The Ocean Rolls Us Away

Chapter 57: Annie's POV

Following Katniss and Peeta's tour, District Four only seemed to grow even tenser than it had been before. Nothing felt safe anymore. So much so that I began to feel afraid to go into town, or even step outside of my front door. Especially after trucks full of peacekeepers arrived with the intent to stomp out any and all signs of rebellion. They shut down the markets, implemented curfew laws that if broken would automatically sentence you to at least severe lashings or even death, and stopped any uprisings before they could even form into a whisper. Fear was radiating throughout the town.

I was glad that Bress was still confined to bed because I feared that if he weren't, he would've already been shot dead for 'disturbing the peace'. I could tell every time that he watched the propaganda clips on our television that he was only getting more and more riled up. Soon he'd be cleared to walk again, and when he was I feared only bad things would come of it.

Eleven days after Katniss and Peeta's stop in Four, I was sitting by the window in my living room playing my cello, when I glanced up and saw Finnick walking up my front steps. I immediately stopped playing and set down my bow just as he walked through the front door.

"What are you doing here?" I asked him as he walked around the corner and into the living room. "Is something wrong?"

"I'm not sure," He said skeptically, meeting my gaze. "There's a mandatory TV scheduling on in a few minutes"

I set my cello down beside my chair and rose to my feet. "For what?"

"It's probably just Katniss and Peeta's wedding details." He replied, though by the look on his face, it seemed to me that he thought whatever it was, was much bigger than floral arangements.

We met in the middle of the living room, and I placed my hands of either side of his waist as he gave me a gentle kiss on the forehead. When he'd lifted his lips from skin, I looked up at him and asked, "Why would that be mandatory?"

It seemed a little odd to me that they would make something as simple as wedding dress designs or cake tastings a required viewing. What were the district's supposed to gain from that, that was remotely valuable? If anything they should've kept Katniss and Peeta away from the cameras since everytime they made an appearance anywhere it seemed to stir up trouble for the president.

I was hoping that Finnick would share with me what he really thought they would be broadcasting, but all he said was, "Who knows why anything's the way that it is anymore." He smirked, glancing over at my cello. Then he looked back at me and continued apologetically, "I'm sorry I interrupted your music."

I shook my head, giving up hope as he changed the subject, and smiled softly, "It's fine, I don't mind the pleasure of your company."

He smiled at me and gently took my hand while leading me to the couch.

"Do you want me to go get Bress?" He asked while I sat down on the gray cushions.

I nodded my head to yes, though I didn't really think that it was necessary for Bress see nothing but wedding details. Still, it was required that all citizens watch, and that included him, so Finnick went to get him.

Within just a few minutes he was walking back into the living room, carrying Bress in his arms. Finnick helped him sit down in the large blue chair by the couch before sitting down beside me.

Based off the expression on Bress' face, he wasn't all too pleased that I'd dragged him out to watch something so pointless, or that Finnick had needed to carry him. However, if this truly was mandated by President Snow, then I'm sure that any secret cameras he had hidden around would discover if anyone did not view the broadcast. I didn't want to think that he spied on us in our homes, but now that victors seemed to pose such a threat to him, how could I be sure that he wasn't tracking our every move? And if he was, then he'd be tracking our family's as well, thus I forced Bress to watch.

At seven thirty Finnick turned the television on, and it was infact just images of Katniss' wedding dress choices. However near the end, Caesar Flickerman reported that President Snow would be making an announcement about the third Quarter Quell as well.

I had almost forgotten that this upcoming games was in fact the seventy fifth, therefore making it a Quarter Quell. Every twenty five years, the games were expanded upon and made much larger to remind us all just how strong the Capitol was. They called these special games Quarter Quells, and they were always twice as horrifying as the annual games.

Whenever a Quell came around, Snow was presented with a box of cards, each containing details for the Quells. I imagined that President Snow's announcement would be what details came with this Quell.

I looked up at Finnick with worry clearly written all over my face. Was this what he had seemed on edge about?

He glanced back down at me, and I could tell just by the look in his eyes that he was afraid to. But afraid of what? What could possibly affect the games that would involve us?

Finnick looked back at the TV and tightened his arm around me as the camera flashed to President Snow standing before thousands of Capitol citizens.

After a roar of thunderous applause, he began to speak, "When the laws of the Games were first laid out, they dictated that every twenty five years the anniversary would be marked by a Quarter Quell. It would call for a glorified version to make fresh the memory of those killed by the districts rebellion." He paused and looked from left to right at the crowd in front of him. Then he continued, "On the twenty fifth anniversary, as a reminder that their children were dying because of their choice to initiate violence, every district was made to hold an election and vote on the tributes who would represent it."

Just the thought of having to choose which children would die was sickening to me. How could anyone make that choice? No one deserved to die in the arena. No one, no matter who they were.

"On the fiftieth anniversary," President Snow continued, bringing my focus back to the TV, "as a reminder that two rebels died for every capitol citizen, every district was required to send twice as many tributes. And now we honor our third Quarter Quell."

President Snow stopped speaking as a child presented him with a small wooden box. Slowly he lifted the lid, and pulled the first card out of the box. With the card in hand, he turned back towards the audience and looked directly into the camera, "On the seventy firth anniversary as a reminder to the rebels that even the strongest among them cannot overcome the power of the capitol, the male and female tributes will be reaped from their existing pool of victors."

My head suddenly started pounding as the words set in. I would be in the reaping...I would be in the reaping...

"What..." I could barely hear Bress shout angrily as tremors began to pulse through my body, and every last memory from my games pounded in my mind.

All I could see was Martins glazed, bloodshot eyes staring at me...the blood dripping out of his gaping mouth...the severed tendons of his neck seeping blood onto the rocks...I could hear his screams so clearly. They were thundering in my ears...radiating...screeching...

I gripped my hands over my ears in agony as tears began to stream down my face and shrill sobs leapt from my throat. My nails dug into my skin around my temples, and I felt blood begin to slip down my cheeks with my tears. I tasted the salty rusty blood in my mouth and instantly remebered my dream that I'd had about Martin in the arena. I'd dreamt of his hot sticky blood on my hands and cheeks, tasted it in my mouth...It had felt so real to me then in my dream that I'd woken up gagging. Now here I was, reliving that moment, vomit rising in the back of my throat.

I wanted to die right then and there. I wanted someone to end me painlessly before I had to live through another arena, before I was butchered mercilessly.

"Annie..." I heard Finnick barely whispering in my ear, as he put his arms around me, but nothing, not even his voice could save me now. I was going to die. I knew it...I felt it. Someone was going to slaughter me, and I would die like I was supposed to five years before. This would be my end...This would be the death of me.