Darkest Before the Dawn: The 71st Hunger Games

Bottom Floor

Aiden Kay

District 10 Male

For a few seconds after I wake up, I forget that I'm in the Capitol, but as soon as I open my eyes, I'm reminded exactly where I am. My mouth is completely dry. I head over to the sink and put my head under the faucet and drink the water. I guess the Capitol people don't usually drink from the same place that they wash their hands, but the faucet water is cleaner than any I've had in District 10. "Ahhh, refreshing," I say whipping my mouth. I wonder what kind of activities we will be learning in the traning center…I think knitting is off the table.

My right eye is still only half opening, so I splash some water in my face to wake me up. I glance in the mirror, and I realize I look kinda crazy. "Well, hey there handsome," I say to my reflection. "What? You're the male tribute for District 10? Well," I switch to my perfect imitation of a Captiol accent, "That must be an honor old sport, do make sure to try and not die in the bloodbath." I smile at the mirror.

I've gotten good at that over the years, masking the pain and the fear, even from myself. Humor's a good tool for that. I've always been a pretty funny guy. Laughter can bring you out of a bad mood; even make a situation like the Hunger Games just a bit more bearable. If I'm laughing, and making other people laugh then at least we aren't crying.

I know that I don't have much of a chance; I can count the number of victors from 10 on one hand. We aren't a particularly flashy district; we just have livestock, cows and stuff.. None of the lower Districts, 10, 11, or 12 usually make it very far.

I'm getting too depressing for my own good, I need to cheer up or I'll end up offing myself. I may as well stay positive, that way the careers can kill me instead. I head to the shower and see all sorts of gizmos and buttons, I fidget with a couple, making them do all kinds of strange things, until I finally find a combination that I like and step into the shower. I must admit I like shampoo, I never had any before, but in since I started using it on the train I noticed that my dark brown hair has a nice sheen to it.

I finish up in the shower and dry off, I find somebody, probly an Avox has laid out some clothes for me. That was nice of them. I get dressed and just sit at the corner of my bed for a minute. I wonder what my friends back home would think of this. My friend Tyme would be very serious about the whole training thing, he always balanced me out. I was the joker and he was the serious guy, my jokes had to be good to crack him up. My district partner, Darcy, is pretty serious too, so I guess that balances me out, but I haven't been able to make her laugh yet, and it isn't from lack of trying. She is always off in some other world.

Darcy may be my last friend; I doubt I'll ever get to see Tyme or anyone else from back home ever again. Guess I'll have to work on my material if I want to make Darcy laugh.

Ekronik Rodell

District 3 Male Tribute

When I arrive at the dining area Wiress, Nessie, and Beetee are already seated. I grab some breakfast and join them at their table. "Good morning Ekronik," Uncle Beetee greets me.

"Morning," I respond. "So, Unle Beetee, have you seen Newt lately?" I ask about his old mentor.

"He's….well he is depressed," Beetee answers. This is nothing new. Newt is a kind, if not somewhat strange, old man who has been a family friend since he mentored Beetee all those years ago. Newt, unlike my uncle, is not directly involved in the rebellion. Somewhat to the dismay of my parents Beetee has told me much of the rebellion. I know that the Capitol isn't particularly fond of Beetee or Wiress, which may be why I'm here. I've heard of the more troublesome Victors losing their loved ones. Sometimes they are reaped, sometimes they have….accidents.

I've head of what happened to the girl Haymitch was dating when he won the games. I heard what happened to Johanna Mason's family when she refused to prostitute herself for the Capitol. So my presence here comes as no surprise. To be honest I'm just glad it wasn't Wiress' nice that the Capitol chose to reap. I call her M.D. short for Marius Doe, and we are very close, certainly more than friends. We met through the rebellion, she shares my hatred for our oppressors and we became close instantly.

