Surprises: The 68th Annual Hunger Games

For 68 years the Capitol has held the Hunger Games to keep the rebellious Districts in check. This year will be full of surprises and shocking twists that nobody could have anticipated. So watch as the 24 tributes battle it out until one remains in an arena guaranteed to surprise the entire nation of Panem.

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4. Making Promises

Ryder Bristen, 18, District 4 Tribute

"Oh my, you were marvellous! The both of you!" Our escort begins kissing both me and Annemarie. I hop out of the chariot, the fish tail making it quite hard to move.
"Can I get some help?"Annemarie asks, since her outfit is hard to move about in.
"Sure." I reply, and grab her, lifting her down.
"Thanks. That outfit is impossible to move in." Our escort mutters something before guiding us both to the elevator.
"If your outfits really are that uncomfortable, I suggest you change before dinner." 
"Hey, where are our mentors?" Annemarie asks. It's true, we haven't seen them since the train.
"Well, they have urgent matters to attend to in the Capitol, is all." Our escort replies, adjusting her blue hair. It looks like some massive tidal wave, but there have been crazier fashion statements.

The elevator stops on our floor of the training centre. Annemarie lets out a gasp at the room, and I see why. It's huge, the dining room twice the size of the huge one in the train, and it's full of food.
"Well, since you said you were going to change, you'd best do that now whilst the food's still warm." Our escort says as she takes a seat. I walk out of the dining room, down the hall, and into the room where I'll be staying until the games begin. I shut the door, and pull off the shining fish tail, setting it on the side. I go into the closet, and select a plain outfit. It's a relief to actually have normal clothing in there. I walk out, and join the others for dinner. During the brief amount of time it took me to change, our mentors have turned up, Shellie and Lukas. Their hair is slightly messed up, and their clothes look slightly scruffy.
"Where were you?" Annemarie asks them. They exchange an almost worried glance before replying.
"Just meeting up with some old friends." Lukas replies almost nonchalantly. Something about his story seems off, but Annemarie seems convinced. I take a serving of fresh fish stuffed with herbs, and begin to eat. It tastes far nicer than the fish back in District 4; they've probably added things to it to enhance the flavour. Even so, our escort complains about the food being too bland. I barely eat the fish before my stomach feels bloated. Not only does the food taste nice, but it's far richer.

"Now tomorrow's training. I'd advise the two of you to join the Career pack. You'll have more food, more supplies, and an overall better chance of winning." Shellie says, finishing her meal. That was already mine and Annemarie's plan, but now there's no choice but to.
"Alright then." I say. Suddenly, our escort jumps out of her seat.
"Oh goodness! How could I have forgotten! The recap of the chariot parade's about to start! Come on!" she practically pulls us out of our seats, and we follow her to the living room as she frantically switches the television on. It shows the seal of the Capitol, and the last few notes of the anthem are playing. The screen switches to the two faces of the Hunger Games, Caesar Flickerman and Claudius Templesmith. Caesar's hair's been dyed the colour of stone this year, which is actually strange to see a plain colour on such extravagant hair. They start off by cracking a few jokes with one another, then the chariots roll out.

District 1's tributes are dressed in regal outfits adorned with various jewels. The dark haired boy begins throwing some of the jewels at the crowd, and they go wild. The girl blows kisses to the crowd. They have the audience captivated. District 2 follows, dressed like warriors. They both give menacing smiles at the crowd, and even Caesar comments on how they look like true Careers. District 3 takes their place afterwards. Their outfits aren't brilliant, but they are interesting. They both are wearing formal outfits, but they're entirely made of wire. The crowd still cheers for them anyway. Then come us.

As soon as we're in the spotlight, our outfits begin to release bubbles that float towards the crowd. The chariot then begins to release a spray of water, catching the light in just the right way that it creates a rainbow. The oyster in the middle of the chariot opens, revealing Annemarie looking like a mermaid. Her tail shimmers with the light, releasing thousands of bubbles into the air. The crowd goes wild, but unfortunately we don't get the spotlight forever. The cameras focus on District 5's chariot, but the outfits have begun to go downhill. They're dressed in outfits made of foil, with light bulbs on their head. The crowd goes from cheering to politely clapping. And the outfits get worse. District 6's tributes are dressed like cars, District 7 yet again has a pair of trees, District 8 looks like someone threw a pile of fabric on top of them, District 9's in golden outfits, District 10's dressed like cows, District 11's some sort of fruit. But the most hilarious outfit is District 12. We all start laughing as they're rolled out. The boy's wearing only a tool-belt and a miner's hat, and is holding an oversized pickaxe. But the girl is priceless. Her skin's dyed pitch black, and she looks like a massive boulder. Her hands and feet barely stick out of the massive lump, and the make-up completely hides any facial expressions. Even the announcers are having a hard time keeping a straight face. The cameras then cut to the president's speech, and the show ends with Caesar telling everyone to stay tuned for the tribute interviews in a couple of days time.

