Chapter 11: Into the Games
After the interviews it's a silent ride up to our floor. The only thing spoken is a quiet, "Good job!" from Josh. I am begining to think he's trying to make me feel like I owe him something. But I don't! I didn't even know he existed until the Reaping...Ohhhhh. That's why. I sigh and ask Luna, "So how did we do?" She's quiet for a second and says, "Pretty good. Go to bed, both of you. You need to save your strength for tommorow. You can order dinner in your bedroom." Oh that's right. The Games are tommorow. Suddenly my appitite has gone south for the Games. I nod and walk down the hallway and lock my door.
I order my usual breaded shrimp, crab meat, and fluffy rolls. I even order this thing they call Hot Chocolate, and it's really good! I eat in silence. I probably shoud've taken my dress off first, but who cares? I reach up to my headband and feel the cool metal and jewel beneath my fingertips. I was going to have this on until the day I died. Which was probably tommorow. Our district's tributes usually never made it past the bloodbath. Even if they do, they never make it more than a few days before the Careers catch up to them and kill them. After dinner I eat something they call Cookies 'n Cream Pie and I must say, it rivals the shrimp and those fluffy rolls. After I'm done, I take a shower and put on the comfiest clothes I can find, but I still can't sleep. I try again and again and still my eyelids don't feel heavy. This may be my last night of pure sleep, so I try really hard, but finally give up! I unlock my door and pad down to the TV room and sit on the cushiony couch. I stare at the TV and imagine what it was like seeing me on TV for my family and friends. If they didn't know me better they must've thought I loved the Capital. But they didn't think that. Right? I sigh and rid my head of all these 'What ifs?' and simply stared at things until I started to feel a little tired. Yawning I make my way back to my room and find Josh sitting on the end of my bed. I sigh and I'm starting to get used to Josh wanting to talk before the night ends. "What?" I finally ask after he has said nothing. He's silent for a moment and then says, "Sym, just don't become a pawn in their games." Then he leaves as silent as a ghost and again I'm left wondering what he means.
I'm woken up in the morning by my prep team. The blue lady which I've learned her name is Sasha dresses me in a black fitted t-shirt, capri cargo pants, brown boots, and a utility belt with pouches to hold things. "What no jacket?" I ask her. She smiles a sad smile at me and says, " 'Fraid not. Probably really hot." I shrug. After I'm ready we go up onto the roof and a Capital official comes over and sticks me with a needle putting a device inside my arm that beeps. She then takes me to a hovercraft where everyone is getting strapped into big metal chairs. Shine sees me and she smiles an evil smile and gets into her seat. I stiffen and take one as far away from her as possible. When everyone is seated the hovercraft takes off. There's no windows so we have no idea where we are going. After what seems like an hour the hovercraft lands and everyone's stylists escort them to their launch room. I look at Josh one more time, but he has no expression on his face. I sigh a quiet sigh and Catarina leads me to a concrete room labeled "District Six Female". Guess that's me. We go inside and there's only a table, a chair, and a hollow glass tube leading up to the arena. I sit on the chair and Catarina takes out my headband and slips it on. A red light flashes and it's time for me to go up into the arena. Catarina gives me a kiss on the cheek and says, "Remember. Choose wisely." I didn't know what this had meant at the time, but now I do. I step onto the cool metal plate and light pours onto me from above. As I ascend slowly up, I take one last glance at Catarina and she gives me a smile. I smile back and white light pours on me. I blink my eyes and I am up into the arena.
I look around me and spot the Cornicopia up ahead. I turn my head slowly around to see my surroundings. There's a rainforest in back of me and a mountain behind the Cornicopia. There's bright sunlight coming from all directions and I realize how hot I am. My hair is up in my usual ponytail, but I still feel like I'm in a furnace. I reach up to my headband and it burns my fingertips. I take a deep breath and search the piles of things only a few yards away from me. I immediatly spot a brown bow and sheath of arrows a little ways away from me. The thing closest to me is a brown backpack containg who knows what. I decide to postion myself to get the bow and arrows and to get the backpack. I then decide after I get what I need, I'll run into the rainforest. I am waiting patiently as Claudius Templesmith is counting down. "10...9...8...7...6...5..." he says. I take a deep breath. "1." The gong sounds and I run like there's no tommorow. There might not be. I quickly grab the backpack and sling it over my shoulders. I realize it will be much harder to get the bow and arrows, because 3 people are running for it, and Shine is one of them. I steady myself and prepare to fight. Unfortunatly the female from District Eight gets there first and picks up the bow and arrows just as Shine stabs her in the neck. She falls back and Shine throws a knife at the male from District Ten who tried to get it. I stop in my tracks and look at her. She smiles a devilish smile and is about to unleash the knife before we both hear a "HELP! Shine!" from Lily the girl from Four. The male from Eleven suprisingly has her in his death grip. She forgets about the bow and arrows and makes a run for it at the little kid. I quickly grab the bow and sling the sheath of arrows over my back when Shelby tackles me. I lay on the ground, a knife at my neck when she looks over at Turk who has a spear in his hand and is giving the male from Seven the devil smile. She grins at him and I take that moment of pulling back an arrow and hitting Turk in the stomach. Shelby goes wide-eyed and I push her off and run as fast as I can. Brawn, Shine, Lily, and Hirton are all occupied so I run as fast as I can with my precious backpack and bow and arrows.
Nobody follows me as Shelby is trying to help Turk and everyone else is occupied. I run as fast as I can and as long as I can. But eventually I tire out and lean against a tree. When I see that it's starting to get dark, I climb up into a big tree with willows covering everything in it. I take off my pack and carefully lay my bow beside me keeping my arrows on. I search through the backpack and find a bundle of rope, dried beef, a package of dried fruit, a full water bottle, a blanket, and a first aid kit that has fever pills, bandages, stuff like that. I remember making a cot out of this same rope, so I get to work making one and after not to long I have a really good one. I attach it to one of the branches and lay on it. I still have rope left over to make another one, so I put everything in the back into the pack. I realize I'm starving and thirsty, so I carefully allow myself some water and a piece of dried fruit. My stomach is growling so loud, I think the Careers can hear my stomach. I know I can't risk any more food or water until I hunt and find some more water so I put everything away and look up to the sky as the anthem blares. They show the ones that died today. The female from Three, the male from Four, the female from Five, both from Seven, the female from Eight, both from Nine, the male from Ten, the male from Eleven, and the female from Twelve. 11 dead in the first day. Only 13 left. So this means Josh is still in it. I smile to myself and wonder why I'm so happy. I shrug to myself and lean back on my cot, my arm resting on my bow and my sheath of arrows on my back. I use the backpack for a blanket and am lulled to sleep by the cooing of the grasshoppers.