A Game of Chance [A Hunger Games Fanfiction]
Author: Phoenix Summers

Chapter 16
Entering the Arena

~Part three~

~The Arena~

Points of Views:

Valentyna Taras, District One

Damon Brooks, District One

Mia Elgarven, District Eight

Troy Thorstone, District Ten.~

 

-Damon, District One, POV-

The morning after the interviews dawns bright and sunny. I find this ironic, as in the arena later, the weather will be dictated by the Gamemakers, and the odds are that it will either be torrential rain, or scolding hot heat. It could be in rubble, or in a forest.

The Arena. How I have longed for this day all of my life, and now it has finally come. I will be able to win these games, and bring honour to my friends and family in district one. I will be deemed a hero, even more so this year, because of the Quell. I smirk. The Quell just makes it easier for me to win, as there is not all the usual volunteers.

My main concern about the arena is Valentyna. She has a lot of the official sponsors for the games on her side, after her so-called from the heart speech yesterday, which doesn't bode well for me.

What makes me mad, though, is that that speech wasn't even her own speech. Her 'angle' helper wrote it for her, and all she had to do was memorise it, and read it out. My speech was completely my own. Still... I smile slightly. She is my first target to stage an 'accident' for in the arena. Her naïve personality makes her trust me. She doesn't suspect a thing of my plan to kill her.

Hunter is also on my death list. But, the only reason is because I know her better than Valentyna does. Valentyna believes that Hunter is not a threat, but she has never seen her in training. Hunter tends to keep to herself, but is a master at using weapons, and she is also sly. She has faked being a scared, helpless tribute in the capitol, but in the arena she will change, for the worse.

I hear my name being called. Joe is telling me to eat my breakfast quick, because I have a 'big, big day' ahead of me. I have to agree, actually. I take one last look around my gothic-themed bedroom, then hurry down to the table.

Valentyna, and Hunter, much to my surprise, are seated at the table talking amicably. Or, Hunter is, but Valentyna is using severe sarcasm in damn near all her answers. Hunter really is a good actress; she ignores the insult, obviously directed at her.

Or, mostly, at least. Her calm facade slips at a particularly insulting remark, and she glares at Valentyna, struggling to contain her emotions. But, saying that, she gets them under control easily.

All of us eat a small breakfast. We want to be fit for he Arena later- bloated with a stitch is not a good idea for running. Of course, Valentyna doesn't think we will have to run... but i'd rather not take my chances.

We finish our breakfast and start making our way to the door. A hand grabs my shoulder, and I turn around. Joe tells me that he will be there when I get in the tube which will take me to the Arena. I incline my head slightly, thanking him, then follow the others out of the door.

When I reach the helicopter that will take us to the rooms below the arena, a Peacekeeper grabs my arm. I see a needle in his hand, and relax. He injects me with a tracker, so I can always be found in the arena. I am glad of this, as sponsors will be able to see me kill Valentyna.

At first sight, the Helicopter appears empty. But, when I squint through the darkness, I can see a lot of people sitting side by side, unspeaking. There are two empty seats, and I take the one by Rosabelle. She grin at me, looking excited. I have to admit, her joy is infectious, and I find myself beginning to smile with her. When I realise what I am doing, I tell myself to snap out of it. I will not mimic other people. It is beneath my status.

I take a good look round the helicopter, trying to memorise my surroundings, in preparation for the arena. My eyes adjust to the darkness quickly. My gaze rests upon the seats. Silver coloured, with wooden walls separating each one, and leather used for seat straps. Bolts connect the different sections on the seats together. There is dark padding on the back of each, and a headrest to lean against. The Capitol treats it's tributes in style.

I look at my arm. There is a slight raised bit on it where the tracker was injected into, but other than that, no sign of it remains. I marvel at the work of the Capitol, although I would rather have a scar, as a memoire of the game.

To pass time, I count the number of girl and boy tributes in my head. When I finish, I frown, counting again. There are less male tributes than female tributes this year. I cock my head to one side. I wonder how that came about.

Several of the other tributes are massaging their arms, groaning slightly. I stare at them, aloof. Wimps. I smile to myself. I intend to cause them far, far more pain in the Arena.

A scream shatters the air. I twist my head to the entrance and see a girl struggling against the impassive Peacekeepers holding her. Her eyes are wide with terror as the needle with the tracker is plunged into her arm, and she lets out another ear-piercing screech. Someone, one of her district allies, I presume, calls out "Mia! It's fine, don't worry!" Mia just stares at them with a blank expression, visibly trembling as she is led to the one remaining seat, and forcefully fastened in. They fasten her hands together with shackles, but she doesn't appear to feel them. She is in shock, and, by the looks of things, will not recover from it quickly. I list her in my mind as an easy target for the arena.

The peacekeepers stand to the side of the hovercraft, guns at the ready, as it prepares for lift-off. I see some of the other tributes, including Valentyna and others in my alliance, looking at them in disclain. I don't get why. My lifetime ambition was to become one if I hadn't have been selected for the games.

Lift-off is an uneventful affair. The Hovercraft moves at a terrific speed, but with an almost sickening smoothness. A few other tributes are sick, but the vile lumpy gunge is left to roll around the floor, as the peacekeepers obviously want nothing to do with it.

I ignore it, and the revolting smell, trying to act like the Peacekeepers. I know that I will earn respect from my allies by not reacting. I sneak a peek at Valentyna, who has a bored expression shown, but has her legs tucked beneath her, indicating that she is not happy with the situation.

