AMHS Hunger Games – The Hooff (Day 3)

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The merciless machine of destruction called The Hooff wielded by Officer Watson. What shenanigans will ensue?

Day three of the Academic Magnet Hunger Games begins with Mrs. Smith rising with the sun. Despite missing her comforting amenities (grading ROLs and IMPs), Smith has somehow managed to make it far in these games as one of the final 12. She meticulously scales down the cafeteria walls, away from the safety of her nook to venture for a desperately needed food source. When she reaches the floor, her eyes dart towards a shadow moving in her peripheral vision. Her curiosity getting the best of her, Smith utilizes her parkour skills and travels with agility to the suspicious movement. She looks under a cafeteria table to see a small mouse nibbling on a Charleston Chicken Sandwich. A wave of cuteness washes over Mrs. Smith. She drops to the ground, crawls under the table, and plays with the adorable mouse. Unfortunately, Mrs Smith has broken her golden rule which she has centered her entire existence around: “NO FUN”. The internal conflict between Smith’s moral compass and the experience of fun throws Mrs. Smith into a complete malfunction. Frozen and overwhelmed, Smith is carefully removed from under the table and carried away in a cradle by Mrs. Pickney. Mrs. Smith is the thirteenth tribute eliminated in the games by having too much fun. 

No fun ever in my class.”

— Ms. Smith

Let’s take a moment to venture back into our previous article. As many of our readers should remember, Hooffstetter has transformed into a merciless machine of destruction, commanded by none other than her district-mate, Officer Watson. Located in the guidance hallway, the two tributes finish off the last of their food. Four bags of sun chips and a Rice Krispie Treat compose tonight’s dinner- a hearty feast before they begin their voyage to the center of the arena. We warn our readers to fear The Hooff, and to tremble at any mention of her name. Five minutes after consuming their meal, Officer Watson stands up, dusts off his hands, and looks at the animal. “Ready?” he asks. With a nod of The Hooff’s head, the two tributes storm off into the courtyard.

Meanwhile, Ms. Desbrow spends her nights sleeping in the side compartment of her former district companion, Mr. Flo. She is constantly sulking and reminiscing on her elimination. How will she make it through the rest of these ruthless games without the Peeta to her Katniss? Turning this mourning to rage, Desbrow is set on avenging Flo and eliminating all the teachers she can. Her first target: Mr. Cosgrove. In order to eliminate Cosgrove, Desbrow must journey to the far staircase where Cosgrove has taken shelter. Ms. Desbrow races to her target with a backpack full of engineered weapons bouncing on her back with every step. 

Tip-toeing through the downstairs hallway, Desbrow mentally prepares herself for the battle of her life. As Desbrow turns the corner, she runs smack into Cosgrove. They both fall to the ground and stare deep into each other’s eyes with astounding expressions. Cosgrove proposes a race. Cosgrove has stated on the record that he “can beat Flo in a race anyday,” and Desbrow, looking to avenge her fallen partner, agrees to his proposal. The two teachers pick themselves off of the ground and make their way to the bus loop. The five minute walk was silent, a fog of tension hung heavy over competitors’ heads, they were both secretly worried for their fate. 

Mr. Cosgrove lining up at the starting line. Preparing for the race of his life.

Mr. Cosgrove and Ms. Desbrow lined up at the beginning of the bus loop, entering a state of complete focus, this was the most important race of their lives. The rules were simple, first to finish a single lap around the bus loop is victorious and continues in the games. Desbrow and Cosgrove mutter in unison “3, 2, 1, GO!” They are off. Their feet pounding the asphalt, breath shaky, and Mr. Cosgrove takes the lead by only a foot. Noticing his lag, Desbrow reaches into her backpack and pulls out a homemade trebuchet. Utilizing her physics knowledge, Desbrow calculates the initial velocity and position necessary to launch a golf ball right at Cosgrove’s head using her beloved kinematics formulas. Cosgrove is hit right on top of his head and tumbles to the ground. Ms. Pinckney arrives at the bus loop in a CCSD school bus and floats down the stairs with ease. She scoops up Cosgrove and takes him on the bus with her. As Desbrow watches the bus drive away, she feels both excited to avenge Mr. Flo and guilty about her unfair win against Cosgrove. Cosgrove is the fourteenth teacher eliminated from the Academic Magnet Hunger Games (please do not abuse the power of your Stop sign on us). 

