Disclaimer: Do I own The Hunger Games? No I'm afraid not :(
I remember watching the Hunger Games as a boy. The whole family would gather in the sitting room and we would make a party out of it. The coffee table was decorated with all sorts of delicious food and my mother would even bring out the special plates. The excitement was infectious and I would find myself eagerly waiting for the sound of the theme tune, signalling the beginning of the games. Of course at the time I was too young to understand, I only knew that these games where something...something special. I was much older when I fully understood that what I was watching was very very real.
It was my father who finally opened my eyes. I must have been about eight or nine but no older. We had been watching the games all day and my father was putting me to bed. That day a tribute had been beaten to death with nothing more than a large stick. The whole display had left me feeling rather ill and I had ended up being sick all over the expensive lime carpet. Mother had been furious and declared I had gorged myself on chocolates all afternoon and sent me to bed early. I protested by throwing a tantrum and calling her cruel and fat. It was the last one that upset her the most. She ate hardly anything for a whole week after that. I didn't care though, in my mind she was being unfair and my green eyes filled with unshed tears. It hadn't been the chocolates that had made me sick; it had been all the red stuff on the screen!
"Dada," I murmured just as he was pulling the covers over me, "why do I have to go to bed if it's not my fault."
"Perhaps you should have thought it through before you ate all those sweets." was his only reply.
Pulling myself into a sitting position, I raised my voice defiantly, "It wasn't the chocolates, it wasn't! All the red stuff made me sick, the red stuff on the tel- television!"
I will never forget what happened next, I couldn't possibly even if I had wanted to. Father had stared at me with a puzzled expression, just stared and stared. Not even blinking, I understand now that he was trying to figure it out, figure out how I had found it upsetting. His mouth had opened and then closed again. Finally he blinked and spoke to me slowly in a concerned voice.
"It was only a little bit of blood son, just a little bit of blood."
"But but didn't it hurt, if the stuff was blood?"
"Well yes. That's the point. It is the Hunger Games boy and I don't think death is painless, not for them anyway."
Now it was my turn to be confused, my turn to stare.
"You mean he died. They all die? But why? That's not nice, aren't their Dada's and Mama's sad?"
He just laughed then and shook his head as if this was all a simple misunderstanding.
"It's their punishment. A long time ago son the districts outside of the capital rebelled. They were very naughty and had to be punished so as to stop them from doing it again. They only get what they deserve. Do you understand now?"
It wasn't a question not really it was like he was telling me this is how it is and stop questioning it. Still I nodded though in all honestly I understood very little at all. None of it made any sense and I was relieved when my father finally left. That night I dreamt of the tributes scarlet red blood flowing over my hands and I have dreamt of little else since.
In the years that followed I no longer enjoyed our 'family parties' or the Hunger Games at all. Sometimes I refused to watch them and would lock myself in my room and cry. My parents put it down to my getting older and said it was a form of teenage rebellion. As for my parents, I couldn't picture either of them the same way ever again. They stood by and let all those innocent children die, they even enjoyed it. I have vowed never to do that. I will make it end I have to, how else can I continue to live with myself?
The answer is I cannot.
A/N All reviews are appreciated