The day Ainsley Haff's name was pulled from the glass jar, she knew her life would never be the same again.

Midway through the Hunger Games, Ainsley tries to cope with the death of her brother Elijah. She searches for allies high and low... As well as Elijah's killer, Amielee.


1. Chapter 1

The sun beats down hard on my pale skin, while beads of sweat drip down from my forehead. My shaking hands fumble to grasp onto the metallic sword. I breath heavily as I launch myself behind a tree, trying to become unnoticed. Bushes rustle behind me, making me flinch. My head whips around, and I sigh in relief as I realize the creature is just a rabbit.

A rabbit. Food. 

I dive towards the create and my sword goes into it's neck. I smile with pleasure. My brother and I were eating well tonight.

I crouch behind a rock, waiting. My older brother Elijah is supposed to meet me here. He went to scout for water, and I for food.

You see, this is the Hunger Games. Elijah and I were both reaped the day of the reaping. consequentially. That meant we left our family back at home in District 6. My mom, my dad, and our two younger twin siblings Jaylinn and Carson. Both of us might not make it back. Or maybe one of us will. But either way, my family is loosing at least one of us.

I'm drifting asleep when a cannon goes off. My eyes open in panic, and I start to breath heavily, fearing the cannon might belong to my brother.

Hoots and whistles echo from the wood. That can only mean one thing. These are the killers.

"You got him good, Amielee." I recognize the voice of Charston, the boy from District 1.

"Thanks. He was an easy kill." Amielee, from District 2 laughs.

"I wonder where his sister is." Charston calls loudly. I put a hand to my forehead. Sister? That could only mean me. There is only one set of siblings in the games. Me and Elijah. A whimper escapes me mouth and I turn away.

"Ainsley!" The boy from District 2, Brantley, shouts throughout the forest. I duck and start to run quietly, my small steps making little noise as they hit the leaves below me.

"Ainsley! It's me, Elijah!" Charston uses his 'Elijah' voice. I hear Amielee laugh in the background. The other boys shush her. I run faster, tripping over rocks and sticks. Their voices get quieter and quieter as I get farther away. Tears start to stream out of my eyes. My foot catches something on the ground and I fall onto the ground. I press my fingers to my eyes to try and stop the tears from flowing out.

"Hi." A soft voice draws my attention. I glance up to see a girl maybe a year younger than me staring at me from above. I gasp and hold my sword up, my hands shaking. The girl has tan skin with light blonde hair and pale skin. She has it in a messy bun. She's short, but her face shows maturity.

"No, no. I'm not going to hurt you." She gives me a small smile and touches my hand, making me lower the sword.

"Ainsley." She sits down in front of me and crosses her legs. I nod. "I'm Maddy." She smiles softly.

"I saw what happened to your brother." Her face falls and she looks down. I bite my lip. "I'm so sorry." Maddy pulls her legs close to her chest and looks back up to me.

"My partner, Edsel, died during the blood bath. I couldn't bring myself to save him. I was too scared. So I ran. If I make it out of here alive, my whole district will hate me." Her eyes start to tear up, and I nod with sympathy. We both stare at the ground, nothing coming out of our lips. I break the silence.

"We need to go somewhere safe." I push myself up to my feet and offer a hand to Maddy.

"Are we allies now?" She asks. I nod. A broad smile appears on her face.

We start to walk out of the woods, searching for somewhere safer.

"How many people are left?" I ask. Maddy looks up in the sky, mumbling some words.

"Well, there is the Careers. Amielee, Charston, and Brantley. The other three died when the living three betrayed them. There's us, so that's five. And think there are two others working alone. Priya from District 7, and Garth from District 12." Maddy sticks her hands in the pockets of her leather jacket.

"Maybe if we team up from either Priya or Garth, we could take out the careers." I suggest, but Maddy shakes her head.

"If we team up with them, we will have to all kill each other in the end. Better if we search for Priva and Garth, kill them, then go on our separate ways." She explains. I nod.

After a moment of silence, I belt out a question that startles Maddy. "Do you want to kill the Careers?" She stops mid step, and turns to face me. Her green eyes bulge out, staring straight into my bright blue ones.

"Are you insane?" She almost shouts. I cover her mouth with my hand, glancing around for any other tributes who might of heard. Maddy slaps my hand away and looks at me like I just ate a meal of bugs.

"Look, I want to at least kill Amielee. She killed my brother." I turned away, trying to avoid the tears that were spilling out of my eyes. Maddy sighs.

"We'd have to have magical powers to do that, Ainsley. You don't know how she killed your brother." As soon as the words come out of her mouth, she gasps and turns away.

"Ainsley, I'm so sorry. I didn't mean for it to come out like that." She covers her mouth. I bite my lip to keep from crying.

"No, it's okay." My voice cracks in the middle of my sentence.

Loosing my brother could possibly be the worst thing that's ever happened to me. No, wait. It IS the worst thing. He was my guardian. Now he'll be my guardian angel from up above. He protected my every step of the way. He was in this with me. When we were young, there was a pack of wolves right outside the District, trying to come in. I was terrified. Elijah kept me smiling, on my feet. He told stories of how the wolves were too dumb to even know what an Ainsley was. They would leave me alone, and I believed him. He was always there for me. Now, I'm lost. I'm 15 years old, going onto 16 IF I make it out alive.

"We should eat." I say, pulling out the rabbit I caught from earlier. I was planning to save it for me and Elijah for a special treat, but now it seems worthless. Better eat it now.

"I don't have anything." Maddy avoids eye contact with me.

"I do. I caught a rabbit earlier today." I pull out the plump rabbit that sat in my backpack. Maddy turns to look at the rabbit, and her eyes light up.

"Alright. Uh, I'll get a fire going."


After our bellies are fed, I watch as Maddy stomps on the fire to put it out.

"Thanks." I give her a swift nod before scanning the area. The sun is now hidden behind the trees, meaning it will get dark soon. My eyes stop on a tree just a few yards away.

"We're staying there for the night." I point to the tree, which has two large branches, hidden by smaller ones. We'd be safe up there. Maddy nods and starts bounding to the tree. I follow closely behind.

We climb up the tree and into separate branches. It takes me a minute to realize she's staring at something above me.

"Maddy? Is everything okay?" I ask. She puts her finger to her lips, and points above me.

"That's a monkey." I whisper. I turn back to her and she nods slowly, beckoning me towards her.

"Slowly..." She murmurs. I place my hand on the branch in front of me, carefully setting my foot behind me. My breathing is steady, but my heart pounds. I look up at Maddy. She extends a hand to me, and I grab onto it.

"Careful." She buzzes. I nod and pull myself up next to her. Behind me, I can feel the monkey's cold eyes on my back. I close my eyes as I hear it munching on a leaf. The next thing I know, my foot slips and I'm dangling by one hand. Maddy gasps and bends down to offer a hand. I try to lift my hand up to grab hers, but the force of gravity brings it down.

"Stupid gravity." I mumble. Maddy laughs at the retort, but immediately stops when the monkey start to chirp. Or make some sort of howling noise. My eyes flash up to Maddy in fear.

"Let go." She whispers. I tilt my head in confusion. She looks up at the monkey, then back to me frantically.

"Let go Ainsley!" Shocked at her order, I let my hand slip from the branch and land on the ground. Maddy lands beside me shortly after.

"Maddy, what's going on?" I ask. She grabs my wrist and gives it a tug, indicating we should start running.

"Behind you." She calls. I turn around to see a flood of monkeys hurdling after us.

"We're dead."

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