I had woken up sometime around eight in the morning to hear a loud knocking on my door. Before I could answer whoever knocked, I heard the door opened. I looked across the room and saw a few Peacekeepers and Marvel.
"District 1's Female Tribute, please come with us once you dressed in your proper attire." The door closed, making me grab the blankets around me tightly. Today was the day that would make - or end - my future. After a minute of staring at the walls with my knuckles turning white, my thoughts taking over me, I remembered they would be expecting me in a minute or so. Quickly, I got dressed in the Hunger Games attire. This year is was some ugly green jacket with tons of zippers, a warm shirt underneath, and tight but comfortable pants. The boots I wore were like brown with a little heal. I guess looking semi-attractive is acquired for these games. After all, more sponsors.
I sighed and open the door, following them out the front door. There Peacekeepers in front of us, leading the way. Then, our escort, Cashmere, and Gloss walked right behind them. Marvel and I were right behind them with Peacekeepers right behind us. Seeing how tense I was, Marvel intertwined his hand with mine. I snapped up, looking at him, and he just gave me a soft smile. I couldn't help but smile back. We're already walking to our death, is this many Peacekeepers necessary? Soon enough, our mentors and escort were directed into another hallway. Marvel and I were going onto the tribute airlift. Once we climbed up, we realized we were the last ones to board. We took the last seats next, Cato just happening to be across from me.
All of the tributes had pretty much the same uniforms, except the color changed per district. We were all huddled up on this plane, being forced to look at each other. If you weren't on my left or right, you would be across from me. I tried to study everyone around me, but everyone was silent and seemingly withdrawn. Any courage, arrogance, fighting stamina, or even just plain life was devoid in everyone. Not even Clove looked confident at the moment, looking down at her lap and playing with her fingers. That Katniss girl had no clear expression, neither scared or hopeful. Perhaps she was starting to realize what was happening right now. The District 6 boy had a tear down his cheek, looking up at the ceiling. When I was about to close my eyes and take a quick nap, I was disturbed by a quick prick in my arm. I opened my eyes to see one of the Capitol doctors putting a tracker in my arm, flinching when I felt the cold device grabbing the inside of my arm. Without any expression, the woman walked over to the next person. A warning would have been nice, thank you.
Soon after, I heard the hovercraft begin to fly up. It would only be minutes until we were in the arena. I looked at everyone, noticing Cato staring at me, but I tried not to give him back eye contact. Seeing him in this situation with me would only break me down into pieces.
When everyone boarded below the arena, everyone was then divided. Cashmere and my Capitol stylist escorted me into some underground place with a tube that would launch me into the arena. Cashmere babbled to me some useless compliments like how I looked attractive without much makeup and how I was the prettiest tribute she has ever had, but these compliments didn't sound like she had faith in me winning. They were like last words for my impending death and perhaps she'll use them as a eulogy for me. The stylist just stayed quiet and nodded at whatever Cashmere said. I doubt she was even paying attention. What would she have to say? Good luck? After a quick hug from Cashmere, she instructed me into the tube. A little jumpy, I moved a bit as the tube instantly was lifted up. I froze for a moment, looking up to see the arena around me, almost blinded by the bright sun. Squinting my eyes until they adjusted to the lighting, I saw all of the tributes were surrounding the Cornucopia with a forest surrounding us. Then, a voice was beginning to countdown from fifty.
This was it.
Like every Hunger Games I had ever seen, it was a countdown from fifty. Each number made me more tense.
My breathing, it felt like like I was being suffocated. I can't breath.
I looked around. Where was Marvel? Cato? Clove? They weren't too close to me, but it didn't take me long to get full sight of them. I was surrounded by some other weaker tributes
Once I caught sight of Cato, my stomach fell. He looked like the monster he was, ready to kill everything in his sight. Was the Cato I knew and loved still in their, or was he ready to fight off anyone just to win. I then glanced over at Marvel who wasn't to far from him. He seemed much calmer and focused, staring at the Cornucopia. Clove was glaring at the tributes from twelve before putting her attention towards the Cornucopia. She was ready to fight any second now. There's no more being scared. I have to look strong in order to survive. I internally smiled and relished in the fact that these last few seconds, however, that I could be me;
10...9...8...7...6...5...4...3...2...1...SSSSSHHHHIIIIIIIIINNNNNNGGGGGGG ~~ !
