Today’s lucky winner is…Johnny of District 5!
Congrats Johnny, your training score is now 5!
Day 1: The Bloodbath
“It’s the end of the world.” That’s all I can think as my metal pad that lifted me into the arena finally clicks into place. I look around at the desolation that surrounds me; an abandoned cityscape silhouetted against a gray sky. Broken slabs of concrete, scraps of rusted sheet metal, and abandoned cars litter the field of play, while gutted skyscrapers tower above me. There is no life in this place, no color save for the golden glow of the Cornucopia. My first thought is how I will find food or water. Supplies have to be hidden somewhere; watching tributes die of starvation and dehydration is nowhere close to entertainment. Then again, watching tributes die shouldn’t even be entertaining to begin with. But it is, for some reason. Besides my family, friends, and few sponsors, no one will care if I die in this place. I barely notice that I’ve forgotten to include myself in the list of people who care if I die before the gong sounds and twenty-four pairs of feet break into stride across the rubble.
The Careers are the first to reach the Cornucopia, with myself bringing up the lead. No surprise there; I’m the fastest out of the group. A composite bow lies propped up against the Cornucopia; I grab it and look around for a quiver of arrows. To my left, Taylor from 2 grabs a handful of throwing stars and a knife and races off to pursue the girl from 8, who suddenly decides that maybe heading towards the Careers isn’t a good idea and turns to run away.
“Hey, catch!” my district partner Kate yells as she tosses me a quiver of arrows. I catch it and sling it over my back quickly. In one fluid motion, I notch an arrow against the bowstring, tug back, and aim at the girl from 9, who is clawing desperately through a pile of weapons.
I’m searching for a bow when it happens. A sudden sharp pain in my head, and then the lights go out.
I walk cautiously around the perimeter of the Cornucopia. Most tributes are grabbing weapons and backpacks and running, while a few advance against the Careers in the hopes of getting better items from the Cornucopia. No one is coming after me, for the moment. Staying wary of danger, I continue searching and eventually find a set of five metal darts and a backpack full of food. Then I turn and see it. A small green vial of poison, sitting on a slab of broken concrete. I rush over and snatch it up, throwing it into my backpack and turning to go find Eliana from 10 and the Cruz siblings from 3, my alliance.
Abby from 7 turns into a building, and Jeanie from 12 and I follow. We crouch behind a wall and catch our breath. This is my alliance, the girl group that Abby organized during training.
“Ok, girls. Let’s see what supplies we’ve got,” Abby says, dumping her backpack’s contents on the floor. I do the same to my small satchel, propping my sword up against the wall. Jeanie, despite not having a weapon, has managed to grab two backpacks, and she empties their contents, adding to our already-large supply pile. We’ve managed to collect a week’s worth of food for the three of us, which we ration out evenly. Also included in our stash are two fleece blankets. “We’ll trade off,” says Abby.
“What do you think this is?” asks Jeanie, holding up a red key. “I’m not sure,” says Abby. “I’ll hold onto it.” She puts out her hand, and Jeanie drops the key in it. We both trust Abby, but I feel that Jeanie does much more than I do, judging from the way she immediately accepted her offer of alliance.
There was a fourth member of our group, Kailyn from 8. And the last time I saw her, she was running weaponless from the boy from 2.
I shoot one last metal ball with my slingshot at the boy from 12, who falls to his knees with a scream as it sinks into his left eye. Dan from 1 stops the screaming with an axe blow to the neck, and the boy’s head drops to the ground behind his body.
Idiot. He and his partner from 5 had been stupid enough to try and attack us Careers. The boy from 5 had bolted and left him behind after the fight quickly went sour, but not before stealing some of our supplies. The boy from 12 may have been an idiot, but he had fought to the end. I go to retrieve my ammo out of the dead boy’s body, wondering when and if my district partner Taylor will come back.
I turn a sharp corner and race into one of the gutted skyscrapers as yet another throwing star flies past my head. The boy from 2 is a few feet behind me, laughing and brandishing his knife as he chases after me. I charge up the stairs of the skyscraper, running for my life. On the fifth floor, I have to stop to catch my breath. I can hear the boy a couple floors below me, laughing. “Arm yourself,” I think. “Find a weapon.”
