As the tube slowly ascends into the arena if feel myself panicking more and more. I have never been more terrified in my life and you can tell because I can't stop myself from shaking. There's nothing more I can do now than go down fighting. My heart stops as I can see the blinding light of the arena and before I know it I'm squinting my eyes and the air is hitting my face. I gasp, the air is incredibly damp and it's raining very lightly, because of the wind it's hitting me right in the face. It's cold as well. The air is nothing like it is in the Capitol, which is dry, but it feels more like home.
The voice of Claudius Templesmith echoes in my ears, "Ladies and gentlemen let the 73rd Annual Hunger games begin!"
I have 60 seconds to analyze the area. The cornucopia shines in the middle, supplies scattered all around. It sits in a relatively small clear-cut area devoid of anything. It's completely dirt, bits of roots, and leaves. We are completely surrounded by trees like a thick wall. I can't see anything past them. The forest is made up of massive cedars and pines with low growing plants. Everything is covered in moss. I realize what this is, the arena this year has not been artificially made. The dampness, the rain, the low-lying fog, and the moss give it away. We're in a coastal temperate rainforest.
I spot a brown backpack that is close to my right. I decide that I am to grab it and retreat into the trees as quickly as possible.
An ominous voice vibrates through the whole arena, counting down the last ten seconds.
10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2
The gong sounds and I'm one of the first to get off my pedestal. In less than 30 seconds I've got the backpack, made an about turn and I'm heading towards the trees. I don't go too far into the bush. I find a sizeable cedar and start climbing; it's difficult, because everything is slick with water. The gloves help a lot though. I climb high enough to not be noticed and where I've got a good view of the cornucopia. My strategy is to wait out the blood bath and then take the left overs once everyone has cleared out.
Boom. Boom. Boom.
The cannons are already going off, one, two, three, and three gone. I wait and watch. I see Lucifer dart out of the cornucopia strapped with axes, hatchets and a bag. The district two girl, Amber, throws a spear at him just as he gets to the tree line but she misses and it lands in the trunk of a tree near his head. Lucifer yanks the spear out of the trunk, yells something, and retreats into the bush.
Amber screams and retaliates by cutting down a boy trying to sneak out of the cornucopia.
The careers are cutting down as many people as they can.
The numbers keep going up.
About an hour passes before the hovercrafts have taken out the bodies and the careers have cleared out, weighted down with weapons forced to venture into the forest. Since there is no water source near the cornucopia the careers are forced to take what they can carry and navigate their way through the woods like everyone else.
I check what's in my backpack; a water bottle, matches, dried berries and a bit of rope. Nothing else. I hoist the backpack back around my shoulder and climb back down the tree. I don't want to linger around the cornucopia too long, in case people are still in the area. I need to get in and get out.
I jump out of the trees and sprint to the cornucopia. No one's here. The pickings aren't too bad, the cornucopia is always overstuffed and since this year people can only take what they can carry it's better than what I usually see. I load myself up. I stick 4 knives on my belt and I even found 2 hatchets in the back. Typically, the careers have taken all the food. All that's left is a bag of oranges and I can't haul that around. Regardless I stuff as many as I can into my bag along with lots of rope, a green tarp, and a first aid kit. I don't bother looking for any fire starting equipment. Considering this damp climate and forest, if you even manage to get a fire started it's going to smoke like mad attracting tributes.
Trying to run on this ground is harder than I thought. Every time you take a step you sink into the ground a bit and it's even worse once you get into the forest. The ground is entirely obscured by moss and large roots from the trees. Somehow I manage to get some good ground covered. It's odd though, the farther I get into the forest there are places that look worn down like trails and at one point I run into a raised wooden walkway. It's old and almost over grown but it's there.
Ideally I'd just like to hide until this is over but I know the gamemakers will flush me out if I try. At one point I decide to climb up a tree again and move that way. The forest is so dense that I can easily move from tree to tree. It's almost fun and it gives me a better look at my surroundings and keeps me out of the way. Every so often I stop and step a trap with the rope I've taken. The one that leaves an enemy hanging upside down. I know the chances of someone getting caught in one of my traps is next to none but it's my passive aggressive way of fighting back. If no one's there to help you out you can die from being upside down.
The rain changes and it begins to pour. I'm not sure if this is the gamemakers or just the actual weather. I put my hood up and look for a proper tree to sleep in since it's starting to get dark. I pull the tarp over branches above me to keep the rain out, it's handy, it'll keep me dry and it'll collect water. Just as I settle in the Capitol symbol appears in the sky and the anthem begins to play. The fallen are displayed.
District 3, Shalom and Imogen, District 5, Ciran, District 6, Sissy, District 8, Chiffon and Lysander, District 9 Durum and Teff, District 10 Shae, and District 12 Gagan.
The anthem ends and the sky goes dark. Ten dead, fourteen left. Let the games begin.