Before I could realize it, my legs were off and running towards the Cornucopia, being one of the first to get there. I grabbed a large knife and looked back behind me. Some girl from 6 was about to attack me with some knife she got. As she ran up to me, a mix of both horror and bravery radiating from her eyes, I ran towards her and tripped the girl. Then, once she was stuck on the ground with her back sticking up, I began knifing her from the back. I kept stabbing her, wanting to kill anything that was left in her. My body took control of the situation on its own.
This is where I truly lost myself. I wasn't thinking, hell I didn't even know where I was.
After I was done stabbing her multiple times, I realized she was dead and I finally got enough control to stop myself. That's when my mind came back to me. I looked at my hands, they were soaked in blood, this girl's blood. I looked back at the face of the girl of the girl I had killed. Not only was her body oozing blood out of each wound I gave her, but her eyes... they were wide open, no sign of life in them. She was gone. Dead. My eyes widened, I couldn't believe what I had done. I just killed someone. I've never done this before. I expected this to feel different...perhaps more accomplishing. That's what my trainers said it would be like in the Academy, but no. I didn't feel triumphant. The saddest question the crossed my mind: 'What if she had been me?'
Leaving the knife in the girl, I just got up, grabbed her the yellow duffel bag she had held tightly in her hands, and began running towards the Cornucopia. I was dizzy. All of the noises could be heard, but somehow I felt deaf. I couldn't think straight. I was lost in fear, regret, panic, adrenaline, and the mess that was surrounding me. My stomach hurt - no...my whole body hurt.
This was no longer training. This is war. This is death. This is the bloodbath.
This is the Hunger Games.
Then, I ran into the District 10 boy. I plummeted to the ground, and when I looked up he had ran off somewhere. Shockingly, he didn't attack me at all. Though, I quickly noticed the bag I had stolen was missing. I didn't have a weapon at hand, so I wasn't going to go after him. At least, that would be a good excuse when in reality I don't want to kill anyone at the moment.
Feeling weak, I slowly got up and once I had a little bit of balance, I began running towards the Cornucopia once again. No thoughts were going through my head. I felt light headed. I couldn't handle what was going on around me. I was probably dead already and hadn't realized it yet.
Right when I had reached the Cornucopia again, I was turned around and pushed to the ground. I looked up and saw the District 6 boy above me, grinning. I noticed there was blood dripping from his head and mouth, scratches, bruises, and cuts all over his shaking body. His entire expression was nothing like the ones he had before. Then, he was seemingly calmer and more analyzing. Now, it was apparent he had lost all sanity. His eyes practically bulging out of his eyes and his grin so huge I'm surprised it didn't stretch out his skin and crack and blood. The District 6 boy from before - he was gone.
He was going to kill me.
He grinned even more as he put the sword he clutched onto up into the air, his arm slightly shaking from whatever pain he was in. Right as the sword started coming down towards me, I screamed. This was my death!? This was how I was going to die? I should have listened to Cato and watched him closer. I'm so sorry, Cato.
I closed my eyes, anticipating the brutal pain, but then heard a thud. No pain. My eyes whipped open and I saw the District 6 boy was instantly pushed and tripped, quickly falling. I watched him fall, his eyes never leaving mine. Completely opposite of what he looked like before, he now showed a completely feared and panicked expression. He looked like a scared child now, not the psychopathic killer I had seen only moments ago.
It was Cato. Once the boy was on the ground, he killed the boy with a scythe, two slices at his stomach until he finished him off by stabbing him. More blood. I honestly didn't know if my stomach could take this sight anymore. In pictures, books, and the screenings of death from the Hunger Games, I used to feel nothing about it. Gore didn't provoke me at all, but now...it was completely different. It was like I was a completely different person.
"Bastard. Tries to get to me through you. Rot in hell, 6." Cato mumbled, complete rage radiating from his body. He may have been the one who just saved my life, but his intense demeanor scared me. The bloodthirsty killer that I had viewed him as before I met him, that perspective of him was coming back to haunt me instantly. Could I really trust Cato? Cato immediately walked closer to me, dropping his scythe to the side.
