Esia Emberly, 26- Assistant Head Gamemaker for the 26th Hunger Games
Esia sits herself down in a slouching position on her plush leather chair, clutching a piping hot mug of coffee tightly in her hands, making them sting. She glances curiously around the circular plaster pale room, where machine like men and women in ghostly cloaks are tapping away vigorously, no doubt coming up with more clever ways to end children's lives. Or some allow themselves a few seconds to lift their heads up from their screens to shoot her a glare filled with spite and poison, which happens to her all the time nowadays. Everybody knows, including Esia, that she doesn't deserve this job. She had only joined the gamemakers team last year, the year of the first quarter quell. She showed no interest in the mindless slaughtering of tributes, in fact, it sends shivers down her spine every time she has to boom that cannon, as it's her job. No, she joined the team simply because she wants a comfortable, wealthy Capitol life with her six year old daughter Hope, which was given to her from being a Gamemaker. Things began getting even better at the start of this year's games season, when Head Gamemaker Archibald, the one that everybody secretly despised with passion, informed her that he had a certain liking to her, and gave her the promotion to Assistant head gamemaker. There were numerous benefits to this promotion, the wage of an assistant Head Gamemaker was enough to purchase a lavishing penthouse apartment on Presidential approach, with balcony views stretching all the way to District one, Esia was so overwhelmed, that for a brief moment she forgot who Archibald was altogether, and leapt up from her chair and planted a kiss on his icy lips. Though seconds later, she came back to her senses, and burst out of the room in utter revulsion. But there was something about that short but icy kiss, that was different from any of her others, and not necessarily in a negative way.
Esia finds herself rapidly fluttering her eyelashes into motion, letting out a yawn and outstretching her arms, making the plump balding man situated to the left of her popcorn with shock when her hand makes contact with his bloated stomach, and she jerks her hand away in a hurry. How could she be so utterly useless? She thought, sleeping on the job, at this prime time in the game? There are only 6 tributes left. She knew she must be the worst gamemaker in Hunger Games history.
She glances towards the main telescreen on the wall, where currently the particularly unhinged district ten girl is stumbling around on the chalky white stones (This year's arena is full of nothing but stones. It was Esia who came up with the idea. It was disapproved of by the majority of the other gamemakers, because the tributes had nowhere to hide, and there was no plant life. But, Esia was the one in power.) She is currently about two hundred metres away from the cornucopia, which she is heading towards. She had other tribute's blood dripping down her arms, and the red liquid coated her axe. Her uniform is all ripped and torn, as she had bitten through it, and this girl had ripped off half of what was once her beautiful auburn brown hair. She gnashed her teeth violently as she continued towards the cornucopia, craving for a 6th kill. Esia shuddered, the games really can change people.
Esia zooms out to get a view of the whole arena, and to find out where the other five, all male, tributes were. Well, four really, as the boy from twelve (It was really unusual for a district twelve tribute to make the final six.) had just been unluckily bitten to death by a particularly venomous tarantula, which had been hiding away in the stones, and is currently being lifted from the arena. Esia lets out a small gasp of horror, she forgot to sound his cannon. Oh no, she is in charge of the cannons, and she completely let herself down. She quickly presses the button to sound it, and feels a slight blush starting to appear on her face when the others start to glare again, good thing Archibald is distracted at the minute, so he hasn't noticed her failure. She decides she can't stand it anymore, so shoots them all daggers back. That gets them back to work.
Aside from the district ten girl, the other four tributes left are the boy from one and two, who are both teamed up and looking fairly well, despite the fact that they are only armed with a weapon each and are running very low on water. They are about a kilometre north of the cornucopia, and don't look intent on moving at the moment. The boy from 9, who is on his way to the cornucopia from a completely different direction, and has nothing but an empty backpack for protection. This will make an interesting fight, Esia thinks, even though she would usually despise that way of thinking. And finally, there's the boy from 3, the one who revealed on live, national television that he kills innocent district 3 citizens for the sake of his experiments. He is right at the edge of the arena, currently experimenting how many stones it takes to choke a lizard to death. He is currently in best form right now, armed to the teeth with swords, first aid kits, food and water. The games have been going on for fifteen days, it's about time they were ended. The Capitol citizens are getting really bored and wrestles, edging for a bloody finale. Esia needs to give them one, but how?
