Friday, 25 January 2013

The Train Ride [Optional]


The link to this blog was changed from to This change fixed the typo in "competition" and also hopefully made the link easier to remember. On the 1st of February. 

The 25th has passed and the entries are in. Vestige Vicissitude has replaced Ruthe Maitland [CPU] as the Female Tribute for District 1, while the two competitors from District 7 (NiamhHasNoLife and Darcy Fitzgearld) have failed to meet the deadline for The Reaping and as such are henceforth taking no further part in The Hunger Games. They will both be replaced with CPU characters which will be made known on the Statistics [Pre-Games] page next to the Rules page. Charisma Thorne has also pulled out of the competition.

Remember, the Train Ride is an optional entry. Be sure to remember to look over the instructions for it on The Rules page.

As far as the CPU Reapings went, feel free to skim over those whereas you may want to include a bit more detail while observing the actual players. Reference this in their own entries. The Reaping Reception [In Capitol] Stat for each of the CPU's will give you some idea as to how you react.
The one requirement while watching the Reapings is that no one may have any kind of positive reaction Tarny Ganz. She is incredibly annoying, and will be played as such as a CPU.

The Reaping draws to a close and the new 24 Tributes are guided towards their trains and are sent off to the Capitol.

Start! You have two weeks to send your entries to me via email [] and then to comment it on this post after you get my approval. By the 9th of February it has to be completed.

District 1
Male: Cieran Sever [CPU]
Female: Vestige Vicissitude

District 2
Male: Ariston Nevmer [CPU]
Female: Miss Cain

District 3
Male: Nixion Strange
Female: Helena Ember Sky

District 4
Male: Eden Threatening
Female: Death Rose

District 5
Male: Flame Phoenix
Female: Sparky Braginski

District 6
Male: Masi Script [CPU]
Female: Christine Wolf [CPU]

District 7
Male: NiamhHasNoLife [CPU]
Female: Darcy Fitzgealrd [CPU]

District 8
Male: Cambric Leno [CPU]
Female: Star Inkbright

District 9
Male: Shaun Gray [CPU]
Female: Elizabeth Leamy [CPU]

District 10
Male: Pullus Goran [CPU]
Female: Kestrel LeStarre

District 11
Male: Tug Daniels [CPU]
Female: Tarny Ganz [CPU]

District 12
Male: Robby Shepard [CPU]
Female: Charlotte Cat [CPU]


  1. Jesus Christ, finally!

    I've been waiting for the next round for...

    *counts fingers*

    Too long.

    *does Mr Burns finger thing*

    Now... To work...

    *evil laugh*

  2. The Train Ride.

    Phoenix and I get pushed through the crowd and into a car. Thanks to our District being rich, we like to play up the Games, just not as much as 1, 2 or 4. Phoenix and I look at each other and I offer a shaky smile. He returns it with an equally shaky breath, which makes both of us give a small, genuine smile. He looks at the ground. I hate silence. It makes me more nervous than necessary.
    ‘So…’ I say. My word lingers in the air, making the atmosphere more awkward, if anything. I look out the window and flash a few confident smiles, then look back at Phoenix.
    ‘Nothing to say?’
    ‘I need something to say?’ he says.
    ‘Maybe.’ I shrug. ‘Doesn’t the silence bother you?’ he doesn’t reply. I roll my eyes and look back out the window. I keep my hands in my lap to hide the fact that they’re twitching from the cameras. Don’t show any signs of weakness. I settle into my seat and look ahead of me, smirking faintly. I want more than anything to look out the window at District 5 for one last time, to take it all in, but satisfying my curiosity is not worth risking my air of confidence and- sickeningly- enthusiasm.
    ‘Are you going to play?’ I look over at Phoenix.
    ‘What?’ I reply.
    ‘In the Games. Are you going to play?’ he’s staring at me intently. I shrug.
    ‘I guess.’ I place my hands on my knees and tap out a random rhythm on my knees as I think. ‘Probably. I can’t see myself going down without a fight.’
    ‘Oh…’ he says. I look ahead again and get pulled out of the car and met by Claravella.
    ‘Okay kids, out you get! Time for you to meet your mentors!’ I scowl at her use of the word ‘kids’ as she guides us onto the train. ‘Your mentor will be the last male and female winners of the Games from our district. Phoenix, meet your instructor Samuel Haymes. Sparky, your instructor is Ari Marquez.’ She leads us into a room where the mentors are waiting for us. I recognise Ari, who wouldn’t? She’s District 5’s most recent Victor. It’s impossible for me to not know all of her statistics. She was 17 when she won the 38th Hunger Games, she’s 5 ft. 6, she has an older brother named Frankie, her father works as a power plant security officer, her mother is a geologist, Frankie’s in maintenance. Her trick in the Games was that when she smiled people would simply drop everything to help her. Literally. She charmed the audience and the Gamemakers- everyone loved her. And now I’m receiving her smile first-hand, and it is simply dazzling. She holds her hand out to me. I shake her hand as I recall the last five minutes of her Games. She was chased and dug her way through the snow for a rock, which she then in turn used to beat the other Tribute to death with. My mind lingers on the image of her standing over the dead body, holding the rock in her hand from which the blood was still dripping. I try not to recoil from her touch.
    ‘Hiya, Sparky. I’m Ari. I’ll show you the way to your room.’ Keeping my hand in hers, she pulls me along to my room. She leads me through a door, down a hallway and through another door into a bedroom.
    ‘I’ll let you change into something a little more comfortable, and meet you back in the main carriage, kay?’ she smiles again. I blink, and she seems to take that as a yes, because she’s out of the room and I’m alone. She seems nice enough. Well adjusted, for a Victor. She’s certainly a cheerful person. I open the wardrobe and look through it. I see a blue, short sleeved, button-up shirt. I pull it out and place it on the bed. I keep searching and find a pair of camouflage cargo pants and put them on the bed as well. I find a pair of combat boots and toss them onto the floor. I then get changed and finish by putting the new/old watch Trish gave me on.

