The 66th Hunger Games

66 years ago, the 13 districts of Panem rebelled against the oppressive Capitol, and failed. In order to keep the remaining 12 districts in check, the Capitol devised a new way to control them. Each year, one male and one female between the ages of 12 and 18 shall be offered up to compete in a sporting event known as the Hunger games, where they shall fight to the death until one remains, a victor that' be revered as a celebrity in the Capitol and live a life of luxury.

66 years later, the tradition still goes strong. See through the eyes of 15 year old District 3 tribute Elektra Sparke as she enters this deadly game. However, the one person she never thought would be her fellow competitor is, and she takes it upon herself to protect him. However, in a deadly arena where your death is in every direction, nobody can be trusted.

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7. A Temporary Handicap

My slumber is filled with nightmares. I'm in the arena, and the floor turns to water. The District 4 Tributes, still in their Chariot Parade costumes, swim towards me, armed with solid gold tridents. Then I'm alone with the Morphling girl from 6, and she turns into a golden wasp, and stings my arm. The pain is unbearable. Suddenly, I wake, to see my window open, and hear a buzz. A golden wasp, which I now realise is a Tracker Jacker, jabs me with its stinger. The world instantly becomes one of flashy colours and shapes, then blackness.

I wake to find Wiress and Rory standing over my bed, injecting something into my arm. Then I see the lump. It's bright red, and the size of a plum. The syringe jabs right into the lump, and an intense agony fills my body. I black out again.

When I come to, I see Beetee standing over me, looking at my arm. I look at it too, to see the lump has vanished. I look at the clock, and see the time. 7:30. I haven't missed training.
"You sure did cause a commotion. From the sound of it, we thought you were being tortured or something," Beetee says. I'm confused. Did I cry out when stung? "Anyway, it turns out your window has a faulty catch, and a Tracker Jacker made its way in somehow. Good thing it only stung once," he glances over at the clock, "If you want to make it to training on time, and have breakfast, I'd suggest you get ready now," he walks out of the room, shutting the door behind him.

I climb out of bed, and as soon as both my feet are on the floor, everything seems to spin. Carefully, I make my way to the dresser, to find my outfit; a dark blue jumpsuit, with the number 3 on the back. I ease it on, flinching slightly as the body-hugging fabric makes contact with the sting.

I make my way to the dining room, and find my mentors, Samuel, and Rory already finishing off their breakfast. I sit down, and a silent young man brings a plate of toast, with an unusual looking spread on it.
"It'll give you enough energy to last the day," Rory quickly explains. The silent man places the food in front of me, and quickly vanishes.

After breakfast, we are taken to a new elevator. Just before I go in, Wiress approaches me, "Elektra, because of your sting, doing weapons training wouldn't be," she stops, and looks down.
"What Wiress is saying is that because the venom hasn't made its way out fully, you won't be at full strength until tomorrow. For today, I'd advise you to try the other stations, such as the edible plants, and try to see if anyone could be an ally." the doors close, and the elevator begins to move.

We're quick to join the other Tributes as the training instructor goes through the rules. How Tributes aren't to engage in combat with one another, and to stick to the advice given by our mentors. She dismisses us, and we go off to the various stations. I see the Tributes from 1, 2 and 4 crowding around the combat and weapons stations. Samuel goes off to the empty station, edible plants. The instructor sets up a computer with a test on all the possible types of berries found in the Games over the years. Samuel finishes his test after a while, scoring 57%. The instructor congratulates him on such a high score for one so young, and resets it for me.

The questions are quite simple at first, showing obvious berries, such as blueberries, then get progressively harder, showing plants from the Games where almost everything was poisonous. The final question shows a berry as dark as the night sky, with blood red juice, and a small nut in the centre. I know it immediately. Nightlock. I'm about to press the 'Toxic' button when a voice stops me.
"Actually, there is a way to consume Nightlock safely," I turn to find the male Tribute from 6, "Inside the nut, there's a powder. We use that as the main ingredient for Morphling, besides sweeteners for when it's transported to the Capitol," he presses the 'Safe' button.
"That's quite impressive, young man. Very few know this fact. It is true that the powder inside the Nightlock that doubles as an extremely powerful painkiller." the instructor seems impressed with us. I see the score for my test, 84%.

"Thanks for telling me, um," his name slips my mind as I thank him,
"Olyver," he replies, smiling with a friendly tone, "My mentor mumbled something about allies this morning, and all the other Tributes so far have just brushed me off, saying I'll be dead within minutes. You seem nice enough, and haven't hurled abuse at me yet. So how's about it?"

Before I can reply, he goes off to the camouflage station, where his partner, the Morphling addict, has poured pretty much every colour available over herself. He talks to her, slowly. How helpless she seems, she will never stand a fighting chance in the Arena. At least Samuel can try and train. I turn to face him, to see he's gone. I look around, to find him talking with the Tribute from 11, the twelve year old.

I go off to the traps station, and try learning how to set a snare, but with no luck. I'm just about to walk off when the pair from 12 approach me. The girl sees my poor attempt at a snare, and helps me finish it.
"My older brother taught me back home," she says, "Of course, mine aren't as good as his, but they're still quite impressive." our conversation is cut off by an obnoxious laughter.

I look behind me to find Samuel in a heap on the floor, the Career Tributes laughing and hurling insults at him. I begin to walk over to help Samuel, but I finally get a good look at the Careers. The males from 1 and 2 tower over everyone else, as does the girl from 1. The girl from 2 and both from 4 look slightly twisted, as if they're about to go into a killing frenzy. Before I can hide away, they move on, leaving a sobbing Samuel behind. Instinctively, I run over to him, and cradle him in my arms. It takes a minute, but he quickly calms down, me stroking his hair. Once he's calmed, I take him to the traps station in the corner, where the two from 12 are still playing with snares and nets.

We spend the rest of the day with the Tributes from 12, Martyn and Kathrynn, avoiding any stations the Careers prefer, until we head back to the elevators at the end of the day. We meet up with Beetee and Wiress, and discuss the events of the training. I tell them of the boy from 6, but they are quick to bring up the problem of his partner. I also tell them of District 12, and their known skills. A nod of approval. Samuel tells them of how he befriended his lookalike from 11. They exchange a disapproving glance, but decide it'll be beneficial for him to have someone similar to him in the arena. We finish dinner and make our way to our rooms, exhausted from today. I look out of the now sealed shut window, and the reality creeps into my head. In 4 days, I'll be in the arena.

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