23Date of Birth:District:
VictorCurrent Living Condition:
Lives in the Victor Village.Written Description: Type of Clothing:
(remember, this is more or less modern day!)Other:General Personality:
Ro has always been course, selfish and rude. A bully. This is nothing new; this is not how the Games have changed him. Growing up, Ro always had his little brother by his side. Older by five years, Ro was clearly the one in charge of their relationship; his brother did everything Ro told him to do and aided in his ploys to get what he wanted from other people. However, despite clearly using his brother for his own benefit, Ro did care for him. He was not, however, as close to his little sister. Perhaps it was the gender difference; maybe it was the fact that Ro found his sidekick in his brother and was satisfied by having his presence alone. Ro is, therefore, not as independent as he pretends to be. Even though he's a Victor and has his own house, he spends much time with his siblings.
What did change about him in the Games, however, was his own knowledge of self preservation. It occurred to him before that he was using other people at his whim, but now it came down to life or death: and he was willing to sacrifice other people for his own well-being. It was a disturbing conclusion, and he wasn't sure he would be able to do it. But after the first death, he realized that it killing was not as difficult as it sounded. However, Ro does not define himself as a killer, nor would he say that he'd be as quick to kill again, should anyone ask him and he feel like divulging details. Ro doesn't talk about the Games much anyhow, not even to his brother; he has--and has always had--a tendency to build up a wall to block others out. Since his arrival home from the Games, this wall has grown thicker and taller, and it's not below him to bash someone else's feelings in order to save his own.
Ro suffered serious consequences of spending eight days in the arena. Although he never thought about it before, he is now claustrophobic inside buildings, especially formal, stone buildings. The longer he stays in a building, the more antsy he becomes; eventually, given enough time in an uncomfortable situation, said claustrophobia results in a panic attack. Further, Ro is inclined to walk away from the middle of a conversation without warning. It's a whim and not something entirely new since the Games, but instead of being a rude and inconsiderate gesture to the one with whom he's conversing (as it had been before), it's a psychological response to the trauma he endured.
But perhaps the most troubling result of the Games is his desire to keep his siblings out of the Games. Sometimes he sits up at night and ponders how he will kill them in order to keep them away from being taken to the Capitol for the Games. They only have a few years left to worry, but every time the Games come around, Ro finds himself unable to sleep and his ability to function plunges. It is rare for more than one child of the same family to go to the Games, and he knows that the chances of either being chosen are unlikely. But not impossible.Likes:Dislikes:Strengths:Weaknesses:Goals:Fears:Thoughts about His/Her District:Thoughts on the Hunger Games:Role in Family:Role in Society:Anticipation for the Future:Family:
+ Uaithne, brother, 17 years oldBackground:
+ Lilly, sister, 14 years old
For the first seventeen years of his existence, Ro's life was as normal as every other district resident. He was born to an average family in District five; his father was a landscape architect and his mother a horticulturist who grew a beautiful garden within their backyard. Like many residents of his district, he grew up surrounded by flowering plants and bushes indoors and out, taking it for granted the entire time. He attended the local school, was the brother to two younger siblings, and participated in the occasional game of soccer in the park. As the years went by, he attained a reputation as a bully and was never seen without his sidekick and brother, Uaithne. Kids who laughed at him for toting around a brother several years his junior ended up with bloodied noses and black eyes by Ronan's fist.
District 5 education was based primarily around plants and botany. As a child, he learned how to raise plants for medicinal and decorative purposes, though he often preferred to kill them instead and mash them into the ground for no reason other than the fact that he could. He taught his brother his plant-mashing ways, and the two of them would romp through town getting themselves into trouble. On more than one occasion, they were returned home to their parents and punished for their excursions, but it rarely stopped Ro from entertaining himself. He often sent Uaithne on pointless quests to get him things he didn't need because it sounded great at the time, only to be utterly bored while his brother was gone. Uaithne always did as his brother said with little protest.
Ro never liked the Hunger Games, and during the time of year when everyone was forced to watch them, Ro often weaseled his way out of the room to busy himself with other things. Despite his love for destroying plants, watching humans die on television was not something that interested him. Every year when the reaping rolled around, he paid little attention because his name was never drawn, and he never knew anyone whose name was drawn. This wasn't to say that he never had bouts of uncontrollable fear that his name would, indeed, be chosen, but most of the time he feigned cocky self-confidence to cover up any fear that ate away inside of him. He looked forward to the day when he would be considered too old for the reaping. But this bothered him little during the majority of the year when the Games were not in session.
