehensive. They can be bothersome to successfully rid them from the world, but they’re more satisfactory to kill than all the other kinds of victims, with the exception of those who fight back, and those who dare backstab me.
He continues to head in my direction, unaware of my presence. At this point, there is only one other person nearby. Stitch, the one who was willing to pay me for slaughtering Spike. He gives Spike a piercing glare, before impatiently tapping his foot to the ground. He’s expecting me to make a move. To catch Spike off guard. Well, he’s right.
My bolt sails through the air, and slams into Spike’s forehead, killing him on impact. His body crumples onto the stone floor, leaving just a miniature spot of red. I smirk, and carefully clamber down the buildings, nodding to Stitch. Once again, I’ve made a successful kill. I would’ve failed to do this many a time, had it not been for Corbin’s training…
Some years ago, I was discovered by Corbin, after my parents made the despicable choice to desert me. One moment, we were bonded by our need to survive, the next, I was on my own. The act was enough to give me theories that they died slowly, and painfully. If only if it was like so in reality, then I’d be content. But I was left to fend for myself, until Corbin came into my life.
He was the only proper father figure I had in my life. Thanks to him, I was taught several skills. Well, only thievery and killing, as well as the insignificant details. Our life was bountiful, from reaping all the rewards of our life of crime. Everything was perfect, until he became deathly ill. Nothing could heal him, ultimately leading him to his demise, and the demise of our days. Once more, I was all by myself.
The life of crime I had been in for years continued, leading to myself becoming infamous around the district. To hide my identity, I took to wearing a bandana which was embroidered with skulls, thus leading to me being nicknamed ‘the Skull Faced shadow’. Little did I realise that I would become more than a murderer, and more than a thief.
Soon, Peacekeepers and many of the rebels set up meetings with me to complete jobs for them. Usually, the task in hand included stealing from the justice building or disposing of a vexatious citizen. Sometimes, I felt bored in completing the mission, but I continued for the money.
“Congratulations Ace! You handled my request very cleanly, I must say,” Stitch says, fiddling around in his pockets. “Now come here so you can receive the prize,” From his tone of voice, it sounds like he’s plotting something. I have a slight inkling on what it could be, so I reload my crossbow. His eyes widen in horror, before he comes to me, a knife in his hand. This is going to be a piece of cake. I release the bolt, and watch as it soars into Stitch’s throat. It’s been ages since I last eliminated a backstabber.
In the past, a lot of my clients have made useless attempts to betray me. I didn’t see why they would even bother to try to, what with my ability to hit targets in pitch black, and my pinpoint accuracy. Add my natural stealth and climbing abilities to that list, and I’m certain to win. Just like I’m certain to win the hunger games.
I throw away my crossbow, certain that I’ll never need it again. There are very few volunteers in district 8, and when there are, it’s usually to save a family member or friend. So sweet. So adorable. So nauseating. Ugh! It’s better to volunteer for the glory of the district, and for the riches that lie ahead.
Once I reach the centre, I notice that not many kids are waiting to have their fingers pricked. Time sure does fly when you’re out killing, it seems. As the line inches forwards, I rub my hands together, excited at the thoughts of my guaranteed victory. When thoughts like these come, I can barely contain myself.
Only mere minutes later, Applique Batik skips merrily on stage, only to trip over her enormously large heels. Some members of the crowd let out a chuckle, myself included. There’s not much that beats people making a fool of themselves, and then taunting them about it afterwards. Her reaction to the laughter is to give the crowd a glare that could slaughter them on the spot. Instantly, everything quietens down.
“Thanks a lot for that,” Applique mutters into the microphone. “That aside, welcome and all that rubbish. Bla bla bla, let’s see who our female is!” Once more, she skips to one of the bowls, only to tumble over once again. More laughter, more glares. “Camiren Paisley-Idylwyld!”
Whispers begin to spread across the crowd, sending most of them spiralling into shock. There’s another bloody Idylwyld in the district?! Haven’t there been enough of them already? First Spike, and now this Camiren, whoever she is?! I look to see the girl, spotting her white hair with red highlights. One member of the audience screams ‘Just who are you really?!’
Camiren remains silent, just as Applique stupidly repeats the question. Sadness overtakes her eyes.
“I’m Camiren Paisley. Idylwyld by blood, but a rebel by heart. And mum and dad, if you’re still alive and listening to this, get the homecoming ready.” Deafening silence swarms the reaping square. Nobody can hardly believe their ears it seems. An Idylwyld rebelling against their family? How ridiculous does that sound?
“Our male tribute is”
“I volunteer!” Strangely enough, I’m not the only volunteer. Applique glances from myself to another boy. She starts to scratch her head, before pointing her finger at me. I smirk in the direction of the other boy, and start to walk to the stage, pulling a cold smile behind my bandana. Everybody seems to be gawking at me, surprised that I volunteered. They’ll suspect that I’ve had enough of the life I’ve been in for years, when in reality, I’m in it for the money that beckons for me.
“How delightful! A volunteer, tell us your name!” Applique squeals in delight, and shoves the microphone into my mouth.
“As everybody in the district should know, I am the Skull faced shadow. In case you don’t know about me, then I will tell you something about me – I act as a mercenary to anyone and everyone.”
“Hurry up already!” Applique snaps, giving me yet another glare. I just shake my head at her, and continue.
“The time has come for me to reveal my identity. Now that I’ll be competing in the games, you can call me whatever you want whilst I’m in the arena. However, my real name is Ace. Ace Merciless.’
Regan Lee - District 9
“We won’t do it again, we promise!”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, we’re sure!” As the worker throws us a glare and stomps off, we both laugh. His fuming face was priceless! Oh, the fun we had with the water bucket prank! Yet, we still have to attend the reapings. For the first time out of seven, at maximum. I’m not nervous at all though. There are tonnes of other kids out there. Their names have been entered into the bowls more times than any of us. The odds of us being reaped are very slim.
Tension spreads around the crowd as the male tribute takes to the stage, his eyes fearfully glancing from side to side. He isn’t going to last long at all, not if he continues to be a scaredy cat! Demeter pats his back, sipping some of her prune juice. He is of no concern to me, since we never interacted. But I didn’t expect what was coming next – my best friend was reaped.
I watch on nervously as the tributes are all raised into the arena: A sweltering jungle full of vivid plants and wildlife. Most of the tributes become absorbed into the intoxicating colours and miniscule details. The only exceptions are the careers, and the odd tribute. 5…4…3…2…1…GONG!
My friend only just notices the gong, but before she can take off, a career knocks her down, and starts slamming her head against the very same plate she was standing on. Blood pours everywhere, and she begins to plead for mercy. They don’t listen though... A few seconds later, she passes on from this world. Away from the pain and harshness of reality. I don’t know what to think. What to say. What to do. I don’t even know anything. Only that I’ll probably never forget this moment. For eternity, this will come to haunt me in my dreams. Dreams that are dressed as nightmares. The kind that bend your sanity until you become mentally unstable. And there’s nothing I can do about it…
My mind snaps back into reality as some random impolite child shoves past me. I roll my eyes. That guy may not have noticed me, but he sure will when I volunteer.
Ever since my friend died, I isolated myself from the others. There were those odd friends who supported me, but I never became as close with anybody else. Then they came. The feelings of brutality and the need to fight. I began to train with bows and arrows and throwing knives. All useful long-distance weapons. My target was to volunteer for the games when I was ready. After five years, I believe stage one of my journey had ended. Stage two is to volunteer. Stage three is to win.
Demeter waddles on stage, dressed as some kind of bird. I try not to focus on the colours for long, as they only remind me of the arena my friend died in.
“Welcome to the reapings, whippersnappers!” She screeches, coughing at the end of it. A lot of us cover our ears, since her voice is so screechy, that it is almost unfathomable. In the distance, several dogs howl, probably suffering from the curse of Demeter’s horrible voice. “Two of you young ‘uns will become tributes in the hunger games, which go back to, umm, nearly a century! In two years, it will be the first quarter quell since the, uh, battle. On that note, let’s see who our lad will be!” She slowly shuffles across to the bowl that holds one boy’s destiny to face the games. “Jack Casey!” I watch on as a brown-haired boy with green eyes takes to the stage. My memories flash as I begin to recognise Jack. I’ve seen him several times selling wood for money. Unfortunately for him, his family can’t afford enough food on the table. He could be an unpredictable wild-card, as far as I know.
“Come here, sonny!” Demeter tries to wrap her plump arms around him, but he nimbly dodges out of her reach. She tries again, to no avail. For one last time, she thrusts towards him, only to fail once more. With a heavy sigh, she moves onto the microphone.
“And our female tribute is Haven-“
“I volunteer!” My words echo into the sky, followed by nothing. As I begin to travel to the location of stage two, several people murmur behind my back. I bet they weren’t expecting a volunteer this year…
Before Demeter can even move her lips, I snatch the microphone from her hands, and stare out to the crowd with a blank expression on my face.
“Regan Lee!” I pass the microphone back to Demeter, whose face moulds into a small smirk.
“You seem like a strong girl Regan. You do look like you’re in dire need of some prune juice though!”
“Sounds lovely,” I mutter sarcastically. Demeter doesn’t seem to pick up on it though, and shoves the straw of her prune juice into my mouth. She squeezes the carton, which releases the icky taste of prunes into my mouth. Not being able to handle such a terrible taste, I smack her hand away, and gag on the fumes. Great. Just great. I’m not already in the games, and yet I’ve already made my first foe – my own escort. She doesn’t know it though, because in her eyes, I’m probably another of her grandchildren to lecture and tell stories to, like an average boring granny. If I win, then she could be moved to a better district to escort, and therefore be unable to annoy any future tributes. The only thing is that I might die with 30 other tributes. That remaining one person will be victor. With great luck, I will be the alpha of the games.
Sammy Barn - District 10
“3, 2, 1, GO!” The bulls slowly trot, prompting myself to shake my head down at them. Usually, they’re more active than this. But not today.
One of my friends, Drake, lightly kicks his bull like he would a horse. No reaction. A perplexed expression spreads across Arnold’s face, as it does on Tony’s and mine. Why aren’t the bulls up to it today?
I carefully dismount my bull, and carefully stroke it on the back. I’m no animal doctor, but I can tell something about it doesn’t feel right. For some reason, a gloomy aura exudes from the bull. Sadness, perhaps? I think I might know why – Reaping day. And they might have a feeling that one of us will be chosen to enter the hunger games. I can’t say I blame them – My gut instinct seems to believe the same thing.
“Figured out anything yet, Sammy?” Tony asks, patting his bull on the head.
“I believe so,” I reply. “I have reason to believe that the cows know exactly what day it is. And they’re understandably worried for us.” They all nod in response. Thank goodness they’re always here to support me. And they’re the reason that I had the strength to overcome the anguish that I had to undergo from my former tyrants.
“I guess I’d better be off! My father will probably kill me if I don’t collect the eggs from our hens!” The second line could actually happen though – Father has physically hurt me in the past, and it could happen again when I least expect it.
“Oh, ok then! See ya!” Arnold, Tony and Drake all wave their hands at me as I make my way back to the farm my family are paid to maintain.
The hens cluck in surprise as I gently lift them onto a different perch. So Henrietta has laid none, but all the others have. And that’s the fourth day in a row. At this rate, father will have to slaughter her. Poor Henrietta… The only way for her to escape this fate is to lay an egg tomorrow. Or it will be presumed that she can no longer lay eggs, which will ultimately lead to her execution.
I gather the eggs into a woven basket, which was specifically designed for this. There are several pockets, to hold the eggs in, so they can be stored on the inside and the outside. You never know when it is the beginning of a super profitable day.
A whistle hoots to inform us that the reapings will start soon. Crud! I was too busy absorbed in counting the eggs. And not only have I lost time, I lost the total! I guess I’ll have to leave father or mother to it whilst I attend the reapings.
Awkwardly, there’s a deathly silence amongst everybody today. Usually, there’s a lot of chatter amongst the teenagers, but this year, tension has brewed in this spell of silence. Maybe we’re still in shock that the twist is that there are no twists. After all, it just… doesn’t add up. All it seems to do is fail to give the Capitol a better reputation from the districts, with the exception of the career districts.
“Sammy! Over here!” Even though I spin around quickly, I’m still rammed into by three people. They all let out a weird chuckle, before they high five one another. It’s Tony, Drake and Antony.
“Don’t leave me hanging!” Once more, the trio chortle, before I receive their high-fives. On a day like this, we will stick together, no matter what.
“G-Guys?” Antony stutters, his breath becoming shorter and rapid with every moment.
“Yes? What is it Antony?” we ask in chorus. He doesn’t reply. Instead, his finger foes the talking, as it points in the direction of our escort – Butch. In all honesty, I’m intimidated by him as well.
“Ugh, that creepy happy salesperson again? Jesus Christ, why was he even accepted as escort? All he does is smile, day in, day out. He has no skills in anything at all, except for creeping out little kids!” Drake’s rant is inarguably true, but I don’t see that side of Butch. There must be something explanatory to why he behaves like this. If only if I could support him…
“HAHAHAHAH!!!” Butch starts slapping his knee like somebody told him the best joke in the world. The crowd exchange fearful glances: At moments like these, Butch is volatile. “Today, two of you will, hehehe, compete to fail to save your measly little lives! Hahaha!” Tony faces me, and circles his finger around his head. All I do is grunt in response.
“Sable Wren! Hehehe, what kind of name is that?! Haha!” A small 14-year old shakily takes some steps towards the stage.
“I volunte-“ The sound of another girl volunteering is cut short, and proceeds a small drumming sound. Another girl stands tall over another 14 year old. Her fishtail plait hangs down her back. Somehow, I have a nagging suspicion on who this lot are.
“I volunteer as tribute!” As the new volunteer takes to the stage, she lightly pats the shoulder of Sable. Once I see her face, my heart falls into my stomach – No, it surely isn’t, is it?
“Hahaha!!! I can’t believe you’re actually signing your own death warrant! Hehe! Who the HELL do you think you are?!” Butch once more awkwardly bursts into fits of laughter, causing him to hack all over the place.
“Belinda Wren.” No! Some of the crowd mutter. Belinda… why did it have to be somebody so sweet that they play with the younger children of the districts? I once played tag with her with Antony, Tony and Drake. So to see her leaving shreds me slightly. Nobody can have their hearts fully tattered.
Unexpectedly, several of the audience members roar in immediate rage, and start to fight against the Peacekeepers. Little do they know that at a spontaneous moment like this, they stand no chance of coming out on top against the sheer force of the guns.
Several gunshots fire at once, sending us all spiralling into panic. Thud! Thud! Thud! Three bodies fall to the ground. None of them I recognise. I’ll send my regards to their friends and family as soon as the reapings are over.
Everybody goes back into place, just before Butch pulls out a slip from the male bowl. The ringing of the sudden battle blocks out any voices, so I have no idea on who the male tribute is.
“Hahaha! It seems like somebody will be eliminated for defying the rules!” Tony, Antony and Drake all give me looks of sympathy as Butch once more speaks. “Hahaha! We can say adieu to Sammy Barn then!” Crud. Always heed the warnings of the bulls. I feel the crowd staring at me as my feet begin to transfer myself besides Butch. This might be a good thing though – I can figure out the problem to Butch’s insanity.
“You’d be dead at the bloodbath if you were in the hunger games at this moment! Hahaha!” The spectators shake their heads at Butch. But they’re not who matter now. Where are they?
Then I see them: My main three friends, all giving me different looks. Antony begins to break down and cry, whilst Drake turns away the moment he sees my eyes watering. Instead, he throws a cold stare towards Butch, for reaping me. Finally, Tony gives me a hopeful look. Despite the hope, it won’t help me in the games: I couldn’t bring myself to hurt anything or anybody. And that will be my biggest downfall.
Acacia Spruce - District 11
The sight of the peacefulness on Ash’s sleeping face fills my spirit with the light. I find myself smiling warmly at him. How he manages to sleep after a dreadful incident occurs, I will never know.
Just yesterday, my Mum was murdered by two peacekeepers, after her boss grassed her up for money. She managed to fend them off, but not before she herself received a wound. There was an ocean of blood around her. Then something else hit me – Ash was also missing.
‘Here, put this on… if you’re going to rescue Ash, nobody must now who you are… lest they come for revenge,’ she says, handing me a black mask one would wear to a masquerade. ”Now go… save your brother…’ That was when she finally passed on, out of the misery she must’ve been suffering from. Now I had to follow her words, and save Ash. ‘Nobody hurts me or my family. I’m coming Ash. With a vengeance.’
A ringing interrupts my thoughts on the recent events surrounding us. The reaping bell. Crud. I’m late. In a hurry, I kiss Ash on the cheek, which causes a light smile to play on his face. Thankfully, he doesn’t stir from sleep. I once more smile at him, before I set off towards the reapings.
With the way I hurry through the street, it reminds me of being in a life-or-death situation. That’s probably because it is – I could be executed for being late to the reapings. It’s either that, or all the events of yesterday – There was a heck of a lot of peril.
“There she is, stop her!” Great. If it isn’t Milo and three men. Wonderful. I just had to come across the eldest son of the man who I murdered to avenge Mum. Of course he’s pining out to win in the feud between our families. There are only two things I can do; Run, and hope for the best.
Gunfire rains behind me as I flee from the quartet of grim reapers. Adrenaline reigns over the calmness I usually hold, as I fling myself onto a set of bins to reach the wall.
As I leap for the top of the wall, I find my hands clasping not onto brick, but railings instead. The ground below me blurs at the moment I look back. A small squeak escapes my mouth, and I find myself nearly slipping. Luckily, I regain my concentration, and fling myself up to safety. Although I’ve found myself trying to forget recollections of last night, they’re now being unveiled again. In reality this time.
I somehow find myself visualising the moment where I entered the third storey of the house. In the distance, two men carefully guard something. They stroll through the hallway, just as their eyes land on me.
“Over there!” Swiftly, I eliminate them. One by swinging my axe into him, and the other by kicking him down the balcony. Down he plummets, ending up entering the death zone.
Then everything snaps back into reality.
I’m not at the Banks’ residential home anymore. I’ve somehow found myself at the reapings. And I’m with the other 15 year olds. Luckily for me, nobody seems to have paid any attention to my sudden presence.
“Thank God I’m safe!” I think to myself, just as several Peacekeepers investigate the gunshots that previously sounded off. The same ones that were aimed towards me. Hopefully, my pursuers get what should be served to them.
“Acacia Spruce!” I can’t believe it – Out of the fire, into the frying pan. I’ve been able to outfight several pawns in a game of pain, and I’ve escaped the jaws of capture. But there’s nothing I can do about pulling an escape from the hunger games. Devastation shapes itself onto my face, as I find myself walking up to the stage. Only everything fuzzes out again, until it once more becomes the living nightmare of yesterday.
This time, I see myself stealthily walk down a flight of stairs. The voices talk about a boy being locked up well in the cellar, before they pass me. Ash… He’s stuck in there, unless I can distract the guard.
“George Grain!” Once more, the sound of Ujurak, our escort, breaks the rift between memory and reality. Thank goodness though: It’s never good to linger in the past.
Nobody moves at first, until somebody is nudged. “Is George Grain here?” The same boy who was nudged ends up strolling up to the stage. Now that I see him, I’m in shock, as he has the build of a real man. He is going to be SOME person to beat. It won’t be easy, but I might be able to manage it, should the time ever come.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, give a round of applause to George and Acacia!” A wave of regret seems to pound George in the face, as looks behind him at Sassafrass, one of our most recent victors. The two were known for being close friends, but now there’s tension between them. And by the looks of things, George seems to be the one who created it. No wonder he feels regretful. Unlike me. The only regret I have is not saying farewell to Ash.
Justice Reigns - District 12
Clank! Oops. It looks like I accidentally broke Mother’s new vase. Maybe I shouldn’t have been training with the antique sword in the living room after all. Now I’m going to get into trouble… And that’s the one thing that I was brought up to avoid, for the entirety of my life. And now I’ll be facing it, at long last.
As I hear the footsteps, I swiftly hang the sword onto the display case and seat myself on the sofa, bracing myself to greet with fury for the first time.
I catch a small glimpse of blue fabric at the doorway. Adrenaline bursts through my veins, as I’m about to meet my first fight-or-flight situation. I could either pretend that it wasn’t me, or I could face my fears. With the first one, there’s nothing or nobody else to blame. So fight, I must. It could come back to haunt me in future though, depending on the outcome.
Mother’s warming face peeks around the door, briefly giving me a small smile. But then her eyes avert to the pile of fragmented pottery. The smile disappears.
‘This is it,’ I think to myself. ‘This is where her maternal love for me ends’ I feel myself quiver with fear on the spot, the adrenaline still flooding my system. I lower my head in shame, expressing my sincerest apologies via body language. Nothing comes. Or maybe I’ve been anticipating the tension too early. There’s only one way of knowing for me: I look into mother’s eyes.
Unusually, there’s no disappointment or anger fuelling there. Replacing what should be there is instead sympathy and a small slit of… happiness? Maybe she never liked the vase, and only brought it home for the sake of bringing it home. Or something else. After all, who would display an item only because they can? Well, other than the Capitol.
“Did you not really like that vase?” I find myself asking. Somehow, the words slipped out from my tongue. I was supposed to keep it under wraps, but it’s too late to turn back time.
“How-How did you know?!” She splutters, almost choking on her words. “Wait… of course I would know that – You’re the most observant person I’ve ever known, Justice. You’re basically the modern-day Sherlock Holmes. Other than how you prefer to avoid trouble, rather than tackle it head-on. But that’s a good thing.” She stops to take a heavy breath. Half of it is wasted in order to compliment me and show how proud she is of me. The other half is for her customers in her shop. “In all seriousness though, what did you see that made you think so?”
