Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Fourth Hunger Games Chapter 13: Die

We're born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we're not alone.” - Orson Welles

If we lose love and self respect for each other, this is how we finally die.” - Maya Angelou

Ahnette wandered through the forest constantly on alert. She remembered coming back to find Fayth's dead body. It had miraculously been the only corpse she'd seen during the games, and the bloody sight had shocked her. Fayth had been so weak and innocent. She most certainly hadn't deserved such a cruel and gory end.

Plus, after spending the beginning of the games entirely alone, Ahnette had begun to welcome the company that companionship brought. Now, she was alone again and too distrustful to seek out an alliance. She realized that this was most likely how she would die. Alone. Ahnette could very well never speak to another human until she came face-to-face with her killer. Would she even speak to her killer? Would her killer be a sneak who denied her even the opportunity to see their face? The thought worried Ahnette even more as the morning sun rose a bit higher and the forest lightened.


The two boys were evenly matched. Not only were Huntur and Gerald both seventeen, but they had been graced with similar builds. Both boys had been struggling to overcome the other for a while now, and neither one was having much success. It was a test of stamina more than anything really, with them being matched in nearly every other area.

It seemed to be a twist of fate when Gerald got the upper hand on Huntur. Huntur felt humiliated as he waited for death to come. He was a career, yet he'd had no kills. His brash, egotistical nature had abandoned him as he whimpered in pain. Gerald, an unimportant District 8 boy, was about to get his second kill of the games, and this one was far more impressive than the young boy he had killed easily.

Gerald smirked with pride as he watched Huntur's final breaths. He waited until the cannon sounded before casually continuing on his way with a new confidence at his accomplishment.


The cannon had announced another death, which sent the current tribute count to ten. Chloe looked at her four companions as she debated with herself. Was an alliance really worth it at this point? There were five of them. Half of the competition was in each other's company. The gamemakers wouldn't let it stay like that for long. They'd have to start killing each other soon.

Coale and Tiara were having similar thoughts. Coale had been more than fed up with Tiara recently anyway, and now he had the perfect excuse to leave. Tiara had never really enjoyed having any of her companions around, and her hatred of them had only grown since she joined them. This alliance no longer put any of them at an advantage.

Right,” Tiara spoke up to gain everyone's attention. “I know I'm not the only one thinking about breaking up the alliance.”

Coale nodded, while trying to conceal his hatred for the girl. “It seems like a good idea at this point.”

Kendrick shuffled his feet and looked at the others sheepishly. “Are you sure? I think it might be a good idea to stick together a bit longer.”

Me too,” Jocelin agreed.

Then you two do that,” Tiara shrugged. “I'm out of here.”

She turned and walked away, not even bothering to glance back at them. Coale cleared his throat awkwardly after Tiara's abrupt departure.

Well, I guess I'll follow her lead.” He was a bit friendlier as he bid everyone goodbye. Unlike Tiara, he'd gotten along with these people, even if he still viewed them as competition.

Chloe nodded. “I'll be leaving too, I guess. Good luck.”

She offered a gentle smile as she left Kendrick and Jocelin behind.


Ezra watched Jocelin and Kendrick as he ate with them. He hadn't expected to be in another alliance so soon, but Jocelin had been adamant about him joining when she had come across him. Ezra had been prepared for a fight to the death, but she had excitedly babbled on about her “new friend.” Ezra had gone along with it because anything was better than death, and Kendrick had just watched Jocelin closely, as if analyzing her actions just as Ezra was.

The more the two boys observed, the more they thought Jocelin had officially lost her mind. The end of her and Kendrick's former alliance had seemed to snap something in the girl. It was as if she suddenly realized that death was coming, and she wanted to prolong it as long as possible. If that meant forming alliances with anyone she met and treating them with the utmost kindness, she was apparently going to do that. Kendrick would have been amused if it hadn't meant he was now stuck with a crazy person. Ezra was just at a lost of what to do. Then again, he had been lost since his name was reaped.


Jocelin watched her two companions closely as they slept. The sun hadn't been set long, and Jocelin's shift as watch had a lot longer to go. She hated sitting around in solitude. She wanted nothing more than to lose herself to unconsciousness, but instead she was stuck awake and trapped in the torture of her own mind. Jocelin didn't really understand what was happening to her. It was as if something had snapped in her earlier today. Being abandoned by a group that she had foolishly come of rely on more than she should have. It only added upon the loss of Fayth, who had been the closest thing she'd had to a friend here.

Now she couldn't trust at all, yet trust was all that she desperately wanted to do. That was why she had rashly pressured Ezra to join her and Kendrick. He had seemed like a decent human being, as decent as anyone could be and still be alive. He wouldn't hurt her, not in an alliance.

Yet a part of her mind kept telling her differently. There was no one she could trust. No one. Why did she stay with Kendrick and Ezra? She'd be better off alone. Kill everyone before they could kill her. That was the better plan.

