Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Fourth Hunger Games Chapter 20:

It is strange to be known so universally and yet to be so lonely.” - Albert Einstein

A man is born alone and dies alone; and he experiences the good and bad consequences of his karma alone; and he goes alone to hell or the Supreme abode.” - Chanakya

It wasn't difficult to find each other. Tiara was already waiting at the cornucopia when Coale arrived. It seemed obvious to meet here, as both were eager to finish the games.

It was a struggle, but Coale knew that he was finished long before it happened. Tiara was strong, and she knew it. She'd never doubted that she would win, and her confidence was strong enough to cause Coale to doubt his own strength. That may have been what finished him.

Tiara smirked as the cannon sounded. Tiara's laughter began to ring loudly around the arena when she heard her victory being announced to the world.


Tiara wasn't really sure what she had been expecting upon winning the games. Happiness, she supposed. And she was happy. In a sense. But there was also this weird feeling that she hadn't been expecting. She didn't notice it at first. Not until she was back in District 4.

She'd been cheered and celebrated that day. Her entire district had been present to welcome her home as she stepped off the train. Tiara had felt so proud to know that they were there for her, and that people were celebrating her and District 4 all across Panem.

Things had changed after that day, although it took Tiara time before she caught on. Before she realized that there was a side to being a victor that she'd never given any thought to. The side where her friends and family seemed scared of her, though they attempted to hide it. The side where she was ignored by all of the people in her district unless she directly engaged them in conversation, and even then they escaped as soon as possible.

She was happy though, she reminded herself. Lonelier than she had expected. But happy.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Fourth Hunger Games Chapter 19: Alcohol

Anyway, no drug, not even alcohol, causes the fundamental ills of society. If we're looking for the source of our troubles, we shouldn't test people for drugs, we should test them for stupidity, ignorance, greed and love of power.” - P.J. O'Rourke

Alcohol is the anesthesia by which we endure the operation of life.” - George Bernard Shaw

The blizzard's end was more than welcome to Jocelin, but such a horrible cold had set in that she still struggled to warm herself. Even as the arena warmed and melted the snow, she was forced to drudge through the cold slush that soaked her shoes and socks with ice cold water. Jocelin was forced to stop several times and remove her shoes completely. She could only hope that rubbing them would warm them enough to ward off frostbite. After a long internal debate about whether wet, cold socks were better or worse than no socks at all, Jocelin finally found the stream, which was now overflowing with the melted snow.


It hadn't been hard to find her. With her footprints laid out for the world to see, Coale had tracked Jocelin until he had her cornered at the stream. The rushing water would prevent her from crossing, and he knew she wouldn't stand a chance of running in this snow anyway. She cried when she saw him in anticipation for her coming death.

Please end it,” she whispered as he stood over her.

The blood-soaked snow was left as evidence of what had taken place, even after the body was removed, and Coale knew he needed to get away from this spot. He needed to end it. Now.


Tiara smiled widely as she heard the cannon blast. One other tribute was now all that stood between her and victory. She wondered briefly who had made it through. She knew that Jocelin and Coale had been the only two left standing because Tiara herself had made all of the other kills since last night's projection of the dead. She expected to find Coale, but if a weakling such as Jocelin had gotten through, then she wasn't going to complain about the easy win. She just needed to find the other tribute and end this for good.


Neither of the remaining tributes paid any thoughts to those watching around Panem. Citizens across the country watched in anticipation. Some were horrified as they inched closer to the screens in their rundown houses. Some conversed joyfully with the crowd around them as they partied drunkenly in celebration of the coming conclusion to this year's games. Everyone in Panem would be affected by the coming events, but no one would be as wrecked as the two tributes about to fight to the death.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Fourth Hunger Games Chapter 18: Storm

After a storm comes a calm.” - Matthew Henry

Human misery must somewhere have a stop; there is no wind that always blows a storm.” - Euripides

Ezra's relief of having slipped passed Tiara had quickly faded after being faced with the snow. At first it had seemed easy enough to handle. He'd dealt with snow his entire life in District 10. Then, the snow worsened, and although still comparable to District 10, Ezra realized that this time he didn't have any shelter to which he could escape. He was alone in what was quickly turning into a blizzard. He didn't understand why the gamemakers wanted to do this so close to the end. Wouldn't it just make it more difficult for them to fight? But Ezra had given up understanding the gamemakers long ago. For now, he had more important things to worry about.