  3. I walk back out into the hallway and enter what I assume is the main carriage again. Ari is sitting there, talking to Claravella happily. I knock on the side of the doorframe and Ari and Claravella cease their chatter and look at me.
    ‘Sparky! Come sit.’ Claravella calls. I walk over and sit on a chair opposite them tentatively.
    ‘It’s time for you to watch the full coverage of the Reaping, we just need to wait for Phoenix to get here.’
    ‘Why wait?’ he asks from across the room. He sits next to me and I take my first good look at him. He has bright red hair, icy blue eyes, pale complexion. He seems strong. Haymes sits next to him and a TV in the corner gets turned on. It starts with District 1, as always. I ignore the tales of their past victors for the most part, but I do pay attention when Vestige Vicissitude is chosen and she walks onto the stage. Cieran Sever is chosen after. When their Representative ask them how they’re feeling, Sever replies with a joking ‘Overwhelmed.’ This earns a laugh from the audience. When Vestige is asked the same question, she offers a cute smile- one similar to Ari’s, actually- and says ‘Honoured.’ I lean forward slightly, trying to catch something in her eyes. She’s cute, and confident. And her eyes sparkle with enthusiasm. That’s not good. I glance at Ari and see her smirking. She makes eye contact with me and winks. I frown slightly, and then return my attention to the TV. Next, District 2’s Representative walks onto the District 2 stage and makes some speech about, you guessed it, District 2. Eventually she gets to the point and pulls out the girls name. Miss Cain. Miss Cain? That’s an… Interesting name. A small girl walks up, many people pat her on the back in congratulations. Oh, excellent, that means she’s been trained. But god, she’s tiny. She couldn’t possibly be any older than 12. I don’t let this fool me though; often the small Career’s are most vicious. Especially if they’re actually in the Games at that age. It means that they’ve definitely been trained, which means they are definitely dangerous, which means that they will definitely want to kill you. Awesome. Next, the boy, Ariston Nevmer, gets chosen. Dear lord, he’s huge. Miss and he shake hands, like they know each other. Oh, that’s even better. Cain is a tiny, evil, killing machine, Nevmer looks like he could punch a hole through a brick wall, and they know each other, which means they’re going to ally up. Awesome.

  4. As the District 3 Reaping starts, I realize that I really need to pee. I sit uncomfortably for a moment.
    ‘… Tell me what happens.’ I dart out of my seat and get back just in time to see the two Tributes standing on the stage.
    ‘Nixion Strange and Helena Sky.’ Phoenix says as I sit. Then, the District 4 Reaping begins. When the representative of District 4 calls out the female Tribute’s name, Death Rose, there’s a slight ripple in the crowd as a girl gets pushed forwards, evidently in a daze, and it looks like she was daydreaming. Probably about being chosen and gutting the other Tributes, considering the past Tributes from District 4 are known for their bloodthirsty demeanor. She walks up, and I guess she’s been swimming because her hair is dripping water down the back of her dress. She reveals that her parents and brother were killed two years ago in a shark attack, and tears spring into her eyes. I take a mental note; I can use this against her later. Next, the name Eden Threatening booms across the speakers and a boy walks up onto the stage. Surely someone will volunteer for these two, one’s almost in tears and the other looks like he’s about to faint. No one moves forward and I lean back in my seat, shaking my head. Well, at least it won’t be too difficult to kill them… Unless that was some huge staged thing, which I seriously doubt. Neither of them look like they’re smart enough to think of that on the spot.
    ‘That’s really weird. Really, really weird.’ I say. Phoenix looks at me.
    ‘We’re next.’

  5. Then the familiar scene of the District 5 stadium appears on the screen and Claravella is walking onto the stage. Now that I’m paying more attention- still not enough to be bothered to listen to the speech- I can see Ari and Haymes sitting towards the back of the stage. Ari looked like she had been paying a similar amount of attention as I had been. Which is to say, very little. I re-watch Charlotte getting pulled. When Phoenix gets pulled I glance at him next to me and see that he's stony-faced. I look towards the video again just in time to see myself break from the crowd. A swarm of thoughts float around my head. Would I take it back? Would I rather be at home, with my family, watching Charlotte be pulled again only having no one volunteer for her? Knowing that she would die? Would I be comfortable with that? I probably would be. But, I guess, if I was, I would be at home and not here. Then, the image of Phoenix and me on the stage is replaced by that of District 6. Neither of the Tributes, Masi Script and Christine Wolf, really grab my attention. Darcy Fitzgealrd and Niamh from District 7 also don’t pique my interest. The town square of District 8 comes up on the screen and yet another speech is told. Then the name of a girl, Star Inkbright was called. Due to the lag between the name being called and there being any movement in the crowd at all, I know that she’s going to be nervous. She finally reached the stage and then the boy, Cambric Leno, gets pulled. Neither of them looked at all happy about being picked. Elizabeth Leamy and Shaun Grey from District 9 don’t have anything particularly exciting to offer. Then District 10 is up and the girl is pulled first. Her name is Kestrel LeStarre, and even at this point I can see the tears in her eyes. She isn’t crying, though. Peacekeepers pull her out of the crowd and gesture for her to start up the three, rickety steps to the stage. And then she falls and there’s a sudden snap and she’s got tears running down her face and the Peacekeepers are dragging her onto the stage. My eyebrows fly up.
    ‘What the shit?’ I exclaim.
    ‘Sparky, language.’ Claravella hisses. I shake my head, disbelievingly. The boy, Pollus Goran, gets pulled just before Kestrel passes out. Phoenix and I share a look, thinking the same thing.
    ‘Are they going to make her play?’ I ask, looking at Claravella, who merely shrugs.
    ‘This is insanity.’ Phoenix mutters. District 11 flashes up and Tarny Ganz and Tug Daniels get pulled. Tarny seems… Unpleasant. Finally, the District 12 Reaping is shown, and Charlotte Cat and Robby Shepard are pulled. And then the Capitol insignia is on the screen and the TV is turned off.

  6. ‘Well. What do you think of the competition?’ Ari asks me. I shrug.
    ‘The girl from 1 and the pair from 2 seem to be the most worrying competition. But, I didn’t see District 3’s Reaping, so I don’t know what to expect there.’ I answer. She nods. Claravella speaks before Ari can continue.
    ‘Phoenix, Sparky, you should go get ready for dinner.’
    ‘Okay…’ I say. Phoenix and I get up and walk out of the main carriage, and I see that his room is opposite mine. I watch him for a moment. It’s that blasted silence again.
    ‘Do you know what she means by ‘get ready’? Cause, I’m already changed and clean and…’ I trail off.
    ‘I have no idea what she means, honestly.’ He looks down. I frown.
    ‘Are you keeping something from me? I mean, it doesn’t seem likely, seeing as I met you today, but you’re acting like you are.’
    ‘Your sister spoke to me in the Justice Building.’ He says.
    ‘I guess. She looked older than you.’ He says. More silence.
    ‘She told me to protect you.’ He says, finally. I scowl by reflex.
    ‘Why does she assume I need protecting, huh? Why doesn’t she think I can handle myself?’
    ‘I don’t know, I didn’t as-‘
    ‘And why would I need protection from you? I’m older than you. You don’t know me. I can take care of myself.’
    ‘I get it, I won’t I just thought you should know-‘ Halfway through his sentence I walk into my room and slam the door behind me, cutting him off. I look around and spot a full-length mirror. I stand in front of it and take a mental snapshot of myself. I’m sixteen. I’m an average height. I’m lean. I’m fast. I’m clever. I’m cunning. I know how to wield a variety of blades. I’m determined. I shoot myself a scowl, and then smile slightly. I walk out of my room and knock on Phoenix’s door. He opens it after a moment.
    ‘I’m sorry. My sister’s always been overprotective. It’s a bit aggravating to see that she’s still trying to keep me safe. So, yeah, I’m sorry for snapping.’ I say. He looks at me for a long moment.
    ‘Apology accepted.’ He stuffs his hands in his pockets. ‘Your sister slammed a door in my face too, you know. I see the family resemblance.’

