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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9. Performing for the Crowd

I wake to see the early morning rays shining through my window, and for a moment forget where I am. Upon remembering, my heart drops to my stomach. Today is my last day in the Capitol before the games. I get dressed and join the others for breakfast. The mood is sombre, it's obvious everyone realises that I'll be in the arena tomorrow, except Rory, who's absently humming a tune to himself whilst filing his nails.

After breakfast, we discuss today's plans. We'll spend 4 hours with our mentors coming up with our strategy for the interview, then another 4 with our stylists preparing our outfits. I'm spending the morning with Beetee, and Samuel with Wiress. I'm about to tell Beetee that I don't think having Wiress alone with him'll be beneficial when he explains,
"Don't worry, Wiress may be withdrawn around you and me, but she works wonders with younger tributes."

We then go into the empty rooms along the hall, and begin coaching,
"Now, shall we try finding an angle for you in the interview?" we spend about an hour trying out various angles, some more successful than others. We tried sexy, my body type is wrong. Intimidating and bloodthirsty, I'm too innocent. Outgoing, I'm too quiet.

Finally, we settle on naive, I'll go on about how pretty the Capitol looks, and talk about how I'll be going home. After a couple of hours of practising, we've nailed it. We then go back into the dining room where our stylists are. Samuel's approach to the interview is cute and mysterious. After some lunch, we go off with our stylists.

Once I get to the makeover room, Apollo has me undress.
"Now, for your interview outfit, I've decided on tastefully combining the elements of your reaping dress with your chariot outfit. It should go well with your interview angle," he does my hair up, and adds some light make-up to highlight my features. He then covers my eyes in a similar fashion to the chariot rides, and I feel something being pulled onto my body.

When he uncovers my eyes, I see simplistic genius.

It's a plain white dress with veins running along it. He presses a button, and blue light pulses through them. It may not be the flashiest, but it suits me to a T. I spend a few minutes getting used to the dress, before we leave for the interviews.

When we arrive, I already see the crowd piling up, and feel a nervous stab. Apollo holds me, 
"Remember, smile and follow your mentor's instructions and you'll do fine. I have to go now. Look out for your district partner,"

I take my seat in the waiting area, when I see Samuel. He's wearing a black tuxedo with a few blinking lights that make him look younger and more vulnerable than he already is. He sits down, and loud music is blasted through the square. The show has begun.

"Good evening, Panem! And welcome to the 66th annual HUNGER GAMES!" the crowd roars in applaud as Caesar Flickerman makes his way on stage. His hair is dyed bright yellow along with his lips,
"I'm your host, Caesar Flickerman!" more roaring from the crowd,
"I bet you can't wait to meet this years contestants! Well the wait is over! Because here is the lovely District 1 lady, Ruby!" she walks up to him, waving to the crowd, wearing a low-cut red dress.
"Now Ruby, how are you enjoying the Capitol?"
"I love it, Caesar! The only bad thing is that I have to leave tomorrow. And the longing to return will be the death of me!" she pretends to faint, and the crowd goes wild. Nerves begin to overtake me. I try to blank out, focusing on nothing, until the boy from 2 returns to his seat.
"Now give it up for District 3's contestant, miss Elektra!" I make my way to the seat next to him, the crowd going crazy as I activate the dress.
"Good evening, Elektra. I must say, I'm loving your outfits! It's as if your stylist knew that you were destined to wear them! Your thoughts?" Remember the angle,
"I love, love, love them Caesar! And look at this one, it carries the lights from my parade outfit!" I stand and twirl, the audience screaming.
"You seem to be loving the outfits, but what's your opinion on our fine Capitol?" 
"It's absolutely divine, Caesar! The food, the accommodation;  it's all a dream come true. Too bad I'll be leaving to go home soon after winning the games."
"Oh ho ho, loving AND confident! So got any plans for the games?"
"Yes, to make my time there as enjoyable as possible!" I see the glare from the Careers, and I smile directly at the crowd until the buzzer goes off. I quickly slink back into my seat, hoping it was enough. I watch as Samuel makes his way centre-stage, the crowd 'Aww'ing as he struggles to climb onto the hot seat.

