So welcome to my story! This is my second Hunger Games story and I hope you enjoy it! Although I wish to say differently I do not own Hunger Games and I did not create it.
Please drop me a review and tell me what you think! Thanks.
The Worlds Shortest Hunger Games
Chapter 1- Darkness
Opening my eyes doesn't take away the darkness of sleep, for no light makes its way through the cracks of the rotting wood sitting inches above me. If anything it's darker with my eyes open. Normally closing your eyes brings the most amount of black and darkness imaginable, sometimes It's haunting, but not for me. Because opening my eyes is just opening them to the dark world around me. The darkness of my District. Of my surroundings. Of my life. Everything's dark for me.
I close my eyes tight, so tight my ears begin to ring. I hope that some burst of light will form blackness of the back of my eyelids, but there is no such luck. I'm left with only black. Darkness scares me.
I call up into a ball on the dirt and grip onto the tattered, fleecy bit of material that serves as my blanket. Even though I can't see it now, I know the blanket is yellow. Sunshine yellow. The colour of light. Yellow is my favourite colour, it's so happy and bright, unlike me and everything that surrounds me.
It's funny in a way that the thought of a colour makes a tear form in my eye. But things like that get me emotional. Small things, meaningless things. Well, at least meaningless to others, but not to me.
The smallest things are what I treasure most, the tiny flutter of a butterfly's wing or a drop of water making ripples on the surface of a pond. Or the simple thing that everyone takes for granted- colour.
With the grey and black that surrounds me I can't help but drink up the brightness of colour. I rarely see it, so that's why I cling to this blanket like it's my life. It's the only form of colour I ever get to lay eyes on.
I relax my eyes and take in a deep breath. I have to prepare myself for today. Today's my first time. . . and I'm terrified.
I -with difficulty- manage to get myself sitting up. My head sits touching the wood above me and I have to bend my neck to sit in this tiny space. Then I reach up above me and push on a certain wooden plank, it moves upward creating a spot for me to climb out.
I squeeze through the hole, carrying my blanket behind me and resurface up on the dark wooden floor of a factory. The smell of shiny metal doesn't sit right against the scent of rotting wood. I can see the machines from here, even in this darkness the glint of metal shimmers.
The windows that sit high up on the walls of the factory and are covered by thick black sheets of material that act as curtains. During the night the curtains are closed making the whole factory to be consumed in total darkness but during the day, when this factory is bustling with District Eight workers the sheets are pulled back and the muted light of the sun shines through, brightly lighting the entire room.
I glace back down to the small gap in the ground that is the result of a loose plank. My home.
I still remember the day that I found that loose plank. I was carrying a large pile of dresses and couldn't see where I was walking. I stepped on what I thought was a sturdy floorboard, but soon I found myself falling through the floor and standing on the dirt of the underground of the factory.
Many people rushed to my assistance and pulled me from the hole I was stuck in, saying to each other that they must fix that plank immediately to avoid any accidents. But it never happened; no-one could afford to fix it so it became my home.
I have been living in under the factory for about 4 years now. I found the place when I was eight and I thought it was better than my home on the street where I was prone to attacking.
But why is a 12 year old girl homeless? Why would a community let a child live under a factory?
Well that's simple. District Eight doesn't care for anyone. It's the way things work around here. In Panam.
But there is a story behind it. Behind why I have no family and just thinking about it makes my eyes wet.
I was 4. And my parents died. I don't know what from but that didn't matter, they were dead all the same. It wouldn't matter if they died from disease or burnt to a crisp, the only thing that mattered was the fact they were dead. Somehow the authorities were never told about my parent's death. If they were I would have been shipped off to a community home, but family friends kept their deaths a secret. I never knew why.
I was looked after for 4 years by my mother's old best friend. She was kind and nice, but she was no replacement for my mother. Then she too died. So I had experienced a total of three deaths in eight short years of my life. It's a lot to take for someone so young. I hid when the peacekeepers came to take my replacement mother body. Peacekeepers scare me. And because they never knew I lived with the dead woman, I wasn't sent to a community home or an orphanage like I should have been.
So since the age of eight I have been looking after myself. I managed to survive on the food that District Eight offers to everyone. It's how it works here, you don't have lunch privately in your home where you have to work for the food you buy. Here everyone files into the town square at their designated times- organised by the Peacekeepers and is given a bowl of slime that is your only meal for the day. Any tesserae you take has to be given up to the Peacekeepers who store it and share it out to the town. It makes sure no one starves to death and delays the textiles production.
