Today’s lucky winner is…Micah of District 7!
Congrats Micah, your training score is now 9!
The girl from 7 died yesterday. Four girls dead, four guys left. I sigh, biting into a strip of jerky. Odds are a girl will win again this year. And other than the girl from 6, we all got high training scores. It’ll be a game of luck, that’s for sure.
My district, along with 1 and 11, still have both of their tributes. Eliana’s out there hunting with the girl from 5, most likely. We’re both proving to be more effective tributes than the ones from our district last year. The boy from 10 died on the first day, while the girl managed to survive until the ninth day. It’s day 10, and we’re both still here. Still surviving.
As I head back to my base after getting water, I notice a black shadow moving across the base of a building. The shadow looks like a person, but I don’t see anyone around. The shadow suddenly stops moving. Just as my stomach begins to tie itself into knots, the shadow peels itself off the building, taking a three-dimensional form. It starts gliding across the surface of the ground towards me. I run to the sewers without a second thought, slamming the manhole cover shut tight behind me.
It’s almost funny, how I feel safe from a shadow in the dark.
I’m the first one to notice it. A black shadow moving along the side of a building, heading towards us.
“Tribute’s coming!” I whisper harshly to my lounging allies. “Get ready!”
We arm ourselves quickly and watch the shadow move closer.
“…that’s not a tribute,” says Grace. “It’s just a shadow.”
“Well what’s making it?” asks Dan, halberd held at the ready.
The shadow is five feet away from us now. We all begin to move back warily as it passes across the Cornucopia. It looks like a walking, but there’s no one here.
The shadow stops and turns to face us. We keep our weapons up, not daring to look away from it.
“Is it a muttation?” Amber asks.
The shadow answers the question for us as it suddenly peels off of the Cornucopia and takes a three-dimensional form. My allies and I shriek in fear and attack. I throw two knives that pass right through the shadowy form, just like the metal balls that Amber and Grace shoot at it. Dan rushes in and swings with his halberd, but it passes through as well.
“Where’d it go? Where’d it go?!” screams Amber.
We all look around frantically. In the confusion, we’ve lost it.
Grace looks at the ground, and her eyes go big.
“Dan,” she says grimly, stepping back.
We all turn to look at Dan. He’s breathing quickly, eyes bouncing in a panicked state. And he has two shadows.
Dan screams and tries to kick off the shadow. It doesn’t work; it’s rooted to his feet.
“Help! Help me!” he screams.
Us three girls take wary steps away from him, not sure how to help him and not sure we even want to.
“Help me! Hel-
The shadow suddenly recedes into Dan’s shoes and he begins to sieze and shake, as if something were filling his insides with a liquid nerve agent. He freezes and falls to the ground, rigid as a board. A cannon fires.
We stand there in silence for what feels like a century.
“No way,” I say. “No way.”
He can’t be dead. Just like that? I approach him cautiously.
“Dan?” I whisper.
Dan suddenly sits up. I jump back with a scream. He gets to his feet shakily, his eyes vacant and unfocused.
“Dan! Are you ok?” Grace asks. She turns to us. “The cannon must’ve been for another tribute.”
Dan doesn’t answer Grace. Instead, he raises his halberd in the air.
“Grace! Look out!” I scream.
She turns and sees the axe aimed at her head jut in time to dodge Dan’s downward swipe.
“Dan! What’s wrong with you?” Grace screams at her district partner.
“It’s not Dan,” Amber shouts at her, aiming her slingshot at our ally. “It’s whatever that thing is!”
Dan preps for another swing. I quickly flick a knife at him.
The knife flies right through Dan’s head, leaving a gaping hole in his forehead. I hear the knife clatter to the ground behind him. Dan reaches up with one hand and grabs the fold of skin that has been sliced open. He tugs down, and his skin rips like paper. And inside of Dan is the shadow. Not bones, muscles or blood. Dan’s insides have been devoured by this shadow, who is now wearing Dan’s skin like clothes. With half of Dan’s skin hanging off of its face, the shadow comes at me with its halberd.
I turn to run, but feel the blade slice across my back (Training Point Lost). I scream in pain.
Grace and I stand helplessly as the shadow in Dan’s skin chases after Kate, slicing across her back. She’s fallen down, and crawls away from the shadow on her back as fast as she can. A glint of realization appears in her eyes, and she rolls to the left as the shadow brings the axe down at her. Kate leaps to her feet and runs into the Cornucopia.
What’s she doing? She’s cornering herself!
The shadow follows me into the Cornucopia. I back up as far as I can against the back wall of the golden horn, where the sun doesn’t reach inside. Darkness envelops me. The shadow lifts the halberd as high as it can and preps its swing.
Then it steps into the darkness.
With a feral cry, the shadow is absorbed into the blackness. Dan’s skin fall to the ground like a sheet, folding over itself. The shadow-mutt is gone.
I walk quickly out of the horn, to the obvious surprise of Amber and Grace, who have their weapons at the ready. After convincing them I’m still alive and not the shadow, we walk away from the Cornucopia and give the hovercraft a chance to retrieve what’s left of Dan’s body.
The male Careers are all gone now. It’s just us three left.
Dan Mcbride, D1 Male: 1 (Alex Dooley: D12 Male)
Taylor Pride, D2 Male: 1 (Kailyn Love: D8 Female)
Hannah Cruz, D3 Female: 2 (Peyton Finley: D6 Male, Abby Long: D7 Female)
Kate Henson, D4 Female: 2 (Justin McCoy: D8 Male, Rene Cruz: D3 Male)
Chris Thompson, D4 Male: 2 (Lindsey Emery: D9 Female, Johnny Edman: D5 Male)
Clement Bilhorn, D11 Male: 1 (Chris Thompson: D4 Male)
Careers (Grace Walter: D1 Female, Amber Washington: D2 Female, Kate Henson: D4 Female)
The Deserter’s Alliance: (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!