The Perks of The Hunger Games

For the Fan-fiction crossover competition. When Charlie is reaped into the Hunger Games, he really doesn't expect he is going to win. He's quiet, small, and not the bravest, but definitely the most observant. This is his journey through the games. In the style of Stephen Chbosky.

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12. Day Six

Dear Friend,

I feel so strange. I will explain why, although nothing has really sank in just yet.

I woke up, and felt a little better. I was still in pain, but I found I could walk a bit. I went outside, and discovered that there was only three of us left. I don't know how this happened, I don't remember who died, or how, but it is me and two careers. The big ones.

I figured that the Gamemakers wanted this done, and didn't want us to hide anymore, so I went out searching, carrying my weapons. I walked down towards the frozen lake, and found the career camp, a huge, green tent with piles of food dotted around it.

I could see one of them, crouched down, sharpening his spear. The other one emerges out of the tent, carrying a sword. He creeps up behind his friend, and I wonder what he is doing. Without a sound, he drives the sword into his friend's shoulder. The other one turns around, screaming, and looks at him with a look of betrayal, before collapsing onto the ground.

"It was going to happen." He says, simply. The cannon fires, and I'm shocked. He must have been planning it all along.

"Next it's the small kid, and then I've won." he says, smiling with excitement. I gasp, suddenly realizing how easily I could be killed.

As fast and quietly as possible, I scurry back up the mountain, trying to decide what to do. He's going to track me down. I have no chance.

I crouch by a rock, and try to calm myself down. My breathing is fast and scared, and I 'm struggling to process this. It is day six, and there is only two of us left. It's not meant to happen like this. This is too soon. I can picture Sam and Patrick sitting at home, watching, praying I'll be alright. I can't let them down.

I sit and wait for the boy to come, my heart pounding harder than it ever has before. This is the moment I have lived my whole life for. I can see that now. Either way this ends, this will change my life forever. I don't feel ready for it, but there is no choice.

I sit there for about half an hour, and begin wondering where he is. Surely he can see me? Just as I think that, I hear the crunching of snow below me, and peer over the mountainside. He is below me, his hands covering his brow, as he searches for me. I'm about to draw attention to myself, to end this, when a thought occurs to me. I could kill him.

Silently, I rummage through my bag, for a suitable weapon. With annoyance, I realize I have left my spear at the cave. I have a knife, but I can't throw knives to save my life. I'd just draw attention to myself even more. The last option is the slingshot. A well aimed shot could knock him out, and then I could go and finish him off. It's worth a try.

I pick a smooth, grey pebble, and put it in the slingshot. Scrunching up my eyes, I take aim. I release. It flies swiftly through the air, and hits him square on the side of the head. He falls, confused, but instead of falling to the ground, he topples, and falls, straight off the mountain, onto the rocks below. In the distance, I watch three polar bears run towards him, and tear him apart. The cannon fires. I sink to my knees.

I am gasping with disbelief, and suddenly my whole body feels tired. I lie there on the ground, and wait for something to happen. The sound of a hovercraft echoes about the arena, and a ladder falls at my side. I think they want me to climb. I shake my head, groaning. I don't want to. I don't like this.

Finally, something scoops me up into the hovercraft, and it flies away from the arena. I am curled up in the middle of the vehicle, and they crowd around me.

"Are you OK?"

"How do you feel?"

"You've won!" I hear people say in my ears, but I moan and cover them up with my hands. I'm screaming and shouting at them, telling them to go away, and I feel someone inject something into my arm. The world blurs, and I feel fuzzy. Slowly, I let myself fall asleep.

I wake up sometime later, in a hospital room that smells like anesthetic and rubber. My body feels numb, and the pain has gone away. 

"Charlie? Can you hear me? It's Murdoch." He whispers in my ear. I sit up, and stare at him.

"Well done, kid. I'm so proud of you." He smiles. "Come and look in the mirror." He leads me to a full length mirror. Another boy stares back at me. His eyes are wide, and feral. His hair is smooth and soft, and longer than before. He is skinnier than me, with a thinner face, so thin, that his cheekbones are more defined. His skin is pale and smooth, without a single mark on it. The boy is me. 

"What did they do?" I whisper, examining my new, flawless skin. Every single scar has vanished. Even the ones I got before the games. Even the small burn on my hand, from cooking with my mother when I was five. I liked that scar.

"They're good at that. Thought they'd get rid of all your other scars while they repaired your ribs and arms. You were in a bad way, Charlie. You'd punctured a lung after that fall, and you've got pretty bad concussion."

"When can I go home?"

"When they've fixed you." He says. "Now come with me to Padma, so she can sort you out some clothes." He says, gently, and I realize I am completely naked.

I am in bed now, they say I have to have therapy some time soon. I have it at home anyway, and I don't think it works because I always listen to the therapists but nothing they ever suggest works.

I am happy, but so confused.

Love always,

Charlie

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