Eagle-Eye

16 year old Ven Fairweather has been hunting alongside his sister ever since their parents passed and even moreso since their uncle has become sick. When Ven gets Reaped for the 12th Hunger Games he transitions from small time hunter providing for his family to being the hunted. Will he survive the 12th Hunger Games? And what about Trin, the cunning Career from District 4? What exactly drew Ven and Trin together? Find out in this Hunger Games fanfic.

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1. How it Started

HOW IT STARTED

 

                I pulled my arrow back, my arm taut, my muscle rippling and I let the arrow fly. I heard the sound of the impact before the arrow embedded in the deer’s sinew and bone. I had struck it cleanly between the eyes. I let a smile slip onto my face—a rarity these days—given the situation my sister and I were unwillingly placed in. Our parents had passed away and we were currently being looked after by our ailing uncle. We’d only ever had each other. Our uncle didn’t have much in the way of anything being a poor farmer from District 11. The back-breaking work was arduous and due to a combination of his age and the nature of his tasks he’d developed debilitating cramping and atrophying of his joints.

                “Nice one Ven!” My sister picked her way down the tree, scaling down as nimbly as a monkey. She landed with a soft thud and caught the deer before it crashed through thick foliage and branches. We heard the familiar birdsongs of willow cardinals and knew that the horizon was at its peak. The sky was painted an array of bright vermilion and a burst of ochre. It was a beautiful sight and one—due to today being the Reaping—we—or I probably wouldn’t see for long.

                “Isn’t it?” I couldn’t count the amount of times I’d placed my name into that ball. I couldn’t count the amount of times I’d feverishly applied for tesserae in exchange for some grain and oil. The amounts were always rationed—always controlled—but we could hardly afford the clothes on our back since our uncle had retired from farming some years ago.

                 I joined her in slicing up the meat and skinning it, bloodying our hands and sullying our clothes. All the gruesomeness from it was worth it. Normally when we were younger, we would’ve been squeamish about ever slaying an animal but after watching our parents get taken away for trying to rebel—after seeing them become Avox—well, this was nothing compared to that.

                “You’ll get a hefty coin for this one. Two quarters for the Mayor and two quarters for the town healer,” Peony exclaimed brightly as she slung the slabs of meat over her shoulder.

                I watched her as she deftly picked her way over a log, balancing on it with delicate tip toes and an odd little waver here and there. Soon she was near a bubbling stream and washing off the blood and stripping off excess fat and sinew. This deer was particularly fatty which meant it had gotten its fill. It was a young buck we had slain and the antlers had been sawn off by me with a hacksaw. The velvet had sloughed off in the stream turning parts of it a pale pink.

                “I’ll sell this off, I’ve always been better at charming the clientele of The Market,” my sister chuckled but she was right. What I lacked in charisma though I made up for in sheer strength and cleverness. Sure my sister was agile and cunning but I still brushed her aside when she offered to volunteer for some tesserae.

                “No way am I losing you too and besides I’m the man of this house. If anyone’s dying it’s not going to be me. Best believe I’ll be the victor,” I exclaimed and I was sure of it.

                 My sister got the vivisected meat sold off quickly for some rabbit carcasses. I proudly hauled the burlap sack with the cleaned meat back to our humble abode. We lived around the outskirts of the farm on this small plot of land my parents had owned. I dropped the bag of rabbit carcasses by the door and I greeted my uncle.

                “Uncle how’s it going, we got some fine rabbit carcasses for you, Peony and I.”

                He grunted in reply. He was losing his ability to speak to. Every day was a challenge for him to utter even a letter. Now it had progressed to something primal and disheartening. Peony and I knew he didn’t have much time left but we also knew that our only chance at salvaging even a slice of the good life we’d tried to grasp was through winning the Hunger Games. One of us had to emerge the victor and it had to be me. Peony was as a good as hunting as she was seemingly innately good at healing. She’d picked up a few herbs along the way and was boiling a pot of tea on the tiny stove we’d rummaged through piles of junk for a few years ago. She’d ground up the herbs to “release the flavors” as she’d said with a mortar and pestle we’d bartered anxiously for. It was something vital for healers to have since their remedies were almost purely holistic. We dealt with the agro industry so harvesting tubers and tomatoes and planting seeds, getting our hands dirty with wet soil was something Peony and I were used to.

                “The Reaping’s today Uncle,” Peony was tense as she stirred the mash of herbs in the boiling water. It hissed against the metal pot. She gripped the handle and overturned the mixture into a mug before placing it on a small foldout table in front of him.

                “Ven’s aching to be picked as Tribute.”

                The air was thick with silence. Our uncle picked up a notepad and scratched a few words onto it in sloppy and unsure handwriting with normally adroit fingers gone dead and numb inside.

                “I don’t want to lose you m’boy.”

                I didn’t want to lose them either. Peony’s hand stilled as she sliced up our portions of illegally obtained deer meat. We weren’t allowed to hunt but our uncle pushed us to go out and assume the roles of hunters. In the Hunger Games you were the hunted. Get to the Cornucopia and you’d feast like a king or queen. Lose and your body would be taken away by a team of Peacekeepers. All of Panem would watch you take your last breath. It had to be me. I had to be the one. I watched as Peony ceaselessly cared for uncle.

                “I’ll make you proud uncle,” I kissed him on his temple and he feigned a half smile with a tired face. He drifted off to sleep and I made my way upstairs before Peony could admonish me and try to change my mind. I knew she didn’t want me to go either no one truly wanted their loved ones offered up as Tribute.

                It was a game of probability and a pitting of sheer skill against intelligence and craftiness. I knew I possessed both. I was as good at skinning a deer as I was throwing a knife in midair, letting it sail and whistle as it tumbled and pierced its target’s flesh. I was just as good at making traps and snaring bear cubs. I’d run away from an angered mother bear and had escaped with barely a scratch on me twice. It was that kind of survivability that they looked for from their Tributes.

                I was a rarity in that I wanted to go and I wasn’t hesitant or feverish with delirium over being picked. I was damned ready.

                My outfit for the Reaping was a pair of my dad’s old steel toe boots, perfect for trampling through tall grains and wheat fields germinating. I wore some grease stained trousers I quickly ran an iron over it. The siren blared out over the fields. The Reaping had started. Going was compulsory if you chose not to; Peacekeepers would flood your house and make you go. I wasted no time in hugging my uncle fiercely and all of his past memories. Peony and I left him with a hefty slab of deer meat to finish before we wheeled him to the Reaping.

                I was walking to my fate.

              

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