In those cold, dark days, nothing was quite right in Panem.
Those dark, horrible days when the districts rebelled meant a shortage of food and almost anything else. The districts had begun to rebel against the Capitol one by one. The districts lost. There used to be 13 districts, but the 13th was obliterated. Lesson learned.
The capitol forced each district to send one female and male tribute, ages 12 thru 18, to compete in the Hunger Games, a fight to the death on national television.
That year was the first year. I was 16 at the time, and I put my heart and soul into District 4, my home's, chief export, fishing. I was actually one of the very best fisherwomen. I knew exactly how to throw my trident or net to perfectly spear the fish.
Life was bliss.
On the reaping day, or day that the names were first drawn, I caught my first glimpse of a Capitol resident in the square. Mridu Khullar was our representative from the Capitol, here to draw the names. She was decked out in a bright, sparkly purple dress with matching shoes. Even her hair, skin, and eyes were purple!
"Name, please," the Peacekeeper said gruffly.
My attention snapped back to him. "Juliet Larkgale," I said to him.
He waved his hand dismissively, gesturing me to the waiting section for children. I stood towards the back, where the 16-year-old girls stood. I looked around for my mother and father where the adults stood, wondering if their children or relatives would be chosen.
My best friend, Sissie Caesera, nudged my arm. "Hopefully we won't have to go," she whispered. "I would be scared to die."
A hush fell over the crowd as Mridu approached the platform confidently. "Ahem, ladies and gentlemen," she said, "it is my honor to be the first representative to perform the reaping ceremony for District four. Now, let us take a moment for your mayor to read the Treaty of Treason." Ugh.
After he was done, Mridu spoke again, "and now for the drawing." She walked over to the girls' bowl, and everyone held their breaths. She drew a slip of paper with grace. "Your first female tribute is," she began, unfolding the paper, "Juliet Larkgale."
I stood there in shock. I swung my head to my parents, who were crying. I looked at Sissie, who looked ready to cry. Everyone looked shocked. How could Juliet Larkgale be chosen?
I timidly walked to the platform, trying to appear strong as Mridu drew the name of the boy tribute that I may have killed…or who may have killed me. "Preston Lovejoy!" Ick, Preston. People from our district are generally beautiful or handsome, but Preston must be from another district. He's the ugliest person in the district, maybe the world. I'm really not trying to be judgmental, but it appeared that even his parents thought so.
Preston and I were hurriedly ushered into our Justice building. It was nice, but nothing special. It had been quickly constructed.
I was ushered into a comfortable room, and my mother and father appeared. "Oh sweetie," my mother cried, giving me a hug.
My father patted my shoulder. "Just try to survive. You know what to do," he said with a wink. I knew he was referring to my fishing skills, which would provide me with food and a good killing method.
The Peacemakers took my parents out, and Sissie came in. "Just promise me one thing," she said, "survive." Just like that, the Peacemakers came and took her away. I was completely alone, until Mridu returned.
"It's time to go," she said delicately.
I got onto the train with nothing. I had not been allowed to take anything with me but one thing, my token, which upset me. The only thing I was allowed to take was a scale on a chain from the very first fish I caught.
I jerked as the train started moving. No matter. I decided to go to the dining car to refresh myself.
The dining car was quite luxurious. Blue velvet, everywhere! Fishy-looking paintings everywhere! It was almost like home. I had to force myself not to cry from the homesickness.
"Mama!" I scream, "what's happening?"
All around us, bombs fall. My dad picks me up, and mom covers me with a shawl. A bomb lands dangerously close to us, and a piece of shrapnel cuts my forehead.
I cringed; running my finger over the scar that piece of shrapnel's cut left. It is faint, but you still see it. That happened during the dark days, before this, the Hunger Games.
"Ah," Mridu said with a soft stride, "I can't wait until we get to the Capitol!"
"Excuse me," I said, "but how will I know what to do in the Games?"
"Oh, yes, yes. We have a…man to teach you survival skills. I'm sure he may be quite familiar," she replied. Suddenly the wooden door opened, and in walked a man that did indeed seem familiar.
