23 Cannons: The 69th Annual Hunger Games.

24 tributes are reaped by the Capitol to enter the 69th Hunger Games, marking the end of the sixth decade of Games. And as they all prepare for the fight of their lives, none of them know the true extent of the twists that will face them in the arena. With rebels, liars, and killers thrown into a deadly arena governed by power-mad Gamemaker, who will live to hear every one of the twenty three cannons sound out?

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35. Life and Death

Night fell. As did the temperature. For the tributes walking around the arena, they began to notice that the snow was starting to become harder to walk through: it was freezing solid. Kylee and Markus were two of these tributes. Their current location was in the western section of the forest, albeit further south than the others in the same area. All but one of the tributes in the forest would never encounter them. Kylee and Markus did not know this.

Kylee dragged her scythe through the snow, leaving a trail. Absently she thought how it kind of looked like snake tracks. Not that there were any snakes in the arena. And if there were, there was no way they would be active in this weather. This knowledge had been dragged up from the deepest portions of her memory, from happier times. Kylee was not aware of this aspect, and didn't think much of suddenly remembering a fact like that. In fact, her thought process had already moved on from this. She was now thinking of the reason why they were even in this forest: to hunt down, and kill any tributes they would find. However, for Kylee, there was one tribute in particular she thought about: Dixie Semming. The girl that had escaped. This was particularly problematic, as to Kylee, Dixie's survival was a sign of her failure. So long as Dixie was living, it would be a reminder that Kylee hadn't been one hundred percent effective in taking out every last Career. Dixie had to die soon, and Kylee had to be the one responsible for it.

The moon was high in the sky, and as it had been doing so for the past few nights, a strange silvery glow was cast over the arena. It was a poor source of light, though, Kylee realised. She continued onwards. The snow was harder to walk through. She then decided to continue to walk in Markus' tracks.
"Harker," Markus suddenly said, turning around. Kylee noticed that his breath was visible, as was her own.
"What is it?" Kylee asked. A slight breeze was blowing her hair around. The air was bitingly cold.
"This may sound pretty lame," he replied. "But it's getting pretty damn cold, and if we don't want to freeze to death, we might as well try and find some shelter."
"Are you suggesting we head back to the Cornucopia?" Kylee said. Markus shook his head.
"No," he said. "That'd be too far away. I'm thinking of just finding some shelter in this forest."
"Good luck with that," Kylee muttered.
"Well," Markus said. "Think about it, Harker: this is a huge forest, and is clearly the place most tributes will flock to. It would just be dumb to not have some form of natural shelter somewhere."
"You have a point," Kylee said. "But it'd better be something better than just crawling under a bush or something."
"It should probably be a step up from that," Markus said. "Since there's no way anyone would want too many tributes to perish by freezing to death." It was at this exact moment that Kylee began to regret not thinking to pack a tent. 
"Okay then," Kylee said. "But if you don't find me somewhere decent to rest I swear to god this alliance will be through."
"Fine by me," Markus said. "In that case I'd just kill you, and return to the Cornucopia, claiming everything there." Kylee kept quiet. She was not going to be so stupid as to challenge Markus. Not out here, anyway, and not with so many tributes still alive.
"Whatever," she said. "Let's just head out and look for some shelter."

The two tributes then proceeded to continue through the woods, only this time, they were looking out for shelter instead of other tributes to take out. Even if they were looking for other victims, they would not find any, for every tribute in the forest was safely further north than them. The occasional sound of a bird calling out would reach Kylee's ears, and after a while, it soon became a regular occurrence; every twenty minutes or so a light chirp would sound out. She did not know this bird that was calling out was actually a Capitol camera following them. The citizens of their home districts watched their every move with anticipation. Kylee had no idea of the scale of it though: she had become a celebrity in this arena.

