w w w. fromthegrounduphg. blogspot. c o m
District Five Female, 13 Years Old
Day Three: Morning
I still remember District Five.
I still remember all of the factories, apartment buildings and run-down towns, and the power-plants. The power-plants were some of my favorite things; they used to emit bright colors into the sky, sometimes even looking like fireworks. In a way, I miss District Five, but I don't know. It wasn't what I really wanted, but it was home.
Home is where my parents are. Well, only one of my parents, my father. My mother died three years ago, and I still remember that exact day. She used to baby me and she made me feel special. I never had to do anything for myself and I always felt protected by her. After her death, my family was devastated for months, but then we were able to pick ourselves up. I try to bury the thoughts in the back of my mind, but it isn't easy. She's my mother, not some childhood friend or some pet.
Luckily, my father is still alive and so is my brother. My father is a teacher in District Five, and there aren't a lot of them, by the way, since the education is very restricted and tightly controlled. My brother, Keynan, likes to learn a lot. So do I, but Keynan was much more focused and exceptional. Keynan is very loud and outgoing, much like my father, and we were very close. During the reapings, he helped me go to the stage, but I didn't want to go.
Who would want to be reaped? Who wants to be taken away from their family?
I'm not saying my family was perfect or anything, but it was family. We were never too poor, seeing as we did have enough to eat, but we couldn't afford anything extra for ourselves beyond our necessities. I don't care about that stuff, though; I just cared about my family. Then my mother died, and then it was just me, my father, and my brother. It wasn't the same, if that makes sense.
To this day, I still miss my mother's gentle voice. I miss her giggle and the way she would hug me.
But, that's just a part of growing up, right? Change?
As I hear my name being called, I turn around, and Amara and Quole are both standing in front of me. They are holding whatever supplies we had collected, looking as if we are getting ready to move or go somewhere else. Quole hands me a few berries, and I eat them quickly, looking almost like an animal as I scarf them down.
"Yes?" I ask, wiping my mouth with my hand.
"We can't stay here," Amara says, her voice dull and emotionless.
Without asking any questions, I get up and tread after Amara. Quole is quiet as ever, not even looking at anything but the glass-ceiling above. The sun is shining down on us, the sun making me feel warm and comfortable. Amara rolls her shoulders once in a while, glancing back at us from over her shoulder.
Without her, Quole or I might not even be alive. She protects us, making sure that we are not in danger and that if anything gets in our way she will get rid of it. Like that boy from District Eleven, Dresden. He wasn't scary or anything, but Amara didn't want him near us. I didn't question that either, since I didn't want Amara to get mad. She has patience with us, but at times, you can tell she gets agitated with us. I'm not saying Quole or I are complete weaklings, but we aren't the toughest or smartest tributes here. We're young, too, while Amara is eighteen, so there is definitely an age gap.
I'm glad I have her, though. She reminds me of my mother in a way. I might even win if Amara stays by my side the whole time.
"Where are we going?" I ask, pushing my hair out my face.
"You'll see soon, Minx."
I stay quiet after that, not sure what else there is to say. I tend to leave Amara alone, even if I am usually in the mood to talk. Quole doesn't talk much either, so I'm on my own. I even talk to myself at times, but it's awkward when no one really replies.
We approach a glass door, and on the opposite side of the door, there are colorful plants, bushes, and a bunch of fruits and vegetables. Amara shakes the door handles, attempting to open the door. It doesn't open, though, and you can tell she is getting infuriated. She slams her fist against the handle a few times, trying to do anything she can do to open these doors. Amara stops for a minute, breathing heavily and wiping the sweat from her forehead.
Just as Amara is about to continue trying to open the door, Quole raises her arm, pointing with her pointer-finger at something in the room. It takes me a while to locate what she is pointing at, but then I see what she is pointing at – Sinter. I step forward, my face being put up against the glass, watching Sinter carefully.
The room on the opposite side of the door on our side is circular, and there are only two ways into it. There is only the door on my side and a door on Sinter's side. As Sinter steps through the door on his side and walks forward a few steps, his doors slam shut. He flinches at the sound of the doors slamming shut, and begins to back up, but he bangs into the doors. The doors are tightly shut, and even though Sinter is pulling at them forcefully, nothing is happening.
But, something else is starting to happen. The bushes, plants, and other things in the room are beginning to disappear. I can barely understand what is going on, but they are just disappearing. One by one, all of the foliage disappear, eventually making the room be empty except for the dirt on the ground. Everything must have been a hologram. Sinter is still in the room, and he is standing there, staring at the ground as it becomes bare. Sinter walks forward, swiping his arm out in front of him with every step. He hasn't notice that Amara, Quole, and I are all watching him, and I'm glad. If he has seen that we are here, he might want us to help him.
