Today’s winner is…Dr. Kriner of District 2!
Congrats Dr. Kriner, your training score is now 10!
Day One: The Bloodbath
The metallic door of the lift tube slams shut behind me as I step inside. This is it. The Games are about to begin.
As my launchpad starts to rise upwards, my breath catches in my throat. What awaits me at the top of the lift? I watched last year’s Games, where the arena was an indoor vault. History would tell me that the Gamemakers wouldn’t use the same arena twice, so I’m expecting something outdoors. As my platform begins to slow, I squint my eyes in reaction to what I assume will be a bright light at the top of the tube.
When I open my eyes fully, I find myself standing in a cave. The air is cold and damp, and the only light comes from torches mounted on the wall over each tribute. The Cornucopia sits in the middle of the cave, gleaming gold in the light of the torches. No exits in sight. The countdown from sixty begins.
Is this it? The arena can’t be this small, we’ll all be dead within minutes! I look around frantically and notice that each tribute has a large pack sitting in front of them. Why are they putting supplies so close to us? Don’t they want a fight in the middle, by the Cornucopia?
Next to me, the girl from 4 mutters under her breath. “This’ll be over quick enough.”
I stare at her in fear as the last ten seconds of the timer trickle away. The gong sounds, and chaos erupts in the cave.
I rush forward, grabbing the large, gold-highlighted pack off the ground in front of me and slipping it onto my back. It’s heavy, and the straps have an annoying buckle which I offhandedly snap around my chest, holding it in place and keeping it from bouncing around. A small knife sits slipped a side pocket of the pack; I grab it and hold it tightly in my hand. Then I back up towards my pad.
From what I can see in the dim light, the Cornucopia doesn’t have anything inside it. Tributes rushing towards it slow down as they see that the only supplies in the cave are in our packs.
What’s going on here?
I get my answer as the floor beneath me starts to crack.
The golden Cornucopia itself is the first to go, its extra weight making the stone beneath it crack faster. The floor disintegrates outwards from there, swallowing everyone who was running towards the Cornucopia in bright light which spills from the holes. I step back in fear as tributes around me fall through sudden holes in the ground, screaming.
Then the ground beneath me crumbles, and I fall into a bright blue sky.
Air rushes past me as I fall, and my reaction for the first few seconds is one of blind panic. Then I see that the ground is a long way down, and somehow I convince myself to relax. The Gamemakers wouldn’t just kill us all by dropping us on the ground. There’s got to be something else going on. I take the time to examine the true arena.
Below me is a large forest, a flat pine of tangled trees. In the center of this forest is an open plain, and in the center of that is a large circular lake. The plane of land below me seems to curve off at the edges, but I assume it’s due to the fact that I’m falling from the sky and I can’t really focus.
Since I backed up away from the Cornucopia, I was one of the last tributes to fall. Most of the other tributes are down below me. Looking down, I catch sight of my district partner Kayla just as her pack explodes open into a grey parachute.
Reacting quickly, I snap the buckle around my chest just as my own grey parachute pops open. The sudden jolt sends the buckle strap digging up into my armpits, and I gasp in pain. But as my descent slows, the strap begins to relax, and I’m able to observe my surroundings. All around me, a sea of colors erupts as the parachutes in our packs activate. Each district apparently has a different color, each with their district number printed on the back. I cling to the straps and try to angle my descent towards the forest.
Gripping the straps of my light-blue pack, I try not to watch as, to the left of me, the girl from 11 struggles to hang onto her backpack. She wasn’t able to get the buckle around her chest before her yellow parachute opened, and the parachute yanked the pack right off of her arms. Somehow, she was able to grab onto one of the straps, but she can’t pull herself back up into it, leaving her screaming in fear and hanging on for dear life.
“She was going to die anyways,” I tell myself. “Only one person gets out of here. It wasn’t going to be her. You can’t help her.”
The girl’s grip begins to loosen on her strap. She’s kicking now, struggling to pull herself up.
Against my better wishes, I make a sudden decision to veer over towards her. Maybe she can grab onto me, use me to pull herself back up into her chute.
The girl turns her head as I inch closer to her. Through her tear-stained face, she smiles desperately and reaches her free hand out to me.
