A/N: Trigger warning for self harm and suicidal thoughts in the poem. The prose after the poem is clean though, so you can jump there if you feel like you might be affected by the fore-mentioned.

Viktor Swan, Head Gamemaker, 32.

The sun rose over the horizon.

He didn't care.

The corners of his building reeked

Of cigars and unfinished dreams,

Half-completed conversations weaved

Spiderwebs over his bed.

Dried up liquor and meat lay rotting in the sink.

Ink bottles on the floor-

Broken.

Notebooks of rejected ideas and plans-

Forgotten.

His hair was messy,

Eyes devoid of any signs of life-

Nightmares plagued every inch of his body.

Peace eluded him.

It pained to just be.

And yet, his ragged breath betrayed his look;

He was alive.

Barely surviving, yes, but alive.

.

Flashbacks.

Poisonous.

They come crashing at him-

A tsunami submerging a mortal island.

Like an assassin with a vengeance;

He squeezes his eyes shut,

Clenches his fist at his sides

To relieve the pain;

But none of it works.

The rumors,

The gossip,

The trial,

His ruined reputation;

All of it comes back.

And he is scared

To close his eyes;

Even the briefest of moments,

The most neglected of blinks,

Are forest fires

that turn him to ashes.

The whispers that surrounded him

When his sister was found mysteriously dead

At the flat that they shared.

The blood that he swore he never caused,

But was convicted of spilling.

The three years he had to spend

In a maximum-security prison-

The three years when he was inches away

From ending his own life.

Inches away.

Memories of the past

Refuse to let him go.

Every time he attempts to move forward,

He is pulled back

Into an endless pit of darkness.

.

But he refuses to give in.

His mother taught him to

Be strong.

To not speak about the pain

Until it swallowed him alive.

And even then,

It was better to be swallowed

Than to scream.

So he doesn't.

He doesn't scream.

He doesn't talk about it.

He moves on,

Or at least tries to;

Drags himself along the road

He has been put on.

Life doesn't seem like he's living it anymore.

It's just surviving.

.

"Head Gamemaker Viktor Swan, kindly report to the President's Office now."

Viktor walked through the polished corridors and pristine hallways, into the President's Cabin. He knocked on the door, and a gruff voice greeted him- "In." Spotless marble under his feet, fresh flowers greeted him from the counter-top.

"How is therapy going?", President Vale asks.

Viktor averts his eyes, denying to meet his gaze and mumbles a tired "I don't know."

Vale sighs, gets up from his chair, and holds Viktor at an arm's distance. "You haven't been going, have you? Mister Swan, you need to take care of yourself. The Games are up very soon, and you have no ideas." He paused. "Do you have any ideas?" Viktor shrugged, and Vale continued "Right. No ideas. How do you expect me to keep you as my Gamemaker if you don't take charge of your life?"

Viktor looked up.

"You don't understand, Vale. You won't ever understand. District Four was my home. I used to have a family who loved me. I had a life that I actually loved. For the first 27 years of my life, I was happy. I knew how to smile.

But Panem doesn't know happiness, and refuses to give it to its residents.

It happened, like it had to. I was blamed for murdering my own sister, Sir. She was someone I loved more than my life, and they said I killed her. I was sent to prison here in the Capitol, my family started hating me, they forgot who I was. And my parents died thinking their son was a criminal. You blew up District Four, or atleast were a part of it."

"But-" Vale started

"NO. Today, you listen to me. I was 30, depressed, just out of jail, and had nowhere to go. I slept on the road for a year, before you gave me a job here. Out of pity or out of respect and regret, I do not know. But I feel like the last remaining piece of humanity in you came to my aid. And I will always be grateful to you for it. But forgive me, for not going to therapy. I see them, my family, when I close my eyes. And if I take pills, I will lose them again.

Do you understand why I cannot lose them again?"

Viktor's voice shook. Violently. Tears threatened to stream down his face, but he refused to show weakness in front of Vale Swan.

His brother has never seen him cry, and will never see him cry.

Vale looked down and nodded.

"I have plenty of plans, Sir. These will be Games you will thoroughly enjoy. I will be leaving now. Good day."

A/N: Hi hello! Hope it's going great for you guys. So here we are, finally. For those of you who aren't on Disocrd and don't know what this is, this is a poetry SYOT I'm doing! The prologues will be done mostly in prose-poetry format, in a ratio of what I hope will be 1:3, but that might change according to content. As we go into the Games, I will try to reduce my prose and increase the poetry, because that is what makes this SYOT unique. Also note, this is a partial. I have 12 spots open, of which 10 will be accepted. Currently, all spots are open, even though there have been certain submissions; please feel free to spots that have subs already, if you want to!

The form and interest list are on my profile! There is an additional bit of worldbuilding and info on there too, so please look through that before you sub, if you do.

Since that is out of the way, we go for the thank you's. First, huge thank you to Times (Timesphobic) and Laney (mykindleisawesome)for bearing with me, and being stunning Betas. A thank you to Linds (Ladyqueerfoot) for the idea of a poetry SYOT in the first place!
To the people on Discord, each and every single one of you is amazing, thank you for being you. Special shoutouts to Tia (contemporarydancer2), Raf (Averyrandomauthor) and Marie (Marie464) for being my internet best friends and for never, ever letting me down. To the big bros and big sis' I have, I love you guys and will forever be grateful to you.

That was all. Take care, stay safe, and have a good morning/afternoon/evening/night!

Until next time,
Trish.