The Hope - Catching Fire Competition Entry

What if Volunteering as a Tribute for The Hunger Games was prohibited?
Primrose Everdeen is thrust into the wild world of The Hunger Games at the mere age of sixteen. She's fighting for her family - her sister and mother - but everyone else is fighting for her. Even the other tributes, who should be attempting to kill her, are sacrificing themselves for her life.
Primrose can't die, for the sake of everyone in Panem.
She's 'The Hope'.


1. The Hope

(Some things in this fan fiction have been changed to suit the story)




"As always, ladies first." Effie dipped her hand in the clear bowl, an uneasy look on her made-up face. "The female tribute for the 74th Hunger Games is: Primrose Everdeen." She attempted a cheery tone, but it was laced with sadness. My heart sped up. Surely I'd heard wrong. She scanned the crowd. I gulped. I had to do it. Slowly, I made my way down the row, into the middle of the courtyard. A pitiful smile came from everyone.
"Prim!" I spun on my heels, spotting my sister. "Prim, no!" Tears stung in my eyes, threatening to spill. Guards flocked to her, grabbing at her arms and pushing her back. In the corner of my eye, I noticed Gale running over to her. "I volunteer as a tribute!" Everyone silenced. The world seemed to move in slow motion. My breath hitched in my throat.
"I'm afraid," Effie started, causing my attention to turn to her. "volunteering is prohibited." I cast one last glance at Katniss, her eyes wide with terror, and continued my walk to the stage. "And, now for the boys." I stood quietly in my position. "The male tribute for the 74th Hunger Games is: Talon Kayes." A boy emerged from the mass of children and teenagers who turned to stare at him, as they had done to me. His jaw was set - the way Katniss' jaw was when she was trying not to cry in front of me or mom. He walked confidently, though there was a slight shake in his shoulders. He took his position as Effie finished her speech, followed by us being escorted rather harshly into the large building behind us.

I snapped out of the flashback, losing myself in another.

Blinking away unshed tears, I asked Haymitch to repeat what he had said. "You have a worse attention span than me, Prim, and I'm a drunk." A laughing sigh left my mouth as I attempted to smile. "You know your strengths and weaknesses. Anything that reminds you of Katniss you need to ignore. You are adorable and you look helpless, use it to your advantage. Talon will cover for you while you get your weapons, and then you run." He grabbed my shoulders. "Talon made me promise not to tell you but I'm quite intoxicated right now. He won't let you die. He'll be there every second. You won't see him but he'll be there. Don't be afraid, Prim." I nodded, stepping into the lift. "Good luck."
"I owe you, Haymitch. Thank you. Let Katniss and mom know I love them." The clear door shut. I closed my eyes as the lift rose, mentally preparing myself for what awaited.

I straightened my arms, attempting to engross myself in the present.
Twenty three other people, all arranged in a clock-like circle, wildly watching each other.
Talon's brown eyes meeting mine.
The weapons base, perched on top of a mound of rocks.
It'll be over soon.
The knives and crossbow I'd requested glinting in the sun.
Snow fallying lightly.
Talon giving me a smile.
Katniss. Mom. Katniss. Mom. Katniss. Mom.
The memory was too vivid.
My head hurt.

I remembered the next few minutes as a blur as I ran as fast as my legs would let me towards the weapons. Shouts and screams filled the air, but they were distant, as if I was underwater. I reached the pile of rocks, scrambling up onto the closest one. Sparing a glance behind me, I saw Talon throw the boy from District 5 away from himself. I carried on climbing the boulders, my skin catching on the ragged edges and tearing, the blood making it harder to ascend.
I reached the top, hauling myself up onto the platform. A girl stared at me, a long, sword-like knife in her hand. "Move and you die." She walked over to me, pointing her weapon at me and she grabbed the bag holding my weapons. "Silly little girl." She raised the sword in her hand, ready to slash down. I was frozen in my place. Her eyes rolled back as she gagged. I noticed the hilt of a knife dug into her chest as she dropped to the floor, my weapons bag falling with her. I picked it up, swinging it onto my back. Talon appeared in front of me, retrieving his dagger from the girl's body. A bang sounded. Followed by four others. Five dead, already...
"For God's sake Prim. Run!" Swallowing a sour taste, I ran.

I could feel the flutter of my heart again; the blockage in my throat; the lead in my stomach, begging for me to collapse in this feeling of terror. But I didn't. All I could do was think and remember. Remember the reasons why I was doing this.

