Chapter 7: Mother
“That strong mother doesn't tell her cub, Son, stay weak so the wolves can get you. She says, Toughen up, this is the reality we are living in.” - Lauryn Hill
“No mother would ever willingly sacrifice her sons for territorial gain, for economic advantage, for ideology.” - Ronald Reagan
The cannon blast signals the beginning of the games, and suddenly, twenty-four tributes are fleeing from their platforms. There's no time for audiences at home to process everything, and even the tributes seem to be narrowly focused only on those who pose the biggest threat. Some flee for the trees in the distance, but half the tributes run inward, towards the large cornucopia loaded with useful supplies.
With all of the chaos, it takes the audience a few moments to pick up on the young boy foolishly running into the middle of the carnage. Jaylon, one of the youngest tributes and most certainly the smallest, is picking up supplies as quickly as possible with determination written across his face. It's as if he believes that his only hope is to get something to bring with him.
Unfortunately, Chloe zeros in on the young boy. Her two extra years of life afforded her with more height, and even though she appears to be nothing but skin and bones, she thinks this young boy may be the only tribute she can kill. She liked the boy, she really did, but the opportunity seems too great to pass up. The sword she's discovered reaches far, and she doesn't even have to touch the boy. She's happy that it happens from behind so she doesn't lose her courage before the deed is done.
Chloe hears the boy make a horrible sound before he collapses on the ground. She runs. There is little hope that he will survive the gruesome wound she just inflicted, but she doesn't want to stay around to find out. In fact, she's so horrified by her actions that Chloe immediately flees towards the woods. She wants no more part in this blood bath, and she vows to survive with her sword alone. As long as she can find food and water, it will be enough.
Not far away, Joelle and Fayth are locked in a fierce battle. It's a shock to the audience, who didn't expect much from either girl. Joelle with her religious beliefs that shone through even though they were secret, and Fayth with her panic attacks. Neither had held much interest for the audience, but currently, they're locked in an almost equal struggle. Fayth's holding a knife, but it seems to have been in Joelle's possession at some point. Even so, the fight is primarily a physical one. The girls are matched in height and build, and neither is proving very successful at overpowering the other.
The audience watches intently as the knife in Fayth's hand gets closer and closer to Joelle's throat. Joelle continues to struggle against it, but it's becoming clear that she may not be able to for long. Fayth has maneuvered herself onto Joelle's stomach, and it's turning into a struggle for Joelle to breathe. There's a split second where Joelle realizes that it's over. She releases her pressure on Fayth's arm and lets the knife go clean through her neck. No one hears the internal prayers she speaks before giving herself up to death, but there is an oddly serene smile on her face that leaves the Capitol audience intrigued by this girl that they'll never really know.
Fayth jumps back in surprise as soon as she realizes what has happened. Joelle's blood seems to have flowed over her arm out of nowhere, and Fayth feels a gurgling in her stomach that isn't a good sign. In theory, she's just succeeded, but it's the worst success Fayth can ever remember having. She glances around quickly before taking an abandoned backpack a foot away from Joelle's dead body and sprinting for the woods.
Only two of the careers remain behind. The rest had left long ago with as many supplies as they could carry. Tiara and Troy remained behind to guard them from any would-be attackers, but it seems as if no one would dare to attack the careers. Not tributes to pass up an opportunity, however, Tiara and Troy have none-the-less found themselves a couple of victims.
The audience gasps as it sees Troy take down his fellow district tribute. For all intents and purposes Brianne should have been another career. And no doubt she had planned to fulfill that role, but Troy, who knew of her reluctance to volunteer, decided to take matters into his own hands. It's done quickly. The people from his district would have to give him that. Killing your district partner wasn't common, but District 1 wouldn't judge harshly. They raised winners, and winners had to make sacrifices.
“Let's go!” Tiara shouts harshly from where she stands over Emilia's corpse. Troy almost regrets for a moment that Emilia is gone, as she had been quite attractive, but he pushes the thought from his mind as he and Tiara flee the now deserted cornucopia. They might have a bit of a trek now in order to find their fellow careers, but with any luck, there will be some sort of sustenance waiting for them.
Five children are gone now, and although many watching feel sympathy for the children who had their life ripped from them, very few think of the families at home who just watched their children and siblings die.