Post by G△memaker Hera Levelwright on Jan 28, 2017 0:12:14 GMT -5
"It is time," the Escort announces, standing over the impatient people of the District, "To once again send our own children to the Capitol to compete in the Hunger Games. Let us begin the Reaping!"
The crowd seems to take in a single, united breath. Expectation and fear go to battle across every face, be it the ones brave enough to fight for their home or the watchful faces of their family and friends, neighbors and strangers. "Who will volunteer as tribute, for the honor and glory of your District?"
OOC- RPing is allowed. If you wish to volunteer, you must post by Wednesday, February 1st (11:59 PM). There may be multiple male and female tributes for each District.
Please leave an ooc note at the end of your post stating whether your character is volunteering or not.
Also, and this is important: If you are going into the arena, we suggest you take RP Tutoring lessons. It doesn't matter what level RPer you are; everyone can use a little help. RPing a tribute is a privilege; if you're not going to put the time and effort into making your posts the best they can be then you can count yourself among the dead. It's not a requirement, but it is recommended. They'll help even the most advanced RPer.
Please be extra considerate of the Tutor team these Games. There will be many more tributes than usual and the Tutors may also be writing tributes themselves. The more everyone works together, the better the experience will be for all!
"This is how my personality always is. Even if there’s no problem, fuck em"
I press my fingers to the back of my head and I laugh. An angel stands in front of me, teeth glowing in the night and his halo is made of ashes. Oh god just take it I tell him and offer him the cigarette, watching with pleasure as he pushes it into me. I smell my skin burn before I feel it. It's glorious and lingering, it tastes like smoke on my tongue. I tip my head back, sighing in pleasure. I'm going to die like this one day, with smoke in my lungs and a spike drawn through my ribcage.
I'd kill Angel before I let anyone else have him again and it isn't a fleeting thought. I think about disentangling his ribcage from my knife, pulling his intestines out, unraveling them like a spool of thread. I wonder if he has bones in his shoulders where his wings fell off.
In the morning I tip three fingers of whisky down my throat, straightening my tie in the mirror. The window, dusty and covered in grime lets in the weakest of light and I grimace at the sharp taste on my tongue. My knife is in my back pocket and there's sin in the back of my throat, stuck there, howling. It croons at me, the little devil on my shoulder. It asks for a toll, a measurement to get through the day. How much suffering can I cause today, who can I hurt? Whose parents will I take away. What fool's errand will amity send me on, that fucking whore.
I run my tongue across my teeth and smile at the mirror, the figure in the bed behind me trying so goddamned hard to cloud my judgement but he's unable to. He's a figment, a wisp. He's mine.
The morning sun is barely risen, weak. The reaping isn't for hours yet and I consider the circumstances, the smell of the District waking up, the steam of last night's condensation rising off the tin rooftops. My mother loved that smell. 'Ivory in the clouds', she called it. A fucking lullaby she used to sing to me when I was three years old and her addiction wasn't as bad. Her lullabies soon turned into shouts of abuse, her rocking into flying fists. Oh god how I loved my mother.
I stop, staring at my reflection in the glass of a store front. It sells shoes. I think about that. Can stores sell shoes or is it the person inside that sells them? Is it a shoe store or a container for the shoe salesmen. Does the term 'store' refer to the place that shoes are stored in?
I look down at my feet, at the black boots encasing them. They're old, beginning to show wear. I look up the street, nothing. I look down it. A young girl, walking away.
I shove my fist through the window, glass shatters in, into my knuckles, into the store and I kick out the remaining, feet vicious, blood dripping onto the cement sidewalk. I climb inside and spend ten minutes or so trying on boots until I've found a pair I like, leaving my old ones in the middle of the floor. Careless, Owl would say it was. I just don't give a fuck.
If they trace their way back to me, fingers running along the asphalt, growing raw and bloody then I'll kick them in their stupid fucking heads, smashing my feet down over and over in my brand new boots, until their gore runs pink and grey over them. Christened. they'll be Christened then.
People flood the streets, walking like puppets in rows to the reaping. It's just another day here, just another sick fucking joke. No one gives a shit, there's other things to worry about, jobs to go to, children to feed. If two out of hundreds die from here then no one cares. Less mouths are better. I look around, searching for members of the cartel. I want to know where they are, if they have their eyes on me. I'm vulnerable in a crowd like this, easy to take down without notice. My hand clenches around the hilt of the knife in my pocket and I'm ready to throw it.