She had two ideas, one was to get mutts to chase the tributes all closer together, and they could fight it out from there. But that happens too frequently in finales, and is considered to be utterly tedious and boring by Capitol standards. The other idea was to create an avalanche out of the stones, which would lift all the stones up off the ground and the tributes would have no alternative choice than to dash at full pelt towards the cornucopia. She could then set some carnivorous mutts on the tributes in the finale, to give the Capitol even more reason to be thrilled. But if she was completely honest, she didn't know what she was doing. How were you supposed to get the stones to do what she wanted them to do? She has no clue. She could always ask the man to her right, although asking somebody lower down the ranks, even if they were three decades older than Esia, for assistance wouldn't go down too well, she is supposed to be the one helping them.
The only one in this room that she could possibly request help from would be Archibald, who is currently standing at the edge of the room near the exit, as if blocking it so nobody will attempt to leave the room. But the one thing that irks Esia is who is standing with him, her hands perched comfortably on his shoulders. Sapphire. They are both in fits of laughter, passionately flirting. Esia could swear she has never actually seen Archibald doing some work, even though she couldn't say much on that matter. But the thing that irks her the most is that he has to be flirting with Sapphire. She despises Esia, and the feeling is mutual. Sapphire made Esia's school life hell, and is constantly taunting her in some way. It always seems like her main priority in life is to make Esia's live a living nightmare.
But Esia needs Archibald to be with her now, for the sake of the 26th Hunger Games. "Archibald" Shouts Esia stiffly, making all the other gamemakers lift their noses up from their work. But Sapphire is the one to answer her first.
"Shut your face troll, Archi wants me at the moment, not you, don't you Archibaldy?" Archibald remain silent, gazing at Esia with concern.
"Be quiet you, or I'll knock those hideous fake gems off your ugly face. Anyway, get out, you're not a gamemaker, are you?" Esia gets a sensational feeling coming to her, to finally be able stand up to Sapphire.
"THEY ARE NOT FAKE! Well neither are you. Not a proper one anyway, judging by the things this lot say about you." She gestures towards the other gamemakers in the room, who all remain deadly silent, a couple of the more unbearable ones with smirks plastered across their faces. Luckily, Archibald chips in before things become out of hand.
"Be quiet, the pair of you. You're like a couple of tributes grappling over a backpack. Sapphire, you can go now, I'll see you once this is finally over. Esia, what's the matter now?" Sapphire looks appalled, that it's Esia getting the attention and not her, and slams the door hard, the clonking sound of her heels going down the corridor echoing around the room.
Archibald jogs toward her desk. He is almost as disliked as Esia was herself, and she could see why. He has a seriously stern, unapproachable look on his face, and his brows are inwardly furrowed, and they haven't been surgically altered unlike the majority of the Capitol. His wide russet brown eyes stare menacingly into yours, but Esia knows that he doesn't mean to look like that, it's just his natural look. Though Esia isn't too keen on his close-cropped greying hair, couldn't he at least add a little dye to it?
She is knocked out of her daydream "So, what's the matter Esia, I hope it's something good, as I was enjoying my time with Sapphire there?"
Esia tries her absolute hardest not to shoot him a glare, and thankfully for hr, succeeds. He would often say the odd insensitive thing from time to time, and not bother to consider the possible consequences.
"O-oh, I just w-wanted to d-decrease the size of the arena, by m-m-making the stones mount up and chase the tributes to the cornu-u-copia, l-like a tsunami t-that destroyed the r-rest of the world. Do you think you could do it for me?" She privately curses herself, she sounded like a godforsaken child begging her mother for a new dress.
"What, you want me to do the work for you, is that what you're saying? Okay then, I'll do what you wanted me to do with the stones, that's actually a good idea. On one condition."
Esia begins to building up in the pit of her stomach, what condition could this possibly be?
"I want you design a new and effective mutt to join in with the finale. You need to prove your worth to our new Present Coralnius, as he's already having doubts about you. He says that you better make this finale get all the Capitol audience on their feet, or you're in trouble. You know what that means, don't you?"
Esia gulps down her ever-growing nerves, and nods rapidly. "Good" Says Archibald. "I believe in you, Make Snow proud, I don't want you to face the alternative." He quickly walks away and heads towards the exit, probably to coax round Sapphire. She opens her mouth to say thank you, but no words manage to come out.
Her vision begins to blur with tears, she didn't have a clue how to design a mutt, let alone an effective one, and nobody could help her.
I'm in trouble, she thinks, deep trouble.
