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.


21. Shattered

April Holme, 14, District 12 Tribute

I sit on a branch, eating one of the legs of the turkeys we were sponsored yesterday. Normally, by this point, most tributes would be starving to death. But no, right now, we're all eating a nice lunch, courtesy of one drunkard of District 12. At first, I pretty much hated Haymitch's guts, but after this sponsor gift, I have realised that he's either a genius, or just lucky with his gifts.

Tossing away the bare bone of the leg, I hop down from the tree, and land expertly on the forest floor below. I walk a little further forwards, and emerge in our little camp. Right now, both Hunter and Magnum are sitting around the camp, finishing off lunch. Hunter still has his home-made explosive in his hand, even though you'd have to be absolutely insane to ever call this hell hole home, and Magnum's holding her knife.

When Magnum first found out about our plans for assault, she was shaken rather badly at the prospect of killing; a complete contrast to mine and Hunter's views on the assault. Hey, I think the Careers have it coming; they murdered both Nikki and Tobias in cold blood. Sure, neither of them were really going to last as long as us, but still, they didn't have to die so horribly.

"Hey," I call out to my two allies, and they turn their heads, looking at me, "Now that lunch is over with, I have to ask you something, Hunter." 
"Me?" Hunter asks, and stands up, still clenching that bottle. Then again, so would I; it is practically our ticket to making sure a Career doesn't come home this year.
"Yes." I reply, before looking at Magnum. Ever since we got into this arena, she's been awfully jumpy, "Sorry Magnum, but this concerns mainly Hunter." I say this softly, and calmly, to ensure she doesn't freak out. Instead, she smiles and nods, and walks off into the forest in the direction of the lake, humming to herself.

Sitting at one of the logs, I motion for Hunter to sit next to me.
"What do you want?" He asks, and my eyes wander to the bottle. "Oh, does this concern the attack?"
"Yes," I reply, looking back at him, "What I want to know is when. When are we going to get this little burning party started?"
"Oh, about that," He says confidently, "Well, I was thinking this evening. You know, so we can get close to them without getting caught, since it won't really work if we're all full of arrows and spears, will it?"
"You're right." I say. It is a pretty good idea, since, like he says, it'll be awfully hard to get them if they're throwing more weapons than we have teeth into our body, rendering us as dead, bloody pin cushions. And even if we do die, we have to make sure that we have caused some major damage with the cocktail, since if the Careers get hold of it, well, Claudius might as well announce the victor there and then.
"I think I am, April," He says, letting a cocky grin show.
"Don't get too confident." I cut in, and obviously realising what I was on about, Hunter drops his smile.
"Anyway, until then, how about we get a little more rest." He continues, "After all, we'll need to be at full strength if we want this to work." He lets out a yawn, before pointing in the direction of the lake. "Would you mind getting Magnum, as well? Since she seems to trust you just a little more than she does me."
"Alright then." I reply, and watch Hunter disappear into his tent, resting for the grand assault tonight.

Okay, so I have until sundown to prepare for this full scale attack on the Careers. Part of me is tingling with excitement, yet another part of me is trembling in fear. A number of things could go wrong. First off, the Careers might go hunting for us before we even go out. Then there's also the issue of dying before we can blow them up. And let's not forget accidentally killing ourselves.

I sigh, and ignore these worries. It'll probably go fine; I'm just a little nervous. But I have more pressing issues right now, such as bringing Magnum back. Suddenly, the image of a swarm of Mutts fills my mind, and I grab my bow out of comfort.

Casting away my fears, I walk into the trees, sheltering myself from the midday sun. Luckily, the Gamemakers have stopped putting the temperature up, but it's still pretty hot. I fan myself with my bow as I push through the trees, emerging at the clearing with the lake.

I see Magnum crouched at the shore, looking at her reflection. Cautiously, I make my way across the clearing, making no sound as I manoeuvre towards my ally. Finally, I'm close enough, and remain still.
"Hey, Magnum," I say, and she whips her head around, standing up. Something seems off about her; perhaps it's her posture. "Hunter says we have to get back to camp, to get some rest. You know, since we have to be at full strength for the-"

