Written By: Jayfish
I can feel the steady thumping against the inside of my abdomen. Kick, kick, kick, a sluggish tempo that suggests the creature within is confined by my own visceral fluids. But I can feel the kicking and I know it is alive. My breathing is shallow as I lie prostrate on the molding couch, my hand spread flat over my abdomen.
Kick, kick, kick.
There is an electric buzz from the television set and I raise my head. We have been inside, in our darkened houses, for nearly three weeks. No food has been provided but the food we have stockpiled. I understand that any citizen caught roaming the streets will be shot on sight.
Nausea rises in my throat but I swallow until it goes away. I can't afford to be ill now. My husband is gone, bunkered in another's home, perhaps, but it is more than likely he is dead. Thinking of my husband, sweet, gentle Mason, is enough to bring the tears to my eyes. But the hand that rises to my cheeks to wipe the tears away is weak and trembling.
The television buzzes again. After everything District Nine has gone through, the bombs and fire and influenza that spread among our ranks like a plague, it is a miracle that my television still functions. But when I press the button that should spring it to life, I see only static.
We're all going to die, I think, and close my eyes tightly. If I listen, I can hear the stamp of boots against the ground, the crackle that suggests fire. A baby's pathetic wail. Instinctively, my hand tightens on the shiny flesh at my stomach. My baby, I think, eyes wide with panic. My little one.
But after a few frightened moments, I can feel that shifting deep inside me and I know it's alright. I push my damp hair away from my forehead and lean back against the couch. It's alright, I tell myself, chanting the words in my head. It's alright, it's alright, it's alright.
The television sparks and flares to life.
I press into the couch, trembling violently. The Capitol is not known for its tact because I am looking into a pair of dead eyes. Blood trickles from the corner of one eye and trails down the cheek of a man who must be a rebel. He is dead, so dead, with his mouth gaping open. I can see blood staining his pearl white teeth.
The shot moves outwards, and I realize that all that is left of the unfortunate rebel is his head. He has been impaled on a pike, and the further out we zoom, the more I take in. Hundreds upon hundreds of pikes form a crude circle around a large courtyard. Blood drips onto paving stones.
"Shh, shh," I whisper, although there's no one to shush but myself. "Shh." And I have to calm down, because I've begun to whimper. Such might, such raw power glares at me through the screen. How could we hope to win against this majesty? Why did we even try?
The cameras zoom in on the slim woman standing on the balcony. Her face is devoid of emotion, and her lips are redder than the tongues and teeth of the rebels that hang all around her. I recognize that placid face. This is not President Markova that stands before us, but the new president whose name I cannot remember. Feeling like a fool, I wrap my arm around my abdomen, shielding the place where I imagine my unborn child's eyes to be.
"Districts of Panem," the president says quietly. "Look at what you have done."
A shot of District Thirteen's smoldering ruins flashes onscreen. Then there is a pile of bodies, burning and choking the air with smoke and ash and dead flesh. A child's doll lies in the mud, dripping not with rainwater but the dark red blood of its owner.
"You have bitten the hand that fed you," the president says icily. "You have risen up against your caretakers, the ones that protected you and clothed you and allowed you to love and be loved." Her voice has taken on a dangerous, twisted tone. "You have killed thousands! You have allowed thousands to be killed for a cause you don't even understand!"
She pauses to compose herself. The surrounding area is silent, save for the droplets of blood pattering off of severed necks.
"Rebellion," whispers our president. "Rebellion against what? What exactly where you trying to accomplish?! Our country is in ruins. District Thirteen has been destroyed and the remaining districts are hardly better off. You have gambled. You have lost." She is white faced and her eyes are darkened. "Now you must pay us what you owe us."
Her eyes bore into mine. I feel as though she is staring into my soul, and I don't know what she thinks of what she sees. "Please," I whisper, as though the voice of one woman in a dark house a thousand miles away can make any sort of difference. "Please, don't kill us all." Because I can imagine that they will. They will send the bombs into every district, and they will watch us burn and they will laugh.
"Every one of us has lost someone," the president continues. "A husband." I blink and the tears manage to slip past my restraining fingers. "A wife. A lover. A friend… A child. There have been catastrophic losses on both sides. As the winning side, the final death toll rests with us. The Capitol." She breathes in deeply. "We could burn every district to the ground. You deserve nothing less. But we are a merciful people."
