"In a week 23 of you will be dead."
This is how the woman who runs training, Atala, starts her training spiel. It seems harsh but the fact is that it's completely true. She debriefs us on the rules and mandatory stations and we are sent off on our own.
The careers go straight for the weapons. The district one girl, whose name I overheard was Opalescence, goes straight for the rack of swords and pulls one off the top I've never seen before. It's a long, thin sword with a curved blade and a rounded handle. She swings it around with ease and deadly accuracy.
I head for the fire making station and learn from the attendant who's running it. I get a fire going quickly, I've lit fire after fire in our wood stove at home, and this is essentially the same thing. The man running the station tells me I'm more than competent and sends me off to another station since there are two other tributes waiting behind me.
Lucifer is at one of the obstacle courses, trying to jump over the trainer's mock attacks as he tries to run over large blocks. The trainer trips him and he tumbles down to the mat, cursing out loud. I can see the careers grouped together sniggering and pointing at him, even a few other tributes have stopped to laugh. Lucifer gets up, smooth's his shirt, strides over to the weapons station, picks up an axe and decapitates a dummy in about 10 seconds. Everyone has gone silent; he puts the axe back smiles at Opalescence and the district two girl, who were doing the most laughing and goes back to what he was doing.
I smile, but I wish that he hadn't done that, now he'll be more of a target and the game makers have seen what he can do more or less. He has a lot of nerve though, just like his brother Corin, although Lucifer's is a little more contained and cheeky. He's still smiling to himself as he runs the obstacle course over again.
We're all sent to the mandatory station at once, like the agility courses, the ladders, and sparring. The gamemakers are only paying attention to us half the time, meandering around their area, picking at food and sipping from colourful drinks. The Capitol it seems is very obsessed with food and drink.
After having to go through the arduous task of trying to spar with the station trainer and making a fool of myself, I head over to the edible plants station. It's a big computer program where you are given name and pictures and you have to match whether they're edible or not. There are also books and specimens for you to look at. I spend the rest of my time here until they announce lunch; I want to remember as much as I can since I have a feeling I wont be very successful at hunting any animals.
"How's your day going for you?" Lucifer asks me as he sits down across from me. His plate is piled high with an assortment of different dishes.
"Alright, I'm doing the-"
I'm interrupted by a loud laugh that has originated from the table of careers. The handsome district four boy seems to have started it although his facial expression doesn't read like he just told a joke; he looks more...annoyed if anything. The other careers follow him around like bees to honey.
"I'm at the edible plants right now but you know what? You've got a lot of nerve bub!! Showing off like that!" I finish and take a sip of juice.
Lucifer just shrugs and makes a sort of laughing sound "Whatever. I was mad, the careers are always a bunch of dic-"
He is cut off but the laughing careers again.
We have an unexpected guest at our table, the little blonde girl from district twelve join us. She smiles at us by doesn't speak.
"What's your name?" Lucifer asks her, being friendly.
She looks up from her plate, "Snow" she almost whispers.
"I'm Lucifer." He says.
"I know, I saw you decapitate a dummy today." She says to her rice.
"If you don't mind me asking, where is the boy from your district?" I ask her.
She looks up and me, her face fallen. "Oh... He's here, in his room. He's not allowed any training." With that she goes back to eating and doesn't speak anymore.
Not allowed training. This is obviously a punishment for running away at the reaping. His death will be guaranteed more than anyone else's.
"That's a shame," I say to my beef stew. We eat in silence for the rest of lunch.
After lunch I spend my time on the knots and ropes for the rest of training. I like the knot tying, it keeps my mind off of what I'm actually training to do, and I'm pretty good at it, I guess a few years of tying markers around tree tops has kept my hands nimble. They were always simple knots mind you. My favorite is a rope trap that leaves an enemy dangling upside down and I actually think I can utilize it in the arena. I practice it over and over until it's imprinted in my brain.
The Careers are now eyeing up the district 10 boy who is with the weights. He looks young but he's solid for his age and is able to lift around heavy medicine balls with ease. He did a better job of ignoring everyone else than Lucifer did.
We discuss the first day of training over dinner with Soren and Johanna. Well, more like telling Johanna what we did because she barely takes time to breathe when she's eating. I swear she loves food more than people.
"Tell us what you did!" Soren says.
I look at Lucifer and then to Johanna.
"I made fires and studied plants and learned how to make rope traps."
Johanna rubs her face and rolls her eyes. "Forsythia I need you to train with the weapons. You're from district seven you don't need to study fires and plants for very long. Ropes are acceptable but they aren't going to keep you from getting killed."
I sit there listening to Johanna chew me out. I should listen to her though; after all she did win this thing once. I tell her I'll work on weapons all day tomorrow and she deems it acceptable. On the end I add.
"Lucifer decapitated a dummy with an axe out of anger."
Lucifer puts down his fork and give me tired look and goes "Are you kidding me?" All I do is stick out my tongue and stab my asparagus with my fork. What am I five?
"Ginger what did I tell you! Don't go showing off!"
"Well the careers were laughing at-"
"I don't care what the careers did, have some control and chill out." She says as she wipes her mouth with a napkin and saunters out of the dining room.
Tonight I can't sleep at all. All I can do is lie awake. Out of boredom I wander out of my room, I hear quiet noise and talking coming from the viewing area. I find Lucifer sitting there, watching the television.
"Couldn't sleep?" I ask him.
He turns around and shrugs "Yeah, there really isn't any point trying anymore."
I come over and sit beside him on the couch. "I'm sorry about ratting you out to Johanna." I apologize.
"No it's ok." He says quietly.
I sit there for a minute, watching the Capitol cooking show that's on the TV. I get up to go back to my bed, might as well try again. Lucifer stops me.
"No, stay here. It's nice to have someone with me."
We stay there together in silence, not talking but enjoying the presence of one another. Somehow we fall asleep there with the TV quietly humming in the background.