As Ms. Desbrow makes her way back to her classroom/secret lair, she feels the ground tremble beneath her feet. The countless earthquake drills he has completed during her time as an Academic Magnet teacher has prepared her for this moment. She drops to the asphalt and covers her head with her hands. Resembling both the elegant sprint of a gazelle, the speed of a cheetah, and the power of a lion, The Hooff streaks towards Ms. Desbrow in a scramble of determination, her eyes locked upon her first victim. Moments before the one-man stampede catches up to Ms. Desbrow, her victorious speed now pitiful, Ms. Pinckney appears and takes Desbrow with her. Desbrow is the fifteenth teacher eliminated from the Games.

Within the Cornucopia, Bortz and Grayson have set up camp. A chimney protrudes from the silver metal and a door locks the inside of the horn. They wait within the structure, discussing a literary interpretation of of Holden Caufield’s behavior (he is literally just moderately self-centered person that every Junior in high school can relate to) and mulling over a Freudian psycho-analytical lens with Shakespeare’s Macbeth (please get out of my head). Their cocoon is a shelter of safety, shielding the tributes from the horrors of the Games.

A knock echoes within their chambers, as the two English teachers slowly and dramatically look up at one another. Who dares to trespass upon their territory? What menacing soul has the guts to intrude on their tomb of peace, their horn of safety? A desperate, clawed scratching of their door answers their rhetorical questions.

“Lo!” speaks Ms. Grayson. “Who gives?”

“The Hooff and the Officer,” responds a bold voice from outside.

This time, Bortz pipes up. “What shadows doth we see outside, whomst come intrude where we reside?”

“Open!” commands Officer Watson’s voice.

Bortz and Grayson continue to glare at one another. The gears churn within their restless minds, and Bortz is the first to speak:

“I suppose we cannot sit and rot, regardless it be friends or not. Now let us stand and face our doom, we must escape this horn-shaped room.”

Grayson sighs. “Agree with you, suppose I must, now rid my weapon of its dust.”

Bortz grins and picks up the bow, dusting it off, and hands Grayson the mythical Tralfamadorian arrows. For herself, she picks up the candle. After a brief moment of silence, Bortz speaks to the outside.

“In a second or two we will unhinge this door, and battle you foes with our determination at core. Now prepare yourselves fools, as we exit to you— the power of English, you haven’t a clue!”

 With a kick of their feet, Bortz and Grayson send the door to their hideout flying far into the premises of the arena.

Officer Watson and The Hooff tower before them, a beast and its master prepared to take down whatever stands in their way. 

“Uh oh,” observes Bortz.

Upon Watson’s scream of a command, The Hooff pounces upon the English teachers, turning the Cornucopia into a graphic scene which we are unfortunately not allowed to publish in a school newspaper. Skip ahead a few minutes, and Pinckney is long gone, the Cornucopia now a hollow shell of the thriving habitat it once was. Grayson and Bortz are the sixteenth and seventeenth tributes eliminated from the AMHS Hunger Games.

Deep below the ground beneath Academic Magnet, Tyson McCormick looms in the wide, eerie tunnels. He has been dormant for many hours, camping away after getting a plethora of eliminations. However, he is blind. Living without sunlight for days on end has deprived his sense of eyesight to a blatant level of zero.

Mr. McCormick using his new seismic powers.

From above, the earth shakes. McCormick taps a nearby wall and senses the oncoming tributes, mapping out a chart of everything within a one mile radius in his mind, strongly resembling the powers that Toph from Avatar. Why? McCormick has been training with the Badgermoles for a full day, learning the ability of seismic sensing.

He senses a hound-shaped figure and a police officer, a strange combination of tributes. Before he can make sense of who it is, the earth comes crashing down, and he feels himself get snatched up by sharp teeth. The Hooff has burrowed through the ground and sniffed out the most dangerous competitor of the games, and now carries him, clamped, in her ferocious bite.

Escaping out of the ground, her path is suddenly intercepted by a boulder, flying from the side. McCormick has summoned a massive rock and knocked The Hooff off of her path to sunlight, where Watson stands waiting, freeing himself from her grasp. 

She is unfazed. After shaking her head as if nothing had happened, she lunges back at McCormick, who now yields five different bones in one hand. 