She's not going to kill us. I moan in relief and my head tips back against the sagging couch. "Thank you," I whisper. "Thank you thank you thank you."
"You will be punished," she says, and her voice is low and dark. "You have taken from us, and we will take from you. We have provided you protection in exchange for production. But you have taken our people. And so we will take yours, and we will be entertained."
A screen is falling down the face of the building behind her. A white, rippling screen, and as I watch, a picture is projected onto its surface. "The Hunger Games," it reads, and a child with a backpack rests below. The girl's face is shocked and terrified, and she looks as though she is running desperately.
"Every year, into the foreseeable future, each district will send one male and one female between the ages of 12 and 18 to the Capitol. There they will be prepared, and airlifted into a remote arena."
Arena, I think. I don't understand. Will they kill the children? My stomach tightens.
"Twenty-four will go in," says the president. "But only one will come out, the supreme Victor of the Games."
I don't understand, I repeat, but I don't think I want to.
"Only one may come out," the president repeats. "Twenty-three children will die. To be the Victor…"
She pauses, and it is as though I can hear her breathing.
"You must kill the others."
In a house across the way, I can hear a scream. A baby's wail joins in, and then I can hear muted sobbing and a hysterical screech. I am frozen. I am rigid against the couch, one hand clutching the armrest for support.
You must kill the others.
"NO!" I scream, wishing for nothing more than the ability to move properly. With my swollen belly, I can barely stand without help. "NO!" My throat is raw, but I continue, helpless. "NO, NO, NO!"
Children. They can't. They can't do this. It's wrong, it's depraved. Entertainment, she said. How is this entertaining?
She has been talking, and I clench my teeth together and attempt to listen. "… broadcasted throughout Panem. Viewing will be mandatory. Every death will be filmed in glorious detail."
"You twisted woman," I whisper. I've bitten my lip so hard that I can taste blood in my mouth, wet and metallic. "You sick, twisted creature."
"Is this what you wanted, districts?!" she shouts, startling me into silence. "You knew the risk, and you took it. Be thankful that we have not annihilated every last man, woman, and child! We offered you peace and prosperity, and you dared to spurn it. Now we allow you to live. Know that you will receive no second chances. In the event of a second rebellion, destruction will be absolute. You will not survive."
Her voice is convincing and powerful. I tremble in my chair. Inside me, I can imagine my baby quivering.
"It'll be alright," I whisper, but my voice cracks at the end. My child. Will they take my child? It is only a baby, not even born. Into the foreseeable future, she said. Every year.
My baby. When it is old enough, perhaps they will take my baby. And then, a similar baby from a different district will kill it. And then another baby will kill it.
I scream. I clutch at my throat and scream until my voice turns thin and withers into nothing. I am not the only one having this reaction. I can hear the screaming, the wailing, the groans of terror. I can hear a child whimpering, and I sob, tears flowing hot and fast down my cheeks. I rock, determined to move in some way. But it jostles the equilibrium in the deep places of my body, and I freeze until everything settles and I can breathe again.
"The reapings begin in June," our president promises. "Prepare yourselves for our retribution. For we are mighty, and you are weak, and you must learn this. Those who withstand the Capitol will not be allowed to survive."
The television, with a tiny burst of static, goes black.
"Mason," I whimper, mucus collecting at my nostrils. I wipe it away with the back of my hand. "Where are you, Mason?" My sweet, strong husband would know what to do. He would know how to save me. He would know how to save the little one.
"Mason!" The name tears itself from my lips. I'm on my feet, hobbling towards the door. I wrench it open and stumble into the blackness outside. Despite the horror enveloping the people of District Nine, they remain bolted in their houses, like they've been ordered. I can hear them shrieking, though. Crying and screaming like I am.
Stubbornly, I shake my head. It's only background noise. I have to be focused. I have to find him, my Mason. He will help me through this.
I'm walking away from the house in a drunken path. All around me there is chaos and death. Burnt bodies clog the streets, some with bloody noses and torn eyes from the virus that decimated us. I force myself to look away as the twisted body of a child crunches underneath my sandaled feet.
