A/N: Okay so this is my new story and I had wanted to wait to post this but I finished it last night so I am posting this early. This is based/inspired by The Hunger Games. If you have read them, you will notice changes to the characters and scenes but they need to be done because I am not rewriting The Hunger Games with Kimberly and Tommy thrown in. If you haven't read the books, don't worry it is probably better because it will be a totally new experience for you. Sit back and enjoy and big shout-out to Young at Heart21 for being as excited about this story as I was. The first part is told as first person as a nod to The Hunger Games but that will be the only part told that way.
The sun did nothing to brighten my mood. I knew what today was along with everyone else. Today could be the worse or the best day of your life. It just really depended on how your luck was at the moment. It was the one day a year that two sets of parents had to say goodbye to their kids and possibly never see them again. Well it was more than possible that they would never see them again because they would have to win the Games to get to come back home and that had only happened twice in Angel Grove and the last time was over twenty years ago. Today was lottery day.
I read in one of my history books that the lottery used to be a good thing that everyone wanted to win because you got money, lots of money. This lottery was not like that in any way. You did not want your name in this drawing but it was required for anyone between the ages of 12 and 18. It was the President's way of showing the effects of rebellion and to remind everyone that he was in charge.
Over 99 years ago, this country was called America then one day war broke out. It was started by shortages and people getting tired of nothing happening so they went to war. It marked the second time that this country had fought itself. They called it a Civil War. The weird thing was that the second Civil War happened 200 years to the day after the first one.
Now the country was called the Lunar Nation with the basic structure of old America. We had a president who acted more like one of the Kings or Tyrants described in our history books rather than what the American Presidents had been like. He also wasn't elected but rather appointed and they hadn't appointed another president since I had been born. I knew that there had been one other president that anyone could remember and her name was Rita. Everyone claimed that she was bad but compared to President Zedd she couldn't have been all that bad.
"Kimberly." A voice called out through the morning air. It was a voice I knew as well as my own and one that bought joy to my heart and lifted my spirits.
"Jason." I said turning to see my best friend and childhood friend walk toward me. He had his bow across his shoulder with the arrows on his back. He had grabbed those on his way through the fence that was never turned on. We were not technically supposed to hunt at all but our families needed food and we did everything we could to make sure that they ate. We lived in the poorest of districts called Angel Grove. It was basically a mining town that had the fortune of being the furthest away from the Capitol. We were thankful for that every day because that meant that we could hunt without anyone seeing us or turning us in. Our hunts provided what money could not buy for our families, meat. They also provided supplies for people in the town as well. It was one way that we could make some extra money on the side if we had enough to sell.
"You know that you were supposed to wait for me by the hollow tree." Jason said with a smile.
"I did wait, well for a couple of minutes. Anyway your traps had two rabbits and one squirrel." I said holding up the animals that I had yet to skin. Jason was the best at setting traps. I did envy him that ability because I had tried to learn but just couldn't get the hang of it. My special talent was shooting with a bow. My father had taught me before he died and after practicing with Jason while we hunted I had gotten very good at it. I could hit the smallest target which made getting food that much easier.
"Well that's better than yesterday. How's the game on the ground?" He asked looking past me to the wooded area that was just beyond the town's border. It was normally full of life but no sign of that today.
"I haven't seen anything yet but I did find some blackberries. I know that they are your favorite." I mentioned digging in my bag. Jason had a bit of a sweet tooth that normally had to go unfed because sweets were too much money.
Jason smiled as I handed him the berries that were wrapped in my handkerchief. "Thanks, at least we will have a sweet meal before this afternoon." He said walking over to a large rock to sit down. I sighed and walked over to him before sitting down as well. His comment bought my mood right back down. The reminder of today that I did not need.
"Well this should be a happy day because it's the last year that your name will be in there." I said popping a berry in my mouth.
"It would be a good day if my name wasn't in there so many times. I'm the only one who can provide for my family." He said looking away from a moment. I knew what he was talking about. Our fathers had died in the mine the same day. It was the day that I discovered that the Games were not the only way the Capitol punished its people. At least I only had two mouths to feed whereas Jason had five besides his own. He had his mom, two brothers, and twin sisters. I just had my mom and Kira.