She could kill them now. The thought began to repeat itself over and over in her mind as she watched them sleep. They'd never even realize. She could do it. Her second and third kills just like that. She'd be closer to relief...

Jocelin didn't realize what she was doing until her hands were wrapped around Kendrick's throat. What lasted only minutes in reality seemed to go on for days in her mind. Jocelin was in a daze as she watched Kendrick's eyes open as he gasped for air. The lack of oxygen seemed to weaken the already scrawny boy, and Kendrick was unable to put up much of a fight.

Jocelin was powerless as the boy suffocated by her hands. It took the cannon sounding for Jocelin to jump back to reality. Her eyes quickly found Ezra as he jumped up at the sudden noise. He seemed shocked as he stared at Jocelin, who was still frozen over Kendrick's limp body.

Suddenly, Jocelin's brain started yelling at her to run, and she bolted from Ezra's still shocked and confused gaze, as she tried to sort out what she had just done.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Fourth Hunger Games Chapter 12: See

Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.” - Marcus Aurelius

Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.” - Friedrich Nietzsche

Ezra, Troy, and Ahnette had been together for a while now, and all three agreed that the need for their alliance had passed. Troy's violent nature and Ahnette's vengeful nature didn't mesh well with Ezra's gentle and compassionate one. In fact, Ezra would be lying if he said he wasn't utterly terrified being in the other two's presence.

I think it's time to end our alliance,” Ezra announced as the three companions finished up their breakfast of berries.

Agreed,” Troy shrugged. “I've been thinking so since yesterday.”
Me too,” Ahnette agreed. “No offense Ezra, but you aren't the greatest person to have around in these games.”

Ezra rolled his eyes, but didn't comment on Ahnette's insult.

So it's agreed,” Ezra said. “We'll go our separate ways.”

No more was said as the three tributes set off in different directions.


Ahnette stumbled upon the girl on accident. She had only been focused on getting away from Troy (before he decided he could double back and get her since they'd formally ended their alliance) when Ahnette had heard a rustling that left her instantly alert.

Her careful inspection had rewarded her with the sight of the crazy girl Fayth in the midst of a panic attack at Ahnette's approach. Ahnette wanted to kill the girl, and most of her was screaming at her to do it. However, a small bit of compassion overwhelmed every other part of her. She couldn't kill the girl while she was in such a state. Ahnette wanted to retain some of her dignity.

Here,” Ahnette whispered softly as she knelt on the ground. “Have some water.”

Ahnette had to hold the canteen as Fayth's hands were shaking, and water dribbled down Fayth's chin. Still, Fayth seemed to calm as she sensed Ahnette meant no harm. Ahnette pulled the other girl to her feet and ushered her on. She wasn't excited about her new companion, but for the moment, she'd have to deal with it.


Ezra watched Ahnette and Fayth closely. He'd been following them for a couple of hours now. After ending the alliance, Ezra had decided that he had better get his act together and actually get a kill. Going after Ahnette seemed easy enough, and he'd taken off after her only to discover her comforting the crazy girl.

After watching Fayth's panic attacks, Ezra came upon a new idea. He remembered his father explaining why sometimes killing an animal was better than letting it suffer. When Ezra was very young the idea that killing could ever be better than living had seemed preposterous, but it had started to make sense to him over the years. And now Ezra couldn't see why the same shouldn't apply to humans as well.

Fayth wasn't making it out of this arena. She couldn't be a victor, and every minute she spent in here she was just getting worse. Ezra had watched several panic attacks from his hiding places, and they weren't easy to watch. The girl was suffering. It would be a win-win situation. Fayth's suffering would end, and Ezra would finally get a kill.

He repeated it like a mantra as he came up behind the poor girl while Ahnette had left to go forage. Fayth never suspected a thing, and Ezra walked away from his first kill with the assurance that he had ended her suffering. An assurance that didn't seem so assuring now that he had her blood on his hands.


Demetrius watched closely as Etin wandered away from the others in his alliance. Demetrius had heard him mention that he needed to relieve himself, and Demetrius knew that this was his chance. He'd get his second kill in and be gone.

It was eerily similar to Boston's death if Demetrius really let himself think about it. He plunged his spear into Etin in just the same way, and he ran at just the same speed. Perhaps it made it easier that way, just repeating motions that he'd already gone through. It made it easier to forget what he had done, even as the cannon proclaimed Etin's death. Demetrius could pretend that he'd just been going through motions.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Fourth Hunger Games Chapter 11: Walk

Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.” - Martin Luther King, Jr.

No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.” - Buddha

Mina was gone before sunrise. The second alliance she had left in the darkness of night. She wasn't making many friends, but that wasn't what she was after anyway. She was tired of dealing with these people. Each time she thought that maybe she'd found a group she could put up with for a little while, but each time she was proven wrong. No one in this arena was her friend, and it was time she started acting like it.

