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.


5. Slip-Ups

Alanna Pyre, 12, District 6 Tribute

"Alanna, get up!" I hear the energetic voice through my door, and I pray it's my escort, not- "It's me, Tyler!" Nope. Not my crazy escort. My crazy district partner, Tyler Hawes. He drives me insane; since boarding the train, he hasn't shut up. When we arrived in the Capitol, I looked at it like the pile of filth it is, whilst he didn't stop going on about how big it was. During the chariot ride, we were dressed to look like golden buses, and he wouldn't stop making impressions of the vehicle. I shove my head under my pillow in an attempt to drown him out. After half an hour of his incessant chatter, I give in, and climb out of bed.

I walk into the shower, and see the wall of buttons in front of me. There's roughly three hundred buttons there, each one probably performing a different function. I look closer, and see the buttons have different coloured rings around them. These colours create three columns. I press the top blue button, and a freezing cold jet of water blasts at me. I press it again, turning it off. I press one in the middle of the column, and a warm stream of water flows down. Good, that's one thing sorted. I press one of the red buttons, and an orange foam erupts from the floor. It smells like oranges. I try a green button, and various sponges begin to wash me with the orange foam. I'm then rinsed off. I open the shower, and something's off about the room. I look closer, and see one of the tiles on the wall has slightly shifted diagonally, and something is reflecting the light. I step out, and more tiles open, warm air blasting my head. It stops after a minute, and I grab a towel just as one is thrown at me. So even the bathrooms are rigged with unexpected secrets. I walk back into my bedroom, and see an outfit laid out on my bed, a plain dark jumpsuit; the training uniform. I look around my room, searching for some way it could have gotten in, but find nothing. I put it on, and face the door. I see that it's ever so slightly open. It couldn't have been Tyler, since these doors can only be opened from the inside. Unless you have a key. I fully open the door, and find a key in the door. Whoever got in must be skilled in being silent. I walk down the hall, noting the many poorly hidden cameras in the walls and plants. There really is no privacy in the Capitol. I turn right, and walk into the main living area here.

"Alanna! You sure took your time!" Our escort immediately begins to chew my ear off, "We have to be going in twenty minutes!"
"Sorry," I say, "I was just figuring out how to use the shower." And pointing out the hidden cameras everywhere.
"Well, at least you won't have to re-figure it out now, so tomorrow, you'll be ready straight away!" She's calmed down now. It is strange how she can jump from one emotion to the next. I make a mental note to see if anything causes these bizarre mood swings. I grab a silver plate, and place a few fruits on it. They're strangely sweet; probably pumped with flavour enhancements. Once I've finished, I put the plate on the table, and my escort begins to yell at the doorway.
"You there! Take this tribute's plate and dispose of it!" I'm about to ask her what's going on inside her tiny head when I'm aware of another presence. I glance to my right, and standing right next to me is a young woman with pitch black hair, her green eyes full of worry. She picks up the plate, then, as silently as she arrived, she leaves. An Avox, that's what she is. By openly defying the Capitol, you are arrested and made into an Avox; a tongue-less slave to the citizens of the Capitol, and the tributes. And if avoxes make a sound, they're executed immediately. Another disgusting thing from the Capitol, yet it still claims to be better than the districts.

"Hey Alanna! Are you excited for training? Because I'm excited! In fact, I don't think I have ever been this excited! Well, maybe that one time at my friend's birthday party, but nothing could have topped that! I mean, you should have seen the way the cake-"
"Shut up. Please, just shut up." I say, my frustration building, "I'm okay with you being in a good mood, but please, for the love of Panem, just keep quiet." He looks at me with wide eyes, then moves his finger across his lips.
"What are you doing?" I say, thoroughly confused by this boy.
"Zipping my mouth shut." He says, beaming. I just sigh, and stand up just as our escort does. It's time to go to the training centre. Hopefully the sight of the Careers will make him realise we're in a death-match fighting for our lives, not whatever he perceives the situation to be.

