I want to say, thanks so much for your reviews. Each one of them means the world. So this chapter's a little longer, I wanted to get as much of Glimmer's past in as possible without completely boring you. R&R. Enjoy!
Gloria Warren. My mother.
Jovi Warren. My father.
Sarah Warren. My sister.
All of them are buried under the soil of the District 1 cemetery, and at the same time, they're buried under the shame of their name. Each of them have let our people down; they disappointed all of District 1. No one could see their wholeness, or morale. But I will make things right. This year our name will be cleared of any disgrace. I will win this year's Games.
I thought I could come here and tell them before the reaping today; maybe they could wish me luck. How stupid. They can't hear me. As soon as I begin to bring to mind their deaths I forget the reason I came here.
I remember the sun was shining brightly, almost blindingly. My mom, my dad, my sister, Brent, were all there. We were at a picnic, laughing hysterically and eating the warmest and fluffiest of bread. Then my sister, Sarah, suggested we play this game called hide-and-go-seek. We all agreed and I was chosen to be the seeker, so I covered my eyes with my chubby hands and counted to 10.
"1, 2, 3, 4."
I heard footsteps scurry off in all directions.
"5, 6, 7."
I heard hysterical laughing, but behind that, screaming. I figured it was nothing so I continued.
I heard a buckle.
With a strong thud, something, or someone hit the ground.
I released my hands from my face and it's not at all what I thought I would see.
My mother, on her knees. A Peacekeeper held her down with an immovable hand. Her hands struggled behind her back and she mouths something to me, "Go." She said. But I didn't. I ran to her before a harsh grip grabbed both my arms. I kicked and squirmed and screamed. I tried to wiggle out, but they're too strong, whoever they are.
The Peacekeeper's gun rose to her temple. "This is a warning for all of you." his voice was deep and firm, commanding, "Stealing is punishable..." his finger rested on the trigger, "Is punishable by death." He shot, but my mother rolled on her back and kicked herself up into a defensive stance.
Sarah ran to her and they embrace each other. Their hug didn't last long before more Peacekeepers came and broke Sarah away from her, kicking and screaming.
"My wife would not steal!" My dad's voice was more forceful than I'd ever heard.
The Peacekeeper was quick to comeback on his comment. "She stole bread," he looked my dad straight in the eyes. "You can't steal bread."
My dad looked stunned, sad, angry. "Gloria," he asked, "Is this true?"
My mom's face dropped into tears, and she nodded a clear, "Yes."
"Well then," the Peacekeeper said, stepping back in front of mom and aiming his gun at her forehead. He slowly pulled the trigger. In the nick of time, Brent ran over in front of mom. The bullet was so close, too close to hit his face before mom dragged her body in front of him. "No!" She cried. The bullet sank into her forehead, dropping her to the ground.
Brent was only four. He was too young to lose his mother; I bet he doesn't even remember her face. But our dad's face is hard to forget.
Fast forward two years later, when my dad turned to alcohol. It was simple, quick, but it affected all of us in an inexplicable way. The phone rang one day and we received news of our dad; he drank past his limits. He passed out and never woke up.
His funeral was held only three days later. When the Peacekeeper asked if anyone had any last words, I was sure neither of us would want to say anything, but I was wrong. Beside me Brent raised his hand.
"I would like to say…" he swallowed, "A few words." I am stunned. I turn to Sarah, her jaw dropped all the way to the floor, but we quickly gathered ourselves in time to hear Brent speak.
"My dad was wrong to drink. He was wrong to turn to alcohol. He was just…Wrong." I could see he was fighting back tears as he played with his jacket button, "But he couldn't help it. He couldn't help what he felt from losing his wife. He did what most people would do if they lost a loved one. I guess we just expected more from our dad." He looked out in the crowd to find us, and his eyes met mine, and then Sarah's.
"Thank you." With this, he nodded and walked back to his seat.
The rest of the day, I only remember seeing the blur of my tears as I missed my dad, longing for one more minute with him.
Watching my sister die was the cruelest of it all. She was reaped, but her death was one brewing up inside longer than she thought.
A normal training day was in order. Sarah walked over to her spear section and I headed off to bow and arrows. I was happy to grasp the bow in my hands and feel the tight elastic fibers vibrate on my fingers. I chose my target, a bullseye was in order, but an arm swings onto my shoulders. It's Cyrus, the monstrous boy from Victor's Village.