"I wish my name wasn't in there as many times as it is either but I know my 20 is nothing compared to your 50." I whispered as he nodded. We had to sign up extra times for more grain. It was another Capitol trick for the poor because it made us sign up for the little extra food.
He cleared his throat before standing up. "Come on, we don't need to be late." He said as I nodded. I knew that he just wanted to stay out here but it wasn't safe for our families. Our families wouldn't know how to survive out here like we did. "You know if I didn't have my family to worry about I would run away from here." He shared as we walked slowly back to the fence that separated the town from the woods. It was supposed to keep us safe but really it was meant to keep us in. Most of the time, it was never turned on so we could slip through no problems. The electricity was needed for more important things.
"You would run away? Where would you go?" I asked as we stashed our bows. We couldn't afford to be caught with them. Carrying the dead animals was enough of a crime without added weapons to it.
"I don't know maybe District 13." He said in a serious tone.
"Eltar? You would run away to the deserted district?" I asked really looking at him. He could not be serious.
"Are you sure that its deserted?" He asked me as I thought back to the images I saw on the TV of the barren land that had once been a district of this new government. They had rebelled and got decimated. It was another reminder from the Capitol about thinking about rebellion. They would take you out if they had too.
"Well I saw the news report a few weeks ago and it looked like nothing was there." I answered. We got to watch TV sometimes when the Capitol wanted us to know something or to announce the lottery winners. They also broadcasted the entire Games so that people could watch their children murdered before their eyes.
"I just wonder because they have lied in the past but I guess you're right." He said as we slipped through the fence. "At least we are not empty-handed today." He said holding up our spoils for the day.
"Very true." I said as we made our way into town so that we could trade the squirrel to the baker. He always made sure to buy it off of us. I think he just really felt sorry for Jason and me but it did work in our favor. We made some money and got some bread while he got fresh meat for dinner.
After we sold the squirrel, we split up and made our way home so that we could get ready to another lottery. We had to look out best since it would be televised. It was such a joke to dress up for the lottery because if your name was called then your days were numbered.
"I hate coming to this district. One day I will be in charge of another one besides Angel Grove." Dimitria said looking out the train window. She stood up as the train stopped and patted her white hair back into place as if the train ride had somehow messed it up. She had been in charge of this district for as long as she could remember and it was wearing on her nerves. No one ever won and she felt like it was a waste of time to come here.
Today would also bring her once again back in contact with Zordon. He was the only victor of Angel Grove still alive. He would also be the mentor to the new tributes. She wondered who the lucky kids would be this time. Would one of them be able to win the Games and finally make her the star that she was? She could only hope.
Getting off the train, she made her way to the town square where the lottery would take place. She could see that the cameras were all in place and ready for the announcement. She also saw Zordon waiting for her by the stage. He was always in the same place every year.
"Zordon, I trust you had a good year?" She asked on her way to her holding room before it was time. He at least hadn't turned to alcohol or drugs like many of the other victors. It was a small miracle.
"If you want to call it that then yes I had a good year." He replied as she sighed. If this was how a victor acted after winning his Games then she wasn't sure if she wanted anyone else to win. She had learned a few years ago, that Zordon was scarred by his experience in the Games. She had seen footage of his Games but didn't see anything that she hadn't seen before. He had fought, killed, and survived to be the winner. He should have the easy life since he no longer had to worry about food or shelter but it seemed like it was harder and harder each year.
"Let's just make this simple and easy." She said leaving him by himself once again. She just wanted to get out of her and back to the Capitol where she belonged.
"Simple and easy? You wouldn't want that if it was you having to go to the Games." Zordon said under his breath as he watched her walk away. He had never really liked her but he like the tributes less. They never seemed to want to fight for their lives or they were not trained enough to actually win. This year probably wouldn't be any different as he watched people start gathering to see which two would represent them. He just wished that he hadn't of won his games then he would have never had to worry about doing this every year. It would have been better if he would have died in the Games because this slow torture was worse than the Games had ever been.