However, during his seventeenth year--on his second-to-last reaping--he did not see the hand reaching into the barrel of names. He only heard the voice which announced his name (of all names!) loud and clear in the dead silence of the district square. The cockiness kicked into gear, but all of the arrogance he could muster couldn't cover up the fear on his face. He was two reapings away from being free, and here he was, as good as dead. He wished that Uaithne was old enough to volunteer for him, but his younger brother was a year away from the reapings. So instead he pulled himself together, pushed through the crowd (issuing a bloody nose in the process) and jumped onto the stage to claim his place in the graveyard of dead Tributes.
[see part about Games here]
Upon returning from the Games, Ro wasn't quite the same, though he still had the barrier up to protect him from emotional and mental trauma. The wall was crumbling, and he did what he could to keep it in place until he could find another way to deal with the horrors he encountered. But little did he know that during the Games, his parents found they could not deal with the stress of having a child in his position, and the family had begun to crumble. When he claimed his place in Victory Village, his parents vanished and disappeared further into the district. Ro was left with the responsibility of his two siblings, then aged 11 and 8, in his new victor house. The responsibility, combined with the emotional baggage, weighed heavily on Ro. He found the balance he needed by not talking about the Games despite its great presence in his life after his return, and pretending that things were normal.Games Number:
91Age at Games:
17Description of Arena:
An ancient, mystical castle with high ceilings and beautiful craftsmanship. It looked as though it had been well preserved since its abandonment.Foes Faced:Notable Kills:
Length of Games:
- D2 Male
- D7 Female
- D10 Male & Female
8 daysImportant Happenings:
Account of Games:
- Escaped the Cornucopia with a knife
- First kill was on the 3rd day -- D10 female -- for supplies
- Stalked by the D10 male for the entire Games out of revenge for D10 F's death
- Fistfight with D2 male, who almost killed him, but D1F "intervened" to kill both
- Stalked other people while trying to nurse wounds; killed D7 female
- D2 male killed D1 female out of revenge for "stealing" kill
- Killed D2 male
- D10 male stalked and attacked him; Ro suffered significant injuries
- On 8th day, final showdown w/ D10 male; D10 male died
It’s not supposed to be this way, I think, as I stand on the circular metal plate. I’m not supposed to be here. At seventeen years old, I’m almost old enough to be done with the Hunger Games and never have to think about it again, but that luxury has been ripped out of me. The plate lifts off the ground as it raises me to the center of the arena. For nights I wondered what the hell the arena would be, but now that it’s almost here—ten seconds, five seconds—I don’t want to know. My brother should be here, not me. If he were a year older, he would have volunteered for me, but he’s only eleven. If I die, who’s going to watch out for him?
At first there’s darkness, and I hear the click of the metal plate locking into place. The lights turn on, and I’m inside a heavy stone building. The walls are thick and high, and stone arches swoop across the ceiling. Next to me are the other Tributes in a circle. Everyone inspects the surroundings. In front of me is the Cornucopia. This is where most of the Tributes will die, but I will not be one of them. As the clock ticks down how much time we have before we are released from the metal plates, I see my fellow Tributes eyeing the Cornucopia and the weapons inside. There’s a knife on the ground near me, but I have already turned my attention to the building itself. It’s some sort of grand hall, the type that commands reverence and respect. The serene quiet which grasps this place is prominent despite the tension between those who are about to die. But I am not good with reverence and respect, and I will not let it slow me down. A large stone door sits in the back. There’s another one up front. Above me on what should be the second story are several terraces, each with their own door; but of course, those are too far away. I make a mental note of this in case I ever return to this room; I don’t want to be sniped.
The bell rings, and we are released. Tributes pour off of their plates and into the open area in front of the Cornucopia, but not me; I grab the knife and haul ass out of there with little regard to the screams of slaughtered children behind me. There’s someone with the same course of action as me; she’s running for the same door I am, and it looks like we’re going to get there at the same time. I don’t want to team up. When we reach the door, I give her a firm push to the side so that I can get through the doorway first, and I think she should consider herself lucky that I didn’t try to stab her with my knife. But as soon as I am inside the door, there’s a sick “thwap” and I turn to see her body crumpled on the floor with an arrow in her back. Her killer is coming at me, and I don’t have time to swing the door shut, so I keep running. The hallway is well lit, and I almost slide across the marble floor, but I grasp onto a candle fixture on the wall next to me and keep from eating the ground.
