“Bralynn, Datura,” I hiss, nudging them with my foot. “Wake up.”
“What…” Bralynn lazily opens her eyes. Scanning the setting, she bolts upright. “Detour.” She shakes Datura awake and starts packing up camp.
We are in the middle of all six areas. Desert, ocean, snow, mist, everything surrounds us. I feel trapped in a room, the walls and doors pushing in on me. Each door could lead to doom or victory, and not deciding is simply choosing death.
“Let’s go this way.” Datura points to the foggy area. I can’t see anything past the curtain of mist. “We’ve been in there once before and handled it.”
“Can the cameras even see in that?” I whisper as I reach past her for my backpack.
“I say we go there.” Bralynn points to an area I can feel a chill coming from. Wind ruffles my hair as I turn to it. In the distance, I can see a dark spiral forming.
“Tornadoes?” I say. “I think not. Our best shot is here.” I point to the desert area. “We can fill our water bottles at the ocean with my filter and start to get as much ground between us and the cornucopia. Some clouds from the ocean area seem to be rolling over there, so maybe we will get some shade and the heat won’t be too bad.”
“I don’t know…” Bralynn starts.
“Come on, it’s what we are prepared for most.” And what sponsors will find the best survival skills in.
“I still think the fog is the best,” Datura pointed out, “but we can go there I suppose.”
After a quick stop at the ocean, we head off. Four water bottles and some dried fruit will last us long enough until a bird wanders by. I can kill it with a slingshot before it can open its wings.
As we begin to trek through sand, the clouds seem to dissipate, leaving us in full sun. We take off our jackets and stuff them in our packs. We wet our lips and tongue with water every half-hour or so and only take sips of water when necessary. A bird, possibly a quail, meets the fate of my slingshot.
“We have to cook it, right? All birds need to be cooked?” I ask. Chicken definitely does, but do other birds?
“I think so… Plants are more of my forte…” Datura answers.
“We shouldn’t light a fire, with all this open space, you could see us from miles away,” Bralynn adds.
I see a few large rocks that have surely been baking in the sun all day. As Bralynn cleans the bird, Datura and I form a bit of shelter with weathered trees and cover it with our jackets to give us shade. Once the bird is ready, I rip it apart and place it in the sun to start baking. We play a game with my dice (what dice I have left anyway) and wait.
After eating, we begin the process over again. Over and over. This desert seems to go on forever. We need to start some action, or the gamemakers will start it for us.
I was figuring out a way to tell Bralynn and Datura this without the watchers knowing when-
BAM! I am hit by a mass, knocking me to the ground. I hear a shriek and see a man with a cane on top of me. His eyes are wild with a maddening grin across his face. Suddenly his head jolts forward and he whips around. Bralynn kicked him in the head. She backs away, luring him off of me. As he begins to charge, I grab my slingshot and reach for a rock on the ground…
My hand hits sand, sand, and more sand. I scan the premises for a rock, anything will do. But all I see is sand! Beginning to panic, I grab my pack. Pulling several dice out, I load my slingshot. I have to get this just right, or it will simply bounce off. I aim and, just as he raises his cane to hit Bralynn, release.
Thunk. It hits him right in the temple. His eyes grow distant and he slumps onto the ground. Just he does, and ax is driven into him by Datura.
“Whoa,” I whisper. I just took down Mr. Hyde. We just took down Mr. Hyde. We exchange looks, each saying the same thing: that could have been us.