Something kept dripping down my face and onto my closed eyes. I inhaled deeply, my whole body ached and felt incredibly stiff. But the most pain was in my right arm, the penicillin was wearing off. I felt weeds and sticks tightly dig into my body, I apparently fell asleep somewhere on the swamp ground. "I must have fallen asleep," I thought to myself, refusing to open my heavy eyelids; I was still half-asleep. I drew in another dramatic deep breath, suddenly realizing that there was something terribly wrong. The air was insanely hot! I coughed, it almost hurt my throat to breathe!
"What on Earth..." I mutter as I open my eyes, getting more and more awake. My vision was oddly blurry, and everything seemed a lot brighter. I blinked hard, which helped my vision settle down a little. The sun was shining extremely bright, it had to be late morning, maybe a little past 9:00. I gasped when I realized my entire body was drenched in sweat!
"Oh my gosh," I whispered just as more sweat dripped right smack into my eyes. I felt incredibly weak and shaky, also very light-headed. I clenched my hands, realizing I was still holding my curved knives.
"I think I'm... way dehydrated, I... need to find some... water..." I stammer, my mouth felt so dry that it felt like I had dust on my tongue. I slowly moved my head to look at the surroundings, maybe figure out where I was. But each time I moved my head, my vision would go foggy again. Since there was such a heavy rainstorm last night, it was awfully humid. But yet there was not even the slightest sign of moisture to be found anywhere! "Weird," I thought as I slowly tried to sit up. It took at least a minute to even get into the sitting position because I had gotten so weak.
"How in the... world am I su... supposed to get to water... like this?" I say aloud, looking down at myself. My clothes were clinging to my moist skin and they were covered in sweat, dried mud, and dried blood. Suddenly, I heard a familiar chime. My eyes scanned the sky, I knew what it was.
"A spon... sponsor gift!" I cough, my throat felt flaky as I did so. I watched with glazed vision as the shiny gift floated down and landed beside me. I wanted to snatch it up, but my arm would only move slowly. I carefully picked up the gift, and although I knew it was supposed to only a few pounds, to my weak arms it felt like a million. It took me a few moments to take the top off, but I was relived with what was inside. It wasn't much, but it was exactly what I needed.
A water bottle.
"Thank goodness," I remark as I rip off the cap and bring the water to my dry, yet moist from sweat lips. It tasted like water that had come straight from Heaven's pond! I could feel my body strengthen a little as I gulped down the water as fast as I could. Before I knew it, the water was gone; but at least I could function! I smiled, reaching inside the gift to pull out the note that came along with it. It read:
"You looked a little hot, enjoy. - Anonymous"
I grinned, looking at the sky and nodding a thank you to whomever had sent the gracious gift. My vision was slowly clearing up, but I knew I would get dehydrated very quickly again if I didn't find more water for later. The swamp was so hot I could already feel myself getting thirsty again. Then my mind shot back to my bag in the cave, the one Timre had gotten. Inside were three water bottles, and I could use those badly.
"I need to get back to the cave," I announce to apparently no one. I slowly stood to my feet, still feeling a little nauseous. But it would have to do! I glanced around, not recognizing anything around me. "Great. I'm lost," I think to myself with a huff. I glanced down at my right arm, the bandage was still tightly wrapped around it. But pain was beginning to throb, I knew the penicillin was wearing off rapidly. "Perfect," I think to myself sarcastically.
I take a deep breath as I slowly started walking towards to where I hoped the cave would be. After a few steps I start getting light-headed, but I keep moving forward. Sweat continued to pour down my face and body, making the heat worse for some reason. Even my sweat felt hot as it drizzled from my forehead and into my eyes. After walking for about twenty minutes, my eye-lids start to get heavy, my footing starts to get sloppy, and my throat becomes unbearably dry. It almost hurt to breathe, the air tasted like dust instead of wonderful, fantastic air. But I willed myself to keep going, there was no way I was stopping now. After a few more minutes of walking, I began to recognize a few of the surroundings and I tried my hardest to calculate where the cave would be. My feet began to feel a hundred pounds heavier than normal, and I knew I was getting dehydrated again. I looked up at the sky, it was late morning and it was already this hot?! I began dreading the thought of what it would be like in the afternoon. It wouldn't be pretty, not one bit!