"Dad!" I cried, "you'll be my mentor?"
He smiled, enveloping me into a big hug. "I'll teach you everything I was taught," he whispered in my ear.
That night, as I lay in my bed, I wondered where the games would be. Would they be in the middle of nowhere? I pondered this. Then, I pressed a button next to my bed, which summoned Mridu.
"You called?" She asked.
"Yes. Where will the Games take place?" I ask.
She smiled, "in a grand arena, built by a select group of people who make the Games entertaining."
"Oh," I whispered. I had no idea. Will they leave us to starve? I did hope we would get food.
"Try to sleep, dear," Mridu whispered. "Tomorrow morning we'll be in the Capitol."
As our train pulled into the Capitol, I looked out the window. Local citizens of the Capitol have the strangest fashion notions. There are clown noses, facial tattoos, extravagant wigs, dyed skin, and reformed body parts.
Too soon, I was whisked away by some Peacekeepers to a large building. I was pushed into a room that looked to be made completely of chrome and steel. Three strange people entered. One, whose name was Rhymir, had bright green hair, and skin dyed yellow. The second, whose name was Leonis, had dark black hair with red curls and a pig-nose. The third, whose name was Savera, had neon-pink hair with pale lavender skin.
"I hate to be rude," I said, "but who are you?"
"Oh, Juliet," Savera replied, "we're your prep team."
"Prep team for what?" I asked. "The tribute parade, dear," Leonis replied with a wave of his hand.
"What will happen?" I asked. "The tributes will all be dressed in outfits representing their district, and the districts will ride in their own chariots to the city square," Rhymir said, "so let's get to it!"
I was plucked and shaved and moisturized more than I had ever been in my life. Rhymir and Savera worked on my legs while Leonis lightly plucked my eyebrows. "Alright," Leonis and Savera said simultaneously, "Orvid will be in to dress you."
Hmm. I sat there and was swinging my legs until the door opened with a sleek finish. "Hello, Juliet, I'll be your stylist for the Games," a man said.
I stared. He wasn't anything like the other residents of the Capitol. His hair was short, wavy, and black like my own. His eyes were a soft gray accented by a pale blue. He stood with dignity, true dignity. He must have been Orvid.
"So, Juliet," Orvid said, "I have something fantastic prepared for your chariot ride. Preston's stylist and I have coordinated your outfits."
And so, he slipped me into a white satin mermaid dress, with scales styled from the chest to my knees and almost sheer fabric as the skirt. "This is beautiful," I whispered.
Orvid smiled in response. "And now, for makeup," he almost sang.
He put a silvery-white eye shadow on my, and a pale pink lipstick. Then, Orvid pit a silver scaled headband on me. Never have, or had, I ever felt so pretty in my life.
I was led to District 4's chariot with Preston, who was dressed in a white suit similar to my dress. I took note of the other tributes. The people from District 1 was dressed in jeweled suits. District 2 was dressed in superhero outfits made of cracked stone. District 3 was dressed in elaborate electronic suits. Well, we were dressed like fish. District 5 was dressed like nanobots. District 6 was dressed like hovercraft captains. District 7 was dressed like trees. District 8 was dressed like, or rather, what I think, were gigantic rugs. District 9 was dressed in suits resembling bread and grains. District 10 was dressed in exotic animal skins. District 11 was dressed in suits that look like orchard worker garb. District 12 was in coal miner dressing.
We finally entered the City Square, and President Cronin greets us. "Welcome, friends," he begins, "to the first annual hunger games!"
His announcement was met with a great round of applause. He gestured for silence. "I wish to welcome to you the tributes!"
Another roar, and then the chariots were pulled in around the square and back to the stables. Pomeline, the girl from District 1, was gossiping with Valeria from District 2 and Rupalia from District 3. "Did you see her in that dress?" She whispered, "It's like, OMG. My stylist totally did not use the makeup to match my dress!" What a drama queen. I had bet she'd die close to the beginning.