But I know Amara won't help him. As much as I want to, I can't either.
Suddenly, the room in front of us begins to get brighter. Only in that room, though, since the sun where we are isn't too bright. Sinter looks upwards, covering his face with his arm, trying to block his eyes from the sun's rays. The sun in his room continues to brighten, the heat waves becoming visible in that room. In only the matter of seconds, he is barely visible, the sun's rays engulfing him. It is very bright, and even Amara is having trouble keeping her eyes open. Quole is watching attentively, her face expressionless.
What is happening?
Sinter falls to his knees, his face going in between his legs. He covers his head with his arms, and you can tell he is overheating. He begins to rip the clothes he has on off, throwing the pieces of fabric aimlessly. The sun continues to get brighter and more and more heat waves are now visible, and just from looking at this sight, I feel hot.
How could this be happening in only that room? The Gamemakers, no doubt.
On Sinter's arm, blisters begin to form and his skin begins to bubble over. It looks as if he is wrinkling, and I didn't even know any of this could happen just from the sun. Sinter falls backward, his face getting exposed to the sun radiation now. His face quickly becomes blistered and sun-burnt, and you can hear muffled moans coming from him. The moans become muffled, and eventually become silenced. The sun is at its brightest peak now, and I can't even see him anymore. I close my eyes, the sun's rays finally getting to me.
I grab Amara's arm, throwing my face into her side, trying to hide my face from the sun. Even though my eyes are still closed, there is a red tint over my eyelids, meaning that the sun is still shining bright. After a while, the red tint begins to lessen, and I open my eyes slowly. My eyes shoot directly to Sinter's body, and then my heart drops.
No, not Sinter. Not my own District partner. He can't be dying. He can't!
Sinter's body is laying on the ground, slumped over, his legs and arms sprawled out. His eyes are hollow and his mouth is agape. His skin is blistered, much worse than before, and is extremely red. A light red, and that must mean it's sun-burn, but it is the worst sun-burn I have ever seen. His whole camouflage outfit is torn apart, only a few pieces of fabric still on his body. He tries to move his arm, but he flinches too move and you can see the pain in his face.
"Isn't there something we can do?" I shout, choking on my own words.
Amara remains quiet, as well as Quole, and neither of them looks at me. I look back at Sinter, who is still on the ground, his body looking worse and worse. He looks weak now, his chest not raising and contracting as much as before. He's not breathing that much anymore, and you can still see the pain that he is going through. His eyes finally close, and his chest finally stops, and that's when I realize it.
Sinter's dead. My own District partner is dead. And I did nothing to help him.
Amara didn't even do anything. Isn't she supposed to be protecting me? Making me happy?
But why didn't she save him? That would make me happy. Not food or warmth, stuff I don't need.
I needed Sinter. I needed something that reminds me of District Five, and now the only thing that did is gone.
Why is nothing turning out the way I want it to? Why can't I just go home?
District Two Male, 17 Years Old
Day Three: Afternoon
That is all that is left of this alliance. Four out of the initial six. And I'm not even sure who killed who, really. Sure, I have my predictions, but who knows; anything's possible. Besides, does it matter who killed who? They all need to die eventually, don't they?
It's just less competition for me. Every time someone dies, even if it's my ally, I'm that much closer to victory.
First, it was Olivine. Then, it was Mariel. They both died on the same day too, and that makes it that much weirder and confusing. Why were they so reckless? How could they die only on day two?
Where they not trained? Disciplined? Educated? Foolishness is all it is.
Olivine was a nice District partner and all, but she wasn't cut out for the title of victor. She was too vain and hyperactive to even get close to victory. Supposedly, Amara killed her, but I don't know. I don't know how true or plausible that is. Velour looked traumatized and scared, but that doesn't convince me. I wasn't there to witness it, or anyone, for that matter. It could have been a ploy all this time. Velour is more than capable of killing someone, and she's always had something against Olivine, and them being alone would be the perfect time to kill her.
I know I tell myself I don't care about Olivine dying, but in a way, I do. She's my District partner, shouldn't that mean something? I don't plan on getting revenge on Velour or anyone, but that doesn't mean I will excuse anyone. For all I know, Velour could have killed her, and then acted like it was Amara. I'm not intimidated by Velour or anything, but when you're on her bad side, she gets hostile and never lets it go.