Upon reaching a frozen lake, I paused. Four more bangs vibrated through the arena. Nine dead, fifteen of us left. Fatigue drenched me as I dragged myself to a nearby cluster of trees. Using two daggers, I climbed one of the trees, stabbing the bark in order to hold myself up. When I reached a safe-ish spot, I stopped. I tied myself to the tree as Haymitch had shown me, resting my back against the trunk. He had told me to just wait until I'd heard twenty three bangs. Then, and only then, could I come down from the tree. I slept, occasionally woke by a bang.

I closed my eyes, my back cold against the metal pole, arms aching.

The sound of scuffling woke me. I sat upright, grabbing my crossbow and pointing it at the figure making its way up the tree next to me. It was dark, and I couldn't make out much. The intruder's blade shone in the moonlight. They hauled themself up onto a large branch, almost directly adjacent to mine. "Prim, don't shoot; its Talon." He faced me, his face pale in the twilight. I lowered the crossbow, returning it to my bag.
"Did anyone follow you?" I asked while counting my 'dead tribute' tally on the tree bark. Thirteen dead.
"Thirteen are dead, you know. Its not even day two." I observed, more talking to myself than to Talon.
"They'll try and kill us, you know. Not the other tributes. The people who control this place." Talon replied, looking over at me from his place. There was only about half a foot between us; not much space at all. "It happened when my brother was in it. They put in poisonous gas and stuff. Killed him." He closed his eyes, leaning his head on the tree trunk.
"I didn't know, Talon. I'm -"
"We don't know much about each other, do we? Primrose Everdeen, sixteen years old, District 12... That's all I know." Talon's eyes opened a little - lidded and tired looking, eyelashes skimming his sharp cheekbones.
"Talon Kayes, seventeen, District 12. That's it for me, too." So, we spoke. For a long time we just asked questions, exchanging facts and opinions. I scraped a line in the tree trunk at the sounding of another bang.
"Ten left." Talon mumbled. His eyes were closed again, his breathing heavy and deep. "You'll live, Prim. I promise." I watched as his shoulders fell and he drifted off into sleep, snoring lightly as his mouth hung open.

The night dragged on for what seemed like forever. Two bangs later, I was carving a tube into the tree when an eerie music started playing. The pictures of the fallen tributes showed in the sky. Sixteen dead. Eight left. The eyes of the dead pierced me as I watched. I felt a pang of guilt along with grief for those I hadn't known. I jumped as something touched my arm, calming as I comprehended that it was Talon's hand. He gave me a reassuring squeeze. "It had to happen to someone."
"It doesn't have to happen to anyone." I replied, my voice shaky. It was beginning to get light again, the frosty night dissolving into an almost warmer day. A rumble entered the atmosphere. "Talon?"
"Untie yourself. Quick, Prim. We need to go." We ran, struggling in the thick snow. The rolling sound followed us as we threw ourselves through brambles and bushes. "Don't look back." I looked. An avalanche of snow and ice and rocks tumbled towards us, getting closer faster than we could run away. "I thought I said -"
"Shut up and run you idiot!" I kept running, my boots stomping flattening the crisp grass. A girl stopped in front of us, flustered and rushing. She jumped at me, shaking me by the shoulders.
"You will live! Primrose Everdeen you are the hope." She flung herself around me, hugging me before shouting at Talon: "Don't let her die!" Shocked, I could only stand and watch as the young girl, only around fourteen, ran head-on at the oncoming avalanche. Talon yanked at my hand, screaming at me to move. Still dazed, I stumbled as he scooped me up, running away from the mass of snow. A bang echoed, a broken yell in the sudden silence. Seven left. The avalanche dissipated into nothing. My whole body shook as I bit down hard on my lip, willing myself not to cry.
"Its okay, Prim." Talon held me close. I could feel the warmth radiating from his body. "You're just in shock. Go to sleep. I'll keep you safe." He whispered faintly. I was still shaking, even as I fell into a deep sleep.

