The 31st Hunger Games

A cold breeze begins to drift across the back of my body; I quickly startle out of my dream as if I had been falling and was about to hit the ground. I sit up slowly and my eyes are still tightly shut since I don't want to wake up to this day of the year. Today is the reaping day for the 31st annual Hunger Games. I slowly start to open my eyes taking in the brightness of my room, I look up and see this athletic blonde haired boy in the mirror and can't understand why this day makes me feel so weak. I notice that the window is still wide open with the curtains not drawn from last night and now I remember why; I decided to jump out my window and go for a walk in the middle of the night. During the night I put on my dark blue training jumpsuit and began running to the other side of my district not caring who saw me. This place on the other side of my district always makes me happy; it's the place where I met my best friend Blade. It is a hill full of brightly coloured flowers which remind me of my sister and how much of a smile they would bring to her face. I have a lot of friends in District 2 but none of them compare to Blade, he is a little taller than me at about 6'2 with short dark messy hair, every single one of the girls in the district fancy the hell out of him since he is mysterious, muscular and handsome. I am the only one who can understand him since he is a refrained person; just like me. He is the only person who I can tell everything to including my fear of the games, he always jokes and tells me "Don't be silly Cobalt, you're a career. Now act like one!" people would say he is being tough on me but this is his kind of humour and mine. We just laugh it off and imitate the host of the reaping, Techno and his dull voice "May the odds be ever in your favour".

I stand up and go straight through to the bathroom so I can soak in the shower, my knees are shaking and slightly banging together which is frustrating me as I stop and start walking on the spot. I am the mayor's son so I always have to look 'presentable' wherever I go, but that isn't how I am. I eventually take good use of the shower and slowly wash through my blonde short wavy hair; getting rid of all the dirt which I gained from last night's hike. Thoughts run through my head for the rest of the shower about how I would feel if any more members of my family got reaped or if I lost Blade. I am brought to a sudden halt when there is a bang on the door, I realise it is one of the Avox's which my father hired to keep the house presentable. Since they can't speak I must assume that they are telling me breakfast is served in the hall, but I continue to ignore them and get on with my thoughts. Soon enough my thoughts are getting so emotional that my head feels like it's being hit from the inside; so I decide to step out and wrap a towel around my waist. Back in my room there is a blue tuxedo hanging on the back of the door, I was wrong about the Avox it was my father and his yearly gift of my blue suit representing the colour of my name. Every year I rebel against this suit and pick out a shiny black one from my wardrobe but this year something in my gut is telling me to wear it; the feeling in my gut is making me feel ill at the thought of being reaped but I decide to listen to it for once and wear the suit. I slip the suit on with ease and stand facing my mirror. I just stare at my rich blue eyes which were exactly like my mothers, it's beginning to overwhelm me as I can't stop staring and begin to notice tears creeping out the corners of my eyes. My suit starts to shine and I give a puzzled look as to what it seems to be doing, I feel the inside of the blazer grip tightly around my left arm and I give out a groan of panic. I slowly look back up at the mirror and take a close look into my eyes and the movement I make; whenever I move my eyes I notice that the suit is cloning the reflection of my eyes in the light which hits them. In my head I am thinking this is the most amazing invention I have ever witnessed until I hear a bang.

I sharply look to my left and realise its Blade, I run towards the window and tell him to be quiet before my father comes. My father doesn't approve of my friendship with him since he is from the more rough part of our district, but my defiance gets the better of me (as usual). "Hey, well aren't you looking sharp there in that suit" he whispers loudly. "Ha! I know I told you I would never be seen dead in it but for some reason I feel the need to wear it. I can get you one to wear if you really want?" I say in a cheeky way. "Thanks, but no thanks I will stick to my dull black one. I feel this brings out my personality, don't you think?" I give off a smirk and help him into my room. He sits on my bed and start's rambling about how his father wants him to try and volunteer this year. I am trying so hard not to show my real emotion and opinion on this matter but he knows how I feel about the situation. "Cobalt, I know you don't like me telling you this information but I need you to know if I g-"

"STOP THERE!" My voice raises to a shout now "I will not let you be reaped, someone out there would volunteer for you and if they never..." I pause for what seems like minutes "I would." My dad burst's into the room realising that Blade must be here since I shouted. "Blade, go back to your family, they must need you at this time. But please, take the front door. We don't want an injury especially on this day, do we? Cobalt, you are needed at breakfast please come sharply."

