Sixty seconds. That's how long we're required to stand on our metal circles 
before the sound of a gong releases us. Step off before the minute is up, 
and land mines blow your legs off. Sixty seconds to take in the ring of 
tributes all equidistant from the Cornucopia, a giant golden horn shaped 
like a cone with a curved tail, the mouth of which is at least twenty feet 
high, spilling over with the things that will give us life here in the 
arena. Food, containers of water, weapons, medicine, garments, fire 
starters. Strewn around the Cornucopia are other supplies, their value 
decreasing the farther they are from the horn. For instance, only a few 
steps from my feet lies a three-foot square of plastic. Certainly it could 
be of some use in a downpour. But there in the mouth, I can see a tent pack 
that would protect from almost any sort of weather. If I had the guts to go 
in and fight for it against the other twenty-three tributes. Which I have 
been instructed not to do.

We're on a flat, open stretch of ground. A plain of hard-packed dirt. Behind 
the tributes across from me, I can see nothing, indicating either a steep 
downward slope or even a cliff. To my right lies a lake. To my left and back, 
sparse piney woods. This is where Haymitch would want me to go. Immediately.

I hear his instructions in my head. "Just clear out, put as much distance as 
you can between yourselves and the others, and find a source of water."

But it's tempting, so tempting, when I see the bounty waiting there before 
me. And I know that if I don't get it, someone else will. That the Career 
Tributes who survive the bloodbath will divide up most of these 
life-sustaining spoils. Something catches my eye. There, resting on a mound 
of blanket rolls, is a silver sheath of arrows and a bow, already strung, 
just waiting to be engaged. That's mine, I think. It's meant for me.

I'm fast. I can sprint faster than any of the girls in our school, although 
a couple can beat me in distance races. But this forty-yard length, this is 
what I am built for. I know I can get it, I know I can reach it first, but 
then the question is how quickly can I get out of there? By the time I've 
scrambled up the packs and grabbed the weapons, others will have reached 
the horn, and one or two I might be able to pick off, but say there's a 
dozen, at that close range, they could take me down with the spears and the 
clubs. Or their own powerful fists. Still, I won't be the only target. I'm 
betting many of the other tributes would pass up a smaller girl, even one 
who scored an eleven in training, to take out their more fierce adversaries.

Haymitch has never seen me run. Maybe if he had he'd tell me to go for it. 
Get the weapon. Since that's the very weapon that might be my salvation. 
And I only see one bow in that whole pile. I know the minute must be almost 
up and will have to decide what my strategy will be and I find myself 
positioning my feet to run, not away into the surrounding forests but 
toward the pile, toward the bow. When suddenly I notice Peeta, he's about 
five tributes to my right, quite a fair distance, still I can tell he's 
looking at me and I think he might be shaking his head. But the sun's in my 
eyes, and while I'm puzzling over it the gong rings out.

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