"You look nice." Hayley said looking at her son standing in front of her. She didn't want him to worry because she was. She couldn't lose him to the Games.
"Does it really matter if I look nice, mom?" Tommy asked as he looked out the window at the crowd beginning to gather. He always dreaded this day every year.
"Yes it does because everyone will be watching and I don't want my only son to look bad on TV." She responded as he sighed. He hated today but there was nothing he could do about it. He had to go along with all the others from 12 to 18. This was probably the worst thing that the Capitol imposed on its citizens.
"We better get going." Tommy said as his mother nodded. His dad looked at him before shaking his head and taking off his apron. Tommy was the last one out of the bakery and he had a weird feeling that today would change everything and it was a feeling that he couldn't shake no matter how hard he tried.
"Kira, are you ready?" Kim asked as she burst through the door. She and Jason had stayed out too long because the train was already here. It seemed like it arrived earlier and earlier every year.
"I am and mom has your dress laid out on the bed for you." Kira said as Kim smiled and ran into the bedroom. The three of them all slept in one room because they couldn't afford anything bigger. She loved their house though because it was home. Closing the bedroom door, she looked at the dress that her mother had chosen for her. It was a pale pink and one that had been her mother's years ago and it was also in her favorite color. Slipping off her clothes, she changed quickly as the door opened to reveal her mother.
"I thought we should braid your hair like I always do." Her mother said as Kim smiled and nodded. She sat down so that her mother could get it done. They didn't have too much time to spare. She also felt more confident with her braid and her mother knew that. It was like her strenght and she needed that today.
Kira walked in as their mother finished and left them alone. Kim knew that she was scared and frankly she was a little worried too. Kira's name was in the lottery this year since she turned 12. The odds were low that she would be called so Kim had to lean on those odds to work in their favor.
"Kira, what's wrong?" She asked as Kira sat in her lap.
"I'm scared." She said as Kim wrapped her arms around her baby sister. She wasn't that much younger but it felt like it. Kira had an innocence about her that made you think that she was younger than 12. Kim had long since lost that innocence when she had to start providing food for her family at the age of 11 after her father had died.
"Kira, don't worry. Your name is only in there 1 time." She said into Kira's hair. "I'm not going to let anything happen to you." She said pulling back. "You got that, nothing will happen to you." She urged as Kira nodded. She believed her older sister and knew that her sister hadn't ever been called so the chances were good that she wouldn't either.
"Are you girls ready?" Their mom asked as she poked her head around the door.
"We are." Kim said setting Kira on her feet while she stood up.
"Kim, I have something for you." She said walking over to her nightstand. It was the only piece of furniture in the room besides the two beds. Kira slept with their mom most nights which left Kim the other bed. "You father wanted you to have this when you stood up at the lottery the year you were 16. It was his. He was never called and he wore it every lottery drawing." She said grabbing something and walking back over to Kim.
"What is it?" She asked as her mother opened her hand to reveal a golden pin. It was in the shape of a bird but she didn't know what bird it was only that it was beautiful.
"It's a Crane. It is supposed to be a sacred bird that will only mate with a Falcon. It will bring you luck." Her mother said as she pinned it to the collar of her dress. "Perfect."
"Thanks, mom." Kim said hugging her mom before stepping back. "We better go; we don't want to be late." She said as she grabbed Kira's hand and three of them walked out of the house and into the town square where most everyone was already gathered.
Kim could see people already taking bets on who would be the tribute this year. She overheard Jason's name a few times which made her blood run just a little bit colder. It was his last year and if he could make it passed the lottery this year then he would never be in it again. She had to keep thinking that. Walking Kira to her area, she squeezed her sister's hand before heading for her section. They were split up into age groups so that it made things a little easier when the child got called.
Looking across from her, she saw Jason's age group and saw that he was already here. He winked at her but she didn't respond. How could he even act like this wasn't scary? She wasn't worried about herself as much as she was of him. He couldn't be called; she needed him here with her. Who would hunt with her or set of a trap if he got called? She just couldn't think like that, Jason would not be called. Looking away she saw Dimitria walked up to the microphone which menat that it was time to get started.