I look around and finally find a small but heavy slab of concrete sitting in the corner of the stairwell. I heft it up above my head and turn to face the boy from 2, who has just reached the bottom of my stairwell. I throw the slab of concrete with a yell, hoping to knock him out. But the boy dodges, and the concrete slams through the wall behind him. I turn to run again, but my foot catches on something and my ankle twists. I fall to the ground with a cry, but force myself to stand back up and try to run.
The girl from 8 makes it up five stairs before I throw a shuriken that hits her in her right calf. She falls again with a scream, and rolls over to face me as I catch up to her. She stares up at me as I slowly approach her, reassignment in her eyes, teeth clenched in pain, breathing heavily. She will die here, on a forgotten stairwell. I don’t waste a second; I slit her throat and she bleeds out within seconds. I stare down at her dead body for a while, guilt beginning to churn in my stomach, and then turn to leave the skyscraper, collecting my throwing stars as I go.
I step outside into the city, which looks more dead than it did just an hour ago. Collecting the last of my shurikens, I suddenly decide not to return to the Cornucopia, where the Careers are waiting for me. Instead, I turn and venture deeper into the city, trying my best not to think of the dead body up in that stairwell.
“Do you hear that?” Eliana says. I stop looking through my backpack at my supplies and listen. Outside the small office building my alliance has made their base, gravel crunches under a pair of feet. Someone is coming. My sister Hannah is instantly on her feet, rushing outside with her meteor hammer spinning. I follow behind her with my spear. In front of the two of us is Peyton from 6, who holds a wooden buckler in one hand and has a backpack over one shoulder.
“Please, let me ally with you guys.” he asks Hannah, who still spins the meteor hammer at her side.
“Leave,” she says simply, “or die.
Peyton had originally been in our alliance, but after his dismal training score of 4, Eliana, Maureen, and my sister and I had decided to cut him loose, as he would hold us back. He hadn’t taken it well, and has apparently followed Maureen here, who just arrived a few minutes ago.
He’s arguing with my sister now. “You let Rene in, and he only got a 6!”
“He’s my brother. Leave, or die.”
Peyton opens his mouth to say something, but doesn’t get the chance as my sister suddenly releases the chain from her right hand and sends the hammer flying at Peyton. He reacts in time to pull his shield up to block, but stumbles backwards as the hammer slams against his wooden buckler. Hannah pulls the hammer back and swings it in a high arc, sending it arching down towards Peyton’s head. He moves to block, but the hammer hits the shield with so much force that it cracks in two. Peyton is knocked to the ground as Hannah pulls the hammer back for one final arc, one final blow. Peyton rolls to dodge, but Hannah is expecting it, and hammer meets skull in a bloody finale.
I turn my head away from the sight of Peyton’s body, just in time to see Eliana and Maureen, who were watching from the window of our base, look away from the gore, gagging. I glance over at Hannah, who’s eyes are glued on Peyton’s crushed head. Her jaw hangs slack, and her eyes seem to scream, “I killed him. I just killed him.”
I want to go back inside, but I don’t move until Hannah does, walking forward and grabbing Peyton’s discarded backpack before turning and heading inside, dragging the bloody hammer behind her. She walks past Maureen and Eliana, dropping the chain of her hammer, and slumps against the wall, sinking down to the ground. I sit down next to her just as the cannons fire. Four short blasts, signifying four dead tributes. One of which is just outside, being lifted away by a hovercraft.
Dan Mcbride, D1 Male: 1 (Alex Dooley, D12 Male)
Taylor Pride, D2 Male: 1 (Kailyn Love, D8 Female)
Hannah Cruz, D3 Female: 1 (Peyton Finley, D6 Male)
Chris Thompson, D4 Male: 1 (Lindsey Emery, D9 Female)
Careers (Grace Walter and Dan McBride: D1 Tributes, Amber Washington: D2 Female, Kate Henson and Chris Thompson: D4 Tributes)
Abby’s Alliance: (Abby Long: D7 Female, Sarah Harrist: D11 Female, Jeanie Choi: D12 Female)
Hannah’s Alliance: (Hannah and Rene Cruz: D3 Tributes, Maureen Lynch: D5 Female, Eliana Schulze: D10 Female)
Sponsorship is now open! Be sure to vote for your favorite, and to choose a new favorite if your tribute died today!