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The Hunger Games- The story of District 4
Author's note: This story was inspired by the Hunger Games. i wanted to know more about Thresh and his story, so I sort of filled the gaps.
In District 4 every morning is the same, we rise early while the tide is still out to go fishing. Seagulls break the early morning silence with their ear-splitting screeches, while you see a troupe of men and boys head out to the fishing boats to fish, but not today.
Today is the day of the reaping, today, two teenagers my age will go, go to the Capitol and may never come back.
I wake to the stony silence of my home; my four brothers are lying asleep in hammocks around the edge of the bed room. My Dad has gone, probably crab fishing to get breakfast. I didn’t know it would be my last. The whole day passes in a blur, crab with bread for breakfast, getting changed to go to the Justice building, my name being read aloud in front of all of Panem, but worst of all, my little brothers’ name with mine. I look at him, his name is Caspian. He has sandy blonde hair that grows like helmet hair. His eyes are sea green and his teeth are slightly crooked. His eyes are as wide as plates and his face is scared. The Peacekeepers look happy and in my horror I heard our escort comment brightly,
“Well! We’re keeping it in the family this year!” Nobody laughs.
Now I’m standing here surrounded by woods, in the games, I can’t see Caspian and I’m scared for him, he was always the peaceful one in our family, he never got angry and was always smiling like nothing was bad. I loved him over all my other brothers, who were all typical District 4 boys, bloodthirsty and grim. Caspian was a favourite at the Capitol, his innocent 12-year-old smile and laugh made him look and seem younger. He would get plenty of gifts. However, I had to worry about Katniss and Peeta, those District 12 tributes were definitely the favourites, to increase favour for my brother, I would kill them. The gong rings and I sprint toward the Cornucopia. I grab a rope, sword and a large green camo backpack. Then I run backward into the woods and start to move around the Cornucopia looking for Caspian. I can’t see him. Panic rises in my chest as I risk everything and start screaming.
“Caspian! Caspian!” I listen intently. I see children being murdered left and right, slaughtered mercilessly like sheep. I strain my ears desperate to hear a returning call from my brother, some sound to suggest his survival. Then I hear,
“Marina!” I turn desperately to see his small from running like a stag towards me. He has a backpack, spear and a loaf of bread. I grab his hand which is hot and sweaty and together we run deep, deep into the woods.
After about eight kilometres, Caspian needed to stop; he slowed to a walk and breathed deeply with his hands behind his head, trying to calm his racing heart. I looked around; we had run in a diagonal line. We were again at the edge of the forest with a large expanse of meadow grasses to our right.
“Marina!” Caspian gasped, I looked at his flushed sweaty face,
“Can you smell it?” I sniffed the air, Caspian and I had both been born and raised in District 4, if there was one smell we recognised, it was the smell of water. It wasn’t salt water; it was fresh water with fish nearby.
“Come on Caspian, let’s go. We need water to survive here.” I whispered. Together we crept toward the smell, it smelt tantalising after the stress of the games and our run. We crept toward the source of the aroma. Soon, we could hear it, bubbling over rocks like a laughing child.
“Look!” Caspian rasped, he pointed right in front of us. I looked. A small figure was huddled near the pool, muttering nervously they were arranging their supplies. I looked at Caspian and pointed backward, stay back, he understood. I took Caspian’s spear, all District 4 kids were good with a spear, we spearfished as children after all. I crept up behind the boy, his hands busy arranging his selection of nuts and biscuits. I looked away as I ended his life with one downward thrust.
We set up camp near the small pool. Caspian fished with the spear while I arranged our food supplies, we had; the loaf of bread, biscuits, nuts and, from our backpacks, some dried fruit, crackers, smoked beef and chicken. We had enough food to last us about five days. Caspian came back grinning like a fiend with four fish. We made a small fire and built a small tower of stones and put the fish on top to fry. Soon the fish were sizzling on the boiling stones. The whole camp soon smelt like a night in District 4.
On Sunday, the night before the reaping our family had a celebration on the beach, many families were doing the same. Nobody knew who would leave tomorrow. There were large bonfires all along the beach, my Dad played a flute he carved himself and our whole family was tapping their feet to the upbeat melody. The waves that crawled up the sandbanks were his accompaniment. The ocean itself was a huge dark mass, contrasted by the large fires that were burning merrily on the shore.
Crack! The sound snapped me out of my daydream, I had been dozing, as had Caspian. Our fish were burned black and a strong odour of burning filled my nostrils. Snap! This sound caused Caspian’s eyes to snap open. I put my finger to my lips and he didn’t move. My eyes scanned the field behind Caspian. Something, or someone, was moving. Their dark shape was projected easily into my vision with the setting sun behind them. I squinted my sore eyes, the sun made it almost impossible to work out any detail but from what I could see the figure appeared to be gathering wheat from the long grass that waved joyfully in the breeze. Then the figure rose and walked into our clearing.
