The winner of today’s sponsorship vote is…Matthew Solt of District 12!
Congrats Matthew, you get a free attribute point added to your lowest attribute (Strength).
The lift door slams shut, and the metal launch pad I’m standing on begins to rise. Heart racing, I try to distract myself from the inevitable carnage of the bloodbath by observing my uniform, in an attempt to guess what the arena has in store for me. Everything I’m wearing is light and breathable, but the shirt I’ve been given has long sleeves. Not a tropical or arctic climate then. A forest maybe?
I start to strategize. Unlike most of the other tributes, I’m going into the arena with no allies waiting for me. So a fight at the Cornucopia would most likely end with be being skewered or shot. I need to get in, get supplies, and get out. Maybe find a treeline to hide behind. I may not be able to fight them all, but I can definitely outrun them.
I’m feeling more confident as the roof of the tunnel I’m rising up in suddenly snaps open, bathing me in light.
But when my pad finally reaches the top, my plan to find some trees falls apart immediately.
My pad locks into place, and I stare out at the vast emptiness of the arena. Besides the small curve of some hills off in the distance from the Cornucopia, everything is flat with no trees and no bushes in sight. The only vegetation is a sea of chest-high tallgrass, stretching out for miles. The Cornucopia sits in the center of a dirt patch, surrounded by a ring of the tallgrass.
As the sixty second countdown begins, I scan the circle of tributes. The woman from 12 stands on the pad directly to my right, her eyes locked on the golden horn in the center of the tribute circle. Beyond her, two tributes down, my ally Matthew from 8 glances over at me and gives me a quick nod, then gestures behind me. I turn carefully on my pad to see more hills off in the distance. Matthew must want to go there, and I can’t disagree. Staying out here in the flatlands is a death sentence.
We can only escape once we get supplies though, and from what I can see, the only ones available are in the mouth of the Cornucopia. We’ll have to be quick.
The countdown reaches five seconds. I get ready to run.
The gong sounds, and all twenty-four of us leap off of our pads and into the tallgrass, charging for the Cornucopia. I’ve barely taken five steps when I trip over something, falling into the grass and nearly slamming my head into the ground. Looking back over my shoulder, I see my foot has snagged itself in the strap of a large backpack with a coil of rope tied to it. So there’s supplies hidden in the grass too. I crawl over to the backpack and hoist it onto my shoulders. Someone charges through the grass off to my right, and I instinctively backpedal, staying crouched and out of sight for a moment before peeking my head up and looking for my ally from 2, Daniel.
It appears that most of the other tributes have realized that the grass has hidden supplies in it, as almost none of them besides the men from 7 and 9 have reached the Cornucopia, weapons in hand and presumably waiting for their allies to reach them.
Someone grabs my arm, and I shriek and leap back, only to immediately relax when I see it’s just Daniel.
“Let’s get out of here,” he says just as the first screams begin to rise out of the tallgrass. He adjusts his pack and charges off into the arena, and I follow right on his toes.
We’re far away from the Cornucopia by the time the first cannon fires.
My ally Josh from 9 and I manage to scrounge up two backpacks, as well as a machete and a small throwing axe. It’s enough for us to at least get a good start in the arena, and to be able to defend ourselves.
“Where do we go?” Josh asks, glancing around nervously as the grass rustles around us and tributes bob about like sharks.
“Doesn’t matter, but we can’t stay here,” I reply, picking a direction and charging forward.
We both whirl around to see the redheaded Shannon racing towards us with a bow in her hand and a quiver of arrows strapped across her back. Confused, I glance over at Josh. I’d thought about allying with the woman from 8, but hadn’t actually spoken to her.
“What does she want?” I wonder aloud.
“Dunno.” Josh takes a step towards her.
We get our answer as Shannon suddenly loads an arrow into her bow and fires it right at us. I scramble away madly as I hear the arrow make impact and Josh cry out behind me. Just as I think she must’ve killed him, he suddenly charges past me, the arrow lodged in his shoulder (Attribute Point Lost). Another arrow streaks over my head.
“Wait up you guys! I just wanna talk!”
She cackles madly as a third arrow whizzes past my ear.
“Keep running!” screams Josh up ahead of me.
Two more arrows fly past us before Shannon’s quiver is empty and she’s forced to break off her manhunt. I glance back at her once as she stoops in the grass, searching for her lost arrows. I hope it’s the last time I see her alive.
Mike from 5, Conner from 11, and I continue our trek through the grass, with Mike taking the lead and Conner watching our rear, crossbow in hand.
“What are we looking for?” I ask aloud as we begin to ascend a small hill.
