I sat staring at the blank, white-washed walls of the town hall. I could hear cries from the other room. The other tribute had people coming to see her. Me? I had no one it seemed. The guard even looked a little sorry for me. I hated that, hated sympathy. Then someone stumbled into the room.
“Well, Didn't think it'd actually happen,” Dad said with a harsh laugh, stumbling his way onto the wooden bench and collapsing next to me.
“I hope you have some kind of plan, or your dead kid” He continued before taking a long gulp from a flask. He reeked of alcohol and piss and at that point I'd had enough.
“Unless you have something useful to say Dad, leave.” He turned wide-eyes on me before laughing.
“I guess if you were going to choose a time to grow a backbone, now wouldn't be the worst. You'll need it,” With that Dad stood up and moved to the door, pausing when he had a hand gripping the handle.
“Come back.” He whispered before opening the door and leaving. It closed with a soft sound and even though I didn't want to, I could feel hot tears running down my cheeks. How dare he. After being nothing but a useless wreck of a man shouting curse words my way. How dare he suddenly turn around and give a damn.
After that everything was a blur. Being dressed up for other people amusement; trying strange food who's taste eluded me in my depression; training and getting a six. None of it mattered at the end of the day as far as I was concerned. Then I was under it. The arena. And the platform was rising and the countdown was blaring in my ears. I felt my skin scream the moment the harsh wind snapped past my cheeks. Each snowdrop that touched my skin felt like a needle point. But I knew that without these clothes it'd be ten times worse.
“30.” I needed some kind of plan, and I needed it now.
“20.” I could not freeze, that would be a death sentence. I looked around me, taking in the others faces. I'd seen them in training and on the screen as they'd been scored. Complete strangers because I hadn't had the guts to approach a single one of them. I was supposed to kill them, or be killed myself.
“10.” I flexed a little and prepared to move. I wasn't a fast runner but I could at least grab one of the nearer backpack and run away. I tried not to worry too much that my only advantage of being a good swimmer was effectively torn from me in this winter wasteland.
“5.” Now or never. The horn sounded telling us to go and everything snapped into focus. Everyone moved in sync, some running towards the cornucopia, others towards the safety of the trees. I wanted to join them but knew I'd need something to keep me alive. I watched in horror as one person descended on another. I had to get out of there, and fast. I grabbed the backpack, a plain black thing and ran. I felt something fly past my arm and bit down the urge to yelp in pain. I didn't look back, too scared that whoever had attacked me would be following. I found a tallish tree and began climbing. At least up here I could see my enemies coming. But no one was within eyesight. I was alone. I couldn't figure out if that was a good thing or not.
I opened the backpack to see what was in there. A small dagger. It wasn't very sharp but it was better than being defenceless. A pack of match's. I just needed to search ages for wood that wasn't damp. A simple pot. So that with the matches meant I could in theory melt ice down to water. That helped relieve my stress a little. Because I knew trying to just eat ice for water was a bad idea. It brought your body temperature down and that was the last thing any tribute needed in this place.
I heard a small tinkering sound and looked up to see something floating towards me. That couldn't be meant for me. I hadn't even bothered in the interviewed and didn't expect a sponsor. Yet it floated and landed right in front of me. I didn't hesitate though I muttered a thank you to the wind. The boots were huge and the spikes sticking out from the bottom was huger still, as big as my forearm. I pulled them on, noting that they kept my feet warmer than the boots I'd been given did. Then I climbed back down the tree, finding it a lot easier with the boots. Though anyone pursuing me would have a pretty easy trail to follow. But I doubted they'd follow me up a mountain.