Maybe even at the back of Owl's stupid big head. Leader or not, I'll fuck him.
Idle thoughts play through my mind as I stand in the crowd and I pick them out like gristle from a bowl. My parents have been dead two years, killed by Owl's men. I don't know how many I've killed so far. I don't think it matters. No one can see it here. Everything I do is hidden, all the gorgeous corpses I've left, crosses carved into their skull and no one even knows my fucking name. Good. Right?
I can't help thinking about where I'll be going when I die. Ichor says there's a hell for people like me, but that sounds too good to be true. Some of them scream about heaven, the rest about the hell I'm going to. Everyone always gets to see it first and no one ever comes back to tell me about it.
Boring, it's boring.
"Oy, me," I say, raising my hand lazily in the silence.
As if I could give a fuck about what comes after living.
Post by Riordan Einfallen D6M [Tom] on Jan 28, 2017 18:10:42 GMT -5
r i o r d a n e i n f a l l e n
Fields of purple and red flowers sway in the blue of the sky. Her hair flows gently with the wind, a gentle sight of love. His heart beats faster, hands become clammy, and words vanish from his lips. He's running. He's not going to lose her. He's not going to lose the one person who he could feel alive with. His feet are giving out, purple and red mix to a maroon as the flowers pop. Loud crackles of booms and screams that shred his ears apart. Tears fall from his eyes as he pushes himself closer and closer. One turns to three. He knows their names like they were burned into his skin. He's reaching for the hand outstretched to him. Pop. Pop. Pop. The flowers bloom a vibrant red, liquid leaking from their petals. Blood soaking his ankles as he screams.
"Keep going Rio."
"I can't. It hurts so much."
"You're stronger than that Rio. You're stronger."
The blood comes in a wave that crashes into his body. The three figures wave at him, frowns upon their faces. Only their names tickle his tongue, threatening to jump out at him. The blood soaks his skin red. The scene vanishes before him as he jumps up from the makeshift bed in his changing room. Cold sweat upon his forehead as he threatens to cry out in sorrows that constricts his esophagus. Slow and deep breaths gives him life, even if he wished that it wouldn't. Living for them was harder than he had wanted it to be. Flowers of red and purple sit upon his mirror, staring blankly at him. It's been too long since he's spoken of her name. It's been so long since he's even heard of Jequirity Eckhart. Their family always losing another Eckhart to the games. Every time, he just stands there, watching as he wants to tear his heart out and take their place. Unfortunately, he couldn't do it. His hands would shake as imaginary hands grab his shoulder and whisper to him. No Riordan. Fear had a grasp upon him since he's heard of the games. He's promised to live for them, even if it meant suffering through hell.
Jequirity had no words, but in her eyes, she had spoken a thousand words he wanted to hear. Watching her die had shattered him for the last time. Every day, he visited her grave. Flowers of purple and red placed under the name of the woman who had taken every bad thing in his life and made it good. Even Naveen and Theseus had taught him so much. He's lost too much to feel whole again. Every death has taken a piece of who Riordan Einfallen had been. A stone created to hold the only piece of him that it could. The graves were the place he wanted to go. No more dreams of blood soaking his skin. Flowers of purple and red burning his skin. No more running. No more selfishness. As he stands up, preparing for the big day at hand, his eyes catches the ring that he's hidden away from everyone. Pocketing the item, he runs to the graves. One last visit. That's all he needed before he would decide if it's worth it after so many names and faces vanishing in front of him.
Hands touch the cool stone next to him. The names carved into stone tingle upon his skin. Words that were clouded with tears and broken sobs were now pieces of him. He carried each on upon his back. The fallen were his only friends. The keeper of the damned. As he places red and purple flowers on to graves. Naveen Casovnik. Theseus Rhodium. Jequirity Eckhart. Lucrezia Eckhart. Amerika Eckhart. Wyatt O'Connor. Geo Venn. So many names gone to the world, only images and videos of their suffering were around. O'Connor was right about one thing. Victors do not come from District Six. He's seen it in front of him time and time again, but nothing ever truly feels real anymore. Words become only that words. Useless phrases of trying to speak out your mind, but he never was able to speak his mind.
"I'm sorry I was too weak then to save you."
No one replied.
"I wish you could hear me."
No one replied.
"I'll make you proud one day."
No one replied.