Running senselessly isn’t going to get me anywhere. I pause and take a deep breath, cowering behind a pillar as I try to figure out what to do next. I just witnessed a girl get murdered; she was beside me one second—alive, breathing—and the next she was on the ground dead. The worst part is, it could have been me. Had I not been faster, had I not pushed her—I could be dead instead of her. My heart is so loud it’ll give away my position should anyone walk down the hallway, and I can barely breathe as my lungs constrict.
I am in a building. A castle or temple or something. It’s huge and study, but sound will travel down the corridors. I have yet to see any runners or tapestries which would damper the noise, and it’s proven then by a long, gurgling scream from the Cornucopia room. I lean my head against the wall and force myself to take deep breaths. What else do I know? This place is quiet. Any noises would be heard clearly, tapestries or no. It’s more than just a lack of sound—it’s as though the silence is tangible, a foe to face in and of itself. It scares the shit out of me. But I remain as calm as possible and make it my goal to explore the arena. I must know every inch of it and learn how it works.
For the first two and a half days, I learn the arena. Someone put a lot of time into creating this thing, and I wonder how many years it took to carve the intricate designs in every trim of the buildings, the smooth staircases of stone, and the marble floor. Great sculptures stand in alcoves against the wall. Surely this is a work of District 2. But despite the exquisiteness of the arena, it holds many dangers. At one point, I woke up to find a large rat as big as my head carrying away my knife. At another, I sat down for a break and a weed wiggled its way through the wall and wrapped around my arm; I, fortunately, had not lost my knife by the rat, so I slashed the weeds off my arm before it could pin me to the wall. I learned how the sounds worked in the arena, and although I didn’t trust myself to sneak after people, I could wait in the shadows as other Tributes passed. Some were clearly lost, I could tell. The way they looked around as though they had never seen the room before even though they had just been in an hour previously. I had to keep myself from laughing at them.
On the second day, I watched from behind a suit of armor as the Career pack descended upon a small girl from one of the poorer districts. Before my eyes, they taunted her and dug through her things, keeping her alive long enough to give her hope that she could ally with them, maybe even survive. They asked her about her family and what she planned on doing with her life. The girl answered as though her replies mattered, but in the end they grabbed her by the head and snapped her neck. They left with her supplies, their laughter dying out as they headed away, and I was left with the motionless corpse and relief that they had not noticed me.
By the third day, I am severely dehydrated that I don’t even notice my own hunger. I wait behind a statue of a man with a battle axe and watch a Tribute walk by. She has a crowbar in her hand and a sack strapped to her back. I lick my cracked lips and watch as she heads to the door. I know I can’t go without water forever, and there must surely be some in her backpack. She’s approaching the door by the time she realizes I’m there behind her, but before she can turn around with the crowbar, I have one hand on her forehead as I hold her wiggling body against mine. With my other hand, I slash her throat with the knife. For a moment, I think I did something incorrectly because she’s still standing, but then her body grows limp and heavy, so I release her and let her fall to the ground. I grab her bag and root through her pockets only to find a key and nothing more. So I take what I can—the bag, the key and the crowbar—and hurry back to my alcove next to the statue before anyone else can. Instead of a hovercraft appearing within the building, a hole in the roof opens up and she is taken on a beam of light.
My hands are red with her blood as I paw through her belongings. She has water, and I drink it freely. When I am finished, I eat the biscuits. It’s not until that night as I listen to the anthem that I realize I killed her. I took the life away from an innocent human. I roll over on my side and curl up to sleep. If it wasn’t her, it was going to be me.
Day four arrives and there are only nine Tributes left. Unfortunately I lost count of who was alive and who was dead, which was a dumb and dangerous thing to do. As I gather my stuff together that morning (or what is left of it; the rats took the crowbar and half of the items in the bag), I pretend to not be bothered by my own stupidity. After all, there are cameras all around even though I cannot see them, and I don’t want everyone in Panem to know that I’ve doomed myself by not paying attention to my surroundings. I cannot help but think, as I walk through the arena, about the girl I killed the day before. And the girl the previous day whose death I watched. And the girl the first day, who took an arrow that allowed me to escape. And the screams that echoed throughout the corridors of this cursed building. Sometimes I hear people screaming even when there is no sound. Sometimes the silence plays tricks on my tortured ears. I try not to think about how I let two girls die and killed a third.
There’s a noise behind me. I turn around and hold my knife out as I feign preparedness for battle, but there’s no one there. I let my shoulders relax as I wait another moment, but when no one appears, I keep moving. The arena is eerie. I haven’t seen anyone in some time, and the silence makes me want to scream just to keep from going insane. But if I scream, everyone will hear me. Every little noise is amplified, and I am sure that the noise I heard behind me was nothing more than some of those damned rats looking to steal my belongings.
