(Warning: The following post depicts scenes of violence, using fictionalized examples of real people. Please do not read if you might find any of this offensive/disturbing. This narrative is for educational purposes only. Any references and ideas taken from the Hunger Games trilogy are the strict property of the brilliant Suzanne Collins).
If you don’t participate, your family dies.
Those thoughts rang through all their minds as they stood, throats dry, motionless on the platform that would soon rise up to send them into their deaths.
All but one.
Their minds raced as they struggled to remember battle tactics, survival techniques and the fact that once they rose up and waited for a single minute, their classmates would inevitably try and kill them. It was only a matter of when and how.
Some of them tried not to think of what was coming up. They instead chose to remember the moments before the Games. The reaping. The Capitol. The food.
Sean remembered the food. All his life he had lived in the poverty that was the District 5. Food was not an option. Neither was losing. He couldn’t lose this. Not after all his training. Not after his entire District placed their hopes on the spark that one of their tributes could be victor. Clayton, Sepehr, Sean, Leanne, Daniel and Toren, in each of their separate platforms waited, hoping that maybe, just maybe, they could be the one to come out alive.
On a completely separate platform, Emily waited. She hadn’t exactly been a hit during the Tributes Parade or her interview, and had only scored a simple 6.5 in training. She had never really had any special talents, but she had always been able to paint and draw and was fantastic at camouflage. But you can’t win with camouflage alone. Emily clenched her fists tightly, glancing up at the cement ceiling above her. She may not be able to win, but she would try.
Right from the start, there was one person who everyone thought would win. Derek. He was strong, he was from District 1 and he had charmed the entirety of the Capitol. The Tribute Parade had been a slight let down, the stylists for District 1 definitely not being as good as the stylists from District 4 or District 2, but he had shown them at training. He made sure to practice all his skills in front of the others, just to be sure that they would fear him.
And they did.
The other Careers (Districts 1 and 2), tried to ally with him before the Games had even started. There was no denying the fact that he was powerful, but there was also no denying his ruthlessness. If given the chance, he would kill.
Suddenly, without any warning, the platforms began to move, each tribute beginning to rise into the arena which would be their demise.
“Welcome to the first annual Talons Hunger Games!”
The platforms stilled, each tribute squinting in the sudden light, trying to adjust to their surroundings. They were standing in the middle of a field of grass, an enormous ancient stone city before them, practically crumbling before their eyes. Behind them was a forest, thick with every kind of tree, green and lush with life. The tributes looked around, dazed by the beauty of their surroundings. For a moment, all thoughts of death and murder disappeared out of their heads, but seconds later, the gong sounded and each tribute shot off their platform, scattering in all directions.
The first one to reach the cornucopia was Derek, to nobody’s surprise. He immediately armed himself with a large backpack, presumably filled with all sorts of food, water and weapons, and a sword that was almost as long as his own arm. The moment he turned around, the deadly extension grasped firmly in one hand, other tributes began swarming the cornucopia. Within seconds, cannons roared as people began to fall. But others survived the deadly weapons of their former classmates and went racing into the surrounding area, swearing that they would not die today. Jonny was among these people. He grabbed a bow and a backpack, and then took off.
For a moment though, he stopped at the edge of the city and turned back, looking at the Cornucopia. Derek stood there, surrounded by the bodies of Jess, Katie and Isaac. Jonny stopped for a second and stumbled backwards, realising that they were gone. Dead. Forever. He shook his head, seeing Derek turn towards him, and ran; completely unaware of the fact that someone was following him.
Daniel knew he wouldn’t survive. He was going to try and hold on as long as he could, but he wasn’t able to defeat all these people. The odds weren’t in his favour. That was why his plans had always been to follow someone stronger than him. Hence why he was following Jonny, who he had seen escape with his life, not to mention a rather appealing backpack and bow.
They moved quickly through the abandoned city, not stopping for anything. Daniel guessed that Jonny was scared of someone following him. Oh, if only he knew. What if he did know, though? Would they become an alliance? Would he kill him outright? Probably the latter. He had nothing of use to Jonny, no supplies and enough skills to count on one hand.
Daniel was so lost in thought that he almost didn’t realise that Jonny had stopped. He realised just in time to stop and leap behind a boulder. Crouching as low as possible and peering through a chink in the stone, he watched Jonny scout around and look for any followers.
Jonny unzipped his bag and spilled the contents onto the floor around him. The amount of items in the bag was astounding. Food, water, a small tarp, even a dual set of knives! Daniel was suddenly so aware of his dry throat and empty stomach that he couldn’t help adjusting himself slightly, wondering if he could lunge forward and grab something, then make a run for it. He should have known better.
A rock fell to the ground and Jonny whipped out his bow and aimed it directly at Daniel, who slowly stood, hands above his head.
“Don’t kill me… please…”
Jonny didn’t move, his face remaining still and emotionless.
“I’m sorry, Daniel. My family will die if I don’t participate.”
Daniel lowered his head and whispered, very softly,
And with a swift movement of Jonny’s hand, the arrow flew from the bow and Daniel was gone.
Jonny turned away from Daniel’s body, beginning to run. He didn’t want to be reminded of what he had done. He wanted to find water. And hours later of weaving in and out of the rubble, he did.
Jonny was beside himself with glee. A pool. A swimming pool. He could hardly believe it. And it was clean water. CLEAN. As in WITHOUT chlorine. Oh, he was so going to win this. Jonny pulled off his shirt and dived into the water, loving the cool feel of the water around him. After doing a few laps of the pool, wondering if it was possible to love something this much. Suddenly, there was the sound of crashing and rocks falling. Jonny quickly ducked under water and slid to the deep end of the pool, watching carefully.
With a pang, Jonny saw Sepehr racing into the area. He immersed himself almost entirely into the water, hiding from Sepehr, hoping he wouldn’t find him.
Instead, Sepehr dropped all his stuff and dashed over to the water. Jonny frowned. Could he not see him? Or did he just not care? Either way, he needed to die. The Hunger Games were about survival of the fittest. Only the best could go through the Hunger Games and survive. And only the best did.
Sepehr was not one of the best.
Jonny moved through the water slowly, carefully, making sure that Sepehr wouldn’t notice the ripples he made. But, just as Jonny reached Sepehr, his arms raising up to pull him under, Sepehr looked up.
He collapsed backwards, whipping out the serrated knife that clung to his belt. His hands shook as he struggled to stand and fight. But Jonny was faster. Leaping out of the pool, Jonny grabbed Sepehr, but Sepehr fought back, slashing wildly at Jonny. With a cry, Sepehr’s knife hit its mark and Jonny fell to the ground, leg gushing. His breath went ragged, and Sepehr smiled to himself, turning around and dunking his knife into the pure water.
Now’s your chance.
John stood shakily, his leg bleeding faster as he stumbled toward Sepehr. From his side, he withdrew a small knife, one he had stolen from the Cornucopia, and lunged at Sepehr. His knife, too, found its mark and Sepehr sunk to the ground.
Jonny sighed, looking at Sepehr carefully. What was he supposed to do now? Keep the body? No. He picked up the body and walked outside, careful not to be seen by anyone or anything that might spot him. He dumped the body outside, realising that if anyone did see him, they’d take it as a warning. He smirked to himself and turned around, going back to his pool, wondering how many more he’d need to kill.