One thing I do know is that you don't need any hatred in the Games; it only increases your chances of dying.
Mariel's death, on the other hand, was predictable. She was too nice and introverted to survive. For her killer, I don't even have a guess of who it could have been. When we heard someone screaming, we all assumed it was her, and when we went to where the screams came from, she was already dead. There was no trace of anyone else around, and that's what bothers me.
How could someone be so cowardice? You kill someone, and then escape. Take credit for your actions.
On that same day, someone else died too. Yesterday was a bit of a crazy day, since there were a total of three deaths, and all of them had some impact on me. Not that I care that they died, but I witnessed one of them and the other two were my allies. The one I witnessed was the District Eight male, who was killed by Cove.
At first, I planned on taking the kill, but then I thought about it. I should let Cove have the kill, since I'll have time to make another one, while Cove might not. I stood back, letting Cove take control of the situation. He killed the boy quickly and efficiently, and I was proud of him. He proved himself worthy to me, and now I don't mind going hunting with him or pairing up with just him to go anywhere.
But, as of now, on day three, things are going well.
Velour is leaned against the glass wall, eating grapes she found one-by-one, making sure to extend her arm and stick up her neck as she plops one into her mouth. Cove is on the ground, drawing pictures in the dirt on the ground. Adam is hunched over in the corner, staring deeply into the sky. Then there's me, who is sharpening my shovel with a rock.
"We need to do something," I say, standing up from the ground. "Let's just go for a stroll."
Velour looks interested, as she drops the grapes she was holding onto the ground and flips her hair over her shoulder. Cove looks up at me, stopping his finger from drawing the last line on his drawing of the Capitol emblem. Adam doesn't give me any care, still looking up at the sky.
"Velour, Cove, you're with me. Adam, you're staying here as guard," I order, pointing my finger at them individually.
Velour and Cove stand next to me, Cove poking Velour in the shoulder and Velour simply staring at me. Adam still doesn't look at me, and then I lose interest in him. If he doesn't want to do anything, then he doesn't have to. I would have much rather him dying over Olivine, to be honest. At least Olivine was entertaining; Adam is just emotionless and lethargic.
I raise my arm, gesturing for Velour and Cove to follow me. Without even looking back at Adam, I exit the large circular room, walking through the door I haven't gone through yet. I don't pay much attention to the scenery or environment, simply because I don't care for that stuff right now. The only thing I need to find someone.
I need to prove to the audience that I can kill. I need to prove to my father that I kill.
Velour, Cove, and I continue to walk, the two of them behind me engaging in small conversation. Cove just makes bad jokes, and even though I try not to smirk, they are rather funny. Funny in a corny way, though. Velour just giggles obnoxiously, throwing her arm around Cove's neck as she laughs like a child.
We take a quick turn, entering a long hallway that is made of glass. The sun is still in the sky, shining brighter than ever, and I begin to walk down it quickly. I'm getting bored, to be honest. The Games seemed much more fun and interesting on the television. As we come across another door, I hold my hand out, gesturing for everyone to stop. The door in front of me is glass, but it is covered in vines, and I peek through the openings. On the other side, I can see people.
It's the girls from Five, Eight, and Twelve. Minx, Quole, and Amara. All of them at once.
I turn my head, smirking, and it seems that Velour has already taken notice of the girls as well. Cove isn't as prepared to fight as Velour, since he's still trying to get his knife out of his belt. Velour is prepared, though, with her garden hose wrapped around her hands. I grip my shovel in my hands tightly, beginning to open the door slowly.
The door doesn't make any noises, which is always a good sign. We can sneak around, and then take them all out. Cove will be there just as a distraction, and then Velour and I can go in for the kill. I wait a few more seconds, and then with one swift movement, open the door at once. In front of the door, in the other room, there are several bushes, and that's where I gesture for all of us to hide.
We all take our positions behind the bushes, getting out game faces on and getting ready to attack. I hold my hand up in the air, counting down from five with my fingers. When there is only one finger left up in the air, I get into a sprinting position. Then, I put down the last finger.
And that's when we go in for the kill.
I run to the left, Velour runs to the right, and Cove runs directly in between us. We come at them, and they don't even notice us until we're only a few feet away from them. Amara is the quickest one there, though, and she grabs the two girls by their collars. They leave all of their supplies behind, sprinting towards one of the doors. Quole is the slowest out of all of them, and I realize that this is my chance.
