The Hunger Games Larry Stylinson

In The ruins of a place once known as North American lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlaying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

Sixteen-year-old Harry Styles, who lives alone with his mother and younger sister Gemma, regards it as a death sentence when he steps forward to take his sister's place in the Games. But Harry has been close to dead before — and survival, for him, is second nature. Without really meaning to, he becomes a contender, but if he is to win, he will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

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5. Part 5

R-i-i-i-p! I grit my teeth as Venia, a women with aqua hair and gold tattoos above her eyebrows, yanks a strip of fabric from my leg, tearing out the hair beneath it. “Sorry!” she pipes in her silly Capitol accent. “You're just so hairy!” Gee thanks. Why do these people speak in such a high pitch?

 

Venia makes what's supposed to be a sympathetic face.

Good news, though. This is the last one. Ready?” I get a grip on the edges of the table I'm seated on and nod.

I've been in the Remake Center for more than three hours and I still haven't met my stylist. Apparently he has no interest in seeing me until Veia and the other members of my prep team have addressed some obvious problems. This has included scrubbing down my body with a gritty foam that has removed not only dirt but at least three layers of skin, turning my nails into uniform shapes, and primarily, ridding my body of hair. My legs, arms, torso, underarms, and parts of my eyebrows have been stripped of the stuff, leaving me like a plucked bird, ready for roasting. I don't like it one bit and my skin feels sore and tingling. But I have kept my side of the bargain with Zayn, and no objection has crossed my lips.

 

They pull me from the table, removing the thin robe I've been allowed to wear off and on. I stand there, only in a pair of very short shorts and shirtless, as the three circle me, wielding tweezers to remove an last bits of hair. Finally they step back and admire their work. “Excellent! You almost look like a human being now!” says Flavius, and they all laugh.

 

I force my lips up in a smile, making sure to show off my dimples. “Thank you,” I say. “We don't have much cause to look nice in District Twelve.”

This wins them over completely. “Of course you don't, you poor darling!” says Octavia clasping her hands together in distress for me.

“But don't worry,” says Venia. “By the time Niall is through with you, you're going to be absolutely gorgeous!”

“We promise, now let's call Niall!”

They dart out of the room. The doors soon open and a young man who must be Niall enters. I'm taken aback by how normal he looks. Most of the stylists they interview on television are so dyed, stenciled, and surgically altered they're grotesque. But Niall's slightly windswept blond hair appears to be his natural color. The only concession to self-alteration seems to be metallic gold eyeliner that has been applied with a light hand and brings out the blue in his eyes.

“Hello, Harry. I'm Niall, your stylist,” he says in a thick Irish accent, that sounds nothing like the accents most people in the Capitol have. I decide that I like him.

“Hello,” I smile.

“Just give me a moment, ok?” he asks. I nod and he walks around my body, not touching me, but taking in every inch of it with his eyes. I resist the impulse to cross my arms over my chest, since I'm not used to people staring at my body. It makes me uncomfortable.

 

“You're new, aren't you? I don't think I've seen you before,” I say.

“Yes, this is my first year in the Games, “ says Niall.

“So they gave you District Twelve,” I say. Newcomers generally end up with us, the least desirable district.

“I asked for District Twelve,” Niall says. “Why don't you put your robe on and we'll have a chat.”

 

Pulling on my robe, I follow him through a door into a sitting room. Niall invites me to sit on one of the couches and takes his place across from me. He presses a button on the side of the table. The top splits and from below rises a second tabletop that holds our lunch.

 

“So Harry, about your costume for the opening ceremonies. My partner, Portia, is the stylist for your fellow tribute, Louis. And our current thought is to dress you in complementary costumes,” says Niall. “As you know, it's customary to reflect the flavor of the district.”

“So I'll be in a coal miner outfit?” I ask, hoping this won't actually be the case.

“Not exactly. You see, Portia and I think that coal miner things's very overdone. No one will remember you in that. And we both see it as our job to make the District Twelve tributes unforgettable,” says Niall.

I'll be naked for sure, I think.

“So rather than focus on the coal mining itself, we're going to focus on the coal,” says Niall.

Naked and covered in black dust, I think.

“And what do we do with coal? We burn it,” says Niall, happily. “You're not afraid of fire, are you Harry?” He sees my expression and grins.

 

A few hours later I'm dressed in what will either be the most sensational or the deadliest costume in the opening ceremonies. I'm in a simple black unitard that covers me from ankle to neck. Shiny leather boots lace up to my knees. But it's the fluttering cape made of streams of orange, yellow, and red and the matching headpiece that define this costume. Niall plans to light them on fire just before our chariot rolls into the streets.