"Are you alright?" he asked, his face showing concern. He was no longer the killer Cato I had seen mere moments ago, his expression becoming a complete 180. I couldn't help but relax a little. I was stupid to even think he was an enemy. I could trust Cato. Though, everything that happened...everything that was happening...I couldn't think straight or even have time to react to much, let alone to the question he asked me. I couldn't speak. I was frozen. All I could do was nod. He smiled a bit, happy at my response. He then got up, grabbed the scythe, and walked around again. I decided not to move for a moment, rather I couldn't move even if I wanted to. Everything around me was causing me to freeze up, like a scared little girl. Perhaps the Gamemaker and his crew knew that when they gave me a 7-1 chance of winning. It wasn't the lowest, but certainly no where near the best.
Everything around me was still constantly moving, everything a haze and blur. It took me a few minutes to see what was going on around me. Once my eyesight was back, I slowly got to my feet and noticed the bloodbath had ended. I felt a part of me want to cry, the other relieved that I had survived it. I had lived through the toughest part of the games. Then I remembered, this doesn't mean a guarantee of my survival. I looked around in more detail. Everyone was either dead, had fled into the forest, or was one of the Careers from District 1 and 2. Wait, were Cato, Marvel, and Clove alive? Quickly harnessing some unknown energy, I ran around the Cornucopia a bit, luckily seeing that they were all were alive. Clove had just taken out the knife I used to kill the District 6 girl and grabbed the one she was holding onto in her hand.. Marvel had finished killing someone with a spear apparently, as he used a ripped part of his shirt to clean his spear, and Cato was walking back from the edge of the forest, leaving a male's dead body behind him, now carrying a huge sword in hand.
Deciding I should find a weapon, I looked around to see what my options of weapons were around me in the Cornucopia. All of the knives were gone, meaning Clove had gotten to them first no doubt. Of course she had to keep them all to herself, probably was naming them as I stood here.
The only things lefts were spears, swords, and axes, basically everything that would be taken by Cato and Marvel in a heartbeat. I knew I had no shot at keeping them. Then, I spotted something probably important; a bow and arrow. That means District 12 girl is still out there because no doubt she would have taken this. Also I didn't see her in the bloodbath. I saw her briefly flee to the forest, Clove almost killing her. As much as I wanted to call her a coward, I had no choice but to deem her smart. She would have been killed in a matter of seconds if she had stayed, all of the Careers wanting to get their hands on her, and she knew that. For once, I cursed my instincts for being right. She would be a hard one to defeat in the end.
Though, someone came walking towards us in the forest, his hands above his head. It only took me less than a second to recognize him, as he was someone that one was not able to forget. Lover-Boy from District 12: Peeta Mellark. I grabbed an arrow and pointed it at him as he walked closer to me.
"Cato!" I yelled, getting his attention to come over. He ran over and was instantly by my side.
"District 12...Peeta Mellark? Why are you here? Shouldn't you be with your star-crossed love?" Cato chuckled with his sarcasm, stabbing his sword into the ground as he walked closer to the boy. I kept my arrow pointed at him. He definitely wasn't going to harm Cato, not on my watch. On the corner of my eye, I saw Marvel and Clove walking over to us. Marvel had his familiar uncaring smile on his face, as Clove looked disgusted to see Peeta. Perhaps she hated the tributes of District 12 more than me. I smirked a little at that thought. If it weren't for me allying with Cato and Marvel, I would have probably tried to ally with Katniss and Thresh somehow.
"What does he want?" Clove spat, showing her obvious hate towards the boy.
"Good question." Marvel added, playing around with his spear in his hands, throwing it into the air, twirling it, spinning it. He was calm and careless.
"I can help you. I want to ally with you." Peeta said, putting his arms at rest.
"Why shouldn't we just kill you now?" Clove added, grinning a bit at her own statement.
"I'm your best shot at finding and fighting Katniss. I know she is the one you're most worried about, besides Thresh that is. Look, we all know she's smart, but I got her trust and she told me some of her plans. I can help you if you help me. Ally with me."
"Fine." I looked over at Cato, who turned around and grabbed his sword that was stuck in the ground, turning back around to face Peeta and staying by my side. I put my arrow back in it's back holder, lowering my bow.
