“I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.” - Maya Angelou
“All you need is ignorance and confidence and the success is sure” - Mark Twain
Chloe tried to stifle her cough, not wanting it to draw attention her way. Her throat was dry, as she hadn't had water for most of the day. She had somehow gotten disoriented, and she could no longer find her way to any of the water sources she'd been around earlier in the games. At first, she'd been attempting to find an alternate source, as the other tributes were likely around the ones she'd already found. But with no such luck, she'd been discouraged after searching for the well-known stream for hours. All she wanted was water. She was desperate for it. Some berries she'd found had helped a bit, but they weren't an adequate substitute. She couldn't be far from the stream. At least, she hoped not.
Coale sighed as he looked at Ezra. “I guess this is it,” he said somewhat reluctantly. “There are only seven of us left. Soon it will all be over.”
Ezra nodded before holding out a hand for Coale to shake. It briefly struck Coale as odd considering where they were, but he took the offered hand anyway and shook it firmly.
“I really hope we don't see each other again,” Ezra said as they stepped back from each other.
“Me too, Ezra. I really do.”
Jocelin squinted as she opened her eyes. It was much brighter than it had been when she closed them, and she realized that she must have been sleeping for quite a while. It took several seconds for everything to catch up with her and her horror to return. Then, she remembered her blood covered hands and face and... everything.
Looking down, Jocelin could see that the blood had dried. Only a vigorous scrubbing would remove it now. The thought brought new tears to Jocelin's already raw eyes. She felt calmer, as if she had somewhat accepted that she was a murderer, but she was by no means okay. Every part of her hurt, not physically but emotionally. It was as if Jocelin's soul, if such a thing even existed, had been put through a shredder.
Jocelin knew that she'd been laying here for far too long, and the area didn't provide much cover to hide. She was lucky, or unlucky rather, that no tributes had stumbled upon her and finished her off. The smart thing to do would be to move on, but Jocelin couldn't find the strength to stand, let alone walk.
Troy had been alone for more than a day now, and he was quite enjoying his solitude. As a career, he'd always envisioned his experience in the games as being surrounded by a group. He knew he'd be alone eventually, but he'd never given that part much thought. He liked this separation though. The gamemakers had tried to herd him towards the others several hours ago, and Troy had complied. He had no other choice. The lightening would have gotten him if he'd disobeyed. As it was, his clothes were soaked through, but dodging the small fires that sprung up around him had been invigorating.
They'd led him straight to Tiara though, and it had caused Troy to hesitate. He'd been expecting one of the weaker tributes, not a fellow career, but apparently the Capitol was really itching for some conflict if the gamemakers wanted one of the remaining careers gone. Still, Troy was hesitant. Of all the people in the arena, Tiara would be the toughest to take. She'd proved just how strong she was when they were in an alliance, and Troy wasn't looking forward to being in opposition to that. So he pulled back and hid. He continued watching, but he wouldn't make a move just yet.
Demetrius hadn't seen anyone since Etin's death. With two kills on his shoulders, Demetrius figured he should be able to be alone for a while before he was expected to confront anyone new. Things had to be getting intense now amongst the others. There were only seven of them left. Demetrius would have never dared hope that he'd get this far, but he knew that it would be a stroke of luck if he got any further.
Demetrius had no desire to kill again. He'd spent his entire life trying to be kind to others only to enter the arena and become a killer. No more. He wouldn't end another life. He couldn't live much longer with the knowledge of what he had done. Demetrius had come to accept that he would die. It was what he wanted.
It was easy to find Ezra. The other tribute wasn't the sneakiest person around. He also wasn't the best for the job Demetrius was about to ask him to complete, but Demetrius wasn't about to be picky. Besides, he'd come to like Ezra while they'd been aligned together. At least he would die at the hands of a friend.
“You want me to what?” Ezra asked in disbelief. He had been relieved when Demetrius had raised no weapon, but now he found his heart racing.
“You heard me,” Demetrius answered. “You get a kill and get farther in the games, and I get what I want too.”
He added a quiet, “please,” when Ezra seemed hesitant.
“Please forgive me,” Ezra murmured. Demetrius knew it wasn't directed towards him, as Ezra already knew all to well how serious he was. Instead, Ezra seemed to be speaking to the world as a whole. As if he wanted everyone watching to forgive him, to not view him as a murderer. Most importantly of all, however, Ezra seemed be be begging himself to do the same thing.
Demetrius' last thought before the world went black was a wish that sweet, pure Ezra wouldn't die as ruined as Demetrius. It was a wish in vain.
Tiara smirked as the cannon sounded. Eighteen down. Five more to go. Soon she would be the victor.
She listened closely to the rustling in the distance and chuckled to herself. Troy was following her. He was stupid to believe she didn't notice. It was clear that the Capitol had herded him here, but he was taking his time to confront her. Tiara figured that on some level he must have known that he would lose.
She was having a bit of fun making him follow her, but if he didn't attack soon, she would have to lose him. She was getting tired, and there was no way Tiara was staying up all night just to have fun leading another tribute around the arena. She'd get around to killing him soon, but if she could, she wanted to leave him for the big finale. After all, what better way to end on a bang than killing a fellow career?