The winner of today’s sponsorship vote is…Mike Skazinski of District 5!
Congrats Mike, you get a free attribute point added to your lowest attribute (Strength).
I fire another arrow into the burlap sandbag that Danae and I have propped up against the Cornucopia. The arrow strikes nearly in the center of the target I painted on it using some berry paste. Danae fires her own arrow after a moment, and strikes the target just to the left of my arrow, further from the center. She groans audibly as she stomps over to the sack to retrieve our arrows.
“Why the groaning?” I ask.
Danae rips the arrows out of the sack aggressively, small streams of sand pouring out of the gashes in the burlap
“I’m gonna get myself killed with crappy shots like that.”
“You hit the bag.”
“Yeah, well I can do better,” she snaps with vitrol.
I throw my hands up and take a step back, already done with Danae’s perfectionism and selfishness. She’s been irritating me since the first day of the Games: refusing to sleep in any place but her designated “spot” that she plopped down in once the Games started, eating almost all of the fresh fruit we had stored because the dried ration bars “don’t settle well with her”, and even refusing to go hunting for other tributes unless she’s “feeling up to it”.
I don’t know why Hannah wanted her in the alliance, but I’m not in a position to say anything about it. Besides Hannah, I know no one else wanted me here. I’m just a number for the alliance. I don’t have time to throw people under the bus; I need to prove my worth.
I turn my head just in time to see the giant cloud of black fog rolling towards our camp across the plains. Stumbling backwards in shock, I fumble my way towards the Cornucopia, my allies already gathered in a clump.
“What do we do?”
“Run! We have to run!”
“We can’t run,” says Matt. “Not without leaving Stephen behind, and I’m not doing that.”
I’m about to scream at Matt for putting us all at risk for someone who’s going to die anyways when the cloud envelops us in a pitch black haze. I load an arrow into my bow and move back against the Cornucopia, my right elbow pushing against the golden horn. The only thought my brain seems to be capable of processing is the question as to why this is happening. Surely my alliance can’t be boring the audience that much?
“For the love of God, Alejandra! Get into formation or you’ll die!”
I look over and see in the black haze that my allies are standing in a circle, with Stephen in the center, his spear at the ready. I rush over and join the circle, just as a pair of lights suddenly glow within the gloom.
I’ve never seen creatures like the ones I’m looking at now. They are four-legged and as tall as Alejandra and Eleanor, with spiky black fur that makes them almost completely invisible in the dark. Besides that, there’s nothing else worth describing besides the massive glowing green fangs that they now bares at us.
“Mutts,” hisses Eleanor through gritted teeth. “They must be. I’ve never seen anything like them.”
The one nearest to her seems to respond to her voice, because the second she starts talking it launches itself at her opening its mouth as wide as it can, reaching for her throat. She leaps back and slashes it across the face with her chain whip, sending it sprawling. I quickly fire an arrow into what I think is its chest, feeling strangely relieved to be killing a horrific monster rather than an innocent participant in these Games. The beast crashes to the ground, its hugely muscular ape-like body making the ground shake as it lands.
I look up in response to Stephen’s shout, just in time to watch the remaining beast duck under his spear and tackle him out of his wheelchair. It pounces on him without hesitation, and Stephen’s screams echo through the fog for what seems like full minutes before the creature is finally brought down by an onslaught of arrows from Alejandra, Danae, and Hannah.
The fog lifts almost immediately, sucked away into the sky by some unseen force. Stephen’s empty wheelchair is the first thing I see as the haze is pulled away, and I can’t even take a step towards where he’s still pinned under the dead creature before his cannon fires.
Less than two minutes. Less than two minutes have passed, and we’ve lost an ally. Just like that. I stand frozen, rooted to the ground as the hovercraft arrives to scoop Stephen’s mutilated remains into its underbelly.
I failed him.
The cannon fires, startling me and causing my knife to slip and gash deep into my hand off of the rat I’ve been skinning (Attribute Point Lost). I curse loudly, drawing the attention of my two allies and sending them rushing over.
“I’m fine,” I wince. “Just sliced myself on accident.”
“I have some bandages, I think,” says Madison softly. “Be right back.”
She runs over to where her pack is sitting, scrounging through it. Mike looks out across the plains of grass.
“Who do you think it was?”
“One of the loners, probably,” he responds. “Must’ve run into an alliance.”
His answer relieves me. It could have been Ellie. But she’s got her alliance, her group protecting her. They wouldn’t have let her die, not this early, not yet.
The sun’s still so high. It’ll be hours before I know for sure. I’ve already failed her by running away, but maybe she’ll make it without me. I’m sure she will. She has to.
I must be the luckiest tribute in the Games, because there they are. Sitting there, eating lunch, chatting, completely unaware that I’m about to kill them both. So smug, thinking that they’re safe as long as they keep running. They’ve been running from me since day one. Well I’ve got them now.
Josh is in the middle of telling me about his family back in District 9 when his glasses suddenly shatter and his blood spurts out all over my face as his eye explodes. He topples forward as I scream in horror, scrambling for my supplies, already knowing who’s found us as Shannon’s laughter fills the air, interrupted only by Josh’s cannon firing. I manage one glance back at his body, slumped over on the ground with an arrow protruding from the back of his head. Then I’m running, throwing my backpack over my shoulder and charging through the grass as more arrows fly overhead.
I can’t risk turning around and trying to take her out. All I’ve got handy is a small knife, and I doubt I could get close enough to use it without her taking me out. I’ve only got one real chance to get away, and thankfully, it happens.
I leap over one of the traps I’ve dug around our campsite, and feel the tightness in my chest relax as I hear Shannon step on the grass covering the hole where I’ve planted a knife in the ground. The string of curses she suddenly lets fly tell me that it’s gone straight through her foot (Attribute Point Lost).
I don’t turn to go finish her off. I know I should. I know I need to. I know it’s the Hunger Games and I’m supposed to kill, especially the witch that just killed my ally.
But I keep running. I keep running for a long time, only stopping when the tears finally come, when it sinks in that Josh is gone.
Strongest Tributes: Sierra Strom (D2 F), Danae Brooks (D6 F), and Alejandra Guzman (D9 F)
Most Agile Tribute: Hannah Garringer (D5 F)
Most Cunning Tribute: Hannah Garringer (D5 F)
Most Charming Tribute: Ryan Lilly (D6 M)
Strongest Overall Tribute: Hannah Garringer (D5 F)
Alliances and attribute scores have been altered due to today’s events. Please note the changes on the respective pages.
The benchmark for Day Five has been posted on the home page!