My father leaves the room and the conversation has died now, I see Blade walking towards the window and I run to shut it. "Come on, my house isn't that bad I will walk you to the door". He just shoots me a grim look and storms ahead. I don't want Blade being mad at me, I care a lot for him and I wouldn't be able to live here without him. An Avox opens the door for Blade and I hear him whisper "Take care of Cobalt", as I run to hug him the Avox slams the door shut after him. I realise this must have been because I ignored the Avox this morning but by the time I open the door again, Blade has took off. I walk slowly towards the dining hall were my 2 brothers and father await me. On the long metal table I see my two brothers sat there munching away on some chocolate and fruit cereal. I don't feel in the mood for eating but I make a bowl of cereal and sit there playing with the milk; picking it up then watching it drip slowly back into the bowl. My oldest brother shoots me a look and shouts "If you aren't going to eat the food then give it to me! I could make use of more muscle". Emerald has always been one to eat lots of food and train hard to become a peacekeeper one day, and serve the capitol in whatever they need. I look up and see his suit shining in a dark metallic green and I instantly wonder if I look that good; I doubt it. My other brother Rust is the exact same as Emerald, it's not surprising since they are identical twins. Rust is wearing a light golden suit which makes me instantly jealous since I have always wanted the uniqueness which he has always had. After giving Rust evil looks for about 10minuites I stand up and hear the siren ring across the city.

My father tells me to sit down and explains the plans for what is going to happen, he tells me that he will be on the platform of the justice building (as usual) with the other important city members; like our districts tribute mentors and that he will see us after the reaping is over. "Good luck boys, and may the odds be ever in your favour". I stand up and rush off towards the nearest bathroom, I stand and stare in the mirror to try and compose myself for the fear which is about to come. I leave the bathroom holding my head up high while ignoring the fact that my brothers are laughing at me at the front door. All three of us decide to walk to the reaping desk together, until my eyes notice him; Blade is stood on the other side of the dusty path. "You two go ahead I will see you there, good luck" my voice is starting to sound shaky; but they nod and move forward. I walk over to Blade and wrap my arms around him tight, tears spring to my eyes. "Stop being a wimp, you don't want to look weak as a career, jeez." I stand up and put on a brave 'soldier face' as we call it and he instantly laughs; since he knows I am nothing like that. We start to walk towards the justice building when I feel the roughness of his knuckles nudge against mine, something clicks inside me and I realise. I have feelings for Blade.

Chapter 2-

"What's the matter? Why did you stop? It isn't the whole pricking the finger panic again is it?" he moans. "Err, no. It's nothing; let's hurry up before they go mad that we are late!" I don't know why I have only just realised this now, I feel even worse about what the day is going to bring. What if he volunteers? What if I don't see him again? What if I die in the games and I never get to tell him how I feel? We stand in the line for the registration process and realise that Blade has a worried look on his face. I hope he isn't considering his dad's remark of him volunteering. I feel the sharp pain in my left ring finger and realise my registration is done. I follow Blade into the crowd and stand next to him as we stand in a crowd of other 17 year olds who are so ready to be reaped that their expressions never change; I just think, soldier face. You could hear a pin drop and I would be the only one to startle. I get told I am strange for not enjoying training and the chance of being part of these sick games; but I think they're the strange ones. The microphone booms as Techno takes the platform of the justice building "Welcome, welcome careers to the reaping of the 31st annual Hunger Games, we have a short clip from the Capitol; enjoy" He looks up towards the screen and so do the rest of the crowd as if it was a sergeants command to look, apart from me and Blade who stare at Techno. He has strange bright yellow hair with pale green looking skin, you would think he was born in a forest; but that's what I think of all the Capitol population. The screen ends and the crowd once again face forward at the same time. I hear Blade whisper to me "1, 2 soldier", I try my best to hold in my smirk as all of the districts will be made to watch this reaping later on in the day. "Okay let's move on to the part of the ceremony were one courageous man and woman will be selected to participate in the games, ladies first" I watch Techno move slowly over towards the girls reaping ball, his hand hovers around the top and my heart is beginning to pound. He finally snatches a name out of the bowl filled with bright blue strips of paper, he's now at the microphone and I hear the name 'Blossom Green'.

I see the girl step out from the right and realise she is coming from the 18 year old section, she is tall and slim but you can see she isn't someone to be messed with. She begins to walk forward and I hear another girl shout, "I VOLUNTEER". Blossom turns around to find the girl in the crowd and tells them to step forward. I notice a 17year old dark haired short, slim girl walk forward to confront her. They stand face to face for a few minutes before Blossom says "The first one to punch the other gets the honour of becoming the tribute, deal?" I see the other girl swing her arm round to hit Blossom in the face, but she does a flip out of the way and smirks. "Okay, fighting dirty are we?" She does an air somersault over the top of the 17year old and punches her square in the back, sending her forward a few metres. "I guess I win. As usual" she says to herself as she walks towards the platform and joins Techno. "That was very impressive Blossom, congratulations on your place as tribute. Now, it's time for the boys." My heart begins to sink and I am finding it difficult to keep my head high, I feel like a sack of bricks are attached to my neck pulling me down. I catch a glimpse of Techno and see him hovering his hand around the ball just like with the girls, I begin feel my eyes shut tightly. I am enjoying blocking out the world when I hear the name. "Blade Sharp"

