The winner of today’s sponsorship vote is…Eileen Armes of District 5!
Congrats Eileen, you get a free attribute point added to your lowest attribute (Strength).
I trace my finger around the edge of the scar on my arm that Jordan from 1 gave me yesterday. The wound has closed off nicely, but I don’t want to have it open up again and start bleeding. So I’m staying behind at camp with my district partner Maurice and Kylie from 10 while the rest of our alliance is out hunting for a water source.
Maurice, already the stoic type, has been even more quiet since Steven died yesterday. No one else in the alliance had particularly wanted the boy from 12 to join up with us, but Maurice had invited him in regardless. I don’t think he was expecting to lose anyone on the first day, let alone be injured himself.
Eileen from 5 has, for some reason, taken up the mantle as group leader. She’s one of the weakest of our alliance in terms of ability, but her natural charisma really draws people in. It’s why I picked her as one of my original allies before Maurice put our ragtag alliance together.
Truthfully, I only have ties to Eileen and Maurice. The rest of the alliance is expendable to me. And I know I’m not the only one in the group who feels that way.
I glance up at Kylie, who’s sitting against a tree trunk and sharpening some arrows from her quiver with a smooth stone. She looks up at me and smiles.
I can’t tell whether she’s genuinely being friendly, or if she’s imagining me dead on the ground. I suppose time will tell.
I push the tip of my knife into the bulbous protrusion on the trunk of a thick tree, and a foul-smelling black ooze spurts out. Grinning, I collect it in an empty glass bottle, wincing as some of it touches the edge of my index finger and causes it to tingle and burn (Attribute Point Lost).
Trees with bacterial wetwood are all too common back home in District 7. When a tree becomes infected with a cetrain form of bacteria which thrive in low-oxygen environments, that bacteria produces methane gas and bacterial ooze that eventually gets forced out of the tree due to enormous pressure. Normally, this ooze is clear or dark-brown, and harmless to humans and animals. But during the war, the Gamemakers poisoned many of our trees with their own modified version of bacterial ooze, one that is toxic, caustic, highly flammable, and easily identified by its jet-black color.
I finish draining the pustule on the tree, and then top off the remainder of my bottle with some rubbing alcohol to break up the ooze’s viscosity. Once that’s done, I cap the bottle with a strip from the blanket I cut up back in camp. And with that, I’ve made a Molotov cocktail.
“What?” I turn to look at Julia from 3, who’s trekking through the jungle alongside me. She looks over at me.
“You said my name.”
“No I didn’t.”
“I swear I heard my name.”
Julia rolls her eyes.
“Please don’t tell me you’re already going crazy.”
“But I swear I-”
“Go check over there for some water,” Julia interrupts, pointing over to a misty expanse of foliage. “There might be a stream or something.”
With that, she stomps off in the opposite direction.
I sigh. I can already feel my allies getting annoyed with me. I’m by far the weakest in the group, and I’ve been trying my hardest to make myself useful. As long as Maurice and Eileen remain in control, I should be safe. But if both of them were to die…
I whirl around, clouds of jungle mist swirling up around me. I definitely heard it that time.
I turn once more and finally see her, standing right in front of me.
She is enshrouded in mist. Or is she mist? I can’t tell. She smiles with kind eyes as I raise my shield instinctively, and before I can jump away I breathe in a tendril of her mist.
And I love her. I’ve never loved anything more than her. How could I have ever lived without her? I breathe her in, more and more, until she fills my lungs and my body and my soul.
And then she whispers again, whispers the names of my allies, whispers what she wishes me to do to them.
I will do anything for her.
Amanda and I trudge through the foliage behind Eileen, who bats branches and shrubbery out of the way with her shield. Our search for water has been fruitless, and we’re meeting back up with Julia and Ian.
We find the former in our designated meeting spot, slumped up against a tree and examining her weapon’s bowstring.
“Find anything?” she asks Eileen as the three of us gather around her.
“There has to be some water source around here,” says Amanda. “They wouldn’t just let us all die of thirst. No entertainment in that.”
“Where’s Ian?” I ask.
“I sent him off to look on his own. Kid was getting on my nerves,” Julia groans.
Eileen turns her head. “Here he comes now.”
The four of us turn to see Ian charging through the undergrowth towards us.
“Maybe he found something,” Eileen says cheerfully. “Did you find water?” she shouts at Ian as he gets within a few feet of us.
He responds by launching his shield like a disc. It slams into Eileen and sends her crashing to the ground (Attribute Point Lost).
Julia leaps to her feet. “What the f-”
Ian ends his charge by headbutting her in the chest and slamming her against the tree, hard (Attribute Point Lost). She moans and slumps back to the ground, holding her chest.
Ian turns to face Amanda and me, and it’s only then that I see his milky eyes. He grins and steps towards the two of us, a cloudy mist pouring out from between his teeth.
I load my slingshot and point it at my ally as he stumbles towards us.
“Stay back!” cries Ruby. Ian launches himself at her, grabbing my bespectacled ally by the throat and somehow lifting her off the ground. I hesitate with my slingshot as Ruby kicks and struggles in Ian’s grip.
Then an arrow slams through Ian’s chest, and he drops Ruby. She crumples up on the ground, gasping for air (Attribute Point Lost). Ian’s eyes lose their milkiness as he looks down at the arrow sticking out of his chest. Then his head snaps back and a cloud of mist shoots out of his mouth. It shoots up into the canopy of the forest, and then it’s gone.
Ian crumples to the ground like a crushed aluminum can. He’s still for only a moment before his cannon fires. Behind him, Julia lowers her bow before going back to clutching her chest.
“Bastard broke a rib, I think,” she moans as I pick Ruby up off the ground. Eileen, now back on her feet, picks up Ian’s shield.
“Let’s get out of here,” she says in a hushed voice.
As the four of us head back to camp, one ally short, I swear I can hear someone up in the trees whispering my name.
I curse as I wrap a bandage around the palm of my hand. I’d been sharpening my katana when the cannon fired, and accidentally cut myself when I flinched at the sound of it (Attribute Point Lost). My only injury of the Games so far is self-inflicted. I pull the bandage tighter and tighter against my wound, trying to keep the tears brewing in my eyes from falling. I won’t die in this goddamned jungle. I won’t.
Strongest Tributes: Caris Chun (D1 F) and Luke Vander Ploeg (D4 M)
Most Agile Tribute: Caris Chun (D1 F)
Most Cunning Tribute: Carmeanna Eberly (D2 F)
Most Charming Tribute: Taylor Lindell (D4 F)
Strongest Overall Tribute: Taylor Lindell (D4 F)
Alliances and attribute scores have been altered due to today’s events. Please note the changes on their respective pages.
The benchmark for Day Three has been posted on the home page!