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Arena day two: establishing a territory.
It's very faint at first, but it grows louder the more I travel to the right.
It's definitely a stream, or river of some kind, and I'm getting closer.
After about a minute of walking, I step out of the trees, into a large clearing. Well, it's not technically a clearing. The forest opens up into a large lake, which stretches for about a mile out, and ends at a large smooth cliff face. Over to the left side of the lake is a low marshy area, and there is a low fog curling around on the ground.
I pause on the edge of the forest, surveying the area. Seeing and hearing no one, I cautiously make my way to the lake edge.
Pulling out my canteen, I fill it with a bit of lake water. First smelling it, then taking a small sip to confirm my suspicion. It's salt water.
I spit it out, glaring at the lake.
"Why couldn't you be fresh water?"
Then I remember what brought me here in the first place, a stream.
But where is it?
I walk around the left side of the lake, and about halfway to the rock face, I find a small stream flowing into the lake. I'm relieved to find that its fresh water, and I fill my canteen. Adding the proper amount of iodine to purify it.
I decide that this is a good place to set up as a territory. It's a strategic place, with the marshes to the right, and rock cliff to the back. I look around near the stream for a good spot to set up camp.
I discover a rock overhang, with a little hollow beneath it. Forming almost a small cave.
I jump in surprise as I hear a cannon fire. Then I remember, that means someone died.
But I know someone died, I saw the girl from twelve laying on the ground with her head split open, but I don't remember hearing a cannon.
Then I hear another, and another.
I count five in all, and come to the conclusion that they must have waited for the bloodbath to be over before firing the cannons.
Only five? I think, that leaves nineteen tributes.
Usually more are killed at the bloodbath, these games may last longer than usual.
I wonder who else has breathed their last today, it doesn't matter, I'll find out tonight when they show their picture in the sky tonight.
Every time a tribute dies, they fire a cannon. Then that night, they will light up the tributes picture in the sky, letting the other tributes know who's still left to play.
I set up camp, which basically consists of: Unrolling my blanket on the ground, gathering wood for a fire, and arranging some shrubs to use as a sort of camouflage screen.
It's getting into the late afternoon, and I decide to try to fish some.
Concealing my camp with greenery, I take my knife, and a small piece of rope, and walk back to the lake.
unraveling the piece of rope, I tie it back together, end to end. Creating a thinner, and much longer rope.
I then use my knife to cut down, a straight sapling. After trimming off the branches, and sharpening the end.
I tie the end of rope to the bottom of my homemade spear.
Walking to the lake edge, I tie the loose end of rope to my wrist. Then wait motionless, watching the water.
After several tries, I spear a good-sized fish, and pull the spear back to shore with my line.
I return to camp, and start a small fire with the driest wood I can find. It has the desired effect of letting off hardly any smoke. And what smoke there is mixes with the mist that hangs around the lake.
I skewer the fish on a small sharpened stick, and roast it over the fire.
By now the arena has grown dark, and night has completely settled in.
I decide to douse the fire, which is practically like a beacon to the other tributes.
I wonder what the careers are doing. Probably stuffing their faces with the abundance of food at the cornucopia.
The Panem anthem begins playing, echoing through the arena.
I turn my eye to the sky as the tributes who lost their life today are shown.
The first one to appear is the boy from three.
Then the girl from six,
Both tributes from eight, and last is the girl from twelve.
Five dead, and nineteen left.
The anthem ends, and the sky turns dark once more.
I'm relieved that Luna isn't one of the ones who light the sky tonight. She's to smart to be killed by the careers anyway, and she can disappear if she wants. Like a little spirit.
I lay on the blanket, and watch the stars, wondering what everyone back in district four are doing.
I wonder if Robbert is doing any better, I hope he is.
If I don't make it out of this, he'll need to be there for Annie.
I drift off to sleep, one hand gripping my knife tightly.
I wake up to the sound of a cannon firing.
Jerking awake, I leap up and brandish my knife.
I notice there aren't any birds singing, then I hear the hovercraft.
It flies past me, and stops on the other end of the marshy ground. It lowers a metal claw, and retrieves the body of a tribute. Then it flies away, and the birds start singing.
I'm not sure if I should be worried or not...the tribute could have died from any number of things, especially in that marsh...but there's still the possibility that they would've been killed by another tribute.
If that's the case, the killer is a little to close for comfort.
I decide to keep my camp where it is, but I will sleep somewhere else.
I take the most important things out of my pack. The water, iodine, and food I move into a hollow tree a little ways off from the camp.
I return to my camp, and take more time to disguise the entrance to the thicket a little better.
After I'm satisfied with it, I decide to go back to the lake and stock up on fish. I might have to end up moving away from the lake, and I want to at least have a good supply of food.
At the lake edge, I watch the marsh area for a while, but I don't see anything suspicious, so I take off my shirt, and detach the bottom of the pants, making them shorts.
Then I stretch a little, and silently dive into the water.
The water is cool, and I glide slowly lower into the water.
The lake is deep, and the further down, the murkier it gets.
At about twenty feet down, I can barely see anything, and it makes me a little nervous.
The game makers are notorious for setting up "surprises" in the arenas, and I don't feel like finding out if they have any "surprises" for me at the lake bottom.
I return to the surface, and fish for a while.
After several hours of fishing, I have around a dozen fish.
