This might be super long, but I hope you enjoy!
This story features Anise Sorrel.
Chapter 1 Edit
I exhale, and a wisp of mist curls out into the air. The tributes around me are poised on their plates. Lithe. Graceful. Ready to kill.
Well, so am I.
The arena is a little chilly. The Cornucopia is loaded with goodies like weapons, food, rope, tents, and pretty much everything else. Since I am District Two, people will be falling over themselves to be on my team.
I don't have a team. I fly solo, I'm the lone wolf, I'm the dark and strong and mysterious girl tribute. The one who scored a ten in training.
My dark golden hair is streaked with dark red and in a simple bun at the back of my head, but strands dangle around my face like vines. I scan my surroundings. Behind the tributes on the other side of the Cornucopia is an endless ocean which stretches on in that direction. On my left and behind me, an infinite stretch of woods, and to my right, a cliff which drops right down.
There's only thirty seconds left. I settle my eyes on a medium-sized backpack that sits at the mouth of the Cornucopia. Next to it is a bow with arrows. I'm acceptable at archery, so I'll take that. And, to the right, about six knives arranged in a circle.
My weapon. Those knives are meant for me.
I almost speed forward, but then stop myself. I'll be blown to bits if I move now.
Ten, nine, eight.
The boy next to me, from District Seven, is shivering. He leaps forward, and then there's an explosion and a cannon. I look away as bits of flesh rain through the air. Gross.
Six, five, four.
The girl on the other side of me is from District Ten. Her black hair is twisted up in a spiral on her head, and her gray eyes are narrowed at me.
Three, two, one.
I sprint forward towards the backpack. I snatch it up and sling it over myself. I make a grab for the bow, but the little girl from District Nine is already running off with it.
My mind spins as I grab my knives. Four I slip into my belt, and the other two I keep in my hands.
I spot a narrow bag that must have a tent in it. I grab the bag before the boy from District Twelve can. He's raising the sword he has, but I know he isn't very keen to fight me.
Instead, I speed, away, slinging my pack farther up my shoulders.
Copper from One is watching me. I can feel his cold gaze trailing behind me. "Wait!" screams a voice. I ignore it, running towards the woods.
I'm nearly there. If I can just get past that huge oak tree I can make it. I'm almost there. I nearly trip over a body. I can't tell who it is; they're lying facedown with a spear in their back.
"Anise!" the voice shouts. I turn to see Jasmine, the girl from One, stumbling after me, a sword in her hand. She also has a pack, a dark green one, over one shoulder.
Jasmine scored a nine in training. I decide I'll take her. I run towards the woods and shinny up the oak tree.
Jasmine follows. We scramble up through the branches. When we get as dangerously high as we can climb, we stop, panting. I can still hear the wails and screams of the tributes.
Jasmine's black hair is in a braid down her back, and her green eyes are darting from side to side. For the first time, I notice that there is a slash in her pant leg, and blood is oozing out. She props her leg on a higher branch, and then winces.
"I'll take care of that," I promise. "Just wait until the bloodbath is over."
So we wait. The sun migrates slowly across the sky, and the shrieks gradually die away.
I've been sitting for so long that my legs are numb.
"Is it over yet?" Jasmine whispers. She's about fifteen, a year younger than me.
"I think so." I cock my head, listening closely. There is no sound. Just cheerful bird and animal sounds, like a peaceful day.
But I'm not fooled. This day is not peaceful at all. Nothing about it is cheerful.
I slide through the leaves and peer out. The Cornucopia is surrounded by bodies, and the ground is spattered with blood. The remaining Career tributes are nowhere to be seen.
Just then the cannon shots begin. One, two, three, four, five, and on to twelve. Twelve dead. Twelve left to play. Lovely.
Chapter 2 Edit
The Cornucopia's insides are mostly empty, but there are still items littered around and inside it.
Things the Career's didn't need, and things that the other tributes were too scared to come get.
"Let's go grab what we need," Jasmine hisses.
"No. I think it's a trap."
"Then let's go spring it!" Jasmine protests.
I hide a smile. She is ready to do this, and I need to be too.
"Alright," I sigh.
"What's there?" Jasmine inquires. Her branch is too far for her to see.
I squint, craning my neck. "Weapons. Some knives. A whip. A spear. A few bags that could hold food, maybe. And..."
Jasmine suddenly says, "I have a plan."
"Well, be quick. The hovercrafts are coming."
"We stick the weapons we don't need into bodies, so they'll be taken away."
"Good idea. And the Careers?" I say.
"I'll distract them," Jasmine replies. She is faster than I am, so she can easily lead the Careers away. "Meet me here if you can."
I nod silently.
Jasmine gracefully slips down to the ground and sprints away. I wait for a few moments, and then I see Linnaea and Cobalt from Four, Copper from One, and Bronze, my district partner.
Seeing him makes me want to leap down and gut him. He's supposed to be my teammate!
The Careers are creeping out of the Cornucopia. They have seen Jasmine. She had a high score, so she's a primary target for them.
They run for the woods.
Good. I have time.
As soon as they disappear into the foliage, I jump down from the tree and speed towards the Cornucopia, not even bothering to see who is dead.
I grab the spear I saw earlier, and then stick it into the nearest body. I can hear the soft hum of the hovercraft. I'm losing time.
The knives and bags of food I stuff into my pack. The hovercraft has arrived, and it has reached its claw down to lift the first body up.