Chapter 3-

My mouth goes dry and I feel Blade walk past me grabbing my hand as he goes, and that's when it clicks. I run after him "I-I….I VOLUNTEER, I VOLUNTEER AS TRIBUTE!" I see Blade turn around noticing that it was my voice. "Don't do this, please. I can't cancel your offer since you have the rank of Mayors son". I ignore what Blade is saying completely, I grab his hand and whisper as I walk towards the platform "I can't see you go". I hear Blade kicking off a fuss with the peacekeepers who are trying to hold him back "NO, YOU CAN'T TAKE HIM. TAKE ME, PLEASE". I can't turn around to look at him or the sponsors will think I am weak, and I only want me to know that. Once I am on the platform I see his family have pulled him away to try and calm him down before he gets into trouble. My head feels even heavier now and I have never wanted to close my eyes so much in my life but I can't and I won't. For Blade. The first thing I notice on the platform apart from the blinding lights is the smell of flowers which seems to be coming from Techno, memories of my sister are starting to flood back and it is becoming even harder to hold back the tears. I just want this over with. "What is your name volunteer?" I hear Techno say, booming the sound over the court. "Cobalt Stone" I hear gasps sound in the crowd as people recognise that I am the Mayors son and that Blade couldn't change my choice. "Oh, we have royalty? I'm guessing that was a friend of yours?" "Yes. It was." I say trying to sound stern but I am pretty sure my voice is shaky. "Well congratulations on your place, come on now. Shake hands" I feel Blossoms tight grip on my hand and we shake; I look up and see her wink at me. I am confused as to what this means but I am sure that it means 'welcome ally'.

I turn around as I let go of Blossoms hand and feel Techno's hand pushing against my back forcing me towards the justice building door, I am then escorted by some peacekeepers to a giant room filled with chandeliers and leather seats. I am used to this kind of luxury but right now it is just bringing back memories of my family and how I am never going to see them again. I walk to the small bathroom in the corner and tears stream down my face; I let out wincing noises as I think about what has just happened. All of a sudden I hear the door slam in my room; I rush out to see it is my father. He comes over and gives me a tight hug. This is uncomfortable to me as he has never hugged me before, only my mother used to. Then I hear him whisper into my ear "You can do this Cobalt, you have had the most intense training with the most skilful tutors. I believe in you. I want you back home, you listening to me?" I look up and see him looking at me in the eyes but I can't get any words out of my dry mouth. We sit in silence on one of the long leather sofas as he re-assures me with comments about the strength and wit I have but I can't take any of it in; I just keep thinking about Blade.

Suddenly a knock is on the door and a peacekeeper comes in "Sir, it is time for you to leave. It has been 1hour". I can't believe it has been an hour it feels like minutes, I stand up and hug my father tight "Look after Emerald and Rust please, they need some guidance" I let out a small smirk and laugh. My father smiles at me "I will son. You take care of yourself, I love you", the door then slams shut. I sit back down on the sofa and lift my knees up, placing my head in-between them with my eyes shut tightly again. About half an hour goes past I think, but then again it could be longer, when I hear the door open. I am sure it is peacekeepers until I hear his voice. "I can't believe you done that." I look up slowly to confirm it is Blade then I jump up and hug him as tight as I can taking in every detail of him: the way his hair falls, the way he smells and the warmth that he brings to me. "I'm sorry, but I can't lose you" I choke out. "And you think that I want to lose you to these stupid games? Don't be silly. Listen to me, you have to be strong, you can beat this. I have trained with you since we were 8; you are amazing with throwing daggers. Join the career pack and get some of them; you listening?" he says with force while staring me down. "I am not strong enough to kill someone mentally, but I will try. For you" I notice that his face has started to look confused, I want to tell him that I feel something there but am I even sure of it? I hear the door knob start to turn and that's when I jump up and burst into a stream of tears again. "I have to go, I will see you in a while Cobalt trust me. I have faith in you!" I see the peacekeeper start to pull him out and my grip loosen and that is when I hear him say "I lov-".

I sit in a ball on the leather sofa feeling tears roll down my face trying to understand what Blade was trying to tell me. I know it can't have been 'I love you' because he always enjoys the female attention he gets around the district. I hear footsteps coming towards the door and that is when I know it must be Techno coming for me, I look at the window to see if there is an escape but they are bolted tightly. There is no escape.