Suddenly, I felt a hand on my shoulder. "Hey, what's your name?" The boy said to me in a soft but strong voice. His shiny black hair ruffled with every word he spoke.
"My name is Juliet," I blushed.
"Well, Juliet," he whispered, "my name is Jack Odaverthorne."
"Nice to meet you," I said in his whisper.
"Juliet," he continued to whisper, "would you like to…..maybe…..well, watch a movie with me and some of my pals on my floor? Valeria is having a sleepover with Pomeline and Rupalia."
"Sure," I said.
He smiled, "Great! Go eat dinner, get into comfy clothes, and come down to the second floor!"
That night, I had a dinner of sautéed lobster and salmon. It was better than anything I had ever had. After I was done, I dressed myself in a blue t-shirt, gray shorts, white ankle socks, and grabbed a big blanket. I stepped into the glass elevator and pushed the button for the second floor.
"Hi, Juliet!" Jack greeted me. In the background, I could see Lartius from District 3 and Cody from District 1 tossing around a pillow. "Yo, J!" Cody yelled to me, "catch!"
He tossed me the pillow, and I tossed it back. "Girl, where did you get that good throw of yours?" Lartius asked.
"In District 4, I have to cast the lines to fish," I replied.
"Alright, I have popcorn, so let's sit and watch the movie!" Jack yelled.
"What movie are we watching?" I asked.
"Drumroll, please," Jack said. Cody and Lartius started banging on the table. Badu dumdum!
"Titanic!" Jack said, drawing a brand-new box from behind his back.
"Jack! How did you get this?!" I asked-yelled, "this movie is hundreds of years old!"
"I got it as a request," he answered, "now; I have popcorn, so let's sit and watch!"
I sat down and glued my eyes on the screen for the whole time, until the end. Jack and Rose were in the water, and Jack shoved her onto a floating door to protect her. At that point, Jack put his arm around me and pulled me close. I didn't resist.
After the movie ended, Cody held up his empty soda bottle. "What a girls' movie," he said.
"Boys like it too," I said to him.
"Guys!" Jack yelled, pulling us apart, "Both genders like the movie!"
I felt like a scolded preschooler.
"So, anyway," Cody said, again waving his coke bottle around, "want to play spin the bottle?"
"Um, Cody?" Lartius asked, "what if you roll it and it lands on a guy?"
"Well," Cody replied, "Juliet will roll it, and whoever it lands on, she'll kiss."
"What if I say no?" I asked.
"Then we just won't do it and forget it," Cody said, irritated.
"Fine, whatever," I grumped. It's not like I wanted to kiss any of them, but none of them were bad-looking.
We sat in a circle, and I firmly grasped the bottle, spinning it as hard as I could. It was spinning for a while before it stopped.
"Ah! You have to kiss Jack!" Cody and Lartius said.
I sat there, as uncomfortable as Jack was. "C'mon!" Lartius said. "Just kiss!"
I leaned over to him, and pressed my lips against Jack's. He returned the kiss. I was almost tempted to turn it up a notch, but I didn't.
I pulled away. Cody and Lartius sat there in shock. "Wow. That was…..wow," Cody said.
"Excuse me," I said, "but I have to go. Thanks for inviting me."
I hurried into the elevator, and pushed the button for the fourth floor. When I arrived, I ran into my room and sank to the floor, sobbing uncontrollably.
I was awoken the next morning by an excited Mridu. "Today is training day, dear!" She chirped.
I barely was able to trudge myself out of bed. When I did, I sat down at the table like a zombie. My father gave me a concerned look, "what happened?"
"Nothing," I whispered, barely audible.
I don't think he believed me.
I was hurriedly dressed into a black jumpsuit. I myself did my hair into an Arabian ponytail. Mridu ushered me into the elevator, down, down, down, until I reached the training floor.
There were stations for archery, knots, camouflage, and many more survival tasks. I could hardly choose which to go to.