The square. That's where I'm going, the square. If Mason is anywhere, he will be there. He will not have stayed locked within a house, waiting quietly for death and horror. He will be out on the streets, shrieking death and retribution on the Capitol, or hiding in wait for me.
I turn the corner and take a step. And then the horror takes me and I lean over and vomit up the few meager ounces of grain I'd managed to devour.
The square is overflowing with the melting bodies of the dead. A fire still rages in one corner, but most of the corpses have been put out. By what, I can't tell. Maybe the rain put the fires to rest, but it isn't raining.
The corpses are barely recognizable. I wade through the destruction and feel the fibers holding me together snapping and splintering. I trip on something, a hand maybe, and crash to the ground. My knees support me and keep my swollen belly from touching the ground.
I am looking into a motionless pair of brown eyes. They are eyes I recognize.
I reach out and brush what remains of Mason's hair out of his face. His lips and jaw are both gone. His tongue flops uselessly against the pavement.
"You!" The voice is one that I know. I remain where I am, crouched over Mason's disfigured body. Tears running down my cheeks, I am nothing more than a frightened animal. Shot on sight. Shot on sight. "Stand up!"
I stand, despite the pain wracking my frame. Although not ordered to, I turn around. Davian's gun is pointed at me from across the square, his face harsh and pained at once. Four Peacekeepers stand behind him, guns protruding from between their fingers like claws.
"Hold your position," says Davian, soothingly. One of his men gives him a questioning look and he scowls. "She's pregnant," he barks. "We're not going to shoot her."
I take a step forward and he turns back to me. "Don't move!"
The wind whistles in my ears. I feel lightheaded and faint. I take another step.
Another step. Another.
The bullet tears into my stomach. The pain brings me to a shuddering halt. Inside me, there is no movement. Nothing.
But maybe it's for the better.
The next bullet is for my forehead, and the fear and the pain and the horror put me to sleep. A lullaby of perversity.
'Allo, 'allo, il mia nome e Jayfish!
Don't think that's a real language. Huh.
Anyway, hi hi hi! Welcome to this (hopefully) wonderful SYOT, written by myself, the crushingly average Jayfish, and Jake, the MOST AMAZING PERSON ON THIS SITE GIVE HIM YOUR LOVE GAHHH~
Before I let you go, I have some things I'd like to tell you. Please, please PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF THE GOOD LORD. Do not submit a tribute in a review. You may send us a tribute through PM (either PM myself or Jake, whose penname is jakey121.) If you submit it in a review, I WILL KILL YOU.
Also, please note that this is indeed the first Hunger Games. There are no Careers yet. No training, no Careers, etc. Please keep that in mind when creating your tributes!
Form is at the bottom.
Now I really will let you go to enjoy the far superior section of this prologue :) JAKE'S BIT AWWW YESHHH.
Written By: jakey121
The story of the rebellion will be told, the truth warped into exaggerated lies, far into the future. How countless men, women and children fled their costly homes to flee the darkness of the Capitol as the Districts shot and bombed their way through their streets. How the Capitol in retaliation rose with anger clear in their hearts and minds and laid waste upon the Districts, completely decimating the last of them all.
Thirteen was a place of peace yet it was rather dull, to see the end of it was more of a blessing than a curse yet for the Districts it was a sign that the Capitol; no matter how many men they threw at them and how many times they tried to take control, would rise above and destroy each District with no mercy in their hearts.
The President of Panem had lost his seat of authority and disappeared from everyone's eyes. Even I, Gala Barrister, have yet to see him for these past few months. The whispers are he died and his bones are buried deep beneath the President's Mansion. Other spiders with their webs of lies tell a story of the President now living in a District far off, somewhere like Twelve as a miner, his family living in a dirty little hut with scarcely any food on the table.
I do not believe these tales of death and mining, I do not know the truth behind our previous ruler's disappearance but I believe for sure he is still alive. Plotting perhaps his revenge upon the Capitol. Another rebellion may come again one day, maybe he would be the cause.
His hatred for the Capitol was no secret, when he was dragged from his post kicking and screaming, his personal guards cut down and left to bleed crimson upon the marbled floor he swore vile words about our city, vengeance clear in his tone. If any man was to pose as a threat to the renewed Capitol, finally strong after the rebellion, it would be him.