What kind of people would send a twelve year old to her death? I know that by allying with Nessie I don't have much of a chance of survival, but I never did anyway. I was reaped to die, so there isn't a chance that the gamemakes will let me live anyway. Two of them are undercover agents for the rebellion, but they couldn't risk keeping me alive, it might blow their cover, and they could not have that. I've never actually met anyone in the rebellion, of course except for Beetee and Wiress, but I've heard enough about them to recognize a face or two. Many are mentors; Chace, Chaff, and Johanna, along with a many others. They've heard of me too, I know that Beetee has bragged about his brilliant nephew, who knows, maybe that was my undoing?

Regardless of why or how, I am here now and I must make the best of this bleak situation. In allying with Nessie I am also showing that I will not become the vicious horrible killer that the Capitol wants me to become. I do not know what horrors await me in the arena; the gamemakers on the inside haven't told anyone in the rebellion anything too specific for fear that they may be found out. What I do know is that it will pry on our fears, our weaknesses, the things that trouble our souls.

Baron Aleric

District 4 Male Tribute

It doesn't take long for all of the tributes to arrive at the training floor. Some look utterly lost, the tributes from the lower districts especially. The head trainer, Atala gathers us and explains how training works, of course I already know, they told me how things would go a long time ago back home.

We break off from the group and everyone heads to different stations. I head over to the knife station; I've always been good with throwing knives, in fact with any kind of long range weapon. I hate to admit it but I'm not great in close combat, or with heavy weapons. I'm not a typical tribute from 4, I'm not good with a trident, or a net, or even a spear. I'm not even a strong swimmer, as my father constantly lets me know. I'll need to show everyone how skilled I am with long ranged weapons to survive.

If the careers see that I'm deadly with a throwing knife they will defiantly let me in. I glance around to see what they are up to, they will want to be showing off too. I need to know what their skills are, they will be my allies soon, and not long after that they will be my biggest competition. I'm already familiar with Maya and dual short swords, and the girl from 2 is also at the sword station wielding a slim long sword. The blonde girl from 1 is over throwing spears around and her district partner is off flirting with the girl from District 8.

The rest of the tributes are at various stations around the center, it's obvious they have no idea what they are doing. I see the girl from 6 holding an ax upsidedown. Some of them have some good qualities, but they won't be able make up the years of training in a few days. I know that's what important, the knowledge of how to fight is more important than any natural strength. They're may be some strong tributes from the lower districts, but they don't deserve to join any alliance I join. I see a few that look strong, the girl from 11 looks like she is trying to be intimidating but I don't buy it. Some of the boys look like they have been in a fight or two, but the Hunger Games aren't any little street fight. The guy from 9 seems like he knows what he is doing too, I think he volunteered, and not just because he wanted to kill himself like the guy from 7.

The rest are hardly even worth thinking about, most of them are sure to be bloodbaths. The only ones I have to worry about are the careers, but they are a pack of idiots. It will be no problem outsmarting them. When I win these games I'll prove to my father how strong I am, how worthy I am of being his son and earning his love.

Lucian Night

District 12 Male Tribute

This place must have one hell of a generator; there might be more electricity in this building than all of District 12. I find a wire and follow it a few feet until it disappears in the wall. I pick it up closely examining it, its wrapped well in rubber, no exposed parts, no chunks "repaired" by tape, very safe, not like home.

I feel a hand on my left shoulder and I'm greeted by a peacekeeper when I look up. "I said don't do that! Didn't you hear me?" I tell the guy what he can do to himself and head to a random training station with a scowl on my face. The fact of the matter is that I didn't hear the guy; I haven't been able to hear out of my left ear for a long time. My eardrum blew out during a heist a few years ago.

I honestly don't care whether or not this peacekeeper particularly likes me or not, I've gotten a few angry looks from other tributes too, the worst come from my district partner. I know what she and everyone else thinks of me. They think I'm some sort of monster, and who knows, maybe they're right. I don't care what they or anyone else thinks. I know why I steal; I have someone else to look out for other than myself, which is more than a lot of these selfish brats can say. My sister's medicine doesn't come cheap, and if I need to steal it then being a social outcast is a small price to pay. It also lets me know who my real friends are. All the two faced bastards who pretended to be my friends back when I was a "nice guy" are gone.