 

“It's not real fire, of course, just a little synthetic fire Portia and I came up with. You'll be perfectly safe,” he says. But I'm not convinced I won't be perfectly barbequed by the time we reach the city's center.

 

My face is relatively clear of makeup, just a bit of highlighting here and there. My curls have been swept to the left in my usual style. “I want the audience to recognize you when you're in the arena,” says Niall dreamily. “Harry, the boy who was on fire.”

I'm actually relieved when Louis shows up, dressed in an identical costume. He should know about fire, being a baker's son and all. Everyone is absolutely giddy with excitement over what a splash we'll make. Except Niall. He just seems a bit weary as he accepts congratulations.

 

We're whisked down to the bottom level of the Remake Center, which is essentially a gigantic stable. The opening ceremonies are about to start. Pairs of tributes are being loaded into chariots pulled by teams of four horses. Ours are coal black.

 

“What do you think?” I whisper to Louis. “About the fire?”

“I'll rip off your cap if you'll rip off mine,” he says, through gritted teeth.

“Deal,” I say. Maybe, if we can get them off soon enough, we'll avoid the worst burns. “I know we promised Zayn we'd do exactly what they said, but I don't think he considered this angle.”

“Where is Zayn anyway? Isn't he supposed to protect us from this sort of thing?” says Louis.

“Well with all that alcohol in him, it's probably not advisable to have him around an open flame,” I say.

And suddenly we're both laughing.

 

The opening music begins. Massive doors slide open revealing the crowd-lined streets. The ride lasts about twenty minutes and ends up at the City Circle where they will welcome us, play the anthem, and escort us into the Training Center, which will be our home/prison until the Games begin.

 

The tributes from District 1 ride out in a chariot pulled by snow-white horses. District 1 makes luxury items for the Capitol and are always favorites.

District 2 gets into position to follow them. In no time at all, we are approaching the door and I can see that between the overcast sky and evening hour the light is turning gray. The tributes from District 11 are just rolling out when Niall appears with a lighted torch and a big grin on his face. “Here we go then,” he says, and before we can react he sets our capes on fire. I gasp, waiting for the heat, but there is only a faint tickling sensation. Niall climbs up before us and ignites our headdresses. He lets out a sigh of relief. “It works. Now remember, heads high, smiles. They're going to love you!”

Niall jumps off the chariot and has one last idea. He shouts something to us, but the music drowns him out. He shouts again and gestures.

“What's he saying?” I ask Louis. For the first time, I look at him and realize that ablaze with fake flames, he is dazzling. And I must be too.

“I think he said for us to hold hands,” says Louis. He grabs my right hand in his left, and we look to Niall for confirmation. He nods and gives a thumbs-up, and that's the last thinkg I see before we enter the city.

 

The crowd's initial alarm at our appearance quickly changes to cheers and shouts of “District Twelve!” Every head is turned our way, pulling the focus from the three chariots ahead of us. At first, I'm frozen, but then I catch sight of us on a large television screen and am floored by how breathtaking we look. In the deepening twilight, the firelight illuminates our faces. We seem to be leaving a trail of fire. Niall was right about the minimal makeup, we both look more attractive but utterly recognizable.

Remember, heads high. Smile. They're going to love you! I hear Niall's words in my head. I lift my chin a bit higher, put on my most winning smile, making sure to show off my dimples, and wave with my free hand. As I gain confidence, I actually blow a few kisses to the crowd. The people of the Capitol are going nuts, showering us with flowers, shouting our names which they have bothered to look up in the program.

 

“Harry! Harry!” I can hear my name being called from all sides.

 

 

We're escorted back to the Training Center and the doors have only just shut behind us when we're engulfed by the prep teams. As I glance around, I notice a lot of the other tributes are shooting us dirty looks, which confirms what I've suspected, we've literally outshone them all. Then Niall and Portia are there, helping us down from the chariot, carefully removing our flaming capes and headdresses.

 

“You should wear flames more often,” says Louis. “They suit you and bring out the green in your eyes.” And then he gives me a smile that seems so genuinely sweet with just the right touch of shyness that unexpected warmth rushes through me. A warning bell goes off in my head, but since two can play at this game, I give him a kiss on his cheek, right on his bruise.  

 

Author's Note:  Chapter 5 is done, hope you guys liked it!  Don't forget to fan, favorite and comment.  Thanks for reading:) 

~Catnip  

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