What Mina failed to realize was that she wasn't really alone. She had been closely watched for more than a day now, and she wasn't getting away as easily as she had hoped.


Tiara watched closely as Tifanee slept in the midst of the rest of their alliance. Pieces of advice from her training long before the games kept flowed through her thoughts. “Never betray an alliance. It makes you look bad to the audience. It keeps you from getting sponsors. It's not worth it.”

She'd heard similar things a million times before, yet Tiara was itching to kill. She hadn't killed anyone since the bloodbath at the cornucopia, and all she wanted was another kill to her name. The small girl who had been frustrating her the past couple of days was the perfect target. The rest of their alliance was asleep. Tiara would drag the body away and make up some lie about Tifanee needing to pee and never coming back. They'd never know. Tiara would keep the area clean and make sure to go with the quietest method possible. No one would ever know, except the audience.
And she thought that was a risk she was willing to take....


I think I'm going to head out on my own,” Demetrius announced to his companions over their “breakfast.”

The other three looked at him in mild surprise.

It's just,” Demetrius hesitated for a moment before continuing. “Our biggest strengths as a group were having a career with us and Kahner's mines. Now Alissah and Kahner are both dead. For all we know Kahner had some mines around here that he didn't even tell us about. We could die any second just staying here. There are fifteen left, or fourteen, I guess, since we heard that cannon in the night. That's plenty of time for me to get lost without having to confront any of you.”

Ahnette watched him closely before nodding. “I understand. Do what you feel you need to do.”

Thank you,” Demetrius said darkly as he walked away from the others into solitude.


Jocelin had been watching Mina closely ever since she left their alliance, just waiting for the right moment to strike. Even when Mina had joined a new alliance, Jocelin had stayed close by. It was difficult, but she'd become very good at staying hidden. No one suspected a thing.

She had hoped to deal with Mina quickly and get back to her previous alliance, but she had seen enough over the past couple of days to know that the alliance she had once been a part of was no more. Still, Jocelin was hoping to at least find Fayth. She knew from the nightly summary of deaths that Fayth was still in the arena somewhere, and Jocelin hated to think of what the poor girl might be going through now.

Even though she had yet to finish off Mina, Jocelin was getting restless for human companionship, and she found herself seeking out the large group of five tributes. They weren't far from where Mina had set up camp, although Jocelin was sure that neither Mina nor this group knew of the other's presence. Coale and Etin were both present, and Jocelin found herself irrationally angry that Fayth had been left somewhere behind. Upon seeing Tiara though, Jocelin wondered if it was the brash career's fault.

Jocelin made eye contact with Coale as she entered the small clearing. The others made no move to attack her, as they clearly sensed that she was no threat at the moment.

Where is Fayth?” she questioned.

She left,” Coale explained in regret. “In the middle of the night, just like you. None of us saw her leave.”

Jocelin sighed as she sat down next to the boy. “Great. I planned to come back. I just wanted to get Mina, but then that proved more difficult than I thought. I still haven't gotten her, and now I don't know where Fayth is either.”

Who cares?” Tiara questioned. “You can't win with Crazy around. You're better off without her.”

Shut it, Tiara. I'm not in the mood,” Jocelin growled.

Tiara shrugged. “Whatever. Are you joining us then? I'll be nice enough to let you since Tifanee disappeared last night.”

Jocelin shivered at the hostile gleam in Tiara's eyes, but she shrugged and murmured, “Yeah, I'll join you.” She hadn't given up on Mina, but some human companionship was nice for the moment.


She's still alone,” Jocelin informed her five companions later that day. It was nearing sunset, and Jocelin had just returned from scoping out Mina's “camp.” “She doesn't seem likely to leave for the night. I want to get her before nightfall.”

Great,” Tiara exclaimed excitedly. “I'll come with you.”

No,” Jocelin replied firmly. “I want Coale to come. I know having back up is safer, but you'd steal the kill from me. With anyone else that'd be fine, but I'm getting Mina on my own.”

Tiara flopped back onto the log she'd been using as a stool and crossed her arms in indignation. “Fine. Go settle your grudge.”

I plan to,” Jocelin replied determinedly before walking away to do just that.

Mina would put up a fight, but at the last minute, Jocelin would see the determination leave her eyes. Her acceptance of death would break Jocelin in a way. Jocelin who had been so consumed with revenge that she hadn't stopped to think that she was killing a girl. But by then it would be too late to stop, and Jocelin would be forced to walk back to her companions with her first kill weighing heavily on her mind.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Fourth Hunger Games Chapter 10: Moon

The moon is a friend for the lonesome to talk to.” - Carl Sandburg

I think we should split up,” Tiara announced bright and early that morning.

Tifanee appeared unsurprised, but the two male careers stared at her in shock.

You can't be serious,” Troy growled. “And end the careers for good?”