I enter a room I’ve been in several times before. This place starts to look the same after awhile, and I’m not surprised people get lost if they’re not paying attention. As I creep across the room to the door on the far side, the door opens. I halt; there’s nowhere for me to hide in this room, not with its smooth architecture and flawless design. There’s not even a tapestry to cower behind. I must face the other Tribute.
He’s a Career from District 2, a whopping ten on the training scale, outweighing my mediocre six. He carries an executioner’s axe, its blade is wide but sharp. Though his arms ripple with muscle, I can see he’s struggling to carry around this giant weapon. I snicker, and he doesn’t take it well. In a flash, he has the axe up and with strength I didn’t know a teenager could have, he bursts at me full speed. I duck out of the way at the last moment and fall onto the ground. The axe smacks the floor and I clutch my ears as the entire room reverberates with the metallic clang on marble. But the sound disappears, and I take my chance to kick District 2 in the back of the knee before he can pick up the axe once more. Without hesitating, I jump on top of him and begin to pummel him with my fists as I had done to residents of my own district so many times before. But the hatred I am pouring into each punch cannot be compared to any throw I dished back home. I am fighting for my life now, and I will not lose.
Back home, I could count on someone to rush in and break up the fight; it would end in bloody noses and bruises, but there would be no mashed faces or splattered brains or death.
This was not home. This was the arena, and a single poor move could kill me. He’s stronger than me, and it’s only when I’ve bashed his face in significantly that he throws me off. I slide across the floor several feet before friction pulls me to a stop. My knife—I completely forgot about it. District 2 lunges at me. His fist knocks me in the jaw, and pain blossoms on my face. Before I can recover, he punches me again in the cheek. My skin splits open and I begin to bleed. He pulls back his fist for another punch, but I knee him in the stomach. He doubles over and I have enough time to pull myself together and punch him again.
I can’t tell who is winning. It goes back and forth, and any injuries I have I do not notice due to the adrenaline that courses through me, but our fight is interrupted when an arrow zips through the air and lands next to us. I freeze and look around; the District 1 girl is standing next to the doorway, the bow in her hands. Is she aiming at me? But another arrow plants itself into the D2 male’s leg, and I grab my bag off the floor and book it for the doorway. When I’m in the hallway, I can hear them yelling at each other and I wonder what happened to the Career pack that they fell apart so soon in the Games. It was only the fourth day, after all, and they should still be together until the rest of us are dead.
Staggering into another room to be free from the hallway, I fall onto the floor just inside the doorway. I lean into the wooden door and push it shut so no one will follow, but my strength is waning. My face hurts and there’s blood all over my shirt; if I cared about how I looked, I would be greatly disappointed with my appearance and my swollen, sore face. My knuckles sting from punching the D2 guy, and I listen for the sound of the cannon to signify either his death or the death of the D1 female. It doesn’t come.
I gather my strength and stand up. For years I paid little heed to the Games and weaseled my way out of watching them with my family. Now I wish I hadn’t been so stubborn so I could understand what I was facing. My mentors had tried to get me to watch several tapes highlighting important points in the Games, but I couldn’t stand sitting on the expensive leather couch for more than a few minutes before I walked away to find something else to occupy my mind. How could I have been so stupid? Is my family watching this on television right now
, a close up of my face right now
? Can they see how scared I am? My fingers feel for my knife but it is gone; I lost it in the skirmish, and now I have no weapon. I curse.
I’m scared. Never in my seventeen years have I been this scared. I’ve always been the one in charge, the one telling others what to do. Even when they think I’m obeying them, I’m not, and I usually don’t pretend to, either. The lack of control is new to me, and it might mean my death. I can’t help my shaking. My entire body quivers and even when I cross my arms over my chest and stand near the doorway of the room, my shoulder shake and my chin trembles. Weaponless, powerless, clueless.
The room I’m in is simple though magnificent. Maybe if I cared, I’d take the time to admire the stained glass high above, or the marble floor which reflected the golden ceiling. But right now, I only watch as blood from my nose drips down onto that marble floor. There’s nothing much in this room except for more sets of armor. Pressing my sleeve to my nose, I move forward.
I turn around in a circle. Where are the cameras? Where are the cameras that want to see me dead, that want to see me bleed, that want to see my world come to an end for their entertainment? Of course, I cannot find them. And the harder I search on my futile quest, the more frustrated I become. It’s a conglomeration of many things sparked by the desire to find one of these hidden cameras that no one in the history of the Games has ever found. I drop my hand from my nose, and my chest aches from the scream that wells inside me.