"Cato! Why don't we kill him off now!?" Clove practically screamed, furious at Cato's decision.
"He's right. He is our best shot at finding Katniss. Sure, ally with us. At least until we are the only ones left alive." Cato smirked. Peeta sighed with relief and thanked us. Should we trust him? I know it wasn't my place to decide if we kept him as an ally or not, as that was Cato's decision as the leader of our pack, but what happened to Peeta's love for that Katniss girl?
That word was the only thing on my mind now. Like almost everything else in this world, fake. Even I was a little disappointed to see it was all a Capitol scam. Anything for sponsors, right? I smiled, shaking my head in complete disgust and looking down at the ground sickened by the world I lived in.
"Marvel and I will look around the perimeter quickly to make sure there is no one left behind. Clove, check what is left in the Cornucopia and what supplies we have available. Glimmer, stay put and watch out for anything suspicious. Peeta, you stay with her." Everyone than ran off to their jobs. I sat down in the grass, still stunned at everything that was going on around me. Peeta could have killed me right now if he wanted to, but he just stood up still and looked down at me in confusion. I don't blame him. I mean, I'm not quite acting like the Career everyone sees in the past Hunger Games. The worst part was that I was being watched by the entire country of Panem. I probably was a laughing joke in all the districts and especially the Capitol. The girl that had so much arrogance and pride...that act was gone now. Though, I knew I had to act stronger and be the fierce Glimmer they expected me to be, or else those damn sponsors wouldn't help me. Was it still possible to become the beautiful monster they loved to see?
It was hard to stay calm, though, seeing Peeta sit down next to me. Just him being around me made me sick to my stomach. I felt like having a mental breakdown practically. I decided that later on, I'll keep him near Marvel and Clove, as Cato was going to be the one who lead us through the forest I imagined.
"Thank you for not shooting me on sight." Peeta said, chuckling a bit with a soft smile.
"You're welcome." I said flatly, trying not to give him eye contact. My bow became more interesting than him as I looked at how it was constructed - or at least that's how I wanted him to think.
"You're very different from the other Careers." I looked up at him, furious. Did this idiot just insult me? What does he know? What has he seen? He doesn't a god damn thing about me.
"And what does that mean?" I hissed at him, my eyes practically burning the soul in his eyes. However, Peeta didn't flinch.
"You have a heart, I can tell. You're not just out here for blood. I don't know how to explain it, but you're just different from the rest. If Kat- if I were going to lose, I'd be honored to be second to you."
"Stop being a kiss-ass" I scoffed, standing up and glaring at him. I was starting to like him, and I wasn't supposed to. Even with his kind comments, I still recognized how he represented fake to me now, and that only made me more sick.
"Look, I already figure I'm going to die - no doubts about that. I have nothing more to lie about if I know the outcome of these games." His expression was soft and honest. He wasn't lying.
"What happened to you and Katniss?" I didn't want him to like me, rather to hate me. I don't want to be the one to kill him. He was too kind a person and he had already figured his fate. Admitting it out loud was the hardest part, and I couldn't help but respect that.
"It was all a lie." he whispered. No doubt, if we were being recorded right now, would the Capitol block that out of the show. They weren't going to end such a sad, 'Romeo and Juliet' type story.
"Fake, I figured. Like everything else." I smiled, sickened by almost everything around me "Nothing is real unless it's pain. Otherwise, you're gullible to believe in such a thing as hope." Peeta kept looking up at me, sympathetically. "Look, you're better off hating me and not trusting me, especially any of the others. It'll only hurt you in the end." The correct translation to what I said would be 'I like you. You're too kind and you don't deserve this fate. Hate me so I don't have to be the one to end you. Make me your enemy, not an ally. Things would be easier this way, so hate me.'
"The world is fake, I guess, but the fake wouldn't survive without the pure. With all things fake, something pure is by it's side to keep balance." I raised an eyebrow at what he said. He maybe had a point, but then again it is coming from a fake, yet somehow honest boy. Everything around me has been proven fake practically, Though, then there was Cato. I did love him and that wasn't fake. He seemed like he loves me - or at least cares about me in some form. "Rather than looking at everything fake, I normally just remember the balance that is needed. Man has woman, life has death, and fake has the pure."
