There, quite far away from the Capitol, polluted air and polluted people, District Nine-- her District-- resided. A woman of action, a woman with vivid aspirations and just enough darkness in her to get them done: they called her Mayor, but she rather thought queen had a nice ring.
She was born to already aging parents, and they were dead and gone by the time she won her election. It was hard on her, of course, they were her parents. It was different for her, though. She grew up with the knowledge that any day could have been their last. Not because they were sick, not because of the games, but because their lives were simply coming to a close.
By the time she was in her teens, her mother could hardly walk up the front steps to the house, and her father had a seemingly permanent cold that only got worse with time. At first, her only job was to study: to be a good student, but with time, their chores became hers: giving the dog water, mowing the lawn, taking out the trash, cleaning the house. At the time, she hated it. She resented them for forcing her to do everything but also, she was too naive to realize they couldn't do it themselves and they were to proud to just tell her they couldn't.
Her mother even asked Talon to take over her lifelong hobby of collecting petrified wood. The entire house was decorated with the stuff, and Talon had always thought it was sort of ugly. But she agreed, because it meant spending time away from home, and eventually, she had come to look forward to it more than anything.
Her parents just... couldn't. That's just how it was, and so her mother died, and her father followed only a half year later. And with their deaths, she had no one close enough to actually consider family. Cousins and aunts and uncles, sure, but none of them had ever truly understood her, or what she wanted out of life, (which was everything.)
She was never shy about her dreams of becoming mayor. Even in high school, she voiced her interest in politics and all of the interesting twists and turns it took to be good at it. But still, the idea of a girl of humble beginnings from the outskirts of the District ever becoming a leader was something of a laughable subject, which of course made ever-defiant Talon even more keen to see it through.
She beat out a man who had potentially been one of the best mayors District Nine had ever seen, and while she was at it, she broke the District's record for youngest mayor. Since then, her accomplishments had only grown.
She had overseen the expansion of the district, opened tons of job opportunities, brought crime rates down, and it didn't help that she was in office when District Nine won it's first ever Hunger Games.
Colgate O'leary: something of a disappointment to Talon. She was starved for the recognition, for everyone's eyes to be on her District, on all of her hard work, but she hadn't ever guessed that the person who broke the District Nine Curse would have been from, perhaps, the most poverty-ridden family in the district. Soap. They called him Soap, for Ripred's sake, simply because he needed to use it more often.
She was hellbent on keeping District Nine's residents healthy enough to bring home a newer-- and better-- victor as soon as possible, which meant long hours and high expectations. She opened soup kitchens and group homes, assigned peacekeeper details to those god damn gangs that seemed to want nothing more than watch her crash and burn. Other mayors praised her, said that District Nine was at an all-time high, and she was glad.
"Maybe we'll get someone worth a damn for a victor next time, then."
Perhaps her biggest downfall was her severe way of dealing with things. All or nothing, right or wrong, black and white. Some called her cruel. Honestly, she was. She didn't mind crushing a few for her gain or the gain of her District. Sacrifice a few, save a lot.
Forcing families to move so that new factories could be built, punishing wrong doers to the fullest extent of the law-- in her mind, the things she did were justifiable. More factories meant more job opportunities, and on the matter of criminals, a spat on the wrist wouldn't ever keep them from dipping their hands into the cookie jar. Cut off the hand, it couldn't happen again.
But maybe she was a bit hypocritical, standing in her office, her mother's petrified wood hung neatly on the walls, hands folded behind her back. If anyone in the district was supposed to be a law abiding citizen, it was her. But rules weren't supposed to include her, as far as she was concerned. If she felt the need to duck outside of the fence, all she had to do was proclaim her status and slide some money into a peacekeeper's coat pocket and she got what she wanted. Rule makers, often times, were the biggest rule breakers, but she still would not stand for anyone else to pull the stuff she had.
She remembered once, only a year or so after being elected, a young girl had been caught roaming outside of the fence. She claimed her mother was sick and she was searching for some kind of medicinal plant, and Talon believed her: she did. And she knew the girl meant no harm, but she still sent her away to the detention center. As far as Talon knew, the girl hadn't ever been back. Maybe she was still locked up inside, or maybe she had been killed.
Sometimes, standing in her pretty office, she wondered how long the girl's mother had lasted after she left.
Sacrifice a few, save a lot.
Surely people understood, because the next time elections came up, she kept her seat.
Too bad there was evidence found that the other candidate was part of a rebellion.
And she would continue to rule District Nine for as long as she lived, no matter what. And anyone who tried to stop her?
They would become examples that a person's worst nightmares really could come true.