The rest of the ride passes as a long, excruciating journey. By the time a Peacekeeper moves and tells us that it is nearly time to land, I am nearly ready to doze off. But I must stay awake, and be alert in the Arena.

As the Peacekeeper starts back to his position, Mia promptly throws up over his immaculately polished shoes. She looks up at him slowly, then quells when she sees the obvious rage on his face. He struggles with his emotions. He isn't allowed to express any kind of violence to any of the tributes, but we can all tell that he is simply longing to slap her around the face for her imprudence. With great difficulty, he returns to his spot, shaking off the muck from his shoes as he does so. Mia looks relieved, but I know that the worst for her is yet to come. After this insult, the Gamemakers will expressively target her. I smirk. Maybe I won't have to waste some time on killing her after all. Maybe the Gamemakers will just do it for me.

The Hovercraft's engine splutters then dies as we come to land. The Hovercraft glides to a steady halt, and some of the other tributes tense up. One or two of them even start crying. I, on the other hand, relish the thought of being only minutes away from the arena. I am completely at ease, knowing that I probably have the best training out of everyone here, except maybe Hunter.

Our belts undo themselves automatically, much to my annoyance. I didn't spot this function when I was looking at the set structure; I need to be far more observant in future.

I stand, and stretch, thankful that no-one else is getting up yet, as I have all the space to myself. For a minute or two, at least. After then, I suspect that Valentyna will copy me, and it will become distinctly cramped.

As predicted, she does. I groan. For such a average human, she takes up far too much space. I shoot a glare at her which she purposely ignores, and stalk off toward the door. I can see Joe waiting outside, and I quicken my pace in anticipation of getting to the arena tubes that will take us up to the actual arena.

As I draw level with him, he grins at me, and gestures for me to follow him underground. I follow, but only a step behind, so that it looks as if I am walking by him, not after him. I would not mortify myself in that manner.

Eventually, after walking for what seems like hours, but can actually only be described as minutes, we come to a flight of stairs leading to a small room. I glance round the room, and my gaze rests upon my tribute outfit. I turn my head towards Joe, and he nods at me to try it on.

A minute or so later, I am decked out in a completely black outfit. Black, tracksuit style trousers, tight black short sleeved T-Shirt, and black hoodie - the type with the adjusting strings around the neck area.

I also have a black belt with hooks attached to it, black walking boots, and a black air filter mask. The mask worries me the most. It leaves me wondering how the air can be so bad that I will need to wear a mask. I resolve not to take it off - at all.

Also, the black worries me. The only explanation I can think of for all black is that the climate will be cold, so the black will help us to conserve our heat.

Joe takes in my outfit approvingly. "Turn around," he says, and I turn, curious as to why he has asked me to. He nods. "Just as I expected. Your district number, One, is emblazed on the back, along with your initials, DB. This is so that the audience will be able to tell who you are." I feel some respect for the designers at this remark.

Suddenly, a voice booms out of the loudspeakers. "Two minutes". Joe pushes me towards the tube that will take me up, and I get in. He grins at me. "Good luck! I know you can win." He waves as the door slides shut on me, and my tube gradually starts to lift up. Up, towards the arena. The place of my dreams.

Eventually, I see daylight at the top of the tube. I squint, and the sliver gets larger, and larger. I tap my foot against the plate in anticipation.

As I rise above ground level, my sharp eyes taking in the other rising tributes immediately. All my allies are on the left hand side of me. Everyone is wearing the same kind of outfit. After registering this, I move my gaze to my surroundings, and my eyes widen. We are in what is left of District Thirteen. Tall buildings rise up around us, most crumbling, the rest unstable.

I now get the reason for the masks. Without them, we would be poisoned by the foul air around us, that has never fully recovered from the bombs set off here around fifty years ago.

The ruins are still smoking slightly, some sections more than others. I make a mental note to try and avoid the smoke, as it might be too much for my mask.

Looking to the side of me, I catch sight of Valentyna staring, with a expression that shows that she is plotting something. I glare at her as she irons out her facial expression, and turns her head away to look at Troy, who is smirking at us.

I sneer at him. Valentyna and I agree on one thing- he cannot be trusted. He rolls his eyes at me. I am going to kill him as soon as I get the chance.

I hear someone whimpering, and turn to look at them. It is a tribute of whom I don't recognise. They suddenly stop, and relax. I frown, wondering about their change of attitude. Then, they step off their plate calmly.

Of course, they are blown to smithereens by the underground mines that stop anyone stepping off their plates to cheat. Flecks of blood, lumps of charcoaled flesh and rags of clothing fly everywhere. Something lands on my right boot with an unpleasant 'squish'. I lean down and pick it up by the tips of my fingers. It is part of the dead tribute's slimy intestines. I drop it, disgusted. What an idiot.

I can see a movement out of the corner of my eye. A camera is swivelling around the tributes, pausing on each tribute's face. I stare at it, and narrow my eyes when it lands on me.

The loudspeakers are counting down the time. There is only ten seconds left until the games officially begin. The interviewer's voice is filled with excitement. I ready myself to run.

"Ten.

Nine.

Eight.

Seven.

Six.

Five.

Four.

Three.

Two.

One."

The announcer pauses for a moment, to create suspense, then continues,

"Ladies and Gentlemen, let the 125th annual Hunger Games ... begin!"

A Horn sounds, long and clear. This is our signal that we can move. I sprint toward the Cornacopia, in the middle of the roof, fully intent on reaching it before anyone else. I am fast, so figure that this won't be a problem.

But when I reach it, that is not the case. A different tribute is there already. One that is in my alliance.

She has one of her knives positioned to throw it directly at my heart.

 

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