Only the wind teases his ear. This was his last visit. He could feel it in his heart as the day grew dark in his own mind. He was fueled by selfishness since he's met them. A selfish fool who wanted everything, but never could grasp it. Everything was always within his reach, but he just wasn't strong enough to reach for it. Strength was the one thing that he had for so long, or was it selfishness. He could never tell. The two at times seemed to mix together like fire and ice. The icy cold chill that struck his chest at the way he was leaving the graves for the last time. No matter who was reaped, they wouldn't be going in. Selfishness was eating at his soul and he wanted to join them in the fight for glory. It was always for her. He wanted to believe it was for her, but this time it was for him. She would have cried out loud if his name was called. She would would have stared at him in pain if he had been able to take the spot for her. A whisper catches the wind as he leaves the graves knowing that sooner or later he would become one of the damned or one of the crowned.
"I love you."
Bodies filled with anxious looks and nerves that could shatter at their own word that were attached to their skin. As the escort and the screens flare to life, he feels gone. Floating in the stars as he dreams of one day joining the damned who moved on to better and more important things in life. No more dreams of bloody fields, only dreams of finally reaching them as they stand out waiting for him. Arms wrapping him in a warmth that will feel like safety, but there was still only one problem. Himself. The selfishness of wanting to live a life and have kids stabbed itself deep in his heart before he even met Jequirity. Parents of a living hell that locked him up like a mistake that could never truly go away. The escape to a place of sanctuary that he could call home, until it became the only place that stood for him. Tempus was a standing memorial of all the dead. A sheet of curtain was still missing from when Theseus tore it out by the seams. The seat that the original cast had made into a memorial for Naveen and Theseus stood quietly. The place was empty as he was gone. Tempus would fall to whoever could build it up from the rumble. Only Riordan Einfallen remembered the gifts he's seen in that theater. Only Riordan Einfallen was the one who could keep the show going on.
The show must go on.
No one replied.
As the twist of the year was shouted out to the district. A request for volunteers to honor the district for everything it was. Heart beats, hands sweat, jaws drop, and his hand raises. There's no struggle. There's no thinking of her. It's filled with selfishness that he never truly felt. He wants to join them, but the will to survive eats at his stomach. This was stupid. He was stupid. They were stupid. Everything was stupid. Tear streaked cheeks and red eyes from the past come to mind. Breath of alcohol tipping at his tongue as he's felt it time and time again. He was sober that day, but the night before had been numb from the only escape to that dream world. A world where he can listen to Jequirity play violin. A world where the melodic tune of chatter from all the souls gone and past could be heard. He was sober when he rose his hand. Selfishness and courage within his heart. He should have done this long ago. When he was still a bit more whole and a bit more the same Riordan Einfallen who could make it to the end. Now he was the Riordan Einfallen who wanted to see if he could survive for as long as he could.
No one replied.
No one would remember.
~Riordan Einfall Volunteers as D6M for the 75th Hunger Games~
The night before I went to sleep, I recognized that the following morning would be yet another reaping day. The 75th consecutive year in which the Capitol, after having won a war, decided that they wanted kids to all kill each other for their amusement. These games are going to be special, as they are every five years. There's always some twist to it, although the twist will likely be terrible for anyone that wants to live. I must say that living sounds quite appealing, but it isn't like my life is getting any better here, working at dead end jobs, and being the mule for the wealthy that don't ever thank any of us for our work.
As everyone in my large family gets ready to leave, I hastily follow along to get ready and leave with them. I am the middle child of the family, so yes, I have often been forgotten. It's often not a big deal to be forgotten, as I am not asked to do many tasks around the house, yet the Capitol never forgets. They have all citizens of every District filed away in some huge cabinet in the President's house somewhere, and each year as a teenager gets older, their name gets put into the special "ceremonial" crystal bowls that signify death for everyone.
I get my finger pricked as they quickly jot down that I have arrived before hastily ushering me away. I move towards the general vicinity of where I am supposed to stand, not exactly knowing where to go until I follow several classmates that I know are the same age. The District square of District 6 is not the largest area, and it is a struggle fitting everyone where they are allocated to be. An enormous screen has been set up in front of the mayor building, and in a few seconds, the screen flickers on, revealing President Snow with his golden envelope, holding the twist of the terrifying games this year.