It seemed like an eternity of walking through an oven, but eventually I had somehow wondered across my cave. But by now, I was so dehydrated that I could hardly see straight. Though my vision was clouded, I focused on the cave as I neared it. "One foot in front of the other," I thought to myself as I slowly but surely stumbled to the cave. The inside of the cave was still hot and dry, but not as bad as out directly in the sun. I dropped the curved knives and fell to my knees in front of the bag, desperately ripping it open. Inside lay three water bottles, a little food, and a blanket. I ignored the other things and went straight for one of the water bottles. The water was warm, but at least it was water! I brought the bottle to my lips, then paused.
"I need to save it as long as I can," I whispered. I drank a few big gulps, then reluctantly put the cap back on. I breathed in deeply, putting everything into my backpack instead of the bag. I could carry it easier with my backpack.
"Wait a minute..." I mumbled as I leaned against the cave wall.
"Why don't I just stay here? It's cooler and pretty safe," I say to myself as I make myself comfortable. I sat there for a good few minutes, relaxing and tying to get my strength back. Occasionally I would glance at my arm, the pain was increasing every minute! I clenched my jaw, trying my best not to think about it. I closed my eyes tight. "I can do this," I thought to myself, trying to grudge up some kind of courage that I didn't have. Maybe if I just kept thinking it, I would eventually start to believe it. Suddenly, a pebble plopped onto my shoulder. I opened my eyes, glaring at it. I quickly flicked it off, then relaxed again as I closed my eyes. A moment later, another pebble fell onto my head!
"Grrr! What's going on?" I mutter as I try to relax. Suddenly, a whole stream of pebbles began to plop onto the ground from the ceiling!
"What the..." I began as I shakily stood up. The pebbles quickly turned into rocks as the whole cave shook and trembled. Almost instantly the rocks turned to boulders, tumbling down toward me.
"EARTHQUAKE!" I screamed as I swung my backpack onto my left shoulder, grabbed my knives, and bolted for the entrance. Rocks smashed against me, nearly making me lose my footing as boulders began to crowd around the entrance of the cave, making a narrow exit. I knew that if I didn't make a desperate leap for freedom right now, I would be trapped then buried alive!
"AHHH!" I shrieked as I dove out of the entrance, landing on my stomach about a foot outside the cave. My breath came out short as I glanced behind me to see the entrance completely blocked, and the ceiling crumbling to the ground. My heart was racing with adrenaline, I could almost feel it pound out of my chest! I coughed, trying to pull myself together as I stood up.
"Well, there goes my shelter," I mumbled with a huff. I slowly looked at the sky, I was already starting to break out into a sweat. I frowned, turning and walking back into the swamp.
As I walked, I gently scratched the dried mud, blood, and dirt off of my right arm with my left hand. I was sick of feeling like a dried up old raisin! I scratched and scratched, but no matter how much filth I got off, there was another layer of mud. It was frustrating, but at least it kept my mind off the fact that I was sweating like a pig in the desert. My throat was dry again, and the air tasted of tension and heat. Yes, it was so hot I could taste it! I rubbed the sweat off of my forehead with my sleeve, feeling drowsy and achy. Insects chirped, but it was an odd chirp. Almost like they were sick? I coughed, almost positive that dust flew out of my mouth when I did.
"Ugh, it's so hot!" I hissed as I wiped my forehead again. The ground was unusually hard, which is very odd in a swamp. I paused, realizing where I was going.
"The river!" I snorted, listening intently for the sound of rushing water. But to my surprise, there was no powerful echo of the water. I cautiously continued walking, going toward where I knew the river was. I stopped when I looked down, noticing the dead bugs everywhere. I frowned again, trying to avoid the nasty little things. There was no sound of the water, which began to put me on edge. "It's a river, how can there be no sound?" I thought to myself. Suddenly, a twinkle caught my eye. Instinctively, I clutched my knives tightly, then relaxed when I realized what it was. It was the reflection of the sunlight bouncing off of the water.
