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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3. Training

Dear Friend,

I do not like the other tributes. Today was a training day, and really, it was terrible. I woke up, in the warm, soft sheets of my new Capitol bed, and felt truly happy. I got up, had a shower (Poppies and violets this morning) and went down to breakfast. We ate toast with beautiful plum jam, and drank fresh cranberry juice. Murdoch told us what today involved. We were to walk around a training center, learning new, valuable skills to test out in the arena, to help us survive. Padma lay out this crisp, clean tracksuit outfit for me to wear, and Lydia and I met by the door. She was incredibly nervous, and asked me if I could stick with her. I said yes, of course she could. I was actually quite glad to have her around.

The other tributes stood there, watching us like we were their prey, and they were the predator. Their arms were crossed and their chests puffed out, as they glare at us with such hate and excitement, that I feel like leaving the room, right there. Lydia and I sidle up to the fire-making bit, and a kind, careful man teaches us how to make a fire.

"This is actually a very important skill in the arena, and everyone assumes they are just going to need to fight their way through, but many die from cold too." The man says, and we nod. I find doing this quite fun, and relaxing, really, sitting there, scraping twigs and flint and rocks together, and watching the spark erupt into flames.

"Well done, Charlie!" Lydia says, grinning. Her own fire is just a pile a smoking twigs.

Next we go onto the snare making, which I find I am also good at, then camouflage, which Lydia is great at, and then the weapons. We stand there, staring at them along the wall, as if they might bite us. I have never touched a weapon in my life, and have never needed to. Except from now.

Carefully, I pick up a sword. Lydia picks a tiny knife, to match her tiny figure, and we walk up to the dummies.

"You first." Lydia says to me, and I obey. Lunging my sword at the dummy, I hear a clank. At first I think I've broken the dummy in half, but from the laughter erupting around the training center, I realize I have dropped the sword. My cheeks burn, as I pick it back up. Maybe swords aren't my best weapon. Lydia throws some knifes, and misses everytime. We are the laughing stock of the day.

"We'll do better tomorrow." She encourages, but I'm not convinced. I am going to die.  No more Sam, or Patrick, or my other friends back home, or Lydia, or Murdoch, or my mom and dad, or my brother and sister. I'll be gone from them all. With this thought in my head, I begin to cry. I hear them laugh again, and feel humiliated.

"You'll show them once we're in the arena, Charlie. I saw you that day, when you punched that boy for calling your friend names. You'll do that again, and you'll be just fine." Lydia comforts, which feels weird, because I should be comforting her, the younger one.

"What about you? I don't want you to die too!" I say to her. She looks sad.

"I'll be alright. We'll just see what happens, yeah?" She says, and I nod. Something about her reminds me of Sam, the way she cheers me up, makes me feel alright again, whenever I feel sad, or scared.

As we walk back to the elevator, I think of Sam. Her beautiful eyes, when she kissed me that day, which feels like so long ago. I think of Patrick and his jokes, and his sadness about things. I think of Mary Elizabeth, and hope she's doing alright at the moment. I think of my parents, who'll be sitting at home, worrying about me, readying themselves for my death on live television. I'll miss them guys. But I'm glad it's me here, and not them.

I hope you all had a better day today than me.

Love always,

Charlie

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