A/N I'm sorry I didn't update the next chapter as soon as I said I would but I have been really busy lately. Hopefully this chapter will make up for it. Enjoy...
I wander in a forest, surrounded by towering trees with sharp branches that tangle in my red hair and I continue to walk. I don't know where I am going but judging by the sun rising in the east, I'm heading towards the south.
Step after step makes my anxiety grow. I'm uncertain of what I am looking for but somewhere deep in my mind there's something pushing me forward.
My mouth starts to dry and my stomach rumbles in protest. As I walk further my hunger increases and I feel faint and dizzy. Soon my head starts to get heavier. I must go on.
Just as my eyesight starts to blur and my stomach growls become uncontrollable I see a clearing up ahead. With every last ounce of strength I quicken my pace to reach the opening in the trees.
Suddenly I burst into the area and into a meadow. It is covered in lush grass that glows in the opulent sunlight. Amidst the green, flowers pop up in glorious colours. My eyes search desperately for water and food until I spot an unfamiliar sight on the ground- an apple. Gazing around I see no apple trees that it could of fallen from so I assume someone must of dropped it. Biting into the green fruit I let the sweet juices flood into my parched mouth. I had been so hungry that even after the apple is gone I'm still feeling week and in need of food.
The sound of soft crying makes me turn around. I see a man kneeling down beside a young child. It's my father. He places a hand on the girls cheek and talks to her in a clear voice.
"You have to be brave Marissa. I know you will make me proud by doing this... There is no other way for me to keep you safe." Is it possible that this girl is me?
"Remember that I love you and although I can never see you again I will never stop loving you. You are the smartest person in all of District 5, now what do you have to do?"
"Go to the community house and tell them that I have no family- I am alone. They will let me in and I will never speak to you again..." Younger me says proudly.
" Yes, well done. You must remember that. They will take care of you, better than I ever could. Good bye Marissa."
Younger me reaches up to hug our father, her eyes burn red with hiding tears. Leaving his embrace, she turns, grabbing a bag by her side and walks away leaving him still kneeling in the grass.
"Dad?" I whisper. His head snaps up, eyes blazing with fear.
"Marissa run! You have to run! Get out of here!" He screams.
"What?" I ask, bewildered by the sudden change of attitude in his voice.
"Run! They're coming, Run!"
I'm the distance I hear the sudden snapping of branches and a long howl. I turn on my heels and run. Brushing branches aside, I tumble through the forest, hearing it get closer. I'm still disorientated from the lack of food and water so I find it difficult to run as fast as usual. Suddenly I trip on a tree root. I flip myself onto my back to regain the air that has been knocked out of me.
It's caught up to me. Beneath a tree stands a large wolf like mutation. It drools when it sees me, it's face a frenzy. I desperately try to crawl away but I have no energy and it is too quick. Within a second I am pinned down under its heavy paws. I'm face to face to the beast as it stares at me. It's breath that comes from its blood stained mouth, smells of rotting flesh.
I scream in fear, tears rolling down my face as its claws dig into my arms. Hot blood rushes from the wound and pools on the ground. I can't get free to stop the bleeding. I am helpless as life is drained out of me with each passing second. No thoughts come to mind, there is only the pain and waiting for this animal to finally kill me.
In that moment the beast raises his head and shows its sharp teeth. In one sudden movement it brings its head down and slices into my shoulder. The pain is unbearable as he rips the flesh of my sh-
In a sudden gasp I wake to find myself in a bed, not on the floor of a forest. Looking to my left I see no crimson blood flooding from my shoulder or any claw marks on my arm. It was a dream, but it felt so real. I can usually tell the difference but tonight I couldn't.
Taking a moment to recover, I climb out of bed and enter the bathroom attached to the room. Brushing my hand against the wall I locate the switch and the room is lit. I take a quick shower (after figuring out how to operate the strange amount of buttons and switches that were present in the shower) and leave to find a set of clothes on a desk, neatly folded by an Avox.
Dressed and ready, I make my way to the dinning room before anyone else has arrived. I fill my plate with eggs, bacon, tomatoes and two round, fluffy rolls. The food is richer than anything in the community house, in fact food like bacon would only be saved for reaping days if we can afford it which we often cannot.
I have nearly finished by the time Brietta arrives with a red eyed Daton on her heels. Moments later Terrence and Clarrisa arrive.
"Marissa I see you have already arrived, good, today you two will be very busy!" She goes to the table and pours a cup of dark liquid with a strong smell -coffee. I remember the community workers would always drink coffee on their breaks and after they would seem so much more awake so I get up and get myself a cup of the drink. It is bitter and unpleasant but I immediately notice that I am more awake.
"Today you are starting training but we must ask first, do you wish to be trained separately?" Terrence asks glancing at us both. There is no way I'm going to let another tribute know my strategies before the games.
"I wish to be trained on my own" I say clearly, shooting a glare at Daton.
"Fine, I will stay here with Daton and you and Clarrisa will start your training in another room before you are sent down to the training room"
"I will collect you when your ready at 10:30 sharp, we must show a good example for District 5!"
"This way Marissa" Clarrisa leads me to a room with a large screen for televising. She closes the door behind us and takes a seat.
"So first I know what your strengths are, I'm guessing you have some otherwise you and Daton would be training together." She looks at me inquisitively.
I smirk "I'm quick and I'm very good at going unnoticed"
"Hmm good, anything else?"
"I'm smart." I state slyly.
