Author's Note: Hello, everyone, and welcome to my newest fiction. It's been bugging me nonstop, so, despite my other fics, I decided to write it.
Know that, although they may appear in this fiction for the sake of realism, I do not condone swearing or using the name of God in vain.
To HG fans: This is just about your average Hunger Games. There's an abnormality of people with countries for names, but I thought they sounded Panemian enough. And, because of the characters I'm planning to use, most of the female characters will die early on. For that, blame the APH creators.
To APH fans: I've adjusted the characters' names to sound more like what you would hear in the Hunger Games world. You'll still be able to figure most of them out, I think, but if you want to know which country is which, feel free to ask. Keep in mind some of the tributes are just original characters, though. And, since this is the Hunger Games, people die. Here, the countries are human. That also means they won't have the same history, so their personalities and grudges are going to be a tiny bit different.
Whatever fandom you come from, I hope you enjoy this fiction.
Alf Meric, District 1
"Sorry. The Tribute Training Facility is closed for reaping day."
I blankly look over the plain, ivory sign mounted on the black, steel door. Closed? It can't be closed! If it's closed, I'll have to go home for breakfast. And Dad will force me to eat his cooking.
And my dad's cooking... It smells and looks like rotting animals and puke, and it's nasty enough to kill a man.
Needless to say, I'm not going to risk eating it.
I guess I could just skip breakfast...
Okay, no. That's out of the question. I've never skipped a meal in my life, and I'm not planning to start now.
But... If there's nothing here to eat... What am I supposed to do?
All right, I know. I'll just run home, swipe some money before Dad notices, and buy a hamburger or something.
Yeah, that'll work.
I'm still devouring my way through my cup-and-strawed soda pop and half-wrapped burger breakfast when it's time to get in formation for the reaping ceremony.
I'm already at the town square. It's the biggest town square of all the districts', with tons of shops and fancy restaurants lining three of its sides, and a little park with trees and a pond on the fourth. The area roped off for tributes is about full already—which, I guess, is probably because it's almost time to start—and the area for families and others is just as crowded.
So, I go ahead and push my way into the sixteens section while slurping those last few drops of soda through the straw. The ragged, suctiony noise of it is enough to make some of my neighbours flinch. I have to stop myself from laughing at them. Dad hates that sound, too.
All the more reason to make it.
I'm not on good terms with my dad. It's his fault, for being such an idiot.
He used to like me, when I was a little kid. Always making sure I was happy, bringing me toys and cake.
But it didn't last. He started to turn his attention to worse things. Divorcing Mom, treating me like I wasn't even there.
The one thing he still cared about with me was being a Career tribute. He always, always, always made clear that he didn't approve of the idea of risking my life to kill others.
I remember the look on his face when I ran off to do just that.
I crumple up the burger wrapper and stuff it into the empty paper cup since I'm done with both, and then look up to the stage. The portly mayor is finishing up his speech, and the escort is jumping up to draw names.
He walks up to the boys' bowl first, as always, and splutters about how excited we should all be, even though we're already excited enough. He dips his fingers into the bowl and carefully plucks out a single slip.
Wouldn't it be cool if I got picked? That'd piss off Dad for sure.
I laugh, throwing my trash to the side—someone'll pick it up eventually—and charge toward the stage.
"I volunteer for tribute!" two voices call in unison.
I don't stop to look at them until I'm already onstage. The two who must have volunteered—an older-looking, short boy with a few teeth missing and a blonde boy with creepy eyes—are now attempting to beat each other down so they can't get to the stage.
They both succeed. And I'm left without competition.
As the escort goes over to the female tributes' bowl, I find Dad in the crowd. I shoot him a flashy grin that says, "You didn't want me to be the district's hero? Well, too bad."
Vivi Daley, District 1
The boy tribute who was called is grinning and flexing toward no one in particular. He's pretty bulky, but looks like an idiot, despite his glasses. Most Career tributes are of that sort of IQ.
But not me. I'm not your average Career.
Though I've endlessly been told and trained to build muscle, I've never been able to, really. Even the years in the Tribute Training Centre didn't help, but that doesn't matter. My strength is my intelligence.
That, and the use of about every blade known to man.
I turn my thoughts back to the stage. The escort is now going to select the female tribute. He trills something so dripping with Capitol accent I can't understand it, then walks over to the girls' bowl. He swirls his hand around inside a few times, knocking a couple of the slips out. He doesn't seem to notice, and he plucks a piece of paper out of the bowl.
"Aura Ryo!" he calls, free enough of accent for me to comprehend.
There's a miniscule pause, and I know there's no time to waste if I want to do this.
"I volunteer for tribute!" I shout, thrusting my hand in the air. Another girl echoes me loudly, but it's obvious she's too late.
I make my way to the stage confidently, exaggerating my strut. The cameras are directing my image to televisions across the country, and I want to look strong.
And I am strong. But, the audience may not instantly come to that conclusion about a smaller-framed fifteen-year-old girl. So I need to act a bit exorbitant about it.
Once I'm on the stage—a fresh-smelling rectangle of pine and metals embedded with false jewels—I see the faces of the crowd. The other Careers, frustrated this is not their year. The normal district children, staring hypnotised at me and those around me. The district people not up for reaping, watching dully like they plan on our district losing this year.
But I will not lose. Even though I haven't been training as a Career as long as others, I have more than enough bloodlust to make up for it. I desire to calculatedly slice away the life of a human, to see the crimson flow like silk from the corpse, to dig my nails into the slimy blood of the slaughtered.
I can almost smell it all now. That lovely, metallic, salty tang of the blood, permeating the fresh air until it's all that can be detected. I long for it so.
Does that make me insane? It's possible.
But if insanity will guide me through the bloodiest competition in Panem, then let it be.