In some Districts you aren't required to work until you are eighteen. But in District Eight the second you have your eighth birthday you are assigned a job that you will work in for the rest of your life. We are a such a small District compared to District Two or Eleven. And we have such a big job. We have to make the clothes for all the Capitol, with their ever-changing fashions. So we are put to work young, so we can keep up with all the trends.
I was assigned a job in the dullest department. We make the base materials that are then shipped to other factories of Eight that dye and colour and bedazzle the material to make it beautiful. . . I was never as lucky to get a job that had so much colour.
Most people wouldn't be able to handle such trauma in the early years of their life. And unfortunately I am most people. Nearly every minute I spend crying. During working hours I normally curl up in a corner and leave the older people to do the work. I can't handle people.
So naturally when today I have to be standing amongst many people my age in a claustrophobic crowd where there's a chance I could be standing on a stage and being sent to death I am an emotional wreck. My whole body is shaking at the thought. I have trouble replacing the plank that conceals my home because of my shaking hands and my lip is trembling like crazy.
I stand myself up and tell myself to stop crying but it doesn't happen. I just have to accept the fact I will be tearing up in public. I inhale deeply and walk blindly through the darkness to the huge machine on one side of the factory with my yellow piece of material dragging on the ground behind me. I crawl behind it, dodging the places I know have electrical wires and plugs and find a certain wooden board.
I push my palm on the board and it creates a small crack just big enough for me to climb through. Light blinds my eyes as it floods through the slit I just formed. Yet, even with this brightness everything still feels dark.
I squeeze through the hole and end up standing at the back of the factory. No-one can see me from here so there is no danger of the authorities finding out about my home.
I take a deep breath and look around sadly. I'm standing in front of a large, solid, grey metal fence that surrounds the district. I look up and see the dull grey clouds that always cast themselves over District Eight. The sun even seems somewhat dull compared to my bright blanket. Then there's the sky that is supposed to be a bright beautiful blue. No such luck. It's dull and lifeless, hardly seen behind the clouds and it too is a colourless grey.
Then there's the ground I stand on. Dirt. And to make things worse, grey dirt.
And the buildings? Yes, they are grey too. Everything's grey. Everything.
They only thing coloured here is my blanket. Even if it's stained with dust and dirt, it's still as bright as anything compared to my district.
I walk from behind the factory and head down a path toward the main street that takes me to the town square. I see people dressed up in their best clothes for today. Seeing as the whole thing is shown live on television people want to make or district look good.
That's why I have brought the blanket. My normal clothes consist of a very long tattered, grey dress and a faded light blue cardigan that you may as well call grey. They are covered in dirt, mud, oil from wearing them every day for the past few years. Seeing as you are supposed to dress up I thought the blanket would be a good idea, I wrap it around my body and tie it up so it serves as a dress.
It may not be up with the latest fashion, but it's colourful and I can't help but smile a watery smile at my work.
I've never been to a Reaping, I've just hid under the factory. But I've heard people talk about it. Apparently it sucks. If I had a choice I would not begin going today. But I heard a rumour that if a kid doesn't turn up they instantly get drawn to go. And I don't want to go. I can't go.
As I walk I keep my eyes planted on the ground. I don't look up. I only look at the space directly in front of my feet. I'm too scared to make eye contact with the people who walk near me. People scare me.
The pavement and gravel I walk on is grey. Grey. Grey. Grey. That's all my life consists of.
That's why I am surprised when I see a little gleam of colour in the corner of my eye. I stop my feet and turn to look at it. On the ground sits a small, but very colourful round thing. I take a step closer to it and bend down. It's threaded with loads of small, colourful beads. Every colour imaginable. Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, pink. Every vibrant colour. And most importantly- no grey.
It's a necklace.
I shift my head from side to side looking for oncoming people, but everyone has already past me and is in the square. Stealing is a crime in District Eight. It's punishable by death.
But no one's here. No one seems to own this necklace. It's not stealing if it belongs to no one.
Plus, it's so beautiful and I want it so badly.
So, with one more quick glace I scoop it up and set off at a run towards the square, with my eyes still planted on the ground.
As I run I clip the necklace around my neck. A smile printed on my face.
In the square I sign in and go to the back of the roped areas where there is lots of 12 year old kids. All of them look pretty in their clothes- real clothes. Frilly frocks and freshly ironed shirts. They all tower above me, I've always been short for my age and I have to crane my neck in order to look up at them. They all give me looks at my blanket wrapped around me, but at the moment, I couldn't care less. Because the amount of colour that is assaulting my eyes is phenomenal.
