Mercy (A Hunger Games fanfic)

Avea Thatcher isn't like most careers from District 4, she has no interest in the games or the fame and glory that come with being Victor. But after her twin sister, Lyra, is executed, her older sister, Xanthe, decides to volunteer for the 56th Hunger Games as a form of suicide. Avea knows she has to be the one to fight in the games if she is to save her sister and keep her family together. Seen as a traitor by the careers, Avea struggles to stay alive in the arena while keeping a vow she made to Lyra and herself to not let anyone suffer before they die.

"Before I black out I make a vow to myself: 'I will never let anyone suffer like she did. I will never let anyone suffer like my sister did.' And then I'm pulled into the blackness."

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13. Chapter 12

The sun glares from above forcing me to wake up. I sit up and rub my eyes with my free hand to adjust to the bright light. The camp is just as it was last night; I go through our supplies to make sure everything is in order before I carefully pull my hand out of Ronan's. The others are still asleep, so I decide to attempt to get us some food.

After loading my knifes and my tomahawks into my belt I make my way into the woods staying close to the camp so I can hear if anything happens. There are a few birds singing in the trees, but I'll never be able to hit them with my knifes or tomahawks, so I continue my search. A squirrel runs across the ground only fifteen feet in front of me. I carefully aim one of my knifes so that it's just in front of the squirrel's head and hopefully the squirrel will run into it. The knife just barely misses the stupid rodent and I growl in frustration. That knife would have hit any person running across my path and probably killed them, but unfortnatley squirrels are faster than people are.

I pick up my knife still pissed that I missed that damn squirrel and decide to look for some edible plants. I manage to find a blueberry bush but only get a handful from the bush since most of the fruit has rotted in the sun. This food gathering trip is really starting to get on my bad side, first I'm shown up by a freaking squirrel and then all I can find is a blueberry bush full of rotten fruit. I'm in such a pissy mood that I barely notice the raccoon, who has apparently forgotten that it is no longer nigh time, that's only about 2 feet in front of me. When I see it I quickly pull out a knife and throw it into the creature's neck, thankfully raccoons aren't as fast as squirrels. The racoon tries to run but its dead before it has finished its first step. I try to remember what the instructer at the training center said about skinning and gutting animals, but I'm not too keen on ripping this guy's guts out. The dead eyes of the raccoon stare up at me and I know me and my friends really need this food so I suck it up and skin and gut the thing.

When I get back to camp with the now skinned and gutted raccoon everyone else has just woken up. They look shocked when they see the meat in my hands, I'm not sure if it's the sight of raw meat that shocks them or the fact that I caught it.

"You went hunting and actually caught something?" Harrison asks completely stunned and Eris elbows him. Of course it was the latter.

"Thanks for believing in me," I say my voice dripping with sarcasm.

"Let's  fire this bad boy up!" Eris says rubbing her hands together greedily.

Eris builds a small fire, just enough to cook the raccoon but not enough to get us noticed, and I put the raccoon on a long branch and cook it over the fire. The raccoon takes a good two hours to cook, too long if you ask me I don't like the idea of staying in one spot too long, when it's finally done we each take a small chunk of the meat along with a few berries. I wrap the remainder of the meat in my jacket and stuff it in my bag.

"I want to explore the caves," Eris decrees.

She sees the sour look we are all giving her and tries to explain herself, "They could be a valuable resource later on in the games."

Ronan, Harrison, and I share an uncertain look but agree to anyways. The hike through the woods is longer than I remember. Despite the fact that the temperature couldn't be over 60 degrees there is still swarms of mosquitos determined to make us miserable and a pressing humidity that makes me feel claustrophobic. We make our way to the edge of the forest and Eris is about to step forward when we hear a scream followed by the firing of the cannon. I grab Eris by the back of the shirt and yank her back into the forest. We all pull out our weapons and wait for who ever killed the tribute to show themselves. Another wail sounds through the forest, this one much closer, but no cannon shot follows.

"The screams aren't coming from the forest," Ronan says pointedly.

"Where are they coming from then?" Harrison asks skeptically.

"The side of the cliff," Ronan replies gesturing towards the canyon.

Another wail comes from the canyon so we slowly sneak to the edge of the canyon. I had expected to see tributes fighting or even someone who slipped of the canyon wall, but not this. Outside one of the larger caves a tribute girl lays covered in blood, she's dead, but her friend is very much alive. The boy is desperately trying to staunch the flow of blood coming from his stomach and calf, the blood runs through his fingers and over his hands no matter how hard he tries to keep it in. That's not even the worst part because when I see who attacked him and his friend it's not a who but a what; the creature is a giant rat about the size of a dog, it's fur is the color of obsidian and matted with blood, it has a mouth full of long razor sharp teeth and 4 inch claws that sparkle like diamonds in the sun.

The thing leaps on top of him pinning his stomach to the ground; it grabs him by the neck and shakes him like a chew toy. He screams so loud that I think I've busted an ear drum. He backs up to the canyon wall and manages to pull out a small knife that might as well been a tooth pick for the mutt. The mutt digs its long claws into his arm forcing him to drop the knife and pulling him back to the ground. The kid grabs wildly for the knife and manages to stick it into the mutts stomach, but that only  seems to piss the thing off. The mutt's claws dig deeply into the boy's shoulders and I pray that he passes out; the blood seeps through the boys shirt and adds to the pool already on the ground. The scent off blood excites the mutt and it hungrily rips into the boy's stomach trying to get its fill of flesh. I can't stand watching this boy suffer and I remember the vow I made to Lyra. I'll put him out of his misery. I begin making my way down the cliff to where the boy is, but my allies grab me and pull me away from the canyon. The screams from the canyon continue

"Avea, you can't help him!" Eris yells over the noise from the fight in the canyon.

"I can't let him suffer!" I scream back.

"You'll get yourself killed!" My allies pin me down to the ground at the edge of the forest. I struggle until the cannon fires but then I stop. The games have just begun and I've already failed.

A hovercraft comes to take the two bodies away, both of the bodies are horribly mauled: the girl is missing her right arm and the boy's intestines are now spilling out of his stomach, both of them stare blankly at me. The rat returns to its cave the blood of the fallen tributes dripping from its mouth and its claws.

"Well, I guess you were right when you said the caves had mutts in them," Harrison squeaks.

"Ya, I don't think they are an option," Eris says and I couldn't agree with her more.

 

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