"THIS is a high-quality training center. YOU will be able to go to as many as you want to STUDY the tasks you will need to survive in the ARENA," a woman said. At least I think she was a woman.
I decided to go to the archery center first. I was better than I thought, considering I had never lifted a bow or arrow.
The camouflage station was still good, because I sometimes had to color myself blue to catch fish.
The last station I went to was the hand-to-hand combat station. I lined up against the soft robot dummy, and pounded the fudge out of it. I almost tore it open, but they luckily had spares.
Then, the whistle for lunch sounded. I maneuvered over to my own table after getting some meat and a salad from the food provider. Cody and Lartius sat down next to me, and I got up to move. "Aw, c'mon, stay!" Cody whined.
"Fine," I grunted.
"So, Juliet," Lartius said, "Jack is kind of sad and wants to talk to you."
I picked up my tray and walked over to Jack's table.
"Juliet," he said in that soft whisper of his, "are you ok?"
"Yes. I'm sorry if I hurt your feelings by running away. It's not like you were a bad kisser or anything."
"So I was good?"
"Yes! You were a good kisser!" I finally whispered in exasperation.
He smiled, then leaned over and kissed my cheek softly.
That night was the personal sessions with the Gamemakers. I had thought that I'd throw tridents. Hopefully, that'll impress them, I thought.
I stepped into the elevator in my training jumpsuit, and entered a metallic room.
"You may begin, Miss Larkgale," the Head Gamemaker said.
Bowing slightly, I stooped over to grab a trident from the weapons display. Across the room, they had targets set up for archery and other aiming sports. I took a trident, and chucked it into the heart of the target. I took a spear, and threw it into the center of another target.
Finally, grabbing a bow and arrow, I shot several arrows into one target. Having a final arrow to impress them with, I held the bow up against my cheek, and gently pulled the arrow back, looking straight down the shaft. Letting go, I released the arrow.
This is it, I thought. My final chance. This could dictate if I live or die.
How silly, to let an arrow dictate your future. But if this arrow would find its mark, I may have a shot at survival.
I heard the crack as the arrow in the dead center split in half, and the gasps of some of the Gamemakers.
"You are dismissed, Miss Larkgale," the Head Gamemaker said.
When I got back to my floor, Orvid was there with my father and Mridu. "Let's see that score," he said gently as he squeezed my shoulder.
The tributes from 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12 got between seven and ten points.
Preston's face flashed across the screen, and then a seven.
I didn't pay attention to him or anyone as my face flashed across the screen, followed by and eleven.
"Oh my gosh, an eleven!" I screamed in ecstasy.
"My little girl," my dad whispered as I gave him a hug.
"Don't forget, tomorrow are the interviews with Castor Flickerman!" Orvid said to me.
"Yes," Mridu chirped, "so tomorrow I'll be training you on etiquette!"
The elevator opened, and Jack came in. "Juliet, you got an eleven!" He screamed, twirling me around.
"But you got a ten!" I said.
"Whatever, Birdie," he said jokingly.
"Posture, Juliet! Head high, don't slouch!" Mridu instructed.
I was training for the interviews, which could possibly attract sponsors. All morning Mridu drilled me until she said, "Juliet, you have quite a refined air of etiquette in you! You have nothing more to learn."
At that point, I went to Jack and Valeria's suite to visit until dressing time. When I got there, Jack swooped me up in a big hug. "One more time?" He asked, "before the games take us apart?"
Before I can respond, my senses do, and I slide over to give him a soft kiss. Jack picked me up, still kissing, and carried me to the couch. "Jack," I whispered, "I love you and never want to lose you."
"I feel the same."
"I wish we weren't in the games, so we could get married and start a family of our own."
"I know," he said, intertwining his fingers with mine.
At that moment, Mridu entered. "Orvid is ready," she said, then stopped when she saw our hands.
Rhymir, Leonis, and Savera worked tirelessly on my body and makeup. An interesting choice of different shades of blue.
"So," Orvid whispered, "this is your big chance to get the sponsors to notice you."
He dressed me in a sparkly prom- style dress, with blue gradient-dyes all the way down the dress.