"Is she alive?"
"She's breathing. She might have passed out. Its got to be shocking to have someone sacrifice themselves for you."
"I know... Just... She can't die."
"I know. The saviour thing. She's the hope. I know, Talon."
"She can't die. I'm not talking about that. She can not die."
I woke to voices. I gasped, shooting up from my laying position. My dry mouth opened and closed as I tried to speak. "What's happening?" I croaked. Looking around, I acknowledged that we were still in the arena. Talon was crouched down next to me. He peered the man stood over me through thick lashes. His attention came back to me.
"Everyone but us, Prim. They're all dead. We did it. This is Dewyn. He's going to protect you when I die." A cough erupted from my throat.
"Die? What? No. Talon, you're not dying." His mouth spread into a sympathetic smile. Dewyn didn't look much older than me, but he was frail. Talon was lean and muscular. There was no way Dewyn could do a better job. The virtual stranger announced that he was going to hunt and disappeared into the forest.
"You're the hope, Prim. It doesn't matter if I die before Dewyn or not. All that matters is that you don't." Talon's large hand cupped my cheek. It was warm against my frozen skin.
"I've heard that three times now, Talon, yet I still don't know what it means. I'm nothing special. That girl... She was only young..." I choked back a cry, digging my nails into my thighs to stop myself from breaking.
"You'll find out soon enough. Dewyn will be back soon and you two can eat and I'll be gone. When you hear the bang, make your way towards the starting point. Dewyn will escort you and then he'll go, too. And you'll win and you can go home and see Katniss and your mom and -" I heard the catch in Talon's voice. I watched the tears well up in his eyes. I watched him try to blink them away. I watched him and he watched me.
"You don't have to go." A twinkling noise chimed and I searched around, looking for the source. A tiny package appeared in front of us, attached to a parachute. I grabbed at it, opening it abruptly. It was a letter, wrapped around a petite box. The box was black, a silver P embossed in the top. I shoved it in my pocket, hoping Talon didn't see. I don't know why... It felt special. Its a machine, H. My eyebrows furrowed as I thought. "Emergency shut down... Like a self-destruct sequence?" Talon's eyes widened as he collapsed from kneeling to sitting.
"The three posts! Of course. Prim you are our hope." His hands held my face and his voice lowered to a husky whisper. "You're my hope." A rustling in the foliage caused me to pull myself away.

We ate as Talon explained the plan to Dewyn, who was fully on board with the whole idea. I scraped a map onto the thick ice to the left of us with a dagger, showing where the three points were. Talon explained the three posts; three sky scraping metal poles. They each get struck once by lightning, one every four hours. "If I'm right, the next one will be struck soon. I don't know which; it seems to be random. Your knives need to be pointed directly at each other. There may be a strange feeling as the electricity passes through you, but it shouldn't hurt. Ready?" Talon stood up, holding a hand out for me to take. He helped me up and we started walking to the East as Dewyn went West.
"Good luck." I mumbled as we turned to face each other, before separating. Talon took my hand, smiling softly at me.
"Be careful, Miss Everdeen." He lightly pulled me closer.
"Don't go all serious on me now, Mr Kayes." Smirking, he shifted even closer to me.
"I like it when you say my last name." He was biting his lip, trying not to laugh. I slapped his arm.
"Now you're just being rude." Rolling my eyes, I chuckled. His hand brushed my cheek, his fingers setting in my hair.
"Forgive me." His voice was gravelly and his eyes were almost closed as he looked at me. My heart rate sped. My palms were sweaty as he leaned in. My knees were shaking as his lips grazed mine. My thoughts were lost as I closed the gap.

I relived the kiss in my mind as I waited at my post. My back was flush against it - Talon had stated that our clothes were made of conductive material, and the electric current should pass through - and my arms were outstretched, pointed in the directions of Talon and Dewyn, aimed at the coordinates Dewyn had calculated (he's very good with coordinates). The memories were long and excruciatingly vivid.
Remembering the package, I pulled the little box out of my pocket and opened it. Inside was a mocking jay pin. Katniss' mocking jay pin. I'd seen her wear it before. Without haste, I fastened it onto my arm, looking up to the sky and returning my arms to their position. I can only hope, I thought.

The lightning came not long after. It hit Dewyn's post, a heart-wrenching scream travelled through the arena. A sharp pain entered my left arm first - the arm pointed towards Dewyn - and then was shortly followed by a deathly gripe in my right arm. I strained to hold my stance as the energy travelled through me, wrapping around my veins and drenching me of life. All of a sudden, the hurt stopped. The only sound was my own heart, beating slowly in my head. My legs limp and my head heavy, I fell.

I woke to the sound of beeping. The surface I lay on was hard. The air was murky. The environment was cold. My head hurt. I slept.
I struggled for breath when I woke again. My eyes peeled open slowly. Turning my head to the left, I made eye contact with a groggy looking Talon. "You're awake." He grinned, running a hand through his hair.
"Where am I?" My voice was hoarse.
"We're in the Capitol. We broke the system. Roof caved in."
"It worked? Dewyn, is he...?"
"Dewyn couldn't take it... We're fine, though. You're fine. Just a bit weak." I swallowed down the bitter taste evading my mouth.
"What now?"
"I have no idea, Prim. I doubt they'll let us off easily..." Talon sighed, holding my hands in his. The door flew open, Effie Lemon flying in, a whirlwind of colours. "Effie?" Talon jerked back, standing at the sight of Effie, flustered and crying. She dropped to the ground, stopping the door from closing and allowing me to see into the corridor. A body lay on the floor, beaten and bloody, his dirty hair sprawled out around him. I screamed. Talon whispered. "Haymitch."

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