“I’ll explain later.” Is my response. I don’t feel like having to explain things. Not when the reapings are coming up. The thought of them divides my mind into another personality: Sullen, silent and slightly depressed. Imagine having to be left in a massive cage with 31 other strangers on your tail – You wouldn’t know much about them – Only if you paid attention to them. And whilst that seems to be my speciality, I’d need to focus on building up my skills as well. And multi-tasking like that would be a pain in the backside.
“We need to get prepared for the reapings. But before we do, I need to inform you of something: Yvonne and her son Flame will be walking with us to the reapings.” Of course. It’s always a tradition for Mum to invite her ‘customer of the year’ over whenever it’s reaping day. I’ve only seen Yvonne once, and she seemed quite nice. But I’ve never met Flame before: I can only hope he isn’t as rebellious as his fiery name implies to be.
Just as I finish buttoning up my shirt, rapping sounds on the door. ‘Coming!’ I look at myself in the mirror, checking to see whether or not I look ok enough. After giving a satisfactory nod, mother shouts for me to come down. With one final eyeful of my room, I swiftly follow the sound of mother’s voice beckoning me.
“Flame, this is Justice. He’s a year younger than you, so be nice to him.” Flame gives a small grunt in answer. I can’t help but to sense something about him. On the surface, his eyes seem unfocused. Bored even. But hidden there is a faint glimmer of malice and mischief. He is not one to be trusted. I think that I’ll steer clear from his path for the time being.
“I guess we’re all ready, so let’s get going.”
Out on the streets of District 12, you’re almost certain to come across one of the representations and sufferers of poverty. To spot one, all you have to do is notice whether their ribs jut out, or if they have a bloated belly. Sadness and regret are the two main emotions of the souls. To know that there’s people who deserve better for their poor status scares me. That doesn’t mean I would give away all my belongings for them, for all I know, they could be crazed murderers or cunning thieves, lurking amongst the common cattle. You can never be certain of who you should trust.
The journey to the reapings was incredibly boring – Yvonne kept saying hello to her friends and even a few strangers. Not a good idea, particularly on a day where two of us will be lost. And then mother kept excitedly informing her on future sales and products for her shop. I may sometimes help her around, but I don’t currently intend on continuing the family business. Then there’s Flame, who has been silent the whole way. Occasionally, I see him smirking out of the corner of my eye. He’s definitely up to something, although it feels too unpredictable for me to guess what.
Nothing else happens afterwards, until I stand in the appropriate line. Flame is stood behind me, whispering to some of the other boys. I pay none of my attention on them, and instead focus on father, who guards Hayley Wildor.
For one moment, his eyes hover towards me. A slight smile plays on my lips, yet father doesn’t notice me. Or if he does, then he’s decided to ignore. Good on him and his job.
“Hey sh*t head!” I ignore the shouts of Flame’s friends, and instead focus on Hayley as she skips merrily to the stage. It doesn’t last.
A muscular arm twists me to face in the opposite direction. Three emo-looking boys sneer at me as Flame crosses his arms.
“I never knew you had poor hearing! Or was you too busy waiting for daddy to come give you a hug?” I can’t help but to tightly clench my fists. I could’ve given them a comeback… but I have no reason to suggest that their victory is assured. The final move is easy – I keep my mouth shut, and try to face the front. But the same arm roots me in place.
“Why are you bothering to f*ck with us? You should be watching the reapings, sh*t head!” I roll my eyes at them – They’re the reason I haven’t been paying attention. Because of them, I’ve already missed the name of the female tribute. All I know about her is that she has chestnut hair. I can’t see her facial features or the colour of her eyes from back here. As soon as the male tribute is announced, I should be able to listen to her name once more.
“Justice Reigns!” …And I’m the male tribute. This is not going to go down well. Especially since I’ve been raised to be cautious. I quickly look from side to side, seeing whether there will be any volunteers to take my place. There are none.
The moment I come face to face with father, I feel myself becoming heavier. Pure shock is written all over his face, as he watches me stand next to Hayley.
“Caitlynne Glowers and Justice Reigns, everyone!” So the chestnut-haired girl is Caitlynne. Now I can see that her eyes are blue. And that I’m almost a full foot taller than her. Surprisingly, she doesn’t emit any fear that reaped tributes usually produce. In her entirety, she seems determined to win. Despite my morals, I need to show the same willpower as her. There is a good side to this though.
I’ve learned that everybody needs a change every now and then. And it is what I need now.
Aeralene Ekiert - District 13
“Connor… Why did you break Sasha’s toy rabbit?” I ask, with slight malice in my voice.
“I-I didn’t mean to! She wouldn’t share with me, and we ended up arguing over who got to play with it. We ended up pulling the head and body apart. Please Aera, don’t hurt me!” His pleas fall on deaf ears. My hand reaches for the whip in my pocket, a devious grin spreading on my face.
“Connor, Sasha. Both of you, into the kitchen. Now. The rest of you, stay here.” Fearfully, the other children nod at me. With a small smirk, I follow Johnny and Sasha into the kitchen.
They’re both in a state where they appear piteous, as tears flow down their cheeks. They knew the consequences of their actions. They knew that punishment was harsh here. They knew this, and yet they chose to not play by the rules. Now they’ll play a game of loss, where any courageous thoughts are replaced with those of fear. It’s terrible though – If they have the bravery, then they would have the potential to rebel against me. But when it comes to the chores that make kids seem accident-prone, then they’re only going to worry their heads on obtaining serious injuries.
“Sasha, stand back.” For one moment, relief floods through her eyes. “Don’t think that you won’t get the whip, just because I’m asking you to stand back!” I hiss. With a small squeal, she tucks herself into the empty corner. I turn and face Connor, leaning forwards slightly. “You better learn your lesson after this – All the recent rule-breaking has tired me out a bit. You wouldn’t want the orphanage to collapse to wreck and ruin because I’m taking a well-deserved break, wouldn’t you?” Connor rapidly shakes his head, as more tears stream down his face. “And stop crying! It’s a way of manipulating me into giving you some slack. There can’t be any favourites in my orphanage!” I crack my whip at him, landing blow after blow. Cuts and bruises form all over his skin. On his forehead, his bare arms, you name it; there would be an injury there.
A gasp sounds behind me. One that belongs to Sasha. I guess that means it’s her turn to go under what Johnny has had to. But before I can call her over, Connor mutters something. It’s barely audible, but not enough for me to hear a single word.
“What was that?”
“What was what?”
“What did you say?” Everything goes silent for a moment, as Johnny lowers his head in shame. “Should I whip you for not answering me?”
“No, no, please n- fine! I said ‘What about Mabel? You’ve chastised everybody to breaking point, and yet she is let off for anything she does wrong. You’ve contradicted yourself there.” I mutter a small curse to myself, knowing that what he says is the truth. Mabel is the favourite, but he wouldn’t understand why.
For all my life, I have lived here. My mother used to run the place. Every day, I would help out around the place. No matter the job, I would assist mother into it. Everything was dandy and normal, not like the stereotypical orphanages everybody heard of. Despite how average it seemed, there was one secret that only I never knew. I didn’t even know there was a secret, until I was 14. I had to ask mother why I was never adopted. She begun to bawl, and took a seat at her desk. That was the place where she revealed that I was her daughter. Father promised to be good for me when I was coming, yet there was barely any money. He ended up being executing for stealing. All because he wanted to be able to care for me. That was how she came to owning the orphanage. As heartbroken as I was, fury was overtaking. And I unleashed it to slap mother across the face.
For a month, I kept myself locked in my room. Despite myself being the only person in there, I was never alone. I had my emotions and Nibbles, a pet rat that always hung out with me. I would sometimes sneak upstairs to give him some small scraps of food. One day, he bit me. In retaliation, I stabbed him to death with my pocketknife. Now I was truly alone. To show my regret, I gave him a small grave in the garden. But some jerks dug him up and mocked me about it. That was when I had a personality exchange.
Usually, I would starve myself or steal all the bread and cake from the orphanage at night to fill my needs. I didn’t want anybody to take notice of me. But one night, when I was 15, somebody saw me.
Her name was Mabel, and she looked to be a year younger than me. When we first saw each other, she was headed to the kitchen like I was. As we both told each other our tales, we ate some cake that had been stowed away. There, she revealed that the rats were spreading a disease around the district. I simply shrugged this off, and before I knew it, we were friends.
However, there were rats in the orphanage after all. I woke to a scream one day, and heard footsteps run into a particular room. Mother was dead. Until then, I never realized how much she meant to me, even if she did lie to me.
"I'm sorry... I'm sorry for everything. I'm so sorry... I'm sorry I'm sorry I'm so sorry please wake up please! I should've been nicer, should've said goodbye... please wake up..." I said aloud, sniffing in between each sentence. And then there was a wailing noise. A baby boy, with eyes like mine, was there in mother’s arms. From his eyes, I knew I had to protect him.
A few days after, I declared myself as the new owner of the orphanage. From the safety of the basement, I set the children chores, but I was strict and harsh on them, with the exception of Mabel. But even so, we avoided each other like we were the plague. Little did I realize that there was a policy where minors couldn’t run orphanages.
I had to usher the children into their rooms, so that they’d be ignorant to the fact that peacekeepers were coming for us. Whilst they hid there, the baby and I were locked in the basement, a machete by my side. Unfortunately, the baby wouldn’t stop screaming. I tried to soothe him down by reassuring him, but it wouldn’t work. In the end, I covered his mouth with my hand. I breathed with relief, only to realize that the baby wasn’t. I screamed as reality dawned on me – I had suffocated the baby I had vowed to protect, just as peacekeepers stormed in. There was only one thing for it – I had to fight back.
I slaughtered two of them with ease, but the third one punched me in the face. He tried to get another one to connect with my face, but my machete worked its wonders and slashed his throat open. I then fled upstairs and swung at the next figure, only to find that it was one of the children. The rest of them stared at me wide-eyed in horror.
After my encounter with the Peacekeepers, I ended up becoming more harsh to the children – If they misbehaved, I would unleash a flurry of whip attacks onto them. I would coldly smile throughout, but in the end I would commiserate with them. Due to my inexperience of love, I don’t know what it feels like, or how to show it.
“Aera, may I go yet?”
“Hmm, oh fine. Yes, go. Sasha, stand here now!” Connor sighs with relief and flees the room, almost tripping over on the way out. Sasha though keeps pleading for me to spare her from the pain. I look at the clock and see that it’s time to head to the reapings. “You’re in luck Sasha. It’s time to leave for the reapings. But when we return, you will receive the whip. Come now.” With slight hesitation, she follows me into the living room, where everybody else is already prepared for the reapings.
“We got changed, so that you didn’t have to tell us to.”
“Oh, umm. Thank you for telling me Mabel.” I find myself giving her a small smile. “Now let’s set off.”
Since I don’t know how to drive, I had to walk everybody to the reapings. It was quite tough, with all the pushing and shoving and the strangers staring at me in disgust, but we got there with no problems. Well, apart from the fact that James slapped Ryan.
And Fiona walked straight into a lamp post.
And Radon went missing for a few minutes.
About half of the orphanage kids are eligible enough to enter the hunger games. Mabel included. But I wonder what would happen if I was chosen to participate in the games. As much as I hate to admit so, I think it would be the perfect future for me. No more little kids to look after, no more responsibilities that I would have to take charge of. It’s the best life for me.
Our escort, Mikasa Jaeger, doesn’t seem to be on stage. Great. She’s going to pull off another of her tricks. Typical Capitolians, always showing off what they have and can do.
But I’m surprised when Mikasa simply walks to the stage, like any normal escort would. Maybe she’s had enough of the fun, and instead decided to be normal.
“Welcome.” She says, bowing her head in respect. She doesn’t speak much at the reapings – Just welcome, followed by the tributes names, then she’ll ask the crowd to applaud them or to wish them well.
“Aeralene Ekiert.” Well, that’s one way to make my dream of entering the hunger games real. This is it – No more responsibilities unless I win. Slowly, I walk to the stage, looking to the skies. Mother will hopefully be watching from up there, urging me to live on for her and the other orphans. If somehow I am right, then I’ll have to make mother proud. Show her that I really did care. And that I can learn what love actually is in the arena.
“I volunteer!” Rings out in the square, echoing all over the place. Everything is deathly silent. Nobody moves a muscle. Then comes the scurrying of footsteps. Lots of people spin the heads, in a feeble attempt to spot the volunteer. Everybody is bewildered, until I point at the person – A fifteen year old with piercing red eyes and longish electric red hair. Even though he has the looks to be a potentially bloodthirsty killer, that isn’t what I see. Instead, he seems… relieved. Maybe he broke the law unwillingly and has to escape. Or maybe he’s fleeing in fear of something ominous happening.
“Cole Neuk.” Alarm rings on everybody as they see Cole’s heart-stopping looks. They must all be thinking ‘At least things won’t go bump in the night with him’.
“Aeralene and Cole.” There isn’t a single applause for us. Most likely they’re scared of Cole, and I seem run-of-the-mill to them. That’s where they’d be wrong – I have hurt people before. I’ve killed people too, both innocent and guilty. But then again, they wouldn’t know.
Peacekeepers lead us into a room, where it’s admittedly creepy. The bookshelves are lined with dust, as are the chairs that surround a tatty table. It seems like they have new technology to print scenes from movies in a 3d format. But this is just the way the room was left.
There’s a slight knock on the door, and I grumpily open it. But the face of the person brings a smile back to my face – Mabel.
We both embrace each other, and I feel my shoulder become damp with Mabel’s salty sea of tears. I myself nearly cried.
“Aera, the other orphans have been celebrating. But they don’t know the gentleness inside of you like I do. Even though you’ll be gone, I’ll still think of you back at the orphanage. And I’ll keep it in order in case you don’t return.” Mabel’s generosity reaches my heart, making me feel grateful that I still have her as a friend.
“You really would do that for me?” Mabel nods once more, sheepishly looking at her feet. Now it’s my turn to wrap her in my arms as I allow the tears to escape. “Thank you Mabel.” Before I know it, a Peacekeeper escorts Mabel away, leaving me by myself.
This was the last I’ll ever see of her. There’s a 1 in 32 chance that I’ll be the victor, but that’s quite small by standards. Everybody has a chance, and yet mine won’t be enough to become victor. Some say that I would win from how ruthless I was, but my biggest and only shot would be if I find an ally. And even so, the controlling manipulative side of me would control them. Can I really take such a big risk?
Thamos Keeper - District 14
“But Leo, I could swear I heard somebody sleep in this room without paying for it!”
“Quit swearing that you hear things – I’m certain that nobody would be capable of sneaking in here. To try to make no sounds up here would be like trying to slice a cannonball with a balloon – It’s not worth an attempt that would steal several minutes of your life away! Honestly Neura!” The adrenaline that once flowed through my body system dies down, as the two employees exit the room in favour of another one. Yet I don’t dare move for one minute. Two minutes. After three minutes, I find myself sighing deeply with relief. God knows what would’ve happened if they caught me.
Thud! I groan in slight pain as I fall face down from under the bed. It was the only spot I could think of to hide when the two stormed up here. Simply laying under there would never be a good enough spot to hide in, and neither would the closet and the bathroom. This was my last resort, and I’m thankful it actually worked. Enrolling in a permanent career sure did me some good in this situation.
Had my parents not been so greedy for money, I wouldn’t even be out here having the time of my life. They would never have sent me to the career academy I trained in, and I wouldn’t have learnt several skills, like being charming and camouflage, as well as weaponry. IT was the usual life of training – making a few friends here and there. Yet despite the good times, it felt somewhat… boring. So one cold midwinter’s night, I abandoned the academy without being detected.
I was freezing to the point where I’d become a Popsicle, but there was somebody else nearby who was even closer to that point – A hobo, suffering from poverty with no warm clothing, on the brink of having his life force cut short. It was the perfect opportunity to strike. Cuts oozing with blood marred his body within a matter of moments. He stood no chance of survival. For once, it felt like my life had all of its tasks completed. Nonetheless, I chose the path that took me on a bigger adventure than this one. Besides, who would want to waste 3 years of their life still learning about skills they already have, only to miss the chance they had of displaying them nationally? Not me.
Since then, my schedule has basically been the same – stay in a hotel room at day and slice and dice at night. But I still loved lurking in the same area, until I got drunk and, well, I got a stranger pregnant. Horrified by the prospect of becoming a father, I fled to another part of the district to continue my legacy. Only now, I’m not notorious enough for the murder mysteries that inhabit this district. Which is why I must volunteer. Or forever suffer boredom and remain ignored. Neither of those options sound like fun to me.
But first, I have to get the hell out of here.
There are only two ways out from what I can tell – Through the door into what should be heavily guarded hallways, or out of the window where I could break my bones. Being arrested or becoming physically handicapped to the point where I would be seen as an easy kill? For me, it’s a no brainer – I’ll take my chances with the law – If I’m selected for the games, then they can’t do anything about it.
Quickly taking a peek through the thin slit through the door, I double check for any security members. Nobody. This is going to be easier than I thought!
I slide through the door and find myself in a maze. Well, a maze that can easily be solved. I follow the red carpet to a staircase. Unfortunately, my lucky streak seems to end here – Voices echo into my ears, as do heavy footsteps. My eyes glaze over my surroundings to see if there’s any way I can escape. The next floor? But I’d have to continuously run. The elevator? Maybe, but I wouldn’t know what lies on the other side until the doors slide open. And there’d be no hiding then. The lunch trolley? Seems stupid, but hiding under the sheets could work.
“Why does Keith always have to forget the trolley whenever he leaves?” Crap. That’s my signal. Swiftly, I dive under the sheets without making a single peep.
“The thing is Max, there always seem to be something important to distract him. Probably to skive off work. But I don’t think today was one of those days.”
“Why do you say so, Auric?”
“Haven’t you heard Max?” This Auric character tuts in disappointment. “District 10 started to rebel against its Peacekeepers for reaping a popular girl.”
“Yes, way. Three people ended up stone dead. Their family members must be mourning and shedding a thousand tears.”
“Auric… can we not talk about it anymore and just finish Keith’s job?” No response. The two just get to the job, dragging the trolley and me into a different place. The elevator? Seems like I didn’t have to pick just one after all.
Jazzy music plays in the background as Auric and Max stand in silence. Everything is slightly unnerving, in all honesty. Even though it’s just a tad, it’s enough to make me let one off.
I take a small peek from under the sheet, and see Auric and Max glancing at one another in utter confusion. Whilst Auric gives a disapproving look to Max, he just shrugs. Crap, that was close as hell. Next time I may not come off so well.
Ding! I’m nearly flung forwards as the trolley once more skids forwards. The exit! I see it! It’s within my grasp!
“Max, just leave it by the reception desk – that way, Keith will see that he still has a little job to do.” Wow, can things get any easier for me? I double check to see whether anybody else is here. Nope. Seriously, things seem too quiet.
“Aha! Gotcha, you little scamp!” I gulp as a really fat chef bends down and drags me out by the ear. No way am I letting this prick conquer me!
My foot flies from behind me into his crotch. With a satisfied grunt, I shove the doors open to escape the hotel that nearly got me branded to be a criminal. Still, my work here isn’t done yet, as the chef stumbles towards me. Fiddling for the knife in my pocket, I step back so that he charges past me. His eyes meet with mine as a silent challenge, but it’s over before it’s begun – My knife slits his throat open. He gasps and chokes on his own blood, his knees buckling to give way to his obese body. Now I really must be off.
I don’t even look back as I dash though the streets, passing by several mutts. Lions, panthers and even unicorns start to freak out at my sight when I pass by them. In all honesty, I never got to see them that much. But I won’t be able to anymore. Well, unless I’m not chosen as the tribute. But my entry into the games is guaranteed.
I don’t even realize I’m already at my destination until I see the large lines of young adults. Everybody mutters to one another. Usually I don’t eavesdrop, but I end up hearing several things. None of them are interesting to me – It’s just the same story about district 10’s anger being sparked by their female tribute volunteering. Why would they though? If somebody volunteers, it’s often because they want to be a part of it. But this person sounds way too nice. It was probably to save somebody special to her. Whilst that is all well and good, it could be misinterpreted to everybody until the view the other district’s reapings.
“Hello, district 14,” Mutters our escort, Rufus Wells. “I’m not going to bother with any introductions, since you should know everything about the games,” During the awkward silence, I stare at Cassius, my brother and victor of a previous hunger games. “We’ll start with, I dunno, the males?”
Several voices boom across the crowd like a bombing, but I speak the loudest. Lazily, Rufus points his finger right at me. I pump my fists in victory, before jogging to meet up with him. Behind where I was, I hear a few people cheering for me. They sound familiar. All too familiar.
“Ok, nice to see you, whatever. But on a different note, what’s your name?”
“Thamos Keeper.” If there’s something I’ve learned, it’s never to act excited for the games. It’s basically the sugar that makes you hyperactive, and less focused. It seems like a stupid thought, but I chuckle to myself.
“Now that we have a guy here, how about we find a partner for him?” Just one person volunteers, and it sounds more like a shriek than a shout. Either they panicked, or they have mental issues.
I see her now, with short blonde hair and piercing gold eyes. Eyes that are filled to the brim with insanity. Despite this, she seems kind enough.
“Thank you for deciding to join Thamos here.” I roll my eyes at the pronunciation mistake, but go with the flow. “But we need your name.”
“Reeva Olympia.” I follow her eyesight and spot a terribly burnt boy. As the two make eye contact, Reeva starts to whimper.