  7. Phoenix and I walk into the main carriage and Ari and Haymes meet us there.
    ‘We’re going to the dinner carriage.’ Haymes says.
    ‘When we get there we’re going to talk a little about your training.’ Ari adds. They lead us into the next car down, which has a table already set and laden with food. Claravella is seated at the head of the table and Haymes takes the seat to her left. Ari take the one to her right so I sit next to her and Phoenix sits next to Haymes. A girl steps out of the shadows and I nearly jump out of my skin. In reality, I flinched, but she only put some food onto our plates and melted into the shadows again. I decide not to question it as I pick up my cutlery. We’ve been eating for about two minutes when Haymes sets his cutlery down and looks at Phoenix and me.
    ‘Ari and I want to know what some of your strengths are. Your backgrounds. We want to know about you and what could be useful towards your performance in the Games. So, Phoenix, you start.’
    ‘Well, I’m a good charmer. I can recognise any face and any area after I’ve seen it. I’m a good climber, and I have experience with shorts swords.’
    ‘Any hunting knowledge?’ Haymes asks.
    ‘I can perform a clean kill and skin animals, if that’s what you mean.’
    ‘Good.’ Haymes muses.
    ‘Sparky, what about you?’ Ari asks.
    ‘I’ve been learning how to fight with various swords for just under a decade. I’m pretty decent with a set of twin daggers. I can run, I can climb…’ I trail off.
    ‘Yeah, yeah, okay. How about this? I’ll give you a situation that’ll probably occur in the Games, and you tell me how you’d respond.’ Ari says.
    ‘You’re on your pedestal. The Cornucopia is in front of you, and in it is the weapon you need for the Games. When the gong goes off, what do you do?’ she asks. I think for a moment.
    ‘I’d run forwards, but not for the weapon. I’d pick up something nearer and then bolt.’
    ‘Interesting. Displays intelligence.’ Ari muses. ‘Finished?’
    ‘Have you finished eating?’ she asks.
    ‘Oh. Yeah, I guess.’ I say. She politely excuses us and takes me into a carriage with some chairs to relax in. ‘More privacy. Samuel will be taking Phoenix to do the same thing now. Ready for your second question?’
    ‘As I’ll ever be.’
    ‘You come across a nice cave. It’s pitch black inside, and very long. Do you go in?’
    ‘I’d hide in a tree near the cave and wait for another Tribute to come so that I can corner them.’
    ‘Uh huh. You’ve trekked through poison ivy and now have a painful rash on your legs. What do you do?’
    ‘I’d hide it and keep going.’
    ‘Mm. You need to signal for help from a partner. What way would you choose to do so?’
    ‘I’d find an open space and run through it, then hide. Someone would have to spot me. I’d also repeat the exercise until they came.’
    ‘You must be a good runner to pull something like that.’ Ari says. I shrug.
    ‘I’m pretty fast.’
    ‘You catch a fish that you suspect may have poisonous flesh. But it’s the only food you have for all day. What do you do?’
    ‘I’d let another player or an animal eat some of it and see how they react to it.’
    ‘Interesting. You stumble upon someone’s hidden stash of food. What would you do?’
    ‘Take some- not so much that they would notice- and poison the rest.’
    ‘You see your ally talking to another player, and you assume you’re being double-timed. How do you handle this?’
    ‘I’d be really nice to both of them and turn them against each other.’ I reply. She nods.
    ‘Last question. You’re with a partner and come across a good place to camp, but it’s partially blocked by a large boulder. What do you do?’
    ‘Camp nearby. Perfect spot to ambush someone.’
    ‘Uh huh. Well, from that, I’d say you’re cunning and instinctual. You also display intelligence, speed and charisma. I’d recommend you work on your vigilance and you’re strength during Training.’

  8. ‘Okay.’
    ‘Now, are there any things that you aren’t good at?’
    ‘Well, I can’t swim for shit.’
    ‘Look, I know swearing’s normal for you, but could you keep it to a minimum?’ Ari asks. Before I can reply she continues. ‘Because the more you swear, the more likely you are to swear during the interviews without realising.’ I nod slowly.
    ‘Sorry. On top of that, I don’t really know how to hunt…’
    ‘In what sense?’
    ‘Well, I know how to set traps, but, once I catch an animal I don’t know how to skin it or cook it.’
    ‘You’ll need to work on that.’ Ari says.
    ‘I’m more than aware of that.’

    My meeting with Ari over, I go to bed, passing Phoenix on the way.
    ‘Hey.’ He says.
    ‘Hi. Do you think I should be this drained?’
    ‘Probably. I feel like a sack of bricks.’
    ‘Awesome.’ I yawn. I walk into my room and look through the wardrobe again. I find a pair of baggy shorts and get changed into them. I pull my shirt off and lie in bed, briefly wondering if I’ll be able to fall asleep before my eyelids grow heavy.

    I wake the next morning to a knock on my door and I open my eyes irritably. My sleep was uneasy and interrupted. Every hour or so I would wake up from a vivid nightmare, drenched in sweat. During the day I can easily push away the uncertain thoughts, but at night I can’t stop the fear and the worry encompassing me. All I can remember now is being chased through a thick undergrowth by the Careers. I shudder at the thought and swing my legs over the edge of the bed.
    ‘Hello? Sparky?’ I hear Claravella say.
    ‘I’m here.’ I grunt. ‘I’m coming, give me a sec…’ I stand up and look around the room.
    ‘That’s okay, just make sure you’re back in the main carriage for breakfast!’
    ‘Great…’ I mutter, picking up the clothes I wore yesterday. I glance at the cupboard but decide against braving the inside of there again. I get changed and take a moment to make my hair look respectable. I was about to leave the room when I saw the watch on the floor. I put it on and then leave. I walk into the main carriage and I see Ari and Haymes chatting. She sees me and beams. Gosh, that’s a smile. The door opens behind me and I look back to see Phoenix walk in, rubbing his eyes.
    ‘What time is it?’ he groans. I chuckle at the state of his hair and he shoots me a bleary scowl. I force myself into a serious facial expression, which only makes Ari laugh. I scowl at her, and she stops briefly, and then both of us start laughing. Phoenix and Haymes look between us.
    ‘What did I miss?’ Phoenix asks.
    ‘Your hair…’ I giggle. I stop laughing and look at him. His eyebrows are knitted together, riddled with concern. I look over at Ari and see that she’s forcing the laughter down, but soon the act of me looking at her is making her shoulders shake so much that she can’t help but start laughing again. Once she and I have finished Haymes looks at us both and rests his gaze on Phoenix.
    ‘I don’t know. It’s a girl thing.’ He says.