I'm cut off by the most remarkable thing I've ever seen. Magnum leaps at me like a feral animal, and pins me to the floor, holding her knife in a position close to my face. My eyes widen, and my heart begins to beat faster. What's going on?
"Oh, you mean your little plan to kill me?!" She spits at me, and begins to cry.
"Magnum, what are you talking about?" I ask, as I slowly begin to try and stand up.
"Don't act like you don't know!" She yells, "You and Hunter are planning to kill me with that burning beer! Not the Careers! No, me! Innocent me!" Okay, she has definitely lost it, and I find myself shaking.
"Magnum, we would never do that!" I yell back at her, and the sheer volume catches her off guard. I use this moment to push her off of me, and stand up, "Now, can we please calm down, and get back to camp."
"Oh, you'd like that, wouldn't you?" Magnum hisses, "You know, to get me to go to sleep, and burn my tent down!" Every word feels like a crushing blow as I realise that Magnum has gone off the deep end. "Don't think I don't know! You and Hunter are conspiring to kill us all!"
"Magnum, we're not-" I try to explain, but once again, I'm cut off.
"Of course you are! You lied to me! I thought I could trust you! I thought you were innocent, like me, but I was wrong. No, you are far more evil than the Careers. At least they aren't prepared to blow us all up!"

I wasn't aware of it, but I now find myself backing slowly into the tree line, my brain trying to find a way out of this situation. Hunter's asleep, and back at camp, and Magnum's gone insane. Brilliant.
"Magnum, we're not murderers!" I yell at her, trying desperately to bring her back to her senses. "We simply want to get revenge on the Careers for killing our district partners! Surely you feel the same?" My voice catches on the end of the sentence, and Magnum's eyes darken. I've heard of the expression, but I didn't know that people could actually do it.
"What's it matter?!" Magnum snaps, "In case you forgot, only one gets out April." She lifts her knife up, and takes a step towards me, "And I plan to be that one!"

What happens next completely catches me off guard. Magnum throws herself at me, but instead of tackling me to the ground, she slashes my arm with the knife. Blood pours from the gash, and I let out a cry of horror as she rushes at me again. She goes for my body this time, and I trip her up, before running into the forest, terrified, and panting heavily.

She has completely lost it, no doubt about it. I run behind a tree, and look behind me. Like a crazed wild animal, Magnum is stalking for me. She is the hunter. I am the prey. And there is really only one way to safely get out of here alive; I have to shoot Magnum. Nothing fatal, but enough to render her immobile. 
"Sorry..." I whisper to myself as I load my bow, keeping a close eye on Magnum. I have to time this just right if I have any hope of saving myself. She walks into range of my bow, and I fire an arrow. It hits her in the leg, and she falls to the floor.
"Damn you, April!" She screams, but doesn't move. Thank goodness; I managed to down her, and keep her alive.

I walk out from behind the tree, but as soon as I do, Magnum leaps to her feet, and runs at me, digging her knife into my side. I scream in terror, and pull out my own knife, slashing blindly as she digs deeper. It's absolutely agonising, but I can't let her win over me. I have to get out of here, and get home. Imagine if my family has to watch me die at the hands of a crazed girl from District 3.

Driven by this determination, a sudden burst of adrenaline kicks in, and I punch Magnum in the nose. Blood coats my hand, and she pulls her now red knife out of my side, blood dripping onto the floor. I'm hurting in a few places, but not enough to stop me. As Magnum reels in pain, I swing my knife at her, slicing her leg. She screams, and begins to punch me, but I don't stop until a pool of blood forms. She suddenly kicks out, knocking my knife into the bushes, and sending a searing pain throughout my hand.

I leap back as she tries to stab me again, and turn and run, becoming aware of the tears that flow down my face. This is wrong; Magnum is my friend! I can't kill her, even if I had the physical strength to simply drive a knife into her throat. It's the moral dilemma here; do I kill my friend? Or do I give up my own life? The frustration causes me to let out a scream into the air, and I stare right at my crazed ally.
"Magnum, don't do this!" I call to her, desperately hoping that some part of her will bring her back to her senses, "We're friends!"
"Friends don't bring you home, April!" Magnum shrieks, and runs at me again, driving her knife into my calf. I jump back in horror, ensuring that the wound isn't too deep. As Magnum prepares to attack again, I shove my hand on her face, and begin to claw at her.

Small gashes are left all over Magnum's once pretty, innocent, happy go lucky face, leaving an ugly mess. Just like this situation; one big, ugly mess. I let out another sob, partly from the pain, and partly from the emotional trauma.

But Magnum isn't fazed by this, and takes a sudden leap at me, slicing her knife across my face. A long gash appears across my cheeks and nose, and my tears cause the wound to sting even more. I have to get out of her range.

Thinking quickly, I punch Magnum in the gut. The blow itself wasn't very hard hitting, but the surprise of it was. Magnum doubles over, and I run towards a tree, scaling it with incredible speed. I don't stop until I'm at the top, and I'm looking down at her. But I can't see her, and realise something; she must be climbing the tree.

