Title: Jessica vs Elizabeth
“Oh, Lizzie, isn’t it romantic?” Jessica squealed.
Elizabeth gaped at her twin. “They’re expecting us to kill each other.”
“Yes, but we get new clothes and we’re paired with a boy!”
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.
Notes: I am going to post this, unbeta’d as it gets written for NaNoWriMo2017. I will post a clean, edited (hopefully coherent) version when it is finished, but if you want to see the raw, error-laden process of my word-vomit, here it is.
31674 / 50000 words. 63% done!
Janet awoke to Peter DeHaven shaking her vigorously. “Get off me!” she snapped.
“We saw something moving in the trees,” he said.
“You said Dennis and I had to keep watch last night. And we’ve been up all night, but we’ve just seen something moving on the edge of the clearing.”
Janet rubbed her eyes and patted her hair. “Oh my god! Does anyone have a mirror and a hairbrush?” Around her, Sandra and Grace were stirring – and both were turning their attention to their appearance. Janet was going to have to come up with something to make herself look presentable – she was the leader, she had to look better than the others.
“But what about the people in the trees?” Dennis asked from his position in the mouth of the Unicornucopia.
Janet patted her hair again. Bed hair was certain – slightly worse on the right side. She couldn’t deal with anything else until she was pretty again. “A comb will do,” Janet insisted.
“Janet! Other people are coming towards us!” Peter said.
“Do you think they have a hairbrush?” Janet asked hopefully.
“Everyone gather weapons!” Peter said. He and Dennis already had swords in their hands because they had kept watch all night. That seemed enough, Janet decided. Fighting was boys’ work. And she had her hair to sort out.
“I’ve found a sort of spiked set of rings,” Grace said, holding aloft some kind of garish jewellery. It had four thick rings joined by a solid metal bar with half-inch spikes protruding from the bar.
“Oh, that would work as a comb!” Janet exclaimed. “Are there any more?”
Grace handed them out to Janet and Sandra. It wasn’t exactly perfect, but it was better than nothing.
“I think it’s Jessica and Bruce,” Peter called over to them.
“Jessica and Bruce what?” Janet asked, trying to pull the spiked ring thing through her hair.
“Jessica and Bruce are walking towards the cornucopia–”
“Unicornucopia!” Janet corrected.
Peter sighed deeply. “Jessica and Bruce are walking towards the Unicornucopia.”
Janet brightened. “Good, we could do with more Unicorns around here.”
“We are supposed to be killing the other tributes,” Peter said.
She ignored him and stepped out of the Unicornucopia. She spotted Jessica and Bruce approaching and waved to them. Jessica brightened and quickened her step.
“Now this could be interesting,” Beau said. “There could be a fight over the weapons cache in the cornucopia.”
Johnny leaned forward and rested his head on the table. “They’re going to talk about hair and makeup and boys. I’m so disappointed with Jessica, I thought she was going to kill Bruce, but instead she’s going to marry him. Can we cut to Lois?”
Jessica and Bruce joined the team at the cornucopia. When Janet approached them, she sniffed the air. “You do reek,” she said. “What on earth have you been doing?” Janet shooed everyone out of the cornucopia and into the open air. “Phew! That’s better!”
“I saved Jessica from a smelly bog,” Bruce broke in. “She would have died without me.”
“That’s–” Jessica tried to correct him, but he spoke over her.
“–Just what you do for your fiancée.” Bruce beamed at her. “Right, Jessie?”
“I saved you!” Jessica burst out, but her response was lost in the cooing of Janet, Grace and Sandra.
“You’re engaged!” Janet squealed. “That’s so romantic! Jessica, have you thought about your bridesmaids? I was thinking purple silk gowns, with long flowing trains, and posies of white roses.”
Jessica paused to consider that – if Janet was suggesting a long train, it meant she was thinking of upstaging Jessica, and if there was one day Jessica was unwilling to be upstaged, it was her wedding day – especially if she was marrying someone as rich as Bruce Patman. “Well, I’ll be all in white, of course, and I think–”
“You’re so brave, Bruce,” Sandra cooed. “I think it’s amazing that you saved Jessica. You must be really strong to pull her out of a swamp.” She gazed down at the ground. “Nobody has ever saved me. I guess it’s because I used to be ugly.” She looked up at Bruce through her lashes. “Although you did say I looked like Christie Brinkley.”
“And you do! I can’t believe you used to be ugly, not someone as pretty as you,” Bruce said.
“I saved Bruce,” Jessica said. “He was in a bog and sinking, and I knocked a tree down to save him.” That was absolutely correct, and it made her sound fantastic.
“You saved Jessica with a tree?” Janet asked.
“You’re so brave!” Grace added.
Jessica tightened her fingers around the throwing star she had in her pocket. She turned to Peter DeHaven, “I really did save him.”
Peter nodded. “You probably shouldn’t have.”
“I was walking through the woods, when I came to a smelly muddy bog,” Bruce said. “Jessica was sinking, and I told her that she needed to be still so she wouldn’t sink faster. I realised I had to act fast, so I kicked a tree – it must have been at least a hundred years old – and it fell down, so I ran across it and pulled Jessica free!”