Mason Crag, District 2 male- The arena (1st Person)
"Hey Mason, I bet you'll never guess what I've managed to find." Smirks Harker, with one of his hands hidden behind his back, while he twirls his sword around in a defensive position in his other hand, perhaps wondering if I'll lash out at him, like I did in the first day of training. But that was different, it wasn't in the actual arena.
"What?" I say, perhaps a little too gruffly, while crouching down on the pebbles.
"Well, I hope it will at least put a smile on your face." He says in a weirdly concerned tone, while running a hand through his spiky, jet black hair.
"Well please, tell me whatever it is you're hiding, which by the way, better be good, then I might just smile." But I can't help suppress a grin. Harker was one of those people who always seemed to be smiling and laughing, and could entertain the career pack when we were going through a rough time. Well, he's certainly too nice and upbeat for something like the games, anyway. In fact when I think about it, I don't remember him making a single kill. Somehow, I doubt he has what it takes to be the Victor. But I am completely different, or so they tell me. I just prefer to be serious than to have a laugh. The other careers used to call me Scrooge, even though I didn't have a clue what that meant.
"All right all right, keep your wig on. I just wanted to offer you an apple. It was sent to me, but I got two, so I figured I might as well be generous."
"From a sponsor?" I ask curiously. We haven't got any sponsors in days, it's probably because the prices are remarkably high at this time in the game, but, I wonder if any of the other tributes have received anything.
"No, I got it from one of the many apple trees around here." He says sarcastically, pointing into nothingness. There is nothing around here except from stones. I can't help but laugh. "Joking, it came just a few minutes ago. Come on then, eat up. I don't know about you, but I really am getting sick of pebbles."
Harker throws the dark red piece of fruit in my direction, and gives me a round of applause when I catch it in my mouth. It tastes extremely succulent and sweet, and my taste buds feel like they are exploding with joy. It's probably because after consuming nothing but pebbles for the past week, they have been dying for a change.
We sit on the pebbles just eating, enjoying a few rare moments of luxury, until Harker finally breaks the silence. "So don't you miss Alexandra at all?"
This topic is a slight bit too sensitive for my tastes, especially when we all had to watch her, choking to death on a stone. It was truly horrendous. "I suppose I do a little. I never knew her back in two, but she was a great district partner, really supportive. Wait, hang on a minute, what the hell is going on here?" I quickly leap to my feet, the stones are all starting to roll back and pile on each other, for as far as I can see, like a towering wall. Something here doesn't seem right. "We need to run. Now!"
"But I can't sprint at all, what about my leg?" Asks Harker, an expression of horror on his face.
"You'll have to try, or you're gonna die." I tell him, point blank. "RUN!" We both sprint as fast as we possibly can, so he is a few metres behind me. The stones have stopped piling up and remain still. No, they have started to move now, descending towards us. If you don't run fast enough, you will die. That will put Harker at a huge disadvantage. Speaking of Harker…
"Mason, just run, quickly! Don't bother worrying about me, I have no chance. Mason… Please…" I quickly turn around, only to notice he isn't there, and the colossal wall of stones is rapidly proceeding towards me. It must have been designed by the gamemakers, to shrink the arena size, and bring us all closer together for the finale. A cannon booms. Oh no, that must be Harker, crushed to death by the stones. I shout his name desperately, but his death is confirmed by the non-existent reply. I feel bad for not feeling bad for not feeling bad, but he would always have to die for me to make it home, I know that.
I continue to sprint at full pelt, my lungs feel like they are about to burst open. But I don't stop, as I can feel the odd sharp stone falling onto my back. I don't dare to look behind me. I just can't imagine getting killed by pebbles, but the stones suddenly feel larger, like they actually could do some damage, and if they ended Harker that fast, then they must be deadly.
After five long minutes of sprinting, I manage to outrun the deadly rocks, which have come to a halt, and they are like walls now, circling us from every angle. Another cannon booms, probably another tribute eaten up by the rocks. My thoughts are confirmed when a hovercraft appears out of the sky from nowhere, and spends around ten minutes digging around in the rocks, until it pulls out a battered body. I am unable to tell who it is, but I really hope it's that idiot mad scientist from three, as he could actually be considered as a threat.
The cornucopia lies in the centre of the part of the arena that still remains, which is around forty metres to my right. I keep my sword held tightly on guard, either of my two remaining opponents could come and attack right now, so I need to be on guard. In fact, where the hell were they?