I go back to my camp, light a small fire, and cook all the fish. Then I wrap it up in some large leaves, and stash it in my pack.
I realize that I left my shirt and pant legs at the lake. So I take my canteen and return to the water's edge.
I become aware of how uncomfortably hot it's gotten, the sun seems to be shining directly on me.
What's going on? It seems to be growing hotter all the time.
Sweat starts dripping down my body, and I realize that the game makers might be messing with the arena weather. Maybe they are seeing if they can give someone heat stroke.
It has to be at least a hundred degrees by now.
I fill my canteen, and gather my clothes. I take the stuff back to camp, and purify the water.
Why don't they just send a breeze or something to break the stifling heat?
After sitting uncomfortably under the rock overhang for a half hour, I can't take it anymore, and return to the lake.
I slide into the cool water, and relax.
The surface of the water has grown warm from the sun, so I let myself sink lower. Letting the soothing water swallow me.
I am about twenty feet down, when I'm startled by a school of fish darting through the water, the swim right past me, several actually bumping into me.
That's strange. I don't think I've ever seen fish act that way unless...
I realize to late that the fish were running from something.
I feel something wrap around my left calf, and I shout in pain as a searing pain shoots through my leg. My cry is lost in a flood of bubbles and I feel whatever has my leg, pull me further down into the depths.
As I look down, I almost freeze in horror.
Wrapped around my leg is a long black tentacle.
I've only ever seen a squid once, and that was when one pulled a member of my boat crew into the ocean, never to be seen again. Stories and old legends tell horrifying stories about these ocean devils.
My leg is almost completely numb now, and I'm almost out of air.
I reach down and pull out my knife, another tentacle shoots out of nowhere, and wraps around my right arm.
Pain once again shoots through my body as the tentacle touches my arm.
I writhe in the squids strong grip, trying to get my trapped arm in a place where I can use the knife.
I catch sight of the squids body.
It's about six feet long, and is a complete oily black. Making it almost impossible to see. The only fully visible thing is its large red eye, which is about the size of a melon, and glowing strangely.
I fight the urge to panic as I twist my hand and stab the tentacle on my arm.
Blood clouds the water, and the squid releases my arm with an unearthly roar.
I slice at the tentacle on my leg, and it releases my leg as well.
I don't have time for anything else, I already needed to be back on the surface, and my heart start beating frantically.
I kick out as hard as I can, but my arm and leg are almost useless, and I'm afraid I might not make it to the surface. With one last effort, I push myself up in a powerful thrust, and break the lake surface.
The shore is only about ten feet away, but I don't know if I can even make that.
I flip onto my back, and float, using my good leg and arm to push through the water as fast as I can.
I feel a tentacle wrap around my damaged leg, and more pain shoots through me, this time affecting my whole left side.
I lunge for the bank, and grab the edge, pulling myself halfway up, I look for a firmer hand hold.
I spot a small sapling, and reach for it, just managing to grab it as I feel another tentacle wrap around my thigh. I scream in pain as the searing pain shoots through my body once again.
I feel the weight grow on my leg, and I glance down, the squid it trying to pull me back into the water.
I hold the sapling as firmly as I can, but my right arm is numb, and my left one is starting to twitch from the pain. With one last hope, I grab my knife, and reach down.
The tentacle is so taught, that my slash severs it. The squid sinks back into the water with another roar.
I frantically pull myself completely on the bank, I slide backwards further away from the edge, keeping a close eye on the water. I sit with my back against a large tree.
My whole body is throbbing with pain, and I can't feel my left leg.
Looking down, I see part of the tentacle is still wrapped around my leg, I unwrap it with some difficulty, and look at it.
Instead of the normal suckers on the tentacle, there are small circles of needle thin spines.
I brace myself, and look down to access the damage done to my leg.
It's covered in small swollen bright red pock marks, that must have been where the spines stuck my skin.
The skin around the pock marks is dark purple, and the veins are turning the same color.
My arm is the same, just a little less marked.
I notice the veins leading toward my heart are slowly turning purple, advancing closer.
I have no idea how to treat the wounds, and I'm in no condition to do anything even if I knew what.
I know when the poison reaches my heart, because my entire body tenses, and the pain is worse than anything I've ever felt. I plead death to come put me out of my misery, then to top it all off.
I see several tentacles grip the bank edge. I stare in shock as the huge black body slowly slides over the top of the bank. The squid spots me, and moves towards me slowly.
I reflect on the sick mind who thought of this muttation. A squid with paralyzing poison on its tentacles, and that can move around on land.
It doesn't seem to be in a hurry, it knows I can't go anywhere.
I feel my heart start palpitating and expect death at any moment, that's when I realize, if this poison was fatal, I would have died long ago.
So the poison must just paralyze the victim, rendering them helpless.
The squid is only about twenty feet away.
I shudder at the thought of being eaten alive, I hope it kills me first.
Suddenly, a thin spear flies through the air and pierces the squid in the back.
It roars, and writhes on the ground, inching back toward the water, another spear pierces it's back, and it slides of the edge, falling into the water with a loud splash. Spasms start shooting through my leg, and I feel more poison enter my heart. I slip to my side, resting my cheek against the earth.
My eyes start flickering, and my vision blurs.
The last thing I remember is hearing the small beeping of a parachute, and seeing a pair of shoes right in front of my face.