"Welcome, welcome people of Angel Grove. I am so happy that you all could make it out for the annual lottery for the 99th Games." Dimitria said as the crowd quieted down. Kim never understood why she dressed the way she did but at least this year she didn't have a weird color hair like last year. Last year she had arrived with Orange hair that she had piled high. Standing to her left was Zordon the only living person from Angel Grove to have won. There was one other man many years ago that had won but had died before Kim was born. Angel Grove just didn't win the Games. The people from San Angelos, Mariner Bay, and Ocean Bluff which were Districts 1, 2, and 4 trained to win the Games every year and normally won. Those tributes were meant to be feared and the odds were always in their favor to win.
"I want everyone to remember that this is an honor to be chosen." Dimitria stated as Kim held back a snort. This wasn't an honor, this was a death sentence. "Now for our female tribute." She said as she reached into the bowl on her right side. It was the same side that all the girls were standing on. She grabbed a piece of paper and opened it up. "Our lucky female tribute this year is Kira Hart." She said as Kim's heart stopped beating. Kira's name, her sister was called. How could this be? Kira's name was only in there once, what were the odds that she would be called? Kim forced herself to breath as her sister stepped out of her group looking far too young. Something inside of Kim snapped when the guards stepped on either side of her sister.
"Kira!" She screamed rushing forward. "Kira!" She said once she reached her sister's side.
"Stay back." The guard urged. He knew Kim and Kira very well but he would be force to restraint Kim if she didn't back up and go back to her spot. Kim's mind was blank but for one thing. She would not let her sister die. She would not let her sister go to the Games.
"I volunteer as tribute!" She yelled as the guards and Kira stopped walking. Kira swung around to face her sister. "I volunteer in my sister's place." She yelled for the second time as she grabbed Kira and shoved her behind her back.
"Kim, what are you doing?" Kira asked as Kim refused to look back. She couldn't look back for fear what she would see in her sister's eyes.
"Well now this is quite a surprise." Dimitria exclaimed. They hadn't had anyone to volunteer in forever. No one was sure if they had ever had anyone to volunteer for someone else in Angel Grove. "Come join us on stage then." She said as the guards moved to stand beside Kim. She felt her sister tugging on her dress but she still refused to look at her. She would break down if she did and she couldn't break now. She had to be strong.
"I've got her." Jason whispered as she picked Kira up and led her back to their mother. Kim was thankful that Jason had seen to that because she didn't want her sister punished for not acting right. The walk to the stage was one of the longest in her life. It didn't look that long but it was the fact that she had just signed her own death warrant when she volunteered that made the journey hard.
"So we have some excitement, now let's see who will join this lovely young lady in the Games." Dimitria said as she reached into the bowl on her left side. "Our lucky male tribute will be Thomas Oliver." She said as Kim released her breath. Jason was safe. He would stay here and watch over her mother and sister after she died because she knew that she didn't stand that big of a chance of winning. It would take a miracle and her family had never had a miracle happen before.
Tommy was stunned when his name had been called but he quickly snapped out of it and made his way to the stage with a guard on each side of him as if he would run. Where would he go if he did run? He didn't know the woods like Kim and he sure couldn't survive out there like she did. Looking over at the girl that he had been in love with since he had been five, he knew who would win these games and it wasn't him. He didn't want it to be him. Kim had the drive and the will to do anything it took to win.
"Angel Grove, here are your tributes Thomas Oliver and Kimberly Hart." Dimitria said holding up each of their arms. She had learned Kim's name while Tommy had been making his way up. "Happy 99th Games." She said releasing their arms before she started clapping. The crowd joined in as Kimberly and Tommy looked at each other.
Zordon looked over the two tributes and wondered if either one of them could win. There was something special about them but only time would tell if they had what it took to win the Games.
You will get five minutes with each visitor." The guard informed her as Kim nodded. She knew that five minutes would never be long enough but she would have to make it work. She also knew that her mom and Kira would be the first visitors and she wasn't surprise when the guard led them into the room at the train station. They would be leaving this afternoon for the Capitol to prepare for the Games.