"I found it!" I smiled as I tried to run, but could only manage a jog. My smile quickly vanished when I saw the river wasn't moving; it was still. I paused, blinking hard. "Rivers aren't still, they're constantly moving," I thought as I looked into the water. It was almost like looking into a mirror! I could my reflection so clearly that I began to question if it was even water I was looking at.
"Impossible!" I gasped, staring in amazement. Then it hit me. This is the arena, they can do whatever they please! Maybe this was a tactic to freak the tributes out and mess with their minds. Then my eyes rested on my reflection, making me cringe. I didn't even look like myself! My fish braid was a tangled mess, coated in mud and dried leaves, my clothes were ragged and ripped in places, and I was so skinny that I looked like a stick! My face was scratched and appeared to be ruined. It was covered in dark, dried blood and filth with deep, scabbed wounds practically covering my entire face. But the one thing that made my heart sink was my expression, pure sadness and hurt. My eyes no longer had the fire they once did, my lips refused to break into a smile. Instead, bitter hurt was painted across my now damaged face.
I slowly raised my left hand and felt my cheek, checking to make sure the monster I was staring at was really me. Tears began to well up in my eyes, I wasn't myself anymore. I was different, I had changed. A single tear rolled down my cheek, slid across my dry lips, then daintily plopped into the mirrored water. Ripples instantly spread throughout the strange water; when suddenly, a huge pair of jaws sprang from beneath the water and raged for my face! I screamed in shock and jumped backwards, barely missing the huge teeth. My eyes widened when I realized it was the mutation! I fell onto my back, then tried to scramble backwards to get away from it. But something was different about the mutation. It's scales weren't the dusky green they once were, they were a sickening yellowish color. It's fierce eyes were glazed and cloudy, and it appeared weak. The mutation slowly tried to crawl onto the shore to get me, but it could only pull its upper-body up. I watched, somehow feeling safe. I knew it couldn't get to me now. I slowly remembered that the waters were poisoned now, and apparently it was strong enough the kill the mutation too.
The monster opened it's jaws weakly and attempted to snap, but it was at least four feet away. It let out a groan of agony, watching me intently with it's heavy eyes. It's breath came out slowly and heavily, making his sides heave in and out. Mist flew out of his nostrils as he snorted, resting his head onto the dry ground. The mutation was dying.
"Note to self, don't go swimming," I mumbled as I stood up. I wiped more sweat off my forehead, then turned and walked away from the mutation. My legs felt like mush as I wandered around, but I didn't dare stop. There was no doubt that the other tributes were out and about looking for water, un-poisoned water. They could be anywhere, and I had to keep my guard up. The sun never let up, either. It just kept pounding me with heat! I could feel myself dehydrating again, I needed water.
"Thank goodness I put the leftover water in my backpack," I said to myself as I sat against a very tall tree. I slowly set my knives down beside me and sighed. I grabbed my backpack off my shoulder and unzipped it, then pulled out a water bottle. I only had three, so I could only drink a little in order to save the water for as long as I could. I quickly took a few sips, feeling slightly better with each one. I closed my eyes, treasuring each drop of water that touched my mouth.
I paused, hearing a few leaves crunch directly in front of me. I instantly opened my eyes to see Clutch standing above me. His muscles were huge, clearly he could kill me easily. But his stature was much weaker than normal, I guessed he was extremely dehydrated. His face was covered in scabs, dirt, and sweat. But what caught my eye was a fresh wound above his eyebrow, sending drops of blood into his eye. He had a spear clutched in his right hand, and his eyes were locked on my water bottle. He slowly raised his gaze to meet my eyes, sending a death-glare. I nearly dropped my water bottle in fear, but slowly screwed the cap back on.
"You have water?" He asked slowly. His voice was very dry and shaky, "Good water?"
"Um..." Is all that would come out of my mouth.
"Give it to me, now!" He threatened as he tightened his grip on his spear and forced his body to tense so he would look intimidating. The look on his face showed that he wasn't leaving without my water. One of us was either going to die, or I would toss it over. "What do I do?" I thought to myself as I slowly set my water bottle onto the ground. With my other hand, I tried to casually reach for my knife.