Chapter 4-

I begin to stand up with great force; so much that I feel a bit dizzy and wipe all the excess tears from my face. Techno knocks on the door and I tell him to come in. "It is time for us to set off Cobalt, come and we will go retrieve Blossom from her chamber." I slowly follow behind attempting to mimic the 'soldier walk' he seems to be doing; so the sponsors notice I am a strong career. My mind just wants to drift and keep thinking about what has happened so far, but this isn't the time. The justice building is like my second home, since my father has all of his meetings in here but I feel like I have walked for miles even though I can still see the door to my chamber if I look over my shoulder. We suddenly stop and I have to adjust my balance, I hear Blossom storm out of her chamber and wonder what has happened in front. "Aren't you just so excited? We are going to murder every last one of those other contenders together. Deal?" I have to run through what she has just said in my mind, as it is so disturbing. But she is right, I need her if I am going to have any chance of winning. "Ha! Yes, they won't know what will have hit them." Blossom sends me a cheeky side smirk and links my arm asking me to lead her to the car waiting outside. I nod and agree, noticing she is almost the same height as me. Her grip is quite tight around my arm as if she is trying to get my attention. I can hear her talking but my mind doesn't want to listen, so I don't seem rude I nod every now and then or occasionally frown.

Techno stops and turns to look at us. "We are about to leave the building now and a car is waiting outside to send us to the Capitol. I hope you are just as excited as me". I can't help but smirk a little as his facial expression is silent during the word 'excited', yet his arm gestures seem to mimic the word. Many bright lights flicker on and off the doors open and I realise that there are over a hundred cameras flashing at us. Techno has to guide me and Blossom into the car as neither of us can see in front of us. Techno must be used to it after hosting the reaping for years. Inside the car it is as bright as the flashes outside. All I can think of, is what is with the obsession of bright colours or lights during this time. I just want to go outside grab a pile of dirt and smear it over the chairs, the perfection of everything right now is disturbing me; when everything is so horrid in my mind. Everyone seems to be silent in the car journey, maybe it is because of my facial expressions as I stare out the window full of hate for everything. Blossom nudges me and asks if I know her from training. "No, sorry. I'm usually separated from the main group because of my father being the mayor and all..." Then it hits me.

She was the one I noticed when I was 12. I remember sitting in the waiting area for my training session and looking through the one way window at a class which was already in a session. This blonde girl in the class was curled up in the corner while everyone was training until the teacher told everyone to attack her and made her defend herself. The blond girl who was sat there begins to stand and turns out to be tall, long haired and stunning. She seemed to have no weapons while sat down until she opened up her jacket filled with axes. Her eyes opened and were bright green shining through her long full fringe which covered some of her face. You could tell she was furious, the rest of the class; being careers and all still ran in after her not knowing what she was capable of. I saw every last one of them thrown across the room, barely being able to breathe after the shock of what this small innocent blonde girl was capable of. "Nice" I heard the teacher shout at the girl. A glare shoots from her eyes and locks on to the teacher. Four axes are swung simultaneously towards the teacher pinning each of his arms and legs against the wall. "Well done, now let me down." The girl begins to slowly move towards the teacher dragging her axe against the floor causing sparks to appear. "It's time for your lesson" whispers the girl. An alarm sounded that very second and a swarm of peacekeepers ran through the waiting room smashing through the window. Her eyes locked on to mine as the window was breached. A smile was shot towards me as I got knocked out of the way by a peacekeeper. An axe covered in blood replaced where my body was once sat. I lied there watching the blood drip swiftly from the axe onto the clean white floor.

I turn my head away from Blossom and begin to stare out the window again as if I remembered nothing. Does this mean she remembers that day? Was she after me? These questions fill my mind and my expression goes from angry to nervous. "Come on blue eyes, we're at the station!" I hear being shouted towards me as the sound of the car door slamming startles me from daydreaming. Blossom opens my door for me and links my arm once again. As I look towards her I notice she has unclipped her fringe and she still has the long full fringe covering her eyes from that day in the training centre. "We get to meet Ocean and Zinax on board don't we?" I say strongly towards Blossom. "Yeah, but what's the point? I'm sure they have nothing they can teach me. Or the Mayors son." "You're mistaken." I hear from behind from a deep voice. It's Zinax. His blonde spiked up hair with tips of blue seems to overwhelm me, as I feel it should be for me. "Do you like the colour, Cobalt?" "Ye-"I manage to get out.

"Stop sucking up to the Mayors kid Zinax. Get on board, now." Gets shouted out of the train's window. I am guessing that is Ocean, nice soothing name for someone so aggressive. I guess she is a bit like Blossom. My mind seems to think I could be Zinax and Ocean, Blossom. This is crazy as it is obviously just random, or is it.