  9. The four of us walk into the dining carriage and Phoenix and I sit down next to each other. Ari and Haymes sit across from us and Claravella, once again, sits at the head of the table.
    ‘Ari and I have been talking about what you guys need to train in, and we don’t think it matters whether you train together or not.’ Haymes starts.
    ‘It’s up to you.’ Ari adds. Phoenix and I look at each other. I shrug.
    ‘Why not?’ I say. Phoenix nods.
    ‘Yeah. I don’t see any harm in it.’
    ‘Excellent.’ Haymes says. We continue eating our breakfast in silence. When I’m just about done, Claravella speaks.
    ‘Well, kids, the Train is going to be reaching the Capitol soon. I recommend you start getting the crowd from the moment you can.’ She says. They way she says it tells me that she was talking to Haymes and Ari as well, and they don’t seem too pleased about it. I really wish she would stop calling us kids. As Phoenix is about to reply, we enter a tunnel. I walk over to the window and Ari follows me.
    ‘As soon as we leave the tunnel, there’ll be cameras waiting for your face.’ She says, looking out the window. ‘Pick a basic image now, and we can expand later.’
    ‘Mysterious. Sexy. Charming. Confident. Relaxed.’ She glances at me. ‘Secretive.’ I arch an eyebrow.
    ‘You think I could pull off secretive?’
    ‘It depends. I don’t know you too well, but I’m getting a vibe.’
    ‘Be as sceptical as you would like, Sparky, it’s worth trying. You seem relaxed. Confident.’ She looks out the window again. ‘And smart. I know you’re scared, but you hide it very well. Acting like you know something that no one else does; that they should know, that would give a person like you an edge.’
    ‘You don’t know me.’
    ‘I’m good at reading people. My point is, you acting like that, it’d help you. I can tell. If a Career came up to you now, you’d feel vulnerable and exposed. Weak. Insignificant.’ She now turns her whole body to look at me. ‘If you acted secretive, you would feel superior. And that’s really all you need to be superior.’ I look at her for a long moment.
    ‘If you say so.’ I look back out the window as the tunnel ends, and I see the Capitol in all its glory. I hold back a gasp, stop my chin from dropping and generally prevent myself from looking like I’m as out of my league as I am. After a brief moment of forcing myself not to make any facial expression, I let my face settle into the confident smirk I have a feeling I’m going to become very good friends with in the coming weeks. I hear Ari laugh and walk off, to be replaced by Phoenix.
    ‘Amazing, isn’t it?’ he says, smiling. I nod.
    ‘Spectacular.’ I look down at the people crowded below to see a glimpse of us. ‘I wonder what they think we’re talking about.’
    ‘Probably how we’re going to kill each other.’ He says, sporting a wave. I look back at the city with a laugh.
    ‘I bet.’

  10. And thus ends the ridiculously long cascade of one person's entry.

  11. Train Ride
    I was still in shock, I was in the hunger games. How was I supposed to compete against the careers who trained everyday of their lives? But hadn't I been training everyday fishing throwing a spear at fish, they had spears in the hunger games. You had to feed yourself in the hunger games too, hadn't I been feeding myself for the past four years. I can survive this, I am gonna survive this, I'm starving. I go off to find the dining cart.
    I enter a well lit room with wood panelled walls and a large table filled with all types of food. I grabbed a roll and shoved it into my mouth then I noticed a man sitting on a large backed armchair watching my every move his eyes seemed to pierce my chest. "You lose it all in private you know." He announced sipping a cup of coffee. "What do you mean?" I asked, thinking about all the things he might already know about me. "You looked so imposing so... Funnily threatening at the reaping. We need to get you to talk more though you looked too shocked it was only your imposing nature that saved you, if you had been older you would have gone down a storm." He answered.
    There were sounds of sobbing and slapping from the next cart over.
    " I better go check on, miss Rose is it?" I nodded. "We can't have any tribute harming themselves or it looks very bad on me. Oh, sorry I haven't introduced myself. I'm Simon Brown."
    After awhile Simon came back then Death came in. I lost interest as the tv played the reapings. The district one tribute Vestige owned the stage, she would be a good ally. Then the district four reapings came on. Death seemed nice she would be someone people would sponsor for pity because of her parents dying. When I was shown I could see what Simon meant I was broad and tall but I seemed too young to be too threatening, it hit me there, this was how I would play this games. I'd be the loyal dog but when the time comes my "friends" would find that a dog can bite.
    I wonder if Death thinks the same.

  12. Train Ride

    I felt like crying. I could feel the damn tears starting to pool in my eyes again as the train took off. Eden Threatening was somewhere but I didn't care. My family were dead, my uncle hated me, my ocean was gone... My life was over. I sat on a light blue sofa somewhere in a carriage I didn't want to think of. Everything seemed to shine and glimmer like the sun caught in the ocean spray and the thought just made me more depressed. "This was all supposed to happen," I told myself quietly, afraid that someone might be listening. "First mum, then dad and then..." my voice caught as I tried to hold back a sob as I thought of my older brother's name. "Brant... Now me. Our name was never supposed to exist. We are just a damn glitch in the world!" Tears started to pour down my face and I grabbed a nearby cushion. I couldn't contain the scream that escaped my mouth, the strangled screech of agony as I thought of all the mistakes I had made in my short fourteen years. The sliver door opened across the room and footsteps came closer. "Leave me alone!" I cried at whoever it was, not caring if they saw my tear-streaked face. "All I wanted to say was they are televising the Reaping of all the Districts now." Someone murmured. "Like I care?! I have no chance in this! My family are all dead and my uncle actually said that he'd be better off without me! 'Maybe some good will come to this place'..." My sob was loud in the quiet room. A light hand patted my shoulder. "I heard," the person murmured, it sounded male. "I'm sorry, if you want to watch, it's in the next carriage over." I sniffed and wiped my eyes. "I don't want to see," I told him quietly, hiding my face with the cushion again. "But thank you anyway." "No problem." The footsteps faded and the sliding door hissed as it opened then closed. 'Why would I want to watch them?' I thought as I brought the tear soaked pillow away from my face. 'They went through the same thing as I did. Why would I want to see the pain of them getting chosen to die?' I stood up and sighed as my legs decided that it was time to exercise. My legs did what they want and when they wanted. I walked to the door opposite from the one the man had left through and found a long sliver corridor with more hissing doors. I opened the first one experimentally and discovered that it, too, held a sofa, green this time. I walked in and found a metal wardrobe with glass, maybe crystal, door knobs. Inside was a pair of sneakers, thank God, a blue shirt and denim cutoffs. Exactly what I wore at home...