The Hooff hisses at his courageous figure, and he hisses back (really weird). With an oddly animated motion, McCormick steps down onto the ground of the newly formed cave, mapping out The Hooff’s location, and directs all five bones towards the beast. She conveniently dodges the attack, and runs up the wall to stick directly above McCormick. 

In a panic, he attempts to feel around for The Hooff, seismically sensing everything around him, however his range is limited. The Hooff snarls and drops onto McCormick, clamping his hands in her claws as she fullsends her way into the sunlit arena. As he flails about in her clutches, Ms. Pinckney appears mid-tunnel, and offers her hand to him as she attempts to keep up with The Hooff’s electric speed. McCormick takes it, and together they vanish as The Hoff makes it to Officer Watson. McCormick is the eighteenth tribute eliminated in the Hunger Games.

Ms. Frazier using camouflage to blend into the chessboard. Very smart!

“Good work,” affirms Officer Watson, tossing her a slab of steak that he so conveniently found near the Cornucopia. The Hooff devours the piece of meat in a single swallow. Just as she begins to lie down, the chessboard in the courtyard shifts. The checkered pattern of black and white begins to shake on the central square, and The Hooff and Officer Watson look up. Camouflaged into the chessboard, Ms. Frazier is disguised as part of the set, black and white squares covering every centimeter of her body. 

Officer Watson laughs. “Good one,” he admits, and waves his hand at The Hooff to get the job done. Ms. Pinckney’s brief arrival signals that Ms. Frazier is the nineteenth tribute eliminated in the AMHS Hunger Games.

Noticing the chaotic screams coming from outside of the main building, Rush and Stackhouse have braced themselves for battle. They are armed and ready to fight whatever threat they may encounter, and have been sent a variety of gifts from their loyal sponsors. Among the packages are a muzzle, a jar of jelly (or is it jam?), a questionable yellow serum, and some sort of machine resembling a rocket launcher.

“Ready?” asks Mr. Stackhouse, checking his bag for all the necessary supplies.

“Ready,” responds Mr. Rush, practicing his swing.

Our two heroes storm out of the hallway, and begin their path to the main staircase. Funnily enough, Mr. Schmitt has had the similar idea of heading outside, and now stands before them in the long upstairs hallway.
Suddenly, the scene slows down, everything seemingly in slow motion besides the three tributes. “Funny seeing you here,” remarks Schmitt, and takes a few hand-made orbs out of his pocket. In a whirl of action, he tosses them towards Rush and Stackhouse, who stand cool, calm, and collected. The orbs with flashing red lights slowly glide toward the duo, where Rush looks disapprovingly at Schmitt. They stand across from each other, staring, waiting. 

Rush smirks at Schmitt. “What’s your biggest fear?” he asks.

The CS teacher swallows, his eyes full of fear. “A baseball being hit in my general direction.”

Mr. Rush when the

Rush grins a satisfied smile, draws the bat from his bag, and stands at the ready as the orbs come floating towards him. In a dramatic display of athletic ability, he deflects the spherical gadgets with a swing of his bat. A sonic boom echoes through the building, heard miles away from the arena, and the hallway cascades into a flurry of dust, rubble, and money (what?). When the debris settles, Pinckney is seen holding Schmitt, his figure sprawled out in her caring arms. In a flash, she is gone, marking Schmitt as the twentieth elimination in the AMHS Hunger Games. Rush chuckles. “Home run baby.”

The day grows old. Beams of gold reflect on the dew-covered grass, the once lively courtyard now serving as a gruesome battleground for the four remaining tributes. The melancholy weather glooms above Officer Watson as he loosely twirls the leash in his guilty hands. The eliminations of Desbrow, Frazier, Grayson, Bortz, and McCormick hang heavy on his soul, yet The Hooff lay undisturbed on the cracked chessboard. The star-infested sky churns into a pitch black, and soon our four tributes decide it is time to rest. Tomorrow, the final battle will ensue. District 6 and District 7 will face one final battle to determine who will be victorious— however, only one final tribute will remain. Rush covers Stack in a warm blanket inside of Cosgrove’s office, and Officer Watson rests his head against the tail of the Cornucopia. While it takes them hours to fall asleep, Rush has comfort that the sponsored gifts, as strange as they may seem, might just be what they need to win the Games.