The doors open and I make my way out. Someone pins a number 4 on my back. Jasper is already there, standing nervously next to the girl from 9. She's small and skinny; she just looks fourteen. I join the circle, squeezing my way next to the girl from 7 and the boy from 11. I acknowledge them by smiling and saying hello, but they just stare at me. I furrowed my brow. What? What had I done?
I look to the centre and our head trainer, Atala, stands and gives us a welcome speech. She explains all the different training stations, from archery to fishing, knots to wrestling. There is only one rule. Don't fight with the other tributes.
"They will be plenty of time for you to do that in the Arena!" she jokes.
I hear a prominent chuckle and look round. The boy from 1. His natural hair colour is black and he has piercing blue eyes. He's not bad looking, quite attractive to be honest. He stops laughing and looks around quite awkwardly. No one else found it funny. His eyes catch mine and he smiles at me. I smile back, looking down as I blush. This is too embarrassing. Either one or both of us is going to die and he is undressing me with his eyes. Clearly he hasn't got his priorities straight!
Atala finishes her welcome speech and let's us get on with it. Most of them rush to the weapons, wanting to intimidate the other tributes with how they can slice and dice a dummy, but I stop, look around, and decide to go to the knot tying station: something I know I'm good at. The guy seems happy when I go over to him.
"I rarely get to talk to tributes. They all concentrate on the fighting aspect when most tributes die from lack of survival skills," he says.
"Well, you'll love me, then," I smile.
He shows me some easy knots to do, which I can do with my eyes closed. He gives me more complicated ones and is impressed that I can also do those ones easily. He shows me how to build snares to trap animals in. The snares are quite easy to do, so I know I'll be able to get some sort of food, just as long as I can find some rope. I can make some, it just depends on what sort of materials I'll have to work with.
I go over to the fire making station next. After a few, well, many failed attempts, I can start a fire. The woman says that being able to start a fire is useful but risky, as you can cook, boil water and warm yourself up, but the smoke and light will make you detectable to the other tributes. I just hope my brain can remember all this information!
Next up, I try edible plants and insects. It's basically a big lecture on what you can and can't eat in the wild. He lets me try some of the edible roots, which don't taste too bad. The insects, I'm not too sure about. I'll probably give that one a miss in the Arena. The man tests me, and thankfully I identify them correctly. As I get up, ready to go to my next station, my path is blocked by a big burly figure. I look up into the blue eyes of the boy from 1.
"Hey," he says, smiling slightly.
"Hello," I reply.
"Why are you here?"
At first I don't reply. Well, I was Reaped… Duh! But then I realise what he's getting at. I shrug slightly.
"I might need to know which trees you can and can't eat. They're surprisingly good, to be honest," I say, smiling softly. He laughs under his breath. He's probably thinking I'm an idiot, that I won't need survival skills because you can just slaughter the tributes and be fine.
"Why don't you join us?" he says, indicating to the girl from 1 and the pair from 2, who are all trying out different weapons.
"I will, after lunch," I say.
"Can we join you at lunch?" Who would've thought: The Careers want to form an alliance with me! This was so much easier than I thought it would be.
"Sure," I reply.
He smiles, biting his bottom lip slightly.
"Sorry, I completely forgot," he says, putting his hand out. "I'm Onyx. I am eighteen years old and from District 1."
I shake his hand, well, it wasn't a hand. It was more like a shovel of muscle! He squeezes hand tightly.
"Annie. Seventeen. District 4," I reply.
He smiles again, flashing his teeth. He finally releases my hand from his steel grip and makes his way back to the other Careers. He turns quickly and winks at me. I instantly flush red and look at the floor. It's not like I fancy him or anything. I'm just not used to so much male attention.
I didn't feel like doing anything too complicated for my last station, so I do some net weaving, which is a doddle. The woman was impressed but she didn't expect anything less from a District 4 tribute. They always are good at this when they come.
"Finnick Odair was the most talented net weaver I ever taught. I didn't have to do anything, really. Just left him too it. Do you know him?" she asks.
"Yeah, he's my mentor," I reply.
"You've got a good one there," she says.
I smile slightly. I just wish he would be here tonight so I could talk to him.