I do not want to be listening to anything this man must say, yet somehow, I find that my eyes cannot seem to leave the screen. Whether in fear, or just plain curiosity, I cannot avert my gaze until he gives us the twist. The twist happens to relate back to what all our ancestors did, and that a rebellion is punished while compliance to the Capitol is rewarded. Anyone can volunteer with the limit not existing, and for the Districts with many volunteers, supplies will be given to them, and the Districts with no volunteers will have their provisions cut.
With that astonishing news, the screen cuts off, and murmuring echoes throughout the entire District about what this means for the kids, siblings, families, and friends of those that are all eligible to participate in the slaughtering of other teenagers. Of course, part of me is wondering what would happen if no one volunteered for the games. This would most likely result in the Capitol bombing a random District into oblivion, leaving no one left to deny the Capitol again, fearing the same could happen to them. They would just do with one of the remaining twelve Districts what they did to District 13.
Of course, in all honesty, that plan would have never worked out. There are always those insane enough to volunteer without an incentive and threat, so therefore there will be volunteers now.
Part of me, as crazy as it seems, does want to volunteer. Not for the being famous part of being a victor, but I want to figure out every tiny little secret about the Capitol while I am there, and perhaps use that knowledge as currency when I return home. I am not remembered by my family anyways, and if I die, it will still please me, knowing that I helped everyone in the District in some way.
My internal conflict flails around inside of me for what seems like years, but it takes only a few seconds to resolve. I want to attempt to change the lives of everyone around me currently, as well as the lives of those around me long-term. As I work up the nerve to get my vocal cords working again, two other males in the District volunteer. If I was the first to speak, I could have attempted to portray myself as a noble individual, wanting to save the District from punishment by the Capitol, but being third just makes me look stupid.
Perhaps my "stupidity" will allow others to ignore me, perceive me as a weakling that will be easy to take out whenever they choose to do so. I know the Capitol will not think much about a small, sixteen-year-old child as capable of unraveling all their secrets, but I am more than proficient enough to do so.
I raise my hand up high, but uttering in a small voice that I volunteer. As I climb up onto the stage, I see my siblings look at me in shock. They are probably wondering why I volunteered as two others have already, thus me not really needing to. I try to avoid eye contact because I know that I will get emotional if I do, and at this point, I can't necessarily change my choice. They don't understand now, but hopefully they will all understand when I return.
If the Capitol figures out what I'm trying to do, they'll probably kill me as soon as I set foot in the arena, therefore I must continue playing the sweet, idiotic kid that I am not.
"My name is Anton Ladetto, and I am yet another person that is volunteering for these games."
~Anton Ladetto volunteers for a D6M spot in the 75th Hunger Games~
Post by blueberry spicehead on Jan 29, 2017 10:46:13 GMT -5
I GO TO A F U N E R A L EVERYDAY
i follow these people around i carry their caskets i sing them goodnight they're better off without me
We must go deeper into greater pain, for it is not permitted that we stay.
I stared at the moon that night and imagined the sun in its place on Reaping Day. Standing by that window peering up at the moonlit sky, I knew that this would be last time I saw the stars of District Six. I knew what tomorrow held for me; and somehow, it didn't hurt as much as I thought it would. Perhaps because I am so used to pain by now.
I'd spent the last few days building back any bridges I'd burned, leaving Elettra for last. Before we went to bed, I looked her in the eye and said, "I'm sorry." She would know what I meant by tomorrow morning.
"What?" Elettra replied, shocked at my sudden apology. I had done nothing to wrong her before that moment, but I knew that I would tomorrow — and for that, I truly do feel sorry. To her, the sorry emerged from out of the blue. It'll all make sense tomorrow.
"For everything, I don't know," I told her nonchalantly. "Taking your jewelry when we were little, making you worried about me — like I said, everything."
Half of me screamed that I could never leave her, but the other half reminded me that I had to — that I couldn't live like this anymore. I couldn't live at all.
I didn't allow her to ask anymore questions; I turned away before she could, ending the conversation and falling into my bed. That night, I fell asleep wishing that my covers would swallow me and I wouldn't have to face the mocking glare of the morning sun.
When I awaken there is black water over my head, no longer fluid but solidified into a thick and fathomless substance. It was once just raindrops, a steady trickle of ink darkness on my skin, but as the body count piled so did the rain. Jequirity brought the first wave, a wash of acid rain that burned holes into my flesh and pierced down into my bones until I could not call myself whole anymore. Amerika brought the storm, the changing tides and painted the sky stark gray. And then it was Lucy — when she fell so did everything else. It caved in around me against a flood, and all my guards and walls had been destroyed long ago.
