Written by Olive


This is a story I call the alternate Hunger Games. It is from the perspective of the girl from District 3. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

I wake up to the smell of eggs cooking on the stone cook top. Today is the day of the reaping, the only day I get eggs for breakfast. The worst day of my life. My little brother Sein, is awaiting me at the wooden kitchen table, mother serves the eggs to us. After my brother and I clean the dishes, we go off to work in the factory until 1’oclock. After a tough couple of hours working on my circuits, the time has come to go to the reaping. I walk slowly up the stairs after my brother, awaiting what I’ll find on my bed. What I do find is a beautiful dress from my mother, covered in the most intricate patterns just like the ones on my circuit boards. As I get ready, all the thoughts of: “Will my name be picked?” are crushing my brain. My family and I are walking with a large group of workers to the square to sign in at 1’oclock. I huddle in with a group of 16 year old girls from school to await the death sentence. Our gruesome escort Novalee Vada walks up to the microphone almost falling over on her way up the stairs because of her immensely high heeled shoes, to greet us in her stupid Capitol accent “Happy Hunger Games and May the odds be ever in your favour!” she calls out, but as her smile starts to drop I can tell she expected the crowd to cheer like crazy and go wild for her. But they never will no one in any district will ever respect the capitol and there people, as we work our guts out for them, they’re sitting around in luxury with the Panem’s finest food at their fingertips and a dress that would keep two families out of hunger for a year. But no they will watch us die instead. Novalee walks swiftly over to the girl’s glass bowl, my names in there 42 times, and pulls out one slip that can mean someone death. It feels like time has gone into slow motion, as she opens the slip of paper carefully and then time warps back to normal only to smash me in the face with the death sentence going to “Amber Hughes”. I fall to my knees as I can hear Novalee scanning the crowd to find me. I wipe away my tears, clear my face of any emotion and stumble my way up to the stage. Staring completely through her as I shake her hand, I feel like I’m being mean but that thought is crushed when I think that she is so excited for the games to begin. I take my seat as she is reading the boy name out, when mind snaps into action after the boy’s name bounces around in my head. “Sebastian McCallum”.
He is the most loved boy in the district, how I am I supposed to deal with the pain of having to kill him. He walks to the stage and shakes Novalee’s hand and takes his seat next to me, after Mayor Livingston says his same boring speech and has read the treaty of treason we are forced into the Justice Building and given 3 minutes to talk to friends and family that want to see us. First was my family, Sein came running in with tears streaming down his small little face, it was his first year in the reaping, he clings to me as if his life depended on it. As I calmed him mother spoke to me, for the first time since father died, in a hushed voice she said 4 words “Do it for father”. She almost had me, I almost crossed the line, but I didn’t, not in front of Sein, I couldn’t. I will not show weakness, I will not let them think that I’m just a piece in their games. Peacekeepers come in and they have to rip Sein off me and he is carried out screaming my name. But then comes in someone else, she is the old lady I trade with at the black market. She comes in and says to me “I will look after them, I will do it, to thank you for everything you have done for me” and leaves. I’m dumbstruck, I don’t know what to think what have I done to deserve this? But before I can answer this myself, I’m whisked away with Sebastian to the awaiting ride to the train station.

The ride seems to take forever dragging on minutes to minutes to hours to days, it feels like before we arrive at the train station. I was right not to cry, not just for Sein but the train station is buzzing with cameras. As I get out of the car, and start to stride away when Sebastian grabs my hand and pulls me toward him and says “Show Them”. I don’t realise what he means until were on the train. As soon as were on the train I take a seat in the dining room, and stare out the window whilst Novalee is blabbering on about her trip to the beauty salon yesterday. Until I notice that Sebastian is staring at me with this weird look in his eyes. I wait until Novalee has finished talking and decides to go and patch up her makeup, to catch Sebastian and ask him why he said that before we got on the train and why he was looking at me like he was when Novalee was talking. As he is about to get up I tap his shoulder and ask my first question. “Sebastian, why did you say ‘show them’ before we got on the train?” “Personally I don’t want you to think that I’m stuck up just because everybody loves me, and the only reason everybody loves me is because I’m the mayor’s son, but that doesn’t mean anything!” “Okay calm down we will be all right” “No it won’t you have skills of surviving, with having no food, and surviving the uprising!!” he said “During the uprising my family was taken to the Capitol, and after we came back to district 3”. I didn’t know what to say I was dumbstruck, by this time he was kneeling on the floor balling his eyes out. I left, went to my bedroom and just sat on my bed, stroking the soft velvet covers. Thinking, thinking, about everything and anything that decides to jump into my head.

