Blood Debt: The 68th Hunger Games

Kasha vs Finch

Aaralyn Twila

Lolita is fast, too fast. I can't let her get way. I have to prove to everyone that I can do this. If I can't kill one little spoiled mayor's daughter what chance do I have? She has already managed to ruin my net, probably beyond repair; I can't lose her now. All of Panem will be watching, unless of course someone else is fighting too, but what are the odds of that? I can't be embarrassed like this.

I'm starting to get tired, but I have to keep pace, the distance between us is growing. AGH! Why did I hesitate on top of that rock, if I had planned better I wouldn't be chasing her, she would already be dead. I'm panting hard, my heart feels like it's about to explode but I can't stop. My entire body is on fire.

I could try to throw my knife at her, but I'm not confident in my accuracy, especially hitting a moving target while I'm running myself. If I miss I'll have lost both a net and a knife for nothing. I'm coated in sweat, my only hope is that tires before I do, that my endurance can outlast hers, but I don't know how likely that is now.

Lolita darts between some rocks, and suddenly she's gone. I get to the rocks where she vanished and I have to stop to search. Where is she? My eyes dart every way until I finally see her about to disappear on the horizon.

That's it, I've failed. I haven't been able to kill anyone. At least when I fought Acely she was saved by the Gamemakers, this time it's my own fault. Just as I'm sure that it's over something I don't expect happens. Lolita falls into the ground?

I start to sprint again, but I've lost almost all of my energy. It becomes apparent quickly enough that I can take my time. Lolita isn't going anywhere.

I'd recognize the smell of tar anywhere. When I was a kid there was some huge oil spill off the coast of District 6. It didn't take long for the spill to reach our beaches. For months out shores were coated with the stuff, our fishing industry took years to recover.

Now, here is the same stuff that washed up on the beach, but it's in some huge pit, a trap by the Gamemakers. As I approach Lolita it becomes clear what happened. The ground around her has cracked; it looks like the arena floor here was designed to be thin her, so when a tribute stepped here she would fall in.

I may not have actually been the direst cause of her death, but the kill should still go to me. Hopefully I've managed to impress so sponsors. I may have made some mistakes, but I still came out on top. I hope my brothers and sisters back home are seeing this. I didn't need anyone to kill Lolita, and just like I didn't need the careers, I don't need my family.

I notice that Lolita is staring at me, and I can't help but feel a bit sad. She certainly did a lot better than I expected, and almost escaped me. I suppose she was a worthy opponent.

Her head disappears beneath the surface, and I know it's time to be moving on. I need to keep focused to take down the next opponent.

Lolita Bracken

I feel my hand slip beneath the black sticky liquid, joining the rest of me under the surface. I really thought for a bit that I had made it, escaped. But I wasn't keeping aware of my surroundings, and I ended up in here. I make sure not to open my eyes or mouth, but I can feel the oily stuff creeping into my ears and nose.

The silence is almost eerie; all I can hear is my heartbeat in my tar filled ears. The sounds of the arena no longer exist for me. All that is left is my own body and the endless blackness.

I wonder how Malcolm is doing. He might not even still be alive; I know someone died during the night. Tonight my face will be projected up in the sky with whoever that was. Maybe one or two more will join us before the day ends.

I never thought it would end like this. I always thought I was safe from the games, and once I was in them I was convinced I would go far. I still think I might have if Kellen had survived. Oh well.

I am not as sad as I thought I would be; I'm not happy, but I've come to terms with my death. In a way being reaped was the best thing that ever happened to me. Before the games I was so entitled, I thought I knew the world. I didn't know anything. I actually believed that I understood what was right and wrong because of what my father does. I have a newfound respect for my father. He really is a good and fair man and a great leader.

If I had never been reaped would I have gone my entire life with the same sense of entitlement? Would I always believe that the letter of the law was the ultimate good? I'm glad I came here and met people like Kellen and Proxy. People who showed me that I need to think for myself.

I can feel my body becoming desperate for air. My brain is struggling to keep my mouth from opening. My instinct tells me that I must inhale, that I need air. But there is no air here for me to breath. I lose the battle and the oily substance fills my mouth.

The end has come I feel my lungs fill up with the stuff. I can't say it's a pleasant feeling. My thoughts begin to slip away from me. I focus on the good things, my family and my friends. I try to imagine their faces; my father, Kellen and Malcolm.

Everything goes black.

Storm Shields

Everyone stops what they are doing when we hear the cannon. After a minute or two of silence it becomes clear that there won't be any others going off soon. Whatever battle was taking place is over.

"One more gone," Marius says slyly. I hear Evander mutter something under his breath, probably about how heartless Marius and I are. He's been saying a lot of that kind of thing over the past couple days.

I just hope it wasn't Chace who got the kill. It's bad enough that Marius has more kills than I, and I can't let Chace do the same. Marius know better than to brag about his temporary advantage. I only let him kill Malcolm because of how stealthy he is, but he knows that he is by far the weakest of the three of us.

"We're running low on supplies." Evander points out scrounging through our bag. Unfortunately wee Malcolm had absolutely nothing on him when we killed him. Normally we would horde the supplies at the cornucopia, but with it destroyed that isn't an option.

"Just another good reason we ditched Chacely, two fewer mouths to feed." Evander scoffs at my last comment, and I'm not sure if it's because of how cold he thinks I am or he doesn't like mashups of names.