Our new President is a woman of beauty. Raven hair left to flow in waves down her back, pale skin made even paler with white powder. Her lips are the most startling of her features, blood red and dripping slightly with the colour as if she had drank a fresh cup of blood at every meal. Her haunting appearance wasn't the only layer to our President. There is the layer of her unrelenting anger towards the Districts, the sheer will to rip them apart with her bare hands and watch every man, woman and child scream with anguish as she murdered each and every one of them.
Her son; Teevan; had been a front line solider putting a stop in the rebellion in Two and managing to defeat the front line in Three but it had not been enough to halt the bullet that tore through his helmet and ripped his handsome face. He had been a thing of beauty to match his jolly mother but when his body had been returned the woman who used to be such a happy thing changed into who we know her as now. Perhaps, and as sad as it is to say, her son's death was a blessing in disguise. President Ciara Ocalan will be our saviour and it is with great joy I find myself outside her door. I, Gala Barrister, shall be her Head Gamemaker for this new proposal that was finalized these past few months.
She calls it The Hunger Games. Details were kept strictly between herself and her darling sister who sits as heir to her position should she die before another son or daughter is born. Two months ago I was brought into this inner circle of secrets and this Hunger Games was described to me and I can honestly say, hand on my heart, our dearest President has struck gold.
The Districts never cut down anyone I held dear except perhaps for Teevan but I seldom spoke to him except for grand events held in the Mansion. Regardless of whether I lost someone close, thousands upon thousands lost friends and family and to see Ciara with such hollow eyes has instilled my desire for revenge upon the Districts and The Hunger Games are just how to go about this revenge.
What better way to go about gaining our vengeance then forcing twenty four children, tender children who never did anything wrong in this rebellion except live where they did, to fight against one another until a sole victor remained. Further meetings had told me these children were to be called Tributes. A splendid name for those we would pull apart and ruin in this Arena we have had to prepare quickly.
I am filled with gratefulness that Ciara thought to ask me. We were always close as kids growing up, but then we split apart for years as her parents took her away. To know she still trusts me enough to give me this position of such high authority is enough to make me happy for years to come. The closest I will get to being able to repay this honour she has given me will be to make sure the first ever Hunger Games are a show to make the Capitol scream with glee at seeing the Districts tremble, and the Districts themselves quake with fear wishing they had never turned their guns on us.
"Come in Gala."
Her voice cuts through the red wood of her office door before my knuckles even manage to rap lightly upon the surface. My smile is not at all fake as I grasp the golden handle and push the door open, staring into her high office and allowing my eyes to fall upon the face of President Ocalan. Her face is lit up with a friendly smile which I find most pleasing yet her eyes are dead and empty. As Teevan died, those eyes died. A part of me died.
"The escorts have been chosen ma'am, the reaping bowls prepared and the mayors prepped on what to say at this Reaping."
"Splendid news, they will rue the day they ever set foot upon our soil and set to end us. I hope necessary plans have been put into place for the Arena? I know you have the Arena already built and ready but we need to make the first ever Hunger Games truly splendid and I gave you that list not three days ago that told you specific… let's say presents for the tributes, to be put into place and readily await their presence."
I suddenly felt rather frightened at the cold stare she gives to me betraying the sweet smile pulling at her lips. She loves me like a brother, I know that much, but she will not allow her grand idea to be put to shame if I were to fail her. My head will join the hundreds on spikes around the Capitol courtyard, the heads of rebels that had been executed to the screams for blood from our beloved Capitol citizens.
"Do not worry yourself President, everything is ready and I assure you people will squeal with terror at what he have in place. As you say, the first ever Hunger Games cannot be anything less than perfect."
"You were always good to me Gala. A good friend and like a brother. I am sad that we lost all those years, I hope you do not fail me. I need this to work and you are my appointed Head Gamemaker. The blame will lie solely at your door if this was to all crumble and shame me. If this fails we may just face another rebellion from the Districts sometime in the future once they gather their strength back-"
"Ma'am, they are unable to. We have such security posted at every post all over the Districts." I interrupt without thinking.
"Sorry, I do not mean to be rude."