Then I see them, the deranged girl from ten is chasing the boy from 3 with an axe, neither of them have noticed me yet, as they are dashing wildly round the cornucopia. I decide to go over to them, and just end this. They are now inside the golden horned cornucopia, the ten girl has got the 3 boy pinned against the wall with a firm grip, even though the boy is a full head taller than her. Luckily, the ten girl has her back to me, so doesn't notice me saunter into the cornucopia with my sword at the ready. The three boy does though, and is staring at me with a pained expression, perhaps begging me to save him. I could easily just dip into one of the various boxes of weapons, and end this girl right now, but I decide against it. I want to see this mad scientist suffer.
"You see… I am not… just one of your… experiments" Spits Ten, holding a knife against the whimpering district 3 boy's throat, still unaware that I'm lurking behind her.
"PLEASE! Let me go, I'm begging you, I need to win, not you."
"See, all you care about is yourself, and saving your own skin, you coward. You don't think about anybody else, so self-centred, you happily kill for you silly little experiments. Well… I'll tell you what.., you're going to be part of my little experiment now!"
He lets out a sickening scream as she lifts a knife to his throat. "Sel-fish, Sel-fish, Sel-fish-"
"Meow" I quickly turn my head to see a trio of minute kittens stood staring at us with fear at the entrance of the cornucopia. They have straggly, long white fur, longer than a cat's should be, and stump like tails, all identical. I don't dare approach them, as they could be deadly mutts, even if they don't look it. Sadly, the girl from district ten has also turned around.
"Ha-ha, two for the price of one. Stand next to that skank, NOW!" I let out a laugh as she points to the wall where the mad scientist is still situated, begging for mercy.
"Sorry sweetheart, but getting rid of me won't be quite as easy as getting rid of him. So no, I will not stand against the wall. Oh, and I think you've had enough kills for the time being." I suddenly select a sharp spear from the bounty of weapons and thrust it at the boy from 3's neck, and the girl from ten jumps out of the way in fright. 3 goes down within seconds, his blood painting the silver walls of the cornucopia. His cannon fires, and Ten's nostrils flare with rage. "Believe me when I say this sweetie, that is not attractive, have you heard of standards?" She doesn't react to this, just continues to glare. I don't feel any fear, I know I've won this. She's only fourteen, for god's sake, and certainly isn't trained. But on the other hand, she's mad, and madness and get you somewhere.
At least seven kitten 'mutts' wander inside, doing absolutely nothing but wandering around. What are these, have the gamemakers made some kind of mistake. They continue to walk dreamily around the cornucopia, meowing as they go. Cats are a rarity in district two, and probably in in all the other districts as well. The Capitol are the only ones that keep pets for their own leisure, my prep team and escort couldn't stop talking about their brand new lapdogs, or lizards, or something else of the kind. I can' deny that their lives truly fascinate me.
They begin licking my shoes and lapping at my feet, so I quickly move my foot out of the way, suspecting they give off some kind of poison, but I haven't felt anything left. The girl from ten, who, surprisingly hasn't come at me yet, suddenly can't stand their interrogation anymore, so selects a knife from her dark olive belt, which is fastened tightly to her blood stained jacket. I know what's going to happen next, and for some reason, it irks me. She plunges her sharpest knife into the cat that was licking her leg. It gives a desperate squeak of agony, and falls on to its side, motionless. The other cats begin to surround it, but the girl from ten picks one up by the fur and launches it at my head, hitting me hard with its sharp nails. The girl lets out a cackle of madness.
I feel the anger building up inside me. Right, I can't stand this, her, any longer. Even though mother taught me never to hit girls, I run at her, and swing my sword violently, aiming for one of her vital organs. Sadly, she is better than I gave her credit for. She defensively lifts up her knife and succeeds in blocking all of my blows. Then before I can react, she lifts her knife, and runs forward to attack me, stepping on the bloody corpse of the boy from 3, smashing his wide rimmed glasses. Just as my sword is raised a little too high, and my body is unprotected, she finds the right time to strike, and digs a knife into my heart.
As every part of me erupts with pain, and my body begins to lose its senses, I make out a faint cackling sound. "Ha-ha, you're supposed to be a trained career, and you couldn't even fight a little fourteen year old from ten, you're so damn useless! Well, have fun in the afterlife, loser."
I just about feel somebody kicking me to the ground, and my vision is filled with stars. No, no, no, I can't die like this, I can't. I was so close, yet I failed.