“Thamos and Ree-“ Rufus sighs in annoyance as somebody begins to laugh out loud, cackling hysterically like a witch. But then I realize that the laugh belongs to Reeva, as she starts to cry from the laughter. Yup. She’s definitely insane. It might serve as an advantage, it might not. But regardless of her usefulness, I’m still joining the careers. She doesn’t seem to be a stereotypical career. No, scrap that. She doesn’t seem to be career material, moral-wise.
Well, it looks like they’re one ally down. But the quality of the members will matter more than the quantity.
Training - Day 1
Belinda Wren - District 10
“Good morning, and welcome to the news at 7’o’clock. I’m Tiberius Wyandotte, and I’m here to report some of the latest headlines. Coming up, we have the attempted mugging of a young girl, the death of an Idywyld, and the tale of the wedding between President Pluto’s youngest son, Lockwood, and his wife, Michelle. But first, what everybody is saying about the rain that fell on their parade.” My attention span fades to nothing as the chariot parade displays on screen. If there was an award for worst chariot parade of the hunger games, then this would certainly be in the running.
Throughout it all, the boy from district 3 kept shrieking hysterically on how he needed his wares now. Strangely, he even offered to give his wares for free to anybody who would retrieve them. But it was nothing compared to what he was when his chariot came across the halfway point. His sudden rage caused him to snap completely. He almost became psycho and jumped over the side of the chariots. Afterwards, he passed the chariots until the horses that pulled ours trampled him to near-death. Medics had to be called to tend to him. ‘It was a miracle he survived’ they had said.
The doors behind me slide open. I don’t have to turn to know that Sammy (10) is there. Throughout the past few days, he’s been fretting over the mini-rebellion that took place in the district. I’ve had to become the newest addition to his ‘family’. My maternal side took over, as Butch would’ve been of no help – He’s very unsettling.
“Still undergoing those panic attacks?” I enquire.
“I-I guess. I hate how much it has changed me.” I nod in agreement – It’s not every day you’re forced to go hunting for other human beings. Well, unless you’re a peacekeeper.
“Well… ok. Before, I was really confident. It would be hard for me to breakdown onto the spot. My calmness also allowed me to overcome problems that I’ve managed to solve. But now, there are massive threats out there. They’ll easily tear out my throat and cook my butt for breakfast. They hold no remorse for murder, but I can’t even bring myself to hurt a fly. In order to win, I have to become a completely different person,” Sammy scoffs a little. “Like that’s ever going to happen!”
“Sammy…” I say in a calming tone. “Not everybody thinks like you do. They bend themselves to become what the Capitol wants. And yet there’s you, standing up to them like there’s no tomorrow. You are proud of who you are, and you don’t ever want that to change. I admire you for it. It’s why I proposed for our alliance in the first place.” A wave of relief seems to fall over him.
“I see… Thanks Belinda.”
“You’re welcome!” We both smile slightly at each other. One of the good things about Sammy is that I can easily relate to him. In personality, we are alike. In plans, we are alike. And for that, I believe we’ll serve well when we pick out some young tributes to protect.
Once more, the doors slide back. As expected, Butch positions himself there. At first, I believe he’s finally begun to relax. But then he starts sprinting around the room, beginning his usual bout of insane laughter. I can’t help but shrink into the sofa. He scares me a lot. Particularly when he’s off cutting himself. Part of me wants to assist him with overcoming his depression, but his actions are too wild and unpredictable. That, and he could plant a knife in me. I won’t risk putting myself in danger – Sable and Fauna both need me.
“Are you ready for playtime? Hahaha!” Sammy’s once smiling face is now masked by one of uncertainty. Butch nearly kills himself laughing. Literally. He doubles over, prompting me to lightly pat him on the back. Sammy helps too.
“There, there now. Take it nice and easy.” Butch gasps for air for a couple of seconds before recovering.
“T-Thank you. You know, I’ve met several characters over the years. Some were decidedly average, others just plain dumb. But then there are those who strike me out as special. Due to your kindness, I believe that you’re the best tributes a crazed ol’ loon like me could ever wish for.” A few tears trickle down his face, shedding a new light of perspective of him. Along with the tears of joy is a Cheshire smile. No longer do I see a messed up maniac. Instead, I see a vulnerable paternal man. If he can regain his sanity, then anybody can.
“So, should we get going down to training?”
“Hmm. Oh, uh. I don’t know. Ask Theo – He is your mentor, after all. I’m just a humble psycho. Hahaha!” Butch once more chokes on his own words. Maybe his sanity hasn’t breached into the recovery levels after all…
“Take it easy.” Sammy says. “We don’t want our own escort dying on us, do we?” Butch erratically shakes his head, only to flinch at the sound of Theo dragging his shoes over the tiles. My hands instinctively clasp over my ears. The high frequencies of the squeaks impale my eardrums like a spear.
“Excuse me, but did any of you mention my name? I could swear I heard something.”
“Actually, Butch did – We were asking whether or not we should go down to the training centre. He suggested we go to you for the decision.” The balding man begins to contemplate our words, one by one.
“I guess it’s up to you, really.”
“Ok then.” I’m about to ask Sammy what he wants to do when a thought crosses my mind. “What should we do in training?”
“Hmm… Do what you want.” Sammy rolls his eyes for the lack of good advice.
“What if you don’t know what you want to do?”
“What he said. You don’t seem to believe you’re cut out for this, don’t you?” Theo stops to consider my question. Admittedly it sounds biased. I sure hope that doesn’t affect his answer.
“I think I am. Well, when I can be bothered to. But back to the main subject, I’d recommend survival skills first, weaponry later. If you think you’ve mastered everything, then I guess you should go crazy,” Butch begins to hack again as a tiny chuckle escapes from his mouth. “Although not Butch-crazy…” We thank him for the brief advice, before we press one of the buttons on the elevator. Almost immediately, it opens for us.
“Ready?” Sammy asks me.
“Ready.” We step in to face our competition for the first time.
Hawthorne Willows - District 7
The elevator’s doors open to reveal the pair from 10. My and Bryony’s (7) eyes glance over them. Looks like we’re not the only district pair in these games.
“Hello!” Belinda (10) says with a grin. I can see why her district would rebel against the idea of her participating in her games – She’s awfully nice. Maybe a bit too nice for her sake. Nonetheless, she might become a priority. Not necessarily to the other competitors, but more to the Capitol: If she’s popular enough to spark off the possibility of a major rebellion, then that drags her into harm’s way. I don’t see her winning the games.
“Oh, hello there. You must be Belinda and, umm.”
“Sammy. Sammy Barn.” A small smile plays on his lips as we shake hands. “And you must be Bryony and Hawthorne.”
“What do you think?” Bryony mutters besides me. If Belinda and Sammy heard her little comment, they must have ignored how rude it sounded.
“Well, it was nice to make your acquaintance. I guess we’d better wait for the others to arrive.” I begin to drag Bryony by the wrist away from them, when she squirms out of my grasp.
“What do you think you were doing?” She hisses. “We can’t afford to make friends – We’ll grow too attached to them. They could easily backstab us!” And out comes the side of Bryony that I don’t like to see – Serious and heartless. I’ve got a feeling that I’m going to see it more as the days evolve into the battle for survival.
“I admit that it is quite dangerous to create attachments, but it’s worth a shot to make yourself more likeable – That way it will be harder for people to gain the courage to bump off somebody they like.”
“I know. But I’m worried that friendships will develop into something I couldn’t even comprehend,” I see now – She doesn’t want to lose me to some conceivable vixens. “Do you know how much I love you?” In response to her rhetorical question, I lean my head down at an angle. Like a fish attracted to a lure, she fully closes the gap between us as her tender lips meet mine.
For a moment, I forget the fact that I’m imprisoned in a hell hole with little freedom over our actions. Everything is like a dream – No longer do we seem imprisoned within bland walls, but we’re free in a heavenly paradise instead. I could forget my woes and let my troubles lay.
We sharply jerk apart from one another as a clang sounds off. More tributes file into the place, attracting the attention of more peacekeepers. They surround somebody, although who it is I can’t tell. It’s likely to be our new head trainer.
Once they spread out more, I see a stocky bald man. Despite his small stature, muscles protrude slightly from the training suit. His eyes incessantly dart from side to side, inspecting us judiciously. He knows his smart, that’s for certain. At least we’re not competing against him.
“Attention tributes!” several of the tributes still chatter away, ignorant to the man’s command. “I said attention!” A few of them halt their conversations, but two still chat. I lightly nudge one of them, who holds his tongue. The other one takes notice of the silence and clamps his mouth shut. With a content nod, our head trainer continues speaking.
“As I was saying, I am Lance Partisan, and I shall be your head trainer for this year! Somebody had to take over Vibrissa, and you’re gosh darn lucky it is me! I know what’s it like out in the wild, so I can sympathise with you! And I’m about to briefly summarise what you should do. I believe the lot of you are smart enough to know what I mean. I’d advise you to focus on the survival stations. It will become a great help to you in this year’s arena, believe it or not! What use is a sword going to be when you’re starving and surrounded by plants that you don’t know are edible? None whatsoever! Now you may contradict this by saying ‘But what use will berries be against a sword?’ Well, you’ll be surprised at what they can do!” Lance snickers slightly, probably because he’s imagining a scene where somebody throws poisoned berries into a foe’s mouth. “And besides, your desired weapon might not even be available at the Cornucopia! It might just be clubs, like one of the previous hunger games! You won’t know until you get there. Oh, and a final piece of advice: Be careful of who you trust! That is all for now!” Lance blows his whistle, dismissing us.
‘Be careful of who you trust!’ I can’t help but to throw a nervous glance towards the pair from 10 – The ones that I was friendly with. Could their kindness be an act to throw us off course?
Raylee Corlera - District 2
All of us are packed together in a circle, trying to decide who would be leader. Between us, it’s Myself, Gauis (1), Tessa (1), Emilia (4) and Thamos (14) who need to decide wisely.
That leaves Jalson (C), Ryan (2) and Severus (4) in the running. In my opinion, Severus seems like our best bet. Jalson is too much of an asshole and too rebellious for his own good. Whilst Ryan may be as strict as an army general, he doesn’t hold the leadership skills that Severus has. I wouldn’t mind which of the two got the position, as long as it isn’t Jalson.
“Thank you for your opinion Gauis. What about you Raylee?” Well, here goes nothing.
“I-I think…” My voice slips over the words as my mind nearly blanks out. It pays to be introverted. “I think it-it should be Ryan or Severus.” Jalson’s nostrils flare up the instant my thoughts are released by mouth.
“Why not me, b*tch? What do you have against me?!” Forget what I thought about the odd peace between us, it looks like a battleground has been set up. And the competitors against one another are me and him.
“Well… I hate to say it right in front of your face, but you are, hmm. I’ll put it in a simple way – You are a pain in the ass. Already, you nearly broke the rule of not touching another tribute.”
“Well I can’t help it if arrogant assassins piss me off!”
“Yes you can!” Even I’m perplexed by my sudden ounce of need to fight. “You just have to calm the hell down. I-I’d advise you think before you speak.” This time, it tumbles out shakily. Already a smirk wipes off the once furious look on his face. He opens his mouth to make a remark, when Severus hushes him by clearing his throat. I can’t tell if it’s from fear, but Jalson immediately shuts up. I would have anticipated for him to babble on about how he cannot be controlled.
“You know what? You can forget about being the leader – You are clearly too much of a brat to lead us!” Thamos snaps.
“I agree with Thamos on this one.” Gauis states. Soon enough, all of us agree apart from Jalson. His face contorts with so much rage that I expect his head to explode. But then he takes a deep breath and calms down.
“Fine by me! I’ll just be trying to provoke the bastard who f*cked with me! Oh, and my vote would be placed on Ryan, in case you’re wondering!” We look on as Jalson storms off towards the boy from 8.
“Since we seem to be able to vote now, I’ll say Ryan for our leader!” Tessa begins to skip on the spot and lightly giggles. Just Thamos’s district partner. Whoop de do.
“I’m with Tessa on this. Severus acts just like a grandpa, and we know how ridiculous they can be. Prune juice and all.” Severus’s face becomes glum. It doesn’t seem to be because the odds of him being leader are now slim. Someone or something in his personal life? Maybe.
“Well I say Severus!” In my panic, my voice had suddenly gone high-pitched near the end. I’m just glad that nobody laughs. And I’m also glad that I’m not the only one to select Severus – Emilia and Thamos do too.”
“Damn, it’s a tie.” Ryan mutters.
“No sh*t Sherlock!” We cross our arms as Jalson returns once more, becoming more agitated by the moment.
“I assume your little mission didn’t go well?” Gauis mumbles.
“What do you think? He told me that you were plotting to throw me out from how we seemed to be chatting. I didn’t believe him, of course. But he had the nerve to ignore me right afterwards. That does it! He’s my first target in the games!” Jalson once more stomps off, causing Emilia to tut.
“How the heck are we supposed to sort this out?” I say.
“It’s easy – We go recruit another tribute!”
“Or additionally, a tribute could request to enter!” Thamos smirks as he sees the girl from 9 turn up with a horde of throwing knives. I don’t see her being a true career, what with her small and fragile physique. But she could still pack a punch if proven accurate.
“I see… And you are?”
“Regan.” No auras of emotion can be picked up. Strange. Something terrible must have happened to her in the past. Something that was enough to shock her for all those years.
Her hand flicks a knife towards the target, embedding itself an inch away from the centre. Then another is released, this time sailing into the bulls-eye. All of a sudden, flurries of knives are unleashed, cloaking the centre of the target board and around the edges of it. Very impressive.
The result is unanimous – Regan has been accepted into the career alliance. We take a minute to briefly introduce ourselves.
“Oh, and we need your help.” Tessa says in a sing-song tone. “We’re trying to see who should lead the careers – Ryan or Severus. Now that you’ve joined, you can help us decide!”
“Hmm… Regan starts to examine the two closely. She doesn’t reveal whether or not she’s impressed. But with Severus, her eyes quickly light up. It only lasted a fraction of a second, but now I know what her result will be.
“Hurry up already!” Ryan barks, impatiently tapping his foot onto the ground.
“Fine, your majesty.” Regan says sarcastically. “Except I’m not accepting you as leader. I’m on team Severus.” Severus can only give a look of gratitude and thank her. All of it is thrown in with a small smile.
“I think I see a showmance brewing,” Gauis whispers to us.
As much as I dread to say it, he could be right. That would lead to bias, and bias means that the rest will be third wheels. And I highly doubt any of the careers want to be one.
Billie Green - District 5
“Come on, don’t fall!” I think to myself as I leap from one platform to another. The gauntlets are admittedly much harder than they look. Particularly when you have a gang of trainers swinging padded clubs at your ankles.
One ploughs into my ankle, causing me to face face-down onto a mat. Somewhere behind me, I hear the sound of snickering. Undoubtedly the careers.
I bring myself to my knees before standing. The impact I made with the floor didn’t do much damage, fortunately. Just a couple of bruises, and nothing more. That’s all I can ask for, as I don’t want to be at a disadvantage before the hunger games begin.
A few tributes watch me as I exit the gauntlet area. They’re likely to be judging me as a weakling, somebody not to worry about during the hunger games. They’re right of course. I would easily be taken advantage of, due to my gentleness. That’s the reason why I’m going in alone. Sure, you would have better odds of gaining the best supplies with allies, but they could become frenemies in a matter of moments. And I’m not risking getting backstabbed.
I scan the stations, trying to decide which one to train at. Nothing in particular interests me, so I just approach the nearest station – Climbing.
The pair from 6 are also there. Whilst the boy climbs, his partner calls out words of encouragement. He’s doing incredibly well, I must say.
“Are you here to do some climbing?” A trainer asks, crossing his arms. “Because if you’re just here to loiter around, then scram!” His harshness take me aback. Nonetheless, I still decide to stay. Even if he is strict, it’s often best to be taught by somebody serious about things.
I prop myself onto the first branch, just 4 metres above the ground. My arms reach up to try and grab onto the branch above, yet to no success. I try whilst standing on the tips of my toes. Once again, I fail. My final shot is if I jump. Now is the point where I can’t afford to make a mistake – If I slip, I could twist my ankle or worse. My knees bend slightly, ready to add a spring in my step. Then I take off.
Instinctively, my arms wrap around the branch and I swing my legs up. With little effort, I pull myself up.
The pair from 6 applaud me and tell me to keep trying. But they don’t even need to say anything – I continue to ascend the tree, hoping to enter a heaven where the hunger games never existed. Unfortunately it can only be lived for a few seconds, as a whistle blows to announce lunch-break. I look one last time to the skies before cautiously descending the tree. Away from what could’ve been paradise, and back into the world where death lurks around every corner.
Caitlynne Glowers - District 12
“Move it, losers!” The boy from 14 snarls at everybody so that the careers can claim the largest table as their own. One of them purposefully shoves into me, causing me to drop my roast lamb onto the floor. The Capitol boy laughs at the sight, but the others remain silent.
“Stupid jerk.” Justice (12) mutters. “He’s the only one who gets on my nerves. But sooner or later, he’ll get kicked out.”
“How can you tell?” I inquire.
“See how the other careers shiftily look at the other apart from Jalson?”
“Jalson. The Capitol guy. The others seem to be plotting something against him. I see them whispering, feel the heat from their brains working hard.” Thanks to Justice, I now know that there is a rift that’s tearing one of the careers apart from the others. “But the rest of them are skilled in some way. Even if one breaks apart, I still wouldn’t want to disrupt their path to victory.”
“Justice, there’s no need to think such things – As long as a career goes down, it’s all good to me. There’ll be less threats in the arena!” I begin to hope that my optimism wins Justice over. As useful as he is, he’s too pessimistic. Not to mention that he won’t allow another person into our alliance. ‘It’s a tip from my parents – Don’t trust anybody. But with you, I feel like I can make an exception’. When I asked him to elaborate, he merely shrugged. Somehow he trusts me, but why? That’s the only piece of this cryptic puzzle that I haven’t figured out.
“I guess you’re right.” For the first time since I met him, Justice smiles. I feel my heart flutter slightly, but I push it away from mind.
I start to examine the other alliances that sit before us. Already, I see that the anti-careers could pose as much of a threat as the careers. Especially since they have a member of the Idylwyld family with them. Whilst most of us in the lower class districts hate them due to their immense power, I do not share the same opinion. At the end of the day, we’re all human beings. Some may not appear so, but we’re all trapped inside a human body.
“Caitlynne, shouldn’t you grab some lunch?” Justice asks. I look down into my hands, thinking that he’s joking. But he isn’t. I must have forgotten that Jason or whatever his name is knocked into me.
“I probably should, but I’m not that hungry. I’ll just wait next to you until you’re done eating, ok?” Nothing at first. That is, until Justice slightly nods his head. With my bubbly side once more restored, I begin to ask questions. Because if you want to be a good ally, you need to understand them from the inside to out.
Jalson Riveras - The Capitol
As the other careers start having a nice little conversation between one another, I observe the area around me. I need to find the little bugger before he becomes too dangerous. Ace (8) can already hit targets with his eyes closed. Every f*cking time, it’s in the bulls-eye. His accuracy bothers me, it truly does. Because he could easily eliminate most of us from the games.
Even after surveying the area, I still don’t see him. That’s another quality of his that makes him deadly – His stealth. Even if it was quiet enough to drop a pin, nobody would see him coming. Apart from me of course, because I’m the toughest of the pack. I’ve got the biggest shot at winning out of everybody here. Especially when I retrieve The Queen’s Huntsman.
I keep scanning the area, when I finally spot him at the bow station. With a crossbow in his hand, he eyes up a dummy. Pfft. He’s already shown off his skills, so why bother displaying them again? It looks like I’m going to have to teach him another lesson – 1) Why nobody should ever piss me off. 2) Why it’s worthless to try and deceive me, and 3) That I’m superior to everybody, even if doesn’t appear to be that way.
“Hello, bastard!” I flash a cocky grin, waiting for Ace to react. He doesn’t seem to notice me, so I try to catch his attention again. Still no reaction. That leaves one thing – I have to physically do something.
Just as Ace is about to fire, I knock his crossbow. The bolt fires off, yet still lands on the bulls-eye. How the f*ck does he do it?
“You do realize that I didn’t need your help with firing off bolts. I’ve already had experience from somebody in my past. But still, thanks for trying to help me learn something new.” His sarcastic monotone sparks more hatred within me. “Oh, and a tip: If you do have to be such a show-off, then don’t rely on your hair-colour changing abilities.” If I could strangle him and get away with it, I would do so gladly with no remorse.
“Why the hell do you think I volunteered to take a drug and have this as an everlasting side effect? Am I able to change it at will? No! You know, it’s funny to hear you call me a bighead when you’re the same thing.” Ace’s steely blue eyes examine me closely. He’s definitely plotting something.
“The thing is… I don’t think I can win. I know I can win. I have the stealth, and I have the know-how as well. Not forgetting the fact that I have never missed a shot in my life.” My bitter resentment for him turns up a notch. “The most you have done is take a ‘miracle’ drug, got tasered as a result of your instinctive actions, and demonstrated your magic hair colour changing powers 500 times.” That’s it – I can’t hold it back. I lunge straight at him, attempting to punch his once smug face multiple times. Yet he blocks every blow. Time for plan B.
I leap on top of him, tackling him to the ground. My arms pin his hands down, and I kneel on top of him. Yet he doesn’t resist.
“What’s the matter? Suddenly realized how I, Jalson Riveras, am tougher than you?” That’s when a smirk emerges.