"Oh really?" She asks staring at me doubtfully. "How smart?"
"Smart enough to notice that you didn't turn up until after the parade ceremony and I'm pretty sure why"
She turns from confident to suspicious as her eyes narrow in on me.
"Your scared." Clarrisa thinks for a moment and looks at me.
"Maybe if you had experienced what I have, lived through something like this and come out alive like Trevor and I have, you might be scared to come back here too."
Quickly, after deciding my tactics for the game, Brietta arrives to take us down to the training room at the bottom level. During my time there Clarrisa has instructed me to keep me eyes open, observe the enemies weaknesses and strengths. I need to find out everything about my opponents. We agreed that its best not to team up with Daton, he may be from home but be would get me killed in an instant.
"Remember Johanna Mason from District 7? Won a little while ago, pretended to be weak. No one gave her any attention, they thought she would die in the first few minutes of the games. I want you to be invisible like her."
Entering the room our district numbers are pinned to my back. We are all introduced to Atala who explains the stations, which ones are useful and the places that are most likely to help us survive. She also warns us that fighting with other tributes is forbidden.
First I go to the station that teaches how to create a long lasting and effective fire. The trainer fully explains how each type of fire is best for a specifics type of arena. The fire needs to be protected from wind or the effort of making a fire in the first place has gone to waste. They describe the best materials to use and show us that some woods will create smoke that can be seen for miles away. I absorb the information quickly so I can move on as quickly as possible.
While I practice a simple fire I look over to the weapons area. It is dominated by the careers. A small but fierce girl around my age skilfully throws knives, hitting dead centre. I recognise her from the parade. Clove, an appropriate name for such a skilled person. Her district partner stands near her, wielding a sword that he uses to practice with dummies. He occasionally turns to look at clove with a proud expression on his face. He is full of himself that's certain.
I sneak around the corner, unnoticed by others to get a better look at 1 and 4. Although 1 is skilled with weapons the girl is obviously the worst at archery, she's better than I am but not quite career level yet. The male tribute from 1 is impressive with a spear the others from 4 appear to be average careers .
I go over to the knot tying station with some of the least important tributes. I find out nothing from them, they are clearly not anything special.
After learning a few snares I get up to search for a new station. I pass the place that teaches camouflage. I would ignore it since I'm quite good at blending in, going unnoticed but I see that Katniss and Peeta have stopped there and I take this chance to know the girl on fire and her admirer a little more.
"I do the cakes," Peeta says swirling a mixture of clay and mud.
"The cakes?What cakes?" Katniss asks, clearly as confused as I am.
"At home. The iced ones, for the bakery" I understand, he is a baker. If he has been baking all his life, decoration should be natural for him. Somehow this has made him gifted with art and camouflage.
I move on, keeping an eye of District 12 as well as the careers.
At lunch I sit on a table in the corner so I can look around me as I eat. The Gamemakers look down on us, turning to each other, writing down notes on the tributes. They spend most of their time looking at the careers or at Katniss with Peeta.
Daton arrives and sits next to me.
" Hi Marissa. Look I know you don't want to be allies but I heard something that I thought you might want to hear."
I quickly look at him, slightly nodding as a sign for him to continue.
"I was training by the district 12 tributes earlier and I heard the girl... Katniss called you
Foxface. I just thought it was funny, I mean you do kinda remind me of a fox," he gets up again and picks up his food. "Anyway, as I said, just thought you might like to know." He walks away.
Foxface, huh. I guess it does suit me with my red hair and all, but I never guessed that would be how the other tributes would see me. Foxes are sly and clever, always trying to steal food from the bins in district 5, that is after they manage to get over the fence that has electricity running through it all day. I'm clever, sly and also have been known to steal to survive. Yes, I am in a way, Foxface.
Three days go by quickly and I have found out a lot about by fellow tributes. It is on the third day that each of us is called in to our private session with the Gamemakers. Clarrisa and I had planned out what I am to do and soon Daton is called up.
After about 10 minutes my name is called and I proceed into the room. The Gamemakers are only on the fish course of their meal and are still quite involved in watching me. The novelty of having their tributes performing their skills for them has not worn off yet.
I string up a simple snare and spend the rest of my time trying to climb up the climbing frame in the corner. I make sure that I nearly slip a few times to show how mediocre I am at climbing. Overall I make sure to appear overwhelmingly average, just like I planned.
I'm sure I will not score very highly but this is what I want. Just like Johanna Mason, I need to appear weak and stay off the other tributes radar. Hopefully the Gamemakers have been convinced and I will get a score that is not lowest but is nowhere near what a career would get.
Satisfied, I take the lift up to floor number 5 and join my team in the apartment.
"How did you do?" Asks Clarrisa.
"I doubt I will get anything higher than a 6" I explain.
"Good, you have done well."
"We still have a while until the results are announced, you are free to spend your time as you wish," says Trevor.
"Remember to be ready by the time the scores are released, we must stay on schedule!" Brietta trills and I walk to my room.
Opening the door I enter but am surprised to see an Avox collecting my old clothes from the floor.
It takes me a moment before he realises he is not alone. He turns and I am allowed the sight of his face. A face that I have known so well, one I would never wish to see in the Capitol.
A/N how was it? I mentioned a part from the book during the conversation between Katniss and Peeta so I just need to say that I don't own The Hunger Games and that part is not mine.
Hopefully I will have more of a chance to write and I will finish the next chapter soon. Thank you for the reviews and if you have any ideas for my story feel free to write a review :)