At some point, the temperature began to drop even faster, the moon rising at an equal pace. Kylee shoved her hand into her pocket. The other one still clenched the scythe. She could feel the cold pressing against her face: they needed to find shelter before the cold affected them in any real way. She looked over at Markus. He didn't seem to be affected just yet. Kylee did not let any emotion show. Instead, she just pushed past a branch, staying close to her ally. Behind her, a small pile of snow fell from a branch to the ground. It covered an empty bottle of water. Brinn had dropped it when he had wandered through this part of the forest a few hours ago. By some miracle neither Kylee nor Markus had seen the tracks he had made. The cover of darkness also helped significantly.

Suddenly, Markus stopped. Kylee also stopped, and noticed something ahead.
"Is that..." she said, but she already knew the answer. Markus still nodded in confirmation anyway.
"Yep," he replied. "It's a cave. Seems pretty thick as well. We should probably be nice and warm in there." This cave was not the cave Kaye had slept in: that one was further north. Kylee and Markus were further south, and in the centre of the stretch of trees. This cave was actually designed by the Gamemakers to show the halfway point between the Cornucopia and the small gathering of houses on the west edge of the arena, where Alexis, Dixie, Rose, and Xander were. Kylee and Markus were not aware of any of this.
"You sure it's safe?" Kylee asked. Markus turned to her, smiling.
"Pretty sure, Harker," he said, chuckling to himself. "If it was dangerous, then why does it not look more appealing?" Kylee found herself impressed. Markus knew how these Games worked.
"You're right," she said. "So what are we waiting for, then? Let's head on in!"

Markus nodded in agreement, and he walked over to the mouth of the cave. It was much larger than the one Kaye had been in. Kylee followed Markus to the mouth of the cave, and cautiously stepped in after him. Almost instantly she felt how much warmer the inside of the cave was. It was in no way as good as the tents in the Cornucopia, but it would do. It would do.
"You brought the blankets?" she asked.
"Sure did," Markus replied. He set his bag down on the floor, and pulled out two thick blankets. They would insulate the two tributes perfectly from the cold, and surprisingly, if Markus hadn't brought the blankets, then they would have perished from exposure in the early hours. Now, both would last until morning with no ill effects. It was an insane stroke of luck neither knew of. But Kylee did notice that one blanket was considerably larger than the other one. Markus had probably meant that for himself. She was not going to let that happen.
"Thanks!" she said coyly, sliding over to the two blankets. Markus was about to reply when Kylee grabbed the large yellow blanket, bunching it up in her hands.
"Hey," he said. "That's mine."
"You snooze you lose," Kylee said playfully, making it obvious she was taunting him. She was almost daring him to attack her over something as stupid as a blanket. Instead, he merely punched her on the shoulder. Kylee flinched in surprise at this for just a moment: another childhood memory flashed up, this time involving her alcoholic mother after Kylee, aged twelve, had refused to sell herself on the streets for money. She quickly buried this memory again, and instead smirked at Markus, sitting down against the wall of the cave, wrapping herself in the blanket.
"Bitch," Markus said idly as he slumped against the opposite wall to Kylee.
"Ass," Kylee replied, leaning back in her blanket. It was warmer than she had expected. This was her last important thought for the evening. She was asleep ten minutes later. Markus took two more minutes to doze off.

--

Emily had been walking all evening. Her feet killed. And several times she had sourly regretted deciding to leave the forest for the village. But now, just a short walk away, was a large collection of houses, all of which were adorned with snow. Salvera was the first to notice.
"Hey..." she said. "It's the village... I think..." Emily looked ahead, and also noticed the houses. It took all her strength not to scream with joy there and then.
"You're right!" she exclaimed. Emily then looked at Liam, thankful the darkness hid her blushing. "And guess what? We ended up here before midnight!"
"That we did, Em," Liam said, smiling and shaking his head. "I guess you were right about this after all."
"Of course I was," Emily said, giggling as they continued towards the village. As they drew closer, they all realised that the snow was becoming less deep. All three of them were smiling. Emily most of all: she had done something that would most certainly increase the survival rate of her alliance. She felt on top of the world.