I think I sat there for hours before Novalee racks on my door telling me that dinner is about to be served. I don’t feel like eating but I know I must, as in the arena it will be hard to find food. When I arrive at the dining car, Novalee and Sebastian are already sitting down but also our mentor Toreth Sindall. He won the his Hunger Games by killing everyone on the first day and he was only 14 years old, now days he just sits around with a beer and a cigarette re-watching all the Hunger Games since it first started, seventy four sad years ago. Our meal includes; pumpkin soup with chives and these little cubes of crusted bread that I don’t even know what their called for entrée, a roast lamb with roasted, braised, steamed and grilled vegetables, and for desert the most decadent chocolate cake you could of ever imagined. As Novalee starts blabbering on about something that is going on in the Capitol, Sebastian and I dig in, stuffing our faces with the finest foods. After we finished, Sebastian and I sit back, with green faces and almost splitting stomachs. Novalee dismisses us, as I walk silently next to Sebastian to my room tears start falling down his face. I turn to him, wipe away his tears and start talking “Don’t cry, not now, where only two days away from the tribute parade”, he answers “I can’t! I will never get out of the arena, there is a 100% chance that I will not survive the bloodbath, it’s a fact!” I don’t know why I did what I did next, turned to him and hugged him as tight as I possibly could like my life depended on keeping him close, after a minute his arms tighten around my waist and we stay like this until I hear someone coming down the hall and I loosen my arms and let go. I stand next to him until the waiter had walked past into the next car, and I turn to him again and straight away without even hesitating he takes my hand and walks me to the very end car of the train and sits down with me. He says “Why did you do that? I am a ‘stuck up snob from the rich side of the district’” and I return with “I did it because I trust you and I don’t like seeing someone I see as a friend crying like you were”. He tells me “I never want to let you go again, with your warm arms around me I will never cry again!”, and with that I stand and walk back to my room. I lay down in bed with a soft silk gown on and just as I close eyes I hear a light tapping on the door. I tiptoe over to the door and quietly open it. And standing there is Sebastian, he whispers “I just want one more hug before we turn against each other”, he walks into my room and I give him the biggest, tightest hug I ever have, just like the one I gave Sein when he was sick. As I let go Sebastian gives me a little kiss on the forehead and leaves. After the door closes, I snuggle back down in bed, and fall straight asleep.

I awake to a violent tapping on the door and Novalee’s screechy high pitch voice saying “YOU’RE GOING TO MISS THE MORNING LIGHT HURRY UP!!!” I hustle myself out of bed and into the shower, there are so many buttons I have to concentrate hard so I don’t get an attack by the shower because I pressed the wrong button! After a relaxing shower, I get ready and head out to breakfast. To await me is an enormous feast of bacon and eggs, and so much more! This morning after breakfast, we are instructed to go and wait for our mentor. The time has come I must give in I have to start thinking of a strategy for what is a head of me. Finally Toreth Sindall walks in with a cigarette in hand, immediately I start choking. I’m starving for fresh air, Sebastian notices and opens the window but just as he puts his fingers on the window sill to open it, I black out. I wake up in my bed to see my mother sitting there on my bed stroking my fore head, as I look over I see Sein on the hearth playing some circuit boards, but it is not her soft voice I hear it is Sebastian’s. He is sitting there, on the end of my bed, I look over to where Sein was playing but only find a blank wall instead. He asks me “How are you feeling, are you all right?” Instantaneously I find myself saying “Yes, yes I just need some space.” And he leaves without a word but a slam of the door. That’s it I think no more missus nice Amber, I’ve had enough of that little prince I’m done. As soon as that gong sounds I’ll run for the cornucopia and find a suitable weapon and a pack and down he goes! Something changed between us over the next day we became far apart which was better as it made it easier for me to come to terms with myself having to kill him. One morning after breakfast, I was sitting in the end carriage the one that had windows everywhere you turned and that was when I saw it the bright shining, beautiful Capitol. I thought in the photo’s they don’t grasp the crystallised touches of it or the evilness of it also. I’m then whisked out of the cabin and through a wave of crying and waving fans of the capitol to the remake centre. In the remake centre I am laid down on a cold metal bench with various “tools” lying around on metal trays, 3 oddly looking people clearly from the capitol walk in. They start fusing about me, pulling my hair, scrubbing my body, removing my body hair and filing my nails. After a while I am taken to a room where I meet my stylist Cecilia Blight. She is the most beautiful women in the capitol! She has done herself up so she fits in but doesn’t stand out. After I find myself standing next to Sebastian in the “loading bay” We are draped in sliver and sequins with the most impressive headdresses I have ever seen!! We climb on to the carriage and the procession starts I count “ 1, 2 and here we go” I put on the biggest smile and wave to the loving crowd I am ok with everything until I see district 12’s chariot I knew from the minute I laid eyes on them something was up and outcast district getting more applauding then 1 and 2 combine. This is going to be an interesting games now isn’t it!! After we are hustled up to our rooms and after that the next 2 days whizzed by before it slowed down and it came to the training days.

As I’m walking towards the training centre I can see the metal bars shielding the entrance with peacekeepers either side, like a prison cell. My escort Novalee Vada is pushing me forward into the prison like room. Novalee Vada, my escort, has bright orange hair, clown style makeup and the most awful dresses and jewellery; her fingernails are painted with a Hunger Games theme. This sickens me, knowing that the Capitol thrives on the annual Hunger Games, but for the Districts it is a death sentence. In the training centre I show no fear, no emotion and no weakness, but inside I’m crumbling, knowing that I’m not going to make it out alive. Seeing the grinning faces of the Careers, I know their minds are ticking overtime, “She is an easy tick off the list”. I’m as good as dead to them. Looking around I can see all the stations, but no electronics. My only other option is that I can run fast. I came first in school, at the 100 metre race. Maybe I can get to the Cornucopia first, but then there’s that girl from District 12, Katniss I think her name is. But the look of the boy from District 11, freaks me out. He looks so powerful and muscular, probably could kill someone without even lifting a finger. I know I need to stay well clear of him. Then there’s the fox faced girl from District 5, sneaky and stealthy. But there’s the little girl from District 11 Rue, I don’t think she will survive long. I need to show them, my District, but not only that but my older brother. I need to show him that I’m more than that little wimp he makes me out to be. That I’m not going to be the family failure again.

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Reihaneh – 1 June 2020