"Do not apologise. But my dear Gala you do not see the whispers going on behind closed doors and the rebels plotting and gathering their strength as the Peacekeepers drink and feed their oversized mouths."
"If a rebellion was to happen we will crush them like we crushed them before. Do not worry yourself President."
"I worry Gala. I worry for the lives we will lose even if we were to win. I lost Teevan, who's to say I won't lose my own life if the Districts were ever to come fighting on our streets again."
"That ma'am will never happen. The Districts are nothing as of now and these Hunger Games of yours will forever put them in their place."
"Your optimism is appreciated and I hope it is not misplaced." Her smile falters slightly and she sighs as she leans further into her leather chair. Behind her through the window that overlooks the Capitol the sun is setting and the Capitol comes alive with the parties that would surely leave beer kegs empty. We have been a sad city for so long, it is good to see their spirits reignited. All the more reason these Hunger Games are perfection. So many problems solved with this idea.
"As the sun sets so must I Gala. Goodnight friend, I hope to see you tomorrow around noon."
"I shall be on time, have a pleasant sleep ma'am."
She smiles once more at me and takes her leave through the door to the left. I don't linger too long, only sparing a moment to look out the window and watch the Capitol's lights fill the night sky. Reds and blues mixed with yellows and pinks. All of them mean the Capitol is finally happy again, and once the first ever reaping begins the happiness is sure to reach new heights.
The corridor is rather dark and empty I note as I scurry as quickly as I can towards the top of the stairs. I descend as quickly as I can, seeing the portraits of past Presidents fitted in frames, and leave out the front door. My car is already ready and waiting, a man dressed purely in black opens the door and greets me but I do not reply. The need for sleep is finally overwhelming me, after working in the new Gamemaker's Control Room, built only a week ago in the foundations of where the CHQ used to stand. The Capitol Head Quarters was the main base for the soldiers to regroup and strategize, until it was bombed and thousands upon thousands perished as flames licked their bodies. Now, so close to the President's Mansion, myself and the other Gamemakers will work during the Games to toy with the tributes and bring forth all manner of nightmares upon them.
I barely manage a smile at the thought of truly terrifying the tributes. It will be a splendid thing to see but for now I must rest. Tomorrow is a long day, with more planning and the meeting with the President. Ciara is not a patient woman, not even for her sister and will not sit idly by and wait if I were to be late. To meet at noon is her way of saying meeting at ten or eleven. What she has planned for tomorrow's meeting I do not know but I shall attend it punctually.
"Where to Sir?" I only just realize the car has not taken off and lean deeper into my chair. The driver is a broad shouldered man with curly locks of golden hair. I remember him from during the fighting, back then he piloted some of the hovercrafts and now he drives the cars and the Head Gamemaker around. How does that make him feel?
"Home, and I'd rather I got there quickly. Someone gets in your way beep them and be quick about it."
The man nods and the car accelerates almost instantly. I feel sleep's dark tendrils slowly creeping up my body, inch by inch and three or four times before I find myself parked outside my house do my eyes close.
"Sir do you require assistance to your door?"
"Do you take me for a fool, I know how to walk a gravel pathway."
The man apologizes but I barely take note of it as I wait impatiently for him to open the door. He bids me goodnight which I don't return to him and when I finally find myself standing in the hallway of my house does the black car drive into the night.
Tomorrow is a long day, I repeat over and over in my head. But all this planning will be worth it.
The comfort of my bed is met with a smile on my face and as my body sinks lower and lower into the covers and cushions; the darkness of sleep taking over my body does the smile slowly get larger and larger as I slip into the realm of dreams.
The tributes don't know what is about to hit them. Oh, no. They really don't.
Annnndddddd hello to everyone who has come across this. I feel honoured to be working with the amazing Jayfish on this story of the first ever Hunger Games! I am sure you guys will not be disappointed… maybe by my writing but definitely not by Jayfish's.
Guys… she's awesome… ;)
Anyway make sure to listen to Jay about the rules of not submitting a tribute via review. We want this to be legal my friends, we do not want anything to threaten this story.
Thank you for reading this, I hope you liked my little bit of the prologue and I am sure you loved Jayfish's part.
Until the reapings.