“Alright, now today, you and Asher are going to the training center. I suggest you try things you haven’t done before, and don’t make yourself noticed, if you are noticed, they might actually enjoy killing you.” Wisher was acting like mentor. Mags seemed to approve of the tips because she nodded to everything he said.
“ So we shouldn’t practice with spears, or tridents then.” Asher cut his mushroom griddle cakes into little squares.
I kept my head down, slowly sipping my water.
“Yes and try making fire or throwing some knives.” Wisher’s upbeat personality was getting on my nerves. How could someone be so happy about preparing two teens to kill 22 other teens.
“So Crimson, what would you use? Besides your fishing weapons.” Struve hasn’t talked to me since last night.
“Uhh maybe a sword.” I faintly reply. Is that all he is ever going to say to me?
“That’s a start!” He claps his hands, cutting through the silence.
He notices that nobody is happy and he frowns.
“Well you better get changed, you should already be heading down there.” Wisher gestured the helpers to pick up both our plates.
When I walked into my room a outfit was already laid out for me.
It was a dark blue long sleeved shirt with black leather pants.
I quickly changed and placed my long red hair into a high ponytail.
I stand in the mirror, moving around in my outfit. I hadn’t noticed that my skin was so pale. I pressed my nose against it, looking into my eyes. I look normal, which is odd for someone a tribute in the Capital but I guess since they never shown footage of the training center, I wouldn’t know what they dress us in.
I stand back, looking at myself once more before going out in the hall.
I closed the door behind me and started walking toward the living room, that’s when the voices got louder
“What do you mean?” Struve’s voice was deep, he was angry
“I can’t control it, they are upping the system.” the voice was slurring it’s words.
“We need a new plan, like now because they are going to get themselves killed before we can help them and the only way we can he—“ The man that Struve was talking to was looking in my direction.
Struve turned his head and looked at me, his eyes wide.
“Haymitch we will talk about this another time.” he turned back to the man who staggered toward the elevator.
“Who is he?” Haymitch clenched him stomach and vomited just as the elevator shot up.
“Just the district 12 mentor.” He walked past me like it wasn’t odd that a stylist was talking to a mentor. Funny, where was Mags? I haven’t seen her that much since the train, when she promised to help me.
He picked up his glass that contained steaming hot chocolate.
Hot chocolate was a rarity in District Four but on those special occasions when my dad caught a Spiny Dogfish or some other rich fish, we feasted on hot chocolate that he bought at Riguara’s Sweet Shop.
I opened my mouth to speak when Asher walks out from the hall wearing almost an identical outfit. He wore the same shade of blue, but it was short sleeve instead of long sleeve like mine.
“So are we going?” He looked so tall in the boots, that it felt like he was already sixteen.
“Yeah, let’s go.” Struve set down his glass and followed both of us into the elevator.
“Wait why are you coming with us?” I said impertinently, almost instantly regretting it.
“I am not going with you, I am justing heading in the same direction. Thanks.” Struve’s voice got shaky, he definitely seemed strung out, but what could be keeping him awake? He wasn’t going to be set up in an unknown arena with god knows what and forced to kill or be killed.
The rest of the ride was quiet, although it was a simple ten seconds, when the doors opened, Struve abruptly stormed out of the elevator.
Asher and I walked together to the training center, we had a short conversation about where we should each start off first. We decided that if we separated and then shared secrets afterward, we would kill a lot of time. So we decided I would start with making a fire while he started with snares.
“See you later little brother.” I gave him a small hug.
“See you later Crimson.” He let go and we entered the training center. It was a lot bigger than I thought. It was filled with so many stations, so many things to learn.
We gathered into the small group that stood in front of the capital lady who stood above all of us on a small platform.A peacekeeper came around and pinned our District number onto our backs.
After what seemed like all 24 of us were here, Atala began to read off the list of stations. I looked to the other tributes and tried to think of their names.
District one, Talon and Rapalia, they were easy, they were the careers and they were tall and fit.
District two, Titus and Laurel. They were also easy to identify because they help their heads high and gave everyone a venomous look.
District three, I didn’t the know the boys name but the girl’s name was Terra.
District five, I didn't know any of them
District six, Shai and Leonis, Struve had pointed them out to me.
District seven, Wolfmark and Fannia
District eight, Martial and Saffra
District nine, Laurentul and Valora
District ten, Nur and Spens, unlike everyone else they were smiling and laughing with each other. You don’t see that a lot with tributes considering what happens in the arena.
District eleve, it was Cordo and I think her name was Becca. She had a normal name which made it kinda easy to match with her face.
Last but not least, District twelve with Velvet and Vamos.