"It's your time to shine," he said.
I waited nervously until it was my turn for a three-minute interview.
"And now our next tribute, Juliet Larkgale!" Castor Flickerman crowed.
As I stepped up to be seated next to him, I remembered to smile and wave at the crowd. "So, Juliet," Castor said, "how are you feeling about the games?"
I hesitated. How was I feeling? "Well, Castor," I said, "I admit I am nervous, but who isn't? Anyone going into a fight to the death would."
"Indeed," he agreed, "so, how do you plan to compete?"
"Castor," I responded, "I'll try and do my best to not die, because nobody can do anything else. You can have weapons, but what really matters is that you try….and have willpower. That's what matters."
"Well, your time is up, but let's have a round of applause for THAT!" Castor exclaimed.
I stepped off the stage to a thunderous round of applause, back to my room, and prepared myself mentally and physically for the next day.
When I woke up the next morning, the first thing the nervousness did was make me throw up in the toilet.
I was horribly nervous, being sent to certain death and all. I wished that I could have been spared of the horrible fate, but it was impossible. I wanted to save Jack so much. That was why I made an alliance with him, because I was horribly and impossibly in love.
"Time to go, Juliet," Orvid said.
We took a short hovercraft ride to a launch room.
"OUCH!" I moaned as a Peacekeeper jammed a needle in my arm.
"Don't worry. It's just so the Gamemakers know where you are in the arena," he said. So they know where to send the fire or avalanche or muttation, I thought.
Orvid and I entered a small room where I would get dressed and wait for my entry into the arena. I wondered what the arena would be. Desert? Snowy wonderland? Forest? Beach?
Orvid dressed me in a warm, furry jumpsuit with a jacket. "It seems it may be cold out there," he said, "expect to be cold."
We sat there in nervous silence until a lady came on the speaker to tell us to get ready for launch. "Go ahead and try your hardest," Orvid said with a squeeze to the shoulder.
I entered the glass tube, rising into the arena. The brightness shocked me, and it took a minute to recover.
When I did, I looked around. There was snow, everywhere. Jack was on the launch pad next to me. "Both of us, straight for the Cornucopia, then run into the woods," he said under his breath to me.
All of a sudden, the gong sounded, and both of us ran to the Cornucopia. I grabbed a white backpack(perfect for camouflage) and a trident. BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!
I felt a jerk on my trident. When I turned around, I saw that it was Valeria, Jack's district partner. "Give it to me!" she commanded.
"NO!" I shouted, jerking it back. She pulled it back. A little too hard, actually. The trident stabbed her stomach, and she fell to the ground. I shook as a loud BOOM! Came. "Juliet!" Jack yelled, "come on!"
I grabbed the trident and ran towards him. "What happened to Valeria?" he asked once I had joined him, our arms and legs pumping hard.
"She died…when...she…..pulled the…..trident….back," I wheezed out, collapsing into the snow.
Jack was quiet for a few minutes, at least before the sound came again. I hardly had time to regard his unusual sadness over her death.
Then, the announcer's voice came over the loudspeakers. "Tributes, the cannon sound that you hear is to signify deaths, one each."
I counted back. Ten dead already! Only twelve left that did not include either Jack or I. The ground shook this time as another BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! Rocked the arena. Make that ten people left alive.
"Tonight, we will broadcast the dead tribute's images in the sky," the announcer continued. It's not like I need to, or rather, to the point, want to know. I knew that Valeria was dead, and I figured the wimps from District 3 and possibly 12 would be dead. At training, I had thought that the boy from 3 had some kind of sight impairment, because he had looked around at nothing in particular, and the girl from 3 had had to guide him around.
"Jack," I said, "let's find water…oh, well, we can make a fire and melt the snow….and food too."
We got up from our hiding spot, and looked around, trying to find food, arrows and spears poised to kill. I could practically smell the meat when a shriek erupted out of the bush.