“Nope. You’ll see though. In the meantime though, SOMEBODY GET THIS GUY OFF ME!!!” Just when I’m about to open my mouth, I’m lifted up by a Peacekeeper. My arms are restricted behind me. What is the meaning of this madness?!
“I demand you to let me go!” Another Peacekeeper peers down at me, an unimpressed look on his face.
“There’s always one.” He mutters. “How about you calmly walk with us to the-“I spit in his face before stomping on the foot of the Peacekeeper that held me firm.
“No way, mother f*cker! I’ll always be-“A sharp pulse of energy rushes through me. There’s no time for me to think or say anything else as I black out.
Reeva Olympia - District 14
I watch on helplessly as Jalson (C) is dragged into the elevator, his limp body being dragged across the floor. His shoes scrape the floor, producing a screech worse than chalk on a blackboard. Those who hear it sharply twitch in pain. Not me though – It begins another of my laughing marathons. Ah, the joys of slowly losing your mind piece by piece.
“If one of you was wounded, I’d probably be like Gauis over there.” Jack says glumly.
“Jack, that was Jalson who got tasered. But I guess it’s understandable for you to make that mistake, due to your eyesight.” I say. The only response is a grunt from him.
I’m quite proud of my alliance – There are four of us in total, and we’re all quite tough. Although Camiren is hated by the majority of the people from lower and middle class districts, she’s part of one of the most influential families in Panem. They could rig the games for her and get away with it, but the other tributes wouldn’t be happy. But I’d be willing to take the risk. Jack would also go for it.
His courage means a lot to us. Without it to motivate us, we might give up on ridiculous sounding ideas. Ones that seem too absurd to work. The idea of tackling 9 careers headstrong doesn’t seem to daunt him at all.
Then there’s Acacia (11), a protective lass who never seems to give up on anything. She also seems to display certain advantages, not to mention her vibrant green eyes could freak out anybody. Within her though, she’s an enigma in terms of her personal life. And everybody knows how much the Capitol likes a bit of mystery.
Finally, there’s the insane one – me. My mind may be… different to theirs, but it doesn’t make me a ruthless killing fanatic. I’m still fine with anybody and nearly everybody, but they won’t be prepared for my ‘art’. That’s where my concerns lay, for they could abandon me for being reckless.
“So who should we watch out for this year?” Acacia asks, taking a few moments to get a glimpse of everybody.
“Kyle.” The instant the word leaves my mouth, I kick myself in the leg. Think before you act, Reeva. Think before you act.
“Say what now?”
“Umm, I meant to say Cole… Yeah.” Internally, I breathe a sigh of relief. I nearly ended up having to explain my entire life story. And I doubt it’s one they would like to hear. It would probably attract nightmares into their sleep.
“I can see where you’re coming from.” We watch as he lifts some weights with great ease. “It would be worse if he joined with Ace though – They could cover one another’s weaknesses with their strengths. And besides, Cole doesn’t seem to take a liking to the arrogant at heart. Trust me when I say that Ace is a brash boar.” Camiren’s hatred of him is evident from her tone of voice.
“Nonetheless, he’s still a threat. Much like most of the careers.”
“But that’s nothing new. I don’t see Jalson or the girl from 2 winning though.”
“Agreed. And I think we need to watch out for the boy from 11 and the girl from 13. Other than that, I don’t think we need to worry about anyone else. Now how about we stop thinking about who could disrupt our road to victory, and begin to learn some new skills instead?” I suggest. They all nod in agreement.
“Sounds like a plan.”
“I was just about to suggest that.”
“We could do with that.” With everybody’s approval on it, I separate from them to learn how to build a shelter.
Caliban Rweed - District 3
I lean back against one of the pillars that support the training centre. Today, I’ve had no luck with business. Barely anybody has had some crack. Only one person has had a sample of one – me. I couldn’t let my beauties go to waste, so I thought I’d have a little. Ok, maybe a bit more than a little. Actually, I had the whole lot before break. But thanks to the remainders of what I ate for lunch, I have more supplies and I can try again. I just need to find the right people.
Then I see them. A group of five, all learning to make knots. Amongst them is my partner, Keila (3). I still remember how she declined my offer on reaping day. Maybe she’ll accept them this time around.
They all turn to face me the moment I enter their radius. The young boy from 0 glares at me the instant I reach in my pocket for the cocaine. Keila just smiles slightly and shakes her head.
“’Sup guys?” I wait for them to face me before I continue. “You all look like you need to be cheered up. Maybe if I offered you some…” I finally pull out the white powdery substance, almost marvelling at it for one second. “... drugs? After all, getting high is the only true way to live.” Almost immediately, the Capitol girl reacts.
“I’ve heard about you… Caliban Rweed, right?”
“You can forget it! Keila has told me about your bizarre customs. You’re too messed up mentally to even think about the effect your drugs are having on your brain. How typical of a druggie.” She then proceeds to tut.
“Hey hey hey! First of all, I’m not a druggie.”
“But I was taught druggies constantly snort the stuff. You usually do that. So why can’t you accept it.” Something about the district 0 boy’s innocence pulls at my heartstrings. Nobody else could have convinced me to consider whether or not I’m an addict. Even so, I still know the answer.
“Sheesh! I told you, I’m not a druggie. I’m a drug dealer. There’s a thin but distinct line between the two things.”
“It’s not the definition of each phrase that’s the problem. The problem lies in what you are – Try to compare the qualities of the two with your life, and then maybe you’ll see whether or not we were mistaken.” Sammy (10) ends his sentence with a small smile, one that shows hope. I reckon that he’s hoping whether or not he can get some drugs for free. But there isn’t any need of payment, since nobody would be weird enough to bring money into the games. Surely everybody knows that.
“I’ll be sure to think on those things,” I lie. “And for that, you get some crack for free.” I ask Sammy to hold his hand out, but he sympathetically shakes his head.
“No thank you. It’s yours to keep. Besides, I think my life would be worse if I was to become addicted to a fatal ‘luxury’ of life.” I’m puzzled by his statement – It suggests that drugs are good, but they can be bad too. Which one does he mean though?”
“I’ll explain Sammy. Caliban, Sammy says that he doesn’t want drugs because they ruin lives. Once somebody takes the road, it’s hard for them to turn back. And you need to turn back, or your life could well be in peril.” Sammy’s partner, Belinda (10) I believe, states. Did she just say that… drugs are bad? But without them, I probably would be rotting away. My hands clench into fists, and shake uncontrollably. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY can offend what makes my life full without getting away with it.
“Listen!” I hiss in her face. “I don’t know what’s playing inside your mind, but I’ll have you know that without drugs, I’d be dead! Now clear the f*ck away before someone gets-“ I’m interrupted by another bell, signalling the end of training for day one. It’s all hectic as everybody makes a beeline for the elevators. Cursing under my breath, I follow them.
Training Day 2
Cassidy Charm - District 0
“Cassie, have you seen Vernon anywhere? I’ve been meaning to speak about him about something.” I begin to wrack my brains thinking about the possibilities. Nothing relevant to the subject in matter spears in mind. Although now that I think about it, there was something Vernon said.
“I haven’t seen him around, sorry. Although I do recall him saying that he hated you. He’s probably hiding from you as we speak.
“Why does he hate me?”
“I don’t know?”
“Because I haven’t asked much. Although I have an inkling of why it could be.”
“It might be the fact that you always ask why when we say we’re about to do something. It probably annoys him, I’ll have to ask him.”
“Unfortunately, I believe that for one to discover the secret of life, they must always ask why. There’s no way for me to stop completely.” I must admit, it seems like he’s a wind-up toy that only says ‘Why?’.
“Look, I know that the secret to life is one that we’ve tried to crack for millennia. But that’s no reason to ask why all the time!” My voice turns harsh, like a mother scolding her son. “There’s plenty of other ways to discover the truth. Speaking of which, what happened to Socrates – The one whose theories you follow?” Socrates begins to ponder, but only for a few fleeting moments.
“He was forced to drink hemlock. And with great pride, he downed it. I wish to meet an honourable death like his.”
“But what about your family? They’d miss you a lot.” I fearfully glance towards the elevator. “That aside, I’ve got to go down to training – Maybe Vernon will be down there.” Socrates shouts for me to wait, but I step into the elevator and press the button that will take me down to the training centre.
“Freya!” I squeal as I see my only ally. She backs away a little as I hurry towards her. My arms open wide for her, and they encase into a massive bear hug.
“Yes. I still haven’t died from your childish antics. Thank you for asking.”
“Oh, sorry about that.” Freya (5) just sheepishly smiles in response.
“No, don’t worry about it. How could I stay mad at you?” I start to ruffle her forehead, receiving a grunt from Freya.
“Maybe it’s the fact I can stay happy in the worst situations? Situations like these?” In all honesty, I didn’t volunteer to save Hailee. I just wanted to take the right opportunity to volunteer and provide support for Jac and Maia. Speaking of which, how are they? Would they be surprised that I volunteered, or would they be sad and bitter? But if I return, I’ll be giving them a better life.
Freya stiffens like a plank. Her forehead creases into a frown, similar to her mouth. Her eyes and body seem to be vacant. Lifeless even. I wave one of my hands in front of her. She begins to shake her head slightly.
“Sorry, I just zoned out about something in my life. Sorry.” As she heads off towards the knives, she mutters a word. It sounded something like ‘Hailee.’ Did she know somebody in her life with the same name as my friend?
“Wait! Freya! Did you say Hailee?” I ask. She pauses in her tracks and turns around, nervously biting her nails. She nods only once before heading back to her destination. I wonder why she backed out all of a sudden. I know why as soon as I feel two of them walk blatantly into me. The careers are here. And they seem ready to invoke nerves into the weaker tributes. I won’t allow that to happen in the games though.
Gauis Wellwood - District 1
“So how was it like being isolated from the others?” Jalson (C) starts shaking his head at Tessa’s question.
“A better question would be how was it like being tasered. You have one crazy mind, b*tch.” Strange as it is to say so, I have to agree with Jalson on this. Sure, he may seem hot-headed, but he does know what he’s talking about. If only if that was me…
“Erm… isn’t everybody crazy in their own way? And besides, being tasered seems more painful than being separated from the others. I’d rather ask about the less painful stuff.” I can only nod at Tessa’s response.
“You know, being tasered only hurts physically. But being cut off is just as bad mentally. And that’s when you start to go physical. Technically, asking about tasered isn’t that bad. It’s better than losing your mind and-“ I pause midway to regain some oxygen, when Tessa gags me with her hand. I try to pull it away, but her hand firmly grips there. I feel like I’m about to be suffocated, when Tessa quickly releases her hold.
“I’m not getting dragged off like Jalson did.”
“Jesus, thanks for that,” He mutters sarcastically, rolling his eyes. “You just had to bring it up again. Damn. Why must you-“ His query breaks off into silence as Severus (4) strolls towards us casually, staring us down with no emotion.
“Having a good chat are we?”
“Ooh, yes! We were just talking about the incident yesterday and… ok, I’ll stop.” I find myself in a silent challenge to Severus, which I quickly lose. I know he’s ruthless, but I can meet his level. I would need the right time to strike, but I could pull it off. Just not spontaneously. Because he is tactful of our every move.
“Oh really? That’s nice to know, it really is,” He nods, seemingly in satisfaction. “But don’t you know time is of the essence. All this time, and the others have already been developing into potential threats. As soon as possible, get working. We don’t want to be the laughing stock of these games, do we?” All three of us shake our heads vigorously. “Good.” I shrink in fear of Severus’s calming tone. I’d much rather be shouted at than calmly told to do something. Quietness makes it all the more eerie. And I don’t like eerie. Or scary. Or creepy. It’s almost like I hate horror. Except I don’t because I don’t mind the gory aspect to it.
“So… I guess we start now if there’s nothing to say. Well, see ya around fellas!” Tessa giggles to herself as she bounds over to towards the spears. Jalson shakes his head and mumbles about ‘how he’ll never understand her’ before heading towards the same stations. And then there’s me, who just stands there awkwardly. I’m the black sheep of the group, but I don’t really care. They’re often picked on, but I think I could be an exception. We have a caring leader looking out for every single one of us. Whilst he might be weird to think everyone is dangerous, it’s the truth. Even the most harmless of things can blossom from a delicate lily to a fiery venus flytrap. I may or may not be the weakest of the careers, but I still pack a punch. Just watch and see me make a tribute disappear.
Kaylay Hastian - District 6
“Yes!” Matthew starts pumping his fists in glee as his first arrow lands in the bulls-eye. I applaud him for his skills, to which he thanks me. If only if I had that accuracy. But then again, that’s his first bulls-eye in training. He’s been insistent on training with just the weapons today. I think we should be polishing off any survival skills, but that’s somewhat… boring.
“If you need me Matthew, I’ll be at the throwing knives station.”
“Ok then. I’ll still be here though. All day. Until we have to go to lunch. And after that, it’s more target practice.” He lightly chuckles, causing me to nod. Whilst he focuses back on his task, I slowly stroll to the throwing knives. Already there is the career girl from 2. Raylee (2). Every time she releases a knife from her grip, I anticipate it to slam into the centre. I would’ve thought she would be an expert. But that evidently isn’t the case. Instead, they either skim the sides or fly out of control. She whimpers slightly as she fiddles for another knife. She’s nothing like the stereotypical bloodthirsty killer I’m used to. I feel bad for her. Piteous even.
“Raylee?” She lets off a small shrill scream the instant I say her name. Her knife gains some momentum from her sudden burst of energy, slamming into the centre. Small swift breaths are let out from her system.
“Darn it! I thought you was Megan for a minute!”
“Who’s Megan?” I enquire. She doesn’t seem impressed by my probe into her life.
“She’s, umm…” Raylee still seems skitter. “She’s, uhh, I can’t talk about it.”
“Yes you can. It’s evident that something about this Megan character has affected you deeply. Even though I’m not your ally, I’ll still listen. Or maybe you could ditch them for a bit in the games, and see me then.” Raylee’s eyes scan over me, trying to see whether I’m being genuine. If the other careers were to find out, it could be the end of her. But more importantly, it could be the end of me.
“What? Are you… kidding? They’d kill me if they found out! I’ve-I’ve got to go!” She scuttles off back to her allies, leaving me alone. When she’s gone, I frown. I was only trying to help. But I understand.
‘Well, time for me to take her place.’ The cardboard cut-outs of humans pop up from the ground all of a sudden. This may not be the games, but I have to take it seriously all the same.
My first shot slices into the head of the first cut-out, prompting a small round of applause from one of the trainers. My second attempt means the knife digs into the torso area, with my third and fourth shots landing on the shoulder and neck areas, respectively. The last two knives enter the stomachs of the last two targets. I didn’t do too badly. But what about virtual training, where everything is moving?
I nearly trip over as I stumble to into the box. I could swear I heard a small snicker behind me. Although it would be nice to work out who it was, I have no time to. For I’m already in the rural suburbs of a city. I start to jog around the place, absorbing the tiniest of details. I can’t see them too well, but I should be fine. Whilst being attentive may help out, it’s not vital to the point where you need it to survive.
All of a sudden, I hear the sound of weapons being drawn behind me. Quickly, I spin around to see two holographs. One looks just like Raylee, and the other one is somebody I wouldn’t expect – Matthew. I can’t help but gawk at them. Even though I know it’s not real, the thought of being betrayed wrenches my heart. If it’s able to do that with this, then what hope do I have in the games?
The Raylee hologram fires an arrow towards me, skimming the side of my thigh. I, in turn, throw my knife towards it as it runs. It sails inches over her shoulders, and I silently curse to myself. Before I can pull out another knife, the hologram tackles into me. In that moment of panic, I take my knife and slam it into its chest. Then it disintegrates into a thousand tiny cubes. In my moment of triumph, a risky idea pops into my head – I have to create a trap to defeat hologram Matthew.
As I turn to run and hide, I feel a sharp pain dig deep into my back. Even though it doesn’t feel like it, my vision seems to blur, before turning black. Amidst the darkness is confusion – I could still think, still breathe. But this was supposed to be death.
And then the light returns. And standing at the doorway is Matthew, smiling at me.
“Well done for surviving.” I stagger over to him, still stuck in the foggy aftermath of the scene.
“Thank you.” My vision starts to clear up, no longer blinding me to whether it’s the end of it. But when I look up at Matthew, I see a different person – Joel. I had vowed to win for him and my other brothers. They need my protection. I need them to keep me sane.
“Kaylay?” I jump at the sound of Joel’s voice and look up again, only to see Matthew there again. I rub my eyes again, trying to see which image is reality and which one is my imagination. The two faces keep flickering from one to another, but it’s Matthew’s that prevails. “Kaylay, are you ok? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”
“I’m fine. Really.” Why did I lie to him? Why did I lie to myself? Clearly I’m not ok if I keep seeing my brother instead of him. It all feels weird and - Oh God!
Have I really lost my sanity?
Cole Neuk - District 13
The darkness of truth slams into my chest like a bang. Whilst I’ve been training, I’ve asked several alliances whether I can be with them or not. The anti-careers so far have been the only successful ones – But even so, they’re not certain themselves. With the young tributes, I can’t help but feel like the boy from 0 would stare me into obsidian. The careers are, of course, out of the question. For some reason, I don’t think I’d fit with the other smaller alliances – They’d be happy with each other, only to have to get used to a new ally. Maybe if I teamed with another loner.
I try to pick someone out when I see the perfect one. I watch eagerly as he starts climbing some ropes. He’s like a spider – quick and efficient of the time he has to ascend the ropes. It’s creepy, but at least my fear is of death, and not spiders.
Feeling like I could have an alliance, I stroll confidently towards the ropes. He’s nearly at the end, and he doesn’t seem to break a sweat as he swings down. I stare at him in bewilderment before he harshly glares at me. Here I am, face-to-face with a fellow assassin. Ace Merciless (8).
“What the hell do you want?” I’m almost taken aback from his rough voice, creating a rumble in my ears. I try not to focus on it and start to ask what I’ve been meaning to ask him for the past 2 minutes.
“Well. I was wondering whether or not you wanted an alliance. I’m just glad to see another assassin.” Ace seems to groan in disappointment.
“I’m not an assassin. I’m a mercenary. Don’t you remember what I said at the reapings? At this rate, it’s a no.” He tuts in disappointment like a mother would do if she learnt her child didn’t do their chores. I’m not so keen to join with him now, but it’s too late to back out. And I can’t lose the chance to team up with one of the biggest assets. Wait…
“Ace, you seem to be able to cover long-distance quite well. And short-distance as well. But what if you was trapped and had to fight close-range against 8 careers. Picture being cornered against a wall that can’t be climbed. You’d need an ally to help you. And since I’m quite good at covered the areas closer to your enemies, I would be able to set you free.”
“Hmm. Tempting, tempting,” He seems deep in ponder, and I begin to hope. But I don’t keep them up for too long, because I need to be prepared in case he says no. “You may seem like a small runt, but you seem to be able to handle yourself. Due to how much you’ve pestered me without even trying, fine. You can join. But any trouble, and expect a bolt in your heart. I bet my life by trusting you. And I expect you to do the same. Got it?”
“Got it.” We both nod, shake hands, and then part. I’ve actually done it! It can’t help that the Capitol guy is pining to trek Ace down and slaughter him, but he’s no match for him. Nobody is a match against us. We’re the perfect duo team. And we’ll dominate the games together.
Camiren Paisley-Idywyld - District 8
“I don’t care about whatever the damn hell you say to me! But I’m telling you that not all Idywylds are bloodthirsty manipulative jerks like the lot of you are!” I fearfully glance towards Jack (9) as he scolds the careers. They requested me to be in an alliance with them, not knowing that I was with the other anti-careers. Despite Jack’s warning, they’re having none of it. They’ve pestered us all lunch and now it seems they won’t stop at all. What’s even worse is that their leader is nowhere to be seen. And he’s probably the only one who can stop them.
“Let me take it from here Jack,” I say calmly, dismissing him with the wave of a hand. “Look, I know the lot of you want me in your alliance, but the thing is I’m not ruthless and callous. And can’t you see I already have an alliance. I don’t know why you’re still here, since Severus wouldn’t be proud of you. You’re supposed to be training, and yet you’re still trying to bug us. Excuse me, but it’s not polite to charge into alliances and try to snatch one person from them, is it? No? Well I suppose it’s time for you to bugger off!” Half of them disband to train, but the rest stare at me with puppy-dog eyes. “I said ‘Bugger off’, are you deaf or something?” That does it. They groan in disappointment and start their training again.
“You go girl!” Reeva starts to cackle like a maniac, making me question whether or not what remains of her fire of sanity will be extinguished. She just gets crazier every day. “If that was me, I’d probably have stabbed them quicker than the speed of light.” She goes on to describe the ‘art’ she would’ve created. She doesn’t seem stable enough to be trusted, but she’s our best warrior here. But my allies still believe it’s me, just because I’m part of the Idywylds. And yet they don’t believe that I’m cruel and cunning. What great hypocrites I have for allies.
“What Reeva said. Those careers were bloody something, weren’t they? They’re almost as persistent as me.”
“Yeah. I could swear you were a mule at birth, from what I know of you.” Awkward silence, and then an even more awkward moment of laughter. Even Acacia (11), who is usually reserved and calm, joins in with the sunshine. Several of the groups raise their eyebrows at our antics, yet we still laugh in their faces. That’s the beauty of this alliance.
I’m still smiling, when I find myself staring upwards. Towards a familiar face. He stares down at me like I’m a pile of dirty washing. My Uncle – Elysium Idywyld. The Head Gamemaker for the past decade. He’s the one who could ultimately decide my fate. Either he’ll forgive me for rebelling against my own family, or he’ll forever pummel me and hate me.
