So don't fall back, keep fighting, out of your eyes, she's rising.
Lolita Trancy, 14, Victor of the 100th Hunger Games
Nobody was very happy with me as a victor.
They wanted Deverra, the girl who had passion, motivation, good looks, and intelligence. They wanted Leander, the soft-spoken guy who snared everybody's ethos. They wanted Lynch, the gentle giant who wouldn't crush a fly. They wanted Imani, the direct antagonist who had eyes like ice. They even wanted Sabryn, for her fantastic development inside the arena.
But nobody wanted the malnourished, scrappy, unattractive, smarmy little brat from District One who did nothing but spread some acidic words around.
In fact, when I got home, the first thing my mother did was take one look at me and ask where Imani's funeral would be held so she could attend.
I didn't answer her, though I knew very well. (They'd hold a mass funeral for the public in the Town Square featuring the dolled-up bodies where citizens and some select Capitolites could blow kisses and offer up flowers, and then they'd pass the corpses onto the families to hold smaller, private funerals and burials.)
But I wasn't about to tell her that. Why would she want to attend the funeral of a girl who I had killed not with my own hands, but with just my evil deeds?
I'd just pushed past her and went straight to my father.
He was beaming. He was proud. He reached his arms out for a big old father-daughter hug, and I was more than glad to give it to him. It was held from me for so long; the arena tried to strip it of me more than once.
But I never would have let that happen.
Who knows what the years ahead would hold for me? Would I be able to speak out, without fear of being silenced? Or would they use me as somebody to avoid, somebody who you didn't want your child to grow up into?
At fourteen, you're not supposed to be tearing open other peoples' throats and watching their vocal chords snap. You're supposed to be in school, penciling in answers to tests and laughing with friends. It's not supposed to be atypical.
But I never was your average fourteen-year-old, was I?
I was never typical at all.
And everybody knew it.
In the two years to come, Lolita had numerous interviews throughout the Capitol. After attending many parties and getting a bit wild with some older Capitolites and even some other mentors, the fourteen-year-old became addicted to alcohol and a drug known as morphling, and was soon known as one of the worst influences that the Games had to offer since Lana Fidelis scraped herself off the dirty ground.
She had been addicted to words deemed unspeakable; an honorable thing. But now her obsession was brandy and beer and needles, and the beautiful words that had described the girl in the past no longer fit.
Lolita was infamous as a terrible mentor, barely dragging by two years of mentoring the tributes, each of them older than her. Pelly Harrequin and Lincoln Albea, the other two young victors of District One, tried so hard to help her. They did their best.
But not even Lolita could have foreseen what the future held for her.
She was on a train to the Capitol for her third year as a mentor. It was late at night – three in the morning, to be precise. Lincoln and Pelly were both asleep in their own respective train cars. Lolita, her tongue lusting for some brandy, wobbled down to the dining car. She wanted the buzz.
They said it was an accident. They said that nobody could have prevented what happened next.
Lolita supposedly drank herself into a stupor, thoughts of violence and sex riddling her mind, and was found by Pelly at six in the morning, staring out listlessly at the Capitol as they drove in. He waved his hand in front of her gaze. She didn't respond.
And then he saw the blood trickling down from her cracked lips, leaving a trail of maroon down her porcelain chin.
Something was wrong. There was just one bottle clutched in her small white hands, but none other around the car anywhere. One bottle wouldn't have done her in, and no needles were found anywhere on the train. If only she had been able to speak; she would have complained endlessly about the fire in her stomach, the snapping aches in her head, and the whispers in her mind that had never been there before.
Further investigation of the brandy bottle showed that there was something fishy in the liquid. Terrible drugs, ones usually injected into the bloodstream of rabid animals to put them down quickly. It wouldn't kill her immediately, but it would burn her from the inside before it did.
And as Pelly clutched her cold, stiff hand, Lolita's dead eyes told him that that was exactly what had happened. But he didn't know. His eyes were too clouded with tears to see anything but a sitting corpse.
But who had slipped the stuff in?
Sick of her taboo topics being brought up on every interview she went to, President Violette declared the incident an 'accident' made by silly doctors on the train. It was all too easy.
Lolita Trancy was dead at the ripe age of sixteen, killed by her own words and deeds.
If she had been alive to witness her death, she would have declared it the right way to go, and fitting, too. There was nothing more she had liked than a good brushing of controversy.
She would have finally been happy with herself.
Very happy indeed.
A/N: This Isn't the End by Colton Dixon.
I can't believe that this is over. I want to personally thank everybody who made this story possible, each of the submitters, each of the reviewers and favoriters and followers. I enjoyed writing this story the most so far – and personally, I think it was a success, despite the controversial victor.
But I connected with her. So that's that.
Honestly, this story has gone by so fast. I still remember everybody so well, from Ferric Gauvin (yes, I've spelled it wrong this entire time) to Briana Valleri to Jaiden Castiel to Cheyenne Macrae. Every one of the tributes was loved.
And I love all of you.
Questions, for the last time!
Thoughts on the epilogue?
Favorite overall tribute?
Favorite overall moment?
Favorite overall chapter?