I sprint much faster, trying to catch up with Quole, and I eventually treading right behind her. Holding my hand out in front of me, I grab her by her arm, and throw her down to the ground. I raise my shovel, about to bring it down, but then I look into her face. It's emotionless and her eyes are bulging out of her head.
Can I really do this?
I take a deep breath, trying to build up the courage to kill this girl, but I have trouble doing that. I lower my shovel, still hovering over her, and take another deep breath. I look at her one more time, and her face is still emotionless.
You have to do this, Nero. For your father.
With the mention of my father, I bring the shovel down on her abdomen, the shovel impaling her stomach forcefully. Her mouth opens wide, but no noise comes out. She doesn't even begin to cry or whimper either, and her face still remains emotionless. I yank the shovel out of her stomach, wiping the blood off of the shovel on the grass.
I look up to see Velour throw her garden hose, and as it is extended, it wraps around the girl from Five's legs, pulling her down to the ground. As I look back down at the girl on the ground, who I just killed, I try to push away all of my feelings and thoughts. Her cannon sounds, but I try to force myself to not listen to it. I don't want to face that I just killed a little girl. Shaking my head, I try to rid my mind of all of this. I had to do it; there was no other way.
The girl from Twelve, Amara, stands in the doorway, staring at Velour who is tying the garden hose around Minx's hands and feet. Once Amara realizes that I am coming her way, she broadens her shoulders. I grunt once, and she returns my noise with a grunt of her own, and she doesn't look like she is backing down any time soon. In a swift movement, she lunges forward at Velour, but before she can reach them, I bring the shovel down on her back. Amara falls down to the ground, and as she falls, she throws her arm outwards. She hits my knee, and I buckle over, falling to the ground as well.
I try to grab my shovel, but before I can, Amara is already on her feet. Cove throws his knife, trying to hit Amara, but it misses, landing in the bush next to me. Velour pulls Minx away by her feet, watching Amara carefully. I begin to get up, and that's when Amara begins to back away. She runs down the hallway without looking back at all, and you can hear her saying things to herself. Cove retrieves his knife from the bush and I picky my shovel off the ground.
Velour stands up, turning Minx on her back. Velour tied the garden hose around her tightly, and there is no way she can escape now. Cove and Velour pick the girl up from the ground, carrying her in their arms.
"We will use her for bait," Velour says, rather exasperated.
"Bait for what?" I ask, treading behind them.
"For Amara. If we have Minx, Amara will try to come and save her.
I nod, acting as if this is a good plan. I mean, it is. But, why do we need to include the girl? Why can't we just go after Amara now?
What will Velour do to Minx after Amara is dead?
Will Minx die too? Just like Quole?
Am I really comfortable with witnessing another child's death?
Of course you are. This is the only way you can win, Nero. This is the only way you're father will accept you.
District Four Male, 17 Years Old
Day Three: Night
I let her die.
I let Mariel stay there alone.
No one stayed back with her, and even though I wanted someone to, no one did. I should have stayed with her and I shouldn't have left. If I stayed there, she wouldn't be dead. This all happened because I was reckless. I never thought that someone would kill her. Besides, we were only gone for a little while.
How could this have happened?
Don't worry about Mariel, Adam. You love Gwen, not her.
I cared for Mariel. I wanted to protect her and I wanted her to survive, and I have failed. She is now dead, and I can't help but feel that this is my fault. I should have been there and killed whoever attacked her. She could have been alive right now, but she's not.
And it's all my fault.
I slam my fist against the ground, grunting out of infuriation. Standing up, I feel like a heavy weight is being placed on my shoulders. For some reason, I don't feel right and I feel uneasy. The sounds of Mariel's screaming ring through my ears, making me even more infuriated.
Mariel had to die. She had to.
No. I won't accept. She didn't have to die right then and there. It just happened that someone came her way, and she wasn't ready to fight. She wasn't much of a fighter either way, and that's why she needed protection.
What about her family back in District Four now? I bet they hate me because I didn't protect her. Now, I have failed Gwen and I have failed Mariel's family.
But which one is more important to me?
Grabbing my rake off the ground, I begin to walk aimlessly. I walk down a hallway or two, taking random turns and walking through random hallways. It doesn't matter where I'm going anymore, since nothing matters. The only person I loved in District Four doesn't even like me anymore, and the one girl I liked here is dead.
What else is there to fight for?
For Gwen and Mariel.
But, if one doesn't like me and one is dead, what is there to fight for?
To prove yourself. To prove that you care about both of them, and that you're not a quitter.
Is that really worth it, though? Is it?
You tell me, Adam.
