Hope- The 18th Hunger Games

District 12

Sea Jackson, Age 13

Though the bed in her train compartment was by far the most luxurious one she had ever seen, with its cushy feather mattress, soft purple comforter and plush violet pillows, Sea Jackson couldn't sleep. Thoughts of what would happen to her in the arena in just over a week kept her awake and tense. She had tried counting sheep, but soon she realized that she had just been listing all of the different ways that she could meet her death during the 18th Hunger Games: drowning, starvation, beheading, muttations, dehydration, attacks from other tributes… At this thought, the images of each of this year's Career tributes flashed across her mind: Sterling, brutal crimson-haired boy from 1, his beautiful but deadly counterpart Sparkle, the small and vicious girl from 2, Natalia, Sef, the blonde and enormous boy from the same district, and finally Savannah and Jayce, the two from District 4 who could kill her just as easily as any of the other Careers could. Her mother had always told her that her extraordinary memory was a gift, but now, as the images of her opponents and of past Games plagued her thoughts, she cursed it.

If only she could have inherited her mother's courage! Marina Montrose, now Jackson, had been a rebel during the Dark Days. She had been born in District 4, and had quickly joined the resistance movement. With the rest of her squad, she had retreated to District 13 when District 4 had been recaptured by the Capitol. Marina had barely escaped with her life when the Capitol hovercrafts came to decimate District 13. She had fled into the wilderness, ending up in District 12, where she met Sea's father and settled down.

Even now, 18 years after the failure of the rebellion, Sea's mother Marina was alert to any signs of another attempt of overthrowing the Capitol. She had made sure to keep her combat skills sharp, practicing in their basement and giving her daughter Sea pointers about how to fight. Of course, she had only told Sea about the theory of using a gun, but these pieces of information could be invaluable nonetheless. After all, a bow was probably close enough to a gun, right? She just had to make sure to make the most of the three days of training in the Capitol.

This was exactly the advice that her parents had given her in the Visitation Room. They had wasted no time with mushy goodbyes, instead going straight into what she should do in the Arena. Sea had to admit that she hadn't really been listening to what they had been saying; she had been too overwhelmed by terror to comprehend a word that they were staying. All she had wanted was for her parents to hug her and tell her that it would be OK, that she would make it back to them. Now, she cursed herself for her weakness. Had she only kept her head, she could have prevented that squeal of terror that had escaped at the reaping, and she could have gained some valuable advice from her veteran mother. She had to be sure not to make the same mistake in the Arena.

Elijah Enstrom, Age 17

He was going into the Hunger Games. He was going into the Hunger Games. He was going into the Hunger Games. He was going into the Hunger Games. No matter how many times Elijah repeated these words to himself, he still couldn't process them. He, Elijah Enstrom, had volunteered as a tribute in the 18th Annual Hunger Games. How could he have been so stupid? Surely serving out his life in the coal mines of District 12 would be better than being brutally murdered in the Capitol.

Of course, he hadn't been thinking along those lines when he had volunteered for that kid just hours earlier. He couldn't even remember the kid's name. All he had been thinking at the time was how his 18th birthday was tomorrow. And there was only one thing that that meant in District 12. The start of work in the coal mines.

The mines were the one thing that Elijah feared. To him, they meant death. When he was little, they had taken the life of his father. Just months earlier, his best friend Will had perished in their depths. There was no way in hell that he was going into them. To him, they were hell.

And so, being the genius he was, he had volunteered for the Hunger Games. He had actually been thinking about doing so for months. He was very fast and pretty strong, so he had figured that he might stand a decent chance in the Games. (Of course, he had been kidding himself. When he had seen this year's Careers, he had almost fainted, just like the little Sea girl.) And besides, even if he lost (the most likely outcome, as he saw now), his family wouldn't need him. He had 8 siblings to keep food on the table, even as his parents aged.