"Don't even," He growled, a little foam forming in the corners of his dry, thin lips. I instantly froze, trying to decide on what to do. "Should I just let him take it?" I thought as I stared into his determined eyes. Chills shot down my spine as I narrowed my gaze at him.
"You'll have to fight me for it!" I hiss as I instantly grab both knives and stagger to my feet. I could see Clutch's shoulders sink slightly in disappointment, but he was trying not to show it.
"Fine then," He sighed as he grabbed his spear with both hands and swung it at me like a bat. I quickly ducked, then swiped my knife at him with my left arm. I was hoping he didn't know I couldn't use my right arm well, but the bandage kind of gave that away. Clutch expertly avoided it, then spun behind me. In one quick move, he brought the spear over my head and against my neck. For some dumb reason, I dropped the knife in my right hand. He instantly pulled back, choking me. I coughed and squirmed, trying to get free.
"I'm sorry about this, just for the record... But don't tell anyone I said that!" He whispered as he pulled against the spear harder. I could feel my windpipe beginning to crush, I had to act quickly. I tightened my grip on the knife in my left hand and slashed it across both of his hands. Surprised, Clutch winced and dropped the spear as he backed up. I quickly spun around to face him, waving my knife menacingly at his face. Clutch maneuvered away from the knife, then tried to grab my neck. I sliced his cheek as he did, making him back up a step. While he was backing up, I clenched my jaw and swung at his face as hard as I possibly could.
"Take this!" I shouted, feeling certain victory coming. But Clutch instantly shot his left hand up, blocking the blow to his face with his hand. The blade dug deep into his palm, but Clutch surprisingly didn't flinch. I sure did, though.
"Yuck! Why'd you do that?!" I gasped, horrified that he would risk chopping his hand off.
"You were going for my face, duh!" He replied, grabbing the knife and ripping it out of his palm. We both paused, surprised that we were having a short chat. Clutch shrugged it off, realizing he had my curved knife now. He powerfully swung it at me, forcing me to duck and tumble backwards. I quickly snatched the curved knife that I had dropped earlier and we engaged in a knife battle. The clang of the metal hitting each other echoed through the air as he fought our hardest over the water. Clutch had to be giving it his all, because he looked extremely dehydrated. I was growing weary myself as we both began panting in the heat. Sweat and blood flew everywhere as he would scratch me with the knife, then I would slash him. It was truly a gruesome fight!
Finally, Clutch seemed to get desperate. He dropped his knife and tackled me to the ground, roughly hitting my forehead with his elbow. I shrieked in pain, dropping the knife again. While I was down, Clutch scrambled to his feet and snatched the water bottle that I had set on the ground. He ripped the cap off and took a huge gulp, closing his eyes. It seemed to give him a little of his strength back.
"Stupid, you should have just given me the water," Clutch chuckled as he took another sip of water. I rubbed my head, slowly sitting up. I frowned when I saw he had taken my water bottle. I grabbed my curved knives off the ground and stood to my feet.
"You going to try to kill me again?" I ask, preparing for another battle. Clutch stared at me for a second. He glared, but I guess he didn't feel like wasting his new energy to try to attack me. Without a word, he turned and walked off. I was too tired and shocked to follow him, so I just watched him walk away. Even when he disappeared, I kept my eyes locked on where he had gone just to be sure he wouldn't come back. But eventually he would need more water, and I still had two water bottles left that he didn't know about. He might come looking for me to see if I have any left, so I would have to be prepared. Then again, this is the Hunger Games.
Anything could happen.
Hooday! So... NEW CHAPTER! YAY! And this took me a few days to write but it's finally up! And I took my archery class with my little sister about a week ago and it was AWESOME! I WANT TO DO IT AGAIN SOOOO BADLY! Anyhow, I've got this good idea for a new story in my head too, which I'll probably start writing once this is done! So... next chapter will be up soon and thanks to everybody who reviewed! It means a lot!
I don't own the HG or the image above.