  13. It made me feel exposed, them knowing what I usually wore in my house. I got changed quickly, hanging my mother's dress up on one of the metal hangers and threw my old green sandals on the space underneath the wardrobe and walked back to the room with the blue sofa. I looked around for something to nibble on. Some type of salty cracker and crab dip would taste nice... Only then did I remember my crabs, my wonderful crabs. Only Elizabeth Spray, a very sweet friend of my mother's, and I fished for crab. Would she be able to fill my daily quota? Or would she just do the same amount as she always did? I slapped myself hard in the face. "Snap out of it!" I yelled at myself angrily. "Don't dwell on the past! Focus on the future!" Not that I'm going to live that long... I slapped myself again, to any onlookers, I'd look crazy, but I didn't care. Who would? I was about to kill myself for entertainment! Yippee! I was going to show everyone how much of a wuss I was! Yay! I sighed then a brilliant idea occurred to me. I ran to the carriage with the television and watched as my district came up. It had just started! I watched myself walk up to the stage and looked at how weak I seemed with the tears pooling in my icy blue eyes. The other tributes would see that! I had to shape up and become stronger, yet look weak around them! I laughed despite myself and two pairs of eyes, the man's and Eden Threatening's, looked at me in shock. This would work. None of them would ever suspect a thing. "Are you quite alright?" The man asked me. I laughed happily. "Yes! Of course I am!" "It's just you were crying earlier..." He trailed off. "I'm sorry, I didn't introduce myself. I am Simon Brown." He extended a hand towards me and I shook it with a bit too much enthusiasm. He had long blonde hair tied in a ponytail and eyes the colour of fresh seaweed. I grinned widely, making a mental note to write a journal for my last few weeks alive, "I am the one and maybe only, Death Rose!" He eyed me wearily so I grinned wider, making my cheeks hurt. "Nice to meet you Death, I'm sorry about your family." I waved my hand. "Death is a thing that I am used to, for two reasons!" My mood was spinning do wildly, just moments before I was crying and now I was being super happy... Must be something in the air... Simon laughed then stopped suddenly. "Is it okay to laugh?" "Sure! Go for your life!" He started chuckling. It was a light chuckle and it somehow eased some of my tension. He stopped and looked at me. "We'll need to discuss some important things, like strategies and campaigns for sponsorship." He told us both. "Okay!" I said brightly. "Sure," Eden said. "Why not?"

    I step onto the train, the crowd behind me waving.
    I would turn and see if I could see anyone I knew, but Sariah just pushes Ariston and me into the train.
    We enter what I guess is the main carriage. There’s a couch to one side with a T.V. on the wall. To the other side is a long table with 2 people sitting at it. I recognise them immediately. They’re our mentors.
    The female, my mentor, is Zoe Kali. She won the 37th Hunger Games when she was 18. Her black hair is cropped just at the shoulders and her dark eyes gleam. She still looks the same, but more… experienced.
    Ariston’s mentor is Tyron Glynde. He won last year’s Hunger Games. He was 18 as well.
    Both used to scare me, but today, they comfort me with the hope of winning.
    Zoe grins at me, and extends her hand. I shake it.
    “Hi,” I say, as I can’t think of anything else.
    “Hey,” Zoe says back.
    There’s a silence between us, while Ariston and Tyron have already found conversation.
    Sariah breaks the silence and chatter,
    “How about we show our lucky tributes to their room?”
    The mentors nod, and Zoe motions for me to follow her. She leads me to my room, and even opens the door for me.
    “Here’s your room. In the wardrobe are a variety of clothes to get changed into, and that door there is your very own bathroom. Sariah or I will come collect you when we watch the coverage of the Reaping’s.”
    She gives me a smile, and then walks off.
    I decide to have a shower and freshen up first. The shower is nice and refreshing.
    Whilst drying myself, I choose some clothes. I pick out a plain red top and black denim three-quarter pants. I consider shoes, but in the end decide not to wear any.
    I observe the room. A bed, mirror, bathroom, wardrobe and window. Simple, but comforting as well.
    I flop on to the bed and stare at the ceiling. I fix my eyes on one little area, and stare at it, emptying my thoughts. I always find this a way to pass the time and to try not worry about anything.

  15. There’s a knock at my door, then someone calling my name. I sit up, and look towards the door.
    “Yes?” I call back.
    Ariston walks in. He’s wearing jeans with a black top. He hasn’t shoes on either. What a coincidence.
    “Um, can I talk?” He asks.
    On the inside, I’m frowning so hard, it could become permanent. On the outside, I just nod.
    I shuffle up the bed so my back is against the head of the bed. Ariston sits across from me.
    “So,” He begins. “Who do you want to ally up with?”
    The question strikes me unexpectedly.
    “Ah, um,” I pause, thinking it over. “Well, are we going to ally up?” I ask back.
    He smiles,
    “Of course. Why wouldn’t we?”
    I attempted a smile back.
    “Yeah, why wouldn’t we.” I don’t say yes. Not yet, anyway. I continue. “So, should we team up with District One?”
    Ariston nods firmly.
    “Definitely. They’re worthy allies. Until we have to kill them.”
    “So, anyone else?” I ask.
    “I’m not exactly sure. Maybe we can decide after the coverage of the Reaping’s.”
    Just on cue, someone knocks then sticks their head in. It’s Zoe.
    “C’mon, the Reaping’s about to start.”
    Ariston and I get off the bed and follow Zoe to the main carriage.
    Sariah and Tyron are already waiting. We sit down on the couch and then they begin.

  16. The presenters say some stuff, and then cut straight to District 1. The female is Vestige Vicissitude and the male is Cieran Sever. Their Capitol representative asks them how they’re feeling in one word. Cieran says he’s overwhelmed, and he sounds like it too. But unfortunately, he says it also in a good way, like he can’t believe that it’s finally happening. Vestige says that she’s honoured. Many people start saying ‘aww’. So, both of them are ready. I twirl a lose strand of my hair, deep in thought.
    Next up is us. They call my name, and I make my way to the stage. I look completely expressionless. I look like emotions don’t live in me. Maybe if I kept that up, it could be my strategy. And I look tiny.
    Ariston is called up next, and only then do I realise how huge he is. Scarily huge. I take a moment to hope he gets killed by someone else before he tries to kill me. We shake hands, and then it cuts to District 3.
    The representative calls up a girl named Helena Sky. She looks shocked, her face completely blank. There’s a girl sobbing, and a boy who has tears streaming down his face. He must know Helena. The boy tribute is being called out now. It’s Nixion Strange. He’s obviously shocked to be called. They shake hands, and that’s it.
    District 4. I must admit, Death Rose is a strange name. But then, Miss Cain is too. Death Rose is the female for District 4. She talks about the dress she’s wearing. It was her mother’s, but she died in a shark attack. So did Death’s brother and father. The male tribute is Eden Threatening. They both look like they were swimming in the morning, so I guess if there’s swimming involved in the Games, they have a chance of winning.
    District 5’s tribute is a young girl named Charlotte Moore. She’s so small, so I reason that’s it’s her first Reaping. The representative calls out Flame Phoenix for the male tribute. Now the representative calls out for volunteers. I crane my neck to look out the window, but then I hear something from the T.V. I didn’t expect. My head snaps back.
    Someone has volunteered.
    They’ve volunteered to take the place of Charlotte, who’s already crying. The girl repeats, saying again that she volunteers as tribute. I’m stunned. She makes her way to the stage and introduces herself. Her name is Sparky Braginski. I wonder if she’s good, seeing as she volunteered…