"Well, I have to say you two absolutely stole the show! Congratulations, this'll really aid in getting sponsors for you." Lukas says, getting up, "Well, you have training all day tomorrow, so I'd advise you two to get some rest." He walks off to his room, and we all do the same. I go to my room, pull my clothes off, and crawl into bed. But sleep doesn't come. Another hour passes, and I don't feel the least bit tired. I hear a noise from outside my room, a crashing sound, followed by a curse. Annemarie's up too. I get out of my bed, and make my way to the door. I'm about to open it when I remember I'm dressed in only my underwear. I grab a bath robe, put it on, and make my way to the main area. I find my district partner on the floor, surrounded by the contents of one of the cupboards.
"Are you all right?" I ask her. She nods. "Want me to help you up?" she nods again. I help her up, and move her away from the mess.
"I'm sorry. Did I wake you? I didn't mean to. I just couldn't sleep and decided to make myself a warm drink, but I ended up making a mess."
"You didn't wake me. I was already up. I couldn't sleep either." I tell her, and begin to pick up the various pieces of cutlery that now adorn the floor. She helps me, and we put them back in the drawer they fell from. I then find a drinks machine, and pour two mugs of warm milk.

"What was keeping you awake?" I say as we move to the sofa, sitting down.
"Honestly, I'm terrified about training. What if the Careers don't find me good enough?" Annemarie says between sips.
"Don't say that. I've seen you train, and the Careers would be stupid not to accept you." I reply, taking another sip of my drink. Already, I feel the effects beginning to work. I let out a yawn as Annemarie begins to speak again.
"But if the Careers do reject me, promise me you'll stick with me. I don't think I'd be able to do well alone." She says, her voice slightly shaky.
"I promise." I tell her, "After all, we've been partners since the very start."

We both started training when we were twelve, after our first reaping had come and gone. Back then, I was shy and lacking in confidence, whilst Annemarie essentially took charge of the junior's class. However, when everyone found out she had issues with eating fish due to a traumatic childhood experience, her popularity went down the drain. I took it upon myself to cheer her up, and she helped me in training. Since then, we've been an inseparable team. I finish the last of my drink, and place it on the side. Annemarie also finishes her drink, and yawns.
"Ryder, do you feel that chill as well?" she says, curling up on the sofa. As soon as she does, I feel the chill in the air as well. The Capitol's much colder than District 4, but I've experienced much colder, so it doesn't bother me.
"Here," I say, taking off my bath robe and putting it over her, "Better?" She looks shocked at this for some reason.
"Thank you, but aren't you freezing dressed in so little?" She says, getting in a comfortable position.
"Don't worry about it. I've had to go diving in this much during cold snaps, so this slight chill's nothing." I say, laying on the other side of the massive sofa.
"Well thanks, I appreciate this." She says as she slowly drifts off. I end up doing the same as sleep overtakes me.

I'm woken by a screech. My eyes burst open to see our escort staring at me. I move my arm, only to find it wrapped around Annemarie. She wakes up, and seeing the situation, blushes.
"What are you doing?" Our escort screeches, "You have your own private rooms, but instead, you choose the sofa? And what's with this?" she motions at the scene presented in front of her. I pull my hand away from Annemarie, and I leap up, trying to escape the situation.
"Okay, okay. Where's the fire?" I turn and see Lukas standing in the doorway. Annemarie also gets up and looks at our not best pleased mentor.
"You two, put some clothes on. And you," he points to our flustered escort, "Would you kindly explain why you were screaming like a twelve year old in the bloodbath at this hour? You know I'm not a morning person, so you screaming your head off has succeeded in putting me in a foul mood." He walks towards her, and me and Annemarie flee to our rooms.

On my bed, I find my training centre outfit, a simple jumpsuit. Before I put it on, I make my way into the shower, and turn it on. As soon as I do, water that feels like boiling lava cascades down my back. I yelp in pain, and press another button, which makes the water get as cold as it can get without freezing. After several buttons, I finally get it to the temperature of the sea around our district in summer, warm but not hot, and cool but not freezing. I slip, hitting another button, which sends pink foam shooting at me from all directions, followed by sponges that scrub every part of my body. I press another button, and everything stops. I step out of the shower, and a blast of hot air hits my head. My hair's dried and cooled, and a towel's wrapped around me. After this awful ordeal, I cautiously step out of the bathroom, and put my training outfit on. I walk out of my room, and make my way to the dining room for breakfast. Our escort's still complaining to an obviously annoyed Lukas, Annemarie's devouring some food, and Shellie's got business to attend to. I eat some sweet pancakes, and as soon as I've finished, our escort's dragging both me and Annemarie to the elevator.

"Now you've finished breakfast, let's head to training. After all, it's better to be early than late." She says as we're shoved into the elevator. It goes down, and when it opens, I'm in a massive room; the training centre. Time to show the Careers that we're ready to join them.

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