They passed the first house, Emily still in the lead. She noticed that her footsteps on the shallow snow echoed around the houses. The whole place felt eerily empty. She knew it was probably because nobody had been here at all during the Games (none of them were aware of the tragic downfall of the alliance consisting of boys from the outlying districts that had taken place in this village). It should be comforting. But for Emily, who had constantly been in a densely populated urban environment her whole life, this amount of empty houses felt unsettling to her. One glance at Liam and Salvera told her that they were not feeling the same. So she just swallowed her unease, and focused on walking down the street. The houses that mainly surrounded them were nothing more than one floor buildings; they would be awful hiding places. And as they continued down the street, Emily noticed that the temperature was beginning to rapidly decline.
"It's getting colder..." Salvera said. She was shivering.
"Yeah," Liam replied. He looked over at Emily. "Hey, Em, any sign of somewhere to stay?"
"Not yet," Emily said. "I'm ideally looking for a house with an upstairs so we can hide away in the event that another tribute does come looking for someone."
"Good idea," Liam said, his teeth chattering. "Wish I'd thought of that sooner."
Emily looked at him playfully. "Well, then I guess I'm just that smarter than you." Her heart was hammering in her chest as she said this: the feelings she felt around Liam seemed to be growing stronger and stronger with every passing moment. And now, she wasn't sure if she actually disliked it. But Emily wasn't sure if this was a good thing in the long run.
"Well then," Liam said as they continued. "I hate to burst that bubble, but look ahead."

Emily stopped walking, and looked ahead of her. The houses surrounding them had changed from single-storey to two-storey buildings. Perfect.
"Okay, you win this round," Emily said to Liam. Liam chuckled. Emily blushed. "But don't think I'll let you do that again." Her breath was visible, and was coming out in white clouds that drifted in the moonlight. She was chilled to the bone. But whenever she was talking with Liam, that cold seemed to melt away. It was unlike anything Emily had ever felt before.
"Fine," Liam replied. "For that, I'll let you choose the house we stay in."
"Like I wasn't going to anyway," Emily shot back. It was nearly impossible to keep a straight face. But she managed it anyway. And before Liam could reply, Emily walked up to one of the houses in the middle of the street. "I choose this one."
"Okay then," Liam said, catching up with her. Salvera walked by his side. She was looking in wonder at the snow. Emily's mind drifted back to earlier today. She had started a snowball fight with Salvera, and after letting her ally know she wasn't trying to kill her, the two had enjoyed themselves a lot. She smiled fondly at it.

Liam walked up past Emily, and to the front door. She watched silently as he carefully pushed it open. The door creaked loudly. Liam stepped inside, and Emily remained where she was, waiting for him to return again.
"Anyone in there?" she asked as Liam's head appeared in the doorway.
"None," he replied. "And there's no power, so it may be a little hard to navigate."
"Whatever," Emily replied. "At least it's shelter."
"True," Liam said. "Come on in, then." Emily nodded, and walked to the doorway. Salvera followed closely behind. As soon as Emily passed into the main hallway, she noticed how dark it was. If it was light, she would be able to see the black and white check tiled floor, or the rich floral wallpaper, or the clock that hung on one of the walls, ticking away softly in the background. At the other end of the hallway was a dining room, complete with a rich wooden table in the middle. Emily could see this much thanks to the windows. The work surfaces were made of some shiny material, and there were several cupboards. Liam opened a couple up, in the hopes of finding some food or something, but there were only wine glasses inside. Overall, it appeared nothing more than an upper class district house. Nothing too extravagant, but definitely somewhere worth staying. Emily also noticed that it was so much warmer in here.

