Blood Debt: The 68th Hunger Games

By TJ_Flynn

Action / Scifi

Crossroads

Evander Ebrathil

"Hey, it's your watch," I hear Marius say as he shakes me.

"Yeah, okay," I respond rubbing the sleep out of my eyes. I get up to grab my sword, and I notice that Marius has some creepy smile plastered on his face.

"What are you smiling about?"

"Oh I just thought you should know, Q and A died right after you went to sleep." It takes a second for this realization to sink in. I never really talked to Q and A, we weren't close, but still I kinda liked them. I know they never had a shot, but still actually hearing that it happed is ….disheartening. And Marius made sure that I knew about it, he really is a sadistic little bastard.

I see him disappear into the darkness as he heads to sleep. How much more of this am I going to have to take? I look out across the arena. I could leave, just abandon the careers and find my own way. But if I did that I'd have made enemies of Marius and Storm, and I don't need that. We may not like each other, but we protect each other.

I remember what Kasha said, about knowing what it takes in the games. I know what it takes; I'll have to kill innocent tributes. In a way I'm glad that I wasn't the one who had to kill Q and A or Kasha. I wonder what happened to Kasha, who got her? Was it the other Careers, or maybe Ashlyn's group? Kasha was so determined to get home; I wonder who she wanted to get back to?

I reach into my shirt and take my token in my hand. It's a simple thing really, just a plain leather necklace. Even so, it is the most valuable thing I own, because Della made it for me. I will see my sister again.

I know that to do so I will have to be fierce, and kill without mercy, my competition is only getting tougher. The remaining tributes haven't gotten this far by accident. They are survivors. Like I have to be. They don't take what they have for granted, the ones who did are already dead, people like the mayors daughter and pampered Fathom from 1.

In the morning Storm will have us searching for tributes again. I hate looking for trouble. If we happen to run across someone, sure we should fight them, that's the only way to get home, but going out and hunting tributes down is another matter.

Maybe I could just take my allies out now, while they sleep. I know they wouldn't hesitate to do it to me, and given the right amount of time probably will. But as much as I hate it I still need them. I won't last long against Chace and the other alliances without them. My best shot is to try and overpower them once we are among the last few left.

I wonder how I'll be able to put this all behind me if I win. I don't think I will. Sure people will forgive me, but they won't understand. I don't think you can unless you're in here. How could anyone understand?

Allan Fur English

I make sure to be as quiet as possible as I gather the wood for the fire. I wouldn't want to wake my soon to be former allies. I've got a pretty good amount of wood by now; I've stacked it in kind of a pyramid shape, now I just need something that will catch easily. I glance at the thorn bushes nearby, but there doesn't seem to be anything that would light easily.

I quietly open my backpack searching for something to act as kindling. I decide that I'll have to burn my sleeping bag. It looks like it's made of some pretty flammable fibers, and it should smoke pretty well. The bigger the smoke signal the better, especially at night when the visibility so poor. If no one sees it then all of this will have been for nothing. Waiting till morning would also completely defeat the purpose. I need my allies to be asleep.

Once the flame is lit I'll slip away, and hopefully the Careers or some other strong tributes will see it. Unfortunately I know that Proxy's group is reluctant to fight these people, but everyone else left would probably enjoy the chance to fight some tributes.

It's strange, even though I'm about to betray these people and draw them into a bloody brawl, I can't help but root for them. If they all survive and take out their attackers I will still be closer to winning. Of course that probably won't happen, and either way they will die sooner or later.

I wonder am I just making excuses for my betrayal, trying to rationalize it? Yes probably a little and I'm sure many will see it that way too. I'm in no way innocent, I've seen innocent tributes; Malcolm, Amber, Tawny and Kairen. All of those tributes have something in common. They are dead. I guess Lex is innocent as well. It looks like he will be joining them soon.

I consider for a moment waking Jade, taking her with me, it could be useful having an ally, and she really was a good friend. But I can't. I doubt she had this in mind when she said that District 8 sticks together. Even if she went along with it, it would make my future plans that much more difficult to carry out.

After the battle which will surely take place I'll find Proxy's group and hopefully I'll be able to slip in with their alliance. I just hope that we don't run into my old friend once that happens, they could seriously jeopardize my plans. Maybe it would be best if they all died.

