Day 12 - Three
Last chapter: Skylar Glass D9 was killed by Winter Hostage D7
Draco Hoult (18)
I wake up gagging. My throat needs water, anything. My mouth feels dry as tinder wood and I wish I hadn't drunk all of my water the day before. It wasn't much to begin with anyway; ten litres in a sweltering desert isn't much to go on. Maybe the other tributes were smart and decided to only use one bottle a day.
I didn't, and now I suffer the consequences.
With no food to eat, my stomach grumbles like the sound of the cannon. Water is my top priority now but there's nothing to quench my thirst. I get up and begin walking, knowing that I have to prove to the sponsors that just because I'm exhausted and dehydrated doesn't mean I will give up. And I can't play the lover boy angle any longer; I've played it too long. Sure I mean it worked when Havoc was still around and a few days after his death but it's been almost a week. Sponsors will expect me to move on; I mean, I'm a Career tribute. I'm not supposed to have feelings.
I almost punch myself for being so emotional. God Draco, it's not a good look anymore. Gain some self control.
I lick my lips, trying to put some moisture into them. It's no use. I try chewing my tongue to work some saliva into my mouth but all it does is add a slick slime to my parched throat. As I begin walking up a small slope, I try to keep from panting but it's no use. I don't know where I'm going. There's the same humid heat everywhere I walk, the crunch of the sand and the sameness to the dead trees. I miss Havoc unbelievably and my head aches something terrible. The little urine I've passed is turning a dark orange, no longer a nice clear stream. Determined to make it midday, I'm stopping more frequently and nearly pass out consecutively; the last thing I'm conscious of is slipping down the trunk of a tree.
Mars Aemillianus (18)
I'm up at the crack of dawn and it takes me a moment to remember I cut all my brown curls off last afternoon. Most of it anyway, the rest of my hair is cut at an average of an inch long. It's roughly hewn at odd lengths.
It takes me five minutes to replenish my stomach and quench my thirst and another five to use an odd tree as a bathroom. After two more wasted minutes to pack my bags of my remaining four bottles and food and medicinal supplies, I'm on my way to hunt down Kaleb once more but something tells me I won't be finding him anytime soon. He had a bloody long head start and I don't even know where he was going anymore. Last nights wind has blown anyway Kaleb Tides' tracks from yesterday, leaving me to use my personal skills of hunting. I'm not an expertise in this kind of hunting as I only had left the safety fence of our district under required times. It was part of my training that I had received in The Academy of Training of Tributes and Peacekeepers. Or ATOTAP for short, pronounced 'ad-oh-tap'. Or just The Academy.
Unfortunately my training does not come in handy at this point in time and so I'm forced to rely on instincts and trails alone. Which there is not much of to go on. Instincts can only go so far. But if I was honest myself, I would try to get out of here as soon as possible and find some water. But there is none. I'm not going to go and lie to myself. So the real reason I would escape the White Woods, would be so that the parachutes could find me easier.
Mid-day sends me desperately searching for the nearest area of shade. I lick my lips to moisten them but it only serves to give them temporary relief and aids the cracking of in the skin. I need a break. I've been walking for hours on end and I need some well deserved food and water. My stomach aches with a pain like I've never felt and I'm on limited supplies; even I can see that I'm becoming skinnier. My body is less bulky with muscle and is much less defined; it's becoming absorbed into my digestive system to feed me. Even my skin looks dehydrated.
Winter Hostage (17)
I've only seen the Cornucopia once since entering the arena and that was to raid the Careers of supplies. That was also the day that death began to claim Matty.
It's made of three main complex blocks of diamond. Sides and top. The tail is an intricate and delicate thing with the top splitting into six and running diagonally between the sky and ground. They force themselves through the many 'shards' of the piercing tail; twenty or so long pyramids of diamond stretch towards the sky. It's beautiful really, painstakingly detailed and incredibly designed. But it must have been a fortune to create this; even by Capitol standards. And as I run my hands along the precious material, I can feel bumps and ridges and edges. I look closer and find elaborate carvings in the diamond, each line representing who knows what. The diamond is also warm - it too is suffering under the heat we're all forced to go under. Under. Under. Under.
I've been here an hour, resting and feeding myself. I take breaks frequently now, walking up this steep slope of a mountain is made dreadful, almost hopeless in the intense heat. The sun glaring at your back, the humid heat sticking to your skin and the heat reflecting from the sand. Hot, dry and raging with violence. Totally how I like to keep my last few days alive in.
I pack my bags and move on, desperate to get up to the top of the mountain. Matty would've have a good name for it had he been here. But he's not and my chest ruptures in the pain of losing my friend; I wish that he were still here. Of course, I sometimes think, only one of us can survive so it's better that he died earlier on in the Games so that we wouldn't have to break our alliance and be killed by another tribute or perhaps even worse, each other. I've barely been on this hill thirty minutes when I need another break. But I can't, I had a bloody long one. So I tell myself five minutes.
"Five minutes and you can go back to walking" I tell myself.
I let my legs buckle beneath me, I'm so exhausted. My body hits the hot sand and I just lie there, panting and revelling the rest and the oxygen. A gulp of water soothes the ache in my chest from my trying to suck in as much possible oxygen from the humid air and the last of the energy bars disappears down my stomach which is followed by the last slice of dried meatloaf.
The meatloaf. It doesn't seem much but to me it means everything. I didn't have the name for it a week ago so I just called it a block of dried meat. But Matty had told me that this strange object had also come in the food winnings, from three years ago when District 12 had finally gained their eighteenth Victor. This meatloaf had kept Matthew and I alive during the first five days of the Hunger Games, a testament to our friendship. And now both he and the meat are gone.