“F*** you! F*** you, all!” I scream. My voice echoes in this room, and I don’t care if it echoes in the entire arena, because I want them all to hear me, too. “F*** you and f*** your f***ing Games!”
Silence. My voice and the echo are consumed by silence. But I feel better. It’s relieving, like pissing after holding it for six hours. Or releasing my fist into the face of some unsuspecting student. My shoulders heave as I take deep breaths.Click. . . . Click. . . . Click. . . .
I’m not sure what that noise is, but as soon as I hear it, I know that I should find a way to take back what I said a moment ago. I curse my stupidity for taking my aggression out on the Games, however right I may have been. Because I forgot once again that I am not in control here.
The lights vanish, and the room plunges into darkness. I stand in pitch black listening to my own blood rush through my ears. Then candles on the walls flicker on, illuminating circles of the room at set intervals. Deep shadows are thrown throughout the room, and after a moment, I see something moving towards me.
It’s a suit of armor. What? Is there someone inside it? The armor has a sword above its head and it’s going straight towards me. Each movement is heavy and loud as it clanks across the room, and I know I can outrun it. But when I turn to the room’s entrance, I see another set of armor blocking the door. Never have I been so close to shitting my pants as I am now, but I am miraculously able to control my bowel movements and circle around the side of the room. Only to find another one of the sets of armor moving slowly towards me. I have no weapon and I’m up against three mechanical suits of armor bearing swords. It’s not light enough to see them well, but I can hear them clanking. I am sure everyone can hear the clanking.
The first one approaches me. I turn to run, hoping that maybe I can just run them in circles until they’re bored and go back to their dormant state. But I am the one who must give in first as my body begins to grow weaker and my legs refuse to move. I fall to the ground several times, and each time it’s harder and harder to pick myself up and continue moving. My hands ache from catching my falls, and eventually I crash onto the ground without trying to catch myself. A deep shadow falls over me, and I force myself to my feet. The armor swings at me, and the sword catches me on the shoulder. Although the wound is shallow, it hurts and reminds me that I have to keep going despite my dragging feet and pounding head. It swings the sword again, but this time it misses. I keep moving. There are three, and I won’t be able to run forever. I head back to the door, and as I approach, the second armor moves away from the door and prepares to swing the sword at me. When I step back, it steps back into place as well.
Now I know that I have to lure it out somehow. But not now. The other two are coming towards me. I drag myself to the far side of the room away from the door and wait for them to come. The clanking grows louder and louder and I pray that by some miracle I will escape this room. When they are near, I duck between them and they swing their swords at the same time. While they miss me, they hit each other and leave dents in the armor. I turn away and rush for the door, leaving them on the far side of the room to slowly plod after me. When I reach the armor by the door, it begins moving towards me. I wait. I take a step back and let it come slowly. I don’t have much time—the others are catching up. But I can only wait until the armor clears the door enough for me to sneak out. When I have but a moment left before the other two reach me, I throw myself around the armor in front of me and to the door. My hands scramble for the doorknob, and for a moment I don’t think I’ll make it. But when my sweat-slicked palms lock around the knob and I pull the door open, I know that I am, for the time being, safe. Slamming the door shut behind me, I feel my legs buckling underneath me, and I slump against the wall to keep from falling to the ground.
A Tribute stands in front of me.
If he wants to kill me, he could do it now and I would never notice. I ache all over, and I can barely move. But he doesn’t. He stands there and watches me, and I allow myself to peer through the sweat that has gathered on my lashes and focus on his face as I try to work through what he’s doing.
“Free—“ I start, but I can’t form words. My mouth is dry and my throat is scratchy. “Free food inside.”
He blinks. “What?”
“In the room—free food,” I repeat. I have a sore palm pressed against the cool stone wall next to me as I lean with my shoulder against the stone surface. My head burns and I touch it to the stone above my hand. “Go—before it’s gone.”
“Why are you—“
“It’s a secret,” I say between gasps. “I don’t want—anyone else to know.”
The boy looks at me curiously, but doesn’t move. Before he can decide whether or not he wants to kill me, I force myself to keep moving. Moving. Moving. I’m in a corridor, and I think I know which one, but my eye is swelling shut and I can’t see well. Finally I fall into a heap behind a stone altar decorated with an altar cloth, and I pass out. Somewhere, distantly, I hear cannon fire. I don’t know if I’m unconsciously hallucinating or if it really happens. And if it’s real, is it my fault?