Emily gazed across the room, and saw a staircase on the wall opposite the cupboard Liam was currently looking in. That would be their next destination.
"Hey, Liam," Emily said. Liam closed the cupboard.
"Yeah?" he said. She pointed to the stairs.
"Do you want to look upstairs?" Emily asked. "You know, to see about sleeping arrangements and stuff?" 
"Oh, yeah," Liam said, laughing slightly. Emily's heart fluttered. This was starting to become annoying. "Come on, then!" Liam walked past Emily, and across to the staircase.
"Well... let's go..." Salvera said.
"Yeah," Emily replied. She was the first to walk to Liam. Salvera was ever so slightly behind, seemingly in a daze. And in Emily's opinion, Salvera had every right to be entranced by everything: the poor girl had been living with an awful mental illness for her entire life, if what Salvera had told them was correct, which Emily assumed it was. And finally being free had to feel great. So Emily said nothing, and walked onwards. She placed a hand on the stair banister. As she did so, she heard the sound of Liam climbing the stairs. "Hey, wait for me!" Swiftly, Emily ascended the staircase, following Liam upwards. Salvera slowly followed: she was captivated by the floral wallpaper. Emily reached the top of the stairs, and stood behind Liam, who was taking in the top floor.

There were two bedrooms: a master bedroom and a smaller one, and a bathroom. The small bedroom and bathroom were located on the left hand side of the hallway, whilst the master bedroom was on the right. Emily felt the fluttering feeling rising in her stomach: there were only two beds in the house. She would most likely have to share. Behind her, Salvera yawned. Liam shared the action.
"Hey," he said. "You think we should get some rest, and try out these beds?" Emily remained silent, for the thought of having to share a bed was pounding in her mind again and again and again, like a relentless drum. Because she knew who she was going to be sharing with. Liam. She was going to be sleeping in the same bed as Liam. Just thinking about it made Emily's stomach do somersaults like crazy. Her heart was pounding in her chest. But she tried her hardest to not let it show.
"Yes..." Salvera said. "We should... I'm pretty tired anyway..."
"Okay then," Emily added. Her voice was ever so slightly shakier than normal. Luckily, Liam did not notice. "So Salvera, you're taking the smaller room?"
"I am..." Salvera said. She then winked at Emily. "So you two can be together..." Both Liam and Emily blushed. They looked away from each other, not wanting the other to see their reaction. "Well... goodnight..."

Emily and Liam watched as Salvera walked across the hallway to the door that led to her bedroom. She opened it up, and vanished inside. Liam was the first to speak.
"So," he began. Emily noticed his voice was unsteady. "I guess we should also go and get some sleep, too."
"Yeah," Emily replied, feeling the blood rush to her face. She was eternally grateful for the darkness. "Hopefully this bed's big enough for both of us."
"It should be," Liam said. He laughed. An awkward laugh. "Now, come on. Let's take a look."

Liam walked through the doorway to the master bedroom. Emily followed swiftly, her heart hammering, and her stomach fluttering. She also became aware that the floorboards creaked whenever someone walked on them. Some part of her realised that she could use this information to her advantage in the future. However, the rest of her was caught up in a flurry of emotions. She looked at the bed. It was a wide double bed. Enough room for both of them to sleep without touching. A sigh of relief escaped Emily's lips.
"It seems good," she said, placing her stuff on the ground next to Liam's.
"Yeah," he replied. "So, which side are you going to take?"
"Uh," Emily said. Words suddenly failed her. It was a simple decision though, and she knew she was burning with shame. "The side closest to the door."
"All right then," Liam said. He walked over to the other side of the bed, and quickly crawled in. "Come on, Em: you do want some sleep, don't you?"
"Yeah," Emily said, and slowly made her way to the bed. She took her boots off, and slipped under the covers. They were slightly cold, but thick and soft. The pillows were as plush as those in the Capitol. A sigh of comfort escaped Emily's lips. This was far better than camping out in the forest.