I descend a few branches, and look as Magnum is hoisting herself up the trunk, the knife in her mouth. She looks a mess; all beaten and bloody. Then again, so do I. My face hurts, I have a deep wound in my side, my hand is throbbing, and my arm is bleeding. This is the most action I've seen during the Games at all, and I never imagined I'd be in this situation. It has to end, though. I look at my bow. It'd be one shot to the temple, quick and painless. She wouldn't even register it. But I would, and I begin to tremble at the thought of killing her.

I don't have long to make my decision, though, as Magnum's nearly caught up to me. I look at my bow once more, and grab it, loading it with an arrow. I take aim at Magnum, and close my eyes.
"I'm so sorry." I say, and release the arrow.

I open my eyes, and see as the arrow shoots into Magnum's mouth, open from screaming. The force of it then causes her to lose her grip on the tree, and she falls backwards, blood pouring from her mouth, her bright green eyes staring at me, having no semblance of anything human. Just a scared, crazed animal.

Magnum hits the floor with a sickening cracking sound, and I look to see the mess on the floor. She's in a crumpled heap, her limbs splayed in every direction, the arrow sticking out of her mouth, a pool of blood already surrounding her.


Her cannon fires, and Magnum Flowes is officially declared dead.

I jump out of the tree, and land on the floor, my body numb as I look at the lifeless corpse of my ally. I did this. Not a Mutt, not a Career, not suicide. I did it. Me. I killed a person. I ended a life, tragically cutting it short. What did Magnum do to deserve this? She was scared, just like us all. A good soul, spooked. Spooked into killing. I wasn't spooked, or controlled by fear; I made a conscious decision to kill her.

"I'm so sorry!" I scream as I collapse next to Magnum, looking over her bloody remains. I did all of this. And I was supposed to be her friend. "I am so, so, so sorry!" I can't do anything but shake and cry over the corpse, getting my face bloodier than it already is.

A shadow suddenly appears, and I don't need to look up to tell it's the hovercraft, to take her away for good. I lean over to her face, and close her eyes, taking the arrow from her mouth, causing one last fountain of blood to spurt out, before I walk away, letting the Capitol take the mangled remains away forever.

Shaking, I slowly walk towards the lake again, the pain in my body caused by the fight increasing, and I'm forced to sit down for a moment, as the pain takes over my body. I remain like this for a few minutes, until it dulls down for a moment, and I stand up again, staggering towards the camp.

When I reach the clearing, Hunter's there, looking extremely anxious. His face is pale, and his eyes are wide. He looks at my staggering form, and rushes over to me, a concerned expression written all over his face.
"April, what happened to you?! Where's Magnum?" The questions fly at me hard and fast as Hunter drags me to one of the logs, sitting me down. He pulls out a roll of bandages, and wraps my arm and side up, before pulling my hair up as he wraps the bandages around the gash on my face. Finally, I find the strength to speak.
"Hunter," My voice is shaky and uneven; not my own, "Magnum's dead."
"What happened?" His tone is anxious, "Was it a Mutt? Or a Career?"
"Neither!" I snap suddenly, tears spilling from my eyes once more, "I killed her, Hunter! Me!"
"What happened?!" He questions, his normally calm face full of apprehension.
"She snapped," I explain, ignoring the aching feeling in my chest, "She thought we were gonna kill her with the explosive, so she tried to kill me first. There was nothing I could do but shoot her." As the last word leaves my mouth, I break down, sobbing into Hunter's shoulder.

"It's okay, April," Hunter says in an effort to calm me down, "There was nothing you could have done but what you did." But it doesn't work, and I force myself to put a calm face on. After a few moments, I have stopped crying, and I pull my face out, looking right at him, an idea coming to mind.

"Hunter, you know what caused all this to happen with Magnum?" I ask him, and he gives me a quizzical look in response.
"I don't know. She never really told me." He replies, his voice uneasy.
"The fear of the Careers," I reply, determination burning inside me, "So this is what I propose: We go out there now, and blow the Careers sky high in a flaming explosion. In honour of Magnum."
"Yeah," Hunter says, a grin growing onto his face, "Yeah! Let's do this. For Magnum!"
"Yeah!" I reply, and we both leap to our feet, Hunter grabbing his rapier, and sliding it into his belt. I load my bow, and follow him as he runs forward, into the forest. Despite the humidity of the trees obscuring our view, I know where we're going. After all, what Career pack doesn't set up camp there?

We're going to end this all at the Cornucopia.

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