The Hunger Games (A One Direction Fanfiction)

I make my way back to my room. I half expect to lay awake all night fretting, letting in all the emotions that have been strangely absent so far, but when I lie down, I’m out almost as soon as my head hits the pillow.

I’ve always been a surprisingly good sleeper. I wake easily, but I can stay in that twilight place between dreams and reality for as long as I want. In the morning, I choose to stay and try to relive all my happy memories of childhood.

In fact, I don’t even get out of bed until well past noon, when our train arrives at the Capitol. I feel sluggish, and slightly sick to my stomach with fear. This is it. I am now officially a tribute in the Hunger Games.

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8. Chapter 8

Ina’s POV

The back of my neck prickles. I slowly reach out and wrap the strap of my canteen around my arm, and make sure my knife is still knotted through it. Then, without warning, I shove my self to my feet and lunge to the side. I stagger through the pond, almost tripping over my feet, and take off running. I hear someone cry out in surprise, and an arrow flies over my head. 

I speed up, but my body is stiff and sore from sleeping on the cold, hard ground, and its hard to see in the pre-dawn light. I can hear my pursuers getting closer. I change tact, and grab a low hanging tree branch and haul myself up. I scamper a few meters up, then lie still, counting on stillness and the darkness to conceal me. Although the dark isn’t going to last much longer. With alarm, I realize that I can see the ground in clear definition. I can also see my assailants as they race into the small clearing. My heart leaps into my throat. It’s Harry and his two female allies, Perrie and the girl from Ten. They also have the boy from Eight with them, the one who attacked me yesterday.

Harry pauses and looks around. He doesn’t seem to know where I am. I hold my breath, trying desperately to remain unnoticed, when a rock flies out of the bushes off to the left and clips Eight on the cheek. He staggers, then turns with a snarl to the direction that the missile came from. After a minute, another comes at him. This time, he dodges it and takes off after his attacker. Harry shouts at him and follows, trailed by Perrie and the girl from Ten.

I let out a little gasp of relief and press my forehead to the bough of my tree. I came so close to getting killed just them. I have no doubt that they would have drawn my death out, too, to make it more interesting for the Capitol audience.

My heart is pounding so hard, everyone within a mile radius must be able to hear it.

I allow myself a few seconds to calm down, and then drop from the tree and take off running. I should probably try to be quieter, but I sacrifice stealth for the sake of getting as far away from Harry and his alliance as possible.

I run until I’m out of breath. I am completely disoriented from zigzagging around trees and rocks. I have no idea what direction I am heading. I slow to a stop and crouch down between two large boulders. The sun is well up in the sky now, and it’s starting to get hot. My shadow is a small black puddle around my feet.

I take small sips from my canteen, trying to conserve my water, but I am so thirsty. I slowly drain about half of the precious liquid before I can stop myself, then reluctantly recap the canteen and wind the strap back over my shoulder. I lean against the rock, and sigh. For the first time this morning, the sickening terror abates and I feel ravenous. I haven’t eaten since yesterday morning, and the pain in my stomach is surpassing hunger; if I don’t get something to eat soon, I might get too fatigued to protect myself.

I wonder why a canon hasn’t gone off yet. Harry and his cohorts must have caught the tribute who was throwing rocks at them. They must be trying to keep things lively and pull in sponsors by showing how brutal they can be.

A twig snaps.

I jerk upright, listening hard. Another twig, and then the sound of a small pebble skittering over the ground. Someone is approaching.

I free my knife from the strap of my canteen and crouch down, ready to spring away if I am attacked.

Now I can hear footsteps approaching. They sound like they belong to someone small, a girl by the high-pitched sound of her labored breathing. She draws closer, and I tense up. From my vantage point between the two boulders, she might not see me, but I can see her.

It’s the little girl from Eight. Lisa.

I catch a small smile as it breaks over my face. Why am I smiling? Maybe I am just glad to see a friendly face. Even though we aren’t allies, I don’t think Lisa would kill me. I doubt she has the physical capability, let alone the mental will-power. After all, she’s only a child.

She disappears from my view, and I take a half step forward, wanting to call out to her. After the harrowing encounter with the pack of tributes, I really want an ally. I know- hope- that I have Frazer and District Two, but they are far away, and this little girl is right here.

And yes, I suppose, I am a little bit lonely.

“Hey!” I keep my voice soft, but it carries to her.

She jumps violently and whirls around. It takes her a second for her eyes to find me, tucked away behind the rocks, but when they do, a radiant smile breaks out over her face.

“Hi Ina.” she sounds genuinely pleased to see me. “I was looking for you.”

“Really?” I climb down and walk closer to her.

Lisa closes the last few steps and attacks me with a hug. My arms instinctively come up to reciprocate. Her wild mane of curls tickle my chin, “Yeah, I was following you after I helped you escape from those others.”

I hold on to her for a second, understanding her need for physical contact, and then gently pull away, “You were the one who threw the rocks at Harry and the others?”

She beams at me, her eyes dancing, “Yep.”

“Why?”

“Well…” Lisa shrugs. “I was following you. I was hoping that we could team up.”

I can tell that she is desperately hoping that I will say yes.

I weigh my options. I already have Frazer, Eleanor, and Zayn waiting for me back at the Cornucopia, hopefully well armed and well prepared. But Lisa is here, and some instinct makes me want to work with her. She is so young and innocent, and I sort of want to protect her, even though it would mean my death. And there is no way that I can just abandon her. I shake my head to clear it.

“We can stick together for today. Right now, I need to find the boy from my district, and then we’ll just have to see.”

Lisa brightens, “Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you! I won’t be a burden, I promise!”

We start walking back north, aiming towards the center of the arena. The hills close around us, channeling us into a narrow valley. The sun is bright, and everything is deceptively calm.

Lisa informs me that she spent all three days of training at the survival stations, and has learned a decent amount about tracking. She thinks that if we can find a place my allies have been, she can find them. Which is good news for me, because I don’t have any other plan besides finding them, and if I can’t do that, then I’m screwed.

She also remembers all the lessons on edible plants, which is great. I looked at that station, but I took fighting to slightly higher priority. Lisa shows me a bush with dark purple berries that look like tiny beehives. They’re tart and sour, but tasty, and the first thing I’ve had to eat since the Games began, which makes them even more wonderful. We sit in the shade of the bush for a while and eat until we are unable to take another bite.

It’s nearing sunset when we make it back to the small plain around the Cornucopia. It’s deserted. There is a pile of picked over weapons and supplies around the golden monolith, but not much else.

I sigh and stick my thumbnail into my mouth. I broke that habit years ago, but this stress is reawaking old behaviors.

“Where do you think they would be? Frazer said she would wait for me here.” I don’t want to let on how nervous I am. If I can’t meet up with Frazer and the others, I am as good as dead.

Lisa stoops over and looks at the ground, “Maybe we can poke around a bit, and see if we can find out where they went.”

There are so many footprints, and the ground is such a mess from the fight that went on the day before. My eyes are drawn to a dark stain that has soaked into the dirt a few feet from where we are standing. Blood.

I wander closer to the Cornucopia, and press the palm of my hand to searing metal. It’s like trying to touch an open flame, heated from being in the hot sun all day. I yank my arm back with a sharp hiss.

Lisa looks up at me in alarm. “Are you-“

“Hey!” we jerk around to see Zayn jogging towards us, “It’s about time you showed up.”

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