The normally dull square is decorated in bright banners and rainbow streamers. All the kids create a sea of colour in their clothes and on the stage stands the most colourful person I have ever seen.
Her hair, ever changing. From pink to red to green. Her skin, shimmering like she has been dipped in glitter. Her lips, encrusted with glittering pink jewels.
"Hello there District Eight!" She hollers from the stage, jumping around as she says it.
The crowd doesn't respond.
She seems disappointed with our response but she continues nevertheless, "Happy Hunger Games! And may the odds be ever in your favour!"
How can 'Hunger Games' and happy be put in the same sentence? I think.
Then the mayor steps up and talks, I don't listen though. I'm too captivated by the colours that surround me. They hypnotise me.
When the mayor is done with his speech the rainbow girl steps back up. "Let the reaping begin!" she announces as she runs over to a giant glass ball filled with paper. She reaches in and runs her hand through the paper for a few minutes before she chooses a piece and takes it over the microphone.
"District Eight!" she says, "Your female tribute for the 66th Hunger Games is!" she pauses for effect then dramatically announces- 'Paisley Waters!"
Everyone goes silent and head turn looking for Paisley Waters. But I don't, I'm still captivated by the girls ever changing hair.
The girl on stage bites her lip and repeats "Paisley Waters?"
But no one gets up on stage.
I smile to myself as the girl's hair changes to a bright glittering yellow.
The crowd ahead of me start to move around as someone cuts through them.
"Paisley Waters?" says a low voice from near me, and it's not the girl on stage.
Her hair turns red.
I turn around and see a huge man. Suited in white, Capitol emblem blazing on his chest, black shining gun in his hand. It's a Peacekeeper.
He bobs down to my level and looks me hard in the eye, "You're Paisley Waters, are you not?" he asks.
I don't reply, I just start shaking, my lip starts to tremble and I start to silently cry.
In the background I see the girl's hair turn a greying silver.
The Peacekeeper smiles and roughly grabs my upper-arm. He drags me through the crowd, my feet scraping the gravel as I scream and kick my legs wildly. My blanket comes undone from around me and I desperately try to cling to it, but it gets caught on something and it is ripped from my grasp to lie sadly, standing out in the grey gravel.
"Let me go! Let me go!" I scream.
Soon he is literally throwing me on stage and I land so hard on my knees that I start to bleed, which makes me cry more.
This can't be happening. I'm not Paisley Waters; I lost that name all those years ago when I lost all the people that cared for me. I lost Paisley Waters the second I had to start sleeping on the street. I'm not Paisley. No-one is.
"Oh finally!" says the rainbow girl, giving me a sympathetic look that confuses me. "Shall we continue?"
Although no one agrees with her she continues nevertheless. She doesn't even bother to ask for volunteers.
"-And the boy tribute for District Eight is!" she looks at the slip, "Titch Buller!"
A tall lanky, sweet looking boy gets up on stage from the fifteen-year-old section. He is trying to stay strong but you can see his legs shaking under his firm stance. But compared to me he looks as if Christmas has come early.
I am rolling on the ground, clutching my knee and crying to myself.
"District Eight meet your tributes for the 66th Hunger Games- Paisley Waters and Titch Buller!" shouts the rainbow girl.
"I'm going to die," I say to myself, "and there is nothing you can do to stop it. Dead. I'm going to be dead. Forever. I am going to die."
And it's true. I am going to die. I'm small. I'm weak. I'm a wreck. I have no survival skills. I can't fight. I definitely can't kill. I've never even watched the Hunger Games.
After the mayor says something else I'm picked up roughly from the ground and dragged- screaming again- to the grey, crumbling Justice Building.
I'm shoved into a brightly lit room with beautiful woven tapestry and expensive, fancy pillowed couches. This is where you get your visitors. This is where they come to say there last goodbye.
But I have no one to say goodbye to.
So I sit in here, for a complete hour. Crying into the warm soft carpet. I go to reach for my blanket, but it's not there. It's still sitting in the departing crowd, being trudged and trampled on. The only bit of colour that stayed with me my whole life has gone.
Soon a man comes in and tells me I have to get on the train. but I don't get up, I just look at him, through the tears in my eyes I try to glare at him, so he knows what he is doing to me- he is forcing me to take a ride to my death. But he just grins and grabs my arm.
They drag me through the streets of Eight. People glance at me sympathetically from their windows, but they don't really feel sorry for me, they are just glad it wasn't their daughter that was picked. . .
I'm dragged all the way to the station.
I'm shoved into a train.
The door is slammed behind me.
And I'm off.
Off to the 66th Hunger Games.
Off to die.