But, even as he tried to recall his earlier reasons for volunteering, the arguments seemed even feebler than they had then. With his luck, the Gamemakers would chuck them in some giant pit so he could die in a 'mine', just like his father and Will. At least he wouldn't be leaving much behind when he died. No one in 12 ever did. Except for that Jamee Lawrence, who had fought for her dying mother. But, of course, she was the only one who had ever come back.

District 1

Sparkle Shines, 17

Sparkle Shines wasn't the only tribute who was still awake in the early hours of the morning. Of course, the cause of her insomnia was far different than the one for the majority of the other children. You see, she had a dilemma. For the last hour, she had been trying to decide whether to wear a ruby red dress with gold embroidery or an emerald green dress studded with sapphires for her arrival in the Capitol. Her escort, Vivian, couldn't have stressed the importance of her first impression enough. Of course, Sparkle already knew that, having heard it from her sister countless times, and she told Vivian so. They had almost gotten into a very nasty fight over that, but all had been forgiven when they had discovered that they both loved the combination of turquoise and pink. It was really too bad that there wasn't a turquoise and pink dress in wardrobe. Then she wouldn't have to make such a difficult decision!

She certainly hoped that the silver and gold number she had worn to the reaping had looked good enough on her. Her best friend Diamond had picked it out. She had a pretty good eye for fashion, but still… What if the people in the Capitol thought she was ugly? Eternal shame was begotten to any lady from District 1 who wasn't gorgeous. After all, the winner of the annual contest was always given the first chance at the female tribute spot. Sparkle herself had won two years in a row, but her mother had said that 16 was far too young to be making her debut in the Capitol.

But now that she was 17, she was ready for the Hunger Games. She would have sponsors trampling each other to give her money. After all, that's just how her mentor Kaleida had won her games. Just a smile and wink at the cameras had gotten her a hot meal. Once she had betrayed the other Careers, she had simply had to hide out until the other tributes killed themselves off. If Sparkle followed in Kaleida's footsteps, she would be home and rolling in cash in no time!

…if she could just figure out whether red or green went better with her complexion!

Sterling Morales, Age 18

"Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Sterling Morales, Victor of the 18th Hunger Games!"

Sterling smirked at his reflection in the mirror. Yes, that sounded nice. He had trained all his life to become a Victor. And a Victor he would be. He just had to make sure that all of Panem knew it.

After all, that was exactly what the walk from the train into the Training Center was meant to be. It was an up-close preview at each of the tributes so that the citizens of the Capitol would know which ones to watch when the time came for the Opening Ceremonies. Of course, all eyes would be on him.

There was just no way he couldn't win. His older brother Pyrite, Victor of the 11th Games, had been coaching him ever since he was old enough to understand what the Hunger Games were. Training had been a constant competition between him and his older sister Kaelah. She had volunteered for the Games last year at 18. She come in 4th- a disgrace to his family. He, Sterling, would just have to redeem his family.

And would that really be too difficult? What competition did he really have? His district partner, Sparkle, looked totally useless. He would keep her for a few days to get her sponsors and then he would slit her throat. The tiny girl from two didn't look like much of a problem, and he could probably just shoot the male before he got close to him. Sef from four could be taken out from behind and he could squash his partner Savannah without a weapon in his hand. Any of the other districts couldn't possibly present a problem. Winning would be a piece of cake.

So now, really, the only challenge he would face was happening right now- winning over the Capitol. Sterling was more than ready. He added a bit more gel to his already-spiky maroon hair, brushed nonexistent dust off his black suit, put on a winning smile, and stepped out into the throng of Capitol citizens who were waiting just outside the train. The Games had begun.

A/N: We're in the Capitol! I'm super excited to finally have these introduction chapters finished. Please tell me what you think of this one . When I got my new laptop, I lost a bunch of information on several tributes. Actually, for this chapter, I only had something to go off for Sparkle. The rest I just made up using their reapings and the top of my head. If the creators of these tributes are still reading this, then feel free to PM me with information on them. Otherwise, they'll be subject to my imagination . Look for the next chapter soon!

~ Lily