"Hey Glimmer," he winked, "I was thinking you and me could-"
"I don't think so." I say curtly.
"Well, why so stubborn sweetie?" He stroked my cheek with the back of his hand. His breath swoops over my cheeks sending chills down my spine making me the utmost uncomfortable. If I can't wiggle out, maybe I can hurt him through a different process. I elbow him right in his gut and before he could grab me again I take my bow in hand pointing my arrow at his forehead.
"Don't call me sweetie," I said sternly. He had just started cracking up when my sister came over to shoo away from him, but I don't want to walk away this time.
"No Sarah!" I shout, hoping people around us will listen. I swallow and continue, "This motherfucker raped me Sarah!" It's tough to get this through her mind. And Cyrus is not denying it, he is still holding his stomach in laughter.
"You hear that everyone! This boy right here raped me!" I just barely get out the last syllable before a warm tear rolls down my cheeks. My eyes are red in fury while his eyes are teasing my weakness. His head shakes at the show I've put on.
Sarah comes to me grabbing the bow from my grasp. But my grip has gone slippery causing me to release the arrow. His hysterical laughing stopped immediately. He sunk to the floor, blood dripping from the place my arrow has just entered.
My sister stood, frozen with fear. My eyes trailed off to the bull's eye right between his eyes. I looked around the training room for the shocked expressions. Some look at me and then to Cyrus, jaw dropped to the floor, some even drop their weaponry at this very sight. But to my surprise, many are smiling, almost with approval nods.
When news spread of this incident everyone understood this as an accident so neither Sarah, nor I were in serious trouble. But what we thought was long forgotten was just the beginning of Sarah's death. Little did we know that Cyrus's older brother, Chase, had plotted to avenge him in the 70th Hunger Games.
When my sister was reaped, our escort, Malfa, barely had time to walk over to the boy's bowl when Chase stood up, yelling, "I volunteer!" His eyes looked through mine and when he shook her hand, his eyes said everything, all his words singling in one phrase- "I will kill you." And so the Games begun and Chase went through with his promise.
The day my sister died, I ran to the training center, remembering the times we spent in there laughing, goofing off. Of course, it's only memory now. I came here to cry so no one else could see me. Water at the rim of my eyelids, I grabbed a bow and arrow. My tears soon blinded my vision, my hands shook, and I didn't realize I was holding the bow backwards.
In frustration, I threw the weaponry to the ground, cursing as it makes a clinging sound against the tile floor.
Somehow, I fall out of my distant gaze, and look out in time to see the first moments of the sunrise have begun. Run, I tell myself. I have to get home in time for-
I swiftly turn around, on the verge of running, when I knock someone over. My head hits against his, and I fall to the ground on top of him.
"Ow," I grunt.
But I can simply hear this boy laughing.
I prop myself up on my elbows, and look at him goofily smiling.
"What are you laughing at?" I ask, trying to sound stern, but a small chuckle escapes me. I stand myself, brushing myself off and help him up.
"Nothing, you're just clumsy," he says casually, but I see the simper hiding behind his cheekbones. I begin to laugh, too. I don't know what's so funny, but before I know it, we both start tumbling over in laughter. My stomach is on fire and I can't find a reason to stop laughing.
All too soon I hear a drunken man headed our way. I regretfully tear my eyes from his and brace myself for a scolding. "You two better get to that reaping now," his voice is shaky, "Best of luck to 'ya. May the odds be ever-" He pauses to let us finish.
"In your favor," Marvel and I both say. I turn to him and see him grinning at me with his hand on his neck. His eyes warm my face and I begin to notice a glint of familiarity in him.
"I've gotta go," he shakes the drunken man's hand, "Thank you, sir." He waves to me, "Nice to meet you too." Marvel flashes me one last grin before he can see me blush.
"Go on, girlie." I jump, just recognizing his presence again. "Good luck," he gives me a firm handshake and a wink.
"Thank you," I smile, and I'm off home.
The run there is shorter than I thought. When I arrive, I see Brent in his reaping clothes.
"What do you think?" he asks, almost cautiously. "I just found it on my bed after breakfast, thank you." I didn't give him any reaping clothes, I think curiously.
He's wearing a pink dress shirt with beige pants. And if I'm not wrong, I see his hair is gelled back. "But I don't know what to do with…This." In his hand dangles a bow tie. It's a deep pink.
