An Army of Ghosts

This is my entry for 'Two Weeks in Panem" and I hope you like it :-)

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1. A Little Fall of Rain

Thirty. Twenty nine. Twenty eight.

I looked to my left. A tall slender girl was poised, ready. A girl of just twelve was trembling beside me. A boy of pure muscle didn't show a flicker of emotion, but I was betting there was terror bubbling under the surface of his calm contours. 

Twenty seven. Twenty six. Twenty five.

A young boy was wearing a brave mask. An older boy stretched his hamstrings confidently. A girl about my age eyed the bow and set of gleaming arrows at the centre of the Cornucopia. I saw the sun glint against the metal of the arrowheads that would soon be drenched with blood.

Twenty four. Twenty three.

All of the other contestants either looked unfazed or terrified, but I was certain that a flicker of fear was present in every one of us as the countdown boomed through the arena.

Twenty two. Twenty one. Twenty.

Twenty seconds before we would step off the platforms. Twenty seconds before the fight of our lives began. Twenty seconds until we had to lock away our thoughts and emotions and be driven by fear, the fear of dying. The fear that would cripple us to the point of killing - an infection that couldn't be avoided. An infection that would creep inside us and burn our souls.

I studied everyone. Twenty four children, twenty three of which would soon be dead. A part of me wished I would be amongst the pile of bodies. How could I live with knowing I ended a life, the life of a terrified young person trapped in the regime of the Capitol? 

A drizzle of rain began to fall, and I couldn't help but think it would be the last time I felt its coolness upon my face.

Ten seconds.

I imagined my mother at home, head clasped in hands, eyes shielded from the broadcast of the games. My father, eyes wide, staring at my face on the screen. And my little brother, looking down at me. My brother, member of the 71st Hunger Games. A thirteen year old boy who had been killed for the entertainment of the Capitol. 

I clenched my fists and let a tear roll down my face, disguised amongst the raindrops. He had hated the rain. He'd stomp his little feet in the puddles that cloaked the concrete and complain when his hair was dripping. I smiled at the memory.

A little fall of rain can hardly hurt you now.

"I'll win this for you, Josh," I whispered, my voice cracking "Just you watch me."

Five. Four. Three. Two. One.

"Let the Hunger Games begin," the announcer said dryly,  as the rain washed away our innocence.

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