“Oh wow!” Sandra breathed.
“If that’s what happened, why is he covered in mud and I’m not?” Jessica snapped.
“And when I realised how much Jess needed me, that’s when I had to propose,” Bruce added. “She cried when I asked.”
“That didn’t happen.”
“Jessica, if you’re going to marry me, you’re going to need to support me, like your mother supports your dad,” Bruce said.
I’m not, she realised. She didn’t need to continue this farce – Jessica planned on being the only person to get out of the arena, and now she had other people to talk to. Bruce had served his purpose.
She let out a scream of frustration and dove at him, with the throwing star clasped in her fist, determined to open his bragging, lying throat. As she flew at Bruce, Peter DeHaven got in her way and staggered toward the pair of them.
Peter let out a scream and fell to the ground clutching his bloody face. Bruce and Jessica landed beside him, Jessica on top of Bruce. At Peter’s scream, she paused in her tracks, her blade a mere inch away from Bruce’s throat.
Peter had some kind of spiky baseball on his face – Jessica wasn’t really sure where it came from. The nails in the baseball were deeply embedded in his eye and cheek. It looked as if his cheekbone had caved in from the impact. Blood flowed freely from the wounds and Peter continued to scream.
Someone yelled, “YAY, RAVEN!” in the background.
Jessica turned her attention back to Bruce. She raised her weapon to get maximum impact, but before she could strike, her face exploded in a wave of pain. She dropped the throwing star and tumbled to the side, where she landed on Peter DeHaven and pressed the spiky baseball even deeper into his face. He screamed again.
Jessica blinked and saw Sandra standing above her holding a rock. “Leave Bruce Patman alone!” she screamed, before lunging at Jessica again.
Jessica thought fast and scrabbled backwards. She reached for the spiky baseball and wrenched it out of Peter’s face. It came away with a sick popping sound, dribbling blood and bone fragments. Peter screamed again and then fell silent. Above them a cannon boomed.
When Sandra launched herself at Jessica again, Jessica struck out with the baseball. She aimed for Sandra’s middle (she had heard somewhere that stomach wounds were very painful), but had to dodge away from Sandra’s flailing attack with the rock. Instead Jessica scored the spiked ball down Sandra’s left leg, leaving her uniform and skin in ribbons. She screamed and fell onto her butt.
“My legs!” She squealed. “Now I can’t wear miniskirts! Why do you hate me?”
Jessica dragged herself to her feet and screamed as she lunged at the idea-stealing jerk. “Many reasons! And you’ll be dead before I finish listing them!” She flew at Sandra and knocked her to the ground, with one hand wrapped around her throat to hold her down, and the other raised high with her spiky baseball. She brought it down with all her might – remembering every moment when Sandra upstaged her, every time she had stolen her ideas, every time she had manipulated Elizabeth into taking her side with her crocodile tears – and smashed it into Sandra’s face.
Sandra screamed and thrashed under Jessica, but she was in pain and weak, and Jessica had no trouble holding her down. She dragged the ball out of Sandra’s face, and slammed it back down again. She kept this up long after the cannon sounded.
“So, it seems that Jessica has finally found her inner monster,” Beau commented. “And both Peter DeHaven and the idea-filled Sandra Ferris have both died from balls to the face.”
Johnny slammed his face into the desk again. “I’m a Multi-Platinum award level artist. I deserve better than this. Now can we go to Lois?”
“Now we haven’t seen anything of Brooke Dennis, Todd Wilkins, Rick Hunter and Tom and Dylan McKay,” Beau said. “It’s almost as if the ghostwriter forgot they were alive.”
“Or just that she thought that nobody cared about anyone but Lila or Lois.”
“So let’s cut to what is probably known as ‘Team oh, I’d forgotten about you’.”
“George, do you have a moment?” Hank Patman said, catching sight of his business partner across a busy hall in Hunger Games HQ.
“Of course, what is it?” George Fowler replied.
Hank found a conveniently empty meeting room and indicated George should step inside. Once the door was firmly shut behind him, Hank said, “We have a serious problem.”
“What is it?”
“The fat girl.” Hank didn’t know her name, he honestly didn’t realise he would need to learn it. Everyone had assumed that a fatty like her would be the first to die at the cornucopia, her chubby little legs wouldn’t move fast enough to avoid an attractive athlete with a weapon. “Last night she was sent dinner, this morning she was sent breakfast, I’ve just intercepted another sponsorship gift, this one sending her a hockey stick with a sharp point at the end.”
“That’s not good.” George nodded. “We can’t have a fat girl getting the best gifts. It gives her an unfair advantage over the attractive people. Do you have a solution in mind? Shall we block any gifts for her?”
“I actually have a different idea,” Hank replied. “I was thinking we should just send any gifts for Fatty to Elizabeth Wakefield. She’s sure to win – has a Wakefield ever lost any competition in the last twelve years? – and she’s very slender and pretty. She’d make a good poster child for the company.”
“Yes,” George said. “Make that happen.”