Tiara shrugged. “I think it's for the best. Either way, I'm out of here as soon as I finish my breakfast.”

And what exactly are you going to do?” Huntur questioned with a glare. “We're stronger together.”

We're strong apart too, or at least we are.” She spoke to Troy and Huntur while throwing a pointed look at Tifanee.

Fine. I'll leave the alliance,” Troy said. “It'd be fun to get some killing done on my own.”

Whatever,” Tifanee shrugged. “I can survive either way.”

She ignored the others' amused looks of disbelief.


Troy didn't like being alone. He had no trouble admitting that he enjoyed having people around to show off in front of, and an audience that he couldn't see wasn't cutting it. For that reason alone he wanted to form a new alliance. Having pathetic people to intimidate was almost as fun as the killing.

For that reason, Troy didn't kill Alissah, Demetrius, and Ezra when he discovered them. Sure, he could have easily enough, but why do that when he could have fun with them in a different way? The killing could always come later.

You three seem to be doing well,” Troy smirked as he swaggered up to them.

All three of them had taken defensive positions.

What do you want?” Demetrius growled.

Don't get too defensive,” Troy chuckled. “I'm not going to hurt you guys. I just want to join your alliance.”

The three other tributes shot each other skeptical looks.

Why should we trust you?” Ezra questioned. "You're a career.”

I am,” Troy acknowledged. “But that alliance is broken, and I was getting lonely. I thought you guys might be up for one more. I have some pretty valuable skills after all.”

Demetrius looked back at Alissah and Ezra before turning back to Troy. “Fine. You can join, but you're not standing guard at night. One of us will do it.”

Troy shrugged. “More sleep for me then.”


With the addition of Jocelin and Fayth, their alliance was getting crowded. Coale and Etin had seemed hesitant about them at first, but had finally fully embraced them into the group. Mina, however, wasn't feeling so accepting. She didn't appreciate being with the crazy girl, and she wasn't going to stick around with her much longer.

Knowing there was no need to change something that worked, she decided to slip off in the night just as she had with the careers. She'd be long gone before they awoke, and Mina would be free of the burden of caring for Fayth the Crazy. They could all get themselves killed if they wanted, but she wasn't going to suffer that fate because of someone else's weakness.


Jocelin stirred as she heard a rustling in the dark. Her senses having been fine tuned in the past several days, her hand immediately went for the knife resting near her head before she bolted up into a sitting position. Scanning the area quickly, Jocelin sensed no harm, but she quickly noticed Mina's absence. No one was up keeping watch, and Jocelin wondered if Mina had wandered off because she sensed something or if she had decided she'd had enough of this alliance. Probably the former. Mina hadn't taken too kindly to Fayth, and Jocelin couldn't blame her.

Even though she understood, Jocelin also felt a surge of anger at the other girl. It wasn't Fayth's fault that she had the attacks. She didn't deserve this more than any of the others, except perhaps the careers who deserved it all.

Jocelin listened closely to the fading footsteps and rustling of leaves that she could just barely hear in the distance. It was a chance. Mina had freely left the alliance, which made her a free target, and Jocelin was feeling a bit bitter at the moment. She spared a quick glance at the three peacefully sleeping forms. They would be safe while she was gone. She was sure of it. They'd hidden their location well. Jocelin would get Mina. Her first kill. She had faith that Coale and Etin would protect Fayth or at least have the decency to formally break off the alliance. If they didn't, they'd have an angry Jocelin to deal with too.


Chloe cowered in fear as the three tributes loomed over her.

Please don't hurt me!” she gasped. “Please!”

Coale looked back at Etin as he held the knife above the young girl.

I'll make you a deal,” Coale spoke in a low voice. “We just lost two members of our alliance. I'll let you live if you'll join us. We could use help handling her.” He pointed at the crazy girl Fayth over his shoulder.

Why haven't you killed her?” Chloe's confusion briefly made her forget her fear.

It's a bit hard when she's so innocent,” he muttered as he stood and stored his knife away. All hatred seemed forgotten as he extended a hand to Chloe to help her to her feet. She took it lightly, while keeping a close eye on the girl that now fascinated her.


What are you doing with them?” Mina questioned Troy sharply.

Mina had come across Alissah, who had been hunting, just moments ago. Alissah had asked Mina to join their alliance as she believed Mina's smarts would be valuable. It all seemed incredibly similar to when she had joined the careers, but it was better than being with Crazy, so Mina went with it. Then, she discovered Troy.

So, let me get this straight,” Mina said. “The careers break up for good, but then two of you wind up in the same alliance again?”

That would be correct,” Alissah smirked. “She's joining by the way.” It was thrown out casually, as if she didn't expect any protests from the other tributes.

Demetrius watched her closely before shrugging. “Okay. She has valuable skills that none of the rest of us do. This could be a good thing.”

Mina sure hoped it was.


Mina had only been with them for an hour or so when they happened upon Kahner's hideout.

