Prologue

The previous Hunger Games, the 174th.

Three girls sat in a triangle formation around what remained of the Cornucopia. The great gold horn had been knocked down during earthquakes, fires and avalanches, and only three apples were left. These games had it all.

The girls were Elanur Crawson of District 10, Alice Menning of District 11, and Rashel Brownsteed of District 12. None of the girls wanted to kill the others. Only Alice had killed before, twice, the other girls had outlasted the rest. And there they sat, the last three tributes, representing the poorest and weakest districts in the horrible televised show, known only as, the Hunger Games.

Alice got to her feet, looming solemnly above the others.

"We can't just sit here. They can blow us up, or set us on fire. Would you rather they kill us, or we kill each other?" she stated, and Elanur grunted in agreement. None of them moved.

"But how would we decide who wins?" Rashel squeaked, then cursed herself for sounding so childish. Elanur turned to her.

"We should just fight to the death."

"Or we could all commit suicide."

"That would cause a lot of trouble for the Districts," Alice pointed out. She looked over to wear the sun was setting, and she heard an ominous rumbling in the distance.

"But I don't want to live anymore. There's no longer a reason for me to be here."

She blew a kiss out towards the sun, and in one swift movement, she withdrew a jagged knife from her belt and slit her own throat.

Rashel screamed, and Alice made a small noise, almost as if she were confused at what was happening. She turned to the girls before her eyes rolled back into her head and she slumped to the grass, turning it a dark red. The girl from District 12 sobbed loudly, and her tears started flowing down her cheeks in a rapid waterfall. She screamed loudly and cried for her mother and her brother, and Elanur squatted next to her, rubbing her back in shock of what had just happened. Elanur smiled to herself.

"Alice was so brave." she positioned herself so that she was in front of the crying girl, and rubbed her shoulders.

"And so are we." She handed Rashel Alice's knife, and smiled to herself in a grim sort of way. Rashel sat there, staring at it, sobbing and hiccuping occasionally, and she laughed, a cute little giggle of innocence and pureness. She pressed the knife deep into her own throat, cutting out the laugh, and they smiled at each other as the light in her eyes dimmed, and a cannon went off in the distance. Elanur laughed, trying to remember how she had got here as the trumpets sounded, and a helicopter appeared from the air. But the last standing tribute, the victor in a way, continued laughing, and crying at the same time, looked at the camera attached to the bottom of the helicopter, and stuck the knife into her own neck. She was cut off by a gurgle, but she was smiling, and she forced her eyes closed with her fingers, crawled over to the other girls and did the same, just before she was grabbed by a giant metallic claw.

In the GameCenter, a day after the Hunger Games finale.

Carlton Snow, President of the monstrous country (If it could be called that) Panem, sat opposite the GameMakers, including the head himself, Thorus Leaf.

"The country is in shock. We have pulled this off flawlessly for 174 years, and now?" Snow shook his head, and Thorus wrung his hands out, his skin a deathly white colour, his face drained of any emotion.

"This will not do. Next year is the Quarter Quell, we have to make the Districts pay! This will lead to a rebellion!" The President shouts, banging his fist on the silk table in front of him, making all of the GameMakers jump.

"I am 'assigning' a new squad of GameMakers." Snow says, as an evil smile spreads wickedly across his face. "Leave now." he commands them.

"The next Hunger Games will be crueler than ever. I swear, the Districts will not know what's hit them." he says to himself.