Jocelin gripped the light jacket that had been a part of her tribute uniform tightly to her. It wasn't helping much anymore, but even a thin layer was better than nothing. The only bright side to this storm was it was helping her forget about how dirty her skin felt. Now, she was consumed by cold. She shivered as she looked around the arena. Jocelin hoped it ended soon.


Coale had managed to forage enough food for a couple of meals before the storm picked up. He was suddenly thankful for the cold District 12 winters as he walked with his back toward the strong breeze. The one advantage of the wind was that it now provided sufficient disguise of his footprints. No longer having to worry about leaving an obvious trail, Coale began to head in the direction of the cornucopia. He wanted to end this as quickly as possible.


Oh, look,” Tiara smirked maliciously. “It's little baby Ezra.”

Ezra had seen Tiara in this state before, but never had he been on the receiving end of it. He'd been so careful when escaping the alliance with her, but the storm had caused him to drop his guard. He'd been so concerned with protecting himself from the elements that he hadn't protected himself from the biggest danger. He shouldn't have been surprised when Tiara cornered him.

Don't worry,” Tiara reassured him. “I'll make it quick. After all, we were friends, weren't we?”

And quick it was.


Tiara watched as Ezra's body was removed from the arena. Minutes later she could see the snow start to lighten. It became easier to see, and Tiara felt as if she could detect just a minuscule rising in the temperature. They'd gotten one death, and apparently, that was enough. With just three tributes left, the rest of the games would be eventful even without the severe weather. Tiara smirked as she thought of how close she was to winning. Just two more deaths to go.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Fourth Hunger Games Chapter 17: Snow

Chapter 17: Snow

Corruption is like a ball of snow, once it's set a rolling it must increase.” - Charles Caleb Colton

Dawn would be breaking soon, and a chill was in the air that hadn't been present before. Ezra took that as a foreboding sign, one that made him even more reluctant to leave Tiara behind. She'd be waking up soon. He swore her eyes opened the second the sun peaked across the horizon. Ezra couldn't be sure of the exact time of sunrise, but he estimated he had a little less than half an hour to get away.

If Tiara caught him, Ezra had no doubt that he'd be dead within minutes, so he crept away as quietly as possible. He took only a small amount of Tiara's supplies with him, as he wanted to have something without angrying Tiara much. After all, they would likely face each other in the future. He didn't want it to be with any more animosity than necessary. He had a strong feeling Tiara would be the one to end him. In fact, he'd bet money she'd win the games, but foolishly, that wasn't stopping Ezra from trying. There was still a glimmer of hope inside him as he disappeared into the forest.


Something cold and wet woke Tiara from her light slumber. Her eyes flew open only to be met with a haze of white. Even as she watched it, the snow began to fall quicker. All around her the ground was already covered in a light layer of white that had managed to make it through the trees above. It took several more seconds for Tiara to asses that Ezra was nowhere in sight. She sighed in slight frustration, but accepted the situation quickly.

Her clothes weren't suited for winter weather, and she knew that the gamemakers had done this purposefully. They expected a quick end to the games. The gamemakers would keep the tributes just cold enough to motivate them and not freeze them to death.

Well, look who we have here.”

Tiara froze at the familiar sound of Troy's voice. She silently congratulated him for actually sneaking up on her this time, but she was still confident as she turned to meet his gaze.

Troy,” she greeted.

He sneered back, "Tiara."

It was a bloody fight, and one well-matched. Tiara had no doubt that the Capitol enjoyed watching her kill Troy after the biggest struggle of the games so far. She regretted not being able to save him for last, but at least it would buy her some time. They wouldn't be expecting much out of her right away at this rate.


The newly dusted ground provided a disadvantage for Coale. He realized right away that he would have to go through a lot of trouble in order to disguise his footprints. The best thing to do as far as he could tell would be to stay in his hiding spot, but he doubted the gamemakers would allow that for long. Besides, he was running low on food, and he needed to keep his strength up. With the snow, it would be harder to find food, and he needed to take care of that now before the snow got even worse and the food even harder to find.


Jocelin's skin still felt raw from the scrubbing it had received hours ago. No matter how hard she scrubbed, she could still see traces of her victims' blood everywhere she looked. In fact, she'd rubbed so hard that her own blood had now tarnished her skin. She tried to pay it no mind, especially as she had bigger problems. She needed to find shelter and fast. The temperature had dropped quickly, and Jocelin's limbs were getting harder to move as frostbite set in. A fire would be risky, but she was running out of options. What did she have to lose now anyway?