ENTERInG THE ARENA
ENTERInG THE ARENA
Theodore always said I needed to get a firm grasp on reality. That I never truly understood, or refused to truly understand, the horror of the Games.
It's true I like more frivolous aspects of life. Sardonic, if you please. Your misfortune will probably make me giggle harder than your jokes. Your jokes will probably just annoy me and, in the long run, be responisble for the violence I would exert to make you go away.
There I go, straying from the point.
It's just hard to really think all of this is real, looking around. All of us, all 24 of us, in a little circle on our podiums, staring at the Cornucopia, tears in some of our eyes.
I can see Mordred. He's supposed to be the father of my non-existant child. I remember how he'd been all to happy agreeing with me on that in the interviews. I think how he probably wouldn't last the afternoon.
I see the big, muscular District 10 boy who's been eyeing up my teammate ever since our big lie at the interviews. I think about him killing the rest of us. He's capable.
To my left I see Will. I think about him on the beach when I didn't know him (and feel a little jealous of my past self). I think about him being starstruck at the sight of Theodore. I think of hurling pastries at him and yelling while he and Theo laughed.
I think how if I survive, he won't.
The shotgun fires.
Already people are running to the cornucopia. Will's shot off like a rabbit, shoving people out of the way to get our kits. Both of them.
''ARIELLE!'' he yells, hurling me mine and pointing frantically at the forest. ''GO!''
But I can't move. I can't move because District 1 and District 3 are blocking me, their knives out at my face.
''DID NO ONE TELL YOU PEOPLE IT'S RUDE TO KNIFE A LADY?'' I shriek, stepping back and sheilding my face with my arm, supressing any fear I had previously.
They dodn't reply. I screw shut my eyes, not wanting to watch. If I had to die, I wasn't planning on sticking round for the proverbial firework show.
I wait. Nothing.
Opening my eyes slowly, I see the four teenagers dead at my feet, and Will standing behind the bodies.
I feel. sick.
Will points behind me to where about thirteen weaponed teenagers were charging at us.
''Oh right.'' I sling the kit over my shouldeer, breaking into a run.
We sprint to the forestt, fast as our legs can carry us.
''Tree!'' Will exclaims.
''Oh well done Genius. A tree. You realise we're in a forest?''
Will says nothing, hoisting himself up a branch and helping me up. We climb to the top of the tree where no one can see, peering down.
''Clear,'' he sighs.
I frown. ''You're a Career,'' I state plainly. ''You should be down there slaughtering people. Instead...you're up a tree...?'' Where was the logic in this?
He shrugged. ''Duty calls. I'm a father remember.''
I kick him, opening my pack. My eyes lit up instantly. A trident and net. They'd be useful. ''What'd you get?''
''Knives and a javelin,'' he replies. But he's not moving much and it's scaring me.
''Will are you okay?''
''Arielle.'' Suddenly he stands like an actor, balancing on the branch and spreading his hands theatrically. ''I have a declaration!'' he...declares.
''Will,'' I hiss, ''sit down, you'll compromise our position!''
I look a tiny bit put out. ''Will, there's a time and a place,'' I remark flatly.
''TRUE LOVE!!'' he booms.
I face palm. If this got any more cringey we'd be in one of the romance novels Theodore reads. I sigh. ''Go on then, who's your 'true love'?''
Will seems a little let down. ''...you. I kind of would have thought that would be obvious.''
''Why on earth would that be obvious? You're gay.''
''No you just said that so - ''
I shush him. ''Cameras,'' I mouth. We wouldn't want to give the game away.
''Oh. Okay. Maybe I'm having a phase?'' he tries loudly.
He sits back down on his branch, sighing loudly. ''At least now nobody can hurt up 'cos we're in a tree.''
That was stupid.
The very stupidest piece of logic I had ever heard.
Because guess how you kill someone up a tree?
You could burn it. You could chop it down. You could throw up a knife. You could climb a nearby tree. You could use a javelin.
You could shoot an arrow.
Like, say, District 2 could have shot an arrow.
District 2 could have shot a sleak, silver arrow from their kit. That arrow could have soared up into the treetops and hit my chest dead on, and pierced my heart.
But it didn't.
It hit Will's.