There was nothing left to keep me from drowning. I've been drowning for years now but I have never hit the bottom of the sea; I just keep going down down down like the sea is just a bottomless abyss. Like Icarus, I have been dropped from the sun and plummeted through the sky and into the ocean below. Perhaps my body should have shattered against the impact of the surface, but somehow I just kept plunging right through it. (I wish I had shattered right then and there.) It is like falling through oblivion, an endless space in the galaxy only there are no stars, no light to guide me elsewhere.
Chains are wrapped around my wrists and ankles, each iron link with a face and a name. Jequirity Amerika Lucy. They have grown heavier and heavier over the years, like they hold the weight of the world within them. Their edges cut into my skin like knives, leaving the wounds unattended to fester. Those wounds used to bleed until there were pools beneath my feet, but they're just rust-colored lines now. It's all faded into dull agony now but somehow I still the blades buried into the hollow of my chest.
I have imagined death to be beautiful. Most people fear it, envision it as a massive menacing shadow coming to collect the ones who deserve it the least, but it's easy to think the way I do when life has become tattered and dark. I picture that when I die, there will be a great blaze of white and gold light to chase away the darkness for just a moment. And then it will pull me into whatever gates have flown open and I at last will be free.
My death takes a step closer as I ease myself out of my bed and get ready for Reaping Day with Elettra. Everyone else will be wearing short-sleeved dresses today, and I consider it but then my eyes find the scars on my arms and I change my mind, opting for a violet dress with long lace sleeves.
Once everyone is gathered in the living room, the wave of gloom gathering in the space washes over me. Each of the Eckhart girls, even the newly adopted Rey, feel the tension in the air. My eyes catch the empty spaces in the room where my late sisters should be, and for a moment my mind flashes back to all those years I spent holed up in my room, reading books until my head hurt, wanting to escape from it all. But there is no way out — I have another resolve.
We walk together as one to the Square, forming a barricade of sorts, perhaps to say to themselves and everyone around them that the Eckharts are still strong, that they won't have another tribute this year. I know with a sinking feeling that I'll be the one to shatter their hope.
Rey once called Lucy selfish for volunteering, and as much as I'd like to protest I know that she is right. Despite being only fourteen, Rey is always the voice of logic when nothing else makes sense. It's selfish to take myself away from them, but someday I hope they'll understand that I can't do this anymore.
Just before we enter the District Square and the Peacekeeper signs us in with a blood sample, I turn to Iridium, the youngest of my sisters. She is always so full of life despite everything falling apart around her — there's this light in her eyes that I can hardly fathom, for I lost mine long ago, but even I know that it is beautiful.
I smile reassuringly at her, a lie, and I wonder if she'll be able to tell that my smile does not touch my eyes. They remain empty and blue and cold. I love you, I form the motions of the words in sign language with my hands. At least that is true. With a stone bearing down on my heart, I turn to the Peacekeeper before me and let them prick my finger. One by one, my sisters mirror me, and we begin our entrance into the Square.
When we face the stage in the District Square, my hand reaches out to clasp Elettra's — just for one last time. I promise myself that I won't let it go until I have to.
"It is time to once again send our own children to the Capitol to compete in the Hunger Games. Let us begin the Reaping!" At once, we hold in our breaths, almost automatically now. I wait for the escort to go on, my free hand balling into a fist as I brace myself to meet my destiny.
"Who will volunteer as tribute, for the honor and glory of your District?"
Time stops and holds me in place with iron hands. My eyes carry over to my sisters beside me, inch over each and every one of their features. Frances, Iridium, Lynlee, Jade, Thyone, Imogen, Rey, Elettra. I can imagine how Frances will scream at me, how a crystalline tear will trickle onto Iridum's cheek from those bright eyes, how Rey will chastise me as if she is a wise elder and I am a child, how Elettra — how Elettra will —
I don't finish that thought; my mind refuses to push any further into guilt once I reach her name on the list.
Time starts up again, rolling past me like quicksand. It does not consume me; I move through it like it is nothing but thin air. Before I speak, I remind myself why am I here, why I'm doing this . . .
I want to die.
The words slap against my skull — the truth always hits hard, doesn't it?
I want to die, I say in my head, and somehow that makes it easier to leave it all behind, somehow it makes it easier to let go of Elettra's hand and let it fall. It may be easier, but it hurts anyway — everything always does.