I’m just about to take it when her other hand slips from the strap. Our fingertips brush together as she plummets down towards the ground, her screams fading as she falls.
Tears well up in my eyes as I sink past her now-empty pack, hanging motionless from its yellow parachute.
The boy from 11 floats directly under me, his yellow parachute expanded out against the air. I pull my knife out of the side pocket of my pack and take aim. Who says you can’t fight in the sky?
I’m angling myself away from the approaching lake when I feel something snap above me. I look up and feel fear shoot through my veins as a small rip in my parachute tears its way into an even larger rip. My parachute splits in half, and I cry out as the forest rapidly approaches to end my final fall.
I’m the first tribute to land on the ground, running forward and falling to my knees as I reestablish myself to the ground.
“Well, I’m the first tribute to land alive, anyways,” I note to myself as I look up and see an empty yellow parachute veering off to my right, away from the open plain. More tributes are coming in fast, so I stand up and quickly survey the land. My parachute automatically retracts itself back into my pack. Apparently we’ll be needing them again.
In front of me sits the Cornucopia, now somehow full of supplies and weapons. I rush over as fast as I can, which isn’t very fast thanks to the pack I’ve got on, and grab a staff and a sack of water bottles. Then I turn and run into the forest, away from the other tributes who are beginning to land.
It takes me a while to find my way to the Cornucopia, due to the fact that I veered off-course and landed in some trees. Luckily, I was able to make it close enough to the ground before getting my parachute tangles in branches, so I could slip it off and head back to where I assume the Career alliance is setting up their base. When I finally emerge onto the open plain, I see that not much has happened in terms of carnage. My district partner Jennifer, Josh from 2 and Edwin from 4 are examining supplies at the Cornucopia. To their left, a dead tribute lies on the ground, his purple parachute numbered “Eight” splayed out behind him and an arrow sticking from his chest.
Jen’s the first one to notice me, turning to face me as I run over.
“Took you long enough.”
“Where are the others?” I ask as I finally reach her.
“The older woman from 2 ran off. Same with Abbie from 4. It’s just us here, but we’ve got things under control.”
I grab a water bottle from the ground and drink, glancing over at the dead tribute.
“Who killed him?” I ask.
“I did,” Josh responds, gesturing to his crossbow. “Once we all landed here, there were only a couple tributes still in the sky, and most of them had the good sense to veer off away from the Cornucopia. But he kept coming, so I shot him.”
Josh laughs sardonically and goes back to organizing the weapons into piles.
Five minutes after we finish organizing, three cannons sound for the three dead tributes. A hovercraft arrives to take away the boy from 8’s body. His parachute is still strapped onto him, and it expands as his corpse is slowly lifted up towards the hovercraft. Once he’s in the belly of the ship, a panel slides shut, snipping the strings of the parachute and letting it glide back to the ground.
It lands in the lake, a purple canvas island in a body of blue.
The Games have begun.
Current Training Scores
District 1: Jennifer Fu (9) and Joseph Quiggle (11)
District 2: Dr. Tiffany Kriner (10) and Josh Ryken (10)
District 3: Katherine Braden (10) and Dr. Matthew Milliner (6)
District 4: Abigail Black (11) and Edwin Chung (9)
District 5: Dr. Beth Jones (3) and Maurice Bokanga (10)
District 6: Kasey Send (5) and Zackary Smiley (11)
District 7: Dr. Alison Gibson (7) and Ben Weidemann (6)
District 8: Dr. Heather Whitney (6)
District 9: Christie Taylor (7) and Joseph Abdelmelek (8)
District 10: Ellen Egerton (9) and David Nitchman (9)
District 12: Kayla Roberson (8) and Andrew Wang (5)
Strongest Tributes: District 1’s Joseph Quiggle, District 4’s Abigail Black, and District 6’s Zackary Smiley
Weakest Tribute: District 5’s Dr. Beth Jones
Average Training Score: 8
Median Training Score: 9
Score Most Tributes Have: 9, 10
District 2’s Josh Ryken: One kill (District 8’s Abe Nakamura)
District 3’s Katherine Braden: One kill (District 11’s Nico Lasta)
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