“How’d you catch that?” A deep voice asked. I looked up; now that the figure was closer I could see it was Thresh, the boy from District 11. His skin was a dark cinnamon colour and his eyes were the colour of the sand that was close to the shore line in District 4. His hair was cropped close to his skull and was a deep pepper black. His large fist pointed to the burned fish, at the sight of it my stomach rumbled. I forgot how hungry I was, and thirsty too. In answer I pointed to my brother. Thresh turned and stared at him.
“He’s not very big, is he?” Thresh said bluntly. This, of course, was all to true. When I arrived at the Capitol I was immediately offered to join up with the tributes from District 1 and 2. However, they wouldn’t let my brother join; he was too small, to vulnerable looking, or whatever. This is why Caspian and I weren’t with them now hunting down the weak tributes.
“But, size isn’t everything.” Thresh said quickly, looking at my expression. He smiled at Caspian.
“He looks smart, like Rue…” His face fell again. Obviously, Rue was a friend of his. I looked up into Tresh’s face; I wanted and needed an ally. Would Thresh make a good one? We couldn’t question his loyalty to his friend Rue. To stay alive here we needed loyalty.
“Will you help us?” Caspian said anything before I could. He was looking at Thresh with admiration. “I mean you know how to farm and that field looks like a farm. We know how to fish and weave anything. We both could use each other.” Thresh looked at Caspian with a fondness nobody but myself had ever shown him.
“Sure,” Thresh whispered. “We need each other.”
That night the seal in the starry sky told us that 10 died today. As we got ready for sleep we ate some nuts and biscuits. Thresh produced 2 large water bottles he had got from the Cornucopia. Which was a relief, I was beginning to worry about where we would find clean water as our small pools’ water looked disgusting, with all the slimy, green algae on the surface. Caspian and I weave sleeping mats out of the long grasses that cover the field. We make 3 large sleeping mats. Thresh mutters goodnight and falls into his mat, to sleep. Caspian and I wrap ourselves up in our jackets and stare at the sky. These stars are unfamiliar, the sounds of our surroundings are different. In District 4, the smells of sea salt and fish were everywhere. Here we smell… nothing.
“I’m sorry.” Caspian whispers. I look at him. His head is bowed and his messy hair won’t let me see his face.
“For what?” I ask. He looks up at me; his green eyes are filled with tears.
“For everything.” Then he turns away.
I wake early in the morning; the sky is a light peach colour and streaked with yellow. We arrange all our gear and walk deep into the field. We eat along the way. Thresh knows every type of grain there is. He shows us what to eat and what to leave alone. He stops us around midday in front of a large thorny looking plant. He bends down and cuts off a stalk. Sap leaks like blood from a fatal wound but Thresh doesn’t drink it, he coats his sword in it and tells us to do the same with our spears.
“Never eat this, its lethal. In District 11, it’s a rat poison we use in the ware houses. The sap will kill you in about 5 hours if it gets inside you.” Thresh mumbled. We took his word for it and covered our spearheads in the yellowy sap. With poisoned weapons we keep walking. Our water stores began to get lower and lower. Everybody is sweating and thirsty. We need to find some type of lake to fill our water bottles and rest.
By nightfall, Thresh and Caspian both look pale and weak. I’m scared to know whether or not I look the same. Eventually, we realise we can’t keep going; its dark and we are making too much noise now that we are so dehydrated. Caspian begins to weave mats while Thresh makes a meal out of grain. Both of them look exhausted and thirsty. I start to help Caspian weave but eventually we give up. Our fingers are aching and swollen, we couldn’t weave to save our life. Thresh doesn’t even bother telling us to keep trying. He just falls to the ground heavily, making the ground wobble, to go to sleep. Caspian and I glance at each other and do the same.
I woke up when I heard voices. They were trampling through the grasses. Their bodies much heavier than the average tribute. The Career pack.
“Guys!” I whispered. Thresh’s eyes snapped open like light switches. He heard the feet and voices of the Careers. He didn’t say anything, just rose into a crouch and started packing everything into the backpacks. I leant over to Caspian. I pinched his arm and he woke up immediately.
“Wha-.” He started to say.
“Shhhh!’ I hissed. His jaw snapped shut and his eyes widened as he heard them too. He looked at Thresh and mimicked his movements. When we were all packed, they seemed to be only meters away. Thresh waved us forward and we set of at a jog, adrenaline pounding through our systems. Then I heard the shout.