I expect my voice to break against the cry lodged in my lungs but instead it projects as steel. "I'll go," I state firmly, my own voice becoming nails in my ears. My family shatters behind me and I shatter with them, every part of my insides detonating and disgorging into glass. I stand anyway, my own sheer will to die keeping me steel on the outside. If I were the girl I once was, I would have crumpled to the ground and never resurface.
Instead, I stand.
"I volunteer!" I say, louder this time, and my heart throbs against the death sentence I've signed over my chest.
And just like it did when my sisters died, everything crumbles and implodes around me. But the black sea does not come for me — it opens its mouth and begins to consume my family instead, and all I can do is watch with weak knees. It is a cataclasm, an ultimate collapse of everything I once knew and I am sorry.
beauty is poisonous, disruptive oh heaven must be an iron rose unfolding- let me in let me out let me in let me out
Post by D6f Elettra Eckhart [Ghosty] on Jan 29, 2017 10:51:30 GMT -5
Eckhart's. We're cursed at these damned things. Nightmares coil around the mirror as I dress. Shadows writhe behind me; I am not perfect. Sleep last night always came in passing moves, like it always does. Like it always will. Games destroy us all, and since... since Jeq, and Amerika and Lucy. I am empty of soul;
I am never empty of fear.
Fear of losing another sister, fear of losing myself entirely into the anger that burns slowly inside. I cannot lose another, for I fear that the worst would happen -- the cracks in the porcelain heart would grow and they would never heal. I was told my heart would never die, until the times it was old and cold with nothing left to burn. Last night, I feared that it would die, and nothing could ever bring it back. Not the love of those around me, not of a sister lost coming back. Nothing.
I am not an Eckhart by blood, body or soul. I am with them by heart, and nothing else. If my heart dies, I dread to see what I become. A monster? Perhaps. Like my parents, my real parents. That little treasure chest of truths that was hidden at the back of a cupboard revealed gunslingers, money and monsters. None of my heart belongs to the two of them - they're long gone.
For once, we should be safe; no names in the glass bowl, no names to be drawn out at random. For once, I am safe. Not uncertain with the cannon pointed straight at my heart, to the place where it will end it all. Not walking on a bridge over a mountain with winds threatening to push me off to my death. We are safe, and it is kindness after all the pain.
Sufferance is a concept Eckhart's know too fucking well. Pictures set around the house remind me of that. Ghost's standing on my shoulders remind me of that. The scratches in stone of a grave reminds me of that. It reminds me of nothing other than to suffer. Memories hurt more than all; faces slowly fading into nothing, their names all that's left.
A name; that is all that separates a person and a monster. Bodies, they mean nothing to anyone. Anyone can be a monster - my parents were monsters; the tally scratches carved roughly into the barrel of a gun, notched up into double digits.
Silence was the only noise that filled this District; yet it does not last. A boy, tall, from the front, walks up to the stage. Unknown; for now. And he will fall - District Six knows his fate, and perhaps, so does he. The wind felt cold on my hand, as Elva's palm pulls away from mine. We will always be together, always there for reach other, never ap--
( the cannon cocks, aims... )
and fires. And that heart beating in my chest was gone.
She said sorry; yesterday night. Out of nowhere. "For everything. I don't know, taking your jewelry when we were little, making you worried about me. Like I said - everything." I shook her off. Pushed her away. But it wasn't the smallest of apologies; it was the apologies for this.
But I was not ready for goodbye.
"Elva, don't you fucking dare go without me." The words whisper into existence; barely above the wind. But I know she heard. Our eyes met; briefly. Yet panic filled her eyes; this was not meant to happen. She was meant to be the hero; meant to be the one leaving to come back.
But I've let go of sisters many times before; I cannot bring it to myself to do it again.
( what the fuck have you done? )
The Eckhart's are used to sufferance; Jequirity, Amerika, Lucrezia, Elva.
Flowers and liquid gold have been replaced by skulls and blood. Where once there was soft pink and purple pastels there is now only crimson red and harsh edges. I've plastered each calligraphic piece around my room, only slivers of wallpaper peek through. Each night before bed I see the point where it started—the word, "Love." The lines are not perfect, the color palette even more or an eyesore, but it is still the beginning. My fancy, new calligraphy pens touched ink and swirled as gracefully as a seven year old could manage over thick parchment paper.