"Woah, there! What a small one we've got here!" Samuel giggles, ensuing more cheering.
"Yes, I'm small!" Samuel flashes an innocent smile at the crowd.
"So how's the Capitol treating you, little fella?"
"Oh, it's just so big! I feel like a little mouse here! The buildings are so big, I think they're going to eat me!" he motions with his arms the size. Caesar lets out a hearty chuckle.
"So, looking forward to the games?"
"Yes, I have a super secret plan to win, and I can't tell anybody! Not even you!" Caesar exaggerates a frown, and Samuel zips his mouth, and shakes his head.
The buzzer goes off, and Samuel smiles once more before returning to his seat.

I spend the rest of the evening zoning in and out, picking out certain aspects, such as the boy from 6 telling the crowd of his 10 year old sister, and the boy from 12 telling a story about a live chicken escaping the butcher which sets the crowd off roaring with laughter. Once the interviews are done, we stand for the anthem, and Caesar tells the adoring crowd to tune in tomorrow to see us compete. We then leave, returning to our training centre floor.

When I arrive, I barely stay awake whilst eating dinner, the interviews have drained me. I drag myself to my room, wash the make-up off me, take my dress off, and slide under the covers.

--

I wake up to the charming sound of Rory's impatience. I crawl out of bed, shower, and get dressed. I go to the main room, to find everyone with a stone cold expression.
"2 hours to launch," Wiress mumbles. Launch. It hits me. The games begin today. Fear racks my body, and I stumble backwards, my appetite gone. Once Samuel either finishes or loses his appetite too, we are brought outside the training centre to a hovercraft. The sheer size of the thing terrifies me. Rory walks us underneath the monstrous vehicle, and quickly scuttles away.

I look up at the underside of the hovercraft, wondering how I'm getting up there, when we're suddenly moving up towards the opening in the vehicle. I let out a quick shriek when I can't move my body, and let out a sigh of relief when I'm safely inside. I make my way to a seat, and look out of a window when I feel a sharp pain in my arm. I turn to see a woman injecting me with something.

"Don't panic, it's just your tracker for the arena," she pulls the syringe out, leaving a visible lump. It's not as bad as the tracker jacker sting, but it's still noticeable.

Suddenly, the hovercraft jerks, and I watch as the candy coloured city grows distant. I'd be happy to get out of there, if it weren't for the fact that I'm leaving there to die. The hovercraft speeds up, and everything becomes a blur, until the windows black out. I'm left in darkness until the hovercraft stops, and I'm lead out by the woman that injected me. When I see the room she's brought me to, my heart catches in my throat. I'm in the launch room. A simple grey room with a seat, and a platform in the corner. A voice rings out saying that we have half an hour before launch.

My body racks with fear, and all the emotions that have been building up over the past few days explode out of me. I begin to sob and shudder. I scream, punching the sofa, wailing about how I miss home, until the door opens.

It's Apollo, carrying some clothes. The arena outfit that'll be worn by all the tributes. The outfit I'll probably die in. I put it on; a black shirt under a grey fleece with black sweatpants and running boots. He then hands me something, my pendant.

"Your district token, correct? It cleared the review board, although they changed the cord material so you can't strangle someone with it," he fastens it onto me.
"Thank you. For helping me stand out. Your designs are quite wonderful," I embrace him, grateful.
"Now don't go out there and die; I don't want all my work to be in vain, now do I?" he whispers into my ear. The voice announces there's two minutes left. He leads me to the platform, and gives me final advice.

"Remember, keep calm, avoid conflict, and stay alive. Good luck out there; may the odds be ever in your favour," the glass tube lowers, cutting me off from him. Everything I've tried to keep calm flies out of the window, and I begin to shake.

Keep calm, keep calm, keep calm...

The light of day blinds me, and the first thing I see is the Cornucopia's golden shine . Panic overtakes as I try to make out my surroundings, but I can't focus. I catch a glimpse of a few buildings, before laughter breaks all my concentration.

I see the boy from 1 laughing arrogantly, and hear the girl from 2 yell.
"Take out the druggie!" I see the girl from 6 standing few plates away from me, looking oblivious but shaky. I then see the boy from throw something, his district token, a wooden ball, at her. It hits her leg, but she's unfazed. The ball rolls off her platform, and time slows down. I know what they're planning to do, and they've just-

BOOM!

Her platform goes up in smoke, and I see rugged pieces of flesh rain down. I want to throw up. I barely hear the gong ring out over my heartbeat, and Claudius Templesmith's booming voice.

"Ladies and gentlemen, let the 66th annual Hunger Games begin!"

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