Don't come any closer,” Kahner called out towards them with knife in hand. “The place is rigged.”

Rigged?” Demetrius questioned as he scanned the area.

I took the mines from the cornucopia and set them up around this place. Step on one and it'll blow.”

Demetrius nodded. “Nice one. I doubt anyone else would have thought of that.”

Mina cocked her head to the side. “How did you even know how to work them? Not much use for mines in District Six, and even I would have had to inspect one to figure out how to work it.”

I have my ways,” he smirked.

He should join us,” Alissah whispered to the others. “We can't get to him like this anyway. He's surrounded himself, and he suspects us. The best we can hope for his to have him on our side. We can use this place as a base.”

How do we know he won't misdirect us and make us all step on mines?” Ezra asked.

Alissah shrugged, “We don't.”

Demetrius considered for a moment before calling out. “Will you form an alliance with us, Kahner?”

Kahner smirked. “I guess so. I'm running a bit low on supplies, and you seem fixed in that regard.” He nodded towards the bags they all carried.


Tiara watched the group closely with a smirk playing across her lips. Somehow, they'd picked up the crazy girl. Tiara found it amusing, and she couldn't help but watch the show from afar. She'd perched herself up in a tree, a new trick she'd taken from Tifanee. She quite liked it up high where she could watch the other tributes without being detected.

Knowing she was out of reach from the spear they possessed, Tiara called down. “Hey, what are you guys up to down there?”

The four tributes looked up in shock.

Tiara,” Coale growled.

Tiara smirked wider. “Coale. How would you guys feel about me joining you?”

I don't think that's such a great idea,” Etin spoke up.

Aw,” Tiara pretended offense. “Why not? As a career, I could provide you valuable skills.”

You don't mind being in an alliance with me?” Skepticism filled Fayth's voice.

Tiara shrugged. “You're part of the appeal, honestly. You intrigue me.”

Fayth frowned. “I don't like this,” she muttered quietly to Etin.

Neither do it, but she could be helpful,” he answered.

Coale sighed. “How do we know we can trust you?”

Tiara shrugged. “Trusting me is your own problem.”

Etin looked at the others before speaking. “She doesn't keep watch, and we keep a close eye on her.”

Definitely,” Chloe agreed. “She could be helpful, but we can't afford to fully trust a career.”

You can come down now,” Coale called.

Tiara smirked once more as she swung herself down through the branches.


Kendrick watched the four closely. He found it interesting that Tiara, a career, had paired up with three other tributes. To be honest, he was tired of being in this arena alone with only his thoughts. It was haunting. And being with Tiara would help him get farther in the games. If she would pair up with the other three, he should be able to convince them that he should join. He hadn't had a decent training score, and he looked weak. But Kendrick knew how to use use his smarts, and he could convince them that was an advantage.

Tiara smirked as he appeared, but it didn't seem particularly threatening... yet. “Well, well, well,” she chuckled. “Kendrick Jobs. Are you here to fight?”

Nope,” Kendrick replied as confident as possible. “I don't fancy dying today. I was wondering if I could join your little alliance. You could use someone with my brain.”

Tiara considered him. She didn't seem to pay the other three much mind, although Kendrick noticed a look of thinly disguised contempt being thrown at her from Coale. “I think we could find some use for you.”


Gerald watched the group of tributes closely. He recognized Ezra immediately, as he'd had an alliance with the boy at the beginning of the games. He was surprised that Ezra had joined forces with not one but two tributes. Gerald also saw the District 3 tribute, who he knew to be Mina. Gerald hadn't been that fond of her. It would be fun to kill either her or the careers for his first kill of the games. Ezra he would let off the hook. He'd liked him well enough.

The problem would be killing one of the their own without being killed himself. He noticed that Kahner, another tribute Gerald hadn't been fond of, was slightly disconnected from the others. Kahner had been a moody boy during training, and that seemed to have stuck in the games, with him distancing himself from the others in his alliance.

Gerald knew he wouldn't have time to retrieve his arrow once he shot it. The others would react too quickly, and Gerald would be forced to run no matter what the outcome of his shot. He aimed with great concentration, determined to kill with just one arrow. He watched just long enough to see the arrow connect with Khaner's skull before running. A shout rang out just seconds before the cannon boomed, but no one followed Gerald as he fled.


Ahnette had remained hidden in the woods the entirety of the games. She didn't trust enough to approach anyone about alliances, and she was surviving just fine on her own. No one had managed to catch her yet. Still, she figured the Capitol would be getting tired of her reclusive ways, and something bad could happen if she didn't act soon. She'd heard the commotion of Kahner's death and come running. It was a chance to witness, if not experience, a scuffle.