“THIS WAY!” Oh god, it was Cato. We had seen Cato at training; he was crazy and needed the help of a padded room. When Thresh heard the shout he didn’t hesitate. He told us to stop, ran a few steps north and yelled “RUN!” then dashed south. Utterly bewildered, we followed him.
As we ran Thresh kept changing direction. He never ran in a straight line, he kept doing zigzags and backtracking. We stopped when we were around four kilometres from our camp, breathing like trains and looking exhausted. In the distance we could hear the Careers yelling to each other but they would never find us, Thresh was too good.
“H-how d-d-did you l-learn to d-do that?” Caspian gasped. Thresh shrugged.
“It’s just like home. If you learn to steal, you learn to run.” He smirked. Caspian shook his head and smiled in wonder.
Later no one was smiling, we were so thirsty I felt like somebody had rubbed sea salt up and down my throat. My head was aching and I was panting badly. I wasn’t even thinking any more I was only able to form one thought “one foot in front of the other” it formed a strange mantra. Then a loud cannon shot woke me from my disconnectedness.
“Look!” Thresh pointed. I looked up. A hovercraft with a large claw was picking up a body, it was close by. “Come on!” Thresh yelled. He ran ahead. Caspian and I followed.
When we reached the scene it wasn’t pretty, the hovercraft had only picked up half of what looked like a girl tribute. She was covered in these huge purple butterflies; they seemed to leave large red spots wherever they landed. Thresh looked closely and swore under his breath.
“What is it, Thresh?” Caspian asked. Thresh gave him a sad look.
“Mutts, don’t know what they’re called, but we have them in 11. They leave these marks,” He gestured vaguely at the girl. “And burn everything they touch. Capitol used them in the war to flush rebels out of hiding places, send in a swarm of these, and everybody would be coming out the other end of the hide out.” He looked angry, Caspian, however, looked thoughtful.
“Do they need to drink?” He asked.
“Do those butterfly mutts need to drink?” Caspian asked again. Thresh looked irritated.
“ ‘Course they do! Everything under the sun needs to!”
“So where would they be drinking from?” Caspian thought aloud.
“Somewhere nearby,” I said. They both looked at me. “Well it would! They wouldn’t be able to fly five hundred meters away, with those wings. They’re tiny!” Then Caspian, whom had already figured this out, was hounding around the nearby grass shouted.
“Look! Water!” Thresh and I ran up to him. He was right; a small trickle of water was running along the ground. We followed it as the trickle became wider and heavier. Until…
“It’s a spring!” Caspian gasped. The small stream was coming from a slightly raised piece of ground. The water was running off in small streams in every direction. We walked up the hill. The small spring was bubbling like one of the Capitols hot tubs. I put my hands into the cool water, the water felt amazing on my dehydrated skin. Thresh ran over eagerly with his water bottles and filled them. He got a few drops of iodine in each one and waited for the water to purify.
That night we drank five refills of the water bottles. Caspian spearfished, Thresh gathered grain and I began weaving our mats. When we finished we even risked a small fire to cook the fish. After the fish were cooked, Thresh covered them in grains, and then Caspian cut the loaf of bread with his knife.
“We’ve deserved it.” Caspian said when he saw me glance uncertainly at him. The fish on bread felt great, the hot food after all the grain we had been eating during our time in the Arena.
“Look!” Caspian yelled. Thresh and I followed his gaze, in the distance, in the woods. A large fire had sprung up, the flames danced in a weird unison, the smoke covering the sky like celebratory confetti.
“What do you think is going on?” I asked Thresh quietly, he shook his head sadly as he looked at the large flames jump and crawl over the Arena’s flora.
“The Game makers want to have a little more fun.” He whispered. No one slept well that night. We didn’t sleep until the dawn had stretched its long pink fingers across the sky.
For the next five days very little happened. Two days after the fire two girls faces appeared in the sky. Both were Careers. We figured out that somebody probably attacked the Careers, but did they get away? They weren’t dead, but the Careers are the biggest and most skilled group in the Arena. Apart, from with the new deaths, us.
On the next day something strange happened. We were just planning to leave the spring. We had talked last night and decided that, because we were now the biggest and strongest group in the arena, we were going to attack the Careers when something stopped us in our tracks. The ground was shaking. We could here loud explosions echoing around the Arena. There were too many and too close together for it to be cannon shots from dead tributes. I looked at Thresh and Caspian. They looked as confused as I. When we broke camp we decided to walk toward the woods. It was most likely that the Careers would be in there as nobody seemed to be in the large wheat field. We began walking; Caspian was humming a popular song in District 4. It was about a fisherman and his failed attempts at catching a shark. The happy lively melody wavered through the breeze. The breeze? A small wind began to blow across the field; we glanced uncertainly at each other. Were the Game makers going to send in a storm? We walked and walked and walked, the wind grew stronger and stronger and stronger. Soon we were shouting to make ourselves heard over the howling gale.