My moms used to call me, "tiny expert." I'd draw flowers, write poems in extravagant cursive, and scrawl my love for them and the world out in the only way I knew how. And I'd share it with anyone who cared to pay attention.
Jequirity always paid attention.
It didn't matter that I couldn't listen to her. It didn't matter that every song she ever played fell on deaf ears. She didn't care that I couldn't fully appreciate the thing she loved most in this world. She'd play her violin and I'd sprawl out on the piano with my sketchbook, ink, and pens and together we'd listen—I didn't need working ears to hear the sound of love.
They used to all pay attention. Elettra and Elvaina, Wolfsbane, Imogen—they always used to pay attention. And Lucy. She was always so good at drawing, so much better me. It was like everything she had ever felt simply poured onto the page with such precision that there was no need for her to tell me what it meant. She used to hum herself to sleep. I never heard the song of course, but when I would fall asleep with my head upon her chest I would feel it.
Like I would feel the trills of the piano when Jeq played. Like I would feel Lucy's heart beat against my cheek as I drifted away into sleep. Like I could feel the strength and steadiness in Elvaina's hands from all those hours of glass sculpting. I felt the love in the way my moms held my hands. I heard them say it—"I love you."—even with my broken ears.
But that was before--
That was before Jeq died. And before Amerika died. And before Lucy volunteered and before I had three graves to visit and not enough tears to go around. My moms never skipped a beat, trying to fill the empty spaces in our house and in their hearts with new girls.
I tried. I tried so hard to keep drawing the pretty pink flowers and soft orange sunsets and iridescent butterfly wings. I tried to keep smiling. I tried to keep laughing. I tried to keep from feeling lost all the time. I told myself—'It's what she would've wanted.'—only to realize it wasn't she, but they. And then I'd see an empty room, an empty bed. The piano in the basement covered in dust, Jeq's sheet music missing. The chairs in the dining room where my moms should be sitting with knees touching and small grins on their faces—empty.
My pen shifted with my changing heart. Bones appeared in dark bouquets, demons replaced the butterflies, and the skies were colored a deep red. And I wish I could make it stop, but—
I lace my fingers together to stop them from shaking. I close my eyes so that the only indication that I'm still alive is the boom of the speakers in the square and the steady pound, pound, pound of my heart against my ribs.
I should be scared right now. But I've been desensitized. This is the Reaping. Today will be the last time I see one of my sisters. In a few weeks time, what's left of my family will be burying another one of my sisters. It will be four gravestones instead of three. Four empty beds, four empty chairs at the table, a fourth reason why I can't seem to draw with bright colors.
I've known nothing but sadness for so long, I've forgotten what happiness feels like. Every happy memory has gone sour, reached its expiration date and turned into something that makes me want to cry.
I want to go home and draw a rose. But I know it will turn out black, dead, and bloody. Because that's how everything in my life ends up.
That's how Elvaina and Elettra will end up.
And it's seeing them walk into oblivion hand-in-hand that reminds me why the very first thing I drew was just one single word, ink graceful and colors bright and beautiful.
My heart pounds faster and faster as tears start to drip down my cheeks. Because no matter how normal this is, there is no way to stop my heart from breaking every time it happens.
I pinch my shirt between my fingers at the shoulder. I tug a few times, repeat the motion over and over and over. I volunteer, I volunteer, I volunteer, I gesture on repeat. But no one is paying attention. Even as my lips quiver and the smallest of groans escapes, no one is paying attention.
So I push through the crowd of people and I stand in the clearing where everyone can see. I tug at my shirt rhythmically, the repetition of the movement the only thing keeping me from losing my way. At first my feet are slow, unsure, and heavy. But then through the blur of hot tears I see my sisters standing ahead of me. I think they are speaking softly, whispering. I think I see the words I was forbade to ever speak falling from Elettra's lips.
I mimic the movement as best as my untrained lips can manage. I cry so that I know it must be audible, they must hear me. They still aren't paying attention. So I sprint towards them and collide with Elvaina, my arms circling her waist and my shoulders shaking from the sobs that rack my body. I gasp when I come up for air, and I pull enough air into my lungs so I know the words will come out.
And I guess it doesn't really matter how it sounds or whether anyone understands. Just as long as I don't ever let go. Just as long as I never lose sight of what love is.