When she'd come upon the scene, she'd watched the hovercraft pull Kahner's body up through the sky and away from the bloody scene still covering the ground. The others in Kahner's alliance seemed slightly shaken, although whether it was from sadness or fear that it would happen to them too Ahnette wasn't sure. The only one who seemed calm was Alissah, who remained lounging in her previous position, apparently having not moved at all. She watched her companions with slight interest as they sorted through Kahner's supplies and talked about leaving soon to get away from the blood now covering the ground.

Ahnette had no weapons, as she had fled the cornucopia as soon as the cannon sounded, but she noticed a knife tucked away safely in a holster on Alissah's belt. Ahnette knew that getting to it would be tricky, especially with Alissah's companions just feet away, but the risk seemed worth it. Ahnette hated the careers and everything they stood for, which only made her more determined as she sneaked quietly forward.

The knife was in her grasp in what seemed like an instant and suddenly it was plunging into Alissah's back. It happened too quickly for Ahnette to really process it, but soon Alissah was writhing around in pain and Ahnette was fleeing just as Gerald had before her. No one pursued her as they ran to the aid of the second of their alliance to be attacked in just moments. The knife was gone, having been wrenched out by Ahnette as she fled, and it was abundantly clear that Alissah wouldn't survive. Another career was gone, and Troy did little to hide his satisfaction as he watched Alissah die.


Tifanee was doing just fine on her own as she ambled along the forest floor. At the slightest hint of danger she would perch up in the trees. She'd attempted to travel through them instead, but that had proved more difficult than it had seemed. Unless she suddenly developed monkey-like skills, Tifanee was just fine walking on the ground.

Still, Tifanee would be lying if she didn't admit that she would rather be with people right now, even ones that might kill her. She was terrified being out here alone, and the slightest sounds made her scramble for the trees. Mockingjays, whose wonderful singing had thrilled her at home, now caused her to scramble under logs.

It was for that reason only that Tifanee was brave enough to approach the human-like sounds that she heard instead of running in fear. She kept to the trees. It was a longer journey but the safer option to the ground. The young girl groaned in frustration when she saw Tiara amongst the group. Of all the careers, Tiara's obnoxiousness frustrated Tifanee the most.

Tifanee did a scan of the area, and after seeing no visible long range weapons, was brave enough to call out, “Hey! Tiara!”

Tiara looked up before growling angrily. She calmed herself and smirked up at Tifanee before replying, “Still by yourself, I see.”

Yeah,” Tifanee sounded much calmer than she felt. “That's what I wanted to ask about actually. How would you feel if I joined your alliance. We were in one together once before after all.”

Tiara's lips puckered. “I suppose.” She looked around at her companions, who all shrugged. Coale had long given up on leadership with Tiara's continued presence, and his shrug was accompanied with a scowl.

Don't make me regret this, Munchkin,” Tiara shouted as Tifanee descended.

Munchkin,” Tifanee chuckled. “That's a new one.”


The alliance was getting crowded now. What had previously just been her, Coale, and Etin was now four extra tributes. None of them appreciated Fayth's presence, she was sure of it. Even the small and young Tifanee was of more value to the group. Fayth yearned for Jocelin's presence. Jocelin who had seemed to genuinely care and then had disappeared without a trace one night. Others would have thought it was a sign of disloyalty, not uncommon in these games, but Fayth thought differently. Jocelin probably didn't want to be the one to kill Fayth, so she got out as soon as possible. It was a smart move on her part, and Fayth meant to replicate it.

Not that Fayth was leaving anyone behind. They would all be happy to wake up tomorrow and find her gone. No one would morn the crazy girl who disappeared in the middle of the night. She'd be free to live the rest of her short live without the judgmental eyes of others.

With that bittersweet thought, Fayth set out into the darkened woods. Her only comfort came from the occasional glimpses of the bright, possibly artificially lit moon that hung high in the sky.

Monday, January 6, 2014

The Fourth Hunger Games Chapter 9: Wrath

Chapter 9: Wrath

There is little for the great part of the history of the world except the bitter tears of pity and the hot tears of wrath.” - Woodrow Wilson

But the child's sob curses deeper in the silence than the strong man in his wrath!” - Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Mina watched the sleeping forms closely as she stuffed a backpack with as many supplies as she could. She wasn't stupid enough to stay with the careers any longer, and she was using her chance as watch to escape. The group had added one more the previous day when they stumbled upon Tifanee and discovered, after a fair bit of torturing and preparing for her death, that she was responsible for the only death since the cornucopia bloodbath. Apparently, that won over the careers, and into the group the girl came. She didn't want to know what cruel death they had for Tifanee up their sleeves, and she most certainly didn't want to know her own.

The careers wouldn't be happy to discover they were missing precious food and water bottles, but with the disadvantage of not having any companions, Mina was forced to leave more than enough behind for them anyway. She was tempted to send the rest down the river, but angering the careers farther wasn't a smart move if she wished to make it out of these games alive.

One death would wake the others. Mina was convinced they could smell blood. She wasn't prepared for the wrath of a well-trained career. That was something she would face later. For now, she was off on her own.