After Atala finished reading the list we were set off to do whatever we liked.
I made my way to the fire making station, where I was alone for a while until Talon moseyed his way next to me.
I sat on the ground, on my knees giving me full access to make a fire.
Slowly, I ran my hands up and down the sticks, letting out a thin line of smoke from the log.
“You can do better.” Talon’s voice was loud as he rubbed his hands faster.
Naturally my hands fought with his until we both had a giant flame growing from the log.
Talon wiped the sweat from his forehead.
“Fun working with you.” he quickly stood up and walked over to Rapalia where they practiced with the spears.
After a while I quit and moved on to knives.
I never knew you could throw knives, that is when I saw Spens, who hurled the machetes right into the center of the dummies.
Nur stood by his side, watching how he perfected his throw.
I held the machete in my hand, and propelled it into the left shoulder of the dummy.
Spens and Nur both looked at me and looked back at each other.
“You are doing it wrong.” Spens walked over with Nur and snatched the machete from my hand.
“You hold it behind your back like you are casting and then throw it as if you were the casting a line into the water.” Spens mimicked how to cast a line and perfectly impaled the dummy.
“You try.” he handed me the machete. I did exactly what he said.
“Cast a line” I whispered to myself right when I thrusted my arm forward, letting go of the machete. I watched it skewer the dummy right in the heart. Nur clapped and held out her hand.
“I’m Nur.” She always smiled, which I found weird.
I shook her hand, giving her a smile.
Spens however looked at me, gave a small smile before walking away.
“He doesn’t like to talk to people who could potentially kill him.” She looked down at her shoes.
“Wouldn’t that include you?” I felt rude to pry into her life but at the same time, what do I got to lose?
Her head shot up, and she shook her head.
“Oh no, we have been friends since we were like 7, but he doesn’t want to make friends with people here, anywhere else is fine but here, in the Hunger Games, it is basically a call for death.” Behind her left ear, I could see Spens, pretending her was making snares, but in the corner of his eyes, I could tell he was watching over Nur.
“I understand, you don’t know who you can trust.” A small smile flickers across her face. I look around the room, Ash is practicing with swords.
“Well I have to get training.” I fumbled with my fingers, hoping she is getting the message that we should stop talking.
“Yeah, same! See you around Crimson.” she waved goodbye and walked toward Spens.
“Yeah, bye.” I mutter walking over to some stations about edible plants.
After hours and hours of practicing new tricks like making weapons out of wood and learning how to climb trees, I fell onto my bed. I felt as if I had fallen on a thousand clouds.
I moved my arms up and down as if I was making a snow angel, but I rubbed my hand on the soft material.
I fell into a light trance until a loud pounding ceased my dreams.
“Who is it?” I yelled, letting out a deep breath. The door cracked open and Ash’s head popped through.
“Is this a bad time?” his voice was quit and soft, like he was scared.
“No of course not!” I patted the bed. Ash slipped through the small crack and quietly closed the door. He scurried across the floor and jumped on the bed, curling up next to me.
He buried his face into my side.
“How was training?” My attempt at promoting conversation failed as I feel the warm tears soak through my shirt.
“Ash?” I lift my head up to look at him but he threw his arm over me and held me tight.
“Ash, what’s wrong?” I pried his fingers off and pushed him away, trying to look at his face.
“Nothing, just let me be!” he buried his face back into my side and this time, I let him cry.
He soon fell asleep, and it wasn’t long after until I fell for the same poison.
“Crimson! Ash!” Wisher’s voice had invaded my sweet dreams of home and my eyes shot open.
“What?” I groan, revealing the sight of Wisher’s new addition.
“Is that a…?”
“Parrot?” Ash’s voice was raspy and he looked just as dazed and confused as I felt.
“Yes, yes, I decided to dress like a pirate today, you have a problem take it up with me on another day, but right now you have 10 minutes to get ready for training.
He turned on his heels and strutted out, and before the door could close Polly gave us a loud swawk.
“Polly wants a cracker.” I laughed, looking to Ash whose eyes slowly flickered closed.
“Hey!” I raised my voice, making his eyes fly open.
“Can’t we skip training today?” he covered his face with a pillow.
“Not unless you would like to die in the arena.” I chuckle, pulling the pillow off his face and throwing it to the floor.
“But at least I will be sleeping and not interrupted.” he rolled to the end of the bed where he placed his feet on the floor.
“See you in the Training Center.” He blew me a kiss before slugging off toward his room.
I rolled to my side and placed my hand where Ash had been laying. It was still warm.
This might be one of the last times we will ever have such rich sleep, and it might be the last time we will be sleeping together, so close, safe from harms way.
This might be the last time we will sleep together.