I chuckle, "That's a bow tie. You tie it around your neck."
"Oh," he says. With this, he takes the bow and literally ties it around the skin on his neck. He makes a ridiculous model pose. I can't help but laugh. "What do you think?" he asks humorously.
"I'll do it." I punch his arm jokingly. Soon enough I have the simple piece of cloth turned into a bow tie. I take a step back and bow to fill this silly silence.
"Hello Mr. Warren, how do you do?" I say in another humorous tone.
He laughs, "Very well thank you, madam." I straighten up and laugh again. Brent starts to make this ridiculously sophisticated face and he starts to laugh even harder. My cheekbones ache from so much smiling. I'm practically rolling on the floor when my grandfather slumps into the room.
The room grows to a stiff silence.
"Hello, sir." I swallow my uneasiness.
"Hello Glimmer," he says casually.
There's a moment of pointless silence until Brent says rather curtly, "What do you want?" Grandpa looks taken aback, "Glimmer, you have to get ready for your reaping today, you are volun-"
"No." I interrupt, trying hard to look away from Brent, whose eyes are staring questionably at me.
"Actually I've realized that Sloan, you know from the west, is going to volunteer this year." I pass him by signaling him with a twitch in my eyes, "I'll be go freshen up."
I run upstairs and take a quick shower replaying the event that happened in the cemetery. I remember being stuck in his green eyes. I remember his soft touch when I hit him hard to the ground. I didn't even catch his name…
I throw away the thought deciding he will just be another distraction. I quickly dab my body dry and step out from the bathroom running to close my bedroom door shut.
Suddenly something makes me slow my pace. On my bed lies the most beautiful dress I have ever seen. It's white, satin, and catches the light perfectly. Shining pearls embedded dripping from top to bottom. But behind the pearls stretches a beautiful layer of lace. Each pattern trails onto another one, and yet another unique one, and then another! It's radiant. Divine. Is this dress meant for me?
"It was your mom's." Behind me I hear grandpa. How long he's been standing there, I don't know.
I ask, "This dress…It's for me?"
His eyes go soft and he answers me with, "Yes." I smile down at the dress and swoop it onto my arms, treating it delicately.
"I don't know what to say…Thank you." I look up at grandpa, and I am sincere. He smiles and nods before closing the door behind him.
"Oh and hurry up there, I got something to show you down stairs." Then before I can inquire he shuts the door. He leaves me wondering whether I should be worried at his choice of words or if I should be excited for the surprise waiting for me downstairs.
I take a good look at myself before putting on the dress.
Although I am clean I am shabby, nothing Capitol worthy.
When I win the Games, I'll be swimming in gold. Bathing in riches. Clothed in jewels anyday of the week. I smile at the thought. I take off my towel and toss it aside, squeezing my body into the dress. It's a lot tighter than I thought. I try to drop it from the top of my head, I attempt to squeeze my arms into the thin sleeves, I try about five different ways to get it on correctly when I finally just slip into it. The sleeves perfectly reach my wrists, and the hem just hangs above my knees.
"Wow." Before me I look at my reflection. The white pearls catch the light in every way beautifully. The silk reflects my green eyes making me looks like a star in the night sky.
"You look like mom." Brent stands at the door. I guess I was too late to stop him from his tears.
"You remember?" I say, more posed as a question than a statement.
Brent runs to me unable to steady himself. I lean my head against his, shushing him, just like this morning. But a single thought runs through my head that I just can't shake.
"Shhhh." I say. The brunette boy buries his face into my shoulder. I rub his back soothing his uncontrollable sobs. So he remembers mom? I think to myself. What more does he remember?
My little brother tears away from me and steadies himself.
"I remember every last bit of that day." He says answering my thoughts. "She didn't even steal the bread, Glimmer!" he cries.
"What?" I'm dumbfounded. "If she didn't…Then who did?"
He shakes his head, looking down at his shoes refusing to tell me.
"Brent!" I complain. I bring my hands to his shoulders, shaking him as if to wiggle the answer out of him.
Finally he huffs and pauses for a second. "It was grandpa."
My limbs don't move. My jaw drops but stays still. My eyes travel to his stuck.
"It was Grandpa!" I scream under a hushed tone.
"Yes. I don't know if he meant to frame her or not…But he is the one who stole the bread." I can't come to respond. I'm baffled. Terrified mystically. The betrayal I feel now is an understatement for what Grandpa did.