Demetrius would be lying if he said Cassidee's death hadn't shaken him a bit. Their large group had been as close to enjoying themselves as they could be in the arena when her body came washing down the river. It would take a long night of tossing and turning for Demetrius to realize that the Capitol had purposefully let the body wash past them before picking it up, but that didn't matter anymore. Nothing the Capitol could do now could increase Demetrius' hate for them.

The next morning, the group had agreed to split up, and Demetrius was now alone and wandering through the arena with no clue where to go. He froze as he heard rustling in a bush. It stopped abruptly, as if the culprit knew they had been heard. Demetrius approached quietly, one hand on his knife, before Ezra's face popped out and startled him.

Ezra!” he screeched. Ezra and Demetrius had formed a somewhat unfortunate friendship during training as Demetrius was the only one who didn't demean Ezra for his fierce love for animals.

Sorry, sorry!” Ezra apologized.

Demetrius sighed. “Are you alone?”

Yeah,” Ezra spoke as he climbed out of the bush. “Of course I am. No one wants to be with the boy who won't even kill an animal.”

Demetrius knew his decision wouldn't make things easy for himself, but he went for it anyway. “Do you want to form an alliance?”

Are you serious?” Ezra said in disbelief. “Yes.”

“Just promise me you'll at least try to defend me if someone attacks.”

Dem,” Ezra spoke softly. “I may not like hurting innocent animals, but even I can't see the people we're stuck in here with as innocent.”

They're most certainly animals though,” Demetrius muttered.


Mina watched the three boys from afar. She knew that Boston and Etin were stereotypical “nice-guys” from training, and Coale couldn't be that bad if he was sticking with them. Could she kill any of them when two of them didn't seem capable of hurting a fly?

She knew Boston and Etin were both “book smart” though. Maybe they wouldn't mock her intelligence like the careers had. Maybe an alliance would be beneficial because, if truth be told, Mina didn't have a clue what she was doing.

Mina quickly made her presence known so that she wouldn't be mistaken as an enemy. The other three drew their weapons regardless, but that was to be expected.

I want to form an alliance,” she spoke quickly, before they could strike. “I think I could be beneficial to your group.”

The other three boys looked at each other closely, and Etin's slight nod seemed to seal the deal.

Okay,” Coale spoke. “You can join us.”


The others had been furious to wake up and find Mina gone. Alissah figured they should have known she would outsmart them, but none of them had thought the smart move would be to abandon them. Staying with the careers was your best bet at getting to the final tributes. Maybe Mina had been stupider than they thought. At least, that's what Alissah's first reaction had been, but the more she thought about it, the better Mina's decision seemed.

How was Alissah supposed to win surrounded by people just as strong as she was? Shouldn't she be surrounded by people that were weaker than her? Ones she could kill right away with less threat to herself? Yes, she finally decided. That was a better plan. She reasoned with herself that she wasn't betraying the other careers, even if it felt like she was. The games, after all, didn't necessarily have to be played fairly.

Alissah scurried away in the dark, taking a page out of Mina's book, but this time she took only a water bottle and one small container of food. The others could have the rest. She could survive without it.


Jocelin hadn't been expecting to form an alliance so soon after leaving her last one, but she'd felt sorry for Fayth when she found her wandering alone. The girl's panic attacks had made her react violently to Jocelin's presence, and they had only weakened Jocelin's resolve to kill the poor girl.

The girls were the same age at thirteen, but Jocelin couldn't help but see Fayth as much younger. The panic attacks had been lessening slightly as Fayth adjusted to being in the arena, but neither knew when something would happen to set them off.

Jocelin knew she needed a plan. Traveling with Fayth had the potential to get her killed. The other girl couldn't control her panic attacks and wasn't much help during them. If they didn't figure something out soon, they'd be cornered, and it would be up to Jocelin to defend them both.


I hear something,” Troy whispered sharply to bring the other careers to a halt. He turned towards the other three with a finger to his lips. The loss of Alissah had lowered their numbers yet again, which left him grateful for Tifanee's unexpected appearance the day before.

The others followed behind him as he crawled quietly through the undergrowth that was thick enough to hide them. He could see the young tribute from Seven picking some berries. He believed his name was Bryan, one of the youngest tributes at just twelve. The boy wasn't incredibly small, but his age was definitely a hindrance, even if Troy only beat him in that regard by two years. The four of them could no doubt take him easily.

This'll be my kill,” Troy whispered. He made sure to look them all straight in the eye to stress his point. “Only interfere if you think I won't make it.”

It was a useless concession. If Troy was to die, none of them would stop it, but he said it all the same. They could at least pretend to be loyal to each other.

The young boy was oblivious as Troy approached him from behind. One quick stab and it was over. Troy grimaced. Two kills, and neither had been incredibly impressive. Couldn't someone put up a fight? Unwilling to let it pass so uneventfully, Troy continued to stab Bryan until the cannon signaled his death.

