Another year, another Reaping. Look at this place – screens, Peacekeepers… quite a show.
You’re really not helping me right now.
You’re shaking, Korey. Scared, are we?
No. None of this makes me nervous at all. Of course I’m scared - I’m freaking terrified.
See, that’s why I’M talking. Take your mind off all of this. Let’s think about this properly for a moment. You’re one of what, maybe three thousand potential tributes in District 7? You work like a dog for these heartless scum, and they don’t respect you, just because you happen to be the child of a Peacekeeper. The chances of your name actually COMING out of that box are pretty small. But do you really want to stay here in the forest and cut wood for the rest of your miserable life?
I’d prefer that than to die at the Capitol’s hands.
You’re delusional, Korey, and that works two ways. The Capitol are the reason that you’re here, living like you are now… it makes no difference. You’ll work yourself to the bone, and eventually die of starvation – supposing of course the District doesn’t EAT you first.
Or what? I volunteer for the Games and get killed fighting?
You don’t remember what your daddy told you?
I’ve never had to fight. Not like that.
But you’re a more than capable killer. We both know that.
Her death was YOUR goddamned fault.
I am you, Korey. Something to bear in mind. And she DID try to kill us first. Something to bear in mind. You just caved in and let me do all the work. Easy enough. No-one managed to pin the blame on us. Useful thing about cutting trees down – accidents happen. We’re more alike than you think.
I’m nothing like you.
But you’re not shutting me out, are you?
I need someone intelligent to talk to.
See? You need me. And I need you. We’re perfect for each other.
You’re a killer.
Which is just what you need for the Games.
I’m not volunteering.
Sure you are. Whether or not you want to admit it, you hate your life here. You’d happily die tomorrow if it meant that you could get away from all of this. Just think – when you’ve won, you’ll be able to in comfort. Hell, you won’t even have to SEE anyone if you don’t want to. And we both know that you’ve got a fighting chance here.
The Careers will finish me in the first five seconds.
I’ve always wanted to kill a Career. But you’re already anticipating it, aren’t you? The rush of adrenalin, the strength, the speed… hundreds of hours of hard work suddenly turned towards something different. Admit it, Korey. You want to fight.
First name’s coming out of the barrel…
Talitha Carrington. Isn’t she that girl that you liked the look of?
I think so.
She’ll make a good tribute. No tears, no fear… she’s doing better than you. She’s not even shaking. Confident, smooth movements. Good balance. Looks like a half-decent hunter, too. Not bad. And not bad-looking, either, let’s be completely honest. If you weren’t so caught up inside your own head all the time, you might’ve been able to talk to her at some point…
What was that?
You win. We’re going into the Games.
Go on, say it niiiice and loud…
Hahahahahaha… look at them. They didn’t see THAT coming. Self-righteous little…
You’re a real piece of work, aren’t you?
Careful what you say to me, Korey. I AM you.
Well, at least I’m not going to be lonely at the Games. I’ll have you bouncing around the inside of my skull. Talitha’s staring at me – it’s really off-putting. Nice eyes, though…
I’m going to laugh at you if she ends up knifing you while you look at her ‘nice eyes’…
She’s scared. But she’s hiding it perfectly. How do you think…?
Practice. You even know where she comes from?
In the village. Not sure where, though.
From the kitchens. She’s a cook. Makes food for the Peacekeepers. And I think we both know just how – let’s say intimidating – they are. If you can cook for those ice cubes, then you’d probably think she can handle being watched by the whole of Panem. Speaking of which, smile. Wave a little.
I just signed my own death warrant thanks to you. I’m not smiling.
You’re no fun.
They’ll think I’m insane.
Korey, you ARE insane. You’re talking to a little voice inside your head. A voice that made you kill that girl in the woods. Do yourself a favour, and just accept the fact that you’re a functioning lunatic. Once you come to grips with that, things should be a lot smoother.
I’m still not smiling.
Fine, then. We’ll have to work on that.
Wait. Talitha’s talking.
“What the hell are you playing at?”
Aggressive. Confrontational. You’re right – she IS terrified.
“I got bored.”
“But volunteering? Are you out of your freaking mind?”
If only she knew. “Probably. Why’s it worry you, though?”
Ooh, good one, Korey. Good one. She has to think about that.
“It doesn’t. Just didn’t think I’d have to kill you of all people.”
You know, that’s as good as saying “I love you”.
Seriously, though. “You of all people”… that’s cute.
Can I focus on trying to keep my balance?
Sure you can. Just follow Talitha’s lead.
If I didn’t know any better, I’d have said that YOU were in love with her.
Korey, Korey, Korey… I don’t love ANYONE. I’m just a little voice in the back of your mind, remember? And, joking aside, don’t get attached to her. Chances are you’re going to have to end up killing her anyway… look, you’re moving. People are applauding. Every measly male tribute in this crowd owes you. They’re all going to be backing you these Games… we can get them to cook us chicken when we get back.
IF we get back.
Meh. Doesn’t matter either way. They’ll still be cooking chicken.
For a little voice in the back of my head, you sound pretty… human.
I just share your love of poultry.
Now comes the waiting. Wait for the train to arrive, just sit and wait. Is that our trainer? The victor… what did they call him again? Carver? Something like that. He got through a few years back – with an axe and a lucky break with those bird muttations. You remember that?
And barely got out in one piece. We’ll do better than he will. His name’s Cassius, not Carver, by the way. Just keep moving – get to that train. Don’t let these people slow you down.