Day 5 begins with a bang. The cannon shot echoes throughout the arena, and I force myself to wake fully. It’s a good thing, too, because as I open my eyes, I see the District 10 male crawling towards me. Literally. He’s on the ground in a crouch, his chest parallel to the floor, and his knees and elbows are bent in the air as though he’s some sort of spider. Each movement he makes is quiet. I realize he still thinks I’m asleep, so I close my eyes part way and watch as he approaches. When he’s close enough and I see him raising a shillelagh above his head, I kick out my foot and catch him in the face. His nose crunches as I break it, and I scramble to my feet. Forgetting my injuries from the night before, I begin to run, though when I’m halfway across the room, I fall onto the ground.
The only weapons near me are not weapons at all; I reach out and grab a stone pot, though it takes a moment to stretch out and lock my fingers around the lip. District 10 approaches and I swing the pot in his direction. It catches him in the chest and he falls to the ground, winded. I want to finish him off and be done with it, but I hear footsteps from the hallway, and I know that it’s in my best interest if I keep moving. I grab the pot in my arms (it’s heavier than it looks, but considering its my only weapon, I’ll make do) and head for the door.
I spend the next several hours trying to nurse my wounds while ignoring the hunger and thirst which seize my body. It’s in the afternoon when someone approaches me. It’s a girl—District 7, I believe—and she’s carrying a chain in her hands. I stare at her dumbly while I wipe the blood that’s caked onto my face. I don’t feel like killing now. I want to win, but I’m too tired to kill anyone. But then I see the bag she’s wearing and I know that I must have it. Like the girl I killed previously, I know I will do anything for the contents of the bag.
“Okay, let’s fight and get this over with,” I say as I stand up and pick up the heavy stone pot. The girl laughs as she sees the weapon and I roll my eyes. All this killing has gotten boring, or perhaps I’m just irritated from constantly having to run. But I don’t want to be here anymore, and I don’t feel like killing anybody. My fingers have blood caked into the crevices and under the nails; I haven’t bathed in four days; I’ve barely eaten. I’ve killed a girl, and probably caused a couple other deaths. Yes, I am irritable.
She whips the chain around her head and launches it at me. I duck it, and she pulls the chain back to her side. I realize how one-sided this is because I’m pretty sure that it’s going to be slightly more difficult to retrieve a stone pot after I throw it once, particularly if it breaks. She throws the chain, and I block it with the pot. At least it’s good as a shield. We continue like this, with her using the chain and me ducking and blocking. I don’t like taking such a defensive position. The chain whips out and catches me around the neck, but she’s not very good at using it (I imagine this is the first time she’s ever used such a weapon), and I’m able to wedge my fingers underneath the metal and pry it off my skin before she can yank it back and strangle me. She’s frustrated, and I see her letting the chain go limp.
“Do you have anything to eat?” I ask.
She looks up at me. “What?”
“Food? I’ve barely eaten the entire time I’ve been in this arena.”
“Yes, I have food. Are you asking to be an ally?” she raises her eyebrows in surprise, and I guess it makes sense that she’s confused.
“No, I’m just hungry. Maybe after I eat this fight will go faster,” I say. I shrug.
She watches me for a few seconds with her chin raised, but I can see her shoulders droop. She’s tired; I’m tired. Neither of us really wants to fight. We sit down on a stone step and eat bread and cheese from her bag.
“It’s a pity I’m going to have to kill you,” I say between mouthfuls of food. We eat slowly to delay the inevitable.
“What makes you think that you’ll win?” she asks slyly.
I take a sip of water from her bottle. “I’m better,” I reply. “You suck at using that chain.”
“Well all you have is a pot, so you shouldn’t be talking,” she snaps. I’ve offended her, and I can only grin.
We continue to eat until all of her food is gone. I guess neither of us really expects to win or cares anymore, otherwise we’d try to conserve the food. It doesn’t matter.
“You think there’s an afterlife?” she asks quietly, and I know she’s terrified that she will
“Dunno,” I reply. I tip the water bottle to my lips and lower it again. “But if we both die in the Games, I’ll take you out to lunch.”
She laughs nervously. “Are you flirting with me?”
“Maybe,” I say. “Does that bother you?”
She looks at me and smiles. “No. But it should. Since I’m about to kill you and all.”
Several minutes pass even though the food is gone. I embrace the silence that surrounds us and wish that we could have met under better circumstances. However, we both know when our time is up and we put the bag together and gather our weapons.