However, just as Emily began to relax, Liam's voice reached her.
"Hey, Em," he said in a soft voice. Emily was close enough to him to feel his breath on the back of her neck. It felt strangely good. "Are you okay?" Emily's heart skipped several beats.
"W-what do you mean?" she asked, stammering.
"It's just that you've been acting strange today," Liam said. "Is something up?" Emily practically bit down on her tongue to stop herself from spilling the truth. She couldn't let Liam know: it was stupid and risky and may even end up costing her her own life.
"Nothing's up," Emily said quickly. Her tone dripped with suspicion. She hated that. Right now, Emily felt like curling up into the blankets, and not emerging for the rest of her short life. This was the single most awkward moment of her life.
"You sure?" Liam asked. "I know you, Em, and I know you well enough to see when something's the matter. So you can tell me, can't you."
"No, I can't!" Emily snapped. "Okay?! It's kind of a big deal, and I don't think it's worth you knowing." Her voice broke on every other word, and Emily was aware she was shaking. And just when she thought it couldn't get any worse, Liam wrapped a strong arm around her. A light squeaky noise erupted from Emily's throat.
"Please," Liam said, his voice a desperate whisper. "If you can't tell the guy who's in love with you, who the hell can you tell?"

Emily's heart stopped. Had Liam just really said that?! No, she had to have misheard him. There was no way that this was happening. Sure, Salvera had given a compelling argument for it, but Emily assumed that Salvera was interpreting it wrong. Forced herself to believe Salvera was wrong. Prayed that Salvera was wrong. But Salvera had been right. So, so, so horribly right. Liam loved her. He actually, genuinely loved her. Emily felt light-headed, and dizzy. Her stomach was flipping like no tomorrow. She now became aware she had held her breath.
"Really?" Emily said. Her throat felt tight, but her words came out clearly.
"Yes," Liam replied. He tightened his grip on her. "Really."
"Oh, god," Emily whispered. Her heart felt like it was going to burst from her chest. Should she tell him? Should she? Would it be okay? Would it affect anything? She knew it would completely change the childhood friends dynamic. And then another part of Emily realised how many sponsors the two of them would get if she told him. However, that did not factor when the next words left her mouth. "Liam, I love you too."

There was a heavy silence in the air. Emily felt like she was about to explode with emotions. Why the hell had she just said that?! It was a dumb idea. It had slipped out of her mouth in the heat of the moment. A million times over she wished she could take it back. But then Liam spoke again.
"I guess we should have seen this coming, huh?" he mused softly. "I mean, we care about each other way more than allies would, and definitely more than friends. I'm just surprised I didn't catch on sooner."
"Well," Emily said. "I wasn't sure about my feelings until we entered the arena. But Liam, how long have you felt like this?"
"As long as I can remember, really," he replied. "I just didn't want to tell you, Em, since in the Games, at least one of us is bound to die. And if I told you my feelings, and then died to protect you, it would destroy you." Emily felt like crying. She wasn't sure why exactly. But she did. And she wanted to just melt away into Liam.
"Oh my god," she said. "I don't know what to say." She wanted to apologise, but she had done nothing wrong. Right now, she just wanted to take Liam, and get as far away from here as possible. But then Liam turned her around, and smiled softly at her.
"Nothing needs to be said, Em," he said quietly. And then, his lips were pressed against hers. It felt as if a thousand sparks were erupting across Emily's lips. No other feeling in the world came close to describing it. And then, she kissed back. A hunger erupted from deep within: a desire to have Liam all to herself. A desire to hide away from everything, and just remain together like this. Their bodies came closer together, and Emily wrapped her arms around Liam. She ran a hand through his soft hair, and felt like she was on top of the world. Sure, she had experienced a few crushes at home, but nothing compared to this. It was if she had been transported to her own personal nirvana. And she did not want to leave.