There is only one person outside my family I can trust, my only friend Ash Holloway. He's a thief like me; he knows what's really important. We help each other sometimes; we watch each other's backs. He wouldn't abandon me, or my family. I know he will help out my sister if I died, but there is only so much he can do; he has to look after his own too. Other than him all my sister would have is my dad. He fell for my stupid mom, no more than a pretty face, and she left us without a thought when a richer man came along. Good riddance.

That's why I have to win these games. If I win I'll have all the money I ever need as Victor, she can get whatever treatments she needs. But if I die….

I'll do whatever it takes to get back to her. The first step is to take out my stupid district partner, Marly. She doesn't trust me, she needs to go. Besides I don't like her. I'd prefer to fry her with some electricity, but I suppose a sword will work just as well in the arena.

Terya Wylie

District 7 Female Tribute

"Don't plant your feet, remember the stance I taught you," the trainer tells me. I adjust my stance and raise my sword. "No," he scolds me "Your footwork is all wrong!" I glare back at him, this trainer is so frustrating, no one dares to talk to the careers like that. I turn my foot and charge the guy, he deflects a few blows, but I get to him quickly. "Good, you're doing much better," he says.

"I'm going to the fire starting station, I'll be back tomorrow." I head off; If I want to win in these games I'll need survival skills as well as knowing how to fight.

"I get angry too sometime," I hear a voice from behind me. It's my District partner, Arto.

"Hey," I always have felt bad for the kid, his mom died a few years back, he always seemed a bit depressed, but I had no idea it was so bad he'd volunteer for the Hunger Games. "How's it goin'?" It's a stupid question to ask given the circumstance, but I don't know what else to say.

He shrugs. "I dunno, I guess it's okay, I don't think Blight knows what he's doing though…" It does seem that I got the better mentor, Johanna is smart and ruthless, and she is young. Blight isn't any of those things. "Don't worry," he says, "I won't kill you, it's not right to kill a girl."

"Excuse me?" I can feel the rage building in me. I won't let this kid insult me because of my gender. "Are you saying I'm weak and unworthy of being targeted because I'm female?"

"No….I just mean….It just doesn't seem right. I mean killing is messed up, but killing a girl is really messed up, it's like dishonorable."

"So, then you don't think girls are inferior or something stupid like that?"

"No, psh I don't understand girls at all…" He glances up at me, "You guys are confusing."

I chuckle. "Yeah, I guess we can be at times. Don't worry I won't kill you either, we are from the same district after all."

"Thanks," he says obviously relived, "I think I'll be most concerned with taking out the career pack. Those guys just a bunch of bullies." Arto and I have both had our fair share of bullies, I remember how they used to walk all over me when I was young, I have had to build up a bit of a defensive shell around myself. I won't be pushed around, although sometimes I worry I may take it too far, after all, I did just lash out at a suicidal kid because he said he wasn't going to kill me.

Mina Sablier

District 2 Female Tribute

The first day of training is over. It's too soon for any alliances to really start to from, that will happen in the next couple of days. Even so, I know who I'll be teaming up with, the tributes from 1 and 4 along with Kayde. We'll be a strong career pack. The difference between me and the others is that don't expect to win. I know that someone has to win and they will be right, but if everyone thinks they will be dead then twenty-three of us are going to be wrong.

I'll join up with the careers, go along with their insane bloodthirsty attacks, why not? Then I'll have to betray them, otherwise I'm sure I'll end up the one who's throat is slit in the night. After that, who knows? I honestly don't care about bringing honor to the district or getting kills or anything like that. I'll still rack up the kills, but it's honestly pretty meaningless.

I guess I was just tired of being a burden on my parents. After all this is what they expected of me, I'm tired of arguing with them about it. I'm even more tired of them fighting about it with each other actually. They say the divorce wasn't my fault, but it was. I don't think they will get back together when this is over, but maybe their constant fighting and spreading lies about each other can finally end.

I suppose it's a bit ironic that I entered the games because I was tired of fighting, but I can deal with slashing someone with a sword much easier than getting in a debate. I'll do well in these games, I have the skills, who knows maybe I will win. In the end though it doesn't really matter, win or lose, I will make my mark on these games.

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