“Water,” replies Mike. “And a place to rest. Maybe there’s some cover further in the arena. A cave or something.”
“Someone’s following us.”
Mike and I stop in our tracks and turn to face Conner, who’s got his crossbow aimed at the tallgrass further down the hill. It takes me a moment to see what he sees in the billowing grass, but eventually I see a patch that’s swaying just a bit more than the grass around it. Bow in hand, I reach over my shoulder for an arrow out of my quiver.
I don’t even have time to finish my question before Conner launches a bolt at the patch. A tribute groans, and a cannon suddenly fires after a short moment.
“Immediate cannon,” says Mike over on my right. “Means no one died at the bloodbath.”
“Has that ever happened?” asks Conner.
“Not that I can remember.”
We all stand and watch as the hovercraft arrives and sends its claw down to pick up the deceased tribute. As the corpse is lifted out of the grass, the sun suddenly reflects into my eyes off of something on the body, now clearly visible as a male’s. Glasses.
Only two male tributes in the arena wears glasses besides Conner, and that’s not Josh from 9 in the claw.
“It’s Sam,” I say.
“The man from my district,” I reply to Mike. “I offered him an alliance during training but he shot me down. He must have changed his mind. Was probably looking for me.”
My alliance sullenly watches as Sam’s body disappears into the belly of the hovercraft. I hadn’t known him at all, but it had only seemed right to offer an olive branch to my district partner. He probably expected to be able to hide on his own, like we all did before we were dumped in these open plains.
The hovercraft finally departs, silently ascending into the sky.
“We should keep moving,” says Conner, stone-faced but with a tinge of regret in his voice.
A second cannon sounds from somewhere in the arena, spurring us on in agreement with Conner. We need to find somewhere safe.
Against all the odds, I’ve made it past the bloodbath. I’m sure spectators around the world are grumbling over bets they made that the handicapped man in the wheelchair would be the first to go.
Not only am I still alive, I’ve managed to break into the strongest alliance in the Games, consisting of myself, Matt from 7, and the women from 5, 6, 9, and 11. The Cornucopia and its supplies are ours, and the top of the golden horn serves as a great lookout point to scope out the surrounding plains. No one will be sneaking up on us.
I may not have the physical abilities of my allies, but I’ve completely misted them into thinking I’m a helpless weakling. It’s no coincidence that Matt, the ally I’m closest with, is a complete pacifist.
I’ll manipulate them all into doing my bidding. And when it comes down to it, they’ll all fall in order to protect me, the helpless handicap. They’ll all die before me if I have anything to say about it.
A cannon fires, and the three of us pause to wait for the other inevitable bloodbath cannons to fire as they always do. The ensuing silence confuses all of us.
“Just one person? That’s it?” says Sierra from 2, not bothering to hide her annoyance.
“The super-alliance must’ve scared everyone off from going for the Cornucopia too,” replies Lindsay from 1, referencing the six-person alliance that had immediately converged on the golden horn and sent the three of us skulking back into the tallgrass to hunt for supplies.
“Or maybe people just aren’t wanting to kill yet,” I offer. “Maybe they’re not playing the game yet.”
Sierra suddenly stiffens, and I worry that I’ve somehow offended her.
“What did I-”
She shushes me abruptly.
“Do you hear that?”
Over the sound of the tallgrass rustling in the wind, I gradually pick up what Sierra’s hearing: small whimpers from off to our left.
We silently pull out our respective weapons and move closer to the noise. It isn’t long before we stumble upon the source, and I have to force myself to not look away.
The woman from 7 lies on the ground, skewered through the neck by an arrow. She gasps and spasms in a pool of her own blood as the three of us stare down at her.
“Who did this to you?” I ask in a hush, my voice catching in my throat.
The woman looks up at us, near-convulsing.
She croaks, and then goes silent. A cannon fires.
“Who did she mean?” asks Lindsay.
“Shannon,” I reply. “The woman from 8.”
Sierra kneels down to search through the dead woman’s pack, coming up with some food and a small knife, as well as a thin blanket.
“Someone’s playing the game,” she says to me as she tosses me the blanket, finally replying to my earlier statement.
I wince as she rips the arrow out of the woman from 7’s neck and wipes the blood off of it using the corpse’s shirt. She hands it to Lindsay, who hesitates for a moment before adding it to her quiver.
“We all have to play too.”
Strongest Tributes: Lindsay Weinburg (D1 F), 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)
Attribute scores have been altered due to today’s events. Please note the changes on the respective page.
The benchmark for Day Two has been posted on the home page!