  17. District 6 has Christine Wolf for the female, and Masi Script for the male. None of them seem to be interesting, and the same goes for Darcy Fitzgerald and Niamh from District 7. I start to become bored when District 8 comes up. The representative calls out Star Inkbright, and there’s a moment where nothing happens. But then there’s movement in the crowd, and a girl walks to the stage. She’s obviously startled to be in the Games. The representative then calls up Cambric Leno. He too is shocked.
    Then District 9 shows up on the T.V., and the cameras focus on the representative. She babbles on a bit, like every other representative. The tributes are Elizabeth Leamy and Shaun Gray. They’re not very interesting.
    The cameras focus on all of District 10, showing everyone packed into the square. It looks completely different from home. The representative unfolds the paper she chose for the girls. Her face becomes puzzled, and she speaks into the mike. Apparently, the paper is blank.
    I laugh and laugh. Her face is priceless. I wish I had a camera. Everyone else next to me laughs, but then eventually stops. I keep laughing. It was one of the best moments I’ve ever seen in the Reaping’s. I eventually stop laughing when the female tribute is walking to the stage. I’ve missed the representative call out her name. She’s taking shaky steps up to the stage, and then I look down and take deep breaths to calm myself. Suddenly everyone around me gasps. I look to the T.V., and see the girl being pulled up. She screams in pain. I grimace as I see that she’s broken her leg.
    The representative obviously doesn’t know what to do, so she just continues on and heads over to bowl with all the boy’s names in them. She calls out Pullus Goran.
    I look at the T.V. in disbelief.
    “She’s going into the Games like that?!” I say. “Aren’t they going to choose another girl?”
    Sariah looks at me and shakes her head.
    “Yes, she’s going to compete like that. And I think it would be up to the representative to choose another female tribute.”
    Ariston raises his eyebrow at me.
    I raise my eyebrow back.
    “What?” I say eventually, breaking the eyebrow raising.
    “She’ll be an easy one to take down with that leg. Isn’t that a good thing for us?”
    Damn. I forgot I’m ruthless. I quickly try to think of an excuse.
    “I, um, don’t really like easy targets, though. I’d like for someone to put up a fight.”
    Ariston nods his head, like he never thought of that.
    District 11’s tributes are Tarny Ganz and Tug Daniels. Tarny seems a little like a in your face person. I briefly wonder if anyone will hunt her specifically because of that… personal feature.
    For District 12, it’s Charlotte Cat and Robby Shepard.
    The presenter’s finish off their comments, then the symbol of the Capitol shows up. I reach over for the remote and switch off the T.V.

  18. Sariah stands and claps her hands.
    “How about dinner?” She says, and then walks over to the dining table, where a meal has been set up.
    How they set it up so quickly and without us noticing, I have no idea.
    I eat my meal quietly, whilst Tyron and Ariston talk. Sariah and Zoe talk to each other, so I’m left out. I don’t mind, though, as I can sort though what I’ve just watched.
    “Miss, what are your strengths?” Zoe asks.
    I look up from my dinner, and see everyone looking at me expectantly.
    “I’m good at a lot,” I began, choosing my words carefully. “But I think I’m best at snares and hand-to-hand combat.”
    Tyron asks me another two questions.
    “What about stamina? And can you swim?”
    I nod.
    “My stamina is very good, and I’m a great swimmer.”
    He leans back in his chair, nodding in approval.
    “You’re twelve, aren’t you?” Asks Zoe.
    “Yes.” I reply.
    Sariah looks at me intensely before asking a question.
    “Do you have a certain theme about you?”
    I frown.
    “Are you intellectual, shy, ruthless, et cetra, et cetra.”
    I pause, thinking deeply. I haven’t really got a theme about me…
    “She’s brave.” Ariston says.
    Everyone turns and looks at him, me included.
    “She’s brave.” He repeats.
    “How exactly am I brave?” I ask.
    “Because you’re here.”
    I look at him. I’m not brave. How am I brave? Being in the Hunger Games is a way of life. Not bravery. I didn’t volunteer, I was chosen. I didn’t have a say about it.
    “How,” I repeat. “The hell, am I brave?”
    Ariston takes a deep breath.
    “You could of motioned for someone to volunteer, you didn’t cry-“
    “Of course I didn’t cry, and I wouldn’t have no matter what life I could be in.” I snap.
    “You could of cried now, where the cameras aren’t.” He pauses to take a breath so he can continue, but I’ve had enough.
    “I’m done.” I say, and stand.
    I walk to my room, but before I leave the main carriage, I hear Ariston say to the others something that makes me want to kill him first in the arena.
    “She’s brave, because she’s only twelve.”

  19. I hate when people think I’m brave. Or they think I’m brave for my age. It just irritates me. And as I lay in my bed, looking at the ceiling, I realise it’s something else.
    I’m not brave, because I’m scared and I’m only twelve.
    I’m scared of killing someone, and only being twelve. I don’t want to kill. It’ll be known forever, if I die or live.
    Miss Cain was twelve when she killed.
    But then the fact that I was in the Games would come up, as well. If people remember the Games. But of course the Games will be remembered. It was a time when they sent kids into an arena to kill each other.
    I pull up the covers higher and try to sleep. I left dinner around an hour or so ago, and I can still hear their faint voices.
    I haven’t bothered to change into pyjamas. I turn over, and look at the wall. I stare at a spot until my eyes become heavy, and I drift off into sleep.

  20. I wake when someone knocks at my door. I blink several times to make sure I won’t fall back asleep. Zoe walks in. She looks like she had a bad sleep.
    “Hey,” She begins softly. “We’re going to be at the Capitol in half an hour, so you might want to come get breakfast before we arrive.”
    I just nod, and Zoe shuts the door.
    I dress into some different clothes. A black shirt and denim jeans. I decide to put on shoes, seeing how we leave in half an hour. I tie up my hair in a ponytail.
    I leave my room and head to the main carriage. The first thing I notice is that Zoe is the only one here, kind of to my relief. I take my place at the table and begin eating. I just start eating my toast when Ariston walks in. I ignore him and continue eating. Soon, Sariah and Tyron join us. We all eat in silence until I make a strange sound with my mouth. It sounds like a dying sheep with a dying frog, and I put two and two together and work out that’s my amazement sound when I’m eating.
    I quickly chew the rest of my food and swallow it. I stand and rush to the window. It’s the Capitol.
    It’s so big and huge and posh. I stare in amazement. Ariston quickly joins me, and we both gape at how big everything is.
    Suddenly, everything goes dark outside the window. I realize we’re in the tunnel now, the last bit of the journey. Light and sound engulfs us as we arrive in the station. People are everywhere is their crazy Capitol fashion. I stare open mouthed at how many people are there.
    “Wow.” I breathe.
    Sariah comes up next to me, and waves at the crowd. She speaks,
    “It’s a bit like that.”
    I look at Sariah, grin, then turn back to the crowd. I wave, just as Sariah is doing.
    All of a sudden, all five of us is at the window, waving. The smiles on the Capitol people become even wider.
    The train stops, and we back away from the window.
    “Ready?” Beams Sariah.
    “Yes.” Says Ariston, equally excited.
    “Always.” I say, and we exit the train.