The elevator doors open to reveal the training centre, a massive room full of stations that'll be essential to our survival. Tyler lets out a loud gasp at the sight of the place, interrupting the speech the head trainer was giving.
"As I was saying," she picks up again, "In roughly three weeks, all but one of you will be dead. Which of you will survive shall be determined by how well you train. And remember, weapons training is all well and good, but less than half of you will actually die at the hands of another tribute. The most common causes of death are; infection, starvation, dehydration, and exposure. Be sure to check out all the stations, they are what could very well save you in the arena." We're then dismissed to go train. Straight away, the tributes from 1 and 2 flock to the weapons station, whilst the others go to the survival basics stations. I go to the camouflage station first, and begin to paint my arm to blend in with the tree at the station.
"Wat'cha doing Alanna?" Tyler's face pops up in front of me, causing me to smear my paint.
"Trying to blend myself in with the tree." I say through gritted teeth.
"Why would you want to blend in with a tree? Unless... You're part tree! Or you just really wanna become a tree, which is strange, but I've seen stranger. There's this one boy at school that actually shoves rocks up his-"
"I really don't want to know that story, thank you." I say, trying to keep calm as I wash off my failed attempt at camouflage. Laughter fills the air, and I see the head Gamemaker, a dark skinned woman with bright blue hair, looking right at me, laughing at my misfortune. I shoot her a deadly glare, and move on to the fire building station, and try to immerse myself in the instructions given to me. The fire's just begun to grow when it's put out by someone running over it. I don't even need to look up to tell it's Tyler.
"Sorry, but I just saw the coolest thing! The two from District 4 can throw their giant forks really well! But the boy's really bad with knives and bows. I mean, they just go WHOOSH right past the target! And the boy from District 2 runs really slowly! Even my dead grandmother could run faster than him!" As soon as he shuts up, a plan formulates in my mind. He just gave me information about some of the Careers. I could use him to gather information about all the other tributes as well.
"Tyler, that's great!" I begin, "Why don't you see what cool things the others are doing as well? How's about you aim to have cool facts about everybody by the end of the day? Then you can spend all of tonight telling me them?"
"Really? Okay!" He bolts off, headed towards the girl from 11, who's currently at the edible plants station.

I move over to the healing station, and pick up a roll of bandages. The instructor shows me how to tie up a wound in such a way that it prevents blood loss. I then try one that should prevent a loose limb coming off. Whilst covering myself in bandages, I wonder how Tyler's coming along gathering information about all the other tributes. I unwrap myself, and move on to the next station, which is the assault course. I stand at the start, and sprint down it, swiftly avoiding the trainers' clubs as they swing them at me. I slide under the next obstacle, and hop off. One of the trainers congratulates me on such good timing for one so young, but I brush him off as I make my way to the now vacant edible plants station. It's a massive machine that shows a picture of a commonly found plant in the arena, and I have to select one of the three options; Safe, Deadly, or Varies. The first up is mint leaves. I press safe, and the machine tells me I'm correct. I fly through the test, until the last picture- Nightlock.

"Here Alanna, If you open this berry, you can find a medicine ball. If you're ever hurt, just open one, and it'll take the pain away." The memory still seems fresh in my head, but the loving big brother that taught me that was taken by these sick Hunger Games two years back. I still remember watching him get crushed by the walls of the sewer, trapped in the jaws of that beast that tore his entire alliance apart. I'm about to hit safe, when I remember how last year the berries lacked the medicine, and ended up killing both from 12. So I press 'Varies'. My results are shown- 92%. I could have done worse.

Suddenly, I hear yelling. I turn to see Tyler with the Careers, holding a sword. I can't quite make out what he's saying, but he's infuriating the boy from 2. Finally, Tyler runs off, and I hear the boy from 2 yell.
"That's it. District 6 is first in the bloodbath." his words shake me right to the core. I'm now at the top of this monstrous boy's hit-list. I feel like crying in fear, but instead, I yell at Tyler.
"What the hell did you do?! You do realise what you've done; you've made us the number one targets of the Careers!" I'm yelling louder than I have ever done before.
"I just wanted to tell him how cool he was stabbing those dummies." Tyler says, sounding somewhat deflated.
"Well, Mr Admiration, in four days, we're going to be the dummies for him!" I snap back. I'm so furious, I didn't notice the rest of the tributes leaving to go to their floors. Has the training for today already ended? The trainer telling us to leave confirms my suspicions.

The elevator opens on our floor, and I storm into the dining room. Our escort asks me how training was, but I ignore her. I just grab some exotic looking meat, and eat it. Tyler, however, doesn't shut up about our first day of training.
"First I watched the Careers throw their sharp weapons. That was cool. Oh, and then I saw the girl from 5 blend in with the sand at the camouflage station. Then I watched the Careers again, but one got mad, and Alanna called me a dummy." Our escort listens, almost mesmerised by his endless conversation, but looks confused at his last remark.
"What he's basically saying is, he's gotten both of us killed at the bloodbath." I say, frustrated.
"Oh my, that isn't good. But there's still a chance you'll get far, I wouldn't worry about one little comment." Yeah. One little comment from a guy who could snap your neck in an instant.

Finishing my dinner, I make my way to my room, locking the door. I lay on the bed, and begin to sob. Any chance I ever had at winning these games has gone. He blew it, my district partner with the mentality of a five year old. At least my brother's partner couldn't speak. Right now, I'd quite happily trade Tyler for a paralysed Morphling addict. And rightly so, because I have a horrible feeling this boy's going to be the death of me.

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