I find the matches we got from the cornucopia on the first day with Ashlyn's supplies and get ready to light the whole thing, but I can't help but hesitate. This is exactly what the Capitol wants, allies turning on each other, corrupt little tributes for them to bet on, and they will absolutely love the following battle. I'm playing right into their hand.

My hand is frozen while I decide whether or not I will strike the match. How can I do this, become a pawn for the people who ruined my life? The Capitol killed my mother; they banished my father and I from our home. Now they want to totally corrupt me, they enjoy seeing me do all these totally unethical things. If I do this then I am just a product of the Capitol.

I light the bonfire.

Acely Vadis

Ever since leaving the oasis Chace has been completely silent. I guess I can't blame him. That was brutal to say the least, but as I've told him plenty of times, it had to be done. It will have to be done again. And again. We just have to get through it, and with any luck we will outlast everyone else. I really do believe we can make it to the final two. Then will be the hardest kill of all.

I always thought it would be great to be a victor, and I'm sure it is, but survival is enough of a reward for me. That, and the guarantee that I'll never have to worry about being reaped again. If I can make it out of the games I'll be safe forever.

I'm getting ahead of myself; there are still plenty of competitors out there. There is the girl who could not be convinced to join the careers, Aaralyn, and I respect her independence. Then there is Finch who is a contender, but he is alone, and no match for both of us. Proxy's group is without a doubt the weakest in the games. Allan and co. might be tricky, but our real concern is of course the other careers. Our best shot is if one of the three ends up killed by a Gamemaker or another tribute. All in all I think the fiercest competitor is the one walking next to me, even if he has lost some resolve.

As we walk along the river I can see the moon's light reflecting off the golden cornucopia in the distance. Then I see something else, dark silhouettes moving away from the cornucopia. Tributes.

"Come on," I say to Chace as I start to make a dash for them. Suddenly I feel my arm yanked backwards. I look behind me and see Chace has a hold of me.

"Let's just let them go," he says with a frown.

"Chace, let go," I say as I free my arm. "They are leaving; we have to hurry if we want to catch them!"

"Ace, forget them."

"We can't do that, you know we can't." He doesn't say anything else, and when I take off I can hear his footsteps alongside mine.

We're getting close, and one seems to notice us. "Look out it's the careers!" she yells. Her and her allies pick up the pace, but were faster. I unsheathe my sword, it's time to take her out. Once it's clear that they can't escape she spins around, ready to fight. Her allies take a few seconds to notice and have to turn back. One I'm next to her I can tell it's the girl from 5. I think her name is Azeika.

"NO!" I hear the boy from her district yell as I take a swing at the girl. She manages to doge it and tries to hit me with a slingshot but misses badly. By the time I am ready to swing again the boy has gotten to her side. He has a short blade and is coming at me. There is something in his eyes I can't describe.

I never thought this timid little boy could have such passion, I suppose I underestimated his love for the girl. It really is a tragedy that I have to kill them both. I easily parry one of the boy's blows and follow up with an attack of my own. He falls to the ground when I hit him. I really should finish him but I still have the two girls to worry about.

"Noooo…" I hear him whimper as he lays on the ground. I raise my blade, ready to strike Azeika; they really should have run when Dale attacked me, now his brave act will be for nothing. A couple of slingshots won't do much to stop my blade.

Suddenly I feel a horrible pain in my back. Something has stabbed me. I don't understand, I remember this alliance, I thought it was just the three of them, has someone else come to save them? I get my answer as I fall over. It wasn't their ally who stabbed me, it was mine.

I should have listened to my brother, you really can't trust anyone.

Proxy Snyder

Acely's cannon goes off. Nothing makes any sense. Zee goes to Dale instantly taking his hands in hers as they whisper to each other. Chace is holding his scythe dripping with Acely's blood. Did he kill her now because he knew it was his best opportunity, and he could take out Azeika and I himself? I understand why Azeika is next to Dale, but she shouldn't have let down her defenses, not now.

But Chace doesn't move. He just stands there staring at Acely's body. I glance at my feet and notice Acely's sword has fallen right next to me. I slowly reach down and pick it up, but Chace still doesn't look up.