Elizabeth was prowling through the woods, searching for her next victim when her first sponsorship gift arrived. She quickly unwrapped it and found it was a hockey stick with the end sharpened to a vicious point. She frowned at it for a moment. It wasn’t really her. She had really made her mark using sharp metal weapons: knives, swords, throwing stars. The hockey stick was just… inelegant. There was something a bit working class about its simple functionality. Still, she had to be gracious, despite the fact that her sponsor was an idiot, who spelled her name with a dollar sign. “Thank you, Rosey,” she said with a passable attempt at sincerity.
She swung it a few times to make it look like she was grateful, then she tucked it into the shoulder holder that had come with it. Elizabeth couldn’t help but think that when it came down to it, she was going to revert to her sword. It was just a classier weapon.
She had lost everyone that had run off into the trees. She had seen that Janet and some others had taken the cornucopia, and she planned to deal with that later. Her current plan was to get some height and look down on the arena and formulate a plan on how best to kill everyone else.
She looked up the mountain she was climbing, and was surprised to notice it had started to snow.
“Lois, it’s snowing!” Lila said, grabbing Lois’ shoulder. The snow was coming down in thick flurries, turning the sky white. It was strange to see snow and know they were still in California. It would be even better if there was a warm ski lodge that served hot chocolate and was filled with cute boys.
“They’re moving us.” Lois got to her feet and dropped their toothbrushes, toothpaste and mouthwash into her drawstring bag.
“Can’t we just wait it out?” Lila asked. “We’ll climb back in the nook and wait for it to stop.”
“You ever see The Shining, Lila?” Winston asked.
“No, that’s a far too contemporary reference,” Lila said.
Winston thought for a moment. “If we stay here, we’ll freeze. They’ll just keep sending the snow down until we can’t move. It’s not regular snow; it won’t taper off until they want it to.”
In the time they had been discussing it, the snow had already stuck to the ground, covering it completely in a thin layer of white.
“We need to go,” Lila agreed.
They set off as quickly as they could, but it was slow going. The snow had turned the ground treacherous, and the cold combined with the steep terrain made it hard to make good progress. Several times they each lost their footing and skidded several feet on their butts or thighs before managing to stop.
Sliding down the slope caused heart-stopping terror. Lila cast out her hands, desperate for purchase to stop her descent – all the while as she slid, the idea of pitching over a steep sudden cliff was burned into her mind. It wasn’t just the idea of dying in such a horrible way – it was the idea of losing the Hunger Games in an accident.
Each time though, she finally found purchase, a tree, a rock, a stump – anything, and she would cling to it for dear life for several moments before moving on. Her hands were scraped raw, some nails ripped right off, and the dirt and snow worked their way into her cuts and her outfit.
She heard a groan, and the scrabbling of rocks, and looked upwards. Winston was skidding down the rockface too. Lila held tight to the tree stump that had saved her life – its roots were digging into her thighs, but it was a small price to pay – and threw out an arm to Winston. Their hands touched but they were slick with dirt and melted snow, and Winston slipped out of her grasp and continued straight down the hill.
Moments later, Lois came sliding down too. This time Lila managed to grasp Lois’ arm and stop her descent. Below them was a wide ledge, dotted with small bushes. Lila felt like she’d hit or gone through every single bush available on the way down, and they all had thorns. Winston came to a halt on below, and staggered to his feet looking dazed.
“I’m ok!” he called up to them. Then he froze as Elizabeth jumped out from the bushes.
Lois started slipping down to his side, and after a moment of deliberation – she didn’t want to go down to the ledge with Elizabeth, but staying up here alone was hardly safe either – Lila followed her down. They both scrambled down, mostly sliding on their butts and trying to avoid any roots or branches that would catch and snap bones.
Lila’s heart was racing by the time she hit solid ground. Elizabeth was swinging her sword at Winston, who was on his back and scrabbling away. Lois slammed into Elizabeth’s side and knocked her to the ground. Before Elizabeth could regain her balance, Lois lashed out with a crashing blow to Elizabeth’s cheek.
Lila got to her feet and wobbled over to Winston. She pulled him upright and turned back to Lois and Elizabeth, who were trading blows. Elizabeth got an ugly kick in that left Lois struggling for breath. She rolled away from Lois to reach for her sword and Lila charged forward and attempted to punt her in the face. Elizabeth ducked out of the way, and threw a handful of snow in Lila’s eyes. Lila took a moment to clear her vision, and Elizabeth took the opportunity to grab her sword once more. She moved towards Lois but Winston pushed her clear.
The sword sank into his side and upwards. Winston made a terrible gasping noise and fell backwards. The blood quickly stained the snow beneath him.
Lila felt a surge of rage. She launched herself at Elizabeth and shoved with all her might.
Elizabeth gave her a look of pure astonishment as she teetered backwards – her arms pinwheeled helplessly for a few seconds – before she toppled off the cliff.
Above a cannon boomed.
Note: Apologies to Rosey for Elizabeth’s reaction to Rosey’s sponsorship gift – and her dickish reaction to the spelling of “Ro$ey” (which I did, not Rosey). Fuck you, Elizabeth, nobody likes you and that gift was for Lois. Who would take off heads like a pro.