Matty. Matty. Matty.
I'm up much later than intended but I'm now sufficiently rested to start again. Another gulp of my water to begin my hike sends me feeling more sane.
Kaleb Tides (17)
I had slept in this morning by a good two hours than I wanted to. Although I'm well rested, I've wasted two hours on making myself away from Mars. Surely he's been hunting me since I left, he'd be stupid not to. So I eat a breakfast on the go of dried fruit, nuts and water; making a fine line between speed walking and running. It's a dangerous work in this heat and wind but I don't have a choice.
While I'm almost running in the heat, I have the brilliant idea of trying to outsmart Mars himself; the wind has been terrifically helpful in blowing away my footprints but I fear that it has become inadequate. I turn southwest to my current direction and smile. Mars, in all his training and expertise wouldn't expect this in a thousand Hunger Games.
I have to change course. I've currently been hiking straight ahead in one direction but he must know that I'm heading that way. And now, in my new course I look for a brightly lit area. Within five minutes of almost running I find an area and I cock my head to the left and give a knowing smile. There, let those sponsors think I know what I'm doing. I'm constantly sipping from my water bottle to keep myself hydrated and I really try to keep breathing out of order and unnaturally but it has no avail. My lips are dry and cracking and some ointment to apply to them would be nice but I don't want to waste my precious sponsors. My jumpsuit, although reflects heat, is too breathable and I end up flapping the fabric around me to relieve my body of the extra heat. When I decide it's lunchtime, I finally recount my supplies.
I have a total of six knives and three swords. Those are my weapons. My food consists of three energy bars, half a kilo of dried fruit and nuts. Another half kilo of dried meat. I have a dinner roll of bread that has gone rock hard stale in the heat. My medicinal supplies are mostly disinfectant, a lifetime supply of bandages, an ointment to heal itches and stings, and penicillin.
I gasp, and hold the antibiotics in my hand, my mouth gaping. Antibiotics, the penicillin, is worth more than becoming victor in the arena. I can't let anyone know of my possession; I will be killed if anyone knew I held this.
I pack my all into the bags except the stale bread, one energy bar and a bottle of water. It all goes down my throat. Minus the water, I only allow myself three swallows. I walk quickly, though not as slow to where I hope is the diamond Cornucopia. The only thing that is a disadvantage to having shelter in the White Woods is that you can't see where you are. Of course I would climb a tree to find where I am but I don't trust the trees. They're too brittle and dry to hold my weight of ninety kilograms. Although I'm now probably closer to seventy, I've lost so much muscle since entering the arena.
It's around two o'clock, judging from the angle of the sun and I need to get out of here fast, I feel myself going insane from the insecurity I feel. But I'm probably already insane, I've killed far too many for my liking. I can just see the twinkling of the diamond Cornucopia when I think I see a body. A flicker of hope swells and I feel sick from thinking that another tribute is dead. But the curiosity wins over and I walk the 200 metres to the dead tribute. I'm wrong. The tribute isn't dead. He's just unconscious.
I hold my sword out to his neck, the blade caressing his skin.
"Draco?" I whisper.
For almost a minute, he doesn't move. And then his eyes flutter feebly and he barely opens his parched mouth. His lips are cracked and bleeding and his skin so dry, it flakes. His hair is a matted mess and he has no sweat. Meaning he has literally zero water in his body.
Draco opens his mouth to speak. "I would ask for some water if it weren't so obvious you're going to kill me in the next two minutes." I can barely hear Draco he speaks so softly. That and his saliva crackles with a scorched intensity.
I feel myself grow cold in heart, but I drop my bottle of water anyway. "That may be so Draco, but I'm not cruel. Drink. Old tradition gives a man a last meal before his execution."
"It's not a meal, it's water." Draco tries to joke but his heart gives out and moistens his throat with my precious water. Within seconds he downs half a litre that I'll never get back. When he's done, he screws the cap back on and let's it roll off his body.
"You ready?" I ask him, raising my sword.
Draco smiles in mock laugh. "Ready as I'll ever be. At least I'll be with him again, together forever."
I frown. "There is no heaven, otherwise we wouldn't have the Games."
Draco tries to talk back to me to say a final goodbye but I've wasted my time and my water on him. His last words disappear into my blade as it goes through his chest. A slice on his neck sends him paralysed and convulsing and blood pouring out from his neck and the last one that splits his skull fires the cannon.
Twenty-one down. Two to go. Leaving Winter and Mars as my enemies.
Three left in the arena now. Hence the title. Goodbye Draco, you were awesome.
I'm happy with how I wrote this, using the pages where Katniss suffers dehydration in her first Hunger Games is a great consultant for these chapters. I feel bad that the chapters aren't up to my usual 3000+ standard but its getting difficult to keep that up with only 4, now 3 characters left.
Knowing that the Games are almost over, comes the rehabilitation into society and the Victory Tour. I think I might write that, to finish the Victor's story. (i nearly wrote the winner there for a second) I don't think I'll do a sequel to The 13th Quarter Quell although I would like to.
Once I'm finished writing this, I'll start back up on my other fanfic: Life of the Party.
There are only two more chapters until the end of the Games. It was going to be three (haha, three chapters, three tributes, chapter title. pun unintended) chapters but I don't think I can stretch it out that long. I'm halfway writing the next chapter and Mars is a creep. Why would he do that.