The 76th Hunger Games

     "Yes, dear?"
     "Are you trying to say that we are going to be part of those games?"
     Katniss hesitates for a while, she shakes her head no but looks down so she won't have to look me in the eyes. "The odds have never been in our favor, Noah." | Note: The story follows from the third book of the series, Mockingjay. Also, this is my very first Movellas, and I'd really appreciate if you would leave a comment giving me constructive criticism or simply to tell me what you think of the story! Thank you!


1. Home

     There’s this place called Panem. Panem is divided in 13 districts, and the Capitol. District 12 is small and located on the East Coast of Panem and it was destroyed by bombs many years ago during some kind of war, but I don’t know much about it. And for what I can see with my own eyes, District 12 looks broken, mended in some places, but still broken and far from being whole again. But it’s also the place I call home.

     I live with my family in the Victors’ Village, the only place that wasn't destroyed in our district. All of its houses are empty, except for two of them, which are both occupied by my family. In one of them lives my grandparents, Katniss and Peeta Mellark, and my aunt, who takes care of them. On the other one, I live with my younger siblings, Elliot, Jo, and my father. My older sister is married to a man in District 4, we don’t know who he is, though. She has never visited us once ever since our mother passed.

My mother died when I was still a small child, but my father never told us how she died. No one talks about her under our roof, or about our sister. It seems to bring the darkest of memories to my father. I don’t remember the both of them well.

     My father and my aunt work as merchants in the Hob, which is a small trade market we have here in District 12. It was bombed in the rebellion, too, and we got it back up again with time. Our district used to specialize in coal mining until a long time ago, but now we grow food and produce medicines, which are the main products you find at the Hob.

     My father is a baker. Jo helps my father with the baking and decorating of the cakes while he is in charge of baking the bread. My grandfather, Peeta, taught them how to bake. He was a baker when he was young, a very good one, my grandmother told me. He tried to teach me, too, but I don’t think I've inherited his and my father’s talents for the art of baking.

     Instead, I do the hunting, which is something my grandmother, Katniss, taught me, and lucky for me, I got the hang of it. She tried to teach my father, too, but said he was a terrible hunter. Until a few years back, Katniss used to go hunting with me every morning. Now she’s too old and although she might still have a perfect aim, she isn't as fit as she used to be to go into the woods. So I go hunting by myself now. I use the bow and arrows she gave me. They were hers when she did some hunting. Now, she says she’ll never make use of them anymore.

     Peeta said she used to aim precisely in the eye of the prey, a remarkable quality I’m still trying to achieve. I’m not a bad hunter, though.

     "Noah, we better get back, it’s almost time for lunch." Said Jo, panting, jogging towards me.

    "Nah," I say. "You go, tell dad I’ll miss lunch. I want to set some more traps."

     "Alright, but make sure you’re not too late, okay?" She said, beckoning Elliot to her side.

     "Sure, it won’t take long."

     Jo shoves Elliot forward and they walk out of the woods. I watch them go. Jo’s loose golden hair falls to her waist. Elliot pulls a strand off by accident when he reaches his hand to catch up to her. Jo swears and gestures him to go in front of her, Elliot does so, breathless.

     They came into the woods with me today, got here after me, to bring me my breakfast. Said I forgot it on the kitchen counter. In fact, today, I did. But I’m pretty sure it’s just their excuse to watch me hunting because it happens quite often.

     Elliot likes it, but said he’s done with hunting since the last time he held a set of bow and arrows. He shot Peeta on the leg by accident, lucky for the both of them, it wasn't Peeta's real leg. Jo likes to watch me hunting, too, and Elliot is scared of going into the woods by himself, so he drags Jo with him.

     I turn and tie the knot of my trap on a tree branch and make sure it’s tight and set, and move further into the woods hoping to find some bigger prey. I hide behind a small tree to wait, and eat the piece of bread Jo brought me earlier.

     I wait until the hot sun is gone and there’s just the warm breeze of the afternoon, and then I see it. The deer is far from where I am now. It comes closer very slowly, its ears up, listening to my every breath, its eyes wide and fearful like a child’s.

     I set my bow with an arrow, crouch low behind the tree, take my aim, and wait for it to come a little closer. It didn’t see me yet, so it keeps moving in my direction. I aim for the eye, just like Katniss used to. I shoot and hit it, not in the eye, as I was hoping to, but in the neck. The deer stops dead and falls to the ground. I walk to it and retrieve my arrow from its neck; put it across my shoulders and start my way out of the woods. 




     At home, I hang the deer outside and leave my bow and arrows by the door. When I enter I find my father and an old man gesturing to each other in the living room. I know the man by sight. He works at the Hob, too. Elliot is by my father’s side, looking curiously at the man. He pulls at my father’s sleeves and my father gestures at the man to wait and leans down so he’s in level with Elliot.

     "Yes, Elliot?" He says.

     "Why isn't he talking?" Elliot whispers in my father’s ear.

     My dad steals a quick glance at the man from the corner of his eye to make sure he’s out of earshot before he answers. "He can’t speak."


     "He… he had his tongue cut off many years ago. Your grandparents told me the Capitol used it as some kind of punishment." My father says, caring for the tone of his voice so it doesn’t sounds too serious.

     "Why?" Elliot insists.

     "Excuse me, son." My father gets up. "But this is not something I’d like to discuss right now."

     He turns to the man and they go back to their gesturing communication Elliot had just interrupted. The man hands a letter to my father, who nods and shoves it inside his pocket. No one sees me. I go up to my bedroom to change from my hunting clothes, my thoughts dwelling around that letter.




     I go down to the kitchen when the delicious smell of Jo’s stew finds me, telling me dinner is ready. The table is already set with plates and cutlery, but they all wait. Peeta and Katniss sit across each other, switching glances at my father, seated between them, who corresponds to the unspoken communication. My aunt sits next to Elliot, who frowns at his empty plate. I take a seat in front of him.

     “Are you hungry, buddy? I ask him.

     “Very much,” he nods.

     Jo carries the stew pot carefully across the kitchen and places it on the middle of the table. She opens it and serves each one of us. At last, she serves herself and takes a seat next to me.

     “Thank you, Jo.” My father says.

     “You’re welcome, dad.” She says, taking her first spoonful.

     Halfway through his first round, Elliot says with his mouth full. “Jo, it’s delicious.”

     “I do my best,” she giggles, and goes back to her plate.

     We finish in silence and when dinner is over, we stay at the table, looking at each other, exchanging full-belly moans. It’s been a long time since I last felt full like this. We only have that much food when we make good trades at the Hob, and it seems like it this time.

     Katniss now pats my father on the shoulder and they talk in whispers, I wonder about what. Judging by the expression they both wear on their faces, it seems urgent and somewhat unsettling. Elliot rests his head in his hands and Jo talks to Peeta. No one notices the television turned on by itself in the living room.

     But they do, finally, when the Capitol’s symbol glows in the screen and Panem’s anthem echoes through the room. We all fall silent to listen.

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