Liam was the first to pull away from the kiss. He looked at Emily with wide eyes, and a dreamy grin.
"You know, Em," he said. "You're not a half bad kisser."
"Neither are you," Emily replied, leaning her head on his chest. He lightly stroked her head, and Emily smiled. "You know, I always did think you were kind of hot." Liam chuckled at this statement. It was music to Emily's ears. Liam kissed her again, this time on her forehead, and the two tributes soon fell asleep in a loving embrace. Both dreamed of each other. The thought of death would not cross their minds again until the morning.

--

Brinn was singing to himself. It was a strange song, dragged up from the depths of his memory. He did not know what the lyrics were: the exposure had completely messed up his head. All he knew was that he was getting closer and closer to the angel of life. He had discarded his jacket and shirt earlier on as he had suddenly felt extremely hot, and his body temperature hadn't cooled since. The articles of clothing were laying in the snow, and would not be seen by another tribute. Brinn did not care though: his only thoughts were to find the angel of life, and to be free of this evil.

It was past midnight now, although to Brinn, it was not the moon in the sky, but a beacon of the angel of life, shining hope down in order to guide him to his salvation. It was tonight that he would encounter the angel. Tonight, he would be free. He just knew it. In reality, the poor boy was so far gone with hypothermia that he had very little chance of making until morning. The frostbite had rendered his hands and feet almost entirely black, and he had occasional flashes of feeling. It was enough to keep his dagger securely in his hand. But he would not be able to fight anyone with it. By now, Brinn had forgotten the faces of all the other tributes.

He stumbled through the snow, barely maintaining his balance. For the Gamemakers watching him back in the Capitol, it was a miracle how the boy clung on to life. Brinn no longer remembered about the Gamemakers, or the Hunger Games. All he knew was that he was somewhere awful, with evil, deadly trees looming over him, channelling the lord of the dead to destroy everything. He also knew of the ghosts; his helpful, friendly spiritual guides who were there to serve him in his quest to find the angel of life (District 7 meant nothing to Brinn, and as such, the origin of his ghosts had vanished from his mind). He only remembered his first name. Nothing else was there. By the end of the night, Brinn's mind would also be incapable of recalling even that. He would have completely lost his mind. He did not know about this. He only cared about the angel of life, and getting out of here.

Brinn passed through some previous tracks that another tribute had formed. He did not see them, and followed them instinctively. The instinct changed when the ghosts spoke.

Brinn.
Brinn, you have found the trail.
The trail that leads to the angel of life.
He is close.
You are close.
Soon.
Very soon you will find him.
You will embrace him.
And you will be free, Brinn.
Brinn, freedom calls.
Answer it.
Locate the angel of life.
Do it!

This was the first time that the ghosts had ever really shouted, so Brinn knew this was serious. Earlier in the day, he would have responded, but he had forgotten how to talk. Words would not form. But it did not matter: the angel of life would save him. And that was the important thing: being saved. Brinn did not know what he was being saved from exactly; that thought had died. For the few people that cared about Brinn back home, it was truly tragic watching his descent into complete insanity. Brinn did not remember his home.

The trail curved northwards, and Brinn followed it. He knew it was the path of the angel of life. There was nothing else it could be. He was going to find the angel. Before sunrise Brinn would be saved by the angel of life. And there was nothing anyone could do to stop him. This thought echoed in his head, empowering him. His core body temperature was dangerously low, and was dropping even faster thanks to his discarded garments. But Brinn felt warm, and he did not think about the risks of exposure. He was barely capable of thought above the basic mantra of finding the angel of life. He stumbled into a tree, causing snow to crash down his bare back. Brinn did not feel it. He then looked up, and directly ahead. His mouth dropped open.

Because right there, in front of him, surrounded by an angelic aura, was the angel of life. Brinn stepped forwards.

