16/09/13 @ 09:02pm
■ decima skadoske
■ nero baliss
■ district 2
He knows that she doesn’t know and if she doesn’t know then she can’t know that he knows. At least, Nero thinks that’s about the right mental gymnastics to explain what’s currently going on, but no one can never be sure with Decima.
And he knows that he’s right about her liking him because Enobaria told him that she whispered his name in her sleep on one of those rare nights that she slept at the Training Center. She had been aiming to land punches, so he’d just looked at her for a moment and later confirmed it with one of the younger girls, one of the ones who hadn’t mastered Enobaria’s mind games.
Enobaria was always aiming to land punches, though, and today her target was Decima. “Your mother not dead yet then? Will you stop showing up here when she kicks the bucket like she should have years ago?”
"You’d like that, wouldn’t you? Being the oldest girl around?"
"Hell yes, and it would be good to give the people who want to be here a chance to shine instead of clogging up tribute spaces with people who don’t even care. But then you’d do anything for your useless mother, wouldn’t you?" And that was a low blow, and everyone within hearing distance knew it.
Decima steadfastly didn’t move, not when movement would betray emotion. Emotion was weakness, and weakness could be preyed upon. That was the entire point of Enobaria’s mind games, her whole persona. “Shaming your mother is the oldest game in the book,” Decima informed her coldly, “You’ve got to be able to do better than that.”
Enobaria’s eyes flicked in his direction and she grinned predatorally. She was going to go for two birds with one stone, the vicious bitch. Well, he was better at keeping his cool than Decima, and he wasn’t going to flinch.
"Oh, but it’s true. You’d marry Nero for her, and he’s a dick if I’ve ever met one, and I’ve met a fair few in my free time. Oh, but I forgot, you call out for your boyfriend in the middle of the night. Careful, Decima, someone might think you like him.”
Nero exercised every ounce of his good sense and tucked himself out Decima’s view. She didn’t need to know he’d heard any of this, no matter how much the rumours would fly later.
"You say another word and you’ll be dead before you ever reach the Arena." Decima’s hand ran across the weapons table, itching for the release that attack would give her.
"That sounds an awful lot like a confession," Enobaria needled. Decima didn’t move, just held perfectly still and waited.
Enobaria turned away, victorious, and within seconds a knife flew past her ear and embedded itself hilt-deep in the post of the gymnasium, punctuating both Decima’s threat and her guilt.
Enobaria didn’t flinch. It was truly remarkable how much that girl was able to manipulate them all to her will, Nero thought, as she flashed him a smile with all too many teeth.
This was seriously going to fuck with his mental arithmetic too. It looked like it was a far more dangerous game.
15/07/13 @ 11:01am
■ Angus Cooper
■ District 10
■ Kerry Fforde
■ Brandy Boven
■ Tara Boven
■ I just have a lot of Cooper clan feelings okay
The bus came to a thundering stop just outside the town’s main square. Soft cries, which had begun once the engine revved on, were still coming from the back of the bus while everyone else tried to ignore it. Angus was having a hard time doing so. He remembered his first Reaping two years ago. He had been a terrified teary mess and nothing had calmed him down, not even seeing his sister for the first time in years. His big sister who, as soon as she spotted him, had pushed her way through the crowd of locals to stand right behind the wooden barricade. Tara stayed within Angus’ sight as both tributes were chosen, and after the future fallen were escorted into the Justice Building she gathered him into her arms refusing to let go until it was time to board the bus back home.
A shudder went through his body and he swallowed thickly, trying to push away the fear that had slowly crept into his chest. The cries continued as the teens of Roan Bay filed out and lined up for registration. Angus bowed his head as he stood, taking a swift look over his shoulder to see his classmate, Cavy, consoling her crying younger brother. He looked away to give the siblings some privacy, knowing that either or both might not make the return trip home.
He smeared his blood onto the registration page, grimacing at the sting still left behind. All around him, teens from every corner of District 10 were chatting quietly, trading new herding techniques or complaints about feed distribution. It still amazed him how, even in the face of the worst part of the year, his district would take this day as an opportunity to learn as much from each other as possible. It was the only thing they could look forward to.
"Uncle Angus!" He turned at the sound of his name and watched as a young girl with a heart shaped face and long brown hair ran toward him. Brandy may be his niece but she was closer to his age than any of his siblings. She had turned twelve in the middle of calving season and this would be her first Reaping on the other side of the barricade. She stopped just in front of him, a strained smile on her face as she reached over to kiss his cheek in greeting. "Uncle Angus, good luck today."
Angus copied her slightly worried smile and pat her gently on the shoulder, “It’ll be fine. The Cooper luck’s gonna strike again and pass right over you to someone else.”
"I hope so. Last year’s Games was… It was horrible." Angus wanted to say more to reassure her, or even hold her close, but the sad truth was that he didn’t know her well enough to be comfortable with it. While Angus lived in Roan Bay, further east and closer to the district’s border, Brandy was born and raised here where his sister Tara, Brandy’s mother, and her husband had been assigned to live after their wedding. The Reaping was the only opportunity they had to catch up, but the few minutes spent together before the main event didn’t necessarily mean that uncle and niece knew each other well.
