The Naysmith Residence sat in the forest, away from other homes. It was covered in mold and moss from the intense weather that had hit it for years. The overgrowth covered the tin roof and would hang about two inches down from where the roof sloped. The house was almost always moist with the fog that surrounded. Just by a mere glance you could tell that the doors and windows would creek when used, you could tell that the floorboards would cry under you, and you could assume that the inside offered the same theme. Inside this home was a family of five. This house was home to many generations, the current being Silver's. The inside smelled of pine needles mixed with smoke from the wood burning stove. The house was quaint. It was a poverty stricken home, that is clear. It is none the less home to the kindest of district 7.
Silver would be relaxing on her sturdy but worn bed. Alone. Her family let her stay home for a bit while they went to shop in the square. She is just sitting, thinking. Thinking about nothing important, just things to keep the mind busy. While the wind whistled, and branches swayed. She continued to sit. In boredom, but content to have time to herself.
It is about eleven at night. The moon is hanging over the foggy district. Like a soft velvet, the moonlight drapes across the penniless house, with tiny silhouettes of trees decorating the roof. It was a warm summer night, one of the dry and scorching ones. Looking out her window, Silver could see the starting layer of trees but behind them was darkness. The forest disappeared behind the first line of pines.
There she sat, alone, in the darkness of the forest, but also in the safety of her bedroom. The sound of bats are heard as they pierce through the dark sky, undetected. Silver is taking in all of her surroundings as cracks and rustles can be heard only a few feet in front of her. The monsters you make up as a child live in the darkness. The monster that haunted her was more than the boogie man. The monster was the ones who should be protecting her. The monster was The Capitol.
She is thinking of the games, but unlike usual she isn't fearful. She is happy. The games are almost over for this year. That keeps her safe for another year. That keeps her brother safe for another year. Her families lives will remain peaceful for another year. The Naysmith family stayed out of trouble. They acted as if the rebellion didn't exist, but Silver being the quiet person she is would never think about such things.In this moment she is though.
She is thinking about what ifs. What if the world was different.
Today is hot, sickly: the mockingjays argue, bickering with the cicadas; the sun's rays beam even in its absence, the leaves weeping in agony; the air settles like sap dripping down a tree trunk, one droplet at a time.
. He wipes the sweat from his brow, crouches low to gather fronds of cattails that grow along the stream. When folks run low of government goods, they'll have burned the leaves for salves, roasted the flowers and boiled the stems. His back will ache so others can walk with their heads held high and their bellies full.
Dusk has long since swept the shadows back into place, but even a breath from the south does little to cure the heat. The trees stand tall, Corinthian columns beckoning him down the aisle as he walks softly, only lantern-light leading the way. V is careful - one wrong step and he will set the earth aflame.
That would be bad for business.
There is a house built on the edges of this sector - odd, he figures. Perhaps he's made a wrong turn here or there, but he swears that last time he came here it was a clearing as sparse as a salt flat. All that remained had been tree trunks, blistered and squat, their rings speaking more volumes than the entire history of Panem.
But now, here lies a house. As he strolls past, there is movement out of the corner of his eye. He turns, raises his lantern for a closer look.
A girl - his age, give or take a year. She stares out into the night like a specter.
Perhaps this place is no more than an apparition. But regardless, duty calls.
"Evening," he calls out, though he knows it's well-past eight. His voice is soft, the timbre like a clarinet. "Apologies, but I seem to be lost. Could you point me in the direction of the market square?"
The darkness has now swallowed even the closest trees to her. She can see nothing but black. Her black yard has one beam of moonlight crossing it, with little stamps of darkness remaining from the branches above. She can still hear the unknown cracking in the woods. She begins to peer, trying to see whom or what is making the noise.
As she peers deeper into the woods, she can see the road. Then she sees a crouched figure against the gravel path. She knows its not a squirrel or a bird, or a bat. Thinking that a figure that big could be a bat makes her giggle inside. Then the figure would stand up, and waddle towards her house. It is very obviously a man at this point. He seems very calm, very nice, very outgoing.
She hears .. "Excuse me!" Then the man would ask for directions due to him being lost.
Her face would show that she is shy. She is very the opposite of this gentleman's energy. But she decides to help the lost man. On closer inspection she could tell that he was close to her age.. She decides to invoke conversation rather than help him.
"Hey! Ho- How exactly did you get lost this far out?"
She would then giggle. Expecting some sort of crazy answer. Her body language would change while she waits for a response. She would become more tense. Scared to offend or bug she'd go a little pale, but that can't be seen from the distance they are apart.
"Hey! Ho- How exactly did you get lost this far out?"
Her face is shaded by the dark. If he squints he can't discern the values, the contours of her face. She giggles, the sound spreading out like reeds in the wind.
Perhaps this is the realm of the dead. He thinks about one of their patrons: an old woman whose skin hangs off of her like damp cloth, whose eyes are the color of daisy petals; the dead, she had uttered over rosemary shortbread, live with us, but parallel; on a different wavelength. He'd considered it all entirely a tale spun by jesters, but he'd smiled at it nonetheless.
"Ah," he says, holding up his basket as if she can see the contents, as if that itself is an explanation. "I must have taken a wrong turn - Normally walking through these woods is like traveling through my own home."
Has he turned the wrong way, walked through a fairy ring, stepped between an archway of trees? Unlikely. And regardless, he wonders if it matters. A journey home is a journey home. Help is help.
"Would you mind showing the way? I'd rather not get lost a second time tonight."