“I’m wearing a hairpin,” she says. “It’s my sister’s. For good luck.”
I’m not sure how to reply to that. But as we move towards the center of the room, I realize that she wants me to take it from her—that she thinks that I’m going to have a chance to win. I wish I felt that confidence in me, but I don’t. Instead I’m standing there, shifting my weight from one leg to the other so the cameras don’t pick up how I tremble. Neither of us wants to make the first move.
At last, I advance towards her with the stone pot in my hands. I think I would be better off battling with a backpack as my weapon. The respite has given her her energy back, as it has mine, and she launches the chain at me. It whips me on my arm.
Agitation. Fear. Anger. Anger. I can’t control my anger. Not at this girl—the Games. At the Games for making me do what I’m about to do. For telling me that I can’t live unless this girl is dead. I want to scream again, but I know I can’t face another Gamemaker disaster, so I use my anger and my rage in a more productive manner. While she is winding back the chain, I launch the pot forward straight at her head. It catches her in the face, and blood splatters through the air and onto the floor as she falls to the ground.
I hate myself. Without thinking, I run forward and grab her bag, bound and determined not to look at this girl’s body on the ground. The cannon fires, and I can feel the tears pouring out of my eyes. But when I’m at the door and about to leave, I remember what the girl said. Her hair pin. I don’t want to turn around. I want to keep moving. Self preservation.
My body turns slowly and I march over towards her. I tell myself to pretend that she’s someone I didn’t just eat lunch with, or maybe she’s not even a person at all. She could quite possibly be one of the many plants I smashed in my youth while passing time with my brother. The thought dissipates as I see the red all over the ground and the pot sitting more or less on her battered face, and I try not to wonder how I had the force in my body to create such a mess. I lean down and pick the pin out of her hair, though it’s hard to tell what’s what in the bloody mess. I unclip it wrong, and a chunk of her hair comes with it. I pull out the hair and toss it onto the ground as I tuck the little evergreen branch design into my pocket.
Day six arrives, and there’s only four people left. I have narrowed down my chances of winning from 1/24th to 1/4th. As I’m wandering through the arena, I find a bag abandoned by another Tribute. There is food and water inside, and I quickly consume it and leave.
I walk into the next room as someone is leaving. It’s not a small room, but it’s smaller than many of the rooms in this place. It looks to be some sort of meeting room with several thrones forming an oval and a larger throne at the edge. Pinned to one of the chairs, with a knife stuck in her throat, is the District 1 female.
“What do you think?” comes the voice behind me.
I whip around and saw the District 2 male with whom I fought not that long ago. He has marks on his face—bruises, a split lip that’s starting to heal, a black eye—from our skirmish. But he’s walking towards me strangely with an odd gait. His eyes are on the dead body, and I realize his question was in regards to the girl. And I still don’t have a single weapon.
“I think you should pay me for the face lift,” I smirk.
“Now I’ll have my kill uninterrupted,” he says. He doesn’t have the axe, but he pulls a knife out of his pocket and spins it at me. The weapon comes towards me at full speed and plants itself into my upper leg. I wince and my leg buckles, but I catch myself on the chair before I can fall.
“And now—“ I say as I try to cover up the pain. “I think you gave me your weapon.”
I pull the knife out against my better judgment and fling it at him. It misses, and he grins. He thinks that now is the time to attack me since he’s injured, I know. But as he approaches, his arms out to strangle me, I reach up and grab the knife he used on the District 1 girl and pull it out of her throat. I jump forward and plunge it into his chest.
Stunned, he staggers backwards. I pull the knife out and stab it in again. And again. He’s dead, but the knife is stuck in him and my hand is wrapped firmly on the knife. He falls to the ground, and there’s cannon fire, and I fall on top of him. It takes a good deal of strength to work the knife out of him, but once it’s out, I tuck it into my belt. Using the fabric from his shirt, I wrap it around the wound on my leg. Fortunately, the knife missed the major blood vessels, but it’s still bleeding.
I search his body for supplies, but he has little on him. Without further ado, I leave.
That night and the good part of the morning, pain keeps me awake. I don’t mind too much because I’m terrified of falling asleep and dreaming, but I know this will only work against me in the end. My mind is starting to fatigue by midday (or what I assume to be midday, since the only time of day I truly know is evening when the anthem plays), and I know I must sleep. I drag myself into an alcove. For the next twenty-four hours, I sleep.
