Chapter 16: Horrific
“Likewise, education can direct people toward good or evil ends. When education is based on a fundamentally distorted worldview, the results are horrific.” - Daisaku Ikeda
“Sometimes the way you respond to horrific, evil deeds is the measure of one's self as a man, as a nation, as people, as a community.” - James Wood
Tiara smirked as she spied on Ezra through the brush. It was amazing the soft boy was still alive. She chalked it up to luck and nothing else. Welcome luck though, as she'd been growing bored ever since ditching Troy hours ago and was just itching to have some more fun.
“Hey! Ezra!” To say that the boy was startled would be an understatement. The boy had been watching his surroundings closely, and Tiara sneaking up on him had shocked him to his core. To make matters worse: it was Tiara. She wasn't exactly the first tribute he would have chosen to come in contact with.
“Want to form an alliance?” Tiara asked in amusement as the boy scrambled for the small knife that was his only weapon.
Ezra stared at her in shock before stuttering out, “Are you serious?”
Tiara's smirk only widened. “Of course I am, dear Ezra.”
Ezra knew it was a horrible idea, but he really didn't have much choice. If he said no, he knew he'd be killed on the spot.
Coale tossed and turned as he tried to sleep in a small crevice he had found as a hiding spot. He didn't feel safe (probably never would again), and he was finding sleep impossible. How was he supposed to rest when there were five people out there that wanted his blood. Well, okay. Maybe four. Ezra didn't want anyone's blood. But none of that made anything more reassuring. All Coale could think of was the horrific things that had happened to him since the games started. He'd never rest again.
He'd lost her. Troy had been carefully following Tiara for almost a full day before she just disappeared. Now he would have to track down another tribute if he hoped to have any fun. He couldn't believe this. He'd been so careful. How did she disappear like that? He had to admit: Tiara was good. She would be a challenge when their confrontation came, and he planned to make that confrontation come soon. He wanted to get it over with. No doubt it would be a nasty fight, but if he could get her, then the path to winning would be clear for him.
Chloe's dehydration had worsened, and the longer she went without water, the harder it was for her to search for the water that she needed. Never had she thirsted so much. It was torturous, and Chloe couldn't find the strength to go on any longer. She wasn't surprised when Tiara appeared. It wasn't as if she had bothered to hide herself well. Chloe put up no fight. She doubted she could struggle if she tried. She was too weak and miserable to even be scared of what she knew was coming. The darkness was a blessed relief.
Jocelin scrubbed hard at blood that had attached itself permanently to her skin. Her skin was raw from the useless effort to clean it. Even in the areas where she had managed to get rid of the residue, she still felt the blood's presence. It had become a part of her that would never be gone. The thought only made her scrub harder.