Heyyy! New Chapter! Woo! I would just like to apologize in advance to Michela whom, is awesome by the way! (Yes I'm sucking up to you right now) Don't hate me! XD
I stand in the crowd of sixteen year old girls with my head down. We're all nervous, who wouldn't be? My hands start to get moist in anticipation. My mind is blurred. I keep losing track of my thoughts. I can't tell what's worse, this or a beating. At least if I'm reaped I'll never see Lev again. I wouldn't see anyone again, but who was there left to see anyway?
Lucy's small head sticks out of my boot. Her ringlets have long ago fallen out and the blush on her cheeks is replaced with dirt. If only she could talk, but then talking only hurts. Words are so unnecessary, so I'm content in the silence. My mother sang that to me once before. The memory threatens to push me over the edge.
"No crying." I mumble.
Some people stare but I pay them no attention. If only there were no such things as words. If only I didn't fill my head with impossible thoughts. If only my brain just stopped working. The mayor finally hobbles up to the stand, the larger man that he is. He clears his throat, the sound echoing across the square, and all conversations come to a halt. I glance at all the girls around me trying to gage their feelings. I never was good at reading people.
When he's finished droning on I try to refocus my attention but again I'm lost in my thoughts. Never happy though. I have none of those left. Suddenly my mother's voice swirls around my head like a forgotten dream from long ago. This lullaby she used to sing to me. All at once it came back.
Close your eyes,
Your wings expanding.
And when you wake
You will fly away
To the clouds
And all who loves you.
Good night my love
Just close your eyes
You'll be just fine
I promise you.
I open my eyes and find I am humming. Everyone around me watches curiously wondering why the silent girl chooses now to make noise. I am in a sea of stares and surrounded by quiet. The whole setting is uneasy. The mayor taps the microphone and attention is back on him. I breath out a sigh of relieve.
Reyana Trinket takes the stage with the widest grin on her face. Everyone else gets annoyed, how could she be so proud? But I only feel bad. She's so naïve, so clueless to the capitals horrible ways. Like a child, her cheerfulness should be forgiven.
I was only eight. My mother and I had just gotten back from the market and a man who was rushing past us bumped into her. All our freshly paid for vegetables for our stew that night went tumbling to the ground. I was cross, but mother wasn't even slightly annoyed.
"I'm so sorry." The man mumbled. He bent over to pick up some of our carrots constantly glancing at his tattered watch.
"It's alright." My mother answered calmly. "Go."
At first he was confused. Wondering why this women would act kind toward him in anyway, but then he took off again. No point in questioning.
"Mom." I said full of eight year old innocence. "How could you let him go?"
She simply smiled.
"'Rella everyone who has good intentions deserves to be forgiven."
"Everyone?" I questioned.
When I come back from the depths of my mind Reyana is walking across the stage to the bowl. All the girls are holding much needed breaths. I close my eyes. It can't be me, could it? Should it be? I mean if I go it means no one else would have to. No one who's actually useful, or loved.
I open my eyes and Reyana's once again at the mic. The daunting piece of paper unravels in her dainty hands. Everyone collectively breaths out. She looks down at the slip and smiles at the crowd. Her eyes glisten when she opens her mouth.
"Arella Bram Iona!" She announces.
My ears don't want to comprehend. My legs don't want to work. My body becomes a shell. They all step away. Murmurs spread and I know what they all say.
"Who is she?"
She is no one. I am nothing. I shakily walk to the stage gripping the railing until my knuckles go white. Reyana waves me up the stairs grinning. I step up and she shakes my hand then ushers me back to my seat. When I sit down I welcome the relieve on my legs and look out at the crowd. Where is Lev?
Finally my eyes catch his. They're red and glazed over. He's drunk.
He only gives me a smirk, but I know everything he means to say behind it.
He's smirking because he cares too much about his public image to laugh out loud. He smirks to say I told you so without using words. All those years of beatings, all those things he said to me; true. Because of this moment. He hated me, and now I know that just like him no one else cares. He is drunk, but not drunk enough.
I reach down and brush my fingers across Lucy's face. She is cold. Everything is cold. The wind blows through me.
Suddenly a boy sits down beside me. He's hair is dark with threads of cotton and beads laced through. So different. His skin is tan, he's clothes are dark too, but his smile is bright.
He's smiling at me? This boy is something else. I smile a little on the inside. Different is good. Different means change.
His mouth is moving and I look down to see his hand stretched toward mine.
"Well, I guess we'd better get to know each other." He says.
Is he being serious? Can I trust him? Well, he hasn't given me any reason to think other wise. His smile is so genuine.
I slowly take his hand, and he grins.
"I guess so." I utter.
Reyana's voice, so high pitched, booms out of the mic interrupting us.
"There you have it! I give you this years tributes for District 10! Arella Bram Iona and Conarcher Wells!"
He blushes at the sound of his name and I quickly pull my hand away. He stands so I follow and we're quickly brought into the justice hall. He starts to talk to me again.
"Do you have anyone you have to say your goodbyes to?"
Such a seemingly meaningless question, but not to me. To me it's a reminder of how truly alone I am. My face falls and my eyes go to the floor.
"I don't have anyone to say goodbye to, I don't have anyone at all."
"That's sad. Not even a friend? I mean, I don't have any family I want to see but at least I've got Ace."
Doesn't he know? Of course not. No one cares enough to know about me. I don't look up. I am pathetic. Not even a friend to say goodbye.
"Um, no one, I guess. But that's okay, right? No one to say goodbye to. No one who will miss me when I'm gone."
"Well, I suppose this is the one situation where it's a good thing to not have any friends."
He smiles at me and I look up meeting his eyes. They're so welcoming, warm. So… different.
"I would like you to have a friend before you die though, whether it's in these games or in another fifty years, okay?" He continues.
He grins and his eyes sparkle. I can't stop myself until it's too late. I smile back. When is the last time I smiled? Do I even deserve to be smiling?
"Even a friend like me is better than none." He says.
How could I be so lucky?
Sooo, what did y'all think? If you hated it (other than Michela) tell me! If you loved it, tell me! In your… REVIEWS REVIEWS REVIEWS! :D