“Camiren? Camiren, are you there?” I don’t respond. Somehow, my own Uncle has hypnotised he. At any moment, he’ll change my heart again. I’ll be like them. But I don’t want to be the one to continue the bad blood inside. I just want us all to be morally good. Both in blood and in heart. In order for it to occur though, I must pass on my opinions throughout the lineage.
“Camiren!” I snap out of my thoughts as Jack almost deafens me.
“I’m here already! Just… thinking about my family.” His once hardened expression lightens up and relaxes. He starts to sigh with relief.
“Camiren, family may seem like a happy place to be right now, but you know better than that.”
“No no no! I wasn’t thinking of safety from the games. I was just wondering what is it about me that divides my views from theirs?” I sigh and slump down onto a bench, watching as the boy from 11 swings a sickle into the throat of a dummy. “What do you think Ja-“ I cut myself off to see that he’s gone off somewhere else. Acacia and Reeva have also disappeared. It looks like it’s just me and the memories I hold dear of Ore. When we first met. When we first kissed. Our wedding. All of the still frames I have of him are still with me. No longer am I lonely, because Ore is still with me. In mind and in heart.
Jack Casey - District 9
I feel bad for ditching Camiren (8) halfway through her sentence, but I’m not that good at offering advice to anyone. My only real skill with charisma is trading. And even then it isn’t completely perfect. You get the odd gaps between each successful trade, sometimes so long that you wonder whether you’ll have any other deals in the future. But as long as there’s hope, you keep your need to live.
There isn’t really much for me to do, so I try to pick out a station to enter. Nothing really catches my interest, until I see a massive clump of things. Due to my failed eyesight, I can’t make out much. But one of the items looks like a tree. Climbing maybe? I don’t think I’d be suited to that kind of thing.
“Vernon! Let’s go into the pool! I want to go swimming!”
“Ugh, Keila. If I say yes, will you stop bugging me and stop being so goddamn annoying? “ An awkward silence breaks out between the two youngsters until one of them speaks. “Ok, forget I said that. Fine, we’ll go swimming.” The girl squeals in delight as she swiftly takes an outfit of some sort and enters the changing rooms. Her ally pursues her, although he doesn’t put in as much enthusiasm. From how it sounds, it seems like they’re headed to the swimming area. I guess I could try that…
My legs carry me to my destination, where a trainer devotedly welcomes me. She seems rather nice for a Capitolian. Much unlike the ruthless ones who just want to have fun by watching an annual fight to the death. “I assume you’re here to learn some tips? Well, I’ll find a swim suit for you that’s your size, and then you can get changed. Is that ok?” I nod. She nods back and measures my body. I’m used to helping others in return for help – She makes sure I’m kitted out properly, and in return I learn a skill that could be vital in the arena. Of course, it’s been like that for two days in a row, just with different trainers.
“Here you go – It’s a little bit big at the waist for you, but it was the best I could find.” I thank her and hang the suit on my arm. It’s almost like I’m one of those waiters’ from a posh restaurant, only I won’t be seeing a customer to have their order. Because I’m the customer and I already have my order.
What the trainer said was the truth – It was big at the waist, and I had great annoyance that it couldn’t be secure on me. Thus, I nearly shredded it to pieces in rage. But it was one of those moments where you had to make do with what you had, and I did come to accept it.
The instant I step out, I bump into somebody. In my surprise, I quickly apologise to the person – a young girl with big brown eyes. She must’ve been the one talking to this Vernon (0) guy.
“Don’t worry about it! It was my fault because I’m so excited to go swimming!” She starts to squeal in joy. “The name’s Keila, by the way!”
“Ok, umm. Jack!” We both shake hands.
“Keila! Don’t tell me you’ve made another friend!”
“Sorry, but I kind of have! But he’s in a different alliance, I think!” I don’t think I’ve come across anybody as hyper as Keila (3), but you can’t blame her – She is quite young and innocent, after all.
“Well that’s a relief!” I watch as a slightly pudgy boy waddles out from one of the rooms, mumbling about how his suit is ‘too tight for him to handle’. “Such a shame that I can barely move in this pile of sh- I mean rubbish. Ugh, it’s so difficult to act like someone you’re not for the sake of another person.” I still watch as he makes his way towards us. “What are you staring at?!” Keila almost jumps out of her skin when Vernon snaps. He takes notice and face palms. “Keila, I’m sorry and all, but I can’t goddamn hold it in forever!” He’s interrupted by the presence of two trainers, one being the woman who assisted me. The other one is a harsher looking guy, who commands them to one side. I want to watch them, but I’m dragged off by my trainer. She shakes her head and mumbles inaudibly, when I find myself at the other end.
“Alright,” She begins. “Let’s see what you can do.”
Emilia Oswald - District 4
“Good job!” I grunt in response to Ryan’s (2) compliment. My trident had decapitated a dummy in one mere shot. I don’t see what’s so impressive about that, but everybody has different ideas on what’s good and what’s not. For example, most career tributes think it’s a good idea to volunteer and bring glory to their district. But then there are those who volunteer to save someone dear to them. Just like I tried to do with Jenny.
She stood her ground firmly when she said that she’d be fine after she was reaped. Throughout her games, I kept worrying for her safety. But I’m glad she came out as victor last year, and that Michael escaped.
But now I’m here, trying to make my family proud. I’m risking my life to bring them a higher level of prestige than we currently have. It’s not of the essence or anything, but I could earn us more recognition.
I thrust another trident at the targets, and this one slams into the chest. Despite all the praise I’m getting now, I feel a bit… bored of training with the same old weapon. What makes it worse is that I’m also bored of honing my bow and blowgun skills. If I hadn’t trained at the career academy, I would probably still be eager to practise. Alas, I must move onto a different station.
“Already ending your weaponry training, Emilia? I thought you would make them even more perfect than they already were.” Thamos (14) cocks his head to the side like a puppy begging for more. Despite his cunningness, I already saw it coming.
“Yes. I’m done. I’ve already developed my skills to the highest standard. I just thought I’d brush up on my downfalls.”
“Like?” I try hard not to release an annoyed grunt. I know how brutal Thamos can get, so I usually try to steer away from his bad side. So far, I’ve been successful.
“Like… climbing. I don’t really like climbing too far, but I guess I’ll give it my all.” I take a deep breath as I carefully approach the station. Admittedly, the reason I don’t climb is because I suffer from acrophobia. Hopefully, I can overcome that. Both in training and in the arena.
After about half an hour of explaining and demonstration, I’m finally told to start to try climbing. The first few steps are wobbly, but I start to pick up the pace. Or at least I think.
“Looks I’m not the only one having a bit of a hard time.” I hear a voice chuckle from another tree. It’s Alluria (C). “How typical of a career – Always just training with their physical capacity. And yet they can’t even use that to climb. Such irony.” I try to ignore Alluria’s mockery of my bad skills and glance down to see whether she speaks the truth. Sadly, she knew what she was talking about – I’m only about four foot from the ground. How embarrassing.
“Go Emilia!” Thamos and Ryan both start clapping for me, invoking a new burst of determination in me. I fling myself onto another branch, only to nearly slip from the friction. I feel my breaths become shorter and snappier. As the two careers continue to cheer for me, I look down at them. Big mistake.
I only just notice how high I am and I feel more dizzy. My legs feel like jelly, and I’m on the verge of falling. In a last ditch attempt to escape from falling, I wrap my arms in a bear hug around the tree. But it doesn’t help.
I feel myself falling to the ground, my head banging against a few branches on the way. Just before I hit the ground, black dots swarm my vision, expanding until my vision is completely obscured by darkness.
George Grain - District 11
Nobody pays me any attention as I shuffle into the ring. It’s also the same case vice versa. Something happened among the careers, but I didn’t eavesdrop on the event.
A trainer waits for me. After two hours of picking up tips and practising, I believe I’m ready for a hand-to-hand combat match. I’ll be seen as a threat if I beat them easily, which I why I’m going to feign some struggle. I’m not risking the chance to become high on the careers’ list of which tribute is their main priority.
“Ready as I’ll ever be.” I keep my head steady and put myself in a defensive position. The trainer doesn’t even bat an eyelid as he steps forwards and punches towards my neck. Instinctively, I throw my hand up to that area and catch it in my hand. I then knock it down and proceed to sweep him. However, he sees this coming – He leaps over my leg and throws himself onto me. The force almost knocks me down, but I manage not to cave in. I jab him in the stomach with my knee, before throwing him to the ground. He lays there for a moment, whilst I watch under my eagle eye. After not moving for a minute, I start to walk towards the edge. That’s when I feel something grab my shoulders and slam me to the ground. Several blows land on me, sending a little bit of pain through my body. I’m glad that I’m used to it, what with the large amount of beatings I’ve had to endure from my father.
I suddenly feel something else inside – Fury. My vehemence starts to take control, completely going against my wishes of not looking like a menace. The instant he throws his foot towards me, I catch it with my bare hands. Then I drag it across, causing him to fall to the ground. He doesn’t resist as I restrain him by trapping him under my weight. Punch after punch rains down onto him, right until the point where another two trainers drag me off. Strangely, I feel calm now.
“Be careful not to go over the board when you’re in training. Feel free to do what you want in the arena, but you could’ve killed your trainer. Take this as praise though – If you have the strength to almost kill us, you will most certainly use your strength to your advantage in the arena.” Although his praise isn’t exactly surprising, it is still nice to know that somebody believes you’ll make it out alive.
“Thank you.” I depart the station and look at the clock. Just two minutes to go until the bell sounds off. There’s no point in starting training at the other stations. I’ll just run out of time by the time I reach them. Instead, I focus on the other alliances.
None of them seem like they’d collapse under lack of trust. There’s no way I could pick out one that would do so. Even the careers seem tightly bonded. If that’s what it’s going to be like in the games, then good for them. But the loners and other alliances could easily strike there and create miscommunication amongst the other tributes. It’s what I’ll have to do in order to survive.
I don’t even bother to wait for the minute to end. I just linger at the elevator, waiting for the other tributes to come. In boredom, I start to whistle. But I can’t hear it over the constant ringing. The tributes all come flooding in as the doors open on them. Since I was there before them, I get in first. Joining me are Acacia (11) and her allies, and Aeralene (13). All strong contenders for the crown of this year’s hunger games. I really need to be on top of my game if I’m to prevail over them.
No matter what, I’m not going to follow Sassafrass’s example. It’s going to be tough, but I think I can win these games fairly.
Training Scores & Odds
Caitlynne Glowers - District 12
I lay on my bed awake, taking in the living nightmares that haunt me. It’s only 7:00 A.M, but I’m still fraught. In a matter of hours I could be face-down on the floor, my blood splattered with other kinds of gore from the other tributes. Despite this, I won’t allow myself to become forgettable to the Capitol. That may seem like a tough task, what with a score of 5 and slim odds, but any tribute can suddenly pack a punch that intrigues the spectators. I want to be memorable to them, but I’ll be happy enough if it’s just the district or my family…
Even if they’ve beat me for my acts of kindness, I still love them. They just don’t understand me at all. Hopefully, that will all change in the hunger games. There, they’ll see the real me. I may not be a killer, but I can do so in certain situations – Like defending Justice (12). If there’s one tribute I had to pick to win instead of me, it would be him. Not only is he my district partner, but he is my ally. I depend on him; he depends on me in return.
“Psst. Caitlynne. Are you awake?” The sound of Justice’s voice soothes me a little bit, so I call him in. Boy – If I thought I had been worrying, then Justice looked like he had just had a panic attack. He was as pale as a ghost, his eyes bugged out in everlasting shock. He almost seems to be expecting me to make some kind of reaction. He receives one, but it’s probably not what he was expecting – A hug. To comfort him.
“Don’t worry Justice. Every half-hearted tribute ends up falling in the trap of insomnia. They don’t want to die, but at the same time they don’t want to murder any track of innocence. In my case, I keep assuming that I’ll die.” I briefly pause for a moment to see whether or not Justice has absorbed every piece of information. He seems to have done so.
“Ok then… by the way, I came to reassure you, yet it seems to be vice-versa.” We both get a laugh out of that, causing Hayley to come knocking on our door.
“Justice! Caitlynne! Shut the god damn hell up! Pick is struggling to sleep, and he doesn’t need you two snickering!” A small moan comes from Pick’s room.
“Hayley! You should be the one to shut the god damn hell up! The kids didn’t wake me, yet your hypocrisy did! Let me tell you something, Miss bossy boots – You are a two-sided b*tch! So please, keep your mouth zipped the f*ck up!” I’m awestruck as Hayley starts her little growl before stomping clumsily down the hall. He sure told her right. But it does leave us in silence for what feels like eternity.
“I’ve never seen or heard Pick like that in my entire life. Or at least on the TV.”
“Yeah, he’s unusually quiet most of the time – But as long as Hayley learns to respect him in that state, it’ll all be alright!” I try to end with a cheerful note, yet Justice still looks down gloomily at his feet.
“I don’t know. We have a rough mentor and an alligator in plump lips and stilettos as an escort. I’m surprised any of our past tributes managed to put up with all this.”
“It does seem like a wonder at first. But when you put into perspective that everybody has different tolerance levels and different solutions for dilemmas, then it isn’t so surprising.” Justice smiles once more.
“It looks like somebody’s better at advice than me. But what do you expect from a timid lowly boy like me? It’s the reason I’ve never reached out to anybody. With you, it’s… different. I feel like I could crack a joke with confidence,” I find myself feeling warm at his words, as if they’ve brought an entire new meaning into my life. “We should really get going for breakfast – I’m depleted of energy.”
“Me too.” As we both giggle again, a new premonition emigrates into my mind. He’s never had a friend in his life, until I rocked up. But it was all due to a brutal competition, where either one of us could die. And since he looks like his life could do with some sprucing up, I think I’m going to do whatever it takes to aid him to victory. Even if it meant sacrificing myself in his place.
Jalson Riveras - The Capitol
The faint sound of feet tapping alerts me to the presence of Terpsichore. She’s been dancing non-stop lately. Literally. Even in her sleep. It’s been driving me round the bend to the point where I keep hearing the tapping noise, in spite of whether or not she is actually dancing on the floor. I’m becoming just as insane as Tessa (1) and the girl from 14. In this instance, they’re all giggly whilst I just keep hearing things. That’s not exactly on their level, but I could well be like that soon. The tapping will affect me even after I win the games.
“Can’t you keep still for one second?” I mumble as she displays some of her grace whilst pulling out her chair.
“I can – It’s just I’m nervous since today is the day, and I have to dance in order to relax any of my nerves.”
“But you were undeniably nervous on stage, yet you didn’t show any dance moves at all. Not even a tap,” Alluria (C) continues glancing down at her pile of toast. “You’re hiding something – You were either distracted by your new role as escort, or you’re not even that content with the performing life!” The silent tension is apparent. Terpsichore’s fork is dropped onto a plate, her face petrified in the sudden surprise. I start snickering. That b*tch has got on my nerves ever since she reaped me. And now she’s been put-down.
“Fine, I’ll confess. I never wanted to be a dancer, but my parents forced me into it. Now I’m stuck as a circus mouse for them to do nothing but gawk over. I’m tired of it, yet I keep dancing as if it was second nature.” She continues to mention a bunch of other useless topics, so I focus on the competition. Particularly Ace (8).
First of all, he’s boasting about his accuracy when mine is much better. After that, he managed to get me tasered. But now, he gained a score of 10 and odds of 5-1. Al I got was a f*cking 9 and odds of 7-1. He’s rubbed it in too far now. And now it’s my duty to eradicate him from the competition altogether.
“So…” Terpsichore begins. “How do you both feel?”
“I don’t know what I feel at this moment. Right now, I think it’s a mix of fear and curiosity. I wish to know of the arena.” Alluria once more avoids eye contact as a means to show she won’t elaborate further.
“Ok then. How about you Jalson?”
“Me?!” I place a hand on my chest. “Why the crap should I tell you anything?! But if you insist on asking, I’m pissed off. Greatly.” She seems to pick up on how some of it was aimed at her, so she clams her mouth.
“Attention tributes!” A voice from the speaker says. “Please enter the tunnels to enter the helicopter in 10 minutes. Thank you, and may the odds be ever in your favour!”
“Oh hell yes! It’s time to vanquish my opponents and squish them like puny bugs!” I exit the door and head left when Alluria shouts to me.
“It’s the right door, dipstick!”
“It’s the right door, dipstick!” I mock her under my breath at a volume low enough for her not to hear me. She does seem like someone who would kill me, which is why she’ll be my second priority. But not before I hunt down and slaughter Ace - The son of a b*tch will get what’s rightfully coming to him.
Aeralene Ekiert - District 13
Taking a deep breath, I step into the elevator that will become part of the journey to what will be my death. In a game with 32 tributes and only one victor, I don’t stand a chance of surviving. Sure I would like to win for Mabel, but my odds are slim. Some would say I have a chance, what with a good score, odds and a hard personality, but that doesn’t prove anything. For all they know, a weakling could’ve tried to look tough just for the sponsors.
Cole (13) tries not to cross eyes with me. As his district partner, he should at least bother with me – It’s what most of them do. However, he’s trying to blend into the shadows. Or at least it seems that way. He got a medium score, but I’ve seen his skills. And since he’s teamed up with another tough tribute, he will most likely last far into the games.
When the entrance to the elevator slides open, we come across a tunnel, sleek and modern in design. Several other pairs of tributes stroll forwards, all led in the correct direction by peacekeepers. I stare ahead blankly, as there is nothing to do whilst we’re playing follow the leader.
Somewhere ahead of us, a hovercraft looms above the small crowd, a ramp slowly sliding out from the side. We’re all scattered in a crowd and are arranged disorderly. I end up following behind the boy from 11 and precede the girl from 9.
Once we’re all in, 2 Capitol female attendants arrive with a syringe gun each. Here come the trackers.
Their voices are calming, as if we were just young children about to be tucked in for a bedtime story. IT doesn’t do much for the older tributes, but there are some like the girl from 3 who even start to relax.
“Hold out your arm, please.” A young-ish woman with candy floss hair inserts the tracker into my body. With a pretend weak smile, I thank her. But really I’m thinking ‘It looks like I’m now in the property of the Capitol. Just like their pet dog. Just great.’
Once it takes off, a sudden burst of adrenaline pumps into my system. It’s preparing me for the games. And I’ll soon be taking off on tribute platforms in an arena.
Matthew Brown - District 6
“Boy, go left. Girl, go right.” I split away from Kaylay (6) to enter yet another massive tunnel. I feel like it would be easier if they didn’t organise it like a labyrinth of death. Their organisations skills may appear poor, but it’s proven effective in these kinds of circumstances.
At the end of the tunnel is my stylist, still sporting the ‘avatar’ look. He pulls out a set of clothes for me: A red rain-jacket. A pair of shorts. Hiking boots with adequate socks. And finally my medal is strewn around my neck, tucked safely into my jacket.
“I have a feeling you’ll be in a rainforest or a jungle.” He says. “If it isn’t either of those, then there’s no true way of telling. That aside, I wish you the best of luck. You know, there’s been a crazy amount of tributes I’ve had to be a stylist for. Most of them had bizarre backstories full of tragedy. But you seem to be quite comfortable, meaning you’ve likely had a cosy life up until this point. And for that reason, it is my duty to say that you have been my favourite tribute.” He starts to tear up a little, causing me to give my heart out to him.
“Thank you. And on that note, I guess I’d better depart.” He wails loudly as I step into the tube, with it shutting itself behind my back. For one last time, I face him as he starts to bawl his eyes out. Just as I slowly rise to meet with the arena for the first time.
The sound of a roar sounds off in the background, almost causing me to jump out of my skin. Trying to put my previous fears behind me, I take a look at my surroundings.
Unlike the previous years, the cornucopia isn’t gold. Instead, it’s polished and almost like marble. What makes it even more unusual is that it looks like a massive skull. Around the back of the platforms is a river of lava, and a rainforest hides behind it. But strangest of all, I see the head of a reptilian. The design of the arena is irrefutable - We’ve gone back in time to the prehistoric ages.
The arena, and what to expect
The basics: For this year, the gamemakers decided to change the course of history... but only inside of the arena. Their theme for this year was an epic era in history that offered tributes a new barbaric life. Several ideas were taken into consideration, but by far, their favourite idea was the prehistoric era. They all believed it to be simply brilliant.
The shaping of the arena is unique to what has been done in the past. The gamemakers felt that the circular shape was too...repetitive, to say in the least. Because of this, they constructed the outline, so that it would be shaped in the outline of two bones that were fused in the middle. To them, it was 'A compass pointing in the four directions, but without the globular rim'.
As for the bloodbath, it will be hosted right in the middle, and rather than the cornucopia being gold, it will be coloured, so that it's silver-white, to represent bones. It is also sculpted like a large skull, complete with jagged teeth. Several metres behind the tribute plates is a ring of lave that surrounds the bloodbath area. To leap from one side to another is impossible and crazy, which is why there are lava-resistant logs that will assist the tributes with crossing the boundaries. However, the logs are quite unstable, so one slip... and you would be history. (No pun/ joke intended)
Scenery: Throughout the arena, there will be three different biomes - Rainforests, swamps, and boneyards. The rainforests are humid, and hold tall trees, perfect for hiding in. It also stores a fewedible plants, and is the only place rain will fall in, thus making the rainforests a hotspot. It may seem quite safe, so to compensate for what could be boredom of the Capitol, lots of mutts roam the area, waiting to cause havoc. To further cause problems, most of the plants appear like the harmless ones, but they are actually poisonous. The only way to tell which ones are safe is the result of whoever has eaten them.