“Thresh! Caspian!” I yelled. Both of their faces turned towards me “We need to find shelter!” The wind was screaming in our ears. Hail began to rain down. We pulled our backpacks over our heads to avoid getting hit. My blood seemed to be freezing in my veins. My body temperature was plummeting like a falling ball.
“Where do you suppose we get shelter?” Thresh bellowed. “We are in a damned wheat field!” Soon, I was unable to see anything and the wind was beginning to pull me of my feet. I looked around I couldn’t see anything.
“Caspian! Thresh!” I screamed. I pulled the bag off my head to look for them.
“Caspi-“My words were cut of as a piece of hail, hit my head. I fell to the ground and blacked out.
When I woke up my head ached. I reached up and felt a bump the size of an apple on my head. I tried to stand, my world started spinning like a gigantic hamster ball. I looked around. I was near the edge of the woods, but… where was Caspian and Thresh?
“Thresh! Caspian!” I croaked. My throat felt dry and dusty. I needed water. I opened the bag. Inside was one of Thresh’s water bottles, some fish, crackers, a handful of nuts, three slices of bread and the last of the chicken. I drank a little of the water. I didn’t have the iodine and had no way of purifying water. I was going to have to drink this bottle only sparingly. My legs were locked into position. It was early morning, but from my aches I could tell I had been like this for over a day. That would mean this was my 11th day in the arena. I needed to find Thresh and Caspian.
Throughout the day I walked into the woods. The environment here was much different to the one I had lived in during my time with Caspian and Thresh. I walked and walked, often calling out Thresh and Caspian’s name. The sun slowly rose and sank. My breath became ragged and I started gasping. I was so thirsty. My water bottle was only half empty but I was scared to drink it. I couldn’t afford to go without clean water for long and I wasn’t sure how long it would be until I met up with Caspian and Thresh.
By sunset I resolved that I was not going to get any further in my search today. I looked around, there was a stream lined with small caves to my right. I bent and crawled into one of these caves, too tired to notice the large blood splatter on a rock nearby.
I awoke early in the morning I could hear mockingjays all singing the same melody. Four notes in a run, strange how they should all be singing it at once. I looked up and say tiny stalagmites all around me with spider webs draped everywhere like decorations. Then I saw something. I got up and crawled out of the cave, I thought it was Caspian.
“Caspian!” I yelled, running out of the cave. What I saw stopped me in my tracks. It was Katniss, she looked much skinnier then when we left the Capitol and she had a silver bow in her hands I saw her reach for an arrow and I dived to the left away from the cave, to avoid getting hit. Splash! Water flew up like some strange shield all around me. I scrabbled in the stream, desperate to find a weapon as my spear was in the cave. I felt my hand close around a rock in the stream as three arrows whizzed around me, one hit me in the fleshy part of my calf, the pain was like fire. It burnt up my whole body. I yelled and instinctively flung the stone in the direction of Katniss, then hobbling badly; I crept into the cave, grabbed my spear and spun around. Katniss was there pulling back her bowstring and smiling eerily at me. I made a split second decision and flung my poisoned spear at her. Her arrow hit me in the stomach, my spear missed. She turned around; and ran…
Straight onto my brothers knife. His green eyes were narrowed dangerously. He swore at her as she fell lifeless at his feet. He came running toward me, he looked nothing like the 12 year old boy at the reaping, he lost nearly all the fat on his body and he looked more mature, life in the Arena had killed the boy I knew and changed him into a new one.
“Don’t go Marina, don’t go! Its ok, Thresh can fix it.” He whispered desperately. He turned his pleading eyes onto Thresh. Thresh stood solemnly in the shadows that covered him like a cloak, he wouldn’t meet Caspian’s gaze.
“C-Caspian,” I spluttered. “It’s too late! Don’t s-s-show weakness, i-it won’t help!” I muttered, blood began to fill in my mouth. I felt disgusting. Overhead Katniss’s cannon fired. I looked at the sky. It was going dark early, but that didn’t make sense, it was barely 9. Yet the sky grew darker. I was dying.
“Marina, I’m sorry… If only I’d been bigger, stronger, we could have stayed with the Careers, this wouldn’t have happened.” Caspian’s eyes were overflowing with tears. He couldn’t think that.
“N-no Cas. I-I’m sorry.” I muttered. My body felt light and it didn’t hurt anymore. The sky was nearly black but this time the stars were my stars, the ones from home. Here, I was safe.
“For what, Marina.” Caspian asked. His voice seemed to echo. I smiled.
“For everything.” My smile was frozen on my face forever. A cannon fired.