Red Riding Hood, Drenched in Blood

Welcome to the commentary of the 71st Annual Hunger Games!
And there is the end of the countdown. Let the bloodbath begin!
We have a right mix of tributes here, and we predict the winner this time will be Feather from District 1. As you can see, she is currently running towards the cornucopia for her signature weapon, the -
Huh? What's this? She's... dead? Already? And her killer, probably a career or...
Well, I never. Little Red Riding Hood, Johanna Mason is the killer. And she isn't stopping with Feather. Her hood is covered with a different kind of red.
I guess that Johanna isn't Little Red Riding Hood after all; maybe she's the wolf.

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1. Reaping

The red dress that my mother made me wear for the Reaping made me groan. I thought it made me look like Little Red Riding Hood from the old fairy tale that she used to tell, and I guess I was right. When I was picked as tribute, the Capitol chose that nickname for me too. I would say ‘great minds think alike’, but I don’t want to inflate the Capitol’s big head any more than it already has.

My name is Johanna Mason, and I’m 17 years old. I grew up in District 7, amongst the trees and the like, and I was trained with an axe from an early age. I was always a particularly ‘nice’ child, who snatched from other children and pushed them over. There was even an instance when my victim lost a finger, but nobody needs to know about that. Everyone around me knew I was a nasty, rebellious piece of work, and no amount of aging or maturing did anything about it. I was ruthless, cunning and uncaring.

But the Capitol didn’t need to know about that.

As soon as my name was read out I knew what I had to do. My babyish dress and my still maturing face enabled me to play a nice little role. Drama was always one of my strong suits, and it was time to use it to my advantage. I could play Little Red Riding Hood, a nice child who shared with other children and picked them up when they fell down. There was even an instance where my character stopped a girl chopping off a boy’s finger, but she was way too modest to tell that story. Everyone around her knew she was a lovely, obedient little lady and no amount of bad influence or trauma would do anything about it. She was polite, docile and caring.

And the Capitol should believe her story.

As the crowd parted I let my legs tremble and my eyes water. I manage to squeeze out a tear from my normally dry eyes as I slowly tip-toe up to the stage. As I scan the crowd – with my misty eyes that really are just a farce – I catch only a few sceptical looks. The boy I picked on since I was 4; the girl whose hair is short because of my work with scissors; the girl who ‘lost’ her axe when I threw it in the river; the boy without a finger: fortunately they seemed to be the only ones. My plan is set to go well, if I can keep this act up.

“Hello Johanna. Pleased to meet you.” I start to quickly shake my head, and before I know it my escort is laughing and moving on to the next tribute, the male. Something in my body tells me to make my legs give way, but I stop myself. There’s no need to overplay it.

“Elliot Birch.” Luckily he lives in the village across at the edge of the forest, so he doesn’t know me and my true nature. He walks up to the rickety wooden stage, faking confidence. He is only 12 years old and has a mop of mousy brown hair sitting awkwardly on his head. If he had lived near me he would be my victim for sure.

“So, that is settled. Our tributes from District 7 for the 71st Annual Hunger Games are Johanna Mason and Elliot Birch. Let us give them a round of applause.” A silent crowd looks on at us with sadness and pity. I don’t want their pity. I’ll show them, I’ll do just fine.

You just wait, District 7. I’ll be back.

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