The swamps provide tributes difficulty in strolling through the matted weeds, and the boggy ground. To attempt to sprint through this would be near-to-impossible, and attracts the marine mutts. Yet despite this, the gamemakers have hidden special items in the swamps, which could give the tributes an advantage. There are four items to find, in total.
The final area is the graveyard, which holds tonnes of hiding spaces, in the form of rusted bones. If a tribute has the skill, they could make tonnes of fortresses, and even use the bones to intimidate the others. Mutts are also less likely to enter the realm. Unfortunately, the gamemakers have set more traps there, and there isn't any food or water.
Non-tribute allies: The gamemakers have added a humourous touch to the games, by inserting some cavemen ino the arena. There are two kinds - the Neanderthals, and the Homo Sapiens. Both have an advantage and a disadvantage -
The Neanderthals are easier to befriend than the Homo Sapiens, but they come up as dumb, and will wrestle anything that attacks the tribute, rather than using their brains.
Whilst Homo Sapiens take more to gain their trust, they will come up with more tactiful ideas, and may even outsmart any threats.
Dangers: The gamemakers have decided to include crocodile and sea snake mutts into the swamps, so that if they detect a tribute thrashing about, they will swim after them. The crocodiles will take delight in chomping on the tribute, but the sea snakes offer a more slow and painful death, via their toxic bite. The poison pumps into the tributes body, until they go into paralysis, and their heart rate slows to a halt.
On land, the tributes will have to contend with sabre-toothed animals, tracker jackers, and dinosaurs. Each one proves to be as deadly as another, and it's safe to say that it takes a foolhardy or brave person to fight them, as they all attack in groups.
But worst of all, is the mysterious tribe - They will search everywhere, for a glimpse of a tribute. If they spot one, then they will stalk them, until the tribute feels uncomfortable, and possible becomes mentally unstable. The very same tribe will then knock the tribute unconscious, and torture the tribute until they die. Once dead, they feast on their internal organs.
Everyday, some cracks will appear in the arena, and produce lava to fill the gaps. If any tribute is unfortunate enough to be lying where the ground splits, then they will suffer in a fiery death, as the lava will eat into their skin, and dissolves the tribute. More often than not, these cracks will open near volcanoes, which will be set to detonate on a special day, releasing even larger pools of lava. The tribute will have to run like crazy, and never stop. If they do slow down a lot, then their chances of surviving a slim. With every second, the lava will speed up, until it comes across one of the three main biomes.
The sponsoring period won't begin until the bloodbath is written. When it is, people may pledge three tributes of their choice, but only two can be their own. Afterwards, everybody will have to wait three days from the day they started to pledged, until they pledge another set of three tributes. Then they wait another three days before they pledge three tributes, and so on. Every tribute starts with £200, and gains £50 per sponsor.
The reason it is once every three days is because I will lose track of who sponsors who, and due to my terrible memory (complains under breath), I would be more than likely to forget about somebody's sponsor comment.
Bread: £30 (Per loaf)
Dried fruit: £20
Meal (Will be chosen at Random): £50
Meat strips (6): £35
Water (250ml): £40
Burn Cream: £100
Instant relief (1 use): £400
Arrows (12): £50
Blowgun darts (12): £30
Crossbow bolts (12): £80
Morning Star: £80
Rocks (12): £20
Throwing Axes (3): £125
Throwing Knives (5): £90
Camouflage Paints: £50
Coil of Wire: £20
Matches (3): £20
Sleeping Bag: £50
If I've missed anything, be sure to inform me, and I'll add it to the list! <3
|Name||Sponsor Money||Sponsored Items, and When They'll Arrive|
|Emilia Oswald||£125||Antidote (Day 2)|
|Billie Green||£160||Knife & Biscuits (Day 2)|
|Matthew Brown||£160||Knife & Biscuits (Day 2)|
|Caitlynne Glowers||£250||Meal (Day 2)|
|Alluria Nexus (C)||Machete, cheese, crackers, bread (x3), full canteen, anti-infection, awl||Vernon (0), Keila (3), Sammy (10)|
|Vernon Payne (0)||Knife, cheese, crackers, bread (x3), full canteen, anti-infection, awl||Alluria (C), Keila (3), Sammy (10)|
|Gauis Wellwood (1)||Sword, salad, dried meat strips, apples, bread, full canteens x7, antidote x2, anti-infection, burn cream, blankets x4, sleeping bags x2||Tessa (1), Ryan (2), Severus (4), Regan (9), Thamos (14)|
|Tessa Griffin (1)||Spear, salad, dried meat strips, apples, bread, full canteens x7, antidote x2, anti-infection, burn cream, blankets x4, sleeping bags x2||Gauis (1), Ryan (2), Severus (4), Regan (9), Thamos (14)|
|Ryan Duke (2)||Sword, salad, dried meat strips, apples, bread, full canteens x7, antidote x2, anti-infection, burn cream, blankets x4, sleeping bags x2||Gauis (1) Tessa (1), Severus (4), Regan (9), Thamos (14)|
|Caliban Rweed (3)||Apples||N/A|
|Keila Gonzales (3)||Cheese, crackers, bread x3, full canteen, anti-infection, awl||Alluria (C), Vernon (0), Sammy (10)|
|Severus Seaclan (4)||Trident, salad, dried meat strips, apples, bread, full canteens x7, antidote x2, anti-infection, burn cream, blankets x4, sleeping bags x2||Gauis (1), Tessa (1), Ryan (2), Regan (9), Thamos (14)|
|Emilia Oswald (4)||N/A||N/A|
|Billie Green (5)||Awl, matches x9, spile, rope||Justice (12), Caitlynne (12)|
|Freya Winters (5)||Empty canteen, dried meat strips, socks||N/A|
|Matthew Brown (6)||Camouflage paints, half canteen||N/A|
|Hawthorne Willows (7)||Axe, apples, biscuits, rope, net||Bryony (7)|
|Bryony Mapleblossom (7)||Knife, apples, biscuits, rope, net||Hawthorne (7)|
|Ace Merciless (8)||Crossbow, bolts x10, water, rope||N/A|
|Camiren Idywyld (8)||Empty canteens x2, sleeping bag||Acacia (11), Reeva (14)|
|Regan Lee (9)||Bow, arrows (x12), salad, dried meat strips, apples, bread, full canteens x7, antidote x2, anti-infection, burn cream, blankets x4, sleeping bags x2||Gauis (1), Tessa (1), Ryan (2), Severus (4), Thamos (14)|
|Sammy Barn (10)||Club, cheese, crackers, bread x3, full canteen, anti-infection, awl||Alluria (C), Vernon (0), Keila (3)|
|George Grain (11)||Scythe||N/A|
|Acacia Spruce (11)||Empty canteens x2, sleeping bag||Camiren (8), Reeva (14)|
|Justice Reigns (12)||Awl, matches x9, spile, rope||Billie (5), Caitlynne (12)|
|Caitlynne Glowers (12)||Awl, matches x9, spile, rope||Billie (5), Justice (12)|
|Thamos Keeper (14)||Longsword, salad, dried meat strips, apples, bread, full canteens x7, antidote x2, anti-infection, burn cream, blankets x4, sleeping bags x2||Gauis (1), Tessa (1), Ryan (2), Severus (4), Regan (9)|
|Reeva Olympia (14)||Curved Sword, empty canteens x2, sleeping bag||Camiren (8), Acacia (11)|
The Hunger Games - Bloodbath
Raylee Corlera - District 2
60, 59, 58…
Dead ahead of me, the Cornucopia seems welcoming. Well, it would be had it not been for the skull-shape. If it can intimidate the weaker tributes a bit, then it would serve us careers a huge advantage over the competition. But… I’m not bloodthirsty like them. And the instant they piece it together, I’ll likely be kicked out, or worse – Dead. I need to try not to - no; I won’t let it come to that. If I try to think positively for once, maybe I can win this.
I try to imagine Crimson, Megan and Ignus watching me, cheering me on. They’d be there, supporting me not matter what. They’d be telling me that it isn’t killing, just an act of justice. If I remember that, then I won’t panic too much.
I face the clock again when something comes into view – A bow, with some arrows beside it. It’s exactly what I need to conquer these games.
Cole Neuk - District 13
I don’t see him. Ace (8) is out of my line of sight. He is nowhere near me on the plates, meaning he must be on the other side of the cornucopia. It would’ve been nice to have him nearby, but I’m perfectly fine on my own. As long as I gather some supplies for us and he grabs a weapon, we should stay on our feet for a good few days. But it all depends on which backpack I choose. Most of the best supplies are at the cornucopia, so I should go there. Despite the ‘lovely’ company of the careers, I think I could go in there and find one.
It’s only when I turn my head sideways that I figure out my plan might not go according to plan; Both Severus (4) and Ryan (2) are besides me. They’ll fight me for the supplies. If I have to, I will do so. I don’t fear them. All I am is cautious.
My face contorts to show off my deep determination. Now they know I won’t go without a fight.
Camiren Paisley-Idywyld - District 8
This is it. I’m going to participate in a game where my Uncle happens to be head Gamemaker of. And he’s trying to throw the odds away from my favour.
The careers will likely target me, because of my high score. Of course the Idywyld clan will want me to become a target and die quickly. I rebelled against their morals, all because they clashed with mine. Neither one ended up overthrowing the other in the end, but ideas can die down if the creator of them passes on. That must be their current view on this.
There are also a few things I find discomforting – First of all, my training score is higher than it should be. Secondly, I’m nowhere near my allies. Finally, all the supplies seem to be as far away from me as possible. It’s evident that my family hate me to the point where they want me to have as little chance of surviving as possible. Well I have big news for them –
I’m going to survive and prepare for my homecoming, just as I promised.
Severus Seaclan - District 4
That exact moment the gong sounded off, I took off of my plate, Ryan (2) not too far behind me. It’s a truckload of activity as the other tributes take off in a variety of directions. None of them immediately flee the bloodbath, which means more fun for my fellow careers.
“Ryan! Ensure the anti-careers don’t grab any supplies!” He nods at me, just as Camiren (8) claims property of a backpack. “And quickly!” He gives chase, chasing after her with his nimble speed. He’s fast, but she’s even niftier. He could do with some help, but I wouldn’t reach either of them in time. Bearing this in mind, I grab a trident, holding it tightly in my hand.
The D7 boy charges in my direction, a backpack dangling from his hand. I hold my trident aloft when he changes direction, towards an axe. He’s quite close to it, but so am I. Just as he grabs hold of it, I throw my trident at him. It misses his back, which was where I was aiming for, but it does penetrate his skin on the calf. He ends up tripping forwards, the axe raised above his head. Then as he plunges down to the ground, something unthinkable happens – Somebody runs around the corner, just as the axe sinks into their head. The boy regains his composure and runs as fast as he can towards his district partner, who also holds a backpack.
Seeing no other tributes, I check out the body. But I’m surprised at who it is; Raylee (2). The games have only just begun, and the first death is a career. Gosh darn it. We really need to do much better than that.
Freya Winters - District 5
As the madness evens out all around the cornucopia, I duck behind a crate for shelter. That way, if anybody gets dangerously close to me, I can flip it onto them and flee. However, I would have to abandon Cassie (0) if needed. She may be my ally, but my life is just as important as hers.
Carefully, I dip my hand into the crate and pull out a half-empty canteen of water to hide in my backpack.
I steal a moment to peer around the crate and to check on Cassie. But she’s fine at the moment, stealing two backpacks around the busy areas. Yet I’m still concerned, as she’s trapped between Aera (13) and the girl from 4. Both are major threats.
I exchange my frightened glance in return for Cassie’s one. But then Aera turns away from her… towards me. She starts to sprint, a machete in hand. I fling the crate, only for her to dive out of the way. I quickly spring up, causing a small twinge in my knees. I’m suddenly weak, like I was with my emotions.
All of a sudden, I’m stood on a cliff with Aera opposing me. I feel myself shiver, but it becomes more vibrant when the machete gleams murderously in the sun. I almost step back when I realise I’m against the edge. I can either die fighting, or give it all up.
Unexpectedly, Cassie bounds into Aera from a set of rocks. She holds a spear in her hand, swinging it against her abdomen. Aera effortlessly deflects it with her machete and aims a stab at her chest. Cassie dodges it, and soon it becomes a massive fight. I gawk as each one suffers big wounds, but Cassie seems to have the upper hand. She’s just about to throw it and finish her off, when the machete slashes her neck.
And that is when the cliff disappears and is replaced by the arena.
I blink in confusion at my hallucination. But then I look down to see Cassie, lying on the floor. With a wound in her neck. Aera towers over her, a triumphant grin on her face. Other than the setting, it was no hallucination – Reality sure is a pain in the backside. I start to crawl away, when her piercing eyes glare at me. Seemingly unfazed, she heads towards me. But she doesn’t take into account Cassie’s body, and trips over. I’m frozen on the spot, expecting her to jump back up and chase me. But she doesn’t. It’s a case where all the fight in her has been zapped out. She’ll either be skewered on the end of a weapon, or left to bleed out. It doesn’t matter to me though.
I stare at Cassie’s corpse for one last time, before taking off. And all the way, the tears come and chuck down onto the grass and mud below me. It’s my fault she’s dead – Had I just let Aera kill me, she would not have sacrificed herself.
Caliban Rweed - District 3
What the hell am I doing?! All day, I haven’t even touched a grain of crack or any other drugs! This… this doesn’t feel right. Feeling… red. Tension… rising. Mind… diffusing. Everybody shall pay for splitting us up!
The boy from 11 ducks down to allow himself to pick up a sword, only infuriating me – That was the last thing I needed to come into possession of! In my sudden burst of anger, I charge him head-first when his back is turned. Somehow though, he doesn’t tumble. The only impact I had on him was making him drop the sword. He bends to salvage it, when I deliver a fierce kick to his ribs.
“You ain’t getting what’s rightfully mine, motherf*cker!” I swing the sword at him, but it somehow ricochets. Then I see it – A sickle. I’m just about to slice it out of his hands when he sprints off, carrying a backpack with him. F*ck.
My legs take off after him, only to trip over another backpack. It tumbles over, as does a pile of apples. Nothing useful for me. Or at least at first glance.
I reach out and bite off parts of the apple, storing all but one of the tid-bits in my jacket. With the solitary one, I hide it in my mixer and start the process of creating the drugs. But before I can finish, another sword swings right next to me. I hear the infuriated growl of Gauis (1). There’s no way I’m allowing him to get the better of me. The ensure this, I fling myself up and kick my leg behind me. He almost howls in pain, as I seem to have got him right in the crotch.
After a swift dose of cocaine, I run off with my supplies. But just as I’m about to cross the lava river, I notice that there’s something missing. With a slow peek behind of me, I see Gauis with two swords. One was originally his, but the other one was mine. I curse out loud for not checking. Before I can duel with him for it, the career leader points in my direction to another of his proxies.
“Oh sh*t!” And I’m off and running. This time, I don’t look back behind me.
Tessa Griffin - District 1
“Bull’s-eye!” Jalson (C) pumps his fists in glory as the girl from 6 slumps to the ground, an arrow lodged in the centre of her chest. For some reason, she thought it would be funny to test a career to see if she could steal supplies literally under their nose. So I’ve had to distract her and call Jalson over to finish her off. I don’t have to feel bad about ending the life of a kind-hearted girl. But now I’m going to do the unthinkable – I’m going to backstab one of the careers. Call it a suicide mission, but I’m not the kind who would fit in with them.
I’ve already plotted about which one I should bump off. And it’s undoubtedly Jalson. He’s a major threat, can be annoying at the worst of times and easy to trick. There’s one thing that will ultimately convince him to trust me, which, with any luck, will lead to his downfall.
“Jalson! I think I saw Ace in the cornucopia!”
“What, are you for real?!”
“Of course I am! I’m your ally! It’s not like I’m an anti-career.”
“Fair enough then.” He shrugs, turning away from where Ace (8) actually is. Neither of them have seen the other, which works out well in my books.
As we step into the marble skull, Jalson starts staring at everything perplexedly.
“I thought you said you saw Ace in here!”
“I did. I didn’t say that I knew.” Jalson starts muttering at how my insanity ‘Will be the end of me’, setting off a new fire in my heart. Insanity can be a deadly weapon, but it also serves as a method of forgetting the true realities of the world. “Say Jalson, do you think you could move those crates for me please? I’m not as strong as you are, and I think that a tribute is hiding in one.” His only response is to shrug, starting to tug at the crates effortlessly. It’s now or never.
My sinister shadow looms over him as he fakes a yawn of boredom. I raise the spear and point it towards his chest, when he suddenly spins round and glares at me. It turns into one of horror though, as it inserts into his shoulder. He grits his teeth in pain, just as I make another blow. This time, he holds onto the spear with both his hands, just like mine are. We try to shoves the other into a wall, making war faces at one another. But due to his injury, Jalson is held at a disadvantage. Using some of his force, he knocks me back and places a hand on his shoulder. But that soon falls back to his side as the tip breaches his chest, into his heart. He starts to cough up blood before slumping to the ground. His eyes glaze over, tearing up and blinking slowly before they remain immobile. I’ve-I’ve actually done it. But now I must cover up my tracks.
I wipe the end of my spear onto his jacket, checking around me for any of the other careers. Luckily, none of them arrive. I replace my proud face with one of shock and start to scream.
“Jalson! What the hell happened?!”
Ace Merciless - District 8
The careers flock inside the cornucopia, leaving me by myself with Cole (13), two alliances and a loner. I would have shot them all by now, had it not been for the problem that’s implicated with the actions – I haven’t been able to see a single crossbow all this time.
My fire of hope has almost dwindled to nothing, when Billie (5) knocks over a crate whilst obtaining a bag. Several items falls, including water and rope. But the two most important items also come into view – A crossbow, and some bolts. A smirk replacing the once cold expression on my face, I deftly sprint towards the items. And once I do so, I flee the area and head to the lava river.
After some light footwork over the logs, I load the crossbow with one of the bolts. It feels like it was made for me.
‘I hope the gamemakers and audience are in for a spectacular performance.’ I think to myself as I carefully position myself in one of the bushes. Just as I do so, I’m met with the familiar sight of fiery red hair.
“Cole!” He begins his jog towards me, when his head suddenly splits from his body. Because of this, the backpack he was carrying had been dropped to the ground, only to be picked up by his killer – Thamos Keeper (14). I start to aim t him, when I notice that’s he’s too far for me to snipe. Due to this, I grunt in great annoyance. “Well, at least that’s one less mouth to feed. And it proves that he was weak after all.” I mutter to myself. “Still, the supplies would’ve been great.” I force myself to clam up after the pair from 12 and the boy from 6 safely cross the borderline with their supplies. Now I’ve just wasted two more opportunities. But a massive one decides to enter my territory, thankfully. For the young tributes alliance is on its way to death.
Belinda Wren - District 10
We’ve had a lucky bloodbath, what with 3 backpacks and 2 weapons among us. Sammy (10) offered to watch the only young tributes, Vernon (0) and Keila (3). I don’t know if he sees it, but there’s something about Vernon that I can’t quite put my finger on. One moment he’s feisty, and the next he keeps whimpering like a little boy. It all seems off in my view. Because of my suspicions, I’ve been trying my best not to be left alone with him all this time.
“Woah guys.” I ward them back with my hand as I peer down at the steaming hot stream of lava. Were someone to dip their foot in there, they would likely be left with only one left. Luckily, two set of logs lay not too far apart.
“Listen up! This is what we’ll do – Vernon and Belinda will take the log to the left, whilst the rest of us head right. Understand?” I set my sights squarely on Vernon for a moment at Alluria’s (C) instructions. Nonetheless, I follow them.
I allow Vernon to go first, watching as he nearly falls off due to lack of balance. On impulse, I step onto the log and reach out to grip Vernon’s hand. The shaking rate lowers before completely stopping. I sigh in relief as we continue our little stroll across the log, until we’re finally on the other side.
At the moment, I hear the sound of something being fired. A bolt sails through the air, headed towards Vernon’s head. But it doesn’t meet that area. Instead, I feel someone trip me up, causing me to take it in the chest.
My life flashed before my eyes as I recalled the times with Sable and Fauna, playing with them and the other young children of the district. We’re all laughing. Smiling. And most importantly, we’re all bonded. The copious amount of games I’ve had with them also make an appearance, with a maximum of one scene per game. What they all have in common is that everybody is happy. But nobody will be like that after death comes on swift wings.
I hear a small thud as my body lands on the grass, before nothing can be seen. Or heard. Or felt.
Jack Casey - District 9
“But why the hell don’t we have many supplies?! Camiren, I thought you could’ve at least got two backpacks and a weapon with a high score in training!” It’s terrible. I’m mad at my allies. I’m mad at the careers. I’m mad at everybody for different reasons. It’s not what I want to happen, but nature has a funny way of deciding how a person should act.
“That’s because my family has a big influence over training scores and odds. They’re purposefully making me look like a target in order to gain more attention. I’m not the one who deserves a 12 in training.” Somehow, Camiren’s (8) explanation doesn’t induce me into calming down again. Despite this, I find myself using a monotone voice.
“That sounds ok, I guess. Now I suggest that if you all don’t want an encounter with our counterparts, you should all just escape. I’ll hold them back.
“But Jack!” Acacia (11) starts telling me to snap out of it whilst Reeva (14) giggles to herself and sprints off. Camiren gives me a glum look before following behind her. Acacia reluctant faces away from me and follows the other girls, leaving just myself and the careers.
They all come charging in, brandishing their weapons. The only ones I don’t see are the girl from 2 and the boy from the Capitol. But I’m still heavily outnumbered.