Brent snuffles. "Well, we should head to the town square." I nod and bring myself to walk, but even putting one foot in front of the other breaks a sweat. My arms keep swinging but my mind is stuck on the bread mystery. Mom blamed. Grandpa keeping it a secret for this long.
Brent snuffles back his tears and settles down. We walk down stairs and find grandpa in a checkered, red dress shirt under a pair of suspenders and a gray blazer. He also carries a nice wooden cane. When we enter the room, Grandpa's face lights up and he begins to do this silly dance where he flops around his legs and pops his shoulders. His facial expressions are what grasp my attention the most.
I start laughing hysterically as if with no choice. Brent's face grows red with laughter by the second. G
I choke down my next laugh and say, "Grandpa, you really cleaned up." I say, very impressed.
Then grandpa lets his shoulders fall and his legs straighten. The room is ten times more serious than it was just a brief second ago.
"I should have cleaned up my act years ago." The withered old man leans his hands on his cane. I notice grandpa's eyes fall to his feet then to mine and Brent's.
"I'm so sorry." I look over to Brent whose face has lost its smile as quickly as it came.
Grandpa continues. " I am deeply sorry for being a horrible grandfather to you both. It's just…When your mother died; I didn't know what else to turn to. But I know I should have turned to you two. You have obviously grown up to be sophisticated young men and women." He beams at us, but I'm somehow not convinced. "And Brent," he continues, "Those reaping clothes you're wearing, they were mine." Brent looks furious, but then he looks down to his dress shirt, "You could fit in these!?" He exclaims. Grandpa chuckles and Brent's mouth twitches to stay in a straight line.
Gong! Gong! Gong!
"Oh no!" It's the bell for the reaping, signaling there's only a few more mintues. I take Brent and Grandpa by the hand, dragging them as if they were rag dolls. I rush out the door and almost stumble in the heels left for me as well. I run and run and run, but we're a mile away. We won't make it! I slump into a squat, letting down my hair in front of my face. As the reality of it all begins to sink in I hear the small purr of an engine headed our way. Its black polished coat shines against the sun's rays, almost blinding us. The windows roll down and I see a pair of green eyes.
"Hey," I hear a deep male voice.
"Hey…" I blink hard to make sense of this, irony. Coincidence. Luck.
"Are you late?" He asks.
"Yeah." I say. I look over to Brent and Grandpa whom are exchanging a few looks.
"You need a ride?" He brings back his winning smile and waves for all of us to hop in. The car's insides are as show-stopping as the outside. On either side of the walls are two black leather couches. I scoot in on one side allowing Brent and Grandpa to sit opposite from me. They are obviously taken as taken aback as I am, pushing random buttons, laughing whenever something made a noise.
"Hey," the curly, brown hair boy pops his head through the car door, "Try not to break anything." He looks at Brent and Grandpa threateningly. Then he shuts the door, but not without stealing a quick glance at me.
When I hear the thud of the door slam shut I turn to Brent and Grandpa, but quickly catch them reaching their fingers to more and shinier buttons.
"Brent don't touch that!" I exclaim. "Grandpa sit down!" I make the alarm evident in my voice.
"Sorry Glimmer…" Brent begins, "Don't want to ruin your boyfriend's car." His voice grabs my attention with the arrogance hidden behind the word, 'boyfriend'.
"He is not my boyfriend!" I state.
"Whatever. I don't like him." The old man swings his cane up to point to the curly, brown haired boy making his way to the driver's seat.
"Grandpa!" I scold. "Just deal with him for a minute. We should be thankful anyways; he's giving us a ri-"
Brent snorts, "Yeah. We know." He says curtly, busying himself with more buttons overhead.
"And besides I can't think about him right now. He'll just be another distraction when I enter the Games." I want to say. It's at the tip of my tongue, but I bite it down remembering the so-called-promise I gave to Brent.
Our new chauffeur finally plops down in his seat placing his hands on the wheel.
He warns us. "Okay hold on, it's about to get bumpy!"
"What!?" I exclaim. Right as the words escape my mouth the car accelerates to a sonic speed. I bang my head against the roof of the car and my whole body just wobbles around. The car just keeps shooting faster into time. My head bobs left, right, up, down and my arms flail around like a piece of cloth.