I couldn't help but smile a little bit down at him. He smiled a bit too, clutching his legs close to his chest. I already figured I couldn't be around him much longer.
That's when the cannon struck, making everyone jump at the loud noise. Everyone looked up into the sky. Of course, there wasn't only going to be one. There were so many that it was almost hard to count each one. Though, I stopped at fourteen. Already over half of the tributes were dead. When the last cannon was fired, I looked over at Cato who was already staring me at. I could only tell two emotions from the face he gave me - relieved we had made it this far, but sad it was only a matter of time until these games are over.
My only question was...who was next?
"Glim, over here. Marvel, you watch loverboy." I saw Peeta roll his eyes at his nickname, making me giggle a bit and shoot a smile at Peeta. I nodded at him as a goodbye, knowing I couldn't look attached to him in any way or else the others wouldn't trust me, understandably. Once Marvel got over next to Peeta, I ran over to Cato who was standing by the edge of the forest.
"What is it?" I asked, gripping onto my bow tightly, a small smile on my face.
"Why were you talking with loverboy?" Cato said seemingly upset. My smile faded.
"No reason. Why?"
"You shouldn't talk to him. I don't trust him." Cato looked over at Marvel and Peeta, who were not even looking at each other and trying to avoid any eye contact, and then his eyes were back on me. "I think he will be of great use to us with Katniss, but otherwise I don't trust him, especially around you."
"What do you mean? Am I too stupid or am I too untrustworthy?" My voice got louder, barely evading the attention of the others. I shrugged, turning around and beginning to walk into the forest.
"Where the hell are you going?" asked Cato.
"I'm going to look around a bit and see the area. I'll be back in an hour."
"Glimmer, are you insane!? You're by yourself! Even I wouldn't do that." Cato panicked, putting a hand on my shoulder. I shrugged him off.
"I can take care of myself." annoyed - and really wanting to get the hell out of here - I walked into the forest. Once I was almost hidden, I turned around to see Cato kicking a tree in anger. I felt bad, knowing I used him as an excuse by starting a fight with him just to get away from everything for a moment, but I know if I am to keep any sanity, I need to be alone for a small amount of time. Sad at this sight, I turned back around and walked further into the forest.
This is a place I've never been before. I've seen almost everything except for a land of ice, a land of sand, or a forest, and as I had said before the arena was a forest. As I kept walking, I looked all around me, staying on guard and remembering I'm not just taking a stroll through the woods. There could be another tribute anywhere around me, all waiting to sink their weapon into me and hear the canon that would be music to their ears. Snapping out of my thoughts, I heard movement. Naturally, I turned to my side and prepared an arrow to be launched with my bow. Before I shot out, I saw it only Marvel, who had his arms up in the air.
"What is it?" I asked, continuing to walk farther into the forest.
"You shouldn't be by yourself, so I decided to tag along." he said happily. How can someone be so happy in this sucky situation we're stuck in.
"I want to be by myself, thanks though Marvel."
"No, you need me. Not even Cato should be by himself."
"Look, I don't want to be a bitch, but I need some alone time. I can't breakdown, I have to be strong. Time away might help me for a bit." I admitted to him.
"Yes, it might for a bit until you get stabbed to death. What, do you think the rest of us are just in great spirits? We all know how these games work out." I looked back at him, his expression the calmest I had ever seen it. Turning around, I faced him directly and looked at the ground.
"You're right. I'm sorry. Look, I know I'm not as tough as you, but I' m at least trying to be. Do you want to scout the area around -"
"Watch out!" I turned my head to the side to see a girl with a knife running towards me only a few feet away. Marvel pushed me out of the way and kicked the girl in the stomach, pointing an axe at the girl's face.
"You killed an innocent little boy, you bastards! You guys are monsters! You hear me? Fucking monsters!" she yelled, angry. Ahhh, so she was the girl from District 4. Funny, she was also the one that gave me a cut on my arm. The little boy must have been from her district. Marvel chuckled.
