The Hunger Games, Fleeing Snake
There we were, all the male tributes from district two were lined up so pretty and neat, all of us dressed properly for the great occasion, the reaping. I had heard that in other districts the reaping was a time of fear, but this was District 2. Here the reaping was a celebration, a feast for warriors and a chance at glory. I was in my place, lined up in the 17-18 year old boys bracket in the district courtyard with the female tributes across from us. I could see across to the girls Most of them were standing tall and defiant of fear.
Clove, I never liked that girl, she stood with a defiance and confidence of a wolf chasing a wombed rabbit. She was always abnormally aggressive, but all pre-trained tributes were, that's how they're raised, coupled with the natural aggression of District 2 you get the prefect warrior, just like Cato. In district 2 competing in the games is an honor, an honor some train years for, but I never shared that desire, I knew what the games were, they weren't a chance to fight for honor, they were just a chance to rob the world of its innocence. I looked down our line to see the males faces, they were much like the girls, all ready and anxious, but one stood more ecstatic than the rest, one of the boys was antsy with excitement and ready, ready to jump at the chance to prove himself worth of all the training, time and money spent on him, Cato, my friend.
The order went, myself, Marquis, Aviel, Reed, Jessup and Cato at the head of the line, but even from my place I could see Cato's fingers twitching, his breath speeding up and his smile slowly forming while the escort for District 2 came to the podium. He was a tall thin man by the name of Talmud, who would spend inordinate amounts of time talking about the glory of The Games and the power of the Capitol. Cato was getting too jittery and I whispered to him from down the line. He looked back at me, winked and smiled that Cato smile, something between genuine happiness and bloodthirsty satisfaction. He had told me earlier that I shouldn't worry, because no matter who was picked he would be the first to volunteer, I guess that's why he was so antsy, and why I felt so nervous...
"Don't go Cato." I tried to whisper to him, knowing it was already too late to stop him now.
Eventually Talmud finished his speech and announced something odd.
"Congratulations Ladies and Gentleman, I have some exciting news." Talmud said swaying his hips side to side. "We have word from the capitol about a special new Hunger Games! Isn't that lovely?" Talmud directed us to the main screen where the Capitol logo appeared. The national anthem blared out and President Snow appeared on the screen.
"Good evening, and Happy Hunger Games!" Snow said in a booming voice. "To increase morale in Panem I am announcing a new set of rules for the 74th annual Hunger Games!" As Snow spoke the audience cheered, to district 2 Snow was the leader, a symbol of power and strength, and even I'll admit, in the midsts of his speech I was awestruck. Something about this man had always captivated me, his voice, his power and more than anything his eyes, those snake like eyes.
"There will be two new rules for the Games, Rule one!" Snow cleared his throat before speaking, which snapped me back to attention. "The tributes chosen will not be a male and female from each district, instead it will be two females from the odd numbered districts and two males from the even numbered districts, they are to be selected from the random drawing system." After Snow had finished the boys erupted into a firestorm of cheers. The pre-trained tributes would certainly have a fun year.
"Well, maybe with another boy in the arena, Cato has a better chance of winning." I thought, not joining in on everyone's excitement.I looked down the line and Cato was cheering louder than anyone else. He looked back at me and winked. I smiled at him, "Good luck." I mouthed, knowing that Cato would be going now more than ever. He continued smiling and nodded.
"Finally!" Snow started again. "Finally when tributes are chosen, there will no longer be the option of another volunteering for tributes. These are the new ordinances for the Hunger Games. Good luck and may the odds be ever in your favor!" As Snow finished the screen flashed off and Talmud could be heard squeaking and clapping. The audience however, was very quite, oddly quite. It was the last of the new rules that shook people. There are far more regular children in district 2 than pre-trained tributes, and the thought that an innocent, inexperience, weak child might be thrown into the match was almost too much for people to bare, but I had an odd feeling it wasn't that innocent people would be selected to die, but weak people would die and dishonor District 2. I swallowed hard at the thought of anyone being caught up in the games, now the Capitols net was wider and stronger, now any boy in that courtyard could have been sent off to his death, even me.
"My this is going to be so exciting!" Talmud said, shaking the audience back to attention. "But poor ladies, you cant compete. So sorry! Well, you may go back then, this ones for the boys!" The girls walked back, some relieved but most were swearing under their breath.
"Now lets begin with the drawings." Everyone became still, even the girls stopped walking back, everyone turned to see Talmud pick the first name from the pot. "Right well lets see...ah. Our first male tribute, Cato Eucliff!" A bead of sweat finally went down my face when Cato was called, but at the same time my heart skipped a beat. Cato was called, he would fight, and kill, or he would be killed. I could see him smiling as he walked to the stage but it took everything I had not to start crying for Cato. I knew how things were, I knew what was expected of me, but I still couldn't stop my hands from trembling.
"Wonderful! Now lets find us our last male tribute!" Talmud reached down and pulled out a new name from the pot.
"Okay then, Lets see...Our final male tribute for the 74th annual Hunger Games! Errol Sinclair!" The cheering all at one died down. Cato stopped smiling and everyone looked at me, but I refused to look ant anyone else but Cato. "Errol...Errol Sinclair? Where are you dear?" The boys around me started moving away, leaving me dead in the center of the courtyard. "Come on, don't be shy." Talmud said motioning me to the stage, but I refused to move. Some fight or flight instinct within me had warped into stillness, so I wouldn't move. Talmud must have become tired of my waiting so he snapped his fingers and two peacekeepers came to take me to the stage. I juts stood there, unable to move, unable to think or react. As they reached me I felt like I was the smallest and most helpless of children, not the 17 year old Messenger who could run over 200 packages a day, and these two men were the largest and most malicious of beast coming to eat me alive. I immediately looked to Cato, pleading with my eyes for Cato to save me, to help me as he always did, but not even Cato could save me this time.
The peacekeepers took me on stage and dropped me next to Cato.
"Cato..." I whispered out. He didn't look at me but only motioned me to stand up straight, which I quickly did. Cato knew that from the moment my name was called the Hunger Games began. He knew I had to be strong or I'd be dead before I even got to the arena. When Talmud finally finished his speech he took mine and Cato's hand and made us shake. As we did I finally looked in Cato's eyes, they were no longer filled with the promise of the games, they were dark, heavy and unless I was wrong, full of a hidden sadness.
Just like mine. The Hunger Games, Fleeing Snake