The Criminal's War: The European Hunger Games
In the ruins of a place once known as Europe lies the region of Lavinia, made up of ten different countries; Britannia, which governs Lavinia, Germania, Frankland, Swizlova, Latinia, Austino, Ukresia, Estolavia, Ruska, and Polskina, which was responsible for the one and only horror of Lavinia, the Criminal's War. The Criminal's War is a series of games held every two years, in which fifty criminals are placed in the arena to kill each other off. There are no winners. Only death.
Not in District 4 Anymore
I wake up on the boat, still in the middle of the ocean. I wince as I get up. Sunburned. Again. I have no clue how long I've been afloat. I stopped counting after a week. It's not worth it. My food ran out, so I started eating the fish I can catch. But I have nothing to cook them with, so I am forced to eat them raw. As for water, it's been raining every few days, and so I have enough. It feels like I've been out here forever. When I get back to Panem, I'll ask what day it is, then I'll be able to figure out how long I've been out here. I yawn, stretch, wince, then look around and see- land!
I've never been more excited. Panem is out there! I don't know what District I'm coming to- probably 12 or 13 by the amount of time I've be drifting- but they will definitely be able to help me get back to District 4. I think for a second, and then dip my net into the water and catch a few fish, which I then put into one of the metal containers that used to hold food. I'm hoping that, at the very least, I can trade them for some real food. My mouth begins to water as I think of the loaves of fresh bread I could trade the fish for. If I didn't live in District 4, I would say that I never want to see another fish again in my life. Unfortunately, though...
I take out my other metal container and take off the lid, which I stuff in my bag. I put in the water and begin paddling towards shore. Eventually I realize the uselessness of the paddle, and put it back in my bag. I look up at my makeshift sail, noticing that there's a sea breeze, and so, if I adjust it right, I should be able to use that to propel me to shore. I stand up carefully and adjust the sail, and eventually, I catch the breeze. It takes a while, but finally I reach the dock.
I hop out and tie up the boat. I then hop back in and pack everything that I might need later into my bag. Besides, the town that seems to have its back towards me looks slightly shady. If anyone steals my boat- which I highly doubt is possible, as I use a special knot which hardly anyone but myself can untie- I don't want them to take anything important with them.
I gulp, and take a deep breath. Then I walk forward. I carefully enter an alley, and I'm sure that at least once or twice I hear someone or something moving behind me in the shadows. I carefully walk a bit faster and a bit faster and a bit faster until I'm in a full-out sprint to get out of the alley. And finally I am rewarded with daylight. I look around and see that I am in a town square, with a few market stalls which don't seem to be very busy. I figure that it must be an off day, and I begin walking toward the one that seems to be selling bread. As I walk toward the stall, I take out the metal container with the fish. I'm almost at the stall when, out of nowhere, someone runs by and snatches the container out of my hand, and without thinking, I begin chasing them, desperate to get my fish back. They run into an alley, but I catch up to them and tackle them. We wrestle, and the person lands a few punches on me, but eventually I grab the container back and stand up. I put it back in my bag and turn to face the thief. But when I see their face, it knocks the wind out of me even more than the punches did.
She's a young girl, I have no clue how old, but I assume my age, and she is thinner than I've seen in a while. But I can tell that's she's starving. I imagine what my little brothers looked like two years ago. She's just a walking stick. She needs food. She can't help that she doesn't have anything to eat. So she steals. I take out the container and look down at it. I open it and think about tossing her a fish, but instead I reach down and hand her one.
"Enjoy," I say, then jog away. I run back to the bread stall, and wake up the man sleeping inside.
I cough a bit to get his attention, then I open the container and show him the fish. "How much bread will this get?" I ask.
He grunts. Then he reaches behind him and places a slice of bread in front of me. I poke it. It's stale. I look into the container. Two fish for one slice of stale bread? That hardly seems fair. I close the container and walk away. Surely I would do better somewhere else.
"Hey, girl!" the man says. I turn around and suppress a smile. He's going to offer me a better trade. He wants those fish.
"Yes?" I ask, attempting the innocent and sweet look.
"You might not wanna show those around too much. If you were any smart, you would keep those in the black market where they belong," he says. He closes his eyes and returns to his nap.
I'm completely confused. The man has a very strange accent. It's very unfamiliar to me, and I know that I am not in District 12. And I can assume I'm not in District 13, either. In fact, I can safely assume that I'm not in any district I know of.
Not only that, the man acted as if it was a crime to trade fish. Black Market? Was there really a need for that? I slowly back away, and I hear a psst! I turn around, and I see the girl from before. I walk over to her.
"Around the corner. Big building. Looks like there are a lot of Ties surrounding it. Whisper to the one on the far left that you have fish you need to get rid of. He'll take you to a place you can trade them." The girl disappears into the alley.
I'm not sure what to do. I have this feeling that the girl wants to repay me for the fish, but I don't even know her name. But I decide to trust her. She's the nicest person I've met so far.
I walk around the corner, and I do see a big building. I don't know what the girl means by "ties", but there are a bunch of men wearing them outside the building. I figure that's what she meant, so I casually walk over to the one on the far left. He raises an eyebrow at me, and I don't feel so comfortable telling him flat-out that I want to trade something on the black market. So instead I tap the lid of the container. He nods briefly, grabs my forearm, and leads me away.
I gulp as we enter an alley. I see a few rather grimy people staring at us, but the man stares them down and they look away. At least one or two of the people make a grab for the container, but I make sure that I hold it out of their reach. Finally we reach a building as grimy as the people outside it. The man leads me in, smiles at me, nods, and then walks back out. I feel very awkward and out of place in here. But I slowly walk up to the counter. I gulp and say in barely a whisper, "Excuse me?"
At least one of the men behind the counter hears me, and he comes over. "What d'ya got?" he asks. I gulp and hesitantly open the container part-way. The man's eyes light up and he quickly grabs an entire loaf of bread and plunks it down in front of me.
"We haven't had fish in a while," he says, taking the fish and wrapping them up. "This'll be a real treat!" I smile. The man seems very nice. I slowly walk towards the door after stuffing the bread into my bag. I run out, avoiding everyone, and run back towards the dock. Along the way I see at least one or two men who seem ready to mug me, but I take care to avoid them. Finally I reach the dock and I breathe a sigh of relief to find that my boat is still there. I take down my sail and knock over the fishing pole, and I lay down in the boat with the sail as a blanket.
Though I have no idea where I am, I am positive that I'm not in District 4 anymore.