"Don't go, please I love you!" I hear Azeika beg. It's no use, the second cannon sounds and I know Dale is gone forever. This puts me over the edge. I bring my sword within an inch of Chace's neck. He doesn't even flinch. I do my best to keep my hand steady as I put the point to his neck.

"What is going on?" I ask him. He finally looks up and blood begins to trickle from where I have the blade.

"Acely killed Dale, and I killed her," he answers in a matter-of-fact tone.

"WHY?" I yell over Azikia's cries.

"She was about to kill you two," He says without emotion.

"She was your ally!"

"I know, I betrayed her."

"Why?"

"I couldn't do it again, couldn't let her do it again."

"Do what?" I ask confused.

"We killed Q and A," he answers.

My eyes narrow, how could he kill such innocent helpless kids? "I should kill you."

"You'd be doing me a favor," he looks into my eyes practically begging for death.

"What are you talking about?" I ask enraged.

"I don't deserve to live, I killed Kairen, I just killed my only friend out here. I deserve to die."

"You saved us." Azeika has decided to join the conversation.

Chace sighs, "I made a choice, just like when I decided to come here. I still killed my friend, who trusted me, there is no excuse."

"Join us," Azeika says bluntly.

"What?" I say in shock. How can she offer a cold blooded killer such an invitation? I should just kill him it's what he wants anyway.

It's also what the Capitol wants. "Fine," I say removing the blade from his throat.

"No, just kill me now, I don't want any more betrayals, and in the games it's inevitable." Where was this boy during training? He was so focused on winning; on being the best. Now here he is begging for me to end his life.

"No," Azeika responds. "We aren't going to play by their rules. We are going to make it to the final three and we won't turn on each other, NO MATTER WHAT THE CAPITOL THROWS AT US!" She shouts for all of Panem to hear.

So that's what it took to throw Azeika over the edge. I always knew she hated the Capitol, but the death of the one she loved has made her a full-fledged rebel. Now they know what we are thinking. Good. Maybe we will be more of a target for the Gamemakers, but weren't we always? Now at least we have gotten our message of rebellion out. Maybe the districts will take notice.

Chace gives Azeika a long hard look. "Alright," he says. "We fight for each other."

Azeika walks over to Dale's body, closes his eyes, crosses his arms over his chest and lightly kisses him on the forehead. I without thinking press three of my fingers to my lips and point them to Dale.

Everything is about to change.

Aly River

"Blaine, please come out!" I yell knocking on the door. As soon as Dale died he ran to his room and locked the door. The whole house has been a wreck. My mom and all my sisters are crying too. I'm on the verge of breaking down myself. The person who just saved my little brother's life is gone forever, his life stolen by the Capitol.

It's not just my house that's in an uproar however, the streets are alive even though it's well past curfew. I can hear chants about the hero of District 5. They are marching on the justice building, protesting the injustices of the Capitol.

I'd heard rumors that riots had broken out in 7 earlier tonight, but I dismissed them. Now I understand. I can't just sit here any longer. I leave Blain's door and grab my jacket. I yell out "I love you," to my mother as I head out the door.

I don't have to go far to find the mob. We push our way to the justice building and I can see the many sleepy Peacekeepers who have surely just been woken up to deal with the unexpected situation. Rocks are hurled at them, along with just about anything else people can find.

Our numbers keep growing and soon we outnumber the peacekeepers a hundred to one. It doesn't take long for them to retreat. Once they flee there is a feeling of not knowing what to do next. The steps of the justice building are now bare and an eerie silence has fallen over the crowd.

I take a deep breath and walk up the steps. "My name is Aly River," I say to the crowd. There is a murmur among them, I can tell some recognize the last name, while others are confused. "Dale Blackthorn volunteered for my brother; he saved him, just like he saved Azeika!" The reaction this time is one of overwhelming approval.

"We cannot let his sacrifice be in vain, we must honor him, we must follow Azeika's example. We must stand up to the tyrants!" The roar from the crowd is nearly deafening.

Then, without warning, I hear four or five loud bangs quickly followed by a white gas that fills the square. Everyone panics, and I see people falling over. I'm not sure if they are knocked out or dead.

Then the gas hits me.

I wake up in a dimly lit room. Once I get my bearings I realize I am in a room with two peacekeepers. "Hello young man," one begins slowly. "You really inspired a lot of people out there today." He grins and says, "We have big plans for you."

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