As I enter another room, I nearly walk into a tree. Even though the room is somewhat lit up by the moon, this room is especially dark. The large trees and bushes in this room aren't helping either, since they are taking up most of the room. The trees' shadows are reflected on the wall, looking like a creature of some sort. Suddenly, another shadow pops up. This time, it's two people.
After pushing down the hopes that Mariel could have been miraculously, I force myself to check it out. I walk forward, not being sneaky or stealthy, stepping on branches and snapping them. You can tell one of the people is a girl, since you can see the shadow of her flowing hair trailing behind her. The other person with her is a boy.
I get closer and closer to the two people, and as I snap one last branch, they begin to run. I begin to run too, dodging a few of the branches that are jutting out from the trees, and some of them hitting me in the face. The two figures in front of me stop, as indicated by their shadows, and then their shadows disappear.
They must be hiding now.
I sway from here-to-there, glancing into every bush and looking at every tree I pass. I make small noises, almost like a hum, trying to attract them out of hiding. For all I know, it could be my allies, but I don't know. Stabbing some of the bushes with my bush, I try to locate them with a little violence now. I sharpened my rake earlier, so now the points at the top of it are more deadly.
"I know someone is in here," I taunt, my voice sounding monotonous.
There's a squeak, but it is quickly muffled. It came from the bush in the farthest corner of the room, and now that I know where they are, they can't escape.
"Stop wasting your time and face me," I taunt again, and this time, I bang the rake against a tree.
I continue taunting them with mindless threats and names, and then someone finally comes out. It's the District Three male, Robin, and you can see that he is in a healthy condition. His District partner, Kaelyn, steps out of the bush as well, but stands behind Robin. It looks like Robin has someone to protect too.
But, why has he done a better job than me? Has he stayed by her side? Has he protected her because he cares about her more than I cared about Mariel?
Robin opens his mouth to speak, but Kaelyn places her hand on his shoulder and he closes his mouth. We both stare at each other for a minute or so, not making any movements or saying anything. He raises the rake he has in the air, pointing it directly at me. Kaelyn doesn't have any weapon equipped, and I realize that this is my chance.
This is my chance to prove myself to Gwen and to avenge Mariel's death. Besides, why does this boy deserve anyone?
What makes him better than me? What makes him more worthy to keep someone he cares about alive?
Robin should face the same problems I am facing right now. This girl does not deserve to live as long as Robin is alive. Mariel and I were similar to Kaelyn and Robin, and what happened to Mariel and I will happen to them. Kaelyn will die, and Robin will live.
I step forward, causing Robin to grip his rake tighter and jut it out farther. After I make one more movement, Robin begins to sprint towards me. He has a determined grin on his face, and as he gets closer and closer to me, I step to the side. He tries to change direction, but before he can come anywhere near me with his rake, I throw mine.
I throw mine at Kaelyn.
I watch the rake glide through the air, and I watch as Kaelyn tries to dodge it. But, before she can move to the side, it impales her in the stomach. She falls down on her knees, trying to keep herself from falling down to the ground completely. Robin stops at the sound of Kaelyn falling to the ground, dropping his rake. He turns around, not looking at me anymore, and stares at Kaelyn. After Kaelyn's body falls to the ground and her cannon sounds, he clenches his fist and points his fist at me.
"What have you just done?" Robin asks, his voice shaky.
"I did what I had to," I reply, looking down at the ground.
"What you had to do?" He shouts, his voice becoming shakier as he raises it. "You didn't have to kill her!"
"But, I did, Robin."
Robin steps forward, bringing his fist closer to me. "Why did you have to kill her? So you feel better about yourself? So you fill the void of losing your own District partner?"
At the mention of my District partner, I get mad. I shoot my head upwards, and he realizes that he has just infuriated me, since he lowers his fist and backs up a few steps. As I begin to walk towards him, he backs up even more, and once I'm in a full sprint towards him, he runs away.
Robin runs down one of the hallways, the moon reflecting off of him creating another shadow. When he is a safe distance away from me, he turns around.
"You'll regret this!" He shouts, throwing his fist in the air.
I remain silent, waiting for him to continue running away. He eventually does, and I am now left alone in the room. Kaelyn's body is still there, and even though she is dead, it doesn't seem real and I don't feel accomplished.
Why do I feel the same? Why don't I feel better about myself?
Why do I still want to go home to Gwen? Why do I still miss Mariel?
Why can't I just get rid of these thoughts?
District Five, Sinter Farwood – Placed 18th
District Eight, Quole Issa – Placed 17th
District Three, Kaelyn Taitrin – Placed 16th