Either way it doesn't change the fact that we are running low on food. If we don't find someone to take food from soon things are going to get ugly. I have no doubt that I could kill both Marius and Evander, but then I would lose my advantage. Chace and Acely could kill me.

I look at Marius, I know he is thinking the same thing. He knows how easily I could beat him in a fair fight, so I have feeling he will try and make it an unfair one. He might try to kill me while Evander and I sleep. Maybe if I can catch him in the act Evander will stay loyal to me. I'm glad I don't have to worry Evander turning on us.

Which one I could spare easier? Marius definitely has his uses, especially if we need digression; anyone could hear Evander coming from a mile away. On the other hand Evander is much stronger, and I don't have to worry about him stabbing me in the night. While Evander's strength would be good for fighting others, if we got into a fight he might injure me before I kill him, and Chace would have an advantage.

How much longer can we hold out if we don't find a tribute? Marius and I lock eyes. We both know the score. Will he try to kill me tonight, or tomorrow? He needs me more than I need him. Suddenly something floats down between us. A silver parachute.

The two of us warily approach it, and Evander finally seems to take notice. "What's that?"

"Not sure yet," I say a few steps away. I remove the cover revealing the banquet inside. There is enough food here for us to last a few days. It looks like we won't have to turn on each other just yet.

Kasha Seen

I make the first move; I go right for his throat with my sickle. He barely blocks the blow. Finch isn't particularly fast, but the boy is strong. Killing him won't be as simple as it was to take out Mattaniah. Finch understands the games. He knows that here any remorse or hesitation is weakness. If we want to get back to the ones we love, we have to kill without pause.

Now it's my turn to be on the defensive. Finch strikes at my midsection, and I hurl myself backwards to avoid the ax. At the same time I curve my arm attempting to cut Finch again. Each of us draws blood. I have a small cut on my ribs, and Finch is losing blood from his arm. There is something else too; his face has a trickle of blood running down the cheek. It looks like a wound from the bloodbath hasn't fully healed. Good, I'll take any advantage that will help me kill him.

He swings again with that strong deliberate swing. I might be able to take advantage of his lack of speed, but every time he hits me I almost fall over. Finch unleashes another attack, but instead of blocking I roll out of the way. I'm at his back and I swing at his spine, but he moves at the last second and I miss my mark, making a bloody mess of his thigh.

Finch screams in agony. A second later he brings down his ax, which chops off my ponytail. I'm sad to see it go, but given the alternative, I'll be alright. I scramble to get back on my feet and Finch hits me again, but this time does more damage than just ruining my haircut. He hits my left arm, and it doesn't look good, luckily for me I'm right handed.

We are both bloody messes now; my shirt is stained red with blood, my arm still gushing. As for Finch, the entire right side of his face is dripping, and he has a significant limp. The ground is splattered with blood; I can feel it splash my ankles every time I take a step. His left side is weak, I can focus there.

I lunge at his side, but he blocks the blow. In the process he knocks my weapon from my hand. For a split second I think I might run, but I reach for it with my injured arm. Suddenly my hand isn't attached anymore. I reel backwards grabbing the sickle with the one hand that is still connected to an arm. Finch tries to cut off this one too, but this time he misses.

I'm losing a large amount of blood from where my left hand once was, and it's getting difficult to concentrate. I swing at him, but instead of blocking me he buries his ax in my neck.

I fall to the ground. This is impossible; it wasn't supposed to end like this. I was supposed to win. I was supposed to go home.

Finch Andersen

I see her eyes flutter closed, and the cannon sounds seconds after. I sigh; it's over, at least for now. Poor Kasha, she didn't deserve this, none of us do. It's strange how little I feel after killing someone. Kasha wasn't my enemy, just something standing in the way of my survival. I know she felt the same way about me.

I just wanted a drink of water. I suppose it's good that I ran into her, that's one less competitor; one less strong compeditor. Still, I'm injured. She managed to do some major damage to my leg, and then there are the various other wounds she inflicted. I'm in dire need of medical supplies; maybe Kasha had some.

It doesn't take me long to spot her camp. I look through her bag, but there isn't much in the way of medical supplies. There is some tape in one of the side zippers though, I'll need that. I use my ax to cut her sleeping bag into strips, which I'll use to stop the bleeding. I have a sleeping bag back at my own camp, so having another would be pointless.

What if I ran into Ashlyn, what if she needed an ally with a sleeping bag?

No.

No, that's all wrong; Ashlyn has allies, even if she didn't our meeting would end up just like my meeting with Kasha. Wouldn't it? I don't know, but I can't think about crazy hypotheticals now, I have make some makeshift bandages for my leg and arm. I'm almost done taping the strips of bandage to my leg when I hear the hovercraft.

Instinctively I turn around, but I wish I hadn't when I see Kasha's bloody corpse being lifted into the air. She is going home in a box. What do her family and friends think of me? What does District 9 think of me? I've been so mad at Evander for just fighting my District partner, and now I've killed his. The only difference between Evander and I is I finished the job.

All the rage I had towards him evaporates, but it isn't gone. I hate myself instead now, for letting the Capitol turn me into a killer. I can never go back, I will have always have killed Kasha. This sudden rush of hatred I feel towards myself doesn't change anything though. I'm not going to change the way I play the games. If I could go back and change what happened with Kasha, I would do everything exactly the same.

I just hope the number of people I have to personally kill from here on out is small.

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