The New Mockingjay

The revolution is over. Panem has been changed. Now, each year, a young girl is chosen to be the Mockingjay. There are only two requirements- she has to be pretty, and she has to be able to sing like no other.
When Electra becomes the Mockingjay, she thinks she's in for a life of public performances, and putting forward a pretty face. The reality is much, much worse than that.


3. 2- Let the first Mockingjay game begin

    She woke up to a sharp series of knocks on the door of her room. She sat up, letting out a soft groan. The door opened, and one of the guards stood there. He tossed her a wrapped package, which she missed. It fell to the floor, and she bent down to pick it up.
    “What…” she muttered, still dizzy from sleep.
    “Come,” the guard ordered, before turning on his heel and walking out into the hall.
    Electra paused for a moment, taking a deep breath. Here we go. She looked around the room, feeling like she was forgetting something. Then she saw her wooden ring resting on the small table next to her bed.
    “Now!” the guard barked from the hallway.
    She grabbed the ring and the package, and followed him.
    The guard guided her up to the roof, where a hovercraft was already waiting. She took a deep breath as a ladder descended. She grabbed onto it, and was instantly frozen in place by some sort of electrical current.
    Her breath caught in her throat. Had this all been a trick?! Were they going to kill her now? That couldn’t be right. They wouldn’t. Not yet. That couldn’t be right. They wouldn’t.
    The ladder retracted, pulling her up into the hovercraft. She was approached by a woman in a long white coat. The woman shook her head as she prepared something that Electra couldn’t see.
    “Don’t worry, this will only pinch a little.” She turned, and Electra saw she was holding a syringe.
    What the hell?!
    The syringe was injected into her arm, and she winced slightly.
    “Don’t worry, that’s just the tracker,” the woman said. “So we don’t lose you in the arena.”
    Would hate for that to happen.
    Finally, the current released her. The woman walked away into a different section of the hovercraft. A glass door sealed off, and instantly darkened.
    Electra took that opportunity to open the package. It contained a light, loose shirt and leggings. There were shoes in there too- good, reliable looking sneakers. She paused for a moment, before changing. These would probably suit her better where she was going.
    The final item in the package was a jacket. She slipped this on too, and wondered if this was how they used to prepare the tributes for the games. She guessed she would be taken to the arena. After that, she didn’t know. This wasn’t like the games. For all she knew, it could be totally different.
    Finally, the hovercraft landed in a dark area. Electra took a deep breath as the door opened. She was in a underground room. A few away from her was a metal plate. She had no doubts that this was what would take her up into the arena. She wondered if she’d be given a moment to get ready, or-
    “Go,” a sharp voice said from behind her. A moment later, a hand was planted on her back, shoving her onto the plate. Instantly a wall dropped, separating her from the rest of the world. She pressed her palm against it. Solid. Her pulse sped. She had no idea what to do. She was confused and dazed, and was about to be sent into an arena. She wasn’t a fighter. She wasn’t like the first Mockingjay. She had nothing that could keep her alive, except for her skill with the sling. And she didn’t even have that.
    The platform began to rise, and she stumbled, shading her eyes against the sudden bright light above her. She blinked, and felt a breeze against her cheek. Then the spots cleared from her eyes, and she saw the arena.
    She was standing on the first of a series of hovering stone platforms, stretching across the sky. Far below her was the ground. If she jumped, the fall would probably kill her.
She heard President Rikerson’s voice speak above her. “Welcome to the first Mockingjay Games. The Mockingjay must pass a series of challenges in order to pass. After the successful completion of a task, the Mockingjay will be rewarded. The Mockingjay will be given two weeks to complete every task. The arena will be collapsed at the two week mark.”
Electra’s heart leapt. She didn’t know what happened when an arena ‘collapsed’, but she was willing to bet it wouldn’t be good for the person inside the arena. She took a deep breath, looking out over the platforms. She had no doubt that her first challenge was going to be to make it across them.
    “And now, begin!” The president’s voice echoed above her. A ringing sound came from somewhere above her, and the platform she was standing on suddenly dropped.
    Electra let out a sharp cry and bolted forwards, leaping off the edge of the platform, and trying to catch the next one. Her hand caught the lip of it, and then slipped.
    So this is how I die… she thought, as her fingers snatched at the air. All she felt was a numb sense of despair. Forget two weeks… couldn’t even last two seconds…
    Abruptly, a rope curled around her wrist. A voice above her yelled, “Grab on, and pull yourself up!”
    She reached up with her other hand, gripping the rope in disbelief. Who had just saved her? And honestly, why did it matter? She started to pull herself up, hand over hand. It was hard, and her arms burned. She let out a soft hiss of pain, and kept going. If she wanted to survive, she couldn’t let a little pain stop her.
    A hand appeared over the rim of the platform and caught hers, helping to pull her up. She reached the top, and found herself eye to eye with the girl she’d met yesterday before her address.
    “False name,” the girl replied cooly. All of her shy nervousness of the day before was gone, replaced by a curt, businesslike air. She was wearing a black outfit similar to Electra’s. She tapped a patch that had been sewn onto the jacket. Electra had the sudden feeling it was a uniform. “Gwen Carroll, 5th branch Order of the Jay.”
    “Order of the what?”
    “Order of the Jay.”
    “And what’s that?”
    She glanced up at the sky. “The less said about us, the better. Let’s just say it’s our job to keep you from getting killed. Understand?”
    Electra nodded slowly, and Eva- who was apparently named Gwen- smiled. “Great. Let’s get going, and cross these platforms before they drop something else on you.”
    “Are you sure these are… safe?” Electra said warily.
    Gwen smiled. “They’re most definitely not safe! But they’re what we’ve got. Let’s go.”
    “Are you kidding me?” Electra demanded, pausing. “What if they collapse under us?!”
    Gwen’s smile was gone in an instant. “They’re going to,” she said quietly, her voice firm. “And you’re going to run across them anyways, because if you don’t, you will find that I’m being very agreeable right now, and I can be much much worse than this. Believe me, never think for a second that you’re safe. Everything here is trying to kill you, understand? Now let’s go.”
    Electra was taken aback by her tone. She was used to people treating her with respect, and she was still surprised by this girl’s transition from a shy, gentle person to this hard, bossy girl in front of her. But what she was saying made sense, so she nodded.
    “There we go,” Gwen said calmly. Her smile didn’t return, but her tone lost some of its hardness. “Now GO!”
    Startled into action, Electra bolted forwards. She felt Gwen shove her from behind as she leapt, landing on the next platform. She paused, but Gwen was already beside her, pushing her forwards.
    “No time for stopping! Move move move!”
    The platform dropped even as the jumped to the next one. Electra’s pulse sped up. They really are trying to kill me. She hadn’t fully believed Gwen at first, but now the reality of the situation was setting in. If Gwen hadn’t caught her at the first platform, she’d be dead. Silently, she thanked Gwen, reminding herself to say the words out loud to the small girl the first chance she got.
    They were three platforms away from the end now. Each time she began to slow, she heard Gwen yelling at her to go faster. She lowered her head, and forced herself to keep going, gritting her teeth. Finally, the two of them leapt onto the last platform and lay there, exhausted.

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