“It looks like we have some meat here. One that’s about to bleed and become tasteless and-“
“Shut it, Gauis! Let Severus do his thing.”
“What thing?” As the careers silently bicker about themselves, I tip-toe away from them. Occasionally, I look back to see whether or not they follow close behind me. And for none of the journey, they do.
In a matter of seconds, the ground beneath me gives way to reveal some kind of hot liquid. I immediately holler in pain, beginning to thrash my arms about wildly. A lot of my skin starts to peel off, as well as other major body parts.
After a few seconds of being melted into tribute soup, I see the whole world fade to nothing.
Day 1 Aftermaths
Bryony Mapleblossom - District 7
I feel like a mouse right now – Small and vulnerable. Not only are the trees as tall as skyscrapers, but I’m easy to take out. After all, I have to support Hawthorne (7). Thanks to that jerk Severus (4), I’m lugging him around like dirty laundry. The viewers know that I can easily use axes, so they’
“Hawthorne, I’m just going to sit down, ok? That way, we both can take a break.” Hawthorne’s response is to sigh with relief and slump down again a tree. Immediately, he flinches in pain as some of the rough bark scrapes against his wound.
“Crap, I forgot about that. I just hope it was worth obtaining that backpack and axe.”
“Oh, I’m sure it will be!” I give him a quick kiss on the lips before slinging my backpack to the floor. He almost imitates me not even one second after. Alongside the two bags, he drops the axe that led to his injury.
I reach over for the bag I acquired, unzipping it to reveal the contents that are gathered. The result: A small knife, some rope and a net. When combined with the apples and biscuits in Hawthorne’s bag, the supplies aren’t that bad. But we still need the other two necessities of life – Water and shelter.
“Well… it looks like we still have a small amount of time to spend together until one of us dies.” I say, taking one of the biscuits to munch on. It tastes creamy and sweet, just like Hawthorne. However, he seems terrified.
“Bryony… you must listen to me right now. I’ve lost you once already. I’m not going to lose you again,” He continues with a small sigh. “I wish that there were some way we could win together without the Capitol believing we’re rebelling against them. But when the time comes, I’ll give up my life for yours.”
“Hawthorne!” I cry out loud. “Have you gone out of your mind?! I’m in the same predicament – I don’t want to lose you! Heck, you have to win. For Ciara. If I win… she’ll hate me for allowing you to lose your life to see mine alive. I wouldn’t be able to cope with the pressure. Not only from that unbearable change, but from her never forgiving me.” I felt my heart slowly sink at my small speech, knowing that the glum sadness will flow over the boundary that holds my emotions in check. And when it does, I feel even more useless. The only purposes I know I have is a) To keep Hawthorne from dying, no matter what, and b) To be a performing monkey for a bunch of nutters in a deadly competition.
“Hush now babe,” He says soothingly. “Life may be a cruel and unforgiving aspect, but it does give us those golden opportunities that we have to reach for. It brought you to me, and vice versa. It’s being even more generous by offering us freedom, yet it doesn’t give us directions on how to achieve our goals. However, it doesn’t have to end with one of us dying for the other. For all we know, it could be luring us to a path where we’ll all be together. We won’t ever be apart then. It will be just you, me, Ciara and anybody else you wish to join our humble abode in the afterlife.” I almost snatch the option to heed Hawthorne’s words and let my troubles lay. But as he said, reality can drag my mood to an all-time low. This is no exception.
“I-I guess you’re right.” I find myself leaning close to him. “I would love to hear more, but I really think we should be creating a makeshift shelter first, ok?” His response is almost immediate.
“Yes. We should.”
Billie Green - District 5
My legs fly like a bird as I deftly sprint further from the nightmares of the bloodbath. My bag incessantly strikes down on my calves, almost causing me to trip over at certain points. Already, I feel my skin become raw and dry from the friction. Every three steps, I receive pain that’s two times as bad as it was before. With this in mind, I halt at a point where four trees twist around one another and form another tall one. The area below it would be safe and warm, but other tributes could easily camp there.
I throw up my bag and hang it on one of the lower-hanging branches. Then I swiftly clamber up one of the trunks.
Once I finish what I started, I reach down for my bag and free it from the clutches of the branch. I then proceed to open the Velcro, when a new thought comes. I gulp as I realise what it is.
I’ve just been reaped. My eyes go runny and release the waterworks inside. Mother hugs me and hands me a coin that I had found one day. I was going to use it to buy food, but it came from the 21st century. The oldest known coin to still be in mint condition.
“Mother… I’m going to do whatever it takes to survive. I’ll kill only if I’m confronted by a hostile tribute. It will be hard and I’d rather ally with them, but I can do so if necessary. I’ll hide away from the tributes and stay low. And most importantly of all, I’m going to leave the bloodbath empty-handed. No bags, no weapons, nothing at all.”
“Ok then. And remember that if you win, it’s for me and your dear father.” I shudder in repugnance as she lavishes kisses after kisses on my forehead. “Until then, see you soon.” Despite her showers of mortification, I still find myself smiling back.
“See you soon, mother.”
I almost choke as I realise that I’ve broke the most important of my promises. I said that I’d avoid the road to early death to ensure my survival, yet here I am with a backpack.
“I’m sorry mother,” I whisper. “I said I wouldn’t go for it, but I did. At least I managed to escape alive.” I lower my head as an apologetic sign and lean against another large branch. The leaves around me cloak my presence, so I’m fairly confident that no one will find me unless I flee.
The contents spill out to reveal an awl and some rope. I sigh hopelessly, knowing that food and water are much more important. However, I do have vitality of life number three: Shelter. Feeling disappointed at how it could’ve been much better, I try to fall asleep to abandon my woes.
Just as I’m about to drift off, the sound of snapping twigs vibrates in my ears. Snap! Snap! Snap! Unable to bear my inquisitiveness calling me to it, I keep my eyes peeled in the direction it is coming from. And sure enough, there are other tributes nearby. I’m unable to take notice of any details, so I’m uncertain as to which pair they are. The pair from 6, maybe?
“Justice, I’m certain that this thingy is going to come in handy!”
“What in heaven’s earth is it though?”
“No idea. But if it was worthless, I’m certain the Gamemakers wouldn’t provide it in the hunger games.”
“Ok then, Caitlynne…” I try to think of which district has tributes named Justice and Caitlynne, but nothing comes to me. Oh well, it’s not like it matters or anything.
But it does…
With this cryptic notion, I’m further puzzled. It could mean anything. For all I know, it could be because there are yodelling squirrels that announce the remaining tributes after the end of each day. But it could be the simple fact that I could ally with them. They might have what I need; I might have what they need. Combined, it could assist them and me. There are benefits to it that just can’t be ignored.
First of all though, I need to get to know them better. And since they seem to be camping out just below me, I get the feeling that it’s going to be easier than anticipated.
Regan Lee - District 9
“Merry Christmas fellow careers, we’ve taken control of the cornucopia… just like the past 97 career packs have.” I look over the freshly-painted battlefield, complete with littered sprinkles of blood and bodies. Seven bodies to be exact. Two of them belong to us careers. Raylee Corlera (2), the first death of these games. Such a pity, especially since she was our best long-distance fighter. And then down fell Jalson Riveras (C). Whilst he was an annoying little bastard, he was useful. Heck, I would have preferred it if he survived over Tessa (1) any day! She’s not smart, she’s not strong and it’s a big wonder how she even got the same score as me!
“I don’t think the careers have been that successful. There were those odd games were the weaklings beat us. But that’s only because they got lucky. Anyways, let’s see what the Gamemakers bought for us as a present for these donations to the blood factory.” We file together into one line, with Severus (4) and Ryan (2) at the front, whilst myself and Tessa are at the back. I feel like mumbling for being stuck with such a b*tch, but something seems to shine into my mind. Something that has just exploded as if I overlooked it for ages. Yes… It could work.
“Tessa, hold on.” I pull her back by one of the shoulders as the others stare at me in confusion. “It’s ok. I just want to talk about something unimportant. Continue your scavenging.” I say. They remain on the spot. “Are you deaf or something? I only asked for Tessa, not the rest of you.” As if they’re mindless dummies, they remain in spot. I’m just about to mentally face-palm and slap them all, when Severus finally breaks my tension.
“Fine Regan, we’ll leave the two of you be. Just don’t think about striking a secret alliance.”
“You’re too paranoid, gramps!” Tessa giggles. “She probably just wants to ask if she wants to be on guard duty with me when the anthem plays or something!” Severus still doesn’t seem convinced, yet he leaves us alone nonetheless.
“So what’s up, Regan? Is it what I just said? Is it? Is it? Is it?!”
“Calm down, Tessa!” I whisper-yell. “It’s more serious than that! I know it was you who killed Jalson!” Lie. We have no idea who the killer is, but we believe it to be his little rival. It had to be a strong non-career tribute, and Ace (8) is the only one who would have a motive.
Tessa almost looks guilty though. Her head bows down in shame, avoiding eye contact with me. But then she lifts her head and responds with a bright grin.
“Even if I did, you don’t have evidence to back your crazy little idea up!” She almost drives her messed-up mind to chuckle of all things. I see her trying to hold it into her lungs, so I have to stomp hard on her foot to get her to lose the smiles. She’s a career, not a baby!
“But your spear is freshly tipped with blood,” I point out a small splodge that drips from it with my bow. “And Jalson’s fatal blow came from one. Ace doesn’t use one; neither does the loner girl or the one who requires a mental asylum, last time I checked.”
“What about Camiren though?” She protests. My mind snaps. Despite her being the most distinct tribute out of this year’s batch, she didn’t seem that strong. I wonder…
“She’s weak, probably just bribed her Uncle or however she’s related to the head Gamemaker. And before you ask about any other strong tributes, I don’t remember them using a spear.” Now I’ve got the cat in the bag. Tessa sighs, gutted by the fact I have her pinned. There’s no way out for her.
“Fine! It was me.” The revelation almost sends me spinning a million miles away. Tessa betraying us? Whilst she seems to fit better with the other alliances, I’d never have thought she would backstab one of us…
“I’m surprised you took him out… Tell you what, I won’t tell the others.”
“Really?!” She almost seems cheery again.
“Yes. But in return, you have to tell them by day 3 what you did… Or I spill it to them. Got it?” Tessa dejectedly shuffles her feet and puts on her discontent mask. Feebly, she agrees to the terms.
“Good. Now remember –“
“Tell them about Jalson’s death by the third day. Got it!” She salutes me with another smile, almost as if she forgot half of what this entire conversation was about. Her innate perkiness is a… marvellous thing to say in the least.
“Everybody, get your bacon here!” We’re both caught by surprise when Thamos (14) begins a shout-a-thon. He keeps screeching that he found something, a case in which draws us to the site of disturbance.
“What in heaven’s name was all that racket for? Remember that we’re in a prehistoric arena, and there are dinosaurs much more deadly than gramps!” Severus once more rolls his eyes at Gauis’s (1) nickname for him. The joys of poking fun at our leader. Sounds like good fun. Almost as good fun as it is watching Gauis – Trip over a body? It has Severus smirking like karma was in his favour.
“Old coot or a clumsy talkative oaf? I think I’d rather be the first one, probably much more deadly in ways than you could imagine.” Once more, the party-hard atmosphere dies to the deadly weapon of Ryan’s words.
“Same here. And besides, there can be – Oh god!”
“What, what is it Emilia?” I ask. She doesn’t respond, but merely points at what should be a corpse. But instead, it bleats wearily and tries to get up. However, its limbs are like jelly. They’re alive…
“Bagsy getting a kill! Thamos shouts.
“What, no! You already got one! Besides, I need to exact revenge on this, this – thing!” Gauis almost falls over the undead tribute yet again as he disputes it with Thamos. Then Tessa invites herself to play peacekeeper, Severus and Ryan doing the same. I exchange a look with Emilia (4), who lazily twirls her finger around her head. We keep nodding in each other and I turn back to the new battle.
It still continues, with Ryan and Severus failing to change the focus of the two T’s and Gauis to them. But when the sound of a cannon comes, everyone hushes down. They turn their attention point to the random tribute, just as Emilia plucks out her trident from the tribute’s back.
“I just thought I’d break up the drama by taking the kill. You obnoxious toddlers need to grow up, or none of you will survive. Trust me; maturity can be a big factor.”
“Wait… does this mean we now have a Gramps and a Grandma?” Gauis confusedly looks from the district 4 tributes. “Then who would be the plain-Joe adults and children?” Tessa almost detonates with laughter.
“Hmm… Considering what just happened, Ryan and Regan are mature responsible adults whilst you, Tessa and Thamos can be children… Although Thamos is the teenager, Tessa’s the middle-child and Gauis is the toddler in diapers.” Emilia says with a smirk.
“Oh goody! I can annoy Thamos, that way!” Tessa giggles, poking Thamos arms. If looks could kill, his glare would probably strangle Tessa to death.
“This isn’t an actual family, but no matter! First, I want to know who Emilia just killed. Then we can organise the supplies fairly and prepare for the new day. No objections?” Severus almost breathes with relief. “Good! Emilia, who did you kill?” She lifts up the head of the tribute and only has the need to look at it for 5 seconds.
“Aera Ekiert. The district 13 girl. I guess that’s one less threat to take care of.”
“Yes… and 16 others in different alliances to go.”
Vernon Payne - District 0
“Do-Do we really need to go in there?” I ask, putting on a shaky and frightened voice.
“Until we can find better shelter, then yes.” Alluria (C) glances upwards at an arc that looms eerily over us. Slight patches of fog and mist envelop the area behind, creating an impression that ghosts inhabit the ruins. But what truly interests me is the boneyard arch that reveals the location: It’s almost like a giant built it with his own hands. There’s no way the bones piled themselves up, or any member of mankind for that matter. But then again, the Gamemakers can do practically everything.
“Don’t worry Vernon – The best shelter is often in the not-so-pleasant places. As long as we muster up the courage to remain here, everything should be fine.” Sammy (10) Places his hand on my shoulder, looking down at me with a replica of a reassuring smile. However, even Sammy seems unsure with our decision to head inwards. I see it in his eyes. I feel it in his soul.
Not even shaking with nerves, Alluria takes a step into the highway to hell. With no emotion, she absorbs every little tinker that the Gamemakers have added. After gesturing to us that it’s absent of any danger, the rest of us take tedious steps into our new home.
Keila (3) whimpers quietly as we pass a set of half-excavated bones. Where the eyes should be, each skeleton stares wickedly at us. Sammy finds himself caught in the trance of each soulless eye socket. I, on the other hand, find myself laughing inside about how fake they look.
“Ahh! Sweet heavens, I just saw a red light!” Like a banshee, Keila begins to shriek and panic about how the Gamemakers are about to set a trap for us. Keila speeds through alleys of mountainous fossils. Her eyes whelm with tears, just as she wraps her arms around my waist. I feel uncomfortable with this gesture, yet I allow Keila to remain there. “Vernon, we’re going to die!” As she starts blubbering about our death, I shake my head.
“Keila, I’m certain that’s not a trap! Now snap out of it, or we may appear weak!” I reluctantly look down and see her eying me in horror. “I mean, umm… I’ll check it out. Yeah.”
“But Vernon! That is definitely a trap!”
“A trap?” I ask. Keila nods as she points towards the source. Slowly, I waddle towards it and start to poke the bones. All of a sudden, I see it. But I continue to examine it. I immediately decipher what it is, and I chuckle slightly. “Looks more like a camera to me!” I begin to slap my knee in laughter. Was Keila really that paranoid? What a wimp!
“Oh, that’s it?” Keila shuffles her feet in awkward shame. “I guess I should’ve paid more attention. But thanks for checking it out!” Any previous symptoms of anxieties that Keila had now vanished, her bubbly side revealing itself from the pessimistic mask it once wore.
She makes a run towards our allies, seemingly not keen to be left behind. But I linger behind on purpose. They don’t notice as I pull out the one thing I managed to obtain during the bloodbath – My knife. I promised my allies that I wouldn’t compete, but my mentor persuaded me to at least find something to keep for myself. And I knew it had to be the knife when I laid my eyes on it. I can backstab one of my allies if needed. On the other hand, it would be more fun to pit them against one another with lies to cover the truth. But which one would be my best shot?
Due to her age, Keila seems way too soft and sweet to be a murder. I don’t think I would be able to lure her into becoming the ‘false culprit’. There’s also something about her that… I don’t know. Although I’m out for myself, I don’t think I could bring myself to end Keila’s life. Sammy would be easy to manipulate, but I don’t think he would bring himself to become a killer. He could do some heavy damage, but not so much that it proves fatal for the victim. Alluria on the other hand is a problem. She would do anything to allow her allies to live, even if it meant killing one who was a backstabber. Maybe if she appeared guilty, then that will hopefully lead to Keila and Sammy losing her trust. We could go off and do what we wanted to do, leaving Alluria to fend for herself… All I have to do is mortally wound one of us and point the finger of suspicion to her. But it either has to be me or Sammy. And since I need the strength to begin the manipulation, it has to be Sammy. Nothing can go wrong! Well, unless he dies from his wounds. But I highly doubt it.
“Vernon! Are you coming?”
“Erm… yes! I’ll be there in a minute!” I start to pick up the pace, smirking along the way. I have the ultimate plan, I have the ideas. Nobody can stop me – The tribute that will survive with the success and divine riches! Before then though, I have a few obstacles in the forms of the other tributes.
“The lot of you better watch out…” I whisper to myself. “Very soon… all of your worlds will end.”
Acacia Spruce - District 11
After the events of the bloodbath, I’m not proud of our results. Jack’s dead, bringing our numbers down to three. I haven’t been able to collect anything from the bloodbath due to multiple attacks made on me and my allies. And worst of all, we only have two empty canteens, a sleeping bag and a curved sword that Reeva (14) gathered. And to think that we would’ve had at least a small chance of surviving…
“This is complete bullsh*t!” Camiren (8) shouts aloud, throwing her bag to the ground. “Not only do the Gamemakers rig the training scores and odds to make me look like a threat, but they’re having fun torturing me with the lack of useful items! And it’s all because of my family tree!” She kneels over on the floor, hiding her eyes with her hands. Reeva carefully lowers herself and pats Camiren’s back. She immediately swipes it away.
“I don’t want to hear it! There’s nothing good in this-this… cage! We’re being treated like animals!” Her voice softens to a slow whisper. “This is all my fault. It’s my fault you two are in this position; it’s my fault that my own family are out to kill me. Heck, it’s my fault that I’ve had to endure much pain in my journey. I wanna go home, to Ore!” Quietly sniffling, she curls into a ball. “I know we may be able to survive this, but the odds are grim.”
“Camiren-“I begin, but Reeva buts in.
“Camiren, snap out of it! We’ve all had pretty bad lives, but we cannot blame ourselves for it.” Reeva finds herself trailing off. Shaking my head, I continue her point.
“It’s not because of you that we’re lacking in proficient equipment – It comes down to luck of which bag you pick. And even if it didn’t come down to luck, then the Gamemakers shouldn’t have made it unfair for all of us. They’re trying to get you killed faster. About your family, it’s their choice on what their course of action is. You don’t even know if some of them support them, do you?” Camiren hesitates for a second, but she shakes her head slightly. “And do not believe you screwed up your life – We are the leaves in the wind. The wind takes us on our journey. Yours has been quite stormy, but you will find the right gust soon. Is that clear?”
“I-I guess so. But that doesn’t mean it’s fair for us! That changes nothing.”
“The past doesn’t matter.” I struggle to believe that a mature young woman like Camiren can’t accept life. “We may not be able to change it, but follow your instincts and a warm future will come near. Don’t beat yourself over it.” Camiren nods to show her knowledge, but her frown still hasn’t been turned upside-down. Her eyebrows are furrowed, as if she wasn’t entirely convinced. Nonetheless, I’ll have to stick with this.
“Hey! Check this out!” Reeva’s voice ahead of us attracts our attention. Camiren springs herself onto her feet and follows the sound waves. I’m not too far behind her.
“What is it, woman? If this is a chance to display a set of laughing fits, then this is no time to-“I pause as something squishy squelches beneath my foot. Cautiously peering down, I watch in disgust as a considerable amount of water weeds and moss slide down my boot. “Let me guess – You found the swamp that I just stood in.”
“Yup. And your reaction was priceless!” Another set of giggling from Reeva, and she’s slapping her knee.
“Ok, that’s enough you two!” Camiren drags us away from the swamp by our arms. She tugs tightly, but I don’t cry out in pain. At last, we reach a small palm tree and she lets us go.“This isn’t a funhouse for us, it’s for those who support the hunger games. Remember that we need to focus.”
“I’ve already managed to focus!” Reeva cackles slightly. “It looks like a dinosaur tried to sneak up on us during this weird conversation.” My heart skips a beat as I slowly turn my head. Sure enough, the corpse of the mutt lays there, its head having been lopped off. The curved sword Reeva holds is freshly draped in blood, several drips falling to the grassy ground. “I don’t think it’s edible, which leaves one thing to do.”
“Hide this carcass to cover any track of us being here.”
“Hehe, nope!” Without warning, Reeva poises her sword and… cuts into the mutt’s body? I stare at the newly engraved marks in horror as Reeva makes a variety of cuts. Many shapes are formed, until it is at last complete. The ending result is some weird picture. In its own strange way, the scenery created is quite beautiful.
“Did I just… see that?” Camiren asks, not entirely in her comfort zone.