The other three careers watched carefully as Troy sauntered back over to them, and Troy smirked at the barely concealed horror on Tifanee's face. She wouldn't be causing him any problems.


Ezra and Demetrius. Both people that Alissah knew as kind from training, or at least as kind as could be while training to kill each other. There was no guarantee of their character anymore, and she would have to remain cautious.

Alissah knew she probably had very different ideals than these two, and Ezra was useless at most things in the arena. Still, she had never planned to be completely alone this early in the games, and disliking the two would just make it easier on her when the alliance ended later.

She should have been expecting the fear when she made herself known to them. She was, after all, a career. What would a career want with tributes from Ten and Eleven other than to kill them? She spoke quickly before they could mistake her intentions further, “I want to join your alliance.”

What?” Demetrius questioned in disbelief. “You? A career?”

Yes,” she muttered. She felt more out of her element now than she had at any other point in the arena. “Being a career isn't all it's cut out to be.”

What trick are you playing?”

I think she's telling the truth.” Ezra answered for her.

You can't possibly know that.” Demetrius turned towards Ezra in disbelief.

Ezra shrugged. “Not for sure, but I think we can trust her.”

Demetrius sighed and thought for a few moments. “Fine, but if you get us killed, Ezra, I'll never forget it.”

Luckily, you won't have a working brain to remember it with,” Ezra muttered, and Alissah found a small smile working its way onto her face at the joke.

You two aren't so bad,” she told them.

Demetrius made a face before muttering, “This is weird.” But he offered her a drink of water anyway as the three began their planning.


It's that Jocelin girl from Nine,” Coale growled from his hiding spot. “And she's got that crazy girl from Twelve. We could take them easily.”

Do you really want to kill a crazy girl?” Etin questioned.

She has to die eventually,” Coale reminded him. “There's no way she could win. It'd be easier for us to kill her now than let one of the careers do it and torture her.”

I know,” Etin groaned. “But I just can't. I couldn't live with myself if I killed someone so helpless.”

Maybe she's not helpless,” Coale pondered. “She could be faking.”

I doubt it,” Boston spoke for the first time. “She had a panic attack right after being reaped. That was too fast of a reaction. I think it's real. Besides, you're from her district. What was she like before.”

Coale shrugged in defeat. "As far as I can remember she's always been like that, although I never paid much attention. What I said about it being better for her if we kill her still stands.”

Etin watched the two girls sadly. “Do you really think we'd be doing the right thing?”

Etin,” Coale muttered quietly. “There's not many right things we have the luxury to do anymore, but this might just be one of them.”


Demetrius had left Ezra and Alissah behind temporarily in an attempt to find food, but what he had stumbled upon instead left him far more interested. The three tributes in front of him were far too engrossed in the insane girl and her companion to notice what was happening behind them.

Demetrius loathed his place in the games, but this was far too good an opportunity to pass up, as he was going to have to kill eventually. Although he'd managed to get a spear, Demetrius wasn't very good at throwing it, and he didn't want to lose it to the two tributes he wasn't able to hit. This left Demetrius scrambling for another way to kill one of them when the solution came to him. Coale scrambled away, no doubt going after the two girls, and Etin followed closely behind. Boston, however, lingered and Demetrius was almost tempted to feel joy at his luck.

Once the two boys were far enough away, Demetrius took off at a run. He didn't want to have time to back out, and even with the noise of his approach, Boston didn't have time to react as the spear plunged through his chest. Not stopping to see the damage, Demetrius pulled the spear out and took off into the forest. Not even the sound of the cannon and Boston's companions' screams could stop him.


Jocelin froze as she heard the tortured scream of a tribute not far away. She scrambled for Fayth, who had begun to tremble. Jocelin had learned that Fayth could occasionally avoid a full-blown attack if she comforted her.

Jocelin scanned the area as she held Fayth close, and it wasn't hard to spot the two boys scrambling towards the body of another. In the distance, Jocelin could make out the form of a fourth boy running away.

Come on,” Jocelin urged Fayth to her feet. “We need to get out of here before they come towards us.”

The two girls hadn't made it very far when a loud voice called out, “Wait!”

Jocelin hesitated for a moment before halting.

I can't believe I'm saying this,” Coale said. “But Boston was a valuable asset, and now he's gone. I know you're smart, Fayth, so I'm willing to forget about the anxiety stuff if you'll join us.”

Jocelin watched Fayth closely as the girl analyzed her district partner. “Okay,” Fayth spoke quietly.

Are you serious?” Jocelin whispered harshly.

Yes.” And it was the surest of something Jocelin had heard Fayth sound since they formed their alliance. “I know Coale. He won't betray us. He'll keep things fair, and it'll be good for us.”

Jocelin sighed. “If you're sure.”

Fayth smiled softly after. “I am.”