Ione Hampur, District 9

I don't decide much in the minute before the gong sounds. I already figured I'd have to get away from the Cornucopia as quickly as possible; it would be just my luck to jump in to grab something only to twitch and drop it.

That, and the boy from 2 is right next to me. It's not a good idea to hang around him, to say the least.

So, I'll be running away. It's about the only strength I have, anyway, so… I'll just have to hope this somehow works—and do my best to forget that I know it won't work until it happens.

The gong sounds.

With a little gasp of fright, I spin around, away from the side of the Cornucopia, and start running. Although I know it's kind of stupid, I can't help glancing back to check on Rim.

He's going after someone else.

Knowing how far away the rest of the Careers must have been for me not to see them, I feel a little wave of hope going through me. Maybe I can make it after all. I may not do that well afterward, but I can get out of the bloodbath!

With a strange sense of joy that I at least have some running skills, I lay on the speed. It's tricky to navigate through all of these odd plant stalks poking up, but there's enough room to run. The muddy water is eager to splash up all over me, but I don't slip, more thanks to the boots than my own skills.

I cast another glance back. Rim has murdered one of the tributes already, and he's getting after the next one. I still don't seem to be on his list.

The plants start to thin out, and I focus more of my attention on not sliding in the mud. I almost slip up when my knee gives an unwarranted jerk, but it only slows me for a moment. Pulse roaring in my ears, I hope this little sprint can end before a Career sets sights on me.

Feeling a little dizzy from the running and the heat, I end up casting another glance backward. Rim has beaten down his tribute and has caught another by a blanket she's holding. No other Career is anywhere in my view.

I'm going to make it…! I'm going to make it out of here! And then I just keep hiding, and maybe I can make it all the way back home…!

Stop that! I suddenly tell myself, giving my head a shake. Yes, yes, maybe, and you don't have to crush your hopes completely. Just… Just remember, the more you think about home, the less likely you are to get there.

Not sure what else to think about, I just think scattered thoughts about the stifling heat until I finally approach a mangrove's trunk.

Trees! Running and trees! Knock on wood, but I'm really liking this arena so far!

I decelerate, cringing internally when my shoulder jerks back a little. Thankfully, I don't have any more twitches when I've stopped in front of the tree, and I can scramble up it as easily as any other.

With a loony-sounding laugh of victory, I let myself collapse on a basket of branches. Since I'm relaxed, my twitches become a little more frequent, but I don't care. It doesn't sound like anyone's come this way, and I don't see anyone coming. Well, my view's a little blocked, but… Ah, who cares?

Wow, it's really hot out here… I'd better get water soon. Sometime after… After the chaos and stuff… When the cannons start firing or something… Yeah, that sounds good.

I roll over a little in the branches and stare sleepily through the leaves.

It's a good minute before I realize someone's approaching.

Exhausted from the sprint, I just kind of keep staring. I think they've already seen me, so moving won't do good. And if they aren't good at climbing trees, there's no reason for me to move.

I'm tired and convinced enough that I'm still just looking on dazedly when an arrow flies into my forehead.