Cursed skins; street light eating away at this surface-
I forget I'm a painter. Forget a lot of things, Lucy's smile, Jasmine's small hands -- maybe there's a difference here. Oh well. I never used to be scared of these things, or any things, used to just carry my heart in its casket already and swear it all off- not too bad of an idea. But we're all girls of talents, aren't we? My fingers scratching into colder goodnight skin, I forget it all the time.
And ain't it fuckin great to remember.
Two a.m., early breezes kissing exposed arms and legs, a street side bench and the smell of sea salt; I remember how beautiful the world can be. Between border and border, intimacies of the sun and the moon -- it's all nonsense, but I guess so is this whole fuckshit. Legs crossed on themselves, fat fingers digging into paint tubes, shit I haven't done this in a while.
It's all just been chaos, theories on fallacies; intimacy. I've been too busy with hating myself, hating everybody, loving myself and trying to love a few- Elvaina, Jasmine, Siren. Even if she was a bitch, but I guess that's just survivor's guilt. A pair of midnight teeth; I don't remember Lucy's smile. Don't think I ever saw it -- can I forget what I never saw? It's too early for this shit.
I forget I still hate her.
I've tried my hardest to love Lucy, as much as everybody else grieved and shit; I can't be the only one with grudges on the dead. And I hate this shit, why it's this one that bothers me so much -- I didn't care about Jeq. Didn't know Amerika, only knew they worth staring at, but goddamn Lucrezia hasn't left my mind or veins in over two years, I regret not drowning the bitch myself.
Ah shit, I've always been a shit painter anyways.
A streak of white paint, one thumb's stroke -- stupid bitch. Didn't even die for anything, it's hard to love her, hard to hate her I guess but god fucking damn it. What's worth dying that much for? I can't understand it, can't understand how she kept the moral high ground and got to die like a martyr and continue to judge me for living. They make it sound so easy, so down upon me; she dies easy, she rests and bleeds out and I'm stuck here with nothing more than regrets and remarks.
For whatever her ghost haunts me for, I rip the page out, tearing up in every piece I can, slapping slabs of paint onto the side of the bench -- an amalgamation of wet color, throwing the sketchbook in a pool of street side water
("You do it to yourself-")
And I know I do, that's the thing. Of all the fucking years and sermons I've had to sit through with Lucy, and all those without her I know every little thing I do to self destruct, the underside of my boot scrapping against the bench seat as I kick it.
It just doesn't seem to fucking work.
Fuck this shit.
My breath unsteady, early morning runs -- it's supposed to be good for anxiety. Better than a cigarette, but I smoke anyways; best to cover my bases, huh? The smell of smoke and sweat in my skin, every part of me pulsing- god, I'm whack as shit. I don't say much to anybody, it's been a year.
That's the most I can say.
People keep dying and living, Jasmine came back to me in a different sense than Lucrezia did- I spit on the name. There's something stale about it; like I traded the two. Siren's red hair is a flicker beat in my mind, walking through crowds, a peacekeeper takes my blood. I suck the rest off my finger while I walk, waiting for Elvaina, searching for Jasmine- us Eckharts stand side by side, my crazed hair and track clothes; I ain't dressed anything special.
I don't plan on dying today, remember?
And I try not to be scared, my heart beat a mix between nicotine, cardio and death threats; somebody gets reaped, somebody dies. With a track record like ours it's-
I grab my hand, hard enough to where my nail digs into it - shit. You're kidding, I almost laugh it off, smiling and heart beat through my throat- thank god. "Oh thank the fuckin'-" Elvaina, Jasmine and Siren actually won't die this time, we're all getting close to getting out of this shit and for the first time in a while I feel hop-
It's a struggle, Elvaina and Elettra awkwardly discussing, I hold my unstable heart in place- she'll get her. Elettra won't let her go, she won't, it's okay, oh thank fuck she won't, she wouldn't leave Elettra.
"Elva, don't you fucking dare go without me."
It's a drowning effect.
There is no time to consider, no time to process; Elvaina and Elettra are dying. No, no no no these two weren't supposed to die, I actually liked these two- Elvaina was the first sister I had in a while I; "Elvaina!" I shout, like a mother watching her child.
("ELVAINA WHAT THE FUCK-"
I almost miss Iris going as well, short and afraid and shit, they're going together; they're actually all going to kill themselves. Are you fucking with me, I try to grab to Elettra, Iris- somebody stable enough to not volunteer death on their own name but I guess this is what Lucrezia always wanted.
A bunch of goddamn martyrs.
But I'll forget that I'm stuck here while they drown.