Of Berries and Lies
Just a little two-shot for anyone who's bored….I sure am!
My name was Sora.
I was only sixteen.
I had my whole life ahead of me - I had "promise."
But the Capitol never gave a damn, did they?
They did, however, care about their precious Hunger Games. I never really understood that, I guess. How could one enjoy watching innocent children - children who had already lived a life of squalor and hardship compared to their's - kill each other on the television? But I had never cared enough to give them a full psychiatric analysis. It's best to just realize and understand that they were not "human" as we applied the term, but something completely different. A whole new type of Mutt, spawned from years of self-indulgence and waste of mind. That was really all you had to understand, to get the Capitol. There wasn't much else - unlike so many from District 5, they wore their hearts on their sleeves, no matter how disgustingly idiotic their emotions and thoughts were. And I guess I just wanted to show my feelings for once.
I don't know why I did it, okay? I had always been the smart one - I was bound to have a lapse in intelligence every once in a while. It was just human nature, something I had believed I had understood very well. Then again, I had thought I had understood a lot of things that turned out to be much, much bigger than me.
It was a simple way to die, I guess. Very anticlimactic. The Fox, as anyone in District 5 called me, deserved a death of much more grandeur. Perhaps a final showdown with the Careers? Or maybe a face off with that Fire Girl and her little Lover Boy?
It didn't matter how insane I was at that point, nor how hungry. Those things I could overcome easily. But eating something as obviously poisonous as Nightlock berries? Please. I was much too smart for that. I did not die simply because of a foolish lapse of judgment (Or the Mellark boy's, I should say).
The truth is much, much more interesting.
I had always been raised to hate the Capitol, right from my birth. The day I was born, Peacekeepers had tried to take me away - many of District 5's children were taken away, used as lab rats in experiments and tests.
But my father wouldn't have it, of course. Mother always told me he was very stubborn, a trait that I had received from him. He flat out refused to give me away. I was his first daughter in a family that already had four boys. He took on three Peacekeepers at once to keep them from invading our home.
As the story goes, my Mother had stowed me away during the fight, hiding me in a laundry basket and covering me up with my older brothers' dirty laundry. It was sheer luck that I had never been a crier. Instead, I rested peacefully in my nest of mud-stained shirts, sleeping through that whole day.
The Peacekeepers took care of my father quickly, knocking him out and then putting him in their Hoverplane. When they came into our house, though, my mother told me that I had died the day before, born premature and too weak to live. They searched the house, of course, but none thought to look in the basket of dirty laundry.
From that day forth, I had to pretend I was truly dead. I spent my days in the attic, poring over books and instructed not to make any noise. I spent the majority of my life in hiding, never seeing the outside world. It was a lonely way to live, but the safest.
Mother said that my Father was taken away that day instead, sent to the Capitol. We didn't know where he was - dead, most likely. She gave me a picture of him when I was seven. It was startling how much he looked like me - same crimson hair, same slanted eyes the color of caramel. For the first time, I felt a connection to him. I took the picture with me everywhere I went.
Three weeks after my tenth birthday, all seven Peacekeepers of District 5 died in a house fire. It was convenient, of course, that they all lived together. It was categorized as an accident, but anyone with the slightest of smarts in District 5 knew that it was intentional.
That was my big opportunity. That was the day I was finally set free.
With the new shipment of Peacekeepers came complete ignorance to my situation. I was finally free to walk in the sun and go to normal school. I could play with the other children and go to the market with my mother. It was like there was this whole life that I did not even know existed, didn't know I was missing out on, until that day. The other inhabitants of District 5 knew to hold their tongues - we had always looked out for each other, and I doubt that will ever change.
I grew into my own person - I became The Fox, the conniving, sneaky, highly-intelligent girl who all the boys secretly lusted after and the girls admired. I had finally started to live, and I loved it.
But I always knew it was too good to be true. At least, too good to be permanent.
When I was Reaped, I couldn't help but laugh at the irony. Of course the girl who had spent the majority of her life in hiding would be sent to her death, just when she had started living. I decided I would do whatever it took to win the Games. I wanted to keep living, and everyone knew damn well that you couldn't stop The Fox when she put her mind to it.
I was thrown a curveball the first night in the Training Center. It was late, and I sat in my bed with a pencil in hand, jotting down every strategy I could think of. I had always been a planner, and this was no exception.
The door creaked open, and I knew it was the Avox, coming in to clean. She was around my age, with bright blonde hair and permanently tearful eyes. I had seen her earlier today, scrubbing my floor. When I had come in, her eyes had widened, and she ran away. You couldn't really blame her, though - I would be distrustful of people if they had cut my tongue out then forced me into slavery. Who wouldn't?
This time, though, she seemed bolder. Like she had a purpose. I ignored her, though, because she was an Avox and I was going to die and that was just the way things were. I kept to my plots, pencil scribbling furiously on the pad of paper.
It was only when I felt a light pressure on my arm that I looked up.
The girl was in front of me, shrinking timidly into the corner of the room as if she were a dog expecting to be punished. She was clutching something in her hands. Her hand shaking, she held it out to me.
"What is this?" I asked, though I certainly didn't expect a reply. My eyes flickered down to it.
It was a picture. But not just any regular picture - the man in it was ragged and disheveled, a number printed across his dirty jumpsuit. Written in red ink on top of the picture is: James Maxell, assigned to District 9.
But more importantly, the man was my father.
I clutched the picture tight, not sure whether to laugh or cry or scream. So I decided to just keep it all bottled up under a calm façade. When I looked up at the pretty blond-haired Avox, my face was a perfect mask of seriousness.
"How did you get this?"
The Avox seemed to forget that she couldn't talk for a moment, making a animalistic noise deep in her throat. She catches herself halfway through, then motions to my pencil and paper.
"You can write?" I asked, surprised. Usually it was only the smarter Districts - Five and Three, and a couple others, who could read and write. District 12 couldn't read a street sign to save their lives and Eleven probably didn't understand what a pencil was.
The Avox bit her lip, pressing the pencil down against the paper and spelling in small, wobbly letters: I kin writ a litle.
I nodded. "Where did you get the picture?"
I tuk it frum Peecekeeper's howse, she scribbled quickly, looking up at me with anxious eyes. Cuz u luk lik James.
I nodded, and for a second I fell prey to my emotion, letting a small sob shake through my body. "He's my father. He was taken before I could ever meet him."
Hesitantly, she reached out an arm and pressed it on my shoulder as she wrote. I kno James. He is veree nis.
"Mother always told me he was," I whispered back, staring at the little picture. "What does the writing mean?"
He is Avox fer 9 tribewts.
"Can I…can I see him?"
She didn't bother writing her answer - instead, she just shook her head, nervously furrowing her brow. They shewt tribewts hoo visit othur rooms. Im soree.
And in that moment, my anger for the Capitol had intensified tenfold.
I knew they had done this. I bet they had enjoyed watching me - laughing at my misfortune and plotting more ways to break me.
And for a moment, I wanted to break. I wanted to give in and cry and scream and become not The Fox - the sly, secretive girl - but just Sora, a weakling of a girl who had spent her entire life in an attic, the only memory of life outside from looking out a dirty window.
But they should know better - you can't break The Fox. You could only make her stronger.
I dismissed the Avox, but kept the picture close, sleeping with it next to me. Nightmares of my father with his tongue cut out haunted me that night, but I had to remind myself that it wasn't him or me or the Avox. It was the Capitol.
And for that, they would pay in blood.
Hey guys. Not really sure how I like this, but whatever. The rest of it - and what really happened with Foxface and the berries - will be revealed in the next chapter. Review…you know you want to!