I know Jasmine will want the whip, so I curl it up and slip it into my belt.
The hovercraft is coming closer. It's almost directly over the Cornucopia now. There are two swords left. I stick one into a girl's body, slide the other into my belt, and then look up.
The hovercraft's claw is coming closer, but I'm already running back to our tree. When I get there, Copper is standing nearby, his sword raised. "Thought you could outsmart us?" he snarks, his lips twisted into a sneer.
I back up carefully, and keep one hand on my knife. "Yes, actually."
Then I clamber up the oak tree, until I'm almost at the top, even higher than Jasmine and I climbed earlier. One branch extends out to another tree, a lush green laurel.
Should I risk it? I hear Copper huffing as he tries to make his way up the tree.
I extend my arms and tread lightly along the branch. "Game over, District Two," Copper hisses, but he's having trouble putting his feet on the proper branches.
Now or never, I think.
I look down at Copper and say, "I wouldn't put my foot there." Then I crouch on my branch and extend the sword I salvaged from the Cornucopia. I clutch the hilt and begin sawing through the branch Copper is hanging onto.
He makes a grab for the sword, and I barely dodge. If he grabs the sword, I'll fall and be dead meat.
I saw at the branch again, but this time the sword gets wedged in the wood and the momentum causes me to lurch forward. Now I only have one foot on my branch, and the other is dangling in the air. With one arm I'm trying to grab my sword, and with the other I'm groping in the air for something to hold on to.
My hand catches a branch and with the other I finally pull the sword free. For a moment I'm dazed, but a cannon shot pulls me back to reality.
I raise it, and cut messily through the branch. It comes loose and crashes to the ground. Copper isn't dead, but he's definitely scratched up and probably broke a bone from the fall.
Now I've regained my balance and I finally make my way to the laurel right next to the oak.
Copper seems to be pinned under the branches. He's yelling for his fellow Careers, and they'll probably be here soon. I drop down from the laurel and run away from the clearing.
I lost the sword when the branch fell, but I still have the whip for Jasmine, the knives I wanted, and the sack of food.
Now I've clearly put some distance in between myself and the Cornucopia, but I have a disadvantage. Other tributes have probably already explored the arena, but it's completely new to me. I'll just have to make the best of it.
Chapter 3 Edit
Right now, it's all leafy forest. Birds flutter through the air, but it's still cold. And the cliff that lies on the other side of the Cornucopia may hold some more surprises. Of course, there's also the ocean ringed by a strip of beach. I'm wondering how much the sea stretches. It can't go on forever.
The sun is slowly setting, and the birds have quieted. I know I should be getting sleep and finding shelter, but I can't help but wonder who is dead. They will be showing the fallen in the sky tonight, but I'm nervous. Has Jasmine survived the day?
I find a small shelf of rock and open my pack. With any luck, in the dying rays of the sun I'll be able to make out everything. I pull out my tent bag. Perfect. I spread the tent out so that it slides under the shelf of rock, and pop it open.
Inside my tent, I sift through the contents of my pack. In the food bag, I find three golden apples, a large wedge of cheese wrapped in plastic, and a small bag of sunflower seeds.
In the pack itself, there is a coil of spider-silk-thin wire for traps, a rectangular container that can be used for holding anything, an empty water bottle, and a medium-sized cloth blanket.
I lock my food and water bottle in the container, and stuff everything I have into my pack, except the blanket, which I wrap around myself. I sit for who knows how long, trying to erase everything I've seen from my mind.
Finally, my eyelids have started to droop. My head falls to the side.
Music plays from outside. I slide my head out of the tent and look up at the sky. The first person to be shown is the boy from District 4, Cobalt. He was probably the single shot I heard earlier. I'm guessing Jasmine killed him. And since he's being shown first, that means Jasmine survived.
Next is the boy from Five. Both from Six. The boy from Seven, and both from Eight. Both from Nine. The boy from Ten, and both girl tributes from Eleven and Twelve.
That makes twelve gone. Dead. I wish Bronze was among them. I hate him. And to think that I was going to ally with him! I feel stupid for trusting him.
Suddenly, I hear a sound from what may be a small distance away. I jump up, throw my blanket back, and draw my knife. I sneak forward carefully and see the other Careers grouped in a circle. They're setting up camp.
I see they've allied themselves with the girl from Seven. She has an axe, and a scar along her right arm, but otherwise she is flirty. Her dark hair is twisted into a spiral, and her eyes are blue like a morning sky.
Bronze leans forward and whisperes something into her ear. She giggles and pushes him away. Copper glares back at Bronze. I feel a surge of satisfaction when I see the cuts and scratches all over the District One boy. There's even one through his eye. For a moment I feel guilty, but it's a quick thought and then it's gone.
Linnaea looks jealous. She puts her hand on Bronze's arm and says, "Come on. Time to set up."
The District Seven girl, -Aspen, Bronze calls her- frowns, but eventually plops down by the pile of wood they've set up. Linnaea sits down on a rock, so close to Bronze she's practically sitting on his lap.
I stifle a laugh and turn away.
But then I come to my senses. I have to pack up and leave now.
I run back to my camp and pull my pack out of my tent. Then I fold the tent up and stuff it into my pack.
I turn towards the direction of the Careers' clearing. There's barely any noise. I could go over there now and kill them all, but something drives me in the other direction.