"Oh Kimberly." Her mom said as she walked over to her oldest daughter and hugged her tight.
"Take care of her; don't let her put her name in more than necessary." Kim whispered into her mom's ear before she was released. Her mom knew that Kim thought she would die in the arena but she couldn't think about that now. She didn't want to think about losing her oldest daughter this way.
"I promise." Her mom said as Kim nodded. She looked at Kira before sitting down on the only chair in the room.
"Kimberly, promise me that you will try very hard to win. I can't lose you." Kira said standing in front of her sister trying to be brave.
"You won't lose me." Kim whispered.
"Promise me." Kira urged as Kim nodded.
"I promise that I will try very hard to win." She said refusing to cry. She had to stay strong for her sister and mom.
"Time's up." The guard said while opening the door. Kim hugged her sister and mom once more then watched them leave as Jason walked into the room.
"You shouldn't have come." Kim said as Jason sighed.
"I know but I wanted you to know not to worry about your mom and sister." He said as she nodded. "I want you to win too." He stated in a quiet voice.
"I'm not sure if I can, Jason. There will be 24 of us and only 1 comes out. I don't know if I can be that one." She said rushing into his arms. "Don't let them starve." She said into his shoulder as he nodded. He knew that she would still worry about her family even while she was in the Games but he wanted her to focus on winning. She had to some back to Angel Grove.
"You are stronger than you know." He said stepping back from her. "Be that inner Kimberly that I see in the woods." He whispered before leaving the room. She sat alone wondering when they would leave. It wasn't like she wanted to go but she did want this waiting over it. Waiting for death was nerve-racking.
"Be safe son." Tommy's dad said trying to hold back tears. Tommy wasn't their real son but he felt like it to them. They loved him as much as they would a real son.
"Come back to us." His mom said openly crying as Tommy stayed strong. He knew that they knew he wasn't coming. Tommy had never had to work for anything like food or shelter like some of the tributes, like Kimberly. He had had an easy life which would not help him at all in the Games. He was too soft for these games.
"Time's up." The guard said as Tommy hugged his parents one last time before watching them walk away. He memorized the way they both looked this morning before his name had been called because that was the picture of them that he wanted to remember when he was dying.
"Follow me; your rooms are this way." Dimitria said as Kimberly and Tommy followed her onto the train. They had never been on train so they weren't really sure what to expect but this grandeur wasn't it. "You will be in these two rooms." Dimitria said pointing to the doors to her left and right. At least they were close to one another in case something happened. "Now we will serve dinner in an hour. It will also be your first meeting with Zordon. He of course is your mentor for the Games and he will help you win. We will arrive in the Capitol in three days so make sure to learn everything you can from him before we get there." She said walking away from them. They didn't know what to do other than go to their rooms, so that's what they did and waited until dinner.
Tommy softly shut his door and breathed deep. The only thing he liked about this situation was he could finally talk to Kimberly. It was weird now thinking about how many times he could have talked with her but didn't. It was going to change now. He wanted to learn all he could about her before they went into the arena because after that, they would be trying to kill each other just to survive.
Kim laid down on the bed and thought about her mom and sister. Were they eating or just crying over losing her. She hoped that her mom did take care of Kira since she was gone and that Jason would keep his promise. She couldn't afford to doubt him because that would take her focus off of just surviving. Knowing that she would possibly die, did not have her regretting her decision to volunteer in Kira's place. She would do it again in a heartbeat. Like Jason said, she was strong enough to do this she just had to focus on coming back home to her mom and sister and Jason.
Zordon thought about his two new tributes that he would have to train. They didn't look special but something about them made him think that he should take the time and coach them. They would listen to him and then apply everything in the arena so that they would survive. He would see how they acted at dinner then he would decide if it was worth it to him. He hoped that it was time for Angel Grove to have another winner from these blasted Games.
Okay so what did everyone think? Please let me know and it may be two weeks before the next chapter but don't worry it will be up as soon as I get it done.