    We’re pushed through the crowd into a car. I’m given a shaky smile from Sparky, and I manage to give one back. I look at the ground, thinking. What the hell am I going to do? I’m in the freaking Hunger Games! Oh god, oh god, oh god. I’m either going to die or kill; possibly both.
    The interior in the car is quite fancy, or so seems, as I’ve never been in a car before. It seems weird, really. It’s the seats are brown leather and the walls are creamy; there’s loads of leg space and the ceiling is quite high. The driver is separated from us by a sheet of glass and the windows to either side of me and Sparky are tinted.
    “So…” Sparky says, and I wait while Sparky turns back to the window and flashes confident smiles, “nothing to say?”
    “I need something to say?”
    “Maybe.” She shrugs. “Doesn’t the silence bother you?” I don’t reply, and she turns to look back out of the window.
    I want to look out and see District for maybe the last time, but don’t allow myself. Look at the ground, don’t break down. “Are you going to play?” Sparky looks at me.
    “What?” she asks.
    “In the Games; are you going to play?”
    “I suppose.” She says, placing her hands on her lap and starts tapping out a rhythm. “Probably, can’t see myself going down without a fight.”
    “Oh…” I trail off as the car stops and we’re pulled out as Claravella says: “Okay kids, out you get! Time to meet your mentors!”
    We’re guided to a train and Claravella announces, “Your mentors will be the last male and female winners from our District. Phoenix, meet your trainer Samuel Haymes. Sparky, your instructor is Ari Marquez.”
    Samuel Haymes, I think, I’ve heard that name before- wasn’t he-
    It comes flooding back to me as I catch my first real glimpse of my mentor. He’s sitting in the room that me and Sparky had just been led to, arms crossed across his chest, his face stern. Yup that was him, the one who managed to win by allying everyone from the last eight and double-crossing them all in their sleep. How did that work? He spent time with each one, and said he was going to hunt or to the toilet and went to find one of the other remaining eight. He slaughtered them all in their sleep, once they had camped. He’s gruesome. I haven’t seen the Games he was in because I wasn’t even born, but I have seen the re-runs.
    He has long grey hair and green eyes, a thick layer of stubble across his jaws and big smile. He’s broad and I can’t see how tall he is when he is sitting, but I’d say he’s very tall.
    Beside him sits Ari Marquez, the most recent victor. She’s smiling at Sparky; a dazzling smile. I don’t know much about her, but what I do know is that she charmed the audience and the Game makers- when she smiled; everyone dropped what they were doing to help her. Literally.
    Ari gets up and holds out her hand out to shake Sparky’s, says she’ll take Sparky to her room. When they leave the compartment, it’s just me and Samuel.

  22. So,” I say, realising this is the first thing I’ve said since the car journey, “Nice train?”
    Samuel grunted and said nothing.
    I go to sit down at the table, across from and he coughs. I remain standing.
    After a few minutes of me awkwardly standing, he speaks and says, “Do you want to go get changed?”
    I nod, and he tells me it’s the next carriage down, second door on the left. I turn and leave and once, in the next carriage, I find my room. It’s small, with just a bed and a closet. I go to the closet and open it. It’s filled with clothes. I root through them and find a white t-shirt and black jeans. Just as I get changed, I see a pair of black boots on the ground and slip them on.
    I make my way back to the main carriage, where Ari and Claravella are chatting happily. Sparky is sitting across from them and Claravella says, ‘It’s time for you to watch the full coverage of the Reaping, we just need to wait for Phoenix to get here.’
    “Why wait?” I ask walking towards the table and sitting down beside Samuel. A TV in the corner gets turned on, and we start to watch the reaping’s. It starts with District One, as always. Vestige Vicissitude gets picked and she walks onto the stage. Cieran Sever is chosen after. When their Representative asks them how they’re feeling, Sever replies with a joking ‘Overwhelmed.’ This earns a laugh from the audience. When Vestige is asked the same question, she offers a cute smile- which I realise is similar to Ari’s – replies with “Honoured.”
    District 2’s representative walks onto the stage and gives a speech about the history of District 2. It’s boring, and I lose interest, but my attention is drawn back when the female tribute is chosen- her name is Miss Cain? Weird name, huh? She walks to the stage, and I see she’s a small girl, probably no older than twelve. She’s small, but I’m not going to let that deceive me; she could still be trained to fight.
    Next the boy tribute, Ariston Nevmer, walks onto the stage. He’s huge. As he steps onto the stage, he shakes hand with Miss Cain, which I reckon that they could very well know each other; if so, that probably means they’ll be allies. Great.

  23. As the District 3 reaping’s start, Sparky gets up and leaves the room saying, “Tell me what happens.”
    When she comes back in, all that’s happened is that the tributes have been reaped. “Nixion Strange and Helena Sky,” I say as Sparky sits.
    District 4 reaping’s start and the representative of District 4 calls out the female Tribute’s name, Death Rose; people in the crowd step away and a small girl is pushed forward. She’s crying, probably because she has been chosen to fight in the Hunger Games.
    The name ‘Eden Threatening’ booms across the speakers. A boy walks up onto the stage, petrified. He gets onto the stage and faces the crowd. Surely someone will volunteer for these two; they’re children for God’s sake…
    No one volunteers.
    “That’s really weird. Really, really weird.” Sparky says, and I look at her.
    “We’re next.”
    Our reaping starts again, and Claravella starts her speech again, to which I pay no attention to what-so-ever. She seems pleased with herself, though. I watch Charlotte getting reaped, then me, then Sparky volunteering. The image of me and Sparky on the stage is replaced by District 6.
    ~District 6~
    ~District 7~
    ~District 8~
    ~District 9~
    ~District 10~
    ~District 11~
    After District 12’s tributes are reaped, the Capitol’s insignia pops onto the screen and off again, leaving the TV screen blank. “What do you think of the Competition?” Ari asks Sparky.
    She replies with; “The girl from 1 and the pair from 2 seem to be the most worrying competition. But, I didn’t see District 3’s reaping, so I don’t know what to expect there.”
    Ari nods. Samuel stays quiet, and before Ari can speak again, Claravella cuts in. “Sparky, Phoenix, you should go get ready for dinner.”
    “Okay…” Sparky says, and she gets up followed by me. We leave the main carriage and I walk down to my carriage followed by Sparky. I reach my room and realise Sparky’s room is across from me. “Do you know what she means by ‘get ready’?” Sparky asks, “Because I’m already changed and clean…” She trails off.
    “I have no idea what she means, to be honest.” I look down.
    “Are you keeping something from me?” She asks. “I mean, it doesn’t seem likely, seeing as I only met you today, but you’re acting like you are.”
    “Your sister spoke to me in the Justice Building.”
    ‘I guess. She looked older than you.’
    ‘She told me to protect you.’ I say, finally, convinced it would be better to just come out with it. Sparky scowls.
    ‘Why does she assume I need protecting, huh? Why doesn’t she think I can handle myself?’
    ‘I don’t know, I didn’t as-,’
    ‘And why would I need protection from you? I’m older than you. You don’t know me. I can take care of myself.’
    ‘I get it, I won’t I just thought you should know-,’
    She walks into her room and slams the door.