Day Seven I wake up late. There’s an announcement which wakes me, and I push myself up. Rubbing my eyes gingerly, I listen as they proclaim that if a victor is not announced by midnight tonight, everyone in the arena will die. My first thought is that they’re trying to scare us. But after that flitters away, I sit and wonder if they really would
kill us all just because we weren’t killing anyone else. I stand and test out my leg. It hurts like a b**** but I can’t complain too much; I’m still alive, after all.
No sooner had I stood up but I hear a cannon fire. Well, one less person for my parents to worry about. I limp through this room with my knife in my hand. I can’t think of a spot on my body that isn’t aching, though some hurt more than others. As I meander through the hallways I know so well now, I wonder what my parents said about me when they interviewed them. Did they brag about what a wonderful son I was, or did they not care? I know that I’m not the best kid someone could have, but I’m still their family. I think back to my first thoughts when my name was called; how my instinct was to wish Uaithne was in my place. I’m a bastard. My brother is nothing without me; he would have no chance of surviving in this place. Why hadn’t I—
“You ought to watch out where you’re going,” says the District 10 male as he stepped in front of me. He no longer has the shillelagh that he did the first time I met him; instead he has a morning star in his hand. It’s a spear-like stick with a long wooden handle and a metal bulb secured to the end. But spikes jut from the bulb. They glisten with blood.
“Move,” I say with force. I know he won’t.
“Going somewhere then?” He snarls.
“I have an appointment with—“
“With whom? With the armored creatures? With the girl you ate lunch and then killed? With my fellow district resident you murdered
?” he demands.
I start. How does he know this? And who was his district resident? I don’t recall meeting another district 10 resident in awhile, but I have not been paying as close of attention as I should. Instincts instruct me to tighten the grip on my knife, and I do just this.
“With your mom,” I say coolly, and I’m impressed I can get it out of my mouth without choking.
“You killed the Tribute from my district,” he growls. Spittle flies from his battered mouth.
“Isn’t that the point of the Games?” I ask. I’m tired of this small talk, and I just want to get on with it. I’m not sure what the point of this discussion is, and in some way it makes me think of old TV shows I saw on television where the villain revealed the details of his plan to the hero in the final battle, only to be trumped by justice.
her!” he yells. His voice echoes and even the heavy silence trembles under its force.
“Which one was she?” I ask. She was the first one I killed, I reason, since I knew what other districts everyone else was from. But I like to see him angry; his face is red behind the purple patches, and he’s clinging to the morning star. I brace myself to duck if he swings that weapon, as I know he might once I get him angry enough.
“Delilah,” he hisses. “Delilah Tab.”
I don’t really care about names, but I pause and pretend to look thoughtful. “Was she the—Oh, I remember her! Fat, had a little bit of a mustache? Some pimples on her chin?” I offer.
His entire demeanor changes. If I had thought he was mad before, he’s livid now. His face is bright red, so bright that even the bruises can’t cover it. I see the veins in his neck and hands pop out underneath his skin. I know he’s going to explode, and I jump back right as he swings the morning star. I hear the metal whiz through the air and slice down towards the ground. I have a knife, and he has a giant-ass mace thing of doom, and things aren’t looking good for me. I dance backwards as he swings again.
We are now in the Cornucopia room. I think that it is nice it ends where it all began. My eyes turn up towards the balconies along the walls, but there is no one there, at least from what I can see. I turn back to District 10; he’s growing weary by swinging the morning star, and though his eyes are lit with rage, his arm is beginning to droop.
I let him get too close, and the morning star clobbers me in the chest. I tumble backwards onto the ground and struggle to breathe. My chest burns and I’m afraid to look. A metallic taste slips into the back of my throat and I cough up a mouthful of blood. He swings the morning star downward, and I roll out of the way in time. Gathering myself to my feet, I look back up towards the balconies to make sure he doesn’t have an ally waiting up above. But once more, there is no one there.
“Waiting for somebody?” he asks. “They’re all dead. Just you and me, and I will make sure your body is nothing more than a bloody pulp.”
And I know that I will not lose. I am Ronan Callahan, and I do not lose
He swings the morning star, and immediately after it goes passed my head, I lunge forward, my knife out. I catch him in the stomach. He grabs my hair and twists it in the way I’ve always seen girls fight.
I pull out the knife and shove it into his throat. Blood spurts across my chest, and he drops to the ground.
I am the Victor.
But I can no longer breathe, and my chest refuses to expand so I can inhale. My legs give out, and I’m lying in blood; whether it is his or mine, I do not know. The pool expands, and soaks into my clothing. Pain. My eyes close.