"I didn't know the roads were this bumpy!" I try to complain, but it probably comes out as, "Idiadak notterodwe disbumfgy!"
I can hear the slight struggles of grandpa and Brent to stay seated, but their attempts are failing.
Through the boggling he asks, "How are you guys doing back there?"
I manage to get out, "I didn't know these roads were so bumpy!" My voice rattles as the car shoots through the District asphalt. He chuckles. As infectious as his laugh is…He thinks it's funny the way we're bobbing our limbs up and around in this little cubby hole. It irritates me.
"Okay, hold on to something!" he orders.
"Why!" I screech. But without warning, the car dangerously takes a sharp turn, and I'm thrown to the other side of the seat, smashing myself into Brent and grandpa.
"Hey!" I say out of annoyance.
"I told you," he says matter-of-factly.
I roll my eyes and he turns around just in time to see my glare. He hits me with another grin and this time a wink. "Okay and…" He pauses, then quickly slams on the breaks making us bullet forward.
"Ugh." I groan.
"That…" Brent slowly sits upright scratching his head and scrunching his nose. "Was awesome!" He starts bouncing up and down with excitement. I start laughing as he jitters.
The green eyed chauffeur, whom I still don't know the name of, steps out of the car. I follow out but the green eyed boy creeps up from behind me. His head pops through the car door.
"You okay?" he asks, not trying to hide a cocky smile. I glare at him but he only chuckles.
He offers his hand, "Thank you." I say curtly.
I pick myself up from the sticky leather, leaning on this boy's strong hand.
As his hand still holds mine, I take deep breath, steadying myself, clearing my mind from the fogginess the car brought upon my me. "Sorry about that…" He says.
"That's okay!" Brent says pushing me slightly causing my hand to fall out of his firm grasp. I hide my hands behind my back sheepishly avoiding the eyes from the boy from the cemetery. I keep my eyes bewildered upon the small brunette boy, anxious to see the volunteers this year.
Brent grabs me by the hand and I quickly thank the curly haired brunette for the ride.
I look over my shoulder, sneaking another look at him, and I see, to my great displeasure, he is gone.
I shake him from my head and look straight ahead. Brent hardens his face to no emotion.
For the first time in forever, I'm happy to see Malfa on stage with her squeaky voice and very busy wigs and dresses; the attentions on her.
She taps a finger on the microphone causing a boom to spread throughout the district square. "Welcome, welcome!" she says very, very eagerly, "Such an honour to be your escort…" she drowns on about District 1's finest this and that, but am I wrong? Or is she starting to babble on about her new skin dye? I roll my eyes. These Capitol people are so arrogant, so pampered. In ways I envy them, but also, in ways I feel sorry for them. Malfa just keeps squeaking on and on about District 1's victors, what an honour it is to be selected as a tribute to represent this "fine and luxurious" District. Feels like forever but she finally says, "Ladies first!"
She marches her way towards the girl's bowl. Her hand drops in and leans towards one slip, but then it jumps to another name. Her hand swishes through the bowl and then quickly drops, grasping a slip between her nails. The square is silent. All eyes are glued. I'm immobile until I jump up and scream, "I volunteer!"
Some are in shock, some in tears, some even smiling. But I keep my chin up and walk forward though the path they have opened for me.
"Ah!" Malfa says, "We have a volunteer!"
She pulls me up on stage towards the mic, "Now, what's your name sweetie?"
"Glimmer," I say.
"Well let's have a round of applause for Glimmer Warren!"
Everyone seems to clap. Except one person. Brent. My eyes try to meet his eyes, but they're too full of anger to look at me.
"Well, onto the boys."
She clicks her heels to the left as I just stare at Brent. "I'm sorry," my eyes say. "Why don't you get it?" My eyes beg. I did it for us! I want to scream. Brent then fully has my eyes' attention. His eyes are stinging with red. A pang of guilt bullets through my chest. I feel as though I will fall over from the weight on my shoulders.
Malfa clears her throat once again. "And this year's District one male tribute is…" The square is still the quietest it's ever been, yet all I can hear is screaming. From Brent's eyes I see drowning. Through grandpa's eyes I see another drink. Through Marvel's eyes I see pure sorrow. And through my eyes I see the name printed onto the slip. It's… It's…
Cliffhanger! Tell me what you think. Review and express your opinions ALL you want :) I'll always get back to you on it :)