“Yes! It’s pretty amazing, don’t you think?” Reeva lightly giggles to herself like a mischievous schoolgirl. The picture she made might be slightly elegant, but she just used a body for that. “Well, I guess we’d better make camp. I’ll gather the wood!” She skips cheerily into the woods, abandoning myself and Camiren.
“Remind me never to die anywhere near her.”
Justice Reigns - District 12
What do you get when you add one backpack, a strange contraption, some matches and an ally to aid you in a fight to the death? An utter disaster, that’s what! I knew we were basically screwed for in terms of the amount of equipment we had, but I never thought it could be this bad. No food. No water. Just matches for a fire and a gadget that we don’t even know what it is, let alone use it!
“We should probably find someone,” Caitlynne says. “They might have what we don’t and vice versa.” I shake my head slightly though.
“Most of the other tributes may not even use what we have if we were to make a trade.”
“I wasn’t thinking along those lines – I was simply suggesting that we find somebody else to ally with.” I’m shaking my head at all of this. While Caitlynne does mean well with her tactics, I can’t bring myself to agree with her. What if the person we allied with was a major backstabber? What if they were secretly insane and it rubbed off onto us? There’s so much that could go wrong. I try to voice my concerns, but Caitlynne laughs it off.
“Don’t be so silly, Justice! Do you really think nobody can be trusted when you haven’t abandoned me yet?”
“Well, I, err… It’s only because you’re the only tribute here who isn’t a complete stranger. I’ve seen you help the poor; I’ve seen you give up your time for others! Heck, you’ve entered mum’s store in order to help the residents! I know you want to be considerate, but this is the hunger games we’re in. Kindness doesn’t pay off in the end. It almost never does.” I sigh and lean back against a tree. If she doesn’t see my view, I may have to abandon her… but I can’t. That would make me no better than the careers or anybody else here.
“Justice… I see why you are afraid of this. You’ve never had any other kids to talk with. You’re not used to the real world, but you have to explore out of your comfort zone. Change what you do, but do not change who you are.” I allow her words of wisdom to sink into my mind for a moment.
I delve into a world where I allow three of the competition with us and yet remain introverted. They stare at me gratefully, but I cannot see myself responding. They keep asking what’s wrong, yet I keep hiding from them. Caitlynne is there too. She holds my hand, brings me comfort. After what felt like 3 minutes in an awkward silence, I shake my head thoroughly and apologize. The next thing I know, we’re all laughing and having a chat before one leaves, saying that they need something. We wait 5 minutes, and then a knife erupts from my back. The ally that left smirks, just as everything withers away into eternal darkness.
I break out into a cold sweat. No! I can’t let that happen! We’ll just die if we have friends with us! I can’t allow Caitlynne to make that mistake.
“Justice! I found a new ally!” Crap. No, no, no! This will not work out at all. Caitlynne may be kind, but she’s as stubborn as a mule. She’ll insist we stick with the tribute. It looks like I’ll have to go with it.
“Whilst you zoned out, I saw someone up in the trees and I requested an alliance with them, knowing that you wouldn’t mind. He accepted! Justice, meet Billie! Billie, meet Justice!” A short brown-haired boy reaches out his hand. Slowly, I grip his hand and shake it. Caitlynne smiles, probably thinking I was out of my mind when I went against it. I still am, but not so much. Billie seems nice enough, but there could be a different side to him. That’s the reason why I’ll be watching my and Caitlynne’s backs at all times.
Emilia Oswald - District 4
“Gather round guys! I have a plan!” Already, the career family trot over like horses. Severus smirks at us all. “It’s not original, but whatever. Some of us will go hunting, the others shall keep guard. I’ve already decided the groups. Anybody who objects will need to explain why or be killed. Everybody here should understand, so I won’t ask. I’ll go hunting with Emilia, Regan and Tessa whilst the rest of you defend our fort. Got it?” Severus (4) doesn’t even need to ask. Gauis (1), Ryan (2) and Thamos (14) already surround the Cornucopia. They stare at the supplies, in waiting to any idiotic thieves. Thamos, however, doesn’t pay too much attention. I barely have any time to spot what the other two are doing, due to the rest of my group slinking silently into the jungle. I almost have to run to catch up with them.
After a small amount of time spent walking, I notice Regan (9) and Tessa (1) whispering to one another. They seem to be deep in their conversation. I turn my head towards them, which somehow shuts them up. Glancing at them suspiciously, I can see that Tessa is the most frightened by my looks. Regan, on the other hand, seems unruffled.
“Just what are you talking about?” I ask.
“None of your business!” Regan snarls. Her voice speaks with toxins like cyanide. She’s probably mad that I intruded on her private business.
“If you don’t tell me, I’ll assume that you’re planning to plant a knife in us when we least expect it.” Almost instantly, Regan huffs. “What, aren’t you happy that I figured it out?”
“No, because you’ve got the wrong end of the stick!” Tessa interjects, but with her voice all shaky. “Regan is threatening to-“ Her voice goes muffled as her possible partner in crime blocks all sounds with her hand.
“Don’t mind her – She’s just nervous of my plan halfway through the games.”
“And what would that be?”
“Well, err...” She scratches her head – A sign that she’s lying. “I’ll... tell you on day 3. Yeah. I think it would play out better then.”
We’ve been on the move for a good hour or so. Everybody is trapped in the barrier of an awkward silence. Even Reeva and Tessa. Severus has been absorbed in his mind all day, when-
“Over there!” He points at a pile of bushes, rustling due to some movement. Carefully, we all approach it. One step... two steps... three-
Seven dynamic blurs of colour burst out from the bushes. With eyes red as a sunset and scales tougher than an ox, I wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of them. Daggers jut out from their hands, gleaming intensively. Thorns are wedged tightly into the tails. Their jaws widen, revealing – four layers of teeth per jaw? But worst of all, their mouth is big enough to gulp an entire human... somehow.
‘Velociraptor mutts!” I gasp. “Everybody, get in front of me! Run for your lives!” Nobody objects. Severus leads the way, soon trailed by Reeva and Tessa. I can still catch up with them, but I need to be prepared to serve myself as a sacrifice to the velociraptors.
All of a sudden, one bounds ahead of us and blocks the way ahead. Quickly glancing around, I see an exit that leads to somewhere barren.
“Go ahead! I’ll fend them off!” I exclaim.
“What?! No Emilia!” As Severus grabs my arm, I kick his shin. He curses loudly.
“I said I’ll fend them off! The others need your leadership!”
“But-ok!” My allies continue on through the jungle. I smile when I see they’re no longer in pursuit, but a sharp whip-like thing blows into my side. The air knocked out of me, I’m sent sprawling to the floor. My head suffers a bump, but I do not care. Then I feel something land next to me – The talons of death! It’s almost like how Jenny came close to dying, but managed to survive.
I can’t just leave myself as dino food! My sister needs me, even if she’s already proved her culpability to survive. Even though we’re safe in the victors village... what if future problems arise?
I launch myself onto my feet and prepare to meet the dinosaurs head on with my trident in hand. They seem surprised by my sudden challenge, which gives me enough time to eliminate two of the critters. But I’m not done yet.
A third one whips its tail towards me. It very nearly became the end of me, but I managed to stop it from striking my head by blocking it with my trident. However, it became a big struggle over who would earn it in their possession. In the end though, the loser is me. And I’m left with only one viable option – Begin running again.
I almost slip as I head towards the same pathway I pointed out a few minutes back. Behind me, the raucous screeches of the dinosaurs fall upon me. I run like I’ve never run before, only to feel the jaws of death clamp tightly around my ankle. In unity, the multiple rows of teeth dig in. I begin screaming in pain. It has a tight hold, and it will likely never let go. I can a sudden urge inside of me – The urge to survive.
I spin around quickly and punch the head of the mutt. It doesn’t do much but force the mutt to recoil a little. Seeing my chance, I use my strength to throw my body forwards. My ankle is left in searing pain. So am I. But I make it to my destination, by rolling over.
No longer being able to handle the pain, I look over my shoulder and expect the mutts to attack. They watch me sullenly, silently. They don’t follow though.
I sigh with relief. But a bigger horror comes when I look at my legs – One of my feet is missing, a ring of red liquid in its place. Green ooze pours out slightly from it, leaving me confused. What is it? Why is it there? It doesn’t matter though. What does is-oh God!
I can feel the tears welling up. Not because of the acute agony, but because of a completely different fact.
I may be alive, but I’m bleeding out and alone. Nobody knows I’m alive. By the end of the day, I could be a carcass for a coffin.
George Grain - District 11
The distant screams and roars have tensed me up even more than I have been before. From what it seems, the Capitol want the action early on to draw in more viewers. One would think that the bloodbath would be enough to satisfy the bloodlust inside. But alas, it seems our urge to see death grows stronger as the years pass. Just how far will the Gamemakers go? Not even they know themselves. They take everything in their stride. But I won’t.
I sigh and lean against a tree as I look at my scythe – The only item I managed to secure from the bloodbath. Had the careers not been there, I could have gotten more to further increase my chance of proving that I can win unlike that cheating b*tch! I need to prove to Sassafrass that being a lying scoundrel will get you nowhere. ‘But that’s not all you need to prove, is it George?’
My mind is also right. I need to prove to my father that I’m more than just a worker who slacks off all the time. His lashes are a daily reminder that I’ve been a worthless pile of junk to him all this time. But they’re also there to show that I’ve taken damage too. I’ve had past experiences with wounds before. Technically, I’ve been in the hunger games before I was even reaped. But nobody cares about me back home. I’m just another resident and worker to the agricultural landscape of district 11.
Twigs snap in the distance, echoing with a resonating sound. I freeze. It draws nearer to me. In a time to fight or flight, I’d be better off choosing to fight. But there are many tributes stronger than me, and even the mere sight of a mutt could be imminent. In either of those cases, I could easily die. I’m not going to stand around and twiddle my thumbs if it means my face will be illuminated at night. At the same time, I don’t think any action will get my anywhere. As strange as it seems, my saviour might be in the form of one of my weaknesses – Hiding. If my large size doesn’t give anything away, then I know I have become better-rounded.
I quickly dive into the nearby ferns and wait out for the grim reaper, whatever the form he takes on. Nothing seems to happen. I almost ponder on whether I should just run, but I’m not good at that either. Basically, I’m screwed.
I still see nothing. My eyes squint and, at last, I finally see the one who has heightened my attentiveness. It’s not a tribute, but it’s not a mutt either. They seem to be some kind of tribal person. Around their waist, they carry daggers carved from bone and a leather container of which I can assume stores ammunition. Dangling near that is a blowdart. In their hands is a spear. Their eyes harshly glare at the environment in their circumference of sight. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe they are actually one of the tributes in disguise.
But it doesn’t resemble any of us.
My thoughts halt as its beady eyes fall towards my area. I force myself to hold my breath, sure that even the tiniest of movements and sounds created will attract it towards me. It sheathes the spear into some compartment on its back and readies its blowdart. I lose hope in my veiled spot.
It treads slowly towards the same fern leaves I’m in. My hair and skin colour could’ve helped me be a tad more camouflaged, but I guess their falcon-eyes miss nothing. My scythe is still in hand, ready for combat if needed. My pulse quickens. The sweat falls. I pray to myself… and then it fires.
The dart hits me in the arms, nothing too fatal thankfully. I can barely feel it puncture my skin, but it doesn’t mean I use this as a chance to escape by delivering a quick slash to its chest. The person-thing dies almost instantly.
I quickly flee the area, not wanting to mess with more of whatever they were. I don’t travel far before I feel my eyelids droop down slightly. There must have been some kind of sleeping liquid in that dart – It couldn’t be poison though, that’s for sure.
My legs buckle, just as I reach a lava river. I lay next to it, exhausted by my efforts. I’m still alive… for now. Although my heart still beats and my blood still flows, it does not stop me from falling unconscious.
Reeva Olympia - District 14
“They’re catching up!”
“Crap! Curse my Uncle!” Camiren (8) shrieks. “I wish I was never an Idywyld in the first place!” Behind us are a bunch of dinosaurs no bigger than chickens. Their size may be a joke, but boy! Those things sure can cut! One slashed my ankle, making everything feel intense! I’m further back behind the others due to an injury, yet the gap between us isn’t that big at one metre. Every inch makes a big difference though. Who knows whether I’ll be caught or whether I’ll escape… other than destiny, of course.
“Can’t you just fight them off Reeva?” Acacia (11) asks. “You have the sword!”
“But they have the numbers!” I protest.
“But you have the fighting knowledge as well!”
“But I’m injured! I’m not in peak condition!”
“How about we just run and not speak to conserve the oxygen?!” Camiren suggests.
“Fine!” Me and Acacia chorus.
The chase continues for at least half an hour. By that point, we’re all losing stamina. It’s plummeting down the rabbit hole. If we don’t stop soon, we’ll have to duke it out. And with our energy nearly sapped to nothing, our faces would shimmer in the night sky. I’ll finally be a star… just like the one on my necklace. I would have liberated myself from the terror Kyle ignites in me. Thinking about it, death wouldn’t be so bad.
But I know I must live…
The reason I want to win is to see my nightmare in human’s skin being served justice. He may be my brother, but he’s totally screwed up in the head. Thanks to him, I have nearly lost the one thing I want that the cult have erased. Winning means therapy, which means I’m normal again. Maybe then, I can redeem myself. That could all be mine soon. After I win, my wish is their command. The only setback is that I’m not victor… yet.
“Guys!” Camiren points to some place ahead of us. I lean my head forward to catch onto what she wants us to do. When I see the thing in particular, I get an idea. “That lake might be our last resort, though I don’t know how…”
“Oh, it’s easy really! Just dive under the covers.” I say with a small giggle.
“Wait, what?!” Acacia appears sceptical. “But you guys know that I can’t motherfreaking swim!”
“You don’t have to – I just hope you have a good set of lungs on you.” I say. “For we’ll hide under and wait.”
“That’s much worse!”
“It’s all we’ve got! Unless you also have an idea.” Camiren says.
“Erm… no. But I’m not going in there!”
“Too late!” She almost screams as I lift her over my shoulder. She bangs her fists on my back pleading, no, demanding me to put her down. It doesn’t faze me at all.
The lake draws nearer. I warn Acacia to hold her breath and to keep calm. She doesn’t respond, but I think she knows what I’m about to do. Swiftly, I dive underwater just behind Camiren.
She starts thrashing about like a slippery eel. Tides are produced from her feral gestures. It takes the conjoined powers of both Camiren and me to hold her steady. And even then, we seem to struggle.
Just a few seconds later, we all rise from the surface. We seem to have lost the mutts. At first, I consider going back to the surface. But then Camiren drags me down. From below, I see the mutts return. They stare silently towards us for a few seconds. However, they don’t see us. The mutts give up searching and leave us alone. And at good timing too.
I relish the bland taste of the air and gasp several times. Camiren, although mimicking my actions, doesn’t seem as grateful. But Acacia is the one who is truly relieved.
“Thank you, for not killing us!” She shouts out loud. This time, there are more footsteps. She barely has any time to gain more air before we duck down again. This time, one solitary mutt has returned. I feel like killing the stupid thing for interrupting our enjoyment of the shackles we thought we had released ourselves from. I can’t be worse off than Acacia though.
In a similar case, it leaves us be. The instant we resurface, I brace myself for Acacia’s anger to break through. Sure enough, it’s already arrived.
“What was all that for?! Please that me that’s it. I can’t keep going under!”
“Hush…” I say. “I think they’re gone.”
“They better be.” She mutters.
I drag her back onto dry land. My clothes are absolutely drenched, but I don’t care. We’ve evaded the traps of the Gamemakers. Though it may seem rewarding just to survive, I have a feeling of what will happen: If we’re their primary target, they will surely be less lenient with their plots. Tomorrow is going to be nothing like today.
Sammy Barn - District 10
Everything is dark. Midnight draws near. The din that once marked the start of danger has now died to near-silence. Any noise left is a product of the other tributes’ movements and conversations with one another. Not that it serves me any better use. Anybody could be stalking us. Or anything…
Keila (3) giggles as she slides down the bones. One would think that such fossils would buckle under the pressure… but they remain intact. I’m willing to bet that they can serve us a good deal of contraptions rather than being displayed for show.
Alluria (C) also seems to have the same idea – She’s using a thin slab of stone to carve the bone into some kind of weapon. Vernon (0) watches like a bear cub would do so with a mother. He’s almost fascinated as the sharp edges are intricately whittled into shape. There’s nothing else for me to do, so I slowly crawl over and observe as well.
Just as I arrive, Vernon looks up at me. I nod at him, showing that I acknowledge him. He does the same, but for a second I catch something in his eyes – A spark of fury? Danger? Opportunity even?
Just as I glimpse towards him again, the fire has burnt out. At first, I’m confused. However I write this off as him trying to control the anger me must hold towards the Capitol. Still, it’s strange to see somebody so young hold resentment…
“So Vernon,” I begin. “What was your reaction to-“
He snaps his eyes back to the sky. Alluria also faces the same way and even Keila stops having fun to do the same. Hesitantly, I look in the same direction. The Anthem plays in the background. The newly deceased shall be revealed.
Alluria’s district partner appears. A career… so far so good. I never liked him anyway. Afterwards, Cassie’s (0) face fades in to take his place. I never knew her, but I wonder how Vernon would have reacted.
There’s no time to look though. The death of another career, Raylee (2) is revealed. It’s still good so far. Then the girl from 6 shines and I feel pity. She was so nice… but the kind at heart usually don’t last long at all.
They boy from 9 comes afterwards, and then the image of Belinda (10) projects through the night sky. Seeing the girl from 9 dead would also have been good, seeing as she was also a career. Alas, they still seem as fortified and formidable as ever. But Belinda... she would've been a loyal ally to the end.
I'm forced to stop thinking about her and instead, one final image rises in her place. The final death belongs to Aera (13), greatly shocking me. I would have expected her to last longer.
When everything fades, Alluria seems deep in thought. “Seven dead. Twenty five alive. It’s a wonder how some days the games start off so quickly and others are slow.”
“Of course, you being from the Capitol and all.” Vernon scoffs. Alluria almost glares at him for the statement.
“Just because I reside with them, it does not mean that I am one with them. They took away the tolerance I once had… and my sister .” She remains silent, breaking the atmosphere around us. Things seem a little tense, so I speak just to break the silence.
“We should get to sleep now. Tomorrow could be a long day for all we know. I’ll keep first watch.” Nobody objects. They just prepare for their sleep immediately.
My head nods quickly, awakening me from the nap I almost took. That could have been disastrous, not only for myself but for my allies. Imagine being the indirect source of your alliance’s survival completely vanishing even though it wasn’t intentional. Not good at all.
I keep my eye out for attackers, when I hear footsteps crunching on the leaves. My muscles tensed, I hold up the bone knife Alluria made. She gave it to me in order to help defend us all. I’m grateful for it; otherwise I would be the worst guard in the world.
Carefully, I trudge forwards. I’m at a disadvantage – Although I have a small idea of where they’re coming from, everything seems to echo off of the bones. Our attacker or attackers know where we are, but it’s not the same likewise.
And that’s the most terrifying part… what if they decided to kill my allies and then ambush me from behind?
Before I know it, a jacket is pulled over my head. I try desperately to call for help, but my screams are muffled on the leather. I desperately wave my knife in the feeblest attempt of self-defense. My hands are shaking. My heart is racing. I feel useless.
I feel metal cut into my legs. I kick out, both in instinct and in bigger hope that I would free myself. And yet I fail again. The same goes for when my arms are subjected to the injuries. More cuts are made, until at last they finish. I brace myself for more, but none come.
The jacket is pulled off my head. I try to catch the culprit in the act but I can’t see anything to identify them. I feel more disappointed and useless than ever, even more so when I see just how much blood has gone.
Needing a rest, I just let my eyelids fall. After the fear factor test I was put under, I deserve it.
|Placing||Name||District||Killer||Method of Death||Day|
|32nd||Raylee||2||Hawthorne (7)||Axe in head||1|
|31st||Cassidy||0||Aeralene (13)||Machete in neck||1|
|30th||Kaylay||6||Jalson (C)||Arrow in heart||1|
|29th||Jalson||C||Tessa (1)||Spear in heart||1|
|27th||Belinda||10||Ace (8)||Crossbow bolt in heart||1|
|25th||Aeralene||13||Emilia (4)||Trident in back||1|
I just don't think I'll be able to continue with these games. Over the past few months I haven't been very motivated, hence why the updates came weekly or bi-weekly. But now it's nearly been a month since the last edit and I don't want to drag something on for longer if I know I won't be able to finish it.
The 99th Hunger Games will come, but it likely won't be published until Late November- Early-Mid December time.
Where The Tributes Would've Placed
1st: Freya Winters
2nd: Severus Seaclan (Day 5)
3rd: Ace Merciless (Day 5)
4th: Caitlynne Glowers (Day 5)
5th: Gauis Wellwood (Day 5)
6th: Caliban Rweed (Day 5)
7th: Matthew Brown (Day 5)
8th: Keila Gonzales (Day 4)
9th: Vernon Payne (Day 4)
10th: George Grain (Day 4)
11th: Reeva Olympia (Day 4)
12th: Ryan Duke (Day 3)
13th: Thamos Keeper (Day 3)
14th: Justice Reigns (Day 3)
15th: Regan Lee (Day 3)
16th: Hawthorne Willows (Day 3)
17th: Bryony Mapleblossom (Day 3)
18th: Alluria Nexus (Day 3)
19th: Tessa Griffin (Day 3)
20th: Acacia Spruce (Day 3)
21st: Camiren Idywyld (Day 2)
22nd: Billie Green (Day 2)
23rd: Emilia Oswald (Day 2)
24th: Sammy Barn (Day 2)