--

Kaye stood in the middle of the trees, horrified, as the strange, shirtless boy from District 7 stumbled towards him. It was clear to him that the kid had gone off the deep end and then some. And in fact, it was so disturbing that Kaye was just going to run for it, and leave Brinn - that was his name - to the elements. But then Brinn spoke. And Kaye wanted to scream.

"Oh, almighty angel of life! It is I, your faithful follower. I have steered from the path of the lord of the dead, and I am here to request salvation from you! Please, take me in your loving embrace, so we can escape this realm of evil together!"

It was the most disturbing thing Kaye had ever seen in his life. He was paralysed with fear as Brinn stumbled closer. Brinn's arms lifted. Kaye saw the blackened hands. He almost vomited. But Kaye knew he had to get the hell out of here; Brinn was insane, and there was no telling what he would do. Kaye stepped back. Brinn began to chant some religious prayer, before talking again.

"Almighty angel, I am but your humble servant! All I want is salvation! Please, O Benevolent One, give me your embrace so we can embark to sacred lands!"

And then Kaye had an idea. It could potentially end up getting him killed, but it was an idea nonetheless. Kaye drew his dagger. He stepped forward. And cleared his throat.

--

Brinn was slowly drawing closer to the angel of life. The divine being had at first been confused by Brinn's appearance, but now Brinn could tell that the angel of life had realised that Brinn was a lost soul that needed salvation. The angel of life walked closer to Brinn. Brinn walked towards the angel of life. And then, the angel spoke, and Brinn was transfixed.
"Oh, my lost soul," the angel said. "I weep for your suffering. I cannot remove your experiences, but I do have the power to save you from the worst. Come to my loving embrace, child, and we will embark on the trip to sacred lands." Brinn smiled serenely. Finally, his salvation had come. Brinn's dagger fell to the floor as he raised his arms in the loving embrace. He reached the angel of life, and wrapped his arms around the divine entity.
"I am eternally grateful that you have given me salvation," Brinn said. His voice was now horribly slurred as the exposure began to freeze his blood, preventing it from properly circulating to his brain. "I hope you accept this loving embrace as a sign of my faith."
"My child," the angel said. "I do. I do so much. Now, all your troubles are over. Close your eyes. You will be free." And Brinn closed his eyes. The exposure had meant that his body had started to go numb, but he still felt the intense burning agony of the dagger in his chest.

Brinn let out a moan of pain, and looked up. He had a split second of pure clarity, where he saw the boy from District 8 standing over him. It was enough time for him to form a single thought: what had just happened? But then the dagger pierced Brinn's heart, and it took seconds for thinking to stop. His blood dripped from his body, staining the virgin white snow a deep red. Kaye pulled the dagger from Brinn, and Brinn fell to the ground. He made an indent in the snow, like a broken snow angel.

BOOM

Kaye pulled away from Brinn's body. He let out a sigh of relief as he did so. His plan was risky, but posing as the angel of life that Brinn had repeatedly mentioned in his deluded state had worked. Kaye had managed to take the crazy boy out. Then it hit him: Kaye Nylon had finally killed. He had done it. He had shown to the Capitol that he was capable of murder. Now he knew his odds of victory would go up. He smiled to himself as he turned his back on Brinn's body, and walked in the opposite direction.

As soon as Kaye had walked maybe a hundred feet from the body, he heard the hovercraft collect Brinn's corpse. The light from the hovercraft also illuminated the forest for just a moment. Enough to show Kaye something of great interest. Three sets of tracks, all heading east. His mind flashed to the map, and the circled section titled 'THEM'. He just knew that this was what the map was referring to. Three tributes, all of them heading in the same direction. Kaye then thought to the map again. He realised that just to the east of where he was in the forest was the northern village. No doubt that was where the other tributes were heading. They would never know he was coming.

Kaye began to run along the tracks, smiling to himself. He had committed his first murder, and now, he had a lead on three more victims. They would soon go down like Brinn did, and if Kaye was certain of one thing, it was that he was going to give the Capitol one hell of a show.

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