  24. I turn and walk into my room. There’s a mirror on the door of the closet and I catch a glimpse of myself. I look pale, with bright red hair and green eyes. I’m broad, I’m strong, and I’m fit. I can use a machete. I have a chance. I actually do.
    A knock comes to the door and I open it; Sparky’s there. “Yeah?”
    “I’m sorry. My sister’s always been overprotective. It’s a bit aggravating to see that she’s still trying to keep me safe. So, yeah, I’m sorry for snapping.” I look at her for a long time.
    “Apology accepted.” I stuff my hands into my pockets. “You know, your sister slammed a door in my face, too. I see the family resemblance.”
    Sparky and I walk back to the main carriage. There we’re told we that we’re moving to the dining carriage to eat. Ari and Samuel want to talk to us about our training and our strengths. We follow them there, and sit down where food is put onto our plates. I swear I saw Sparky flinch, but can’t be sure.
    We’ve been eating for about two minutes when Samuel puts his cutlery down and says:
    ‘Ari and I want to know what some of your strengths are, your backgrounds. We want to know about you and what could be useful towards your performance in the Games. So, Phoenix, you start.’
    ‘Well, I’m a good charmer. I can recognise any face and any area after I’ve seen it. I’m a good climber, and I have experience with shorts swords.’
    ‘Any hunting knowledge?’ Haymes asks.
    ‘I can perform a clean kill and skin animals, if that’s what you mean.’
    ‘Good.’ Haymes muses. It’s the first time I’ve heard him speak, and his voice is deep.
    ‘Sparky, what about you?’ Ari asks her.
    ‘I’ve been learning how to fight with various swords for just under a decade. I’m pretty decent with a set of twin daggers. I can run, I can climb…’ she’s trails off.
    ‘Yeah, yeah, okay. How about this? I’ll give you a situation that’ll probably occur in the Games, and you tell me how you’d respond.’ Ari says.
    ‘Okay.’ Sparky says.
    ‘You’re on your pedestal. The Cornucopia is in front of you, and in it is the weapon you need for the Games. When the gong goes off, what do you do?’ she asks.
    There’s a moment of silence and everyone is looking at Sparky.
    ‘I’d run forwards, but not for the weapon. I’d pick up something nearer and then bolt.’
    ‘Interesting,” Ari muses, “displays intelligence.”
    Ari then asks if Sparky’s done eating and when she says yes, they move off to talk more privately.
    Samuel looks at me up and down. He doesn’t say anything, once again and I snap. “Do you have a problem with me?”
    He stares at me, his green eyes meeting mine. “Nope.”
    “Then why not speak?”
    “I just don’t want to get attached to you is all.”
    “But why don’t you talk, why not give me advice? My life depends on you!” I snap.
    “Look, okay; here’s the deal,” He says, an edge to his voice. “You’d be better off to train with Sparky, you’d be better with a cunning ally who is fast. She’ll be valuable to you, Phoenix… Make friends like a good little boy.”
    “Don’t treat me like a child.”
    “I won’t-,” he started but Ari and Sparky walk back in. They sit down and look at us.
    ‘Ari and I have been talking about what you guys need to train in, and we don’t think it matters whether you train together or not.’ Haymes starts. “But we think it could help you, greatly, to have an ally in the arena.”
    ‘It’s up to you.’ Ari adds. I look at Sparky, and she looks back. She shrugs.
    ‘Why not?’ she asks.
    I nod. ‘Yeah; I don’t see any harm in it.’
    “So it’s settled, then.” Ari says, “You’ll train together?”
    We both nod, and Haymes and Ari smile.
    So I’m going to have a partner in the games; a strong one at that. We might actually have a chance, after all.

  25. Chariot rides
    I glanced down at hands. The scars from cutting my hands off rocks fishing were all gone it was as if I had never done a hard days work. I didn't like it, those scars were part of who I am and how I'm still here. They'd taken all the blemishes off me and washed my hair, I was afraid they'd take my cowslick but thankfully it was still there when I clutched at the right side of my head.
    " Don't worry I wouldn't get rid of it I'm going to use it tour advantage. "
    Said a tall man with thin black hair that stuck to his head as if it was drawn there. " I think the way it curls over looks quite like the way a wave crashes, I'm Darren by the way. Darren Stead, I'm your stylist. " " So your the man who makes me look good before I get slashed to bits in the arena. " I replied still not trusting of anyone who makes a living off sending children to die.
    " Well I prefer thinking that I'm giving you a better chance in the arena by getting you sponsors. " he countered stroking his bushy brown beard that was in great contrast to his hair. " Now I was thinking something blue like the sea and combing over your hair into a wave. What do you say?" " I think that's fine just as long as you don't do anything to strange to my body or face. " I finished.
    I was lead into a room filled with rolls of fabric neatly lined along the walls in the centre of the room on a metal stand was a luminous turquoise suit the imitated the shine of the sea when it moved, it was collared by a coal black material. I was lead into a dark room with a single light in the middle illuminating a chair but casting shadows across the rest of the room like a mad scientists lab. A woman with pure whit hair but with skin the colour of bronze at me down and began to straighten out and comb my hair by the time I was finished it was half an hour till the chariot rides.
    I walked in to see other tributes conversing while death was chatting to one of the horses that was going to pull our chariot. I walked over grinning at the mermaid dress she was wearing. I hopper on the chariot and told death to hurry up. This was going to be fun. The chariot ride was smoother than I thought it would be the cheering was loud but it was nothing compared to the sea on a stormy night. When we got to the end we had to listen to the same boring speech from President Snow I smiled through the whole thing pitying the people who had to listen to this every year.
    Afterwards we were escorted to the fourth story of a building.