The sound of Johanna yelling at us to get up wakes me. I jolt myself up, dazed and confused. Right, I forgot we were on the couch.
"What are you two doing sleeping on the couch?" Johanna snaps.
"We couldn't sleep." Lucifer counters.
"Well get yourself changed and in the dining room, training is in an hour." She tells us.
I take my time showering and getting ready. I don't feel like eating much so I just munch on a croissant and sip some tea until it's time to go down. I also let Johanna know that I'm going to learn to use the knives today and she agrees that this is probably the best choice.
Today Atala only lets us know that if we haven't completed the mandatory stations now is the time to do so and then she releases us. I got straight for the knives and spears area, which has lots of stationary targets. I pick a few throwing knives and toss them around to get the feel of them. Throwing around dangerous objects without any consequences sort of comes with it's own thrill. After a few trail runs I'm hitting mostly in the inner circles. Some more practice and I should be able to hit bull's-eyes.
Now that I think about it my good aim isn't that far fetched. Back home kids would play with slingshots or just throwing rocks. We used to stack and line up old cans on a fence and knock them down. Most of my skills somehow relate back to my childhood games. But isn't that what I'm training for right now? A game. A deadly game.
I keep throwing knives until Kingsley, the tribute from district four, comes to the target area beside me. He's alone and he's toting a few harpoons with him. He looks at me and smiles, no; it's more like a smirk. He's as handsome as ever though, especially this close up. What's with district four? They not only provide fish but handsome men too? He turns to the target and throws the harpoons, a bull's-eye, each. Stopping, he looks over at me, like he's waiting for me to go. So I go, three bull's-eyes in a row. Sheer luck, but I pull it off like it wasn't. I look back at him, smile sweetly, and turn to leave the station. I don't want to stay there under his watchful eye.
I turn around and look at him, narrowing my eyes. He's smiling again.
"Where did you learn to throw like that?"
I don't trust him so I tell him nothing, "That's for me to know" and I cross the room to where Lucifer is at the camouflage station.
"Did I just see you talking to the District four guy?" Lucifer asks, swirling some green paint on his arm.
I ignore him, "Ew, what is that?"
He frowns, "It's a bush! Can't you tell?"
"No, it looks like poo."
He laughs and rolls his eyes "Thanks Scythe, guess camouflage isn't for me."
We spend the rest of the day hopping from station to station. I'll periodically go back to the throwing knives whenever Kingsley is predisposed. I'm getting a pretty good feel for the knives and how they fly.
Discussions mostly happen at the dining table and tonight is no exception. I tell Johanna how it's going with the knives and she's pleased that I've found a weapon. I swirl my spoon in my chocolate mousse.
"Kingsley from district four was chatting me up today? Think you know why?"
Johanna shrugs and takes a mouthful of mousse before she goes, " Finnick often tells his tributes to not limit themselves to just the careers but he leaves it up to the tributes if they decide not to."
"Maybe he's just a friendly guy." Lucifer points out.
"Yeah, a friendly guy that wants to impale my liver with a harpoon. "
Johanna no longer expands on the conversation. Something doesn't feel right. What would he want from me? It feels like a trap. So the next morning of training I avoid him completely. Lucifer tells me I'm over reacting, I should ignore him but instead I just flick berry juice in his face.
Soon it's lunch and then after that will be the individual training sessions where the gamemakers give you your final training score. We go by district number so we will be seventh. Lucifer will be going before me. Slowly the tributes file out one by one. They call Lucifer's name and he gets up from his seat.
"Hey, you decapitate all those dummies!" I say.
He smiles and gives me a thumbs up. About fifteen minutes passes until it's my turn. I walk into the training area. The gamemakers aren't completely bored yet. I say my name to let them know I'm here.
"Forsythia Lind, District seven."
The gamemakers look at me. I see Seneca Crane, the head gamemaker is paying attention, and so I start. I grab as many knives as I can carry and bring them to the moving targets. The targets more around and light up when you're supposed to hit them so it gives you more of a challenge on your reaction time. I press the button to start the machine. A buzzer sounds and the targets begin to move.
Loud thunks echo through the room as I hit the targets, bull's-eye, bull's-eye, bull's-eye. Keep it up! I hit every target, not every one is in the very center but most are. Another buzzer sounds signifying the time is up.
"Thank you, you may go." Says Seneca Crane.
I did my best, now we play the waiting game.
After supper, we crowd around the TV on the couch, about to watch the training scores. Everyone is here, not just Johanna and Soren but Maria and Silvius have joined us as well.
The programme begins, there's Caesar Flickerman, the man that hosts the TV spots and interviews during the Hunger Games for over forty years. This year his hair is a dark crimson. Not his best colour choice I have to say.
"Welcome! Tonight we are releasing the training scores for the 73rd Annual Hunger Games! We start with District one, Luster."
A photo of luster appears behind Caesar.
"With a score of
Of course, most careers get scores this high.
Opalescence gains a nine. Kingsley gets a ten. We keep listening, the girl from district five, whose name is Eden, gets a seven and a half. You don't see point numbers very often but they happen when the gamemakers aren't unanimous.
"Lucifer Evans with a score of
We breathe a sigh of relief.
"Well done!" Says Soren.
Johanna pats him on the back, "Good job Ginger!!"
Now it is my turn. The suspense is killing me; I cross my fingers for extra luck like it's actually going to help me.
"Forsythia Lind with a score of
. Also nine"
I smile. I must have impressed them enough! Soren is over the moon that both of us have received good scores. Johanna is grinning and Maria gives me a hug, jumping up and down. We sit down to watch the rest of the scores.
The district ten boy, whose name turns out to be Apollo, gets an eight, which is surprising since he's only thirteen. The last score is Gagan; the escapee tribute from district twelve gets a one. Maria and Soren gasp but the rest of us are not surprised. He was barred from training! Of course his score is going to be the lowest of the low.
Soren and Johanna let us know that they will be working with us each individually to get ready for the interviews, which are tomorrow night. Maria tells me I'm going to love the dress she has designed for me. Everyone disperses to retire for the night.
I spend a good amount of time of my sleepless night watching the projected image on my window wishing I were back home. Not a day passes where I don't think about my family or Corin. I don't know what I would do without them and that's why I have to win this. But then there's Lucifer, what would I do without him. I lie there in the dark until somehow sleep takes over me.