Esia Emberly, 26- Assistant Head Gamemaker (1st person)
"Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present the victor of the 26th Annual Hunger Games, Ruth Stockman of District Ten." Booms Archibald's emotionless voice over the microphone. Even he was struggling to keep it together for the sake of the nation. We were all aware that these games had been a disaster. First of all, Ruth shouldn't have won, it really should have been Mason. He would've been a much better victor, and from the looks of him, he actually had some sanity inside him. I don't even want to mention the mutts, or think about what I'm about to face.
Ruth is now outside the cornucopia, yelling out glorified cries of victory, while standing on top of the bodies of the boys from 2 and 3, waving a blood coated knife to the sky. If that were Hope doing something like that, she would no longer be a daughter of mine…
"Esia… Erm, Snow…would like a word with you… outside." Archibald stands awkwardly behind my desk, running a pale hand down his bottle green tie. I can easily detect the sympathy in even his icy eyes.
I don't say or do anything, just look up at him, almost pleadingly. Archibald begins talking again, this time in a firmer tone, with less sympathy, sounding much more like him. "Look Esia, Snow is waiting outside now, and I don't think he's the type of man that likes to be kept waiting, it will only provoke him more."
The plump man to my right joins in "Go on then, get up and meet you doom. It's been nice working with you Esia." I scowl t him as I rise from my seat.
"Pattison, this is no time or place for you to comment. Now come on, you need to send a hovercraft to the arena, to collect Ruth and the copses. I'll do that with you, go on Esia, now."
I tread lightly across the room, ignoring the other gamemaker's stares. I pause when I get to carefully polished mahogany door, and feel butterflies building up inside me, fluttering about in my body. On the opposite side of this door, awaits the President himself. I dread to think what he has in store for me, I'm just hoping that I'll walk out of it with two legs and a perfectly safe daughter. I turn the silver doorknob, leaving marks from my sweating hands.
He stands just outside, in a midnight black suit, and his carefully combed back black hair looks flawless. But his snake like eyes spell only one thing, trouble. He sees me. "Esia, I was beginning to think that Archibald had failed to inform you of my arrival. Follow me, I'd like to discuss some rather important topics with you." I give him a shy smile in exchange. Looking at him, he can't be much older than me, I wonder how he managed to become the president, he couldn't have exactly won the citizens over with his personality.
He leads me down a whole set of corridors that I never knew existed, with Capitol slogans graphitised all over the walls. He opens the door to a small, quaint little room with a long dining table and chairs, with an assortment of fine looking drinks laid out on the table. He takes a seat, and offers me one.
"Here, have a drink." Says Snow, almost forcefully, pouring out some red liquid that I've never seen before in a clear champagne glass. I notice he doesn't take a drink for himself.
"Don-don't you w-want some?" I ask him quietly.
"Oh no, I'm fine thank you. I've just drank about two gallons worth of coffee." He chuckles. I smile, thinking I am supposed to, and take a sip from my glass. It tastes awfully bitter. "So Esia, I want to start off talking to you about those mutts, kittens?"
"Oh, y-yes, I'm awful-ly sorry. I tried to make tiger mutts, but accidently made kittens inst-tead. P-please let me keep my job." The aftertaste of that champagne is dreadful, I can feel it starting to affect my stomach. My head also begins to throb.
"I'm afraid that's not my call. But I know one thing, The Capitol citizens are enraged that Ruth is the victor, everybody wanted Mason. They were also enraged by the boring finale, and I asked you to produce an entertaining, effective mutt, and you failed to do so. Esia, you let down the country." I can't think straight, because of how bad that champagne is making me feel. I see the odd star in my vision, and my head and stomach are both throbbing with agony. Oh god, I need a doctor. I begin to violently cough, spilling out blood.
He continues speaking. "And when you fail the nation, you are punished. Goodbye Esia, I will send somebody down to collect your body in a few minutes. He gets up calmly and leaves the room, shutting the door gently before I have chance to figure out what's going on. He'll send somebody down to collect my body? Him refusing a drink? Me coughing out blood shortly after the champagne? He's poisoned me. No! He's poisoned me! No! Hope needs me, I can't die, but I can't fight this pain, it's unbearable. I try to scream, but nothing comes out. My vision fades to black, and the pain seems to have ceased. I'm sorry Hope, I'm sorry I failed.
So, after a long time, i decided to publish my first SYOT story! Please don't hesitate to submit a tribute, the rules and tribute form should be on my profile. Did you prefer my writing in first person, or 3rd person? I'll give you guys a deadline of August 21st to send in submissions, and it will not be first come first served, i only want the best of the best tributes in this SYOT. Please review!