Caged (HG Spin-off... I guess)

After a major war, The U.S. gets divided into the Gemstone Regions. Within the regions, there are different countries. Each country must compete in the game-show, Caged, where contestants fight to death. Did I mention that they'll be sharing the arena with mutant animals, such as the Solleonom, a mutant, jungle cat. Luckily for the contestants, there is an exit. If you're the last two standing, or the one who finds the exit, you get the amazing prize of life. But, is it worth living, knowing someone you love is dead?

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9. Parades

  "No!" Byrd yelled, "How could she get the bird dress?! My name is Byrd, it fits perfectly! Ugh!" She whined. She had reason to be jealous, I mean, the dress was gorgeous, but not this jealous. 

  "You think that's bad?" Cody asked, "The guys from Garnetiliona have to wear white suits! I'd kill myself if I had to wear that." He laughed, although no one found the joke to be funny.

   "Just be quiet!" Journee shrieked, silencing the room. "You've got five minutes before you have to come to the sixth floor and get ready. But, watch for the jerk." She warned. What jerk? Is there a guy we haven't already met?

"Someone's on their period," Byrd retorted. Sometimes I wish she'd just shut up, she never stops talking. Especially now, considering I have to face the entire Inner City with the lowest score to date. "She really needs to lighten up."

I'd never had a liking for my grade two class, as they never shut up. None of them realized that we'd needed all of the information they'd fed us, only that they needed to get higher on the social rank. It wasn't something I didn't do, but I also listened.

Our teacher was bent on teaching us how to behave at the parade, the party, and the show itself. She wasn't going to let her county be ridiculed. She also didn't want to be the one responsible for us not knowing how to survive at age eight.

And times like these reminded just how much I didn't like my grade two class.

I must have been dazed, but everything around me jerked forward, even people. Watch for the jerk, she said. So that's what she meant. My face slammed into the elevator door, smearing the un-stained steel. A cold hand pried me off.

"You okay?" Blayze asked. His hands suddenly heated up like Id expected them too. There was always a warmth that radiated off of him, but I never got it. The name certainly suited him. Always warm, always blazed. 

  "Of course," I said trying to play it off, like nothing happened. If only it could have worked. Cody, although he was trying, could not stifle a laugh to save his life. I liked his laugh, though. It didn't sound half-hearted like Byrd's, or forced like Blayze's. 

  The doors opened, and only I stepped out. "Wait," I hesitated, "Why aren't you-"

  "We just need to take a moment," Byrd interrupted."We'll be back in a minute." Great, more hiding things, and secrets. What else could a girl want from her best-friend-slash-murderer? Whatever, I'll just shrug it off. 

  The door to my room creaked as I entered. The eeriness of the room disappeared when I looked to the bed. Sprawled across it, was my bird-dress. I picked it up, and looked through the clear, plastic wrapping. It was just as bright, and shiny as it had been the day before. I glanced to my closet, and to my surprise, it was empty. Not even the dress I wore to the party was in there, and the only thing I had that was still mine, were the Converse on my feet, which were going to be taken away eventually.

  I slid the cover off, and untied my shoes. 

~~~

  "You look fine, Gwen." She complied. My dark brown hair was cut to mid-length, and curled. My eyes had been glitz-ified, embellishments on the side of them. My face had been contoured and highlighted to their idea of beauty. I was de-Gen-ified of everything, everything except my Converse, which were hidden under the length of the gown.

  "It's Gen," I corrected, "and I guess you're right. I'm just a bit nervous." I gave in. In all honesty, I'm just too tired to put in a fight.

  "Well, don't be. I know your score wasn't exactly the best, but that just means that the stuck up jerks who judged you were just too stupid to understand. And even then, you could use your low score to your advantage." She explained, comforting me a bit.

  "Explain." I requested. Having a low score means that your weak, and nobody really roots for an underdog.

  "Simply, make it look like your helpless. That 'boyfriend' of yours will come in and 'rescue' you. Everyone loves reality t.v. with romance," She replied, "and if, and only if that didn't work, you could always act like you really are weak, then hide, and when someone tried to attack you, you can show them how strong you really are."

  "Journee."

  "Yes?" She inquired.

  "You're a genius!" I got up out of my chair and hugged her.

  "No, I'm just an empath who thinks out peoples reactions, and responses to scenarios, then finds a solution to every possible one. " She explained, leaving an awkward tension in the room. 

  "Journee, your a genius!" We laughed, and then hugged.

  "Oh my gosh, we're late!" She yelled, flinging the door open, as we sprinted down the hall. We passed the other countries, in their dresses and suits. We must have looked ridiculous. I looked around to find them, and there they were, next to the chariots, staring at us. 

  We slowed down as they neared. "Just keep your heads high, and smile. They'll laugh if you act like a coward. Got it?" A deep voice whispered. 

  "Yeah, yeah, we got it. No shut up, and hurry up. We may be leaving last, but that isn't an excuse." A higher, sharper voice added. Byrd and Blayze, bickering again. My shoe skidded as I leaped onto the chariot , next to Cody. 

  "Do heels skid like that?" He whispered, chuckling a bit. I nodded, even though my expression said otherwise. He only laughed more. A few minutes passed until I leaned to look to the gate on our right, and the chariot jerked me forward. 

  I let a scream escape me, as the doors in front of us opened. Blayze shot me a look, and I shrugged it off. It probably won't be the last time I scream anyways. My hand fell over Cody's, and his face reddened a bit. Oh dear lord. His hand switched places with mine, keeping it on the cart. 

  The street lights were the only thing lit as we traveled down the Inner City streets, trying to follow the people in front of us. My eyes wandered from in front of me, to the sides. They were cheering, and smiling, and throwing something I couldn't make out  until it hit me. Until it literally hit me. 

  They were throwing golden peacock feathers, and that gave me an idea.

  I tried to catch as many as my hands could hold, and got Cody in on it as well. Byrd must have picked up on it, because she and Blayze both had handful of metallic feathers. "On three!" I yelled. 

  "One," Byrd.

  "Two" Blayze.

  "Three!" Cody and I yelled, tossing the feathers into the air, making it rain gold. And through the flurry of glitter, confetti and feathers, Cody pulled my hand up.  The crowd went ballistic. We all stood like that, until the chariot pulled to stop. We lowered our hands and our head as Emperor Kitolimo stepped onto his balcony, high above everyone else.

  "Ladies, and gentlemen of the Inner City, let us present to you this season's tributes!" He said, receiving a round of applause. "The games are only as fun as you make them, tributes," He said, silencing the audience. "Keep that in mind." He finished, leaving to the confines of the building, leaving us with an idea, which no one understood.

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