"Juliet, stay back," Jack said to me, inching closer to the bush. At that moment, I noticed that smoke was coming from the bush. Whoever was in the bush was lucky that it was slightly hollowed, or they would have burned to death inside of it.
Peeking inside the bush, I noticed the boy from district 5 was inside, twitching and rustling the leaves. "Oh, oh!" the boy moaned.
"What happened?" I asked.
The boy pointed to the snow, still twirling and twitching, forming a demented snow angel. There was a small fire with a dented tin cup simmering over it. Looking inside, I found that it was filled with the snow. "Jack, what…" I trailed off.
"The snow must be poisoned. We can't melt it, so there must be a different source of water somewhere. We'll just have to find it," Jack said.
Just then, the cannon sounded for the District 5 boy's death. BOOM!
Just nine tributes still alive, I thought. Far too many for one day.
"Let's go find a tree to sleep in," Jack said as we recovered from the shock. We traversed the snowy woods until we collapsed into the snow.
"We'll never find a tree. They're all evergreens," I moaned in exasperation.
"No, get up. We can chop branches and make a hut," Jack said with a forceful jerk to my arm.
This idea was impaired by the fact that neither of us had a suitable knife to cut the branches. While we were just realizing this, we found an axe that I had previously seen in the hands of the girl from District 7. What a stroke of luck! District 7's main export is lumber and paper, so I she would never have dropped the axe if she were alive. So I knew another person who was dead. Fantastic.
"Jack," I whispered, "let's go back to the Cornucopia. I bet people will have cleared out. Maybe we can sleep there."
So, we trudged back through the snow to the Cornucopia. I immediately wished that I had not. I saw Valeria's corpse still there, as with all the victims of the bloodbath. Valeria's bright brown eyes were still open in a look of hurt and confusion. When they were close together, I had just noticed how remarkably similar to Jack she looked.
"Jack, I'm sorry..." I apologized.
"Don't worry. I feel sad, but she was never the best sister," he responded.
Sister! Of course, it made sense now. Their dark, glossy black hair, milk-chocolate brown eyes. Their similar laughs and whispers. The way they both smiled. It had always been there, their similarity.
Entering the Cornucopia, we were happy to find that there was no snow on the ground. I didn't plan to freeze to death the first night.
The Capitol anthem blazed. "Let's go outside and see who died today," I said to Jack. We edged to the outside of the Cornucopia. I paid no attention until I saw Valeria, Cody, and Lartius. "Oh my gosh….." I whispered. That was the last thing I or Jack said the rest of that night. We settled into our sleeping bags, and pulled back into the very back of the Cornucopia, and fell asleep almost instantly.
"Mmm…" I yawned as I woke up.
I looked outside the Cornucopia, and welcomed the sunshine. It was still too bright, as it reflected off of the extremely reflective snow. Dang poison, I thought as I blew away a small pile of it.
Jack had already started cooking. He had found a few strips of raw pork in his backpack, and he was cooking them for our morning and afternoon rations. "Jack, not too much," I said.
He gave me this little smirk that reminded me of the one Valeria would flash. Oh, Valeria…..I would never feel quite right about her murder. I suppose if you looked at it, it was not technically a murder. But it was still my trident that had been pulled into her stomach.
Jack must have seen the forlorn look in my eyes, because he tried to console me. "It wasn't your fault. You didn't mean to," he assured.
"Jack, we have to go hunting, or we'll run out of food," I said to him.
I grabbed my trident, Jack his knives, and we set off to find food. We had not found any food until we found it.
She was a big moose, with her glossy fur and ivory horns. Her big eyes looked around, not knowing what was happening before Jack threw two knives into her head and chest.
We had a great time dragging her back, and we had to keep stopping to rub our feet to erase her dragging marks on the ground. I suppose that if it was prominent, and someone followed us back to the Cornucopia, it wouldn't have mattered. We would have had an advantage.
After we spent most of the better part of the day skinning the carcass for meat, we spent the rest using thread from my bag to sew together a blanket. It was sloppy, but it served the purpose.