Angus just nodded his head and squeezed Brandy’s shoulder, “You should get in place. It’s gonna start soon.”
With a final shaky smile and a peck on the cheek Brandy quickly moved to the back of the crowd where the younger kids stood. Angus stepped in line with his classmates and waited nervously for the opening video to start.
The next thing he knew, the mayor was up on stage to introduce the Capitol escort, a young woman -at least, she looked young- with tattoos peeking out from beneath the sleeves of her dress, curling around her biceps and down to her hands and fingers. She looked just like someone from the Capitol should: colorful, well fed, and absolutely gleeful that the Games was upon them. When she smiled down at the congregation of District 10 children in front of her, Angus saw a wolf in her place staring down its next meal. As the escort’s hand dipped into the girl’s Reaping bowl, Angus’ fists clenched. He hoped more than anything that the Cooper luck would continue onto the next generation and that Brandy wouldn’t be chosen.
Please don’t let her be chosen.
A delicate, tattooed hand held up a pristine piece of paper, “And here we are! This year’s female tribute will be… Kerry Fforde!”
No one stepped forward at first, but after the escort called the name once more a tall blonde stepped out from a group of older teenagers Angus didn’t recognize. Her polished leather boots clacked loudly on the steps as she ascended to the stage, head held high and no sign of anxiety or fear in her movement. She certainly made a good first impression. The escort grinned, dark and hungry, as Kerry Fforde stood beside her. The second bowl was wheeled forward and a slim hand reached in.
"And now, District 10, this year’s male tribute will be," The paper gave way to a sharp fingernail, "Angus Cooper!"
Six children and one grandchild had all escaped the Reaping, but there just wasn’t enough luck left over for the runt of the Cooper clan.
Mags sat down across from her and shook her head. “You foolish, foolish girl,” she said. “You want to be a tribute? Fine. But could you not have waited until you were older, more practiced? When I would have better been able to do more with you?” She sighed, and Opah wriggled in her seat like a worm on a hook. She didn’t want to be a disappointment.
"I’m sorry. I should have known better than to not do everything you instructed me." She paused, and then defiantly added, "I don’t regret it, though."
Mags sighed again. “You will, my dear. You will, and there will be nothing that I can do to help you when that time comes. Until then, we must see what I can turn you into in such a short time.”
"I won’t," Opah said again. "I’ll be a great tribute and I’ll bring honour to me and to you and to the district."
"Capitol keep their honour, I want none of it. I’m doing this because I will hate to see it otherwise. But I will see you make a brave showing, Opah. Now. Eat up, you must build up your reserves before you go into the arena."
19/05/13 @ 03:18am
■ decima skadoske
■ nero baliss
■ district 2
■ the hunger games
She was tired. It would be obvious even to the untrained eye, and Nero was not untrained. He had been thoroughly educated in spotting the opponent’s weaknesses, and that, in the training center, meant Decima. It was the third day of their week long one pint for the day dehydration practice, and there was no way that that was helping. She would never open her mouth to complain, but there could be no doubt that she was not at her best. Nero backed off on his usual taunts and jibes, but training never let up.
They were in the weight room, working the free weights to tone and strengthen to perfect shape. Nero was easily benchpressing his weight and then some as Brutus spotted for him. Decima was on her third set of pull-ups, which on an average day would have been a breeze, but which was currently a struggle. It didn’t worry Nero too much. They had toughed it through some incredibly tough times before.
And then she fainted.
Nero’s weights were already in their hold above his head before she had hit the floor. Brutus’s eyes narrowed, and he barked out, “you aren’t done your reps yet!” It fell on deaf ears.
Nero was already halfway across the room. It was a nasty fall, and she wasn’t conscious to break it properly, which would only make it worse. Her legs crumpled, fortunately not in a way that would shatter bone. She landed half on her hip, and fell backwards onto the gymnasium floor.
Nero slid to a halt beside her as Tatiana called for medics. He knelt beside her, checking instantly for blood, and then verifying that her pulse and breathing were stable. He left her as still as he could manage, the better for if she had a concussion or spinal injuries. He hoped it wouldn’t come to that, but he didn’t want to take any chances. Decima simply lay there, unmoving and unconscious.
It took only minutes for the medics to arrive. Brutus arrived behind Nero as they did, lifting him to his feet and twisting him into a headlock, but Nero pulled out of it easily, jabbing Brutus hard in the stomach with his elbow. Brutus didn’t try to force him to move again, so Nero didn’t. He stood still as the medics arrived, watching until they were satisfied that Decima would suffer no lasting damage. Only when they began to put her onto a waiting stretcher did Nero turn to meet the glare of his mentor.
As soon as eye contact was achieved, Brutus turned on his heel to a side room. Nero followed, bracing himself for what would come next. The door slammed shut behind him, and Brutus turned to face him, his face well on its way to purple.
"In the Arena that stunt could have gotten you killed!" Brutus thundered.
Nero held his ground and kept his cool. “I’m not in the Arena.”