"First off, we're not monsters, we are warriors. You're about as guilty as we are, trying to kill us now. Why don't you go hide in a tree and make yourself comfortable, rather than killing others like a monster would do." Marvel chuckled, his arrogant expression back. No one was able to get inside someone's head better than Marvel. Besides obvious fighting skills, he definitely had a high IQ on him. He may seem careless, but I don't think that is ever really the case. An act? I don't think so. It is probably his personality.
The District 4 girl spat near Marvel's feet and said "I'm nothing like you Careers. I have far more honor than you guys do. You killed a 12 year old boy. A small, weak boy!"
"Do you really think he had any chances of surviving?" Marvel laughed. This Marvel was the one I knew in front of the public and cameras. He was a cold-hearted killer that found it fun to kill people. Is this actually how he was? He was kind just a second ago, what happened to that?
"Still..." the girl mumbled.
"You know damn well he wouldn't make it." Marvel interrupted her, rolling his eyes. His voice was colder than before, loosing its mocking tone. "I bet if you two were the last in the arena, you'd kill him to survive. Never though that far, did you?" The girl began to cry, Marvel obviously pointing out things she had either refused or forgot to consider. I just laid on the ground still, watching what was going on. "You're welcome, by the way. Cato made it fast and quick, so there wouldn't be much pain besides hitting death's door."
The girl's eyes directed her attention over at me now, her eyes flooding with tears. I just stared back at her, not knowing what to say.
"Is what he said true?" she asked, her voice cracking after every syllable. I nodded. I didn't know if it was because Cato had a soft, merciful side or he wanted to move on fast from such an easy kill. Either way, he was dead in less than a second. The girl smiled, closing her eyes and looking up at the sky. She then mumbled "Thank you. I doubt you'll have the same mercy for me, though."
"Probably not. You see, you tried to kill a dear ally of mine. I don't think that makes me really happy, do you?" he looked over at me, smiling, and then back at the girl. "Well, you were honest and I'll give you that." Marvel raised his axe, staring at me with his mouth stretched out in a wide grin. I couldn't help then but to look away. I didn't want to see someone so humane to be killed, not in my eyes.
I ended up putting a hand to my eyes. I didn't want to see this. That's when I heard a slash, the exact sound that metal makes when cutting skin and slicing blood. I looked over and saw Clove grinning. Clove?
"Sorry to take your kill, I had it out for her since the beginning." Clove said, chuckling. She went down onto her knees and looked at the girl, smiling. The girl just stared at Clove in complete shock, tears running down her face. Clove had stabbed her precisely in the middle of her chest. "I told you I was better with knives." The girl looked over at me and then at Marvel before closing her eyes for the last time. In a matter of seconds, a cannon was heard. Then, another? Cato! I jumped up to my feet and ran towards the Cornucopia, getting odd looks from Marvel and Clove. Though, they ended up following close behind me. Oh no, he couldn't have died. This would be all my fault because I just had to wander off.
"Cato!" I yelled, running as fast as I could. Then, I felt my body hit something and I fell to the ground. After blinking quickly to get my eyesight back, I looked up and saw Cato, Peeta right behind him with a sword. Cato! He wasn't dead! Cato offered me his hand, me only taking it to let go and instantly embrace him.
"I thought you were dead. I thought this was all my fault." I could feel tears begin to blur my vision.
"You scared the hell out of me. From now on, you're not leaving my sight. Got it?" I nodded into his chest, scared. Soon, I heard footsteps from behind us. Quickly, I wiped my eyes and made it look like I was fine.
"Dumbass, Cato wouldn't be the one killed. He would be the killer. So, who'd you kill?" Clove asked, smirking. Marvel just stood beside her, curious as who was the next tribute gone.
"I didn't do anything. Though, you idiots left me all alone. It would have been nice to know either of you were leaving. What was the other cannon for?"
"The girl from District 4. Remember her? The one that cut blondie over here." Clove pointed at me with her thumb "She thought she was just as good as me, and I finally proved her wrong. I am so glad I got to her first before anyone else could. Blondie, don't take it as revenge for her mistake on you though. I could care more." I rolled my eyes at her, looking back at Marvel who just shook his head at how cold this girl was.
"Clove, shut up. Alright, let's get back. I rather nothing be taken by someone else from the Cornucopia." Cato stepped in, putting his arm around my shoulder with all of us walking towards the Cornucopia.