All that day, nobody died. We never heard the cannon, which was good. I tried to calculate in my head who was still alive.
Valeria, Districts 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, and 3 are dead. So that means the people from 4, Pomeline, and Jack, I thought to myself. I was so busy that I hardly noticed when Pomeline and Preston approached the Cornucopia with a nasty assortment of knives.
"Jack!" I panicked, shaking him awake, "get up!" He finally stirred, and was shocked awake when he saw Pomeline and Preston. He grabbed his knives, and I my trident.
"Preston! What are you doing?" I hissed at him.
"It's called winning, Juliet. Maybe you should try it some time," Pomeline laughed, "well, actually, you won't be able to." I was scared. There was an evil, vicious look in her eyes that made me panic.
I don't know why, but her face reminded me of something I had seen on a day with my father. We had been out on the lake, fishing on a Sunday morning. I had caught nothing, but my father had caught several medium sized fish. My line got pulled down, and my father ahd had to grab me so I didn't fall over. I had caught a shark, with the same evil grin that Pomeline and Preston wore.
Something jerked inside me. "NO!" I shouted.
Pomeline had stabbed my leg, and I was bleeding really badly. I was aware of nothing but clashing metal and the warmth of my blood on my leg. The blood pooled around me, forming a wicked bed on the snow.
BOOM! The cannon had sounded for someone's death. I knew that Pomeline and Preston were the only ones in the arena besides Jack and I, so who had died?
Am I dead? I wondered. I almost wanted to laugh. If I was thinking, I wasn't dead. But who was dead?
I warily lifted my head, and got a view of Pomeline's slashed corpse, courtesy of Jack. Jack was still alive. That was why I acted rashly when I saw an uninjured Preston approaching Jack.
I stood on my feet, shaking, and attacked Preston with my fists. Preston responded with what he thought was an appropriate repeat slash to the leg. I fell down, groaning in response.
Jack, Jack, Jack, I thought as I saw my love being murdered before my eyes.
Preston stabbed Jack repeatedly and maliciously. I wanted to save him, but I could hardly move myself. So Preston may win after all, I thought.
I looked across the Cornucopia, and saw my trident, lying on the bloody snow. I reached a shaking hand out, and grabbed it. With one final thrust, I stabbed Preston in the heart before he could ultimately kill Jack.
"Jack," I murmured, scooting over to him. I rubbed his face with my hand, and it was coated in blood.
"Juliet," he moaned, reaching out a hand to touch my face. I leaned down, and gave him a long, lingering kiss. I was surprised, as he barely had the strength to return the kiss.
BOOM! I cried, knowing that my Jack, my dear, beautiful Jack, was dead. Then, I started hiccupping as I realized that I was the winner of the Hunger Games! Sole survivor, first victor! And murderer of two, I regretted silently.
"I present to you Juliet Larkgale. I give you…the female tribute from District 4!" The announcer's voice said. Then, over the sound of the trumpets and the anthem, the hovercraft appeared. A ladder came down, beckoning me to latch on. With reluctance, I turned around, blew a kiss to Jack's body, and got on.
After the president crowned me as victor, I returned home to District 4. I wished that I could have had Jack at my side, but that was impossible. He was dead, and I needed to realize that.
Mom and dad were really proud of me. They had a dinner for me, and they invited all my friends. Preston's parents avoided me as much as possible. I guess they never really could accept that I was the one who survived…and had killed their son. It wasn't like they didn't have any other sons, in fact, they had six other sons.
I met a boy. His name was Cinnitch. I did get married to him. It was hard, yes, to get over Jack. But I knew that he would have approved.
I had two children, a girl and a boy. Twins actually, and I named them Briar Pomeline and Jack Leonis. Jack was reaped for the Hunger Games, and he won. My family seems to have a streak for winning the Hunger Games. I actually have a great-grandson through Briar. His name is Finnick Odair, and he won the Hunger Games too.
I always thought that my life was perfect, but not everything can be perfect. You need people for support and love.
And I knew that throughout it all, Jack was smiling down on me from heaven.