"Everything you do between the moment you entered this Training Center to the moment you stand on the Reaping Stage is in preparation for the Arena, and I know you know that, so don’t give me that bullshit. What the fuck were you thinking?"
"I was worried about her."
"You need to focus on your own training and not hers."
"In the Arena she would be a valuable ally, and it would be a shame to lose her for something like that."
"Do you think I’m a fool? I know exactly how you feel about that girl, so do me the favour of not lying to my face."
Nero flinched, confirming exactly how right Brutus was. “I’m not lying, sir. She would be a valuable asset in the Arena. My feelings are irrelevant.”
"Feelings are never irrelevant. Get them under control, and if you pull anything like that again you can kiss your status as Career goodbye." Nero met Brutus’s eyes again, and saw a flicker of something like experience before it crystallised as hard once more.
"Understood," he said.
When Angus died, her mother didn’t speak for weeks.
Daddy said it was because she was sad and worried for Granny and Poppa, but Brandy didn’t think that was it. At least, not all of it. After Momma got sick and lost another baby, the third that Brandy could remember being lost, Momma barely ate and cried for days. She cried and cried and couldn’t stop no matter how much Daddy tried to help. But when they saw Angus die —when that big, terrible boy from Two got his hands on her uncle’s neck and squeezed— Momma just stared, transfixed.
Brandy knew that Momma was sad. Sad that Angus had been chosen. Sad that the Cooper’s legendary luck finally gave out. Sad that her parents had to watch their youngest child die in the Arena.
But mostly Brandy thought that Momma was sad that she wasn’t sad enough. That she couldn’t mourn properly enough for her baby brother. A brother who had barely been born before Tara had married and moved out of Roan Bay to Palomino, the largest of the horse ranch cities in Ten. A brother she only saw once a year at the Reaping. And Brandy thought of how guilty her momma must feel, knowing that she may have lost a brother, but at least she still has one baby left breathing.
24/04/13 @ 11:34pm
(Because why NOT?)
04/02/13 @ 11:47pm
■ maize leafe
■ district 9
■ for your consideration
29/01/13 @ 11:56pm
■ chassie goodwin
■ for your consideration
■ district 6
28/01/13 @ 01:14am
■ district 3
■ morse keight
■ echo hadamik
■ echo x morse
“I’m just saying, that he’s totally into you. I mean honestly, you could cut the sexual tension between you two with a knife.” My best friend Elektra states matter-of-factly as she picks up her knife and slices at the air.
I roll my eyes, my cheeks flushing slightly as I refuse to look at her head on, choosing instead to push the cafeteria food around on my plate. “That’s impossible, he’s like, I don’t know. He’s Morse, that’s weird. We’re just good friends, I mean he’s Mag’s older brother for fuck’s sake, Elektra.” My words hushed as I scan the cafeteria for the subject of our discussion.
“Well so is Huxley, and he’s a fine ass piece of meat if you ask me.” She takes a bite out of her chicken, her fork making a harsh noise against her teeth, as though to send the point home.
I can feel the blood rushing to my cheeks at her words, shaking my head I try not to imagine the two brothers naked. “They’re my friends, Elektra, not pieces of meat.”
“Who aren’t pieces of meat?” I jump as I suddenly feel a hand on my shoulder, the familiar voice causing my face to turn an even darker shade of red as I look up to see Morse Keight, the very last person that I want to see.
Swallowing, I turn away, trying to find out from the wolfish grin on Elektra’s face how long said man has been standing there, she reveals nothing. Taking a long drink of water, I watch him as he sits down, the coy smile on his handsome face making me feel like he knows something, and seeing as how it’s Mo, he probably does. “O-oh, no one in particular, not anyone you would know at least.” I stutter out, my throat suddenly very dry as I can’t help but notice how his collared shirt is unbuttoned slightly to expose a part of his sternum, his skin is pale and perfect and I have to force myself to tear my eyes away. Curse Elektra for putting these thoughts in my mind.
He looks over to Elektra, and it could just be my slight paranoia acting up but I feel like they’re sharing a joke, laughing at me, calmly he looks over to me, the same coy smile on his face as before. “Try me, I know loads of people.”
I look around, trying to think of anyone, a single male that I know that he doesn’t, and I honestly can’t think of anyone, lying having never been a strong suit of mine I resort to simply shouting out two names. “Bohr and Watson, yeah, they run in a few different circles than you.” I quickly take a drink of my water to try and hide my face, I already know without looking that Elektra is having a hard time not bursting into laughter.
I can feel him staring, in a way that shows how much he knows me, how much he knows that I’m simply not telling the truth, he’s known me for long enough, and I’ve lied to him enough times. “Bohr down in accounting? I didn’t know you two talked.” He pauses, taking a seemingly planned dramatic bite from his sandwich, “Are you into him? I’m quite good friends with him, I could spread the word along. Didn’t know you were into gingers, Echo.” He gently punches my arm winking, and it’s at that moment that I know he knows who we were talking about. He sits there, staring at me, that damn smile on his fucking face, as he patiently waits for my reply.
He never gets one. As a sudden bout of nausea overcomes me, I stand up and rush out of the cafeteria, leaving my food for Elektra to take care of, this is all her fault anyways.